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March 20, 2014

Salute to Agriculture Ashland

Gazette THE

Ashland, Nebraska

News

The

Waverly, Nebraska


2

Salute to Agriculture

Wahoo Newspaper • The Ashland Gazette • The News • Thursday, March 20, 2014

Cattle on Feed gives Nebraska No. 1 spot The National Agricultural Statistics Service culture industry has worked collectively to has released the Cattle on Feed report for develop the cattle, corn and ethanol sectors, Feb. 1.  The report contains information from a knowing that together the three could have monthly survey that counts the number of cat- great synergy.  I think our continued growth tle on feed in feedlots of 1,000 head and greater, in cattle feeding, culminating in Nebraska highlighted by state. The taking over the Number recent report indicates One position, is a positive Nebraska has become the reflection of that fact. Number One cattle feed- From Greg Ibach, Director This cattle on feed report ing state in the nation, sur- Nebraska Department of Agriculture follows new Census of passing the state of Texas, Agriculture figures that which has historically held the Number One show growth in the number of small farms spot. and the number of young farmers in Nebraska.    The report indicates that at the beginning of I think this collective information demonFebruary, Nebraska had 2.46 million head of strates that the industry’s efforts to position cattle on feed in feedlots 1,000 head and great- Nebraska as a national and international leader, compared to 2.44 million head in Texas. er in agriculture are coming to fruition. Kansas comes in third with about two million   We will continue to watch the cattle on feed head. figures as we expect some fluctuation, but the   Over the past decade the Nebraska agri- trend is certainly positive for Nebraska.

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Wahoo Newspaper • The Ashland Gazette • The News • Thursday, March 20, 2014

Salute to Agriculture

3

Drought continues to have impact on producers By Kris Byars kris.byars@wahoonewspaper.com

WAHOO – The ongoing drought continues to impact the decisions ag producers make about their operations. Wahoo Livestock Commission Manager Tyler Sudik said he has seen impacts the drought has had on livestock producers. Reduced rain means reduced forage for herds to feed on. The limited forage requires an increased amount of feed to maintain herds and yield. “And that can get very expensive, very fast,” said Sudik. University of Nebraska Extension Educator Lindsay Chichester noted that, with the winter the area has experienced, this could be an expensive proposition. “The colder it is, the more energy the animals need to stay warm,” explained Chichester. “And if that’s not available in forage, then you have to make up the difference by adding more feed.” In some cases, Sudik said producers have found this to be cost-prohibitive. “So a lot of people are reducing the size of their herds and selling off a portion of their livestock,” said Sudik. That was the very reason behind a Feb. 26 sale of 555 head of cows at the Wahoo Sale

Continued on Page 4

SHRINKING THE HERD: Auctioneers seek out bidders during a Feb. 26 Wahoo Livestock Commission sale at the Sale Barn in Wahoo. The producer who owned the cattle decided to sell of 555 cattle due to drought conditions that led to a decreased amount of forage available where the animals grazed. (Staff Photo by Kris Byars)

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4 Salute to Agriculture Drought: Producers feel impact Continued from Page 3 Barn. A livestock producer from near Pendor had been having forage problems on the South Dakota ground where he grazed some of his herd. He therefore decided to sell the animals. Livestock disasters are nothing new to County Executive Tim Divis of the United States Farm Service Agency Office in Wahoo. “The livestock disaster portions of the 2014 Farm Bill are supposed to be the first one’s rolled out, here in about midApril,” said Divis. “We expect that it’s actually going to be retroactive to 2012, because the previous bill’s livestock disaster provisions ran out in 2011, and in 2012, the county was still technically in a drought.” While he won’t know the specifics until the federal bill is rolled out, Divis believed there would be some disaster aid provisions available for livestock producers that date back to 2012. “We expect the Drought Livestock Forage Program to be similar to what was there

Wahoo Newspaper • The Ashland Gazette • The News • Thursday, March 20, 2014

before, so that should help producers out that lost pasture and forage in 2012,” he said. Unfortunately, 2013 was technically classified as a drought under the FSA’s definition, so that aid probably won’t be available for that year. “We’ll just have to wait and see once the bill is rolled out,” he said. Looking at current conditions, Divis said that Saunders County is classified as being, “abnormally dry,” but not as being in a drought. However, that doesn’t mean producers won’t see any damage. “Right now, with as cold and as windy as it has been especially, that’s been pretty hard on the winter wheat,” said Divis. “If we get a wet spring, that will probably help out with the corn and beans, but it’s probably too late for - Tim Divis the winter wheat if there’s been winter kill. And that’s a lot of what we’re hearing from farmers right now. Divis said his office would be releasing information on the new farm bill provisions as they become available.

“We expect the Drought Livestock Forage Program to be similar to what was there before, so that should help producers out that lost pasture and forage in 2012.”

