Loebsack to Tour Drought Stricken County PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Joe Hand   
Wednesday, 08 August 2012 14:45

Will see firsthand affects of recent drought

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Dave Loebsack will tour a Muscatine County farm TOMORROW, August 9th to see firsthand the affects of the recent drought.  He will be joined by local FSA officials and meet with farmers, community members and representatives from Farm Bureau.  Loebsack has been leading the fight in Congress to ensure Iowa’s farmers have the resources they need to deal with the impact of the drought.  Media is invited to attend.  Details are below.

Tour of Drought Stricken Farm

Larry and Pam Schnittjer’s Farm

1021 West Highway 6

West Liberty



Iowa farmers support rural organizations through America’s Farmers Grow Communities PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Taylor Lutkewitte   
Wednesday, 08 August 2012 09:00

Drought disaster areas receive additional funding

ST. LOUIS (August 8, 2012) – Farmers across the country work hard to build their businesses that help fuel their rural communities. For the third consecutive year, America’s Farmers Grow Communities SM, sponsored by the Monsanto Fund, will give farmers the opportunity to win a $2,500 donation for their favorite local nonprofit organization. This year, the program expands to 26 new counties and will provide an online platform to aid community involvement.                  
James Nahkunst, Grow Communities winner from Fremont County, Iowa, understands firsthand how $2,500 can impact a nonprofit organization.
“I think this is a very commendable program for the Monsanto Fund to be doing,” Nahkunst said. “I’ve signed up for it every year since its beginning. It felt great to win and have a part in seeing those dollars reach out into communities and the non-profits serving them.”
With more than 90 percent of the U.S. corn and soy production currently impacted by the drought, a farmer’s ability to invest in his or her community is affected. To help, the Monsanto Fund will provide additional financial support. Winning farmers from counties that have been declared natural disaster areas by the USDA will have an opportunity to direct an additional $2,500 donation to a local non-profit to address community needs that have surfaced due to the drought. To date, nearly 700
counties have been declared disasters areas within the 1,271 eligible Grow Communities counties.
“We are committed to supporting farmers and the rural communities in which they live and work,” said Deborah Patterson, Monsanto Fund president. “Through Grow Communities and the additional disaster relief funding, we hope to positively impact the people and places that are affected by this devastating drought.”

Communities Can Plant Their Ideas with Farmers 
Since the inception of America’s Farmers Grow Communities, thousands of farmers have nominated their favorite local nonprofit groups, such as FFA chapters, schools, fire departments, local food pantries or other civic groups.  This year, rural community members can suggest an idea or initiative that needs funding in their local community. Eligible farmers may review the ideas and consider them in their application. Community members who wish to plant an idea and encourage farmers to support their cause can do so at
Now through November 30, 2012, eligible farmers can apply online, and rural community members can submit their ideas at or by calling 1-877-267-3332. The Monsanto Fund will select one winner at random from each of the eligible counties and announce winning farmers and recipient nonprofits in January 2013.        
All 99 counties in Iowa are eligible in Grow Communities.                   
America’s Farmers Grow Communities is sponsored by the Monsanto Fund to highlight the important contributions farmers make everyday to our society and to help them positively impact their communities. This program is part of the Monsanto Fund’s overall effort to support rural America. Another program that is part of this effort is America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education, giving farmers the opportunity to nominate their local public school district to apply for a grant up to $25,000. Winners of the first annual Grow Rural Education program will be announced on August 28.
For more information about these programs and to view the official rules, visit

About the Monsanto Fund
The Monsanto Fund, the philanthropic arm of the Monsanto Company, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening the farm communities where farmers and Monsanto Company employees live and work. Visit the Monsanto Fund at

Pass the Farm Bill PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Amanda Bowman   
Tuesday, 07 August 2012 11:25

by Bruce Braley

Two weeks ago, I visited with two farmers from Palo, Iowa, Gary and Vicki Owens, to see their farm and the drought conditions affecting their crops and crops across Iowa. I saw the dry ground and struggling corn and soybeans that the family is hoping will be able to survive the relentless heat and dry weather. Gary and Vicki told me how concerned they are that the lack of rain in July will doom their harvest this fall.  Despite the difficult summer, the Owens remain hopeful that wetter and cooler weather will grace their fields soon.

The drought is bad enough.  But adding to the uncertainty is a hardening political stalemate in Congress over the 2012 Farm Bill.  The current Farm Bill is set to expire on September 30th – along with modern crop insurance programs, disaster relief, conservation programs, nutrition programs and more -- unless a new bill is signed into law.  Some disaster assistance programs have already expired, adding insult to injury for many agricultural producers just in time for the drought.

And the hits keep coming.  The House Agriculture Committee passed the Farm Bill more than three weeks ago in a bipartisan vote – a critical test of support for the bill – but leaders have continued to block the full House from voting on the bill.  Then, this week, House leaders pulled a one-year Farm Bill extension, preventing a vote on that.  In a final coup de grace, despite members voting against adjournment, leaders sent Congress home for a month-long recess on Thursday, leaving the Farm Bill unresolved and the clock running out before its September 30th expiration date.

