Agribusiness
93rd Annual American Farm Bureau Federation Meeting PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Heather Lilienthal   
Friday, 13 January 2012 09:09

END TO DIRECT PAYMENTS, CHANGES FOR ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS FLOODWATER PLAN, AND CROP ESTIMATE TOOLS AMONG KEY ISSUES DEBATED AT 93rd ANNUAL AMERICAN FARM BUREAU FEDERATION MEETING

Hill Elected to AFBF Board of Directors

WEST DES MOINES, IOWA – Jan. 11, 2012 – In a move which began with Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) voting delegates last year, the nation’s largest grassroots farm organization voted to end direct payments in the 2012 Farm Bill, during the American Farm Bureau Federation’s (AFBF) 93rd Annual Convention this week in Honolulu.

“Iowa Farm Bureau members took a stand a year ago and led national discussion on the importance of achieving a fiscally responsible position which acknowledged our nation’s budget concerns, yet maintained a safety net for our nation’s food producers,” said IFBF President Craig Hill.  “This week our national delegation of farmers agreed; the time is right to take a stand.”

IFBF farmers also led a national discussion on Missouri River flood control measures, the accuracy of the nation’s crop reporting system and conservation.

“Iowa lost more than 350 homes and suffered more than $207 million in damage when the Missouri River went out of its banks this year.  We’re pleased the national delegation recognized the need to encourage the Army Corps of Engineers to adjust their formula for retention of water for consideration of future weather events and the impact of people in these counties,” said Hill, an Iowa voting delegate. “Their release of overflow created flooding in 280,000 acres, many of which were not in the floodplains. The end result was total devastation.”

AFBF delegates adopted Iowa language opposing any linkage of crop insurance with conservation compliance, Hill said.  While Iowa farmers lead the nation in conservation, linking the programs could cause financial disasters for Iowa farmers, he said.  “Because of torrential weather events like we’ve seen in recent years, we also know that linkage of conservation to crop insurance simply risks too much at a time when the stakes have never been higher for farmers.  There are already 15 farm programs that link to the conservation title in the Farm Bill, so to deny crop insurance to farmers because of weather events beyond their control could put a farmer out of business in a single year’s event.”  Eighty-five percent of Iowa farmers have crop insurance.

Iowa voting delegates also led discussion to improve the way the government does crop reporting estimates, which are so influential on national and international markets.  Iowa farmers won agreement from Farm Bureau members across the nation to urge the National Ag Statistics Service (NASS) to use improved technology and methodology such as satellite imagery to estimate crop numbers, not just because it’s more accurate, but also because new technologies are more cost effective.

IFBF also received several awards during the 93rd Annual AFBF meeting in Hawaii.  Iowa President Hill was elected to a one-year term on the AFBF Board of Directors, and young Page County crop and livestock farmers Justin and Jennifer Dammann won Top 10 Young Farmer Achievement award honors for their knowledge and farming achievement and commitment to sharing agriculture’s message.  Iowa’s largest grassroots farm organization also received national Awards of Excellence in five categories including ag education and promotion, leadership development, member services, policy implementation and public relations and information.

For more information on AFBF resolutions, leader awards and to hear IFBF leaders discuss Iowa farming priorities, visit the Media section of the IFBF website, www.iowafarmbureau.com.

 

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Seed Treatment Course Scheduled for Feb. 22 PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Amanda Heitz   
Wednesday, 11 January 2012 15:22
Scott County will host a Seed Treatment Continuing Instructional Course (CIC) for commercial pesticide applicators, Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2012. The program will be shown at locations across Iowa through the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Pest Management and the Environment program (PME).

The local attendance site is the ISU Extension and Outreach Scott County office. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m., and the course runs from 9 to 11:30 a.m. The registration fee is $35 on or before Feb. 15 and $45 after Feb. 15. To register or to obtain additional information about the CIC, contact Amanda Heitz at the ISU Extension and Outreach office in Scott County by calling 563-359-7577.

The course will provide continuing instructional credit for commercial pesticide applicators certified in categories 4 and 10. Topics to be covered include equipment calibration and safe application techniques, seed treatments and plant pathology, nematodes that feed on crops, seed treatment labels and seed treatment compatibility with biologicals.

Certified Crop Advisor (CCA) Continuing Education Units (CEUs) also will be offered this year. Interested participants should bring their CCA number to the program.

Additional information and registration forms for this and other courses offered by the PME program can be accessed at www.extension.iastate.edu/PME/.

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ISU Extension and Outreach Calendar PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Amanda Heitz   
Wednesday, 11 January 2012 15:19
January 17, 2012 - ISU Scott County Extension Council Meeting, Scott County Extension Office – 7:00 p.m.

January 17, 2012 - Confinement Site Manure Applicator Certification, Scott County Extension Office-7:00 p.m.

February 8, 2012 - Commercial Ag Weed, Insect, & Plant Disease CIC, Scott County Extension Office – 9:00a.m.

February 22, 2012 - Seed Treatment CIC, Scott County Extension Office – 9:00 a.m.

February 28, 2012 - ISU Scott County Extension Council Meeting, Scott County Extension Office – 7:00 p.m.

March 8, 2012 - Ornamental & Turf Applicators CIC, Scott County Extension Office – 1:30 p.m.

