Braley Op-Ed: Listening Closely to Improve the Farm Bill PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Jeff Giertz   
Friday, 18 May 2012 14:17

By: Rep. Bruce Braley

The Farm Bill is arguably the single most important piece of federal legislation that affects Iowa jobs and the Iowa economy.  From renewable energy to conservation programs, from crop insurance to agricultural research and rural development, the Farm Bill has an enormous impact on our state.  There just isn’t much that the Farm Bill doesn’t touch here in Iowa.

Every five years, Congress has the opportunity to improve the Farm Bill so that it more effectively enables American farmers to provide for themselves and produce high quality, affordable food for Americans and people all over the world.  The current Farm Bill expires on September 30th of this year, meaning Congress is due to debate and pass a new bill this summer.

I’ve embarked on a series of Farm Bill listening sessions with the USDA’s Iowa Rural Development Director, Bill Menner, in communities across eastern Iowa to listen to Iowans and get their feedback on what needs to be included in this important bill.  Maybe I’ve already seen you in Independence, Vinton, Marengo, Grinnell, Toledo, or Marshalltown.  Or maybe I’ll see you soon in your area.

I’ve gotten a lot of good feedback from the sessions already.

I’ve heard a lot about the recent successes of Iowa’s agriculture economy.  Even in the face of the economic downturn that began in 2009, U.S. farm exports have enjoyed double digit gains every year. American agricultural exports to China alone have increased by 50% since the last Farm Bill in 2008.   In 2011 agricultural trade resulted in a net positive balance of nearly $43 billion, and total exports are expected to exceed $136 billion in 2012.  So the next Farm Bill must ensure our farmers are able to continue working in the face of market fluctuations, to both safeguard our domestic food supply but also to sustain this growing international competitiveness.

Another frequent concern is the crop insurance program.  In 2011, devastating flooding on the Missouri River caused an estimated $207 million in losses for Iowa farmers in just six counties along the river. Cases like this highlight the importance of crop insurance in protecting farmers during unexpected catastrophes.  Maintaining and strengthening the crop insurance program is important to many, many Iowans.

Congress has a lot of work to do to create a bill that will benefit both producers and consumers by the September 30th deadline, but doing nothing is just not acceptable.  There’s a lot of division and disagreement in Washington, but the Farm Bill isn’t a political game.  Both parties in Congress should rally around farmers and agree on a Farm Bill framework that expands opportunities in the growing agriculture industry.

In the meantime, I hope to see you at my Farm Bill listening sessions in the near future.

# # #

See for Yourself Participants Will See Checkoff in Action in 2012 PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by United Soybean Board   
Friday, 18 May 2012 13:46
United Soybean Board announces participants for annual program
ST. LOUIS (May 16, 2012) – What happens to U.S. soybeans after farmers unload their trucks at local grain elevators or processors? A group of U.S. soybean farmers are about to find out. The United Soybean Board (USB)/soy checkoff has selected 10 farmer-participants for the 2012 See for Yourself program, which will give attendees a firsthand look at how and where their soybeans are being used both domestically and internationally. The program, which also offers farmer participants an opportunity to evaluate specific, checkoff-funded research and promotional activities, will be held August 5-11 in St. Louis and Guanajuato, Mexico.

The soy checkoff selected 10 farmers who applied to take part in the fifth annual See for Yourself program. These farmer-participants will see their checkoff dollars in action by visiting a number of sites related to the national soy checkoff objectives to improve the value of U.S. soybean meal and oil, ensure the industry and soy customers have the freedom and infrastructure to operate, and meet the needs of U.S. soy customers. The locations will also demonstrate USB’s work to protect and support animal agriculture and increase public and private investment in transportation infrastructure.

Rick Stern, USB Audit & Evaluation program chair and a soybean farmer from Cream Ridge, N.J., believes the See for Yourself program helps inform farmers about the checkoff and allows them to evaluate and provide feedback on checkoff-funded programs. “There’s no better way to show someone the value of their investment than to show them the results firsthand,” Stern says.

For example, participants will learn about the use of soy biodiesel at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport, tour a barge-loading facility and visit a laboratory to see soy research taking place, all before heading to the number one market for U.S. soybean meal – Mexico. While south of the U.S. border, participants will get a firsthand look at a large user of U.S. soy in the central Mexican state of Guanajuato.

