Agribusiness
Quinn Administration Announces Agreement with Taiwan to Sell Illinois Grain PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Katelyn Tye   
Monday, 03 October 2011 10:27

Illinois’ Grain Industry Could See Boost of As Much As $575 Million

SPRINGFIELD – September 27, 2011. As Governor Pat Quinn continues his efforts to increase Asian investment in Illinois, officials from the Quinn administration today announced a major agricultural trade agreement with Taiwan. Representatives from the Department of Agriculture hosted members of a Taiwanese trade delegation in Springfield as part of a goodwill mission designed to further a long-standing trade relationship.

“Illinois’ products are the best in the world, and we are committed to selling those products in the global marketplace,” Governor Quinn said. “Agreements that help us increase trade with Asia are essential to ensuring our role as a leader in the global economy and bringing good jobs home to Illinois.”

The 22-member delegation from Taiwan agreed to import additional Illinois grain in 2012 and 2013 and signed letters of intent with the Illinois Corn Growers Association and the Illinois Soybean Association during a visit to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library.

“The Illinois agriculture industry is dependent upon export agreements like this,” Agriculture Director Tom Jennings said. “Forty percent of Illinois grain is shipped out of the country and we thank the Taiwan Feed Industry Association and the Taiwan Vegetable Oil Manufacturers not only for their business, but also for their long-standing friendship.”

The Taiwan Feed Industry Group signed commitments to purchase 303 million to 413 million bushels of U.S. corn and 0.5 million to 0.75 million metric tons of corn by-products. Illinois will supply approximately 43 million to 59 million bushels of the corn. At current prices, the deal is worth $288 million to $393 million to the state’s corn growers.

“Illinois farmers are pleased and encouraged by the sale of Illinois corn and corn products to the Taiwanese,” said Illinois Corn Marketing Board Chairman Bill Christ. “Even though this has been a tough year, Illinois farmers remain reliable producers, and Taiwan continues to be a valued customer.”

The delegation, which also included representatives from Taiwan’s Vegetable Oil Manufacturers and Oilseed Processing Association, signed similar letters outlining its intent to purchase up to 118 million bushels of U.S. soybeans.  Illinois’ share of the transaction is around 14 million bushels, or $182 million worth, of soybeans.

"We thank Taiwan for their continued support of our industry and Illinois soybean producers,” said Illinois Soybean Association Chairman Matt Hughes. “We look forward to building a stronger relationship with them, especially since more than half of our soybeans are exported to countries like Taiwan each year."

This year Taiwan is the sixth-largest export market for U.S. agricultural products and the fifth-largest market for U.S. corn and soybeans.

While here in the state the delegation will visit a central Illinois farm and tour a rail terminal grain elevator before continuing on its U.S. tour.

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TRACTOR REPAIR, RESTORATION BUSINESS EARNS IOWA FARM BUREAU’S RENEW RURAL IOWA ENTREPRENEUR OF MONTH AWARD PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Iowa Farm Bureau   
Monday, 03 October 2011 07:47

WEST DES MOINES, IOWA – Sept. 23, 2011 – Gary Hoefling turned his passion for tractor mechanics into a thriving business and earned the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation’s (IFBF) Renew Rural Iowa Entrepreneur of the Month award. As owner of The Motor Works and G.H. Repair in Spencer, Hoefling specializes in repairing and rebuilding John Deere tractors. He not only refurbishes the outside of the 30 and 40 series John Deere tractors, but produces parts (carburetors, in particular) and produces and sells them in the United States and around the world to customers in France, Germany and South Africa.

His attraction to tractors started at a young age on the family’s farm. “I wanted to be the mechanic on the farm,” explains Hoefling. In the last decade, he and his staff of five full-time and three part-time employees have repaired 10,000 tractor carburetors.

The Motor Works and G.H. Repair were started in 1993. The Motor Works was started as part of a northwest Iowa John Deere dealership, specializing in complete drop-in replacement and repowering for engines. In 2002, The Motor Works was acquired by G.H. Repair and moved to Spencer.

Today, Hoefling isn’t simply fixing the green machines, but helping them be more “green,” or environmentally friendly. He’s making the machines use gasoline more efficiently by making them compatible with ethanol. His business strives to be greener, as well, using rain gardens, geothermal heating and cooling, permeable pavement and natural grasses and prairie areas.

The Clay County Farm Bureau nominated Hoefling’s business for the award. County president Barry Anderson praises Hoefling for his contribution to the community’s economy. “This business is huge for our rural area, as well as cities surrounding us,” says Anderson.