Here’s what I can’t figure out.  What exactly is Congress taking a vacation from?  Any Iowan who’s worked a day in their life knows that to get time off, you actually have to put time in.  Congress certainly hasn’t done much of anything this year.  Farmers don’t get a vacation from the drought, and Congress shouldn’t get one either.

Political gridlock over the Farm Bill strikes me as incredibly childish.  There are real folks back home hurting, but Congress can’t get beyond petty feuds and personal differences.

Congress needs to grow up, act like adults, and get the job done on the Farm Bill.

There are members of both political parties out there who agree that producers need the financial stability and protections provided in the Farm Bill.  Farm families and agricultural producers in Iowa certainly agree.

Maybe I’m an optimist, but I think that if allowed to cast a vote on the Farm Bill, a majority of the House would support it.  It’s the political games of leaders looking to score the most insignificant of political points against their opponents that is standing in the way.

So, I’ve launched an effort that could short-circuit the political games.  If a simple majority of representatives sign on to a petition I’m circulating, the Farm Bill must immediately come up for a vote before the House.  And I’ve been encouraged by the early positive response – I’m working with two Republicans (Rick Berg of North Dakota and Chris Gibson of New York) and a Democrat (Peter Welch of Vermont) to recruit signers.

It’s a drastic step and maybe a long shot , but we need to do everything we possibly can to help Iowa farmers through the worsening drought.  And the best way to help right now is to give farmers the certainty that the Farm Bill will bring.

The Farm Bill deserves a vote, not the obstruction that’s become all too typical of Washington. Folks like Gary and Vicki Owens are depending on it.

News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Heather Lilienthal, Iowa Farm Bureau   
Monday, 06 August 2012 14:57

Farm Bureau members, visitors can test their farm strength, win great prizes

WEST DES MOINES, IOWA – Aug. 6, 2012 – Iowa State Fair visitors can flex their “Farm Strong” strength and ag knowledge at Farm Bureau Park each day of the fair. Whether it’s finding out if pigs can get sunburn or discovering how many farms are in the state, fairgoers can talk to Iowa farmers about agriculture and play a free high-striker game to earn prizes.

The strength of the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) comes from its members who will enjoy a number of “Farm Strong” perks at the fair. They can redeem a member coupon for a free prize and register to win a free John Deere Gator utility vehicle provided by the Van Wall Group and Barker Implement, which are premier John Deere dealers.

All park visitors can enter a drawing to win $1,000 in groceries and learn more about Farm Bureau benefit partners and special member discounts on services and products including Morton Buildings, Case IH tractors and utility vehicles, Van Wall Energy and Ford and Lincoln vehicles. In addition, people who join their county Farm Bureau at the fair may register to win a John Deere lawn tractor.

Young fairgoers will also find free entertainment at Farm Bureau Park as the Iowa Farm Bureau Young Farmer Advisory Committee members offer a variety of free kids’ activities and prizes from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 11.

The park will also emphasize the importance of conservation with a unique mobile unit called the Conservation Station, provided by the Iowa Learning Farms and the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. The station features a rainfall simulator and offers activity modules for all ages.

The IFBF is again promoting the importance of healthy lifestyles by featuring a number of free blood pressure, glaucoma, cancer and other health screenings on select fair days. Other special activities at Farm Bureau Park on select fair days include:

  • Saturday, Aug. 11
    • 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., Conservation Station learning activities sponsored by the Iowa Learning Farms and the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.
    • 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., Free blood pressure screenings provided by Des Moines University.
    • 4 p.m., Governor’s Charity Steer Show at the Pioneer Livestock Pavilion. The show promotes beef and raises money to aid families staying at Ronald McDonald Houses.
  • Tuesday, Aug. 14 – Farm Bureau Day at the Fair
    • 9 a.m. – noon, 49th annual Farm Bureau Cookout Contest on the Grand Concourse. Free samples available. Judging begins at 10 a.m.
    • 9 a.m., Century and Heritage Farm Awards presented at the Budweiser Stage, south of the Varied Industries building.

Farm Bureau Park is located next to the Varied Industries Building, right off the Grand Concourse. For a complete listing of Farm Bureau activities at the fair, visit

Braley Statement on Agriculture Disaster Program Extension PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Jeff Giertz   
Monday, 06 August 2012 08:38

Legislation includes Protections for Crops and Livestock 

Washington, D.C. – Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) released the following statement today after voting for a Republican-proposed extension of agriculture disaster programs to help farm and livestock producers suffering from the summer drought. The Agriculture Disaster Assistance Act extends several disaster relief programs from the 2008 Farm Bill that expired in the fall of 2011 and have not been renewed. The bill is similar to legislation first proposed by the five members of the Iowa delegation last week.

“The drought assistance bill passed today is a step forward for Iowa farmers struggling through this summer’s drought, but it’s no Farm Bill.

“It’s a shame that politicians in Congress are behaving like little children.  Instead of taking another recess to go out and play politics, Congress needs to grow up, act like adults, and get the job done.  Iowa farmers aren’t getting a recess from the drought and Congress shouldn’t get one either until the Farm Bill is passed.  Rather than take a month long break, Congress should get to work.”

The Agricultural Disaster Assistance Act will extend the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments Program (SURE), Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP), Livestock Disaster Forage Program (LFP), Tree Assistance Program (TAP), and Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP) temporarily through 2012.


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