Youth in Agriculture

Wyatt_1

Agriculture is the driving force for the Nebraskan economy. With one fourth of our great state’s jobs being involved in agriculture, youth involvement has become crucial in keeping this industry thriving. In July, over 200 Nebraska students were able to network and meet with countless industry professionals at the 47th annual Nebraska Agricultural Youth Institute. The institute is free of charge thanks to many generous donations, allowing young ag minded people to network and gain friendships with like-minded people across the state. “The opportunity to network and share idea with people from all over the state that have the same passion for agriculture as me.” Emily Zimmer, a Pleasanton senior said about her experience.

 

The average age for a farmer in the United States is 58.3 years, growing by 8 years in the past 30. Nebraska needs young farmers and ranchers and thanks to the many programs offered around the state youth have been able to find their path back to the farm. When asked how being involved with NAYI helped him make his decision on his future, Mikael Harrop, a recent graduate of Ansley Public Schools said “NAYI helped me choose what major I wanted to go into and pushed me to do things I thought i would never do.”

 

For myself, I have been involved with production agriculture my whole life. Growing up on a small cattle ranch and being involved in 4-H, but it wasn’t until my high school began an FFA chapter that I then myself into the field head first. Through my past advisor, a Nebraska Agricultural Youth Council Alumni, I was introduced to this program. Through my involvement I was able to find a career path that I have a true passion for, Agricultural Education and Beef production. Kate Cooper, a recent Waverly graduate said that for her “agriculture is about combining the tradition and innovation to provide healthy, high quality products for the world”.

 

Wyatt_2In an ever-changing industry, currently exploding with new technology, having the means to work with others from different backgrounds has been incredibly important for myself and many others. Major changes are coming our way, one being ethanol. Ethanol production in the United States displaced 560 million barrels of crude oil last year alone. This is just one of the many changes that the coming generation of agriculturalists will experience. KAAPA Ethanol was able to educate youth at NAYI about how this new change will positively affect our industry and future.

 

Youth across Nebraska are showing more and more passion and drive to become involved in agricultural careers. With the opportunities available and various social media platforms youth are staying connected and making connections across the state. Young people are not just the future, we are the present. Being involved in various agricultural groups I have seen how youth are changing, and will continue to change this industry to feed the world. I hope the world is ready for the change that is coming.

Nebraska Farm Bureau sponsored the 2018 Nebraska Agricultural Youth Institute held in Lincoln July 9-13.

 

Wyatt Hubbard

Wyatt Hubbard is a graduate of Elm Creek High School and is attending the University of Nebraska-Lincoln this fall double majoring in Animal Science and Agricultural Education. While in high school Wyatt was extremely involved in nearly every activity especially 4-H and FFA. Wyatt hopes to be able to expand his impact on social media while in The Crew and spread awareness for ag related issues and events. 

 

Tariff Threats No Longer Just Bluster

Economic Tidbits 12.18.17

Last week marked a new extreme in the trade tensions between the U.S. and China as President Trump moved forward with tariffs on $34 billion of imported Chinese machinery, auto parts, and medical devices.  China responded immediately with tariffs on several U.S. products including soybeans and pork.  Several U.S. trading partners have now imposed tariffs on U.S. commodities and processed foods in response to tariffs imposed by the U.S.  With all the threats and tariffs imposed, it’s difficult to stay abreast of where things now stand.  Table 1 summarizes recent tariffs enacted by other countries on U.S. agricultural products which will affect Nebraska.  Continue reading

Nebraska County Export Values . . .

 

Economic Tidbits logoInternational trade and foreign markets are critical to Nebraska agriculture.  To get a sense of which Nebraska counties are most reliant on international trade, the Nebraska Department of Agriculture has created a map showing export values by county for select commodities (see below).  Commodities included are beef and beef products, corn, dairy products, distillers grains, ethanol, pork and pork products, pulses, sorghum, soybeans and soybean products and wheat.  The map was created using 2015 Nebraska cash receipts data and attributing shares to counties based on county production data.  Platte County topped the state with export values of $245 million.  Custer, Holt, Boone and Cuming Counties fall in the next tier with export values between $125-$150 million.  Most counties in Nebraska generate at least $25 million in export values, which no doubt contributes significantly to their local economies.

