Statement from Secretary Vilsack on Expanded Market Access for U.S. Grown Apples to China PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by USDA Office of Communications   
Wednesday, 28 January 2015 15:25

Agreement expected to boost apple exports by $100 million per year

WASHINGTON, Jan. 26, 2015 - This weekend, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reached agreement with Chinese officials to allow all U.S. grown apples to gain access to the Chinese market. This will allow a greater share of U.S. apple exports to China in the coming months and has the potential to increase U.S. fresh apple exports, which were valued at more than $1 billion in 2013, by approximately 10 percent. With this new agreement, the apple industry estimates that within two years, exports to China will reach 5 million bushels annually, a value of nearly $100 million per year. The agreement was reached during bilateral discussions between USDA and China's General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) in San Francisco.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today made the following statement regarding this announcement:

"USDA values the relationship we are forging with China to bring mutually-beneficial food and agricultural trade to Americans and Chinese alike. The new access for American exports we're announcing today is the culmination of decades of hard work by USDA staff. These efforts will result in high quality, fresh U.S. apple varieties available for consumers in China and a significant boost in sales for American apple producers.

"USDA remains a strong partner and advocate in the international marketplace, working with foreign governments and international organizations to ensure the smooth and safe flow of international trade. The past six years have been the strongest in history for agricultural trade, with U.S. agricultural product exports totaling $771.7 billion since 2009. Strong agricultural exports contribute to a positive U.S. trade balance, create jobs and boost economic growth. As the President said in his recent State of the Union address, we now look to Congress build on this success and pass a bipartisan Trade Promotion Authority bill to continue to support a robust trade agenda that will create thousands of new American jobs."

For more information, please see this fact sheet: FACT SHEET: Helping U.S. Exporters Gain Access to Valuable Overseas Markets (PDF, 45KB).


ISU Extension Calendar February 2015 PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Amanda Heitz   
Friday, 23 January 2015 11:44
Feb. 10, 2015 Commercial Ag Weed, Insect, and Plant Disease Management, Scott County Extension Office, 9:00 am-11:45 am

Feb. 12, 2015 Master Gardener 2015 Webinar Series: Supporting Local Food Systems, Scott County
Extension Office, 6:30 pm-8:30 pm

Feb. 18, 2015 Seed Treatment, Scott County Extension Office, 9 am-11:30 am

Feb. 24, 2015 Scott County Extension Council Meeting, Scott County Extension Office, 7 pm-9 pm

Visit our events calendar at our web site:

Higher Protein Content Boosts Value of Crop PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by United Soybean Board   
Friday, 16 January 2015 10:19

ST. LOUIS (Jan. 15, 2015) – Farmers have often heard that higher-quality soybeans could generate more value. Now, a new soy-checkoff-funded study shows how much more.

The price of soybeans is driven by the combined value of soybean meal, oil and hulls, a measurement known as the estimated processed value (EPV). The study, conducted by Centrec Consulting Group LLC, shows how EPV increases when farmers raise the protein content in their soybeans. In fact, increasing protein content by 1 percentage point, when yield and oil levels remain the same, increases a crop’s value per acre.

“Higher-quality soybean meal is a win-win for both the soybean farmer and livestock and poultry producers,” says Laura Foell, chair of the United Soybean Board’s Meal Action Team and a soybean farmer from Schaller, Iowa. “Farmers can provide animal ag with the quality of feed the industry demands, and the value farmers get in return will rise.” 

The checkoff conducted the study in 13 states where EPV increased by between $7.70 and $12.96 per acre, depending on the state. The state-by-state increases are as follows:

•    Illinois: $11.16
•    Indiana: $10.62
•    Iowa: $12.33
•    Kansas: $7.70
•    Kentucky: $10.00
•    Michigan: $8.83
•    Minnesota: $12.43
•    Missouri: $9.07
•    Nebraska: $12.96
•    North Dakota: $10.81
•    Ohio: $9.25
•    South Dakota: $11.35
•    Wisconsin: $11.26

Farmers in regions with higher-quality soybeans receive better prices than those in areas with lower protein content. That is because higher-quality soybeans create more demand. That brings processors more value and allows them to pay more to farmers. Seed selection is the key to growing soybeans that are high in quality. Farmers should ask their seed dealer or visit to find varieties that will produce greater protein without sacrificing yield.

