Tag Archives: Nebraska

LINCOLN – Today, Governor Pete Ricketts and state agencies welcomed news that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved a project requested by the State of Nebraska to study the use of higher ethanol blends.  In the pilot program, the State of Nebraska will study the use of E-30 in conventional vehicles owned by the state.

“Thank you to acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler and his team for approving Nebraska’s E-30 pilot project,” said Governor Ricketts.  “I appreciate the great work Todd Sneller and Nebraska’s ethanol advocates did in collaboration with the EPA to bring this to fruition.  We look forward to piloting the use of Nebraska-grown and produced E-30 in state vehicles.”

In recent months, the Governor’s Office, Nebraska Ethanol Board, Governors’ Biofuels Coalition, and state agencies have been working with the EPA on a request to pilot the use of higher ethanol blends in state vehicles.  The pilot program will assess the effects of E-15 and E-30 blends on “vehicle performance, fuel economy, and emissions control systems” in state-owned vehicles.  The fuel used in the pilot program will be supplied by Nebraska ethanol companies.

“This demonstration program is designed to evaluate the use of an E-30 ethanol blend in conventional vehicles compared to the same type vehicles operating on E-10 and E-15 blends,” said Sarah Caswell, Administrator of the Nebraska Ethanol Board.  “Fuel cost per mile, performance, maintenance and other factors will be included as a part of the project.  Several engineering consultants from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln will help provide technical expertise during the duration of the project.  Approximately 50 vehicles will be involved in the demonstration program.  In addition to state fueling sites, six Nebraska fuel marketers have agreed to provide access to E-30 at fueling sites in the state.”

Previously, Governor Ricketts had directed state agencies to order flex fuel vehicles when possible and other vehicles must be compatible with E-15.  The state has also switched over fuel pumps from E-10 to E-15, and agencies also have E-85 available.  These include:

  • The Transportation Services Bureau at the Nebraska Department of Administrative Services has switched from E-10 to E-15.  They also offer E-85.
  • Nebraska Department of Transportation (NDOT) has switched all gas sites from E-10 to E-15.  NDOT has seven sites providing E-15 and three sites with E-85.
  • Nebraska State Patrol vehicles generally utilize E-15.

“This E-30 pilot program is a great opportunity for us to demonstrate what we in the corn and ethanol industries have known for a long time,” said Dave Bruntz, chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board and farmer from Friend.  “By using a 30 percent ethanol blend in standard, non-flex fuel vehicles, we’ll be able to conclusively prove higher ethanol blends are clean-burning and don’t harm or damage engines.  By going through this program and through rigorous testing, we’re paving the way for high-performing, renewable options for consumers.”

The pilot is expected to be launched in the coming weeks.  More details will become available as the pilot program gets underway.

NEBRASKA CHICKEN AND EGGS

All layers in Nebraska during August 2018 totaled 8.13 million, up from 7.76 million the previous year, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Nebraska egg production during August totaled 211 million eggs, up from 201 million in 2017. August egg production per 100 layers was 2,596 eggs, compared to 2,593 eggs in 2017.

U.S. August Egg Production Up 3 Percent

United States egg production totaled 9.16 billion during August 2018, up 3 percent from last year. Production included 7.96 billion table eggs, and 1.20 billion hatching eggs, of which 1.11 billion were broiler-type and 87.2 million were egg-type. The average number of layers during August 2018 totaled 385 million, up 3 percent from last year. August egg production per 100 layers was 2,379 eggs, down slightly from August 2017.

All layers in the United States on September 1, 2018 totaled 386 million, up 3 percent from last year. The 386 million layers consisted of 325 million layers producing table or market type eggs, 57.4 million layers producing broiler-type hatching eggs, and 3.53 million layers producing egg-type hatching eggs. Rate of lay per day on September 1, 2018, averaged 77.1 eggs per 100 layers, up 1 percent from September 1, 2017.

Egg-Type Chicks Hatched Up 16 Percent
Egg-type chicks hatched during August 2018 totaled 53.4 million, up 16 percent from August 2017. Eggs in incubators totaled 51.3 million on September 1, 2018, up 26 percent from a year ago.

Domestic placements of egg-type pullet chicks for future hatchery supply flocks by leading breeders totaled 192 thousand during August 2018, up 33 percent from August 2017.

Broiler-Type Chicks Hatched Up 1 Percent
Broiler-type chicks hatched during August 2018 totaled 840 million, up 1 percent from August 2017. Eggs in incubators totaled 672 million on September 1, 2018, up slightly from a year ago.

