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Crop Progress Futures One Report *Audio*

In addition to corn condition dropping 1 percentage point this week, corn estimated as mature is still far behind the five-year average pace, according to USDA NASS' latest Crop Progress report released Tuesday. As of Sunday, 73% of corn was estimated as mature, 19 percentage points behind the five...

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Crop Progress Futures One Report *Audio*

In addition to corn condition dropping 1 percentage point this week, corn estimated as mature is still far behind the five-year average pace, according to USDA NASS' latest Crop Progress report released Tuesday. As of Sunday, 73% of corn was estimated as mature, 19 percentage points behind the five...

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NeFB focused on boosting high-speed internet

Nebraska Farm Bureau offers a series of suggestions to improve rural broadband LINCOLN — Ensuring all Nebraskans can access reliable, high-speed internet service is the focal point of Nebraska Farm Bureau’s engagement with the Nebraska Rural Broadband Task Force. As the Task Force nears a...

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Larry E. Sitzman scholarship available

Application deadline for submissions: November 10, 2019 LINCOLN — College students enrolled as full-time undergraduate or graduate students at a fully accredited Nebraska college, university or technical college in an agriculture-related degree program are encouraged to apply for the Larry ...

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The Engler Journey: Eli Wolfe

Eli Wolfe has realized the importance of paving his own entrepreneurial path. During his freshmen year in the Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship program, the Kearney, Nebraska, native decided to start a clothing business, SWAE. The business was doing well, but last fall, he decided to discontin...

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UN urges action against food losses, says 14% lost globally

ROME (AP) — The United Nations' food agency says around 14% of the food produced globally is lost and is urging action to address the causes of food loss as part of efforts to protect the environment. In a report Monday, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) stressed the need to redu...

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Crops

Tuesday Fontanelle Final Bell with Jeff Peterson of Heartland Farm Partners

What are the current factors that the market is watching currently? Corn and soybean yields & Harvest weather. South American Weather, Chinese Trade Talks. What impact will the snow and freezing temps have on the corn and soybean yields? Do you think the extent of the damage from the freezing temps and snow are fully factored into the markets? How does the harvest weather look to you and what impact do you think that will have on harvest basis levels?

Crop Progress Futures One Report *Audio*

In addition to corn condition dropping 1 percentage point this week, corn estimated as mature is still far behind the five-year average pace, according to USDA NASS' latest Crop Progress report released Tuesday. As of Sunday, 73% of corn was estimated as mature, 19 percentage points behind the five-year average of 92%. That was slightly closer to the average pace than last week, when corn mature was running 27 percentage points behind average. "North Dakota and Michigan are just 42% and 44% mature, while Wisconsin and South Dakota are 49% and 53%, respectively," DTN Senior Analyst Dana Mantini said. Nationwide, corn harvest progressed another 7 percentage points to reach 22% as of Sunday, but that's still 14 percentage points behind the five-year average of 36%. "North Dakota harvest was just 1% done, while Wisconsin is 3% and South Dakota, Michigan, Minnesota and Iowa are just 5% to 7% done," Mantini noted. The condition of corn still in fields continued to decline with an estimated 55% good-to-excellent rating, down 1 percentage point from the previous week and the lowest in six years, according to Mantini. Mantini also noted that, "USDA said 96% of the corn crop is dented as of October 13, up from last week's 93% and below the five-year average of 100%. Ohio, Indiana, the Dakotas and Wisconsin are lagging the most, in a range of 84% to 95% dented; Wisconsin is at 84%." Soybeans dropping leaves reached 85% as of Sunday, 8 percentage points behind the five-year average of 93% -- an improvement from last week when the percent of the crop dropping leaves was running 15 percentage points behind average. Soybean harvest moved ahead 12 percentage points last week to reach 26%, but still 23 percentage points behind the five-year average of 49%. That was further behind average than in last Monday's report, when soybean harvest was running 7 percentage points behind the average pace. "North Dakota was 16% done, while South Dakota was only 13% and Kansas, Missouri and Wisconsin are all in the 13% to 15% done range," Mantini said. Soybean condition was rated 54% good to excellent, up 1 percentage point from 53% the previous week. Spring wheat harvest moved ahead only 3 percentage points to reach 94% as of Sunday, 6 percentage points behind the five-year average of 100% complete. Winter wheat planting progress stood at 65% as of Sunday, equal to the five-year average. Winter wheat emerged was estimated at 41%, 1 percentage point ahead of the five-year average. Sorghum mature was estimated at 81%, just barely behind the average of 82%. Sorghum harvested reached 40%, behind the five-year average of 46%. Cotton bolls opening was estimated at 87%, ahead of the average of 83%. Cotton harvested was estimated at 32%, also ahead of the five-year average of 27%. Rice harvested was 87%, just slightly behind the average of 87%. To view weekly crop progress reports issued by National Ag Statistics Service offices in individual states, visit http://www.nass.usda.gov. Listen to Clay Patton break down the report here: National Crop Progress Summary This Last Last 5-Year Week Week Year Avg. Corn Dented 96 93 100 100 Corn Mature 73 58 96 92 Corn Harvested 22 15 38 36 Soybeans Dropping Leaves 85 72 94 93 Soybeans Harvested 26 14 37 49 Spring Wheat Harvested 94 91 100 100 Winter Wheat Planted 65 52 64 65 Winter Wheat Emerged 41 26 42 40 Cotton Bolls Opening 87 83 84 83 Cotton Harvested 32 25 31 27 Sorghum Mature 81 65 80 82 Sorghum Harvested 40 33 42 46 Rice Harvested 87 76 87 88 ** National Crop Condition Summary (VP = Very Poor; P = Poor; F = Fair; G = Good; E = Excellent) This Week Last Week Last Year VP P F G E VP P F G E VP P F G E Corn 4 11 30 44 11 4 11 29 45 11 4 8 20 47 21 Soybeans 4 10 32 45 9 4 11 32 45 8 3 8 23 48 18 Cotton 4 17 41 30 8 4 15 42 32 7 11 20 34 29 6 Sorghum 1 6 28 44 11 2 5 28 51 14 6 11 28 44 11 ** National Soil Moisture Condition - 48 States (VS = Very Short; SH = Short; AD = Adequate; SR = Surplus) This Week Last Week Last Year VS SH AD SR VS SH AD SR VS SH AD SR Topsoil Moisture 10 16 55 19 11 16 53 20 4 9 64 23 Subsoil Moisture 10 18 56 16 10 18 57 15 7 13 64 16

