7 Billion Reasons to Give Thanks for American Agriculture PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Sen Chuck Grassley   
Tuesday, 22 November 2011 16:11

By U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley

From Washington, we hear a lot of big numbers rolling off the tongues of politicians, policy wonks and pundits. Let’s talk turkey. Trimming the fat and finding slices of savings is increasingly difficult. Ideological and political beliefs run bone-deep for many lawmakers who come to the table representing opposing points of view from different geographic regions and cross-sections of the U.S. population.

Yet there is a common thread that seems to connect the American electorate, whether we align ourselves as urban or rural; young or old; liberal or conservative. People are fed up with the way Washington works.

Years of unrestrained government spending have blown the lid off of fiscal discipline, putting America’s long-term prosperity at risk. Overpromising, over-regulating and overreaching will not help America’s entrepreneurs, big thinkers, farmers, small business owners and other leaders out-innovate, out-educate and out-build our competition in the 21st century.

In the U.S. Senate, I work to do right by Iowans who have entrusted me to represent the interests of our state in Washington. I keep a close eye on the three branches of the federal government to make sure no one in the bureaucracy thumbs a nose at the rule of law or breaks the trust of the taxpaying public.

Family farmers have a sun-up to sun-down work ethic borne out of necessity to get the job done. Conscientious stewardship of one’s financial and natural resources are basic to a farm’s long-term prosperity and requires sacrifice and commitment. Risk is a 24-hour occupational hazard. Consider on-the-job work safety, natural disasters, swings in commodity prices and farm exports dependent upon international trade agreements. Farmers shoulder a burden of risk that’s largely out of their control.

In good times and in bad, farmers weather the highs and lows of cyclical markets and the whims of Mother Nature.

Putting affordable food on the table is important now more than ever. The world’s population reached seven billion this fall. In times of economic uncertainty and public discontent around the world, food security is a non-negotiable standard of public policy. It’s a common thread that unites all of humanity, whether urban or rural; young or old; liberal or conservative.

As Washington works to help revive the U.S. economy, I’ll continue working for American agriculture.

That includes helping to make sure independent producers and beginning farmers have a level playing field to compete and capture a fair share of the consumer’s food dollar; adopting reasonable caps on farm program payments; and, breathing common sense into federal regulatory regimes, such as the EPA’s ridiculous effort to regulate farm dust.

During this season of Thanksgiving, Barbara and I salute the family farmers who have chosen a noble profession and way of life to earn a living. Thanks to their stewardship, America’s agricultural abundance is helping to feed, clothe and fuel a growing world population 365 days a year.

Soybean Checkoff: Demand Strong for U.S. Soy Abroad PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by United Soybean Board   
Monday, 21 November 2011 15:57

ST. LOUIS (November 16, 2011) – Federal government figures show U.S. soy continues to be in strong demand among international customers.

Buyers outside of the United States purchased 1.5 billion bushels of whole U.S. soybeans in the latest marketing year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.  That makes U.S. soy one of the largest agricultural exports.  And U.S. agriculture continues to lead all economic sectors with a positive balance of trade.

“Increasing demand for U.S. soy abroad has been the cornerstone of the soybean-checkoff-funded marketing efforts for the past 20 years,” says Jim Call, a soybean farmer from Madison, Minn. Call also chairs the United Soybean Board (USB) International Marketing program. “We focus not just on China, but on increasing sales in other international markets, as well.”

“The soybean checkoff helps fund market-building activities like hosting international buying teams and conducting poultry and livestock feeding demonstrations abroad that prove the advantages of using U.S. soy,” Call says.

Additional key soybean export figures for the 2010/2011 marketing year:

  • U.S. soybean farmers helped export over 1.5 billion bushels of whole soybeans.
  • Soybean meal from over 332 million bushels of soybeans was exported.
  • Oil from approximately 290 million bushels of soybeans went to foreign customers.

Soy users in China weighed in as the top international customers of whole U.S. soybeans buying 895 million bushels, up from 825 million bushels during the 2010/2011 marketing year.  Other top importing markets for whole U.S. soybeans in the last marketing year include the following:

  • Mexico – 124.3 million bushels
  • Japan – 75.2 million bushels
  • Indonesia – 71.03 million bushels
  • Taiwan – 55.9 million bushels
  • Germany – 36.3 million bushels
  • Spain – 28.6 million bushels
  • Egypt – 27.8 million bushels
  • South Korea – 26.3 million bushels
  • Thailand – 18.6 million bushels

The soybean checkoff funds international marketing efforts in more than 80 countries worldwide. These include market development, communications and education.

