The chairman of the United Soybean Board (USB) says an effort is underway to reinvent the price structure of soybeans to reward quality over quantity. John Motter says growers have been forced to work within a system that prefers supply over demand, which is a major reason for the slumping ag economy. “We need to start doing things in our industry that improves the quality of the product that we are producing and, in turn, we want to be paid for a better quality product,” Motter says.
He calls soybean farmers “price takers” instead of price makers, but a new strategic vision placing more emphasis on oil and protein content has the potential to change that. “We are engaged in a meal enhancement product. We are working with the technology companies, so that we know that we can be successful in doing that,” Motter says.
The next step would be to engage major seed companies in developing varieties containing higher oil and protein content. Motter is asking farmers to be patient as the USB works toward these goals. “It doesn’t happen overnight,” Motter says. “We don’t change the habits or the thought-process in a year. We don’t change the ability of the varieties in a year. But, we have to start from where we are in order to make things better.”
Motter says there should be more to growing soybeans than bushels and he envisions a system based on quality that benefits the bottom line of the farmer. Iowa was the number two soybean producing state in the U-S last year, with just over 550 million bushels. Illinois topped the list with just under 561 million bushels produced in 2016.
(Radio Iowa, w/Thanks to Mark Dorenkamp, Brownfield Ag News)
Today (Saturday) marks the start of F-F-A Week in Iowa. Scott Johnson, executive secretary for the Iowa F-F-A Association, says the theme for the week-long observance is “Transform: Purpose to Action.” The week signals not only the 70th annual F-F-A Week but another special date for the program. “On the 23rd will be the 100th anniversary of the federal Smith-Hughes Act, passed on February 23rd of 1917,” Johnson says. “The Smith-Hughes Act is actually what established what was called vocational agriculture at the time in public schools.”
That laid the foundation for creation of the F-F-A just 11 years later. Johnson says there will be special events statewide to honor of F-F-A Week, including Drive Your Tractor to School Day in some areas. “You see a little bit of everything,” Johnson says. “Some will do an Ag Olympics, they’ll have appreciation breakfasts, pancake feeds, activities that engage the community, school, students, FFA members, staff dress-up days.”
Iowa has 232 chapters of F-F-A and last year counted 14-thousand-700 members statewide. On the web at http://www.iowaffa.com
COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa – The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has moved its hunting rules listening session in Council Bluffs to Iowa Western Community College due to a scheduling conflict at the previous location. The meeting will now be held at Iowa Western Community College, 2700 College Road, in Loft Hall, Room 24, in Council Bluffs. The DNR is hosting public meetings over the Iowa Communications Network on February 22 from 6 to 9 p.m., to listen to the public’s thoughts on the hunting and trapping regulations for this fall.
These meetings are part of the process for making rules in state government. “Any rule changes must be discussed with Iowa’s citizens who might be impacted by the changes before the rule changes are proposed. The process helps ensure that rule changes serve the public’s wishes and do not impact Iowa’s economy,” said Dr. Dale Garner, chief of the wildlife bureau.
At each meeting DNR staff will facilitate a discussion about what went well last fall, what didn’t, and what changes hunters and trappers would like to see for this fall. These discussions along with the data that the wildlife bureau collects on harvest and population numbers will be used to develop recommendations for any rule changes. Any changes must be approved by the Natural Resource Commission and then go back to the public for further comment before taking effect next fall.
Meetings will be held in Ankeny, Boone, Calmar, Centerville, Clinton, Correctionville, Council Bluffs, Creston, Dubuque, Iowa City, Marshalltown, Mason City, Ottumwa, Sac City, Sheldon, Spencer, Tripoli and West Burlington.
Complete ICN locations are available online at www.iowadnr.gov/hunting
(DNR Press Release)
Officials with Cass County Extension, in Atlantic, said Friday (today), that Shelby Williams, of Adair, was recently hired as the Youth Programs Coordinator at Cass County Extension. She began her role as Cass County Youth Coordinator on January 30th, and has jumped right in to working with youth, parents and volunteers across the county. The Youth Program Coordinator role is a Full time position, with responsibility for youth outreach programming and 4-H program management in Cass County. Williams replaces Beth Irlbeck, who held the position for the past three and a half years.
Shelby grew up on a small family farm in Pella, Iowa where her family raised hogs and had a cow-calf operation. She was very active in both 4-H and FFA throughout school, and exhibited swine and beef at the Marion County Fair. In her junior year of high school, her family moved to Adair, where she graduated from Adair-Casey High School in May 2013. Her first year of college was spent at Southwestern Community College where she played women’s golf. She was then offered a golf scholarship to play at Northwest Missouri State University, so she transferred to Maryville, and recently graduated from Northwest in December of 2016 with a Bachelors of Science in Agricultural Science.
Williams said “Working with children and agriculture have always been passions of mine. I’m looking forward to being a part of the Cass County Extension and 4-H program, and I cannot wait to see where this next adventure takes me.”
Stop by the Cass County Extension Office at 805 W. 10th Street in Atlantic and welcome Shelby to her new position. She is available to answer questions you may have regarding 4-H and youth programming as well as providing information on resources available through Iowa State University Extension in Cass County. Shelby can also be reached by calling the Cass County Extension Office at 712-243-1132, by email at email@example.com or by visiting www.extension.iastate.edu/cass.
