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(Audio) "Chat with the Chancellor" with NU-system President, Ted Carter - January 25

Brandon Benitz continues his “Chat with the Chancellor” series here in the Spring 2020 semester.  This week, he's joined by a special guest, the President of the University of Nebraska system, Walter “Ted” Carter. We chat about what was it was about the state of Nebraska, the University ...

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(Audio) "Chat with the Chancellor" with NU-system President, Ted Carter - January 25

Brandon Benitz continues his “Chat with the Chancellor” series here in the Spring 2020 semester.  This week, he's joined by a special guest, the President of the University of Nebraska system, Walter “Ted” Carter. We chat about what was it was about the state of Nebraska, the University ...

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Kansas lawmakers discuss labeling for meat alternatives

Kansas lawmakers are considering a bill to restrict how producers of meat alternatives could market their products in the state. The bill lists 22 meat-related terms that producers of alternative foods won't be able to use, such as jerky or burger, unless they label their products as “imitation”...

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2020 Women in Agriculture

During the month of January we are featuring some amazing women in agriculture.  Click on the links below to learn more about each woman. Anne Meis: Kimberly Ford: Joan Ruskamp: Kalli Nelms: Angela Minary-Henne: Amanda Parker: Terri Ann Licking: Maggi...

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AUDIO: Market Commentary with Daily Brokers

Summary Grains, livestock and the general commodity sector turned risk off Friday at the close. The Corona Virus with it's second confirmed case in the US has traders running for safe havens like the US dollar, Japanese Yen and gold. John Payne, Daniels Ag marketing, believes the hype is somewhat...

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AUDIO January Cattle on Feed Report

Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the United States for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 12.0 million head on Jan. 1, 2020. The inventory was 2% above Jan. 1, 2019, USDA NASS reported on Friday. The inventory included 7.37 million steers and steer calves, up ...