Extension, Farm Service Agency Plan Farm Bill Education Meetings Across Nebraska

LINCOLN, Neb., Oct. 15, 2019 – University of Nebraska Extension and USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) in Nebraska are planning a series of Farm Bill education meetings in late November through December to assist producers as they begin to make farm-bill related program decisions. The 2018 Farm Bill, signed into law last December, reauthorized the existing Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) commodity crop safety net programs that were in the 2014 Farm Bill, however producers will need to make new program enrollment decisions over the coming months. “These in-person meetings are being planned as a supplement to available online resources,” said Nancy Johner, State Executive Director for the USDA Farm Service Agency in Nebraska. “We encourage producers to educate themselves on the ARC and PLC changes, and then plan to attend a meeting in their local area for additional informational support.” “While the ARC and PLC programs and enrollment decision may look familiar, the circumstances for a new decision are very different than they were in 2014,” said Brad Lubben, Extension Policy Specialist at UNL. “Education and analysis will help producers prepare for the decisions they have ahead.” Information regarding 2018 Farm Bill resources can be found at farmbill.unl.edu or at the Nebraska FSA website at fsa.usda.gov/ne. Meetings are being planned for 28 locations across the state. Details, including locations, dates and times will be announced in early November and will be available at the farmbill.unl.edu website. All meetings will be free and open to the public.

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Livestock

Study Shows Pig Farmers Improving Their Environmental Footprint Through Efficiencies

A new environmental study has found that pig farms are generating less manure nutrient content associated with odor. Data gathered from more than 106,000 samples at 182 North Carolina farms shows significant reductions in ammonia levels and manure nutrient content. The improvements are attributed to gains in feed efficiency, which means it takes less feed to raise a pig. “For an industry that is continually striving to become more sustainable, this study shows that pig farmers are making significant progress toward reducing the environmental impact of their farms,” said Lowry Harper, president of Harper Consulting, who conducted the study from decades-long data. The study, funded by the Pork Checkoff and conducted by Harper Consulting in consultation with Southern Utah University, found that North Carolina pig farmers have significantly increased feed efficiency over the past 17 years. Long-term, continuous improvement has resulted in trending reductions in nutrient content in manure lagoons at the farms. Specifically, data gathered from more than 106,000 samples at the 182 participating North Carolina pig farms showed a reduction of 35% to 78% in the nutrient content from hog finishers in primary lagoons, and a reduction of 17% to 68% in primary lagoons for sow farms. Also, the study showed a reduction of 22% to 54% in ammonia levels. The analysis showed considerable improvements in pig farms’ nutrient output, with major decreases in all nutrient concentrations, except for copper which is an essential dietary nutrient. The modeling conducted suggested decreased emissions, including ammonia. While the study looked at North Carolina farms, the findings can likely be replicated throughout the country as U.S. pig farmers adopt better genetics and target nutrition and greater veterinary care. The environmental study shows hog farms’ contributions to nutrient levels and ammonia emissions have declined significantly over the last two decades. Other activity – increasing human population and growth in associated emission sources like automobiles, industry and human waste processing – has likely contributed to a general increase in ammonia emissions in the state. The study also found that “advancements in swine production practices, changes in feed formulation, improved swine genetics, reduced nutrient excretion and other management changes have resulted in reduced nutrients in both primary and secondary lagoons.” “U.S. pig farmers have a great story of sustainability to share, and this study validates it,” said Jan Archer, a pig farmer from Goldsboro, North Carolina. “Farmers have always been good stewards of the environment, and we are proud of the continuous improvement and innovative practices on our farms. As a pig farmer in the second-largest pork producing state in the country, I am proud of our record and believe these sustainability gains are being replicated by many of my fellow farmers in other states.” A research summary of the environmental study is here and also online at pork.org here.

