Coalition to Support Iowa's Farmers - Growing Iowa's Communities One Farmer & One Neighbor At a Time

Des Moines, Iowa ? Aug. 18, 2009 ? Iowa agriculture puts healthy, affordable choices of food on the table for today's consumers and brings jobs and economic development to the state according to a just-completed economic analysis sponsored by the Coalition to Support Iowa's Farmers (CSIF).

The tally of agriculture's impact, based on 2007 Census of Agriculture data, reveals farming is tightly linked to many Iowa industries.  Production agriculture and ag-related industries directly and indirectly employ one of every six Iowans (or 17 percent of the state's workforce).  They're also responsible for adding $72.1 billion to the state's economy, or 27 percent of the state's total.  This represents a two percent increase over a previous analysis utilizing 2002 Census of Agriculture data.

That's good news during a time of economic adversity and shows Iowa agriculture continues to grow.  In fact, the strong presence of ag production, processing and manufacturing in Iowa helps buffer the state from the severity of national economic downturns.  Iowa's unemployment rate is 6.1 percent compared to the national total of 9.4 percent.

"What impresses me," says Dan Otto, Iowa State University extension economist who helped prepare the study, "is that when you consider the growth and diversification of Iowa's economy over recent years, agriculture is still a very dominant player. For certain counties, it is the dominant industry.

"The diversification of farming has made agriculture the leading industry in more than a quarter of the counties in our state," he adds.  "One could say that this study shows Iowa is as dependent on farming as Detroit is on car manufacturing."

Craig Floss, chief executive officer of the Iowa Corn Growers Association and CSIF board president, says the purpose of the study was to find out how much the state's current economy is being helped by farming today.  The findings are good news for Iowa.

"It's clear that farming, food and feed processing, and every other area agriculture touches, is critical to Iowa," he says.  "The continued support and growth of farming is vital to the long-term economic health of our state."

The CSIF-sponsored analysis shows that farming and ag-related industries in Iowa account for nearly $23 billion in value-added, (19 percent of Iowa's total), which takes into account the process of producing and converting agricultural commodities into products suitable for use by consumers both in and outside Iowa.  

The study also reaffirms the importance of livestock and poultry farming's contribution to individual families.  Statewide, livestock and poultry production contributes nearly $1.1 billion to   household income.  Raising livestock and poultry alone generates 43,324 jobs in Iowa.  When meat processing is factored in, research shows a contribution of 80,278 jobs to the state with a total economic value of $19.5 billion in Iowa.

The analysis included a review of data from several sources including the 2007 Census of Agriculture, the U.S. Bureaus of Economic Analysis and Labor Statistics, the Iowa Department of Workforce Development, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the IMPLAN economic modeling software.

Additional details, including a complete county-by-county breakdown of the analysis results (including jobs and household income), are available at the CSIF website,


Scott County Family Y Chosen as Benefactor for 21st Annual Golf Outing

Russell Construction is pleased to announce the Scott County Family Y as the recipient of their charity golf outing. The 21st annual event was held on Tuesday, August 4 at the Rock Island Arsenal Golf Course in Rock Island, IL.

Each year, the company hosts the golf outing to raise proceeds for their charity of choice.

The golf outing is organized and staffed by an internal Russell Construction employees, in order to assist worthy organizations in the surrounding Quad Cities communities. "Our event has become so successful thanks to the efforts of our volunteers, sponsors, raffle contributors and, of course, the golfers. It's an event that we look forward to every year," noted Jim Russell, President.

2009 marked another record-breaking year, as Jim Russell presented a check in the amount of $20,000 to the Scott County Family Y.

"We are extremely grateful to Russell Construction for designating the Scott County Family Y as the beneficiary for the proceeds from the Annual Russell Construction Charity Golf Outing," said Kellie Esters, Vice President for Fund Development. "This outstanding gift has been directed to support this year's Partner with Youth & Kids to Camp Annual Campaign, which helps disadvantaged children and families enjoy services like memberships to the YMCA, youth sports programs, child care, and a week at YMCA Camp Abe Lincoln."

In previous years donations have been made to Genesis - Clarissa Cook House ($17,500), CASI ($18,000), Community Care, Inc. in DeWitt, Iowa ($24,000) and the American Cancer Society ($47,775). Over the last ten years more than $165,000 has been donated to charitable organizations in the Quad Cities area through the Russell golf outing.

Established in 1983, Russell Construction is a regional provider of Construction Management, Design Build and General Contracting services. For more information on Russell Construction, please visit their corporate website at

Bill provides more campus resources for student veterans

CHICAGO - August 7, 2009. Governor Pat Quinn today signed into law a bill that provides greater educational and informational resources for veterans attending Illinois public colleges and universities.