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
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News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Heather Lilienthal   
Monday, 21 November 2011 15:29

Governor proclaims Dec. 4-10 as “Iowa Farm Bureau Week”

WEST DES MOINES, IOWA – Nov. 15, 2011 – Members of the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) will gather for the organization’s 93rd annual meeting Dec. 7-8 at the Polk County Convention Center in Des Moines to discuss the many aspects of food and energy production and the important role Iowa farmers play as international leaders in ag technology, innovation and environmental sustainability.

To celebrate the annual gathering, Governor Terry Branstad has declared the week of Dec. 4-10 as “Iowa Farm Bureau Week.”

“This year, our annual meeting theme ‘Setting the Table for the World,’ focuses on how our Iowa farmers, our members, help feed and energize a growing world,” said Craig Lang, IFBF president and a fifth-generation dairy farmer from Brooklyn. “The world population will grow to more than 9 billion people by 2050, and these people will need food and energy. Iowa farmers lead the nation in the production of corn, soybeans, livestock, ethanol and wind energy. We must be at the table to discuss how our farms can support our nation and the world in a sustainable way. It’s a huge task and one that can be met if we continue to focus on developing technology, production efficiencies and conservation practices.”

Lang added that food production discussions also need to address consumers and their needs and demands.

“More than ever, people want to know more about the food they eat; where it comes from, how antibiotics are used by livestock farmers or how waterways and soils are protected,” said Lang. “Farmers want to be transparent about why they do what they do. I know that we’ll have some enlightening discussions that will benefit farmers and consumers, alike.”

The IFBF annual meeting educational seminars will discuss the environmental, health and economic aspects of today’s food production system and will be kicked off with a luncheon panel discussion of ethical food production. Moderated by Ambassador Kenneth Quinn, president of the World Food Prize Foundation, the panel will include experts from Pioneer, Elanco and Hy-Vee.

The three seminar topics include: 1.“Environment: Optimizing Resources to Feed A Hungry World,” with Marv Wilson , Pioneer, and Craig Chase, from the Leopold Center; 2. “Health: Meeting Consumer Demand for Safe and Healthy Food,” featuring Scott Hurd with the Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine, Bahia Nightengale of the Golden Hills RC&D, and Ellen Reis, HyVee dietician; and 3. “Economics: The World Food Economy,” with Grady Bishop, Elanco swine business unit director; Frank Mitloehner, ag researcher from the University of California-Davis; and Daniel Whitley, deputy director of the U.S. Foreign Ag Service.

Lang will address members and special guests on Thursday, Dec. 8, at 9 a.m. In addition, Dave Miller, IFBF director of research and commodity services, will lead a session focused on farm revenue risk and the Food Security Act of 2012 on Dec. 8. The organization will celebrate the contributions of dedicated Farm Bureau members with a recognition banquet on Dec. 7 and a young farm leaders’ achievement luncheon on Dec. 8.

Farm Bureau will wrap up its annual meeting with a voting delegate session and elections.   The following directors are up for re-election this year: IFBF President Craig Lang, District 2 board member Charles Norris, District 7 board member Andy Hora, and District 9 board member Jim McKnight.

Members can register for the 2011 IFBF annual meeting at their county Farm Bureau offices.  For more information about the annual meeting, visit


News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Iowa Farm Bureau   
Tuesday, 15 November 2011 13:17

Seminar available at multiple ICN locations around the state

WEST DES MOINES, IOWA – Nov. 11, 2011 –  As farming price levels and costs continue to climb, farmers can learn more about tax planning at the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation’s (IFBF) tax seminar. The 2011 Iowa Farm Tax Seminar will be held Tuesday, Nov. 22, from 7 to 9 p.m. It will be carried on the Iowa Telecommunications Network (ICN) and is free to the public.

“This annual seminar is a proven way for farmers and others interested in farm tax planning to get up-to-date information that is valuable for tax season preparation,” said Ed Kordick, IFBF commodity services manager.

