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Articles from 2013 In June

Get Set For Wyoming Padlock Ranch Tour July 9

Get Set For Wyoming Padlock Ranch Tour July 9

Wyoming Leopold Award recipients Wayne and Judi Fahsholz, Ranchester, Wyo., will host the 2013 Environmental Stewardship Tour July 9 at the Padlock Ranch.

The annual event, hosted by the Wyoming Stock Growers Association, Montana Stockgrowers and Wyoming Department of Agriculture, honors the Fahsholz' for their Leopold Conservation Award, considered a premier recognition of private land stewardship.

Via bus, touring visitors will showcase the land work done by the ranchers, including wildlife management efforts that led to their receiving the annual prize.

Padlock Ranch, one of the largest in the nation with 500,000 acres, will host a conservation tour on July 9 in Wyoming near the Canadian-U.S. border.

The tour, which starts at 8 a.m. at the ranch, includes a chuck wagon lunch on the Crow Indian Reservation sponsored by the stockgrowers association.

Stewardship presentations and an evening social event and banquet are also planned. Attendees are welcome to join in any of the activities.

On 500,000 acres spanning the Wyoming-Montana border, Padlock Ranch operates a sustainable and profitable "natural" cattle operation. "Successful ranches enable the community to continue to have vast amounts of open space that would otherwise be used for uses that would not enhance water and air quality, wildlife habitat and provide recreational opportunities to the public," says Wayne Fahsholtz, president/CEO of the ranch.
"When I came here 10 years ago, we really had the opportunity to look at our practices and decide what we needed to do to have a as good a ranch as we could and grow as much as possible."

Padlock is owned by the Homer Scott family and has been in operation since 1943. Scott and his wife, Mildred, launched the operation on 3,000 acres and continued to grow the property to its current size.

To attend, you must RSVP by this Friday, July 5, by calling (307) 638-3942. A block of rooms is reserved at the Sheridan Candlewood Suites, and reservations may be made by calling (307) 675-2100.  Ask for the WSGA rate,

Bring sun block and mosquito spray.

Nebraska Soybean Producer Promotes Soy In The Middle East

Nebraska Soybean Producer Promotes Soy In The Middle East

Steve Wellman of Syracuse is a soybean farmer who has spent considerable time promoting exports of U.S. soybeans. He is chairman of the American Soybean Association and is that organization's immediate past president.

He recently traveled with a delegation of soy checkoff leaders and ASA members to the Middle East and Northern Africa where they met with government officials to address trade issues.

Steve Wellman

Wellman says that two years ago, countries in the Middle East, such as Syria, were promising markets for U.S. soy exports, but political unrest threatens the stability of the region and has long disrupted lines of trade. The delegation met with Middle Eastern and North African customers in Amman, Jordan, to discuss secure ways to maintain exports during turbulent times.

"Markets in the Middle East represent a valuable and impactful dual opportunity for the U.S. soy family," says Wellman. "Soybeans provide nutritious protein for those in need; and as the markets emerge and buying power increases, so does the demand for the animal agriculture products of which our soybeans are such an integral part."

Most soybean imports in the Middle East and North Africa are crushed, and the meal is used for poultry and aquaculture feed, leaving the oil for use in cooking and frying. Between 2010-2011, Syria, as a hub of soy imports, brought in 18 million bushels of U.S. soybeans. The hope for this meeting in Jordan is to find more stable lines for trade to increase U.S. soy exports to the region. Countries such as Egypt and the United Arab Emirates could be potential trade centers for U.S. agriculture in this area.

While in the region, Wellman and United Soybean Board farmer-leader Scott Singlestad attended the dedication of the U.S. Soybean Export Council's Dubai office. This office, located in an international business hub of the area, will provide the U.S. soy industry access to even more potential customers.

"We went there to provide information that they want on soy in nutrition for both humans and animals," added Singlestad, soybean farmer from Waseca, Minn. "There's no better way to keep peace in the world than to make sure everyone has enough food."

