WEST DES MOINES, IOWA - Nov. 20, 2012 - The Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) is proud to welcome Farm Bureau employees to new roles this fall.

Jim Gardner has been named IFBF chief financial officer and controller, following the retirement of Jim Christenson.  Gardner will be responsible for directing all financial and technology affairs of the federation; including finance and accounting, information resources and community resources. He will serve as a member of the IFBF executive team and represent the federation on the affiliated companies' benefits administration committee.

Gardner has been a member of the Farm Bureau family since 1996, serving as the finance and accounting manager. He has worked extensively with the county Farm Bureaus and spearheaded the new county accounting system. He serves as a member of the Insurable Risk, Investment and Exempt Hay committees.

Prior to joining IFBF, Gardner served as audit manager with Meriwether, Wilson and Co., P.L.C. in West Des Moines. He currently serves as treasurer of the Iowa FFA Foundation Finance Committee and chairs its finance committee.

Gardner has also served on the boards of directors of the Iowa Farm Bureau Foundation Council, Dallas Center-Grimes Youth Football, First Presbyterian Church in Grimes, Valley Apparel Co. in Cedar Rapids, and the Wakonda Christian Church in Des Moines.

Gardner became a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in 1987 and earned his bachelor of arts degree in accounting from the University of Northern Iowa.

IFBF also welcomes a new staff member to the organization's field service team. Jeremy Coyle has been named Regional Manager for region 11, which includes the counties of Boone, Dallas, Greene, Polk and Story. Coyle will work with county officers, committees and members to help develop and carry out program activities, organize and assist with the annual membership campaign and supervise the operation of county Farm Bureau offices in the region.

Coyle grew up on a grain and livestock farm near Pisgah in western Iowa.  He is a graduate of Iowa State University where he majored in journalism and mass communications with an electronic media emphasis. Coyle joined IFBF in 1997 and served as the senior producer/writer.

Aaron Siskow joins the Marketing and Communications staff as producer of digital multimedia services. Siskow comes to the IFBF with nine years of experience in the video and digital multimedia field. He was most recently the senior multimedia developer for Farm Bureau Financial Services.

Siskow has extensive experience in writing, producing and directing video and digital multimedia communications. He is the winner of an Iowa Motion Picture Award of Excellence for Lighting Design and the winner of a Research Excellence Award for his outstanding research accomplishments in Iowa State's graduate program.

In his new position, Siskow will be responsible for overseeing all aspects of IFBF's video/digital multimedia services including the creation of IFBF's multimedia presentations, video and television and radio content, helping to share agriculture's story to our members and all Iowans.

Siskow grew up in Sheffield and is a graduate of Iowa State University, where he studied journalism, earning a bachelor of arts and master of arts degrees.



WEST DES MOINES, IOWA - Nov. 14, 2012 - Story County Farm Bureau member Bill Couser may be a long-time cattleman and Iowa Farm Bureau member who's been recognized for the innovative methods he uses on his farm and feedlot, but he's quick to point out the mentors in his life.

Temple Grandin, an internationally-known animal welfare expert, is at the top of his list.

Grandin is recognized for her role in many aspects of today's culture; ranging from her work with animal handling systems and livestock welfare to being featured in the HBO Emmy Award-winning movie about her life and experience with autism. TIME Magazine even named her as one of the "100 Most Influential People in the World" in 2010.

Couser can't wait to hear her speak on Wednesday, Dec. 5, at the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation's (IFBF) 94th annual meeting at the Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center (formerly known as Veteran's Auditorium). Grandin will talk about the need for greater transparency in the livestock industry and how to reach out to a growing non-farming audience.

"When I first met her 25 years ago, I was absolutely connected to her messages about low-stress handling of livestock and I took that information to my farm," said Couser. "On my farm, we incorporated her approaches such as quiet areas, avoiding corners when moving animals and not using pain-inducing tools such as shock-inducing sticks called hot shots. It's all about embracing methods that secure the health, comfort and safety of our livestock."

Grandin disagrees with animal rights activists who want to abolish the use of animals for food. Today, her low-stress animal welfare guidelines and systems, which include curved chutes and strict protocol regarding animal stunning and slaughter, are standard among many U.S. meat-packing plants. She works with a number of international retailers including McDonald's, Wendy's, Burger King and is active with the Center for Food Integrity's Animal Care Review Panel.