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Crops

AUDIO: Market Commentary with Daily Brokers

Summary Grains, livestock and the general commodity sector turned risk off Friday at the close. The Corona Virus with it's second confirmed case in the US has traders running for safe havens like the US dollar, Japanese Yen and gold. John Payne, Daniels Ag marketing, believes the hype is somewhat over done and if recent headline trading is any indication markets will return in the coming weeks. In the grains it has  been one week since the US and China signed the Phase One Trade Deal and there have been no major purchases of commodities from China since the signing. This has the market in slow erosion, but traders are hesitant to build up short positions as the market could quickly come back on news of Chinese purchases. Thursday saw 3 different sales of corn. USDA reported sales of a 114,000 tons of corn to unknown, 29,724 tons to Guatemala, and 114,224 tons to Guatemala. Many traders hope that the unknown destination was China though some believe it could be South Korea. Friday morning saw a sale of 142,428 tons of corn sold to unknown. South American weather is dry and helping soybean harvest. Agroconsult reported earlier in the week that farmers in Mato Grosso are positively surprised with soybean yields this harvest.  Dry conditions though are not helping the corn in Argentina. The Euro model is showing above average dryness for the next 2 weeks in South America. The outbreak of the corona virus in China and now two confirmed cases in the US has the outside and currency markets spooked. China is trying to stop the spread of the virus by outlawing the selling of live poultry in key provinces. The Chinese government is also canceling public events like the Chinese New Year Temple fairs. This could dampen some of it's overall Lunar New Year Pork demand. International companies such as McDonald's and Disney are closing Chinese locations to try and curb the spread of the virus. On Thursday the weekly ethanol production and stocks were released. Ethanol production fell 4.2% or about 46,000 barrels per day to 1.049 mln b/d. That is a nine week low in US ethanol production. The four week average of ethanol production is 1.068 mln b/d. Ethanol stocks jumped 4.5% to their highest levels since July 2019 at 24 mln barrels. Live cattle and feeder cattle prices slowly eroded through midweek, but then saw a sell off start on Thursday with near limit lower losses in live cattle futures. Lean hog futures seemed to catch the buying end of the live cattle spread and steadily moved higher throughout the week. Both the beef cutout and pork cutout strengthened throughout the week. The choice select spread finally opened to more than two dollars. Bellies seem to be the strongest part of the pork cutout nearing $120. In the country feeders set the asking prices early in the week at $127 live and $202 dressed. Packer inquiry kicked off Wednesday afternoon with 3,000 head trading in Kansas at $124 live. Thursday then saw another 1,500 head trade in Nebraska at a $124. Bids were limited on Thursday with only a few dressed bids in Nebraska at a $199. Analysts point to packers buying on Wednesday as a possible signal that they are short bought and are needing cattle. That could  mean another week of steady prices. However packer margin has eroded and this could cause packers to not run plants at full capacity. Hog prices in China are up over 450% compared to US hog prices. The Corona Virus is causing major cities in China to go on lock down and cancel many public events. The latest cold storage reports show beef, pork, chicken, and turkey in cold storage is up 3.2% compared to the same month last year and is 7.7% higher than the 5 year average. The USDA cattle on feed numbers for January were closely aligned with pre-report expectations. Jerry Stowell, Country Futures, said, "If you were looking for a surprising USDA report you are going to have to look else where this report is very neutral." Listen to Jerry's full comments below. USDA Actual Average Estimate Range On Feed Jan. 1 102% 102.2% 101.6-102.5% Placed in December 103% 103.2% 100.5-105.3% Marketed in December 105% 105.2% 103.9-105.8%   Beef Cutout at Midday Friday Choice dn 0.54 214.78 Select dn 0.76 210.44 C/S Spread 4.34 Loads 56 Pork Carcass dn 1.24 77.60 Bellies up 0.13 115.52 Loads 119 Cattle Slaughter hd today   hd wk ago   hd yr ago Hog Slaughter hd today   hd wk ago    hd yr ago Grain Settlements Corn  dn 3 1/2 - 6 1/2 Soybeans dn 4 1/2 - 8 1/2 Chicago Wheat  dn 4 3/4 - 7 Kansas City Wheat dn  5 1/4 - 6 1/4 Livestock Settlements Live Cattle dn 0.37  up 0.17 Feeder Cattle dn 0.42 - 0.97 Lean Hogs dn 0.90 - 1.90 Class III Milk dn 0.08  up 0.05  Pre-opening Market Broker  Commentary Dan Smith, Top Third Ag Marketing, discusses overnight grains and what the trade may see today. Jerry Stowell, Country Futures, discusses factors influencing the livestock trade today. Mike Zuzolo, Global Commodity Analytics, shares his thoughts on the midday trade factors. Closing Market Broker Commentary Closing commentary with John Payne, Daniels Ag Marketing, and Jack Fenske, York Commodities.

New Crop, Cow-Calf Budgets Available for 202

Two decision-making tools created by Nebraska Extension for agricultural producers across the state have been updated for the new year. The 2020 Nebraska crop budgets (https://cropwatch.unl.edu/budgets) and representative cow-calf budgets (https://go.unl.edu/cow-calfbudgets) are now available to provide producers with cost-of-production estimates. Both sets of budgets are available as PDFs and Excel files, which feature tools that allow users to enter information into worksheets to calculate estimated production costs. “Both the crop and livestock budget files are made available online so producers can download, then modify, production and expense figures to more closely match their various enterprises,” said Glennis McClure, a Nebraska Extension educator in the Department of Agricultural Economics. “Understanding enterprise cost of production in agriculture is important in product mix decision-making, pricing, marketing and financial analysis.” The crop budgets include 82 production budgets for 15 crops produced in Nebraska, along with cost data for power, machinery and labor. They were compiled by a team led by Robert Klein, an extension crops specialist, and McClure, utilizing a template created by Roger Wilson, a retired extension farm and ranch management analyst. There are five cow-calf budgets that offer representative herd data for different regions of the state. Background stories are included to assist producers with information relevant to each budget, which may guide producers in determining their own costs. McClure led the cow-calf budget effort, which was compiled from information gathered from producer panels that have met as part of the university’s multidisciplinary Beef Systems Initiative.

