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Nominations sought for Beck’s Beyond the Fence awards


Beck's HybridsNominations are being accepted for the Beck’s Beyond the Fence Awards.  The award program honors individuals for their outstanding service and contributions to Indiana agriculture.  For the fourth year, the awards are sponsored by Beck’s Hybrids of Atlanta, Ind. in conjunction with the Indiana Soybean Alliance and the Indiana Corn Growers Association.

Scott Beck, vice-president of Beck’s Hybrids says sharing agriculture’s story has become increasingly important.  “Without the support of Hoosiers who are invested in the success of agriculture, Indiana would not be where it is today,” he says.

Nominations are being sought for the following categories:

The Beck’s Friend of Indiana Agriculture Award is for an individual who has made a contribution to the industry, but isn’t directly involved in agriculture. (http://bit.ly/1pbJ7wH)

The Beck’s Agricultural Education Outreach Award is for an individual who has made a contribution through his/her role in Indiana agriculture education. (http://bit.ly/1z8ovyW)

The Beck’s Community Betterment Award is for a farmer whose contribution to the agricultural community has been seen through philanthropic, service, volunteerism, donation and/or leadership projects. (http://bit.ly/1pbD4rO)

The Beck’s Ag Media Award is for an individual in media who has achieved excellence in reporting about Indiana agriculture. (http://bit.ly/11npLzj)

Nominations are due December 29, 2014 and the winner in each of the four categories will be announced during the 2015 Livestock Forage and Grain Forum.

 

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Apply now for a $30k VFW scholarship


The deadline for a $30,000 VFW scholarship is fast approaching.

The Voice of Democracy audio-essay scholarship is available to high school students. Home school or home study students are also eligible.

The first-place winner receives a $30,000 scholarship. Other national winners receive $1,000-$16,000. First-place winners from each state are also flown to Washington D.C., courtesy of the state VFW Department.

To apply, applicants must write an essay and record it to a CD. This year’s essay topic is Why Veterans are Important to our Nation’s History and Future.

The CD, a copy of the essay and application form are due to a participating VFW no later than Nov. 1, 2014.

Get full details, and download an application at VFW.org.

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Cheese up, butter down on the CME


Cash cheese prices increased on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange on Wednesday. Barrels increased 3.5 cents and blocks added 4.5 cents expanding the barrel-to-block spread to 30 cents.  Cash butter lost 4.25 cents slipping below $2 to $1.99.  Class III futures were a little lower except for November which gained a nickel.

 

National Dairy Products Sales Report for the week ending October 18: cash cheese blocks averaged $2.26 per pound down 7.9 cents from the previous week.  Barrels fell 11.5 cents to $2.21, butter dropped 18.5 cents to average $2.74 per pound.  Nonfat dry milk increased 1.9 cents to $1.51 and dry whey decreased 1.4 cents to average 65.2 cents per pound.

 

The November Base Class I Price is $24.06 down 13 cents from the previous month.  Base Skim Milk Price for Class I is $13.25 down 42 cents.

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Cheese and butter stocks decline


Wisconsin cheese

Monthly Cold Storage Report from the National Ag Statistics Service shows 1.013 billion pounds of cheese in the nation’s warehouses at the end of September.  Down 3 percent from August and 5 percent lower than the end of September, 2013.  American-type cheese stocks stood at 631 million at the end of September, also down 3 percent from August and 5 percent from a year ago.

Butter in cold storage totaled 146 million pounds at the end of September, down 11 percent from August and 37 percent less than in the warehouses a year ago.

 

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NCBA “unlawfully lobbying” says R-CALF


Top Story IconThe head of R-CALF USA says the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) and affiliates are engaged in unlawful lobbying in a letter urging Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack to abandon his plans for a second beef checkoff program. Bill Bullard tells Brownfield the NCBA and 45 of its state affiliates are prohibited from lobbying because they receive funds under the current 1985 Beef Checkoff program.

“Really, what it’s doing is showing how brazen NCBA and its affiliates are in their lobbying even though that’s unlawful.” Bullard says R-CALF asked the ag secretary four years ago to suspend NCBA’s contracts through the Cattlemen’s Beef Board and Beef Checkoff when an independent accounts report revealed the NCBA misspent more than $216-thousand dollars of producers’ money. Bullard says his group has been urging Vilsack to take action ever since.

