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Nebraska Soybean Board meeting CancelledThe Nebraska Soybean Board has cancelled their meeting for Thursday, March 19 through Friday, March 20 at the Embassy Suites located at 1040 P Street in Lincoln, Nebraska.Other COVID-19 Cancellations and Postponements......March 28 - Burt County Cattlemen Ladies Night Out, Tekamah - CancelledApril 4 - Washington County Cattlemen Banquet, Arlington - Postponed TBDNebraska Cattlemen Applauds Action Letters to COVID-19 Task Force and Packers Nebraska Cattlemen (NC) staff and leadership, focused on finding solutions to help correct the market situation, applaud two letters the National Cattlemen Beef Association (NCBA) sent March 17th to top government and packing industry leaders.The first letter went to U.S. Vice President Mike Pence as chair of the federal government's response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Further, it requests FSA coordinate with USDA Rural Development and the Small Business Administration throughout the implementation of these accommodations.Regarding transportation, the letter requests the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's (FMCSA) emergency declaration and suspension of Hours of Service to extend to haulers transporting shipments of livestock feed, critically important animal health technologies, and trucks moving livestock to feedyards and packing facilities.

This critical step will not only keep cattle haulers in business, but it is the only way to ensure movement across the entire beef supply chain during this challenging time.Regarding cattle prices, and the increasing disparity between cattle and boxed beef prices, it requests that the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) keep a close eye on the cattle markets to ensure that no one tries to use the uncertainty of the live cattle market to manipulate or illegally take advantage of the situation.The letter explains that the U.S. cattle producers are no strangers to difficulties in the market created by factors outside of their control and believe they will recover from these dark days in due time.

While most of the confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 have occurred in Eastern Nebraska, Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson is urging all Nebraskans to take precautions to help minimize the potential for spread and encouraging farmers and ranchers to prepare for possible impacts to their rural communities and agricultural operations.“I know some may view the COVID-19 outbreak as only a concern to our state’s high-density population centers, but make no mistake, the potential for the spread of COVID-19 to rural areas is real.

It’s also critical we make sure our farm and ranch operators are ready to deal with possible ramifications in the event of expanded spread,” said Steve Nelson, Nebraska Farm Bureau president.To aid agriculture producers in preparing for potential COVID-19 expansion, Nebraska Farm Bureau developed a list of things for farmers and ranchers to consider, covering topics from personal health to operational preparedness.“There’s no reason for panic, but every reason to plan ahead and be prepared,” said Nelson.The preparedness list includes:Protect personal health of farm/ranch owner/operators and employees.

Recent world events have caused uncertainty as to when those shipments will begin, and whether the targets will be met.“The farmers are hopeful, but they want to understand how the phase one deal will impact their income and export potential, and the coronavirus adds significant uncertainty” said Wendong Zhang, an assistant professor and extension economist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.In an article he co-authored for The Conversation – an independent and nonprofit source of news analysis from academic experts, Zhang says China can still make the purchases noted in the deal, at least for the year 2020, but current events will make doing so more challenging.“A resilient and recovering Chinese economy means the country can comply with the trade deal and potentially minimize damage to the U.S. economy from an ongoing trade war,” according to the article, which also adds, “Make no mistake.

These disruptions have been profound.”New restrictions in China and the U.S. have led to significant reductions in Chinese imports, according to Zhang, with the possibility that the start date for the phase one deal could be pushed back from February, to late April or May. The rapid spread of coronavirus in Europe and the U.S. makes Chinese buyers even more cautious regarding overseas personnel and cargo flows.In the article, which Zhang co-authored with Tao Xiong, professor of agricultural economics at Huazhong Agricultural University in China and a visiting scholar at the Iowa State Center for Agricultural and Rural Development, the authors say another factor affecting trade is market prices.The phase one deal allows Chinese agricultural purchases to be based on market prices and commercial considerations, rather than quarterly purchase targets or commodity-specific purchase contracts.

For example, China recently bid on U.S. sorghum.Zhang said there is reason for U.S. producers to be optimistic, including China’s own post-coronavirus recovery and increased demand for pork and other proteins, due mostly to the devastating effects of African swine fever.“Once life returns to normal, as the coronavirus outbreak slows globally, I think the orders and shipments will slowly ramp up.

In addition, the new facility will help keep Iowa State at the forefront in discovery of emerging and re-emerging diseases, provide a rich caseload to teach future veterinary practitioners and make innovative discoveries regarding new methods to control and eradicate diseases.“Livestock is critical to Iowa’s agricultural industry so it is imperative that we are constantly innovating and continuously improving what we do for the overall well-being of our animals and our food supply,” said Craig Hill, president of Iowa Farm Bureau and multi-generation livestock farmer from Ackworth, Iowa.

'Through their partnership with Iowa State and the College of Veterinary Medicine, the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory will continue to be a leader in protecting animal and human health while advancing Iowa’s animal agriculture economy.”The Iowa Pork Producers promotes, educates and provides a leading voice for a sustainable, socially responsible and globally competitive pork industry.The Iowa Farm Bureau is the largest statewide, grassroots farm organization in Iowa celebrating over 100 years of creating a vibrant future for agriculture, farm families and their communities.