The seminar will feature Roger McEowen from the Center for Agricultural Law and Taxation at Iowa State University and Charles Brown of AgriFinancial Services, LLC. During the webinar, participants will have the opportunity to ask questions and view visuals.

The seminar can be viewed at these ICN locations: Ames High School, Ames; South Winneshiek High School, Calmar; Kirkwood Community College, Room 104 in Washington Hall, Cedar Rapids; North Iowa Area Community College, Buettner Careers Building, Room 118, Mason City;  and Northwest Iowa Community College, Building D, Room #402; Sheldon.

If you have questions on the webinar, contact Kordick at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or 515-225-5433. The seminar will be recorded and available at the IFBF website,, the next day for members only to view the information on their farm/home computer.


Center for Rural Affairs applauds Beginning Farmer and Rancher Bill PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Elisha Smith   
Tuesday, 15 November 2011 12:46

Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunity Act introduced Today

Lyons, NE - Lyons, NE - The Center for Rural Affairs praised the Senate introduction today of the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunity Act of 2011, a cross-cutting initiative aimed at helping the next generation of farmers and ranchers enter into agriculture and take advantage of emerging markets. The bill is sponsored by Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) and nine other Senators. A companion bill was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Representative Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) and Representative Tim Walz (D-MN) several weeks ago.

“I am proud of the initiatives we have previously enacted to help beginning farmers and ranchers create and pursue opportunities and realize their goals and dreams,” said Senator Harkin as he concluded his floor speech introducing the bill. “By building on the success of the existing programs, this legislation will lend more help to beginning farmers and ranchers and in doing so strengthen American agriculture, our rural communities, and our nation as a whole.  I am grateful to the cosponsors of this bill and urge all of my colleagues to support it." 

“We commend Senator Harkin and the other sponsors for introducing this bill. Their legislation is smart, cost-effective public policy that will create jobs and invest in the future of rural America,” said Traci Bruckner, Assistant Director for Rural Policy of the Center for Rural Affairs. “It addresses obstacles that often prevent beginning farmers and ranchers from getting their operation started.”

The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunity Act contains several key elements, including:

  • Reauthorizing the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program, a beginning farmer and rancher training and support initiative. It would increase mandatory funding from $75 million to $125 million over the next 5 years to help meet growing demand for the program, and include a new priority on agricultural rehabilitation and vocational training programs for military veterans.
  • $30 million in annual funding for the Value Added Producer Grants Program and will retain the priority for projects benefiting beginning farmers and ranchers as well as a set-aside of program funding for these projects.
  • Creating savings and enhancing lending provisions that help beginning farmers and ranchers access credit and establish a pattern of savings.
  • Providing conservation incentives to assist beginning farmers and ranchers and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers to establish conservation practices and sustainable systems on their farms and ranches.

Senator Harkin is joined by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD), Senator Robert Casey (D-PA), Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Senator Jon Tester (D-MT), Senator Al Franken (D-MN), Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) and Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) as original co-sponsors of the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunity Act of 2011.

“When you compare the numbers from the 2007 and 2002 Census of Agriculture, you see a big drop in the number of younger farmers in agriculture as their primary occupation. The revitalization of rural America depends, in large part, on reversing that trend,” explained Bruckner.

“It can be difficult to get started in the world of agriculture,” said Garrett Dwyer, a beginning rancher and former Marine infantryman from Bartlett, NE. “Skyrocketing costs of buying or renting land make entry into farming and ranching a daunting task.” Dwyer traveled to D.C. in June to participate in a nationwide fly-in called, “Sound Investments to ensure the Next Generation of Beginning Farmers and Ranchers.”

According to Dwyer, more beginning farmers and ranchers are needed because without a new generation of beginners, the land will concentrate in large farms. “And that will cause the permanent loss of opportunity for family farms, ranches, and rural communities and squander the chance to shift to a more sustainable system of agriculture,” explained Dwyer.

Bruckner explained that the introduction of these bills in both the House and the Senate is a crucial step in focusing more of the public investment in the 2012 farm bill on the next generation of farmers and ranchers. Congressional investment in beginning farmers and ranchers is an investment, by all Americans, in the future of rural America.  

“And it is money well spent,” continued Bruckner.

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