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Salute to Agriculture

Wahoo Newspaper • The Ashland Gazette • The News • Thursday, March 20, 2014

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Nebraska Soybean paints the town at home show NSB promotes innovative uses for soy at show LINCOLN – More than 500 Nebraska homeowners visited the Nebraska Soybean Board’s (NSB) booth at the 2014 Nebraska Builders Home and Garden Show at the Lancaster Event Center in Lincoln, February 7 through 9. Homeowners attended the show for ideas on green living, tips on remodeling, and advice on landscaping and interior design. They also walked away with insight on how to lessen their footprint on the environment. “From field to market, every choice matters” was the theme to this year’s bioproducts promotion. The NSB booth featured numerous bioproducts, all produced with U.S. grown soybeans. From artificial outdoor turf and carpet to household cleansers and skin moisturizers, NSB informed showgoers how soybeans are helping make everyday products more renewable and environmentally friendly. The main attraction was a 12-foot mural created using soy-formulated paint from SherwinWilliams. Nearly 300 people, ages 6 to 86,

rolled up their sleeves and tested their artistic abilities. With grid lines dividing the mural into 6-inch squares, participants put their personal touches on this unique showpiece. In the last hour of the show, the mural was finally completed by Lincoln soybean farmer John Zakovec. The showpiece reiterates how consumers can be green, save money and help the environment by using soy products in their everyday lives. “As a farmer contributing to the soybean checkoff, it’s good to know our dollars are being invested in worthwhile projects. NSB does a great job to promote our product and share our message with the people of Nebraska,” Zakovec said. For visiting the booth, event attendees received a tube of soy hand lotion, a product catalog featuring several soy products, their benefits and where they can be locally purchased and complimentary samples of The Clean Environment Company’s soy-based cleaners including: laundry detergent, bath, tile and basin cleaner, hand dishwashing detergent and citrus all-purpose cleaner. “I had no idea soy was used in so many products. It’s reassuring to know these products are nontoxic, contain no irritants and are safe to use around my children,” said Pris Kliewer of Lincoln. Kliewer won the grand prize item, a Broyhill sofa manufactured with soy-based foam. Doug Wagner of Hickman, Sheila Ehlers

of Seward and Tamera Ward of Lincoln also won gift baskets filled with soy-based degreasers, lubricants, candles and hand soap. NSB staff member, Andy Chvatal explains that the NSB has been working for many years to make soy-based products available to consumers. “Soybeans are composed of both protein and oil, opening the door for a variety of uses,” he said. The protein is primarily used as animal feed and integrated in many human foods. A large portion of the oil is used for purposes such as cooking, baking, frying and biodiesel production. The remaining oil is applied in industrial applications such as adhesives, coatings and printing inks, lubricants and spe-

cialty products. “When it comes to soybean oil, there’s room at the table for both human consumption and everyday use,” said Chvatal. Soybean farmers see new industrial and commercial uses for soybeans as a viable way to stay competitive and raise demand for U.S. soybeans. The nine-member Nebraska Soybean Board collects and disburses Nebraska’s share of funds generated by the one half of one percent times the net sales price per bushel of soybeans sold. Nebraska soybean checkoff funds are invested in research, education, domestic and foreign markets, including new uses for soybeans and soybean products.

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Salute to Agriculture

Call Us

Wahoo Newspaper • The Ashland Gazette • The News • Thursday, March 20, 2014

643-6669 or 800-873-6669

National Ag Day ACA announces 2014 National Ag Day Date

“We Understand Markets”

citizens that agriculture is a part of all of us. A number of producers, agricultural associations, corporations, students and governL. Gamble ment organizations involved in Roger agriculture are expected to participate. Roy Josoff, Jr. National Ag Day is organized by the Agriculture Council of America. ACA is a nonprofit organization composed of leaders in the agricultural, food and fiber community, dedicating its efforts to increasing the public’s OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – The Agriculture awareness of agriculture’s role in modern Council of America (ACA) will host National society. Agriculture Day on March 25. This will The National Ag Day program encourages mark the 41st anniversary of National Ag every American to: Day which is celebrated in Understand how food and classrooms and communifiber products are produced. ties across the country. The Appreciate the role agritheme for National Ag Day culture plays in providing is “Agriculture: 365 Sunrises safe, abundant and affordable and 7 Billion Mouths to products. Feed.” Value the essential role of On March 25, the ACA agriculture in maintaining a will host major events in the strong economy. nation’s capital including the Acknowledge and consider Mix-and-Mingle Luncheon career opportunities in the and the National Celebration agriculture, food and fiber of Agriculture Dinner. industry. Additionally, the ACA will In addition to the events bring approximately 100 colin Washington, DC on March lege students to Washington 25, the ACA will once again to deliver the message of Ag feature the Ag Day Essay Day to the Hill. Contest as well as the 2014 Ag Day Poster Art Contest. These events honor National Agriculture Day Keep checking http://www. and mark a nationwide effort to tell the true agday.org/ for more information on National story of American agriculture and remind Ag Day in 2014.

