News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Heather Lilienthal   
Monday, 02 July 2012 12:42

Former Hawkeye standout, NFL playmaker supports ANF

WEST DES MOINES, IOWA – July 2, 2012 – Dallas Clark, a small-town Iowa boy who’s made it big in the National Football League, is teaming up with the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) and the University of Iowa (UI) to promote the America Needs Farmers (ANF) campaign.

It’s all about Iowa pride for Clark.

“I really respect and have a lot of pride in the values that farmers have, and the values of Iowa and the values of community, and that’s what Farm Bureau represents,” said Clark, a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this season. “I’m thrilled to be part of this initiative and believe in the importance of farming and the effects it has on our communities and the world.”

Clark joins an impressive list of former Hawkeye players who support ANF, a campaign launched by legendary Hawkeye coach Hayden Fry in 1985 during the Farm Crisis. The ANF emblem is displayed on Hawkeye football players’ helmets today.

With most people two to three generations removed from the family farm, IFBF and UI joined forces to promote the ANF message and talk to consumers about the food, fuel and fiber raised by farmers.

The ANF campaign continues to create excitement with the 2012 Hawkeye football season drawing closer.

  • ANF, Iowa football players and farmers will be featured at Farm Bureau Park, located on the Grand Concourse at the Iowa State Fair, Aug. 9-19. Visitors can register for prizes, play games and learn more about farming.
  • “ANF Day at Kinnick” will be held Oct. 20 at the Iowa versus Penn State night game.  The day will feature pre-game events featuring Iowa farmers and an autograph session with former Hawkeye greats.
  • Kinnick Stadium visitors can see ANF Plaza and the Wall of Fame, located between the stadium’s west grandstand and the north grandstand.
  • ANF merchandise is for sale at Farm Bureau members can take advantage of special discounts throughout the year at
  • The website features fun facts, trivia, ANF events and comments from former University of Iowa football players who proudly wore the ANF on their game helmets during their playing days at the UI.



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 center at

Branstad names Steven K. Ferguson executive director of the Iowa Agricultural Development Authority PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Office of the Governor of Iowa, Terry Branstad   
Monday, 02 July 2012 10:46

(DES MOINES) – Gov. Terry Branstad today named Steven K. Ferguson the new executive director of the Iowa Agricultural Development Authority. Ferguson begins his new position on Monday, July 9.

Ferguson most recently served as the director of international programs at the Greater Des Moines Partnership. He has also worked at Bankers Trust in Des Moines, F&M Bank in Newton, the American Soybean Association, USDA Rural Development and the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.

“Steven will be a tremendous executive director, and brings with him significant skills gained in a variety of different financial and agricultural positions,” said Branstad.

The Iowa Agricultural Development Authority was created by the Iowa General Assembly in 1980 to provide financial assistance to Iowa’s grain and livestock producers.

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Gov. Branstad and Lt. Gov. Reynolds release statements on farm inspections PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Iowa Governor's Office   
Monday, 02 July 2012 10:05

(DES MOINES) – Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, today, issued statements commending Department of Public Safety Commissioner Larry Noble for stopping illegal farm inspections.

Commissioner Noble issued an order on June 22, 2012 making it clear that his department would not conduct farm inspections, except as required by Iowa law. Inspections of farm homes and farm buildings open to the public will continue as required by law.

On January 23rd of this year, Gov. Branstad formally objected to an overbearing rule by the Electrical Examining Board mandating farm inspections by regulation, even though Iowa law does not require them.

Governor Branstad released the following statement:

“The Electrical Examining Board went beyond their statutory authority. Their overreaching rule required a state inspection for any electrical work on farm buildings or structures, even though the legislature provided a common sense exception for farmers in the law. This rule is unnecessary and costly, and it was created by a board that did not have the authority to create it. This power-grab by the Electrical Examining Board hurts hard-working Iowa farmers and the Iowa economy,” said Branstad.