"This legislation provides our student veterans with the needed information, assistance and guidance they deserve," said Governor Quinn. "It is necessary that we take care of these fine men and women who have served our country proudly and ensure they are aware of the resources and benefits that are available to them to further their education."

The Higher Education Veterans Service Act will require schools to create, publish and distribute a comprehensive guide of services available specifically to veterans at their institutions. The bill also requires schools with 1,000 or more full-time students to appoint a coordinator to act as a liaison between administrators and student veterans.

Senate Bill 1624 was sponsored by Sen. Dan Kotowski (D-Park Ridge) and Rep. Mark Walker (D-Arlington Heights).

Within 60 days, schools must produce a comprehensive guide to services and post the information online. The measure is effective immediately.

Within six months, schools with 1,000 or more full-time students must appoint a Coordinator of Veterans and Military Personnel Student Services. The Coordinator will serve as an ombudsman to assist student veterans, military personnel and their families, and also act as a liaison and advocate with the college or university for the needs of student veterans.

"Many public and private universities have already gone above and beyond to serve veteran populations, and we hope this will further encourage best practices for student veterans throughout our state," said Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs Director Dan Grant.

Governor Quinn was joined at the bill signing ceremony held at the University of Illinois at Chicago by UIC Dean of Students Linda Deanna; Dr. Randy Plunkett, National Director of Military Affairs for DeVry University; and Robert Malnik, Illinois State Director for Student Veterans of America.


WASHINGTON, (July 30, 2009) - As veterans start the new academic year, the leader of The American Legion said he is happy to see that they will be able to enjoy the benefits of the new GI Bill.

"August 1st will be a proud day for us," said David K. Rehbein, national commander of the nation's largest veterans service organization. "That's when the educational benefits in the Post -9/11 Veterans Education Assistance Act take effect -benefits that The American Legion worked hard to bring about."

In fact, The American Legion was so instrumental in the passage of the most sweeping veterans benefit in generations that U.S. Rep. Chet Edwards said at the time, "Passing this historic new GI Bill into law could not have happened without the dedicated efforts of The American Legion."

The Legion's role in the formulation of the new GI Bill has deep historical roots. Members of The American Legion drafted the original Servicemen's Readjustment Act, popularly known as the GI Bill, in 1944. It was written in longhand on hotel stationery by American Legion Past National Commander Harry Colmery. The GI Bill is widely considered the greatest domestic legislation ever passed by Congress.

The largest scholarship program in U.S. history, the GI Bill also made home ownership a possibility for a new generation of Americans, transforming the American economy and creating the middle class.

The American Legion continued its staunch advocacy for veterans, playing a key role in every readjustment legislation since 1944. While some of the successors to the GI Bill fell short of what The American Legion hoped for, the organization worked closely with then-U.S. Rep. G.V. "Sonny" Montgomery on the improved "Montgomery GI Bill," which benefited peacetime veterans.

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While The American Legion has never stopped pushing for a comprehensive benefit to cover all education costs for veterans, the organization went clearly on the record at its 1992 National Convention in Chicago. Delegates there unanimously passed Resolution 3, which called for the establishment of "a benefit package commensurate with those provided veterans of World War II, Korea and Vietnam."

As the Global War on Terrorism progressed, it became clear that National Guard and Reserve veterans, who were serving in large numbers during the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, were not being compensated as generously as their active-duty counterparts.

It was time for a new GI Bill. The American Legion and Congress, among others, set about creating one. A longtime Legionnaire, Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., built a bipartisan coalition in the Senate. The final bill included a provision that allowed for the transferability of benefits to family members, an additional benefit supported by The American Legion.  The bill was signed by President George W. Bush on June 30, 2008.

The new GI Bill does not replace existing education programs for veterans, but augments them. Depending upon individual needs and eligibilities, benefits of the older Montgomery GI Bill, the Montgomery GI Bill/Selected Reserve, and the Reserve Educational Assistance Program (REAP) are still available as well.

The American Legion explains veterans educational benefits in great detail at

"The new GI Bill is a bill worthy of its name," Rehbein said. "While we believe this is a great benefit to America's veterans and their families, The American Legion will monitor the administration of it and ensure that the benefits that these veterans so richly deserve are not diminished. If any veteran has difficulty accessing their GI Bill benefits, we at The American Legion want to know about it. All they need to do is contact The American Legion."

With a current membership of 2.5 million wartime veterans, The American Legion was founded in 1919 on the four pillars of a strong national security, veterans affairs, Americanism, and the mentoring of youth. Legionnaires work for the betterment of their communities through more than 14,000 posts across the nation.



Five Iowa farm families will be named as recipients of The Way We Live Award at the 2009 Iowa State Fair. Each family will be honored in an award ceremony during the Fair. "State Fair Time" runs August 13-23.

