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MORNING Midwest Digest, April 29, 2019

The man driving the semi into a traffic jam in Colorado last week was going 85 mph. 

Today is the last day for public comment on year-round E15.

The boy thrown over the balcony at Mall of America is now alert and no longer in critical condition.

Ken Kercheval, former Dallas star, was laid to rest last week, and is an Indiana native.


Photo: photosbyjim/Getty Images

Farm Progress America, April 29, 2019

Max Armstrong shares insight on the potential timeliness of the 2019 corn crop, which is slipping behind optimum timing. Max got insight from market analyst Naomi Blohm, Stewart-Peterson, who shared that corn demand will be on the rise in part of changing demand for the crop from China.

Farm Progress America is a daily look at key issues in agriculture. It is produced and presented by Max Armstrong, veteran farm broadcaster and host of This Week in Agribusiness.

Photo: Willie Vogt

Despite backlash, vegans admit meat saved their health

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Recently, Hollywood A-lister Anne Hathway made news when she admitted that she had quit being a vegan after a decade of following a meat-free diet.

Hathaway, age 36, is an actress known for her appearance in films such as “Les Miserables,” “Dark Knight Rises” and “The Princess Diaries.” Her vegan diet helped her lose weight for roles, which she admitted in an interview wasn’t a “good long-term thing for her health.”

While traveling on assignment with fellow actor Matt Damon, she was encouraged to try the fish.

“So I had a piece of salmon and my brain felt like a computer rebooting,” she said, in an interview with People magazine.

Hathaway admitted that her vegan diet didn’t make her feel good, healthy or strong, and that with meat in her diet she “just felt better.”

Hathaway joins a slew of vegan influencers who in recent weeks have proclaimed that they are eating meat once again after years of being meat free and secretly struggling with their health.

In vegan circles, popular vegan influencers including Bonny Rebecca, Rawvana, Tim Shieff, Raw Alignment, Stella Rae, KasumiKriss, the Minimalist Baker have all admitted to eating meat and eggs to restore their health.

As you can imagine, the vegan community is in a total and utter meltdown.

After all, and I’m generalizing here, but many of these vegan influencers have made grand sweeping claims that going raw vegan will lead to glowing skin, rock hard abs, an abundance of energy and the knowledge that you’re living on the ethical high ground.

Veganism isn’t sold as just a diet, but as a moral standard, where animals have equal or more value as humans and where no animals must die in order for you to thrive.

These influencers, who have made their living on social media by touting these benefits, are now facing cyber bullying and death threats for leaving the cult in order to save their health.

And while many may be able to live on a vegan diet, with the help of expensive supplements and very close counting and tracking of macros and nutrients, too many are sacrificing their health in order to “save animals.”

I’m thankful for consumer choice. It’s great we have options for every type of consumers, and yes, that includes vegan options.

However, it’s alarming that an entire food group like animal products has been so demonized while plants are widely celebrated, and these plant-based proponents often ignore that a completely meat-free lifestyle hurts people, animals and the planet.

For starters, animal fats and proteins fuel our bodies and our brains. Nothing compares to the nutrient-density of meat, dairy and eggs. Beef is absolutely a superfood that provides 11 essential nutrients including protein, B-vitamins and absorbable heme iron.

Second, beef production is a critical component of our ecosystem. Cattle grazing promotes biodiversity of the soil, captures carbon, provides habitat for bees, bugs and wildlife, reduces the spread of wildfires and prevents desertification of the soil.

And third, cattle provide not only nourishing beef but life-enriching byproducts, too. Yes, an animal must die to offer human life these benefits. However, even a lettuce salad causes death. Plowing rangeland in order to plant more fruits and vegetables leaves animals like deer, mice, rabbits and foxes homeless.

So when vegans say animals have the same or equal value as people, do they only mean cows and pigs? They seem to forget the other animals that are impacted by food production.

Suffice all this to say, the vegan agenda seems to be more about taking advantage of people and their emotions in order to increase followers and line pocketbooks. It isn’t based on truth or reality.

Cheers to folks like Hathaway who are willing to get death threats and hate mail for simply admitting that meat makes them feel good. Glamorizing an incomplete diet like veganism is dangerous, and I’m glad more folks are realizing the benefits of animal fats and proteins as part of a healthy, sustainable diet.

