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Articles from 2019 In June

This Week in Agribusiness, June 29, 2019

Part 1

Note: The video automatically plays through all show parts once you start.

Max Armstrong and Orion Samuelson kick off the show with a conversation with Iowa Ag Secretary Mike Naig about the challenging growing season there. Cody Koster from Rice Dairy joins Max and Orion to talk about how dairy farmers are doing with higher prices for milk, but also for grains.  

Part 2

Cody Koster from Rice Dairy rejoins Max and Orion to discuss the challenges for forage and feed for dairy cattle and the effect of China on the dairy markets. Chad Colby in the Colby Ag Tech segment talks with Bill Northey about what’s going on at USDA.  In the Farm Broadcaster of the Week segment Jeff Steward of Linder Farm Network in Minnesota joins Max and Orion to talk about crop progress up north.

Part 3

Max and Orion hear from Harry Siemens of about some shocking conditions in the prairie provinces of Canada.

Part 4

Max Armstrong talks with Kimberly Atkins of the U.S. Grains Council about their efforts to promote U.S. grains around the world, especially during the various trade wars. Agricultural Meteorologist Greg Soulje joins Max and Orion while on vacation to look at the forecast for the week ahead.

Part 5

Agricultural Meteorologist Greg Soulje returns to take a look at the long-range weather picture.

Part 6

In Max’s Tractor Shed, Max introduces a 50-year-old “peach” tractor, a 1969 John Deere 2020, a futuristic-looking ride owned by Pat Short of North Carolina. Orion Samuelson Estancia FFA in Estancia, New Mexico, a club at 6,100 feet of elevation. Member Matthew Lindeman touts the make-up of the club, which has its own chile roast. In Samuelson Sez, Orion talks about why travelling abroad is the best education.

Part 7

Orion Samuelson introduces a report from Steve Bridge who interviews UC Davis professor and Air Quality Extension Specialist Frank Mitloehner who dispels the idea that “cow farts” have much to do with climate change. 

Pennsylvania enacts special exhibition requirements amid ASF concerns

World Pork Expo pig in show ring

Earlier this month, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture instituted special exhibition requirements, in light of the ongoing rapid spread of African swine fever across Asia and parts of Europe and Africa. Now some fairs have canceled their swine shows entirely.

On May 31, Kevin Brightbill, Pennsylvania state veterinarian, issued a letter to fair board members, 4-H leaders and FFA advisers with the new swine exhibition requirements. Beginning June 1, no swine species shall be exhibited in Pennsylvania unless each animal:

  • Is accompanied by a certificate of veterinary inspection issued within 30 days of the fair.
  • Is permanently identified by an official ear tag and the number is recorded on the CVI.
  • Has been visually inspected for signs of disease immediately prior to unloading at the exhibition by an accredited veterinarian.

All market swine exhibited shall move directly to slaughter following the exhibition and may not be diverted to premises other than a recognized slaughter establishment or slaughter market.

Since the annoucement, West Alexander Fair and Washington County Fair have canceled their breeding hog shows. The Big Butler Fair canceled its entire swine show.

ASF cannot be transmitted to humans through contact with pigs or pork, and only affects members of the pig family. ASF is transmitted to pigs through direct contact with infected pigs, their waste, blood, contaminated clothing, feed, equipment and vehicles, and in some cases, some tick species.

Source: Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, which is solely responsible for the information provided, and wholly owns the information. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.

G20 meeting could be last chance before Trump adds more tariffs

iStock/Getty Images Plus/theasis U.S. and China chess pieces

President Trump and Chinese President Xi are scheduled to meet Saturday during the G20 meeting in Osaka, Japan, in hopes of reviving the trade talks bwtween the two countries. This could be the last chance for the two countries to agree on a pathway forward before Trump decides to move ahead with 25% tariffs on an additional $300 billion in Chinese products. 

The U.S. Trade Representative held public hearings this month with over 300 representatives of industries testifying in opposition to the additional tariffs, citing the cost it would impose on consumers, companies and the U.S. economy. In addition there were approximately 3,000 written comments filed with the USTR. The next round of proposed tariffs would hit many consumer products including electronics, computers, shoes, clothing, etc. 

‘Keep America First in Agriculture’
The National Pork Producers Council launched a campaign called “Keep America First in Agriculture” that emphasizes the importance of establishing the proper regulatory framework for gene editing in livestock. NPPC is asking that the regulatory authority be moved from the Food and Drug Administration to the USDA. 

