P E R I O D I C A L S : T I M E VA L U E D
OCTOBER 30, 2013 |
V O L . 8 0 , N O . 9 | W W W. I O WA FA R M B U R E A U . C O M
Iowa NRCS rolls out new nutrient management standard The standard is used for developing nutrient management plans for farmers participating in federal conservation cost-share plans. BY DIRCK STEIMEL The Iowa office of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Serv-
ice (NRCS) last week rolled out a new standard for implementing nutrient management plans that are typically required for participation in federal conservation cost-share programs, such as the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) or Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). The updated standard, called the 590 Standard, treats commercial fertilizer and manure more similarly than in the previous plan. The new NRCS standard calls for delaying fall manure applica-
tions until soil temperatures are 50 degrees and trending lower. The standard is the same for fall applications of commercial ammoniabased fertilizer. The standard also adds tile intakes to sensitive areas that should be protected with filter strips or other practices for water quality; allows for emergency applications of nitrogen when heavy spring rains cause a significant loss in soil nutrients; and includes the use of cover crops, filter strips and other practices to
control nutrient loss. The NRCS 590 standard is updated every five years, with the last revision in 2008.
Balanced approach The updated standard, developed over the past year after the agency gathered input from farmers, agronomists and others, is designed to balance the needs of agriculture and the environment, said Eric Hurley, the nutrient management specialist with the Iowa NRCS.
Farmers are responsible in antibiotic use for livestock
Misleading comparisons Richard Raymond, former USDA under secretary for food safety and inspection, said the CLF’s claim that the use of antibiotics in livestock production is leading to antibiotic resistance in humans is wrong. He said more than 80 percent of the antibiotics used in livestock production are types not used in humans. “Those two have not been prescribed by any reputable health care professional in the United States in the last 30 years,” he said. If they have, it has only been as what Raymond describes as “an extremely poor third or fourth choice for limited diseases such as Lyme disease or Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.” Raymond also addressed those who point to Denmark, which limited the use of growth promotant antibiotics in 1998. Raymond says since the use of growth proANIMAL AG PAGE 2
NRCS PAGE 2
Anti-GMO actions hurt farmers in the developing world Actions by groups against biotech don’t match their rhetoric on aiding farmers.
BY BETHANY BARATTA Animal agriculture leaders last week strongly refuted a highlypublicized report that was critical of modern livestock production. The Animal Agriculture Alliance released a report detailing the efforts and progress America’s livestock, poultry and egg producers have made over more than a decade in ensuring animal wellbeing, protecting the environment, using antibiotics responsibly and producing the world’s safest food. They were reacting to a report, published by a group called Center for a Livable Future (CLF) at Johns Hopkins University, which focused criticism on the use of antibiotics in raising livestock and said it was contributing to antibiotic resistance in humans. The report was a follow up to a 2008 report issued by the Pew Commission on animal ag.
“The practice standard helps farmers plan nutrients for optimal crop production and fully utilize manure or organic byproducts at nutrient sources,” Hurley said. “It also protects water quality by minimizing agricultural nonpoint source pollution and helps improve soil health.” Hurley said the standard will be used for any new nutrient management plans written by NRCS or crop consultants in Iowa for federal or state cost-share programs.
STORY ON PAGE 3
Cover crops added in every Iowa county A map of cost-share program applications shows that use of cover crops is widely spread. STORY ON PAGE 5
Craig Hotze unloads newly-harvested corn last week at his family’s farm near Carson in Pottawattamie County. With skies clearing, harvest progressed last week across most of Iowa. However, farmers said the effects of the late planting were showing up in many parts of the state and some fields still aren’t ready for the combine. PHOTO/GARY FANDEL
Yields are highly variable as the 2013 Iowa harvest rolls forward BY TOM BLOCK
rent Stalzer steered down the rows of a corn field last week, surprised to be back in the combine seat just 24 hours after snow blanketed his Hardin County farm. “We didn’t know for sure if we would go today, but it’s working pretty good,” he said last Wednesday. “We had two to three
inches of snow yesterday, but it all melted. The ground was all white.” The late October snow in northern Iowa, and freezing temperatures across the rest of the state, motivated farmers to forge ahead on harvest even under less than ideal conditions. Damp conditions and cloudy skies held up soybean harvest for several days, so most farmers turned to corn, even though it meant firing up the
dryers on their grain bins. “It’s time to be done,” said Ryan Deahr, who farms near West Liberty in southeast Iowa. “We had to dry every bushel. We started harvesting when it was 25 percent (moisture). Now it’s coming out at 18-19 percent.” Polk County farmer Brad Moeckly said moisture was running 18 to 22 percent in his corn.