The 69 farmer-directors of USB invest and leverage checkoff funds to increase the value of U.S. soy meal and oil.

For more information on the United Soybean Board, visit
SCN Continues To Spread

SCN Continues To Spread

Soybean cyst nematode continues to march onward at a tremendous cost to producers. First found in South Dakota in 1995, the small plant-parasitic roundworm that attacks soybean roots has infected soybean fields in 28 counties, with the recent addition of Beadle County, S.D., to the list.

Spread through movement of water, animals, soil and farm machinery, SCN can probably be found in other counties as well, says Emmanuel Byamukama, South Dakota State University Extension plant pathologist.

First reported in Japan in 1915, SCN was found in North Carolina in 1954 and has spread everywhere soybeans are grown, including into 12 counties in eastern North Dakota.

Soybean cysts can be seen on the roots of this soybean plant.

SCN can cause significant yield losses, even when there are no visual symptoms, so producers need to stay ahead of the situation. "

This underscores the need for seasonal soil testing for SCN to keep monitoring the population levels," says Emmanuel Byamukama, says.

The South Dakota Soybean Research and Promotion Council through checkoff funds pays for SCN soil testing."

In North Dakot a pilot testing project has been initiated, says Sam Markell, NDSU Extension plant pathologist. Soil test bags will be distributed at SCN field days this summer, with testing reimbursement available from the North Dakota Soybean Council.

If you have yield-robbing SCN in your fields, the best strategies are to rotate between host and non-host crops, control host winter annual weeds and plant SCN-resistant varieties.

In regions where SCN has existed for some time, growers might also consider rotating the source of SCN resistance within soybean varieties.

"The type of crop rotation depends on the situation on the ground," Byamukama says. If medium to low populations of SCN exist, then a six-year rotation between host and non-host crops and between available sources of resistance is recommended.

"If high SCN populations have been detected (>10,000 eggs per 100 cubic meters), then longer rotation with non-hosts may be needed to bring down the SCN population," Byamukama says. "Non-host crops for South Dakota may include corn, small grains, sunflowers, flax, canola and alfalfa."

Illinois Commodity Board Elections Are Tomorrow

Illinois Commodity Board Elections Are Tomorrow

Don't forget to vote tomorrow in three state commodity board elections.

The Illinois Corn Marketing Board, Illinois Soybean Program Operating Board and the Sheep and Wool Marketing Board are all hosting elections.

"Commodity boards decide which industry promotions and research projects get funded with state checkoff dollars," Agriculture Director Bob Flider says. "I encourage producers who'd like a voice in these important decisions to go to the polls and cast a ballot."

Illinois Commodity Board Elections Are Tomorrow

Checkoff dollars come from assessments levied at the first point of sale. State law sets the assessment for corn at 5/8 of 1 cent per bushel, the assessment for soybeans at 1/2 of 1% of market value and the assessment for sheep and wool at 2 1/2 cents per pound.

Anyone who produces and markets the commodity that a particular board represents is eligible to vote. Ballots may be cast at county Cooperative Extension Offices during regular operating hours.

Write-in candidates are permitted for all three boards. However, the deadline to file a "Declaration of Intent" has passed for those running as write-ins for the corn and soybean boards.

Election results will be announced by Aug. 1. Winners will receive three-year terms. A list of commodity districts holding elections this year, the counties they include and the names and hometowns of the candidates follows.

