Bull Selection Clinics can help Producers with Decision Process PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Amanda Heitz   
Thursday, 11 April 2013 14:01

AMES, Iowa -- Understanding and using some simple tools can help cattle producers make the right selection for new herd bulls during upcoming bull sales. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach beef program specialist Denise Schwab said that’s why a bull selection clinic is scheduled prior to the Friday, May 3, bull sale held by Iowa Cattlemen’s Association (ICA) at the Tama Livestock Auction, Tama. There’s no cost to attend and no preregistration is necessary.

“Sorting through performance measures and expected progeny differences doesn’t have to be a chore or a mystery,” Schwab said. “Staff from the Iowa Beef Center at Iowa State have scheduled the clinic so attendees can make use of the information they receive at the bull sale immediately following the clinic.” The clinic will start at 4 p.m. on Friday, May 3.

The sale will feature bulls that have been through ICA’s Bull Evaluation Program, according to ICA seedstock manager Kellie Carolan. She said bulls that go through this 112-day test are evaluated for growth, carcass traits, yearling weight, disposition and scrotal circumference, and are some of the breed’s best pedigrees for calving ease, performance and carcass merit. The Tama sale will also include a group of replacement heifers for sale starting at 6 pm.

Schwab said Iowa Beef Center staff will break down the process of bull selection into simple steps and assist those attending with interpreting the EPD numbers in the catalog. Dr. Patrick Gunn, the newest addition to the ISU Extension beef team and statewide cow-calf specialist, will also present at this clinic.

“We can help you evaluate your cow herd and determine the economically relevant traits that you want to emphasize,” she said. “With that information, you can use the index EPDs and visually appraise the bulls to identify some options that will help you get the most benefit from your cow herd.”

To learn more about ICA’s Bull & Heifer Program, including a listing of bulls that will be offered at the May 3 sale, go to

For more information on the bull clinics, contact your Iowa State beef specialist at


Grassley works to try to educate the EPA about agriculture, rural America PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Grassley Press   
Wednesday, 10 April 2013 09:04

WASHINGTON – Senator Grassley weighed in this week with the President’s nominee to serve as the next administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.

A Senate hearing to consider the nomination of Gina McCarthy is set for Thursday morning in the Committee on Environment and Public Works.

“From EPA attempts to regulate farm dust and spilled milk and conduct aerial surveillance of farming operations, Iowans are concerned about how the EPA operates,” Grassley said.

In a meeting by telephone with McCarthy, Grassley said he raised these issues as well as concern about the EPA’s release of names, addresses and possibly other personal information about livestock producers to political activists who requested the information.  “Livestock producers are understandably concerned that the sort of information provided could be used to harass or possibly vandalize their operations,” Grassley said.

Grassley said he also raised concerns directly with McCarthy about the impact of EPA regulations on electricity costs and manufacturing, including the EPA’s efforts to undermine coal-fired electricity.  Rural electric cooperatives (RECs) receive 80 percent of their power from coal, well above the national average of 50 percent.  According to the Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives, RECs provide electricity to consumers in every one of the state’s 99 counties.

McCarthy visited Iowa in 2009 with Grassley at his request after Grassley learned that the EPA official, Margo Oge, who was writing guidelines for indirect land use had never set foot on an American farm.  At the time, proposed rules from the EPA relied on incomplete science and inaccurate assumptions to penalize biofuels for indirect land-use changes.  Grassley said he appreciated McCarthy and Oge making the trip.  McCarthy was Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation at that time.

“The issues I continue to raise with the EPA deserve attention,” Grassley said.  “Common sense seems to be in short supply at this federal agency when it comes to its handling of issues in agriculture and the rural economy.”


ISU Scott County Extension Calendar of Events April 5 PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Amanda Heitz   
Monday, 08 April 2013 09:57

USDA Announces Program to Facilitate the Export of Further Processed Eggs and Egg Products PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by USDA Office of Communications   
Wednesday, 03 April 2013 09:56

WASHINGTON, April 3, 2013 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), in collaboration with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), has developed a program to certify processed eggs and egg products for export, providing new opportunities for U.S. food exporters.