Australia deports woman to Vietnam over smuggled pork

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia for the first time has canceled a tourist's visa over undeclared food as the country tries to keep itself free of African swine fever. The 45-year-old woman who arrived at Sydney International Airport on Saturday had undeclared food in her luggage including 4.5 kilograms (10 pounds) of pork, Agriculture Minister Bridget McKenzie said on Tuesday. She was sent home to Vietnam and banned from returning to Australia for three years, McKenzie said. Australia is free of the disease that has wiped out pig populations across Asia and Europe. But the disease was recently detected in East Timor, a near neighbor where Australian veterinarians are working with local authorities on an eradication plan. Sniffer dogs now examine luggage on direct flights from the East Timorese capital Dili to the northern Australian city of Darwin to prevent contamination. "We need to keep our pest- and disease-free status as a country strong," McKenzie told reporters. Australian border officials have seized 27 metric tons (30 U.S. tons) of cooked pork from luggage and parcels since February. The proportion of that smuggled meat contaminated with African swine fever had increased from 15% in February to 48% in September, McKenzie said. Margo Andrae, chief executive of industry promotion body Australian Pork Limited, said the greatest threat to the industry was if the disease took hold in Australia's wild pig population. Australia has around 2.5 million domestic pigs while the feral herd was estimated to be five times larger. Andrae said the devastation to pig herds across Asia had created export opportunities for Australian pig farmers in markets including the Philippines and Singapore. But she said Australia did not have pork trade arrangement with China, which McKenzie said faces a 10 million metric ton (11 million U.S. ton) annual "protein deficit" due to African swine fever. ___ This story has been corrected to show that Andrae was referring to the devastation of pig herds across Asia and not Australia in the second-to-last sentence.

Larry E. Sitzman scholarship available

Application deadline for submissions: November 10, 2019 LINCOLN — College students enrolled as full-time undergraduate or graduate students at a fully accredited Nebraska college, university or technical college in an agriculture-related degree program are encouraged to apply for the Larry E. Sitzman Youth in Nebraska Agriculture Scholarship. The deadline to apply is November 10. Applications will be reviewed, and selection notifications will be sent by December 1. Students may apply for the scholarship online by visiting www.nepork.org. The Larry E. Sitzman Youth in Nebraska Agriculture Scholarship is a $1,000 scholarship that will be awarded to one deserving applicant each year. The scholarship is named for Larry E. Sitzman, who retired in 2016 as Executive Director of the Nebraska Pork Producers Association. Sitzman learned patriotism, service to our country, and respect for our leaders from his parents. While in high school, he heard John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address, in which he said, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” This address increased his desire to serve. Agriculture has always been his passion. Throughout his life he has provided service in various forms and from different positions of leadership. Sitzman is known for sharing his voice defending perspectives and asking challenging questions. He served on many state and national agricultural boards before being named the Director of Agriculture for Nebraska in 1991. Today, Sitzman serves as an active volunteer leader at the Veterans Administration in Lincoln. Academics, agriculture, military, and other forms of public service have all improved in some measure due to the leadership, service, and voice of Larry E. Sitzman. Upon his retirement, the Nebraska Pork Producers Association established this scholarship in his honor. Eligibility Requirements: Must be currently enrolled as a full-time undergraduate or graduate student at a fully accredited Nebraska college, university or technical college in an agriculture-related degree program Must have at least one full year of study remaining toward a degree Must have plans to work in the agriculture industry upon graduation Selection will be based on qualities of leadership and participation in collegiate or extracurricular activities related to the agriculture industry. Remember, the deadline for applications is November 10. Go to www.nepork.org to apply online. For more information, contact Kyla Habrock: kyla@nepork.org.

