Agribusiness
USDA Announces Support for Producers of Advanced Biofuel PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by USDA Office of Communications   
Thursday, 04 December 2014 09:44

WASHINGTON, Dec. 2, 2014 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today that USDA is making $5.6 million in grants to 220 producers across the nation to support the production of advanced biofuels, and is awarding more than $4 million in additional grants that will advance the bioeconomy and reduce the nation's dependence on foreign oil.

"Producing advanced biofuel is a major component of the drive to take control of America's energy future by developing domestic, renewable energy sources," Vilsack said. "These resources represent the Obama Administration's commitment to support an 'all-of-the-above' energy strategy that seeks to build a robust bio-based economy. Investments in biofuels will also help create jobs and further diversify the economy in our rural communities."

The funding for producers announced today is being provided through USDA's Advanced Biofuel Payment Program, which was established in the 2008 Farm Bill. Under this program, payments are made to eligible producers based on the amount of advanced biofuel produced from renewable biomass, other than corn kernel starch. Examples of eligible feedstocks include but are not limited to: crop residue; animal, food and yard waste; vegetable oil; and animal fat.

Through the Advanced Biofuel Payment Program, USDA supports the research, investment and infrastructure necessary to build a strong biofuel industry that creates jobs and broadens the range of feedstocks used to produce renewable fuel. USDA has made more than $280 million in payments to more than 350 producers (more than 3,100 total payments) in 47 states and territories since the program's inception. These payments have supported the production of more than 5.8 billion gallons of advanced biofuel and the equivalent of more than 58 billion kilowatt hours of electric energy.

Also today, USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced the award of fiscal year 2014 grants through three other programs supporting bioenergy initiatives.

The National Biodiesel Board and Regents of the University of Idaho received $768,000 and $192,000 respectively, through the Biodiesel Fuel Education Program. The program was established to stimulate biodiesel consumption and the development of a biodiesel infrastructure. The funded education and outreach activities will raise awareness of biodiesel fuel use among governmental and private entities that operate vehicle fleets and the public. Funded projects also focus on educational programs supporting advances in infrastructure, technology transfer, fuel quality, fuel safety and increasing feedstock production.

South Dakota State University (SDSU) received $2.3 million through the Sun Grant Program. This program encourages bioenergy and biomass research collaboration between government agencies, land-grant colleges and universities, and the private sector. SDSU will lead a consortium of five regional grant centers and one subcenter that makes competitive grants to projects that contribute to research, education and outreach for the regional production and sustainability of possible biobased feedstocks. The project period will not exceed five years.

Through the Critical Agricultural Materials program, Iowa State University of Science and Technology received $1 million for the development of new paint, coating, and adhesive products that are derived from acrylated glycerol, which is a co-product of the biodiesel industry. The Critical Agricultural Materials program supports the development of products that are manufactured from domestically-produced agricultural materials and are of strategic and industrial importance to benefit the economy, defense, and general well-being of the nation. Many such products replace petroleum-based products and offer opportunities to create new businesses and new markets for agricultural materials.

Examples of producers receiving USDA Advanced Biofuel payments today are Appling County Pellets, in Baxley, Ga. It received $22,475 for its production of more than 358,000 metric tons of wood pellets. Appling sells premium-grade wood pellets for sustainable wood fuel use to markets in the northeastern United States and Europe.

AgPower Jerome of Shoshone, Idaho, is receiving $3,027 for the conversion of nearly 137 million gallons of dairy cattle manure into 25.5 million kWh of electricity that is sold to a local utility.

White Mountain Biodiesel, LLC of North Haverhill, N.H., a producer of biodiesel from waste vegetable oil, received $8,655. The company produced almost 1.8 million gallons of biodiesel from almost 2 million gallons of waste vegetable oil. The biodiesel is distributed throughout Vermont and New Hampshire.

Prairie Horizon Agri-Energy, LLC of Phillipsburg, Kan., produced 6.9 million gallons of ethanol from almost 2.6 million bushels of sorghum and received $18,128.

View the list of producers receiving payments here. (Payments of $500 or less are not listed.)

President Obama's historic investments in rural America have made our rural communities stronger. Under his leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America's economy, small towns and rural communities.

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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).

