Gov. Branstad signs proclamation allowing overweight loads for harvest season PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Governor Branstad's Office   
Sunday, 09 September 2012 12:06

(DES MOINES) – Gov. Terry E. Branstad signed a proclamation to allow the transportation of oversized and overweight loads of soybeans, corn, hay, straw, silage and stover. The proclamation took effect on Sept. 4, 2012 and expires after 60 days.

“Many Iowans’ livelihoods depend on a smooth, efficient harvest season,” said Branstad. “I am pleased to sign this proclamation, which will allow the movement of Iowa’s commodities and help Iowa farmers during harvest.”

This proclamation applies to loads transported on all highways within Iowa, excluding the interstate system, and which do not exceed a maximum of 90,000 pounds gross weight, do not exceed the maximum axle weight limit determined under the non-primary highway maximum gross weight table in Iowa Code section 321.463 paragraph “5.b”, by more than twelve and one-half percent (12.5%), do not exceed the legal maximum axle weight limit of 20,000 pounds, and comply with posted limits on roads and bridges. 

This action is intended to allow vehicles transporting soybeans, corn, hay, straw, and stover to be oversize and overweight, not exceeding 90,000 pounds gross weight, without a permit, but only for the duration of this proclamation.

The Iowa Department of Transportation is directed to monitor the operation of this proclamation to assure the public’s safety and facilitate the movement of the trucks involved.


Soy Checkoff Partners with Goodyear to Develop New Tire PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by United Soybean Board   
Friday, 07 September 2012 12:24
Soy-based tire adds another to use to soy's growing list

ST. LOUIS (August 31, 2012) - The United Soybean Board (USB) continues to drive demand for U.S. soy, thanks to a partnership with Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. Goodyear recently announced field tests for a new tire featuring U.S. soy that the company says may offer consumers increased tread life and a greener alternative to those manufactured solely with petrochemicals.

Goodyear’s announcement marked the public unveiling of a two-year, ongoing collaboration between the soy checkoff and the Akron, Ohio-based company.

“The soy checkoff welcomes the opportunity to partner with Goodyear in bringing this tire to the market,” says Russ Carpenter, a soybean farmer from Trumansburg, N.Y. and chair of the USB New Uses program. “The checkoff constantly looks for ways to improve the value of soy oil to U.S. soybean farmers and this new tire highlights soy’s versatility in the marketplace.”

The partnership began two years ago, after the 2008 spike in crude oil prices prompted Goodyear to evaluate petrochemical alternatives and propose research exploring soy oil’s potential in its products. In full production, Goodyear estimates that it could use 7 million gallons of soy oil annually.

Goodyear’s testing found that using soy not only lowered petrochemical amounts from the tire’s manufacturing process, but also increased its efficiency by reducing energy and greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, soy oil’s increased performance may yield up to 10 percent longer tread life.

“Goodyear is committed to caring for the environment and communities, and use of soy oil proves to be another way to accomplish this goal,” said Jean-Claude Kihn, Goodyear’s chief technical officer.  “Consumers benefit through improved tread life, Goodyear gains with increased efficiency and energy savings and we all win whenever there is a positive impact on the environment.”

If real-world testing runs smoothly, Goodyear expects the new soy-based tires to be available for purchase as early as 2015.

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.

Goodyear is one of the world’s largest tire companies. It employs approximately 72,000 people and manufactures its products in 53 facilities in 22 countries around the world. Its two Innovation Centers in Akron, Ohio, and Colmar-Berg, Luxembourg, strive to develop state-of-the-art products and services that set the technology and performance standard for the industry. For more information about Goodyear and its products, go to

For more information on the United Soybean Board, visit
For specific information on soy's new uses, visit
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News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Laurie Johns   
Friday, 07 September 2012 12:21

Iowa Farm Bureau Wraps Up Summer Policy Conference in West Des Moines

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa – August 31, 2012 – Iowa Farm Bureau voting delegates shared concerns about crop quality and insurance as they gathered in West Des Moines August 30-31 to set state and national legislative policy for 2013.  The drought-stricken crops and low river levels also brought additional discussion of the importance of maintaining the condition of the Mississippi River and its important role in transporting grain.

“What a difference a year can make; last year’s conference focused on the flood conditions in the western part of the state, while this year’s delegates are keyed in to the drought and its effects on the Mississippi River’s ability to move grain on the eastern side of the state,” said Craig Hill, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) president. “Our unique grassroots policy development process truly represents the concerns of our members and where they live and farm.”

Iowa’s largest grassroots farm organization called for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to prioritize funds for cleaning the channels of the Mississippi River to navigate the current low water levels to allow large barges to continue moving through the waters. The river represents one of the nation’s largest methods of grain transportation.

IFBF delegates gather each year to discuss and set state policies which impact not just farmers, but all Iowa taxpayers.  In addition, national policies approved this week will be ratified and sent up for national debate in January at the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) annual meeting in Nashville.

Another lively discussion at the IFBF Summer Policy Conference concerned the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) closing of several Farm Service Agency offices. “We support consolidation of government service facilities to create efficiencies, but there has to be careful consideration, because if farmers have to drive 50 miles back and forth to conduct essential business, those closures quickly become inefficient, both to the government and the folks who rely on the services,” said Hill.

Farm Bureau voting delegates moved to continue support of the Renewable Fuels Standard and   increase the use and development of renewable fuels.

Iowa’s Transportation Infrastructure Funding also found consensus among IFBF farmers, who agreed that additional revenue for the state’s roads and bridges should be generated from an increase in the state fuel tax and that hybrid and electrical vehicles should contribute their fair share to the repair of the very roads they share with all Iowans.  “Since the Transportation Infrastructure Fund is likely to come up in our 2013 legislative session, we believe Iowa lawmakers will take careful consideration of that issue and appropriate funding levels,” said Hill.

