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UnCOOL Labeling
National Farmers Organization
800-247-2110 or e-mail:
Press Release

Contact: Perry Garner, communications director

515.598.4674
528 Billy Sunday Rd, Ames, Iowa  50010

Communications Media Producer Helene Bergren
515.598.4670
Twitter: @NatlFarmers
Facebook: National Farmers
For Immediate Release

National Farmers disappointed by loss of labeling law

     AMES, Iowa (December 22, 2015)—National Farmers Organization leaders are disappointed by President Obama’s signature on a bill that includes the repeal of COOL for cattle and hogs.
     “We question whether or not the best interests of consumers are served with this decision,” said National Farmers President Paul Olson. “Food security is a rising concern of consumers, and they certainly deserve access to more information —not less — about where their food is being sourced.”
     The move comes after language to repeal most significant components of COOL were contained as a rider in the 2016 Appropriations Act. The legislation was written after the World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling that the U.S. Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL) law warrants $1.01 billion in retaliatory tariffs from Canada and Mexico.
     A voluntary version of COOL had support from Democrats and Republicans, but the repeal dashes any hope for meaningful labeling legislation now.
     The Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL) law, was passed in 2002, and reworded in 2008, calling for labeling that informs consumers about the country where the product was sourced. It covers muscle cuts of meat and some vegetables, nuts and fruits sold on a retail basis.
     National Farmers is a conventional and organic marketing organization for the nation’s farmers and ranchers.
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Dairy Growth Management Needed
National Farmers Organization
800-247-2110 or e-mail:
Press Release

Contact: Perry Garner, communications director

515.598.4674
528 Billy Sunday Rd, Ames, Iowa  50010

Communications Media Producer Helene Bergren
515.598.4670
Twitter: @NatlFarmers
Facebook: National Farmers
For Immediate Release

Steep butter market price drop signals growth management need

     AMES, Iowa (December 18, 2015)— The National Farmers Organization is urging dairy co-op leaders to embrace growth management to help correct low milk prices America’s dairy farmers face.
     During the second week of December, cash butter prices took a precipitous drop of 83 cents, a 28.6 percent loss in value to $2.07 per pound.
     “Dairy farm expansions, combined with the lowest cull rate for several years, mean there is more milk than processing plants can handle,” said National Farmers President Paul Olson. “The best approach to this problem is for dairy co-op leaders, and producers themselves, to manage milk production growth in this country.”
     In Minnesota, for example, milk processing plant capacity is at 96 percent, which means plants are essentially running at full steam. Meanwhile, milk price basis has fallen by 50 percent or more in some areas.
     “With continued increases in production and minimal culling, this downward spiral will continue,” Olson emphasized.
     Current production costs for dairy farmers are pegged at about $24 per cwt. The Chicago Board of Trade predicts January 2016 Class III milk prices at $14.35, or $10 under the highest Class III price of $24.60 for Sept. 2014. The $24 cwt price was attained for a short period of time in 2014, only to be decimated by an increase in milk production of less than three percent.
     On the world dairy stage, China’s dairy product consumption from imports has fallen, and the strength of the U.S. dollar compared to other leading dairy exporting countries means tough sledding for America’s dairy products abroad. The top five global dairy suppliers are the European Union (EU-28), the United States, New Zealand, Australia and Argentina.
     “The solution is in the minds of farmers themselves,” Olson said. “They need to start influencing their co-ops, and ask for a growth-management focus. Starting at the farm level, production simply must be balanced with end usage,” he said.
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Grain Marketing in Risky Times *Updated*
National Farmers Organization
800-247-2110 or e-mail:
Press Release

Contact: Perry Garner, communications director

515.598.4674
528 Billy Sunday Rd, Ames, Iowa  50010

Communications Media Producer Helene Bergren
515.598.4670
Twitter: @NatlFarmers
Facebook: National Farmers
For Immediate Release

National Farmers announces Grain Marketing in Risky Times Dec. 7 seminar in Aberdeen, S.D.

