Tag Archives: COVID-19

Experts are saying that the African Swine Fever outbreak that continued last year could have an even bigger impact in 2020. The Guardian says that the highly-contagious virus that is fatal to pigs is still spreading at a rapid rate.

While human attention is on the COVID-19 outbreak, the concern is growing around the world that countries are not putting enough focus on halting the spread of ASF through better biosecurity practices, cooperating on vaccine development, or being transparent about the scope of outbreaks.

Despite being present in the world for more than 100 years, there is still no vaccine for the disease that kills almost every animal it infects. “The ASF virus is much more potent than COVID-19 because it can survive in the environment or processed meats for weeks and months,” says Dirk Pfeiffer, a veterinary science professor at City University in Hong Kong and one of the world’s leading experts on ASF.

The disease reached China in the fall of 2018 and unofficially led to culling more than 200 million pigs from the world’s largest hog herd. Global ASF infection numbers by the end of April showed this year is close to or above the infection numbers from 2019. China, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Eastern Europe are the current focal points for outbreaks, with new outbreaks showing up in India and New Guinea.

John Deere’s quarterly sales and profit estimates beat expectations. Net income fell 41 percent to $665.8 million, or $2.11 per share in the quarter, but beat analysts’ average estimate of $1.62 per share, according to Reuters. Equipment sales declined 20 percent to $8.22 billion, topping expectation of $7.69 billion.

Agriculture and turf sales decreased for the quarter due to lower shipment volumes and the unfavorable effects of currency translation. The new forecast from the company expects farm and turf equipment sales to fall between 10 percent and 15 percent this year. Net income attributable to Deere and Company is forecast to be in a range of $1.6 billion to $2 billion for the full year.

However, many uncertainties remain regarding the effects of the COVID-19 global pandemic that could negatively affect the company’s results and financial position in the future. A news release states, “Uncertainties related to the magnitude and duration of the COVID-19 pandemic may significantly adversely affect the company’s business and outlook.”

Today the FSA will start accepting applications for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program  CFAP  through Aug. 28, 2020.  Nebraska FSA State Executive Director Nancy Johner is reminding those in agriculture that this is a three-month enrollment period to work through.  There is an  anticipation for  a very large number of applications due to the broad scope of commodities included in this program and the likelihood that it will include customers who do not routinely do business with FSA.

The FSA has shared some key points to remember as we work through the sign up process:


  • Office status – While Governor Pete Ricketts continues to update Directed Health Measures that have allowed businesses to open at various levels across the state, Nebraska FSA offices are subject to direction from USDA headquarters. Currently, we remain open for business only via phone appointments and using email, mail, fax and online tools. We are not available for in-person traffic in our offices at this time. Our staff has been operating this way since mid-March, and we have many tools in place to facilitate business and complete the CFAP application process with customers.
  • With that said, please encourage folks to visit the CFAP website by typing farmers.gov/cfap into their internet browser. This website is well-organized and detailed. It has a payment calculator that will help producers understand the information needed to complete an application, and it even allows the producer to convert the data entered into the calculator into an actual application that they can print, sign, and submit to their local FSA office. We know folks are accustomed to walking into their county office for service, but we believe use of the website will be an important option for implementation in our current environment.
  • USDA has set up a toll-free number to also assist customers who have questions. That number is 877-508-8364. This can serve as a good first stop for customers so that they are better prepared for a successful county FSA office interaction, whether that be through a phone appointment or submitting an application they prepared online.
  • Regarding funding, CFAP is structured to ensure the availability of funding for all eligible producers who apply. In order to do this, producers will receive 80 percent of their maximum total payment upon approval of the application. The remaining portion of the payment, not to exceed the payment limit, will be paid at a later date nationwide, as funds remain available.
  • The key phrase you will hear associated with defining whether an eligible commodity is covered through CFAP is “the commodity must be subject to price risk.” We understand that already there are specific questions as to how this applies to contracted commodities. FSA is working to update the CFAP website to further explain this issue. We will share more information on this subject as it becomes available.

