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Japanese feed corn millers learn about U.S. value chain in mission to NE, IA, WA

The U.S. Grains Council (USGC) in conjunction with the Nebraska Corn Board and the Iowa Corn Promotion Board will soon bring a Japanese trade team of feed milling professionals to the United States. While here, the team will visit Nebraska, Iowa and Washington to better understand the U.S. corn mark...

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Japanese feed corn millers learn about U.S. value chain in mission to NE, IA, WA

The U.S. Grains Council (USGC) in conjunction with the Nebraska Corn Board and the Iowa Corn Promotion Board will soon bring a Japanese trade team of feed milling professionals to the United States. While here, the team will visit Nebraska, Iowa and Washington to better understand the U.S. corn mark...

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NPPC Statement on China Market Access

Friday morning, Chinese media reported that it was suspending the imposition of punitive tariffs on U.S. pork imports. The following is a statement from National Pork Producers Council President David Herring, a pork producer from Lillington, N.C.: "If media reports are accurate, this is a most w...

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(Audio) "Chat with the Chancellor" with Interim NU-system President, Dr. Susan Fritz

Brandon Benitz continues his “Chat with the Chancellor” series here in the Fall 2019 semester.  He's once again joined by a special guest, the interim-President of the University of Nebraska system, Dr. Susan Fritz. This week, Dr. Fritz talks about the census/headcount numbers were released ...

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FFA Announces Record Student Membership

The National FFA Organization announced this week a record-high student membership of 700,170, up from nearly 670,000 in 2018. National FFA Organization CEO Mark Poeschl  says the membership growth “reflects continued enthusiasm for agriculture as well as agricultural education.” The top six...

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Husker Harvest Days Video Review

Thursday Spotlights: School is back in session for students at University of Nebraska-NCTA! Those students have been hard at work around #HHD19 this week. Take a look at the report below to learn more about the hands-on education!   Todd Cappel joined us to discuss the ben...

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Crops

Japanese feed corn millers learn about U.S. value chain in mission to NE, IA, WA

The U.S. Grains Council (USGC) in conjunction with the Nebraska Corn Board and the Iowa Corn Promotion Board will soon bring a Japanese trade team of feed milling professionals to the United States. While here, the team will visit Nebraska, Iowa and Washington to better understand the U.S. corn marketing system and pave the way for continued growth in grain, ethanol and co-product sales to the country. The team of five, including feed milling decision makers, are in the United States to see firsthand U.S. corn, co-products and ethanol production, meeting directly with U.S. suppliers and exporters. “Prospective corn buyers from any country want to experience every point in the value chain. That’s why the Council strives to bring buyers together with sellers to facilitate trade around the world,” said Ryan LeGrand, president and CEO of the U.S. Grains Council. “Japan has been a longstanding trading partner with the U.S. and is our second largest buyer of grains in all forms. We are excited to educate these newer, less-experienced Japanese feed corn millers, showcase major production facilities and farms in our country and demonstrate just how proud we are of the corn quality in the U.S., so we can continue to cement these relationships for U.S. farmers and Japanese end-users for years to come.” Japan ranks as the second largest buyer of U.S. corn and U.S. sorghum, the third largest market for U.S. barley and the ninth largest buyer of U.S. DDGS. Japan more than doubled U.S. ethanol imports to 934,000 gallons (331,000 bushels in corn equivalent) in 2017/2018, the most since 2010/2011. Using information provided by the Council, the Japanese Ministry of Economy (METI) modified its policy in 2018 to allow U.S. corn-based ethanol in the market based on technological advancements that raised the greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction level of U.S. corn-based ethanol and allowed near-term imports of ethyl tertiary butyl ether (ETBE) made with nearly 100 million gallons of ethanol. “Nebraska has a long-standing tradition and reputation of producing quality ag products,” said David Bruntz, chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board. “We’re appreciative of Japan’s business and we’re working to strengthen this relationship well into the future. I’m excited for this group to be in our great state.” During their time in Iowa and Nebraska, participants will visit a corn farm operation, grain elevator with a rail terminal, ethanol plant and feed mill before flying to Washington to stop in at an export terminal where they will see how grain is sampled and goes through grain inspection before making its way to Japan.    

