Agriculture Secretary Vilsack to Attend Grand Opening of NewBo City Market in Iowa PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by USDA Office of Communications   
Monday, 29 October 2012 13:33

WASHINGTON, October 25, 2012 – On Saturday, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will travel to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, for the grand opening of the NewBo City Market. He will highlight the growing strength of local and regional food systems, USDA’s continuing efforts to expand marketing opportunities for producers and small businesses, and the important role this market and ventures like it can play to strengthen the Iowa economy.

NewBo City Market, located in a reclaimed, formerly flood-ravaged industrial site in the heart of Cedar Rapid’s New Bohemia district serves as a public market for area small businesses selling Iowa-produced food and food products. In addition to the market space, NewBo comprises an entire city block at the crossroads of 12th Ave. and 3rd St. SE and houses an event hall, a culinary kitchen, and a distribution center that will facilitate efforts to feed hungry families in the area.

The local and regional food sector is a multi-billion dollar piece of America’s thriving agricultural economy. Since 2009, the U.S. Department of Agriculture under Secretary Vilsack’s leadership has supported all sectors of American agriculture, including efforts to strengthen local and regional food systems for farmers of all types and sizes, helping them take advantage of new opportunities and succeed in today’s diverse marketplace. Today, the number of farmer’s markets has increased more than 60 percent over 2008 levels, and USDA efforts have supported more than 200 new food hubs across America that are helping small and medium-sized producers and value-added small businesses reach broader markets.

Saturday, October 27, 2012
10:45 a.m. CDT

WHAT: Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will host a press availability to discuss the importance of local agriculture at the grand opening of the NewBo City Market.

WHERE: NewBo City Market
1100 3rd Street SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa


Scott County Extension Calendar Oct 2, 2012 PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Amanda Heitz   
Monday, 29 October 2012 13:32

USDA Drought Assistance Minimizes Impacts While Spurring Improvements on 1M Acres of American Farmland PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by USDA Office of Communications   
Tuesday, 23 October 2012 12:42

WASHINGTON, Oct. 23, 2012 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) efforts to help producers rebound from drought have touched more than one million acres of farmland across the country as nearly 2,000 producers took advantage of conservation funding targeted to drought-stricken areas by USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). NRCS made more than $27 million available to farmers and ranchers to make conservation improvements, spurring recovery and ensuring lands are more drought resistant in the future.

"This tremendous response reflects the severity of this year's drought conditions, "Agriculture Secretary Vilsack said."The level of producer participation is also a testament to the hard work of USDA and other federal agencies to help farmers and ranchers weather one of the worst droughts in decades."

NRCS provided financial and technical assistance to help crop and livestock producers in 22 states apply conservation practices, including conservation tillage, cover crops, nutrient management, prescribed grazing, livestock watering facilities and water conservation practices. These actions build healthier soil that lead to better harvests and cleaner water and air.

"The conservation investments made by these producers today will continue to improve the resilience of their lands in the face of drought as well as other natural events that are out of their control," Vilsack said. "The farmers and ranchers that have voluntarily implemented conservation improvements have taken an important step toward building drought resistance into their operations."

Exceptional drought continues to dominate sections of Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and Wyoming, causing widespread losses of crops and pastures and water shortages in reservoirs, streams and wells.

Alabama, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Nevada, South Carolina and Utah are under extreme drought, with accompanying major losses of crops and pasture, widespread water shortages and restrictions on water use.

See the total NRCS drought assistance received by each state.

Producers and landowners are encouraged to visit the NRCS website or stop by their local NRCS office to find out if they are eligible for drought assistance.

Learn more about WHIP and EQIP and other NRCS programs.


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).


Checkoff-Funded Research Could Boost Soy's Resistance to SCN PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by United Soybean Board   
Friday, 19 October 2012 07:01
Scientists ID Key Genetic Structure, Expect it to Help Fight Biggest Yield Robber

ST. LOUIS (October 18, 2012) – Research funded by the United Soybean Board (USB) and soy checkoff has made a breakthrough that could strengthen the soybean plant’s resistance to soybean cyst nematode (SCN). This disease is U.S. soy’s biggest yield robber, causing more than $1 billion worth of yield losses annually.

“SCN has been devastating soybeans ever since I’ve been involved in the industry,” says Jim Schriver, chair of USB’s production program and a farmer from Indiana. “This is a great use of biotechnology that can help farmers break through yield barriers so we can continue to increase production and meet demand.”

For years farmers have been planting soybeans containing a genetic structure called Rhg1, the top defense against SCN. But ways to further improve that resistance have eluded plant scientists.

In a study recently published in the journal Science, however, researchers reveal that Rhg1 is actually three genes located next to each other on the chromosome, that work together to make a plant more resistant to SCN. Even more intriguing, SCN-resistant varieties carry multiple copies of this multi-gene block. This discovery allows researchers to quickly find soybean varieties that include these repeated three-gene blocks. It also allows researchers to work with those genes to develop new SCN-resistant varieties.

Andrew Bent, professor of plant pathology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said the finding “opens the gate for us to walk in” and take SCN resistance to the next level.

“It’s been a goal of biologists for nearly 20 years to identify this Rhg1 gene,” says Bent, who has been working on the project for about six years. “The United Soybean Board knew it was important work, and they were very supportive. The real value of the work will be seen in the next few years.”

Bent, who collaborated on the study with several other researchers, including Matthew Hudson of the University of Illinois, said funding from the soy checkoff was vital to the research.

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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PQA Plus© Training Session Set in Washington County PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Amanda Heitz   
Friday, 19 October 2012 06:59
The Iowa Pork Industry Center and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach are teaming
up to provide training for pork producers and others who need certification in the Pork Quality
Assurance Plus© (PQA Plus©) program. One certification session has been set for November 8th
in Washington County.

Washington County administrative assistant Nancy Adrian said the session will be held at the
Washington County Extension office, 2223 250th St. Washington, and will be taught by ISU
Extension and Outreach swine program specialist Tom Miller.

“The PQA Plus© session is set for 7 to 9 p.m.,” she said. “Anyone who plans to attend should let
us know as soon as possible to ensure that we have adequate materials for everyone.”

Cost for this certification program is $25 per person and is payable at the door. To preregister,
contact the Washington County Extension office at 877- 435-7322 or 319-653-4811.

To learn more about PQA Plus© please see the National Pork Board Web site at http://


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