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Local Ag News

Steve Nogel Promoted At AGP

(Omaha, NE) -- Steve Nogel has been promoted to Vice President of the Renewable Fuels Group at Ag Processing Inc., a cooperative (AGP).  Nogel, who has over 35 years of experience in the petroleum and renewable fuels business including 14 years at AGP, most recently served as Senior Director of the Renewable Fuels Group.  He joined AGP as Director of Sales and Marketing.

"Steve Nogel has provided AGP with many years of dedicated service, commitment and increasing responsibility in our renewable fuels business," said Cal Meyer Group Vice President, Processing, Refined Oils and Renewable Fuels.  "We look forward to his leadership and business expertise in his new position as Vice President of the Renewable Fuels Group."

Prior to joining AGP, Nogel served as Vice President of Sales for Power Service Products, a chemical company based in Texas, where he worked for 21 years.  He holds a Master's Degree in Business from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.

AGP (www.agp.com), the largest farmer-owned soybean processor in the world, is owned by 179 local and regional cooperatives representing over 250,000 farmers from 15 states throughout the United States.  Corporate headquarters are located in Omaha, Nebraska.

   

Iowa Farm Bureau Establishes Legislative Priorities

(West Des Moines) -- Iowa Farm Bureau Federation members take on property tax reform, water quality, and infrastructure improvements in the 2013 legislative session.

Farm Bureau members say Iowa's unprecedented property tax growth impacts all Iowans.  "Property taxes have increased by over $2 billion since the the year 2000, an increase of over 75 percent," said Craig Hill, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation president.  "Farm Bureau members believe the primary objective of property tax reform should be to reduce the property tax burden on all classes of property.  As lawmakers address issues such as commercial property tax reform, Iowans need to be assured that any reform affecting one class of property would not bring a shift to other classes of property.  In addition, reasonable property tax growth limitations are needed so property tax collections do not continue to outpace the economy and family wages," Hill said.

Controlling growth of property taxes is just one of several priorities named by IFBF.  Members also support using the state's one-time ending fund balance, which will total hundreds of millions of dollars on one-time expenditures such as property tax relief or infrastructure, as opposed to being used for ongoing expenses.

Hill says, "We're at the point where more and more local governments are turning to bonding as an alternative source of revenue to pay for deteriorating rural roads.  Last year alone, rural property owners paid over $140 million in property taxes to their local roads and bridges," said Hill.  IFBF policy calls for an increase in the fuel tax to bring additional revenue for road improvements.  "Iowa's fuel tax hasn't been increased since 1989 and would insure that users of the roads, including out-of-state motorists, are paying directly for the infrastructure repairs.  A user fee is definitely the most equitable and fair method of funding.

   

Pork Producers Convene In Des Moines

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Some of Iowa's top pork producers are
meeting to talk about their product.
The Iowa Pork Producers Association meets Thursday in Des Moines
to conclude its annual Iowa Pork Congress. The event features a
trade show with 275 exhibitors from the U.S. and abroad.
The event, which began Wednesday, will feature a dozen free
business seminars and training sessions for producers.
Several top producers from surrounding Midwest states also are
expected to attend.
The association says the pork industry contributes nearly $5
billion annually to Iowa's economy.

   

New Farm Organization Created To Inform People of Animal Care

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A group of farmers and industry leaders has announced a coalition aimed at providing Iowa residents with more information on farm animal care.
The Iowa Farm Animal Care Coalition announced its launch Thursday. It says it's designed to help farmers and consumers know more about the latest science-based animal care standards.
An independent team of experts also will offer voluntary on-site evaluations.
IFAC includes farmers from the Iowa Farm Bureau and the Iowa Pork Producers Association. It also includes Iowa State University colleges of Veterinary Medicine and Agriculture and Life Sciences, as well as the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.

   

AGP Names New CFO

(Omaha) -- Scott Simmelink has been named Group Vice President and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) at Ag Processing Inc. a cooperative (AGP).  Simmelink, who has 30 years of finance, accounting and business experience, succeeds Keith Spackler, who was appointed CEO by the AGP Board of Directors on September 2, 2012.

"With over 30 years of progressively responsible leadership experience in accounting and financial management for both Fortune 500 and privately-held companies, Scott brings an excellent blend of budget and financial administration, project leadership, and sound business expertise," said Spackler.  "Scott will make a great addition to our executive management team."

