October 29, 2015

Soils are the Foundation for Vegetation


2015 International Year of Soils

Healthy soils are crucial for ensuring the continued growth of natural and managed vegetation, providing feed, fiber, fuel, medicinal products and other ecosystem services such as climate regulation and oxygen production. Soils and vegetation have a reciprocal relationship. Fertile soil encourages plant growth by providing plants with nutrients, acting as a water holding tank, and serving as the substrate to which plants anchor their roots. In return, vegetation, tree cover and forests prevent soil degradation and desertification by stabilizing the soil, maintaining water and nutrient cycling, and reducing water and wind erosion. As global economic growth and demographic shifts increase the demand for vegetation, animal feed and vegetation by products such as wood, soils are put under tremendous pressure and their risk of degradation increases greatly. Managing vegetation sustainably--whether in forests, pastures or grasslands--will boost its benefits, including timber, fodder and food, in a way that meets society's needs while conserving and maintaining the soil for the benefit of present and future generations. The sustainable use of goods and services from vegetation and the development of agroforestry systems and crop-livestock systems also have the potential to contribute to poverty reduction, making the rural poor less vulnerable to the impacts of land degradation and desertification.

Soils and Crops

The symbiotic relationship between soils and vegetation is most apparent in the agricultural sector: food security and nutrition rely on healthy soils. The nutrient content of a plant's tissues is directly related to the nutrient content of the soils and its ability to exchange nutrients and water with the plant's roots. Similarly, plant growth is influenced to soil physical properties such as texture, structure and permeability. However, the practices of intensive agriculture, monoculture and deep tillage put soil health at risk by depleting the soil of nutrients, causing soil pollution, altering soil structure and water retention capacity, fostering soil erosion and decreasing soil biodiversity, which is the basis of soil biological activities. Soil degradation in agricultural systems is directly related to the overuse of fertilizers and pesticides, the removal of the crop residues from the soil surface and the use of heavy machinery. Additionally, nutrient depletion is related to the absence of the fallow period in intensive agricultural systems and to the practice of monoculture, which deplete soil nutrients due to static nutrient demand. Therefore, crop rotation is critical to preserving and eventually improving soil health. Crops protect soil against soil erosion agents, improve soil structure by rooting, and enrich soil nutrients by providing organic matter and establishing symbiotic relationships with soil bacteria. Sustainable soil management is thus critically important to addressing the growing food demand caused by population growth.

Key Facts
  • 75-90 percent of people in developing countries depend on natural products as their only or main source of medicine.
  • The use of solid biofuels--including wood--is predicted to grow by 300 percent between 2007 and 2030.
  • About 20 percent of the world's pastures and rangelands, with more than 70 percent of the rangelands in dry areas, have been degraded to some extent.
  • Forests provide livelihoods for more than a billion people and are vital for conservation of biodiversity, energy supply, and soil and water protection.

October 27, 2015

Corn Harvested at 57%

For the week ending October 25, 2015, above normal temperatures for the second week in a row supported harvest activities, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Temperatures averaged six to ten degrees above normal. Precipitation of up to one inch late in the week slowed fieldwork activities, but lowered dust levels and supported establishment of winter wheat stands. There were 5.2 days suitable for fieldwork. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 7 percent very short, 28 short, 63 adequate, and 2 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 6 percent very short, 30 short, 63 adequate, and 1 surplus.
Photo Courtesy of Heartland FFA Chapter
Corn condition rated 1 percent very poor, 5 poor, 18 fair, 54 good, and 22 excellent. Corn harvested was at 57 percent, ahead of 38 last year, but behind 62 for the five-year average.
Photo Courtesy of Heartland FFA Chapter
Data for this news release were provided at the county level by USDA Farm Service Agency and Nebraska Extension. Access the National publication for Crop Progress and Condition tables HERE. Access the High Plains Region Climate Center for Temperature and Precipitation Maps HERE. Access the U.S. Drought Monitor HERE.

October 26, 2015

Subway’s decision to give in to food-fear marketing

Last week, Subway restaurants announced that they would be sourcing meat that has never been given an antibiotic starting in 2016. The announcement brought with it a fiery social media battle of farmers and ranchers trying to post their opinions and comments on the Subway Facebook page, with Subway deleting comments and upsetting people even more.

