Q&A: Agriculture and Washington with U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Sen. Charles Grassley   
Thursday, 08 September 2011 07:51

Q:        What is the farm bill?

A:        About every five years, Congress passes a comprehensive farm and food policy bill, covering a range of programs and provisions.  The last farm bill, in 2008, contained 15 titles for commodity price and income supports, farm credit, trade, agricultural conservation, research, rural development, energy, and foreign and domestic food programs including food stamps and other food programs.  Most of the federal spending for programs in the 2008 farm bill went to four of those titles.  Nutrition accounted for 76 percent of the spending.  Crop insurance was nine percent.  Farm commodity support was seven percent.  And, conservation was seven percent of spending in the farm bill, according to estimates from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.


Q:        What about the next farm bill?

A:        Debate over the 2012 farm bill is underway.  I’m a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, where several hearings have been held this year to prepare for new legislation.  In August, I held three town meetings that focused on priorities for the new farm bill.  Iowa farmers told me that they want crop insurance to be maintained even if other programs need to be reduced, given the federal budget crisis, because crop insurance is a necessary tool for managing risk.  Farmers also are concerned about disproportionate cuts to the agriculture budget.  As I’ve said, everything’s got to be on the table in the effort to reduce deficits and control spending, but the agriculture budget should be treated fairly.


Q:        How can farm commodity support be justified to taxpayers?

A:        The safety net for American agriculture is a way to make sure the United States has continued access to the most abundant and affordable food supply in the world.  Without a reliable food supply, nothing less than social cohesion and survival is in jeopardy.  The food safety net needs to be effective, efficient and responsible.  I hope the upcoming farm bill will include a farm-program reform that I’ve sought for a long time.  My farm program payment limits initiative would put a hard cap and other safeguards on payments farmers can receive from the federal farm program, including requirements to make sure those who receive payments are actively engaged in the farming operation.  The farm program was not designed to help big farmers get bigger but, today, 10 percent of the biggest farmers collect nearly 70 percent of total farm payments.  That runs counter to the goal of the farm program, which is intended to help small and medium-sized farmers – who play an important role in producing America’s food supply – weather the downturns in the agricultural economy.  The farm program needs to focus on these farmers because when a farming operation gets larger, it’s in a position to withstand tough years on its own.  The trend in farm program payments going to big farmers also has a negative impact on the next generation of farmers.  When 70 percent of farm payments go to 10 percent of farmers, it puts upward pressure on land prices and makes it a lot harder for smaller and beginning farmers to buy ground or afford to cash rent, which helps them get a foothold in farming.


Q:        How else does Washington impact the family farm?

A:        Just like other businesses and employers nationwide, farmers face headwind from heavy-handed regulations out of Washington.  During my meetings with Iowans, I hear time and again from farmers fed up with the lack of common sense behind too many of those regulations, whether it’s the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) trying to regulate the dust kicked up by the combine at harvest time or the U.S. Department of Transportation trying to treat locally-used farm vehicles like over-the-road semi-trailer trucks when it comes to licensing, permits and fees.


Farmers also need access the new market opportunities created by international trade agreements.  Congress is still waiting for a chance to pass long-readied trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama.  Lawmakers can't act until the President submits the agreements.  There's no doubt that Washington needs to open new doors for agriculture to overseas exports, to generate new economic activity and opportunity.


Iowa has a lot at stake in all of these areas.  Our state is the number one producer of corn, soybeans, pork and eggs.  Cow-calf operations in Iowa produce some of the finest beef cattle in the world.  Iowa dairy farms are integral to communities statewide.


Friday, September 2, 2011

Yard and Garden: Lawn Weed Control PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Joy Venhorst   
Wednesday, 31 August 2011 09:11

The overall appearance of a lawn is directly related to the maintenance provided. September is an ideal time for many lawn maintenance practices—such as weed control. To have additional questions answered, contact the horticulturists at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call 515-294-3108.

When is the best time to apply a herbicide to the lawn to control dandelions and other broadleaf weeds?

