April 21, 2014

FARMLAND Documentary in theaters May 1

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Agriculture is telling its story.

Yes, those of us in the ag industry keep hearing that we need to tell our story, and now the time has come that combines a diverse perspective into the lives of young farmers and ranchers and the way they produce food.

This story is FARMLAND, a documentary from award-winning director,James Moll, that takes a look into the world of farming first-hand through the lives of six young farmers and ranchers. This story shares about their high-risk/high-reward jobs and passion for a way of life that has been passed down from generation to generation, yet continues to evolve.

Moll traveled across the country meeting the young farmers and ranchers and truly just had them share their story.

“I wanted farmers to speak for themselves and tell the story themselves,” Moll said in a recent interview with Agri-Pulse. Listen to all of Moll’s Open Mic audio with Agri-Pulse.

This film was supported in par by U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance, but Moll had the final editorial say on the film. He said he really got to know the story of farmers and ranchers while putting the film together. 

“From a personal perspective on farmers and ranchers, I feel like I now know a farmer, I know many of them. But I couldn’t have said that before. I hadn’t even set foot on a farm before. That sounds crazy and knowing what I know now it seems ridiculous that I would grow up in this country and never have been on a farm. But now I can say I know farmers,” said Moll.

There was a Nebraskan featured in the film as well. David Loberg raises corn and soybeans, custom feeds cattle and runs an irrigation business on his fifth-generation family farm near Carroll, Nebraska.

loberg

Watch the trailer to catch a glimpse of the stories. Then find a theater near you starting May 1 (click here to find the nearest viewing) to watch this excellent film. Find out more on farmlandfilm.com.

FARMLAND Teaser Trailer 2014 from Farmland on Vimeo.

April 18, 2014

Investment by Nebraska corn farmers nearly $3 billion to plant 9.4 million acres

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Chase County 2According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Nebraska corn farmers will plant 9.4 million acres of corn, about 94% of last year’s total of 9.95 million acres.

With Nebraska corn farmers’ intentions of planting 9.4 million acres of corn this year, farmers will spend about $280 per acre to get the crop in the ground and off to a good start, based on estimates calculated by the University of Nebraska Extension. Multiplied by the 9.4 million acres USDA estimates Nebraska farmers will plant, this figures to nearly $2.6 billion invested by the state’s corn farmers over a two-month period. That figure does not include land costs, labor or equipment – it’s purely inputs like seed, fuel and fertilizer.

Nationally, USDA said farmers intend to plant 91.7 million acres this year, which is 3.7 million fewer acres than the previous year. If realized, total corn plantings could be the lowest planted acreage since 2010. Notably, it would still be the fifth-largest U.S. corn acreage planted since 1944.

“We are looking at adding nearly $3 billion worth of economic activity into our state, which doesn’t even include the additional inputs, land and equipment expenses that come through the rest of the year,” said Tim Scheer, chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board. “This continues to be an economic booster for the rest of the year and those dollars reverberate through the rural economy and multiply to support Main Street, Nebraska.”

Just getting the crops in the ground is one form of economic activity, yet the full economic impact of planting reaches close to $6 billion for our state’s economy.

“Farmers will invest $2.6 billion in seed and fertilizer to get their crop planted, yet the economic value of that crop is even greater when harvested and that corn is converted to meat, milk and eggs, ethanol, distillers grains, bioplastics and more,” said Kelly Brunkhorst, director of research for the Nebraska Corn Board. “Corn is the foundation for all of that, so getting the crop in the ground and off to a good start this spring is critical. Then it’s up to the weather through the growing season to harvest.”

Historically in Nebraska, farmers begin planting in mid-April and wrap up as quickly as possible in May. However, weather is a key element for planting. And this year’s harsh, dry winter brings a concern of the available soil moisture that will be available come planting time. According to the April 14 USDA Nebraska Crop Progress and Condition report, topsoil moisture supplies in Nebraska rated 13 percent very short, 42 short, 45 adequate, and 1 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 17 percent very short, 43 short, 39 adequate, and 0 surplus.

Another challenge with planting investments this year is lower commodity prices, yet input costs continue to be on the rise. This makes the margin for the cost of production very slim for Nebraska farmers.

“This year will be a much tighter margin basis than we’ve had for several years and farmers will be producing much closer to the cost of production,” said Scheer. “With volatile market activity, hopefully there will be opportunity for farmers to lock in prices to manage their risk.”