March 14, 2012 - Certified Handlers CIC, Scott County Extension Office – 9;00 a.m.

March 23, 2012 - Women In Agriculture (Overall Women), I Wireless Center, Moline (More info to come)

March 30, 2012 - Commercial & Private Pesticide Applicator Testing, Scott County Extension Office – 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.



















 
CHOOSING SANITY OVER SNAILS PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Laurie Johns   
Wednesday, 11 January 2012 13:02

It’s perfectly understandable why so many folks care how farmers care for the land; it doesn’t just need to be protected because it feeds us, but because our fertile soils and watersheds always have and always will be Iowa’s most valuable asset.

But there’s a growing concern that some well-intentioned folks have taken efforts to be sustainable to a whole new level, calling for the sacrifice of property rights, food production and jobs for the sake of ‘speciesism’ (choosing plants or animals over people).  ‘Speciesism’ seems to be ‘de riguer’ these days in Hollywood and national media, so that’s probably why the subject packed the house this week at the 2012 American Farm Bureau Federation annual meeting.

Rob Gordon, senior advisor for strategic outreach for the Heritage Foundation (http://www.heritage.org/about), says being environmentally-sustainable is important, but too often regulations are put in place which go beyond common sense. “Science has to be ‘good science’ which means it must follow scientific method. That means if you conduct an experiment and write down how you do it, I should be able to replicate your results.  Right now species are added to endangered lists based on ‘best available data,’ which doesn’t mean rational, duplicated, sane or even scientific.”

Gordon then went on to illustrate that point by way of the Pleistocene Snail.

The Pleistocene snail (http://www.fws.gov/midwest/endangered/Snails/iops_fct.html) is a tiny snail that lives on rocky outcropping areas in Iowa and was declared ‘endangered’ in 1978.  So, the government took over land and created the National Wildlife Refuge near Dubuque to protect the snails.  But, there were snags in maintaining the tiny creature’s population because, according to Gordon, the biggest threats remained: the lack of an Ice Age and humans.  It seems well-intentioned environmentalists who went out to ‘count’ these tiny snails were killing them by accidentally stepping on them.   Since these tiny snails thrived in glacial conditions, the government deemed that the next best ‘savior’ for the Pleistocene is to keep the National Wildlife Refuge near Dubuque in place, and wait for the next Ice Age.

“Clearly, this is a case of speciesism and regulation run amok.  We have to remember that environmental policy can’t be good environmental policy if it doesn’t take people into account,” says Gordon.

In an age when snails are deemed more important than farming, feeding people or employing them, something is wrong.  That’s why folks like Gordon are out there reading the fine print, calling for people to ask questions and demand conservation efforts be based on repeatable, scientific results that take human beings into account.  Waiting for the government to realize this however, could take…until the next Ice Age.

 

Laurie Johns is Public Relations Manager for the Iowa Farm Bureau.                        1/11/2012

 
Checkoff-Funded Tool Helps Show U.S. Soy’s Sustainability PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by United Soybean Board   
Wednesday, 11 January 2012 13:00
Checkoff Supports Improved Fieldprint Calculator to Help Farmers Meet Customers’ Needs

ST. LOUIS (January 11, 2012) – U.S. soybean farmers now have an updated tool that can meet the needs of some customers who want proof U.S. soy has been sustainably produced.

That’s why the soybean checkoff continues to support the Field to Market alliance and its updated Fieldprint Calculator, a tool U.S. soybean farmers can use to help measure, improve and demonstrate their sustainability performance.

The updated calculator, available on the Internet by clicking here, includes several upgrades from earlier versions. It allows U.S. farmers to analyze individual fields and includes more advanced measurements for soil conservation and soil carbon. Additionally, the tool automatically provides a financial ledger that computes the economic impact of sustainable practices on that farm. It also allows U.S. farmers to set up a secure account to save their information for future use.

Nebraska soybean farmer Mike Thede notes that checkoff-funded research has proven the sustainability performance of U.S. soy production. The checkoff shares that information with U.S. soy buyers to support sales.

“All U.S. farmers are under more and more pressure from our customers, who demand soybeans produced in a sustainable manner,” explains Thede, who serves as team lead of the United Soybean Board’s Sustainability Initiative. “We need to continue to document our sustainability performance to our end users in order to maintain and expand our markets.”

According to a recent checkoff-funded life-cycle study, U.S. soybean production proves to be very sustainable due to several factors. For instance, a soybean plant sequesters more greenhouse gases than those generated by the equipment used to grow, harvest and process soybeans. Additionally, U.S. soybean production and processing have become more efficient because of higher yields, more conservation tillage and reduced energy use.

The Fieldprint Calculator can be used for free by all U.S. soybean, corn, wheat, cotton and rice farmers. First, it asks farmers to enter information about their operation. If desired, the tool can confidentially save any information entered, in which case that information is accessible only by the farmer who saved it.

The tool analyzes the use of that farm’s natural resources and inputs to compute its environmental footprint, or “fieldprint.” The results show farmers where there’s room for improvement. U.S. farmers can also compare their results with those from other farms in their area, state or the entire country.

As a member of Field to Market, the soybean checkoff supported development of the original calculator in 2009, as well as the recent update. More information about Field to Market and the Fieldprint Calculator is available at www.FieldToMarket.org.

For more information on the USB, visit www.UnitedSoybean.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

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.

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