Source: Illinois Department of Agriculture

Illinois Corn Marketing Board


Counties Represented



Henderson, Henry, Knox, Mercer, Rock Island, Warren

Thomas Mueller, Taylor Ridge


Champaign, Ford, Iroquois, Vermilion

Dirk Rice, Philo

(write-in candidate)


Adams, Brown, Hancock, McDonough, Pike, Schuyler

David Niekamp, Coatsburg

(write-in candidate)

Dan Cole, Plainville

(write-in candidate)


Clark, Coles, Crawford, Cumberland, Douglas, Edgar, Jasper

Roger Sy, Newman


Alexander, Franklin, Gallatin, Hamilton, Hardin, Jackson, Johnson, Massac, Perry, Pope, Pulaski, Randolph, Saline, Union, Williamson


James Raben, Shawneetown

Illinois Sheep and Wool Marketing Board


Counties Represented



Fulton, Hancock, Henderson, Henry, Knox, McDonough, Mercer, Rock Island, Warren

Larry Bartlett, Prairie City

(write-in candidate)


Christian, DeWitt, Logan, Macon, Mason, McLean, Menard, Montgomery, Moultrie, Sangamon, Shelby

Ray Mohr, Danvers

(write-in candidate)

Illinois Soybean Program Operating Board


Counties Represented



Henderson, Henry, Mercer, Rock Island, Stark, Warren, Whiteside

John Longley, Aledo


Bureau, Grundy, Kendall, LaSalle

Sharon Covert, Tiskilwa

(write-in candidate)


Livingston, McLean, Woodford

Robert Shaffer, El Paso


Adams, Brown, Hancock, McDonough, Schuyler

Dale Asher, Sutter


Clinton, Madison, Monroe, St. Clair

Daryl Cates, Columbia


Alexander, Franklin, Gallatin, Hamilton, Hardin, Johnson, Massac, Pope, Pulaski, Saline, Union,


Bill Raben, Ridgway




If Wheat's At Risk Of Vomitoxin, Call Your Insurer Before Harvest

If Wheat's At Risk Of Vomitoxin, Call Your Insurer Before Harvest

This week, many Mid-Atlantic wheat growers will be heading to the fields with their combines. Before you do, consider this cautionary reminder from Scott Lucas, director of USDA's Risk Management Agency regional office in Raleigh, N.C.

Weather conditions have made vomitoxin from Fusarium fungus a threat to this year's wheat crop. Make sure you follow the proper procedures for crop insurance if you are dealing with vomitoxin.

If you think your wheat might have vomitoxin, notify your crop insurance agent before harvesting the grain – certainly before delivering it for sale. Your insurance provider will take samples for testing and submit them to an approved testing facility.

BEFORE YOU 'HEAD IN': If you see signs of Fusarium mold in wheat, contact your crop insurance agent about sampling it for vomitoxin testing.

Pre-harvest sampling strongly encouraged
Vomitoxin levels can increase in storage. That's why it's highly advisable, says Lucas, to have it tested before putting it in on-farm storage. Losses are only insurable if the grain is tested at an approved testing facility before being moved into commercial storage. 

You may also make arrangements with your insurance provider to leave representative sample areas of the unharvested crop. The adjuster will take samples from these areas for vomitoxin testing.

But you cannot collect your own samples. Samples must be collected by the insurance provider or a disinterested third party, such as an approved elevator.
A list of approved testing facilities in Delaware, Maryland, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia on the RMA website. Additional vomitoxin information can be found at this RMA website.
Or contact your insurance agent with any questions concerning vomitoxin. That agent can provide you with information specific to your needs.


Prevent Asian Longhorn Beetle Spread

Prevent Asian Longhorn Beetle Spread

In 2011 Ohio became the fifth U.S. state affected by the Asian longhorned beetle when an infestation was found in Tate Township in Clermont County, located about 25 miles east of Cincinnati. Since its detection, two additional areas in Clermont County have reported infested trees. These recent infestations are linked to the movement of firewood in 2010, before regulations for the beetle restricting the movement of firewood and other host tree material were put in place. In one case, adult beetles emerged from one pile of firewood which led to the infestation of 46 surrounding trees on two different private properties.

Prevent Asian Longhorn Beetle Spread

The Asian longhorned beetle was first discovered in the U.S. in 1996, likely arriving here unknowingly inside wood packing material from Asia. The insect has no known natural predators and it threatens recreational areas, forests, and suburban and urban shade trees. The beetle bores through the tissues that carry water and nutrients throughout the tree, which causes the tree to starve, weaken and eventually die. Once a tree is infested, it must be removed. It has caused the loss of over 80,000 trees in Ohio, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey and Illinois.