Simmelink began his new position with AGP on January 2.  He was previously employed as Director of Financial Services with Consolidated Container Company of Omaha.  He was responsible for various aspects of accounting, financial reporting, cash managment, customer and equity owner relations, credit, financial compliance, and other financial services.  Additionally, he was extensively involved in numerous acquisitions and related financing.  His career also includes financial experience with Compaq Direct, Inacom, Coleman Powermate, and Colman Company, Inc.

Simmelink has deep agricultural roots, being born and raised on a crop/cattle farm near Lebanon, Kansas.  He has a B.A. degree in Finance/Business Management from Bethany College, Lindsborg, Kansas.  Scott and his wife reside in Waterloo, Nebraska.  They have three grown children and two grandchildren.

AGP, the largest farmer-owned soybean processor in the world, is owned by 179 local and regional cooperatives representing over 250,000 farmers from 15 states throughout the United States.  Corporate headquarters are located in Omaha, Nebraska.

   

Iowa Land Values On The Rise...Again

(Ames) -- Iowa land values have once again risen over last year and according to Mike Duffy, Agricultural Economist with Iowa State University, in many cases, new records were established. Duffy noted northwest Iowa saw the largest increase in land values.
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Duffy says there are a number of factors that are helping drive the land values higher including good investment opportunities, the need for additional land for manure application for livestock and poultry producers, but he says the most mentioned driving factor are higher commodity prices.

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There are some people, including Iowa Senator Tom Harkin, who believe farmers are entering an era much like the 70's when grain and land prices were high, only to see the bubble burst, causing a recession era which occurred in the 1980's.  Duffy says although there are some farmers that may be over-extended with their financing, he doesn't see it being a wide spread problem, at least not just yet.

 

Iowa Soybean Association Applauds Governor's Action On Reducing Nutrient Runoff

Ankeny, Iowa (AP) - Environmentalists say it doesn't go far enough, but the Iowa Soybean Association is praising Gov. Terry Branstad's strategy to keep harmful nutrients from reaching Iowa
waterways and the Gulf of Mexico.
Association leaders who met in Ankeny this week reaffirmed their support for the plan, which was released last month. ISA President Mark Jackson says the plan is based on science, recognizes the
diversity of the state's landscape and is "much more effective than a costly, one-size-fits-all effort to improve water quality."
The plan calls on wastewater treatment plants to make upgrades to reduce their discharges into waterways. But it asks farmers to take voluntary steps to reduce the runoff caused by fertilizers and
manure on farm fields.
Critics say they doubt a voluntary approach will have much impact.


Iowa Pork Congress Scheduled

(Clive, Iowa) -- The Iowa Pork Producers Association (IPPA) will hold the 2013 Iowa Pork Congress January 23 and 24 at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines.

The nation's largest winter swine tradeshow and conference will be held in Hy-Vee Hall at the Iowa Events Center.  Pork Congress hours will be 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. January 23 and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on January 24.  The Iowa Pork Foundation's annual Kickoff Reception and Auction will be held at Hy-Vee Hall on January 22 and the IPPA Youth Swine Judging Contest will be held in the Pioneer Livestock Pavilion at the Iowa State Fairgrounds on January 24.

"Pork Congress encompasses every aspect of the pork industry and I encourage anyone involved in pork production to make plans to attend," said IPPA President Bill Tentinger of Le Mars, Iowa.  "The tradeshow, seminars, social functions, youth activities and networking opportunities always attract thousands of people from around the Midwest and we're hoping for another great turnout this year."

Nearly 300 companies will exhibit in spacious Hy-Vee Hall and several will be introducing new products.  IPPA will welcome attendees to the Pork Information Plaza where guests can visit with producer leaders and representatives from the National Pork Board, National Pork Producers Council and other affiliated organizations.

A wide range of seminars will be held at no additional charge.  Topics include animal health, sow housing, pit foaming and swine reproduction.  Attendees can get updates on regulations and nuisance cases, public policy and an industry economic outlook.  Dr. David Kohl from Virginia Tech University will address transition management in the keynote presentation.  Producers can obtain or renew their PQA Plus and TQA certifications, and a certification session for confinement site manure applicators is being offered.

