Driftless Region Beef Conference PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Amanda Heitz   
Monday, 15 December 2014 09:57

The third annual four-state Driftless Region Beef Conference will be held on Jan. 22-23, 2015, at the Grand River Convention Center in Dubuque, Iowa.

The program will begin at 1 p.m. on Jan. 22 and run through 11:45 a.m. on Jan. 23. This year’s conference features two keynote speakers; Dr. Jude Capper, a livestock sustainability consultant from Bozeman, Montana, and Dr. Mark Hilton, a Professor of Beef Production Medicine at Purdue University. Other speakers include Dan Loy, Lee Schulz, Iowa State University; Rhonda Gildersleeve, and Gene Schriefer, University of Wisconsin; Nicole Rambo, University of Minnesota; and Travis Meteer, University of Illinois and Rick Rasby, University of Nebraska, as well as Tom Arnold from Elizabeth, Ill., Dr. Joe Dedrickson from Merial, and Darrell Busby from the Tri-County Steer Carcass Futurity. The Thursday evening program includes a panel discussion focused on the wide scope of the beef industry and how they all fit together to meet consumer’s demands. Friday morning’s program includes four breakout sessions as well as a breakfast presentation by Dr. Capper.

Registration for the conference is $85 before Jan. 15 or $115 after Jan. 15. Additional information about the conference is available at Registration opened for the conference on Dec. 1. Sponsors of the program with display booths at the conference currently include Equity Cooperative Livestock Sales Association, Merial, Thiesen's, US Feeds, ABS Global, Multimin USA, Vita Plus, Animat, People's State Bank, Wisconsin Beef Improvement Association, Diamond V, Prairie Creek Seed, Zoetis, FarmTek, Summit Livestock Facilities, Mix 30, USDA National Ag Statistics Service.

The Driftless Region Beef Conference is sponsored by the University of Illinois Extension, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, the University of Minnesota Extension, and University of Wisconsin Extension. The planning team strives to deliver the latest in research-based information regarding the beef cattle industry. For more information or to receive a brochure, contact Denise Schwab at 319-721-9624.


Crop Advantage Meetings for Top Farmers PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Amanda Heitz   
Monday, 15 December 2014 09:55
Top-tier farmers will want to attend the Crop Advantage meeting at the Clarion Highlander Hotel Conference Center in Iowa City on January 28, 2015, according to Virgil Schmitt, Iowa State University Extension Field Agronomist.  “In addition, crop consultants and crop input suppliers are more than welcome to attend,” Schmitt added.  “The meeting consists of many topics, including crop management, pests, soil fertility, and farm management, from which attendees can choose to make their own learning experience.  This year Iowa Private Pesticide Applicators can receive Continuing Instruction Course credits at no additional charge and Certified Crop Advisors can receive Continuing Education Units at no additional charge,” he continued.

Early registration ends on January 20, 2015.  For more information or to register, people can go to or contact Virgil Schmitt at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or (563) 263-5701.


News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by United Soybean Board   
Wednesday, 10 December 2014 12:53

With 569,998 U.S. soybean farmers growing crops to serve both new and long-standing industries, the future of this crop is essential. The United Soybean Board (USB) is bringing together numerous industry stakeholders to strategize about its future at CONNECTIONS 2014: Ahead of the Curve, Accelerating U.S. Soy’s Future.

The event is designed to answer the question, “How can the U.S. soybean industry position itself for the 21st century and beyond?” Representatives from every aspect of the soy value chain, including farmers, processors, input providers, customers, researchers and more, will attend and contribute to that answer. 

Following the event, USB will hold its annual meeting at the same location. During this meeting, the 70 USB directors will begin using the information learned from CONNECTIONS to shape the board’s strategy with the goal of boosting the profit potential of all U.S. soybean farmers.

In addition, activities at USB’s annual meeting will include:
• Swearing in 19 directors, including 14 returning farmer-leaders and five new representatives.
• Electing new USB executive committee members.
• Evaluating progress on marketing, promotion and research projects.

Media are invited to cover these events in person or via a teleconference with the new executive committee on Friday, Dec. 12.

CONNECTIONS 2014: Wednesday, Dec. 10
USB Annual Meeting: Thursday-Friday, Dec. 11-12
USB Media Teleconference: Friday, Dec. 12, 7:30 a.m. Central time
Hilton at the Ballpark
1 South Broadway
St. Louis, MO 63102

Teleconference Call-In Number: 866-378-7315
Conference ID:  34279312

USDA Announces 2015 Agricultural Outlook Forum Speakers, Theme "Smart Agriculture in the 21st Century" PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by USDA Office of Communications   
Tuesday, 09 December 2014 16:36

WASHINGTON, Dec. 8, 2014 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced speakers for the 2015 Agricultural Outlook Forum, "Smart Agriculture in the 21st Century," to be held from Feb. 19-20, 2015, at the Crystal Gateway Marriott Hotel, Arlington, Va. The forum's plenary speakers and sessions will take a global, modern look at different aspects of today's agriculture industry.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and European Commissioner of Agriculture & Rural Development Phil Hogan will engage in a far-ranging roundtable discussion on agriculture. Dr. Richard N. Haass, President of the Council on Foreign Relations, will address "Food, Foreign Policy and International Order." USDA's Chief Economist Joseph Glauber will deliver the 2015 Agricultural & Foreign Trade Outlooks.