Ag groups cheer as House passes inland water legislation The bill is designed to set a blueprint for restoring and upgrading the aging U.S. water transportation system. STORY ON PAGE 8
Farmer wins lawsuit against EPA Victory by West Virginia farmers Lois Alt is expected to aid all livestock farmers as they encounter unreasonable federal regulations. STORY ON PAGE 8
HARVEST PAGE 2
IOWA STRENGTHENS TIES WITH CHINA PROVINCE
MAQUOKETA FAMILY ARE OCT. GOOD NEIGHBORS
Iowa leaders and members of a Chinese delegation from Hebei Province signed an “agreement of understanding” last week that is designed to deepen trade ties between Iowa and the Chinese province, which is home to 72 million people. The agreement between Iowa and Hebei is actually 21 separate agreements between 42 different Iowa and Hebei companies, covering such areas as agriculture, biomedicine, manufacturing trade, tourism and education. The signing also marked an official recognition of the 30-year-old sister state relationship between Iowa and the province, which is located southwest of Beijing. Iowa officials estimate the agreements could be worth more than $1 billion to companies in both Hebei and Iowa. Earlier this year, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad led a trade mission to China that included a visit to Hebei.
The Brauer family, who raise both hogs and cattle on their farm near Maquoketa, have been named the October winners of the “Gary Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award.” Iowa Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig presented the award to the family Oct. 28 at the family’s farm. Bill and Bev Brauer own stock cows and feed out cattle. They farm with their son, Zac, who also feeds hogs and owns stock cows. Their daughter, Kristin, is a teacher at a nearby school. The family was nominated for the award by their neighbor Keith Dexter, saying the family farms their land “the right way.” He added, “They integrate hay strips, no-till soybeans and leave residue on the ground. They just constructed a new deep pit cattle building that prevents manure from running off and collects nutrients to be applied at the right time.”
OCTOBER 30, 2013 IOWA FARM BUREAU SPOKESMAN got decent yield. But because of the wet spring and everything else, it’s going to average everything out around here.” Soybean yields, on the other hand, exceeded his expectations. “They’re running right at the 50-bushel category. That was 10 bushels higher than what I thought they would be. We’re very pleased,” said Moeckly. The pace of harvest was faster in eastern Iowa, where Deahr said most soybeans were out and his family expected to finish its corn by early this week. Several soybean fields yielded in the mid-50s, while corn was more variable, he said. “It depends on where you are,” he said. “Corn-on-corn is not good. Corn-on-beans is doing pretty well.” Delaware County farmer Mike Recker said most soybeans were out in his area and “a good chunk” of corn is done even with moisture still above 20 percent. “Most guys are of the mind-set it’s time to go,” he said. “With the forecast, it doesn’t look like it’s going to dry much more.” Soybean yields have been average to slightly above average, and corn yields are strong, he said. Spot yield checks showed some corn yields hit 240 bushels per acre, about 100 bushels better than last year, he said. “A lot of guys say it’s the best corn they’ve ever had,” said Recker, who is also a Pioneer seed dealer. “We’ve kind of been in a garden spot. We had pretty good weather.”
HARVEST FROM PAGE 1
“Everybody is really pushing hard around here with the lateness of the season. They’re grinding away,” said Moeckly, who was about one-third of the way through his corn. “There’s no sense to be waiting for this corn crop to dry much more in the field. It’s time to get ‘er out.”