April 15, 2014

Podcast: Every gallon of gas contains at least 25% ethanol

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In this podcast, Debbie Borg, farmer director on the Nebraska Corn Board shares about the Brazil fact-finding mission to learn about their ethanol industry. A significant fact that Debbie learned was that every gallon of gas contains at least 25% ethanol. And they've been doing this for over 40 years. You can read her blogs on the mission here.

Now, Click here to listen to the podcast.

This podcast is part of Nebraska Corn Board's series called Kernels of Truth, featuring Nebraska Corn Board members, Nebraska corn farmers and cooperators of the checkoff programs.

Kernels of Truth podcasts are also available on iTunes! Click here to subscribe.

April 8, 2014

Podcast: U.S. grain exports

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In this podcast, Alan Tiemann, past chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board and secretary/treasurer of the U.S. Grains Council Board of Directors, shares about the International Marketing Conference held recently to update U.S. industry on markets and updates around the world. China was a big topic this year.

Click here to listen to the podcast.

This podcast is part of Nebraska Corn Board's series called Kernels of Truth, featuring Nebraska Corn Board members, Nebraska corn farmers and cooperators of the checkoff programs.

Kernels of Truth podcasts are also available on iTunes! Click here to subscribe.

April 3, 2014

Nebraska Corn Producers Return from Mission Excited About Brazilian Biofuels

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CornwindbreakA group of Nebraska, Iowa, and Ohio corn farmers have returned from a multi-state trade mission to Brazil excited about the potential relationships and similarities of ethanol fuel.

The objective of this joint mission was to gain a better understanding of Brazil’s role in the worldwide market of energy and agriculture and determine how Nebraska and the United States can be partners with Brazil on worldwide ethanol markets. Participants on the mission included farmer-directors on the Nebraska Corn Board, Debbie Borg from Allen and Dennis Gengenbach from Smithfield, as well as Kim Clark, director of biofuels development on staff with the Nebraska Corn Board. Read Debbie, Dennis and Kim’s blogs from the Brazil mission here.

Brazil is the number one sugarcane producer and exporter in the world. They are also the number two producer of ethanol, following the United States, and the number one ethanol exporter worldwide. It is also mandatory that at least 25% ethanol be blended in each gallon of gasoline.

“The trip was definitely eye opening and educational. All of the commonalities and similarities of Brazilian agriculture in comparison to the United States are amazing,” said Debbie Borg. “The biggest issue they are dealing with is drought. It is very severe and their sugarcane, corn, soybean, and coffee crops are suffering.”

Brazil’s closed-loop ethanol system of producing electricity from bagasse, the byproduct of sugar and ethanol production, is well known. Although the U.S. does not produce electricity from ethanol production, the U.S. produces distillers grains for livestock feed.

“Our ethanol story and the production of distillers grains are important for the ethanol industry in the United States. We need to be better about reaching out to consumers and educating them,” said Dennis Gengenbach.

During the trade mission, the team also:

  • Met with UNICA – the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association representing sugar, ethanol, and bioelectricity producers - discuss sugarcane producers and expectations in Brazil
  • Visited the Brazilian Bioethanol Science and Technology Laboratory to discuss sugarcane varieties and GMO’s in sugarcane
  • Met with Delphi Powertrain South America Tech Center to learn about flex fuel vehicles, how they differ from flex fuel vehicles in the United States and what information could be communicated to automobile manufacturers in the United States
  • Visited the Zilor Group to understand how the biggest global trader of sugar and ethanol operates and how their operation differs from operations of similar size
  • Met with the Confederation of Agriculture and Livestock of Brazil to understand their livestock industry, how it differs from the United States, potential partnerships to expand exports to foreign countries, and where the livestock production needs to expand in Brazil and the United States.
  • Met with the Ministry of Agriculture to understand agriculture as a whole in the country of Brazil—and how ethanol impacts consumers and government decisions.

Corn farmers: please complete Corn Root Worm Survey

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:::Calling all Nebraska corn farmers:::

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Department of Entomology is conducting a brief survey on Nebraska corn producers’ use of management strategies to control western corn rootworm. This survey is important, because the information collected will be used to inform University of Nebraska Extension Faculty of current resistance management strategies used with corn rootworm and to improve educational programming on this topic.

This web-based survey is accessible through this website http://go.unl.edu/xvmf and will take approximately 10 minutes to complete.

The information collected in this survey is proprietary to UNL and will not be shared outside of UNL – Department of Entomology.

Upon completion, you may choose to enter in to a drawing for a pair of Nebraska Cornhusker football tickets offered by Nebraska Corn Growers Association. Please consider completing this survey to provide valuable information regarding corn rootworm strategies to the UNL Entomology team.