Meteorologist create weather initiative for agriculture producers

Weather, it can be a formidable force and not always a good one for agriculture. The National Weather Service in Cheyenne, Wyo. now has a team of meteorologists looking to change weather’s impact on agriculture with the “Farming and Ranching Community Outreach Initiative.”  Leading the outreach team is Aviva Braun, lead meteorologist at the NWS in Cheyenne. Agriculture communities and weather is a passion for Braun, she served in the Peace Corps in South Africa with her husband Justin Ross and got to know the farmers and ranchers, which grew her interest in agriculture even more.  Returning to the United States, Braun and her husband settled in Wyoming.  The quest to help farmers and ranchers through the weather came about after the March Blizzard.  “The idea came from my husband and myself sitting around the dinner table talking about the March Blizzard and the cattle and calf deaths we heard about and saw pictures of, we talked about how we could prevent that and get the word out quickly, so people could plan,” she said.  Braun and her colleagues Gerry Claycomb, lead forecaster at NWS, and Jared Allen, warning coordination meteorologist at NWS, started working and learning about the agriculture community and what producers need to plan for severe weather. The work became an initiative to help producers with proactive preparedness before, during, and after impactful weather events. Agriculture producers get weather information from the Farmer’s Almanac to the apps on their smartphones. So, Braun and her colleagues have made their initiative local to better serve farmers.  “First off, we’re learning about this community in general, but we also have graphical forecasts and trends of where the weather is going,” she said. “We hear about what affects you, and care about the aftermath of storms that may have caused damage to your farms or ranches.” In October, the region experienced two damaging freezes, which impacted the sugar beet crop. To reimburse the farmers, who lost sugar beet yields and crops, the Farm Service Agency needed weather data.  “They reached out to us for reports, so we’ve been able to provide that data so farmers could get reimbursed,” she said. “So, behind the scenes, we’ve been able to help already.” The initiative is still in the early stages, but Braun said they are working on adding information to the NWS existing pages, specifically tailored to agriculture. She gave an example of one, where there would be information for producers to go to when it’s calving season for temperatures, winds, and other factors.  “So, that they can see any weather coming and take action to shelter their calves,” Braun said.  Of course, there are some severe weather events, which happen so quickly farmers and ranchers can't react — devastating ones, which include hail or tornados.  “There’s not too much farmers, and ranchers can do to protect their assets when the weather turns bad in minutes,” she said. Presenting producers with the weather in graphs, weather stories, and in a variety of media, they hope to allow for better planning. The “Farming and Ranching Community Outreach Initiative” is a pilot program, right now in eastern Wyoming and western Nebraska, but if it proves itself. The initiative could become part of the bigger picture for all agriculturalists across the U.S.  

