Kansas Wheat Harvest Moving Along Quickly

 

The mostly hot and dry conditions of this past week helped the Kansas wheat harvest move quickly.

The latest estimates from National Ag Statistics say as of Sunday, 23 percent of the harvest is complete, compared to 19 last year and 11 for the five-year average. 94 percent of the crop has colored and 64 percent has matured, ahead of 57 last year. Over half of the harvest is completed in the southeast part of the state while nearly 45 percent is complete in the south central part of the state. The only area that has not started is in northwest Kansas.

Fall crop conditions remain strong across the state. The corn crop is rated 61 percent good to excellent, up a point from last week, 33 percent fair and six percent poor to very poor. Three percent of the crop is silking.

The Kansas soybean condition is rated 56 percent good to excellent, the same as last week, 38 percent fair and six percent poor to very poor. 94 percent of the crop has been planted and 84 percent has emerged, well ahead of the 63 average.

The state’s sorghum condition is rated 61 percent good to excellent, up four points from last week, 35 percent fair and four percent poor to very poor. 86 percent of the crop has been planted, ahead of the 73 average and two percent has emerged.

Topsoil moisture is rated 45 percent adequate to surplus, down seven points from last week and 55 percent short to very short. Subsoil moisture is rated 46 percent adequate, down three points from last week and 54 percent short to very short.

The state’s cotton condition is rated 71 percent good to excellent and cotton squaring is at six percent. 71 percent of the state’s sunflowers have been planted.

Kansas pasture and range conditions are rated 29 percent good to excellent, down three points from last week, 42 percent fair and 29 percent poor to very poor.

 

Source: National Agricultural Statistics Service

U.S. Soy Responds to Tariff Announcement

 

ST. LOUIS   In response to the announcement regarding U.S. tariffs on Chinese imports, the American Soybean Association (ASA), the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) and the United Soybean Board (USB) release the following statements.

“Nobody is a winner today,” says ASA Vice President Davie Stephens, a Kentucky soybean grower. “In the midst of a down farm economy and down farm prices, this uncertainty has led to a drop of market prices. Adding additional export market uncertainty through an expected 25 percent retaliatory tariff on U.S. soybeans into China ensures that soy growers and the rural communities that depend on them will see the effects of this for years to come. As the largest importer of U.S. soybeans, China is a vital and robust market we cannot afford to lose.”

“We know our U.S. farmers are great at producing soybeans and so do our customers, globally consumers are demanding soy products in record volume,” says USSEC Chair Derek Haigwood, a soybean farmer from Newport, Arkansas. “USSEC is actively working to minimize the impact of this action on U.S. farmers and the U.S. soy industry by ensuring customers around the world understand the value that U.S. Soy provides.”

“The soy checkoff continues to focus on market diversification for U.S. soybeans to improve profit potential for all U.S. soybean farmers,” says USB Chair Lewis Bainbridge, a soybean farmer from Ethan, South Dakota. “In times like these we need to keep current and potential soy users informed about the benefits of U.S. soy.”

 

Source: American Soybean Association, United Soybean Board, U.S. Soybean Export Council

McEowen Looks at Ag Related Court Cases

 

Roger McEowen, the Kansas Farm Bureau Professor of Agricultural Law and Taxation at the Washburn University School of Law, looked at a number of recent court cases………….including one that involved a tractor accident, another court ruling on WOTUS, a handwritten will, a FOIA request involving the Beef Checkoff, and court settlement stemming from a Minnesota wind farm.

 

Climatologist Says We’re Close to Record Temps Now, But Not Necessarily an Indicator of Excessive Summer Temps.

Climatologist Mary Knapp was the guest on Thursday’s Ag Issues program on 580 WIBW.  Knapp discussed the implications that the recent rapid warmup may have on row crops.  Among other topics, Knapp also discussed moisture conditions in the state following recent heavy rains primarily in western Kansas.

East Kansas Agri-Energy, LLC Hosts EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt for Roundtable

 

Garnett, Kansas – June 12, 2018 – East Kansas Agri-Energy, LLC today hosted EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt for a round table discussion with a diverse group of Kansas agricultural interests and organizations. This venue gave all parties a much-needed opportunity to discuss major market and economic challenges confronting the ethanol industry, many of which are negatively impacting Kansas’ corn growers and ethanol producers like East Kansas Agri-Energy.

