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Local Ag News

Soybean Growers Elect Officers

Ankeny, Iowa – Six farmers were elected to leadership positions at the Sept. 5 meeting of the Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) board of directors.
Brian Kemp of Sibley took his seat as president and Tom Oswald of Cleghorn was elected president-elect. Rolland Schnell of Newton was chosen as treasurer and Wayne Fredericks of Osage was elected secretary. Jeff Jorgenson of Sidney was also elected to the executive committee.
ISA directors re-elected Mark Jackson of Rose Hill, immediate past president, and Ray Gaesser of Corning to represent Iowa on the American Soybean Association board of directors.
In addition, the directors discussed a number of issues concerning soybean farmers including the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy, consumer outreach efforts, new and continuing crop research, sustainability programs and more during the meeting.
“Iowa soybean farmers look to these leaders as they work to be more efficient and productive on their own farms,” said Kemp. “ISA plays an important role in agriculture, from state to national to international levels;  working to secure and strengthen new and existing markets for soybeans and support our farmers as they continue to be the leaders in national soybean production.”
To learn more about ISA, visit its website at www.iasoybeans.com.

   

Thurman Gaskill Honored By Corn Growers


Aug 30, 2013 - Thurman Gaskill, retired farmer from Corwith and retired Iowa State Senator, received the Iowa Corn Lifetime Achievement Award on Saturday, Aug. 24 at the Iowa Corn Growers Association Annual meeting.

"In many different leadership positions, Thurman Gaskill has touched farmers around the globe," said Craig Floss, Iowa Corn CEO. "We thank him for his many contributions to agriculture." 

Gaskill served as president of the National and Iowa Corn Growers Associations, chairman of the U.S. Feed Grains Council and an agricultural advisor to presidential campaigns. He retired from the Iowa Senate in 2008. 

In the late 1960s, Governor Robert Ray appointed Gaskill to the Iowa Development Commission where he served as vice chair of the Ag Promotion Board. In the early 1970s, Gaskill was involved with the Agriculture Council of America and traveled to U.S. media centers to speak on the importance of food production.

Also in the early 1970s as a member of the National Corn Growers Association Board, Gaskill worked to help build NCGA membership. He first focused on revamping the Iowa Corn Growers Association, increasing membership and encouraging other farm groups to work with the corn growers on important issues.

Gaskill was also active in the U.S. Feed Grains Council which sought to develop overseas markets in Asia and Europe. Funding in this situation was tight. Under Gaskill's leadership, he sought the interest of corn farmers in the state to see if they would be interested in a corn checkoff program. This led to a referendum in 1977. The referendum passed and Iowa became the first state to establish funding to promote corn export programs via the U.S. Feed Grains Council.

"The corn industry and our state has benefitted greatly by Gaskill's work and dedication," said Floss. "We are proud to honor him for his years of service."

The Iowa Corn Lifetime Achievement Award is given in recognition of outstanding service and commitment to advance the corn industry and keep the industry cutting edge through technology, political action and time devoted to the Iowa corn industry. Thurman Gaskill is the third recipient of this award.

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Iowa Farm Bureau Delegates Set Policy

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa – August 28, 2013 – Iowa Farm Bureau voting delegates shared concerns about infrastructure problems, regulatory implications, and watershed management as they gathered in West Des Moines August 27-28  to set state and national legislative policy.  Water and soil conservation and country of origin labeling also topped their discussions.
“Over the last two days, our voting delegates discussed these priority issues and planned our course of action for 2014,” said IFBF President Craig Hill.
Iowa’s largest grassroots farm organization called for Watershed Management efforts to be established with balanced urban and agricultural representation from within that watershed, as members showed enthusiasm for conservation and improving Iowa’s soil and waterways.  “Our Farm Bureau members are considering what they can do to make a difference on their farms and be visibly seen as leading the way towards progress in water quality,” Hill said.  “After all, the overall goals of farmers and non-farmers have always been the same: to keep our soils strong and our water safe, and this is just one more way to assure progress in the field continues.”
Transportation infrastructure funding also found consensus among IFBF farmers.  “It’s a continuous effort to fund road infrastructure to facilitate sustainability and growth,” said Hill.  “This isn’t just an agricultural issue; this is an issue that affects all Iowans.”
Another lively discussion at the IFBF Summer Policy Conference concerning the national issue of country of origin labeling (COOL).  “Trade compliance is very important to us, and we want to be a good trading partner,” said Hill.  “IFBF members concluded that a mandatory COOL for meat harms open trade between the U.S. and our neighbors, and our members prefer a voluntary meat labeling program.”
The IFBF Summer Policy Conference is a step in Farm Bureau’s grassroots policy development process, which begins in the spring at the county level.  The national policies will now be subject to debate during American Farm Bureau Federation policy discussions in January 2014 in San Antonio.

   

Iowa Expands Water Quality Program

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — State agriculture officials say they are providing $1 million in funds to help farmers reduce runoff of fertilizer and manure from their fields and pastures.
Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey says the department has received overwhelming
response to a program that shares the cost of installing systems designed to reduce erosion and runoff.
The $1 million announced Thursday brings the total funds for the program allocated to farmers this year to $2.8 million. The department received $3 million in one-time funding to support statewide water quality practices over the next five years.
Practices eligible for funding include cover crops that hold nitrogen in fields and no-till
or strip-till practices that reduce erosion.
So far more than 700 Iowa farmers have applied to participate in the program.