The top counties stand to gain the most from increased access to foreign markets.  Free trade agreements with Mexico, Canada, Korea, Colombia and others, while benefitting all counties, have been particularly beneficial to these counties.  An analysis last year of the benefits of the TransPacific Partnership (TPP) by Nebraska Farm Bureau showed many of these same counties would have benefited from the $378 million in increased receipts Nebraska was projected to receive under the agreement.  The map clearly demonstrates it is in the interest of Nebraska agriculture to continue to press for more open international markets in agricultural products.
county exports

 

Jay Rempe is the senior economist for Nebraska Farm Bureau. Rempe’s background in agricultural economics, years of experience in advocating at the state capitol, and firm grasp of issues allow him to quantify the fiscal impact of a regulatory proposal, and provide in-depth examination of key issues affecting Nebraska’s farmers and ranchers.

Almond Pork Chops with Honey Mustard

almond-pork-chops-with-honey-mustard3Ingredients
½ cup smoked almonds
½ cup dry bread crumbs
2 eggs
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
4 boneless pork loin chops (1 inch thick, approx. 6 oz. each)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
½ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup honey
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

Directions
1.    In a food processor, process the almonds until finely chopped.  Transfer to a shallow bowl; add bread crumbs and combine.
2.    In another shallow bowl, beat eggs.
3.    In a large resealable plastic bag, combine flour, salt, and pepper.  Add pork chops, one at a time, and shake to coat.  Dip in eggs, then coat with almond mixture.
4.    In a large skillet over medium heat, cook chops in oil and butter for 5 minutes on each side or until juices run clear.
5.    Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, honey, and mustard.  Serve with pork chops.

Yield:  4 servings

Egg, Dairy and Chicken Prices Down, Beef Too

CS16_167 2016 Fall Harvest Marketbasket SurevyLower retail prices for several foods, including eggs, whole milk, cheddar cheese, chicken breast, sirloin tip roast and ground chuck resulted in a decrease in the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Fall Harvest Marketbasket Survey.

The informal survey shows the total cost of 16 food items that can be used to prepare one or more meals was $49.70, down $4.40 or 8 percent compared to a survey conducted a year ago. Of the 16 items surveyed, 13 decreased and three increased in average price.

Egg prices dropped significantly due to production recovering well from the 2014 avian influenza, according to John Newton, AFBF director, market intelligence. Milk prices are down substantially from prior years, particularly compared to record-highs in 2014, due to the current global dairy surplus.

“For all commodities in agriculture there is a lot of product on hand and prices are depressed,” Newton explained.

The following items showed retail price decreases from a year ago:

  • eggs, down 51 percent to $1.48 dozen
  • chicken breast, down 16 percent to $2.86 per pound
  • sirloin tip roast, down 11 percent to $5.04 per pound
  • shredded cheddar, down 10 percent to $4.09 per pound
  • whole milk, down 10 percent to $2.84 per gallon
  • ground chuck, down 9 percent to $4.13 per pound
  • toasted oat cereal, down 9 percent to $2.80 for a nine-ounce box
  • vegetable oil, down 9 percent to $2.39 for a 32-ounce bottle
  • flour, down 7 percent to $2.21 per five-pound bag
  • white bread, down 7 percent to $1.58 for a 20-ounce loaf
  • orange juice, down 5 percent to $3.26 per half-gallon
  • bacon, down 3 percent to $4.40 per pound
  • sliced deli ham, down less than 1 percent to $5.45

These items showed moderate retail price increases compared to a year ago:

  • bagged salad, up 16 percent to $2.85 per pound
  • apples, up 10 percent to $1.59 per pound
  • potatoes, up 3 percent to $2.73 for a 5-pound bag

“Dry conditions in the Northeast and Northwest the last few years likely contributed to smaller supplies and higher retail prices for apples,” Newton said. In addition, he said salad prices are up due to lower output in the West, particularly in California and Arizona.