     AMES, Iowa (Dec. 2, 2015)—The market wants grain right now, but prices remain below costs for many producers. As farmers hold crops in storage, they’re watching for rallies to trigger sales, but some in the commodity industry are concerned that won’t happen.
     “Some traders are concerned that we won’t see a bounce in the grain market like a lot of people hope will happen,” National Farmers Senior Grain Marketing Analyst Pete Lorenz said. South Dakota producers can hear more of what Lorenz says about changes in market influences, markets now, and revenue strategies at a free Grain Marketing in Risky Times seminar at Mavericks Steak and Cocktails, 720 Lamont Street, Aberdeen, S.D., at 12 p.m. Dec.7. The meeting is hosted by Dakota Marketing Coalition.
    Lorenz, a veteran marketer and risk manager, will delve into
        1.  Market conditions
        2.  Market transparency
        3.  Influences on prices
        4.  Volatility
        5.  Marketing strategies
        6.  Marketing plans
        7.  Producer tendencies
        8.  Successful market management requirements

     “One of the things we talk about is market transparency. There is no more open outcry, and a lot of the trading is generated by computer,” Lorenz said. “We talk about the things we see influencing the market, like trade agreements, weather, the funds, supply and demand and other things.”
    “I explain the tools that the farmer has, including crop insurance, different types of contracts and options, and we talk about writing a marketing plan,” Lorenz added. “We also talk about the questions a producer should ask himself when he’s writing that plan.”
    Also on hand to assist producers will be Steve Armour, National Farmers Grain Marketing Plus representative. Armour offers decades of grain industry experience, and is a registered, licensed Series 3 commodity broker.
    Lunch for the Aberdeen seminar is provided courtesy Dakota Marketing Coalition. Producers may RSVP to Steve Armour at 320. 760.4635.National Farmers held Grain Marketing in Risky Times seminars in Indiana, Illinois and Missouri in November, and will announce 2016 meetings to come.
    National Farmers defines itself by its sophisticated commodity marketing and ag risk management programs and services. Today’s National farmers members represent a cross-section of conventional and organic production in grain, livestock and dairy commodities.
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FarmStarts Help New Producers
National Farmers Organization
800-247-2110 or e-mail:
Press Release

Contact: Perry Garner, communications director

515.598.4674
528 Billy Sunday Rd, Ames, Iowa  50010

Communications Media Producer Helene Bergren
515.598.4670
Twitter: @NatlFarmers
Facebook: National Farmers
For Immediate Release

National Farmers announces beginning farmer seminars

     AMES, Iowa (April. 9, 2015)—To equip new(ish) producers, National Farmers will host five beginning farmer seminars about marketing and operations in the organic grain and dairy sectors, ag risk, capital budgeting, and more.
     But hold on. The workshops, are open not only to people haven’t launched their operations yet, but also to any producer who has operated 10 years or less.
     Called FarmStarts, the five workshops, funded by a $100,000 grant from USDA’s National Institute for Food and Agriculture, will be led by National Farmers professionals, producers and other industry experts. They are slated for Wisconsin, South Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa.

     Seminar presenters will help producers understand nine educational topics.
      1.   Organizational/ Farm Business Structure
      2.   Farm Transition Planning
      3.   Agriculture Risk Management
      4.   Capital Budgeting
      5.   Organic Operations - Dairy
      6.   Organic Operations - Grain
      7.   Organic Marketing - Dairy
      8.   Organic Marketing - Grain
      9.   Transitioning from conventional to organic farming

     Producers will also hear insights into communicating with their lenders and estate planning. In addition, five will be selected for a mentoring program involving six on-farm visits. National Farmers will produce webinars about the topics, which will be available on nationalfarmers.com after April 22.

     Meeting Locations and Dates
      1.   La Crosse, Wis. April 21 at the Best Western Riverfront
      2.   Fond du Lac, Wis. TBA
      3.   Freeman, S.D. June 9
      4.   Alexandria, Minn. June 10
      5.   Bloomfield, Iowa Aug. 19

     Producers can learn more about the seminars and register online at nationalfarmers.com/farmstarts, or by calling 515.598.4674.
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National Farmers convention speakers offer farm program decision advice
National Farmers Organization
800-247-2110 or e-mail:
Press Release

Contact: Perry Garner, communications director

515.598.4674
528 Billy Sunday Rd, Ames, Iowa  50010

Communications Media Producer Helene Bergren
515.598.4670
Twitter: @NatlFarmers
Facebook: National Farmers
For Immediate Release

