Agribusiness
Braley Continues Push for Farm Bill PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Amanda Bowman   
Friday, 14 September 2012 14:55

Speaks on the House Floor; joins 50 Farm Groups at rally; Continues to lead bipartisan coalition

Washington, DC – Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) is continuing his push for passage of the 2012 Farm Bill in the U.S. House. On Monday, Braley spoke on the House Floor to address the issue, highlighting the need for passage of a Farm Bill. Today, he joined 50 Agriculture Groups at a rally to pass the Farm Bill, and he continues to lead a bipartisan coalition that is calling for a vote before the September 30th deadline.

“Iowa farmers need stability from the farm bill to ensure the economic impact of the drought will not devastate them. Speaker Boehner is playing unprecedented games by denying and delaying this much needed bill. I am fighting tooth and nail to get the Farm Bill up for a vote and am doing everything possible to get this done for Iowa farmers.”

A video of Rep. Braley speaking on the U.S. House floor can be viewed here: http://youtu.be/ASVQzc2_9bs

The video file can be downloaded here: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/21501138/Braley-Farm-Bill-Floor-Speech-9-10-12.mp4

 

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Loebsack: House Leaders Again Kick Farm Bill Down the Road PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Joe Hand   
Friday, 14 September 2012 14:15

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Dave Loebsack today urged the Speaker of the House to bring up and pass a long-term farm bill after press reports that the Majority Party was planning on only bringing up a one year extension.  Loebsack has been leading the charge in Congress to pass a reformed farm bill that provides certainty to our farmers and includes drought relief to aid those who have been severely affected.

“With Congress not being in session for over a month, Iowans expected work to be done toward moving forward a new reformed farm bill but instead will be presented with another missed opportunity and a can that’s kicked down the road because of politics in the form of another extension,” wrote Loebsack.  “Americans elected Congress to get things done for the American people. I stand ready to work in bipartisan fashion to get a farm bill passed and again urge your attention to bringing up the farm bill for passage in the House.”

Since earlier this summer, Loebsack had called on Congress to stay in session multiple times to get critical work done.

A copy of today’s letter can be seen here.

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Commentary - The Farm Bill PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Sen. Chuck Grassley   
Monday, 10 September 2012 14:07

The Farm Bill

by U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley

Unlike the drought-stricken row crops which fell victim to a merciless season of cloudless skies, high temperatures and scorched earth, a bumper-sized crop of crowds turned out across the state this year to share views on matters of public policy, including the economy, energy, health care, transportations, debt, taxes, immigration and agriculture.  In August, I finished my 32nd consecutive year of holding meetings in each of Iowa’s 99 counties.  I’m glad to report Iowans continue to uphold a strong tradition of civic engagement from one generation to the next.

Not surprisingly, the fall-out from the harshest drought in five decades yielded many questions about the stalled passage of the farm and food bill.  Back in July, I argued on the floor of the Senate that it’s time to move forward.  Over the years, I’ve worked to champion rural America, including ongoing efforts to create a level playing field for independent producers and small to mid-sized family farmers.  My efforts to secure a cap on commodity payments provide a defensible approach to farm spending in an era of exploding budget deficits.  Forging regional and bipartisan alliances, I’ve kept the interests of our nation’s family farmers at heart during debate of the last seven farm bills.  Many people may not realize that nutrition assistance programs account for 75 percent of farm bill spending.  Although I haven’t always voted “yes” on each farm bill, I use my committee assignments to make sure rural America has a voice at the table when Washington makes regulatory, tax, spending, bankruptcy and energy policy.

This year’s historic drought underscores the crucial reasons why America needs a safety net for food producers.  Farmers need affordable risk management tools that will help provide income stability during times of marketplace uncertainty and natural catastrophes.  Stitching together a safety net that helps farm families make it through circumstances out of their control also helps ensure food security and helps protect jobs all along the economic chain in rural America.

Since the Great Depression, the federal government has recognized the humanitarian, economic and national security interests of keeping America’s farming operations afloat. Maintaining stability, safety and certainty in the U.S. food supply is non-negotiable to America’s prosperity and the public good.

As I made my way across the state this summer from one county meeting to the next, the dried up corn stalks were a harsh reminder of the historic drought squeezing the Corn Belt.  There’s no doubt the drought has taken a toll.  Some producers across the country sold off livestock and dairy herds when grazing lands dried up and they had difficulty finding enough hay.  Some farmers have diverted withering corn acres into chopped silage before the harvest season even begins.  The USDA estimates the corn harvest may reach its lowest average yield since 1995, at 123.4 bushels/acre.

Every spring, farmers take a leap of faith by sowing new seeds into the soil. If a natural disaster destroys the crop, a farmer could lose more than his livelihood without adequate risk management tools in place.  U.S. farm policy needs to put faith in America’s farmers and ranchers who have answered the call to provide the safest, most affordable food and fiber in the world.

The current farm bill expires Sept. 30.  As Iowa’s senior U.S. Senator, I will continue my call to move forward.  The worst drought to hit the Corn Belt in 56 years ought to be a wake-up call.  For 80 years, the U.S. has sought to protect U.S. food security with a safety net that helps the nation’s food producers fill America’s breadbasket.  Washington needs to get the job done.