Price checks of alternative milk and egg choices not included in the overall marketbasket survey average revealed the following: 1/2 gallon regular milk, $1.86; 1/2 gallon organic milk, $4.26; and one dozen “cage-free” eggs, $3.48.

The year-to-year direction of the marketbasket survey tracks with the federal government’s Consumer Price Index report for food at home. As retail grocery prices have increased gradually over time, the share of the average food dollar that America’s farm and ranch families receive has dropped.

“Through the mid-1970s, farmers received about one-third of consumer retail food expenditures for food eaten at home and away from home, on average. Since then, that figure has decreased steadily and is now about 17 percent, according to the Agriculture Department’s revised Food Dollar Series,” Newton said.

Using the “food at home and away from home” percentage across-the-board, the farmer’s share of this $49.70 marketbasket would be approximately $8.45.

AFBF, the nation’s largest general farm organization, began conducting informal quarterly marketbasket surveys of retail food price trends in 1989. The series includes a Spring Picnic survey, Summer Cookout survey, Fall Harvest survey and Thanksgiving survey.

According to USDA, Americans spend just under 10 percent of their disposable annual income on food, the lowest average of any country in the world. A total of 59 shoppers in 26 states participated in the latest survey, conducted in September.

Why Do Pigs Have Notches in Their Ears?

Have you ever considered why pigs have notches in their rather than have an ear tag? Well I have the answers! First of all, ear notching is used to tell you what litter the pigs are from and individually which pig it is. The pig’s right ear shows the litter number. The pig’s left ear shows the individual identification in its litter.

ear notch

People ear notch pigs for a way to have a permanent ID for each pig because it is inexpensive, other pigs can’t chew on the ear tag, and it never falls out like an ear tag would. You ear notch a pig when they are one to three days old. When you are ear notching them you want to make sure to leave ¼ inch between notches to make sure that you can easily read the notch. You also want to make sure you make the notch deep enough in that it will not grow shut. You need to make sure that you don’t notch their ear too deep because that could cause their ear to be torn.

ear notch2Now pigs can have ear tags too. For instance, when I take my pigs to the fair they receive an ear tag that way they don’t become confused of who’s is who’s in the show ring.  They are still ear notched though.

Ear notching is a great way to permanently mark each pig that way farmers can identify them. I hope your questions have been answered of why pigs are ear notched rather than have an ear tag. Now you can identify a pig

Victoria Talcott bio pic

Hearty Lentil Ham Soup

Hearty Lentil Ham SoupIngredients
2 celery ribs, thinly sliced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
6 cups water
1 can (28 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained or 1 qt. home canned tomatoes
¾ cup dry lentils, rinsed
¾ cup pearl barley
1 meaty leftover ham bone or 2 ham hocks
2 tablespoons chicken bouillon granules or 2 cubes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
½ teaspoon pepper
1 cup thinly sliced carrots
1 cup (4 oz.) shredded Swiss cheese, optional

 

Directions
1.   In a Dutch oven or soup kettle, saute the celery, onion, and garlic in butter until tender.
2.   Add water, tomatoes, lentils, barley, ham, bouillon,  herbs, and pepper; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 1 hour.  Lentils and barley should be tender.
3.   Add carrots; simmer for 15-30 minutes, until carrots are tender.
4.   Remove ham bone/ham hocks from soup; remove meat from the bones and return it to the soup.
5.   May be served with a sprinkling of cheese in each bowl.

Yield:  8-10 servings

NEFB President Steve Nelson Testifies at Legislative Hearing About School Funding and Tax Issues

On Thursday, Nov. 12th, the Legislature’s Education and Revenue Committee held a joint public hearing to hear testimony on school funding in the state of Nebraska.  The hearing is part of joint interim studies being conducted by the Committees (LRs 332 & 344) on funding of public schools.   The Committees hope to make recommendations for improving the funding of schools to be discussed during the 2016 Legislative session.  Nebraska Farm Bureau was invited to testify before the Committees and urged the senators to undertake fundamental reform of school funding to reduce property taxes and improve taxpayer equity.

