WEST DES MOINES, IOWA (April 4, 2019) — Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF), the state’s largest grassroots farm-organization, launched the Farming Community Disaster Exchange where Iowans can offer help to those impacted by the floods or to seek assistance.

WEST DES MOINES, IOWA (April 3, 2019) — Iowa Farm Bureau Federation’s (IFBF) economists say Iowa may see upwards of $2 billion in damages from recent flooding in Iowa, which the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) says 

WEST DES MOINES, IOWA (March 27, 2019) — Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF), founded a century ago on the premise of helping rural Iowans weather the challenges of farming, is donating $35,000 for flood-relief efforts to help manage the immediate needs of Missouri River flood-victims. The donation includes $20,000 to the Red Cross and $15,000 to the Nebraska Farm Bureau Disaster Fund.

WEST DES MOINES (February 13, 2019) — Just when you think you have things figured out, new information comes forward and proves you were wrong. Maybe it all comes down to where you started your search for answers. 

WEST DES MOINES, IOWA (February 5, 2019) — A Mitchell County couple credited with making education curriculum just a "click away" for art teachers around the nation are the recipients of Iowa Farm Bureau’s Renew Rural Iowa Entrepreneur Award. Derek and Jessica Balsley created The Art of Education University to fill a need for resources and support for elementary art teachers.

Winner to Receive a Year of Free Use of a John Deere 6D Tractor

WEST DES MOINES, IOWA - December 10, 2013 - For the first time the winner of the 2014 Conservation Farmer of the Year award, sponsored by the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) and the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS), will have the free use of a John Deere 6D Series utility tractor for 12 months (up to a maximum of 200 hours), courtesy of Van Wall Equipment.

With increased attention on efforts to remove nutrients from Iowa's watersheds, IFBF and IDALS are proud to announce the addition of Van Wall as a new partner in an award which highlights the 'best of the best' in conservation.

"For more than 30 years, IFBF and IDALS have encouraged and celebrated conservation efforts through the annual Conservation Farmer of the Year Award.  While more work must continue to make progress in conservation, we are always looking for ways to show how today's responsible farmers are making improvements on their farm to protect the soil and water.  Van Wall's support will significantly raise the visibility of the Conservation Farmer of the Year Award and all the conservation efforts of Iowa farmers.  We also believe it will increase farmer participation in the award application process because we know there are many farmers out there with great examples to share," says Craig Hill, Iowa Farm Bureau president.

"We are so proud to be a part of this effort to encourage conservation, because Van Wall believes in farmers and believes in doing the right thing.   Our mission statement has common values with responsible farmers of today, to support Iowa families and communities," says Mark See, Territory Manager of Van Wall Group, Nevada. The Van Wall Group is comprised of 13 dealer locations in Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska.

"In the last 30 years, voluntary conservation measures have reduced soil erosion in the U.S. by 43 percent, according to the USDA's National Resources Inventory report.  Iowa's erosion rate was down 33 percent, thanks to a combination of practices being put in place, such as buffer strips, terraces, no-till, cover crops, restoring wetlands, installing bio-filters and grassy waterways in fields," says Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey. "We believe Iowa farmers will just continue that positive trend through the Iowa Water Quality Initiative."

Learn more about how today's responsible farmers embrace new conservation methods, by visiting the Conservation Counts website (www.iowafarmbureau.com/conservationcounts).  The website is an online resource where consumers can see how farmers use conservation practices on their farm and the progress that statewide voluntary measures have brought in the last 30 years and where farmers can learn more about the latest conservation practices.

Next year's Iowa Conservation Farmer of the Year winner will be presented an award plaque and keys to their tractor at a luncheon during the Conservation Districts of Iowa annual meeting in the Des Moines area September 3 & 4, 2014.

It was 14 degrees, nearly twice as cold as usual for a typical November in Iowa.  But more than 5,800 people still showed up at Living History Farms at the break of dawn to run seven miles across the snow-covered farm fields, ice-caked streams and muddy ravines.  As if the course wasn't challenging enough, many runners wore costumes.  I skipped the costume, but I was still eager to join this crazy bunch as they stumbled across fields and climbed up creek banks.

"Why?" my friends and family are still asking, probably because none of them run.  I guess the easiest answer is this: common values.  Runners at the Living History Farms race come in every size, age and ability.  They live in other cities, states, even countries.  But on that day, in that event, we all had a common goal; to enjoy nature while having fun.  To run.  To breathe.  To sweat.  To help each other get across the finish line, no matter the obstacles.