“And now that Secretary HAS taken action, even though it’s not the specific action we asked for, it WILL result in reforms in the (beef) checkoff. So, we’re going to support the reforms we’ve been calling for through this process, so we’re pleased the secretary has taken action.”

The NCBA contends a second checkoff would threaten state beef councils which Bullard claims are wasting a lot of checkoff funds.

AUDIO:  Interview with Bill Bullard (below) (7:45 min. mp3)

 

 

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Wisconsin water use declined in 2013


Wisconsin irrigation

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources says surface and groundwater use declined six percent in 2013 compared to 2012 reaching a three-year low.  The Department’s annual Wisconsin Water Use and Withdrawal Summary cites cooler temperatures and more normal rainfall as the main reasons for the decline compared to the drought of 2012.

A total of 2.12 trillion gallons of water was withdrawn in 2013: 1.87 trillion gallons was surface water, 250 billion was groundwater.  74 percent of the water drawn was for power generation; 8 percent for municipal use; 5 percent for agricultural irrigation; 5 percent for paper manufacturing; 4 percent for cranberry production and 4 percent for other uses.

Agricultural use declined 24.5 percent from the previous year thanks mainly to a 32 percent drop in irrigation use in July.  Power plant use declined 4 percent and municipal withdrawals were 11.7 percent lower in 2013.

Water supply systems in Wisconsin capable of withdrawing 100,000 gallons per day are required to register and report withdrawals.

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Soybeans decline late


Healthy Living Icon

 

Soybeans were modestly lower on profit taking and technical selling, unable to follow through after the earlier gains. The trade does expect solid harvest progress in the near term. China bought 419,000 tons of U.S. beans and unknown picked up 113,000 tons, both for delivery during the current marketing year. Demand remains strong and even with a record crop, farmer selling continues to be extremely light. Soybean meal was lower and bean oil was higher on the adjustment of product spreads. Oil World projects Brazil’s soybean crop at 89 million tons, lower than their prior guess and less than what USDA is currently expecting.

Corn was modestly lower on fund and technical selling. Corn’s expecting solid harvest progress in most areas thanks to a generally better weather outlook. The trade does expect a record crop and fundamentals are bearish, but contracts are currently at a good relative value. Ethanol futures were lower. Ethanol production last week was 896,000 barrels per day, compared to 885,000 the week before. Stocks were pegged at 17.9 million barrels, compared to 18.4 million in the previous update. Crude oil futures closed at the lowest levels since June 2012.

The wheat complex was mostly modestly higher on short covering and technical buying. Wheat’s in an uptrend, but it’s coming without any real fundamental backing. The big bearish factor weighing on the complex remains the world fundamentals: namely, expected record global production and large projected ending stocks. Still, like corn, U.S. wheat, especially Chicago wheat, remains a solid relative value. Export demand remains light, with Egypt again bypassing U.S. wheat, buying 180,000 tons of wheat, 60,000 tons each from France, Romania, and Russia.

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Red meat stocks down 8%


 

meatcase

USDA reports red meat stocks on September 30 were down 8% on the year at 960.361 million pounds. Beef came out at 373.344 million pounds, 16% less than last year, and pork was pegged at 544.998 million pounds, 4% lower than a year ago.

Poultry supplies declined 10% to 1.102 billion pounds. Chicken made up most of that, 614.290 million pounds, a 9% decrease, and turkey accounted for 484.547 million pounds, a 10% year to year drop.

USDA’s livestock and poultry slaughter numbers for September are out Thursday.

 

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Livestock futures contracts settle higher


It was another quiet afternoon in cattle country and significant business will not develop until the end of the week. Private sources did report a few bids on the table in Kansas at 162.00 live. Asking prices are around 168.00 to 170.00 in the South, and 260.00 plus dressed in the North. The kill totaled 112,000 head, 4,000 more than last week, but 12,000 smaller than a year ago.

Boxed beef cutout values were higher on choice and steady on select on moderate demand and offerings. Choice boxed beef was up 1.16 at 251.00 and select was .14 higher at 235.07.

Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle contracts settled 35 to 157 higher. Futures rebounded based on the potential of cash market support at the end of the week. Triple digit gains held in the front month contracts. Deferred contracts were higher, but the lack of momentum in the complex suggested there is still underlying concern about long term demand growth at current price levels. October settled 1.50 higher at 168.05 and Dece3mber was up 1.05 a 168.10.

Feeder cattle ended 50 to 125 points higher. The feeder cattle shifted from leading the live cattle complex early in the week to tagging along with strong moves in nearby live cattle trade. The focus on firming beef values in the morning report and the potential to push cash cattle prices higher gained some renewed attention in the feeder pit. October settled .50 higher at 239.45, and November was up 1.25 at 235.17.

Feeder cattle receipts at the Ozarks Regional Stockyards at West Plains, MO totaled 3978 head on Tuesday. Compared to last week, the bulk of the feeder steers and heifers trended 2.00 to 5.00 lower, with yearlings trending steady to 5.00 higher. Demand was moderate early in the sale and improved throughout the day as several high quality weaned and vaccinated packages entered the market. Feeder steers medium and large 1 averaging 520 pounds brought 271.01 per hundredweight. 522 pound heifers traded at 252.05.

Lean hogs settled 70 to 205 points higher as strong buyer support redeveloped despite continued pressure in both the cash hog and pork cutout values. Traders focused on the recent pressure, which helped to draw moderate commercial buyer interest back into the complex. December settled 1.30 higher at 89.75, and February was up 1.77 at 87.85.

Barrows and gilts in the Iowa/Minnesota direct trade closed 3.34 lower with a weighted average of 92.32 on a carcass basis, the West was down 2.85 at 92.19, and the East was 1.99 lower at 93.48. Missouri direct base carcass meat price was 1.00 to 5.00 lower from 83.00 to 92.00. Midwest hogs on a live basis closed steady to weak with an instance of 2.00 lower from 67.00 to 80.00.

The pork carcass value closed 2.88 lower at 101.16 FOB plant. All cuts were lower with the exception of ribs.

Pork values continue to quickly erode. This is creating additional concern about not only short-term market direction, but overall long-term market stability. Further pressure in both pork values and cash markets will only add to futures market liquidation, which has been seen early in the week.

Wednesday’s hog kill was estimated at 429,000 head, 1,000 more than last week and 4,000 greater than last year.

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Closing Grain and Livestock Futures: October 22, 2014


Markets Featured Image 600x500_edited-2

 

Dec. corn closed at $3.53, down 3 cents
Nov. soybeans closed at $9.62 and 3/4, down 1 and 1/2 cents
Dec. soybean meal closed at $338.00, down $4.90
Dec. soybean oil closed at 32.14, up 38 points
Dec. wheat closed at $5.22 and 1/4, up 3 cents
Oct. live cattle closed at $168.05, up $1.50
Dec. lean hogs closed at $89.75, up $1.30
Nov. crude oil closed at $80.52, down $1.97
Dec. cotton closed at 62.68, down 11 points
Nov. Class III milk closed at $21.74, up 5 cents
Oct. gold closed at $1,244.80, down $6.20
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 16,461.32, down 153.49 points

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Bayer researcher discusses need for increased R&D in wheat


Kansas corn 8-14-editIn recent years, major ag companies such as Monsanto, Bayer, Syngenta and Pioneer have increased their spending on wheat research.  But, Catherine Feuillet, head of trait research and development for Bayer CropScience, says even more investment is needed in order to make wheat more competitive with other crops.

We visited with Feuillet at the recent World Food Prize event in Des Moines, where she participated in a panel discussion on global wheat research and development.

AUDIO: Catherine Feuillet

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APH could be ‘lifeline’ for drought plagued growers


The new farm bill provision called Actual Production History Yield Exclusion (APH) has the potential to be a lifeline for farmers following crop losses due to bad weather.  Texas Panhandle farmer Wade Cowan tells Brownfield he’s had four years of drought that were preceded by a hail-out.

“Basically we’ve been sitting for the last five years with very low yields,” Cowan told Brownfield Ag News on Wednesday, “and so by being able to plug this new yield in, since the whole county had a weather related incident, really does help us actually have a safety net there with the insurance.”

