Agribusiness
USDA Announces Karis Gutter as USDA's First Military Veterans Agriculture Liaison PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by USDA Office of Communications   
Monday, 17 November 2014 16:03
New Position Will Coordinate Ongoing USDA Support for Active Duty Military and Veterans

Des Moines, Iowa, Nov. 14, 2014 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden today announced Karis T. Gutter, a Marine Corps Reserve veteran and current USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services (FFAS), as the first USDA Military Veterans Agricultural (MVA) Liaison. The MVA Liaison will coordinate USDA leadership across the Department to provide information, resources and support for active duty military and veterans interested in agriculture. The MVA Liaison will also have authority to facilitate formal relationships between USDA and other government agencies and non-profit organizations to strengthen USDA support for veterans.

Deputy Secretary Harden made the announcement at the Farmers Veterans Coalition and Drake University Agriculture Law Center's inaugural national conference in Des Moines, Iowa.

"Many of America's veterans come from our rural communities, and are often drawn back to the land upon returning to civilian life," said Deputy Secretary Harden. "Veterans are key to building our future generation of farmers, land stewards and conservationists. USDA already has a number of initiatives to help veterans find meaningful work in agriculture upon returning home, but this new position will help coordinate our efforts and make programs easier to navigate. I look forward to Karis' leadership as we continue to support America's heroes."

Gutter, native of Terry, Mississippi (pop. 1,099), began his career in public service as an enlisted United States Marine Corp Reservist. Gutter served as a Corporal in the Marine Corps as a communications and field radio operator for six years and participated in humanitarian relief in support of September 11 and Hurricane Katrina. Prior to his USDA service, Gutter worked for the Hinds County Board of Supervisors in Mississippi and on Capitol Hill as Deputy Chief of Staff and Legislative Director to Congressman Bennie G. Thompson (MS-02).

"Serving as USDA's first Military Veterans Agricultural Liaison is a great honor," said Gutter, who is also attending the Iowa conference. "As a Marine, I know military veterans have unique skills, training and perspective. My job is to make sure military veterans have full access to USDA's resources and services to help them succeed in civilian life."

The USDA Military Veteran Agriculture Liaison, which reports directly to the Office of the Secretary, is a new position created by the 2014 Farm Bill. The Farm Bill also authorizes USDA to offer priority preference to veterans in several programs including the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) and the Value Added Producer Grant (VAPG) program.

Since 2009, USDA has invested in housing, job training and financial assistance for veterans including:

  • Providing safe and sound housing through Rural Development's Rural Housing Service by making 9,301 single family guaranteed housing loans, 952 direct home loans, 766 home improvement loans and 1,445 home improvement grants to veterans and their families.
  • Investing over $2 million to training and experience for over 600 veterans through the Veterans Fire Corps, many of which become permanent Forest Service employees. There are over 10,000 veterans employed across USDA.
  • Partnering with the Corporation for National Service (CNCS) and other federal agencies to develop the 21st Conservation Service Corps (21CSC) to create opportunities for veterans to restore and conserve natural resources. Earlier this week, USDA and CNCS announced the project locations of expanded 21CSC opportunities in 11 states. In addition, the Forest Service invested over $21 million in FY14 and leveraged $18 million from partners to engage approximately 11,000 youth and veterans in training and employment opportunities.
  • Closing 689 Farm Service Agency Farm Ownership Loans (totaling $106.8 million), 3,881 traditional Farm Operating Loans, (totaling $236.4 million) and 592 microloans (totaling $11.3 million) to veterans. Recently, the Farm Service Agency announced it would recognize leadership positions in the military as a way to satisfy experience requirements when applying for microloan funds.
  • Investing $5.4 million to veterans through Farm Service Agency Emergency Loans and over $1.1 million in Conservation Loans.
  • Launching a dedicated website for veterans and military families about available federal nutrition programs.
  • Chartering the USDA Veterans, Reservists, and Military Families Task Force (VRMF) to strengthen and coordinate programmatic and outreach efforts across the Department to better serve military and veteran families.
  • Integrating veterans into USDA efforts for new and beginning farmers.