 
USDA Disaster Assistance to Help Thousands of Honeybee, Livestock and Farm-Raised Fish Producers PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by USDA Office of Communications   
Monday, 24 November 2014 14:55

2014 Farm Bill Program Offers Producers in Over 40 States Relief for 2012 and 2013 Losses

WASHINGTON, Nov. 24, 2014 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA today announced that nearly 2,500 applicants will receive disaster assistance through the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP) for losses suffered from Oct. 1, 2011, through Sept. 30, 2013.

The program, re-authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill, provides disaster relief to livestock, honeybee, and farm-raised fish producers not covered by other agricultural disaster assistance programs. Eligible losses may include excessive heat or winds, flooding, blizzards, hail, wildfires, lightning strikes, volcanic eruptions, and diseases, or in the case of honeybees, losses due to colony collapse disorder. Beekeepers, most of whom suffered honeybee colony losses, represent more than half of ELAP recipients.

"As promised, we're making sure that thousands of producers who suffered through two and a half difficult years without Farm Bill assistance, are getting some relief," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "Once the Farm Bill was restored, not only did we implement the disaster assistance programs in record time, we're issuing payments less than three months after the enrollment deadline. The funds will hopefully help producers with some of the financial losses they sustained during that time."

The Farm Bill caps ELAP disaster funding at $20 million per federal fiscal year. To accommodate the number of requests, which exceeded funds available for each of the affected years, payments will be reduced to ensure that all eligible applicants receive a prorated share of assistance.

ELAP 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.

To learn more about USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) disaster assistance programs, visit the FSA factsheet page at www.fsa.usda.gov/factsheets or contact your local FSA office at http://go.usa.gov/pYV3.

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USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).

 
Soy Checkoff Farmer-Leader Appointed USFRA Chairperson PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by United Soybean Board   
Thursday, 20 November 2014 16:44
Kavazanjian brings passion for communicating with consumers about where food comes from

ST. LOUIS (Nov. 20, 2014) – The United Soybean Board (USB) congratulates soy checkoff farmer-leader Nancy Kavazanjian on her election as chairperson of the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (USFRA).

Kavazanjian, a soybean farmer from Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, is in her fourth year as a USB farmer-director.

“Nancy is a dedicated farmer-director and a great asset to our industry,” says USB Chairman Jim Call, a soybean farmer from Madison, Minnesota. “She’ll continue to be a leader in telling ag’s story.”

Previously, Kavazanjian served as vice chairperson of USFRA, which consists of more than 80 farmer- and rancher-led organizations and agricultural partners representing virtually all aspects of agriculture. The organization works to engage in dialogue with consumers who have questions about how today’s food is grown and raised.

“Our goal at USFRA is to build trust in the way American farmers and ranchers produce food, and this helps to maintain our freedom to operate,” Kavazanjian says. “This mission is at the heart of both USFRA’s and USB’s work.”

In addition to her leadership roles within the soy checkoff and USFRA, Kavazanjian is also a member of two state-level organizations: the Wisconsin Corn Growers Association and Wisconsin Women in Agriculture. She is also a contributor to her family’s farming operation, Hammer & Kavazanjian Farms, which grows soybeans, corn and wheat.

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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Iowa biodiesel pros receive national recognition PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Jenna Higgins Rose   
Wednesday, 19 November 2014 09:38

(ST. LOUIS, Mo.) – Two Iowa biodiesel professionals have been recognized by the National Biodiesel Board for their roles in moving biodiesel forward. At a ceremony recognizing its national member-leaders last night, NBB presented Grant Kimberley, executive director of the Iowa Biodiesel Board, and Thomas Brooks, general manager of Western Dubuque Biodiesel, with 2014 Most Valuable Player awards.

Kimberley, involved with biodiesel for more than a decade, this year expanded his already full plate within the Iowa Soybean Association to take on leadership of IBB. As executive director, he helped usher in the passage of state legislation extending a biodiesel producer incentive through 2017. He has also actively represented Iowa in the federal Renewable Fuel Standard efforts, including co-hosting two campaign events with both Senatorial candidates this year.

Kimberley also routinely hosts groups important to the biodiesel effort on his family's farm in Iowa, giving tours to environmentalists, trade ambassadors and more, and teaching them about modern agricultural practices.