The Way We Live Award, new to this year's Fair, recognizes industrious Iowa families who demonstrate a daily dedication to animal agriculture and exemplify farm values derived from hard work and a love for the occupation of farming. Entrants were asked to submit a short essay describing how living on a farm and choosing the occupation of farming has shaped their family's life. Five recipients were chosen from a pool of 32 entries representing a variety of commodities and locations throughout Iowa.

In addition to being honored in award ceremonies during the Fair, each family will receive a prize package including admission to the Fair and $150 cash.

The Martz Family of Blue Grass, Iowa

The Martz family established their farming operation in 1913. When Earl Martz married Phyllis Brus in 1957, the two added the Brus homestead to the already thriving Martz farm. Nearly twenty years later, eleven-year-old Keith Martz and his teenage brothers, David and Brian, began renting and farming their grandfather's land. The three harvested a bumper crop their very first year. Though Brian left to become a veterinarian, the two remaining Martz brothers have worked hard to diversify their technique producing everything from corn, soybeans, oats and hay to ketchup tomatoes. Today, the Martz family maintains 1000 acres of crops, 2400 hogs and 90 stock cows. Though they cite the sunshine, rain and deep, fertile soil as their primary resources, their close family bonds and dedication to Iowa agriculture are their biggest blessings. The family will be honored in an award ceremony on Monday, August 17, at 10:30 a.m. in the Paul R. Knapp Animal Learning Center.

The Hansen Family of Hudson, Iowa

The Hansen farm has passed through generations of family members since the land was purchased by their German ancestors in 1861. Jay and Jeanne Hansen took over operation and ownership in 1976. Today, they are in the process of passing on their stable, lucrative family business to their five adult children. The family began selling Hansen's Farm Fresh Dairy products directly to consumers in 2002. Currently, they produce enough to supply two family-owned stores in Waterloo and Cedar Falls as well as 25 other retail outlets, restaurants, coffee shops and retirement homes throughout the Cedar Valley area. Their pet kangaroo, Kiwi, serves as farm mascot and appears on their product labels. The family will be honored in an award ceremony on Thursday, August 13, at 10:30 a.m. in the Paul R. Knapp Animal Learning Center.

The Godbersen Family of Arthur, Iowa

Robert and Twyla Godbersen and their children, Bryce and Leah, are committed to the production and care of healthy Hereford cattle. Their self-sustaining operation produces corn and alfalfa to feed their horses and cows which enjoy grazing in their extensive pastureland. Each member of the family is dedicated to celebrating the importance of Iowa agriculture through youth organizations like FFA and 4-H. Twyla and Leah continue to volunteer with 4-H at local county fairs and shows. Bryce is an enthusiastic member of Iowa Beef Producers and the Iowa Hereford Association Board. Several generations of Godbersen's have even garnered ribbons at the Iowa State Fair cattle shows. The family will be honored in an award ceremony on Saturday, August 15, at 10:30 a.m. in the Paul R. Knapp Animal Learning Center.

The Petersen Family of Knoxville, Iowa

Petersen parents James and Julie and their four children, Justin, Jacob, Joshua and Jenny, work 850 acres of crops and raise 800 head of ewes and cattle. Their farm has been in the family through several generations, and James' 79-year-old father continues to participate in daily farm work. They have been active in their local 4-H chapter and have entered several items in the 4-H division at the Iowa State Fair as well as livestock, horticulture and foods divisions. Every member of the family has earned a blue ribbon from the State Fair Food Department. The Petersens cite hope and tradition as their driving forces, paired with a commitment to producing healthy livestock and quality crops. Julie notes that their sense of humor continues to be a blessing, telling the story of how James surprised her with a silver-painted manure spreader for their 25th anniversary - traditionally a "silver" celebration. The family will be honored in an award ceremony on Wednesday, August 19,! at 10:30 a.m. in the Paul R. Knapp Animal Learning Center.

The Van Manen Family of Kellogg, Iowa

The Van Manen family farm dates back to the late 1920s. Today, nearly a century later, parents Kevin and Julie and their children, Jacob and Emily, continue to maintain a sustainable operation raising Holstein steers and hogs. Each member of the family helps out with chores, fieldwork, gardening, mowing and preparing meals. In addition to their hectic schedule on the farm, both children are heavily involved in basketball and baseball leagues as well as their local 4-H chapters. Julie spends her mornings teaching math in the Sully Christian School District before heading back to the farm to help with public relations. The family's favorite part of farming is opening up their home to their non-farming neighbors - anyone from Boy Scout troops to city relatives. The family will be honored in an award ceremony on Saturday, August 22, at 10:30 a.m. in the Paul R. Knapp Animal Learning Center.