Today's announcement of the Military Veteran Agriculture Liaison was made possible by the 2014 Farm Bill. The 2014 Farm Bill builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past five years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for taxpayers. Since enactment, USDA has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing and community facilities to help improve quality of life.

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U.S. Soy Exports Hit New Milestones PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by United Soybean Board   
Monday, 17 November 2014 12:24

U.S. farmers export over 2 billion bushels of soy worth $30 billion; China imports over 1 billion bushels ST. LOUIS (Nov. 13, 2014) – U.S. soybean farmers continue to provide their international customers with reliable, quality products, and those customers have once again rewarded them with big purchases. In the 2013/2014 marketing year, the United States exported over 2 billion bushels of U.S. soy, valued at more than $30 billion.

The year got off to a fast start, exceeding the predicted export numbers in early 2014 and finishing strong with record-size crops starting to come out of the fields. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the 2013/2014 export total includes more than 1.6 billion bushels of whole U.S. soybeans, meal from 484 million bushels of U.S. soybeans and oil from 161 million bushels. This total represents 62 percent of U.S. soybean production from last year.

“U.S. soybean farmers are committed to meeting global demand with a quality product,” says Dwain Ford, United Soybean Board International Opportunities Target Area Coordinator and soybean farmer from Kinmundy, Illinois. “These export numbers prove that U.S. soy is a highly valued product in the global marketplace and that U.S. soybean farmers are doing our job.”

Top buyers of whole U.S. soybeans in 2013/2014 include:
•    China: 1.013 billion bushels
•    Mexico: 124 million bushels
•    Indonesia: 75 million bushels

Top buyers of U.S. soybean meal in 2014 include:
•    Mexico: meal from 68 million bushels of U.S. soybeans
•    Philippines: meal from 59 million bushels
•    Canada: meal from 45 million bushels

Top buyers of U.S. soybean oil in 2014 include:
•    Mexico: oil from 36 million bushels of U.S. soybeans
•    China: oil from 35 million bushels
•    Dominican Republic: oil from 22 million bushels

The 70 farmer-directors of USB oversee the investments of the soy checkoff to maximize profit opportunities for all U.S. soybean farmers. These volunteers invest and leverage checkoff funds to increase the value of U.S. soy meal and oil, to ensure U.S. soybean farmers and their customers have the freedom and infrastructure to operate, and to meet the needs of U.S. soy’s customers. As stipulated in the federal Soybean Promotion, Research and Consumer Information Act, the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service has oversight responsibilities for USB and the soy checkoff.

For more information on the United Soybean Board, visit www.unitedsoybean.org
Visit us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/UnitedSoybeanBoard
Follow us on Twitter: www.twitter.com/unitedsoy
View our YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/user/UnitedSoybeanBoard
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Scott County Extension Calendar Nov-Dec 2014 PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Amanda Heitz   
Monday, 17 November 2014 12:17

Nov. 25, 2014 2014 Farm Bill Program Overview, The Golden Leaf Banquet Center, 2:00 pm and 6:00 pm

Nov. 27, 2014 Extension Office Closed for Holiday

Nov. 28, 2014 Extension Office Closed for Holiday

Dec. 2, 2014 Scott County Extension Council Meeting, Scott County Extension Office, 7 pm-9 pm

Dec. 3, 2014 Pest Control Operators, Scott County Extension Office, 9:00 am-11:30 am

Dec. 5, 2014 Pesticide Applicator Testing, Scott County Extension Office, 10:00 am-2:00 pm

Visit our events calendar at our web site: http://dbs.extension.iastate.edu/calendar/

 
USDA to Launch New Farm Bill Program to Help Provide Relief to Farmers Affected by Severe Weather PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by USDA Office of Communications   
Friday, 07 November 2014 09:17

2014 Farm Bill's APH Yield Exclusion to be Implemented for 2015 Spring Crops

WASHINGTON, Oct. 21, 2014 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the implementation of a new Farm Bill initiative that will provide relief to farmers affected by severe weather, including drought. The Actual Production History (APH) Yield Exclusion, available nationwide for farmers of select crops starting next spring, allows eligible producers who have been hit with severe weather to receive a higher approved yield on their insurance policies through the federal crop insurance program.

