Loebsack Receives Top Award for Leadership on Renewable Fuels PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Vonnie Hampel   
Monday, 11 August 2014 14:28

Fourth consecutive year Loebsack has been given “Fueling Growth” award


Washington, D.C. – Congressman Dave Loebsack announced today that he has been awarded the 2014 Fueling Growth award from Growth Energy. This award honors leaders who have fought to increase the use of ethanol biofuels and renewable fuels. Loebsack has been leading the fight in Congress to expand the use of biofuels and pushing back against the proposed 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) obligations announced last year.  Loebsack has also been a champion of green energy initiatives that create good-paying jobs and promote fuel production in Iowa, including ethanol and biodiesel. Growth Energy represents the producers and supporters of ethanol and has previously honored Loebsack with this bipartisan award in 2011, 2012 and 2013.

“I am proud to lead the fight in Congress to increase access to biofuels and make sure the Renewable Fuel Standard remains strong,” said Loebsack. “Investments in homegrown biofuels create new jobs in our state, put us on a path towards energy independence, enhance our national security, and bring increased economic development to Iowa’s rural areas. I will continue to work to promote these clean, alternative energy sources and the good jobs they provide Iowans.”


USDA Partners with States, Tribes to Improve Public Access on Private Lands PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by USDA Office of Communications   
Monday, 11 August 2014 14:02
USDA announces $20 million in grants to protect wildlife, enhance outdoor recreation and create rural business opportunities

WASHINGTON, August 7, 2014—Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said today that the Department of Agriculture will partner with nine State agencies and with the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakima Nation to increase recreational and economic opportunities on private lands. Funding is provided through USDA's Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program (VPA-HIP), authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill.

"The funds we are announcing today will empower state and tribal governments to partner with landowners in their areas to enhance outdoor recreation opportunities, protect at-risk wildlife, and spur new opportunities for rural businesses," said Vilsack. "Partnerships are the key to locally-led, innovative use of private lands, and this is the latest example of the Obama Administration and USDA's successful efforts to connect public and private partners for long-term conservation results."

Under today's announcement, $20 million in grants will be provided to improve wildlife habitat and public access to private lands while spurring new economic opportunities for rural businesses. Many grantees are leveraging other funding to expand existing public access programs, enabling USDA dollars to make a larger impact.

The program is administered by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). State and tribal governments can apply for VPA-HIP grant funding to expand or improve habitat in existing public access programs or provide incentives to improve habitat on land already enrolled in their public access programs.

The increase in recreational activities is an important economic driver in rural communities. According to the Outdoor Industry Association, the outdoor recreation economy supports 6.1 million direct jobs, $80 billion in federal, state and local tax revenues and $646 billion in spending each year.

This year's selected projects include:

  • Arizona Game and Fish Department; $2.2 million: The Department plans to expand its public access program by working with more landowners through the provision of incentive payments, hiring additional staff and boosting outreach efforts.
  • Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakima Nation; $131,000: The tribal government will complete construction of a wildlife viewing center, opening access to 8,500 acres of private land and 12,500 acres of tribal lands for hiking, bird watching and photography.
  • Georgia Department of Natural Resources; $ 994,000: The Department will expand its Wildlife Management Area program.
  • Illinois Department of Natural Resources; $1.7 million: The Department will "grow" its public access program with a goal of making land available for recreation while also helping at-risk species like the golden wing warbler and bog turtle.
  • Iowa Department of Natural Resources; $3 million: Funding will provide conservation assistance to landowners, enhancing 22,000 acres of wildlife habitat and opening an area to the public for hunting.
  • Michigan Department of Natural Resources; $1.2 million: The Department will add dozens of farms to its hunting access program, boosting acreage by about 8,000 acres.
  • Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks; $490,000: The Department will work with 150 private landowners to open access up to 48,000 acres for hunting, fishing and other recreational activities.
  • Pennsylvania Game Commission; $6 million: The Commission will expand its public access program with a goal of making land available for recreation while also helping at-risk species.
  • South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks; $1.5 million: The Agency will increase public access to private lands in the southeastern portion of the state for hunting and recreational activities, as well as improve wildlife habitat.
  • Texas Parks and Wildlife Department; $2.4 million: The Department will increase land available and participation in hunting as well as boosting wildlife populations by working with private landowners.

