Temple Grandin, Lowell Cattlett, Excitement Draws Farmers to New Location

WEST DES MOINES, IOWA - Dec. 5, 2012 -- A diverse crowd of farmers, community and business leaders filled the newly-remodeled Vet's Auditorium this week to discuss animal welfare, water quality, changing markets and future trends at the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) 94th Annual Meeting held this week in Des Moines.

IFBF President Craig Hill told members that "Iowa farmers met many challenges in 2012 and thanks to their innovation, were able to overcome drought and market risks."  The future-forward direction of the grassroots organization and Iowa's diverse farmers also brought several key leaders to the Annual Meeting.  Governor Terry Branstad spoke to farmers about the fiscal cliff, regulations, and the newly-unveiled Iowa Nutrient Strategy Plan, which the Governor fully supports.

An in-depth discussion forum on the 2012 Nutrient Management Strategy drew capacity crowds at the IFBF meeting.  Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) Dean Lemke and Iowa State University (ISU) scientist Matt Helmers led the discussion and answered many questions from farmers.   The water quality plan provided several scenarios for conservation measures that would impact nutrient run-off in Iowa, and farther down the Gulf.

Secretary Northey said a science-based voluntary approach to conservation works best with all farmers.   "I do believe now is the time for farmers to find these practices that work in our own operation, to figure out how we each can do a better job; this is voluntary,  science-based, but it does not work if we don't put them on our farms.  We want to tell the story that we are making progress. It's a better alternative than one size fits all regulation that limits choices," said Northey.  Farmers were encouraged to familiarize themselves with the water quality plan and participate in the online public comment period by going to: www.nutrientstrategy.iastate.edu.

The 94th Annual Farm Bureau meeting also crew capacity crowds to hear keynote speakers Temple Grandin and Lowell Cattlett.  Grandin, one of the nation's most-renown animal welfare and livestock handling facility designer, talked about the changing face of farming and consumer expectations of animal welfare.  Her lively, off-the-cuff talk encouraged farmers to travel and 'see how the world sees you' when it comes to animal handling practices on the farm.  She says today's farmers have 'made great strides' in how they care for their animals compared to the 70's and 80's when she first started working with farmers and slaughterhouses.

Economic 'futurist' Lowell Cattlett also energized the Farm Bureau crowd by talking about innovation in technology and health care, and how farmers are ideally positioned to 'blow the doors off' of expectations because of their knack for finding better ways to raise animals, grow crops or feed the world.  He says one day, farmers may be using specially-equipped cell phones to analyze cattle and crop health.

The IFBF meeting brought education opportunities for farmers, celebrated innovation and also covered the business of the day, including leadership elections. For more information about IFBF's 94th Annual Meeting, including a detailed list of award winners, photos and IFBF President Craig Hill's Annual Meeting address, visit www.iowafarmbureau.com.


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 newsroom at www.iowafarmbureau.com.

WEST DES MOINES, IOWA - Dec. 3, 2012 - Farmers, like many self-employed Iowans, are concerned about the rising costs for health care and the changing environment of health care regulations. To kick off Iowa Farm Bureau Week Dec. 2 - 8, the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) has added a new benefit partner to help members qualify for an average of over $4,000 in tax savings to reduce out-of-pocket and health insurance premium costs.

BASE, a third party benefit administration company headquartered in Adel, Iowa, will work with Farm Bureau members who are self-employed or small business owners to customize a benefit plan for their specific needs and ensure the plan is in compliance with government regulations. More than 70 percent of self-employed are able to qualify for tax advantaged plans, regardless of how their business is structured.  BASE will also offer exclusive savings to Iowa Farm Bureau members on these plans, providing another tool in Farm Bureau's suite of supplemental health care benefits designed to ease the pinch of rising costs.

"As farmers, we depend on our certified public accountant to provide us with every legitimate tax deduction we can get. That's why we've been using the BASE Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA) to deduct our medical expenses each year," said Joanne Piercy, a farmer in Lenox. "With such a great tax savings each year, we'll continue to take advantage of the BASE HRA as long as we're farming."

Iowa Farm Bureau members who own a farm or business and pay for health insurance premiums or out-of-pocket health care costs or are looking to provide an additional benefit to employees should contact BASE at (866) 550-5525 to see if they qualify. For more information, go to www.BASEonline.com or www.iowafarmbureau.com.


