Taking the Challenge, Changing the Game PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by United Soybean Board   
Monday, 19 December 2011 16:09
EDITORIAL: Taking the Challenge, Changing the Game
By John Motter, United Soybean Board Farmer-Director

Like most industries, farming constantly evolves. And just like business owners factor different variables into their profitability, farmers must weigh each opportunity and consider how it would benefit our operations. 

Seed choice always plays a major factor in my decisions on the farm, but how often do we consider where the crops from those varieties end up? Demand for soy’s two processed components, protein and oil, plays the major role in the price paid per bushel. In the past, protein drove the cost of soybeans through meal for the poultry and livestock industries. Today, oil continues to gain its share of the price paid per bushel and remains an important factor in end-use markets.

A new soybean trait now being introduced in soybean seed varieties addresses improving soybean oil and making it more desirable to our No. 1 soybean oil customer: the food industry. This trait, known as high-oleic soy, helps meet consumer needs while driving demand for U.S. soy. It addresses long-term demand for healthier edible oils and positions soy competitively with other oils.

In recent years, soybean farmers have lost considerable oil demand to competitive oils. High-oleic soybeans provide the opportunity for me and other U.S. soybean farmers to reclaim that market share and positively impact our profit potential. In fact, this oil could help us recapture 3.8 million pounds of lost soybean-oil demand. That’s the oil from approximately 341 million bushels of soybeans

We must have end-use markets, but, as farmers, we also need our soybeans to perform so we have something to sell. The varieties featuring this trait should not lower your expectations in the field. Seed companies plan to offer the high-oleic trait in soybean varieties that span several maturity groups and offer a range of agronomic packages.

The high-oleic trait followed an extensive research timeline before commercialization. As a farmer who grew high-oleic soybean varieties this year, I saw that research pay off firsthand. The high-oleic soybeans performed right at my farm’s average, a victory for such a new trait.

As this trait becomes available in your area and with your seed brand, I encourage you to take the challenge and help meet our customers’ demands. We all need to step up and help change the game for U.S. soybean production.

John Motter is a soybean farmer from Jenera, Ohio, and serves as a director for the United Soybean Board and soybean checkoff.

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News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Heather Lilienthal   
Monday, 19 December 2011 13:06

WEST DES MOINES, IOWA – Dec. 9, 2011 – More than 1,000 Iowa Farm Bureau Federation members from across the state gathered at the Polk County Convention Center in Des Moines this week to recognize achievements in agriculture, explore their role in producing food for a hungry world and discuss the 2012 Farm Bill during the organization’s 93rd annual meeting.

A number of farmers were recognized for their accomplishments on their operations and within their communities and industry. Distinguished Service to Agriculture awards were given to central Iowa cattle and grain farmers Bill and Nancy Couser, agricultural engineer Stewart Melvin and recently-retired legislator and farmer Dolores Mertz. (Photos of each award winner can be found at

Young farmers Justin and Jennifer Dammann, who raise cattle, corn, soybeans, alfalfa and rye on their Century Farm near Essex, won the IFBF Young Farmer Achievement Award and were recognized for their entrepreneurial spirit and dedication to Farm Bureau and their community. (

Jamie Busch-Upah, a farmer from Tama County, won the Young Farmer Discussion Meet contest. The discussion meet encourages dialogue about issues and challenges that affect agriculture.  It tests young farmers’ knowledge of ag-related issues and their ability to express their opinions. (

The Dammanns and Busch-Upah will compete in these contests at the national level next month during the American Farm Bureau annual meeting.

Keynote speaker Walter Bond, a former NBA player, offered a “slam dunk” presentation; encouraging farmers to reach out beyond their comfort zones to understand their customers and how others perceive them and their work.  “You have success right now, but don’t you dare rest of your laurels. Don’t you dare relax,” he said. “You’ve had a great year, but your job is to get bigger, stronger and faster.”


House Passes Bill Striking Preemptively at EPA's Regulation of Farm Dust PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Pamela Helsey   
Monday, 19 December 2011 13:04

Dec. 9, 2011 - The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday passed a bill ( HR 1633) that would establish a temporary prohibition against revising any national ambient air quality standard applicable to coarse particulate matter in order to limit federal regulation of "nuisance dust" in areas in which such dust is regulated under state, tribal, or local law. Proponents of the bill were concerned about the possibility that the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency would regulate so-called "farm dust," particulates kicked up in the air during normal farming practices. Opponents of the bill believe the bill's language is too broad and will prevent regulation of harmful pollutants.

The bill was supported by a cross-section of the agricultural community, including the American Farm Bureau Federation, the American Feed Industry Association, the American Seed Trade Association, the Dairy Farmers of America, the National Association of Wheat Growers, the National Renderers Association, the Fertilizer Institute, the National Pork Producers Council, the US Beet Sugar Association, and the USA Rice Federation, as well other interest groups such as the American Motorcyclist Association, the National Federation of Independent Business, and the National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association.