In addition, Nebraska FSA will present on CFAP during two upcoming online sessions:

  • Thursday, May 28, noon-1 p.m. CT: Nebraska Farm Bureau Facebook Live Event: Watch the presentation on Nebraska Farm Bureau’s Facebook page live. The presentation will be archived for later viewing on the Nebraska Farm Bureau Facebook page and the Nebraska Farm Bureau website at www.nefb.org/covid-19.
  • Thursday, June 4, noon-1 p.m. CT: Webinar hosted by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Agricultural Economics Department as part of its series, “COVID-19’s Impact on Nebraska Ag.” To register, type go.unl.edu/manage2020 into your internet browser. The session will be recorded and available on the website after the event.


As we start moving towards the new norm, so does the markets.  Mike Zuzolo with Global Commodity Analytics looks at the return to demand & what is causing trade friction.  There has been a recovery on crude oil.  A special report on China is looked at along with concerns  worries of breaking trade agreements.

According to three ethanol-industry sources and shipping data, a rare U.S. ethanol shipment will arrive in China very soon. Reuters says that may be the first ethanol shipment to hit China since the two countries struck a trade deal earlier this year.

China recently waived some additional tariffs on almost 700 American products, including ethanol, to support more purchases of U.S. farm goods to help meet its obligations in the Phase One trade deal. Since China made the move, the ethanol industry has been watching for signs of renewed trade in the biofuel. Tariffs on U.S. fuel ethanol were as high as 70 percent after Beijing upped some retaliatory tariffs on U.S. imports in the back-and-forth trade dispute with Washington, D.C.

A slump in fuel demand brought on by COVID-19 led to an oversupply of ethanol that caused prices to bottom out, forcing producers to slash their production amounts. One of the three sources to tell Reuters about the shipment says the vessel was carrying ethanol that originated in the United States and had been resold to China, likely from a seller in Saudi Arabia. A trader based in China tells Reuters that, “People are looking to import fuel ethanol from overseas as prices in northeastern China have risen in the past few days.”

LINCOLN – Today, Governor Pete Ricketts announced a new Directed Health Measure (DHM) that will take effect on June 1, 2020 to continue to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in Nebraska.

The DMH provides guidance including requirements that must be met for gatherings at fairgrounds and activities commonly hosted as part of county fairs.

In accordance with the DHM, the Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA), in cooperation with representatives of the Nebraska Association of Fair Managers, the Nebraska State Fair, Nebraska Extension, Nebraska FFA and several local health departments has created guidance documents for county fair officials and livestock show managers to utilize as they work to determine what their event may look like in 2020.

“The county fair and livestock show season is going to look different this year,” said NDA Communications Director Christin Kamm.  “As the mother of a 4-Her, I understand the fear and concern that livestock families have been experiencing this spring.  The hope of the committee is that these guidelines will allow for portions of the county fairs and livestock shows to continue, in a modified fashion.”

According to the NDA guidance, the decision to move forward or not, with a county fair or livestock event, will be decided at the local level.

The guidance documents can be found on the NDA COVID-19 website (www.nda.nebraska.gov/COVID19).  In the event of changes to the current DHM or additional statewide restrictions or relaxations, the guidance documents will be updated.  Therefore, event organizers are encouraged to frequently check NDAs website and NDA social media accounts for the most current information.

INDIANAPOLIS (Thursday, May 21, 2020/National FFA Organization) – This spring has brought uncertainty to many FFA members and chapters across the country – as banquets, spring plant sales and fundraisers have been canceled. The National FFA Organization has developed a program– the FFA COVID-19 Chapter Assistance Program – to help chapters in these uncertain times.

The purpose of this program is to provide FFA chapters with an opportunity to receive up to $2,000 in funding to help offset the loss of program revenue and to assist them in navigating through these difficult times.

