Corned Beef Sales Hit Seasonal High

Mar 16, 2017 71
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Corned beef, which accounts for less than 1 percent of overall beef sales in the U.S. throughout the year, sees an increase of 9 percent each March from St. Patrick’s Day celebrators. This St. Patrick’s Day, falling on a Friday, left Catholics without a chance to enjoy a traditional St. Patrick’s Day feast of corned beef and cabbage. However, at least 80 of the nearly 200 U.S. Catholic dioceses have issued some form of exemption, allowing Catholics to enjoy corned beef for the day. For example, one archdiocese in Nebraska says Catholics could eat beef on March 17th if they abstained from it on March 18th, and another in Texas says Catholics could eat corned beef provided they substituted a comparable penance. However, to be sure, it is best to check with your specific church.

The largest U.S. corned beef producer, Colorado Premium, accounts for 30 to 40 percent of about 70 million pounds of corned beef consumed on St. Patrick’s Day. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association says St. Patrick’s Day and the Fourth of July are the top two holidays for U.S. beef consumption at home.

Source: NAFB News Service

Trump Reinstates Review of Greenhouse Gas Standards

Mar 15, 2017 57

The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) supports President Donald Trump’s decision to direct the Environmental Protection Agency to reconsider the final determination of greenhouse gas standards (GHG) for model year (MY) 2022-2025 light-duty vehicles and, in harmony with the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, to reinstate the midterm evaluation of the GHG and corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards for cars and light trucks for MY 2022-2025. “Today’s action does not roll back the CAFE-GHG standards but rather directs EPA to put the midterm review of the standards back on track,” said Brian Jennings, ACE executive vice president. “This is good news because reconsideration of the 2022-2025 standards will enable us to emphasize the need for EPA to allow high-octane, high-ethanol blends to be used in meeting future efficiency standards.”

President Trump met with auto executives and workers in Ypsilanti, Michigan, today where he announced he’s directing the EPA to put the midterm review back on the original schedule and make a new final determination by April 2018. The Federal Register Notice signed by DOT Secretary Elaine Chao and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is available here.

In November, EPA issued a proposed determination on the appropriateness of the MY 2022-2025 standards. ACE submitted comments to EPA in December on this topic, available here. Shortly after in January, the Obama administration issued a final determination, 14 months ahead of schedule, that those late-term standards remain feasible and should be kept as is. Trump has directed EPA to revisit the final determination to allow additional consultation with the public, NHTSA and the California Air Resources Board.

“Now that the review of MY 2022-2025 standards will return to the original schedule, we will also be able to make the case that EPA and NHTSA need to provide meaningful incentives for flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs) and engines designed to operate most efficiently on high-octane, high-ethanol blends,” Jennings said.  “Currently, the standards are biased in favor of electric vehicles and ignore the role that FFVs and engines optimized to run on blends in the range of E25-40 can play in meeting fuel economy and GHG reduction goals.”

ACE has been in dialogue with automakers, agricultural organizations, government researchers and many others to develop strategies and action plans to accelerate the transition of North American transportation fuels to low-cost, fuel-efficient, high-octane biofuels such as ethanol, to which CAFE-GHG standards present a natural and timely opportunity for this transition to occur. ACE recommends increasing the minimum market gasoline octane rating, commensurate with increased use of ethanol. ACE also believes FFVs should be encouraged by credits and can play a role as a bridge to new engine technologies dedicated to run on higher octane, higher level ethanol blends.

Indiana Turkey Industry Expanding with Latest Economic Development Announcement

Mar 15, 2017 68

Indiana Turkey Industry Expanding with Latest Economic Development Announcement

Ted Mckinney

The latest economic development announcement involves expansion of the turkey industry in Indiana. Ted McKinney, with the ISDA, says a new facility will be built in Vigo County. “Select Genetics, a supplier of commercial genetics for the turkey industry, announced plans today to locate a new hatchery in Vigo County,” he stated. “The new operations will add to Indiana’s strong agribusiness sector, which raised more than 19.3 million turkeys in 2015, ranking No. 4 in the U.S.”