At one particularly tough spot on the course, I found myself slipping, trying to climb out of a muddy ravine, unable to get a foothold, sweat from the previous four miles plastered hair to the side of my face and froze.  Hardly attractive.  Yet from out of nowhere, a hand from an older runner reached out to pull me up.  "You got this," he said, then turned and kept running.  When I cleared the edge, I turned around and helped a much-younger girl get out of the ravine.  She helped a young boy clear the ravine.  Over and over again, people worked together to climb out of the frozen ravine.

If only we could channel that same spirit, offer that same hand to reach across the divide that separates consumers from today's farmers.   Having lived in Iowa for a half-century and grown up on a century hog farm, I know there is room for, and a need for, diversity; some farmers will raise animals on a pasture, others in a feedlot or hog barn.  All are farmers.

Farmers like Andrew Pittz set their own pace.  Pittz, who started the nation's first commercial aronia berry farm, talked about his business model during a recent Farm Bureau annual meeting education seminar.

What was most surprising wasn't just the marketing or production hurdles this young Loess Hills sixth-generation farmer has weathered, but the perspectives of some media folks he's encountered, who too often portray farming as a race for profit, rather than a journey that brings all Iowans together for a common goal.  Pittz says folks are surprised to hear that Farm Bureau encourages organic farmers, niche businesses as well as conventional agriculture.  To him, the end-goal is obvious: more choices at the grocery store.  "Sometimes, it makes sense to be conventional (ag), and sometimes, it makes sense for your farm to be organic.  For us, competing in this market, we are taking on multi-national corporations, so it really makes sense for us to be organic on the marketing side. And it really pays off in the market place," says Pittz.

Judging by the 'standing room only' crowd who came to Des Moines to hear Pittz and other innovative ag leaders, farmers are good at reaching out to others, supporting new ideas that come along.   They're not 'in it to win it', but rather to learn from each other.  To finish well.  To find common ground along the way.  To "run" with honor and embrace diversity.

So the big question is can you?

Laurie Johns is Public Relations Manager for the Iowa Farm Bureau.                        12/5/2013

Iowa Farm Bureau, University of Iowa Athletics Department and Hy-Vee Team Up for the ANF Great Grocery Giveaway

WEST DES MOINES, IOWA - August 13, 2013 - The state's largest general farm organization, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF), today launched the ANF Great Grocery Giveaway in partnership with the University of Iowa Athletics Department and Hy-Vee. The grocery sweepstakes invites Iowans to meet today's farmers through video tours of their farms and register for a chance to win free groceries for a year worth $5,000.

Iowans can register for a chance to win by visiting www.americaneedsfarmers.org and taking virtual farm tours; each video they watch earns an entry in the ANF Great Grocery Giveaway while giving them an up close and personal look at five Iowa farm families.  Website visitors can register with each of the five farmers each day of the sweepstakes, which kicked off today, Farm Bureau Day at the Iowa State Fair, and runs until noon October 31, 2013.

The web-based farm video tours feature five diverse Iowa family farmers who grow corn or soybeans and raise pigs, beef or dairy cows.  "We're excited to be a part of this because as a family farmer, I believe in the value of transparency and education; most people who enjoy beef today don't live on a farm, but they want to know how we farm, how we raise our animals and how we keep them safe and healthy. It matters a lot.  I host farm tours, but I know not everyone has the time or opportunity to see a farm for themselves, so this is a great way to bring that farm experience right to them.  It's one way to show who we are, what we do and why it's all so important to do the right thing by our land, our community and our livestock," says David Rydberg, a cattle rancher from Essex, who is one of the featured farmers in the ANF Great Grocery Giveaway.

Following the sweepstakes, one lucky winner will be chosen at random for $5,000 in free groceries from their local Hy-Vee.

To meet more Iowa farmers and learn about how your food is grown and raised, visit 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.

'Take Root' Focuses on Farm Business and Succession Planning

WEST DES MOINES, IOWA - August 8, 2013 - Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF), the state's largest grassroots farm organization, launched a new program today to help farmers develop business and succession plans. The program, called Take Root, was established to help farm families work through a step-by-step process of developing a vision for their operation and a managed approach to the obstacles they face in farm growth and transition.

"Over 97 percent of farms in Iowa are family-owned and operated, according to the 2007 Ag Census, and we'd like to see that continue," said IFBF Farm Business Development Manager Nathan Katzer. "Our aim is to provide resources to help farm families build their own vision for the future, because creating a vision that's bigger than you could grow by yourself is at the root of business and succession planning."

