**Due to a change in the House schedule, the tours have been postponed and will be rescheduled at a later date**Loebsack to Tour Scott & Clinton County Farms PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Vonnie Hampel   
Thursday, 31 July 2014 14:06

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Dave Loebsack today announced that he will visit farms in Scott and Clinton Counties, TOMORROW, Friday, August 1st. Throughout his time in office, Loebsack has visited farms and businesses that have a direct impact on the rural economy to hear firsthand about the needs of rural Iowans. Media are invited to attend.

Scott and Clinton County Farm Tour

Scott County

Cinnamon Ridge Farms

10600 275th St, Donahue



Clinton County

Grand Mound Cutters Seen Corn Production

2260 Hwy. 30, Grand Mound



USDA Implements Key Farm Bill Crop Insurance Provision PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by USDA Office of Communications   
Tuesday, 29 July 2014 14:26
2014 Farm Bill Measure Strengthens and Expands Insurance Coverage Options for Farm Operations

WASHINGTON, July 29, 2014 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced continued progress in implementing provisions of the 2014 Farm Bill that will strengthen and expand insurance coverage options for farmers and ranchers. The new Supplemental Coverage Option (SCO), available through the federal crop insurance program and set to begin with the 2015 crop year, is designed to help protect producers from yield and market volatility.

"America's agricultural producers work hard to produce a sufficient amount of safe and nutritious food for the country," said Secretary Tom Vilsack. "It's critical that they have crop insurance options to effectively manage risks and ensure that they do not lose everything due to events beyond their control. Following the 2014 Farm Bill signing, USDA has made it a priority to ensure the Supplemental Coverage Option was available to help farmers in this upcoming crop year."

The 2014 Farm Bill strengthens and expands crop insurance by providing more risk management options for farmers and ranchers and by making crop insurance more affordable for beginning farmers. SCO, which is administered by the Risk Management Agency (RMA), further strengthens the farm safety net.

SCO will be available for corn, cotton, grain sorghum, rice, soybeans, spring barley, spring wheat, and winter wheat in selected counties for the 2015 crop year. Producers should contact their crop insurance agents to discuss eligibility in time to sign up for winter wheat coverage. RMA plans to make SCO more widely available by adding more counties and crops. Information on SCO for 2015 winter and spring wheat is available on the RMA website at Selected counties for other commodities will be released later this summer.

SCO is a county-level policy endorsement that is in addition to an underlying crop insurance policy, and covers a portion of losses not covered by the same crop's underlying policy. Producers who elect to participate in Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC), which is offered by the Farm Service Agency (FSA), are not eligible for SCO for the crop and farm participating in ARC.

Producers applying for SCO for the 2015 winter wheat crop may withdraw coverage on any farm where they have elected, or where they intend to elect, ARC for winter wheat by the earlier of their acreage reporting date or Dec. 15, without penalty. This allows producers additional time to make an informed decision related to whether to elect to participate in either the ARC or Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs for their winter wheat. If producers withdraw SCO coverage for a farm by the earlier of their acreage reporting date or Dec. 15, they will not be charged a crop insurance premium. In order to withdraw coverage without penalty, producers must notify their agents of their intended election for ARC by the earlier of their winter wheat acreage reporting date or Dec. 15.

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).


Checkoff Produces Big ROI PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by United Soybean Board   
Tuesday, 29 July 2014 13:11
Independent study shows checkoff returns more than five dollars for every dollar farmers invest

ST. LOUIS (July 29, 2014) - Under the soy checkoff program, all U.S. soybean farmers contribute a small percentage of their gross soybean sales for research and marketing projects that maximize their profit potential. According to the results of a new, independent study, the checkoff continues to grow those small investments into big results for U.S. soybean farmers.

The results of the checkoff’s most recent regular, independent return-on-investment (ROI) analysis found that all U.S. soybean farmers receive $5.20 in profits for every dollar they invest in the checkoff.

