National Agricultural Biosecurity Center at Kansas State University offers animal disease response training in Nebraska, Kansas

MANHATTAN — A Kansas State University center is offering training to help local and state emergency responders prepare for something they hope never happens: a serious animal disease outbreak.

The National Agricultural Biosecurity Center conducted six animal disease response training sessions in Nebraska in April and is offering two sessions in Kansas in May. The training will be offered in Manhattan on May 9 and in Ottawa on May 11. Registration is available at Each one-day session is an awareness-level course designed to cover many aspects of foreign animal disease response, including biosecurity, quarantine, cleaning and disinfection, depopulation and disposal, and proper use of personal protective equipment.

The training targets nontraditional agricultural first responders such as firefighters, public health officials, law enforcement and emergency medical technicians as well as veterinarians and others. Bringing many professions together helps individuals better understand their roles in the response to an animal disease outbreak, said Ken Burton, program director at the National Agricultural Biosecurity Center.

“A lot of the traditional human response personnel don’t recognize their potential role in a high-consequence animal disease outbreak,” Burton said. “They feel they wouldn’t be involved, but the idea behind the class is to make people understand it doesn’t matter what your role in the community — what your day job might be — the whole community is going to be involved in responding to and be affected by an animal disease outbreak.”

Chelsea Kramer, emergency response coordinator for the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, attended all six training sessions and said she would like to see more animal disease response training in Nebraska.

“The training gives nontraditional responders an opportunity to see the response as a whole so when they are asked to set up roadblocks or do traffic control or other pieces, they know why they are being asked — they know what the purpose is,” Kramer said.

Kramer said robust response plans are important.

“In Nebraska, our state’s economy is driven by agriculture,” Kramer said. “To protect Nebraskans’ way of life, we need to respond to emergencies in a timely and effective manner.”

Animal disease response training is designed within the Incident Command System framework and is listed in the Federal Emergency Management Agency state and federal catalog. Emergency responders and veterinarians who complete the course will be eligible for continuing education credit.

The training includes presentations, and then concludes with a tabletop exercise during which individuals consider their responses to a scenario and then discuss how they would work together. Burton said responses to the training have been favorable.

“The scope, size and overall effect of an animal disease outbreak are eye-opening,” he said. “Law enforcement realizes it’s so much bigger than just a checkpoint. The comments are almost all positive.”

The National Agricultural Biosecurity Center is working to schedule animal disease response training sessions in northwest and southwest Kansas later this year.


Kansas Ag Issues Podcast – 04/27/2017


WIBW Radio/Kansas Radio Network Meteorologist Dan Holiday with The Storm Report joined us on Thursday’s Ag Issues program. The cold temperatures this week in parts of Kansas was one of the topics and could we see more freezing or sub-freezing temperatures during the rest of the week.  Holiday also focused on the potential for severe weather during the month of May in Kansas and across the region.


Kansas Corn Anticipates Higher Ethanol Blends at Three New Casey’s Locations Opening Soon


April 26, 2017–Three new Casey’s General Store locations will soon open in Kansas and offer higher ethanol blends of E15 and E85, according to the Kansas Corn Commission. Today, Casey’s General Stores, Inc., a Midwest convenience store chain, announced it will expand consumer choice by offering higher ethanol blends at 17 sites in Kansas, Illinois, and Iowa. The Kansas locations will be in Topeka, Seneca and Smith Center.

E15 is a fuel that contains 15 percent ethanol and works well for any car 2001 and newer. Higher blends up to E85 are choices for flex-fuel vehicle owners.

“Knsas is excited to be a part of this new effort by Casey’s General Stores,” Kansas Corn Commission Chairman Kent Moore of Iuka said. “Casey’s was one of the early adopters of the E10 unleaded fuel that is now used by nearly all motorists in the U.S. Today, Casey’s and other fuel retailers are expanding consumer choice by offering higher blends of ethanol fuel. E15 fuel is a higher octane, high performance fuel at an excellent value. That’s good news for Kansas motorists and for Kansas corn farmers.”

The locations of the three new Casey’s General Stores that will offer higher ethanol blends are:

Topeka: 6741 SW 21st Street

Seneca: 1106 North Street

Smith Center: 205 W. Hwy. 36

“We like the potential that E15 and E85 could bring to Casey’s and are excited to provide our customers with a wide variety of fueling options” said Terry Handley, President and CEO of Casey’s. “We appreciate the assistance Growth Energy, and the farmers funding the corn checkoff in Illinois, Iowa, and Kansas have invested in our E15 and E85 program.”

The Kansas Corn Commission, Illinois Corn Marketing Board and Iowa Corn Promotion Board along with Growth Energy are assisting Casey’s with their new program. The retail chain has over 1,950 convenience stores across 15 states making it the nation’s fourth largest.