National Farmers convention speakers offer farm program decision advice

AMES, Iowa (Jan. 29, 2015)—Like it or lump it for five (farm program) years.
      Grain producers lock themselves into decisions they make about their FSA farm program participation for several crop cycles under the current ag law. So, National Farmers brought in three different professionals to give farmers a wealth of information at national convention in Nashville Jan. 21-­‐23.
      Between a pro-­‐producer economist, an ag banker with Missouri (and National Farmers) farming roots and the top National Farmers Crop Insurance adviser, National Farmers grain members walked away much better prepared to make far-­‐reaching decisions as landowners and producers.
      And all three speakers reminded producers of the August letter they would have received from their Farm Service Agency offices as a starting point for information collection about payment yields, base acres, and planted acres from 2008-­‐2013. Yield history for 2008-­‐2012 is also necessary.
      “This farm bill changes almost everything related to U.S. farm policy,” said Chris Webb, National Farmers Crop Insurance. “What we have left is crop insurance and two FSA programs that sit on top and work in conjunction with crop insurance.”
      “The biggest thing for you to keep in mind is you have the opportunity to adjust base acres and yields based on proven yields over past five years,” PNC Bank Ag Banking Market Manager Warren Graeff told convention attendees. He was raised on a National Farmers operation in northwest Missouri.
      Landowners and producers are both given this opportunity, Graeff added. He suggested landowners and producers work together as they make decisions.
      Base acre and payment yield calculation methods changed, and Agricultural Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage are entirely new. PLC is a target price program, and ARC offers two choices, individual and county. Webb described the ARC choices as “shallow revenue loss programs.”
      ARC-­‐Individual pays on only 65 percent of base acres, and has limited circumstances when it will apply, Webb explained. ARC-­‐County is based on the county’s revenue. Each county has a benchmark revenue. Ultimately, the coverage level ranges from 86 percent to 76 percent. The most an ARC-­‐County can pay out is $91 per acre.
      “The down side is that once you sign up, you’re locked in for the life of the farm bill,” Graeff said. A common question the ag banker faces from farmers is, what happens if things change once I sign up? Graeff tells them to keep in mind the cyclical nature of commodity prices, corn, soybeans, wheat, and any crop they raise.
      University of Tennessee Ag Policy Analysis Center Director Dr. Daryll Ray echoed Graeff’s advice. “The most important consideration is, what will prices be over the next five years…” Ray said.
      If you believe prices will average well above reference prices, you may want to select ARC-­‐CO, he said. In that case, payments could be impressively high during a single-­‐ year drop in revenue. Looking only at 2014, the payment is likely to be greater than under PLC, depending on the commodity.
      “As I hear what farmers are saying and what extension folks talk about program choices, I get the impression, a lot of people want to choose ARC-­‐CO,” Ray said. “Why? Many view revenue insurance as agriculture’s new safety net. That is the general belief that revenue insurance is the future, so get used to it. And more federal dollars have been spent on insurance recently than other types of farm programs.”
      “It’s important that you would think about this very carefully, I would argue,” Ray said. “…Should you also argue that we should be prepared for even more negative price situations? I would argue, yes.”
      Base acre and payment yield decision deadlines are Feb. 27, crop insurance March 15 and Agricultural Risk Coverage or Price Loss Coverage decisions deadlines are March 31.
      Webb pointed out that most Midwest universities are recommending ARC-­‐CO for producers near them. However, he underscored the point that corn and soybean producers, for example, could hedge their bets by using a combination of ARC-­‐CO for 85 percent of acres, and PLC for 15 percent. The PLC could pay up to three times more than the ARC-­‐CO, in the event of a disastrous pricing year, however.
      But, he also urged producers to delay making a final decision on ARC or PLC until the final county yields come in February.
      Webb also urged producers to Google farm bill decision aid, a tool by Texas A&M for information and help. While Webb preferred the Texas A&M farm decision tool for producers’ ease of use, Graeff and Ray also suggested producers search for Farm Bill Toolbox available from University of Illinois.
      The latest ag law doesn’t affect just grain growers. Graeff urged dairy producers to take a serious look at the milk margin program. “I think it provides some good protection to our dairy producers, and also helps you manage risk. It’s an invaluable tool…as we see risk management become more important as we go into the future of farming.”
      National Farmers provides marketing and risk management services to thousands of conventional and organic grain, dairy and livestock producers in the U.S.
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National Farmers President reviews market access, trade and rural issues
National Farmers Organization
800-247-2110 or e-mail:
Press Release

Contact: Perry Garner, communications director

515.598.4674
528 Billy Sunday Rd, Ames, Iowa  50010

Communications Media Producer Helene Bergren
515.598.4670
Twitter: @NatlFarmers
Facebook: National Farmers
For Immediate Release