"This is one more step the Obama Administration has taken to expand exports of high quality U.S. agricultural products," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "Today's announcement will open new markets for U.S. egg products, generating additional economic benefits and more jobs across rural America. We are in the midst of the strongest period of agricultural exports in history, and I look forward to making even more progress in the years ahead."

The USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) will certify a wide range of products containing eggs, including omelets, frozen egg patties, crepes, hard boiled eggs, mayonnaise, and food containing egg extracts. The total market for U.S. exports of further processed eggs and egg products worldwide is estimated to be $500 million.

"This program was developed to help U.S. processors and shippers take advantage of the growing global demand for these products," said AMS Administrator Dave Shipman. "This effort allows producers to obtain certification that some importing countries require and will provide new opportunities for them to market their products globally."

AMS worked with FDA, USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), other government agencies, and representatives from processed egg and egg food organizations, including the USA Poultry and Egg Export Council and the United Egg Association, to develop the program.

"A number of countries around the world have asked for certification for egg-containing products. This initiative provides a means for U.S. exporters to access previously untapped markets, creating jobs and supporting USDA's export goals," said FAS Administrator Suzanne Heinen.

AMS has unique capabilities in working with stakeholders to develop export certification programs that meet the specific requirements of other countries. With years of experience certifying eggs for export, AMS will now expand its services to support the trade of egg-containing products.

Once AMS verifies that a company meets the established certification requirements, the company will be listed as eligible for export by product and country. An eligible company would contact AMS for an export certificate covering accepted product and identify the foreign country. The certificates and verifications will be completed by AMS on a fee basis. For more information please contact: Dean Kastner, Director, Poultry Grading Division at (202) 720-3272 or via email at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ; or Will Stone, International Trade Specialist, Standards & Technology Division at (202) 720-3100 or via email at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Andrew Wheeler   
Friday, 29 March 2013 13:19

Worldwide Sock Manufacturer Praised For Innovation and Community Contribution

WEST DES MOINES, IOWA – March 29, 2013 – The Mitchell County Fox River Sock Company, long lauded as a strong innovator, major employer and generous community citizen, can add a new honor to its name; the Osage-based company has been named the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) Renew Rural Iowa Entrepreneur Award winner for April.

The worldwide Fox River Sock Company, founded in 1900, provides employment for 180 people within a 40-mile radius of Osage, while fostering economic growth in Mitchell County.  In addition to major contributions to the local economy, Fox River Sock Company is revered for its community involvement.  Their annual Socktoberfest celebration takes Osage by storm the first weekend in October.  The benefit sock sale brings 7,000 visitors to the otherwise quiet rural town of 3,500.  Last year 100,000 pairs of socks were sold during the annual event to benefit local service organizations and civic groups.    “They’re some of the earliest to volunteer; their employees are active in the community, small service clubs and organizations, in their churches and the schools,” said Brenda Dryer of the Mitchell County Economic Development Group.

“We’ve been here for 47 years, and we’ve made a lot of socks since then,” said company President and Chief Sock Inventor, John Lessard.  In addition to traditional socks for the feet, Fox River Sock Company has made the popular Original Rockford Red Heel Monkey Sock for more than 20 years.

The Farm Crisis of the 1980’s hit rural Iowa hard.  Mitchell County Farm Bureau President Leland Meitner remembers the role Fox River Sock Company played while helping the county fight through.  “People had tough times back in the ‘80s; Fox River employed these people to keep them here in Mitchell County,” said Meitner.

“Today’s Iowa farmers constantly work to improve their communities, quality of life,  and sustainability of the land; Fox River Sock Company has demonstrated those same virtues during nearly 50 years of fostering economic growth in rural Iowa, and that’s why Farm Bureau is proud to present them this award,” said Sandy Ehrig, IFBF Economic Development Administrator.

Renew Rural Iowa (RRI) is an IFBF initiative supporting new and existing businesses through education, mentoring, and financial resources. The next Renew Rural Iowa Business Success Seminar takes place April 4 at International Document Training in West Des Moines.  For more information, go to                                     

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About Iowa Farm Bureau

The Iowa Farm Bureau Federation is a grassroots, statewide organization dedicated to helping farm families prosper and improve their quality of life.  More than 153,000 families in Iowa are Farm Bureau members, working together to achieve economic growth, educational improvement, and environmental quality in their communities.  For more information about Farm Bureau and agriculture, visit the online media center at

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