Tag Archives: agriculture

Growth Energy Wednesday filed a motion in a U.S. federal appeals court to intervene in a challenge to the Environmental Protection Agency’s rule allowing year-round E15 sales.

The final rule is being challenged by the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers who filed the lawsuit on Monday. Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor called the challenge “no surprise,” noting the industry saw similar challenges when E15 was first approved in 2011. Skor says the oil industry “wants to inject uncertainty into the marketplace.”AFMP contends, “the plain language of the Clean Air Act does not authorize an RVP waiver expansion beyond E10.”

Year-round E15 sales were authorized through a Reid vapor pressure waiver. Under the Clean Air Act, legal challenges to EPA’s E15 rulemaking may be brought as a “petition for review” within 60 days of publication of the final rule in the Federal Register. Interested parties such as Growth Energy may also file a motion to intervene in the petition for review to protect their interests.

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A new government report forecasts an even more bountiful winter wheat harvest in Kansas than had been expected.

The National Agricultural Statistics Service on Tuesday said the state’s crop this year is forecast at 330 million bushels, up 19% from last year. The more optimistic forecast is based on crop conditions on June 1.

The agency is predicting average yields in Kansas of 50 bushels an acre, up 12 bushels from a year ago.

Those extra bushels per acre are bolstering the anticipated harvest in a year when fewer acres overall are anticipated to be harvested. The report says Kansas is expected to harvest 6.6 million acres, down 700,000 acres from last year.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue issued the following statement on disaster and trade-related assistance:

“Whether it’s because of natural disasters or unfair retaliatory tariffs, farmers across the country are facing significant challenges and tough decisions on their farms and ranches. Last month, immediately upon China reneging on commitments made during the trade talks, President Trump committed USDA to provide up to $16 billion to support farmers as they absorb some of the negative impact of unjustified retaliation and trade disruption. In addition, President Trump immediately signed into law the long-awaited disaster legislation that provides a lifeline to farmers, ranchers, and producers dealing with extensive damage to their operations caused by natural disasters in 2018 and 2019.

“Given the size and scope of these many disasters, as well as the uncertainty of the final size and scope of this year’s prevented planting acreage, we will use up to $16 billion in support for farmers and the $3 billion in disaster aid to provide as much help as possible to all our affected producers.

“I have been out in the country this spring and visited with many farmers. I know they’re discouraged, and many are facing difficult decisions about what to do this planting season or if they’ve got the capital to stay in business, but they shouldn’t wait for an announcement to make their decisions. I urge farmers to plant for the market and plant what works best on their farm, regardless of what type of assistance programs USDA is able to provide.

“In the coming weeks, USDA will provide information on the Market Facilitation Program payment rates and details of the various components of the disaster relief legislation. USDA is not legally authorized to make Market Facilitation Program payments to producers for acreage that is not planted. However, we are exploring legal flexibilities to provide a minimal per acre market facilitation payment to folks who filed prevent plant and chose to plant an MFP-eligible cover crop, with the potential to be harvested and for subsequent use of those cover crops for forage.”

Background:

For frequently asked questions regarding the USDA Risk Management Agency’s prevented planting policy and losses resulting from floods, please visit, here. For several frequently asked questions regarding how USDA will treat prevented planting acres with regard to the recently announced 2019 Market Facilitation Program and 2018/2019 disaster relief legislation, see below.

1. What is the purpose of the Market Facilitation Program? What is the legal authority?

The Market Facilitation Program (MFP) assists farmers with the additional costs of adjusting to disrupted markets, dealing with surplus commodities, and expanding and developing new markets at home and abroad, consistent with the authorities of the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) Charter Act.

2. Last year, soybeans had the highest MFP payment per bushel, should I plant soybeans this year to get the highest payment if I have the opportunity?

You should plant what works best for your operation and what you would plant in any other year, absent any assistance from USDA. 2019 MFP assistance is based on a single county payment rate multiplied by a farm’s total plantings to the MFP-eligible crops (outlined below) in aggregate in 2019. Those per acre payments are not dependent on which of those crops are planted in 2019, and therefore will not distort planting decisions. Your total payment-eligible plantings cannot exceed your total 2018 plantings.

2019 MFP-eligible non-specialty crops: alfalfa hay, barley, canola, corn, crambe, dry peas, extra-long staple cotton, flaxseed, lentils, long grain and medium grain rice, millet, mustard seed, dried beans, oats, peanuts, rapeseed, rye, safflower, sesame seed, small and large chickpeas, sorghum, soybeans, sunflower seed, temperate japonica rice, triticale, upland cotton, and wheat.

