News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Laurie Johns   
Tuesday, 22 January 2013 15:57

WEST DES MOINES, IOWA – January 21, 2013 –Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) is pleased to welcome Andrew Wheeler as their new Public Relations Coordinator.   The Pleasant Hill native begins his new role January 29.

As Public Relations Coordinator, Wheeler will work through media, social media and public event channels to connect farmers with a growing Iowa and national audience.

Wheeler earned his undergraduate degree from Drake University and a Master of Arts in Communications degree from Drury University in Springfield, Missouri.  Wheeler has more than a decade of public relations, writing and media engagement experience, both while serving in the Drury University Athletics communications department and as regional field director for the 2008 Mitt Romney Presidential campaign.  Wheeler currently serves as Assistant Director for Kids Haven, a federally-funded academic mentoring program for Des Moines middle school students.

“I’ve long respected Iowa Farm Bureau for the many ways they connect today’s farmers to consumers. I’ve always had a passion for Iowans and the strong character and values of its leaders.  I’m looking forward to sharing the stories of Iowa farmers and the diversity and values they represent,” said Wheeler.

Wheeler and his wife live in Clive.


IRS provides penalty relief for farmers PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Grassley Press   
Monday, 21 January 2013 10:07
Friday, Jan. 18, 2013

This week, Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa urged the IRS to provide penalty relief to farmers who are ordinarily required to file and pay all taxes due by March 1.   Due to late action by the President and Congress on end of the year tax matters, the tax season has been delayed, and many forms necessary for farmers to complete their returns have yet to be finalized.   Today, the IRS announced it will provide penalty relief to farmers who request a waiver and complete their tax returns by April 15, 2013.  Grassley made the following comment on the announcement.

“This is good news.  Farmers shouldn’t face a penalty for tax season delays that have nothing to do with them.  The IRS is right to provide relief from penalties.  I look forward to the guidance the IRS announced it will issue in the near future to help farmers file their taxes without penalty.”

More information on Grassley’s request to the IRS is available here.

The text of the IRS news release follows.

IRS Provides Penalty Relief to Farmers and Fishermen

IR-2013-7, Jan. 18, 2013

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service announced today that it will issue guidance in the near future to provide relief from the estimated tax penalty for farmers and fishermen unable to file and pay their 2012 taxes by the March 1 deadline due to the delayed start for filing tax returns.

The delay stems from this month’s enactment of the American Taxpayer Relief Act (ATRA). The ATRA affected several tax forms that are often filed by farmers and fishermen, including the Form 4562, Depreciation and Amortization (Including Information on Listed Property).  These forms will require extensive programming and testing of IRS systems, which will delay the IRS’s ability to accept and process these forms.  The IRS is providing this relief because delays in the agency’s ability to accept and process these forms may affect the ability of many farmers and fishermen to file and pay their taxes by the March 1 deadline. The relief applies to all farmers and fishermen, not only those who must file late released forms.

Normally, farmers and fishermen who choose not to make quarterly estimated tax payments are not subject to a penalty if they file their returns and pay the full amount of tax due by March 1. Under the guidance to be issued, farmers or fishermen who miss the March 1 deadline will not be subject to the penalty if they file and pay by April 15, 2013. A taxpayer qualifies as a farmer or fisherman for tax-year 2012 if at least two-thirds of the taxpayer’s total gross income was from farming or fishing in either 2011 or 2012.

Farmers and fishermen requesting this penalty waiver must attach Form 2210-F to their tax return. The form can be submitted electronically or on paper. The taxpayer’s name and identifying number should be entered at the top of the form, the waiver box (Part I, Box A) should be checked, and the rest of the form should be left blank. Forms, instructions, and other tax assistance are available on

Iowa Farmers Support local schools through Second Annual America’s Farmers Grow Rural EducationSM PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Stephanie Miller   
Thursday, 17 January 2013 09:42

Iowa to receive up to $115,000 for math and science programs across the state

ST. LOUIS (Jan. 17, 2013) – For the second consecutive year, America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education SM, sponsored by the Monsanto Fund, will give Iowa farmers the opportunity to enhance math and science programs in their communities. Now until April 15, 2013, farmers can nominate a local public school district to compete for a merit-based grant of up to $25,000. Administrators of nominated school districts may then submit grant applications through April 30, 2013. This year, the program expands to 26 new counties, for a total of 1,271 eligible counties across 39 states.

The America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education program is part of a broad commitment by the Monsanto Fund to highlight the important contributions farmers make every day to society.  Following a successful pilot in Minnesota and Illinois, America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education debuted nationally last year, awarding $2.3 million to school districts coast to coast.

“We believe engaging rural youth in their math and science studies lays the foundation for a bright future,” said Deborah Patterson, Monsanto Fund president. “This generation is the future of agriculture, and funding from the Grow Rural Education program helps ensure they are ready to be the next great leaders.”

Eligible farmers can nominate their favorite public school district by visiting and following the “Nominate Now” link on the top, left-hand corner of the page. Farmers may also nominate a school district by calling 1-877-267-3332.