The bill was opposed by environmental protection and health policy groups such as the Natural Resources Defense Council, the American Lung Association, the American Public Health Association, the American Thoracic Society, and the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

Amongst All Members of the House

  • Interest groups that supported this motion (Milk & dairy producers, Stone, clay, glass & concrete products, Agricultural chemicals (fertilizers & pesticides), Small business associations, Motorcycles, snowmobiles & other motorized vehicle, etc.) gave on average 3.4 times as much to House members who voted 'YES' ($53,758) as they gave to House members who voted 'NO' ($15,816).

Amongst House Democrats

  • Interest groups that supported this motion (Milk & dairy producers, Stone, clay, glass & concrete products, Agricultural chemicals (fertilizers & pesticides), Small business associations, Motorcycles, snowmobiles & other motorized vehicle, etc.) gave on average 4.9 times as much to House Democrats who voted 'YES' ($77,049) as they gave to House Democrats who voted 'NO' ($15,816).

Amongst House Republicans

  • House Republicans received on average over 1.5 times as much from interest groups that supported this motion ($50,487) as they received from interest groups that opposed this motion ($32,812). No Republicans voted against the measure.

METHODOLOGY: MapLight analysis of reported contributions to congressional campaigns of House members in office on day of vote, from interest groups invested in the vote according to MapLight, July 1, 2009 - June 30, 2011. Contributions data source:

A link to this data release can be found here.

Distinguished Service to Ag Winners Named at Iowa Farm Bureau Annual Meeting PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Iowa Farm Bureau   
Tuesday, 13 December 2011 16:25


WEST DES MOINES, IOWA – Dec. 9, 2011 – Bill and Nancy Couser are cattle producers who constantly look ahead to the next opportunity to improve not only their operation, but their industry. Stewart Melvin is an engineer who specializes in agricultural water issues that help farmers best care for the environment. Dolores Mertz is an 11-term state representative for District 8 who champions Iowa agriculture. The efforts of these Iowans have furthered the cause of Iowa agriculture and rural communities over the past few decades, earning the Cousers, Melvin and Mertz the 2011 Iowa Farm Bureau Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award.  All were recognized during the Iowa Farm Bureau (IFBF) annual meeting in Des Moines, Dec. 7.

The award honors individuals who have played a significant role in the agricultural industry at the local, state and/or national level.  This is the 34th year for the award.  The three winners received plaques and will be added to a permanent display at IFBF headquarters in West Des Moines.

Bill and Nancy Couser

While Bill and Nancy Couser of Nevada are recognized leaders in Iowa agriculture, they’re quick to point out that they are life-long learners; always ready to pursue new opportunities and technologies that can benefit their farm, industry and environment.

While the Cousers grew up in small towns with a love for agriculture and livestock, they both worked in other careers before starting the Couser Cattle Company 20 years ago. After a modest beginning with 24 cows, Couser Cattle Co. is now a second and third generation multi-faceted operation that annually feeds and finishes 5,000 to 6,000 head of cattle and farms 5,000 acres, producing both corn seed and soybean seed. Their son, Tim, works on the farm.

The Cousers rely on science-based research to help them run a farm that is economically stable and environmentally responsible. They have worked with a number of organizations and institutions including partnering with the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association (ICA), National Resource Service Center, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Iowa State University (ISU) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to develop a pilot system to replace the effluent basin with a series of vegetative treatment areas and infiltration systems to treat feedlot runoff to an acceptable standard and working with the DNR and Iowa State to build a mono-slope style feeding building that directs rainfall away from a new pen and allows more feeding capacity without compromising the vegetative buffer system.

The Cousers have also been instrumental in the development of Lincolnway Energy, a 50-million gallon local-investor owned ethanol plant which opened in 2006. Located just seven miles from their feedlot, the plant offers an opportunity for them to demonstrate the concept of a sustainable cycle. Couser leads tours of the plant and his farm, explaining how he raises seed corn for ethanol, uses the dried distillers’ grains for cattle feed and then uses the cattle manure to fertilize the next corn crop.

Farm Bureau has been a long-time source of information and opportunity for Bill and Nancy. They were honored as Outstanding Young Farmers from IFBF in 1981. Since then, the Cousers have been honored with a number of state and national awards for conservation and community service. Bill was named as one of 10 People Who Matter by Time magazine in 2006. He has been a director of the Story County Cattlemen's Association for 33 years, chair of ICA's business issues committee and a past vice chairman of National Cattlemen’s Beef Association animal health committee. He is a former and current president of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, a director of Iowa's Institute of Cooperatives and a director of the Nevada Economic Board.

Nancy has worked as a nurse for 30 years at Mary Greeley Medical Center in Ames and has served as a director of the Iowa Beef Industry Council, Story County 4-H board, Story County planning and zoning and was a governor-appointed member of the Iowa Environmental Protection Commission.

Stewart Melvin

While Stewart Melvin is an engineer by trade, he’s described as a “farmer at heart,” by the Davis County Farm Bureau which nominated him for the Distinguished Service to Ag Award.

He grew up on a family farm near Bloomfield and still owns and manages farmland in Davis County.  Stewart spent most of his career as a professor of agricultural engineering at Iowa State University (ISU).  He received all of his degrees, including his Ph.D., from Iowa State.  He has been a licensed engineer in Iowa since 1969. He also taught at Silsoe College in the United Kingdom from 1985-86.