The grants being announced today were highly sought after, with 25 state agencies and two Indian Tribes requesting a total of $62 million. NRCS will announce a second round of funding this fall.

Find more details on VPA-HIP projects here. To learn about technical and financial assistance available through conservation programs, visit or local USDA service center.

Today's announcement was made possible by the 2014 Farm Bill. The Farm Bill builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past five years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for taxpayers. Since enactment, USDA has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing and community facilities to help improve quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit:


USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users).


Braley Wins Award for Ethanol Advocacy PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Kirsten Hartman   
Monday, 11 August 2014 13:59

Congressman named 2014 Fueling Growth Award Winner from Growth Energy for championing renewable fuel

Washington, D.C. – Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) this week was named a 2014 Fueling Growth Award Winner from Growth Energy. The award “is the highest honor given to Congressional leaders who vigorously advocate for ethanol—America’s homegrown, renewable fuel,” according to the organization.

“America is at a crossroads when it comes to its energy future. We can keep increasing our dependence on foreign countries for our energy needs or we can invest in biofuels to promote energy independence,” Braley said. “I’m proud to be a strong advocate for energy independence and Iowa’s renewable fuels and will do everything possible to ensure Iowa remains at the center of energy innovation.”

Braley has consistently fought against the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed cuts to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS)-- greatly harming Iowa’s economy and America’s move toward energy independence.

Timeline of Highlights of Rep. Braley’s Action to Protect the RFS

·         April-2013: Wrote to leaders of House Committee on Energy and Commerce, discussing the economic benefits of the RFS and its importance in America’s energy future and invited them to tour bioenergy facilities in Iowa.

·         May-July-2013: Held a series of four educational briefings on the RFS, whose purpose was to educate members of Congress and their staffs on the RFS and its importance to America’s economy and march toward energy independence.

·         June-2013: Introduced Rural Energy Investment Act, which would help develop advanced biofuels, wind and other renewable energy resources and energy efficiency and require the federal government to increase their commitment to purchasing biobased products like cleaners, lubricants, building materials, and other industrial products by 50 percent—and reduce the use of products made with Middle East oil.

·         July-2013: Participated in Congressional committee hearing entitled: “Overview of the Renewable Fuel Standard: Stakeholder Perspectives,” which included panelists involved in the production of biofuels and the importance of biofuels to Iowa and the nation’s economy. Panel included Iowa native and former National Corn Grower president Pam Johnson.

·         August-2013: Toured the POET Biorefinery in Hanlontown, IA and met with employees to discuss Iowa’s leadership on biofuel innovation and the importance of the RFS.

·         November-2013: Sent a letter to Farm Bill conference committee encouraging them to include an Energy Title that supports renewable fuel efforts.

·         November-2013: Toured the BioProcess Algae plant in Shenandoah, Iowa to visit with workers and see how ethanol byproducts, such as carbon dioxide, are being used to promote algae growth for use in advancements in a variety of industries.

·         November-2013: Sent a letter to President Obama regarding the negative economic impact and shortsightedness of lowering the RFS.

·         November-2013: Co-hosted a Congressional briefing with Rep. Steve King, and ISU professor Bruce Babcock as a panelist, in order to inform Congressional offices of the negative economic impact of lowering the RFS.

·         November-2013: Sent a letter to EPA Administrator McCarthy, USDA Secretary Vilsack, and OMB Director Burwell in support of an increase in the biodiesel volume requirement in the RFS.

·         November-2013: Sent a letter to EPA Administrator McCarthy urging the Administrator to review the draft proposal for the RFS volume obligations and support an RFS that will support innovation and economic growth, and reduce our reliance on foreign oil.

·         December-2013: Asked Iowans to share their stories of the positive impact the RFS had had on their lives, careers, and communities—later submitting their stories to the EPA during the open comment period.

·         December-2013: Testified in opposition to the reduction at an EPA field hearing in Washington—stressing the economic benefits of the RFS including the value added markets and innovation that come from increased biofuel production. Hearing included other Iowa elected officials (Branstad, Reynolds, and Grassley).