“It's an honor to receive this recognition from my peers, but even greater is the feeling of accomplishment we share in watching this industry grow from 20 million gallons in 2003 to 1.8 billion gallons last year,” Kimberley said. “We know there is much work left to be done, and it will take all of us working together. But we can be proud of bringing biodiesel into the mix, diversifying our nation's energy supply and driving economic growth.”

Brooks took home the award in part for looking at the big picture beyond his own interests. Working with IBB, he was instrumental in earning press in Iowa and raising the volume on the RFS effort. This summer, he testified before the Environmental Protection Agency on the RFS volumes. In the last year, Western Dubuque Biodiesel hosted many key elected officials, including state legislators; an NBB sustainability tour; and a tour for U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley. Brooks also regularly hosts tours for colleges and the local high school, even going into the classroom himself to teach students about biodiesel.

“God asks us to always strive to do our best and expect nothing in return; albeit, this recognition means a lot to me,” Brooks said of the award. “I appreciate this recognition while there are many others deserving of it.”

“The biodiesel industry exemplifies vision, determination and hard work coming together to create real change,” said NBB Chairman Steven J. Levy. “Though biodiesel is still a small, growing industry, the success to date has been a collaborative result of stakeholders like Grant Kimberley and Tom Brooks, who stand among the countless outstanding professionals making America’s advanced biofuel what it is today.”

Past NBB chairmen were also recognized at the event, including Gary Haer of Iowa-based biodiesel producer REG, and Iowa soybean producer Jack Hartman. The ceremony took place in St. Louis during an NBB membership meeting.

IBB is a nonprofit trade association representing the biodiesel industry in Iowa.

 
Summit to help farmers understand Big Data PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Mike Wilson   
Tuesday, 18 November 2014 16:27
Farmer panelists and industry experts will weigh the pros and cons of Big Data analytics and ownership at the 2015 Farm Futures Business Summit, held January 7-8 at the Hilton at the Ballpark Hotel in St. Louis.
ST. CHARLES, ILL., (11/18/2014) - Farm Futures, the leading U.S. ag business information resource for farmers and producers, will feature a special session focusing on the pros and cons of Big Data, one of the hottest topics in agriculture. The Big Data debate is one of 21 sessions that will take place during the 2015 Farm Futures Business Summit, to be held Jan. 7-8 at the Hilton at the Ballpark Hotel in St. Louis.
Big Data promises to help farmers on the profit side, but issues of ownership and control continue to unfold.
"While companies have collected and analyzed agronomic data for some time, the amount of real-time information we can collect now is staggering," says Brian Marshall, a Missouri farmer who will speak at the summit. "It is a big change that is cause for both excitement and concern."
Several agricultural equipment firms have introduced technology whereby the data from combines is uploaded every few seconds to the Cloud. Real-time yield data is available to whoever controls those databases. But more important, who owns and controls the data?
"A farmer’s information is valuable, so farmers should have a say in and be compensated when their data is sold," says Marshall. "Farmers need to protect their data and make sure they bargain wisely as they share it with suppliers and interested companies."
Along with Marshall, the panel includes Mary Kay Thatcher, American Farm Bureau Federation; Bruce Erickson, education distance and outreach director, Purdue University; and Jim Krogmeier, Open Ag Data Alliance.
Max Armstrong, co-host of the popular This Week in Agribusiness TV program and Farm Progress America radio programs, will emcee the debate.
Better risk managers
The summit will also focus on risk management in 2015. "We're gearing up to help farmers combat difficult economic challenges by boosting their business and marketing skills," says the magazine's Executive Editor, Mike Wilson.
Sessions will focus on global demand, marketing, estate planning, employee management, business and landlord relationships, crop budgeting, crop insurance choices, the new farm bill, and future technology such as drones used for agriculture.
The summit is held in early January so young people on college break can attend.
"Whether you are a young farmer or a senior manager, this meeting is all about getting better so you are prepared for tighter profit margins in the year ahead," adds Wilson.
Early bird discount
Farm Futures' earlybird registration discount ends Dec. 1, 2014. Participants who register by that date pay $349 per person, a savings of $150 off the regular rate; early bird partners can attend for just $299. The student rate is $199 per person.
For agenda, registration and hotel booking links, go to www.farmfutures.com/summit2015. If you prefer to register by phone, call 1-800-441-1410. The Hilton offers summit attendees a special rate of just $85 along with free parking. To book hotel by phone, call (314) 421-1776.
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