"If the beetle is allowed to spread, it could have disastrous implications on various industries, says Rhonda Santos with USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. Since the beetle attacks 13 genera of trees, including birch, maple, elm, and yes, the buckeye, the timber, nursery, recreation and maple syrup industries could suffer severe losses.

"In my role with USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, I have seen the devastation caused by the Asian longhorned beetle," says Santos. This invasive pest has led to the removal of more than 30,000 trees in central Massachusetts alone, and over 9,000 trees in Ohio. When the goal is to protect our natural resources, the concept of removing trees is a difficult one. But the threat from this invasive pest is far too severe to do nothing.

How can you help? Take 10 minutes and look at your trees. The first line of defense is you. USDA has designated August as Tree Check Month. Adult beetles are most active during the summer and early fall. Throughout the summer, they can be seen on tree trunks and branches, walls, outdoor furniture, cars, and sidewalks.


It only takes a few minutes to check your trees for the beetle and any signs of damage it causes:

1. Dime-sized (1/4" or larger), perfectly round exit holes

2. Shallow scars in bark where the eggs are laid

3. Sawdust-like materials, called frass, on the ground and the branches

4. Dead branches

Although the beetle may look menacing, it is harmless to people. The ALB is generally 1 to 1.5 inches in length, have six legs, and a shiny, jet-black body with random white spots.

"Since the Asian longhorned beetle can be found in any state, millions of acres of our nation's hardwoods — including national forests, state parks, and neighborhood trees — are at risk," Santos says. "The beetle can be unknowingly spread by the movement of infested firewood.  Firewood might look harmless, but it's what you can't see that is most concerning."

Here are some simple steps you can take to avoid moving invasive pests in firewood:

  • Buy it at your destination and only purchase local firewood.
  • Ask questions about the firewood you purchase—where did it come from?
  • When you do purchase firewood at your destination, burn it all—don't take it back home with you.

Early detection is crucial in stopping the spread of the pest, and you play an important role in this effort. This year, New Jersey became the second state to declare eradication from the beetle. ALB was successfully eradicated from Illinois in 2008. In New York, Manhattan, Staten Island and Islip are now free of the ALB.  An area is declared free of the ALB after all the infested trees are eliminated and surveys are negative for active signs of beetle activity or the presence of the beetle.

If you see any sign or symptom of an Asian longhorned beetle infestation, report it immediately. Visit to report a sighting or for more information, or call the toll free hotline at 1-866-702-9938.
Wisconsin FFA Chapters Participate In FFA Chapter Challenge

Wisconsin FFA Chapters Participate In FFA Chapter Challenge

Three Wisconsin chapters meet local farmers and receive a total of $3,250

Wisconsin FFA members made connections with area farmers and advocated on behalf of agriculture in the third annual FFA Chapter Challenge. The members not only learned first-hand about agricultural livelihoods, but the top three chapters in the state also earned a total of $3,250 for their FFA programs. These chapters were recognized at the 2013 Wisconsin Convention in Madison.

Wisconsin FFA Chapters Participate In FFA Chapter Challenge

"The students of today are many generations removed from the farm, and I feel it is imperative that they make connections with local agriculturists," said Stacy Skemp, Janesville Parker FFA advisor.  "FFA Chapter Challenge is a great way to encourage FFA members to reach out to local farmers."

Across the country, FFA chapters were in the running for the FFA Chapter Challenge grand prize, sponsored by the National FFA Foundation and Monsanto. The top chapter in each category received an all-expense paid trip for seven to the 2013 National FFA Convention & Expo. The top FFA chapters in each state received certificates of credit up to $2,500, which can be used with the national office for items such as new FFA blue jackets, convention fees and more.