“In today’s rapidly changing global marketplace, agriculture will continue to be a foundational sector of Indiana’s diverse economy,” Governor Eric J. Holcomb said. “It’s exciting to see companies like Select Genetics that are using technology to grow their agriculture operations right here in Indiana. Today’s news is a win-win for both the Select Genetics team and for our state, and I look forward to witnessing their continued success. The facility, which will be operational by the beginning of next year, will service the turkey farms in SW Indiana.

McKinney says it will also help the  industry grow statewide, “Indiana has been good on the production side, but light on the turkey hatchery side. This will round out all parts of the industry and gives Indiana good vertical alignment.”  In addition to the production farms in SW Indiana, Indiana has a turkey processing plant in New Castle. McKinney says one of the factors that helped bring the facility to the Hoosier State was the way Indiana handled two outbreaks of avian flu, “The way our state dealt with the disease outbreak was a factor in landing this operation.”

“Select Genetics is proud to bring a state-of-the-art turkey hatchery to Vigo County. We value the relationship with and among the community, the Indiana State Department of Agriculture, and the Indiana Economic Development Corporation and their ability to appreciate the value of this project for both job creation and the larger poultry industry in Indiana,” said J. Douglas, chief executive officer of Select Genetics. “Our company is committed to investing in research and development and to promoting the highest standards of animal welfare. These commitments plus a great business environment in Indiana will allow Select Genetics to remain the premier supplier of turkey poults worldwide.”

McKinney says the diversity of the kind of expansion we are seeing in Indiana agriculture is encouraging for the long term sustainability of farming operations, “We have farmers telling us at ISDA that they want an opportunity to bring a son or daughter back into the family farming operation. A diversification play, like a turkey barn, is so important to sustain that rural way of live.” He said it is also an example of how the livestock industry can be an economic driver for a rural community.

The Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) offered Select Genetics up to $400,000 in conditional tax credits and up to $150,000 in training grants based on the company’s job creation plans. These incentives are performance-based, meaning until Hoosiers are hired the company is not eligible to claim incentives. Vigo County will consider additional incentives at the request of the Terre Haute Economic Development Corporation.

“We are thrilled that Select Genetics has selected the Vigo County Industrial Park as the site for its proposed new facility,” said Judith Anderson, president of the Vigo County Commissioners. “We are looking forward to assisting company officials in the coming months during the design and construction phases of this exciting project.”

‘Get Out of My Space’ Theme for Agricultural Safety Awareness Program Week

Mar 15, 2017 54
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‘Get Out of My Space’ Theme for Agricultural Safety Awareness Program WeekSafety Week

Farm Bureaus across Indiana and the nation recognized last week as Agricultural Safety Awareness Program Week.  ‘Get Out of My Space’ was the theme of the week.   Kalena Bruce, chair of the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Young Farmers & Ranchers committee says the goal was to encourage respect for spaces around farm equipment and farm work.  “Agriculture and farm safety is an issue all year ‘round’ so ‘get out of my space’ is something that we hope will grab them in and let them think truly about ag safety and ag awareness.”  Bruce added this word of caution, “It’s easy to take these spaces for granted when you work around them every day on the farm and ranch, but it only takes a split-second for disaster to occur.”

Grain bins, grain wagons, manure pits, tractor seats and livestock zones are all ‘spaces’ on farms and ranches that require caution to avoid injury.  Bruce says that they are working closely this year with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.  “We have paired with NIOSH this year to help promote the program.” Bruce added, “We’re using social media, videos, online quizzes as well as using a hashtag #KeepFarmsSafe.”

Bruce says Farm Bureau does two special ag and farm safety weeks each year.  “One is now during planting season just reminding people that they will have increased equipment and activity.”  The other safety week is during the other busy time of year, the harvest.    Visit the U.S. Agricultural Safety and Health Centers YouTube channel;  (www.youtube.com/user/USagCenters) for new content and fresh ideas about how to stay safe while working in agriculture, forestry and fishing.

Group Urges Trump to Protect Crop Insurance

Mar 15, 2017 57
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A coalition of agriculture groups is urging President Donald Trump and federal lawmakers to protect crop insurance. Sixty national farm, lending, ag input, conservation, and crop insurance organizations, led by the Crop Insurance and Reinsurance Bureau, sent a letter to the administration and lawmakers opposing cuts to crop insurance during the upcoming budget and appropriations processes and in the 2018 Farm Bill.