Leading breeders placed 8.41 million broiler-type pullet chicks for future domestic hatchery supply flocks during August 2018, up 3 percent from August 2017.

NEBRASKA CATTLE ON FEED UP 8 PERCENT

Nebraska feedlots, with capacities of 1,000 or more head, contained 2.33 million cattle on feed on September 1, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. This inventory was up 8 percent from last year. Placements during August totaled 480,000 head, up 2 percent from 2017. Fed cattle marketings for the month of August totaled 470,000 head, unchanged from last year. Other disappearance during August totaled 10,000 head, unchanged from last year.

 

United States Cattle on Feed Up 6 Percent

Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the United States for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 11.1 million head on September 1, 2018. The inventory was 6 percent above September 1, 2017. This is the highest September 1 inventory since the series began in 1996.

Cattle on Feed – By State
                                  (1,000 hd   –   % Sept 1, ’17)
Colorado …….:             900                105
Iowa …………….:             680                106
Kansas ………..:            2,310                104
Nebraska ……:            2,330                108
Texas …………..:            2,680                103

Placements in feedlots during August totaled 2.07 million head, 7 percent above 2017. Net placements were 2.02 million head. During August, placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds were 430,000 head, 600-699 pounds were 335,000 head, 700-799 pounds were 460,000 head, 800-899 pounds were 475,000 head, 900-999 pounds were 240,000 head, and 1,000 pounds and greater were 130,000 head.

Placements by State
                                 (1,000 hd   –   % Aug, ’17)
Colorado …….:            205          117
Iowa …………….:              82            89
Kansas ………….:          520           105
Nebraska …….:           480           102
Texas ……………:           415           108

Marketings of fed cattle during August totaled 1.98 million head, slightly above 2017. Other disappearance totaled 55,000 head during August, 12 percent above 2017.

Marketings by State
                               (1,000 hd – % Aug, ’17)
Colorado …….:          190            100
Iowa …………….:          100             99
Kansas ………..:           430            97
Nebraska ……:           470           100
Texas …………..:           440            101

 

 

In 2018 Nebraska farmers planted 9.7 million acres of corn, the most of any crop in the state. The primary uses for corn in the state are cattle feed and ethanol production. Nebraska currently has 25 ethanol plants producing around 2 billion gallons of ethanol annually. This capacity consumes approximately 40 percent of Nebraska’s annual corn production.

Ethanol became widely produced in the state after the introduction of the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) in 2005, which mandates that a percentage of renewable fuels, mainly ethanol, be blended into transportation fuels. This article explores the changes in corn basis since the implementation of the RFS for five locations across Nebraska.

Changes in basis are important to Nebraska corn farmers’ financial wellbeing. Changes in the average basis value directly impact the farmer’s bottom line. The more negative the average basis value is, the less revenue the farmer is receiving. Furthermore, more volatile basis values result in greater basis risk.

Data

Basis is the difference between the cash price and the futures price. Basis is essentially the fee that grain buyers charge farmers for handling their grain. Many factors influence basis values, including the local supply and demand, transportation costs, quality of the grain, and the cost of doing business. The basis values used for this analysis were calculated using the United States Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service (USDA AMS) Cash Grain Bids report for Nebraska ( WH_GR111). Reports were collected Thursday of each week. Locations shown in this discussion must have had cash prices consistently reported since 1993, and are no closer than 50 miles from one another. The locations that have met these criteria are Beatrice, Greenwood, Grand Island, Lexington and Superior as shown in Figure 1. To obtain the basis, the cash price for each location was subtracted from the closing price of the nearby futures contract for that day. If there were missing observations, these values were interpolated using a simple average of the previous and subsequent basis values around the gap.

Map showing basis reporting locations and ethanol plants
Figure 1. Nebraska Ethanol Facilities and Reported Basis Locations

Analysis

Two periods of basis values were selected for comparison: (1) February 25, 1993 to August 4, 2005 and (2) August 11, 2005 to December 28, 2017. These two periods are divided by the RFS mandate, which was implemented August 8, 2005. Many changes to the corn market occurred during the span of these data. This analysis does not separate factors such as the increase in acreage, genetic advancements, or additional uses for corn that have influenced its demand or supply since 1993. Thus, the analysis will focus on the long-term adjustments in basis values rather than pinpointing the specific causes of these changes.

The summary statistics and coefficient of variation are reported for each location and period in Table 1. The summary statistics show that in all five locations, the average basis value was $0.05 to $0.09 per bushel lower from August 11, 2005 to December 28, 2017 than it was from February 25, 1993 to August 4, 2005.

