U.S., China Sign Plan of Strategic Cooperation in Agriculture PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by USDA Communications   
Tuesday, 21 February 2012 09:17

Des Moines, Iowa, Feb. 16, 2012—Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and China’s Minister of Agriculture Han Changfu today signed an historic Plan of Strategic Cooperation that will guide the two countries’ agricultural relationship for the next 5 years. The plan was signed as part of the U.S.-China Agricultural Symposium held today at the World Food Prize Hall of Laureates. The symposium focused on bilateral cooperation in the areas of food safety, food security and sustainable agriculture, as well as enhanced business relationships between the two countries.


“This symposium and plan are a product of a vision I share with my dear old friend Minister Han for the United States and China to work more collaboratively in the future to benefit our nations and agriculture around the world,” Vilsack said.


“This plan builds on the already strong relationship our nations enjoy around agricultural science, trade, and education. It looks to deepen our cooperation through technical exchange and to strengthen coordination in priority areas like animal and plant health and disease, food security, sustainable agriculture, genetic resources, agricultural markets and trade, and biotechnology and other emerging technologies,” he added.


Xi Jinping, China's vice president, opened the symposium and stressed the importance China places on supporting farmers and rural development, as well as on food security.


“China attaches great importance to food security, and ensuring a sufficient food supply for 1.3 billion people,” Xi said.


In the 2011 fiscal year, China became the top market for U.S. agricultural goods, purchasing $20 billion in U.S. agricultural exports. The value of U.S. farm exports to China supported more than 160,000 American jobs in 2011, on and off the farm across a variety of sectors.



Eastern Iowa Hay Producers Association Annual Meeting & Conference To Feature Dr. Brink PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Denise Schwab   
Tuesday, 21 February 2012 09:09
Area hay and forage producers are invited to attend the 29th Annual Eastern Iowa Hay Producers Association Annual Meeting and Conference on Thursday, March 8, 2012 at Buzzy’s in Welton. Registration will begin at 10:00 a.m. with the program scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m.

This year’s conference features Dr. Geoff Brink, Research Agronomist at the US Dairy Forage Research Center. The title of his presentation is "Growing, Harvesting, and Storing Cool-Season Perennial Grasses". Brink will discuss management practices to get the most from often-neglected forage that is experiencing resurgence in interest. Dr. Brink’s research interests include quality of grazed and harvested grass and legume forages; sward structure - dairy cow utilization relationships in rotationally-grazed pastures; management and persistence of legumes in pastures; and management effects on temperate grass productivity.

Brian Lang, ISU Extension & Outreach forage agronomist, will discuss alfalfa production and management. Other speakers include Virgil Schmitt, ISU Extension Field Agronomist, and Denise Schwab, ISU Extension Beef Specialist, with regional updates.

The annual meeting of the Eastern Iowa Hay Producers Association (EIHPA) will take place shortly after lunch and will include their election of officers and directors.

Registration for the conference is $30 and includes a membership to EIHPA and meal. Tickets can be purchased at the door. Certified crop advisor credits have been applied for. This conference is sponsored by EIHPA, Iowa State University Extension & Outreach, and the Iowa Beef Center.

The Eastern Iowa Hay Producers Association provides educational workshops and field days for forage producers in Jackson, Jones, Clinton, Cedar, Scott and Muscatine counties. However, forage producers from other counties are also welcome to participate. For more information contact Denise Schwab at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or Kevin Brown at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or


News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by USDA Communications   
Tuesday, 21 February 2012 08:54


INTRO:  A new Farm Bill and the President’s proposed budget were main topics at a recent Senate Agriculture Committee hearing where Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack testified. The USDA’s Bob Ellison has more. (1:49)




Tom Vilsack, Agriculture Secretary: As you consider the Farm Bill I hope that you’ll recognize the importance of streamlining the number of programs that we have, providing us the flexibility to be able to use these programs creatively and adjust them.




Sen. Debbie Stabenow-Michigan (D): This can mean helping small towns build a safe drinking water system, or affordable broadband internet access, or it can be in the form of streamlined programs that are more accessible for the people who use them.




Sen. Pat Roberts-Kansas (R): Madame Chairman this is the number one issue that we have heard about in every hearing that we’ve had in regard to what farmers need and what they rely on.


Vilsack: The president when he looked at the agricultural budget basically had to decide whether or not to focus on a balanced approach, an approach that basically took resources from farm programs, conservation programs and nutrition assistance programs. He opted not to take money from nutrition assistance programs. In the President’s view these insurance companies are perhaps in a better position to withstand these difficult times than the folks who are currently struggling with tight budgets and can’t afford to put enough food on the table for their families.




Vilsack: We do recognize that part of that safety net is some process by which revenues can be protected during difficult times. The fiscal constraints that we’re working under will require us to modify existing programs to provide that safety net.



State Fair Award to Recognize Iowa's Farm Families PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Lori Chappell   
Monday, 20 February 2012 15:39

DES MOINES, IA (02/16/2012)(readMedia)-- The Iowa State Fair, Tractor Supply Co. and WHO News Radio 1040 are searching for six farm families to recognize with the Way We Live Award at the 2012 Fair, August 9-19. These families must exemplify farm values derived from hard work and a love for the occupation of farming.

