There are roughly 130 turkey farms in Iowa that have been busy preparing for this week as Thanksgiving Day draws near. Iowa Turkey Federation Executive Director Gretta Irwin says Iowa ranks ninth nationwide in turkey production. “We’ll be raising close to 11 million turkeys in the state of Iowa (this year) and each one of those turkeys is going to add $24 to $25 of economic impact to our economy,” Irwin says.
Iowa ranks fifth in the country for turkey processing as Hillshire Brands in Storm Lake and West Liberty Foods in West Liberty, combined, process over 15.5 million turkeys annually. Irwin says Iowans will find great prices on turkeys as they prepare for the Thanksgiving Day meal. “I’m seeing them at 88-cents a pound or you can buy a ham and get a turkey for free, there are lots of great deals out there,” Irwin says.
The Iowa Turkey Federation’s website was recently revamped and includes a host of tips and ideas for preparing turkeys. “We have a free brochure you can download that shows you how to prepare that turkey,” Irwin says. “It walks you step by step through the process of cooking a frozen turkey, deep fat frying a turkey, grilling a turkey…lots of great ideas in the that brochure.”
Governor Terry Branstad will uphold an annual tradition today (Monday), by pardoning two Iowa-grown turkeys during a ceremony at Terrace Hill. The turkeys, from a farm in Ellsworth, will then be taken to live out their remaining days at Living History Farms in Urbandale.
ALTOONA, Iowa (AP) — Iowa’s governor and congressional delegation are trying to shore up political support for ethanol, which is slipping as the nation produces more of its own oil. Gov. Terry Branstad is pushing to reverse the Obama administration’s proposal to cut the required amount of ethanol in the nation’s fuel supply. Almost half of Iowa’s corn crop goes to manufacture the grain alcohol, which is blended into gasoline.
Presidential candidates traditionally supported the federal mandate when they campaigned in Iowa, but many now say it is no longer justified. Environmentalists have complained about impact of expanded corn production. But Branstad says the federal mandate is important to Iowa farmers with corn prices low.
An informal, end-of-this-week deadline to get a Farm Bill draft approved by a team of congressional negotiators will not be met, throwing into question whether the Farm Bill can be be passed in the House by year’s end. U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says congress can act quickly “when there’s a will and there’s a way.” “We have to have a clear indication from congress that this is going to get done,” Vilsack says. “Obviously there are some who are skeptical about that given the fact that we have already seen one year with inaction.”
A Farm Bill was due to be passed by this time last year, but congress passed a one-year extension. Vilsack says inaction again this year means his agency will begin instituting the federal farm policies of the 1940s — which are far more costly.”No one wants to do that,” Vilsack says, “and the best and simplest way to avoid it having to be done — at whatever point in time — is to have congress finish its work by the end of the year.” After this week, congress will be in recess for the Thanksgiving holiday. In December, the House will be in session for just two weeks and the Senate for slightly longer before adjourning for the year. Without passage of a five-year Farm Bill, Vilsack says farmers and ranchers are delaying key decisions.
“Doesn’t know how to decide whether to expand, to buy an additional piece of equipment because he or she does not know what the programs are going to be,” Vilsack says. “There is no question that farmers have taken a ‘wait and see’ attitude to further decisions that could help spur not only their own operation, but spur the economy generally.” According to a report released Thursday by the White House Council on Economic Advisors, agriculture accounts for nearly five percent of the Gross Domestic Product and one in 12 jobs in the U.S. are in agriculture.
“A compelling report that makes the argument on a multitude of levels why it’s important for the rest of the country and all of America to see congress finish its work (on the Farm Bill),” Vilsack says. The chairman of the House Ag Committee emerged from a meeting on Thursday saying anything is possible, but it “will be challenging” for Farm Bill negotiators to wrap up their work and have a bill ready for a vote in the House by December 13th.
There are no plans for the House-Senate conference commitee working out the details of a hoped-for Farm Bill compromise to meet today (Friday). Senator Tom Harkin and Congressman Steve King serve on the committee, but neither was involved in this week’s negotiations between the four top lawmakers on the panel.
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Owners of construction vehicles with older diesel engines in nine Iowa counties may apply for a federal rebate to help replace the vehicles or retrofit older vehicles with new cleaner burning engines. The Environmental Protection Agency is making $2 million available for public and private owners of construction vehicles. Those in Black Hawk, Harrison, Johnson, Linn, Mills, Polk, Pottawattamie, Scott, and Woodbury counties may apply for the money. The EPA says the rebates target counties facing air quality challenges.
Since diesel engines in construction equipment can last for decades, the EPA program is geared toward replacing older less efficient engines that emit more pollutants with newer less polluting engines. EPA will accept applications until Jan. 15 and anticipates awarding the rebates in February.
Cass County: Corn $4.02, Beans $12.35
Adair County: Corn $3.99, Beans $12.38
Adams County: Corn $3.99, Beans $12.34
Audubon County: Corn $4.01, Beans $12.37
East Pottawattamie County: Corn $4.05, Beans $12.35
Guthrie County: Corn $4.04, Beans $12.39
Montgomery County: Corn $4.04, Beans $12.37
Shelby County: Corn $4.05, Beans $12.35
Oats $3.74 (always the same in all counties)
Twelve Iowa FFA chapters have been awarded $2,500 “Be The Seed” grants to spur innovation and progress in their communities while promoting the importance of farming. The “Be The Seed” Grant Program, providing $35,000 in community funding, is sponsored by the Iowa Food & Family Project (Iowa FFP) in cooperation with DuPont Pioneer and the Iowa Soybean Association. Among the grant recipients was the Guthrie Center and West Central Valley FFA’s.
The Guthrie Center FFA plans to establish a community orchard, working with the school’s Family and Consumer Sciences department. The chapter is inspired by the long-term potential of such a project. Establishing a community orchard creates an opportunity to teach students and the area about the importance of agriculture and how people can grow their own food. As the populations continue to grow, food production is going to become increasingly important, and the chapter would like to foster a community-focused interest in food production for local students and area food banks.
West Central Valley FFA in Stuart, will work with the Stuart Public Library to create a community reading garden. The reading garden will encourage people to become more active outdoors and to learn about plants. The reading garden will be used as a way to engage the public by providing a place for them to learn about annuals, perennials, as well as garden crops. FFA members will tend to the garden throughout the summers and will be available to the public as a resource for information.
Grant recipients will be recognized in April at the Iowa FFA State Leadership Conference in Ames. One chapter determined to have conducted the most successful activity in partnership with its community will be recognized with a $5,000 Award of Achievement. More than 40 FFA chapters applied for grant funding.
(For more information, go to: http://www.iasoybeans.com/whatnew/release/275)