The provision, available on select crops next spring, allows farmers to exclude yields from exceptionally bad years from their production history when calculating yields to establish crop insurance coverage.

Cowan, the first vice-president of the American Soybean Association, says the APH rollout means the difference between continuing to farm following disastrous years, and being forced out of business.

“You know I can’t say enough about Secretary Vilsack and Under Secretary Scuse and just all the people in the USDA,” said Cowan.  “They really did a monumental effort in getting this out for next year.”

Farmers purchase coverage based on recent yields. Under APH, yields can be excluded from production history when the county average yield is at least 50 percent below the 10 previous crop years’ average yield.

Cowan farms at Brownfield, Texas, southwest of Lubbock.

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Scholarships offered through Agriculture Future of America


Agriculture Future of America offers several scholarships to qualified students.

Though the application date is next year – applications are due by March 20, 2015 – it is never too early to apply.

Community scholarships

These $3,200 scholarships are awarded through community partnerships in Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma.

Click here to find partnerships in your state.

Click here to apply.

AFA National Leader and Academic Scholarship

Scholarships seek to identify young leaders in the agriculture and food industry to enter AFA’s leader development program and receive an academic scholarship to support their academic education. AFA awards 40-50 National Leader and Academic Scholarships annually.

Click here to find out more, or apply for a AFA National Leader and Academic scholarship.

If you want to find out more about AFA scholarship opportunities, visit agfuture.org.

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Expect to see more ‘non-traditional’ data management partnerships


syngenta flag-editMonsanto’s 2013 acquisition of The Climate Corporation is an example of the “non-traditional” data management partnerships that farmers and ranchers can expect to see more of in the future.

So says Chris Tingle, head of water optimization in North America with Syngenta.

“Where the gap in the expertise really is, in the sector right now, is people that can take these huge volumes of data and move that into a recommendation for the grower,” Tingle says. “For us to do that in a quick way, we have to rely on people and companies where that is their core competency—and sometimes that falls outside of the traditional ag sector.”

Tingle was part of a panel discussion on data collection and management at this week’s Global Water for Food Conference in Seattle, Washington.  He discussed that topic in a follow-up phone interview with Brownfield.

AUDIO: Chris Tingle

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What to feed babies on vegetarian/vegan diets


NEW HL ICONRegistered Dietitian Andrea Giancolli says parents need to make careful choices for their newborns if they are to be on vegetarian or vegan diets. For one, she says, if babies are born to vegan moms and they are not breast fed, those moms need to feed their babies soy-based formula. As babies transition to solid foods, she says mashed tofu, beans and soy yogurt are some good choices.

HEALTHY LIVING PROGRAM – Babies on vegetable diets (1:30 mp3)

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Preparing your operation for PEDv


Purdue Extension logoDuring the Purdue Extension PED conference, Extension educator Lindy Miller told attendees that proper planning for the Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus can be the difference between an operation surviving a PEDv break or a break bankrupting a farm.  “You need to know it will likely affect your cash flow,” he says. “And know what that means to your equity plan in your business so you can maintain a viable business.”

Miller tells Brownfield farms that haven’t seen an outbreak with PEDv are seeing a profit and now is the time to increase prevention methods.  “It makes more sense to invest in your employees and in your animals and in prevention methods than it might be to expand or to over-extend yourself into other operations that you’re not as good at managing,” he says.

But, he says, the best place to start is with employees.

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Managing inputs for 2015


corn harvest 2010-2The potential for tighter margins has farmers looking closer at their expenses for 2015.  Monticello, Ind. farmer Brian Scott says there are a few changes they may make next year to reduce input costs.  “We talked with our dealer about putting on dry fertilizer,” he says.  “Based on soil tests, he thinks we probably won’t see any yield hit by backing off a little bit.”

And, he tells Brownfield they are looking at making changes in their seed corn selection, too.

“This year, on half of our dent corn acres, we went to Double Pro corn varieties instead of Triple to save some money,” he says.  “We just haven’t had root worm problems here.  Next year, we’re probably going to look at more of that – or going to Round-up only, or even planting conventional to save some money on the front end.”