"All of us cattlemen and livestock farmers are her students. I'm excited to have someone who's had such a profound impact on our industry come and share her knowledge with us and appreciate Farm Bureau bringing her here," said Couser. "When you hear her speak for the first time, you take a step back. She is very frank in her opinions. She tells it like it is. Her delivery is unconventional, refreshing and her message is important for all farmers to hear."

To see the agenda for the IFBF two-day annual meeting, visit www.iowafarmbureau.com and click on the rotating link regarding the event. Farm Bureau members can register through their local county Farm Bureau offices.


About Iowa Farm Bureau

The Iowa Farm Bureau Federation is a grassroots, statewide organization dedicated to enhancing the People, Progress and Pride of Iowa.  More than 153,000 families in Iowa are Farm Bureau members, working together to achieve farm and rural prosperity.  For more information about Farm Bureau and agriculture, visit the online media center at www.iowafarmbureau.com.

WEST DES MOINES, IOWA - November 6, 2012 - Whether you're feeding your family or your livestock next year, you'll feel a pinch in your pocketbook. After dealing with the worst drought in 50 years, Iowa farmers found corn and soybean yields down across the board, causing crop prices to increase due to the weather's pressure.

The increase in corn prices will affect farmers' feed prices for their livestock and that will trickle down to consumers as early as January at the grocery store.

"These higher grain prices continue to put pressure on grain users, from ethanol plants to livestock farmers," explained Dave Miller, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) director of research and commodity services. "In the past few weeks, ethanol production is running 12 percent below last year's levels. Cattle, hog and poultry farmers are trimming back production expectations for the coming year."

These adjustments aren't causing concerns for consumers just yet. As farmers bring livestock to market sooner and at lighter weights, meat supplies are strong. Miller warns that this will change at the beginning of the year.

"Lowered production levels are expected to support beef and pork prices in 2013," said Miller. "Consumers can expect higher meat prices in the coming year as livestock farmers continue to make adjustments due to the continued strength and increases in feed costs."

Despite dry conditions throughout the growing season and reduced yields, Iowa farmers continue to lead the nation in corn production. According to Miller, the statewide corn yield is estimated to be 140 bushels per acre, down 32 bushels per acre in 2011. Iowa farmers raised 1.9 billion bushels of corn this year, accounting for nearly 18 percent of U.S. corn production.

Iowa soybean fields weathered the drought better than expected and Iowa farmers will have harvested an estimated 399 million bushels of soybeans this year, representing 14 percent of U.S. soybean production. Soybean yields were also down from last year, coming in at an estimated 35.3 bushels per acre.

The drought brought stresses not only to farmers, but to the markets, as well; tightening supply estimates and raising prices.  Miller said prices for corn and soybeans are higher than a year ago, with corn prices 23 percent higher and soybean prices 20 percent higher. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) releases its monthly crop production report Nov. 9 and Miller says the mid-range of the USDA estimate of season-average prices is $7.80 for corn and $15.25 for soybeans.


New NASS analysis shows Iowa farmers number one in corn, soybeans, hogs and eggs

WEST DES MOINES, IOWA - Oct. 26, 2012 - While the results of the drought-stricken crop of 2012 is yet to be tallied, the recently-released Iowa Agricultural Statistics booklet shows that Iowa farmers continued to lead the nation in corn production in 2011, accounting for 19 percent of the U.S. crop. And despite more acres being planted to corn, Iowa's soybean harvest was also the largest in the nation.

The statistics are compiled by the Iowa office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service's (NASS) and based on surveys and questionnaires completed by Iowa farmers.  The 123-page book is published by the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF).

"Iowa's farmers continue to lead the nation in the production of corn, soybeans, pork and eggs despite a variety of production challenges brought on by extreme weather and market challenges including very volatile pricing of both inputs and what they produce," said Dave Miller, IFBF director of research and commodity services. "The 2011 Iowa Ag Statistics highlights some of the variability in production county to county that existed in Iowa in 2011.  Northwestern Iowa had near record crops while some of the south-central and southeastern counties experienced less robust yields."

The book includes information regarding crops, livestock, farm economics and county-specific data.