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Salute to Agriculture

Wahoo Newspaper • The Ashland Gazette • The News • Thursday, March 20, 2014

About Ag Day March 25 is National Ag Day, a time when producers, agricultural associations, corporations, universities, government agencies and countless others across America gather to recognize and celebrate the abundance provided by American agriculture. As the world population soars, there is even greater demand for the food, fiber and renewable resources produced in the United States. The National Ag Day program believes that every American should: 1. understand how food, fiber and renewable resource products are produced. 2. value the essential role of agriculture in maintaining a strong economy. 3. appreciate the role agriculture plays in providing safe, abundant and affordable products. 4. acknowledge and consider career opportunities in the agriculture, food, fiber and renewable resource industries. Agriculture provides almost everything we eat, use and wear on a daily basis, and is increasingly contributing to fuel and other bio-products. Each year, members of the agricultural industry gather together to promote American agriculture. This effort helps educate millions of consumers. By far, the most effective part of this program is the role you play in helping spread the word. A few generations ago, most Americans were directly involved in—or had relatives or friends involved in—agricultural-related endeavors. Today, that is no longer the case. That is why it is so important that we join together at the community level, our voices, in concert, become a shout that carries our message a great deal further than any one of

us can do alone! We are pleased that you have joined this effort to promote American agriculture. Americans need to understand the value of agriculture in their daily lives. Here are just some of the key reasons why it’s important to recognize—and celebrate—Ag Day each year: Increased knowledge of agriculture and nutrition allows individuals to make informed personal choices about diet and health. Informed citizens will be able to participate in establishing the policies that will support a competitive agricultural industry in this country and abroad. Employment opportunities exist across the board in agriculture. Career choices include farm production, agribusiness management and marketing, agricultural research and engineering, food science, processing and retailing, banking, education, landscape architecture, urban planning, energy and other fields. Beginning in kindergarten and continuing through 12th grade, all students should receive some systematic instruction about agriculture. Agriculture is too important a topic to be taught only to the small percentage of students considering careers in agriculture and pursuing vocational agricultural studies. Agricultural literacy includes an understanding of agriculture’s history and current economic, social and environmental significance to all Americans. This understanding includes some knowledge of food, fiber and renewable resource production, processing and domestic and international marketing.

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Salute to Agriculture

Wahoo Newspaper • The Ashland Gazette • The News • Thursday, March 20, 2014

Ag Day FAQ’s What Is Ag Day?

It’s a day to recognize and celebrate the abundance provided by agriculture. Every year, producers, agricultural associations, corporations, universities, government agencies and countless others across America join together to recognize the contributions of agriculture.

agriculture. Each American farmer feeds more than 144 people ... a dramatic increase from 25 people in the 1960s. Quite simply, American agriculture is doing more - and doing it better. As the world population soars, there is an even greater demand for the food and fiber produced in the United States.

When Is Ag Day?

Who Hosts Ag Day?

Ag Day is celebrated on March 25. National Ag Day falls during National Ag Week, March 23 through 29.

What Is Ag Day All About?

Ag Day is about recognizing - and celebrating - the contribution of agriculture in our everyday lives. The National Ag Day program encourages every American to: Understand how food and fiber products are produced. Value the essential role of agriculture in maintaining a strong economy. Appreciate the role agriculture plays in providing safe, abundant and affordable products.

Why Celebrate Agriculture?

Agriculture provides almost everything we eat, use and wear on a daily basis. But too few people truly understand this contribution. This is particularly the case in our schools, where students may only be exposed to agriculture if they enroll in related vocational training. By building awareness, the Agriculture Council of America is encouraging young people to consider career opportunities in

The Agriculture Council of America hosts the campaign on a national level. However, the awareness efforts in communities across America are as influential - if not more - than the broad-scale effort. Again this year, the Ag Day Planning Guide has been created to help communities and organizations more effectively host Ag Day events.

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Put simply, get involved! Your participation in Ag Day is critical in helping us spread this positive message about agriculture. If you are interested in planning an event, download your Planning Guide today. Of course, there are other ways you can lend your support, including sending a letter to your local newspaper, calling your Congressional representatives or simply sharing information about agriculture with youngsters in your community.

Where Can I Find More Information?

Contact the Agriculture Council of America at 913-491-1895.