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Livestock

AUDIO: Market Commentary with Daily Brokers

Summary Grains, livestock and the general commodity sector turned risk off Friday at the close. The Corona Virus with it's second confirmed case in the US has traders running for safe havens like the US dollar, Japanese Yen and gold. John Payne, Daniels Ag marketing, believes the hype is somewhat over done and if recent headline trading is any indication markets will return in the coming weeks. In the grains it has  been one week since the US and China signed the Phase One Trade Deal and there have been no major purchases of commodities from China since the signing. This has the market in slow erosion, but traders are hesitant to build up short positions as the market could quickly come back on news of Chinese purchases. Thursday saw 3 different sales of corn. USDA reported sales of a 114,000 tons of corn to unknown, 29,724 tons to Guatemala, and 114,224 tons to Guatemala. Many traders hope that the unknown destination was China though some believe it could be South Korea. Friday morning saw a sale of 142,428 tons of corn sold to unknown. South American weather is dry and helping soybean harvest. Agroconsult reported earlier in the week that farmers in Mato Grosso are positively surprised with soybean yields this harvest.  Dry conditions though are not helping the corn in Argentina. The Euro model is showing above average dryness for the next 2 weeks in South America. The outbreak of the corona virus in China and now two confirmed cases in the US has the outside and currency markets spooked. China is trying to stop the spread of the virus by outlawing the selling of live poultry in key provinces. The Chinese government is also canceling public events like the Chinese New Year Temple fairs. This could dampen some of it's overall Lunar New Year Pork demand. International companies such as McDonald's and Disney are closing Chinese locations to try and curb the spread of the virus. On Thursday the weekly ethanol production and stocks were released. Ethanol production fell 4.2% or about 46,000 barrels per day to 1.049 mln b/d. That is a nine week low in US ethanol production. The four week average of ethanol production is 1.068 mln b/d. Ethanol stocks jumped 4.5% to their highest levels since July 2019 at 24 mln barrels. Live cattle and feeder cattle prices slowly eroded through midweek, but then saw a sell off start on Thursday with near limit lower losses in live cattle futures. Lean hog futures seemed to catch the buying end of the live cattle spread and steadily moved higher throughout the week. Both the beef cutout and pork cutout strengthened throughout the week. The choice select spread finally opened to more than two dollars. Bellies seem to be the strongest part of the pork cutout nearing $120. In the country feeders set the asking prices early in the week at $127 live and $202 dressed. Packer inquiry kicked off Wednesday afternoon with 3,000 head trading in Kansas at $124 live. Thursday then saw another 1,500 head trade in Nebraska at a $124. Bids were limited on Thursday with only a few dressed bids in Nebraska at a $199. Analysts point to packers buying on Wednesday as a possible signal that they are short bought and are needing cattle. That could  mean another week of steady prices. However packer margin has eroded and this could cause packers to not run plants at full capacity. Hog prices in China are up over 450% compared to US hog prices. The Corona Virus is causing major cities in China to go on lock down and cancel many public events. The latest cold storage reports show beef, pork, chicken, and turkey in cold storage is up 3.2% compared to the same month last year and is 7.7% higher than the 5 year average. The USDA cattle on feed numbers for January were closely aligned with pre-report expectations. Jerry Stowell, Country Futures, said, "If you were looking for a surprising USDA report you are going to have to look else where this report is very neutral." Listen to Jerry's full comments below. USDA Actual Average Estimate Range On Feed Jan. 1 102% 102.2% 101.6-102.5% Placed in December 103% 103.2% 100.5-105.3% Marketed in December 105% 105.2% 103.9-105.8%   Beef Cutout at Midday Friday Choice dn 0.54 214.78 Select dn 0.76 210.44 C/S Spread 4.34 Loads 56 Pork Carcass dn 1.24 77.60 Bellies up 0.13 115.52 Loads 119 Cattle Slaughter hd today   hd wk ago   hd yr ago Hog Slaughter hd today   hd wk ago    hd yr ago Grain Settlements Corn  dn 3 1/2 - 6 1/2 Soybeans dn 4 1/2 - 8 1/2 Chicago Wheat  dn 4 3/4 - 7 Kansas City Wheat dn  5 1/4 - 6 1/4 Livestock Settlements Live Cattle dn 0.37  up 0.17 Feeder Cattle dn 0.42 - 0.97 Lean Hogs dn 0.90 - 1.90 Class III Milk dn 0.08  up 0.05  Pre-opening Market Broker  Commentary Dan Smith, Top Third Ag Marketing, discusses overnight grains and what the trade may see today. Jerry Stowell, Country Futures, discusses factors influencing the livestock trade today. Mike Zuzolo, Global Commodity Analytics, shares his thoughts on the midday trade factors. Closing Market Broker Commentary Closing commentary with John Payne, Daniels Ag Marketing, and Jack Fenske, York Commodities.