Monday, September 10, 2012

 
U.S. Soy Trade Relationships Grow In September PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by United Soybean Board   
Monday, 10 September 2012 14:00
International customers meet with soy checkoff farmer-leaders to discuss U.S. soy

ST. LOUIS (September 10, 2012) – Relationships are important to building markets for U.S. soy and the farmer-leaders of the soy checkoff recognize that importance. In fact, the United Soybean Board (USB), along with its international marketing arm, the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC), will host customers from more than 20 countries in September.

“Face-to-face meetings mean a lot to businesses throughout the world,” says Marc Curtis, a soybean farmer from Leland, Miss., and a member of USB’s international marketing program. “This year, especially, it gets them out in the field to alleviate fears of not having a crop and also highlights our sustainability.”

Teams from Europe, Asia, and South and Central America will visit a wide variety of stops in multiple states. They will tour farms, export facilities, modern livestock and poultry facilities and even the Chicago Board of Trade, learning more about U.S. agriculture and, specifically, U.S. soy.

“The end goal is to increase demand for soybeans,” adds Curtis, who also serves as past chair of USB. “You increase demand by making foreign buyers more comfortable with the United States, the reliable supply we have and the quality of our product.”

By focusing on the needs of the individual teams, USB and USSEC hope to continue to grow the personal relationships needed to sell U.S. soy globally and maintain soy’s rank as one of the top U.S. agricultural exports.

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.

For more information on the United Soybean Board, visit www.unitedsoybean.org
Visit us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/UnitedSoybeanBoard
Follow us on Twitter: www.twitter.com/unitedsoy
View our YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/user/UnitedSoybeanBoard

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OCI Fertilizer Group Selects Iowa for its New US$ 1.4 Billion Greenfield Nitrogen Fertilizer Plant in the United States PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Samantha Kampman   
Sunday, 09 September 2012 12:35

Orascom Construction Industries (OCI) announced today that its wholly owned subsidiary Iowa Fertilizer Company (IFCo) will build a new greenfield nitrogen fertilizer production plant in southeast Iowa to supply customers in the U.S. corn belt.  The new plant will be located in Wever, within Lee County near the Mississippi River.  Iowa is the top corn producing state in the United States and has the highest use of nitrogen-based fertilizer in the nation. IFCo’s new plant will be the first world scale natural gas-based fertilizer plant built in the United States in nearly 25 years and will help reduce the country’s dependence on imported fertilizers which exceeds 15 million metric tons of ammonia, urea, and urea ammonium nitrate (UAN) annually.

IFCo’s new plant will utilize proven state-of-the-art production process technologies from world leaders. Kellogg Brown & Root LLC (KBR), Maire Tecnimont Stamicarbon (Tecnimont), and ThyssenKrupp Uhde (Uhde) have been selected to supply the process technologies for the plant which will produce between 1.5 – 2 million metric tons per year of ammonia, urea, urea ammonium nitrate (UAN) as well as diesel exhaust fluid (DEF), an environmentally-friendly fluid used to reduce emissions in diesel engines. Construction work on the plant is scheduled to begin later this year and will be completed by mid 2015.

The total investment cost is estimated to be US$ 1.4 billion and will be fundedwith a combination of equity and a tax-exempt bond issuance. The Iowa Finance Authority (IFA) has authorized IFCo to access bonding capacity under its private activity tax-exempt Midwestern Disaster Area bond program.  In addition, the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) board unanimously approved a comprehensive state financial incentive package expected to provide state tax relief in the order of US$ 100 million.  The Iowa Department of Transportation (IDOT) board will also consider financial assistance for project-related public infrastructure improvements.

The state of Iowa Governor, Terry Branstad, commented “I am pleased to welcome OCI to Iowa.  Their project is the largest investment ever made in our state.  The Iowa Fertilizer Company will bring high-paying permanent jobs to Lee County and will create approximately 2,500 construction jobs over the next three years. We believe this major capital investment will help invigorate economic development in an area of the state which has previously experienced significant challenges. We look forward to working closely with OCI and itsmanagement to ensure the successful completion of their project.”

OCI Chief Executive Officer, Nassef Sawiris, commented “OCI is pleased to have selected the state of Iowa for its North American expansion and is looking forward to helping bring permanent jobs and significant economic activity to Lee County and the state.  Iowa Fertilizer Company is well-positioned to supply nitrogen-based fertilizer products to farmers in the corn belt and help reduce their substantial reliance on annual imports of fertilizer into the country. We intend to expand our presence in the United States and most recently agreed to acquire the Weitz Company, an Iowa-based construction company, which will play a major role in the construction of our new fertilizer plant.”

About Orascom Construction Industries

OCI is one of Egypt’s largest corporations employing more than 72,000 people in 35 countries around the globe.  The OCI Fertilizer Group owns and operates nitrogenfertilizer plants in Egypt, the Netherlands, the United States, and Algeria and has an international distribution platform spanning from the Americas to Asia.  The OCI Fertilizer Group ranks among the world’s top fertilizer producers with a production capacity which will exceed 7.0 million metric tons in 2012.  The OCI Construction Group provides international engineering and construction services primarily on infrastructure, industrial and high-end commercial projects in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa for public and privateclients.  The OCI Construction Group ranks among the world’s top global contractors.

 
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