The decision was frustrating for those of us who raise livestock for meat and know what we really do to raise healthy food. Fear marketing is more and more present in our retail food chains and this is evident with Subway’s decision. Did they do their research? Did they talk to farmers and ranchers? Enough people in agriculture took action and reached out to Subway about their policy that Subway came back with this revised statement:

"That said, we recognize that antibiotics are critical tools for keeping animals healthy and that they should be used responsibly to preserve their effectiveness in veterinary and human medicine. Our policy is that antibiotics can be used to treat, control and prevent disease, but not for growth promotion of farm animals. Accordingly, we are asking our suppliers to do the following:
  • Adopt, implement and comply with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (“FDA’s”) guidance for industry 209 and 213, which requires that medically important antibiotics not be used for growth promotion. Visit the FDA site to learn more. Assure that all antibiotics use is overseen, pre-approved and authorized by a licensed veterinarian before they are administered to any animal.
  • Keep accurate and complete records to track use of all antibiotics.
  • Adhere at all times to all legal requirements governing antibiotic withdrawal times. This assures that antibiotics have been eliminated from the animals’ systems at the time of slaughter.
  • Actively encourage, support and participate in research efforts focused on improving animal health while reducing antibiotics use."
Subway's response shows a definite influcence by the agriculture community and it is exciting that our voices were hear. Yet, it seems that they are being influenced by people who do not have an understanding of why antibiotics are being used in animal agriculture. If they had talked to a farmer and rancher about raising meat before all of this came out in public, here is what they would have found out:

Livestock must be healthy and well-cared for in order to produce great, quality meat. And just one of the ways that farmers and rancher keep their animals healthy is by using antibiotics.

We don't just use antibiotics to use them. On farms and ranches, they have a herd health program where the livestock get regular medical care, including checkups, that starts with vaccinations to prevent disease (much like a well-child checkup for kids). But sometimes animals get sick, just like we do and it’s necessary to treat them. So we give antibiotics if an animal is injured or to fight a bacterial infection. This is the most common and prevalent use of antibiotics in livestock.

Under the care of our veterinarian, we closely follow the label and dosing instructions which are approved by the FDA.

The FDA regulates the approval and use of antibiotics in animal medicine. Their approval process is stringent and they use the same testing for antibiotics in animals as they do for humans. Any antibiotic given to a food animal has a specified withdrawal time which is the amount of time from the last shot until it is out of their system. An example could be that we notice signs of respiratory disease in one of our cattle, we work closely with our veterinarian and under the guidelines of the FDA to give that animal an antibiotic where we follow the label and dosing instructions. The maximum length is 28 days and we will never sell that animal to go into the food system until that 28 days is up – so the FDA assures us that is no antibiotic residue in our meat as well as the USDA randomly inspects meat to make sure it is safe.

We work with our veterinarian; it is a law that we follow this withdrawal time. When the withdrawl time is up – the antibiotics have left the animal’s system. This means that the animal is ANTIBIOTIC-FREE, which equals = ALL MEAT IS ANTIBIOTIC-FREE BY LAW!

And we take that very seriously, which means doing the right thing by closely monitoring the care we give our animals. We want to continue to earn the respect and trust we have with our meat buyers and meat eaters and we want healthy animals to provide healthy, safe and nutritious beef.

Farm and ranch families depend on healthy cattle for our livelihoods. We care for our livestock by giving them a good diet, good medical care and healthy living conditions. Our commitment to providing top-notch meat begins with top-notch animal care.

Unfortunately, Subway is not the first – nor the last – to give in to fear marketing and change the food they are providing based on the consumer’s opinion. Let's continue to band together and share with others how animals are treated and raised. Also, send them to CommonGround volunteers who can help assure consumers that they don't have to have fear in their food! Visit FindOurCommonGround.com.

October 25, 2015

An end to a great experience in Panama


By Greg Sullivan, USGC International Intern, Panama City, Panama.

My time has come to an end here in Panama. It has been an enjoyably long summer that has afforded me the opportunity to meet some fascinating people and experience some once-in-a-lifetime events. From volunteering at a youth event to jumping off of a waterfall to coordinating an international agriculture conference in a foreign country, there will be no shortage of memories and experiences from which to draw upon in the latter stages of my life. Even though the full value and extent of this experience will not hit me for some time there are three areas of learning that likely occurred during my time here and will provide a solid platform upon which further academic and professional learning will occur. They are a better understanding of the role of the USGC in the global agriculture markets, a better understanding of the markets for US grains in Latin America, and an interesting living experience in a new culture.  