Dryers getting a workout Stalzer said his grain bin dryers were also getting a workout, a sharp contrast to a year ago. “Last year we dried a little right at the beginning, but a lot of it went right in the bin,” he said. “This year we’ll dry every bushel.” Stalzer said corn moisture was running anywhere from 17 to 30 percent, a reflection of planting season delays caused by persistent rain in April and May. “It’s all over the board, just like yields,” he said. One of his test plots yielded above 200 bushels per acre, a good result but still below last year, Stalzer said. Then there were fields with problems — a field with rootless corn issues yielded 130 to 140 bushels, and a field planted June 8 went 150 bushels. Soybeans yields were around 45 bushels per acre. “It could be better, but for as late as we got ‘em planted, it was pretty good,” Stalzer said. Moeckly said his yields were also all over the board. “It’s highly variable. We’ve got 200-bushel corn, and we’ve got 50-bushel corn,” he said. “Where that corn has a good stand, we’ve
Still work to do Corn yields in Floyd County are running around 170 bushels an
Statement of Ownership, Management, and Circulation (All Periodicals Publications Except Requester Publications) 1. Publication Title
2. Publication Number
Iowa Farm Bureau Spokesman
3. Filing Date
5. Number of Issues Published Annually
6. Annual Subscription Price
7. Complete Mailing Address of Known Office of Publication (Not printer) (Street, city, county, state, and ZIP+4®)
Iowa Farm Bureau Federation 5400 University Ave West Des Moines, Iowa 50266
Dirck Steimel Telephone (Include area code)
ANIMAL AG FROM PAGE 1
8. Complete Mailing Address of Headquarters or General Business Office of Publisher (Not printer)
Iowa Farm Bureau Federation 5400 University Ave West Des Moines, Iowa 50266
9. Full Names and Complete Mailing Addresses of Publisher, Editor, and Managing Editor (Do not leave blank) Publisher (Name and complete mailing address)
Iowa Farm Bureau Federation 5400 University Ave West Des Moines, Iowa 50266 Editor (Name and complete mailing address)
Dirck Steimel 5400 University Ave West Des Moines, Iowa 50266 Managing Editor (Name and complete mailing address)
Dirck Steimel 5400 University Ave West Des Moines, Iowa 50266
10. Owner (Do not leave blank. If the publication is owned by a corporation, give the name and address of the corporation immediately followed by the names and addresses of all stockholders owning or holding 1 percent or more of the total amount of stock. If not owned by a corporation, give the names and addresses of the individual owners. If owned by a partnership or other unincorporated firm, give its name and address as well as those of each individual owner. If the publication is published by a nonprofit organization, give its name and address.) Full Name Complete Mailing Address
5400 University Ave West Des Moines, Iowa 50266
11. Known Bondholders, Mortgagees, and Other Security Holders Owning or Holding 1 Percent or More of Total Amount of Bonds, Mortgages, or Other Securities. If none, check box Full Name
acre on lighter soil, up to 190 to 200 bushels on better ground, said Jay Matthews, an agronomist with AgVantage FS in Charles City. Soybean yields are generally running between 45 and 55 bushels per acre. The harvest pace was slower than other parts of the state due to delayed planting, he said. “There’s still some beans left around here,” he said Oct. 23. “There’s probably easily 10 percent of soybeans left to get. That’ll change over the weekend. As soon as they’re ready, people are going.” The same was true in southwest Iowa, where Cass County farmer Stacie Euken said about 20 percent of soybean fields and 80 percent of corn fields were still unharvested last week. Soybean yields ranged from the low 30s to 50 bushels per acre. “Green stems have kept people from getting their last fields out,” she said. “A lot of guys have switched to corn. They run beans for a while, and then they get to green stems and move to corn for a day or two and then go back to beans. It’s kind of stop and go.”
Corn moisture was running in the high teens and low 20s, and Euken expects yields to be variable. “It’s not great, but based on the weather we had, it’s good,” she said. The pace was about the same in northwest Iowa, said Tim Hibma, who farms near Harris, where about 2 inches of snow accumulated Oct. 22. “We finished beans last Saturday, but there’s still some trickling into the elevator,” he said. “There’s still at least 75 to 80 percent of corn to go.” He’s running his grain dryer for the first time in three years with corn moisture still at 18 to 20 percent. Like the rest of the state, yields vary widely depending on the soil and weather, Hibma said. “Fifty bushels will hit a lot of beans,” he said. “Corn yields are anywhere from 160 to 200 bushels, which is better than expected.”
Delays to fall field work The prolonged harvest is also pushing back other typical fall field work tasks like tillage,
manure and fertilizer applications, farmers said. “Everything is going to be behind,” said Stalzer. “We have to get our manure applied, then we’ll use that tractor to start running the ripper.”
Branstad eases propane trucking restrictions Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad last week issued an emergency declaration to temporarily suspend the hours of service restrictions to allow propane truck drivers to keep up with surging harvest demand. Branstad cited high demand and tight supplies of propane because of the late harvest and high demand for petroleum products throughout the Midwest. The proclamation suspends the “regulatory provisions pertaining to hours of service for drivers of commercial motor vehicles transporting propane.” It continues until Nov. 7.