NPPC Statement on China Market Access

Friday morning, Chinese media reported that it was suspending the imposition of punitive tariffs on U.S. pork imports. The following is a statement from National Pork Producers Council President David Herring, a pork producer from Lillington, N.C.: "If media reports are accurate, this is a most welcome development. The Chinese have placed punitive tariffs of 60% on most U.S. pork products, bringing the effective tariff rate on most U.S. pork to 72%. "According to Iowa State University economist Dermot Hayes, the Chinese retaliation on U.S. pork has shaved $8 off the price of every hog sold in the United States for well over a year. Most of our competitors face only a 12% tariff on their pork exports to China. Pork is somewhat unique given that it is the most important protein consumed in China, accounting for a significant part of the consumer price index. "Additionally, pork is in short supply in China because African swine fever has ravaged the Chinese hog herd and significantly reduced the production of pork. When you consider that China is the largest producer and consumer of pork in the world, the importance of this market to U.S. pork producers is clear. U.S. pork exports could single handedly make a huge dent in the trade imbalance with China. We are hopeful that this apparent gesture of goodwill by China leads not only to more sales of U.S. pork, but that it contributes to a resolution of U.S.-China trade restrictions."   Fischer Statement on Suspension of Further Chinese Tariffs on Soybeans and Pork U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, released the following statement today after China announced it will suspend tariff hikes on U.S. soybeans and pork: “It’s good to see recent purchases of U.S. agricultural goods and this morning’s announcement that China will not be adding additional tariffs for U.S. imports of soybeans and pork. This is positive news for Nebraska’s farmers and producers. However, our producers still face significant trade uncertainties. I will continue to push for passage of USMCA, which will bring more opportunities to our state.”    

Researchers: Wheat blast fungus capable of rebuilding itself

Kansas State University researchers studying a fungal disease capable of taking out an entire wheat crop are finding new evidence that the pathogen is even more feisty than they originally thought. Barbara Valent, a university distinguished professor of plant pathology, said that the wheat blast fungus appears to be capable of storing genes for disease-causing proteins (called effectors) in “mini-chromosomes,” which are smaller chromosomes present in some strains. In effect, the fungus is storing effectors for later use in attacking the plant. “Effectors are small proteins,” Valent said. “They are basically the tools that the fungus uses to cut off the plant’s defenses and cause disease. There are hundreds of these that the fungus produces. But in some cases, plants recognize individual effectors and trigger resistance to block infection. The fungus then overcomes this resistance by getting rid of the offending effector gene.” Sanzhen Liu, an associate professor of plant pathology, led the study, which also included assistant professor David Cook. Liu said the discovery that the fungus can re-arrange its genetic components between the seven main chromosomes and extra mini-chromosomes points to its ability to rapidly adapt to defeat resistance. “Before we started this project, we knew that some effector genes could move around, but typically they would move to the ends of the (main) chromosomes,” Liu said. “It’s a surprise that they are carrying those fragments to mini-chromosomes. We’ve found that the mini-chromosome can serve as a reservoir for effector genes, and that the fungus employs some strategy through the mini-chromosome to gain the advantage.” The finding creates new challenges for scientists to stay ahead of new and emerging strains of wheat blast fungus, which was first found in Brazil in 1985 and has since spread to other parts of South America and South Asia. “We’ve known for a long time that the fungus was able to throw away genes that were causing it a problem, but after a while, wouldn’t you think that the fungus would just kill itself if it keeps throwing away this gene and that gene?” Valent said. “It doesn’t. In fact, it gets those genes back, and when they come back, they come to new places in the chromosome.” Finding effective solutions, she added, is not yet clear. “There is no simple solution to wheat blast disease,” said Valent, who has studied this disease for the last decade and the related rice blast disease for more than 40 years. “We need to understand better the mechanism by which the fungus re-arranges these effector genes, so that we can learn more about how we can intervene. Maybe we can find genes that aren’t so easily deleted. How to move our studies to real control is difficult. At this point, I don’t know.” The researchers noted that they have found “a few effector” genes that don’t seem to be part of the fungus’ devious work: “So those may be more stable targets for resistance,” Valent said. Wheat blast thrives in warm, wet environments, such as those found in South America, where growers have struggled with the disease for more than two decades. In 2016, it was found across the ocean in Bangladesh, surprising farmers and researchers and causing additional concern about its ability to spread rapidly throughout the world. “The first time the disease showed up in Bangladesh, it affected 15 percent of the country’s total wheat area, and farmers were burning fields to try to get rid of it,” Valent said. “That didn’t work and many farmers just stopped growing wheat there.” Valent has published a website with information about research on the disease, which is conducted in the heavily-secured Biosecurity Research Institute on the north end of the Kansas State University campus in Manhattan. “Our group discovered the only effective resistance gene that is protecting wheat in the field right now,” Valent said. “The strains from the early days weren’t very aggressive on wheat, but strains causing disease now are extremely aggressive. So, the fungus has been getting worse and worse, and there is potential in the future for it to get even more so.” “We are screening in the BRI for more resistance, but the problem with this disease is we are not finding many useful resistance genes. We have a handful that we are following up on, but they are not frequent. It’s hard to control.” Additional information for growers can be found in the extension publication “Identifying Wheat Diseases Affecting Heads and Grain,” which has been distributed in nearly every state and Canada. K-State’s work on wheat blast is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute for Food and Agriculture. The technology used to build a high-quality genome map was funded by the National Science Foundation.