AUDIO January Cattle on Feed Report

Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the United States for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 12.0 million head on Jan. 1, 2020. The inventory was 2% above Jan. 1, 2019, USDA NASS reported on Friday. The inventory included 7.37 million steers and steer calves, up 1% from the previous year. This group accounted for 62% of the total inventory. Heifers and heifer calves accounted for 4.59 million head, up 4% from 2019. Placements in feedlots during December totaled 1.83 million head, 3% above 2019. Net placements were 1.76 million head. During December, placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds were 465,000 head, 600-699 pounds were 455,000 head, 700-799 pounds were 413,000 head, 800-899 pounds were 295,000 head, 900-999 pounds were 95,000 head, and 1,000 pounds and greater were 105,000 head. Marketings of fed cattle during December totaled 1.83 million head, 5% above 2018. Other disappearance totaled 67,000 head during December, 11% below 2018. USDA Actual Average Estimate Range On Feed Jan. 1 102% 102.2% 101.6-102.5% Placed in December 103% 103.2% 100.5-105.3% Marketed in December 105% 105.2% 103.9-105.8%   Jerry Stowell, Country Futures, calls the report neutral.  

New Crop, Cow-Calf Budgets Available for 202

Two decision-making tools created by Nebraska Extension for agricultural producers across the state have been updated for the new year. The 2020 Nebraska crop budgets (https://cropwatch.unl.edu/budgets) and representative cow-calf budgets (https://go.unl.edu/cow-calfbudgets) are now available to provide producers with cost-of-production estimates. Both sets of budgets are available as PDFs and Excel files, which feature tools that allow users to enter information into worksheets to calculate estimated production costs. “Both the crop and livestock budget files are made available online so producers can download, then modify, production and expense figures to more closely match their various enterprises,” said Glennis McClure, a Nebraska Extension educator in the Department of Agricultural Economics. “Understanding enterprise cost of production in agriculture is important in product mix decision-making, pricing, marketing and financial analysis.” The crop budgets include 82 production budgets for 15 crops produced in Nebraska, along with cost data for power, machinery and labor. They were compiled by a team led by Robert Klein, an extension crops specialist, and McClure, utilizing a template created by Roger Wilson, a retired extension farm and ranch management analyst. There are five cow-calf budgets that offer representative herd data for different regions of the state. Background stories are included to assist producers with information relevant to each budget, which may guide producers in determining their own costs. McClure led the cow-calf budget effort, which was compiled from information gathered from producer panels that have met as part of the university’s multidisciplinary Beef Systems Initiative.

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Technology

$1.2 Million Grant to Help Corn and Wheat Growers Manage Nitrogen Fertilizer Application

