Aug 20, 2014


PFA Pioneer Blog

RSS By: Chip Flory, Pro Farmer

This is a private blog for Pioneer.

Time for the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour

Aug 08, 2014

Pro Farmer Extra

- From the Editors of Pro Farmer newsletter -

August 8, 2014

Scouts on the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour will be on the road Aug. 18-21. The 2014 Tour, sponsored by DuPont Pioneer, has a record number of scouts registered and ready for the four-day trek that covers 7 states and about 70% of the U.S. corn and soybean crops.

Talk with your Pioneer dealer about coming to one of these evening meetings.

Western Leg:
August 18: Grand Island, Nebraska
August 19: Nebraska City, Nebraska
August 20: Spencer, Iowa
August 21: Rochester, Minnesota

Eastern Leg:
August 18: Fishers, Indiana
August 19: Bloomington, Illinois
August 20: Iowa City, Iowa
August 21: Rochester, Minnesota

Last year's Crop Tour collected 1,340 corn samples and nearly that many soybean samples as eastern scouts made their way west from Ohio and western scouts covered the roads in S. Dakota, Nebraska, western Iowa and southern Minnesota. The goal of each stop on Tour is to collect a "good sample" and we do that by keeping the Tour consistently random.

It's consistent because we follow the same routes year to year, but it's random because we don't pre-select plot locations and leave field and plot selection up to individual scouting teams.

It's consistent because we pull the 5th, 8th, and 11th ear from one of two 30-foot corn plots, but that also keeps the process random because those three ears might be the best three ears in the field... they could be the worst three ears in the field... or they could be three very representative ears in the field. Which brings up an important point. The goal is not to "peg" the yield in each and every field. For one thing, to accurately estimate the yield in an individual field, we'd have to pull at least 10 samples from every 40 acres. The goal is to collect enough samples from a county to get a good idea of a county's potential; enough samples from a crop district to get a good idea of a crop district's potential; enough sample from a state to get a good idea of a state's yield potential.

And the ultimate goal of the tour is to consistently collect enough random samples from seven very important corn producing states to get a good idea of the county's yield potential. The single most important yield average we look at in the entire week is the final "all samples" average yield. The Tour is designed to be "self weighting." We spend a half day of sampling in South Dakota and Ohio to limit the number of samples from these states. The Tour consistently pulls the highest number of samples from Iowa, which is closely followed by the sample counts from Illinois, Nebraska and Minnesota. The Indiana sample count comes next. Because of this, we can throw all the samples into one spreadsheet and generate one average of all 1,300-plus corn yields... and that is the best "tell" of U.S. corn yield potential. Keep that in mind as you hear or read reports and Tweets from Tour. Those reports and Tweets might be completely accurate for one route, but it may not be representative of what scouts on all 12 of the eastern routes and all 10 of the western routes are seeing that day.

We're looking forward to another week of making new friends, spending time talking with growers from across the Midwest and collecting some important information for the ag industry.
 


Follow Pro Farmer Editorial Director Chip Flory on Twitter: @ChipFlory


To see more of what Pro Farmer has to offer, be sure to visit www.profarmer.com.

Farm Policy and Program update from Pro Farmer

Aug 01, 2014

Pro Farmer Extra

- From the Editors of Pro Farmer newsletter -

August 1, 2014

Blogger's note: Next week in "Pro Farmer Extra," we'll start getting you ready for the 2014 Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour, sponsored by DuPont Pioneer! Geting ready now!

Today's perspective is by Pro Farmer News Editor Meghan Pedersen and Washington Consultant Jim Wiesemeyer.

Tweaks for WOTUS coming

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Deputy Admin. Bob Perciasepe told the House Small Business Committee last week the agency was moving ahead with its waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule, though stressing it was “just a proposal.” When asked what it would hurt to withdraw the rule, Perciasepe said, “The harm would be in maintaining the uncertainty that currently exists. We’re going to continue to try to solve that problem.”

One day later, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said the two agencies would soon release a new series of questions and answers on the interpretive rule associated with WOTUS in hopes of providing some clarification on ag exemptions.

Perspective: This appears to be the closest thing to withdrawing the interpretive rule thus far. Ag interests must decide if the updated questions and answers alleviate their concerns.

Additional details on SCO

USDA officially announced the Supplemental Coverage Option (SCO) will be available for corn, cotton, grain sorghum, rice, soybeans, spring barley, spring wheat and winter wheat in selected counties for the 2015 crop year. For a map of available coverage for wheat and examples of potential SCO benefits see “Inside Washington Today” on www.profarmer.com.

Also of note, USDA says producers applying for SCO for the 2015 winter wheat crop may withdraw coverage on any farm where they have or intend to elect Ag Risk Coverage (ARC) for winter wheat by the earlier of their acreage reporting date or Dec. 15, without penalty. This gives them more time to make a decision between ARC or Price Loss Coverage (PLC). SCO is only available to producers who choose to participate in PLC, not for those choosing ARC.

If wheat producers withdraw SCO coverage for a farm, they will not be charged a crop insurance premium if they notify agents of their intended election by the aforementioned dates.

OSHA eases grain bin rules

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will not take enforcement actions against farms over the way they manage their grain bins, according to final guidance from the regulator. A revised enforcement memo from OSHA said on-farm grain operations with fewer than 10 employees fall under a long-standing exemption for farms. A Nebraska case first brought attention to the issue last year, when OSHA seemingly reclassified farms with grain storage as commercial grain handlers. A provision in the Fiscal 2014 omnibus spending bill required OSHA to consult with USDA on the issue. OSHA subsequently withdrew a field memorandum that had led to the enforcement effort.