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Livestock

NPPC Statement on China Market Access

Friday morning, Chinese media reported that it was suspending the imposition of punitive tariffs on U.S. pork imports. The following is a statement from National Pork Producers Council President David Herring, a pork producer from Lillington, N.C.: "If media reports are accurate, this is a most welcome development. The Chinese have placed punitive tariffs of 60% on most U.S. pork products, bringing the effective tariff rate on most U.S. pork to 72%. "According to Iowa State University economist Dermot Hayes, the Chinese retaliation on U.S. pork has shaved $8 off the price of every hog sold in the United States for well over a year. Most of our competitors face only a 12% tariff on their pork exports to China. Pork is somewhat unique given that it is the most important protein consumed in China, accounting for a significant part of the consumer price index. "Additionally, pork is in short supply in China because African swine fever has ravaged the Chinese hog herd and significantly reduced the production of pork. When you consider that China is the largest producer and consumer of pork in the world, the importance of this market to U.S. pork producers is clear. U.S. pork exports could single handedly make a huge dent in the trade imbalance with China. We are hopeful that this apparent gesture of goodwill by China leads not only to more sales of U.S. pork, but that it contributes to a resolution of U.S.-China trade restrictions."   Fischer Statement on Suspension of Further Chinese Tariffs on Soybeans and Pork U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, released the following statement today after China announced it will suspend tariff hikes on U.S. soybeans and pork: “It’s good to see recent purchases of U.S. agricultural goods and this morning’s announcement that China will not be adding additional tariffs for U.S. imports of soybeans and pork. This is positive news for Nebraska’s farmers and producers. However, our producers still face significant trade uncertainties. I will continue to push for passage of USMCA, which will bring more opportunities to our state.”    

