Soy Checkoff Works to Increase U.S. Soy Use in Aquaculture PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by United Soybean Board   
Friday, 16 November 2012 10:46

It’s no wonder that aquaculture is catching on, considering the growing global population, increasing individual incomes and stronger awareness of the health benefits of seafood. In fact, aquaculture is one of the fastest-growing sectors in global animal agriculture. The farmer-leaders of the United Soybean Board (USB) and the soy checkoff are hooked on these prospective customers of U.S. soy.

Watch the video to hear from checkoff farmer-leader Sharon Covert, soybean farmer from Tiskilwa, Ill., about USB’s work to develop the global aquaculture market for U.S. soybean farmers.

Watch this video to learn more.

Workshop will focus on Business and Farm Succession Conversations & Planning PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Amanda Heitz   
Friday, 16 November 2012 10:42
Iowa State University Extension is offering business and farm succession workshops to help business and farm families begin those conversations and start putting transition plans on paper. Gene Mohling, ISU Extension Regional Director, says the Business and Farm Succession Workshops are a result of needs expressed by residents in SE Iowa.

“I hear people express concerns about the future, about whether a spouse will be OK with their goals and about parents or children not knowing what the other plans to do – or when,” said Mohling. “As I listen, I hear that the situations involve the whole family – men and women and more than one generation. That is why we are bringing Iowa State University transitioning experts to SE Iowa.”

The workshops are planned as a multi-generational event for exiting owners and spouse, and succeeding owners and spouse. The two session workshops will be held on consecutive days to allow for the initiation of conversations and written plans. David Baker and John R. Baker, Beginning Farmer Center Administrator and Attorney at Law, will present the workshops. Workshops are scheduled for Dec. 14-15 at the Washington County Extension Office

Over the two days, participants will review the retirement plan concept and receive information on transfer plans, estate plans and a process for creating a family statement of intention. Family groups will be given time to write a statement of intent and vision of the future. “Families will go home with a blueprint to the future – knowing what they need to do, who they need to talk to, and understanding that the plan may need to be adjusted along the way.”

Pre-registration can be made by contacting the Washington County Extension Office at 319-653-4811 or email Nancy Adrian at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . This program is sponsored in part by Farm Credit Services.

For more information about the workshop contact the hosting county offices. Additional information about the Beginning Farmer Center is available online at , by e-mailing This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , or calling 877-BFC-1999. The Beginning Farmer Center is backed by 20 years of research and experience helping farmers with transition plans.


Soy Checkoff Research Yields Smartphone App PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by United Soybean Board   
Monday, 12 November 2012 15:00
‘Extreme Beans’ gives farmers easy way to evaluate the economics of inputs

ST. LOUIS (Nov. 12, 2012) – Ever wonder whether it’s worth it to apply a fungicide? How about the most cost-effective seeding rate? The national soy checkoff has put that information in the palm of your hand.

A new app developed by the United Soybean Board (USB) includes two calculators that help farmers plan for their next crop. One helps users determine whether the yield benefits of various input combinations justify the costs. The other uses the main maturity rates for a farmer’s region, the cost of soybean seed and an estimated price of the soybeans at the time of sale to determine an optimal seeding rate based on a percentage of return.

The app also includes documents and videos that describe the research behind each tool.

“This is a really easy way for farmers to get an idea about seeding rates for soybeans based on both the cost of the seed and the price of the harvested grain,” says Seth Naeve, lead investigator and associate professor of agronomy and plant genetics, University of Minnesota. “It’s a way for them to utilize that information together to provide them with a numerical suggestion for seeding rates.”

The Extreme Beans app is available for Apple iPhone and Android-enabled smartphones and other devices. Farmers can easily find it in their device’s app store by simply searching by the title.

The Extreme Beans app is a result of the soy checkoff-funded “Maximum Yield Through Inputs” study, which compared the yields from plots where various inputs were applied to plots without additional inputs. Researchers threw “everything but the kitchen sink” at the soybeans, Naeve says.

“The checkoff is continually looking for ways to give farmers tools to improve production and increase the value of their soybeans,” says Jim Schriver, chair of USB’s production committee and soybean farmer from Bluffton, Ind. “When we see opportunities to help add value to the product, not only in terms of production but also quality, we want to help it come to market, and one of the best ways to do that is through a tool.”

An insert in the August issue of Corn & Soybean Digest included summary results from the extensive study. To request a copy of the insert, click This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

The 69 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.
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Exploring Genetic Improvement for Feed Efficiency in Beef Cattle PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Amanda Heitz   
Monday, 12 November 2012 13:26
As the world population continues to grow, and there is increasing demand for crop production acres to raise food and fuel, efficiency in the cattle industry is becoming ever more important. Feed efficiency, or the amount of body weight gain from a pound of feed, is key to feedlot performance and profitability. Global food security is dependent on increased production from fewer inputs.

Efficient use of feed is even more important as the cost of feed and other inputs continues to increase. Feed costs have historically been 50-70 percent of the cost of production in beef enterprises, and as corn prices exceed $7 per bushel feed costs are nearly 80 percent of the cost in many feedlot operations. A feed efficiency improvement of approximately 10 percent across
the entire feedlot sector would reduce feed costs $1.2 billion.