Corn and wheat growers across Nebraska will be able to gain hands-on experience with cutting-edge technologies that will allow them to more precisely identify the amount of nitrogen fertilizer their crops need, while preventing excess nitrates from ending up in Nebraska’s water supply. This opportunity comes in the form of a $1.2 million On-Farm Conservation Innovation Trials grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS). The grant was awarded to 14 Extension Educators and 4 Extension Specialists working with Nebraska Extension’s On-Farm Research Network. The network consists of producers from across the state, who work with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to try out new technologies and emerging practices in their own operations. Each year, between 60-70 producers and agronomists participate in between 70 and 100 trials, said Laura Thompson, an extension educator who co-coordinates the On-Farm Research Network. Thompson said that producers involved with this project will use new technologies to more precisely apply nitrogen fertilizer to their crops. Thompson hopes that by better managing nitrogen applications, farmers will increase profits, while at the same time preventing excess nitrogen from leaching into the water supply. “There’s a lot of potential to help farmers use real-time data to manage nitrogen more efficiently, and that will help not only with their own profitability, but with conservation of our natural resources,” Thompson said. Technologies to be used in this trial include: Crop canopy sensors, which farmers can use to measure plant reflectance, which can help indicate the need for nitrogen; Imagery captured by drones, satellites or airplanes, which can give producers an overview of field conditions and also measure plant reflectance; Crop nitrogen simulation models, which can incorporate weather and soil conditions to predict nitrogen needs; Nitrification and urease inhibitors, which can be mixed with some fertilizers in order to reduce loss of nitrogen from fields. These technologies may be cost-prohibitive for producers to try out on their own, Thompson said, or farmers may not have the background and training to use them effectively. “One of our goals is to help farmers get exposure to these technologies in their own operations,” Thompson said. “This will help them determine if these technologies are a good fit for them and if they should adopt them in their operations.” In turn, the university can evaluate and improve the technologies on real, working farms across Nebraska’s diverse crop production environments. The On-Farm Conservation Innovation Trials grants program is a brand-new resource for institutions helping implement conservation-friendly agricultural practices. For producers, using the right amount of nitrogen fertilizer is critically important. Use of too little can lead to significant yield loss. Use of too much can result in elevated levels of nitrate in groundwater. High levels of nitrate can lead to unsafe drinking water, as well as threats to biodiversity and the overall health of natural resources. “The Conservation Innovation Grants program is funding the future of conservation and agriculture,” said NRCS Chief Matthew Lohr. The grant will fund 40 trials a year for three years. Producers who wish to participate in the program can contact Thompson or visit the On-Farm Research page for more information. Those who wish to participate in the program must be Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) eligible.

USDA Invests $5.7 Million in Broadband for Rural Nebraska Communities

WASHINGTON, D.C., Jan. 17, 2020 – Today, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Marketing and Regulatory Programs Under Secretary Greg Ibach announced that USDA has invested $5.7 million in a high-speed broadband infrastructure project that will create or improve rural e-Connectivity in parts of three Nebraska counties. The investment is expected to connect 489 rural households, 24 farms and eight businesses to high-speed broadband internet in unserved portions of Madison, Wayne and Pierce counties. This is one of many funding announcements in the first round of USDA’s ReConnect Pilot Program investments. “From my experience on my family’s farm to my time as Nebraska’s Director of Agriculture, I know first-hand that high-speed broadband internet connectivity is essential to making agricultural businesses more efficient and profitable,” Ibach said. “While serving the state of Nebraska, I saw the potential impact that high-speed broadband would have not only for agricultural producers, but for everyone in our community. It is a privilege to now serve at USDA, under the leadership of President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Perdue, and see the Administration make the deployment of this critical infrastructure in rural America a top priority.” Eastern Nebraska Telephone Company will use a $5.7 million ReConnect Program grant to construct 221 miles of fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) broadband infrastructure. The company will use matching funds of $1.9 million to complete the project, for a total project cost of $7.6 million. Eastern is a certificated local exchange carrier providing broadband service to its eight exchanges in eastern Nebraska. The company, headquartered in Blair, Neb., provides long-distance and wireline voice to all its exchange areas and high-speed broadband service to select areas.

