Jeff and Deb Hansen, owners of Iowa Select Farms, receive the Iowa State University Honorary Alumni Award PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Julie Larson   
Friday, 25 April 2014 08:45
Ames, IOWA – April 24, 2014 – Jeff and Deb Hansen, founders and owners of Iowa Select Farms, recently received the Honorary Alumni Award from the Iowa State University Alumni Association. Iowa Select Farms, headquartered in Iowa Falls, Iowa, employs nearly 1,000 Iowans in 46 counties and is both the state’s largest pork producer and one of the most technologically and environmentally advanced producers in the nation.
The Honorary Alumni Award is the highest honor given by Iowa State University through the ISU Alumni Association to individuals who have made significant contributions to the university but are not graduates of Iowa State.
“Although neither Jeff nor Deb Hansen graduated from Iowa State, they have served our institution as though it was their own,” said ISU President Steven Leath as he presented the award to the Hansens on April 11 at the Alumni Association’s Distinguished Awards Celebration.
The Hansens are transforming the educational experience for Iowa State students, Leath added, through their gifts to the Jeff Hansen/Iowa Select Farms Pork Industry Scholarship, their Iowa Foundation for Agricultural Advancement scholarship, the Animal Science Judging Endowment Campaign and the Jeff and Deb Hansen Agriculture Student Learning Center, which was completed earlier this year.
Iowa State, Leath said, also has benefited from the Hansens’ willingness to fund research, appear as guest speakers on campus and hire Iowa State graduates. He also noted that the Hansens were instrumental in the re-establishment of Iowa Swine Days at ISU, plus they have opened up their farms for faculty to conduct research in state-of-the-art facilities.
“Deb and I are deeply honored to become honorary alumni of Iowa State University,” Jeff Hansen said. “We will continue to support the university’s efforts to achieve its mission to create, share and apply knowledge to make Iowa and the world a better place.”
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Wapsie Valley FFA Named 2014 Iowa FFA Supreme National Chapter PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Scott Johnson   
Wednesday, 23 April 2014 12:23

AMES, IA - The Iowa FFA Supreme National Chapter Award Program will be held during the 86th Iowa FFA Leadership Conference in Ames, on April 27-29, 2014. 42 chapters participated in this year’s award program. The first place chapter for the event was the Wapsie Valley FFA Chapter at Fairbank. The Agricultural Education Instructor/FFA Advisor is Ms. Ellen Doese. The second place chapter for the event was the Webster City FFA Chapter. The Agricultural Education Instructor/FFA Advisor is Mr. Kurt Veldhuizen.

The National Chapter Award program encourages participating chapters to plan activities and carry them out with a successful Program of Activities. Chapters are recognized for outstanding achievement in the areas of Student Development, Chapter Development, and Community Development. The National Chapter Awards are sponsored by John Deere as a special project of the National FFA Foundation.

Three FFA Chapters were recognized for outstanding achievement in the three development areas. The Tall Corn FFA Chapter at Latimer was named the top Student Development Chapter. The top Chapter Development Chapter was the LaPorte-Dysart FFA Chapter. The Wapsie Valley FFA Chapter at Fairbank was named the top Community Development Chapter. The top 22 FFA Chapters in Iowa will advance to the National FFA competition and will be recognized at the 87th National FFA Leadership Conference in Louisville, KY.

The Iowa FFA Association has 219 local chapters with over 14,200 FFA members. FFA is a national organization of nearly 580,000 members preparing for leadership and careers in science, business and technology of agriculture. Local, state and national programs provide opportunities for students to apply knowledge and skills learned in the classroom. FFA’s mission is to make a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Announces New Report on Scientific Breakthroughs from USDA in 2013 PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by USDA Office of Communications   
Wednesday, 23 April 2014 09:37

New USDA Discoveries Led to 180 New Inventions, Include Flour that Prevents Weight Gain, Protections from Disease for U.S. Troops, Turning Grass Clippings to Energy


WASHINGTON, April 23, 2014 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced a new report on scientific breakthroughs discovered by USDA researchers that led to new patents and inventions with the potential for commercial application and potential economic growth. Innovations included in the report range from flour made out of chardonnay grape seeds that prevents weight gain to antimicrobial packets that keep food from spoiling, efforts to protect U.S. troops in Iraq from diseases carried by sand flies, new processes for turning grass clippings and raked leaves into bioenergy, and many more.


"Studies have shown that every dollar invested in agricultural research returns $20 to the economy. We have accelerated commercialization of federal research and government researchers are working closely with the private sector to develop new technology and transfer it to the marketplace," said Secretary Vilsack. "USDA has a proven track record of performing research that benefits the public."


USDA reports receiving 51 patents, filing 147 patent applications, and disclosing 180 new inventions in the last fiscal year, which are detailed in the Department's 2013 Annual Report on Technology Transfer released today. Helping drive these innovations, USDA has 259 active Cooperative Research and Development Agreements with outside investigators, which includes Universities and other organizations, including 117 with small businesses. The USDA's technology transfer program is administered by the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), USDA's principal intramural scientific research agency.