Feed efficiency is often thought of as a feedlot attribute. But the cow-calf segment consumes about 70 percent of the calories in beef production, and of those more than half are used for maintenance. Unfortunately feed efficiency and feed intake is difficult to measure on large numbers of cattle, so improvements have been slow in coming.

The genetic improvement of feed efficiency in beef cattle is the focus of a large USDA funded integrated research and extension project. It will leverage a variety of methods to achieve the goal of feed efficiency. The five year, USDA-AFRI funded project titled “National Program for Genetic Improvement of Feed Efficiency in Beef Cattle” ( is to sustainably reduce feed resources required to produce beef. The project will rapidly develop and deploy novel nutritional, genomic and genetic improvement technologies.

Stronger international competitiveness of U.S. agriculture, increased food production through increased animal protein production without additional feed inputs, and reduced greenhouse gas footprint are goals of project participants. The project will gather existing individual feed intake and composition records across the major U.S. beef breeds and back fill deficiencies in these represented breeds through collection of new records.

This project will be featured at the upcoming Driftless Region Beef conference Jan. 31 and Feb. 1, 2013, in Dubuque, Iowa. Three of the speakers are involved in the feed efficiency project including Dan Shike University of Illinois; Matt Spangler, University of Nebraska-Lincoln; and Dan Loy, Iowa State University.

The conference will begin at 1 p.m. on Jan. 31 and run till 11:45 a.m. on Feb. 1. Thursday’s afternoon program will focus on feed efficiency at all stages of production, with an evening discussion focused on straight versus crossbreeding. Friday morning’s program includes three breakout sessions for feedlot operations and three for cow herds.

Registration for the conference is $80 before Jan. 15 or $100 after Jan. 15. Additional information about the conference is available at . Registration will open for the conference on Dec. 1.

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 at 319-721-9624.


News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Laurie Johns   
Monday, 12 November 2012 13:24

Governor Proclaims Dec. 2-8 as “Iowa Farm Bureau Week”

WEST DES MOINES, IOWA – Nov. 8, 2012 – Members of the state’s largest grassroots farm organization will gather with renewed vigor to hear nationally-acclaimed animal welfare expert, Temple Grandin,  keynote the 94th Annual Meeting of the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF), Dec. 4 and 5 at the newly- remodeled Veterans Auditorium in Des Moines.

Governor Terry Branstad has also declared Dec. 2-8 as ‘Iowa Farm Bureau Week’ to honor the many accomplishments and contributions of the 94-year-old grassroots farm organization.

“This year our annual meeting theme, ‘People, Progress and Pride,’ celebrates the accomplishments, challenges and potential of our many diverse family farmers.  Today’s responsible farmers are strong members of their communities and are focused on the future; they’re always looking for better ways to provide safe food choices for today’s consumers, so they embrace innovation and the expertise of others,” said IFBF President Craig Hill.  “That’s why we’re bringing together a diverse, high caliber group of speakers like Dr. Temple Grandin, noted animal welfare expert and livestock-handling equipment designer, who also consults for firms such as Burger King, McDonald's, Swift and others.”

Temple Grandin’s challenges as an autistic young woman and the unique perspective it gave her with animals was profiled in the 2010 HBO Emmy Award-winning movie, “Temple Grandin,” starring Claire Danes.  Since the movie’s success, Grandin’s perspectives and livestock facility designs have won international acclaim.

Another nationally-recognized keynote speaker will provide unique insight for attendees, Dr. Lowell Catlett.  The ‘futurist’ economist and engaging speaker will take the stage at 1:30 p.m. Dec. 5 to discuss ‘Food for the Smart Planet.’ Dr. Catlett helps national and international organizations do futuristic planning on the impacts of technology on careers, lifestyles and the economy.

The author of numerous books, Dr. Catlett also works with the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Labor, Interior, Defense, Education, Energy and the World Bank.

In addition to innovative speakers, the 94th IFBF annual meeting also features several ‘hands-on’ educational seminars to help Farm Bureau members navigate challenging markets, rules and regulations as well as the most current best management practices for water quality.  This year the access to expert advice from noted leaders has been expanded to include three separate sessions on Tuesday, Dec. 4.

Also, Iowa’s best and brightest young farmers will take the stage for the IFBF Young Farmers Discussion Meet Dec. 4, competing for the state title and a John Deere X320 riding lawn mower and the chance to advance to the national competition, January 13-16, in Nashville.

IFBF President and Milo farmer, Craig Hill, will address members and special guests on Wednesday, Dec. 5, at 8:30 a.m. The organization will celebrate the contributions of dedicated Farm Bureau members with a recognition banquet Tuesday, Dec. 4, at noon and a young farm leaders’ achievement luncheon on Dec. 5.

Farm Bureau’s voting delegate session and elections will be held Wednesday, Dec. 5.   The following directors are up for re-election this year: IFBF District 1 board member Carlton Kjos, District 3 board member Phil Sundblad, and District 5 board member Morey Hill and Vice President Joe Heinrich.

Members can register for the 2012 IFBF annual meeting at their county Farm Bureau offices. For a complete listing of events and activities, visit

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