94th Annual IFBF Gathering Brings Experts to Des Moines

WEST DES MOINES, IOWA - Nov. 29, 2012 - "What would it cost, how long would it take and would the water quality improvement methods impact Iowa's economy and food costs down the road?"  Those questions and more will be addressed as part of a panel discussion about Iowa's proposed nutrient reduction strategy and its role in protecting Iowa surface water and reducing the Gulf Hypoxia Zone at the 94th Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) annual meeting in Des Moines.  The December 4-5 meeting will be held at a new location this year: the newly remodeled Veterans Memorial Auditorium.

The panel will feature Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey; Dean Lemke, natural resources engineer with the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS); and Dr. Matt Helmers, professor and ag engineer from Iowa State University (ISU).

"The IFBF annual meeting education seminars always draw quite a crowd because they feature  expert advice and guidance on issues that today's responsible farmers need to know to be sustainable as farmers and community leaders," says IFBF President Craig Hill.  "We're especially excited about the Nutrient Reduction Strategy seminar because it is a science-based, detailed study which establishes a benchmark of what strategies farmers, cities and industries in Iowa can do now to reduce nitrogen and phosphorous loss."

The water quality plan is the beginning of a coordinated, intensified effort to improve Iowa water quality and satisfy the 2008 Gulf Hypoxia Action Plan, which challenged Iowa and other Mississippi River basin states to find ways to reach a 45 percent reduction in nutrients into the Gulf, which cause concerns for marine life.  IDALS, Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and ISU researchers studied the issue for two years; they'll discuss their draft plans and options for conservation with farmers at the IFBF meeting in Des Moines.

"One thing this study will illustrate is that conservation is not a 'one size fits all' issue.  There are literally thousands of types of soils, multiple terrains and many land uses in this state, and we have to continue to feed a growing world from the same amount of land.  This plan needs to focus on feasible solutions that help us make the real, immediate improvements our farmers are seeking, while being fiscally responsible," says Hill.

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey agrees.  "We will discuss Iowa's Nutrient Reduction Strategy which studied several science-based management practices, including cover crops, wetlands, and nitrogen application timing, and looked at their impact on food production, farm profits, and water quality," says Northey.  "Iowa farmers know the importance of protecting the land and water and have shown increasing willingness to voluntarily implement management practices to improve Iowa's water quality and downstream waters."

Members can register for the 2012 IFBF annual meeting at their county Farm Bureau offices.  For more information about the annual meeting, visit www.iowafarmbureau.com.



Nearly $120,000 awarded in last three years of program

WEST DES MOINES, IOWA - Nov. 21, 2012 - Agriculture is much more than a farmer driving a tractor across a field. It's the scientist at the seed company, the sales person at the local implement store and even the veterinarian who cares for pets and livestock alike. Modern agriculture reaches people every day from the jobs they hold, the food they eat, the fuel in their cars and the clothes in their closets.

Farming is a diverse and dynamic industry and the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) and the state's county Farm Bureau offices continue to help teachers take that information to their students with an annual Teacher Supplement Grant program.

The program, established in 2003, awards $200 for use in classroom programs that promote agricultural literacy. With Iowans two to three generations removed from the family farm, IFBF's program works to help today's students learn about the diverse and dynamic nature of agriculture. The 2013 subject areas are health or wellness with an emphasis on nutrition, art, music, physical education or fitness.

"We've awarded nearly $120,000 to teachers in the last three years of the grant program and we've been so impressed with the creative ways teachers have devised to bring agriculture to their students," said Barb Lykins, IFBF director of community resources. "It's not just buying some books about farming. We've seen music teachers creating songs and nutrition classes incorporating information about raising food into their classes. With one of six Iowa jobs related, indirectly or directly, to agriculture, it's a great opportunity to bring creative ag education to Iowa's elementary schools and help them understand how farming is part of those students' lives."

The program is accepting applications until Feb. 8, 2013. To apply, go to www.iowafarmbureau.com/articles/73415/2012_-_2013_teacher_supplement_grant_program and fill out the online form. Grants will be awarded in March 2013. For more information, contact Lykins at 515-225-5460.


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.

Governor Proclaims Dec. 2-8 as "Iowa Farm Bureau Week"

WEST DES MOINES, IOWA - Nov. 8, 2012 - Members of the state's largest grassroots farm organization will gather with renewed vigor to hear nationally-acclaimed animal welfare expert, Temple Grandin,  keynote the 94th Annual Meeting of the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF), Dec. 4 and 5 at the newly- remodeled Veterans Auditorium in Des Moines.

Governor Terry Branstad has also declared Dec. 2-8 as 'Iowa Farm Bureau Week' to honor the many accomplishments and contributions of the 94-year-old grassroots farm organization.