Discoveries from USDA's 2013 Technology Transfer Report include:

  • A new kind of flour made from chardonnay grape seeds that can prevent increases in cholesterol and weight-gain (the Mayo Clinic is currently conducting human clinical trials on the product);
  • New ways to turn lawn clippings and tree leaves from cities into bioenergy;
  • An enzyme compound that can be used to develop insecticides to combat sand flies, a disease spreading insect that poses a major problem for U.S. military in Iraq and is responsible for hundreds of thousands of childhood deaths in Africa;
  • A computer-based model of the fluid milk process to lower greenhouse gas emissions (the model has been distributed to more than 100 processors in the United States and should help the dairy industry realize its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent per gallon of milk by 2020);
  • Oat concentrates, a digestible, functional food from oats licensed for the production of Calorie-Trim and Nutrim;
  • A new process for turning old tires into zinc fertilizer;
  • A handheld device that uses gold nanoparticles to detect West Nile virus (and potentially other diseases) in blood samples;
  • Window cleaners that use a biodegradable solution of nanoparticles that prevent water-beading that are superior to current cleaners;
  • A small packet that when inserted in small fruit containers releases an antimicrobial vapor that helps keep fresh fruit from rotting on the shelf.

Over the years, USDA innovations have created all sorts of products Americans use every days, from cosmetics, to insect controls, leathers, shampoos, and of course food products. Here are just a few examples of things USDA research is responsible for:

  • Frozen orange juice concentrate;
  • "Permanent press" cotton clothing;
  • Mass production of penicillin in World War II;
  • Almost all breeds of blueberries and cranberries currently in production, and 80% of all varieties of citrus fruits grown in the U.S.;
  • "Tifsport", a turf used on NFL, collegiate, and other sports fields across the country, specifically designed to withstand the stress and demands of major team sports. Tifsport is also used on PGA and other golf course fairways, while its sister turf, "Tifeagle", specially designed to be mowed to one-tenth of an inch daily, is used on PGA putting greens.

The 2014 Farm Bill will help to build on these accomplishments by establishing a new Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research that leverages $200 million in public funding and another $200 million from the private sector to support groundbreaking agricultural research.


More information about the USDA innovations contained in this year's report, as well as a look at previous USDA research discoveries is available here: Ann Rpt .pdf.



Agriculture Secretary to Travel to Iowa to Announce New Effort to Promote Investments for Innovative Rural Businesses PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by USDA Office of Communications   
Monday, 21 April 2014 12:44

WASHINGTON, April 18, 2014 – ON MONDAY, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will travel to Cedar Rapids, Iowa where he will be joined by investors and business owners to announce a new effort to promote investments for innovative rural businesses.

This announcement is part of the Department’s efforts to leverage private sector resources to revitalize and reenergize the rural economy, by supporting the expansion and growth of small businesses in rural America.

Monday, April 21, 2014 at 3 PM/CDT

WHAT: Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will be joined by investors and business owners to announce a new effort to promote investments for innovative rural businesses.

WHERE: Central Iowa Power Cooperative, 1400 Iowa 13, Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52403


Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Announces Additional USDA Actions to Combat Spread of Diseases Among U.S. Pork Producers PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by USDA Office of Communications   
Monday, 21 April 2014 09:08
Required Reporting of Cases Latest Measure to Slow Disease Spread

St. Paul, Minn., April 18, 2014 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that in an effort to further enhance the biosecurity and health of the US swine herd while maintaining movement of pigs in the US, the USDA will require reporting of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDv) and Swine Delta Coronavirus in order to slow the spread of this disease across the United States. USDA is taking this latest action due to the devastating effect on swine health since it was first confirmed in the country last year even though PEDv it is not a reportable disease under international standards. PEDv only affects pigs and does not pose a risk to people and is not a food safety concern.

"USDA has been working closely with the pork industry and our state and federal partners to solve this problem. Together, we have established testing protocols, sequenced the virus and are investigating how the virus is transmitted," said Vilsack. "Today's actions will help identify gaps in biosecurity and help us as we work together to stop the spread of these diseases and the damage caused to producers, industry and ultimately consumers."

In addition to requiring reporting of the PED virus, today's announcement will also require tracking movements of pigs, vehicles, and other equipment leaving affected premises; however, movements would still be allowed. USDA is also working with industry partners to increase assistance to producers who have experienced PED virus outbreaks in other critical areas such as disease surveillance, herd monitoring and epidemiological and technical support.

As part of USDA's coordinated response, USDA's Farm Loan Programs is working with producers to provide credit options, including restructuring loans, similar to how the Farm Service Agency successfully worked with livestock producers affected by the blizzard in South Dakota. In the case of guaranteed loans, USDA is encouraging guaranteed lenders to use all the flexibility available under existing guarantees, and to use new guarantees where appropriate to continue financing their regular customers.

USDA is already providing assistance to researchers looking into this disease, with the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) working with the National Animal Disease Center in Ames, Iowa to make models of the disease transmission and testing feedstuffs. This modeling work is contributing to some experimental vaccines to treat animals with the disease. ARS also has a representative serving as a member of the Swine Health Board. USDA also provides competitive grant funding through the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative program and anticipates some applications on PEDv research will be submitted soon. In addition, USDA provides formula funds to states and universities through the Hatch Act and National Animal Health Disease Section 1433 for research activities surrounding this disease.

In conjunction with the pork industry, state and federal partners, the USDA is working to develop appropriate responses to the PEDv and Swine Delta Coronavirus. A question-and-answer sheet on today's reporting requirement is available on the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service website here: (PDF, 31KB). For a summary of USDA actions to date, additional information is available here: (PDF, 150KB).


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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