“Spring and summer are traditionally a key time for our chapters to fundraise,” said National FFA Chief Program Officer, Christine White. “Due to school closures and the current need for social distancing, it has made it difficult for chapters to host these essential events, creating a negative impact on their chapter programs’ revenue.”

Cargill, a 60-year partner of FFA, announced today that they will contribute $500,000 to the program to assist chapters.

This contribution is part of Cargill’s $35 million commitment to COVID-19 relief and recovery efforts and specifically to Cargill’s North America Protein support for partners focusing on agriculture communities, farmers and ranchers.

“At the heart of our food system, farmers carry on their essential work of nourishing the world. We are partnering with organizations like FFA to support the resilience of communities, farmers and ranchers during this unprecedented time,” said John Niemann, managing director, protein ingredients & international channel, Cargill Protein North America and current chair of the National FFA Sponsors Board. “We want to thank FFA for their continued support of future sustainability and agriculture leaders who continue to provide innovative solutions to the challenges of a complex food system.”

“Throughout this COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen our members across the country step up to the plate and help in their communities,” said National FFA Organization Chief Marketing Officer Molly Ball. “At National FFA we are excited to have this opportunity to assist our chapters where it is needed so they can continue to do the great work. We appreciate our partnership with Cargill as we continue to grow the next generation of leaders in agriculture.”

The National FFA Organization provides leadership, personal growth and career success training through agricultural education to more than 700,000 student members who belong to one of the more than 8,600 local FFA chapters throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The organization is also supported by more than 8 million alumni and supporters throughout the U.S.

COVID-19 in one way or another has had an effect on all of us in agriculture.  With Nebraska Corn we brought together some of the leaders in the agriculture industry to talk about what they are doing for their members in light of the happenings in the world.

Ryan LeGrand serves as the President and CEO for the U.S. Grains Council.  He & I talked about how COVID-19 has changed how they reach out to customers…


USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom said there has been a few surprises that have came due to COVID-19…


Roger Berry is Administrator for the Nebraska Ethanol Board.  The ethanol industry has been hit hard due to COVID.


Ryan LeGrand serves as the President and CEO for the U.S. Grains Council.  He said that there are high hopes going into the future and that includes corn and sorghum…


Kelly Brunkhorst. Executive Director at Nebraska Corn described COVID-19 in one word for his corn growers…


USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom talks to be about some surprise that have come in since COVID-19 took over daily lives…

Post virus reopening…crude oil is getting higher; ethanol demand is picking up.  Is there a shift in the markets? Potential inflation due to spending?  COVID outbreaks at the ports in South America.  What does that mean for U.S. exports?    Crazy milk market.  Seeing some pre-virus prices in come contracts!  Lower box beef levels on a Friday.



Agricultural credit conditions in the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank’s Tenth District deteriorated at a slightly faster pace as the COVID-19 outbreak ramped up in the first quarter of this year.

The Fed’s survey of ag lenders during the first quarter of 2020 showed a larger decline in farm income and loan repayment rates than in recent quarters. Looking to the future, bankers say they are more pessimistic in terms of expectations. Further disruptions at meatpacking and food processing facilities, as well as a substantial slowdown in ethanol production, put heavy downward pressure on cattle and corn prices.

As of early May, cash prices for both commodities had declined more than 20 percent since January. That’s done nothing but add pressure to already stressed farm finances in seven states of the Kansas City Fed’s district. While farm income in the district weakened alongside a steep drop in agricultural commodity prices, spending by farm borrowers also weakened slightly, but less abruptly than farm income.

After showing some signs of stabilizing in previous surveys, credit conditions deteriorated quicker in the first quarter of this year. Similar to farm income, farm loan repayment rates also declined at a faster rate than in recent quarters. Almost 40 percent of banks in the district reported a decline in repayment rates compared to previous surveys.