Veterans Fundamental to Next Generation of Family Farmers and Ranchers PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Elisha Smith   
Tuesday, 03 April 2012 08:06

By John Crabtree, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , Center for Rural Affairs

The future of family farming and ranching depends on a new generation getting started in agriculture. Our experience at the Center for Rural Affairs teaches us that many military veterans want to be part of the next generation of farmers and ranchers. The number of returning veterans and the disproportionate number from rural America, coupled with our nation’s debt to all these brave men and women, cry out for public policies that help beginners – especially military veterans – establish farms and ranches.

Last month, several veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan traveled to Washington, DC to participate in a nationwide grassroots lobbying effort spearheaded by the Center for Rural Affairs. Justin Doerr, a farmer and military veteran from Plainview, Nebraska, was there to talk to lawmakers and USDA about the importance of the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunity Act in supporting young farmers and ranchers, especially those who have served in the military.

He talked about the need to knock down some of the barriers beginners face, including access to land and credit. And that beginners who get started by serving niche markets and raising high-value crops often struggle to obtain crop insurance. Including policies that address these challenges in the next farm bill is an investment not only in the next generation of family farmers and ranchers, but all of rural America, and it is money well spent. It is also a tribute to the thousands of veterans who hope to farm or ranch someday.

News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Heather Lilienthal   
Monday, 02 April 2012 07:37

WEST DES MOINES, IOWA – March 29, 2012 – Since 1962, Geater Machining & Manufacturing Co. has been a leader in precision machined and fabricated parts for aerospace, electronics and high tech industries, while maintaining its small-town Iowa roots. This month, the Independence-based company is honored with the Iowa Farm Bureau Renew Rural Iowa entrepreneur of the month award.

Geater Manufacturing & Machining (GMM) is a true “one-stop-shop” for companies needing specialized parts built in short time frames. GMM can build single parts or components that require complex assembly using precision machining and sheet metal fabrication.

The company isn’t only focused on its clients. Geater is also active in the Independence community.

“We think it’s very important, especially being in the rural community that we’re in, to have programs where we go out and teach the students and the parents what manufacturing is all about,” said Joe Meier, vice president of Geater operations. He said manufacturing technology has evolved to include high-dollar equipment; creating a challenge for high schools to offer opportunities for students to be exposed to and gain experience in the industry. Through outreach programs, Geater works with area schools to educate students and parents about careers available in manufacturing.

Greg Alber, president of the Buchanan County Farm Bureau, said, “They’re just giving back to the community and schools and wanting to make manufacturing even more important to this area.” He added that it’s important for rural communities to have successful non-agriculture businesses such as Geater.

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

Braley Introduces Bill to Ban Packer Ownership of Livestock PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Jeff Giertz   
Monday, 02 April 2012 07:23

Legislation helps Iowa family farmers


Washington, DC – Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) today introduced legislation making it unlawful for a meat packer to own or feed livestock intended for slaughter.  The move is an effort to combat vertical integration and anticompetitive behavior in the livestock industry to protect family farmers in Iowa and other states.


“This bill is about protecting Iowa family farms,” Braley said.  “The increasing consolidation of the meat packing industry has put downward pressure on livestock prices, which in turn hurts Iowa farmers.  Now, meat packers have been looking towards vertical integration to stifle competition.


“This bill is a common sense step to protect free market competition in the livestock industry.  It’s important to have this debate now with the Farm Bill reauthorization coming up later this year.


The bill is similar to legislation introduced in the Senate last month by Iowans Chuck Grassley and Tom Harkin.


The Packer Ban bill excludes single packers and pack entities that are too small to participate in the Mandatory Price Reporting Program.  The bill also exempts farmer cooperatives where the members own, feed, or control the livestock themselves.


A copy of Braley’s packer bill can be downloaded at the following link:


Audio of Braley discussing the Packer Ban bill in his weekly press conference call today can be downloaded at the following link:


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Summer Fairs Go Green with Soy-Based Products PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by United Soybean Board   
Tuesday, 27 March 2012 12:50
Soy checkoff partners with city, county and state fairsST. LOUIS (March 27, 2012) – With soy biodiesel powering trams and carnival rides, soy-based paint freshening up show barns and soy-based cleaning products getting the fairgrounds ready, 13 fairs will be a little greener this year with the help of the United Soybean Board (USB) and the soy checkoff.