He worked for 34 years as an extension agricultural engineer in Iowa working as a soil, water and waste management specialist prior to retiring from ISU in 2004.  He also served as head of the Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering Department at ISU for eight years.

Melvin served as the interim director for the Iowa State Water Resources Research Institute from 2002-04.

Upon his retirement from ISU, Melvin joined Curry-Wille & Associates (CWA) to work on animal waste management issues, as well as other soil and water engineering projects. He has had international consulting experience in Europe, South America, southeast Asia and Mexico.

Melvin has dedicated his professional life to working to improve agricultural waste management systems and drainage systems. From working with the environmental committee for the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association to leading water quality projects in Poland and Russia, Melvin has served farmers in Iowa and beyond.

He’s been recognized for his achievements including receiving the Engineer of the Year award from the mid-central regional American Society of Agricultural Engineers in 1991 and 1992 and honored with the Iowa Master Farmer Exceptional Service Award in 2004.

Dolores Mertz

Agriculture has always been a central part of Dolores Mertz’s life. Whether that meant working beside her husband, H.P. “Pete,” on the family’s Kossuth County farm for 32 years to representing Iowa farmers during her 22-year tenure in the Iowa House of Representatives, Mertz has dedicated her life to agriculture. In 2010, she retired from the Iowa House of Representatives after 11 terms.

She started as a farm wife and bank teller in Kossuth County and became the first woman to serve as a Kossuth County supervisor. She was appointed to the board of supervisors in 1983 when her husband passed away and his vacancy needed to be filled. Mertz won a special election in 1984 to complete the remaining two years of his term and, in 1986, she was elected to a four-year term.

Mertz was elected to the House of Representatives in 1988, representing House District 8 which includes Humboldt and Pocahontas counties, southern Kossuth County and northwestern Webster County.

Mertz used her practical knowledge of agriculture as she served on the House Ag Committee for 22 years. She was the first woman appointed as the chair of the House Ag Committee in 2007 and served as the senior Democrat on the Agriculture and Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee, with responsibilities for funding conservation and farm programs. She has also been recognized as an Iowa Farm Bureau “Friend of Agriculture” and has served on the Iowa Environmental Protection Council. She may be the first woman to proudly acknowledge her unofficial title as “Queen of Drainage,” as she was extremely knowledgeable about the complex law involving Iowa drainage districts.

In its nomination of Mertz, the Kossuth County Farm Bureau wrote, “Coming from an agricultural background, Dolores took this knowledge to the Legislature. She made sure that Iowa stayed focused on agriculture…she fought hard for the ideas that were important to the Iowa Farm Bureau.”

Mertz has also been a local 4-H leader for 25 years, in addition to a number of community activities and leadership roles.


Editor’s Note: To download a photo of these people receiving their award, visit They are joined by Craig Lang, IFBF past president, on their left and Craig Hill, IFBF newly-elected president, on their right.


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

Ultimate Show Gets Ultimate Roundup PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Dana Morgan   
Tuesday, 13 December 2011 09:47

For the first time, the editors of Farm Progress have pulled together all of their reporting on new products exhibited at the 2011 Farm Progress Show.

DECATUR, ILL., (12/08/2011) - The challenge of covering the 90-plus-acre exhibit field of the nation's largest outdoor farm show with more than 500 displays is no easy task. For the first time, the editors of Farm Progress have pulled together a comprehensive look at many new products they found during the 2011 Farm Progress Show.

Editors’ Picks - 100 New Ag Products
With more than 100 products included in the new Farm Progress white paper, "What's New From the Farm Progress Show - 2011 New Products White Paper," the compilation gives you a chance to download and view plenty of new technology. The report is free and available on

"We've been putting a team of editors 'on the ground' to cover the show for more than a decade, and every year we're astounded by what we turn up," says Willie Vogt, editorial director, Farm Progress. "In this first-ever edition, farmers can review those products, and have interactive access to company websites and phone numbers if they're ready to buy."

Learn About the Latest Ag Technology
Whether you're looking for information from major company introductions, or dozens of new tools and technologies from specialty and shortline companies, you'll find it in this new report. It's a concise, handy review for producers who visited the show as well.

"The white paper is an efficient, and effective, way to deliver higher-end, in-depth content for our readers," says Jeff Lapin, president, Farm Progress. "It's a service we believe our readers will do more to take advantage of as our library expands."

To download this FREE white paper, go to and click the link to "What's New From the Farm Progress Show - 2011 New Products White Paper" located at the top right of the site under the "Free Reports" heading. After a very short sign-in, you'll get an e-mail link to the information-packed document. It's that simple.

Additional White Papers
Two additional high-interest white papers are also posted on and more are in development for the site. "We're producing a range of new white papers in the next year covering a wide range of topics. Already, we're giving farmers an in-depth look at key issues with vertical tillage and with corn production," Vogt said. "And you'll see more covering everything from wind power to balers to technology issues."

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