Top chapters in Wisconsin Voting Challenge:
*First place – Janesville Parker FFA
*Second place – Cuba City FFA

New this year, Chapter Challenge offered FFA members in 15 states two ways to participate. Chapters could compete in the Voting Challenge or the Chapter Advocacy Portfolio Challenge. In the Voting Challenge, members met with local farmers to build relationships and learn about their livelihoods. Those farmers then voted for their favorite FFA chapter. With the Chapter Advocacy Portfolio Challenge, chapters were encouraged to meet with agriculturalists and community members to broaden their understanding about agriculture and then promote what they learned by using social media and by creating a video.

"Monsanto is proud to partner with the National FFA Foundation," said Elizabeth Vancil, Monsanto customer advocacy outreach manager. "Together we are helping local chapters advocate for agriculture and create bonds with the people who grow our food and build our communities."

Source: Monsanto
Specialist Advises Against Hog Expansion

Specialist Advises Against Hog Expansion

Although hog production has returned to break-even levels, producers should forego expansion for now because of delayed planting and uncertainty about this fall's corn harvest, says Chris Hurt Purdue Extension agricultural economist.

Pork producers were among some of the hardest hit financially when the drought of 2012 decimated grain supplies and sent feed prices skyrocketing. But hog prices have rallied this spring, from the mid-$50s per hundredweight in March to the low-$70s, and feed prices have fallen somewhat on the heels of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's March Grain Stocks report that showed more grain than expected.

Specialist Advises Against Hog Expansion

Even so, late spring planting has brought on some worries about hog production costs, Hurt says.

"Delayed planting has most recently sent corn and meal prices trending upward, raising concerns that hog production costs will not drop as much as some had anticipated," he says.

Current production costs are about $67 per live hundredweight. Hog prices for the third quarter are expected to remain about the same, leaving producers at break-even levels for the foreseeable future, Hurt says.


Break-even means that all of a producer's costs are covered, including depreciation and family labor. According to Hurt, most producers could continue their operations under break-even conditions, but they aren't likely to expand.

While corn and soybean meal prices are expected to decrease in late summer and into fall as the new crop supplies become available, Hurt says hog prices also would fall, continuing the break-even trend.

"Current forecasts are that fourth-quarter corn prices will be $1.25 lower per bushel than third-quarter prices and soybean meal prices will be $40 lower per ton," he said. "That means costs will drop from about $67 per live hundredweight this summer closer to $60 for the final quarter of the year.

"Hog prices are expected to be near the $60 level for the final quarter of 2013 and 2014, thus continuing break-even conditions."

Hurt advised producers to keep expansion plans on hold until they see how this year's crop sizes and prices pan out and how they will affect hog production costs. More information about the crop will become available over the next 60 days, as the growing season progresses.

"In general, if corn prices stay below $6 per bushel, the pork industry will be able to survive another year of low crop production," he says. "Corn prices above $6 would push the outlook back to losses.

"The opposite would be true of $5 or lower corn prices. Some expansion could be expected with low $5 corn prices, and a more aggressive expansion would be expected with corn prices dropping below $5."

With that in mind, Hurt said expansion of the U.S. pork herd isn't likely until at least the fall. Any expansion at that time would begin with gilt retention and wouldn't increase pork supplies until late summer and fall of 2014.

Source: Purdue Extension

Upper Peninsula Research And Extension Center Hosting Field Day

Upper Peninsula Research And Extension Center Hosting Field Day

Michigan State University's Upper Peninsula Research and Extension Center in Chatham has undergone a transformation to better align itself with producers' needs. On Tuesday, July 23, MSU AgBioResearch and Extension is hosting a Field Day from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. with several presentations ranging from beef cattle and malting barley trials to new soil analysis methods and future opportunities at the North Farm.

There will also be a biofuel demonstration all before lunch, which is provided by Farm Bureau .

The keynote address will be provided by Dr. John Baker, Associate Director of MSU AgBioResearch.