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Technology

Soy Backs Artificial Turf With Sustainability

Consumer demand for sustainable products continues to increase, and soy is ready to deliver. For artificial grass, soy plays a significant role in the product’s sustainable success. From putting greens to playgrounds and landscaping to lawns, soy-backed synthetic turf has become an attractive option for a number of diverse residential and commercial uses. Universal Textile Technologies, with research investment from the soy checkoff, recognized soy’s potential to contribute to the sustainability of its products. UTT developed BioCel and EnviroCel synthetic grass backing using soy-based polyols to replace all of the performance attributes of petroleum-based polyurethane. Soy-based polyols add the advantages of price stability, lower carbon emissions and improved air quality. Following successful product development to expand from replacing petroleum-based backing to latex backing, UTT provided its soy-based technology to SYNLawn. The largest artificial grass manufacturer in the U.S., SYNLawn operates in the commercial, residential and golf synthetic grass landscape markets, with products carried by retailers such as Lowes and Ace Hardware. SYNLawn broke new ground in the industry, producing the first USDA-certified, bio-based artificial turf in the industry. Today, SYNLawn estimates their products have replaced up to 60% of the petroleum-based polyol with soy-based polyol. SYNLawn says their customers report a more than 50% reduction in water use and lower landfill impact with the longer projected life cycles. Additionally, SYNLawn’s artificial grass is 100% recyclable, and the company says it finds it has superior durability to petroleum-based products. “SYNLawn turf has the natural qualities of real grass in appearance and feel. The product is as innovative as it is beautiful and functional,” says Kyle Bridgeforth, a partner with fifth-generation Bridgeforth Farms in Tanner, Alabama, which grows soybeans, wheat, cotton and other row crops. Through a United Soybean Board leadership program, Bridgeforth traveled to New York City to learn more about soy-based products. “The SYNLawn turf we experienced at the Standard Hotel’s Le Bain rooftop was cool and soft to the touch. It collapsed under your feet like regular grass,” he adds, likening the SYNLawn artificial turf’s look to a real, well-manicured golf course. A number of diverse industries and customer groups see all the benefits too. Several have stepped into SYNLawn’s artificial turf market, including federal agencies meeting looking to meet new water reduction requirements. Agencies must cut water use for industrial, landscaping and ag consumption by 2% annually through fiscal year 2025. One highly visible SYNLawn customer is the historic Del Mar Race Track in southern California, operated by the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club. The second largest horse-racing venue in the western United States, the site also hosts more than a million visitors attending national touring concerts, weddings and the county fair. Property managers turned to SYNLawn to install more than 8,500 square feet of turf in its paddock area. Similarly, in Indianapolis, the Riley Children’s Health Sports Legends Experience, a 7.5-acre exhibit at The Children’s Museum, added SYNLawn product to a nearly an acre and a half of its outdoor area. And to create a happier environment for dogs in need of forever homes, SYNLawn installed artificial pet grass at the Humane Society of St. Lucie County, Florida. The additional play yard transformed an unused field into a fenced area where small dogs play and exercise. “The SYNLawn representative we met was very enthusiastic about their use of soy. She expressed SYNLawn’s appreciation for soybean farmer-funded research and the collaborative effort with USB in promoting the product,” says Bridgeforth. “This is a prime example of how progressive ideas and great partnerships increase profitability for soybean farmers,”. Finding new industrial uses for soy has been a long-time priority for the soy checkoff. Industrial uses generate additional soybean demand and have contributed to significant growth in the U.S. soybean industry — from $11 billion to $41 billion in the last 25 years. “I am constantly amazed at how flexible and adaptable soy is for industrial uses,” says Woody Green, USB director from Lynchburg, South Carolina. “I am a long-time supporter of making checkoff investments in industrial uses, and USB for the coming year has invested in several new promising and innovative uses.” USB-funded research and product development encourages more manufacturers like SYNLawn to choose soy, giving U.S. soybean farmers more profit opportunities. “USB's focus on industrial uses is a very important, needed use of our checkoff dollars,” says Russell Wolf, soybean farmer from Tipton, Missouri. “With all of the trade issues we have today, we must continue to find sustainable new uses for our soy — here and abroad.” Wolf also traveled with USB’s leadership program to the Northeast to experience soy-based industrial products at the end of the value chain, something farmers don’t always get to see. “Industrial uses are one area we can grow, and USB knows the importance of using our checkoff dollars to do so,” says Wolf. “It was eye-opening to see soy used in an urban setting. Such industrial uses help increase demand beyond animal feed and biodiesel,” says Bridgeforth. “The more companies and industries use soybeans, the more confidence and exposure we gain in consumer markets. Ultimately, new partners and collaborations will grow soy demand.”

Vanier Family Donates $1 Million to Wheat Research Foundation

The Jack and Donna Vanier family continued their legacy of giving by donating $1 million to the future of wheat research. "As we enter the golden age of wheat research, this gift to the Kansas Wheat Commission Research Foundation (KWCRF) will ensure a bright future for our state's most iconic crop," said Ron Suppes, a Kansas wheat farmer who serves as the chair of the KWCRF Steering Committee. "Wheat is something that touches lives across the world every day, from the Kansas farmer to the suburban mom to children in developing countries," said the Vanier family. "For our family, wheat is ingrained in our heritage and is a proud cornerstone of our business, so we are honored to give back to the industry that has blessed us with so much." In recognition of the Vanier family's forward-thinking gift, the Kansas Wheat Alliance has named a new wheat variety KS Western Star, a tribute to the Salina flour mill that started it all for the Vaniers. John J. Vanier had a bold passion for the milling industry, and through saving and hard work, was able to afford a then-struggling Western Star Mill Company in 1925. As his business began to expand, so did his family, which includes Jack and Donna Vanier, as well as their children Marty, Mary and John, the generous individuals who now have given a gift that will shape the Kansas wheat industry for years to come. The KS Western Star variety, which was developed at Kansas State University, will be available to farmers in fall 2020. This generous donation is a pillar of the KWCRF's Fields Forward campaign for a sustainable wheat future. The campaign aims to fund research projects that improve yield and quality, develop and maintain technologies and facilities necessary for future wheat research and cultivate new talent in the wheat breeding and genetics industry. "This gift is an incredible gesture to Kansas wheat farmers and researchers," said Aaron Harries, vice president of research and operations at Kansas Wheat. "It will allow us to properly maintain and improve the Kansas Wheat Innovation Center, a facility that marks the largest investment by farmers in wheat research to date. This facility has hosted tens of thousands of visitors from around the globe over the last seven years, and it contains the future of wheat genetics in its laboratories and greenhouses. This donation gives our stakeholders peace-of-mind, knowing that the hub they have created for international wheat research will be maintained for years to come." The KWCRF was established in 2011 as the official fundraising organization for the Kansas Wheat Commission. The Foundation works to raise private dollars to combine with public funds for the advancement of wheat research including the accelerated release of wheat varieties. Much of this research is conducted at Kansas State University. Over the past half century, Kansas wheat farmers have contributed millions of their own hard-earned dollars toward wheat research through the wheat checkoff. However, the cost of research continues to increase while government funding decreases. The Kansas Wheat Commission Research Foundation was created to increase research funding above and beyond the resources of the wheat checkoff. And while the checkoff is paid only by farmers, the Foundation allows private individuals and all segments of the wheat industry to support wheat research through tax-deductible gifts.