Farm Bureau’s Ag Innovation Challenge Saved Our Farm

It was 2:45 p.m., the last student had left my classroom for the day and I hastily checked my email before heading to a staff meeting. I was an animal science teacher at the local tech school by day and goat farmer when not in session. A subject header reading “Congrats. You are a semifinalist….” scrolled across my screen. My mouth dropped open and I instantly teared up reading the details about how our little goat farm in the middle of rural upstate New York had been selected as a top 10 finalist in the American Farm Bureau’s 2018 Ag Innovation Challenge. I quickly called my husband. We were both shocked to learn we had been selected as a winner for our idea of launching goat milk gelato as a value-added product from our farm. The moment we learned we had been selected as the winner of $10,000 in start-up funds changed everything for us. Here’s how our journey played out. We received a lot of publicity through local and state newspapers, television and media outlets. We were invited to attend the 2018 American Farm Bureau Federation Annual Convention in Nashville where we connected with many entrepreneurs and farmers. We were also special guests at the Lewis County Farm Bureau and New York State Farm Bureau annual meetings. In January 2018, we sat down to design our gelato cup label, while finalizing recipes. In February, our cup went to the New York State Department of Ag and Markets for approval. The cups were in production in March and by the end of April we had created our first two flavors, vanilla and maple walnut (from local maple syrup, of course). We officially launched our goat milk gelato on May 5, 2018. I resigned as a teacher in June and by the end of the summer our product, now in four flavors, was in 20 stores and restaurants. We also added an e-commerce section to our website, to ship our gelato across the country to fans everywhere. In 2019, we added two new flavors and were picked up by a local distributor. Our fluid milk market has continued to be extremely shaky, but we were able to start this small gelato business, which we are working to grow. Just sitting down and completing the application for the Ag Innovation Challenge helped us to think strategically about our farm business and where we wanted it to go in the future. Winning put us on the map and we received local, state and national attention. The start-up funds we won helped us get the gelato into production much sooner than we had originally intended. Farm Bureau followed our journey and remained a constant supporter of our project. I believe that in many ways, being part of the Ag Innovation Challenge saved our farm. The future of the farm is in value-added; being selected as a finalist helped our farm and our family. I believe many people think they don’t have the time to complete an application or that perhaps it won’t lead to anything. If you share that sentiment, let me take you back to the day I entered the contest. My husband and I were milking 150 goats twice a day and struggling to find a market for the milk (much to our dismay after believing we had a market for it). We both were working day jobs. The goats were in full-fledged kidding season and we were hand-raising about 110 goat kids. We had two small children at home. The amount of stress in our lives – between not having a reliable milk check for the fluid milk, balancing day jobs and raising a family – was tremendous. We had always wanted to launch a value-added product, but figured we would do so after a few years of shipping fluid milk and getting more experience under our belt. For several years we had been developing ice cream and gelato recipes in our home kitchen, anticipating a future in a value-added product. When I sat down and started working on the Ag Innovation Challenge application, I decided right then and there we had no chance of winning or even placing in the challenge. Nonetheless, I hit submit and didn’t give it another thought until that wonderful day when I saw the email. I encourage anyone who has an innovative rural business idea or plan to take the time to enter the Ag Innovation Challenge. Find more information and a link to the application at http://fb.org/aginnovationchallenge. You can’t win if you don’t at least try. Good luck!

Pork Checkoff Moving Remittance Payments Into Online System

The National Pork Board announced today plans to migrate Pork Checkoff remittances to its online platform. The online Checkoff remittance system is designed to significantly reduce the processing time, paper and other expenses for the Pork Board, while also providing pork producers flexibility with payment options, improve operational efficiencies and create cost savings. “Our expenses for collecting and reconciling manual payments run about $150,000 annually,” said Calvin VandeKrol, vice president of finance for the Pork Board. “That includes bank fees, postage, paper, printing and several hours of staff time each month. By migrating remittances to the online platform, we’re saving producer Checkoff dollars that can be redirected to other, more critical work related to our research, promotion and education efforts.” “Producers around the country have told us loud and clear they want today’s Pork Checkoff to move at the speed of business,” said Bill Even, CEO of the Pork Checkoff. “The online reporting system reduces processing costs and time on both sides of the transaction, and provides greater transparency and accountability.” With the online system, there are three ways to report and submit payments: ACH Payment – Producers can file their report and pay online with an ACH withdrawal from your checking account.  This is the most widely accepted and most efficient method of payment. Paystub – Producers will file their report online and print a paystub to mail in with their check. This provides the option of forgoing an ACH withdrawal, and works well for producers that have a separate department that cuts accounts payable checks. It still allows the producer to track and report on prior payment information through the online system. “Zero Reporting” – This option is to be used when a sale has not occurred for the period and no Checkoff remittance is owed. Producers not currently using the system, which has been available since 2017, will need to register before they can begin using the secure system. During the month of September, the Pork Board will mail letters to those producers who need to register so they can establish their login credentials. Producers may also register at http://www.pork.org/pay or call 1-800-456-7675 to sign up.