2019 MFP-eligible specialty crops: tree nuts, fresh sweet cherries, cranberries, and fresh grapes.

3. My fields never dried out enough to get any crop in, do I get a 2019 Market Facilitation Program payment?

No, USDA does not have the legal authority to make MFP payments to producers for acreage that is not planted. To qualify for a 2019 MFP payment, you must have planted a 2019 MFP-eligible crop. Producers unable to plant their crop should work with their crop insurance agent to file a claim.

4. I filed a prevented planting claim and I am going to plant a cover crop to prevent erosion, does that count for 2019 MFP if it’s on the 2019 MFP-eligible list you announced in May?

If you choose to plant a cover crop with the potential to be harvested, because of this year’s adverse weather conditions, you may qualify for a minimal amount of 2019 MFP assistance. You must still comply with your crop insurance requirements to remain eligible for any indemnities received.

5. I heard that I could get 90% of my crop insurance guarantee as a prevented planting payment through the disaster bill, is that true?

The Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act of 2019 gives the USDA the authority to compensate losses caused by prevented planting in 2019 up to 90%. While the authority exists, USDA must operate within finite appropriations limits. It is highly unlikely that the supplemental appropriation will support that level of coverage in addition to crop insurance. Congress appropriated $3.005 billion in assistance for a wide array of losses resulting from disasters throughout 2018 and 2019, requiring USDA to prioritize how it is allocated. The Department plans to provide assistance on prevented planting losses within the confines of our authority.

6. If I plant a second crop or cover crop, can I still get my full prevented planting payment? What about an MFP payment?

You must comply with crop insurance requirements to remain eligible for a full prevented planting indemnity. USDA encourages you to visit with your crop insurance agent to ensure you are aware of those various options for your operation. If you choose to plant a cover crop with the potential to be harvested, because of this year’s adverse weather conditions, you may qualify for a minimal amount of 2019 MFP assistance.

7. I have heard that only acreage in a declared disaster area will qualify for prevented planting under the Disaster Relief Act. Is that true?

USDA is currently evaluating the new authority provided under the Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act of 2019. However, it is generally true that producers with qualifying losses in a Secretarial or Presidentially-declared disaster area will be eligible for Disaster Relief Act assistance. Producers with qualifying losses outside of those areas will have eligibility determined on a case-by-case basis.

8. I have a revenue protection policy with a ‘harvest price option’, do I get the higher of the projected price or harvest price for my prevented planting payment?

The Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act of 2019 gives the USDA the authority to compensate losses caused by prevented planting in 2019 and also provides additional authority to compensate producers on the higher of the projected price or harvest price. USDA is currently exploring legal flexibility to provide assistance that better utilizes the harvest price in conjunction with revenue and prevent planting policies.

9. If I am prevented from planting but manage to get a cover crop or a forage in the ground, am I able to hay or graze that prior to November 1, given the forage shortage we’re going to experience?

USDA encourages you to visit with your crop insurance agent to ensure you are aware of those various prevented planting, cover crop, and harvest options for your operation. USDA is currently reviewing the prevented planting restrictions in the Federal Crop Insurance Act to determine what options may be available to address this and other issues. Further clarity regarding this haying and grazing date will be forthcoming.

10. What if I don’t have crop insurance? How do MFP and disaster relief programs work for me if I’m prevented from planting due to natural disasters?
Crop insurance is not required to qualify for 2019 MFP assistance. However, USDA requires that a producer plant a 2019 MFP-eligible crop to qualify for the 2019 MFP assistance.

If you choose to plant a cover crop with the potential to be harvested, because of this year’s adverse weather conditions, you may qualify for a minimal amount of 2019 MFP assistance.

The Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act of 2019 gives the USDA the authority to compensate losses caused by prevented planting in 2019. Producers with qualifying losses in a Secretarial or Presidentially-declared disaster area will be eligible for Disaster Relief Act assistance. Producers with qualifying losses outside of those areas will have eligibility determined on a case-by-case basis.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A Tennessee State University agriculture professor has received almost $1 million to study how crops adapt to climate change.

Jianwei Li  plans to use the funds from the National Science Foundation to study the effects of high temperatures on cropland soils in Middle Tennessee. Li said the research will help scientists better determine how much carbon dioxide is being emitted.

He said there is little data in the area.

The project also seeks to train minority students in global environmental change issues. An undergraduate student will be chosen each year to receive formal training for two months at the University of California, Irvine.

Li sees the grant as seed money to help build a permanent experimental infrastructure and develop an interpretive display on climate change to educate farmers and schoolchildren throughout the state.

CURTIS, Neb. – New students who will be attending the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture this fall can attend sessions on June 18 or July 16 to prepare for moving onto campus in late August.