The NPPC argues that USDA is the only agency prepared to regulate this new technology. They say USDA’s Animal Plant Health Inspection Service already has a review process in place for genetic editing in plants and could easily be adopted for livestock. 

In a press release, the NPPC says, “countries like Canada, Brazil and Argentina are moving quickly on this advancement to gain competitive advantage in the market, the U.S. running the risk of falling far behind as a result of a regulatory seize by the Food and Drug Administration.” According to the NPPC, the FDA process is an “impractical, lengthy and expensive approval process, threatening hundreds of thousands of jobs and nearly 6% of U.S. gross domestic product.”

EU announces U.S. beef quota
The European Union announced that it has reached an agreement on new quota protocol that will give the U.S. 35,000 metric tons of the EU’s 45,000 metric ton tariff rate quota for non-hormone beef. 

The quota for the United States will increase from 18,500 metric tons to 35,000 mt over a seven-year period. The remaining amount of quota level left available will be for other countries, which would be expected to be filled by Argentina, Australia and Uruguay. 

The EU expects to have commission approval by the end of June, with the EU Council approving the agreement in July. Then the agreement will go before the EU Parliament later this year for consideration.

The United States won a World Trade Organization case in 1998 challenging the EU’s prohibition on imports of hormone-treated beef. An agreement was reached between the United States and the EU in 2009 that the EU would establish a 45,000-ton quota which would avoid the EU’s 20% tariff. However, instead of the United States filling the quota, other competing countries started filling the quota.

RFS Integrity Act
The “RFS Integrity Act of 2019” would bring greater transparency and predictability to the Environmental Protection Agency’s small refinery exemption process. The bipartisan bill introduced by Sens. Deb Fischer (R-NE) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) would require small refineries to petition the EPA by June 1 for the Renewable Fuel Standard hardship exemption. This would ensure that the EPA properly accounts for exempted gallons in the annual Renewable Volume Obligations set each November.

Corn growers have complained that the misuse of the small refinery waivers “negatively impact farmers by undercutting the RFS and reducing corn demand.” According to the National Corn Growers Association, the 2017 RFS waivers reduced the 15 billion-gallon ethanol volume to 13.18 billion gallons which effectively reduced the RFS to pre-2013 blending requirements and reduced the demand for corn.

President Trump has ordered the EPA and USDA to address the RFS waiver issue.

China agrees to reform rice and wheat subsidies
China has agreed to reform its domestic market price support for rice and wheat prior to April 2020. This is the result of China losing a WTO dispute in February regarding China’s domestic subsidies for these two commodities. 

The U.S. wheat industry believes it has lost hundreds of millions of dollars because of China’s domestic support programs that kept the price of Chinese wheat as high as $10 per bushel. This encouraged greater production by Chinese producers.   

USDA believes that China is stockpiling about 140 million metric tons of wheat — more than half of global ending stocks.

Ag approps passes House
The House of Representatives passed a multi-agency Fiscal Year ’20 appropriations bill that includes agriculture. 

The bill prohibits USDA from moving forward with the USDA’s pork modernization proposal until: 1) Office of the Inspector General reports to Congress findings on the data used by USDA in support of the development and design of the swine slaughter inspection program that is the subject of such proposed rule, and 2) FSIS addresses OIG’s findings.

The Senate has yet to decide when it will begin consideration of appropriation bills.

Source: P. Scott Shearer, who is solely responsible for the information provided, and wholly owns the information. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.

Ralco launches organic ProsperEO Liquid

Strong Animals, a brand of Ralco, announced today that it has launched a new organic, Organic Materials Review Institute-certified essential oil product ProsperEO Liquid. This latest product is an extension of the existing line of essential oil products that includes ProsperEO and Regano EX. ProsperEO is a natural water additive that strengthens the immunity of animals resulting in stronger, healthier animals that are better able to face health challenges and stress. This multi-species product is used for swine, poultry and ruminant animals.

The OMRI certification was sought as a result of increasing consumer demand for organic products. According to Coherent Market Insights, the global organic farming market is expected to exhibit a growth rate of 8.4% by 2026. The global organic food market is valued at $81.6 billion and growing according to the Research Institute for Organic Agriculture.

