Agribusiness
Demand for U.S. Soy Leads to 76.6 Million U.S. Acres of Soybeans PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by United Soybean Board   
Thursday, 07 April 2011 13:31
Checkoff Works to Maintain Demand for 2011 Soybeans Crop

ST. LOUIS (March 31, 2011) – U.S. farmers have taken notice of the growth in global demand for U.S. soybeans maintained in part by the United Soybean Board (USB) and the soybean checkoff. According to the 2011 Prospective Plantings report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), U.S. farmers will plant 76.6 million acres of soybeans this year. USDA estimates this year’s soybean crop may be 1 percent lower than last year. But if the numbers hold, the 2011 soybean crop could be the third-largest planted area on record.
“The checkoff has done a good job of keeping U.S. soybeans competitive in the market,” says Jason Bean, soybean farmer from Holcomb, Mo., and chair of the USB production research program. “Checkoff dollars have provided research to ensure a good-quality U.S. soybean. If we have a desirable product, we’ll be able to sustain and increase our demand.”
Through work to increase market access and maintain demand for U.S. soy abroad, the checkoff helped U.S. soybean farmers post record-high exports for a fourth straight year last year. Domestically, the checkoff focuses on maintaining and creating demand by supporting U.S animal agriculture as well as funding production research to protect and increase U.S. soybean yields and research on new uses for soybeans.
“The checkoff’s production research program has done a good job supporting research to increase yields for U.S. farmers so that we’re improving their opportunity for profit growing soybeans,” adds Bean. “Another thing we’ve worked on with production research is high-oleic soybeans. That’s a very desirable soybean, and we’ve done a lot of work and put a lot of money into research to develop that soybean.”
High-oleic soybeans produce soybean oil with traits that are more desirable to both the food industry and consumers. With lower saturated fats and no trans fats in the oil they produce, high-oleic varieties could help soybean oil win back the market share it has lost to other vegetable oils. To help increase acreage, U.S. soybean farmers can anticipate incentives to plant high-oleic soybeans.
USDA’s final 2010 estimates concluded that U.S. farmers planted 77.4 million acres of soybeans last year and harvested 76.6 million acres. Average yield per bushel in 2010 decreased slightly from 2009, with 2010 bringing in 43.5 bushels per acre.
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.

 
Biodiesel Returns U.S. Soybean Farmers’ Investment by the Billions PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by United Soybean Board   
Monday, 28 March 2011 12:27
But Animal Farmers Also Benefit from Biodiesel Production, Checkoff-Funded Study Shows

ST. LOUIS (March 25, 2011) – An updated, independent study funded by the United Soybean Board (USB) and soybean checkoff shows production of biodiesel continues to positively impact U.S. soybean farmers’ on-farm profitability as well as the bottom lines of poultry and livestock farmers.

According to the study, the biodiesel industry’s demand for U.S. soybean oil supported U.S. soybean prices by as much as 27 cents per bushel over the past five years, bringing U.S. soybean farmers an additional $2.7 billion in net returns.

The study also found good news for the U.S. soybean industry’s biggest customer, the U.S. animal agriculture sector, which uses nearly 98 percent of the domestic supply of U.S. soybean meal. The increased demand for soybean oil resulted in a larger supply of U.S. soybean meal, decreasing feed prices paid by U.S. poultry, livestock and fish farmers by between $16 and $48 per ton in marketing years 2005-2009.

“As a soybean farmer, I’m thrilled to see that biodiesel puts this much extra money back in our pockets,” says Jim Schriver, chair of USB’s Domestic Marketing program and a soybean farmer from Montpelier, Ind. “But the study also shows that biodiesel helps us support our best customers by making feed more affordable. Lower feed prices help U.S. animal farmers stay competitive.”

Soybean oil remains the dominant feedstock for biodiesel production, and the soybean checkoff funds a large portion of the research and promotion of biodiesel through the National Biodiesel Board. Much of this funding has been used on testing to prove biodiesel’s performance, economic and environmental benefits.

Biodiesel improves fuel lubricity by 66 percent compared with petroleum diesel and performs similarly to petroleum diesel in terms of torque, horsepower, haulage rates and fuel mileage. Additionally, biodiesel bolsters the U.S. economy, supporting more than 20,000 jobs and generating more than $800 million in tax revenue as recently as 2009. And biodiesel can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 75 percent, which helps fight global warming.