Agriculture industry group announces safety leaders

The Agricultural Safety and Health Council of America (ASHCA) has announced eight individuals and organizations to be honored for leadership in agricultural safety as demonstrated through safety training, collaboration, promotion, education or research. The awards will be presented on the first day of the North American Agricultural Safety Summit, March 19-20, at Bally’s of Las Vegas. The summit, hosted by ASHCA, will feature top safety experts, mentoring opportunities and a unique agricultural safety learning lab. “We established these safety awards to highlight effective and efficient practices that enhance worker safety within agriculture,” said Jess McCluer, board chair of ASHCA, and vice president of safety and regulatory affairs at the National Grain and Feed Association. “Not only is safety important for individual employees, but it also is one of the key business excellence areas that determine long-term sustainability.” Life time achievement award: William Nelson, retired from CHS Foundation; consultant. Nelson was the first and longest-serving chair of the ASHCA Board of Directors. As the director of the CHS Foundation he facilitated a major initiative by CHS to dedicate $3 million to national efforts to improve agricultural safety and health through several organizations and regional grants. Policymaker/legislator: Sen. James Seward, New York. Seward has served in the New York State Legislature for more than three decades with tireless service to the farm community, including being a champion for the New York Rollover Protection Structure (ROPS) Rebate Program. Agribusiness Leader: Janice Klodowski, Agri-Services Agency. Klodowski is VP of Agri-Services Agency, a leader of the workers compensation captive and a constant supporter and advocate for safety in agriculture, beyond her “day job” at ASA. She served on the ASHCA Board of Directors for eight years. Agricultural Organization: Washington State Dairy Association – Scott Dilley:The oldest dairy trade association in the U.S. has been prioritizing the health and safety of dairy workers in Washington state for the past six years. They have integrated safety content into their annual meetings, consulting services and with academic partners to improve training and practice. Farmworker Association of Florida -- Jeannie Economos and Dr. Antonio Tovar:a stateside grassroots organization of 10,000-plus members that works in vegetable, citrus, mushroom, sod, fern and foliage industries. Through many different partnerships they have gathered data on workplace hazards and acceptable safety solutions, then provide outreach to facilitate protections for agricultural employees, including training more the 5,000 farm workers in safety. Educator: Robert Aherin, retired, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Aherin has a 38-year career in agricultural safety and health research and outreach, with numerous examples of leadership and commitment to the farming community. He established and grew the UIUC bachelor’s and master’s level degrees and directly taught about 70,000 agricultural workers through training programs. Health Care Provider: Charlotte Halverson, RN, AgriSafe Network. Halverson is the clinical director of AgriSafe, planning and providing agricultural health training for rural health care providers and others for nearly 20 years. She has launched several initiatives for AgriSafe including their new Nurse Scholar program. WCF Insurance Research to Practice Collaboration Award: Idaho Dairymen’s Association. Safety Director Ryan Dewitt and CEO Rick Naerebout successfully introduced the National Dairy Farm Safety Program to dairies throughout Idaho via consulting services, worker training with I-pads, onsite training and compliance assistance. They took a proactive approach by working with researchers Dave Douphrate and Robert Hagevoort, affiliated with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)-funded High Plains Intermountain Center for Ag Health and Safety to test, evaluate, refine and sustain a safety program that has now reached more than 2,000 hired workers in Idaho. The summit, “Raising Safety 2020: Cultivating a Culture of Safety,” will feature: A fast-paced program with plenary and break-out sessions. A pre-conference learning lab (March 18) with hands-on demonstrations of safety resources and training programs. Opportunities for networking during receptions, breaks and roundtables. Mentoring for first-time attendees and early career agricultural risk managers. Awards luncheon acknowledging safety achievements of individuals and companies. Research poster session with lightning talks. For the full agenda, and to register as an attendee, sponsor or exhibitor, go to http://ashca.org/2020-safety-summit/.  Early bird registration deadline is Jan. 31, with the regular registration period ending Feb. 28. Late registrations will be taken through the event.

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Ag Policy

New “WOTUS” Rule Favorable for Soy Farmers

The Trump Administration has announced replacement regulation for Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS), which was repealed fall 2019. A spokesperson for the administration said during the announcement that the new Navigable Waters Protection Rule, “represents a promise made [by President Trump] and a promise kept.” Under the president’s direction, members of the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers say they have worked to remove unnecessary regulatory burden and lay out a new definition that includes a, “unifying legal theory” around navigable waters with more clear guidelines illuminated in its preamble. “We are pleased that this rule replaces the 2015 rule, which was cumbersome and confusing, and that new regulation will better provide certainty and clear direction for our farmers.” said Bill Gordon, soy grower from Worthington, Minn., and American Soybean Association (ASA) president. “We have long rallied for a replacement rule that protects our waterways while still offering a workable solution for farmers and that does not impose undue burden on agriculture. We express our thanks to the administration.” ASA looks forward to reviewing the rule fully and learning more of the details.