The following U.S. soybean farmers will participate in the 2012 See for Yourself program:

•    Cory Atkins, Seaford, Del. •    Jonathan Miller, Island, Ky.
•    Timothy Clark, Lomira, Wis. •    Doug Singleteary, Bogota, Tenn.
•    Stephanie Essick, Dickens, Iowa •    Kristina Sutton, Potosi, Mo.
•    Andrew Fabin, Indiana, Pa. •    Craig Williams, Oaktown, Ind.
•    David Foster, Fort Scott, Kan. •    John Yeargin, Greenfield, Tenn

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
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Braley Hosts Farm Bill Listening Sessions in Independence, Vinton, Marengo, and Grinnell PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Jeff Giertz   
Tuesday, 15 May 2012 08:41

Braley seeking feedback from Iowans as Congress takes up Farm Bill this year

Waterloo, IA – Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) traveled to Independence, Vinton, Marengo, and Grinnell today as part of a two day series of listening sessions focused on the upcoming Farm Bill.

Bill Menner, Iowa Rural Development state director for the US Department of Agriculture, joined Braley at the events.  Braley and Menner will travel to Toledo and Marshalltown on Monday, May 14th, to continue the series of Farm Bill listening sessions.

“The Farm Bill is the single most important piece of legislation this year that affects Iowa jobs and the Iowa economy,” Braley said.  “From renewable energy to conservation programs, from crop insurance to agricultural research and rural development, the Farm Bill has a huge impact on our state.  It’s my job to listen to Iowans and get their feedback on what needs to be included in this important bill.  I’m working to make the Farm Bill a job creator in Iowa.”


The Farm Bill listening session events were free and open to the public.

The current Farm Bill expires on September 30th of this year.  If Congress fails to act by that date, existing agricultural programs will end and America’s farm policy will revert to the programs outlined in the 1949 Farm Bill – legislation written more than 60 years ago.

Last month, the US Senate passed a draft Farm Bill out of the Agriculture Committee – a significant step forward toward getting a bill passed this year.  The US House has not yet seen significant action on a Farm Bill.

# # #

News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Laurie Johns   
Monday, 14 May 2012 13:17

WEST DES MOINES, IOWA – May 10, 2012 – Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF), the largest grassroots farm organization in the state, applauds Iowa lawmakers for measures passed this year which protect property owners, increase conservation funding and protect responsible Iowa livestock farmers from fraud.

Several measures passed in this legislative session that impact property taxes paid by landowners and homeowners.  IFBF applauds two legislative issues that directly impact property owners including a combined $27 million increase to the homestead property tax credit and ag land and family farm property tax credit, providing for direct property tax relief,”  said IFBF President Craig Hill, a Milo crop and livestock farmer.  Additionally, the legislature reinstated the statewide dollar cap to ensure that property tax contributions to the mental health system remain limited and controlled.  “These efforts, along with fully funding the legislature’s K-12 education commitments, provide protections for property taxpayers and assure limited and controlled use of property tax dollars for these services.”

While IFBF had several priority issues win bi-partisan approval in the 2012 legislative session, members are particularly pleased to see increased conservation and water quality cost-share funding for programs which are currently experiencing a backlog of unfunded projects.  “Farm Bureau members are pleased that lawmakers decided to increase state funding for incentive-based, voluntary conservation and water quality programs, including the Ag Drainage Well Closure program.  Farmers know a ‘one size fits all’ approach doesn’t work when it comes to conservation measures, but they do know what works best on their land.  Conservation measures such as buffer strips, terracing and other soil-protection and water quality measures have helped Iowa farmers reduce erosion by more than 30 percent since 1982, but requests for cost-share dollars to implement them have been grossly underfunded,” said Hill.   The increase in the Ag Drainage Well Closure program and Conservation Cost-Share program will translate into enhanced water quality and soil conservation in Iowa.

Another high priority issue for Iowa family farmers which won passage in the 2012 legislature was the Agriculture Protection Bill.  The bi-partisan House File (HF) 589 creates penalties for those who fraudulently gain access to a farm with the intent to cause harm.   “It’s about misrepresentation of character,” said Hill.  “Good farmers don’t want to think that someone is sitting on the sidelines, watching bad things happen, just because they have some covert motive.”   HF 589 creates new penalties for those who make false statements to gain access to a farm, or misrepresent themselves on an employment application to hide their intended misconduct or purpose.   It also penalizes organizations or persons who aid or abet someone who misrepresented facts to gain access to a crop or livestock farm.

Farm Bureau members will continue to work towards improving Iowa’s infrastructure, an area which was not addressed by this year’s legislature.  “Many of Iowa’s roads and bridges are in need of significant structural improvements, and we continue to fall further behind every year.  Clearly, this problem will not go away without additional funding; that’s why Farm Bureau members have identified a fuel tax increase as the most equitable, feasible funding method,” said Hill.


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 media room at

ISU Extension and Outreach Calendar PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Amanda Heitz   
Monday, 14 May 2012 13:14

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