“U.S. soy feeds the animals that provide the meat we eat, but soy does a lot more than that,” says Geno Lowe, a soybean farmer from Hebron, Md., and USB farmer-director. “U.S. soy is increasingly popular as a ‘green’ ingredient in everything from biofuel to paint to cleaning products and more.”

Lowe and his fellow USB farmer-directors selected the 13 fairs as part of a competitive application process. Through the Green Ribbon Fairs reimbursement program, now in its second year, the checkoff works with fairs across the country to promote the use of soy-based products such as biodiesel, paint, cleaners, hand sanitizers and more. The following fairs will use soy-based products and help educate fairgoers by participating in the 2012 Green Ribbon Fair Reimbursement Program:

•    Barton County Fair (Kan.)
•    Delaware County Fair (Iowa)
•    Dutchess County Fair (N.Y.)
•    Dyer County Fair (Tenn.)
•    Houghton County Fair (Mich.)
•    Indiana State Fair
•    Minnesota Fairs
•    North Carolina State Fair
•    Ohio State Fair
•    Saunders County Fair (Neb.)
•    South Dakota State Fair
•    State Fair of West Virginia
•    St. Mary’s County Fair (Md.)

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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Collaboration on forest restoration projects key to sustainability PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Forest Service Press Office   
Tuesday, 27 March 2012 12:45

Agency Chief testifies before House Committee on Agriculture

WASHINGTON, March 27, 2012 – In testimony on Capitol Hill today, U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell emphasized the importance of collaboration in developing restoration projects on national forests and grasslands.

“The aim of these efforts is to move beyond the conflicts which have characterized forest policy in the past and toward a shared vision that allows environmentalists, forest industry, local communities, and other stakeholders to work collaboratively toward healthier forests and watersheds, safer communities and more vibrant local economies,” Tidwell said.

Tidwell emphasized that such collaboration not only results in better projects, but will also create jobs.

His remarks were made before the House Committee on Agriculture’s Subcommittee on Conservation, Energy, and Forestry.

“The Forest Service recognizes the need for a strong forest industry to help accomplish forest restoration work,” Tidwell remarked.  “Forest industry involvement also lowers the cost of restoration to the taxpayer by providing markets for forest products.”

Tidwell presented a list of programs already in place at the Forest Service that will enhance the restoration and management efforts on the nation’s forests and grasslands:

- Implementation of the new forest Planning Rule that emphasizes restoration, public involvement, and sustainable management to provide benefits and services both today and for future generations.

- Investing in restoration projects with partners though the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program. These projects have demonstrated that collaboration among stakeholders can facilitate large landscape scale restoration, thereby improving forest health, reducing wildfire risk, restoring fire-adapted ecosystems, and increasing timber and biomass production from the national forests.

- The Watershed Condition Framework which provides a consistent and comprehensive approach for classifying the condition of the 15,000 watersheds that comprise the National Forests and Grasslands and for prioritizing restoration needs.

- Integrated Resource Restoration which allows the agency to align its budgeting to focus on landscape scale restoration projects across resource areas and, with partners, combine the restorative focus of several line items into a single item.

- The National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy which is a collaborative process with active involvement of all levels of government, non-governmental organizations and the public working for an all-lands solution to wildland fire management issues.

- The Forest Service bark beetle strategy which focuses management efforts on priority treatment areas to ensure human health and safety and to reduce hazardous fuel conditions on more than 17 million acres of National Forest System lands impacted by bark beetles.

- Use of stewardship contracting which allows the Forest Service to offset the value of the services received with the value of forest products removed. This authority is crucial to collaboratively restore landscapes at a reduced cost to the government.

- Expanding markets for forest products through the development of new markets for woody biomass utilization and green building materials by providing a reliable and predictable supply of biomass for potential investors. 

- Research using new technologies and cutting-edge science to help better understand impacts of forest disturbance on natural and cultural resources. 

- Use of a new objections process prior to a decision, rather than using an appeals process after a decision. The process tends to increase direct dialogue between the agency and stakeholders and often results in resolution of concerns before a decision is made.

- Improved efficiency of the National Environmental Policy Act process by learning from and sharing the lessons of successful implementation of streamlined NEPA analyses.

“Today, people understand that forests provide a broad range of values and benefits, including biodiversity, recreation, clean air and water, forest products, erosion control and soil renewal, and more. Our goal is to sustain and restore ecosystems that can deliver all the benefits that Americans want and need,” Tidwell concluded.

The mission of the U.S. Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation's forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. Recreational activities on our lands contribute $14.5 billion annually to the U.S. economy. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world.



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