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Agri-Line - Le Mars Agricultural Connection

USDA Annouces 11 Iowa Counties as Secretarial Designation

(Des Moines) -- Iowa State Executive Director for USDA Farm Service Agency, John Whitaker, announcec that the U-S Department of Agriculture has designated eleven Iowa counties as part of a Secretarial Natural Disaster Designation.  Farm operators who have suffered major production and/or physical losses caused by drought beginning July 31, 2012 and continuing may be eligible for low-interest emergency loans.

A Secretarial Natural Disaster Designation has been issued for four Iowa counties as the primary disaster area.  These primary counties are: Lyon, Plymouth, Sioux and Woodbury.  Seven Iowa counties are contiguous to this designated disaster area, making these producers also potentially eligible for program based on this designation.  The contiguous counties are: Cherokee, Crawford, Ida, Monona, O'Brien, and Osceola.  Harrison county is contiguous to a primary county in Nebraska.

The Farm Service Agency may make Emergency Loans to eligible family farmers which will enable them to return to their normal operations if they sustained qualifying losses resulting from natural disaster.  Physical loss loans may be made to eligible farmers to enable them to repair or replace damaged or destroyed physical property, including livestock losses, essential to the success of the farming operation.  Examples of property commonly affected include; essential farm buildings, fixtures to real estate, equipment, livestock, perennial crops, fruit and nut bearing trees, and harvested or stored crops.  For production loss loans, the disaster yield must be at least 30 percent below the normal production yield of the crop, on a crop or a crop or crops that make up a basic part of the total farming operation.

Applicant must be unable to obtain credit from other usual sources to qualify for the Farm Service Agency Farm Loan Program assistance.  The interest rate for emergency loans is 2.25%.  Each applicant applying for credit will be given equal consideration without regard to race, creed, color, marital status, or national origin.

The repayment for most disaster loans are based on the useful life of the security, the applicant's repayment ability, and the type of loss.  If the loan is secured only on crops, it must be repaid when the next crop year's income is received.  Loans to replace fixtures to real estate may be scheduled for repayment for up to 40 years.

The final date for making application under this designation is April 8, 2013.  Interested farmers may contact their local County FSA office for further information on eligibility requirements and application procedures for these and other programs.  Information can also be found on-line at



AGP Hires New CEO

(Omaha) -- The Board of Directors of Ag Processing Inc. (AGP) announced today that is has named Keith Spackler as its Chief Executive Officer and General Manager effective September 1, 2012.  Spackler, who currently serves as the cooperative's Chief Financial Officer and Group Vice President, will succeed Marty Reagan who announced his plans to retire earlier this year. 

"Keith Spackler is a seasoned professional in agribusiness," said Brad Davis, Chairman of the Board.  "His indepth knowledge of AGP and its business operations will serve him well in his new role.  We are confident that under Keith's leadership, AGP will continue to fulfill its committment to serve our cooperative members and their producer-owners."

"At AGP, building on the existing strengths, while creating and capturing new opportunities has resulted in a great history of success," said Spackler.  "I look forward to working witih the Board, management team and employees as we work together in continuing the planned growth, development and success of this cooperative."

Spackler is a native of Clinton, Missouri where he grew up on a dairy and row crop farm.  He holds a B.S. and a M.S. degrees in Agricultural Economics from the University of Missouri at Columbia, Missouri, and a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Nebraska at Omaha.  Prior to joining AGP, Spackler  served as an economic analystt for Far-Mar-Co a subsidiary of Farmland Industries.  He joined AGP in 1985 as Manager of Business Analysis and over the past 27 years, he has served in various positions of leadership at the cooperative.

AGP ( is the largest farmer-owned cooperative soybean processor in the world, and is owned by 180 local and regional cooperatives representing over 200,000 farmers from 16 states.  AGP operates soybean processing facilities at Sheldon, Sgt. Bluff, and Emmetsburg.  AGP also operates a bio-diesel manufacturing plant at Sgt. Bluff.


USDA Issues First Crop Report

ST. LOUIS (AP) - The federal government says U.S. corn growers could end up with their lowest average yield in 17 years as the drought continues to take its toll.
     The U.S. Agriculture Department is slashing its projected U.S. corn production to 10.8 billion bushels. That's down from its forecast last month of close to 13 billion bushels and 13 percent
lower than last year. That also would be the lowest production since 2006.
     The USDA says it expects corn growers to average 123.4 bushels per acre, down 24 bushels from last year. That would be the lowest average yield since 1995.
     Soybean production is now forecast at 2.69 billion bushels, a 12 percent decline from last year. Expected yields on average of 36.1 bushels per acre would be the lowest since 2003.