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Salute to Agriculture

Wahoo Newspaper • The Ashland Gazette • The News • Thursday, March 20, 2014

Cencus of Agriculture results show unlimited potential

Recently, USDA released preliminary data ket opportunities for all producers. from the 2012 Census of Agriculture that pro-   At the same time, we cannot ignore that vides a snapshot of a rural America that devastating weather events increasingly remains stable in the face of difficult economic impacts producers’ bottom lines. The protimes. While the data do not paint a perfect longed drought and lack of disaster assistance over the past several years have picture, they do tell a story of the made it even tougher for liveunlimited potential and growstock producers and mid-sized ing opportunity in modern rural farms to survive and thrive, and America. the data reflects that reality.   Census data indicate that   We must do more to protect the loss of farmland has slowed From Tom Vilsacek, the middle, farms and ranches significantly since 2007, which means that while a total of 72 mil- Secratary of Agriculture that are middle-sized and midlion acres of farmland have been income, and ensure that they lost since the 1982 census, we can access resources and prohave begun to stem the tide. New tools tections to help them thrive. Here too, in the 2014 Farm Bill should help to the farm bill will provide much-needed further slow and perhaps even reverse relief and stability through guaranteed this trend in some areas of the country. disaster assistance.   The results reinforce what we   More than anything, the census illushave  known  for many years: the farm trates the power of data. Data from population is aging. While that is a conthe census helps to inform smart policern, the data also show that the numcymaking that makes life easier for ber of young farmers increased slightly farmers and ranchers. It helps to stand and the number of minority farm and up programs and initiatives that benranch principal operators increased efit young and beginning farmers and dramatically, reflecting the changing ranchers just starting out; improve face of America as a whole.  We are Tom Vilsack access to resources that help women, hopeful that USDA policies that attract veteran and minority farmers and and retain the next generation of talent into ranchers thrive; and help farmers and ranchrural America will help to continue this trend. ers diversify into new markets, including local   The number of small and very large farms and regional food systems, specialty crops and held steady. This reflects, in part, USDA’s organic production. recent push to help farmers and ranchers   We are on the right track, but there is still diversify into new markets, including local more work to do. In order to survive, American and regional food systems, specialty crops and agriculture must continue to embrace innovaorganic production, and expand market access tion and diversity in crop production, marfor American farm products overseas. The kets, people and land use across the agricul2014 Farm Bill will do even more to expand tural sector. support for beginning farmers and new mar-

Guest Editorial

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SAlES

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10 Salute to Agriculture

Wahoo Newspaper • The Ashland Gazette • The News • Thursday, March 20, 2014

National Ag Day essay contest announced OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – The Agriculture Council of America (ACA) called on ninth- to 12th-grade students to submit an original, 450word essay or a two-minute video essay about the importance of agriculture. This year’s theme is “Agriculture: 365 Sunrises and 7 Billion Mouths to Feed” and the deadline was Jan. 31. The ACA asked teachers and parents to encourage student participation. The theme, “Agriculture: 365 Sunrises and 7 Billion Mouths to Feed,” presents an opportunity for students to address how the agriculture industry is an endless source of opportunity for growth and development. Entrants may choose to either write an

essay and/or create a video focusing on how today’s growers are overcoming challenges to provide a safe, stable food supply and sustain the significant role agriculture plays in everyday life. “CHS enthusiastically supports rural youth and is proud to showcase their ideas,” says Annette Degnan, marketing communications director, CHS Inc., one of this year’s essay contest sponsors. “The essay and video contests provide an engaging platform for their voices, vision and dreams to be shared with a broader audience.’” The national written essay winner receives a $1,000 prize and round-trip ticket to

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Washington, D.C., for recognition during the Celebration of Ag Dinner held March 25 at Whitten Patio at the USDA. During dinner, the winner will have the opportunity to read the winning essay as well as join with industry representatives, members of Congress, federal agency representatives, media and other friends in a festive ag celebration. The video essay winner wins a $1,000 prize, and the winning video will play during the Celebration of Ag Dinner. This is the 41st anniversary of National Ag Day. The goal of the ACA is to provide a

spotlight on agriculture and the food and fiber industry. The ACA not only helps consumers understand how food and fiber products are produced, but also brings people together to celebrate accomplishments in providing safe, abundant and affordable products. The Ag Day Essay Contest is sponsored by CHS Inc., High Plains/Midwest Ag Journal, National Association of Farm Broadcasting, National Agri-Marketing Association, Country Living Association, Farm Progress Companies and McCormick Company.

Thank you Nebraska Farmers. From a full and satisfied nation. From the field to the tables of the world, Nebraska Farmers are the best in the world.

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Salute to Agriculture

Wahoo Newspaper • The Ashland Gazette • The News • Thursday, March 20, 2014

11

Nebraska Agriculture Hot summers and cold winters, variability in rainfall distribution, fluctuating length of growing season, and frequent winds typify Nebraska’s climate. Average precipitation during the last decade ranged from slightly above 30 inches in the southeast to 16 inches in the northwest. About 75 percent of the precipitation falls as rain during April - September, the crop growing season. Average growing season ranges from 170 days in the southeast to 120 days in the extreme northwest. The Nebraska state soil is “Holdrege.” The parent material of the vast majority of Nebraska’s soils was formed from wind-blown

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silt and clay or loess while the parent material of the soil in the north-central or Sandhills region is windblown sand. Topography and subsequent soil drainage have greatly influenced development of soil properties in local areas.

crops & livestock In 2010, nearly 9.2 million acres were planted to corn and produced nearly 1.5 billion bushels. In 2010, nearly 5.2 million acres were planted to soybeans and produced nearly 268 million bushels. In 2010, Nebraska ranked third in corn production, third in dry edible bean production, fourth in soybean production, fifth in all hay