October 22, 2015

First Frost Aids Crop Dry-down

For the week ending October 18, 2015, above normal temperatures combined with no precipitation provided good harvest conditions, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. While temperatures averaged two to six degrees above normal, the first frost of the season was noted in western counties which aided crop dry down. Cattle producers started to move livestock from grass to available stalk fields. There were 6.9 days suitable for fieldwork. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 8 percent very short, 33 short, 58 adequate, and 1 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 6 percent very short, 29 short, 64 adequate, and 1 surplus.
Photo Courtesy of Imperial FFA Chapter
Corn condition rated 1 percent very poor, 5 poor, 18 fair, 55 good, and 21 excellent. Corn mature was at 97 percent, near 93 last year and 95 for the five-year average. Harvested was at 40 percent, ahead of 27 last year, but behind 46 average.
Photo Courtesy of Heartland FFA Chapter
Data for this news release were provided at the county level by USDA Farm Service Agency and Nebraska Extension. Access the National publication for Crop Progress and Condition tables HERE. Access the High Plains Region Climate Center for Temperature and Precipitation Maps HERE. Access the U.S. Drought Monitor HERE.

October 18, 2015

There's no Sugarcoating it. Sugar is Sugar.

Recently, there was an article in the Lincoln Journal Star on USDA's research comparing honey, cane sugar and high fructose corn syrup. The findings of the study are very positive, however, the headline of this article was not so sweet.

While the headline read "Honey is just as bad as high-fructose corn sweetener", the story actually reported on USDA research that found honey, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and cane sugar to have essentially the same impact on human metabolism in terms of blood sugar, insulin, body weight, cholesterol and blood pressure. In fact, the researcher is quoted as saying, "A sweetener is a sweetener, no matter the source."  In other words, sugar is sugar is sugar—and the key to sugar consumption, regardless of the source, is moderation.

So, in effect, the headline could have easily been written to say that honey is as bad as cane sugar—or that honey was found to be as good as HFCS.  Unfortunately, the headline—which is what many readers use to form opinions without reading the story itself—reinforced the myth that HFCS is "bad sugar."

There is no question that public interest in food has grown dramatically.  At the same time, so has the level of misinformation and misunderstanding.  It doesn't help when an important story that can actually provide positive research-based information is carelessly mislabeled by a headline that leads the public further astray. So, if you ever have any questions about HFCS, please do not hesitate to reach out to the staff at the Nebraska Corn Board.  Additionally, below are some answers to some FAQ's about sugar.

Here’s the skinny on sugar…

What’s the difference between the sugar in fruit and the sugar in soda?
  • There is no difference. The sugars found in fruits and vegetables are the same as those found in sugar cane, sugar beets and high-fructose corn syrup: fructose and glucose. Fruits and vegetables bring the added benefit of fiber, vitamins and other nutrients that are not available in sugars alone.
How does the body metabolize excess sugar?
  • Consuming excess glucose or fructose will result in excess body fat, leading to elevated levels of blood sugar. These processes happen in the human body regardless of the sugar source
Does sugar cause diabetes?
  • Sugar itself is not a direct cause of diabetes. Diabetes is made worse when a person gains excess body fat through consumption of excess food of any type—starch, protein, fat, carbohydrates, etc.

For more information, visit: sweetsurprise.com

October 15, 2015

Corn Harvested at 26%

Photo Courtesy of Heartland FFA Chapter
For the week ending October 11, 2015, temperatures averaged six to eight degrees above normal with the only measurable precipitation recorded in the southwestern Panhandle, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. The dry conditions allowed soybean harvest to progress rapidly. Windy conditions late in the week combined with the above normal temperatures to speed crop dry down. There were 6.4 days suitable for fieldwork. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 7 percent very short, 28 short, 63 adequate, and 2 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 6 percent very short, 26 short, 66 adequate, and 2 surplus.

Corn condition rated 2 percent very poor, 5 poor, 19 fair, 53 good, and 21 excellent. Corn mature was at 92 percent, ahead of 87 last year, but near 90 for the five-year average. Harvested was at 26 percent, ahead of 18 last year, but behind 34 average.

Photo Courtesy of Imperial FFA Chapter
Data for this news release were provided at the county level by USDA Farm Service Agency and Nebraska Extension. Access the National publication for Crop Progress and Condition tables HERE. Access the High Plains Region Climate Center for Temperature and Precipitation Maps HERE. Access the U.S. Drought Monitor HERE.