Renew Rural Iowa (RRI) is an IFBF initiative supporting new and existing businesses through education, mentoring and financial resources. Registration is open for the Nov. 2 “Business Success” seminar, featuring Curt Nelson, president of the Entrepreneurial Development Center. The seminar will be held at the Iowa Farm Bureau in West Des Moines. To register, go to www.renewruraliowa.com.

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Soybean Farmers Score Big in New Football Season PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by United Soybean Board   
Tuesday, 20 September 2011 11:45
Checkoff Helped Develop Soy-Based Component in New Turf at Kansas State

ST. LOUIS (Sept. 19, 2011) – U.S. soybean farmers – especially those in Kansas – are undoubtedly especially proud this season of the Kansas State University (KSU) Wildcats – or, more specifically, their stadium playing field.

KSU recently installed AstroTurf® GameDay Grass™ at Bill Snyder Family Stadium in Manhattan. AstroTurf products include a soy-based backing called BioCel®, from Universal Textile Technologies. BioCel uses soy-based-polyol technology developed with support from the soybean checkoff.

“We love seeing our U.S. soy on the football field,” says USB New Uses program Chair Bob Haselwood, who farms about 65 miles east of Manhattan in Berryton. “The number one user of our soybeans is the animal ag sector, which uses 98 percent of our soybean meal. But soybean oil is used in a lot of things people aren’t aware of, such as paint, cleaners and turf, and the list goes on and on.”

“In fact, industrial use of U.S. soy has jumped 50 percent since 2006,” adds Haselwood.

The sustainability of U.S. soy proves to be one important reason behind its increasing popularity in new, industrial uses. More often than ever, builders and other industrial customers choose soy-based products over those made with petroleum-based chemicals.

To recognize the new soy uses milestone, the United Soybean Board (USB) and Kansas Soybean Commission held a pregame event before the Wildcats’ game on Sept. 17. The event offered the chance to hand out GameDay Grass samples to fans and talk to them about the versatility of soy.

While Kansas State became the first NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision institution to install soy-based AstroTurf, this superior surface is in use at every level of competition in facilities across the United States and Canada.

For example, the National Football League’s St. Louis Rams and Major League Baseball’s Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays play on soy-backed AstroTurf. As do the baseball teams at Kansas State, Ohio State and South Carolina. The football teams at Auburn, Tennessee and Texas all practice on GameDay Grass. And the Citrus Bowl, home of the Capital One Bowl and Champs Sports Bowl games, also sports AstroTurf. Click here to see if a venue near you uses AstroTurf.

BioCel combines the oil from U.S. soybeans with recycled content to make a polyurethane product alternative to similar petroleum-based goods. According to AstroTurf, the renewable backing extends the turf’s life, enhances player safety, lessens our country’s dependence on foreign oil and improves outdoor air quality.

This is just one of the new uses for U.S. soy that the soybean checkoff supports as part of its mission to help research, develop and promote additional ways to utilize the crop. Every year, thanks in part to checkoff funding, dozens of new soy-based products reach the marketplace.

USB is made up of 69 farmer-directors who oversee the investments of the soybean checkoff on behalf of all U.S. soybean farmers. Checkoff funds are invested in the areas of animal utilization, human utilization, industrial utilization, industry relations, market access and supply. As stipulated in the Soybean Promotion, Research and Consumer Information Act, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service has oversight responsibilities for USB and the soybean checkoff.

For more information on the United Soybean Board, visit us at www.UnitedSoybean.org
For more information on new uses for U.S. soy, visit us at www.SoyNewUses.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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'Contagion' Movie Makes the Case for Modern Livestock Farming PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Laurie Johns   
Monday, 19 September 2011 09:06

I saw the movie, “Contagion,” this weekend with my daughter.  I have to say, it’s a good flick, good actors, fast-paced and slickly shot.  Without realizing it, the film makers may have inadvertently endorsed America’s modern hog farms.  For one thing, raising hogs indoors protects them from disease-carrying wildlife, the very kind that caused the cross-species viral contamination featured in the movie.

(Spoiler alert!)