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production, sixth in sorghum production, seventh in winter wheat production, and seventh in sunflower production. As of Jan. 1, 2011, there were 6,200,000 cattle and calves and 74,000 sheep and lambs in Nebraska. As of Dec. 1, 2010, there were 3,100,000 hogs and pigs and 11,592,000 chickens. Nebraska’s dairy cows produced over 1.1 billion pounds of milk in 2010. Nebraska’s laying hens produced 2,751,000,000 eggs in 2010. Nebraska’s slaughter plants processed nearly 6.8 million cattle and nearly 7.7 million hogs in

2009. As of January 1, 2011, Nebraska ranks 3rd in the U.S. for all cattle and calves inventory. As of December 1, 2010, Nebraska ranks sixth in hog and pig inventory.

general In Nebraska 45.6 million acres of land is used for farming, or 92.7 percent of the 49.2 million acres of land in the State. Nebraska has 76,872 square miles of land. Nebraska’s current Director of Agriculture is Greg Ibach.

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12 Salute to Agriculture

Wahoo Newspaper • The Ashland Gazette • The News • Thursday, March 20, 2014

Nebraska Agriculture Fact Card A cooperative effort of the Nebraska Department of Agriculture USDA, NASS, Nebraska Field Office, Nebraska Bankers Association and Nebraska AgRelations Council.

Nebraska’s Top Rankings First Commercial red meat production, 2013 – 7,353,100,000 lbs. (3,335,310,055 kg.) Commercial cattle slaughter, 2013 – 6,869,800 head Commercial cattle slaughter, 2013, live weight – 9,389,940,000 lbs. (4,259,205,138 kg.) All cattle on feed, Jan 1, 2014 – 2,450,000 head Great Northern beans production, 2013 – 1,243,000 cwt. (563,815,315 kg.) Irrigated land harvested, 2007 - 8,558,559 acres Popcorn production, 2007 – 294,541,958 lbs. (133,601,984 kg.) Second All cattle and calves, Jan. 1, 2014 – 6,150,000 head Pinto beans production, 2013 – 1,174,000 cwt. (53,251,744 kg.) Beef and veal exports, 2012 – $840,000,000 Third Corn for grain production, 2013 – 1,623,500,000 bushels (57,210,630 m3) Corn Exports, 2012 – $1,149,600,000 All dry edible beans production, 2013 – 2,750,000 cwt. (124,737,901 kg.) Cash receipts from all farm commodities, 2012 – $24,465,882,000 Proso millet production, 2013 – 4,576,000 bushels (161,253 m3) Fourth Cash receipts from all livestock and products, 2012 – $11,771,253,000 Net farm income, 2012 – $5,952,230,000 Land in farms and ranches, 2012 – 45,500,000 acres (18,413,196 ha.) On-farm grain storage capacity, Dec. 1, 2013 – 1,150,000,000 bushels (40,524,930 m3)

Off-farm commercial grain storage capacity, Dec. 1, 2013 – 1,150,000,000 bushels (40,524,930 m3) Fifth Agricultural exports, 2012 – $7,285,500,000 Soybean production, 2013 – 252,280,000 bushels (8,890,112 m3) Soybean exports, 2012 - $1,829,400,000 Cash receipts from all crops, 2012 – $12,694,629,000 Sixth Harvested acres of principal crops, 2013 – 18,756,000 acres (7,590,283 ha.) All hogs and pigs on farms, Dec. 1, 2013 – 3,100,000 head Seventh Commercial hog slaughter, 2013 – 7,595,900 head Commercial hog slaughter, 2013, live weight – 2,076,018,000 lbs. (941,665,848 kg.) Grain sorghum production, 2013 – 9,380,000 bushels (330,542 m3) Eighth Alfalfa hay production, 2013 – 2,415,000 tons (2,190,851,147 kg.) Tenth Table egg layers (flocks of 30,000+), Dec. 2013 – 9,257,000 layers

Nebraska Ag Facts

Cash receipts from farm marketings contributed over $24 billion to Nebraska’s economy in 2012 and 6.2 percent of the U.S. total. Nebraska’s ten leading commodities (in order of importance) for 2012 cash receipts are cattle and calves, corn, soybeans, hogs, wheat, dairy products, hay, chicken eggs, dry beans, and sugar beets, which represent 98 percent of the State’s total cash receipts. Every dollar in agricultural exports generates $1.29 in economic activities such as transportation, financing, warehousing, and production. Nebraska’s $7.3 billion in agricultural exports in 2012 translate into $9.4 billion

in additional economic activity. Nebraska’s top five agricultural exports in 2012 were soybeans, corn, beef and veal, feeds and fodder, and grain products. Nebraska had 49,969 farms and ranches during 2012; the average operation consisted of 907 acres (367 ha.); average net income per farm averaged $119,002 during the 2008 to 2012 period. In 2013, Nebraska ranked second in ethanol production capacity, with 23 operating plants having production capacity of 1.96 billion gallons (741,940,709 dal). Over 40 percent of the State’s 2012 corn crop was utilized in ethanol production. Livestock or poultry operations were found on 50 percent of Nebraska farms. The top five counties ranked by agricultural sales in 2007 were Cuming, Dawson, Custer, Phelps, and Lincoln. In 2011, Nebraska was eighth nationally in certified organic cropland acres (129,858) (52,551 ha.) and eighth in certified organic pasture acres (53,174) (21,518 ha.).