“Farmers are always looking for ways to improve profitability and become more efficient, so ROI is very important to them,” says United Soybean Board (USB) Chairman Jim Call, a soybean farmer from Madison, Minnesota. “This study shows that U.S. soybean farmers are better off because of the checkoff.”

Gary Williams, Ph.D., an agricultural economics professor from Texas A&M University who conducted the study, says 5 percent of all U.S. soybean farmers’ revenues are due to the checkoff’s research and marketing efforts. Williams also pointed out other conclusions, including:

  • The soy checkoff has increased the size of the U.S. soybean industry.
  • It has lifted the markets for U.S. soybeans, meal and oil, as well as U.S. soybean farmer returns.
  • The checkoff has also increased U.S. soy exports and reduced the competitive threat of the South American soybean industry. As a result, U.S. soybean farmers currently enjoy a larger share of the global soy market.
  • The benefits of the checkoff for U.S. soybean farmers and the industry in terms of net additional returns have far exceeded the cost of the program expenditures over time.

According to USB Audit & Evaluation Committee Chair David Hartke, a soybean farmer from Teutopolis, Illinois, it is one of several tools the checkoff uses to keep farmers’ dollars working for them.

“We’re always very diligent in making sure that U.S. soybean farmers get the most for their investment,” Hartke says. “The ROI study, along with all the other evaluations and reporting we require, ensure that all of our projects remain consistent with our strategy and are working for the good of the farmer.”

The results of the most recent soy checkoff request for referendum balloting indicate that farmers know the value of the checkoff. The U.S. Department of Agriculture received 355 request-for-referendum forms from U.S. soybean farmers during May, the month designated this year for the opportunity provided every five years for U.S. soybean farmers to request that a referendum be held on the checkoff’s existence. Of those, only 324 were valid, which represents 0.06 percent of all eligible U.S. soybean farmers, falling far short of the 10 percent needed to trigger a full referendum.

The 70 farmer-directors of USB oversee the investments of the soy checkoff to maximize profit opportunities for all U.S. soybean farmers. These volunteers invest and leverage checkoff funds to increase the value of U.S. soy meal and oil, to ensure U.S. soybean farmers and their customers have the freedom and infrastructure to operate, and to meet the needs of U.S. soy’s customers. As stipulated in the federal Soybean Promotion, Research and Consumer Information Act, the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service has oversight responsibilities for USB and the soy checkoff.

For more information on the United Soybean Board, visit
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Iowa leaders call for EPA action to restore a robust RFS PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Office of the Governor of the State of Iowa   
Friday, 25 July 2014 15:40

As rumors swirl on RFS, Branstad, Reynolds and Northey call for action to protect jobs, increase consumer choice


(DES MOINES) – Gov. Terry Branstad, Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds and Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey today renewed their call for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to restore a robust Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and abandon their proposed rule that would cost Iowans jobs, decrease consumer choice at the pump and increase our nation’s dependency on foreign oil.

According to an Associated Press report, Sen. Al Fraken (D-Minn.) said after meeting with White House officials that he believes the EPA will only partially restore the RFS volume obligation levels for 2014.

“While we’re encouraged to see the potential for movement from the Obama Administration, we believe they need to act right away to fully restore a robust Renewable Fuel Standard. Because of the uncertainty at the federal level, corn is now selling below the cost of production,” said Branstad. “State and federal officials have worked in a bipartisan manner on this critically important issue. I’m hopeful the Environmental Protection Agency will act to protect Iowa jobs, rural development and Iowa agriculture.”

“Now is not the time to retreat from a robust Renewable Fuel Standard that increases consumer choice, creates jobs, encourages economic growth and reduces our dependency on foreign oil,” said Reynolds. “The people of Iowa and America have spoken clearly, protect the RFS and abandon the ill-advised Environmental Protection Agency proposal today.”