"This year our annual meeting theme, 'People, Progress and Pride,' celebrates the accomplishments, challenges and potential of our many diverse family farmers.  Today's responsible farmers are strong members of their communities and are focused on the future; they're always looking for better ways to provide safe food choices for today's consumers, so they embrace innovation and the expertise of others," said IFBF President Craig Hill.  "That's why we're bringing together a diverse, high caliber group of speakers like Dr. Temple Grandin, noted animal welfare expert and livestock-handling equipment designer, who also consults for firms such as Burger King, McDonald's, Swift and others."

Temple Grandin's challenges as an autistic young woman and the unique perspective it gave her with animals was profiled in the 2010 HBO Emmy Award-winning movie, "Temple Grandin," starring Claire Danes.  Since the movie's success, Grandin's perspectives and livestock facility designs have won international acclaim.

Another nationally-recognized keynote speaker will provide unique insight for attendees, Dr. Lowell Catlett.  The 'futurist' economist and engaging speaker will take the stage at 1:30 p.m. Dec. 5 to discuss 'Food for the Smart Planet.' Dr. Catlett helps national and international organizations do futuristic planning on the impacts of technology on careers, lifestyles and the economy.

The author of numerous books, Dr. Catlett also works with the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Labor, Interior, Defense, Education, Energy and the World Bank.

In addition to innovative speakers, the 94th IFBF annual meeting also features several 'hands-on' educational seminars to help Farm Bureau members navigate challenging markets, rules and regulations as well as the most current best management practices for water quality.  This year the access to expert advice from noted leaders has been expanded to include three separate sessions on Tuesday, Dec. 4.

Also, Iowa's best and brightest young farmers will take the stage for the IFBF Young Farmers Discussion Meet Dec. 4, competing for the state title and a John Deere X320 riding lawn mower and the chance to advance to the national competition, January 13-16, in Nashville.

IFBF President and Milo farmer, Craig Hill, will address members and special guests on Wednesday, Dec. 5, at 8:30 a.m. The organization will celebrate the contributions of dedicated Farm Bureau members with a recognition banquet Tuesday, Dec. 4, at noon and a young farm leaders' achievement luncheon on Dec. 5.

Farm Bureau's voting delegate session and elections will be held Wednesday, Dec. 5.   The following directors are up for re-election this year: IFBF District 1 board member Carlton Kjos, District 3 board member Phil Sundblad, and District 5 board member Morey Hill and Vice President Joe Heinrich.

Members can register for the 2012 IFBF annual meeting at their county Farm Bureau offices. For a complete listing of events and activities, visit www.iowafarmbureau.com.

Iowa Farm Bureau and University of Iowa ANF Partnership Helps Elevate Issue of Hunger in Iowa

WEST DES MOINES, IOWA - November 2, 2012 -As Iowans make their meal and travel plans for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, there are many in the state who are struggling to just put food on the table.  With winter weather approaching and needs increasing at food banks across the state, the America Needs Farmers (ANF) $21,500 donation comes at a critical juncture.

The Iowa Food Bank Association says $21,500 would help provide over 60,000 meals to hungry Iowans.  "This is the time of year when our food banks statewide see an increased need; we're heading into winter and utility bills are starting to go up and with food prices also rising this year, that means food banks are critically low," said Jordan Vernoy, director of the Food Bank Association of Iowa.

Iowa Farm Bureau and the University of Iowa Athletics Department began their partnership in 2011 to invigorate the ANF program, which was first started by former Hawkeye legendary coach, Hayden Fry, to show support of farmers impacted by the 1985 Farm Crisis.  "The ANF initiative brought in 5,040 pounds of food for area food banks during this year's spring scrimmage.  We're happy to help even more, with this joint IFBF and U of I donation of $21,500 for hungry families statewide," said IFBF Executive Director Denny Presnall.

To date, the ANF initiative has contributed more than $41,000 to Iowa's food banks since the program began last year.

"ANF is important on many fronts because it helps elevate not only the issue of farming, but also food and hunger to a nationwide audience," said Presnall.

To see more ANF Game Day fun or to learn more about America Needs Farmers, visit  www.americaneedsfarmers.org.   The Iowa Food Bank Association is a collaboration of eight food banks that collect and distribute food and essential supplies across the state.  To learn more, or to make a donation, go to: www.iowafba.org .

-30 -

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 Newsroom page at www.iowafarmbureau.com.