Nebraska Corn Board Welcomes Roger Berry on Staff

The NebraskaCorn Board is pleased to announce that Roger Berry has joined its staff as the Director of Market Development on October 5.

In this role, Berry will work on behalf of Nebraska corn farmers and industry to coordinate all facets of market development projects to increase demand for Nebraska corn and value-added products. He will work to establish relationships with state, national and international organizations and cooperators to expand market development opportunities both domestically and internationally. Berry will also coordinate educational and promotional activities of corn and value-added corn products such as biofuels, distillers’ grains and the Nebraska Corn Board’s support of red meat, dairy, poultry and livestock expansion. Along with these responsibilities, he will monitor issues between farm gate and retails, such as transportation and consumer attitudes.

“Roger is a great addition to our staff and we are pleased to welcome him to Nebraska Corn,” said Kelly Brunkhorst, executive director of the Nebraska Corn Board. "He has an extensive background and thorough understanding of the agricultural industry, making him well qualified to lead our market development efforts. With market development as a key pillar of the Nebraska corn checkoff, I look forward to Roger leading and expanding our efforts.”

A native of Red Cloud, Nebraska, Berry is a graduate of Southeast Community College and of Nebraska LEAD (Leadership Education/Action Development) Program, LEAD 19. Before beginning his career in agricultural leadership, Berry was engaged in full-time farming and livestock production for 12 years near Farnam, Nebraska. When he transitioned into agricultural leadership, he served as the central district director of member services for the Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation before becoming the field director for the Alliance for the Future of Agriculture in Nebraska (A-FAN). He then became the vice president of membership at Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation. 

“Working in agriculture has always been my passion, and it’s truly an honor to join the Nebraska Corn Board staff and work on behalf of the industry,” said Berry. “I look forward to working with Nebraska’s corn farmers and industry partners around the world to expand new and existing markets and increase demand for Nebraska corn and value-added products.” 

Summer in St. Louis: Farming, Firsts, and Fun


By Emily Scholting, National Corn Growers Association Intern. 

The amazing NCGA office in St. Louis that 
I had the chance to work in for the summer!
Hello again! After spending an amazing summer as an intern for the National Corn Growers Association, I am back in Nebraska and beginning my senior year at Nebraska Wesleyan University in Lincoln. While I'm sad that the summer has ended, I'm also very excited to continue my collegiate career and see where the future takes me!

In the final weeks of my internship in St. Louis, I got to work on my ongoing projects as well as a few new projects, and I really got to know the people I was working with. I spent some time with my coexistence project, and though we didn't get the chance to finish it as summer came to an end, I will be in touch with NCGA's Director of Biotechnology and Economic Analysis to see how the final product turns out. It will be really exciting to see something that I've worked on being used as a resource for actual corn growers around the country! I also finished up my list of potential technologies to be used for plant phenotyping in agriculture, as well as a list of companies that may potentially bring other products to market soon. It turned out to be a really comprehensive way to learn about up-and-coming technologies in the agricultural world, and it is fascinating to see this industry finding new ways to engage with and use science to make our products better.

While at NCGA, I also worked on compiling information about upcoming biotechnology events in corn and soybeans. Using publicly available information from the websites and press releases of major players in the biotech industry, I outlined the new products in the research pipeline in their various stages of development, from proof-of-concept to limited consumer launch in corn, as well as from advanced development to launch in soybeans. There are definitely some new and exciting traits in the works that farmers in Nebraska and all over the U.S. should be excited about!

In addition to my work mostly with the Production and Sustainability department at NCGA, I got to spend some of my remaining time with the marketing and grassroots side of things. I worked with data from RFS efforts, mobile apps, and research on those candidates currently seeking presidential election in 2016. I was able to see a bit more of the political side of the organization, which helped me put into real applications some of what I've learned as a political science major. I even wrote my first comment to the EPA as a concerned college student regarding the RFS. I also got to discuss some of the things that go into communications with that part of the staff, and I received some great tips on how to improve my writing and communication styles in the future.