 

“We are expecting 34 of our incoming students to participate in New Student Enrollment for this second session on Tuesday, June 18,” said Tina Smith, NCTA admissions coordinator.

 

A first NSE session was in April, and the third opportunity is July 16.

 

The day includes presentations by NCTA Student Services staff on what to expect as new students on campus, Smith said. Academic advising, campus tours and a student “checklist” are featured.

 

Students and parents follow an extensive checklist to ensure new Aggies are prepared.

 

Details include setting up access for personal devices and technology needs, completing forms, finalizing financial aid, and most importantly, meeting with academic advisors in a chosen field of study.

 

“It’s not too late to join the Aggie family. Simply complete our online application at NCTA.unl.edu,” said Smith.

 

“At $131.50 per credit hour our affordable tuition rate for all students is the right choice to start an education in agriculture.”

 

NCTA is the sole two-year campus of the University of Nebraska system. It emphasizes associate degree programs, certificates or transfer options only in agriculture or veterinary technology.

 

Once accepted for admission to NCTA, students are directed to New Student Enrollment details.

President Trump tweeted late Friday that he’d suspended plans to impose tariffs on Mexican goods, saying the U.S. and Mexico had reached an agreement on stemming illegal immigration.

The president says Mexican officials “agreed to take strong measures” to cut down on the flow of illegal immigrants traveling through Mexico and entering the U.S. An Associated Press report says the move puts to an end a threat that had sparked warnings from members of Trumps party, as well as administration officials, about long-term damage to the economy.

The damage would include driving up prices for consumers, as well as put the recently-updated U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement in jeopardy. U.S. and Mexican officials met for more than 10 hours on Friday and ended a third day of talks with an agreement that would satisfy Trump’s demand that Mexico crack down on illegal immigration into the U.S.

Republicans in Congress had recently warned the president that they were ready to try and stop imposing tariffs on Mexico that were scheduled to begin on Monday. They were worried about driving up costs to consumers and the damage to the economy.

LINCOLN — Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) Director Steve Wellman announced the creation of an International Grow Nebraska Agriculture trade team within NDA’s Ag Promotion and Development focus area. The team will be led by NDA Assistant Director Amelia Breinig.

“Trade is important to Nebraska and the creation of this trade team broadens the base of our international trade responsibilities,” said NDA Director Wellman. “NDA has always been dedicated to promoting agriculture abroad. This new trade team structure puts a renewed emphasis on international trade.”

NDA’s international trade team focuses on the sales, promotions and value-added aspects of Nebraska agricultural products in the international marketplace. Team members continue to promote new opportunities for international trade as well as support existing relationships with our current trading partners. The international trade team consists of Mark Jagels, Angel Velitchkov and Jordan Schlake.

In the area of international trade, NDA is currently working on increasing: livestock exports to South America; dry edible bean exports to Bulgaria; and pork, beef, dry edible beans and soybean exports to Vietnam. For 2019, Governor Pete Ricketts has scheduled trade missions for Vietnam and Japan in September and Germany in November. In the next year, NDA is set to host multiple delegations visiting Nebraska on reverse trade missions.

Beyond Meat went beyond expectations in its first earnings report since its stock market debut last month.

The plant-based meat maker’s shares soared after it beat Wall Street’s first quarter earnings and revenue forecasts. Beyond Meat also said it expects full-year revenue to hit $210 million this year, more than double its 2018 revenue and higher than the $205 million analysts had forecast, according to FactSet.

“We’re being very conservative. I view this as a floor,” President and CEO Ethan Brown said.

Beyond Meat’s shares jumped 15% to $114.27 in after-hours trading.

The El Segundo, California-based company lost $6.6 million, or 95 cents per share, in the first quarter, up slightly from a 98-cent loss in the same period a year ago.

Adjusted for stock-based compensation costs and other items, the company lost 14 cents per share. That was better than the 15-cent loss analysts had forecast.

Beyond Meat reported revenue of $40.2 million, more than triple the prior year. That also beat Wall Street’s forecast of $39 million.

Sales of frozen items dropped 5% in the January-March period after Beyond Meat took its frozen chicken tenders off the market. But sales of its fresh products — burgers and sausages — jumped 304%. Sales were about evenly split between groceries and restaurants.

Ten-year-old Beyond Meat burst into the spotlight last month with its IPO on Nasdaq. Its $25 opening share price jumped 163% in the first day of trading, the biggest first-day pop since 2015, according to Renaissance Capital. Beyond Meat is now valued at nearly $6 billion.

