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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.


   

Soybean Association Launches Program Dealing With Resistant Weeds

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Soybean Association has launched an informational campaign to help farmers deal with weeds that are becoming resistant to the farm chemicals commonly used to
kill them.
Iowa State University agronomist Mike Owens says herbicide-resistant weeds are present in 20 to 30 percent of Iowa soybean fields, about 2 to 3 million acres and the area is likely to grow.
He says most farmers are just a year or two away from a serious weed control problem as each generation of seed becomes more resistant to weed killers used most often.
Strategies include rotating chemicals used from year to year, controlling weeds in waterways, edges and ditches, and increasing crop rotation to break weed cycles.


   

Northey Says Crops Show Some Improvement

(Le Mars) -- Farmers are still behind with their spring planting, although this past week allowed for more drying and warmer conditions across the state.  The latest weekly crop condition report shows Iowa’s corn crop was 96 percent planted, marking the first year since 1993 that any corn remained to be planted this late in the year. Ninety-three percent of the corn crop has emerged, normally all corn would be emerged. Corn condition showed a very slight improvement, and was rated 3 percent very poor, 11 percent poor, 32 percent fair, 44 percent good and 10 percent excellent. Ninety percent of the soybean crop has been planted, an advancement of 13 percentage points from last week, but still below the normal 98 percent. Seventy-five percent of the soybean crop has emerged; still well behind the five-year average of 94 percent. The soybean condition rating improved slightly, and was rated 3 percent very poor, 9 percent poor, 35 percent fair, 44 percent good and 9 percent excellent. Sixty-seven percent of the oat crop was headed, almost catching up with the normal 72 percent headed. The oat condition rated 1 percent very poor, 5 percent poor, 26 percent fair, 56 percent good and 12 percent excellent.  Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, Bill Northey was in Le Mars yesterday and spoke about the state's crops.

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Northey says the crops are showing some signs of improvement.

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