WEST DES MOINES, IOWA - Dec. 3, 2010 - Washington County farmers Joel and Laura Huber were presented Iowa Farm Bureau Federation's (IFBF) 2010 Young Farmer Achievement Award on Dec. 2 at the organization's annual meeting in Des Moines.

The annual contest honors young farmers who show outstanding management ability in their farming operations and involvement in Farm Bureau and community activities.  Receiving second place in the contest were Justin and Jennifer Dammann of Page County.  Third place recipients were Shane and Tammy DeBord of Cass County.

The Hubers raise hogs independently and grow corn and soybeans on their farm near Wellman.  The couple also operates a custom manure application business, and Laura is a teacher at the local school. Joel has served as secretary and membership chair of the Washington County Farm Bureau board, and this past year he served as the county's vice president. Outside of Farm Bureau, the couple has dedicated time to the Iowa Pork Producers, Iowa State University Extension and their local church.

For their award, Joel and Laura receive a plaque, an AGCO tractor for 150 hours, a Case New Holland certificate for $2,000 (or a Farmall or Magnum tractor for one year or 150 hours). They will also receive expense-paid trips to the 2010 American Farm Bureau annual convention in Atlanta (to represent Iowa in the National Young Farmer Achievement competition), the Growmark annual meeting in Chicago and the IFBF Young Farmer conference.

Runners-up Justin and Jennifer Dammann raise cattle, corn, soybeans, alfalfa and rye on their Century Farm near Essex. Both have served Farm Bureau in various capacities at the local and state levels. Justin has held president, vice president, young farmer committee chair and policy development chair posts on the Page County board and has participated in the state resolution committee. Jennifer is a graduate of Farm Bureau's Ag Leaders Institute, and both she and Justin have served on the statewide young farmer advisory committee.

Outside of Farm Bureau, the Dammanns volunteer for the county Cattlemen's Association, the county Soybean Association, the county Extension Council, the county fair and the local study and service club. They receive a plaque, a $1,000 gift certificate from Grainger and a $500 gift certificate from Growmark.

Third place finishers Shane and Tammy DeBord raise cattle, corn and soybeans on their farm near Atlantic. Shane has played an active role in the county Farm Bureau, serving on the board and reaching out to local schools to promote agriculture. The couple is also active with the county and state Pork Producers Association, Cattlemen's Association, Corn Growers Association and Soybean Association. Shane is a township trustee and a 4-H youth leader, and both Shane and Tammy serve as youth leaders at their local church. For their third place honor, the DeBords receive a plaque, a GPS unit from Farm Bureau Financial Services and $200 from Iowa Farm Bureau.


WEST DES MOINES, IOWA - Dec. 3, 2010 - Retired Cedar County farmer Shirley Geadelmann used to milk cows at 3 a.m., finishing in time to begin her full-time job at the local bank. Today she still wakes at 3 a.m., but pursues a different calling: community service and agriculture advocacy. Geadelmann's work has earned her Iowa Farm Bureau's 2010 Woman in Agriculture honor, a yearly tribute that recognizes one woman who demonstrates outstanding leadership abilities in agriculture and stands out from her peers in the promotion and education of agriculture. The announcement was made at the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) annual meeting in Des Moines on Dec. 1.

Shirley and her husband, Merlin (deceased), milked dairy cows, grew crops and raised hogs on their family farm near Clarence for more than 52 years. During that time, Shirley developed a passion for volunteering and sharing agriculture's story. She has held numerous positions on the Cedar County Farm Bureau Board, including public relations, Ag in the Classroom, county action and women's committee posts. She remains active on the board today.

"I just think it's so important [to advocate for agriculture], since only two percent of the American population actually grows the food we all enjoy," says Geadelmann. "We have an important job; conveying the importance of agriculture to everyone else."