Former Hawkeye/NFL Players on Hand to Support Iowa's Farmers

WEST DES MOINES, IOWA - October 9, 2012 - The Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) and the University of Iowa (U of I) Athletics Department have once again teamed up to raise awareness of the food and energy options that today's farmers provide through the America Needs Farmers (ANF) campaign. ANF Game Day will be celebrated at Kinnick Stadium October 20 against Penn State.

During ANF Game Day, the U of I will unveil ANF Plaza located in the space between the west grandstand and the north grandstand of Kinnick Stadium and will feature its first inductee into the ANF Wall of Honor, former Hawkeye and Kansas City Chiefs player, Casey Wiegmann. "Casey was a natural choice as our first inductee," said Hawkeye football coach, Kirk Ferentz. "He is a role model for other student athletes about the importance of persevering and always striving to do your best." The ANF Wall of Honor recognizes former U of I student football athletes who exemplify the tenacity, work ethic and character of the Iowa farmer, qualities that have helped Iowa remain the leading agriculture state in the nation.

A key feature of the IFBF's Legends Tent at Krause Family Plaza will be an autograph session of former Hawkeye/NFL players including Casey Wiegmann, Robert Gallery, Jared DeVries, Brad Banks and Tim Dwight, and U of I personalities Gary Dolphin and Ed Podolak to name a few. Although he won't be able to attend ANF Game Day, a new supporter of the ANF initiative announced earlier this year is Dallas Clark.

"We are so honored to have these celebrities support our cause," said Craig Hill, president of the IFBF. "The ANF initiative is an opportunity to reach new audiences about farming today and these players help us achieve that. We understand that consumers today are interested in knowing more about their food and that starts with farmers. There may be fewer of us than when Coach Fry launched ANF during the 1985 Farm Crisis, but there are also more challenges with a growing global population. We invite you to visit www.americaneedsfarmers.org to learn more about your food and energy and the farm families who produce it."

In addition to the autograph session, the IFBF Legends Tent will also feature games like Tailgate Toss where visitors can interact with Iowa farmers and earn a chance to win ANF prizes, or participate in a drawing for autographed ANF items.  The tent will be open from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. with the autograph session running from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m.

ANF Game Day will also help raise funds for the Iowa Food Bank Association, a collaboration of eight food banks which collect and distribute food and essential supplies to needy Iowans.  "The ANF initiative has really helped the food banks," said Executive Director of the Iowa Food Bank Association, Jordan Vernoy. "This year's drought is already driving up food prices in some areas and that's bringing even more families to our doors.  These are proud, hard-working Iowans who want short-term help, not a long-term handout to put food on the table. ANF is helping us feed these Iowans, because every dollar donated helps provide three meals to our neighbors struggling against hunger."

On ANF Game Day, ANF 'Farm Strong' merchandise will be available at Herky's Locker Room outlets with an expanded assortment available at the Herky's Locker Room location inside ANF Plaza. A portion of proceeds from the sale of ANF 'Farm Strong' merchandise goes to support the Iowa Food Banks.

ANF was first launched in 1985 during the height of the Farm Crisis by legendary Hawkeye coach Hayden Fry, who wanted to show an increasingly urban nation why agriculture matters.  For more information about the Iowa Farm Bureau/U of I ANF partnership, click on www.americaneedsfarmers.org.

To learn more about the growing number of Iowans in need and ways to help, click on http://iowafba.org/.

-30 -

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 Newsroom page at www.iowafarmbureau.com.


The sun's not up yet, but I know it's cold enough outside to see my breath.   This time of year the cold of morning doesn't just sneak up on you; it grabs you in a headlock and doesn't let go until February.  That's life in Iowa.

"It's just not normal to expect kids to get up this early," whines my 15-year-old, who is, at best, stubbornly consistent in lobbying to skip before-school marching band practice.  No such luck.

My daughter is the first in five generations in my family to not grow up on a farm.   Maybe that's why I'm always quick to remind her that, yes, there are perfectly normal kids in Iowa who get up before dawn: farm kids.

There are fewer of them than you may remember; less than five percent of Iowans farm, according to the USDA 2007 Census.  But, I can guarantee that the Farm Strong work ethic hasn't changed with the passage of time.

The day-to-day business of running a farm, even in this day, requires "all hands on deck" help, and this summer's failed attempt by the Federal government to dictate how kids can work on family farms http://www.thenewamerican.com/economy/sectors/item/12024-dol-axes-rules-to-regulate-child-farm-labor proved the strength of this "Farm Strong" work ethic.