Rural firefighters promote farm safety through national program

Firefighters and farmers, two groups of professionals who often work in hazardous environments, are teaming up in a program aimed at improving agricultural safety and health nationwide. The Rural Firefighters Delivering Agricultural Safety and Health (RF-DASH) project trains emergency responders to provide resources and consultation to farmers in their service areas. “This project is based on our research indicating that firefighters can be influential and can motivate farmers to make changes to improve health and safety on their farms,” said project leader Casper Bendixsen, Ph.D., director of the National Farm Medicine Center, Marshfield Clinic Research Institute. “Rural firefighters and first responders are highly esteemed in rural and agricultural communities. With the new tools and knowledge we’re giving them, they can be influential on farmers’ health and safety decisions.” Funding for RF-DASH is provided through the Upper Midwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center, with a grant from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Farmers Paul and Barb Liebenstein recently hosted a training session at Wolf Creek Dairy in Dundas, Minn., about an hour south of the Twin Cities. “The opportunity to help the people who do so much for our communities is something we would never say ‘no’ to,” said Paul, whose involvement on the local rural fire board has given him insight into the challenges of responding to farm emergencies. “We were glad to learn ways we could be safer here, just by hosting the training on our farm.” The 18 participants of the Sept. 7-8 training at Wolf Creek Dairy included agricultural health and safety specialists, fire/EMS, health care providers and National Fire Protection Agency committee members from nine states (Idaho, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin). “We recruited firefighter/EMT and ag safety professionals from specific regions in the hope that they will collaborate when they return home,” said training coordinator Kyle Koshalek. Participants engaged with five curriculum modules: Introduction to Ag Emergencies, Pre-Planning Farm Responses, Farm Hazard Analysis, Farm First Aid, and Farm Community Outreach. Master trainers included Bendixsen; Matt Keifer, M.D. (Puget Sound VA); Jerry Minor (fire chief, Pittsville, Wis.); Dave Hill (Penn State University); and Jim Carrabba (New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health). “We’ll be conducting another training with possibly 30 fire/EMS at the Wisconsin EMS Association (WEMSA) conference in November at Wisconsin Dells, while continuing to build RF-DASH as a generalizable program for all rural fire/EMS across the nation,” Bendixsen said. Since November 2017, RF-DASH has provided training for 68 individuals from 10 states who have, in turn, trained dozens more in helping farmers make their operations safer. “Farmers who volunteer as emergency responders are likely to become the ideal trainees in the program,” said Bendixsen, himself a former rancher and volunteer firefighter. “These individuals can help bridge the farming community and the local departments.” The RF-DASH program follows National Fire Protection Agency standards, specifically the 1300 standard, addressing community risk assessment. Find more information online at www.umash.umn,edu. Emergency first responders interested in becoming trainers may contact Bendixsen at bendixsen.casper@marshfieldresearch.org. Try these free online tools used in RF-DASH training: SaferFarm.org, a hazard analysis tool of farm elements that pose a risk for injury. NFMCFarmMapper.com, a tool to pre-plan response on a specific farm, limit damage in the event of a fire, and keep first responders safe in when responding to a farm emergency.