National Farmers President reviews market access, trade and rural issues

      NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Jan. 23, 2015)— During his remarks to members in Nashville, Tenn. Thursday night, National Farmers President Paul Olson, Taylor, Wis., expressed his concern about falling dairy prices, along with grain price levels that, for some crops, are lower than what it costs farmers to grow them.
      He spoke about how producers are in a double bind as the prices they are paid for their production trends downward in some commodities, while inputs continue their march upward.
      Addressing the issue of shrinking communities in rural America in the past few decades, he underscored the point that a stronger economic footing for farmers and ranchers could have meant those communities could have remained strong.
      Regarding market access for producers, he stressed that it’s becoming more difficult in some parts of the country due to increasing consolidation. And, he noted that National Farmers offers price negotiation services in dairy, grain and livestock, which can help producers improve their market positioning.
      Olson also said the country could lose a generation of farmers if a sustained period of low prices were to come about. He said he greatly supports farmers producing the highest quality products for America's consumers, but producers must be paid more for those top-tier commodities.
      And, he spoke briefly about the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership, expressing the requirement that it assures not only free trade for the U.S., but fair trade as well.
      National Farmers provides marketing and risk management services to thousands of conventional and organic grain, dairy and livestock producers in the U.S.
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Drones for Ag featured at National Farmers Ag Business Conference
National Farmers Organization
800-247-2110 or e-mail:
Press Release

Contact: Perry Garner, communications director

515.598.4674
528 Billy Sunday Rd, Ames, Iowa  50010

Communications Media Producer Helene Bergren
515.598.4670
Twitter: @NatlFarmers
Facebook: National Farmers
For Immediate Release

Drones for Ag featured at National Farmers Ag Business Conference

      NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Jan. 23, 2015)—What’s a smart farmer to do when someone comes to him and tells him he needs a drone if he wants to step up his grain game the way he wants? Aaron Sheller buys one; then he teams up with other smart aggies and starts building them.
      That’s the agriculture drone, or UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) story of Aaron Sheller, co-owner of Precision Drone, a seventh generation farmer. Sheller pointed out to convention attendees that with a drone, producers enjoy geographically-located yield estimates pre-harvest. That means producers can increase or decrease bushels hedged before the market recognizes limitations or surplus, he explained. That was important information for National Farmers members, because many of the conventional grain growers use the organization’s options, contracts and hedge tools to manage risk.
      “With a drone, you can walk straight to the problem area in a field with georeferenced scouting,” Sheller said.
      Sheller answered a future-focused question asked on behalf of organic growers. What about mechanical drones? National Farmers Grain Director Tim Ennis could see applications for organic producers for weed management in on-the-ground drones.
      There is tech now being developed for that, Sheller said. Drone seeders have already been developed especially for use in planting cover crops. “If there is a need for it in our society it seems like they’ll come up with it,” Sheller said.
      The technology to go down the rows and to put a seeder on it is already there, he said. The challenge is cost effectiveness. “Can it get to the grower at a price they can afford? Is the question,” he said. Right now, drone weed control would be expensive, but technology tends to grow more affordable, he said.
      Sheller also noted differences between multi-rotor and fixed-wing drones, and explained with a UAV, the producer owns the images. With the Precision Drone product, the use is real-time, for same-day crop management decisions.
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National Farmers announces key policy positions at annual meeting in Nashville
National Farmers Organization
800-247-2110 or e-mail:
Press Release

Contact: Perry Garner, communications director

515.598.4674
528 Billy Sunday Rd, Ames, Iowa  50010

Communications Media Producer Helene Bergren
515.598.4670
Twitter: @NatlFarmers
Facebook: National Farmers
For Immediate Release

National Farmers announces key policy positions at annual meeting in Nashville

      NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Jan. 23, 2015)—National Farmers members stated their position on several key policy issues at their annual ag business conference in Nashville, Tenn., Thursday.
      Members re-affirmed their support for Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) by encouraging U.S. trade representatives to appeal the recent WTO ruling on COOL. Members also recommended eliminating the trade embargo with Cuba.
      Organization members also oppose legislation that would give the president of the United States fast-track authority to negotiate trade agreements, because it would prevent Congress from having direct involvement in the negotiations. Members say such agreements must adequately address labor and environmental issues, country-of-origin labeling, dispute resolution, currency fluctuations, proper reporting of agriculture import and export data and food safety standards.
      Members also urged Congress to require railroads to provide and maintain adequate and affordable transportation for the movement of agricultural commodities. Examples of rail delays complicated grain transportation during harvest last fall in the Dakotas and northern Minnesota.
      National Farmers members supported the ability for consumers to know where and how their food is grown and processed. Therefore, they assert that food should not only be labeled with its country of origin, but also for the presence of genetically modified organism products (GMO).
      National Farmers Organization is also opposed to efforts by the NCBA to double the mandatory beef check-off fee.
      National Farmers ag business conference continues through Friday at the Millennium Maxwell House Hotel in Nashville. National Farmers provides marketing and risk management services to thousands of ag producers in the U.S.
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