The letter called the 2014 Farm Bill a “careful balance of priorities” that “should not be reopened.” The groups say any cuts in the next Farm Bill should be avoided as well, because of the downtrend in the agriculture economy and its impact on farmers. The letter was sent to President Donald Trump, House and Senate lawmakers, and Agriculture Secretary nominee Sonny Perdue.

Source: NAFB News Service

Weekly Ethanol Production Edges Higher

Mar 15, 2017 46
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According to EIA data, ethanol production averaged 1.045 million barrels per day (b/d)—or 43.89 million gallons daily, 2% higher than the prior week and the highest weekly production in more than a month. The four-week average for ethanol production bumped up to 1.034 million b/d for an annualized rate of 15.85 billion gallons.

Stocks of ethanol stood at 22.8 million barrels. That is a 0.4% decrease from last week, but still 14% above stocks at the start of the year. Imports of ethanol were nonexistent for the 29th straight week.

Gasoline demand decreased from the prior week, averaging 388.7 million gallons (9.254 million barrels) daily. Refiner/blender input of ethanol increased to an average of 911,000 b/d.

Expressed as a percentage of daily gasoline demand, daily ethanol production was 11.29%.

Source: RFA

Minnesota-Based Agribusiness Investing in Vigo County

Mar 15, 2017 46

Select Genetics, a supplier of commercial genetics for the turkey industry, announced plans today to locate a new hatchery in Vigo County, creating up to 100 new jobs by 2018. The new operations will add to Indiana’s strong agribusiness sector, which raised more than 19.3 million turkeys in 2015, ranking No. 4 in the U.S.

“In today’s rapidly changing global marketplace, agriculture will continue to be a foundational sector of Indiana’s diverse economy,” Governor Eric J. Holcomb said. “It’s exciting to see companies like Select Genetics that are using technology to grow their agriculture operations right here in Indiana. Today’s news is a win-win for both the Select Genetics team and for our state, and I look forward to witnessing their continued success.”

The company, which was recently established through the merger of Valley of the Moon Commercial Poults (VOMVP) and Willmar Poultry/Ag Forte, will invest $22 million to establish and equip a new 83,000-square-foot facility in Terre Haute to produce turkey poults for commercial use. Select Genetics, which is headquartered in Willmar, Minnesota, plans to break ground on the new facility in April and begin production in the spring of 2018. The company will now have nine turkey facilities in the U.S.

“Select Genetics is proud to bring a state-of-the-art turkey hatchery to Vigo County. We value the relationship with and among the community, the Indiana State Department of Agriculture and the Indiana Economic Development Corporation and their ability to appreciate the value of this project for both job creation and the larger poultry industry in Indiana,” said J. Douglas, chief executive officer of Select Genetics. “Our company is committed to investing in research and development and to promoting the highest standards of animal welfare. These commitments plus a great business environment in Indiana will allow Select Genetics to remain the premier supplier of turkey poults worldwide.”

Select Genetics employs more than 1,400 people across the U.S. With the addition of its first Indiana operation, the company plans to begin hiring in January of next year. Interested applicants will be able to apply online in the near future.

“Having a hatchery in Indiana will complement our state’s production facilities while creating jobs and adding value to our products,” said Ted McKinney, director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture (ISDA). “We are fortunate to have Select Genetics, a world leader in poultry breeding, bringing their state-of-the-art genetics and capabilities to the Hoosier state.”

The Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) offered Select Genetics up to $400,000 in conditional tax credits and up to $150,000 in training grants based on the company’s job creation plans. These incentives are performance-based, meaning until Hoosiers are hired the company is not eligible to claim incentives. Vigo County will consider additional incentives at the request of the Terre Haute Economic Development Corporation.

“We are thrilled that Select Genetics has selected the Vigo County Industrial Park as the site for its proposed new facility,” said Judith Anderson, president of the Vigo County Commissioners. “We are looking forward to assisting company officials in the coming months during the design and construction phases of this exciting project.”

As an agribusiness, Select Genetics joins Indiana’s growing agriculture industry, which supports more than 107,000 Hoosier jobs and contributes an estimated $31 billion to the state’s economy each year. Indiana ranks in the top five in the country for both egg and turkey production.