Outside of Farm Bureau, Geadelmann has actively volunteered for various organizations, including Volunteer Services of Cedar County, Cedar County Historical Society Museum, American Cancer Society, 4-H, Camp Courageous, Red Cross, St. Luke's Hospital in Cedar Rapids, Ragbrai, the area Dairy Herd Improvement Association and her local church and food pantry.

Her passion for agriculture and volunteering have caught the attention of local media outlets - Geadelmann was named one of KCRG TV's "9 Who Care" volunteers in 2007 for her work advocating for elderly Iowans - local, state, and national lawmakers, and the many people from around the world who have visited her farm. Geadelmann has been honored with the Governor's Volunteer award, the Cedar County Volunteer of the Year award, the Iowa Master Homemaker award, the Heritage Area Agency on Aging (Kirkwood Community College) Advocate of the Year award and Farm Bureau's Tipton School Education award. Merlin and Shirley were also recognized as a Distinguished Dairy Family of Iowa.

Geadelmann's recognition includes a plaque, a $250 cash prize and up to $500 to cover expenses for an Iowa conference for women.

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WEST DES MOINES, IOWA - Nov. 17, 2010 - American families will be able to put a Thanksgiving meal on the table this year for only pennies more than last year, according to Farm Bureau's annual Thanksgiving market basket survey. The average cost of this year's feast for a family of 10 is $43.47, a 56-cent price increase (approximately six cents per person) from last year, but $1.14 cheaper than two years ago, $44.61. The price of the big ticket item - a 16-pound turkey - actually decreased 99 cents this year.
"We're seeing a slight uptick in overall food prices that's consistent with the moderate price increases across the board as the U.S. economy and consumer demand recover," says Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) Director of Research and Commodity Services Dave Miller. "Even with this small increase, the affordable prices, security and food safety American consumers enjoy is an incredible value that can't be matched anywhere else in the world."
The informal market basket survey included hearty portions of items such as sweet potatoes, stuffing, green peas, rolls, fresh cranberries, pumpkin pie mix, and two goods Iowa specializes in producing: turkeys and milk. Iowa's growing turkey population ranks ninth in the country, and the state's milk production ranks twelfth.
                 "Iowa's crop and livestock farmers are proud and thankful to be able to play an important role in feeding families in our state and around the country this Thanksgiving," says IFBF President and dairy farmer Craig Lang. "Iowa is blessed with the abundant natural resources that allow farmers to provide us with food choices. That bounty should be shared; everyone deserves food security and choices."
This is Farm Bureau's 25th annual informal survey of classic Thanksgiving Day food items. More than 112 volunteer shoppers, representing every region in the nation, participated.
WEST DES MOINES, IOWA - Aug. 19, 2010 - Iowans have a lot to consider when they visit the polls this fall: $495 million in potential property tax increases, continued flood recovery and a regulatory environment that is stifling the growth of jobs and local economies. Voting delegates of the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) will discuss these issues, and others of critical importance to all Iowans, while setting a policy course for the upcoming year when they hold their annual Summer Policy Conference at the Farm Bureau headquarters in Des Moines, September 2-3.
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.
"Iowans are asking elected officials for solutions that will allow their local communities to thrive," says IFBF President Craig Lang. "As the state's largest grassroots farm organization, Iowa Farm Bureau is a sounding board for farmers and rural Iowans statewide, which puts our voting delegates in a unique position to recommend common sense policy solutions that benefit farmers and all Iowans."
A few of the issues expected to generate the most discussion at this year's conference include flood control, fiscal responsibility for the state and federal government, state environmental regulation, market competition within agriculture, climate change, animal care and the 2012 Farm Bill.
The Summer Policy Conference begins at 10 a.m. on Sept. 2 with an address by IFBF President Lang. Adjournment is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. on Sept. 3, as resolutions are adopted.
Lunch will be provided for attending media both days. Please contact Communications Specialist Zach Bader at (515) 225-5409 or zbader@ifbf.org to confirm your attendance or for further details about the 2010 IFBF Summer Policy Conference.
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WEST DES MOINES, IOWA - Aug. 6, 2010 - Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) is proud to announce four staff promotions within its Government Relations and Field Service departments.
Joe Johnson becomes IFBF's Director of Field Service, replacing Pat Regan, who retired at the beginning of July following 22 years of service to Farm Bureau. Joining Johnson in Field Service is Tim Prunty, who becomes Regional Manager of six counties in southwest Iowa. Marty Schwager assumes Johnson's previous role as State Policy Advisor for Farm Bureau. With this transition, Megan Ritter has accepted Schwager's former position with Farm Bureau, National Policy Advisor. Ritter comes to Farm Bureau from the Coalition to Support Iowa's Farmers (CSIF), where she worked directly with Iowa's farmers to build and manage their livestock barns responsibly.
As Director of Field Service, Johnson oversees the department, IFBF's leadership development program and the young farmer program. He is responsible for recruiting, supervising and training Farm Bureau's 17 regional managers, directing the annual membership drive and delivering member service programs to county Farm Bureaus. Johnson joined Farm Bureau in 1985 as a regional manager in southeast Iowa, before becoming State Policy Advisor. The Wartburg College graduate lives in Grimes with his wife, Karen.
Prunty will supervise the operation of Farm Bureau's offices in Clarke, Dacatur, Lucas, Madison, Ringgold and Warren counties as Regional Manager. He will also work with county officers and committees to develop and carry out program activities and organize and assist with the annual membership campaign. Prunty joins Farm Bureau after serving eight years as a biology and agriculture teacher for Wayne Community Schools in Corydon, Iowa. A graduate of Northwest Missouri State University, Prunty currently resides near Corydon with his family. Prunty begins Aug. 23.
As State Policy Advisor, Schwager helps coordinate state legislative efforts and promotes Farm Bureau initiatives with the Iowa Legislature. He also works with county Farm Bureau campaign committees and the IFBF Political Action Committee (PAC). Schwager joined Farm Bureau as a regional manager in central Iowa and most recently served as national policy advisor. Before joining Farm Bureau, he spent 12 years working for the Iowa Pork Producers Association; he is also the past president of the Clive Chamber of Commerce. Schwager and his family reside in Clive.