Perhaps the most rewarding parts of this internship for me were the meetings I was able to have with several of NCGA's staff at the end of the summer. I cannot say enough about how gracious and wonderful the people that I worked with are, and there's no way I can begin to thank them for all the amazing things they've done for me. I had the opportunity to wrap up my internship with a presentation to the whole staff, who were all incredibly supportive and encouraging. I also had meetings with several of my supervisors, who gave me advice and guidance for the road ahead. I had the chance to explain my future plans and discuss them with some of the people I consider to be the best in the industry, and I could not be more grateful for that part of my summer.
My first Major League Baseball game at Busch Stadium!
As usual, I also did some really fun things outside of the office during my last few weeks. One of my coworkers took me to my first MLB game at Busch Stadium, and I had a chance to verify that the Cardinals supporters really are the best fans in baseball. I also went to Six Flags when my sisters came to visit, and we had a blast on the roller coasters. I spent an exciting week back home at the Sarpy County Fair, which has always meant a lot to me with my 4-H background. I was able to watch my siblings in the beef show and the tractor pull, and I had the chance to talk to some of my favorite Nebraska farmers about what I've been doing all summer. During my last week in the office, I spent most of my lunch breaks with various combinations of my awesome coworkers, and got to try even more of the unique restaurants in Chesterfield. I even got the original recipe for St. Louis gooey butter cake, an arch-city staple, from a coworker whose family used to own the famous bakery.

My sisters and I at the Sarpy County Fair, where 
they showed two of the champion market beef animals!
I learned so much over the course of the summer that it can't possibly be condensed into a single blog post. When I was home for a week during the county fair, I got to continue the conversations of agriculture with people I've known my whole life, and I truly realized how much I gained from this experience. I'm leaving with a better knowledge of myself, of the NCGA, and of the industry as a whole. Though I'm still not sure exactly where I want to be when I finish law school, I've found so many areas within the agriculture industry where I could put my passion and newly-gained knowledge to excellent use. I am extremely thankful to the Nebraska Corn Board and the NCGA staff for this amazing opportunity, and for a summer I'll never forget. I am more excited about the endless opportunities in the agriculture industry than ever before, and I look forward to finding my place in it!

October 14, 2015

There Is No Place

By Glen Ready, National Corn Growers Association Intern.

After a summer in D.C., it’s great to be back!
There is no place like Nebraska. We’ve heard that a million times, and I’m sure it will be said a million more. That doesn’t mean it isn’t true. I am incredibly thankful for the opportunity that I was granted this summer, and am humbled by the experience. It has granted me a unique perspective of our wonderful industry. Being back in the good life, I have had a chance to reflect on my time in the nation’s capital. The agriculture industry, from individual farmers to large companies and organizations, invest so much in the future of agriculture. From your local 4-H program, FFA, and scholarships and events to internships and agriculture policy in D.C. and beyond, these groups provide incredible opportunities for young people. This is evident in the opportunity the Nebraska Corn Board granted me this summer.

This summer was an incredible opportunity, but there is something to be said for coming home to our great state. Before leaving for Washington, D.C. I was incredibly excited and never once thought of missing home. Flying back and landing in Omaha, it hit me just how important this place and this industry is to me, and how happy I was to be back. Seeing the fields of corn, helping out at home on the farm for a few days, they meant so much more to me after seeing all the work people hundreds of miles away do to make sure our day-to-day work can continue. There is no question that there “is no place like Nebraska”, but this is true partially because of the work that is done outside of our state borders, whether in Washington, D.C. or around the world.

I started out with an interest in agriculture policy because it was a unique field that so many of us forget about as we go about the work of production agriculture. I have learned more this summer than I ever could have hoped to do in a classroom. I want to take this opportunity again to thank the Corn Board, because the organization does some great work to let students like me gain a better understanding of just how vast this industry is, and how we can play a role beyond what we see in production agriculture or with large agriculture corporations. Everyone can play a unique role in this industry, and this is the case whether you are in the great state of Nebraska, or in Washington, D.C.

Got to take a step back and reflect on my last night in the district.

October 12, 2015

Cheeseburger Quesadillas - Harvest Meal On-The-Go

Harvest has started for many farm families in Nebraska. Most farm wives have many jobs on the farm and especially many jobs during harvest. Sometimes that is driving the combine or the grain cart, taking the semi full of grain to the co-op or bringing a meal out to the hard-working harvesters. 

A simply, yet hearty meal that works on-the-go is great to take to the crew. Sandwiches will do, but its fun to get creative and make the guys happy to take a break from bringing in the harvest. And sometimes something warm seems to keep them fuller for longer.  