Casey’s adoption of higher biofuel blends marks a major milestone for renewable fuel availability, especially across rural America where demand for higher ethanol blends is at an all-time high. The Kansas Corn Commission is active in funding expansion of higher ethanol blends for motorists in Kansas and across the nation to increase demand for ethanol and for corn.

The Kansas Corn Commission is also active in the Kansas Better Blends Initiative (KBBI), working to bring higher ethanol blends to Kansas fuel retailers. Higher ethanol blends through the KBBI are now available at seven locations and with nine additional locations in progress. For more information on Kansas stations that offer E15 and higher blends, visit, or visit for stations across the U.S.

Farmers’ Share of the Food Dollar is Still Low


A Farm Journal report says some consumers may still look at grocery store prices and think farmers are making a lot of money off the commodities they produce. A U.S. Department of Agriculture report says for every dollar that consumers spend on food, farmers and ranchers get approximately 17.4 cents. The remaining 82.6 cents of every dollar goes to things like marketing, processing, wholesaling, transportation, and retailing.

For example, for every pound of bacon purchased, the consumer spends $5.63 while the farmer earns 75 cents. Consumers will spend $3.99 for a pound of tomatoes and the farmer earns 29 cents. For every pound of lettuce consumers buy, they’ll spend $2.79 while the farmer earns a nickel. Lastly, an 18-ounce box of cereal will cost consumers $4.79 but the farmer will only earn a nickel.

Compared to the retail price of most products, farmers will often only make pennies on the dollar. The food dollar series for the USDA’s Economic Research Service measures annual spending by consumers on domestically produced food.  

Cargill Exits Cattle Feeding, Sells Two Yards


(Drovers CattleNetwork)  Cargill will no longer feed their own cattle after selling two feedlots in Kansas and Colorado to Green Plains Inc.

Green Plains Cattle Company purchased the feedlots from Cargill for $36.7 million, excluding working capital. The transaction is still pending a definitive agreement and regulatory review.

As part of the deal, a multiyear agreement was reached by Green Plains and Cargill Meat Solutions for cattle to continue being supplied to Cargill’s packing plants. Cattle from Green Plains’ existing Kismet, Kan. feedlot will also be marketed to Cargill.

The former Cargill Leoti, Kan., and Yuma, Colo., feedlots were feeding approximately 155,000 cattle at the time of the sale.

“Selling our two remaining feed yards aligns with our protein growth focus by allowing us to redeploy working capital away from cattle feeding operations to other investments,” says John Keating, president of Cargill’s Wichita-based protein business operations and supply chain. “By partnering with Green Plains in a multiyear supply agreement, the Yuma and Leoti yards will continue to supply cattle to our beef processing facilities at Fort Morgan, Colo., and Dodge City, Kan., ensuring consistent high-quality beef products for our customers.”

Green Plains has been feeding cattle since 1969. Currently the company owns a 70,000 head feedlot in Kismet, Kan., and 30,000 head feedlot in Hereford, Texas. With the purchase of Cargill’s feedlots, Green Plains Cattle Company will become the fourth largest cattle feeder in the U.S. with a total capacity of more than 255,000 head. In addition, Green Plains Inc. is based out of Omaha, Neb. and has 17 ethanol plants across the U.S.

“The growth of Green Plains Cattle achieves one of our strategic initiatives of further diversifying our income streams and investing in adjacent businesses. This purchase also aligns with our overall strategy to meet growing global protein demand in downstream markets that take advantage of our supply chain, production platform and commodity management expertise,” says Todd Becker, president and chief executive officer of Green Plains.

In an effort to restructure working capital throughout the company’s protein division, Cargill has sold all of their feedlots in the past year. Last July, Cargill’s two Texas feedlots were purchased by Friona Industries. The moves helped free up money for approximately $560 million in acquisitions and capital investments by Cargill’s North American protein division during the past two years.

Prior to the feedlot sales, Cargill had a capacity of 293,000 head at four feedlots and was the fourth largest cattle feeder in the country according to CattleFax data from 2015.

Friona Industries has 6 feedlots in Texas feeding approximately 450,000 head, making it the third largest cattle feeder in the country. Similar to the agreement with Green Plains, Cargill’s packing plants are being supplied by Friona Industries.

Kansas Ag Issues Podcast – 04/26/2017


Mike Beam, Senior Vice President with the Kansas Livestock Association, gave us an update on donations received to help ranchers affected by wildfires in early March.  Those donations are flowing into the Kansas Livestock Foundation, the charitable arm of the KLA.  Mike also looked back on the prescribed burning season, which did cause some air quality problems in Lincoln, Nebraska.