Led by East Kansas Agri-Energy President and CEO Bill Pracht, the gathering of farmers, association representatives, and local and state politicians engaged Administrator Pruitt in a lengthy, frank, and sometimes pointed dialog about topics of immediate concern to these vital, agricultural interests.

Mr. Pruitt opened the discussion by stating his belief that the primary role of regulatory agencies like EPA is to provide regularity and stability to producers and markets being regulated.

Bill Pracht countered by pointing out the tremendous uncertainty that has recently destroyed the price of RINs – Renewable Identification Numbers – attached to each gallon of ethanol produced.

“RIN prices have decreased over 50% since the beginning of EPA’s discussions regarding adding RINs to export gallons, capping RINs, and also the increase in small refiner’s waivers,” Pracht said.

“In fact, the RIN market is currently so depressed and volatile, that East Kansas Agri-Energy will be shutting down our brand new, state-of-the-art renewable diesel plant on June 18,” Pracht announced during the meeting. Pracht indicated the Garnett plant will remain idle until the renewable diesel RIN market regains some measure of stability.

Pracht and others also sought answers from Pruitt regarding a dramatic increase in so-called “small” merchant refiners seeking RIN waivers due to economic hardship since the Trump Administration took office.

Pruitt explained that the increase in economic hardship waivers arises from the way this administration interprets and applies the standard for economic hardship. “Under the Obama administration, the threshold for obtaining a RIN waiver was bankruptcy of the applicant,” Pruitt said. Pruitt explained that the bankruptcy threshold is not the actual regulatory threshold, and
that RIN waiver applications must be objectively reviewed by both EPA and the Department of Energy for approval.

Pracht demanded greater clarity and transparency from EPA regarding the statutory parameters for claims of economic hardship by RIN waiver applicants. And, Pracht specifically encouraged EPA to take a tougher line on big oil companies manipulating output levels to qualify certain refineries as small, and then leveraging some of these smaller, subsidiary operations to plead economic hardship and evade their renewable fuel obligations.

While the Trump Administration’s EPA, led by Pruitt, recently proposed extending RINs to ethanol for export, Pracht and the Garnett audience strongly oppose this move.

“Attaching RINs to export gallons of ethanol will flood the market with nearly 2 billion additional RINs each year, which will further destroy the value of domestic RINs,” Pracht said.

“The addition of export RINs to the marketplace would serve as a strong disincentive to domestic refiners and merchandiser blenders to actually blend ethanol,” Pracht added, “resulting in extreme economic hardship for Kansas corn growers, destruction of the ethanol industry, higher fuel costs, and reduced air quality for millions of Americans.”

Administrator Pruitt did commit to the audience at East Kansas Agri-Energy that EPA could reallocate RINs from merchant refiners operations receiving an economic hardship waiver. Reallocation could help bring some stability back to the RIN marketplace, and may help stabilize RIN prices.

Ethanol and corn also received some encouragement from Pruitt regarding the possibility of EPA issuing a Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) waiver for E15. A nationwide RVP waiver would permit the year ‘round sale of E15. This move could help lower the cost of fuel at the pump for consumers, improve efficiency for refiners, and help stabilize domestic ethanol production and the related RIN marketplace.

Pruitt pledged that EPA is working hard behind the scenes to perform the legal work necessary to hopefully move ahead with a nationwide RVP waiver.

“That today’s meeting with Administrator Pruitt far exceeded the scheduled time limit for the gathering speaks to the urgency of the uncertain conditions confronting East Kansas Agri-Energy and Kansas corn growers” Pracht summarized. “This venue provided all of us a critical opportunity to explain exactly how EPA’s real and proposed actions directly impact East Kansas Agri-Energy and Kansas corn. We thank Mr. Pruitt for listening.”

Source: East Kansas Agri-Energy, LLC

EPA Administrator Gets an Earful from Kansas Corn Farmers on Ethanol

 

Kansas corn and ethanol leaders told Administrator Scott Pruitt that his efforts to undermine the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) are helping Big Oil while hurting rural America. Administrator Pruitt toured the East Kansas Agri Energy LLC ethanol plant in Garnett, KS and sat down with a roomful of farmers and ethanol supporters Tuesday morning.

Growers told Administrator Pruitt they were “mad as hell” about EPA efforts they believe undermine the RFS law. The EPA administrator told the standing-room-only crowd that as regulators, EPA is not supposed to pick winners and losers.

Kansas Corn Growers Association President Ken McCauley said farm and ethanol groups at the meeting wanted to set the tone and help Administrator Pruitt understand the frustration being felt in rural America.