·         January-2014: Met with EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy to convey the RFS’s impact on Iowa’s economy and America’s energy independence.

·         January-2014: Joined veterans with to deliver a petition with more than 100,000 signatures to the EPA in opposition to changing the RFS.

·         March-2014: Met with senior White House Advisor John Podesta and Dan Utech, the White House’s top climate advisor, to discuss Iowa’s position as a world leader in innovation in wind and biofuel energy production, and the important role the RFS played in that innovation.

·         May-2014: Met with House Congressional leaders and senior White House advisor John Podesta to emphasize the need to protect the RFS in order to spur domestic economic growth and enhance America’s energy independence.

·         June-2014: Wrote to the EPA Inspector General General Elkins requesting that he investigate the process involved in crafting the RFS proposal—after reports that there may have been inappropriate lobbying efforts made to lower the RFS standard.  The letter echoed a request made by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW)—a nonpartisan group dedicated to promoting ethics and accountability in government.

·         July-2014: Sponsored an educational briefing with Republican Rep. Lee Terry (NE-02) for Members of Congress and their staffs on the importance of the RFS in lowering gas prices and reducing America’s dependence on foreign oil.

# # #

ISU Scott County Extension Calendar Aug-Sept PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Amanda Heitz   
Monday, 11 August 2014 13:47
Aug. 26, 2014 Scott County Extension Council Meeting, Scott County Extension Office, 7:00 pm

Sept. 4, 2014 Replacing Ash Trees: Good Alternatives for Iowa, Scott County Extension Office, 6:30 pm-8:30pm

Sept. 5, 2014 Pesticide Applicator Testing, Scott County Extension Office, 10:00 am-2:00 pm

Farm Futures survey indicates record crops for 2014 PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Penton Farm Progress Group   
Tuesday, 05 August 2014 11:47

This year's corn yields are on track for big yields and the soybean outcome still could change, as revealed in the latest Farm Futures producer survey.

ST. CHARLES, ILL., 7:30 A.M., CDT, (08/05/2014) — Farmers are gearing up to harvest record corn and soybean crops this fall, if weather holds for the rest of the growing season, according to results of the latest Farm Futures survey.

Bin buster potential is high
Corn production could hit 14.331 billion bushels this fall; nearly 3% more than the bin buster they grew in 2013. Average yields of 171.06 bushels per acre (bpa) appear possible nationwide, also a record, after a summer marked by cool temperatures.

Soybeans also appear on track for records, though output could still be trimmed by late summer dryness – or driven higher if conditions moderate into fall. Farm Futures projects yields of 46.07 bpa on average, for a crop of 3.857 billion bushels.

"Soybean yields are still uncertain, with a lot of variance still possible in how the crop will wind up," said Bryce Knorr, Farm Futures senior market analyst. "Drying conditions headed into August are a concern from eastern Kentucky and Tennessee up through Missouri, Iowa and parts of the Dakotas."

Below average precipitation in the second half of July doesn’t appear to be harming corn potential, thanks to mild, if not cool conditions in the Midwest that reduced moisture needs for the crop. "Our survey shows potential for larger corn yields if an extended period of grain fill allows kernels to gain weight," Knorr said.

Commodity price indications
Prices of both crops should be headed lower if yield potential holds. "Cheaper corn should encourage some additional demand, but ending stocks on Aug. 31, 2015 could still rise toward 2 billion bushels. That could send the average cash price for the crop under $3.75, with futures prices already below that level. Farmers should get some downside protection from the new farm program, but it may take production problems in other growing regions to stabilize prices," said Knorr.

Soybean inventories should also grow in the year ahead, starting to approach a burdensome level of 400 million bushels. That could push the average cash price for the crop below $10, even with robust export sales.

"Preseason bookings are off to a record start, and better economic growth in China could boost our exports significantly," Knorr said. "But stocks may still be huge a year from now, especially if growers in Brazil follow through with plans to increase production there."

Farm Futures surveyed more than 1,325 growers by email July 21 to Aug. 4. USDA makes its first estimate of 2014 corn and soybean production based on surveys of farmers and their fields Aug. 12.

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