In “Contagion”, Gwyneth Paltrow (‘Patient Zero’) inadvertently acquires a deadly (spreads by touch) viral infection in Hong Kong by shaking the unwashed hands of a chef  (note to all movie-goers: always wash hands before eating).  She didn’t realize this chef had just prepared a dish from a hog that was exposed to a sick bat.  This pig was apparently raised in an open-air pen, where a sick bat flew overhead, then dropped a piece of fruit it just grabbed from a banana tree.  Pigs, true to nature, eat anything.  And so the story goes…

But, what I find interesting is that the Humane Society of United States’ Wayne Pacelle is claiming “Contagion” actually makes a case for raising animals in the very conditions that put them at risk for contracting contagions from other species ( http://hsus.typepad.com/).  I’m wondering if he saw the same movie.

I grew up on a Century farm in Iowa and have many fond memories.  But, after seeing “Contagion,” I think Hollywood’s screenwriters could use a little ‘chore time’ on an actual, working farm to gain some perspective.

I saw birds, wild cats, stray dogs, raccoons and mice scrambling through our hog feedlot and roaming in the moonlight across our cattle pastures.  I remember the year wild dogs got our rooster (so much for my dad’s egg-laying chicken farm idea), the year rabid skunks got into the hog lot (28 shots in the stomach for us, but the hogs were vaccinated, of course), and the daily roaming of a horde of much-loved, but unvaccinated feral cats.

Things were different back then.  Today, it’s not just rabies vaccinations (three shots!)  that have improved, so has hog farming (http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid64340018001?bckey=AQ~~,AAAACMzGNIE~,z fiweksx8NKGXiTGxVmXug1yWfMOUJx&bclid=69776058001&bctid=918490352001).  Farmers who choose to raise their hogs in modern livestock barns say doing so protects them from exposure to wildlife, harsh weather and viruses that can be carried by any stranger who happens to wander onto the farm.

It’s a choice.  Responsible farmers across Iowa work hard to give them to you.  There are many options for raising animals, both indoors and out.  But clearly, progress in American agriculture (versus overseas?) keeps our animals safer, our food safer and our families safer from the kind of Hollywood hysteria portrayed in “Contagion,” and the kind of ‘one size fits all’ food production model Pacelle and the HSUS hype machine condones.

--- Laurie Johns

 
Grassley Requests Agriculture Disaster Declaration for 27 Additional Iowa Counties PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Grassley Press   
Friday, 16 September 2011 13:46

WASHINGTON – Senator Chuck Grassley today asked U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to grant a request by Iowa Governor Terry Branstad for 27 additional counties be designated as disaster areas.  The counties sustained substantial damage from several weather events over the summer, including a major hail and wind storm in July.

“Farmers across the state have faced about every kind of challenge that summer weather can bring.  People along the Missouri River haven’t been able to assess the damage to their fields because they are still under water.  And, farmers stretching from Fremont County to Linn County have dealt with hail, wind, and drought damage,” Grassley said.  “I’ve seen this damage firsthand as I’ve traveled Iowa during the month of August.  I hope Secretary Vilsack acts on Iowa’s request as soon as possible.”

If granted, farmers in the counties of Adams, Clarke, Davis, Decatur, Fremont, Henry, Jefferson, Jones, Keokuk, Lee, Linn, Louisa, Lucas, Marshall, Mills, Monona, Monroe, Montgomery, Page, Polk, Tama, Taylor, Van Buren, Wapello, Washington, Wayne and Woodbury, and in the counties adjacent to each of those counties, would be eligible for FSA emergency loans, the Livestock Indemnity Program, and the Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments (SURE) Program.

Here is a copy of Grassley’s letter to Vilsack.  Branstad’s letter can be found by clicking here.

September 13, 2011

The Honorable Thomas Vilsack

Secretary

U.S. Department of Agriculture

1400 Independence Avenue, SW

Washington, DC 20250

Dear Secretary Vilsack:

I respectfully ask that you grant the request made by Iowa Governor Terry Branstad for a disaster designation for 27 counties in the State of Iowa as a result of severe weather including hail, drought conditions, and strong winds that were supposedly measured in some areas at over 100 miles per hour.  Not only did the strong winds damage crops, but it also caused significant damage to buildings and equipment.  The 27 Iowa counties which have been severely impacted by these weather events are Adams, Clarke, Davis, Decatur, Fremont, Henry, Jefferson, Jones, Keokuk, Lee, Linn, Louisa, Lucas, Marshall, Mills, Monona, Montgomery, Page, Polk, Tama, Taylor, Van Buren, Wapello, Washington, Wayne, and Woodbury.

Thank you for your prompt consideration of this request.

Sincerely,

Charles E. Grassley

United States Senator

 
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