Nebraska’s natural resources

Nebraska’s farms and ranches utilize 45.5 million acres – 93 percent of the state’s total land area. Nebraska is fortunate to have aquifers below it. If poured over the surface of the state, the water in those aquifers would have a depth of 37.9 feet. The state has 95,170 registered, active irrigation wells supplying water to over 8.5 million acres of harvested cropland and pasture. Of the total cropland harvested during 2007, 46 percent was irrigated. Nearly 24,000 miles of rivers and streams add to Nebraska’s bountiful natural resources. There are nearly 23 million acres (9,307,806 ha) of rangeland and pastureland in Nebraska – half of which are in the Sandhills. To receive more information or request this card in another format, call the Nebraska Department of Agriculture at 402-471-2341.

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Salute to Agriculture

Wahoo Newspaper • The Ashland Gazette • The News • Thursday, March 20, 2014

13

Nebraska Olympian setting ‘Gold Standard’ for corn farming LINCOLN – It isn’t often that Nebraska has the opportunity to have an Olympic athlete become a spokesman for the state’s number one crop, but for the last four years, Nebraska corn has had the privilege of partnering with Curt Tomasevicz from Shelby, Nebraska after his 2010 Gold Medal Olympic victory. As part of this alliance, the Nebraska Corn Board is running television commercials during the XXII Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, featuring Curt and helping host two watch parties in Tomasevicz’s hometown of Shelby. Four years ago, following the XXI Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, the Nebraska Corn Board (NCB) sat down with Curt Tomasevicz and discussed an opportunity to have the first Nebraskan four-man bobsled gold medal Olympian serve as a spokesperson for Nebraska’s corn farmers. Curt has represented Nebraska agriculture, speaking at youth meetings, schools, state FFA conventions and agricultural events. He has given numerous radio interviews and written blogs for Nebraska Corn Kernels. His roots, growing up in a rural community, tie in well with his hard work-ethic messages that encourage everyone to strive for their goals. “Curt has done a spectacular job for us over

these last four years,” said Don Hutchens, executive director of the Nebraska Corn Board. “He has attended various events, given interviews, written blogs, and even helped us with an event in Japan following the devastating tsunami.” Tomasevicz joined the corn-fed beef team mission to Japan with the U.S. Meat Export Federation in 2011, three months following the tragic earthquake and tsunami. In Japan, he was like a magnet to the young school children while he shared the benefits of beef in an active, healthy lifestyle. His gold medal served as an international language when the people he met could not speak English. They were instantly connected to this international athlete. Curt was also a master behind the grill, helping to prepare steaks for free meals for tsunami evacuees. “Sometimes you do need a celebrity to speak out for an industry like ours,” said Hutchens. “Curt has a solid reputation. He was a great student at the University of Nebraska, earning an engineering degree and playing football for the Huskers. He has been an excellent communicator and needed little-to-no coaching as he already knew and appreciated what corn farmers do for our state.”

Hutchens also noted that Tomasevicz is an advocate for the ethanol industry and he refers to himself as a ‘great carnivore’ – supporting our red meat industry. Now, four years later, thanks to Tomasevicz’s commitment to agriculture, his message is featured across the regional television coverage of the Olympic Games. These messages include highlights of Nebraska’s corn industry, ethanol and livestock, innovation, sustainability, and the work ethic of Nebraska farmers. “Even though all of Curt’s training comes down to a couple of quick athletic perfor-

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14 Salute to Agriculture

Wahoo Newspaper • The Ashland Gazette • The News • Thursday, March 20, 2014

CASE support brings soybean lessons to classrooms By Sarah Mullen Nebraska FFA Foundation

LINCOLN – Fourteen Nebraska agricultural education teachers came to the University of Nebraska–Lincoln (UNL) last summer to attend the Curriculum in Agricultural Science Education (CASE) Institute. The Institute is a professional development workshop and provides teachers training for instruction related to a specific course. Principles of Agricultural Science – Plant Science was the course at this year’s conference. The goal of this weeklong institute is to enhance the rigor and relevance of agriculture, food and natural resources subject matter in the classroom. It implements a national curriculum for agricultural education at the high school level and helps teachers learn methods in preparing

students for success in college and careers in science, technology, engineering and math. It provides them with the curriculum, professional development opportunities, assessments and certification to utilize the curriculum in their classroom. These teachers have the opportunity to walk through curriculum that will allow their students to understand the field of agricultural science with a foundation in plant science. “Education in plant science is an area that I personally feel is underemphasized in high school agriculture education programs. So often programs focus on the animal industry and ignore the plant industry,” David Gibbons, a West Holt teacher wrote in his reflection. “By participation in the CASE Plant Science training I can find new ways to put plant science in front of students. It is my belief that an education in plant science can