"State Fair Time" in 2009 is set August 13-23. For Fair information, call 800/545-FAIR or visit

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MILWAUKEE, Wisc. (July 17, 2009) - Local non-profit organizations are invited to participate in a unique fundraising opportunity with their local Younkers store. Younkers announced today that it will continue its successful Community Day event to be held on Saturday, November 14, 2009. Non-profit Organizations can sign-up now at This event provides an opportunity for local organizations to gather the donations needed to support their missions, especially at a time when many non-profits have limited resources and more requests than they can accommodate.

On August 2, 2009, local participating nonprofit groups will begin selling $5 Younkers discount savings booklets to support their organization. Each booklet contains coupons and offers for a savings of over $60. Non-profit groups selling the booklets keep 100% of the $5 booklet price.

"This is the tenth consecutive year our Company has brought this fundraising event to local non-profit groups," said Bud Bergren, president and chief executive officer of The Bon-Ton Stores, Inc. "We know how important it is to give back to the community, especially when many groups and community organizations need our help more than ever."

Organizations can sign up to participate in Community Day by logging onto, and submitting a registration form. The website provides details of the event. Qualifying Community Day organizations include local 501C-3 nonprofit organizations, churches and schools.

The Bon-Ton Stores, Inc. operates 280 stores, including 12 furniture galleries, in 23 states in the Northeast, Midwest and upper Great Plains under the Bon-Ton, Bergner's, Carson Pirie Scott, Carson Pirie Scott, Elder-Beerman, Herberger's and Younkers nameplates and, in the Detroit, Michigan area, under the Parisian nameplate. The stores offer a broad assortment of brand-name fashion apparel and accessories for women, men and children, as well as cosmetics and home furnishings.


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INDIANAPOLIS  (July  21, 2009) - The American Legion family is calling on all Americans to help purchase comfort items for troops recovering in U.S. military hospitals and warrior transition units around the world through its Operation Comfort Warriors campaign.

"The government does a good job of providing the essentials," said American Legion National Commander David K. Rehbein. "Through Operation Comfort Warriors we have been able to provide items that usually don't appear in the budget, such as personal sweat suits, I-Pods, DVDs, phone calling cards and other comfort items. The American Legion family is challenging its members, friends and, in fact, all people, to give to those who have already given us so much. These gifts provide welcome distractions to the tediousness that often accompanies prolonged hospital stays."

The American Legion family has already raised nearly $165,000 for Operation Comfort Warriors since its inception in December. Donors can make online contributions by visiting or by sending a check to Operation Comfort Warriors, PO Box 1055, Indianapolis, IN 46206. Administrative and promotional costs for Operation Comfort Warriors are paid by The American Legion, allowing 100 percent of the donations to be spent directly on the troops.

The American Legion also plans to operate a donations booth at its 91st Annual National Convention in Louisville.

With a current membership of 2.6-million wartime veterans, The American Legion was founded in 1919 on the four pillars of a strong national security, veterans affairs, Americanism, and patriotic youth programs. Legionnaires work for the betterment of their communities through more than 14,000 posts across the nation.

Contact:; Joe March or John Raughter - (317) 630-1253, Craig Roberts - (202) 263-2982.

"Family Dynamic" is a new dramatic docu-reality series that always ends with a bang.  The series is intended for air in the US this year. Each episode revolves around the Kelly Family, the imploders, and mixes the stress of family life on the road with on-the-job pressure of designing and implementing complicated implosions & demolitions.

We are interested in sending a film crew to Iowa to film the imploders, the Kelly family, of Advanced Explosives Demolition (AED) as they setup and implode (or trip) a large structure.  To film the structure permission from the owner of the propert y will be needed. We have a one-page location release to be signed by the owner once details have been sorted out. Our available schedule for filming falls between the months of August through November 2009.

The crew is very small and non-intrusive.  We can ensure all parties involved that this will not hinder the demolition in any way and can provide copy of our production insurance upon request.

Please contact Jen Hutchins anytime with further questions about the show and/or the location release.  I'm confident you will find the show to be both beneficial to the future property and to the city.


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:


We will be having a Texas Hold Em No Limit Poker Tournament happening on Saturday July 18th at The Lucky Frog Bar and Grill.   Pre registration will start that day at 11AM with the tournament starting at 1PM.  The proceeds will help us to raise money for a great Labor Day Fireworks show for years to come.

There will be a $25 buy in and a $25 rebuy.  If we can get 50 players we can raise over $1000 and still give away close to $500 for 1st Place alone!

If anyone has any questions or knows anyone that plays Texas Hold Em and might want to ask some questions just have them give me a call on my cell.  If you would like to play just to help raise money that would be great.  All of the regular players would be happy to help, and I have let them know that there will be some rookies.

You can pre register and/or ask questions at or at The Lucky Frog or call 563-503-9478. If you have a worthy cause you would like to have a poker benefit for please let us know.