“I am glad that that DPS has taken this action to stop this regulatory overreach that hurts hard-working Iowa farmers.  Iowa farmers have safely conducted electrical work on their barns, grain bins and outbuildings for years.  They’ve hired experienced electrical contractors and licensed professionals who don’t need the state looking over their shoulders. Overreaching regulation by the Electrical Examining Board hasn’t changed that.  Farmers still have qualified people do their electrical work.  But, the rule added another significant expense to farmers’ projects and caused delays lasting days or weeks that are especially costly when livestock are involved—or during busy times of the crop year. Now, with the action by Commissioner Noble, it is clear that these overreaching inspections will no longer be forced on farmers.”

Lt. Gov. Reynolds released the following statement:

“Over-reaching rules hurt economic opportunities in agriculture and job growth in Iowa. Our administration is committed to regulatory reform. We know that small businesses, including farmers, are the greatest generators of job growth and are also disproportionately burdened by regulations. I applaud today’s action by Commissioner Noble.”

The full text of the Governor’s Objection can be found below:

January 23, 2012

Commissioner Larry Noble

Iowa Department of Public Safety

Department of Public Safety Headquarters Building

215 E . 7th Street

Des Moines, IA 50319

Dear Commissioner Noble:

I object to the portions of Iowa Admin. Code r. 661-551.2 and 661-552.1 which regulate electrical installations on farms as defined in Iowa Code §103.1.  These filings were adopted by the Electrical Examining Board and published as part of ARC 7346B in XXXI IAB 11 (11-19-2008) and ARC 8396B in XXXII IAB 13 (12-16-2009), respectively.

The Electrical Examining Board has gone beyond their statutory authority.  Iowa Code chapter 103 does not grant authority to the Electrical Examining Board to adopt rules to regulate electrical installations on farms by requiring a request for an inspection, a permit and/or an inspection. I find that the Electrical Examining Board went beyond the authority delegated to the agency when it included farm electrical installations within the definition of a “commercial installation” in Iowa Admin. Code r. 661-551.2.  I further object to that portion of the second sentence of exception 1 to Iowa Admin. Code r. 661-552.1(1) which requires a state electrical permit and/or an electrical inspection for a farm electrical installation as it is beyond the delegated authority of the agency.

The permit and inspection requirements for electrical installations on farms are unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious for several reasons.  These rules increase the regulatory burden on farms and farmers.   This power-grab by the Electrical Examining Board hurts hard-working Iowa farmers.  It leads to unwanted government intrusion.  It imposes the very costs on farmers that the legislature intended to protect them from when it created common-sense exemption for farmers.  (2007 Iowa Acts, chapter 197).  This rule hurts the opportunity of hard-working Iowa farmers to earn a living, free from undue bureaucratic interference.  These over-reaching rules harm economic opportunities in agriculture and job growth in Iowa.

The portions of the Iowa Administrative Code r. 661-551.2 and 661-552.1 as described herein, are deemed to be unreasonable, arbitrary, capricious, or otherwise beyond the authority delegated to the agency.  This letter constitutes notification of my objection to the above referenced rules as required by Iowa Code §17A.4(6).

Certified as a true and correct copy of my objection this 23rd day of January 2012, by:

Terry E. Branstad, Governor

Six Iowa Farm Families to be Recognized at the Iowa State Fair PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Lori Chappell   
Thursday, 28 June 2012 14:08

DES MOINES, IA (06/28/2012)(readMedia)-- Six Iowa farm families will be honored as recipients of The Way We Live Award at the 2012 Iowa State Fair. Each family will be recognized for their love of the land and the product they produce in an individual award ceremony during the Fair. "Nothing Compares" to the Iowa State Fair, set for August 9-19.

The Way We Live Award recognizes industrious Iowa families who demonstrate a daily dedication to animal agriculture and exemplify farm values derived from hard work and a love for the occupation of farming. Entrants were asked to submit a short essay describing how living on a farm and choosing the occupation of farming has shaped their family's life. Six recipients of the award were chosen from a pool of 75 entries representing a variety of commodities and locations throughout Iowa.

Each family will receive a prize package including $250 cash, Fair admission tickets, parking, Fair food tickets, and recognition in the Paul R. Knapp Animal Learning Center during the Fair. The Way We Live Award is sponsored by NewsRadio 1040 WHO and Tractor Supply Company.