The plenary panel focuses on "A Discussion on Innovation, Biotechnology, and Big Data" with wide latitude for panelists to talk about the intersection of these issues. Moderated by Secretary Tom Vilsack, the panel includes: Cory J. Reed, Senior Vice President, Intelligent Solutions Group, John Deere and Company; Dr. Robert T. Fraley, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Monsanto; Mary Kay Thatcher, Senior Director, Congressional Relations, American Farm Bureau Federation; and Dr. Robert Sutor, Vice President, Mobile, Solutions, and Mathematical Sciences, IBM Corporation.

Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden will welcome the plenary audience and also moderate an afternoon session titled "Tomorrow's Opportunities," focused on the potential of agriculture as a career, and the importance of new and beginning farmers and ranchers.

The Forum's dinner speaker will be Ambassador Darci Vetter, Chief Agricultural Negotiator, Office of the United States Trade Representative.

Speaking at the 25 breakout sessions and five topical luncheons will be more than 100 distinguished experts. Breakout session topics on the agenda include: Perspectives on Global and U.S. Trade; Big Data's Impact on U.S. Agriculture; Commodity Situation and Outlooks; Food Price and Farm Income Outlooks; Moving Feed, Food and Fuel to Market; Opportunities in the Bio-Economy; Antimicrobial Resistance; and Bee/Pollinator Issues Facing Agriculture.

Additional breakout sessions will cover: Conservation and Regulatory Program Updates; Water Issues and Drought, Climate Change; Nutrition Trends and New Opportunities for Producers; Regional Approaches to Rural Growth; Local Food Marketing Trends; The 100th Anniversary of USDA Market News; and Reducing Food Waste.

Registration is available at First held in 1923, the Agricultural Outlook Forum provides farmers and ranchers, government, and agribusinesses with sound information for decision-making. Attendees are expected to include members of farm organizations, food and fiber firms, academia, foreign governments, and the news media,

Registration is $400 until Jan. 21, 2015, and $450 thereafter. Plenary speeches will be Webcast after 6 p.m. ET on Feb. 19, and breakout session speeches and presentations will be posted online after 6 p.m. Feb. 20.


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 Extends Application Deadline for Dairy Margin Protection Program to Dec. 19 PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by USDA Office of Communications   
Thursday, 04 December 2014 17:11

WASHINGTON, Dec. 4, 2014 – U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that the application deadline for the dairy Margin Protection Program (MPP) will be extended until Dec. 19, 2014. The program, established by the 2014 Farm Bill, protects participating dairy producers when the margin – the difference between the price of milk and feed costs – falls below levels of protection selected by the applicant.

"The 2014 Farm Bill created these safety net programs to provide safeguards against the uncertainty of weather and markets, but this safety net is not automatic. Producers must visit their local Farm Service Agency office to enroll before December 19," said Vilsack. "Despite the best forecasts, weather and markets can change, so a modest investment today can protect against unexpected losses tomorrow."

"For just $100, a farmer can cover 90 percent of production at $4 margin swings, and with affordable incremental premiums, dairy farmers can cover up to $8 margin swings," said Vilsack. "Those who apply this year will receive a slight increase in production protection that will not be available in the future. Farmers who do not sign up for the Margin Protection Program for 2015 will forfeit the 1 percent base production increase. For a 400 cow operation, this would equate to an additional 80,000 pounds of milk that are eligible for coverage. It's a small step to take to ensure your business is covered."

Vilsack encourages producers to use the online Web resource at to calculate the best levels of coverage for their dairy operation. They can type in specific operation data and explore price projections and market scenarios to determine what level of coverage is best for them. They can also compare the data to see how the program would have helped in previous years, such as 2008, when margins dropped from $8 to $3 in just three months. The online resource is on a secure website that can be accessed from computers, mobile phones or tablets, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Farmers also have a chance to share comments and help shape the Margin Protection Program for the future. Last month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the extension of the opportunity for public comments on both the Margin Protection Program and the Dairy Product Donation Program until Dec. 15, 2014. Comments can be submitted to USDA via the website at or send them by mail to: Danielle Cooke, Special Programs Manager, Price Support Division, FSA, USDA, STOP 0512, 1400 Independence Ave. SW, Washington, D.C., 20250-0512.

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

To learn more about the Margin Protection Program for dairy, contact your local USDA Farm Service Agency county office at or visit us on the Web at


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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