The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of or Farm Progress.

This Week in Agribusiness – April 27, 2019

Note: Start the video and all parts will play through as the full show

Part 1

Max Armstrong and Mike Adams open this week’s show discussing efforts to get disaster support even as more keep happening. Max and Mike talk markets with Naomi Blohm, Stewart-Peterson.

Part 2

Max Armstrong and Mike Adams continue their market conversation with Naomi Blohm, Stewart-Peterson. In Colby Agtech, Chad Colby talks farm safety when operating big machines. Farm Broadcaster Dale Minyo, Ohio Ag Net, Columbus, Ohio, talks with Max and Mike about conditions in that part of the country.

Part 3

Max Armstrong and Mike Adams discuss the value of an agriculture association. Max talks with Kendal Frazier, chief executive officer, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, about the importance of farm groups for the industry. Orion Samuelson talks with Paul Rovey, a Glendale, Ariz., dairy producer about the challenges facing that industry.

Part 4

Max Armstrong and Mike Adams open with a report from Jamie Johansen who shares the story of a Missouri beef operation that’s bringing in the next generation. Ag Meteorologist Greg Soulje looks at weather for the week ahead.

Part 5

Ag Meteorologist Greg Soulje offers his extended look at the weather including his four-week forecast.

Part 6

In Max’s Tractor Shed, Max shares the story of a 1971 John Deere 4020 owned by Mark Stauffenberg, Manteno, Illinois, and it’s been on the farm since it was new. Mike Adams profiles Glencoe-Silver Lake FFA in Glencoe, Minn. Member Haley Kirchoff shares what she’s learned participating in the chapter. In Samuelson Sez, Orion Samuelson offers his semi-annual safety sermon that’s focused as much on city folks as the farmers who are doing the work.

Part 7

Max Armstrong and Mike Adams close this week’s show with the latest installment of the Plan Smart, Grow Smart series with a visit to Mt. Carroll, Ill., and the diverse operation run by Ellen and Justin Rahn.

MIDDAY Midwest Digest, April 26, 2019

Farming can be a dangerous job, particularly dealing with things like fertilizer and chemicals applied to fields. There was an hydrous ammonia accident outside Chicago yesterday. 

MORNING Midwest Digest, April 26, 2019

Several agencies are trying to figure out what happened with the anhydrous ammonia accident north of Chicago.

Farmers are concerned about an upcoming snow in the Upper Midwest, and its impact on planting.

A panel found that more than 30 Michigan districts were drawn to give an unfair advantage.

Three construction vehicles were involved in an accident on a Colorado highway. Someone was videoing it.

Do you have a gift for your mom for Mother's Day yet?


Photo: DHuss/Getty Images

Farm Progress America, April 26, 2019

Max Armstrong offers more insight from his recent tour of flooded areas as part of his work on a television special for RFD-TV. Max noted the materials left behind from propane tanks to porta-potties; animals to piled topsoil. A key observation: The power of water.

Farm Progress America is a daily look at key issues in agriculture. It is produced and presented by Max Armstrong, veteran farm broadcaster and host of This Week in Agribusiness.

Photo: Tyler Harris

7 ag stories you might have missed this week - April 26, 2019

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Need a quick catchup on the news? Here are seven agricultural stories you might have missed this week.

1. Most Chinese hog farms are choosing not to repopulate herds as African swine fever continues to spread across the country. Outbreaks were confirmed Sunday on six farms in Hainan, the island province in the far south. On Friday, outbreaks were confirmed at two farms. The virus has spread across the country since it was first reported in August 2018, with more than a million hogs culled. – Farm Futures

2. The impact of climate change on agriculture is playing a major role in migration from Central America to the United States. El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras all straddle the ecologically fragile “dry corridor” that has been hit alternately by droughts and drenching precipitation over the past few years. – Forbes

3. The average value of North Dakota cropland increased nearly 2% in 2018, according to a January survey commissioned by North Dakota Department of Trust Lands. Cropland values per acre were strongest in the east-central region and the northwestern region. – Dakota Farmer

4. USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service will not collect data on the volume of harvested grain lost to flooding in March. However, the figures in USDA’s quarterly stocks report for June will reflect losses due to flooding.  – Reuters