Appeals court upholds COOL enforcement

A district appeals court upheld USDA’s right to enforce country of origin labeling (COOL) rules last week. The American Meat Institute and other stakeholders had sought a preliminary injunction to keep COOL from taking effect, saying it violated their free speech rights. The meat industry says COOL will have dire economic consequences, including putting some meat processors out of business.

The verdict is still out on whether this rule will stand up at the World Trade Organization. It reportedly delivered a mixed preliminary decision on the rule that said COOL is discriminatory toward Canada and Mexico’s livestock sectors, though not trade-distorting. But the final ruling could differ from the preliminary decision. If the final decision is in favor of the U.S., both countries plan to retaliate.


 


Follow Pro Farmer Editorial Director Chip Flory on Twitter: @ChipFlory


To see more of what Pro Farmer has to offer, be sure to visit www.profarmer.com.

More than ag upset with WOTUS

Jul 18, 2014

Pro Farmer Extra

- From the Editors of Pro Farmer newsletter -

July 18, 2014

Today's perspective is by Pro Farmer News Editor Meghan Pedersen and Washington Consultant Jim Wiesemeyer.

More than ag interests upset with WOTUS

The waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule that tries to spell out the scope of the Clean Water Act remains under siege. The ag industry, lawmakers and environmental interests have all taken issue with components of WOTUS and its accompanying interpretive rule that defines 56 ag practices exempt from permitting requirements. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy has expressed surprise at the level of concern generated about the interpretive rule and has indicated she may be willing to pull it back. But the administration says her agency needs time to address objections to the rule. It is increasingly apparent EPA and the Army Corps would have saved face and headache if they had consulted stakeholders and USDA prior to releasing the rules.

Ag interests have expressed worries that voluntary measures approved by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) would become mandatory under the interpretive rule, while environmental groups are unhappy about the farmer exemptions from dredge-and-fill permitting requirements. Groups like the Association of State Wetlands Managers (ASWM) say some of the practices that are now exempt from permitting could violate state water quality standards if they are practiced without oversight.

Lawmakers have also taken action on the matter. Provisions in the House’s Energy and Water spending bills would block the proposed rule for one year and would broaden ag exemptions to the law’s Section 404 permitting requirements. A House panel advanced a separate bill that would block implementation of the proposed rule and would repeal the interpretive rule. The measure would also require EPA to consult with state and local officials on the issue and report recommendations for a consensus proposal to Congress.

Pressure from all sides is mounting, especially on the interpretive rule. This may increase odds EPA will pull it.
 


Follow Pro Farmer Editorial Director Chip Flory on Twitter: @ChipFlory


To see more of what Pro Farmer has to offer, be sure to visit www.profarmer.com.

EPA late to the party on educating about WOTUS

Jul 11, 2014

Pro Farmer Extra

- From the Editors of Pro Farmer newsletter -

July 11, 2014

Ag interests press EPA on WOTUS

Pressure is building from major ag groups and farm-state lawmakers for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to alter its Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule. Ag interests are concerned Section 404 permitting requirements would not be exempt under the accompanying interpretive rule unless farmers adhere to standards set by USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy met with farmers, ranchers and other ag interests last week in an effort to ease concerns raised about WOTUS and the interpretive rule, which the agency insists are non-binding, voluntary measures. McCarthy signaled farmers and others have raised legitimate concerns and also indicated there is a willingness to pull back the interpretive rule.

Pro Farmer Washington Consultant Jim Wiesemeyer says, “If EPA and McCarthy had taken as much time to educate and consult with ag interests before WOTUS and the interpretive rule, as they are trying to do now, they would be a lot further along in the process. Trust is hard to restore after so much distrust on this issue. That distrust precedes McCarthy.”

Farm bill implementation issues
 

Crop insurance and dairy program provisions in the 2014 Farm Bill were key issues discussed during a House Agriculture General Farm Commodities and Risk Management Subcommittee hearing last week. Lawmakers peppered USDA Undersecretary Michael Scuse on why the Risk Management Agency is currently not planning to implement Actual Production History adjustment provisions until the 2016 crop year. Lawmakers also urged USDA to give dairy producers some basic information on the new dairy program while details are developed. Scuse pledged to see how USDA can address lawmakers’ concerns.

 


Follow Pro Farmer Editorial Director Chip Flory on Twitter: @ChipFlory


To see more of what Pro Farmer has to offer, be sure to visit www.profarmer.com.

Still Waiting on Washington to Act

Jun 20, 2014

Pro Farmer Extra

- From the Editors of Pro Farmer newsletter -

June 20, 2014

Final 2014 RFS may come ‘late fall'

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will not likely release final rules on the 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) volume requirements until “late fall” this year, according to our sources. Ironically, one source says the 2014 final rule details could come out at or near the time EPA is required by law to announce the 2015 RFS volume details. Contacts continue to signal the ethanol volume requirement will likely be 13.6 billion gallons, with biodiesel at 1.28 billion gallons.
 

 

Permanent tax extensions mulled

Lawmakers from both parties and both chambers note a push is on to extend some lapsed tax incentive extenders permanently, such as Section 179 equipment expensing. The biodiesel tax incentive extension could be one that is not extended permanently but would still get a retroactive extension through 2015. Several biodiesel industry stakeholders have told lawmakers and congressional staff they are continuing to produce biodiesel on the expectation the incentive will be extended retroactively. If not, there will be significant financial implications for some.

 


Follow Pro Farmer Editorial Director Chip Flory on Twitter: @ChipFlory


To see more of what Pro Farmer has to offer, be sure to visit www.profarmer.com.

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