It’s one of the biggest names in a growing category of vegan “meats” that are meant to appeal to both vegetarians and carnivores. Impossible Foods and Nestle — which will launch a Sweet Earth-brand plant-based burger this fall — are others.

In a conference call with analysts, Brown said he’s not concerned about rivals because he thinks Beyond Meat’s products are meeting customers demands. Beyond Meat’s burgers and sausages are made from pea protein because customers didn’t want to eat more soy or gluten, he said. He also stressed that they don’t contain genetically modified ingredients — a jab at Impossible Foods, which has genetically engineered yeast in its ingredient list.

“It is very, very hard to build products with the level of ingredient integrity that we have,” Brown said.

Beyond Meat plans to expand into Europe and Asia, he said. Right now, the company makes all its products in Missouri and sells to 30,000 grocery stores, restaurants and schools in the U.S., Canada, Italy, the United Kingdom and Israel.

Last week, it announced a partnership with Dutch company Zandbergen World’s Finest Meat. Zandbergen is expected to start making Beyond Meat products next year at a new facility in the Netherlands.

Brown also expressed confidence that the company can scale up quickly if it enters into further partnerships with restaurant chains. It currently sells Beyond Meat burgers and meat crumbles at Carl’s Jr. and Del Taco and is testing sausages at Tim Hortons in Canada.

Brown said the company is in the testing phase with several fast-food chains, but he wouldn’t say which ones. Burger King has paired up with Impossible Foods, but McDonald’s is among those that could be looking for a partner.

Brown said Beyond Meat has the supply and manufacturing capability to meet demand from big fast-food chains, especially if restaurants are added gradually.

“It’s nothing that would break our system,” he said.

LINCOLN, NEB. – “President Trump’s signing of the disaster assistance bill is tremendous news and an important step forward in helping Nebraska farm and ranch families and our rural communities recover from the March flooding and blizzards in our state.”

“This disaster bill includes roughly $3 billion to cover crop damage, including additional funding for farmers prevented from planting due to the floods, as well as payments for on-farm stored grain that was damaged in these flooding events. The bill also provides $558 million in funding for the Emergency Conservation Program, the primary program farmers and ranchers can utilize for fence repair and debris removal, including clearing sand from farm fields.”

“We want to thank the entire Nebraska Congressional delegation for their support for the disaster assistance package and for President Trump signing this package into law.”

“We urge USDA to move forward as quickly as possible in developing the rules and implementing the key programs so they can be put to work in helping Nebraskans.”

MANHATTAN, Kan. — Industrial hemp is the new buzzword in Kansas agriculture, but the message is clear: No hemp or hemp-derived products, including CBD oil, are currently approved for use in animal feed, including pet food.

That was the word from Kansas Department of Agriculture officials during a May 23 webinar with K-State Research and Extension agents and specialists.

The Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018, also referred to as the Farm Bill, expanded production opportunities for growing hemp across the country. This year is the first year it’s legal to grow it in Kansas but only within research programs outlined by the Farm Bill.

KDA has developed the Kansas industrial hemp research program, which offers potential for diversification for Kansas farmers looking for an alternative crop or for new farming enterprises, according to Secretary of Agriculture Mike Beam.

“The Kansas agriculture industry is committed to pursuing new and innovative opportunities to grow agriculture,” he said, “and the research generated by participants of this new industrial hemp research program will be valuable data in identifying the growth potential offered in this sector.”

Industrial hemp can be used in various products including paper, biodegradable plastics, and construction materials.

Two agencies regulate feed and feed ingredients in Kansas – the Kansas Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration, said Ken Bowers, feed technical director with the KDA Dairy and Feed Safety Program.

Bowers said feed ingredients used in animal feed in the United States undergo a scientific review by the company that is proposing the ingredient. The company submits the review through one of several avenues for approval, but to date, no hemp or hemp-derived products have been approved. The regulations are designed to keep animals and humans safe.

“That’s the only way to get a legal, approved ingredient,” he said.

The FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine has safety concerns that must be addressed through scientific studies regarding Tetrahydrocannabinol THC and CBD. These concerns and scientific studies have not been addressed yet by industry, Bowers said.

Extension educators around the state have been fielding questions about whether hemp or hemp-derived products can be used as feed ingredients, said Justin Waggoner, beef cattle specialist with K-State Research and Extension and webinar coordinator.

“It’s really important that our stakeholders are knowledgeable on industrial hemp and what can and can’t be done with it in the state of Kansas,” said Dana Ladner, KDA compliance education coordinator, during the webinar.

More information is available on the Kansas Department of Agriculture Industrial Hemp Research Program website and on the K-State Research and Extension Industrial Hemp information page. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute for Food and Agriculture also has a resource page.