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Angus Journal

The Angus Journal Daily, formerly the Angus e-List, is a compilation of Angus industry news; information about hot topics in the beef industry; and updates about upcoming shows, sales and events. Click here to subscribe.

News Update

October 20, 2014

USDA Invests $1.4 Billion to Improve Rural Electric Infrastructure

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced Oct. 16 $1.4 billion in USDA loan guarantees to improve the delivery of electric power to rural communities in 21 states.

“With the help of investments such as these from USDA, rural electric utilities have delivered reliable and affordable electricity for nearly 80 years,” Vilsack said. “Upgrading the electric grid will bring jobs and increased economic opportunities to rural communities.”

The announcement includes $106 million for smart-grid technologies and $3 million for renewable energy programs and systems. The funding will help diversify energy portfolios and decrease our nation’s reliance on carbon-based fuel sources, Vilsack noted.

Smart grid helps rural electric utilities manage power use more effectively. For fiscal year (FY) 2014, USDA’s Rural Utilities Service provided more than $186 million for smart-grid technologies.

USDA has worked with rural electric cooperatives since 1935 to provide electricity for rural consumers. Through the years, these investments have delivered new economic and social opportunities and have enhanced the quality of life in the nation’s rural communities. The Rural Utilities Service also administers infrastructure programs that bring broadband, safe drinking water and improved wastewater treatment facilities to rural communities.

For more information, please view the full release here.

Monsanto Announces Expanded Ag Scholarship Program

After a successful pilot in Alabama this past school year, America’s Farmers Grow Ag Leaders is now expanding to 40 states, with more than $500,000 worth of scholarships available. Sponsored by the Monsanto Fund, the program provides $1,500 college scholarships to students pursuing a degree related to agriculture. Starting Nov. 15, high school seniors and college students in Alabama and other eligible states can apply for this opportunity.

Farmers know the rewards of a career in agriculture, but many of today’s youth may not. Luckily, there is an abundance of evidence that agriculture is a smart career choice. According to the USDA, nearly 55,000 jobs in agriculture are available every year. Many of the nation’s largest land-grant institutions, such as Penn State and Texas A&M University, report job placement rates higher than 90% for their ag students.

Grow Ag Leaders helps engage future generations in agriculture by raising awareness of the broad range of career opportunities in the industry and by supporting their college education. The program was created in response to farmer requests to keep rural youth involved in agriculture. Farmers can participate in the program by encouraging students in their community to apply for a scholarship and by endorsing their application. Because farmers play a crucial role in the industry, each applicant is required to obtain endorsements from at least three local farmers.

“We want to encourage ambitious and talented students to pursue careers in this growing field,” said Elizabeth Vancil, youth and community outreach manager at Monsanto. “As students who grew up in rural areas learn more about what agriculture has become, they are realizing that it is a fascinating, hi-tech industry, with job growth, job security and high wages. These young people are seeing that there are emerging opportunities for a new generation of innovative young farmers, engineers, implement designers, marketing specialists and seed scientists.”

Grow Ag Leaders is part of the overall America’s Farmers campaign, which highlights the vital role played by farmers, through programs designed to support rural communities. Farmers interested in promoting the program and endorsing students’ scholarship applications can learn how at The National FFA Organization administers the scholarships, but FFA membership is not required to apply. Students have until Feb. 1, 2015, to complete the application online at

The Monsanto Fund, the philanthropic arm of the Monsanto Company, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening the communities where farmers and Monsanto Company employees live and work. Visit the Monsanto Fund at

Not Too Late to Plant Wheat, but Risks Increase with Delays

Growers may still have time to plant wheat this fall even though cool, wet weather that has delayed soybean harvest for many growers is making wheat planting difficult for some, according to a field crops expert with the Ohio State University (OSU) College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

While wheat is ideally planted within 10 days past the fly-free safe date, which has now passed, growers can still plant wheat later into October, but doing so is risky, said Laura Lindsey, a soybean and small-grains specialist with the college’s outreach arm, OSU Extension.

“If we experience a frost or freeze in November or December with late-planted wheat, the crops could see some problems,” she said. “But if the weather holds in November and December, the wheat should be fine.”

Soybeans across much of the state were planted late this spring due to cooler, wet, muddy conditions in May, Lindsey said.

“This year has been a difficult year to get soybeans off because the weather earlier in the season resulted in most growers planting the last week of May into the first week of June,” she said. “And late planting means late-maturing plants.

“A lot of beans are ready to be harvested now, but have been delayed because of the continued wet weather.”

Statewide, for the week ended Oct. 5, soybeans were 21% harvested with 88% of soybeans dropping leaves, according to the Oct. 6 USDA crop progress report. That compares to a five-year average of 23% harvested, with 87% dropping leaves during the same five-year period, the USDA said.

“Heavy rains that occurred later in the week have slowed harvesting activities in the state,” the report said. “There were 4.9 days suitable for fieldwork in Ohio during the week ending Oct. 5.”

Despite the lateness in harvesting soybeans, many growers may still consider planting winter wheat thanks to the advantages of adding wheat to a corn-soybean rotation, Lindsey said.

“We’ve seen the acreage of wheat crops drop in recent years because of the shortened planting window due to weather concerns, but winter wheat is a useful crop to have in a corn-soybean rotation,” she said. “There is some data that shows that when you add wheat into a corn-soybean rotation, the rotational benefit can result in at least a 5% increase in both corn and soybean yields.”

For more information, please view the full release here.

Farmers Face Critical Farm Bill Decisions;
Four MU November Meetings Offer Help

Four meetings will be hosted in November to explain the decisions required of all participants in USDA Farm Bill programs.

“Critical decisions must be made that have long-term income impacts on farms,” says Scott Brown, University of Missouri (MU) economist.

“Unlike previous farm bills, where it was a matter of just signing up, this law requires farmers to choose between options.”

The meetings are of interest to farmers and landowners, Brown says.

Date, place, time and local organizers:

All meetings are free.

RSVP by Nov. 5 to the MU Conference Office at or call 1-866-682-6663 (toll-free).

Reallocation and program sign-up at local Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices begin now, but won’t wrap up until next year, Brown says. Homework will be required before sign-up.

First priority is an option to update crop yields and reallocate the base for each farm. Recently, FSA sent farmers a record of past figures. That includes planted and harvested acres. Every farmer should check to see if forms received are correct.

Next, farmers must decide which program option works best for their farm.

At the meetings, farmers will hear two experts who developed nationally accepted farm bill decision tools. They are Joe Outlaw of Texas A&M University and Pat Westhoff of the MU Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute.

Missouri farmers should mark the dates and sign up for one of the meetings.

The programs are sponsored by MU Extension, Missouri Soybeans, Missouri Corn, Missouri Farm Bureau and FCS Financial.

For more information, please view the Angus Journal Virtual Library calendar of upcoming events here.


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