4. Issue Frequency
Iowa Farm Bureau Federation
Keith Hotze harvested corn at his farm near Carson. Farmers said yields and moisture levels are highly variable this year because of the late planting and dry summer conditions. PHOTO/GARY FANDEL
X None Complete Mailing Address
12. Tax Status (For completion by nonprofit organizations authorized to mail at nonprofit rates) (Check one) The purpose, function, and nonprofit status of this organization and the exempt status for federal income tax purposes: Has Not Changed During Preceding 12 Months Has Changed During Preceding 12 Months (Publisher must submit explanation of change with this statement)
motants was banned, Denmark has seen a 110 percent increase in the therapeutic use of antibiotics, “because the animals are getting sick.” Raymond pointed out that, during a recent trip to Switzerland, he bought a hamburger, which cost him $105. “That is what will happen if we have to change our ag practices to what the Pew and others would like us to do,” he said. “We are providing the safest and the most economical source
of protein from meat in the world. And that is an important thing for world security. “ Scott Hurd, an associate professor and director of the Food Risk Modeling and Policy Laboratory at Iowa State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, criticized the Pew report. “On the topic of risk from farm animal antibiotic use, the Pew reports in the past have been emphatic,” Hurd wrote on his website, www.hurdhealth.com.
Cherry-picking research But he noted that a review by scientists on behalf of the
American Veterinary Medical Association found Pew’s methods were “unscientific and biased.” “Failure to accurately consider the entire message and to evaluate the credibility of the evidence can lead to misunderstanding and bad policy,” Hurd wrote. “Careful scientific critique of these Pew reports strongly suggests they have ‘cherry-picked’ selected papers to make a politically motivated point,” Hurd said. “Pew purposefully not giving the whole story is misleading to the consumer and is misinforming them about the facts of animal agriculture as a whole.”
14. Issue Date for Circulation Data
Iowa Farm Bureau Federation
15. Extent and Nature of Circulation Average No. Copies Each Issue During Preceding 12 Months a. Total Number of Copies (Net press run)
b. Paid Circulation (By Mail and Outside the Mail)
Mailed Outside-County Paid Subscriptions Stated on PS Form 3541(Include paid distribution above nominal rate, advertiser's proof copies, and exchange copies)
Mailed In-County Paid Subscriptions Stated on PS Form 3541 (Include paid distribution above nominal rate, advertiser's proof copies, and exchange copies)
Paid Distribution Outside the Mails Including Sales Through Dealers and Carriers, Street Vendors, Counter Sales, and Other Paid Distribution Outside USPS®
Paid Distribution by Other Classes of Mail Through the USPS (e.g. First-Class Mail®)
c. Total Paid Distribution (Sum of 15b (1), (2),(3), and (4))
(1) d. Free or Nominal (2) Rate Distribution (By Mail and (3) Outside the Mail) (4)
No. Copies of Single Issue Published Nearest to Filing Date
Free or Nominal Rate Outside-County Copies included on PS Form 3541 Free or Nominal Rate In-County Copies Included on PS Form 3541 Free or Nominal Rate Copies Mailed at Other Classes Through the USPS (e.g. First-Class Mail) Free or Nominal Rate Distribution Outside the Mail (Carriers or other means)
e. Total Free or Nominal Rate Distribution (Sum of 15d (1), (2), (3) and (4)
f. Total Distribution (Sum of 15c and 15e)
g. Copies not Distributed (See Instructions to Publishers #4 (page #3))
h. Total (Sum of 15f and g)
i. Percent Paid (15c divided by 15f times 100)
16. Publication of Statement of Ownership
✓If the publication is a general publication, publication of this statement is required. Will be printed in the
Publication not required.
issue of this publication.
17. Signature and Title of Editor, Publisher, Business Manager, or Owner
I certify that all information furnished on this form is true and complete. I understand that anyone who furnishes false or misleading information on this form or who omits material or information requested on the form may be subject to criminal sanctions (including fines and imprisonment) and/or civil sanctions (including civil penalties). PS Form 3526, September 2007 (Page 2 of 3)
NRCS FROM PAGE 1
Farmers with existing NRCS nutrient plans will be given the option to stay with the old 590 standard or move to the new one, he said. The revised NRCS standard is an important step forward as farmers begin to implement the voluntary Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy, said Rick Robinson, the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation environmental policy advisor. The state nutrient reduction strategy provides farmers information on a menu of options, such as cover crops, bioreactors or wetland installations, which have proven to reduce nutrient loss from fields. “It’s very important that the NRCS standards are aligned with the entire nutrient management conservation planning process for farmers,” Robinson said. “Iowa farmers are committed to caring for our land and water resources, while they work to produce the food and fuel the world needs. It’s
important that state and federal nutrient reduction programs are closely aligned to help farmers accomplish those goals.” A key element of NRCS standards, especially with provisions on the timing of fall manure applications, will be the flexibility that the agency uses as it implements them, Robinson said. “There are often cases, because of the weather or other factors, when farmers may need to apply manure when the temperature is not exactly within the NRCS standard,” he said. “And frankly, there was less farmer input during this revision process than there was the last time, so some are just learning of these changes. The science will need to be balanced with common sense during implementation. It appears that is the intent.”