These environmental benefits helped biodiesel qualify as the United States’ first domestically produced advanced biofuel under the revised federal Renewable Fuel Standard. This requirement calls for the use of at least 800 million gallons of biodiesel this year and at least 1 billion gallons per year in 2012 and beyond.

The increased biodiesel production needed to meet this demand will be important. In 2006, the federal government required food containing trans fat to be labeled. Partially hydrogenated soybean oil creates trans fat, and the study shows biodiesel demand helped mask U.S. soybean oil demand losses after some food manufacturers switched to other oils to avoid trans-fat labeling. These declines in demand could continue over the next couple years.

Centrec Consulting Group, LLC, conducted the study with funding from USB’s Domestic Marketing program. A summary of the study can be found on the soybean checkoff website at www.unitedsoybean.org.

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.

 
From Farm to Fork to Fuel Pump, American Agriculture Answers the Call PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Sen Chuck Grassley   
Monday, 28 March 2011 08:10

by U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley

In the last half-century, U.S. farmers have answered the call to help feed, clothe and fuel a growing world population. In 1960, a U.S. farmer on average fed 25 people. Thanks to a blend of advances in mechanization, pest control, biotechnology, animal husbandry and veterinarian medicine – along with conscientious stewardship of soil, water and resource management -- each U.S. farmer today feeds more than 144 people.

Even as farmers respond to marketplace demands for affordable, abundant supplies of food, leaner cuts of meat and wholesome grains and produce, an ever widening disconnect exists between production and consumption. From grocery shoppers to public policy makers, fewer people share an appreciation for the supply chain that exists from the farm to fork, let alone from the farm to fuel pump.

That’s right. The fuel pump. The farmers hitting the fields this spring are not only working to feed an expanding world population, they are helping to displace U.S. dependence on foreign petroleum. For decades, political instability in the Middle East has influenced U.S. public policy. Taxpayers support strategic military and foreign policy decisions to protect U.S. national, economic and energy security, stemming in part from our dependence on foreign petroleum.

The risks to U.S. economic growth also are growing, especially as developing heavyweights, such as China and India, increase their consumption of the world’s finite fossil fuels.

The simple truth is that the United States must take bold steps to sever foreign petroleum’s stranglehold on America’s economy and security. From my leadership position in the U.S. Senate, I have long championed public policy that would increase energy efficiency and conservation; support domestic energy production; and, develop alternative and renewable energy sources, including wind, biomass, hydroelectric, solar, geothermal and biofuels.

Consumers in the United States – who anticipate $4 per gallon gasoline by the peak summer driving season – understand how important it is to diversify and expand access to reliable, affordable energy. The extra money spent at the pump, now averaging about $3.56 per gallon for gasoline (I paid $3.39/gallon in Cedar Falls this week), shrinks consumers’ purchasing power. That’s bad news in a U.S. economy driven by consumer spending. Higher fuel prices also drive up the costs for goods and services throughout the U.S. economy, making it harder for businesses to expand, increase wages and create new jobs.

Congress has supported public policy to encourage growth in homegrown biofuels, such as ethanol. A federal tax incentive, called Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit – or VEETC -- was created to get the domestic ethanol industry off the ground. It’s paired with an import tariff to prevent foreign ethanol producers from taking advantage of the domestic tax break.

Critics of America’s domestic biofuels industry, who spew anti-ethanol propaganda, are putting America’s energy, economic and national security at risk. Not to mention thousands of U.S. jobs. When the biodiesel federal tax credit lapsed in 2009, nearly 23,0000 jobs were wiped out. The U.S. ethanol industry supports nearly five times as many jobs.

Congress also created the Renewable Fuels Standard to get more biofuels at the pump. In 2010, nearly 90 percent of all gasoline sold in the U.S. contained ethanol. And the 13 billion gallons of homegrown ethanol reduced oil imports by 445 million barrels of oil.

Despite the long-term good investments clean-burning ethanol brings to the American public, from reducing dependence on foreign oil; creating jobs; protecting national security interests; helping the environment; and, diversifying U.S. fuel supplies, critics are still bad-mouthing ethanol.

In recent years, Big Oil has teamed up with Big Food Manufacturers to spread bad publicity about ethanol. They’d like to make ethanol a scapegoat for bigger grocery bills and higher prices at the pump. It’s rather incredulous to consider they are playing into the hands of the likes of Hugo Chavez and Moammar Kadafi.