"The book details Iowa's vibrant and dynamic agricultural industry," said Iowa NASS director Greg Thessen. He highlighted Iowa's top-of-the-nation status in the following areas: corn production, soybean production, hog and pigs inventory and value, egg production, capacity of on-farm grain storage, feed grain export value and meat export value.

"This book helps share the positive story of the productivity, efficiency and tenacity of the Iowa farmer," said Craig Hill, IFBF president. "In many cases, our farmers are raising the grain that will feed their livestock.

And they are so efficient that they're also raising feed for export. Our farmers are doing an excellent job of balancing their farming operations, meeting the needs of many different customers and always working to protect the land from which it all comes. It's a truly sustainable cycle."

The strong grain production efforts support the state's livestock industry, which continues to be strong in the wake of rising feed prices. Iowa's cattle and hog producers earned $10 billion in cash receipts, an increase of 22 percent over 2010's results. Cattle accounted for $3.4 billion of cash receipts and hogs totaled $6.7 billion.

While the number of farms in the state in 1950 was more than 200,000, that number in 2011 was 92,300. The land in farms in the state has also remained fairly stable, with 30.7 million acres being farmed.

The book costs $11 and can be ordered from the Marketing and Communications Division, Iowa Farm Bureau, 5400 University Avenue, West Des Moines, Iowa 50266. In addition, a CD-version of the document is available for purchase for $10. Checks should be made to the Iowa Farm Bureau.


About Iowa Farm Bureau

The Iowa Farm Bureau Federation is a grassroots, statewide organization dedicated to enhancing the People, Progress and Pride of Iowa.  More than 153,000 families in Iowa are Farm Bureau members, working together to achieve farm and rural prosperity.  For more information about Farm Bureau and agriculture, visit the online media center at www.iowafarmbureau.com.

WEST DES MOINES, IOWA - Sept. 26, 2012 - While Iowa farmers are currently focused on harvesting their fields and caring for their livestock, they also understand the need to open their doors to consumers interested in seeing how food is grown and raised. This fall, the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) is offering the Iowa Farmers Feed US sweepstakes program which invites Iowans to meet today's farmers, take video tours of their farms and register for a chance to win free groceries for a year.

Following the sweepstakes, there will be two free grocery grand prizes of $5,000 each from Iowa Farmers Feed US' grocery partner, Fareway Stores, Inc., awarded to Iowa residents drawn at random from those who register at www.FarmersFeedUS.org/ia. The site offers an up close and personal look at eight Iowa farm families and a chance to tour their farms, which include hog barns, white corn fields and turkey barns. Website visitors can register for the sweepstakes with each of the eight farmers, each day of the sweepstakes, which runs from noon today until noon on October 31, 2012.

"My family is involved in the Iowa Farmers Feed US project because we understand that while not everyone is involved in raising food,  nearly everyone is interested in seeing how animals are cared for, how crops are raised and how we protect Iowa's soil, air and water," explained Justin Dammann, who raises cattle, corn and soybeans in Page County. "This website offers that opportunity for people throughout the state of Iowa, many of whom have never been on a farm. It's a great opportunity for farmers to showcase our commitment to growing safe, wholesome food today."

The website features beef cattle, turkey, corn, dairy cattle, hog and soybean farmers from across the state, each sharing their personal stories about their history in agriculture, farm families and dedication to producing food. Featured farmers include :

  • Justin and Jennifer Dammann, white corn farmers, Essex
  • Russ Yoder, turkey farmer, Wayland
  • Eric and Emily Crossman, hog farmers, Ogden
  • Jim Brown, soybean farmer, Churdan
  • Pam Johnson, corn farmer, Floyd
  • Stephanie Dykshorn, dairy cattle farmer, Ireton
  • Matt Schuiteman, hog farmer, Sioux Center
  • Tim Kaldenberg, beef cattle farmer, Albia

Additional Iowa agriculture groups supporting this initiative include the Iowa Corn Growers Association, the Iowa Pork Producers Association and Midwest Dairy.



WEST DES MOINES, IOWA - Sept. 25, 2012 - In Iowa, fall is a time for touchdowns and tractors as football players and farmers take to their respective fields. And it's the perfect time to learn about the connection between the two groups at the newly launched www.americaneedsfarmers.org website.

The new website offers visitors a closer look at the legendary America Needs Farmers (ANF) campaign, started by Hayden Fry during the 1980s Farm Crisis, and a better understanding of how farmers raise food, fuel and fiber.