As National Policy Advisor, Ritter will work with Iowa's congressional delegation and federal agencies on issues that affect Iowa's farmers. She will also work with county Farm Bureaus on national issues and coordinate Iowa Farm Bureau's activities with the American Farm Bureau in Washington, D.C. Ritter assumes this role with extensive experience in the national policy arena. Before working as Senior Field Coordinator with CSIF, she served as national legislative counsel for the Michigan Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF). She also assisted in implementing voluntary environmental management programs on farms through partnerships with the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program. The Michigan State graduate and her family reside in Bondurant. Ritter begins her role with Farm Bureau in September.


WEST DES MOINES, IA - May 18, 2010 - For the 47th year, the best grillers in Iowa will gather to compete for the title "Iowa Cookout Champion" at the Iowa State Fair. The contest showcases the state's best outdoor chefs working their culinary magic with some of Iowa's finest meat products.


The search for a new champion begins this summer when county Farm Bureaus host local contests to determine winners in several categories. Local finalists will compete for the state title on Iowa Farm Bureau Day at the fair, Tuesday, Aug. 17, on the Grand Concourse of the Iowa State Fairgrounds.


The first local contests will be held in June. A list of the county cookout contests will be updated regularly on the Iowa Farm Bureau website, http://www.iowafarmbureau.com. Interested grillers and attendees should also contact their county Farm Bureau office for more details and information on rules and contests in their areas.


"The cookout contest is about sharing the best of what Iowa has to offer: its people and the food raised on our farms," said Iowa Farm Bureau cookout coordinator Denny Harding. "Every year hundreds of grillers compete in local competitions for a chance to showcase their best for state fairgoers."