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
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Agriculture Secretary to Announce Funding for Conservation Projects in 50 States--Farm Bill Initiative Marks New Era for Conservation Efforts PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by USDA Office of Communications   
Thursday, 15 January 2015 11:47

WASHINGTON, January 14, 2015 – TODAY, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will announce that over 100 projects across all 50 states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico will receive funding as part of the new USDA Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). In turn, these projects will leverage in partner contributions expected to double the impact of the Federal funds, and improve the nation’s water quality, support wildlife habitat and enhance the environment.  The program was funded through the 2014 Farm Bill.

Participants: Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Chief Jason Weller, Natural Resources Conservation Service


TIME: 11:15 Eastern, Wednesday, January 14, 2015




Dial: 800-857-9832


PASSCODE: RCPP (Given Verbally)


Trouble number – 202-720-8560


All callers using the above passcode will be placed in listen only mode.  To join the Q&A portion of the meeting, these callers are instructed to press *1 on their touch tone phone.



Beef Cattle Health and Economic Profitability Highlighted at Driftless Region Conference PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Amanda Heitz   
Friday, 09 January 2015 09:14

It is no secret to cattle operators that health status of cattle dramatically impacts profit/loss margins, and thus sustainability for the enterprise. With the price of calves now at record highs, keeping one’s cattle healthy may be the difference between hedging a profit and absorbing a large financial loss. Both cattle health and profits in the beef industry will be addressed at the Driftless Region Beef Conference in Dubuque Jan. 22-23.

Featured speaker Mark Hilton, DVM and clinical professor of beef production medicine at Purdue University, will help producers explore improving the health of feedlot cattle. One way is through his presentation, “Ensuring feedlot health -- Where does it all begin?”

The importance of health throughout the life cycle, from fetal programming to slaughter, will be highlighted “because everything impacts health,” Hilton said.

Hilton is a trusted resource for all things related to animal health in the beef industry, and is well known as a regular contributor to Beef Magazine, authoring feature articles and serving as an expert on the Vet’s Opinion blog.

Hilton will add to the conference discussion on health issues with a breakout session on the second day. He’ll highlight the value of a solid preconditioning program to the cow-calf operation’s bottom line. Because many producers may question the value of a preconditioning program in a market like the current one, he will outline why the “preconditioning bonus” plays only a minor role in the overall profitability of a well-executed preconditioning program.

Conference attendees also can learn about enhancing profitability and reinvesting beef operation profits in sessions presented by Lee Schulz, Iowa State University extension livestock economist.

He’ll describe and explain the use of decision tools to enhance profitability of the beef enterprise in one session, followed by a presentation on strategies for reinvesting profits from the beef operation.

The ability of beef producers to grasp the profitability and overall risk situation of their operations and broader industry trends is critical for long-term business success. The size of the U.S. beef cow herd is at historically low levels and prospects for national herd expansion continue to grow. However, producers who are considering expansion need to make sound decisions to make sure their operations are economically sustainable and well positioned to succeed. In addition, opportunities exist for integration of young producers and future generations into cattle production, but these individuals need knowledge and tools to help them thrive in the industry.

To hear more about these as well as other timely topics presented by prominent figures in the beef industry, producers are encouraged to register soon for the Driftless Beef Conference that runs from 1 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 22 through 11:45 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 23. The Thursday afternoon program focuses on improving efficiency and profitability of beef production in the upper Midwest, followed by an evening discussion focused on opportunities to capitalize on the diversity in the beef industry. The Friday morning agenda includes four breakout sessions each for feedlot operations and cow-calf producers.

The early registration fee for the conference is $85 per person and must be received prior to midnight, Jan. 14. The price increases to $115 after that date. More information about the conference, including topics, speakers, and lodging is available at

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, ISU Extension Beef Specialist, at 319-721-9624.


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