READ the NAFB’s National Ag News as heard inside the BARN for Wed, Jan 8th…

The BARN CoAgNews Network logoSponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

“China Imports Non-GMO Corn from Ukraine”

A total of 601-thousand metric tons of shipments of U.S. genetically modified corn and corn-derived products were rejected by China in 2013 – according to the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine. China’s government continues to screen U.S. corn and DDGS for the currently unapproved insect resistant MIR162 gene. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports from December 19th through December 26th – net corn sales to China from the U.S. dropped by 116-thousand tons from the previous week. China has imported non-genetically modified corn from Ukraine. In May 2012 – China agreed to finance 3-billion dollars-worth of ag projects in Ukraine in exchange for terms – including rights to sell Ukrainian farm products. In this marketing year – USDA projects Ukraine could export 18-million tons of corn – which would make it and Argentina the third-largest supplier – behind the U.S. and Brazil.


“DTN/The Progressive Farmer Releases Ag Confidence Index Results”

The latest DTN-The Progressive Farmer Agriculture Confidence Index shows farmers are less optimistic about the ag economy as lower crop prices meet higher input costs. DTN surveyed 500 farmers and ranchers across the U.S. from December 3rd to December 13th. Caledonia Solutions designed the survey – and owner Robert Hill says crop producers seem to see input prices as unfavorable and their current farm income is taking a hit. Hill says this most likely is due to high cash rentals and increased costs per acre to control weeds. In this survey – farmers are asked to assess input prices and net farm incomes – as well as what they expect input prices and income to be like in 12-months. Those assessments are turned into the overall index value, present situation index and expectations index.

Currently – farmers rate their present situation at 120.7 – which is down from last year’s 137.2. While still pessimistic about the future – that pessimism is a little lower than last year’s at 93.6 instead of 90.5. Regarding income – producers have said it’s shifted from good to normal. Only 23.4-percent of producers think current input prices are good – 45-percent say prices are normal – and 31-percent consider them bad. Looking ahead to next year – 42-percent see input prices staying the same – and 38-percent see input prices getting worse. Only 18-percent think they could improve. Overall – the index value for crop producers is 104.3 – but in the Midwest – it’s 103.4. The index for livestock producers is 107.7. Southwest producers are more optimistic this year with their index at 110.6 – and their expectations index is 102.


“NRCS Extends 2014 CSP Enrollment Deadline”

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service has extended the deadline for new Conservation Stewardship Program enrollments for Fiscal Year 2014. NRCS Chief Jason Weller says this extension will make it possible for more farmers, ranchers and forest landowners to apply for this important program. Weller says these good stewards ensure their operations are more productive and sustainable over the long run – and CSP can help them take their operations to the next level of natural resource management. Eligible landowners and operators in all states and territories may now enroll in CSP through February 7th. Learn more at www dot NRCS dot USDA dot gov (


“Group of U.S. Veterans Releases New Ad Supporting RFS”

VoteVets dot org ( – the largest progressive group of veterans in the U.S. – is launching a new television ad in Iowa and Washington, D.C. in support of the Renewable Fuels Standard. The ad features Iraq War Veteran Michael Connolly who makes the case that reducing the RFS would allow greater flow of oil money to U.S. enemies who then use that money against U.S. troops. The group is leading the way in calling the Environmental Protection Agency to protect the RFS and is collecting petition signatures from Americans who want to see the nation’s dependence on foreign oil reduced – and to protect U.S. troops and create jobs. To view the ad – visit YouTube dot com ( and search Vote Ad Support.


“Economists Provide Top Trends Analysis to NPB Strategic Planning Task Force”

The National Pork Board’s strategic planning task force met for the first time in December – and recently was presented an analysis of the top trends in the economic and food production environment that most likely will impact the Pork Checkoff program. The trends – identified by Paragon Economics’ Dr. Steve Meyer and University of California at Davis’ Dr. Daniel Sumner – include an increase in U.S. consumption of pork, a growth market in Asia, increased productivity of the average pig farmer, and modified demand in rich countries and middle income countries due to food safety and farm practice. Meyer says real per capita expenditures are very strong – with individual pork demand at its highest levels since 2004. Domestically – he says people are spending more on meat even while per capita income fails to grow. On a global basis – Sumner says the need for increased pork production over the next decade is very real – and the U.S. pork industry must outperform past history to meet increasing demand.

NPB CEO Chris Novak says the overarching objective of this is to assess the role the Pork Checkoff plays in an ever-changing world and to identify strategic opportunities to help move the pork industry forward. He says consumer needs regarding food safety and transparency – and producer needs to protect the environment and provide the best possible animal care – will be front and center.


“Drones Enter Testing at LSU”

Researchers at the Louisiana State University AgCenter are testing the use of unmanned drones to help farmers monitor their crops from the air. AgCenter Engineer Randy Price says the technology looks promising. Researchers recently used a drone to check freeze damage in a sugarcane field – and Price says the AgCenter hopes to send a drone with a sensor to measure crop growth – which can indicate if more fertilizer is needed and if so – where it’s needed in the field. LSU AgCenter County Agent Jimmy Flanagan is learning how to do this with a helicopter drone. He says the drone could be useful in maturing sugarcane and corn fields – where it’s difficult to scout tall crops for disease and insufficient fertilizer. The AgCenter already has three programmable drones built – and Price says two more are currently being built. The Federal Aviation Administration is writing regulations for drones to prevent interference with other aircraft. The drones are classified as hobby aircraft currently – not available for commercial use – but Price says new regulations will address commercial uses.


“DuPont Pioneer Researchers Work to Help Growers Manage Cold Stress”

Growers in northern states are aware of cold stress issues – but DuPont Biotech Business Affairs Manager Imad Saab says hybrids with strong stress emergence scores are just for those growers in the north. Saab says many Pioneer hybrids feature this trait – which indicates a relative ability to emerge in cooler conditions, tolerate early-season challenges and give growers the opportunity to produce high yields. Saab says this trait is valuable for all growers who are planting corn earlier or into cool, damp soils. If conditions allow – southern growers can start planting in late February or early March – but early-planted corn can experience cold, wet conditions – according to Saab – and those conditions can remain for weeks after planting – which can reduce the number of emerged plants. Saab says DuPont Pioneer researchers have worked diligently to find strong cold tolerance in germplasm collections – which isn’t easy – in order to meet these challenges. He says DuPont Pioneer wants to provide every grower a menu of products to choose from to meet their specific needs. For more information – visit www dot DuPont dot com (


“Producers Receive High Cotton Awards”

Farm Press and the National Cotton Council are celebrating the 20th anniversary this year of its High Cotton Awards. Farm Press Publications’ Publisher Greg Frey says the awards continue to identify producers who are the best of the best when it comes to producing a high quality, profitable crop in an environmentally responsible manner. Each year – nominees share the great stories they have to tell about what they are doing on their farms and in their communities to protect and preserve the land for future generations – according to Farm Press Content Director Forrest Laws. The 2014 Farm Press-Cotton Foundation High Cotton Awards recipients are Danny Darnell of Alabama for the Southeast; Kenneth Hood of Mississippi for the Mid-South; Steven Beakley of Texas for the Southwest’ and Clyde Sharp of Arizona for the Far West. These farmers and their families were honored during a breakfast at the Beltwide Cotton Conferences. For more information on the recipients – visit delta farm press dot com (

SOURCE: NAFB News Service