"We know consumers want to know more about where their food comes from and we want to provide as much information as we can," said Iowa Farm Bureau President Craig Hill. "Farming is a lot different now than it was in 1985 and the refreshed website provides more information to help consumers understand those changes. But one thing hasn't changed - making sure consumers have safe, wholesome food choices."

"Growing up in Iowa taught me the value of hard work," explained Dallas Clark, former Hawkeye great and current receiver with the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers. "No job is too big and no obstacle is too hard to overcome. These are the same values I take to the field every day, just like Iowa farmers."

Clark is just one player featured at www.americaneedsfarmers.org, which takes a fresh look at the Iowa Hawkeye football and National Football League (NFL) players with ties to farming that many fans will recognize and introduces visitors to Iowa farm families that team up to farm together.

"Farming has always been in our family," explained Eric Crosman, who raises corn, soybeans and hogs in Boone County. "As a kid, I always wanted to be out on the farm with my dad. Today, I work with him every day. Farming is what we do; it's who we are."

In addition, the site offers a chance to win the Ultimate ANF experience package for ANF Game Day Oct. 20 when the Iowa Hawkeyes take on Penn State. The package includes:

• Four game tickets to the ANF Game on Oct. 20.

• Opportunity to watch one quarter from the sideline of Kinnick Stadium.

• Autographed football signed by Head Coach Kirk Ferentz

• ANF Game Day gear

To register for your chance to win, simply fill out the entry form at www.americaneedsfarmers.org. One entry per email address allowed.  All entries must be received by Friday, Oct. 5 and the winner will be announced on Wednesday, Oct. 10.

ANF and Hawkeye fans can also find flair at the America Needs Farmers website. There are buttons, banners and twibbons available for download to add some Iowa character to your Facebook, website or Twitter profile.

For more information about why America needs farmers or ANF Game Day, click on www.americaneedsfarmers.org.



About Iowa Farm Bureau

The Iowa Farm Bureau Federation is a grassroots, statewide organization dedicated to enhancing the People, Progress and Pride of Iowa.  More than 153,000 families in Iowa are Farm Bureau members, working together to achieve farm and rural prosperity.  For more information about Farm Bureau and agriculture, visit the online media center at www.iowafarmbureau.com.


WEST DES MOINES, IOWA - July 18, 2012 - Gardeners and farmers across the state aren't only worrying about the effects of the scorching sun on their plants, they're also taking stock of the damage caused by hordes of iridescent insects that are chewing away produce and profits.

The culprit: Japanese beetles. They're taking a bite out of Iowa gardens and farmers' fields.

According to Iowa State University (ISU) Extension (http://www.extension.iastate.edu/article/yard-and-garden-japanese-beetles-0), the beetles feed on 300 different types of foliage and they are difficult to control. For gardeners with small plots, one of the best ways to combat the bug is to shake them off of the plants. ISU Horticulturalist Richard Jauron says the best time to physically remove Japanese beetles is early morning when the beetles are sluggish. Collect or shake beetles into a bucket of soapy water and discard the carnage.  If that doesn't work, using an insecticide is the next step.

For farmers with hundreds of acres of soybeans, the small insects represent an even bigger problem. Steve Swenka, a farmer in Tiffin, says the Japanese beetles are a result of the dry conditions.

"If we had plentiful rains, those insects would be knocked down from the plants and washed away. Plus, it would encourage new plant growth to replace the damage caused by the beetles," says Swenka. "This season's dry weather has compounded that problem."

Dustin Sage farms near Dunkerton and says the beetles are showing up in his corn and soybean fields, too. He says farmers are carefully applying insecticide to their fields in an effort to curb the damage. Protecting the crops will keep the plants healthy.

ISU Extension says Japanese beetles are present for about six to eight weeks every summer. Adult beetles usually begin to emerge from the ground in mid-June and new adults continue to appear through July. Each beetle lives from 30 to 45 days.

Farmers and gardeners alike are definitely counting down those days.


Award honors achievement, leadership, commitment to ag, community

WEST DES MOINES, IOWA - July 3, 2012 - It's one thing to succeed in agriculture and another to be honored for excellence. Each year, the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) recognizes one young farmer with the Excellence in Ag Award at the IFBF annual meeting in December.