To enter, submit an entry form along with a 500-1500 word essay describing how living on a farm and choosing the occupation of farming has shaped the family's life. All entries must include a family picture that illustrates the family's commitment to their farming operation. Entry forms can be downloaded from the Iowa State Fair web site: All entries must be postmarked or e-mailed to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it by May 1.

Nominated families should show dedication to animal agriculture in their daily lives and in the lives of their family members. Winners will receive a prize package including $250 cash, Fair admission tickets, parking, Fair food coupons, and recognition in the Paul R. Knapp Animal Learning Center during the Fair.

Eligible families must be residents of Iowa whose farming operation is centered on animal agriculture and may nominate themselves or be nominated by others.

Send entries to:

The Way We Live Award

Iowa State Fair

PO Box 57130

Des Moines, Iowa 50317-0003

Or e-mail all materials to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

For questions about the award, contact Emily Brewer at 515.262.3111 x244 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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

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Remarks as Prepared for Delivery: Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Before the Opening Session of US-China Agricultural Symposium PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by USDA Communications   
Monday, 20 February 2012 15:13
Remarks as Prepared for Delivery: Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Before the Opening Session of US-China Agricultural Symposium

DES MOINES, IOWA, February 16, 2012 –Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today addressed the opening session of the US-China Agriculture Symposium:

"Thank you all for being here. It's an honor to welcome Vice President Xi back to Iowa and the entire Chinese delegation, including my dear and old friend Minister Han.

"I also want to acknowledge Governor Branstad, Lieutenant Governor Reynolds, Secretary Bill Northey and the many other honored guests and dignitaries joining us here today. Thanks as well to Ambassador Ken Quinn who has graciously offered this beautiful facility for this important gathering.

"Vice President Xi, we are honored and proud that our good hospitality encouraged you to return. I appreciated your kind remarks about Iowa the other night at Vice President Biden's home. I believe there is perhaps no better place to showcase the strengths of American agriculture and American values.

"This symposium is a historic event. It is a real opportunity to strengthen an already-vibrant cooperative relationship built on mutual benefits and mutual trust between our two great nations. One of the strongest links in that relationship is centered on agriculture. Which will be further strengthened with the signing of our Strategic Cooperation Agreement.

"We are the world's two largest agricultural producers and strong collaborators in agricultural research and education. Our great trade relationship benefits the citizens of both of our nations.

"Every day our nations and the livelihoods of our citizens grow more connected. I look forward to strengthening that bond in the years ahead.

"What's more, our two great nations – and our great agricultural economies – have a tremendous capacity to build a better world. I appreciate Minister Han's enthusiastic willingness to co-host and sponsor this symposium focused on food security, food safety, and sustainability, he and I, along with Vice President Xi understand the importance of building strong and lasting relationships between American and Chinese businesses. So, there are many reasons why we meet here and now.

"First, we have responsibility and opportunity to work together to address the causes of global hunger that affect more than 925 million people.

"Current population trends mean we must increase agricultural production by 70% by 2050 to feed more than 9 billion people. I look forward to strengthening partnerships with China to support agricultural productivity in nations where far too many millions go hungry. The expertise, technical know-how, research and combined will of our two nations can go a long way to filling empty stomachs and improve incomes and economies around the world.

"It is fitting, then, that we are meeting at the headquarters of the World Food Prize. The prize was the brainchild of Dr. Norman Borlaug, an Iowa native who saved tens of millions of lives by dedicating himself to the problems of food production and eradicating hunger.

"Two great Chinese men have been recognized with this prestigious prize for helping feed millions of Chinese citizens and people around the world.

"The impact of Dr. Borlaug's work – and the work of all those who have received this honor – should serve as our inspiration as we discuss how our nations can more effectively collaborate to increase the availability and use of sustainably produced food.

"Food security is only one of the important issues to be addressed today.

"We will also have opportunities to collaborate and partner on food safety: ensuring the health of our citizens through the implementation of best practices, advanced by laws and regulations based on science.

"We will talk about sustainable agriculture to leave for future generations healthy soils, ample water, and abundant wildlife. As we improve agricultural production to meet the demands of a growing world, we will also pursue stewardship practices that better conserve and preserve our natural resources.

"Finally, this symposium will help Chinese and American businesses to develop relationships that are integral to opening doors for new opportunities. Those relationships will assure that when difficulties arise, as they sometimes do, we will continue to dialogue until solutions are found.

"The rapid development of China-U.S. agricultural cooperation and trade has provided tremendous benefits the people of both countries. We want to continue building those cooperative relationships and public-private partnerships.

"Vice President Xi, Minister Han and I want to facilitate more investments by business interests in China and America. Our interest in each other's countries can only help to build a lasting friendship and relationship.

"It is now my privilege and honor to introduce my good and old friend Minister Han of China. He will make remarks and introduce our next honored guest, Vice President Xi.

"Minister Han and I got to know each other on my visit to China last November. During that visit, and since that time, we have had productive conversations about issues of mutual interest.

"Most fundamentally, we share a vision that America and China will collaborate more and more in the future to benefit our nations and agriculture around the world.

"This symposium is a forum for the U.S. and China to work together as true partners on agriculture for the benefit of our citizens and to address global challenges. As we do, we will help promote the healthy and steady development of a cooperative partnership based on mutual respect and mutual benefit"


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