Upper Peninsula Research And Extension Center Hosting Field Day

Afternoon sessions are provided in two tracks with four presentations in each to choose from.

Over the last two years, there has been re-organization at the facility and a new vision has been developed for the research that will occur there.  "We are hoping to use this opportunity to let those interested in agricultural production in the UP know what MSU is trying to do to support their work," says Ashley McFarland, who was recently named center coordinator, which is a new position created as the research and Extension facility begins to take shape.

The center will focus on collaboration and integration across three programmatic systems: livestock, plants and local food systems.

For more information on UPREC or the field day, visit online.

MPCA Study: Elevated Nitrates In Southern Minnesota Surface Waters

MPCA Study: Elevated Nitrates In Southern Minnesota Surface Waters

A recently released Minnesota Pollution Control Agency study shows that there are elevated nitrate levels in surface waters in the lower third of the state.

MPCA Study Shows Elevated Nitrates In Southern Minnesota Surface Waters

The 444-page report, "Nitrogen in Surface Waters," was researched and compiled with input from 15 different scientific partners including the University of Minnesota and the U.S. Geological Society, said David Wall, MPCA hydrologist. The study was done to better understand the extent of nitrates in Minnesota's surface waters and to identify nitrate sources and potential reduction strategies. Concern about nitrate has grown because studies show that nitrate in surface water is toxic to fish and the aquatic life food chain, and nitrate in drinking water is potentially harmful to humans.

Scientists looked at nitrates using monitoring results from more than 50,000 stream samples taken from 2000 to 2010 across the state. In the north, nitrate levels are relatively low to low. In the southern part of the state, especially south-central Minnesota, nitrate levels are either high or very high. Results showed that, during an average precipitation year, 37% of N comes from cropland tile drainage, 30% of N comes from cropland groundwater, and 5% of N comes from cropland runoff. The remaining 28% is from other regulated and unregulated sources, such as wastewater treatment plants, forests, the atmosphere, septic systems and urban runoff.


On average, 158 million pounds of nitrate per year leaves the state and heads for the Gulf, Wall added.

In the Minnesota River, Missouri River, Cedar River, and Lower Mississippi River basins, cropland accounts for an estimated 89% to 95% of the nitrate load. The amount reaching surface waters from cropland varies widely, depending on the crop, tile drainage practices, cropland management, soils, climate, geology, and other factors.

Scientists also believe crops that do not have deeper rooting systems to actively remove nitrate during the spring and fall months allow nitrate to leach through the soil and into groundwater.

Another contributor in much of south-central Minnesota and increasingly in other areas of the state are agricultural drainage lines that are installed just a few feet below ground, allowing nitrate-rich water to be intercepted and conveyed into ditches and streams, MPCA said.

 "I believe Minnesota farmers are committed to conservation, stewardship and water quality protection," said John Linc Stine MPCA commissioner, "but collectively, too much nitrate is ending up in streams and rivers. We have to do better."

Fifteen streams exceed state N standards established to protect potential drinking water sources.

Minnesota ranks as the sixth highest state for N contributions to the Mississippi River, following Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Missouri. Recent modeling estimates indicate that Minnesota is responsible for about 6% of the N loading and 4% of the P loading into the Gulf of Mexico.

"We can get 15% to 20% reduction in N by optimizing the efficiency of N on the crop," Walls said. Other ways to reduce N include capturing and treating tile drainage water and planting more perennial crops.

MPCA suggested in its report that if all best conservation and water quality practices were adopted by all farmers statewide, there could theoretically be a 30% reduction in N in surface waters. And adoption of those best management practices would come at a cost, roughly in the realm of more than $1 billion, the report noted.

Economics also come into play for farmers raising crops, said Dave Frederickson, Minnesota Department of Agriculture commissioner. If markets or payments made cover crops competitive with corn and soybeans, farmers would have other crops to consider planting.

"There is huge demand for corn and soybeans so farmers need to meet that," he said. "They have debt and they have to service that."