The IFBF Summer Policy Conference is a step in Farm Bureau’s grassroots policy development process and is subject to national debate during American Farm Bureau Federation policy discussions in January. All state Farm Bureaus meet in January to finalize the organization’s national policies.


Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces Grants to Support Beginning Farmers and Ranchers across 24 States PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by USDA Office of Communications   
Wednesday, 05 September 2012 14:34
New, Expanded Efforts Underscore USDA's Commitment to Young, Beginning and Socially-Disadvantaged Farmers

BOONE, Iowa, Aug. 30, 2012-Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced more than $18 million in grants to organizations across 24 states that will help beginning farmers and ranchers with the training and resources needed to run productive, sustainable farms. Under the Secretary's leadership since 2009, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has driven a number of efforts meant to spur interest in agriculture and provide the necessary support to young, beginning and socially-disadvantaged producers. At the Farm Progress Show today in Boone, Iowa, Vilsack said investing in beginning farmers, ranchers and producers is not only a smart investment, but one that is vital to our nation's national and economic security.

"In the past few decades, U.S. agriculture has become the second most productive sector of the American economy thanks to farmers adopting technology, reducing debt, and effectively managing risk," said Vilsack. "Last year, America's farmers, ranchers and producers achieved record farm income and record exports. To protect and sustain these successes, we must continue to build an agriculture industry diverse and successful enough to attract the smartest, hardest-working people in the nation. These grants will help beginning farmers and ranchers overcome the unique challenges they face and gain knowledge and skills that will help them become profitable and sustainable."

USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) awarded the grants through its Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) established through the 2008 Farm Bill. In his June 30, 2010 testimony before the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry, the Secretary reminded Congress of the need to attract thousands of new producers in the coming years as American farmers and ranchers continue to age. Vilsack urged members of Congress to address this critical need when drafting a 2012 Food, Farm and Jobs bill. That legislation remains unfinished, while the current Farm Bill is set to expire on Sept. 30, 2012.

USDA makes BFRDP grants to organizations that implement education, training, technical assistance and outreach programs to help beginning farmers and ranchers, specifically those who have been farming or ranching for 10 years or fewer. At least 25 percent of the program's funding supports the needs of limited resource and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers, as well as farm workers who want to get a start in farming and ranching.

In the first year of USDA's Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program, three-year grants supported training for 5,000 beginning farmers and ranchers. In 2011, grants supported training for more than 38,000. For example, the Appalachian Sustainable Agricultural Project in Western North Carolina has directly assisted 865 farmers across 20 rural counties. Of the total participants, 46 percent were women. In addition, a group of seven organizations is working in rural communities in Arkansas and Oklahoma to educate, train, and foster mentorships for a variety of target groups, including military veterans. In the first year, the project created 32 mentorship opportunities and completed 12 internships with experienced farmers.

BFRDP will provide $18 million in funding this year, the fourth year of the program. Future funding is dependent on congressional reauthorization. For more information on the BFRDP program, and for a list of fiscal year 2012 awards, visit

Beginning farmers, by USDA definition, are individuals with 10 years or less experience operating farms. Beginning farmers are in all age ranges, racial and ethnic groups, and both male and female. Currently, 30 percent of principal operators of farms are 65 years old or more, while the average age of U.S. farmers has climbed from 54 in 1997 to 57 in 2007. Research by USDA's Economic Research Service (ERS) finds that the two most common and important challenges faced by beginning farmers are (1) having the market opportunity to buy or rent suitable land and (2) having capital to acquire land of a large enough scale to be profitable.

BFRDP is just one tool to address these challenges, along with greater access to credit including a new microloan program, a new land contract guarantee program, risk management education for beginning and socially disadvantaged producers, and new online resources such as and the Know Your Farmer Compass.

Since 2009, USDA has provided 128,000 loans to family farmers totaling more than $18 billion. Between 2009-2011, the number of loans to beginning farmers and ranchers climbed from 11,000 to 15,000. More than 40 percent of USDA's farm loans now go to beginning farmers, while over 50 percent of loans went to beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers during the same time.

With expanded access to credit, USDA is helping a new generation of farmers sustain and build upon what is now the most productive period in history for American agriculture. To that end, in May the Secretary proposed a new microloan program to help small and family operations progress through their start-up years with needed resources, while building capacity, increasing equity, and eventually graduating to commercial credit. The microloan proposal allows producers to apply for loans of less than $35,000 using simplified and streamlined procedures. The goal of the microloan program is to better meet the credit needs of small farm operations while making more effective use of FSA resources.

The Land Contract Guarantee Program provides a valuable tool to transfer farm real estate to the next generation of farmers. Guarantees will be offered to the owner of a farm who wishes to sell real estate through a land contract to a beginning farmer or a farmer who is a member of a socially disadvantaged group. In January, the Secretary expanded the Land Contract Guarantee Program from six states to all 50 states.

USDA's Risk Management Agency supports crop insurance education and outreach in 47 states to beginning, small, and historically underserved farmers and ranchers. From October 2010 through September 2011, a total of 77,000 farmers and ranchers attended educational sessions or were reached by direct mailing with educational information.


USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write to USDA, Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Stop 9410, Washington, DC 20250-9410, or call toll-free at (866) 632-9992 (English) or (800) 877-8339 (TDD) or (866) 377-8642 (English Federal-relay) or (800) 845-6136 (Spanish Federal-relay). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.


ISU Extension Calendar Sept 7 - Oct 25, 2012 PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Amanda Heitz   
Wednesday, 05 September 2012 14:33

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