Enjoy this Cheeseburger Quesadilla recipe - fast to make and easy to put in foil to take out to the crew in the field. Or just for a great family meal at home - kids love it!

**Featured on Her View From Home thanks to CommonGround Nebraska.**

Cheeseburger Quesadillas

A hearty meal that is a family (and kid!) favorite!


2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 whole Medium Onion, Chopped
1 pound Ground Beef
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
¼ cups Ketchup
¼ cups Real Bacon Bits
Salt And Pepper, to taste
2 teaspoons Garlic Powder
2 teaspoons Onion Powder
4 whole Large Flour Tortillas
2 cups Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese
1 tomato, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
Vegetable Oil For Brushing
Red Crushed Pepper Flakes For Sprinkling


In a large skillet on medium high heat, heat the olive oil. Add the onions and allow them to cook for about 5-7 minutes until they become translucent. Add the beef and break it up with a wooden spoon or chopper. Cook the beef and onions together for about 10 minutes or until the beef is thoroughly cooked.

Preheat your oven to 350 F.

Once the beef is cooked add the Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, bacon bits, salt and pepper, garlic powder and onion powder and stir until all is incorporated. Allow the mixture to simmer on low heat for 5-7 minutes.

On a large baking sheet, lay out 2 tortillas. Take half of the burger mixture and spread it evenly on each tortilla. Top it with as much cheese as you like and add the chopped tomatoes and peppers. Put the other half on top of the burger mixture. Brush the top with oil and sprinkle with crushed red pepper flakes.

Bake for 10-15 minutes until the tortilla shell becomes nice and crisp and the cheese is bubbly. Remove it from the oven and place pan on a rack. Let quesadillas sit for about 5 minutes to cool down then use a really sharp knife or pizza cutter and cut into triangles. You should get 4 large pieces out of both of them.

October 9, 2015

Let's Celebrate October is Pork Month!

October became known as Pork Month because it marked the time of year when hogs were traditionally marketed. Today, it serves as a celebration to thank pork producers and share their stories with consumers. This is a great time for corn farmers to show appreciation to one of our great customers, too.

Pork is the world’s most widely eaten meat representing 42% of the meat consumed, according to the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service. Some 81% of the population consumes pork in-home at least once in an average two-week period.

The top five most popular pork products include ham, sausage, bacon, lunchmeat (excluding ham) and pork chops. Of pork products consumed at home, ham accounts for 31.1%, sausage represents 19.6%, bacon totals 18.1%, lunchmeat accounts for 10.3% and pork chops round out the top five with 10.2% of pork consumed in-home.

Another way Nebraska corn farmers support pork production is through the U.S. Meat Export Federation, who opens up export markets for U.S. pork and beef.

Here are some interesting, quick pork facts in an infographic - easy to share with your family and friends this month!

October 6, 2015

Corn Harvested at 15%

For the week ending October 4, 2015, Nebraska experienced near normal temperatures, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Most of the State received up to an inch of rain. Producers were primarily engaged in harvest activities, although progress was impeded in some areas due to wet fields. There were 5.4 days suitable for fieldwork. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 6 percent very short, 26 short, 65 adequate, and 3 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 5 percent very short, 25 short, 68 adequate, and 2 surplus.
Photo Courtesy of Imperial FFA Chapter
Corn condition rated 2 percent very poor, 5 poor, 19 fair, 54 good, and 20 excellent. Corn mature was at 82 percent, ahead of 75 last year, but equal to the five-year average. Harvested was at 15 percent, ahead of 10 last year, but near 24 average.
Photo Courtesy of Imperial FFA Chapter
Data for this news release were provided at the county level by USDA Farm Service Agency and Nebraska Extension. Access the National publication for Crop Progress and Condition tables HERE. Access the High Plains Region Climate Center for Temperature and Precipitation Maps HERE. Access the U.S. Drought Monitor HERE.

October 2, 2015

Nebraska Corn Urges Farmers to Take a Second for Safety During Harvest!

It’s that time of the year again, the leaves are turning, the roads are busy with farm equipment and farmers are racing the unpredictable weather to get their crop out of the field. The hectic harvest season is upon us and as farmers enter the fields and travel the roads, Nebraska Corn is urging them to use extra precaution and take a second for safety.

Agriculture remains one of the more dangerous occupations in North America, but exercising caution, getting rest and being safety-minded can go a long way toward making it safer for everyone involved.