Contestants will compete in six categories: beef, pork, lamb/goat, poultry, turkey and combo/specialty. Entries in the beef category will be limited to chuck or round primal cuts, including ground chuck or ground round. Combo recipes combine two or more meats from the five other categories. Specialty recipes may feature venison or any other Iowa domestically raised product. All wild game is excluded.


Creations will be judged on taste, appearance and originality. Special recognition will also go to contestants in showmanship, youth and team cooking categories. Youth grillers must be between the ages of 13 and 18 years, as of Aug. 1, 2010. Farm Bureau or affiliated company employees are not eligible to compete.




Editor's Note: To view and download photos of last year's Cookout Contest, click on the following link: http://tiny.cc/eymm1. Photos from other Cookout Contests can be viewed and downloaded by clicking here: http://bit.ly/cmZlHD. Photos should be credited to Joe Murphy, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation.

WEST DES MOINES, IOWA - March 11, 2010 - Tomorrow the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Department of Justice (DOJ) will begin a series of workshops to address competition and consolidation within agriculture. Part one of the series is being held in Ankeny, with future workshops hosted in cities around the country. Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF), the state's largest grassroots farm organization, encourages the agencies to allow market freedom, innovation and technological advances while protecting farmers from actions that restrict their access to competitive markets.
"The Iowa Farm Bureau Federation commends USDA and DOJ for exploring the competitive environment for today's farmers," says IFBF President Craig Lang. "Our members support strengthening enforcement activities to ensure that mergers andconsolidation from farm gate to food plate don't limit our access to seed, fertilizer, chemicals, markets and transportation. The purpose of monitoring and oversight is to enable fair, open and efficient markets."
"Our members also believe in a free market system and intellectual property rights protection, which help propel the kind of innovation and technological development that benefit farmers and consumers. For these reasons, this investigation and review should proceed in a way that minimizes market disruptions," says Lang.
"USDA and DOJ should also continue to recognize the necessity of farmer cooperatives, which are protected by the Capper-Volstead Act," says Lang. "Cooperatives and producer bargaining associations help put farmers on a more even footing with the large companies that buy their products. They empower farmers and should be allowed to be self-governing and self-regulating as long as they do not violate Capper-Volstead."


WEST DES MOINES, IOWA - Jan. 20, 2010 - Lawmakers sent legislation to the Governor yesterday requiring school districts to use their cash reserves before levying to raise taxes on property owners. While House File 2030 may delay property tax increases in some districts, it will not address the shortfall in state aid caused by Iowa's across-the-board budget cuts, which will result in higher property taxes according to the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF).
"Until Iowa enacts real budget reform, our government will continue to balance the state budget on the backs of property tax payers," says Lang. "Reform is necessary for a long-term stable and predictable budget."
To improve the state's budgeting process, Farm Bureau members are asking decision makers to establish an affordable state budget that will: 1) fund Iowa priorities and lessen the potential shifts in property taxes; 2) ensure that the state's emergency funds are at a level sufficient to protect priorities when revenues are declining; 3) create fiscal responsibility by not using one-time resources to fund on-going expenditures; and 4) protect property tax payers when across-the-board cuts are enacted.
While all property owners will see increased taxes as a result of the state's across-the-board cuts, some will feel the pain immediately. Preliminary data from fiscal year 2009 shows that 133 school districts in the state will not be able to cover the void left by Iowa's 10 percent across-the-board budget cut late last year. Those 133 districts face $115 million in possible property tax increases, according to an analysis by the IFBF.
In a related move, the state legislature decided to postpone setting allowable growth for 2012 until next year. "The legislature's decision to wait until next year to set allowable growth for 2012 makes sense, given the uncertainty surrounding the budget process and today's economy," says Lang.

Scott County ag learning program becomes "hit of the [Mississippi Valley] Fair" with Farm Bureau's help

WEST DES MOINES, IOWA - Sept. 3, 2009 - Since 2005, the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) Community Enhancement Grant program has awarded 102 grants - totaling more than $100,000 - to neighborhood organizations around the state.  Today, Farm Bureau continues its tradition of building community strength by announcing its support for four rescue and education programs in Taylor, Clinton, Scott and Madison counties.