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Ag Policy

EPA Issues Supplemental Proposal for Renewable Fuels Volumes

WASHINGTON (October 15, 2019) — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking seeking additional comment on the recently proposed rule to establish the cellulosic biofuel, advanced biofuel, and total renewable fuel volumes for 2020 and the biomass-based diesel volume for 2021 under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program. Today’s notice does not change the proposed volumes for 2020 and 2021. Instead, it proposes and seeks comment on adjustments to the way that annual renewable fuel percentages are calculated. Annual renewable fuel percentage standards are used to calculate the number of gallons each obligated party is required to blend into their fuel or to otherwise obtain renewable identification numbers (RINs) to demonstrate compliance. Specifically, the agency is seeking comment on projecting the volume of gasoline and diesel that will be exempt in 2020 due to small refinery exemptions based on a three-year average of the relief recommended by the Department of Energy (DOE), including where DOE had recommended partial exemptions. The agency intends to grant partial exemptions in appropriate circumstances when adjudicating 2020 exemption petitions. The agency proposes to use this value to adjust the way we calculate renewable fuel percentages. The proposed adjustments would help ensure that the industry blends the final volumes of renewable fuel into the nation’s fuel supply and that, in practice, the required volumes are not effectively reduced by future hardship exemptions for small refineries. Consistent with the statute, the supplemental notice seeks to balance the goal of the RFS of maximizing the use of renewables while following the law and sound process to provide relief to small refineries that demonstrate the need. EPA will hold a public hearing on Oct. 30, 2019 followed by a 30-day comment period from the date of the hearing to receive public input on these issues. The agency will finalize this action later this year. For more information, please visit: https://www.epa.gov/renewable-fuel-standard-program/proposed-volumes-2020-and-biomass-based-diesel-volume-2021 Today’s action fulfills the agreement reached on October 4th, with the White House, EPA, and USDA. Below is the overwhelmingly positive response we received following that announcement: Cabinet EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler: “President Trump’s leadership has led to an agreement that continues to promote domestic ethanol and biodiesel production, supporting our Nation’s farmers and providing greater energy security. Today’s agreement is the latest in a series of steps we have taken to expand domestic energy production and improve the RFS program that will result in sustained biofuel production to help American farmers." USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue: "President Trump has once again demonstrated that he is a champion for our nation's farmers and rural America. The President recognizes that American farmers are the most productive in the world, and he has found a way to pursue policy that promotes economic growth and supports our producers. Building on the success of the year-round E15 rule, this forward-looking agreement makes improvements to the RFS program that will better harness the production of our farmers and ensure America remains energy dominant.” Senate Senator Joni Ernst (IA): “This is great news for Iowa and rural America. President Trump is following through on his commitment to our nation’s hardworking farmers and biofuels producers. The RFS is essential to the livelihoods of folks across our state, which is why I’ve been fighting tirelessly on behalf of Iowa’s farmers and producers every step of the way and making Iowans’ voices heard throughout this process. Our message was clear: uphold the RFS—15 billion means 15 billion. The president heard that message and has acted on it. The steps outlined today by the administration will help increase demand for our biofuels, provide certainty for farmers and producers for years to come, and ensure that EPA is implementing the RFS as it was written.” Senator Chuck Grassley (IA): “President Trump listened to the concerns of farmers and biofuels producers and delivered on their behalf… The solution outlined by President Trump, Administrator Wheeler and Secretary Perdue is exactly how the RFS is meant to function according to the law as written by Congress… Maintaining the integrity of the RFS, repealing WOTUS and allowing year-round sales of E15 will all help American agriculture and the rural economy. These are promises made and promises kept by President Trump. President Trump has made clear that he is an ally of corn and soybean farmers as well as ethanol and biodiesel producers. He is fighting for the farmer. This announcement is great news for Iowa, the Midwest and the entire country.” Senator Deb Fischer (NE): “It’s good to see that the EPA has rolled out this supplemental rule to protect the integrity of the Renewable Fuel Standard. However, I am disappointed in how the agency is proposing to address the three year rolling average to ensure a net 15 billion gallons is blended into our fuel supply. This is different than what we expected based on our previous conversations with the administration. I encourage Nebraska farmers and ethanol producers to weigh in during this comment period. I remain committed to holding the EPA accountable and providing certainty for rural America.” Senator Mike Braun (IN):  “At my recent townhall meeting in Franklin, Indiana, this issue was top of mind for Hoosier farmers and producers.  I worked closely with USDA and the Trump Administration to make sure those concerns were realized here in Washington. This is why I am proud to announce that President Trump kept his promise to Hoosier farmers to ensure the RFS is implanted in a manner consistent with Congressional intent. This agreement to expand domestic energy production is a win for Hoosier farmers, and it comes on the heels of a year-round E-15 decision.  Hoosiers will not forget that President Trump is in their corner.” Governors Governor Pete Ricketts (NE): “Ensuring RVOs do not go below 15 billion gallons and expanding access to E15 will bolster the RFS and ethanol production at a critical time for our nation’s rural economy, which has been suffering from low commodity prices. Thank you to President Trump for taking these important steps for ethanol and our great farm families!” Governor Kim Reynolds (IA): “A robust renewable fuel standard is critical to a healthy ag economy in Iowa and across the nation. We are grateful to President Trump for honoring the federal statute to blend 15 billion gallons of ethanol annually, and allowing existing E10 pumps to deliver E15 fuel, helping drive domestic demand for biofuels. By protecting the RFS, President Trump demonstrated his commitment to rural America and the American farmer. “Today’s announcement is a reflection of the strong, united front from the renewable fuels industry as well as strong leadership from Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst. The President clearly heard us when we said 15 billion gallons means 15 billion gallons, and this deal proves it. “We will never stop fighting for the renewable fuels industry because of its central role in our economy and we appreciate President Trump’s willingness to listen and work with this industry. It is clear, this President remains committed to America’s farmers.” Governor Doug Burgum (ND): “This agreement strikes a balance for our farmers, ethanol producers and refiners, protecting demand for renewable fuels while still allowing for exemptions for small refineries.  We appreciate the administration hearing the concerns of our corn and soybean growers, ethanol producers and other stakeholders and coming up with an agreement that promotes ethanol and biodiesel production, provides market certainty and gives a much-needed boost to our farmers, building on the year-round E15 sales that we pushed for and the president approved earlier this year.” Governor Kristi Noem (SD): “This is a big win for producers.  