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benefit students with a wide range of career and personal interests.” As part of this year’s program, the 14 Nebraska agricultural education instructors were selected to receive scholarships from the Nebraska Soybean Board and Nebraska FFA Foundation. These teachers utilized the CASE curriculum and designed three supplemental lesson plans on soybeans to use in their classrooms and share with their community and other agriculture education teachers. Instructors’ lessons ranged from Needs of Seeds, Seed Viability, and Seed Structure to

Enzymes and Wilting Point. The scholarships received are utilized to offset the cost of attending the Institute or to purchase equipment used to implement the curriculum in classrooms. This is the second year UNL has hosted the CASE Institute. In 2012, teachers became certified to teach Introduction to Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources. Plans are already underway to host the CASE Institute during the summer of 2014, where teachers will learn Principles of Agricultural Science – Animal Science.

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Wahoo Newspaper • The Ashland Gazette • The News • Thursday, March 20, 2014

Schiermann says goodbye to Midwest Farmers Cooperative By Jay Omar jay.omar@newswaverly.com

WAVERLY – After 40 years working at the Midwest Farmers Cooperative in Greenwood, Randy Schiermann has decided to hang up it up. Schiermann, a resident of Waverly, has decided to retire from his lifelong profession, and marked Feb. 28 as his last day on the job. The good spirited Schiermann thought back to his over 40 years of service, and explained just how much the business has changed. “When I started here it was just after the horse and grain days,” Schiermann said. “But in reality a lot has changed since my first day on the job. The trucks have become much larger, quite a bit of new construction has happened, and the pace of business is different.” Schiermann started with Midwest Farmers Cooperative as a laborer, with the title of Grain Elevator Supervisor. In 1980, Schiermann came into the office

and began working as a customer service representative. He explained the amount of knowledge he has acquired throughout his years of doing business. “I have learned that you need to see through the customers’ eyes. That is the best way to make them happy. You look at it from their perspective and it becomes much easier to help. This took me a while to learn but once you figure it out, it becomes easier,” Schiermann said. Schiermann is currently married and has three children, and a few recent additions have brought him three grandchildren as well. He said that he is not making plans for his retirement, but rather wants to enjoy every minute of it. “I don’t have any big plans. I just want to sit back and smell the roses, and not just the red ones. I want to relax and enjoy everything in my life,” Schiermann said.

Continued on Page 16

LAST TIME: Randy Schiermann sits at his desk and finishes some paperwork one last time. Schiermann retired from his job at Midwest Farmers Cooperative after 40 years of service. (Staff Photo by Jay Omar)

Salute to Agriculture

15


16 Salute to Agriculture Schiermann: Waverly man retires from job

Wahoo Newspaper • The Ashland Gazette • The News • Thursday, March 20, 2014

After 40 years with the same company, Schiermann said that he walked away with Schiermann has spent a lot of time dealing a great retirement plan and holds no regrets with farmers and farming equipof staying with Midwest Farmers ment, and said that his first expeCooperative. rience with farming came at his “They have a good retiregrandparent’s farm when he was ment program which I have been kid. working towards since I was “My grandparents owned a 21. That helps my mind stay at farm and that is really when I got ease knowing that they will take interested in it. I feel like everycare of me even after I am gone,” one should have the experience Schiermann said. of being in the barn early in the - Randy Schiermann “I worked with a lot of great morning. Hearing the milk hit people that became my friends and bucket, seeing the cats run around, had incredible bosses up until the day I left. and feeling accomplished after the hard work,” Plus I helped so many great customers during Schiermann said. my time here.” “It really is a feeling like no other.” Continued from Page 15

“I have learned that you need to see through the customers eyes.”

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Salute to Agriculture

Wahoo Newspaper • The Ashland Gazette • The News • Thursday, March 20, 2014

17

Farming today requires training By Suzi Nelson suzi.nelson@ashland-gazette.com

ASHLAND – Today’s farmer must not only spend time in the fields, they also must spend time in the classroom. Growers are required to complete certification training in multiple areas, according to Saunders County Extension Educator Keith Glewen. Pesticide training has been required since the 1970s, Glewen said. Nitrogen management training requirements came into effect about 20 years ago. Glewen said pesticides are a tool in the grower’s arsenal that has allowed famers to feed an additional 165 people for 365 days a year. Pesticide is a broad term that applies to any product that controls things such as weeds, insects, diseases, rodents, fungi and bacteria, he explained. The government wanted to make sure growers understood potential safety and risk factors associated with the misuse of pesticides, Glewen said. So growers are required to be certified to apply pesticides to their crops through

private pesticide applicator training. “They are required by law to participate in and complete training every four years if they are using restricted-use pesticides,” Glewen said. Private pesticide applicator training is provided by the University of Nebraska Extension Service in conjunction with the Nebraska Department of Agriculture. In Saunders County, they are usually held at the Agriculture and Research Development Center (ARDC) near Ithaca. The state Department of Agriculture is responsible for administering the Federal Insecticide Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), which governs the use of pesticides in all areas, not just farming. “FIFRA makes sure applicators understand what they’re working with and the potential there is for damage to themselves and to the environment and to make sure the food supply is not subject to high levels of pesticides,”Glewen said. About 11,000 private applicators statewide were eligible for recertification this year, according to the extension service. The extension service offered pesticide training in