Early mornings, without complaint, were always a part of my farm life as a kid.  So I guess that's why I just had to smile and nod and give the "wind it up" signal to my teen as she pulled on her hoody and we headed for the door this morning.   Yes, it was 37 degrees.  The sun won't be up for an hour yet, but  those who do get up this early, like farmers, know the beauty of bringing in the harvest as the whole world sleeps, or seeing a new calf born, greeting its first sunrise.

As we headed out the door I reminded her that the work is hard, the hours may be long, but rewards don't come to "clock watchers."   Besides, if you sleep in, who knows what you might miss? (http://farmindustrynews.com/corn-rootworm-traits/evening-complex-proteins-help-corn-grow-taller-night ).

Iowa Farm Bureau Wraps Up Summer Policy Conference in West Des Moines

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa - August 31, 2012 - Iowa Farm Bureau voting delegates shared concerns about crop quality and insurance as they gathered in West Des Moines August 30-31 to set state and national legislative policy for 2013.  The drought-stricken crops and low river levels also brought additional discussion of the importance of maintaining the condition of the Mississippi River and its important role in transporting grain.

"What a difference a year can make; last year's conference focused on the flood conditions in the western part of the state, while this year's delegates are keyed in to the drought and its effects on the Mississippi River's ability to move grain on the eastern side of the state," said Craig Hill, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) president. "Our unique grassroots policy development process truly represents the concerns of our members and where they live and farm."

Iowa's largest grassroots farm organization called for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to prioritize funds for cleaning the channels of the Mississippi River to navigate the current low water levels to allow large barges to continue moving through the waters. The river represents one of the nation's largest methods of grain transportation.

IFBF delegates gather each year to discuss and set state policies which impact not just farmers, but all Iowa taxpayers.  In addition, national policies approved this week will be ratified and sent up for national debate in January at the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) annual meeting in Nashville.

Another lively discussion at the IFBF Summer Policy Conference concerned the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) closing of several Farm Service Agency offices. "We support consolidation of government service facilities to create efficiencies, but there has to be careful consideration, because if farmers have to drive 50 miles back and forth to conduct essential business, those closures quickly become inefficient, both to the government and the folks who rely on the services," said Hill.

Farm Bureau voting delegates moved to continue support of the Renewable Fuels Standard and   increase the use and development of renewable fuels.

Iowa's Transportation Infrastructure Funding also found consensus among IFBF farmers, who agreed that additional revenue for the state's roads and bridges should be generated from an increase in the state fuel tax and that hybrid and electrical vehicles should contribute their fair share to the repair of the very roads they share with all Iowans.  "Since the Transportation Infrastructure Fund is likely to come up in our 2013 legislative session, we believe Iowa lawmakers will take careful consideration of that issue and appropriate funding levels," said Hill.

The IFBF Summer Policy Conference is a step in Farm Bureau's grassroots policy development process and is subject to national debate during American Farm Bureau Federation policy discussions in January. All state Farm Bureaus meet in January to finalize the organization's national policies.


WEST DES MOINES, IOWA - Aug. 24, 2012 - Media are invited to attend the 2012 Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) Summer Policy Conference Aug. 30-31 at the Farm Bureau office in West Des Moines, Iowa. The conference kicks off at 10:00 a.m. on Aug. 30.

Leaders of all 100 county Farm Bureaus have gathered the opinions of their members on issues impacting agriculture and rural Iowa over the past several months.  The Summer Policy Conference aggregates those ideas to form statewide policy for Iowa's largest grassroots farm organization.

"For 94 years, Iowa Farm Bureau members have set a strong course by inviting every member to weigh in on policies important to them and this is the culmination of those efforts," says IFBF President Craig Hill. "We have always been driven from the grassroots and while our policies do change over time, our commitment to listening to members doesn't," says Hill.

A few of the issues expected to generate the most discussion at this year's conference include : crop insurance, road funding, FSA office closures and the RFS target, which has come under pressure in the wake of drought-driven high corn prices. "Individual commodity groups have their own policies on the RFS target, but as a general farm organization, we have both crop and livestock farmers and a unique grassroots policy development process, which should bring lively discussion of RFS policy positions for 2013," says Hill, also a livestock and crop farmer from Milo.

Lunch will be provided for attending media both days. Please RSVP to Laurie Johns (515-225-5414, ljohns@ifbf.org) or Heather Lilienthal (515-225-5409, hlilienthal@ifbf.org) for lunch by Aug. 28.


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 newsroom at www.iowafarmbureau.com.