Table 1: Summary Statistics: Basis for Selected Nebraska Cities
FEBRUARY 25, 1993 TO AUGUST 4, 2005 AUGUST 11, 2005 TO DECEMBER 28, 2017
Obs. Avg. Std. Dev. Min. Max Coef. Var. % Obs. Avg. Std. Dev. Min. Max Coef. Var. %
BEATRICE 650 -0.21 0.207 -0.94 1.34 98 645 -0.3 0.236 -0.68 1.5 80
GRAND ISLAND 650 -0.18 0.163 -0.5 1.09 90 645 -0.26 0.234 -0.73 1.5 91
GREENWOOD 650 -0.24 0.175 -0.6 1.29 73 645 -0.33 0.241 -0.75 1.45 74
LEXINGTON 650 -0.15 0.184 -0.53 1.59 119 645 -0.21 0.269 -0.71 1.76 130
SUPERIOR 650 -0.16 0.175 -0.58 1.2 113 645 -0.21 0.229 -0.58 1.6 107

This lower average basis value indicates that farmers have experienced a larger discount from the futures market price after the implementation of the RFS. This may seem counter-intuitive to farmers, as an increased demand brought about by the expansion of ethanol production would strengthen the corn basis or make it less negative. However, a recent study of North Dakota corn basis values by Fausti et al. (2017) would suggest that the increased corn production during the latter period of this study would outweigh the demand created by increased ethanol production.

The second portion of this analysis measures the differences in basis volatility between the two periods. There are two specific measures of volatility that can be discussed from the summary statistics. The first measure of volatility is the standard deviation (Std. Dev). Normally, the higher the standard deviation, the greater the basis volatility. All five locations experienced standard deviations from $0.03 to $0.08 per bushel larger in the second period. This means that the normal range of basis values for each location would be the average basis ± the standard deviation. For example, the normal basis range for Beatrice before RFS would have been $0.00 to -$0.44 per bushel. After the RFS, the normal basis range for Beatrice is -$0.06 to -$0.54 per bushel.

The second measure of volatility is the coefficient of variation (Coef. Var.). It is a measure of relative volatility and is expressed as a percentage. To calculate coefficient of variation, divide the standard deviation by the mean. The higher the coefficient of variation, the greater the price volatility. The coefficient of variation does not have a consistent result across all five locations. The coefficient of variation was smaller for Beatrice and Superior but was almost equal in Grand Island and Greenwood, and was much larger in Lexington.

Research by McNew and Griffith (2005) found that the farther one is from an ethanol facility, the lower the impact that facility will have on the price. This may hold true for the reported locations in this analysis. The two reported locations where the coefficient of variation improved, Beatrice and Superior, had the fewest number of ethanol facilities in a 50-mile radius. Grand Island and Greenwood experienced a slight increase in volatility. Grand Island has nine facilities with a 280 million bushel crush capacity in a 50-mile radius, and Greenwood has three facilities with a 114 million bushel crush capacity. Lexington has three plants in a 50-mile radius, one of which is located in Lexington itself.

This analysis shows that basis values have changed between the two periods of this study. Structural changes in the market have decreased the average basis value at the reported locations $0.03 to $0.08 per bushel. Basis has also become more volatile, but the amount of variability depends on the relative distance of reported location to an ethanol facility. Overall, these results indicate that farmers who are close to an ethanol facility have greater basis risk.

Increases in basis volatility can influence the effectiveness of a farmer’s hedging strategy. Imagine a corn farmer who takes a short position in the futures market during the growing season for grain he or she plans to deliver at harvest. When farmers place a hedge in the futures market, they do so assuming a specific basis value for harvest. The hedge locks in the futures prices, but leaves the farmer vulnerable to changes in the basis value. This vulnerability is referred to as “basis risk.” The larger the volatility measure is, the more basis risk a farmer has. However, greater volatility does not always imply a more negative outcome for the farmer. The basis at harvest could be stronger (less negative) than the basis value they had assumed when they placed the hedge. This stronger basis would result in a higher net price received. Farmers need to adjust their hedging strategies to account for lower average basis values, and a wider range of basis possibilities in order to account for the structural changes that have taken place in the corn market.

LINCOLN, Neb. — Nebraska LEAD (Leadership Education/Action Development) Group 38 participants have been announced by the program’s director, Terry Hejny. The two-year program will begin in September.

 Director, Nebraska LEAD (Leadership Education/Action Development) Program.

The newest members of Nebraska’s premier two-year agricultural leadership development program are involved in production agriculture and/or agribusiness in Nebraska.

