Agribusiness
Statement from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Failure to Pass Food, Farm and Jobs Bill PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by USDA Office of Communications   
Monday, 24 September 2012 13:41

WASHINGTON, Sept. 22, 2012–Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack made the following statement today about Congress’ failure to pass comprehensive, multi-year food, farm and jobs legislation before the current law expires on Sept. 30, 2012:

"In a year that has brought its share of challenges to America's farmers and ranchers, the House Republicans have added new uncertainty for rural America. Unfortunately, House Republicans left Washington without passing comprehensive, multi-year food, farm and jobs legislation, leaving thousands of farming families exposed. U.S. agriculture is fighting to maintain the tremendous momentum it has built over the past three years, but with natural disasters and other external forces threatening livelihoods of our farmers and ranchers, certainty is more important than ever. Americans deserve a food, farm and jobs bill that reforms the safety net for producers in times of need, promotes the bio-based economy, conserves our natural resources, strengthens rural communities, promotes job growth in rural America, and supports food assistance to low-income families. Without the certainty of a multi-year bill, rural communities are being asked to shoulder undue burdens."

 
“THERE IS NO NORMAL THIS YEAR” PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Heather Lilienthal, Iowa Farm Bureau   
Friday, 21 September 2012 14:16

IOWA FARM BUREAU, FARMERS FIND TUMULTUOUS YIELDS IN 2012 HARVEST

2012 Drought Brings Yield Extremes, Continues to Stress Iowa Livestock Farmers

 

WEST DES MOINES, IOWA – Sept. 20, 2012 – Iowa farmers, who are in the fields early this year because of an oppressive drought, are seeing yields ‘all over the board’ as they bring in the 2012 crop, say Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) information aggregators, agronomists and research experts.

“Every year, we work with Iowa farmers in every corner of the state who volunteer to give us crop updates. It’s been tough this year. We hear about their concerns about crops suffering, the wild range of yields they’re getting now at harvest and their worries about finding feed for cattle on dry pastures this winter. The bottom line is they’re seeing extremes even in a single field. Farmers say yields range from zero to 170 bushels per acre, often in the same field,” says IFBF Spokesman Editor Dirck Steimel.

“In the past four years, we’ve seen every extreme that my grandpa saw in 60 years of farming. We don’t know what normal is anymore,” says Sioux County crop and livestock farmer Matt Schuiteman. “I looked at information for our farm from 1988, during our last drought. A field closest to our home farm got 63 bushels an acre. This year, it’s 175 bushels an acre. Even with improved conservation and technology, our soil is so variable that our yields range from zero to 270 bushels an acre; where in years past, it would range between 170 to 210 bushels an acre.”

Dave Miller, IFBF director of research and commodity services agrees. “The dominant word on yield this year is variability. We see incredible ranges of yields within a field, from row to row, from farm to farm and, sometimes, just from one side of the fence to the other,” says Miller, who has also farmed for 40 years. He says while there may be unseen things impacting yields, the use of  more sophisticated yield monitoring equipment in today’s combines allows farmers to identify such variables faster.

“Could it be soil compaction in one spot with 170 yields suddenly dropping to zero in one side of the field? Or could two days planting difference have made the difference?  The question is what you do with that information?” questions Miller.

Miller says risk management and careful planting strategies are vital for farmers.

“Agronomic sleuthing must go on to help each farmer make plans for next year. We’re learning that, while this drought is bad from historical reference, it has been worse and it could be again. Those who’ve been farming long enough can appreciate the great strides technology has brought because new seed genetics that make the crop hardier for drought, new conservation measures, planting strategies and fertilizer monitoring means at least we’ve got a crop this year,” says Miller. “The 1934 drought still stands as the worst drought of the last century; but, because of technology, many farmers are seeing some fields with yields this year that are much better than they would have expected under severe drought conditions.”

Steimel adds that livestock farmers are also feeling the stress from drought.

“It’s not just crop farmers who are on edge as the harvest comes in. Iowa livestock farmers are coming to grips with what the hot, dry summer will mean for their animals as the long winter approaches,” says Steimel. “Their pastures and ponds have dried up and feed supplies are tight. Many farmers are hauling water to livestock and that’s not a cost-effective option when margins are so thin.”

What’s more, Miller says the harvest yields and livestock numbers will directly impact consumers at the grocery store. “Food price adjustment will be gradual, but we’ll feel impacts of this drought for the next few years on most pork, beef and poultry products.”

 

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About Iowa Farm Bureau

The Iowa Farm Bureau Federation is a grassroots, statewide organization dedicated to enhancing the People, Progress and Pride of Iowa.  More than 153,000 families in Iowa are Farm Bureau members, working together to achieve farm and rural prosperity.  For more information about Farm Bureau and agriculture, visit the online Newsroom page at www.iowafarmbureau.com.

