News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Heather Lilienthal   
Friday, 06 July 2012 13:49

Drought-like conditions taking toll on Iowa crops

WEST DES MOINES, IOWA – July 6, 2012 – While Midwest corn and soybean crops are wilting from several days of triple-digit temperatures, shoppers wonder if they’ll feel the heat of rising food prices later this year.

Economists say even with corn prices climbing to $7 per bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade yesterday, farmers are facing challenging times because the prolonged heat stress has diminished anticipated yields.  Those higher corn prices will also put a pinch on livestock farmers who purchase grains for animal feed. That, in turn, could transpire to higher prices for items such as meat, dairy and eggs at the grocery store.

“Food prices won’t jump immediately because of these daily swings in the market caused by reactions to the weather, but there are those trickle-down consequences,” said Dave Miller, director of research and commodity services at the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation. “That trickle-down is felt when supplies are tight and prices rise for several sectors of the farm economy, from processors to grain elevators to feed and ethanol plants. Those higher costs are shared down the chain.”

Iowa farmers have been discussing the situation in a number of media outlets. Go to to see their interviews and perspectives.

Markets will be eyeing the next U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) crop production report released next Wednesday. But, even though the USDA confirmed that more acres are planted to corn and soybeans, prices for these crops are skyrocketing as hot, dry weather persists across much of the corn and soybean growing areas.  In the past two weeks, conditions have deteriorated remarkably:

  • Corn classified as “good to excellent” condition dropped from 67 percent to 62 percent in Iowa. Nationally, “good to excellent”-rated corn has fallen from 63 percent to 48 percent.
  • “Good to excellent” soybeans in Iowa dropped from 63 percent to 59 percent. Nationally, soybeans in this category dipped from 56 percent to 45 percent.
  • The amount of crop classified as “very poor to poor” for both corn and soybeans now stands at 22 percent.

Prices for crops have been on the climb and markets may swing next week. This sharp rally in corn and soybean prices is having some negative impacts on users of grains and oilseeds.  Several ethanol plants have closed as processing margins have turned negative and some livestock feeders are beginning to liquidate breeding stock in response to sharply higher feed prices and mounting losses on feeding livestock.

These price swings and other ag-related risk management topics will be discussed at the Iowa Farm Bureau Economic Summit, to be held July 23-24 in Ames.  U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will provide the summit's keynote address on July 24.  For more information and to register, visit



Farm Progress Launches Drought Monitor Website PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by   
Friday, 06 July 2012 13:27
Farm Progress Develops Online Drought Update Information Resource

As drought threatens crops across the Midwest and beyond, Farm Progress is channeling its extensive ag information resources into a one-stop online drought update reference at The site provides daily updates on the developing drought impact

ST. CHARLES, ILL., 07-06-2012 - The growing threat of drought across the Midwest is cutting into crop yields and raising concerns for growers, including areas that have had recent rains. has been developed by Farm Progress to provide coverage of the unfolding drought conditions; the website provides drought news from its family of local state and regional agricultural magazines, along with Farm Futures, the nation's leading magazine serving large-scale ag producers. includes a daily updated video. Most video segments will include a summary hosted by Max Armstrong, Farm Progress broadcast director, and news articles from Farm Progress' extensive staff of editors located throughout the nation.

"In six minutes you can watch the video posted on and get the full agricultural drought impact across the nation," said Willie Vogt, Farm Progress editorial director. "Max Armstrong will host many of the daily updated videos and three times each week we'll feature Greg Soulje with the weather perspective and Bryce Knorr will provide daily market impact coverage."

In the video, Armstrong gives the daily drought news overview, Greg Soulje, This Week In Agribusiness agricultural meteorologist, covers the drought progress across the Corn Belt and Bryce Knorr, Farm Futures senior editor, provides insight on how the drought is impacting the commodity markets.

In addition to the video, the site features detailed reports from individual states and regions covered by Farm Progress' award-winning on-staff editorial team; the company's editors live and work near the readers they serve. Currently the provides 17 geographical report areas; additional areas will be added, if the drought progresses.

Farm Progress' editorial tradition is one of excellence and one that is trusted and relied upon by this nation's farmers and ranchers. A credo our editors and everyone in our organization takes very seriously. The extensive Farm Progress network of 32 on-staff editors give our publications "on the ground clout" unequalled by other ag media organizations. It's all part of Farm Progress' position as the industry's Agricultural Information Leader™.


News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Laurie Johns   
Friday, 06 July 2012 13:12

IFBF Economist Says Farmers Need to Identify Signals & Opportunity

WEST DES MOINES, IOWA – July 5, 2012 – Fluctuating commodity prices, drought-stressed crops and global concern over lingering European debt, all play a role in the economic future of the Iowa farmer.  Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF), Iowa’s largest grassroots farm organization, is bringing national experts to the Iowa State Center Scheman Building in Ames July 23-24 to help farmers manage the incredible economic risks involved in farming today and identify new opportunities.

“Last week’s sharp moves in corn and soybean markets are a clear indication the volatility is likely to stick around until harvest or beyond, Dave Miller, IFBF research & commodity services director, said. “The market was expecting a big crop, maybe the largest corn crop ever, but with the hot, dry weather hanging on, that is now in doubt,” he said.