Benning Family


Keith and Dar Benning live on the same farm now that they bought when they got married. Instead of attending college, Keith followed in his father's footsteps and pursued the farm life. Keith and Dar's three children did the same, and each of them were involved in 4-H and FFA in high school and showed at the Fair. Their two sons, Brad and Darin, have married and started families of their own, with both of their young sons already eager to join the farming operation.

Brad moved into his grandparent's house near Keith and Dar. Darin bought land close by and built a house. Between the three farms, they own 1400 acres, with four hog confinement barns, cattle and chickens. Keith, Brad and Darin work in the fields, keep up with maintenance and tend to the livestock. Dar and her two daughters-in-law help out with yard work, cooking and raising their young families. To the Bennings, farming is life and there is no other career they would rather be doing.

Henry Family


Keith and Marie Henry not only share their love of farming with their own family, but they also open their home to share that love and understanding with others in their community. After over 25 years of marriage, they have established a farrowing operation and a several hundred acre farm. Keith has worked hard to establish a working relationship between his children and his father, Edwin Henry, and his uncle, Dale Henry. The multigenerational knowledge that flows between these three generations benefits all. The farrowing is done in conjunction with a family farm operation that includes cattle, hogs and crops. Keith and his children provide all the labor hours that are necessary to maintain the farm. As one of the few farrowing operations in Warren County, Keith has done all he can to promote this practice with other county youth.

Keith and Marie also spend their time teaching children who don't live on farms about agriculture. They volunteer to lead 4-H clubs and help with the Warren County Fair, and their four children (Lexie, Allison, Megan and Jordan) are all award winning members of 4-H and FFA and are working toward degrees in farming careers. The children are an intricate part of this operation and have serious responsibilities on the farm. Keith and Marie took their love for the farming community to a new level when their church, Farmers Chapel, burned down. They led the effort to rebuild the church and dedicated their time to those around them. The Henrys believe it is important to help involve the community in understanding what it means to farm and how important it is to our country.

Olthoff Family


Several years ago Bart Olthoff worked as a lab technician at the National Animal Disease Center in Ames and Katie, his wife, worked as a teacher. They had a desire to raise their children in the country but had no set plan. The opportunity to buy a turkey farm came up in 2009 and the couple couldn't pass it up. Bart's dad and grandfather had raised turkeys but timing did not allow Bart to continue in the turkey business. Since 2009, they have been living in the country raising their two children, Adam (3) and Isaac (1).

Although they are new to the farm world, Bart and Katie are fully embracing their new country life. Bart built tunnel ventilated turkey barns, using the latest energy efficiency and technology to keep his turkeys comfortable and well cared for. Bart and Katie hosted an open house with the Coalition to Support Iowa's Farmers to celebrate the third generation of the family turkey farm. Katie has a blog (, Facebook page and Twitter account to connect with people and educate them about her farm life, family and home. "There are lots of risks involved, but we feel that the financial benefits are nothing compared to raising our kids on a farm in this lifestyle," says Katie. Katie is also participating in a volunteer program called Common Ground, a social media effort sponsored by the United Soybean Board and the National Corn Growers Association, where she connects with other moms through social media and to answer questions about how farmers grow our food.

Ronnebaum Family


For more than 30 years, Delbert and Darlene Ronnebaum farmed land that's been in their family since 1941. It's where they raised their five children, taught them about agriculture and dairy farming and built such close bonds with neighbors that they're considered family. Today all of their children live within five miles of the two family farms and are passing down the farming knowledge to their own kids.

Delbert has been a long-time member of the American Legion Post 136 in Dyersville and was awarded the Delaware County Distinguished Dairy Farmer Award in 2009. In addition to helping Delbert with both farms, Darlene also has worked at the Good Neighbor Home in Manchester for 23 years as a nurse.

The Ronnebaums were nominated by their neighbor, Jill Lantermans. "Having grown up on a dairy farm next to one of Delbert's farms, I've known his family my entire life," she says. "He's the first one to come pulling into your field if the rain is coming and you are frantically trying to finish your fieldwork. If there's something you need and he has it – it's yours. No questions asked. If someone has a fire, storm damage, is suffering with an illness or death in the family, he's there right away offering his help."