 

 

 

 

   

Crop Insurance Payments

 

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The U.S. Department of Agriculture says farmers who chose to pay more to insure their crops at harvest prices will receive $7.50 per bushel for corn.
That should be welcome news for corn farmers in Iowa, Illinois and Nebraska, the nation's three largest corn producers, respectively.
The Des Moines Register also reports that the harvest price payout for soybeans will be $15.39 per bushel.
Farmers who elected to be covered by the less expensive non-harvest price coverage will receive the $5.68 per bushel for corn and $12.55 per bushel for soybeans. Those prices were set in
March at the time of insurance sign-up.
USDA figures show crop-loss insurance payments through October 29th totaled $3.5 billion nationally, including $1.63 billion for corn and $247.6 million for soybeans.

   

Farmers Nearly Done With Harvest

Farmers Are Nearly Done With Harvest

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa farmers are very close to wrapping up this year's harvest, but work was delayed by some much-needed rain.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture says 93 percent of the corn crop has been harvested, which is a month ahead of schedule.  Ninety-six percent of the soybean crop is in, almost three weeks ahead of normal.
The USDA says in Monday's weekly report that widespread rain helped Iowa's pasture and range land, but 73 percent is in very poor or poor condition. Hay supplies are running about 42 percent
short.
A slow-moving storm system brought rain to the state on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. The statewide average was a-half inch, just shy of the weekly normal of 0.56 inches.

 

   

USDA Plans Drought Meeting

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - The Agriculture Department is planning a series of four regional workshops in areas hard hit by the drought to make sure farmers know about resources available to help them.
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack plans to attend the first workshop on Tuesday in Omaha, Nebraska. The other three workshops are being planned in Pueblo, Colorado, Pine Bluff, Arkansas and an
undetermined town in Ohio.
This summer's drought has been the worst one in decades. Experts at the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln say about one-fifth of the total land area in the
lower 48 states remains in extreme or exceptional drought.
The USDA is working with the Commerce Department, the Small Business Administration and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to plan these meetings.

   

11 Iowa Organizations Receive Ag Grants

(Des Moines) -- Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey has announced that the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship will be awarding $244,000 in grants to Iowa organizations to help enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops grown in Iowa.  The Department received $271,396 through the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program from the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service to support the program.

"Specialty crops are a very important part of Iowa agriculture as they allow farmers to diversify and give customers access to locally grown products," Northey said.  "These federal funds will support a variety of efforts that will make these Iowa grown crops more available and encourage Iowans to choose fruits, vegetables, nuts and flowers that are produced right here in our state."

Iowa agricultural non-profit organizations, cooperatives, specialty crop industry associations or organizations, and producer groups were eligible to apply for funding to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops.

The Department also invited public comment from specialty crop stakeholders to help identify priorities for the program and established a review committee to help review, evaluate, and make recommendations on which grant proposals submitted to the Department should receive funding.

The maximum grant award from the Department to sub-grantees is $24,000 and administrative and indirect costs are not allowed.

The Department received 29 proposals requesting assistance and the 11 chosen were selected by an independent review committee of nine industry stakeholders.

Grant funds shall be used for projects that benefit and enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops industry as a whole, and cannot be for projects that directly benefit a particular product or provide a profit to a single organization, institution, or individual.

"Specialty Crops" that ar eligible under this program are fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits and horticulture and nursery crops, including floriculture.  The funds anot passed through to Iowa organizations will be used by the Department to administer the grant.

 

The full list of 11 grant recipients follows here:

Practical Farmers of Iowa - $24,000 to support improving employee management on fruit and vegetable farms.

 

Lutheran Services of Iowa - $24,000 to support increasing specialty crop production by refugee groups through land access and grower education.

 

Iowa Heartland RC&D - $23,983 for delivering specialty crops to corporations through Community Supported Agriculture (CSA's).

 

Iowa State University (Angela Shaw) - $23,939 for the statewide on-farm food safety program.

 

Iowa State University (Dining Services) - $13,645 to create awareness of the nutritional value and importance of specialty crops.


Southern Iowa RC&D - $23,928 to gather economic and social impact data in rural southwest Iowa to support specialty crop production.

 

Iowa State University (Lester) Wilson) - $20,755 to determine the optimum harvest time for aronia berries to maximize their antioxidant and sensory properties.

 

Golden Hills RC&D - $24,000 to support creating, marketing and promoting the Iowa Loess Hill AVA Wine Trail.

 

Iowa State University (Winneshiek County) - $15,750 to create a Good Agricultural Practices (GAP)/Good Handling Practices (GHP) cost share program for Northeast  Iowa fruit and vegetable  producers.

 

Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship - $40,000 to spotlight on Iowa's specialty crops as part of the Iowa Farm to School Program.

 

 

 

 

   

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