“Ralco’s focus on essential oil research and technologies over the last two decades allows for this product to not only be a cost-effective solution, but also more predictable and effective in promoting the overall health of animals,” said Richard Lamb, senior technology director at Ralco. “Standard essential oils can be somewhat unstable, but through the use of our patented Microfused process we are able to make a highly stable product, which not only makes them more effective, but also easier to use.”

Ralco continues to explore and innovate the use of essential oils and is pleased to expand their line of ProsperEO products into the organic market.

Ralco is a third-generation family-owned multinational company with distribution in more than 20 countries. Ralco is a leading global supplier of livestock nutrition, animal health products and crop enhancement technologies that support large segments of the livestock, poultry, aquaculture and crop production industries.

Source: Ralco, which is solely responsible for the information provided, and wholly owns the information. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.

‘Haul Out Hunger’ delivers 60,000 pork loins to 120 food pantries

Iowa Select Farms NHF-IowaSelect-Haul Out Hunger-Hector's Cupboard-1540.jpg
Kris Flaugh, a teacher at South Hamilton Middle School/High School in Jewell and principal Scott Dryer receive a donation of pork loins and a Henry’s Heroes care package from the Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation. The school’s new pantry, Hector’s Cupboard, serves 180 students and 50 families in their community.

The Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation has wrapped up Haul Out Hunger, with Iowa Select Farms employees delivering 60,000 pounds of fresh, boneless pork loins to 120 rural food pantries.

“The unfortunate reality is that too many Iowans are in need, especially during the summer months. We hope the pork loins and supplies from Henry’s Heroes will bring some,” says Jeff Hansen, president and CEO of Iowa Select Farms and co-founder of the Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation. “As farmers, we passionately believe in giving back to the communities where our employees and contractors live and work.”

Henry’s Heroes brings children’s personal care items to hospitals, food pantries and women and children’s shelters. The program was inspired by Henry Johnson, Jeff and Deb Hansen's grandchild and the son of Natalie and Jake Johnson. Natalie had the vision for Henry’s Heroes after she and Jake organized a donation of Henry's baby shower items to Blank Children's Hospital.

Iowa Select FarmsNHF-IowaSelect-Henry Johnson_Henry's Heroes-770.jpg

Henry’s Heroes brings children’s personal care items to hospitals, food pantries and women and children’s shelters. Henry Johnson (pictured), Jeff and Deb Hansen’s grandchild and the son of Natalie and Jake Johnson, inspired the program. Representatives of the Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation delivered 120 care packages to pantries during Haul Out Hunger.

“We have all witnessed the pain in our world for the lack of even the most basic needs to raise a child, even in our own communities,” says Natalie. “From basics like bottles and diapers to more fun items like books, toys and the cutest clothes, Henry’s Heroes brings joy to children and their caretakers when they are in most need.”

Debbie Tillman, food pantry coordinator at the Lenox Neighborhood Center, Lenox, Iowa, explained that families in need struggle to secure necessities. “A lot of the essential items infants and children need may not be covered by food stamps or government nutritional programs,” says Tillman.

During “Haul Out Hunger” — June 17-19 and 24-26 — Iowa Select Farms employees delivered 1,022 cases of meat and 120 Henry’s Heroes packages. Each meat case contains 12 pork loins, which will provide 240,000, four-ounce servings of nutritious pork for families in need.

Henry’s Heroes items will also be included in the Foundation’s Little Free Pantries that will be established this summer across rural Iowa. 

Source: Iowa Select Farms, which is solely responsible for the information provided, and wholly owns the information. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.

Bill increases funding for Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program

National Pork Board NHF-NPB-Veterinarian-1540.jpg

This week the American Veterinary Medical Association applauded the passage of the agriculture spending bill by the U.S. House of Representatives, which increases annual funding for the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program by $1 million to $9 million. The funding increase will help the program place more food animal veterinarians in rural areas to close veterinary access gaps. 

“The Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program has been a tremendous success in connecting food animal veterinarians in rural communities that so badly need their services and public health veterinarians that are essential to maintaining the health of animals and humans alike. This funding is an important step toward helping the program expand its reach,” says AVMA president John de Jong. “We're grateful to all of the lawmakers who in a bipartisan effort are committed to championing this program.”

The spending bill also maintains $3 million in funding for the Veterinary Services Grant Program, which similarly helps meet rural veterinary needs by providing grants to support education and extension activities and practice enhancement initiatives for food animal veterinary services.