"Safety and education programs provide Iowa communities with stable foundations," said IFBF Community Resources Director Barb Lykins.  "Farm Bureau helps reinforce those foundations by actively supporting the local people and organizations that make those programs work."

In Davenport, Anything's Kaasa-ble, an area non-profit organization that educates youth about poultry and egg farming, received $500 from Iowa Farm Bureau and $500 from Scott County Farm Bureau to establish an ABC's of Learning Animal Birthing Center.  For the past ten years, Anything's Kaasa-ble co-founders Gary and Denise Kaasa have visited North Scott schools, sharing information about a chicken's life cycle and bringing in eggs for students to watch them hatch.  The annual visits have become a hit, and this year the Kaasas were invited to bring their show to the Mississippi Valley Fair.

"We were told by members of the fair board that we were the hit of the fair!" said Gary.  "A couple days after the end of the fair the general manager [of the fair] called to say that he wants us back next year."  The Kaasas' next goal is to broaden the presentation's theme, focus on the role farmers play in the care and production of livestock and start an Animal Birthing Center similar to the Iowa State Fair's Animal Learning Center.  The grant from Farm Bureau will help the couple reach that goal.

"Farm Bureau realized this was an important project, and they were among the first to jump in," said Gary.  "They did a lot for us, and it's very much appreciated."

Agriculture education also got a lift in Winterset, where the schools' ag and science department received two $1,000 grants, one from Iowa Farm Bureau and one from Madison County Farm Bureau, to purchase greenhouse supplies for its new year-round greenhouse for 7th-12th graders.

In Bedford, the city's volunteer ambulance service received $500 from the Iowa Farm Bureau and $470 from the Taylor County Farm Bureau to put toward the purchase of two defibrillators.  Bedford is nearly a half hour away from a hospital, making adequate staff and equipment important to the city and surrounding communities.

In Clinton County, the Welton Volunteer Fire Department got one step closer to its goal of purchasing a 2002 Freightliner Rescue vehicle with the help of a $750 grant from the county Farm Bureau and a matching $750 grant from Iowa Farm Bureau.  The vehicle will replace the department's 1978 rescue van, which services a rural community spanning 40 square miles.

Community Enhancement Grants are awarded on a monthly basis to projects that fall within the four key areas of IFBF's strategic direction: farmers and agriculture; community and rural development; youth and education; and health and wellness. For more information about the program, or to request an application, call your county Farm Bureau office.


WEST DES MOINES, IOWA - July 2, 2009 - Some Iowans may save a few dollars on their July 4th picnics this year by serving meat and dairy products produced by Iowa's farmers. According to American Farm Bureau's second quarter Marketbasket Survey, the total cost of 16 popular food items has decreased by two percent over the last quarter and approximately six percent in the last year.
Boneless chicken breasts, eggs, sliced deli ham, whole milk, ground chuck, sirloin tip roast and bacon were among the Iowa-produced food products that dropped in price this quarter. This is the third consecutive quarter food prices have declined, the first time since 1991.

"Consumers will find some real values shopping for meat, eggs, and dairy this summer," said Sterling Liddell, Iowa Farm Bureau's senior research and development analyst. "Last year we saw a dramatic increase in food prices, and some blamed those increases directly on ethanol. This year ethanol production remains strong, while commodity prices are declining. We can clearly see that the price of food is more directly linked to fluctuations in energy costs and global demand rather than ethanol production."

Over the last year, the retail price of eggs is down 26 percent, milk has fallen 22 percent, chicken has declined 19 percent and bacon is 11 percent lower. Iowa leads the nation in hog and egg production. The state ranks 7th in cattle, 12th in milk production and 26th in broiler and meat chickens.

To read more about American Farm Bureau's second quarter Marketbasket Survey, visit: http://fb.org.twi.bz/a.