January and February. The standard training included information about Nebraska’s pesticide laws and regulations, pesticide labels,

Continued on Page 18

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18 Salute to Agriculture Farming: Growers required to complete certification training in multiple areas

Wahoo Newspaper • The Ashland Gazette • The News • Thursday, March 20, 2014

Continued from Page 17 personal safety, the worker protection standard, environmental protection, integrated pest management, pesticides and application, as well as application equipment and calibration. New topics for 2014 included pesticide drift awareness near sensitive sites like apiaries and vineyards, how to use the Driftwatch website and control options for prairie dogs and pocket gophers. The training also covered the top of glyphosate resistant weeds, which are now appearing in the state. State law also requires growers who apply pesticides or fertilizer using center pivot irrigation systems (known as chemigation) to receive training, Glewen said. In Saunders County, only about 10 per-

cent of growers use irrigation equipment to apply pesticides. However, many more farmers apply fertilizer in this manner, Glewen explained. “It’s a very effective and economical way of applying fertilizer,” he added. The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality contracts with the extension service to provide chemigation training. The training program focuses on calibration of center pivot systems, law and regulations, safety equipment - Keith Glewen needs and maintenance procedures for irrigations systems. The training lasts about three hours and is followed by an examination. The local Natural Resources District is also involved in chemigation training.

“They are required by law to participate in and complete training every four years if they are using restricted-use pesticides.”

“The Natural Resources District is responsible for certifying the safeguards are in place and working to prevent the backflow of water and subsequent chemicals into wells and the aquifer,” Glewen said. Chemigation training is provided free to growers. There is a fee for private pesticide applicator training and a state license fee. Growers who use nitrogen fertilizer must also attend certification classes every four years, Glewen said. The two-hour training is conducted by the local natural resources district and the extension service. “The natural resources district’s focus is on groundwater management and surface water management as it relates to quantity and quality,” Glewen said. “We (the extension service) focus on the management of nitrogen fertilizer and irrigation management of crop production.” The training helps minimize the potential impact of nitrogen loss in the aquifer and gives growers information on water conservation

and quality as related to irrigation, Glewen explained. Growers who do not fulfil the required training in pesticides, chemigation and nitrogen fertilizer application or do not follow correct procedures they have learned can face penalties, Glewen said. The training is provided so growers know their responsibilities to the land. “We try our best to share with them and emphasize with them the importance of using this responsibly,” he added. In addition to the required training, the extension service provides a variety of educational programs provided for growers that are not required by law. These workshops, seminars and updates cover a wide number of topics, from how to get started in farming to estate management. Glewen said about 60 growers attended a recent day-long training session about on-farm research at the ARDC.

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Salute to Agriculture

Wahoo Newspaper • The Ashland Gazette • The News • Thursday, March 20, 2014

19

Farm Bureau kicks off ‘Our Food Link’ New program gives information on agriculture

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Farmer and rancher members of Farm Bureau from around the country officially kicked off the organization’s new “Our Food Link” program in conjunction with a conference for state leaders of Women’s Leadership and Promotion and Education programs. “Our Food Link is a year-round program that county and state Farm Bureaus use to provide consumers of all ages and backgrounds with information about today’s agriculture,” explained Terry Gilbert, a Kentucky farmer and chair of the American Farm Bureau Women’s Leadership Committee. The

AFBWLC spearheads the program with participation open to all Farm Bureau members. “People want to know where their food comes from and who is growing or raising it,” Gilbert said. “Helping people connect with sources of clothing, food, shelter and energy in their communities is the foundation of this multi-faced new program,” she said. Our Food Link activities range from outreach at supermarkets or farmers’ markets to hosting interactive booths at community events, speaking with lawmakers and neighbors about food and visiting classrooms to help students understand agricultural topics. Other program ideas include: an Adopt-a-Farmer program, fun runs, garden projects and “Zest ‘n Zing” or other foodie events. Our Food Link activities may also include the collection of food and monetary donations for Ronald McDonald House Charities or other charities. About 15 Farm Bureau members shopped for and donated food to Ronald McDonald

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20 Salute to Agriculture

Wahoo Newspaper • The Ashland Gazette • The News • Thursday, March 20, 2014


Salute to agriculture Wahoo Ashland \Waverly