Other influences, such as the falling price of crude oil, the EU debt crisis and very low interest rates, are also having an impact on farm commodity markets and farmers’ risk profiles, Miller said. “There are just dozens of ways now that we see risks being accentuated and we want farmers to be aware of those.”

One example he noted is the recent jump in corn prices along with a slump in oil prices that has put a financial squeeze on ethanol makers and caused some plants to temporarily shut down. “In the long run, that could hurt corn demand,” he said.

The continued viability of the ethanol industry will be just one topic discussed at the IFBF Economic Summit July 23-24.  U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will provide the summit’s keynote address on July 24.  Many other key players in the nation’s economic future are also on the Summit agenda: Economist Danny Klinefelter of Texas A&M University and Jeff Plagge, president-elect of the American Bankers Association, to Iowa State University weather expert Elwynn Taylor, a panel of D.C. experts from the Senate and House Ag Committees and Daniel Mitchell of the D.C. ‘think tank,’ the CATO Institute.  For a complete listing of the panelists and schedule, click here.

While the summit will concentrate on managing risk, it will also explore future economic opportunities for farmers. “Just because there is a lot of risk, it doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot of opportunity out there now,” Miller said. “It’s important for a farmer to know the signals of change, to have a plan to cope with change and to have the proper capital structure in place to be able to thrive in this volatile climate.”

The price of the two-day summit is $50 for Iowa Farm Bureau members and $150 for non-members.  Information about the summit, lodging and online registration forms can be found at

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About Iowa Farm Bureau

The Iowa Farm Bureau Federation is a grassroots, statewide organization dedicated to enhancing the People, Progress and Pride of Iowa.  More than 153,000 families in Iowa are Farm Bureau members, working together to achieve farm and rural prosperity.  For more information about Farm Bureau and agriculture, visit the online Newsroom page at

News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Heather Lilienthal   
Friday, 06 July 2012 10:25

WEST DES MOINES, IOWA – July 5, 2012 – A love for farming and serving farmers has earned LDJ Manufacturing in Pella the Iowa Farm Bureau Renew Rural Iowa entrepreneur of the month award.

“We’ve always loved agriculture and it’s always been a part of our lives,” explained Loren Van Wyk, founder of the fuel and service trailer manufacturing business. “We’ve also always loved to build things and improve things to make farming a better way of life.”

After farming for a number of years in Marion County, Loren and his wife, Jean, started LDJ Manufacturing in 1995; building and selling trailers that could deliver fuel to farm equipment in the field. But, after carefully listening to their customers, the Van Wyks enhanced their units to allow the trailers to deliver fuel and offer storage for generators, tools, welders and more.

“Every farmer has had a dream about having a shop in the field,” said Luke Van Wyk, Loren’s son and LDJ general manager. “We knew we could improve our products and meet those needs in a nice, neat package.”

The company employs 61 people and is growing, bringing additional jobs and revenue to the area. The Van Wyks credit many partners with their success, including Iowa State University’s Center for Industrial Research and Service.  The company was nominated for the award by the Iowa Area Development Group and Pella Electric Cooperative, two businesses assisting with LDJ’s current expansion.

Mary Van Zante, a Pella-area farmer and Marion County Farm Bureau president, applauds the service LDJ Manufacturing provides to farmers and the jobs created for the county. “I believe that LDJ Manufacturing is the sort of company that any rural community would be happy to welcome,” she said.

Renew Rural Iowa (RRI) is an Iowa Farm Bureau Federation initiative supporting new and existing businesses through education, mentoring and financial resources. To learn more, visit


About Iowa Farm Bureau

The Iowa Farm Bureau Federation is a grassroots, statewide organization dedicated to enhancing the People, Progress and Pride of Iowa.  More than 153,000 families in Iowa are Farm Bureau members, working together to achieve farm and rural prosperity.  For more information about Farm Bureau and agriculture, visit the online Newsroom page at

News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Heather Lilienthal   
Tuesday, 03 July 2012 09:42

Award honors achievement, leadership, commitment to ag, community

WEST DES MOINES, IOWA – July 3, 2012 – It’s one thing to succeed in agriculture and another to be honored for excellence. Each year, the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) recognizes one young farmer with the Excellence in Ag Award at the IFBF annual meeting in December.

Counties can nominate young Farm Bureau members online at and click on the Bob Joslin Award link. Nominations are due Aug. 31.

The award celebrates a young farmer who demonstrates outstanding leadership qualities in Farm Bureau, agriculture and his/her community. Jay Lynch, a grain farmer from Humboldt, was last year’s winner.

“It’s quite an honor, especially because I give Farm Bureau a lot of credit for getting me actively involved,” Lynch said. “Hopefully, I’ll have done enough good to offset some of what they’ve given to me.”

The Joslin Award winner receives a plaque, a $750 gift card from GROWMARK and expense-paid trips to the American Farm Bureau annual meeting in Nashville, the GROWMARK annual meeting in Chicago and the IFBF Young Farmer conference in West Des Moines.

The Excellence in Ag Award is given in memory of Bob Joslin, who served as IFBF president from January 1986 to December 1987 and was known for his support and encouragement of young farmers.


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