“When you look at what EPA is doing, they are most definitely picking winners and losers and right now, ethanol is the loser,” McCauley said. “Our concern was that Administrator Pruitt thought he could come to Kansas, take a few photos with smiling farmers and tell the President that corn farmers are okay with his actions. That would be a gross misinterpretation of what happened here today. I told him that EPA’s attacks on ethanol don’t just hurt plants like EKAE, they hurt farmers, rural communities and American consumers who benefit from ethanol with lower prices and cleaner air.”

In a meeting that was serious and at times, tense, corn growers and ethanol supporters explained the problems EPA has caused by destroying demand for ethanol. Pruitt said he had to grant the small refinery exemptions because of a recent court ruling that allows refiners to only show financial hardship. However, he did not articulate how financial hardship was defined.

“We asked him what constituted financial hardship and I can’t say we got an answer” McCauley said. “He told us the standards had changed and that RINs were more volatile. But there is no transparency in these decisions.”

Kansas Corn leader Dennis McNinch, Utica told Administrator Pruitt farm families and ethanol plants were hurting from EPA’s actions.

“To be honest, Administrator Pruitt, we’re mad as hell. Today, the American farmer is struggling to make ends meet and our industry is on the cusp of financial ruin in many areas of the country. We are under attack once again from the oil industry as they try to unravel the RFS using their latest scare tactic claiming that RINs are about to put them out of business.  Big oil is enjoying wide profit margins today. People like Senator Cruz believe that the oil industry needs to be thrown a bone.  How many bones do they need?”

Administrator Pruitt thanked the speakers “despite rather harsh criticism. It’s important for me to hear how passionate and concerned you are about the issues,” he said.

He provided some insight into areas that could benefit ethanol. He said he supported an RVP waiver that would allow year-round E15 sales and believes EPA has the authority to grant it, eventually. He also said he thought the gallons in the refinery waivers should be reallocated to the RFS obligations to account for lost demand.

“We will hold the Administrator to his promises,” McNinch said. “Unfortunately, he consistently tied these positive actions with his so-called ethanol deal that includes assigning RINs on ethanol exports. We don’t think that’s legal, and we are sure it would draw trade challenges through the WTO.”

Administrator Pruitt spoke strongly in favor of reallocating waived RINs to refiners back to the RFS obligations. Currently, those waived gallons represent lost demand.

“Whether we have an agreement or an understanding going forward on these issues, I think it’s really important to us to enforce that if we grant an exemption, those RINs are recaptured and reallocated to the RVO. That’s a huge change that’s never been done. That’s a regulatory process. That’s just out of fairness,” Pruitt said.

McCauley said corn growers would wait to see if the discussion leads to improvements in EPA’s administration of the RFS. “It is great to have a high profile person like Administrator Pruitt to come to Kansas,” he said. “Now we need to see if he can put those words into action.”

Kansas Corn CEO Greg Krissek summarized events leading up to the meeting and farmers’ frustrations.

“Early this year, Big Oil wanted relief from high RIN prices. We showed how granting year-round E15 sales through an RVP waiver would alleviate higher RIN prices. President Trump agreed, but said there would have to be a trade-off for the oil companies,” Krissek said. “We didn’t get the RVP waiver; oil refiners got exempted from 1.6 billion gallons of ethanol use; RINs are at a five-year low and now EPA wants to kill our exports by applying RINs to ethanol exports which has legal and trade issues. We don’t see where ethanol is getting anything but played by EPA.”

Under Administrator Pruitt’s guidance, EPA has granted an unprecedented 1.6 billion gallons in waivers, with an estimated economic impact of $5.3 billion in lost markets for ethanol, corn and RINs. A RIN is assigned to every gallon of ethanol blended to prove compliance with the RFS law which provides market access for ethanol.

 

Source: Kansas Corn

Claiming All-Around High School Championship, Council Grove Cowgirl Stays Busy Riding Horses,

There’s no let down for even the best high school cowgirl in Kansas.

“Beau’s out riding horses; it’ll be probably be noon or so before she gets back in.”

Mom Dustin Peterson answered the phone mid-Monday morning verifying her daughter was already on horseback.

That was after just the afternoon before being named the all-around cowgirl in the Kansas High School Rodeo Association (KHSRA).

“Oh yeh, there’s always plenty to do. When one rodeo is over, it’s time to get ready for the next. Every day is different,” Beau Peterson, 17 verified.