“It certainly appears that Class 38 is filled with outstanding individuals from throughout our state and I am excited to get started with them. Our task will be to prepare and motivate them for future leadership roles in their community, our state and beyond,” Hejny said.

LEAD Fellows will participate in 12 monthly three-day seminars across Nebraska, a 10-day national study/travel seminar and a 14-16 day international study/travel seminar. The goal of the program is to develop problem solvers, decision makers and spokespersons for agriculture and Nebraska.

Seminar themes include leadership assessment and potential, natural resources and energy, leadership through communication, agricultural policy, international trade and finance, Nebraska’s political process, global perspectives, nuclear energy, social and cultural issues, understanding and developing leadership skills, agribusiness and marketing, information technology, advances in health care, the resources and people of Nebraska’s Panhandle and other areas designed to develop leaders through exposure to a broad array of current topics and issues and how they interrelate.

The Nebraska LEAD Program is operated by the non-profit Nebraska Agricultural Leadership Council in cooperation with the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and 12 other institutions of higher education throughout Nebraska.

Nebraska LEAD 38 Fellows by city/town are:

BERTRAND: Rebecca Schwarz

BROKEN BOW: Jack Lindstrom, Troy Mack

BRUNING: Heather Ramsey

CAIRO: Michael Dibbern

CENTRAL CITY: Logan Williams

CHADRON: Kyle McCarthy

CHAPMAN: Shane Greving

DAVENPORT: Katie Kaliff-Jagels

DECATUR: Jennifer Penny

ELKHORN: Evan Weborg

ELM CREEK: Sarah Sivits

GRAND ISLAND: Lori Cox

HASTINGS: Dennis Hoppe

HOLDREGE: Anthony Marquardt

INDIANOLA: Veronica Waddell

KIMBALL: Lindsay Forepaugh

LINCOLN: Noah Blomendahl, Cale Buhr, Doran Johnson, Boone McAfee

LYONS: Jordan Rasmussen

MAYWOOD: Aaron Weismann

OGALLALA: Tony Schrotberger

OMAHA: Ryan Sandoz, Scott Schmalken

PALMER: Rene Blauhorn

RAVENNA: Judy Trent

WAVERLY: Paula Peterson

In our ag economy, biofuels are playing an increasingly important role in growing more opportunity for the next generation of farm families.  With economic uncertainty and low commodity prices, ethanol not only helps build reliable demand for our corn, but it also helps our country achieve greater energy independence.  Nebraska now has the capacity to produce over 2.5 billion gallons of ethanol.  The ethanol industry directly employs over 1,300 Nebraskans and indirectly supports many more jobs.  Because of this, we have been spurring investment in ethanol by increasing flex fuel infrastructure, expanding trade opportunities, and advocating for biofuels at the federal level.

Over the summer, I have been traveling the state to highlight the availability of new flex fuel infrastructure.  In the past couple of years, my team and the Nebraska Energy Office has been working with the Nebraska Corn Board and Nebraska Ethanol Board to install more flex fuel pumps in communities across the state.  Recently, I visited Grant where Aurora Cooperative has launched a new flex fuel pump.  In May, I attended a ribbon cutting event for new flex fuel pumps at the Bosselman Travel Center in Grand Island.  As new fuel choices are offered at more retail locations, consumers become better acquainted with these options and the lower prices.  These new pumps will distribute thousands of gallons of biofuels to the many travelers crossing our state.

International trade is another important key to growing biofuels.  Last September, Todd Sneller of the Nebraska Ethanol Board and Duane Kristensen of Chief Ethanol in Grand Island joined my trade mission to Japan.  There they visited with the U.S. Grains Council about the Japanese market, which has since opened to American ethanol.  The U.S. Grains Council, which the Nebraska Department of Agriculture and Nebraska Corn Board are members of, has been undertaking a major effort to expand exports into Japan.  In 2015, I led another trade delegation to Denmark to visit the headquarters of Novozymes, a company that produces enzymes used in ethanol production.  During the visit, we urged the company to continue to expand their investment in Nebraska.  Since that visit, Novozymes has invested about $50 million more into Nebraska.  These stories illustrate why it is so important that our global partners hear directly from Nebraskans on trade missions, so we can continue to open up more markets and attract new investments.