Fall (mid-September through October) is the best time to control perennial broadleaf weeds in the lawn with broadleaf herbicides. In fall, perennial broadleaf weeds are transporting food (carbohydrates) from their foliage to their roots in preparation for winter. Broadleaf herbicides applied in fall will be absorbed by the broadleaf weed’s foliage and transported to the roots along with the carbohydrates, resulting in the destruction of the broadleaf weeds.

Broadleaf herbicides can be applied as liquids or granules. Before applying any herbicide, carefully read and follow label directions.

What is the proper way to apply broadleaf herbicides to the lawn?

Broadleaf herbicides can be applied as liquids or granules. Before applying any herbicide, carefully read and follow label directions. When applying liquid formulations, potential spray drift problems can be avoided by following simple precautions. Don’t spray when winds exceed five miles per hour. Also, don’t spray when temperatures are forecast to exceed 85 degrees Fahrenheit within 24 hours of the application. Since coarse droplets are less likely to drift than fine sprays, select nozzles that produce coarse droplets and use low sprayer pressure when applying liquid broadleaf herbicides. When spraying, keep the nozzle close to the ground. If only a few areas in the lawn have broadleaf weed problems, spot treat these areas rather than spraying the entire lawn. Apply just enough material to wet the leaf surfaces.

Granular broadleaf herbicides are often combined with fertilizers. Apply granular broadleaf herbicides and fertilizer/broadleaf herbicide combinations when the weed foliage is wet. Broadleaf herbicides are absorbed by the weed’s foliage, not its roots. To be effective, the granules must stick to the weeds and the herbicide must be absorbed by the weed’s foliage. Apply granular products in the early morning when the foliage is wet with dew or irrigate the lawn prior to the application.

To ensure adequate leaf surface and herbicide absorption, don’t mow the lawn two to three days before treatment. After treatment, allow three or four days to pass before mowing. This allows sufficient time for the broadleaf weeds to absorb the herbicide and translocate it to their roots. To prevent the broadleaf herbicide from being washed off the plant’s foliage, apply these materials when no rain is forecast for 24 hours. Also, don’t irrigate treated lawns within 24 hours of the application.

How do I control creeping Charlie in my lawn?

Ground ivy (“creeping Charlie”) in lawns can be controlled with broadleaf herbicides. Products that contain 2,4-D or triclopyr are most effective. 2,4-D is an active ingredient in many broadleaf herbicide products. Triclopyr can be found in Ortho Weed-B-Gon Chickweed, Clover, and Oxalis Killer for Lawns and a few other products. In Iowa, herbicide applications should be made between mid-September and Nov. 1. Two applications are necessary to effectively control ground ivy. The first application should be made in mid to late September, the second a month later.

How do I control violets in my lawn?

Violets are very difficult to control. Digging up the plants is an option for home gardeners with a small infestation of violets. Broadleaf herbicides are the most practical solution when dealing with large numbers of violets. Broadleaf herbicides containing triclopyr usually provide good control of violets. Applications can be made in spring (during bloom) or fall. Two applications, two to three weeks apart, are usually necessary to achieve good control.


Governor Quinn Announces Record Success of 2011 Illinois State Fair PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Andrew Mason   
Tuesday, 30 August 2011 11:52

Highlights Importance of Agri-Business in Economic Growth  


SPRINGFIELD – August 30, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today highlighted the success of the record-breaking 2011 Illinois State Fair, “We’ve Got a Good Thing Growing.” Attendance increased by 10 percent this year, with 817,393 fairgoers visiting the 11-day event. In addition to offering families affordable entertainment, the fair showcases the best in Illinois agricultural products, from livestock to wine, produce and agricultural technology.  


“Illinois has a proud agricultural heritage, and agri-business is key to our long-term economic growth,” said Governor Quinn. “This year, record numbers of families came to the fair to enjoy affordable entertainment, food and to learn about the importance of agriculture to our state’s history – and our future. The state fair is a tradition that will be around for years to come.”  