Of additional importance to veterinary medicine, the bill provides a $30 million increase for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, maintains level funding of $16.3 million for the National Animal Health Laboratory Network, provides a $2 million increase for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Center for Veterinary Biologics and provides an increase of $4.2 million for APHIS Veterinary Diagnostics.

AVMA looks forward to working with Senate lawmakers as they develop their spending bill, and ensuring these funding levels remain in the final spending agreement between the House and Senate.

Source: AVMA, which is solely responsible for the information provided, and wholly owns the information. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.

MORNING Midwest Digest, June 28, 2019

Just how many people watched the second night of the democratic presidential debate?

Quite often after a major grain report, the market turns to crop-growing weather, which might be the heat in the forecast over the weekend.

The funeral for a fallen police officer in Illinois will be held Monday.

There's been heavy rain across parts of the heartland, including Wisconsin. That heavy rain can bring out snakes, or put them in places you don't wish to have them.


Photo: yokeetod/Getty Images


During FAD break, who pays for depopulation?

MrLonelyWalker-GettyImages NHF-MrLonelyWalker-GettyImages-Money-US-1540.jpg

For African swine fever, the primary control and eradication strategy is stamping-out. Since there is no effective vaccine, clinically affected swine, as well as swine that are suspected of being exposed to the virus, must be culled. If ASF should break on a farm in the United States, the question then becomes who will pay for that depopulation and how much will they pay?

According to Donna Karlsons, public affairs specialist for the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, the Animal Health Protection Act provides broad authority to the Secretary of Agriculture to prevent, detect, control and eradicate diseases and pests of animals. It also provides authority to pay claims for animals, articles or means of conveyance that are destroyed. Generally, the AHPA authorizes APHIS to pay 50% of fair market value for animals taken in a disease response.

For diseases such as Newcastle disease and highly pathogenic avian influenza, APHIS may pay up to 100%. Additionally, there are provisions that allow the USDA to pay up to 100%.

Tim Craig, co-founder and CEO of James Allen Insurance, learned of this wide range for USDA payouts while working on a loss insurance bill that recently passed in Indiana. The bill allows the Indiana Board of Animal Health to purchase insurance to cover the loss and damages to the state of Indiana related to a prevalent animal disease incident.

“The whole conversation is how are we going to pay these producers because the states aren’t set up to do so. In the past, the Board of Animal Health was not allowed to protect itself or protect the states with insurance policies,” Craig says. “Our bill actually took that language out, allowing them to buy insurance coverage. In the event of a foreign animal disease outbreak it would provide for that and benefit back to the state.”

The next question becomes how will the USDA figure out the price for that culled animal?

According to Karlsons, fair market value is calculated based on a variety of factors, including the type of animal, age and other variables.

“It’s unclear what the market value will be then, is that the market value prior to an outbreak or is it the market value during the outbreak?” Craig says. “If it’s during that, then the price is going to go down even further.”

James Allen Insurance’s mortality policy can be purchased as a stand-alone or can be wrapped into an overall farm mortality policy. However, the producer gets to decide the value they want per animal, rather than just current market value.

“The way we’ve designed it was you pay an agreed value, which means the actual producer can set the value of that animal as low or as high as they want,” Craig says. “The difference is the policy that we’ve created would make the farmer more than whole, it could include some profit for them if they build that into what they want. It’s very broad, so it’s not only just covering this, we actually have the ability to cover their normal standard insurance perils that they currently would have just a regular mortality policy on too.”

The mortality policy will pay out if that farm breaks with ASF or foot-and-mouth disease, if the farm is in an area the government deems as a mandatory slaughter zone, and if the producer needs to transport pigs across regional or state lines and there’s a stop movement in place.

“If ASF or FMD would enter the United States, it would be a complete disaster. Indiana alone exports, I believe around $3 billion worth of pork; it’s the fifth largest state,” Craig says. “Take some state like Iowa, it would cripple that state’s economy, and really it would trickle the entire pork economy.”

While James Allen Insurance also offers an expense reimbursement policy, Craig says the mortality policy has been more popular among smaller to mid-range producers, while the larger producers are purchasing both.

Regardless of the policy, Craig cautions producers to not wait until ASF gets closer to the U.S. border before purchasing.

“With these policies there is a waiting period. So, if they choose to wait six months, they’re really waiting seven months because we have a 30-day wait,” Craig says. “Also, just because of the extreme high risk to us and our supporting security behind the coverage, it’s limited capacity. For instance, in Iowa, there are certain counties we’re completely full in and Minnesota is starting to get heavily populated, as is Illinois. It could be a producer comes to us and we wouldn’t be able to help them at that time. Also, it is truly a ‘first come-first serve’ type of coverage, just because of the risk and the appetite of reinsurance on the back end, how much they’re really willing to tolerate if a loss has happened.”