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Technology

K-State releases three new wheat varieties

The Kansas State University recently released three new wheat varieties, which are available to Certified seed growers this fall and will be available to farmers in fall 2020. The new releases include two hard red winter wheat varieties - KS Western Star and KS Dallas - and one hard white wheat, KS Silverado. They were all developed at the K-State Agricultural Research Center in Hays, Kan. The wheat breeding program at Kansas State University, with locations in Manhattan and Hays, receives funding from the Kansas Wheat Commission through the two-cent wheat checkoff. Thanks to wheat breeding programs like the one at K-State, producers have ever-improving options of wheat varieties to plant. Whether it's improved resistance or increased yields, wheat breeders are creating varieties that meet producers' changing needs. KS Western Star KS Western Star was named after the Western Star Milling Company in Salina, Kan. It is adapted to central and western Kansas, eastern Colorado, northwest Oklahoma and southwest Nebraska. KS Western Star is a medium maturity and medium tall statured variety. It had greater yields than any other hard red winter wheat varieties in the KIN tests in 2017 and 2018. On average over the two years, it yielded more than any common check varieties, including Joe. KS Western Star has resistances to stripe rust, leaf rust and soilborne mosaic virus. It has very good straw strength and grain shattering resistance along with good milling and baking qualities. KS Western Star has good pre-harvest sprouting resistance. KS Western Star has very good drought tolerance and high yield potential. While it is susceptible to Hessian fly and wheat streak mosaic virus, it has wheat curl mite resistance and intermediate resistance to Triticum mosaic virus. KS Dallas KS Dallas was named after retired plant pathologist Dr. Dallas Seifers, who worked at the K-State Agricultural Research Center in Hays and helped to develop the WSM2 gene found in the varieties KS Dallas and Joe. It is adapted to the western half of Kansas, eastern Colorado, northwest Oklahoma, the Texas panhandle and southwest Nebraska. KS Dallas is a medium maturity and medium height variety. It performed well in western Kansas in 2017 and 2018. KS Dallas has a strong disease package with wheat streak mosaic virus resistance up to 70°F, which is three degrees higher than those resistant varieties with WSM2, such as Joe and Oakley CL. It has moderate resistance to stripe rust and good resistance to leaf rust and stem rust. It is susceptible to soilborne mosaic virus and moderately susceptible to Hessian fly. It has good shattering resistance and pre-harvest sprouting resistance. Its straw strength is about average, which is similar to T158. KS Dallas has good milling and baking qualities. In general, it has good flour yield, high water absorption and good mixing tolerance. KS Silverado KS Silverado is a hard white wheat with medium-early maturity and medium-short height. It is adapted to central and western Kansas. It has very good pre-harvest sprouting resistance. Its shattering resistance is moderate, which is similar to Joe. Its straw strength is very good. KS Silverado showed resistance to wheat streak mosaic virus in inoculated tests in the growth chamber at 64°F. It has moderate to intermediate resistance to stripe and stem rusts, and wheat blast. It is resistant to leaf rust, Hessian fly, and soilborne mosaic virus. It is moderately susceptible to Fusarium head blight, barley yellow dwarf virus and powdery mildew. Preliminary data showed that it has intermediate resistance to Triticum mosaic virus. Whether you are looking for high grain yield, rust resistance, heat and drought tolerance, resistance to wheat streak mosaic virus or milling and baking quality, Kansas State University's wheat breeding program has a variety for you. These three new varieties will be available to Kansas wheat farmers in fall 2020 through Kansas Wheat Alliance associates. Visit kswheatalliance.org for more information on these and other wheat variety options.