Spring crops eligible for APH Yield Exclusion include corn, soybeans, wheat, cotton, grain sorghum, rice, barley, canola, sunflowers, peanuts, and popcorn. Nearly three-fourths of all acres and liability in the federal crop insurance program will be covered under APH Yield Exclusion.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Risk Management Agency and Farm Service Agency staff worked hard to implement several 2014 Farm Bill programs ahead of schedule, such as the Agricultural Risk Coverage, the Price Loss Coverage, Supplemental Coverage Option and Stacked Income Protection Plan. USDA is now able to leverage data from the Agricultural Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage to extract the information needed to implement APH Yield Exclusion earlier than expected.

"Key programs launched or extended as part of the 2014 Farm Bill are essential to USDA's commitment to help rural communities grow. These efforts give farmers, ranchers and their families better security as they work to ensure Americans have safe and affordable food," said Vilsack. "By getting other 2014 Farm Bill programs implemented efficiently, we are now able to offer yield exclusion for Spring 2015 crops, providing relief to farmers impacted by severe weather."

The APH Yield Exclusion allows farmers to exclude yields in exceptionally bad years (such as a year in which a natural disaster or other extreme weather occurs) from their production history when calculating yields used to establish their crop insurance coverage. The level of insurance coverage available to a farmer is based on the farmer's average recent yields. In the past, a year of particularly low yields that occurred due to severe weather beyond the farmer's control would reduce the level of insurance coverage available to the farmer in future years. By excluding unusually bad years, farmers will not have to worry that a natural disaster will reduce their insurance coverage for years to come.

Under the new Farm Bill program, yields can be excluded from farm actual production history when the county average yield for that crop year is at least 50 percent below the 10 previous consecutive crop years' average yield.

RMA will provide additional program details in December 2014.

Federal crop insurance, which is sold through private crop insurance agents, offers a variety of options that may impact coverage and premium costs. Producers are encouraged to work with their crop insurance agent to determine the coverage that best meets their risk management needs. Farmers can find a crop insurance agent in their area at: www.rma.usda.gov/tools/agent.html.

Today's announcement was made possible by the 2014 Farm Bill. The 2014 Farm Bill builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past five years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for taxpayers. Since enactment, USDA has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing and community facilities to help improve quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit www.usda.gov/farmbill.

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USDA Extends Dairy Margin Protection Program Deadlines PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Kent Politsch   
Friday, 31 October 2014 09:11

Enrollment Continues Through Dec. 5; Comments Accepted Until Dec. 15

GRAPEVINE, Texas, Oct. 29, 2014 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, speaking at the National Milk Producers Federation annual meeting, today announced extended deadlines for the dairy Margin Protection Program. Farmers now have until Dec. 5, 2014, to enroll in the voluntary program, established by the 2014 Farm Bill. The program provides financial assistance to participating farmers when the margin – the difference between the price of milk and feed costs – falls below the coverage level selected by the farmer.

"We want dairy producers to have enough time to make thoughtful and well-studied choices," said Vilsack. "Markets change and the Margin Protection Program can help protect dairy producers from those changes."

Vilsack encouraged producers to use the online Web resource at www.fsa.usda.gov/mpptool to calculate the best levels of coverage for their dairy operation. "Historical scenarios also can be explored to see how the Margin Protection Program would function should poor market conditions occur again in the future," said Vilsack. The secure website can be accessed via computer, smartphone or tablet.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) also extended the opportunity for public comments on both the Margin Protection Program and the Dairy Product Donation Program until Dec. 15, 2014.

"USDA is committed to creating strong opportunities for the next generation of farmers and ranchers. When dairy producers bring new family members into the business, these changes could affect safety net coverage," said Vilsack. "If our current rules hinder intergenerational changes or if improvements are needed in these programs, then we want to hear from dairy producers."

Comments can be submitted to USDA via the regulations.gov website at http://go.usa.gov/GJSA.

Today's announcement was made possible through the 2014 Farm Bill, which builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past five years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for the taxpayer. Since enactment, USDA has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing and community facilities to help improve quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit www.usda.gov/farmbill.

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USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users).

 
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