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Local Ag News

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.

 

 

 

 

   

Drought Continues

Harvest Nearing Completion, But There Are Some Concerns


(Le Mars) -- Harvest is nearing completion, especially for northwest Iowa farmers, but Iowa State University Extension crop specialist Joel DeJong says there are still some concerns.     

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DeJong says we are still in a drought and the window of opportunity to recharge our soil moisture levels is closing.  He says if we get snow before the ground freezes, then our soils will benefit.  However, if it happens to freeze and then we get snow, that moisture will just run off.  DeJong says it would be best if we could get some autumn rains.

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DeJong says there has been a wide variation with yields just within Plymouth County.

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DeJong says test weights of crops have been fairly decent for this drought-stricken harvest.

 

   

Cherokee County Farmer Visits China

Cherokee County Farmer Visits China To Talk Soybeans

(Cleghorn) -- It has been 30 years since United States farmers set up an office in China to help establish agricultural trade relations, especially with soybeans and soybean products.  Tom Oswald, of rural Cleghorn, serves as a director with the Iowa Soybean Association, and recently traveled to China in honor of the anniversary.  Oswald explains how important China is to the U-S soybean trade.
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Oswald says the Chinese only recently have started using soymeal as a source for protein for their livestock, poultry, and fish farming needs.

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Oswald says Chinese officials were concerned about the news reports they had heard regarding the U-S drought.  Oswald says the U-S delegation informed the Chinese that although the drought had reduced soybean yields, the U-S would still be a reliable supplier of quality soybeans and soymeal.

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Oswald says the Chinese are stepping up their production in aquaculture, water fowl, such as ducks and geese, pork, and dairy operations.

 

 

   

National Farm Safety Week


(Le Mars)
-- This week marks National Farm Safety Week.  A week devoted to the awareness of the many dangers on the farm.  La Vonne Galles, local coordinator of Agri Safe of Plymouth County, a part of Floyd Valley Hospital, reminds farmers to know at all times where  children are located.  She says the grain trucks and wagons, and grain bins can often times be a "playground for children".  Tractor roll-overs, according to Galles still ranks as the top cause for farm related fatalities. Iowa State University extension safety specialist Charles Schwab echos Galles' comments.
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Schwab says agriculture, and particularly farming, ranks as one of the most dangerous and deadliest occupations.
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Galles says farmers need to keep all shields in place and to stop the machine before working on it to prevent entanglements.  Galles reminds farmers that they should have their equipment properly marked with slow moving vehicle signs and amber flashing lights when traveling on the roadways.  Since we have another dry year, Galles suggests farmers equip their combines with a fire extinguisher.  She also asks farmers to take some breaks during the hectic harvest season.
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Because of the drought, there are many corn fields that are affected with aflatoxin.  Galles says this year, farmers should wear a mask or a breathing aparatus when entering grain bins.
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Each year, there are more than 300 deaths due to farm-related accidents.

Farmers Ahead of Schedule With Harvest


(Des Moines)
-- Farmers are about three weeks ahead of normal harvesting schedules, according to the latest weekly crop report, and many farmers are reporting this year has been the earliest that they have been in the fields.  Farmers have been able to harvest at least 22 percent of the corn crop, and six percent of the soybean crop.  Northwest Iowa is leading the way for the soybean harvest with 12 percent already harvested.


FDA Approves Of Blending Aflatoxin Corn

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa agriculture department says federal officials have approved a request for corn contaminated by a poison-producing fungus to be blended with other corn for animal
feed. The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the agency's request to blend corn containing more than 20 parts per
billion of aflatoxin with corn that has lower levels or no aflatoxin.

   

Farm Progress Show Starts This Week

Farm Progress Show Expected To Attract Several Thousand

(Boone) -- As many as 100-thousand visitors are expected in Boone this week for the Farm Progress Show, the region's biggest event of its kind. Dena Morgan is spokeswoman for the 59th annual exposition, showing off everything that's new in agricultural production.

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Morgan says visitors will be seeing the latest in agricultural equipment and technology as this is the place where many companies will roll out new products and campaigns.

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Morgan was asked how this year's enduring drought will have an impact on the show.

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The show runs Tuesday through Thursday. It rotates locations every other year. Boone hosts the show in even-numbered years while Decatur, Illinois, hosts it in odd-numbered years. Learn more at: "www.farmprogress.com"

 

 

   

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 www.fsa.usda.gov

 

   

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 (www.agr.com) 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. 



    

   

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