The state fair began 158 years ago as a way for Illinois farmers to showcase their labor. The fair continues to feature Illinois livestock, as well as produce and other Illinois products at the Farmers’ Market Tent. This year saw a 10 percent increase in attendance, with more than 817,000 individuals visiting the fair – up by more than 74,000 last year. In fact, this year’s attendance levels were the highest since 2002.  


“I thank fairgoers for coming out to support the fair,” Agriculture Director Tom Jennings said.  “It’s their support that has made the Illinois State Fair a premiere summer festival. To borrow this year’s theme, we really do ‘Have a Good Thing Growing’.”  


Governor Quinn this year hosted the Governor’s Sale of Champions, the annual auction of prize-winning junior livestock, with proceeds going toward scholarships and the state’s 4-H and FFA youth education programs. The grand champion junior steer shown by Sherman teenager Austin Burris sold for a record $51,200, surpassing the previous high of $50,100. It was one of three record prices at the sale: the grand champion sheep ($12,500) and Land of Lincoln barrow ($10,100). The event raised $135,200, not only for the youths who raised the animals, but also for the state’s 4-H and FFA youth education programs.   


Records were not only set in the livestock arena: music fans flocked to the fair en masse to enjoy the affordable entertainment available at the Grandstand. Country music star Jason Aldean attracted a record 15,329 people. Aldean’s ticket sales surpassed the previous record set in 1995 by Hootie and the Blowfish. Collectively, the Grandstand performers, who ranged from comedian Jeff Dunham to rap icon MC Hammer, sold 49,649 tickets, the highest sales in 11 years.  



Checkoff Aims to Increase National Soybean Yield Average PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by United Soybean Board   
Monday, 29 August 2011 09:24

The current national soybean yield average is 44 bushels per acre, but to meet world demand, that figure needs to be boosted to 59.5 bushels per acre by the year 2030. The checkoff’s Production Research program funds research utilizing soybean genomics to help meet this goal.

A new checkoff project will use the mapped soybean genome to accelerate the process of developing and introducing new traits that could lead to high-yielding varieties.

Click here to download an audio news report with USB Production Research program Chair Jason Bean, a soybean farmer from Missouri, discussing how says the checkoff supports research that utilizes the mapped soybean genome to identify and evaluate specific soybean genes that increase yields.

If you would like to conduct additional interviews, please call Erin Hamm at 888.235.4332 or e-mail your request to  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Checkoff Stresses Importance of Animal Ag at Farm Progress Show PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by United Soybean Board   
Friday, 26 August 2011 08:44


Several United Soybean Board (USB) farmer-leaders will attend the Farm Progress show next week to stress with their fellow U.S. soybean farmers the importance of supporting their No. 1 customer: the animal agriculture industry. Visit the USB and Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) tent for the opportunity to discuss that and other issues facing the soybean industry with Marc Curtis, USB chairman and soybean farmer from Leland, Miss.; Phil Bradshaw, past USB chairman and soybean farmer from Griggsville, Ill.; David Hartke, USB farmer-director and soybean farmer from Teutopolis, Ill.; and Nancy Kavazanjian, USB farmer-director and soybean farmer from Beaver Dam, Wis.

DATES Tues., August 30, Wed., August 31, and Thurs., Sept. 1, 2011
LOCATION Lots 349 and 351 
Third Progress Street, east of West Progress Avenue
Decatur, Ill.
If you would like to schedule an interview on-site or in advance, please call Erin Hamm at (314) 746-1962 or email  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
  • Marc Curtis, USB chairman and soybean farmer from Leland, Miss. (Wed., 8/31 only)
  • Phil Bradshaw, USB farmer-leader and soybean farmer from Griggsville, Ill. (Tues., 8/30 only)
  • David Hartke, USB farmer-leader and soybean farmer from Teutopolis, Ill. (Tues., 8/30-Wed. 8/31)
  • Nancy Kavazanjian, USB farmer-leader and soybean farmer from Beaver Dam, Wis. (Tues., 8/30-Wed. 8/31)
ON-SITE CONTACT Erin Hamm with USB Communications, cell (314) 412-6982

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