It's aimed at reducing mortality in the U.S. swine industry by 1% or more per year of the project.Joel DeRouchey, swine extension specialist with Kansas State University, said the conference objective is to facilitate the discussion and dissemination of the most current information relative to sow, litter, weaned pig and grow-finish mortality.“By featuring presentations and panel discussions from industry leaders and scientific experts, we want to bring the industry together to motivate change,” he said.

“We want attendees to walk away with a sense of urgency toward the issue of mortality and some practical ideas of what to do about it.”Jason Ross, director of Iowa State University's Iowa Pork Industry Center, said attendees will hear from well-known presenters.“The conference will feature speakers from an array of swine-related businesses and organizations that will discuss relevant, take-home messages to impact swine survivability,' he said.Confirmed speakers and topics are:

Duvall said labor, supply chain issues and possible price manipulation topped the list of immediate issues farmers are raising with the national organization.The letter, which will be updated as new issues materialize, outlines concerns from Farm Bureau members across the country as national and local leaders take action to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and protect public health.

“We applaud your leadership and commitment and stand ready to work with you as our nation meets this unique challenge.”Fertilizer Prices Remain MixedRetail fertilizer prices continue to be mixed which has been the trend in several months now, according to prices tracked by DTN for the second week of March 2020.Five fertilizers were lower in price compared to last month but none were down a sizeable amount.

DAP is 20% lower, MAP is 19% less expensive, anhydrous is 18% lower, both UAN28 and UAN32 are 13% less expensive, urea is 6% lower, potash is 4% less expensive and 10-34-0 is 1% lower from last year at this time.IRFA Announces Partnership with ISU BioBusMany of the often-touted benefits of biodiesel – from cleaner air and reduced carbon emissions to high-paying jobs in rural communities – benefit the next generation beyond all others.

In recognition of the important role students and young professionals will play in the future of the biodiesel industry, the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association is announcing a partnership with Iowa State University’s BioBus program.BioBus is an on-campus, student-run organization that collects used cooking oil from Iowa State’s campus dining facilities and uses it to make biodiesel to be used in the school’s CyRide buses.“We are excited to partner with a group of your scientists who recognize the power and potential of biodiesel,” said Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) Marketing Director Lisa Coffelt.

“BioBus provides students a platform where the next generation of scientists can learn not only about the science behind biodiesel but see its benefits play out in the real world.”In addition to providing a donation to the program, IRFA intends to work alongside the group and help support their growth, enabling them to achieve their goals to expand production and student participation.“We are thankful to IRFA for their support,” said John Cramsey, President of the BioBus club.

'Biodiesel is better and cleaner than petroleum diesel – with proven environmental, health and economic benefits – and is ready to use now, unlike some other options that require massive infrastructure or retrofit investments.”NBB encourages biodiesel users to promote their use of biodiesel and share its benefits by applying for matching funds to be used for vehicle branding initiatives which may include wraps, stickers, or other innovative efforts.

However, refiner/blender net inputs of ethanol veered 0.4% lower to 915,000 b/d—equivalent to 14.03 bg annualized.Expressed as a percentage of daily gasoline demand, daily ethanol production retreated to 10.67%.Two Grain Barges Sink on Lower Mississippi RiverA tugboat leading a train of barges of grain collided with the Luling Bridge Sunday morning, sinking two of the barges in the Mississippi River.

While the Trump Administration was quick to buoy Big Oil by pledging federal purchases to fill the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), the President and Congress will also need to take action to help ethanol producers, and the farmers supplying them corn, who are suffering a proportional economic disaster.“Preliminary economic forecasts estimate the lack of gasoline consumption caused by the coronavirus will likely reduce ethanol demand by hundreds of millions of gallons and cut corn grind by hundreds of millions of bushels.

Demand destruction could be on steroids for several weeks, taking money from the pockets of farmers and ethanol producers who are already suffering from trade wars and mismanagement of the RFS.“As a first step, the Administration should announce it will comply with the Tenth Circuit’s ruling limiting small refinery exemptions, which benefit oil companies at the expense of farmers and rural Americans, and apply the court’s decision nationally to end the misuse of the RFS.

Instead of using the color additive safety standard that specifies “convincing evidence that establishes with reasonable certainty that no harm will result from the intended use of the color additive,” FDA conflated that standard with the food additive safety standard, which does not specify that there must be “convincing evidence.”“By treating these two standards as ‘the same,’ FDA ignored the ‘convincing evidence’ requirement out of its color additive safety standard, which the agency isn’t legally allowed to do,” said Ryan Talbott, staff attorney at CFS.

“This isn’t just a problem with FDA’s review and approval of soy leghemoglobin, but how the agency consistently ignores the “convincing evidence” standard in its review of all color additives that are added to our food.” In order to make this GMO heme, Impossible Foods uses the process of synthetic biology (or synbio) to extract DNA from the roots of soy plants—where a small amount of heme is produced—and inserts the DNA into genetically engineered yeast where it is fermented to mass-produce this genetically engineered heme.“This heme produced using synbio has never been consumed before.

This objection should have halted Impossible Burger sales in grocery stores, but several chains including Wegmans, Gelson's, and Fairway Market started selling Impossible Burgers illegally before FDA responded to CFS’s objection.While CFS avidly supports plant-based eating, the lack of transparency in getting the GE Impossible Burger in restaurants and retail stores highlights a troubling deregulatory trend which prioritizes corporate profit over public health and safety.