Wildfire Awareness Week reminds Kansans to remain vigilant as wildfire season approaches

TOPEKA, Kan. – Kansas Governor Laura Kelly has proclaimed Feb. 3-7, 2020, as Wildfire Awareness Week in partnership with the Kansas Interagency Wildfire Council and multiple state agencies.  “Each year, wildfires endanger our firefighters, neighbors, and landscapes,” said Mick McGuire, the current chair of the Kansas Interagency Wildfire Council and lead meteorologist of the National Weather Service in Wichita. “Wildfire Awareness Week reminds us that we all have a part to play in preventing wildfires and protecting our communities.”  Preliminary data from the Office of the State Fire Marshall indicates that reported vegetation fires were down to 2,502 fires burning 27,907 acres in 2019 as compared to 6,316 fires that burned 185,610 acres in 2018.  While reported wildfires were lower in 2019 due to above normal precipitation amounts, cooperating agencies within KIWC caution Kansans to not become complacent when it comes to doing their part to reduce the risk of and prepare for wildfires. Nearly 95% of all wildfires result from the activity of people, indicating there is still room for improvement.  "While some wildland fires can't be prevented because they spring from lightning strikes or other natural causes, many are avoidable by carefully observing basic precautions when using fires outdoors," Gov. Kelly said.  McGuire said that every Kansan can implement the tips and best practices highlighted during Wildfire Awareness Week to prevent dangerous wildfires.  “I urge everyone to take simple, precautionary steps like pruning trees and shrubs around homes and removing old debris from yards. Kansas experiences it's heaviest wildfire activity during the early spring months, but fires occur during all seasons of the year, including winter,” he said.  The Kansas Interagency Wildfire Council and partner agencies suggest the following to mitigate the risk of wildfire and reduce potential impacts if a wildfire does occur:  Create defensible space around homes by removing leaves and other plant debris and flammable material that could catch embers. Replace or repair loose or missing shingles. Provide adequate space between the home and trees or other landscaping. Establish a community or neighborhood group to participate in or be a part of creating a wildfire mitigation and response plan. Prevent wildfires from starting by avoiding activities that can spark fires near buildings and potential fuel sources. Write and follow your burn plan for prescribed fire including checking the weather forecast, and continue to monitor the burn area to make sure it hasn’t reignited. Consider volunteering with your local fire department. Quick responses by local fire departments prevent what could become a devastating wildfire. Throughout the 2020 Wildfire Awareness Week, the Kansas Interagency Wildfire Council and partner agencies including the National Weather Service Office, Kansas Division of Emergency Management, Office of the State Fire Marshal, the Kansas Forest Service, and others will remind Kansans of the dangers posed by wildfires and easy to implement practices to prevent and mitigate the risk of wildfires.  Follow the hashtag #WildfireKS on social media during Wildfire Awareness Week to engage in the conservation. Be sure to like and follow @WildfireKS on Twitter and @KSKIWC on Facebook to see the latest information on wildfires in Kansas year-round.

Kansas lawmakers discuss labeling for meat alternatives

Kansas lawmakers are considering a bill to restrict how producers of meat alternatives could market their products in the state. The bill lists 22 meat-related terms that producers of alternative foods won't be able to use, such as jerky or burger, unless they label their products as “imitation” or add a phrase that the product does not contain meat. The bill is being pushed by the Kansas livestock industry, which argues it would eliminate consumer confusion about which products contain meat. Opponents say the proposal violates free speech rights by restricting how plant-based and other alternative products can be marketed. Lawmakers had a hearing on the bill Thursday.

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Markets

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