Farm Progress America, June 28, 2019

Max Armstrong shares a turn to hemp by farmers as that new crop gets cleared by the 2018 Farm Bill. From fiber to CBD oil, the products from this new crop which may offer added income potential for farmers. Industrial hemp plantings this year could double from the 2018 78,000-acre crop. Sales of hemp reportedly crossed the $1 billion mark.

Farm Progress America is a daily look at key issues in agriculture. It is produced and presented by Max Armstrong, veteran farm broadcaster and host of This Week in Agribusiness.

Photo: Arina Bogachy/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Highest June 1 U.S. hog and pig inventory since 1964

National Pork Board Finisher pigs closeup

The U.S. inventory of all hogs and pigs on June 1 was 75.5 million head, the highest since estimates began in 1964. This was up 4% from June 1, 2018, and up 1% from March 1, 2019. Pre-report analysts had expected that number to be 3%.

Breeding inventory, at 6.41 million head, was up 1% from last year, and up 1% from the previous quarter. That is smaller than analysts had expected at 2.1%.

Market hog inventory, at 69.1 million head, was another quarterly record, up 4% from last year, and up 1% from last quarter. Analysts had expected that number to be up 3.1%. This is also the highest June 1 market hog inventory since estimates began in 1964.

The under-50-pound category was 22.019 million, up 3.2% from one year ago. Analysts had expected that number to be up 3.6%. For 50-to-119-pound category there were 19.606 million head, a 2.7% increase from last June. Analysts had forecast that number would be at 2.8%. The 120-to-179-pound category was 14.427 million head, a 3.1% increase up against pre-report estimates of 3.2%. 

For the 180-pounds-and-over category, there were 13.059 million head, up 7.5% from a year ago. The average analyst guess on that was 4.6%, but actual slaughter so far during June has been up to 9.2%.

Lee Schulz, Iowa State University associate professor of agricultural economics, says digging back into revisions shows why there was such a larger 180-pounds-and-over category.

“The December, February pig crop was increased 1.3% from the previous report. That about 428,000 pigs more, and that came about because of more sows farrowing so we’ve seen an increase in 39,000 sows farrowing. That collectively really contributed to a lot larger 180 pounds and over,” Schulz says. “I think that very much matches the 9% increase in slaughter we’ve seen here in November [for projected slaughter]. I think that is really important to key in on, why we seen that big increase in the 180 pounds and over, and now that we’re accounting for those hogs.”

U.S. hog producers intend to have 3.18 million sows farrow during the June-August 2019 quarter, down slightly from the actual farrowings during the same period in 2018, but up 3% from 2017. Intended farrowings for September-November, at 3.17 million sows, are up slightly from 2018, and up 2% from 2017.

The March-May 2019 pig crop, at 34.2 million head was up 4% from 2018. This is the largest March-May pig crop since estimates began in 1970. Sows farrowed during this period totaled 3.11 million head, up slightly from 2018. The sows farrowed during this quarter represented 49% of the breeding herd. The average pigs saved per litter was a record high 11.00 for the March-May period, compared to 10.63 last year.

Scott Brown, University of Missouri Extension economist, says the March-through-May per litter size coming in at 11 was certainly one of the more surprising numbers coming out of the report.

“It just reminds me about how good per litter have been in a number of states. You look at Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, all with growth in excess of four-tenths of a pig, relative to a year ago,” Brown says. “It certainly suggests to me that some of the disease issues that we’ve seen in the industry have come at better control, PRRS being the one that sticks out that, it may have given us this big jump. I think if we continue to see pigs per litter running at these kind of growth rates going forward, it spells certainly a lot more hogs as we go through time.”

Another interesting figure that came from the June report was the breeding inventory at 6.41 million head, Brown says.

“Seeing states like Iowa, down 40,000 head, and Minnesota, North Carolina also being lower, but those declines being outweighed by what happened in states like Illinois, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, and the ‘other state’ category was also up 25,000 head out of this report relative to a year ago,” Brown says. “To me, there is some interesting growth in those states, that are outside of that Minnesota, North Carolina area. Those states, I think, are important as we move forward and could suggest, I think, further growth as we look ahead.”