Counties can nominate young Farm Bureau members online at www.iowafarmbureau.com and click on the Bob Joslin Award link. Nominations are due Aug. 31.

The award celebrates a young farmer who demonstrates outstanding leadership qualities in Farm Bureau, agriculture and his/her community. Jay Lynch, a grain farmer from Humboldt, was last year's winner.

"It's quite an honor, especially because I give Farm Bureau a lot of credit for getting me actively involved," Lynch said. "Hopefully, I'll have done enough good to offset some of what they've given to me."

The Joslin Award winner receives a plaque, a $750 gift card from GROWMARK and expense-paid trips to the American Farm Bureau annual meeting in Nashville, the GROWMARK annual meeting in Chicago and the IFBF Young Farmer conference in West Des Moines.

The Excellence in Ag Award is given in memory of Bob Joslin, who served as IFBF president from January 1986 to December 1987 and was known for his support and encouragement of young farmers.


Former Hawkeye standout, NFL playmaker supports ANF

WEST DES MOINES, IOWA - July 2, 2012 - Dallas Clark, a small-town Iowa boy who's made it big in the National Football League, is teaming up with the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) and the University of Iowa (UI) to promote the America Needs Farmers (ANF) campaign.

It's all about Iowa pride for Clark.

"I really respect and have a lot of pride in the values that farmers have, and the values of Iowa and the values of community, and that's what Farm Bureau represents," said Clark, a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this season. "I'm thrilled to be part of this initiative and believe in the importance of farming and the effects it has on our communities and the world."

Clark joins an impressive list of former Hawkeye players who support ANF, a campaign launched by legendary Hawkeye coach Hayden Fry in 1985 during the Farm Crisis. The ANF emblem is displayed on Hawkeye football players' helmets today.

With most people two to three generations removed from the family farm, IFBF and UI joined forces to promote the ANF message and talk to consumers about the food, fuel and fiber raised by farmers.

The ANF campaign continues to create excitement with the 2012 Hawkeye football season drawing closer.

  • ANF, Iowa football players and farmers will be featured at Farm Bureau Park, located on the Grand Concourse at the Iowa State Fair, Aug. 9-19. Visitors can register for prizes, play games and learn more about farming.
  • "ANF Day at Kinnick" will be held Oct. 20 at the Iowa versus Penn State night game.  The day will feature pre-game events featuring Iowa farmers and an autograph session with former Hawkeye greats.
  • Kinnick Stadium visitors can see ANF Plaza and the Wall of Fame, located between the stadium's west grandstand and the north grandstand.
  • ANF merchandise is for sale at www.bravosportsmarketing.com. Farm Bureau members can take advantage of special discounts throughout the year at www.iowafarmbureau.com.
  • The website www.AmericaNeedsFarmers.org features fun facts, trivia, ANF events and comments from former University of Iowa football players who proudly wore the ANF on their game helmets during their playing days at the UI.



About Iowa Farm Bureau

The Iowa Farm Bureau Federation is a grassroots, statewide organization dedicated to enhancing the People, Progress and Pride of Iowa.  More than 153,000 families in Iowa are Farm Bureau members, working together to achieve farm and rural prosperity.  For more information about Farm Bureau and agriculture, visit the online media center at www.iowafarmbureau.com.

WEST DES MOINES, IOWA - June 5, 2012 - Energy costs are on the minds of most Americans as they watch the pumps while filling their gas tanks this summer. But, farmers are also worried about how rising energy costs, from fuel to fertilizer, can impact their businesses. On Wednesday, June 20, at 1 p.m., the Iowa Farm Bureau's Margin Management Webinar Series will offer a session discussing the implications of energy prices and ethanol margins for Iowa farmers.

The webinar will feature Matt Erickson, an economist with the American Farm Bureau Federation. Erickson specializes in the energy/fuel markets, as well as farm diesel and fertilizer price trends.

"The webinar will discuss a variety of energy-related issues, including the current crude oil and natural gas markets, price forecast, trends, inventories and energy consumption," said Ed Kordick, commodity services manager with the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation. "These factors definitely have an impact on a farm's profitability."

Participants can access the free webinar at www.iowafarmbureau.com and look for the link on the main rotating banner. Registration is encouraged. To register, please contact Kordick at ekordick@ifbf.org. While the webinar is open to the public, the program will be archived, with access limited to Farm Bureau members only.