Northwest Iowa Counties Added To Drought Disaster Declaration List

(Washington) -- The U-S Department of Agriculture has added four more Iowa counties to the drought disaster declaration list.  Those counties include: Woodbury, Lyon, Sioux, and Plymouth.  Farmers have the opportunity to qualify for disaster assistance and low interest loans.

Woodbury County Conservation To Accept Bids For Haying Grasslands

(Sioux City) -- The Woodbury County Conservation Board announced that it will accept competitive signed bids to hay multiple parcels of county grassland located in several conservation areas.  The total acreage open to haying represents no more than 200 acres and less than four percent of the public lands managed by the Conservation Board.  Bids will be accepted for individual areas ranging from 13 to 110 acres and must be submitted to the Dorthy Pecaut Nature Center by 3:00 p.m. Friday, August 17th.  Federal disaster guidelines for haying will be in effect, and maps of specific parcels open to haying will be provided to the successful bidders.  Executive Director Rick Schneider says that the haying must be completed by August 31st and all bales removed from county lands by September 15th.

Drought Worsens

  ST. LOUIS (AP) - The latest U.S. drought map shows conditions getting worse in Iowa and Nebraska.
     The area of Iowa in extreme or exceptional drought -- the two worst categories -- has more than doubled, from about 31 percent last week to more than 69 percent as of Tuesday. More than 91
percent of Nebraska is in the two worst categories.
     The weekly map shows the amount of the U.S. mired in drought conditions dropped a little more than 1 percentage point, to just over 78 percent. But the area in the worst drought classifications has risen nearly 2 percentage points to more than 24 percent.
     That's because key farm states didn't get as much benefit from rains as elsewhere on the heels of hot July temperatures that federal scientists say broke a record set during the Dust Bowl of
the 1930s.

Crop Analysist Anticipates Negative Crop Report

(Ames) -- Due to the severity of the summer drought, all eyes will be focused on the first initial crop production report to be issued Friday morning by the U-S Department of Agriculture.  Farmers and commodity traders alike, are interested in knowing what will be the production yield numbers released by the USDA.  Chad Hart is an agricultural economist with Iowa State University and he serves as the grain marketing specialist.  Hart says analysists are expecting the corn yield to average 127 bushels per acre and the soybean yield to average 35 bushels per acre.  He says any numbers that are not close to that prediction will significantly affect the grain market prices.
 Hart says export markets have been watching the drought very closely.  He says South America may be able to benefit from the high commodity prices and possibly take over some of the United States' markets.  The ISU ag economist says Friday's report will be gigantic since it is the first official objective look at this year's crop. 



Farmers Can Harvest CRP and WRP

DES MOINES – Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey today announced that farmers that have Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) or Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) lands available for harvesting, can now be included in the Iowa hay and straw directory.  The change is in response to the USDA announcement that both of these programs can now be used for haying and grazing in response to the drought conditions.


“The drought has severely impacted the amount of forage available, so it is good news that USDA has made CRP and WRP lands available for emergency haying and grazing.  We hope the directory helps connect farmers that have CRP or WRP lands with those that have livestock and need the feed,” Northey said.  “It is important that any farmer interested in the emergency haying program should contact their local FSA or NRCS office before proceeding.”


The authorization for haying and grazing of CRP and WRP became effective today, August 2nd and haying activities must be completed by August 31, 2012. For more information on haying CRP land farmers can contact their local USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) office or visit FSA online at  For information on haying WRP land farmers can contact their local USDA National Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) office or visit


In additional to listing farmers with CRP or WRP lands available, the Iowa Hay and Straw Directory lists producers with hay and straw for sale, as well as organizations and businesses associated with promoting and marketing quality hay and straw.


Farmers interested in listing should visit the Department’s website at  An application form can be found by going to the “Home Page” and then clicking on the Marketing tab on the top of the page”  and then selecting  Hay and Straw in the right hand column.  This will take you directly to the Hay & Straw Directory.


For those without internet access, please call the Hay/Straw Hotline at 800-383-5079.  The Department will fax or send a printed copy of the application to be filled out.



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