March 31, 2014

USDA Report Indicates Corn Stocks Up, Prospective Planted Acres Down

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Young corn plants are highlighted by the evening sun in Sarpy County. Photo by Craig Chandler / University CommunicationsAmerican farmers expect to plant 3.7 million fewer acres of corn in 2014, a four percent decrease from 2013, according the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Prospective Plantings report released today.   If realized, total corn plantings in the United States would total 91.7 million acres for the lowest planted acreage since 2010. Notably, it would still be the fifth-largest U.S. corn acreage planted since 1944.

In Nebraska, the report projected the state would plant 9.4 million acres, 94 percent of the previous year’s planted acres of 9.95 million acres.

"In 2013, U.S. farmers produced a record crop abundant enough to meet all needs and provide an ample carry over into 2014," National Corn Growers Association President Martin Barbre said.  "While it is still early in the season and many factors may change the reality on the ground as planting progresses, the public can rest assured that bountiful stockpiles and adequate plantings will ensure our corn security for the year to come."

The USDA's estimate for 2014 is for 91.7 million acres to be planted in field corn.  Assuming the five-year average 83.9 percent harvest rate holds and the projected trend yield of 159.4 bushels per acre is achieved, farmers will harvest 13.37 billion bushels. 

Some states are expected to increase corn planting including Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts and Utah. If projections hold, Idaho would plant a record acreage to corn this year. The actual number of planted acres will be released in USDA's June 30 report.

In the Grain Stocks report, also released this morning, USDA shows corn stocks in all positions stood at more than seven billion bushels on March 1, 2014, up 30 percent from the same time last year.  Both figures for on- and off-farm corn in storage stood higher than at this time last year, up 45 and 15 percent respectively. In total, USDA shows 3.45 billion bushels of corn used between December and February, compared with 2.63 over the same period in 2013.

March 26, 2014

Know Before You Grow

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Visit Know Before You Grow to Avoid Unwanted Surprises at Harvest

PrintAs planting season gets underway in southern parts of the country, the National Corn Growers Association reminds growers to visit the "Know Before Your Grow" website. The newly revamped site offer growers important new information to help inform planting decisions in light of the release of new seed varieties currently unapproved in some export markets.

"In a globalized agricultural economy, it is important that farmers understand the delicate balance that must be struck between ensuring access to the technologies while also safeguarding export markets remain open to U.S. corn," said NCGA Trade Policy and Biotechnology Action Team Chair Jim Zimmerman. "The balance is especially challenging in the case of China since the  country already has an asynchronous approval system for biotech traits. This is only compounded as China has currently fallen behind even their normal asynchronous approval timelines. While we must make vigorous efforts to maintain market access, farmers should remain aware of the importance role these products play in effectively facing problems caused by biological stressors. Both biotechnology and export markets play a key role in maintaining profitability. Making decisions based in solid information will be key to maintaining profitability moving forward."

NCGA stands solidly true to its policy in maintaining all new events must have approval in the United States and Japan prior to release. Additionally, the trait provider must be actively pursuing approval in all other markets for U.S. corn.

Click here or go to www.knowbeforeyougrow.com to learn more.

March 25, 2014

National Ag Day

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Consider this: just about everything we eat, wear and use comes from American agriculture. That’s why Americans will be learning more about agriculture today on National Ag Day.

For farmers, every day is ag day. But let’s celebrate today what farmers and those working in agriculture do for us.

Agriculture:365 sunrises and 7 billion mouths to feed. Celebrate!

2014 ag day

Tweet us, @NECornBoard, about how you’re celebrating Ag Day!

March 24, 2014

Nebraska’s Advantage

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imageIs the Nebraska Advantage of crop, livestock, and biofuel production operating at its full potential?

One concern is that Nebraska still exports high proportions of its crop output as commodities. Also, Nebraska is falling behind neighboring states, particularly in hog, dairy, and poultry numbers.

Despite advantages for livestock production in Nebraska, the industry has not grown in the past two decades at rates comparable to neighboring states.

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln has published a Livestock Industry White Paper to explore the issues and policies that have constrained livestock development in the state and the economic benefits that accompany livestock expansion.

The purpose of this report is to provide an ongoing factual understanding of the industry changes impacting Nebraska — identifying both threats to and opportunities for future economic viability.

Nebraska ranks:

  • 1st in commercial red meat production 
  • 1st in commercial cattle slaughter
  • 2nd in cattle and calves cash receipts
  • 3rd in meat animals cash receipts
  • 4th in all livestock and products cash receipts
  • 4th in beef cows and heifers calved
  • 6th in all hogs and pigs produced

Read the full report, here.