In 2012, the following Iowa school districts received a total of $165,000 to enhance math and science curriculums:

·         George Little Rock Community Schools, $10,000

·         Hampton-Dumont Community School District, $10,000

·         Lamoni Community School District, $10,000

·         Logan-Magnolia School District, $10,000

·         Marmon Trail Community School District, $25,000

·         New Hampton School District, $25,000

·         New London Community School District, $10,000

·         North Tama County Community School District, $10,000

·         Northeast Community School District, $10,000

·         Riceville Community School District, $10,000

·         Schleswig Community School District, $25,000

·         Sidney Community School District, $10,000

Thanks to the support of local farmers and the grant from America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education, Lamoni School District received a $10,000 grant to purchase modern scientific tools to expand student understanding.

“Using the funds from the America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education grant, we purchased new lab equipment so our students can apply science to real life,” said Shirley Kessel, 2012 grant application writer for Lamoni Schools. “Schools are at the heart of smaller communities and we greatly appreciate the support of our local nominating farmers.”

Grants will be awarded by the Monsanto Fund based on merit, need and community support. The America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education Advisory Council, a group of 30 farmer leaders from across the country, will select the winning grant applications.  Advisory Council members were selected based on their passion for agriculture and education, as well as experience in rural school districts.

America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education is part of the Monsanto Fund’s overall effort to strengthen America’s farming communities. Another program that is part of this effort is America’s Farmers Grow Communities, which gives winning farmers the opportunity to direct a $2,500 donation to a community nonprofit organization in their county.

For more information about the America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education program and to view the official rules, visit To read more about the 2013 Grow Rural Education launch, and to view the 2013 launch video, please visit

# # #

About the Monsanto Fund

The Monsanto Fund, the philanthropic arm of the Monsanto Company, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening the farm communities where farmers and Monsanto Company employees live and work. Visit the Monsanto Fund at

News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Laurie Johns   
Wednesday, 16 January 2013 13:51

94th Annual AFBF Meeting Concludes Jan. 15 in Nashville

WEST DES MOINES, IOWA – January 16, 2013 –Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) farmers brought forth and won national approval of several key issues during the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) national convention this week in Nashville, Tennessee.

One particular issue which won overwhelming national support was the continuation of the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS), an over-arching federal policy to incent development and use of renewable fuels of all types.  “Renewable fuels have been important to the continued economic growth of the Midwest for decades which include expansion and development of all kinds of green energy including cellulosic, biomass-based diesel, sugar ethanol and next-generation renewable corn ethanol,” said Craig Hill, IFBF president.  “This is an opportunity for our nation because we all know we must work to end our nation’s reliance on foreign fuels.” AFBF approved Iowa’s proposal to continue support of RFS targets as well as retaining Environmental Protect Agency (EPA) administrator authority to waive the RFS if conditions merit, such as a national drought or other unforeseen circumstances.

Another priority issue for many families in Iowa involves proposed changes in the nation’s school lunch program.  IFBF policy supports a school lunch program that promotes a balanced meal containing dairy products, eggs, meat, fruit, vegetables and grains to make sure every child has their nutritional and caloric needs met for proper growth.  “But when it comes to school lunch, it’s not always a case where the government knows best.  Local school districts should have authority in this, and the current guidelines are too restrictive and inflexible, especially when it comes to those who want to bring their own school lunches, such as athletes or those with dietary or health restrictions,” said Hill.  Several states agreed with those points and AFBF policy was adopted.

Another food safety issue that IFBF members proposed included the headline-making issue of milk pasteurization.  “We believe in consumer food choices, but for the protection of consumer health, raw milk sales should not be permitted across state lines.  If someone wants to consume unpasteurized milk from their own supply, that’s up to them, but generations of food science should be the guide on this issue,” said Hill.  AFBF policy was adopted on this issue.

The 2012 Farm Bill, which recently won an extension, is still a key concern for AFBF members.   “The lack of action in Congress that led to this extension amounts to ‘kicking the can down the road’ and it leaves farmers and consumers with a lot of uncertainty.   Farming today is a capital intensive business that requires long-term investment decisions, not only for production and risk management, but also for conservation, investment in grain storage facilities, etc., that are frankly very difficult to make when not knowing the rules of the game. With real risks such as a continuing drought staring us down in 2013, the passage of a new Farm Bill is key.  Our farmers found national support today for the continuation of crop insurance, to cover big risks such as drought and other natural disasters.”  Hill added.

For more information on AFBF-approved resolutions, leadership awards or to hear IFBF farmers discuss key issues from the AFBF annual convention, visit the media section of


Statement from Agriculture Secretary Vilsack on Continuing His Service in the Obama Administration PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by USDA Office of Communications   
Tuesday, 15 January 2013 08:21 logo

WASHINGTON, Jan. 14, 2013 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack made the following statement today regarding the announcement that he will continue his service in the Obama Administration.

“President Obama and I share a deep appreciation for rural America and its unlimited potential in the years ahead to feed a growing world population, revolutionize America’s energy, further protect our natural resources and create more jobs here at home. We will continue to urge Congress to pass a Food, Farm and Jobs Bill that will help us continue USDA’s wide range of efforts to support this work. As we look ahead to a promising future in our small towns and rural communities, I am pleased to continue working alongside President Obama to grow more opportunity in rural America.”



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