Sager Family


Mick and LaVon Sager both grew up on family farms in southwest Iowa, learning to care for beef, sheep and hogs, and maintaining the land for future generations. When it came time to raise a family of their own, they chose to raise their four children (Whitney, Heather, Jordan and Tucker) on the farm where Mick grew up. As a family, they care for their farm of 55 sheep, 38 feeder calves, 210 chickens, 20 turkeys and 2 llamas.

Sisters Whitney, Heather and Jordan have each begun raising their own sheep flock. They trade labor for feed from their dad to help lower their operation costs, and they have all earned the American FFA Degree for their sheep-raising efforts, the highest degree awarded by the FFA. Tucker began his own egg selling business. He sells more than 40 dozen eggs each week to local customers who are looking for farm fresh, free-range chicken eggs. Only when all the animals are fed and settled in for the night, does this farming family's day end.

Mick and LaVon, both former 4-H and FFA members, volunteer their time and leadership to the clubs their children are involved in. LaVon has served as a 4-H leader for the past 15 years and served as a fairgrounds committee member for 4 years. Together Mick and LaVon served as the county fair poultry superintendents for two consecutive years. The Sagers understand the important role today's youth play in the future of agriculture. The children are able to take the lessons they learned on the farm and apply those lessons in their everyday lives at school and work.

Kent Timmerman


Kent and Natasha Timmerman both grew up on farms, working alongside their dads when they were young. Natasha vowed she'd never marry a farmer but Kent changed her plans. Natasha met Kent in college and the two quickly immersed themselves in a farming life of their own. When Kent's dad died in a tragic ATV accident, Kent took over the whole farming operation and has managed it for the last 14 years. The couple bought Kent's grandfather's home and started a new generation of Timmerman cattlemen with their three children (Cole, Trey and Ally).

Kent's true passion is his cattle, and he takes every opportunity to share this love with his two boys. The boys have shown their bottle calves at the county fair for the past few years, and they help dad and ride along in the tractor. Kent is up at all hours checking calves, working the fields, baling hay or helping others in the community with their farms. Natasha is an elementary school teacher, and she makes sure her farm boys are well fed when she gets home. Kent Timmerman is dedicated to their herd of cattle and managing their crops.

"Nothing Compares" to the 2012 Iowa State Fair, August 9-19. For more information, call 800/545-FAIR or visit

Strategies to Manage Cows in Drought Conditions PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Amanda Heitz   
Thursday, 28 June 2012 14:06

As the drought continues, cattlemen need to look at numerous management practices to help stretch their feed supply and maintain performance and reproduction in the cow herd. Here are a few strategies that may help.

First, develop a plan before the drought conditions get any worse. How do you plan to provide emergency feed in the short-term, as well as winter feed in the longer term? This requires an inventory of feed currently available and an inventory of the cow herd. You can often purchase hay less expensively during the growing season than in the winter. You also have the option now to incorporate silage into your winter feed supply.

Second, give your pasture some rest. Consider splitting your pasture into smaller paddocks and sacrificing one to use with supplemental feed. Allowing the other paddocks to rest and regrow when rain occurs this fall will probably result in more fall forage available to the cow herd. Also rotational grazing reduces selectivity in a cow’s grazing habit, enhances forage utilization rate, and can improve pasture carrying capacity by 10 to 30%.

Consider weaning calves early. This will reduce the demand on the pasture forage by 25-35% and will reduce the nutritional demands of the cow by 30-40%. Creep feeding calves can help reduce the demand on the pasture slightly and will help prepare the young calf for weaning.

Cull all free-loader cows. Any late-calving cows, open cows, cows with feet, leg, and eye or udder problems should be sold immediately. Why waste precious feed on cows that don’t perform?

Finally, get your winter feeds lined up soon. Whether you need to locate a custom chopper or bagger to chop your silage, or you need to lay out fence for grazing standing corn, it is much easier to do now that at the last minute.

More information on cow management strategies during a drought, or forage planning, can be found on the Iowa Beef Center web site at or by calling the Benton County Extension office at 319-472-4739, or Denise Schwab, ISU Extension Beef Program Specialist, at 319-721-9624.


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