 
Scott County Extension Calendar October 2012 PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Amanda Heitz   
Thursday, 20 September 2012 08:32

 
Methionine for Organic Poultry Production PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by USDA Office of Communications   
Thursday, 20 September 2012 07:53

The USDA National Organic Program (NOP) published a final rule today that extends the maximum allowance for synthetic methionine in organic poultry production at reduced levels:

  • Laying and broiler chickens: 2 lbs
  • Turkeys and all other poultry: 3 lbs

Effective October 2, 2012, the final rule addresses the second of a two-part recommendation by the NOSB, culminating in a step-down of allowable limits of synthetic methionine in organic feed. Read the full text of the rule below.

 

Final Rule

Press release

USDA Blog: Eco-Friendly

What is sustainability in relation to food and agriculture? How is USDA's Office of the Chief Scientist supporting it? Check out the latest article in the Science Tuesday series on the USDA Blog: "How 'Eco' is Friendly to Agriculture and Food Systems."

 

About the National Organic Program (NOP)

The NOP facilitates trade and ensures integrity of organic agricultural products by consistently implementing organic standards and enforcing compliance with the regulations throughout the world. Learn more.

About the NOP Organic Insider

The NOP Organic Insider informs the organic community on a wide range of NOP functions, including organic standards, accreditation and international activities, compliance and enforcement, the National Organic Standards Board, training events, and the Cost Share program.

 

You are receiving this email because you elected to receive selected updates from the USDA National Organic Program. You may manage your profile to receive additional updates on other NOP functions or unsubscribe at any time by using the links below.

 
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Tours Iowa Biodiesel Plant; Discusses How Biofuels Are Reducing Need for Foreign Oil, Creating Jobs in Rural Communities PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by USDA Office of Communications   
Tuesday, 18 September 2012 13:47
Highlights EPA Action to Increase Use of Biodiesel

SERGEANT BLUFF, Iowa, September 14, 2012 – TODAY, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack discussed how the increased use of biofuels is helping to reduce the nation's reliance on foreign oil during a tour of AGP Biodiesel. During the tour, Vilsack highlighted today's action by the Environmental Protection Agency to establish the volume of biodiesel products required to be included in diesel fuel markets.

"President Obama's all-of-the-above energy plan is working – today, we are importing less foreign oil than we have in nearly two decades and we are creating jobs by producing more of our energy here at home, said Vilsack. "A key part of the President's strategy is the development and promotion of biofuels and bio-based products, which are helping us fuel our cars and trucks and displacing petroleum used in the manufacturing of household products. Over the past three years, we have doubled generation from renewable energy and today's announcement by EPA will ensure that we are continuing to utilize biodiesel to help meet our energy needs, create jobs and strengthen the rural economy."

Today's action by EPA sets the 2013 volume of biodiesel products required to be included in diesel fuel markets at 1.28 billion gallons under the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) which established the second phase of the Renewable Fuel Standards program. EISA specifies a one billion gallon minimum volume requirement for the biomass-based diesel category for 2012 and beyond. It also calls on EPA to increase the volume requirement after consideration of environmental, market, and energy-related factors. Today's final action follows careful review of the many comments and additional information received since EPA proposed the volume last spring.

President Obama has laid out a bold goal of reducing oil imports by half by 2020 and in his Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future released in March, 2011 the Administration laid out an all-of-the-above energy plan to achieve that goal by developing domestic oil and gas energy resources, increasing energy efficiency, and speeding development of biofuels and other alternatives. Domestic oil and gas production has increased each year the President has been in office, while renewable energy generation from wind, solar, and geothermal has doubled.

Creating new markets for the nation's agricultural products through biobased manufacturing is one of the many steps the Administration has taken over the past three years to strengthen the rural economy. Since August 2011, the White House Rural Council has supported a broad spectrum of rural initiatives including a Presidential Memorandum to create jobs in rural America through biobased and sustainable product procurement, a $350 million commitment in SBA funding to rural small businesses over the next 5 years, launching a series of conferences to connect investors with rural start-ups, creating capital marketing teams to pitch federal funding opportunities to private investors interested in making rural and making job search information available at 2,800 local USDA offices nationwide.

Since taking office, President Obama's Administration has taken historic steps to improve the lives of rural Americans, put people back to work and build thriving economies in rural communities. From proposing the American Jobs Act to establishing the first-ever White House Rural Council - chaired by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack - the President is committed to a smarter use of existing Federal resources to foster sustainable economic prosperity and ensure the government is a strong partner for businesses, entrepreneurs and working families in rural communities.

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