   

Crops Condition Deteriorates Slightly

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Another dry week has caused the condition of Iowa's corn and
soybean crops to slip backward.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture says in Monday's report that 48 percent of the corn crop
is good or excellent, down 1 percentage point from the week before. Eighteen percent is poor or very poor, one point above the previous week. About a third of the crop is fair, the same as the previous week.
Soybeans retreated with 18 percent now rated poor or very poor. That's up three percentage
points from the week before.  Corn pollination remains significantly behind normal. 
Northwest Iowa may have the best looking crops in the state, however, as Joel DeJong, Iowa
State University extension crops specialist says there have been a lot of "hit and miss" in
terms of precipitation.

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DeJong says the corn is entering the "dough" stage which means it is still at least a month
away from full maturity.

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The crops specialist says soybean development has been making some nice progress.

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Statewide average precipitation was less than half an inch while normal for the week is
nearly an inch.  It was the sixth week of the past seven to bring less than normal rainfall.

   

Farm Futures Magazine Makes Crop Prediction

ST. CHARLES, ILL. (08/06/2013) — A year after a historic drought punished crops, farmers faced a new threat to production in 2013: A cold, wet spring that delayed planting across the Midwest. But Farm Futures' first survey of 2013 production still shows potential for record corn and soybean crops this fall.

Farmers could harvest 13.485 billion bushels of corn, according to the magazine’s producer survey, which found yields of 155.9 bushels per acre nationwide. However, the crop’s potential suffered from the cold, wet spring, which cut plantings by more than 1 million acres, compared to last year. Farm Futures estimates planted acreage fell to 96.1 million, with harvested acreage down to 86.5 million. USDA estimated 2013 corn acreage at 97.4 million in its June 28 survey, with harvested acreage put at 89.1 million.

"Heavy rains washed out producers hopes in the northwest Corn Belt this spring," says Farm Futures Senior Editor Bryce Knorr, who conducted the survey. "But our survey found yields consistent with estimates made from weekly crop ratings, which still show potential for a good crop. While our estimate is lower than many in the market, it still may not do much, if anything, for prices."

Farm Futures Market Analyst Paul Burgener agrees. "Our survey shows a little smaller corn crop, but 13.5 billion bushels remains a big crop to move through a system with reduced demand after last year," says Burgener. "Carryout could double, sending prices much lower this year unless weather lowers yields."

Some, but not much, of the lost corn ground was switched to soybeans. The survey found soybean seedings of 77.9 million acres, up 1% from last year. However, wet conditions may also be taking a toll on soybeans. The survey found farmers expect to harvest 1% less ground than last year, though yields could improve to 44.14 bpa, producing a record crop of 3.369 billion bushels.

"The soybean crop looks to be larger than last year, and double the carryout is in the cards," says Burgener. "But there is little room for lower yields. Only a small change could mean another extremely tight year."

Farm Futures surveyed more than 1,350 farmers by email July 22 to Aug. 5. On Aug. 12, USDA will make its first production estimate based on in-field reports and surveys with farmers. The agency is also expected to update its estimate of soybean plantings in areas affected by wet conditions this spring.
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Vilsack Annouces CRP Program

AMES, Iowa (AP) - U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says the government will accept 1.7 million acres into the Conservation Reserve Program under the general sign-up for the current year.
Speaking in Ames at the Iowa Farm Bureau's 2013 Economic Summit Monday, Vilsack says USDA has more than 26.9 million acres enrolled nationally. That's down from a high of more than 36 million acres
in 2007. The decline is partially due to the increased value of corn and soybeans. It many instances it's more lucrative to rent out land for crops that to collect the CRP payment.
Vilsack, a former Iowa governor, says the USDA received 28,000 offers from farmers willing to voluntarily set aside land for soil, water, and wildlife conservation.
The USDA pays landowners about $2 billion a year for the program.

   

Farmers Urged To Update Hay And Straw Directory

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa's top agriculture official says hay and straw producers should be sure to keep their information on a state directory updated to help market their products.
Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey says with the continued tight supply of forage crops used for livestock feed, the Iowa Hay and Straw Directory is a critical link for buyers and sellers.
The listing is available to interested buyers throughout the nation. Only sellers from within Iowa are on the list.
The information may be accessed and updated on the IowaAgriculture.gov website.

   

USDA Expects Lower Corn Crop

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The U.S. Department of Agriculture has slightly lowered its estimate of the corn crop, reflecting late planting in the Corn Belt caused by a wet spring.
Farmers are now expected to harvest 13.95 billion bushels, 55 million fewer bushels than predicted in June. That still beats the 2009 record by about 858 million bushels.
The supply of corn is likely to shrink this summer because of last year's small, drought-affected harvest of 11 billion bushels and this year's delayed planting, so prices will likely remain high.
That's good for farmers selling grain, but will increase the cost of corn-based feed for livestock producers raising cattle, chickens and pigs.
Food prices aren't likely to be affected much by the change.

   

USDA Issues Plantings Report

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The U.S. Department of Agriculture says farmers will come through with the predicted corn crop despite the Midwest's wet spring that delayed planting.
Some states - including Michigan, Nebraska and Texas - planted more corn than expected, which will make up for the loss in Iowa, the nation's leading corn producer.
Friday's annual acreage report is based on farmer surveys, and surprised farmers, analysts and commodities traders. Many expected the number of corn acres planted to fall by about 2 million acres.
The report says farmers planted 97.4 million acres and will harvest 89.1 million acres. Earlier predictions were 97.3 million acres planted and 89.5 million acres harvested.
Corn prices fell rapidly as the report was released, because it indicated more corn than expected would be available on the market.


   

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