Kansas Corn Farmers Featured in STEM Education Book

Kansas Corn has published a new educational book titled, “We Grow Corn—Raising corn on a Kansas family farm”. The book, with an accompanying video series, will be an important component of the Kansas Corn STEM program, which provides STEM-based lessons and classroom materials to K-12 teachers.  In the 2018-19 school year, Kansas Corn STEM reached over 1,300 teachers, and more than 50,000 students. The addition of the “We Grow Corn” book and videos will expand the program’s impact on STEM learning in Kansas schools. Kansas Corn collaborated with northeast Kansas corn farmers Brad and Danyelle McCauley and their four children to show students how corn is grown. The book follows the McCauley family farm through the year with photographs, information and fun facts. Readers will also learn about irrigated corn on a page featuring the Steve Rome family farm in southwest Kansas. Eight online videos featuring Brad McCauley and Steve Rome accompany the book to give students a deeper look into farming. An online teacher resource page is also available. Farmers played a key role in the project, according to Kansas Corn Director of Education Sharon Thielen, PhD, who authored the book and led the project. “Farmers were involved in every step of creating this book and video series. We especially appreciate the help of the McCauley and Rome farm families who brought this project to life. Our goal was to make this an informative book about corn farming in Kansas while providing STEM learning opportunities,” Thielen said. “Working with Manhattan-based photographer and videographer Ray Martinez, we were able to capture stunning images that authentically depict a year on Kansas corn farms.” McCauley said his family participated in the project to support STEM education in Kansas schools. “This project was important to our family because it supports education in our schools by showing how we grow corn on our family farm,” Brad McCauley said. “Science and technology play a big role in growing corn and other crops in Kansas. That’s why corn farmers support this effort to support STEM learning in our Kansas classrooms.” The We Grow Corn book and video series is part of a larger offering of lessons and material for K-12 teachers. The hands-on lessons range from sprouting corn seeds and understanding soil and water needs for crops to making corn-based plastics and ethanol in challenging high school lab experiments. The book is available to Kansas teachers and a book will also be included in each teacher kit sent out this year through the Kansas Corn STEM program. Teachers can order lessons and materials for their grade level online at kansascornstem.com. A teacher guide, online access to the book, videos and photos are available at wegrowcorn.com The Kansas Corn STEM program is led by Kansas Corn staff and teachers across the state who write lessons and labs for use in Kansas classrooms. The program received national recognition with the “Reaching for Excellence” award from the National Corn Growers Association earlier this year. Teachers can learn more about Kansas Corn’s education program at kansascornstem.com and access online materials for the book and videos at wegrowcorn.com

NCGA Voices Support for USDA Proposed Rule on Biotech Regulation, Offers Suggestions for Improvement

The National Corn Growers Association today submitted comments to the U.S. Department of Agriculture on the Proposed Rule regarding Movement of Certain Genetically Engineered Organisms. The submission voiced support for the proposed rule while also offering several suggestions that would strengthen the final rule. The proposed rule marks the first comprehensive revision of USDA’s regulations since they were established in 1987. Corn farmers have a strong interest in the availability of new technologies to enhance the sustainability, productivity and competitiveness of U.S. agriculture. Agriculture biotechnology and next generation breeding techniques allow growers to increase yields while decreasing inputs. Meeting demand, improving processes and minimizing environmental impacts are what make modern corn production a dynamic industry. The proposed rule, in large part, demonstrates an underlying agreement with the basis of NCGA’s stance and strives to create a more efficient regulatory process allowing growers greater access to new products. NCGA praised USDA’s intention to focus on the plant pest risk of each product, instead of the method used to create it.  NCGA also thanked USDA for its proposal to only review plant-trait-mechanisms of action (MOA) requiring oversight once, instead of each time that MOA is used in combination with other traits, as is the requirement now. The proposed rule indicates a path moving forward appropriate for the advancements in plant breeding innovation while ensuring a responsible degree of oversight. To further build upon this foundation in the rule, NCGA requested explicit and formal language be added to ensure this system functions in a timely and reliable manner that adds no additional barriers for previously approved plant-trait mechanisms. The comments submitted urged the USDA to coordinate with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration broadly on the regulation of ag biotechnology to continue streamlining the process and avoiding unnecessary duplications that delayed the tools farmers need to meet today’s needs. NCGA referenced the June 11, 2019 Executive Order, Modernizing the Regulatory Framework for Agricultural Biotechnology Products, which asks the three regulatory agencies to identify ways to streamline regulatory processes, when making this request. To view the full comments as submitted, click here.