A series of four "Take Root" business continuation and succession planning sessions will be offered around the state starting this month, free of charge for Farm Bureau members and $45 for non-members.

"Many Farm Bureau members told us that succession planning is one of their biggest ongoing concerns," Katzer said. "We want to help multi-generation farm families develop plans to bring the younger members into the ownership structure of the operation and will help families develop flexible contingencies for the uncertain times ahead."

Katzer said surveys of Iowa farms highlight a clear need for a program like Take Root.  "History shows us that only 30 percent of the farms successfully make the transition from the first to the second generation and only 10 percent of those make it to the third generation.  Keeping Iowa farming legacies intact and ongoing is essential to the continued success of our state's agriculture industry," he said.

Katzer said each plan will be different because they will build on the strengths of each farm and be customized to their needs.

The Take Root program will connect farmers with expert resources including lenders, attorneys, Iowa State University and others who have been successful in helping farm families manage their farm transitions.

"The program is a comprehensive approach to planning for a family farm's continuation and growth from the roots up," said Katzer.

The four pilot sites for the Take Root sessions are:

August 29 in Eldora at 6:00 p.m. at the Fire House Grill.

September 9 in Fort Dodge at 6:00 p.m. at the Webster County Farm Bureau office.

September 10 in Nashua at the Iowa State University Borlaug Center at 6:30 p.m.

September 12 in Creston at 6:30 p.m. at Southwestern Community College.

For more information on Take Root, go to www.iowafarmbureau.com or contact Katzer at 515-225-5494 or nkatzer@ifbf.org.


Le Claire Brothers' Innovation, Creativity Lead Local Distilling Industry Growth In Iowa

WEST DES MOINES, IOWA - July 25, 2013 - A love of distillery and Iowa agriculture brought two brothers to Le Claire, Iowa, to tap into a new and growing industry in Iowa: a "grain to glass" small batch fine alcohol distillery.   Although Iowa is not the number one alcohol-consumption state in the nation, it is now the number one alcohol production state in the U.S.

Ryan and Garrett Burchett are owners, distillers, bartenders, tour guides and even cash register attendants at their Mississippi River Distillery.  The business is the July winner of the Renew Rural Iowa Entrepreneur of the Month award.  The Burchetts left separate careers in road construction and television meteorology to form their business just three years ago.  Their unique skills and personable styles quickly helped the company grow.  "We're in 12 states and will be in 16 by the end of the summer. We're hoping by the end of the year to be in 20.  There's tremendous interest in craft distilling in this country.  It's a business that's still in its infancy and there are a lot of them coming into business right now, but very few of them have aged whiskey ready to go. We have that.  We aren't interested in being the next coast-to-coast brand; it's our connection, our ties to the Mississippi River and our connection to Iowa agriculture that we want to celebrate," says Ryan Burchett.

Local farmers and business leaders agree the Burchett business brings many benefits to the community.   Scott County Farm Bureau President Mike Holst recognizes the brothers' ability to not only attract tourists but to also connect them with their locally-produced product.  "People today want to have a closer tie to agriculture and this company is helping deliver that, even on their labeling."  Each bottle is marked with a hand-written code, indicating the batch and bottle number.   Burchett agrees that connection is a fascination for customers.  "It will tell you the name of the farmer that grew the grain, the day that it was mashed, distilled, and bottled, who helped us bottle it, even what equipment we blew up on that batch while trying to perfect it; the whole story of what went into that bottle is part of the package," says Burchett with a laugh.

Despite having just two other full-time employees, the company has seen great success in the first few years of operation and they give credit to a group of  300 dedicated volunteers, who help Mississippi Distillery take the product from "barrel to bottle."  Their company spirits have won awards including the Silver Medal for Taste in 2011 for their River Rose Gin and the Silver Medal Top Ten in the Nation for their River Barron Artisan Spirit.

Renew Rural Iowa (RRI) is an IFBF initiative supporting a diverse array of new and existing businesses through education, mentoring and financial resources. Iowa Farm Bureau Economic Business Developer, Sandy Ehrig, invites you to learn more about how Renew Rural Iowa can help your business grow by visiting with them at Farm Bureau Park during the State Fair on August 15th.                         

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About Iowa Farm Bureau

The Iowa Farm Bureau Federation is a grassroots, statewide organization dedicated to helping farm families prosper and improve their quality of life.  More than 153,000 families in Iowa are Farm Bureau members, working together to achieve economic growth, educational improvement, and environmental quality in their communities.  For more information about Farm Bureau and agriculture, visit the online media center at www.iowafarmbureau.com.