With expanded ethanol capabilities, producers will see an increased market for their product and improved long-term stability. This move is absolutely critical for South Dakota farmers and ranchers as recent years have seen lower commodity prices and unstable market conditions. Thank you, President Trump, for supporting agriculture.” Congress Congressman Roger Marshall (KS-01): “President Trump, Secretary Perdue, and Administrator Wheeler have delivered on their promise to support the renewable fuels industry, make improvements to the RFS program to utilize the production of America’s farmers, and continue America’s energy independence,” U.S. Congressman Roger Marshall, M.D. said. “The renewable fuel industry is not only good for producers and consumers, but also good for our environment. I applaud the work of the USDA and EPA, and look forward to working with the Administration to continue making productive changes to the ethanol and biofuels industry.” Congressman James Comer (KY-01): “President Trump’s announcement could not have come at a more critical time for farmers and ethanol producers. With the state of the farm economy, any viable market for grain producers is key. I’m proud to support this welcomed news from the Administration, and I look forward to continuing to work with President Trump, Secretary Perdue, Administrator Wheeler, and my colleagues in Congress to see this agreement put into action.” -Congressman James Comer, KY-1 Congressman Sam Graves (MO-06): “Biofuels are a major market for the farmers in my district in North Missouri and today’s announcement is welcome news in what has been a challenging year due to weather,” said Congressman Sam Graves (MO-06). “The Renewable Fuels Standard is critical to the farm economy and the President’s proposal will go a long way towards ensuring that it remains strong. I’m thankful that President Trump has listened to our farmers and I’m grateful for his commitment to our rural economy.” Congressman Rodney Davis (IL-13): “I want to thank the President for working with me to bring parity to farmers in my district, and the ethanol industry as a whole, by addressing the issue of small refinery exemptions. I recently introduced the bipartisan Small Refinery Exemption Fairness Act to address this issue and reobligate gallons lost to these exemptions, and I look forward to seeing the details of this plan that will put us on the right path forward.” Congressman Mike Bost (IL-12):  “This announcement comes at a time when Illinois ethanol producers needed a big win. By maintaining the 15 billion gallon baseline and increasing access to E15, President Trump has shown he is working for American agriculture. Farmers across Illinois’ 12th District will be pleased with this announcement and the security it provides for the Renewable Fuel Standard.” Congressman Darin LaHood (IL-18): “In Illinois, biofuels drive demand for our corn and soybean farmers, and the announcement by President Trump’s Administration today is a victory for Midwest agriculture and biofuel producers,” stated Rep. LaHood. “This deal ensures that lost gallons from small refinery waivers are accurately accounted and remove barriers to higher biofuel blends. I continually urged this Administration to uphold the original intent of the RFS, and I applaud President Trump and his team for hearing the concerns of Midwest producers and keeping to their promise. I’ll continue to fight for Illinois producers and work with this Administration to bolster our agriculture economy.” Congressman Don Bacon (NE-02): “Thank you President Trump for working with our farmers and ethanol producers to bring certainty and security to the RFS program. I have long been an advocate for low-carbon biofuels and am hopeful that the finalized rules will unleash ethanol potential, provide transparency for Nebraska farmers and producers, and benefit consumers at the pump across the country.” Congressman Tom Emmer (MN-06): “I am grateful to the Administration for hearing the concerns of the agriculture community and delivering much-needed results. Biofuels are an integral piece of Minnesota’s economy, and the announcement today will help promote cleaner fuel, energy independence, and greater demand for Minnesota corn and soybeans. This is a clear example that the Trump Administration supports agriculture and rural America, and I applaud their efforts to uphold the integrity of the Renewable Fuel Standard.” Congressman Steve Watkins (KS-02): “For far too long, the integrity of the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) has been severely harmed by the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) misuse of small refinery exemptions (SREs),” said Congressman Steve Watkins (KS-02). So far, nine producers have closed their doors or reduced operations, resulting in the loss of hundreds of jobs for rural communities across the country. With today’s announcement from the EPA and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), America’s farmers will appreciate President Trump listening to their concerns and his commitment to scaling back regulations and runaway government overreach. As a leader on renewable fuels issues and a cosponsor of the Small Refinery Exemption Fairness Act, I am thankful for the commitment that the administration has shown to our rural communities and the renewable fuels industry and applaud their decision. This is just another positive step in moving us closer to restoring the integrity and initial intentions of the RFS.” Congressman Dusty Johnson (SD-AL): “Today’s announcement is a win for South Dakota farmers, ethanol producers and anyone that cares about a strong rural economy and job growth. I’m proud of the coalition of farm-state members that made it clear that we must maintain the integrity of the RFS as Congress intended.” By maintaining the integrity of the RFS and preventing the abuse of Small Refinery Exemptions (SREs), as well as forward-looking proposals that cut red tape and build biofuel infrastructure, the Administration showed they are committed to rural America.” State Officials Lt. Governor Adam Gregg (IA): “Today’s announcement by EPA is welcome news for Iowa farmers and the renewable fuels industry. A strong RFS drives rural prosperity. Thank you to Governor Reynolds, Senator Ernst, and Senator Grassley for your advocacy!” Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig: “This is welcome news for Iowa’s farmers and the renewable fuels industry. President Trump listened to our producers’ concerns and took action to address them. This is what happens when farmers, biofuels producers and government leaders work together to make our voices heard. We are grateful to President Trump for directing EPA to uphold the intent of the Renewable Fuel Standard, and we look forward to working with EPA and USDA to implement today’s announcement. As the number one producer of ethanol and biodiesel in the country, Iowa is proud to lead the nation in reducing our dependence on foreign oil. We will continue to work to restore and build demand for these critical markets for Iowa agriculture.” Stakeholders Growth Energy: “It’s been a long process, but when the chips were down, President Trump delivered for farm families and biofuel producers. This is a victory for rural America, and we are grateful to our champions in Congress, USDA Secretary Perdue, and governors across the heartland who fought to put homegrown energy back on the market. We also thank President Trump for hearing the voices of farmers and biofuel producers and his commitment to finding a solution that will make an immediate difference for rural families. "By accurately accounting for lost gallons from this point forward based on a 3-year average of all exempted gallons, beginning with the 2020 biofuel targets, and breaking down regulatory and infrastructure barriers to higher biofuel blends, we will be able to realize the true potential of the opportunities President Trump opened by approving year-round sales of E15. Our industry and farm suppliers are eager to put this plan in place and deliver more lower-cost, lower-carbon biofuels to American consumers. We look forward to finalizing this rule to help America's farmers. "To restore growth and revitalize farm income, it’s vital that the EPA stay true to the president’s promise, and we will be working closely with leaders in Washington to ensure that happens. What matters now is how quickly we can restore demand for U.S. farmers and put biofuel gallons back to work for America’s economy.” Dan Nerud, President of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association: “We’ve been waiting for a reallocation of waived gallons for a long time. To say we were upset with the refinery waivers is an understatement, so today’s announcement is welcome news. We’re very happy with today’s announcement.” David Bruntz, Chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board: “I’m extremely excited with today’s announcement. Today’s news just goes to show what our growers can achieve when our voices are unified. Thanks to all of Nebraska and our nation’s corn farmers who rallied together to ensure we have vibrant corn and ethanol industries for years to come.”