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Ag Policy

Agriculture applauds WOTUS repeal

Agriculture groups Thursday celebrated the Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) repeal by Trump administration as a victory. The rule greatly expanded the EPA’s federal jurisdiction and scope of waterbodies subject to Clean Water Act requirements. Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts said the action to repeal and replace the 2015 WOTUS rule will “alleviate regulatory burden” on farmers and ranchers. The repeal reverts regulations to those in place before 2015, while the Trump administration works to craft a new rule. The American Farm Bureau Federation called the repeal a victory for farmers and ranchers. AFBF President Zippy Duvall said Farm Bureau will now “work to ensure a fair and reasonable substitute that protects our water and our ability to work and care for the land.” Last month, a U.S. District Court ruled the Environmental Protection Agency must redraft the rule, stating the 2015 rule violated the Clean Water Act, and that the procedures for enacting the WOTUS rule were in violation of the Administrative Procedures Act.

Governor, Agriculture Leaders, UNL Chancellor Say Nebraskans “Win” with USMCA

WOOD RIVER, NEB. – It’s time for Congress to pass legislation to enact the United States – Mexico – Canada Agreement (USMCA) and bring home a “win” for Nebraska agriculture. That’s the message relayed by Nebraska leaders who gathered to call for USMCA passage at Husker Harvest Days, Wed., Sept. 11. The Trump administration has negotiated a trade deal with the two countries, but Congress must act for the provisions of the agreement to go into effect. The USMCA deal is critical to Nebraska agriculture as purchases by Mexico and Canada account for more than 21 percent of Nebraska’s total agriculture exports. The trade relationship with the two countries is also vital to the state’s economy as agriculture trade with the two nations supports nearly 54,000 Nebraska jobs. The USMCA would replace the more than 20-year-old, North American Free Trade Agreement between the countries, making a good relationship even better. The new deal would maintain market access for Nebraska commodities like corn, soybeans, beef, and pork, while improving access for Nebraska wheat and dairy products. The deal also updates the former agreement to address agriculture biotechnology to support innovation and reduce trade-distorting policies. In addition, USMCA creates a more rigorous process for establishing trade distorting geological indicators for agriculture products and strengthens science-based measures to protect human, animal, and plant health while improving the flow of trade. With members of Congress returning from the August recess, the Nebraska leaders urged swift action to secure the USMCA deal. Quotes “A combination of flooding, low commodity prices, and trade negotiations have made for a very tough time for agriculture recently. The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement is critical for our country and growing key trade relationships. Now it’s time for Congress to step up and do their part by approving the USMCA.” Governor Pete Ricketts   “USMCA passage is not only important because of the immediate and direct benefits it will bring to our state’s farmers and ranchers, but with the climate we’re operating in today, we need to show the rest of the world that the United States is open for business and we’re serious about getting deals done with our trade partners. The success of Nebraska agriculture relies heavily on our ability to reach the international customers who want to buy Nebraska agriculture products; and there are plenty of them around the world.” Steve Nelson, Nebraska Farm Bureau president     “Mexico and Canada are key partners with Nebraska’s corn industry. Mexico is our top customer of Nebraska corn and Canada is our second largest export market for ethanol. Once distillers grains, livestock and other agricultural commodities start getting added into the mix, it’s easy to see why USMCA is so important to Nebraska’s farmers and ranchers.” Dan Nerud, Nebraska Corn Growers Association president “USMCA is poised to bring improvements to the North American dairy trade by expanding exports and bringing down trade barriers, benefiting America’s dairy farmers and processors. Mexico and Canada are the dairy industry’s number one and number two largest volume international exporters, with Mexico taking 25 percent of all of the United States dairy exports.  