CRP Enrollment Deadline

The most current general enrollment for the Conservation Reserve Program began December 1, 2015. Enrollment will run thru February 26, 2016.  According to the  USDA, “as of September, 2015. 24.2 million acres were enrolled in CRP.  CRP is also protecting 170,000 stream miles with riparian forest and grass buffers, enough to go around the world 7 times.”  Check out the USDA’s Celebrating 30 Years of the Conservation Reserve Program.

It Is Not About Your Equity

by Peter Martin |

Like most farmers, the bulk of your net worth is likely in the equity of your ground. But you might have discovered a “land rich” net worth, even a sizeable one, doesn’t assure banks will approve a loan renewal.

Generally speaking, ag lenders are cash-flow lenders. Like you, they don’t like low commodity prices. While your net worth is important to them, they’re far more interested in a positive cash flow that allows loan payments to be made as agreed. That’s not easy today. Many of you are struggling to pencil out a breakeven, let alone a profit. And then there are loan payments. As a result, many farmers face troubled loan renewals. Don’t fall for the flawed argument that equity alone will get you through your renewal, but do tout your equity as additional support for your request. READ MORE

Texas Blizzard Impact Will Bring Total to 40,000 Lost Southwest Dairy Cattle By Lucas Sjostrom

“Keep ‘em in your prayers,” asked Darren Turley, executive director of the Texas Association of Dairymen on Thursday. He was referring to the Southwest dairies suffering from Winter Storm Goliath.

Four days after what is possibly the worst storm on record for cattle in the area, operations are returning to normal. The storm rolled into the Clovis, N.M., and Lubbock, Texas, region Saturday evening and was gone by Monday morning.

But the 22” inches of snow paired with wind gusts, some reaching over 60 miles per hour, was too much for many cattle, and proved impossible for some dairies to continue operating at the time. The uncharacteristic weather was to the extreme for the High Plains region.

Turley said one area farmer recalled that he was in his 34th year of dairying there, and occasionally started milking late due to weather, but never missed one. Last weekend, that farmer missed 1.5 days of milking. Turley said many farms missed one or more milkings on Sunday, with some also missing Saturday evening or Monday morning.

At some locations, the National Guard came in to shut down roads, ensuring no milk was moved from one area to another. Turley expects a small bump in price due to a lack of milk and cheese being delivered, but losses from storm deaths, lingering health issues, and future losses – potentially big as snow melts and makes for muddy conditions – will be far greater.


EPA Raises Renewable Fuel Requirements

EPA Raises Renewable Fuel Requirements

Agriculture, ethanol industry welcome certainty of final rule, but say required volume is too low.
After years of delays, EPA on Monday finally released the renewable fuel standards for 2014, 2015, and most importantly, 2016.

The rule calls for a total of 18.11 billion gallons of renewable fuel in 2016, with targeted growth expected in categories such as:

cellulosic biofuel (230 million gallons in 2016).
biomass-based diesel (1.9 billion gallons in 2016 and 2 billion gallons in 2017).
advanced biofuel (3.16 billion gallons in 2016).


Cow vs Car

When your cow takes on a car, what’s your liability?
by Tiffany Dowell Lashmet

It’s a call no cattle owner wants to receive – news that his or her cattle got out onto the roadway and were struck by a vehicle.

Not only is there concern for the driver and disappointment over losing the cow, oftentimes landowners face another question as well: Can liability be imposed for cattle getting onto the roadway? Unfortunately, this is not an uncommon situation for cattle owners across the country.

The answer to this question depends on the law in the cattle owner’s specific area as to whether a duty is imposed on livestock owners to contain their animals.

Most states take the opposite approach, imposing “fence-in” or “closed-range laws.” In these states, landowners generally do owe a duty to act reasonably and non-negligently in keeping livestock from escaping onto roadways.

In states with fence-in laws, legal liability will depend on whether the landowner breached his or her duty to act reasonably under the circumstances.  READ MORE

New Dairy Facility for Littlefield Texas

New Dairy Facility for Littlefield Texas

Note: Eric Turpen is an Associate Broker with Clift Land Brokers. He manages our Littlefield, TX branch office and is currently serving as the Mayor of Littlefield. Eric was instrumental in bringing the new Select Milk Producers facility to his community.

LITTLEFIELD – Select Milk Producers will eventually bring about 150 jobs to this economically-recovering Lamb County town, company representatives said Friday morning.

The Artesia, New Mexico-based dairy foods company has invested $250 million to upgrade and expand the facility just east of town that until January housed the American Cotton Growers denim mill. It’s aiming at a late-summer 2018 opening.

Festive vibes accompanied post-rain chilly temperatures at a conference in front of the building.

“They’ll be a lot of opportunities for a lot of folks in the community. We’re just thrilled to be here,” said Brad Bouma, company chairman and a Plainview dairyman.

The company will process about 4 million pounds of milk — 80 truckloads worth — each day. Staff will convert that raw product into milk powder, butter and certain other dairy products.

But before that, there’s a plant to build. Now in the engineering and design stages, those blueprints include plans for both remodeling existing structures and expanding them. Construction of a 100,000 square feet building-extension and a wastewater treatment system are both on the to-do list.

“It’s a significant undertaking. That’s why it takes a while,” said project manager Mark Boytim. “We’re not just gonna clean this one up — we’re gonna add to it.”

Boytim works for Select Services, a subsidiary. In a system he described as “closed cycle,” the treatment center will create clean water to irrigate crops, which will feed cows.

He added the construction process will employ about 250 people, helping the local economy directly through job creation and indirectly through consumer spending.

“The benefit to the community is they’re gonna spend that paycheck, or the largest part of it, right here in your community. It’s gonna be a big boom.”

Mayor Eric Turpen recalled how Littlefield suffered when its denim mill closed 10 months ago. With 340 residents suddenly out of work, Lamb County’s unemployment rate doubled from 4.5 percent to 9.1 percent within a month. Now, Select Milk Prodcuers’ announcement arrived as a relief.

“We couldn’t be more excited to have Select Milk Producers invest in our community like this,” he said. “Not only will Select’s project create many high-paying job opportunities, but the positive impact on our local school and tax bases is expected to be tremendous.”

Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller took the podium to congratulate the partnership. As the state’s highest-ranking farm representative, he pointed out the dairy industry’s economical contributions.

“We are a big milk-producing state, and we’re so glad to be here,” he said.


Feds to Require Drone Registration

Feds to Require Drone Registration. The Obama administration — in a bid to start tracking personal drones and address safety concerns in advance of a holiday season when the industry projects thousands more will be sold — announced Monday it will require the registration of drone aircraft, even for “consumers and hobbyists.”

The decision is meant in part to address the growing number of reported close calls and incidents that pose safety risks. Pilot sightings of drones have doubled since last year, including sightings near planes and major sporting events.

Federal Aviation Administration chief Michel Huerta said registration will increase pressure on operators to fly responsibly, adding “there will be consequences” when they don’t.

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