Changing the Way Agriculture is Presented to Young People

Mar 14, 2017 53

Changing the Way Agriculture is Presented to Young People

Beth Bechdol

When it comes to comes to telling the story of production agriculture to the next generation, things need to change. Agriculture today is much more than plows, sows, and cows, but that message is not getting through to today’s K-12 students, says Beth Bechdol, head of AgriNovus.  She told HAT that today’s students don’t see agriculture as an interesting or exciting career path, “We are finding that in that K-12 space there is really a lack of awareness about what jobs and career paths in agriculture involving science and technology really entail.”  She added this does not mean we should negate  encouraging young people to consider jobs in production agriculture.

Bechdol said the message of technology in agriculture needs to be the focus. “It is changing the focus on what jobs in agriculture really are,” she stated. “We have to up our game and make the story a little more 21st century, forward looking, and exciting.”

Bechdol adds the agricultural workforce of the future will need a different skill set than many in agriculture have today, “Employers are looking for more high tech professionals. They are looking for people who have skills in computer science, informatics, communications, or finance skills. We need to figure out how to attract more of those kind of people to agriculture.”  According to a study, Indiana’s workforce development and talent generation in core occupations directly related to agbiosciences is already well aligned with industrial demand. However, Indiana’s agbioscience industry sector struggles to attract the number and quality of individuals to serve in allied occupations or industry support disciplines such as business, IT, and skilled productions that have key roles and functions across multiple industry sectors.

Bechdol addressed these issues in a presentation to the Kosciusko Community Foundation’s Barn and Business Breakfast. The annual event brings together area ag and business leaders to discuss common concerns and problems.

Indiana Corn & Soybean Farmers Meet with Rep. Hollingsworth

Mar 14, 2017 53

Trey Hollingsworth

Southern Indiana corn and soybean farmers recently met with Representative Trey Hollingsworth (IN-09) who represents the state’s ninth district to discuss issues important to their operations, including trade, farm bill, infrastructure and the Renewable Fuel Standard.

The meeting, hosted by Indiana Corn Growers Association and Indiana Soybean Alliance’s Policy Committee, took place in New Albany, Ind. and was an opportunity for corn and soybean farmers to learn more about where Rep. Hollingsworth stands on issues critical to the viability of their farms and the entire agricultural sector.

“It was good to hear Representative Hollingsworth say he is in support of the Renewable Fuel Standard as that piece of legislation has had an incredible impact on the corn market,” said Mike Flock, an ICGA director and farmer from Ramsey, Ind. “This meeting gave us a chance to talk directly with our newly elected Congressman and let him know where we are coming from on the issues he will be voting on throughout the year.”

Last week, Rep. Hollingsworth signed on to co-sponsor HR 1311, a bill that provides more opportunities for ethanol in the marketplace by allowing for E15 blends (15 percent ethanol) to be sold year-round. ICGA believes this bill will lead to increased ethanol usage and more demand for corn.

During farm bill discussion, ICGA and ISA members stressed the need of a strong safety net for producers, including support of crop insurance. Growers also reiterated the importance of nutrition programs staying in the upcoming farm bill.

“I am committed to empowering Hoosier farmers whether that be in support of the Renewable Fuel Standard, in expanding exports markets, or in reducing regulations that suffocate their potential for growth,” said Hollingsworth. “I stand arm-in-arm with farmers in creating a more secure and prosperous economy.”

This was the first of several meetings hosted by ICGA and ISA to connect their farmer-members with their representatives in Washington, D.C. The meeting was sponsored by Huntington Bank. The organizations also hosted a farm bill listening session with Senator Donnelly in February

Study Shows Crop Insurance Firms’ Returns Have Decreased

Mar 14, 2017 51
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A new study has found private crop insurance company returns have declined significantly since the 2010 renegotiation of the Standard Reinsurance Agreement between the insurance companies and the federal government. The findings in the study, commissioned by the National Corn Growers Association, are in line with benchmarks established by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Risk Management Agency. According to the findings, from 1998 to 2010, crop insurance companies had an average net return on retained premium of 14.1 percent. From 2011 to 2015, returns averaged 1.5 percent, a decrease of 12.6 percentage points.

The Standard Reinsurance Agreement establishes the levels of compensation for the companies. The 2010 renegotiations substantially cut reimbursements and limited the share of underwriting gains that crop insurance companies could receive. As a result, net returns to retained premiums are expected to average approximately 5.7 percentage points lower compared to pre-2010 levels.

Source: NAFB News Service