USMCA enables the Nebraska dairy industry to continue to export ice cream and butter into those markets, generating more demand and higher pay price for our milk here at home.” Bob Larson, Nebraska State Dairy Association, board of directors "Mexico is one of the largest purchasers of both US and Nebraska wheat. A fully implemented USMCA would greatly benefit our state's wheat farmers." Von Johnson, Nebraska Wheat Board, board of directors “In today’s trade environment the passage of the USMCA is of great importance. With trade equalization moving forward with Japan and other booming markets around the world the passage of USMCA would increase the momentum to trade with other countries and boost all sectors of our agricultural economy.” Tim Chancellor, Nebraska Pork Producers Association     “USMCA will benefit U.S. and Nebraska soybean growers as well as the larger U.S. agriculture and food industry.  Over the last 25 years, U.S. food and ag exports to Canada and Mexico have more than quadrupled under NAFTA.  Mexico is the number two buyer of Nebraska soybeans and soybean products.” Robert Johnston, Nebraska Soybean Association, president “Nebraska’s cattle producers have weathered their fair share of storms this past year. Now is NOT the time to pull the rug from under the feet of our state’s largest industry. If access to these top markets were suddenly shut off, our red meat exports would drastically decline. This would pose serious consequences for Nebraska’s economy. We urge Congress to act quickly and get USMCA across the finish line.” Mike Drinnin, Nebraska Cattlemen president “USMCA reinvigorates and modernizes the trade relationships with our neighbors in Canada and Mexico. The agreement also provides critical updates that benefit growers all across the agricultural spectrum. The Nebraska Sorghum Producers Association urges congress to move swiftly forward in passing the USMCA.” Nate Blum, Nebraska Grain Sorghum “Nebraska’s own Clayton Yeutter was instrumental in opening up trade with our neighbor Canada when he served as U.S. Trade Representative in the 1980s. I’m proud that our Clayton Yeutter Institute of International Trade and Finance at UNL helps educate students and the public about the importance of trade. In 2017, Nebraska ag exports totaled $6.4 billion and translated into $8.14 billion in additional economic activity. Opening up access to our agricultural products is vital to Nebraska’s future.” Ronnie Green, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Chancellor

On Wednesday Nebraska Ag Producers Affected by Flooding Can Begin Applying for Assistance Through USDA Program

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, released the following statement today after the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that more than $3 billion is available for disaster relief for agricultural producers, including Nebraska ag producers affected by flooding, through the agency’s Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus (WHIP+): “Nebraskans in agriculture were hit hard by the severe weather this year, which is why I worked to add our state to this spring’s disaster relief bill. Starting Wednesday, September 11th, ag producers facing losses because of the March storm can apply for assistance through USDA’s WHIP+ program. With access to this much-needed relief, our families can continue to make progress as they rebuild and recover.”   More information from the U.S. Department of Agriculture: WHIP+ is available for eligible producers who have suffered losses of certain crops, trees, bushes, or vines in counties with a Presidential Emergency Disaster Declaration or a Secretarial Disaster Designation (primary counties only). Disaster losses must have been a result of hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, typhoons, volcanic activity, snowstorms, or wildfires that occurred in 2018 or 2019. Nebraska producers can apply to receive up to $125,000 for losses related to flooding. Some producers could receive a higher payment—up to $250,000 or $500,000—if ¾ or more of their income is derived from farming or another agriculture-based business. Click here to read more about WHIP+ eligibility.

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