Unseasonably warm temperatures and dry conditions will result in elevated fire weather concern today across much of the area. Relative humidity this afternoon will fall to around 20 percent in southeast Nebraska and southwest Iowa with southwest winds 10 to 20 mph. A cold front will move into northeast Nebraska during the afternoon with humidity there between 25 and 30 percent and northwest winds 10 to 20 mph.
Outdoor burning is discouraged due to the increased fire danger today. Use extra caution if using motorized vehicles in grassy areas and handle the disposal of smoking material with care.
Officials with Elite Octane, LLC (“Elite Octane”) said Thursday afternoon, that the company has found a path forward with the proposed ethanol project near Atlantic. Nick Bowdish, with Elite Octane said while progress of the project had stalled over matters related to the electricity supply, he was “Pleased that [their] investor group found a way to make this project viable.” Bowdish says “Elite Octane intends to close on its financing quickly and commence construction.”
The Company is in final stages of due diligence and anticipates it could begin construction in February 2017 on an ethanol plant near Atlantic, that will consume over 40 million bushels of locally grown corn and produce approximately 120 million gallons of ethanol and 300,000 tons of distiller’s grains per year.
The plant will occupy 102 acres northwest of Atlantic, about two miles outside the city limits, and is expected to bring at least 49 jobs to the area. Elite Octane will spend about $196 million on the project. The site will be one of 21 plants that produces at least 100 million gallons per year in the state, while 20 produce below that amount, according to the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association.
WAUKON, Iowa (AP) – The Iowa Natural Resources Department has reported a rare, confirmed sighting of a predatory mammal known as a fisher. The department says on its Facebook page that a trail camera captured an image of one in November on a wooded hillside in Allamakee County. The department says the photo is the first documented sighting of a fisher in Iowa in about 150 years.
The department says the fisher likely came from southeast Minnesota, where Minnesota officials have said fishers are expanding. Mammalogists say fishers can weight up to 12 pounds and are primarily carnivores – cousins to weasels, otter and mink – and are known for their fierceness.
A Polk County judge rules the Iowa Utilities Board was right in its decision to allow the use of eminent domain for the building of the Bakken oil pipeline. Fourteen Iowa landowners sued, saying the I-U-B improperly allowed the use of eminent domain to seize the land for the pipeline because it has had no direct public benefit for the state as it ships oil from North Dakota through Iowa to Illinois.
Judge Jefferey Farrell determined the I-U-B properly weighed several factors, including the economic impact on the state and safety concerns, in determining the company could use eminent domain for the pipeline. The ruling says the board correctly found there is no requirement that the product has to be shipped to or from the state. A news release from the lawyers representing the landowners in the case says they are disappointed and they intend to appeal to the Iowa Supreme Court.
CHARLES CITY, Iowa (AP) – Floyd County has joined other counties in seeking changes to the state’s master matrix for siting animal feeding operations. The Board of Supervisors approved a resolution Tuesday that will be sent to lawmakers.
The Iowa Natural Resources Department’s master matrix is a scoring system that can be used to evaluate the siting of confinement feeding operations. The supervisors expressed concerns Tuesday that the system is failing to protect air and water and the health and quality of life of county residents.
Allamakee and Winneshiek supervisors also have formally called for changes in the matrix, and Pocahontas and Webster county officials last year asked legislators and environmental regulators for a moratorium on factory farms and changes to the master matrix.
In response to Trump administration policies, a Mexican senator plans to introduce a bill directing that nation to stop buying American corn in favor of corn from Brazil and Argentina. Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says U-S farmers should be concerned about the threat and he plans to discuss the situation today (Tuesday) in a White House meeting with the head of the National Trade Council. Grassley says, “That’s one of the points I’m going to make, that you’ve got to be pretty cautious about these renegotiations of trade pacts that we don’t get retaliation against agriculture.”
Of the three key economic categories of manufacturing, agriculture and services, Grassley says agriculture is the only one where the U-S has a surplus, or more exports than imports. The North American Free Trade Agreement was agreed upon in 1994 by the U-S, Mexico and Canada, an agreement President Trump referred to as a “disaster” during the campaign. Grassley suggests when NAFTA was ratified, there may’ve been a different sentiment about America’s strengths. “The United States is the #1 economy in the world,” Grassley says. “We can give a little more than we get, and maybe what Trump is up to is modifying that so the United States isn’t so much a giver nation now than it was.”
President Trump met Monday in Washington with Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Trump said he wants only small changes in NAFTA in regards to Canada, adding, the bigger issues will be with Mexico. “We already had a free trade agreement with Canada before we negotiated the three-way NAFTA agreement,” Grassley says. “We have pretty good trading relationships with Canada and I’m not sure we can do much better.”
Iowa is the nation’s top corn producer and Mexico is one of the top buyers of American corn. In 2015, Mexico bought nearly two-and-a-half BILLION dollars worth of U-S corn. Compared to 20 years before, just after NAFTA was signed, Mexico bought 391-MILLION dollars worth of U-S corn in 1995.