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New Iowa beef processor to begin operations


iowa premium beef plant-tama-editA tight beef supply has forced several beef packing plants across the U.S. to close their doors in recent years.  But a new beef plant in east-central Iowa hopes to buck that trend.

Iowa Premium Beef of Tama will begin operations in early November and plans to be slaughtering 1,100 head of cattle per day by next spring.  CEO Jeffrey Johnson says finding enough cattle should not be a problem.

IowaPremiumBeef logo-edit 2“We have a very good supply network around us,” Johnson says. “If you look at the numbers from last year, they marketed 650-thousand fed cattle within 100 miles of Tama and 1.2 million cattle within 150 miles of the Tama facility.”

And Johnson says they are seeing an increase in cattle feeding in the area.

“If you look at the trend on cattle production—if we look at the producers themselves—cattle are moving north. Iowa, being the number one corn-producing state, also has the input called distillers grain,” he says. “We see a lot these grain farmers that are putting up these one-thousand head confinement barns around, within this 150-mile radius.”

Iowa Premium Beef is located in the former Iowa Quality Beef plant, which closed in 2004.  The plant was built in 1971 by Tama Meat Packing. It has operated under several owners over the years, including Tyson Fresh Meats.  However, none of the tenants have been able to achieve long-term success.

Johnson says by the time they’re done, Iowa Premium Beef will have spent nearly 49 million dollars in remodeling and expanding the plant, which will employ 600 people when it opens.

Seventy percent of the beef produced at the plant will go to domestic markets, Johnson says, with 30 percent exported.

AUDIO: Jeffrey Johnson

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Tuesday midday cash livestock markets


We could start to see packer inquiry improve today with a few bids on the cattle showing up as the day progresses. At this point it is likely to be one of two options, initial bids may be strong, and draw active trade into the market before the end of the day, similar to last week, or trade could be delayed until Friday. Although not well defined some asking prices are around 168.00 to 170.00 in the South and 260.00 plus in the North. 

Boxed beef cutout values were higher in the morning report with the choice up .92 at 250.76, and select 235.65, .72 higher. 

Feeder cattle receipts at the Ozarks Regional Stockyards at West Plains, MO totaled 3978 head on Tuesday. Compared to last week, the bulk of the feeder steers and heifers trended 2.00 to 5.00 lower, with yearlings trending steady to 5.00 higher. Demand was moderate early in the sale and improved throughout the day as several high quality weaned and vaccinated packages entered the market. Feeder steers medium and large 1 averaging 520 pounds brought 271.01 per hundredweight. 522 pound heifers traded at 252.05. 

Barrows and gilts in the Iowa/Minnesota and Western direct trade areas were not reported due to confidentiality. The East was 1.16 lower at 94.31 weighted average on a carcass basis. Nationally the hog market is down 1.09 at 94.14. Missouri direct base carcass meat price is 1.00 to 5.00 lower from 83.00 to 92.00. Midwest hogs on a live basis are steady to weak with an instance of 2.00 lower from 67.00 to 80.00. 

The pork carcass value in the morning report 101.33 down 2.71 FOB plant. 

Pork values continue to quickly erode. This is creating additional concern about not only short-term market direction, but overall long-term market stability. Further pressure in both pork values and cash markets will only add to futures market liquidation, which has been seen early in the week.

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NCBA says COOL has to go


meatcaseFollowing the latest rebuke by the WTO of the U.S. Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) rule, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) is renewing its call for COOL to be repealed.

“We have looked at this every way we possibly can and there is no change that the Secretary of Agriculture can make that would bring Country of Origin Labeling in compliance with the WTO,” says Colin Woodall, NCBA’s vice president of government affairs.  “This has to be Congressional fix—and our position is that it’s time to get rid of COOL—we need to repeal it.”

Woodall compares COOL to Prohibition in the 1920’s.

“It may have sounded really good at the beginning.  But when it was implemented, it did not achieve what folks expected it to achieve,” Woodall says. “It was a failed experiment and ultimately it had to be repealed.”

Which is what is happening with COOL, Woodall says.

“It may have sounded good to some people in our industry.  But now, after six years of implementation, it has provided no benefits.  It’s only cost our industry,” he says.  “And now it is threatening our relationship with two of our top five markets—Canada and Mexico—so it’s time to repeal it.”

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