Loebsack Statement on Expiration of Farm Bill PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Joe Hand   
Monday, 01 October 2012 13:27

Because of Republican inaction, farm policy reverts to 1949 law

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Dave Loebsack released the following statement today after the 2008 farm bill was allowed to expire without being extended or renewed.  Because of the inaction by Congressional Republicans, farm policy now reverts back to laws written over 60 years ago.

“It was just another thumb in the eye to rural Iowans when Republicans closed up shop in Washington and gaveled down Congress until after the election without even considering an extension of a farm bill.  This is simply inexcusable to punt the issue down the road when Iowa farmers continue to deal with the worst drought in decades.

“I have shown my willingness to work across the aisle to help our farmers and actually get work done.  And I have called on Congress to come back in session to deal with this and many other critical issues that are just sitting on the table. Now is the time for leaders on both sides of the aisle to work together and find a way forward.  Our farmers, livestock producers and rural communities deserve nothing less.”


Between the Lines PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Laurie Johns   
Friday, 28 September 2012 15:39


The sun’s not up yet, but I know it’s cold enough outside to see my breath.   This time of year the cold of morning doesn’t just sneak up on you; it grabs you in a headlock and doesn’t let go until February.  That’s life in Iowa.

“It’s just not normal to expect kids to get up this early,” whines my 15-year-old, who is, at best, stubbornly consistent in lobbying to skip before-school marching band practice.  No such luck.

My daughter is the first in five generations in my family to not grow up on a farm.   Maybe that’s why I’m always quick to remind her that, yes, there are perfectly normal kids in Iowa who get up before dawn: farm kids.

There are fewer of them than you may remember; less than five percent of Iowans farm, according to the USDA 2007 Census.  But, I can guarantee that the Farm Strong work ethic hasn’t changed with the passage of time.

The day-to-day business of running a farm, even in this day, requires “all hands on deck” help, and this summer’s failed attempt by the Federal government to dictate how kids can work on family farms proved the strength of this “Farm Strong” work ethic.

Early mornings, without complaint, were always a part of my farm life as a kid.  So I guess that’s why I just had to smile and nod and give the “wind it up” signal to my teen as she pulled on her hoody and we headed for the door this morning.   Yes, it was 37 degrees.  The sun won’t be up for an hour yet, but  those who do get up this early, like farmers, know the beauty of bringing in the harvest as the whole world sleeps, or seeing a new calf born, greeting its first sunrise.

As we headed out the door I reminded her that the work is hard, the hours may be long, but rewards don’t come to “clock watchers.”   Besides, if you sleep in, who knows what you might miss? ( ).

ISU Extension Calendar Oct 5 thru 25, 2012 PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Amanda Heitz   
Friday, 28 September 2012 14:51

USDA, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Work to Boost Access to Farm Programs in Indian Country PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by USDA Office of Communications   
Wednesday, 26 September 2012 13:42

WASHINGTON, Sept. 26, 2012—Officials from the Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) have signed two memorandums of understanding (MOU) designed to foster improved access to USDA and BIA programs by tribes and tribal members. The memorandums apply to programs administered by the Farm Service Agency, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Rural Development at USDA, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs at the Department of the Interior (DOI). The MOUs will further improve the important government-to-government relationships and also the services offered between USDA, BIA and the tribal governments and the communities they serve.

"This agreement between USDA and the Bureau of Indian Affairs will help us increase efficiency, reduce redundancy and improve communications and services between our agencies and the tribes," said Under Secretary for Rural Development Dallas Tonsager. "These improvements will help to spur economic development, strengthen the communities and improve the lives of the people of Indian country."

"We look forward to working closely with USDA to serve Indian Country. American Indian farmers are a vital part of Tribal economies and the nation's agricultural industry. Agriculture is the backbone of the nation," BIA Director Mike Black said. "With these MOUs in place, we will be able to work with USDA and its programs as partners in helping American Indian farmers maintain their farms, strengthen the local tribal economies, and bring their produce to market for the benefit of all Americans, and the world."

"This partnership shows the important role tribal lands play in conservation stewardship in America," NRCS Chief Dave White said. "Landowners across the U.S., including those on tribal lands, contribute to cleaner water and air, healthier soil and better homes for wildlife. This memorandum is one effort of many in which NRCS, BIA and Indian landowners and land users can join together to nurture a better landscape."

"The Farm Service Agency is eager to implement this agreement," said FSA Administrator Juan M. Garcia. "We respect and honor the centuries of stewardship that the Indian tribes participating in our conservation and farm programs have shown for the land we all share. We are pleased to solidify our partnership with the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Natural Resources Conservation Service to conserve the soil, care for our water and air, and help the tribe's maximize their agricultural production."

The MOUs set up a framework for consultation, training, coordination, and the provision of technical assistance which will increase the amount of Indian land enrolled under USDA conservation and farm loan programs and improve service delivery on those lands. Farming and animal management, grazing, ranching and related food and agricultural operations will be supported through improved interdepartmental coordination. The MOUs, which are in place for five years, also support establishment of Native rural businesses, renewable energy development, and job creation. Additionally, the BIA will work with Rural Development to increase homeownership, home repair, and rehabilitation opportunities, and improve energy efficiency of homes on Indian lands through improved coordination of program delivery. Finally, the MOUs will complement the USDA's Rural Utilities Service (RUS) work with BIA to implement and administer the Substantially Underserved Trust Areas (SUTA) provision of the 2008 Farm Bill to increase affordability and availability of RUS-supported infrastructure on Indian lands.

The MOUs also help further the objectives of the Keepseagle settlement agreement, which resolved a lawsuit regarding past discrimination by USDA against Native American farmers and ranchers concerning its farm loan program.

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 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. The Rural Council is working to break down silos of information and to find areas for better collaboration and improved flexibility in administering government programs and to work closer with local tribal and non-tribal governments, non-profits and private companies to leverage federal support to enhance the services offered to rural beneficiaries. The MOUs are also an important step in implementing the administration's Administrative Flexibility Initiative in Indian Country, that has as its goal to provide greater efficiency and more effective program delivery to Indian Country across the federal government.


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).


Senator Harkin and Congressman Boswell to Hold Media Conference Call on Failure of Republicans to Pass a Farm Bill PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Sen. Tom Harkin   
Monday, 24 September 2012 14:20

DES MOINES – Today, OFA Iowa, Senator Tom Harkin and Congressman Leonard Boswell will hold a media conference call about Mitt Romney, Congressman Paul Ryan  and Congressional Republican’s failure to move the farm bill and their opposition to the Wind Production Tax Credit, which are so vital to Iowa’s economy.  Last week, Congressional Republicans gave Americans a preview of the future Iowa would see under a Romney-Ryan Administration.  House Republicans led by Speaker John Boehner and Paul Ryan, left town without extending the wind production tax credit or reauthorizing the farm bill, allowing it to expire and leaving Iowans without the necessary reforms to give rural communities long-term certainty.

Since day one, President Obama has worked to build stronger and more diverse rural economies through investments in renewable energy, manufacturing, education and agriculture. Today, he is standing by farmers during the drought, advocating for a strong safety net and urging Congress to pass the farm bill so that U.S. agriculture continues to experience one of its most productive periods in American history.

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