USDA Recognizes Hard-Working School Meals Professionals, Empowers Them to Do Right in School Lunchrooms

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today issued the following statement in support of President Donald J. Trump’s National School Lunch Week Proclamation. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) celebrates food service professionals, school leaders, as well as the farmers, ranchers, and producers who grow the delicious, healthful, American-grown foods that kids enjoy every day in school lunches. “At USDA we recognize the importance a healthy lunch has on millions of school children across our nation. Without a nutritious and wholesome lunch, students are not being set up for success. One of my first actions when I arrived at USDA was to give school food service professionals more local control – they’re the experts and know what their kids want to eat,” said Secretary Sonny Perdue. “The tireless efforts of school food service professionals deserve recognition and I thank them for their service to our country and their commitment to the future of our next generation.” To help give school food workers the tools they need to do their jobs well with world-class customer service, USDA is offering additional flexibilities for serving school meals, as announced this month in new guidance provided to schools. These bring new opportunities to allow commercially produced smoothies to be included in school meals, provide more guidance on serving milk options, and allow for healthier, more innovative foods to be incorporated into meal plans. Schools are also now empowered with more resources to offer salad bars and better positioned to teach good eating habits to our nation’s children. The flexibilities provided to school foodservice professionals recently expand on those USDA gave schools last December, when the department provided more options around milk, whole grains, and sodium. USDA continues to encourage schools to meet their children’s needs and tastes in these areas, while helping schools meet the recommended MyPlate dairy needs in their students’ diets. USDA is also promoting Farm to School initiatives. This year’s Farm to School grants are the biggest ever awarded – with more than $9 million supporting programs across 42 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico – and will reach more than 3.2 million children in over 5,400 schools. These grants increase the amount of local food in America’s schools, while helping young people foster healthy eating habits. They also create new economic opportunities for local farmers, ranchers, and producers and can inspire children to consider future careers in agriculture.

NeFB focused on boosting high-speed internet

Nebraska Farm Bureau offers a series of suggestions to improve rural broadband LINCOLN — Ensuring all Nebraskans can access reliable, high-speed internet service is the focal point of Nebraska Farm Bureau’s engagement with the Nebraska Rural Broadband Task Force. As the Task Force nears a November deadline for making recommendations to the Legislature on how to improve broadband service in rural areas, Nebraska Farm Bureau offered a series of suggestions to the group. “Approximately one out of every ten Nebraskans report significant limitations with their internet service, while just over half of rural Nebraskans have internet service with download and upload speeds that meet the federal “broadband” definition,” said Steve Nelson, Nebraska Farm Bureau president. “It’s critical to the future of Nebraska that we make strides in improving broadband deployment statewide. We can’t afford to fall behind.” Among Nebraska Farm Bureau’s recommendations to the Task Force are: Requiring internet service providers to meet the basic federal definition of “broadband” (25 Megabytes per second download and 3 Megabytes per second upload) to receive taxpayer support for broadband development or to be shielded from subsidized competition. Recognition by the Public Service Commission (PSC) that fiber deployment might not be the most efficient and affordable way for rural residents to receive high-speed internet service and encouragement of the PSC to be open to evolving technology to address cost and logistical problems for rural broadband deployment. Support for PSC to use a grant process for broadband project support and support for public-private partnerships that encourage collaboration between internet carriers, businesses, farms, ranches, cooperatives, as well as schools, municipalities, counties, and public power providers. Support for the development of cooperatives for the sole purpose of broadband deployment. Support for allocating Nebraska Universal Service Fund (NUSF) dollars to telecommunications companies that experienced damaged infrastructure due to severe weather events and natural disasters if replacement dollars are used to ensure internet services meet the federal “broadband” definition for download and upload speeds. Emphasis on the need for more accurate data to ensure precise mapping of broadband services, given such maps are used to identify underserved areas and subsequently receive priority for federal funds for broadband improvement. Support for the establishment of a Subcommittee on Agriculture within the Task Force given the importance of broadband to agriculture and the state’s economy. “Improving and expanding broadband isn’t just vital to farmers and ranchers wanting to use new technologies. It’s vital to our communities, all rural businesses, and future economic growth. It’s critical to our children’s educational opportunities. It’s important to the next generation of rural Nebraskans, as young people won’t return to rural Nebraska without it,” said Nelson. “Access to high-speed, high quality internet has become a necessity.” The Nebraska Rural Broadband Task Force was created by the Legislature’s passage and Governor Ricketts signing of LB 994 in 2018. The bill was introduced by Sen. Curt Friesen of Henderson. The Task Force was charged with reviewing issues related to the availability, adoption, and affordability of broadband services in rural Nebraska and is required to present its recommendations and findings to the Legislature by November 1.

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