Watch NEFB President Steve Nelson’s testimony here.

Breakfast Bacon And Maple Meatballs

a5 Recipes- Breakfast Bacon & Maple MeatballsIngredients
1 lb. breakfast sausage (no sugar added)
1 medium sweet potato
4 oz. button mushrooms, quartered
½ yellow onion, coarsely chopped (approx. ½ cup)
2 tablespoons maple syrup
5-6 slices of bacon
1 garlic clove, minced
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 375º.
2. Fry/cook bacon until crisp. Drain, cool, and crumble.
3. Place sweet potato in food processor with shredding attachment. Shred. Remove sweet potato shreds. Replace shredding attachment with chopping blade.

4. Place shredded sweet potatoes, onion, mushrooms, and minced garlic in food processor and chop together. You want the sweet potatoes fairly fine.
5. In large bowl, combine sausage with all other ingredients.
6. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using an ice cream scoop for uniformity, scoop out meat mixture and roll into balls using your hands. Place meatballs on baking sheet.
7. Bake for 30-35 minutes until meatballs are golden brown and completely cooked through.
8. Serve immediately with favorite breakfast accompaniments.

 

Selling Ice to Eskimos: Chipotle Goes GMO-Free

Can you sell ice to an Eskimo? Chipotle, one of the nation’s fastest growing 1,000 calorie burrito sellers, thinks it can. In fact, Chipotle is banking on it. In its self-proclaimed “never ending journey” to source the “highest quality ingredients it can find,” Chipotle announced this week it was dropping GMO ingredients from its menu.

Cashing in on a consuming public that’s widely disconnected from where its food comes from has become Chipotle’s specialty in a time and place where Americans can spell GMO, but most Chipotle blog1couldn’t tell you what it stands for (other than to likely insinuate that it’s somehow bad for you – hence the need for Chipotle to explain both on their website).

Chipotle might know how to make a burrito, but it is even better at marketing itself as standing on some type of higher moral ground that everyone else seems to fall short of (remember the whole idea that Chipotle only uses meat that come from animals raised in certain ways).

The irony of Chipotle is that the company is basically built on the concept of shunning technology while marketing to a population that’s so in-tune to it that you’d be hard pressed to find a Kindergartner who couldn’t run your iphone (chances are you’re reading this on a tech device your great-grandpa, in his time, would think came from another planet).

While chasing tech savy consumers’ dollars, Chipotle, oddly enough, has demonized farmers and farming practices over the years that are very much a product of technological improvement over time, whether it involves how farm animals are housed or the seeds farmers put in the ground.

Even more ironic on Chipotle’s GMO stance, is the reality that, from a big picture perspective, there really is no such thing as GMO-free food products. Nature has been making GMOs since, well…the beginning of time. While science has developed the practice of introducing new traits into organisms in a scientific setting, similar cross hybridization has been happening in nature forever. The study of such genetic manipulation has been occurring as early as the 19th Century at the hands of an Austrian monk named Gregor Mendel who was the first to study how genetic traits were passed between different species of peas.

Henry Miller at Forbes hit the proverbial nail on the head in his piece “Chipotle, the Strangest Restaurant Menu Ever” questioning Chipotle’s “no genetic modification” promise. Miller correctly pointed out that virtually every food comes from an organism that has been genetically modified in some way at some time, scientific setting or otherwise.

In a capitalistic society, there’s nothing wrong with Chipotle catering to its perceived customer base. However, by eliminating GMO ingredients from their menu under the guise of “food with integrity”, Chipotle sends a message that using GMOs somehow demonstrates a lack of integrity, even though USDA has said GMOs are safe to grow, EPA has said they are safe for the environment, and the Food and Drug Administration has said they are safe to eat.

At the end of the day, Chipotle isn’t obligated to talk about Mother Nature’s role in tinkering with the genetics of our food, nor tell the whole story of GMOs. Having an understanding of that falls squarely on us as consumers. Whether or not you choose to buy into the idea that Chipotle can actually sell something that’s truly GMO-free, is up to you.

But you should probably ask yourself…do I want some ice with that?