Agribusiness
Soy Checkoff-Funded Video Series Helps Boost Production, Profit Potential PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by United Soybean Board   
Tuesday, 19 June 2012 13:03
Focus on Soybeans” webcasts provide farmers the latest news on production research

ST. LOUIS (June 19, 2012) – To make the most of every acre, U.S. soybean farmers need the latest production research and management information. One thing that can help them get it is the soy checkoff-funded “Focus on Soybeans” webcast series. And with the new, quicker summary versions, U.S. soybean farmers can get the latest information they can use on the farm in five minutes or less.

“The webcasts provide valuable information to help soybean farmers better manage pests, diseases and other crop stresses,” says Jimmy Sneed United Soybean Board (USB) communications chair and Hernando, Miss., soybean farmer. “They also bring to U.S. soybean farmers new developments in production practices, irrigation management, seeding rates, seed-quality preservation and others that are included in the series, too.”

Now the webcasts are available in a shorter format. And although that provides more convenience for some farmers, the full-length versions, which include a lot more science-related information, still remain available for soybean farmers who prefer the longer format.

The webcast series, developed by Plant Management Network (PMN) in partnership with the soy checkoff, feature updates on applied and practical soybean research projects. On the last Monday of each month, the soy checkoff posts new webcasts to www.UnitedSoybean.org, accessible via the “Focus on Soybeans” sign on the homepage. All U.S. soybean farmers have free access to the full-length webcasts for two months. The five-minute summary versions will be accessible at all times.

“We are pleased to work with the USB and the soy checkoff on this effort to help U.S. farmers, crop consultants and others to manage their soybean crops more profitably,” says Greg Tylka, Ph.D., professor and extension specialist at Iowa State University and chair of the Focus on Soybeans editorial committee. “Through this convenient, practical outlet, we provide research-based crop production and protection information to help U.S. farmers increase soybean yields in this growing season and beyond.” PMN serves as an Internet-based resource owned and operated by the American Phytopathological Society and jointly managed by the American Society of Agronomy and the Crop Science Society of America. The website can be accessed at www.PlantManagementNetwork.org.

“With cuts in resources such as extension, it becomes increasingly important that farmers have other resources to turn to help us boost our production,” says Sneed. “That boost in production can help increase the profitability of every U.S. soybean farmer, which has always been a goal of the soy checkoff.”

The soy checkoff has funded “Focus on Soybeans” since 2010, providing access to 12 webcasts per year.

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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Farm, Rural and Environmental Groups call for Crop Insurance Subsidy Limits PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by John Crabtree   
Monday, 18 June 2012 13:00

Lyons, Nebraska - This week, the Center for Rural Affairs joined four other farm, rural and environmental organizations in signing and sending a letter to every U.S. Senator urging them to place limits on the federal crop insurance premium subsidies granted to individual farmers, establish income limits for subsidy recipients and require that recipients be actively engaged in farming.

“We are a diverse group of organizations united by the belief that responsible farm policy should direct subsidies for crop insurance premiums to farmers who need it,” said Chuck Hassebrook of the Center for Rural Affairs. “And Congress should cap those premium subsidies at levels that do not make it easier for the nation’s largest farms to drive out small, mid-sized and beginning farmers.”

To view or download a full copy of the letter go to: http://files.cfra.org/pdf/crop-insurance-letter.pdf

According to Hassebrook, federal farm spending is dramatically shifting from farm payments to subsidies for crop insurance, with the federal government now paying an average of 60% of premiums. Crop insurance expenditures are more than double traditional farm programs under the proposed new farm bill, with no subsidy limit and no eligibility requirements.

“The result will be an increase in the already excessive subsidies to the nation’s largest farms,” Hassebrook explained.

"In a time when federal dollars are scarce we are sending precious government resources to large and highly profitable agribusinesses while cutting food assistance to needy children and environmental protections for soil, water, and wildlife," said Craig Cox, senior vice president of agriculture and natural resources at Environmental Working Group. "It is simply irresponsible to send unlimited subsidies to farm businesses that can easily afford to pay more of the cost for their crop insurance - 26 mega farms received over a million dollars apiece per year in crop insurance subsidies in 2011.”

The joint letter also explains that capping individual premium subsidies and setting income limits will not deny farmers access to needed risk protection.  And it is important to note that such a policy would not deny or cap insurance payments (indemnities) to farms facing losses.  Rather, it would limit subsidies on the front end for payment of premiums. These subsidies are highest in the best of times because it costs more to insure a crop at market value when its price is high.

“Federal crop insurance is a valuable tool for producers – one which we support.  Farmers need to be able to manage risks of failed crops and low prices to maintain their farms from year to year,” said Chuck Hassebrook of the Center for Rural Affairs. “But the emergence of crop insurance as the primary element of farm policy requires that it be subject to payment limitations and eligibility requirements, just like traditional farm programs.”

 
ISU Scott County Extension & Outreach PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Amanda Heitz   
Friday, 15 June 2012 08:05

 
Food Reps Impressed by U.S. Soy Sustainability Practices PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by United Soybean Board   
Wednesday, 13 June 2012 13:18
Soy Checkoff Conveys U.S. Soybean Farmers’ Commitment to Stewardship

ST. LOUIS (June 13, 2012) – Most U.S. soybean farmers know they employ sustainable farming methods, such as conservation tillage, cover crops and tactics that help minimize nutrient runoff. Now a group of representatives from global food companies know it, too.

The United Soybean Board (USB) and soy checkoff’s Sustainability Initiative recently organized an educational series of U.S. farm tours through three states that showed five food-industry employees firsthand what U.S. soybean farmers do to keep improving their farm’s sustainability performance. The companies represented included Kellogg’s, Kraft, Sodexo and Unilever, which together use a total of about 3.5 billion pounds of soybean oil annually.