5. Dr. Bruno Basso, a Michigan State University professor of ecosystems science, led a study to determine how much small-scale yield variability there is across the United States Corn Belt. The study is the first to quantify nitrogen losses from the low-producing areas of individual fields. – Michigan Farmer

6. Dairy goat herds grew faster than any other major livestock group over the past decade, according to the Census of Agriculture. The greatest increases came in Wisconsin, Iowa and Texas. Also, check out the podcast from NPR. – The Washington Post

7. A leak from two separate two-ton tanks of anhydrous ammonia sent 37 people to the hospital Thursday in a northern Chicago suburb. Schools were canceled and people were told to stay inside as emergency crews worked at the scene. - Time

And your bonus.

Robert Hibbard delights in sharing his 1877 barn and wood-stave silo with visitors. He and his wife, Shirley, bought the property in 1968. Now 89, Robert is mostly retired now after working for the Grand Trunk Railroad for 42 years. – Michigan Farmer

U.S. drought in retreat

U.S. Drought Monitor

It is indeed true that too much of a good thing is not good. That’s been one of the toughest lessons that weather in 2019 has made abundantly clear.

But there’s an upside, in spite of the flooding and destructive storms of the recent past. According to the Water and Climate Update from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) National Water and Climate Center, the U.S. is currently drought-free in 85.9% of the country.

The area in extreme or exceptional drought is 0, the smallest since the U.S. Drought Monitor began in 2000. California has been declared drought-free for the first time since December 2011. 

U.S. Drought MonitorApril 23, 2019 Drought Monitor map

The U.S. had a record wettest six months of any year in 2018, and just had one of the top 10 wettest January – March to start 2019.

RELATED: Spring flood outlook: It's bad and it's gonna get worse

From the current Drought Monitor Summary: “With near to record wetness in many parts of the country this winter and in 2018, the April 16 USDM had the lowest percent of area in drought (D1-D4) for the lower 48 States (3.73%) and all 50 States (3.78%) since the inception of the U.S. Drought Monitor in 2000, surpassing the previous low drought standard of May 23, 2017.

In fact, no dryness/drought (D0-D4) in both the lower 48 (85.88%) and all 50 States (87.06%) also set record low values last week. With more wet weather over D0-D2 areas this week, new USDM record lows will most likely be set

Looking ahead

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor Drought Summary, during the next five days (April 25-29, 2019), two systems are expected to provide precipitation to the lower 48 States. One system will track from the southern Rockies northeastward into New England, bringing moderate to heavy rain (1-4 inches) and severe weather to the southern Plains, lower Mississippi, Tennessee, and Ohio Valleys, and Northeast.

READ: Bomb cyclone relief efforts underway for ranchers, farmers

Another system will move southeastward out of southwest Canada across the northern Rockies and Plains, Midwest, and eastern Great Lakes region, dropping light to moderate totals (0.5-2 inches).

Year-over-year change in precip

Little or no precipitation is expected in the Far West, Southwest, south-central Plains, far upper Midwest, and along the southern Atlantic Coast. Temperatures should average below-normal across the northern third of the U.S., near normal in the Southeast, and above-normal in the Southwest.

The 6-10 day extended range outlook (April 30-May 4, 2019) favors above-normal precipitation odds across much of the central U.S., from the Rockies eastward to the Appalachians, in western and northern Alaska, with subnormal totals likely along the West Coast and in southeastern Alaska, with near-normal chances elsewhere. Subnormal temperatures are likely in the North-Central States while chances of above-normal readings are favored in the Southeast and western Alaska.


Source: NRCS and the U.S. Drought Monitorwhich are solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.


Meat Market Update | April prices beat 2018 market high

The daily spot Choice box beef cutout ended the week last Friday at $233.65m which was $4.90 higher compared to the previous Friday and $22 higher than the same day last year. It then went above $234.00 on Monday, April 22. Last year’s high was $232.68 set in mid-May, so we are already seeing higher prices in 2019. This rally is definitely much earlier for grilling than other years. Always remember the weekly average Choice cutout follows the daily cutout prices, just a little slower.

The daily Choice rib and loin primal both ended the week on Friday almost $10 higher. The grilling season is definitely in its peak right now and these increases always widen the choice-select spread.

There were 7,045 total loads sold for the week which was 422 loads higher than the previous week and a very good big volume of total sales.