Beau Peterson, Council Grove, dismounts from Zanny in the goat tying competition at a Kansas High School Rodeo in Hill City.

Awards were presented as climax of the KHSRA Finals over the weekend at Star Arena near Mulvane.

Despite obvious work ethic and love for her sport, the champion admitted, “I was pretty excited to see hard work pay off with my final placings.”

Not only did the recent Council Grove High School honor graduate claim the all-around title, she won three yearend event titles.

Ranking first in breakaway roping, goat tying and pole bending, Beau was especially pleased to be fourth in barrel racing.

“I had a good cushion in the three events, but there’ve been some issues with my barrel horse this year. So, I’m really happy to qualify for nationals in that event, too,” she admitted.

The National High School Finals Rodeo is July 15-21, at Sweet Water Event Center in Rock Springs, Wyoming.

Championship form is apparent as Beau Peterson, Council Grove, competes in barrel racing on Faith at Hutchinson.

“I’m making plans getting my horses ready for that big rodeo. This will be my last opportunity there so I sure want to finish high in the standings, in every event,” Beau stated.

There were 20 high school rodeos in Kansas during the past 2017-18 season. Contestants’ highest placing scores in 13 rodeos were tallied to qualify for the recent state finals.

Admitting that yearend rodeo may not have been as strong as hoped, Beau placed in certain go-rounds of each event.

Rodeo has been the life for the teenage cowgirl. “I’ve been competing ever since I can remember in all different levels, and done pretty well,” Beau said. Actually, top titles have been collected throughout her young arena career.

It’s not been an easy trail as might initially seem. “My family has been a great part of all this. I really appreciate everything my dad Matt, my mom and my sister Michaela have always done for me,” Beau acknowledged.

The 19-year-old bay mare called Annie took Beau Peterson, Council Grove, through the pole bending class to collect points at the Kansas High School Rodeo in Hill City.

“Dad especially helps me with my horses, riding and roping,” Beau said. “Mom is important for the positive mental side of competing and making sure everything is ready for a rodeo. Michaela is always anxious to help in any way.”

Horsepower is a main ingredient to such arena successes. “I’m fortunate to have four outstanding horses that I take to every rodeo, one for each event,” Beau said.

Not wanting to be prejudice, her favorite might be the 23-year-old chestnut gelding called Zanny. “He’s an all-around family horse we’ve had since he was two,” Beau credited. “I learned to rope on him, he can really do anything. But, now as he’s older, I just use him in goat tying.”

For breakaway roping, Beau rides the 11-year-old bay gelding called Hustler. “I’ve had him five years, he’s really good in the box and puts me right there every time,” she credited.

“Both my pole and barrel horses are leased from a couple in Oklahoma,” Beau said. “I really appreciate the opportunity to ride their great horses.”

Annie is the 19-year-old bay mare Beau competes on in pole bending. “She’s a phenomenal barrel horse, too, but I only want to ride her in one event,” the cowgirl credited.

Hustler takes Beau Peterson, Council Grove, to an award winning run in breakaway roping at a Kansas High School Rodeo in Lakin.

Faith is the seven-year-old bay mare Beau rides in barrel racing.

“I spend time daily exercising and conditioning my own horses as well as the ones I ride from Marc and Kim Harland,” Beau explained.

Practice makes perfect in the roping pen and tying goats. “I rope the dummy daily and we rope our calves in the Council Grove arena once a week,” Beau said.

“I’ve been trying to get Dad to build us our own arena, but that’s not happened yet,” she added.

Throwing and tying a goat is a daily training regimen as well.

Busy enough maybe, Beau is also called into action working in cattle operations of the family’s Hinchman Ranch. “I really enjoy doing that, too,” she said. “I team rope sometimes, but not really that much.”

A leader in school and youth agriculture groups, Beau also stars on the basketball court earning conference first team honors. “Basketball fits well into my winter schedule when I’m not going to as many rodeos,” she noted.

Arena accomplishments have earned Beau a rodeo scholarship to attend Panhandle State University in Goodwell, Oklahoma.  “They really have a great rodeo team with outstanding coaches,” she said. “I think it’ll be a perfect fit for me with the smaller classes giving me time to rodeo and still keep up my grades.”

She’ll be majoring in nursing. “I’ve always wanted to help others,” Beau said.

However, the champion contended, “Rodeo is still what I want to do. It just excites me. I love competing and intend to keep participating in rodeos whatever road my life takes.”