We have also been advocating with the federal government in Washington, D.C. to cut red tape and allow more freedom to market and use higher ethanol blends.  Higher ethanol blends create more demand for our fuels and commodity inputs.  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is the key regulator of biofuels at the federal level.  Over the last year, we have been one of the voices calling for year-round sales of E-15.  Right now, E-15 cannot be sold during the summer months, limiting our ability to market more of our ethanol product.  I recently met with acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler to underscore the urgency behind approving E-15 sales all year long.  I also have a request into the EPA for a pilot program to test high ethanol blends like E-25 and E-30 in the Nebraska state government fleet.  I have already directed state agencies to order flex fuel vehicles when possible and other vehicles must be compatible with E-15.  The state has also switched over one of our main fuel pumps from E-10 to E-15, and we also have E-85 available.  We want the opportunity to consume more of the great fuel produced right here in Nebraska.

This month, I submitted testimony on the latest round of biofuels production levels being set by the EPA.  My administration will continue to urge the EPA to maintain a robust commitment to biofuels, so the next generation of farm families has the predictability they need to grow agriculture and grow Nebraska.  If you have suggestions on how we can expand ethanol in Nebraska, I hope you will write me at pete.ricketts@nebraska.gov or call 402-471-2244.

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.

CURTIS, Neb. — The Grunden Ranch near rural Curtis has about 325 cows. That’s their main business, but they have made a name for themselves with Morgan horses.

Harlan Grunden called it a “hobby that’s gotten out of hand,” and apparently the American Morgan Horse Association is impressed. The AMHA inducted the ranch into the 2017 AMHA Breeder’s Hall of Fame earlier this year.

According to a release from the organization, in 1969 Harvey and Myrna Grunden wanted a hobby they could share with their children. They researched different breeds, and were drawn to Morgans because of the breeds’ easy riding and a gentle disposition. The Grundens made their first purchase and never looked back.

Two generations later, Grunden Ranch is making its mark in the show ring and their progeny is found in at least 29 states, including Vermont, where the breed was developed in the 1800s, The North Platte Telegraph reported. The ranch has had seven generations of the same Morgan bloodline, said Harlan, a son of Harvey and Myrna, who carries on the tradition at the ranch near Curtis.

The Grunden Ranch also helped spread the breed abroad with Harvey and Myrna introducing the first Morgan horse to Germany in 1979: a stallion named Funquest Meddler.

Harvey is now in a retirement home and Myrna has passed away, but the passion for the Morgan horse continues through their three children, their grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Upon their retirement, they divided the herd between their two sons. Harlan and his wife, Tammy, acquired the Grunden Ranch identity, while Harris and his wife, Joanie, acquired the RG identity. Their daughter, Gina Essink, and her husband, Dennis, raise Morgan horses under the RC prefix.

Harlan and Tammy operate their Grunden Ranch with their son Hance. Their daughter, Megan Welch, of Moorefield (married to Dawson Welch), is involved in the operation, too. Harlan is vice president of the AMHA and does quite of bit of traveling across the country in that role, he said.

They currently have 77 registered Morgans, including six stallions for breeding and six geldings. Their mares gave birth to 16 foals this year. Some of the mares and geldings are used to work cattle.

“We have been known to use our horses moving cattle the day before going to a show,” says their web site. They have exhibited in Western, English, pleasure driving and carriage classes and participated in shows in Salina, Kansas; Des Moines, Iowa; and Loveland, Colorado. Horses from the Grunden Ranch have placed in the top in the Morgan Grand National in Oklahoma City, shown both by the Grundens and their customers.

Prize stallions, such as GRM Monarchs Go Figure are sought after. Harlan said they recently have had customers bring mares from Ohio, Missouri, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania to breed with Grunden’s stallions at Medicine Valley veterinary clinic in Curtis. They also sell semen and send it out by next day air. Unfrozen semen must be used within 36 hours, said Harlan. Breeding requires careful timing by veterinarians using ultrasound equipment to identify ovulation in the receptive mares.

The Grundens host a buggy drive/trail ride annually on the last Sunday in September.

“This is a good opportunity to enjoy the scenery and have a good visit with friends. We love to show our horses to visitors who are always welcome to stop in for a visit,” he said.

The weather was mild on Monday at the Grunden Ranch, where stallions and mares and foals, are well accustomed to natural conditions on the hills. Harlan hitched a gelding to a marathon undercut carriage, a small, lightweight carriage designed to make very tight turns and be easy to maneuver, as it rode down the long, gravel driveway.

Yes, Morgans are gentle, beautiful animals.

Founded in 1909, the American Morgan Horse Association is a nonprofit organization serving more than 50,000 Morgan horse owners, breeders, exhibitors and enthusiasts throughout the United States. AMHA serves as a parent organization to more than 50 recognized Morgan horse clubs and national organizations.