“As a food company, we’re dependent upon the sustainability of farmers and want to promote their efforts,” says Sherilyn Brodersen, Kraft Foods’ sustainable agriculture lead for the Americas. “There are so many progressive measures farmers have taken, and I’ll take that information back to my company, share those stories and help increase consumers’ awareness.”

The food industry remains by far the biggest user of U.S. soy oil, consuming more than 80 percent of it every year. And the importance the food industry and consumers place on using sustainably sourced ingredients continues to grow.

The program took participants to farms in three large and diverse soybean-producing states – Illinois, Iowa and Nebraska – and showed them a large array of farm-management practices used today. Participants learned about strip tilling, how technology can improve efficiency, methods to remove nutrients from runoff water and more.

“Many people don’t realize how high of a priority U.S. farmers place on being good stewards of our resources,” says Nebraska soybean farmer Mike Thede, team lead for the checkoff’s Sustainability Initiative. “I think it’s important to show people how common these practices are among farmers and how we’re always looking to improve even more.”

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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Agricultural Secretary Vilsack: Farm Exports Are Creating Jobs and Growing the Rural Economy PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by USDA Communications   
Wednesday, 13 June 2012 08:24

DES MOINES, Iowa, June 12, 2012–Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today met with business and community leaders to discuss how continuing demand for American food and agricultural products abroad has led to the three best consecutive years for U.S. farm exports in our nation's history. Vilsack said the success of American agriculture is a positive economic story that is creating jobs in rural America and benefitting people around the world. Vilsack also highlighted a report released this week by the White House Rural Council and the U.S. Department of Agriculture which notes progress that has been made in the agricultural economy and details steps the Obama Administration has taken to help strengthen the farm economy and support jobs in rural America.

"In 2010, President Obama committed to doubling U.S. exports in five years, and just two years later, we are on pace to meet that goal," said Vilsack. "Meanwhile, people around the world continue to demand U.S. food and agricultural products, boosting American businesses and supporting our rural communities. To ensure these successes continue, USDA has aggressively worked to expand export opportunities and reduce barriers to trade. Less restrictions abroad, stronger trade deals for U.S. agriculture, and greater export assistance for U.S. businesses supports more than 1 million Americans jobs in industries from packing and shipping, to food processing, to transportation. This is an American-made success story worth sharing with our friends, family and neighbors."

Speaking to business leaders in Iowa, one of the nation's most productive agricultural economies, Vilsack pointed to the state's low unemployment rate of 5.1 percent as proof of agriculture's success story. Last year, Iowa exported a record $7 billion in agricultural products, which supported nearly 60,000 jobs on and off the farm. Thus far in 2012, the state's farm exports show a 15-percent gain over last year's record total.

Vilsack also highlighted a joint report released this week by the White House Rural Council and USDA, which notes how the President's National Export Initiative has opened new markets for U.S. agricultural products and services and contributed to a historic level of agricultural exports. Other highlights from the report include:

  • Innovation: Innovation in U.S. agriculture has kept America's farms among the most productive in the world. U.S. farm sector income reached a nominal record of $98.1 billion in 2011. Adjusting for general inflation, real farm income in 2011 recorded its 3rd highest level in the last 50 years.
  • Clean Energy: The Administration has pursued polices that promote domestic energy alternatives like biofuels, bioenergy, and wind power to provide new opportunities for farmers, ranchers, and forest managers. Pursuit of an all-of-the-above clean energy and energy efficiency strategy saved Americans a projected 6.5 billion kWh - enough energy to power over 590,000 homes for a year - and nearly doubled the amount of installed wind energy generation in the U.S. over the past three years from about 25,000 MW in 2008 to 47,000 MW in 2011.
  • New Industries: The Administration has supported new industry diversification within the agricultural economy. The retail value of the organic industry grew to $31.4 billion in 2011, up from $21.1 billion in 2008. The number of operations certified organic grew by 1,109 - or more than 6% - between 2009 and 2011.
  • Community Investment: The rural economy has been strengthened by investments in over 6,250 new community facilities. Additionally, over the last three years, 12,000 USDA grants and loans have been issued to assist over 50,000 rural small businesses.

Just a few weeks ago, USDA forecast 2012 farm exports to reach the second highest level on record, after 2011, making the past three years the strongest collective performance in our nation's history. Today, only 1 percent of U.S. companies export, and yet 95 percent of the world's consumers live outside the borders of the United States, creating significant opportunities for U.S. food and agriculture.

Responding to that demand since 2009, U.S. farmers and ranchers have delivered three of the four highest levels of U.S. agricultural exports in American history. In fiscal year 2012, the latest forecast sees $134.5 billion in U.S. farm exports, the second highest level ever and $3.5 billion greater than the previous forecast. And Vilsack said he expects new trade agreements with South Korea, Panama and the European Union to deliver even greater returns for U.S. businesses.

Vilsack said USDA is committed to expanding export opportunities for all producers. When asked about outcomes of USDA's March trade mission to China—the department's largest trade mission to date—he highlighted that the delegation included 39 U.S. companies, representatives from six state departments of agriculture, and achieved nearly $2 million in immediate sales.

In terms of new agreements beyond South Korea and Columbia, Vilsack pointed out a recent, major partnership with the potential for substantial returns: the United States and European Union equivalency arrangement for organic agricultural goods. The U.S. and EU are the world's largest producers of organics, said Vilsack, and estimates show the market for U.S. organics sales to the EU could grow substantially within the first few years of this arrangement. Moreover, the arrangement will provide expanded market access, reduce duplicative requirements and reduce certification costs while protecting organic integrity.

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