“There are a lot of moving parts at harvest time and farmers are working hard to get the crops out of the fields,” said Dave Merrell, farmer from St. Edward, Nebraska and chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board. “Working long hours in the field or on the farm could cause a chance for error where an injury or fatality could be prevented by taking appropriate precautions or simply taking time.”

Merrell also cautioned motorists driving on rural roads during harvest. These roads see additional traffic during harvest, which increases the chances for accidents to occur between slower moving farm equipment and vehicles moving at highway speeds. Rural intersections will have heavier-than-normal travel and dusty conditions may limit visibility, as can sun glare in the morning and evening. Standing crops in the field may also block a clear view of oncoming traffic.

Nebraska Corn encourages farmers to pay special attention to the safety features of their equipment, and encourages everyone to keep an eye toward safety on the highways and byways this harvest and year round.

Some things to consider for farmers and farm workers while on the farm this fall:

  • Stay alert. Take breaks to help avoid fatigue — get out of the cab and walk around every few hours. Keep your cell phone charged so you can communicate as needed with family members and employees.
  • Use extra caution around PTO’s. Check that PTOs are well protected to avoid contact with clothing or people during operation. And never step over a rotating PTO—a few extra steps to walk around the tractor are worth the effort.

  • Shut down before working on a machine. If the combine becomes clogged, shut off the motor, not just the header, before attempting to unplug it by hand.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. Know where your co-workers and family members are at all times and always be aware of power lines that you can come in contact with while moving equipment and augers around grain bins. Visibility can be especially poor around large machinery and at night.
  • Grain Bin/Handling Safety. Grain bins deserve special attention and caution when grain is being loaded and removed. Never stand on grain that is being or has been moved. Safety measures should be put in place to avoid any risk of entrapment and suffocation.
  • Move Machinery Safely. Make sure your Slow Moving Vehicle emblems are in good condition and properly mounted. If you must move machinery on a roadway after dark, have all necessary working headlights and flashing front and rear warning lights. The better you can be seen the less likely you are to be hit by motorists.
  • Develop Safety Rules. Have a set of safety rules for everyone to follow – and enforce them. Protective eye and ear wear is important in many situations. It is also important to equip tractors and combines with a fire extinguisher, as dry crop residue is fuel for a fire. Finally, ensure that trained family members and employees are operating powerful equipment—if kids want to be involved, give them age appropriate jobs.

“While we all recognize the excitement and fast-pace of harvest, staying focused and resting regularly are two proactive steps in keeping things safe around the farm for everyone, including family members and employees helping to harvest the crop,” said Larry Mussack, farmer from Decatur, Nebraska and president of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association. “Harvest and fall field work is truly a thrill for Nebraska farmers, but please remember to be careful and take a second for safety.”

Growing Nebraska Through Trade

Nebraska and its role in the international market were on the forefront of discussions this week as Nebraska Congressman Adrian Smith hosted the “Growing Nebraska Through Trade” seminar on Tuesday at Raising Nebraska in Grand Island. Trade of agricultural products is an ever-important issue to Nebraska corn producers as markets for our products rely on international customers.

“With more than 96 percent of the world’s customers living outside our borders, trade provides tremendous opportunities to grow our rural economy,” Smith said. “As our work on trade negotiations moves forward, I am committed to helping expand access to thriving international markets for Nebraska producers, manufacturers, and consumers. I hope everyone who joined us today gained valuable knowledge and connections to help drive their businesses toward greater success in the global marketplace.”

The seminar featured Nebraska native and Chief Agricultural Negotiator in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, Ambassador Darci Vetter. AgView talked with her about a busy week ahead, progress on TPP and the continuing process of the Country of Origin Labeling dispute, watch here:

Topics at the seminar included state-level efforts to grow the agriculture economy, rural growth and value-added agriculture, and ongoing efforts to open markets to Nebraska and U.S. agriculture products. Other featured speakers included Vice-Chancellor of the University of Nebraska Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Ronnie Green; and speakers from state and federal agencies as well as business and education leaders from the Third District.

Dr. Green emphasized that Nebraska plays a pivotal role in international trade, and the University of Nebraska also has many programs which helps develop ideas into goods and services for a growing world.

Learn more about how international trade is important to Nebraska corn farmers at our website, www.nebraskacorn.org.

*Pictures and video from AgView.net.