“A strong RFS is vitally important to ensure Iowa customers have access to domestically produced, clean burning ethanol and biodiesel.  The law is working as intended and it is wrong for the EPA to act against congressional intent.  I hope the Obama administration will listen to the thousands of comments supporting access to renewable fuels and fully restore the RFS,” Northey said.

Highlights of Iowa leaders’ engagement on the RFS include:

  • State and Federal elected officials, including Gov. Branstad and Lt. Governor Reynolds, participated in a “Defend the RFS” event.
  • Gov. Branstad traveled to Washington, DC, joining a group of Iowa farmers and biofuels producers, to testify at the Federal government’s only public hearing and met with EPA Administrator McCarthy.
  • Gov. Branstad, Lt. Gov. Reynolds, Secretary Bill Northey and the entire Iowa congressional delegation sent a joint letter to Federal leaders advocating for the many benefits that flow from the RFS.
  • Gov. Terry Branstad and Gov. Mark Dayton (D-Minn.) pen an op-ed in support of a strong Renewable Fuel Standard.
  • Gov. Terry Branstad brought together a bipartisan group of six governors to sign on to a letter to President Barack Obama, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and United States Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack expressing their support for a strong RFS.
  • Leaders from across the Midwest joined Gov. Branstad and Lt. Gov. Reynolds for their  “Hearing in Heartland,” which was open to all interested citizens; 83 panelists from across the Midwest Region spoke from the heart about the importance of the RFS to their livelihoods and a healthy rural economy while only two individuals expressed opposition to a robust RFS.
  • Gov. Branstad, in his Condition of the State address, called on the Iowa Legislature to pass a resolution in support a robust RFS. The Legislature unanimously passed bicameral, bipartisan resolutions calling for the EPA to reverse course and support a strong RFS. View the resolutions: House Resolution 101 | Senate Resolution 101
  • State of Iowa leaders submitted formal comments to the EPA with current data and analysis that provides Federal leaders the opportunity and obligation to revise their initial volume obligations upward.
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Cattle Feeders Summer Seminar Set for Aug. 11 PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Amanda Heitz   
Friday, 25 July 2014 08:37

Cattle prices are at an all-time high, but high prices don’t necessarily equate to high profits. With tight margins, it’s important for cattle feeders to focus on the management and marketing skills needed to maintain profitability. That’s why Iowa Beef Center at Iowa State University is helping sponsor a Cattle Feeders Summer Seminar next month.

Denise Schwab, ISU Extension and Outreach beef program specialist, said the program emphasis is on marketing opportunities and management to optimize cattle performance and profitability. The seminar will be Monday, Aug. 11, from 3 to 9 p.m., starting at the Jones County Extension Expo hall in Monticello and concluding with an on-farm demonstration.

“It will include industry updates related to animal care and sustainability, marketing opportunities in eastern Iowa, and animal handling techniques,” Schwab said. “Speakers include IBC director Dan Loy, Doug Bear of Iowa Beef Industry Council and Dave Rueber of Innovative Ag Services.”

Loy will talk about high quality cattle marketing, Bear will offer Beef Quality Assurance training and certification, and Rueber will share his observations on beef finishing facilities.

Tom Noffsinger, consulting feedyard veterinarian from Benkelman, Neb., who is well known for his work with low-stress handling techniques, will present information and a demonstration.

“Animal disposition and stress has a direct impact on gain, feed efficiency and health, and numerous research studies show that stressed cattle have higher health treatment rates and costs, increased mortality rates and lower quality grades,” Schwab said. “Dr. Noffsinger’s demonstration will focus on ways to acclimate cattle to human handling that reduces stress and improves cattle behavior and performance. Calmer cattle also result in fewer injuries to farmers.”

Partners joining IBC to offer this seminar are Merck Animal Health, Iowa Beef Industry Council and Innovative Ag Services. Cost for the seminar is $10, which can be paid at the door. Preregistration is requested by calling the Benton County Extension office at 319-472-4739 or emailing Schwab at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . For more information contact Schwab at 319-721-9624.


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