America’s farmers understand that corn-based ethanol is better than dirty fossil fuels any day of the week. Would the taxpaying public rather support energy policies that support American agriculture’s efforts to increase U.S. energy independence, or would taxpayers rather support policies that maintain the stranglehold of foreign petroleum?

In the United States Senate, I will continue my crusade in Washington to champion homegrown biofuels. Corn-based ethanol is just the beginning to even more biofuels breakthroughs. Just consider the first generation of ethanol, made from corn, has made possible the development of biofuels from cellulosic materials such as switch grass, corn stover and wood waste.

Rolling back the clock on the amazing contributions American agriculture has made to U.S. energy independence, a cleaner environment and national security would be a tragic mistake.

Friday, March 25, 2011

 
Congressmen Braley, Stutzman and Senators Klobuchar, Lugar Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Give Farmers Greater Say over Regulations PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Alexandra Krasov   
Friday, 18 March 2011 09:11
Washington, D.C. – March 15, 2011 - Today, Congressman Bruce Braley (IA-01) introduced a bipartisan bill to ensure that Iowa farmers have a seat at the table during the decision-making process for environmental policies and regulations that could affect U.S. agriculture.

Rep. Braley introduced the bill with Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Richard Lugar (R-IN) and Congressman Marlin Stutzman (IN-03). The Representation for Farmers Act would give the Secretary of Agriculture the authority to appoint up to three members with agricultural backgrounds to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Science Advisory Board. This would ensure that the EPA gets technical advice from farmers when determining implementation of proposed regulations. Currently, only three of the board’s 48 members have agricultural backgrounds.

“Our farmers must have a voice when it comes to their life's work," said Congressman Braley. "This bill will give them a chance to bring some common sense to EPA regulations that have an effect on them every single day."

The EPA Science Advisory Board provides analysis and recommendations for EPA regulations and other technical matters that often impact agriculture. Farmers have become increasingly concerned that EPA decisions are creating unnecessary and undue economic hardship. For example, proposals to regulate dust on farms have raised concerns. Braley recently voted to protect Iowa farms from these burdensome federal dust regulations.

The bill has been endorsed by the National Farmers Union, American Farm Bureau, National Corn Growers Association, National Wheat Growers Association, National Milk Producers Federation, and National Council of Farmer Cooperatives.

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CALLING ALL IOWA FARM BUREAU MEMBERS AND AMATEUR FILM-MAKERS; POST YOUR STORY ON YOUTUBE TO WIN! PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Laurie Johns   
Thursday, 03 March 2011 00:00

WEST DES MOINES, IOWA – March 3, 2011 – The average YouTube viewer watched 93 videos last year and Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) wants to make sure stories that showcase  the “People, Progress and Pride” of Iowa are among them!  That’s why the state’s largest grassroots farm organization has selected YouTube as the platform for a unique contest designed to highlight the best of Iowa; the grand prize is a new iPad and lifetime Farm Bureau membership.

The “Ultimate Farm Bureau Member Contest” is simple; make a 60-second-or-less video about why you are the ‘Ultimate Farm Bureau Member’ and post that video to YouTube.  There are many possibilities; you can showcase your work with local schools on behalf of your county Farm Bureau, or Food Bank volunteer projects, youth leadership or rural vitality or civic leadership duties.  IFBF members are actively involved with their local communities and the videos are a way to showcase their involvement.  With the prevalence of creative videos on the net, IFBF leaders believe Iowans will find a lot of options!

“The video doesn’t have to be professional quality; it can even be something that a member records on a cell phone or camera,” said Dana Ardary, IFBF Marketing Manager. “What we are really looking for, are members who are passionate about belonging to Farm Bureau and want to tell others about it. It’s really something you can have fun with.”

To enter, members can click the Ultimate Farm Bureau Member tab on the Iowa Farm Bureau Facebook page or visit our website at: www.iowafarmbureau.com to view details, contest rules and enter to win.  Final videos need to be submitted to YouTube and then a link sent to IFBF communications staffer Bo Geigley at: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it by March 18.

A panel of judges will select the top five videos that best exemplify a passion for Farm Bureau’s “People, Progress, Pride” brand and will be featured on the IFBF website (www.iowafarmbureau.com).  The public will cast the final vote on the “ Ultimate Farm Bureau Member” winning video.  The winner will be announced April 15.  The contest deadline is nearing, so get your cameras rolling!

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