Adding flexibility The NRCS standard does point out that “actual application timing may occasionally vary due to fall weather, the weather forecast, soil conditions, including vulnerabil-
ity to compaction and logistics,” Hurley noted. Farmers with a nutrient management plan would then make a judgment call if the 50-degrees provision isn’t workable and then self-certify why the actions were taken, he said. “We know that the window for applying manure can be short in the fall, and we want to build in flexibility,” Hurley said. One provision in the revised standard that should appeal to farmers is the one for “rescue” nitrogen applications, Hurley said. The provision allows farmers to apply additional nitrogen to save the crops in a year that heavy rains cause a significant loss in nitrogen, like 2013, he said. “Even with good management, farmers can lose nitrogen when excessively heavy rains hit their fields,” Hurley said. “Many of Iowa’s field agronomists requested that this provision be included in the standard, for good reason.” Go to www.ia.nrcs.usda.gov for all of the new NRCS nutrient management standards.
IOWA FARM BUREAU SPOKESMAN
OCTOBER 30, 2013
Editorial Anti-GMO groups hurt farmers, environment in developing world BY DIRCK STEIMEL
nti-GMO activists, like the multinational group Greenpeace, often proclaim that they oppose biotechnology and GMO crops because they want to protect smallscale indigenous farmers, as well as the environment, from largemulti-national a g r i bu s i n e s s c o m p a n i e s . EVANEGA But the groups’ actions often don’t match their rhetoric, according to a Cornell University official who spoke recently in Des Moines. A good example: The actions by Greenpeace and other groups that virtually killed a promising biotech papaya experiment program in Thailand, says Sarah Davidson Evanega, senior associate director of international programs at Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “It was really the smaller farmers who were hurt by this,” said Evanega, who spoke at the Des Moines Science Center during the recent World Food Prize celebration. “It’s really a shame that they cannot use this technology and that it can’t be used by farmers all over the world,” she said. In Thailand, the anti-GMO activists’ focus was on a transgenic event that was developed to
the crop in Hawaii. And like all other GMO crops, there have been no health issues in the United States from consuming the biotech papaya. I n t e r e s t i n g l y, Evanega said, the biotech resistance allowed farmers to also grow non-GMO p a p a y a i n H awa i i because the resistant variety kept the virus from spreading. “Some papaya export markets, like Japan, insist on non-GMO, and Hawaiian farmers could supply that market because the virus was contained,” she said. The ring spot virus is also a big problem Anti-GMO activists wear hazmat suits as they dein Thailand, where stroy transgenic papaya in Thailand. The group’s actions have stopped an effort that promised to help papaya is a staple local farmers and the environment. SUBMITTED PHOTO of the diet and a vital source of vitaresist a devastating virus called mins in local diets. “Most peothe Papaya ring spot. It’s the same ple there eat papaya twice a day, virus that had nearly wiped out and it’s an important food culturalpapaya production in Hawaii. ly there,” said Evanega. “They eat almost all they grow domestically Biotech solution and export very little papaya.” Through biotechnology, reBreeding efforts using Gonsearcher Dennis Gonsalves salves’ methods and field trials in and others developed a papaya Thailand showed promise against that could resist the virus. That the papaya ring spot virus. That was work in the 1980s and 1990s to until one day in July 2004, when develop a resistant variety, called Greenpeace activists and allies the Rainbow, ultimately saved showed up in hazmat suits and
Biodiesel cracks the billion-gallon level New federal statistics released last week show the biodiesel industry has cracked the 1 billion gallon production mark for the third consecutive year, with several months of production remaining. “This is a tremendous achievement that is a testament to the hard work of the biodiesel industry and the success of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) as an effective policy for diversifying our fuel supplies,” said Anne Steckel, vice president of federal affairs at the National
Spokesman Editor DIRCK STEIMEL News Coordinator TOM BLOCK Senior Features Writer TERESA BJORK Ag Commodities Writer BETHANY BARATTA Photographer/Writer GARY FANDEL
Biodiesel Board. “Biodiesel is proving that advanced biofuels are working now.” Biodiesel is the first EPAdesignated Advanced Biofuel to reach commercial-scale production nationwide and 1 billion gallons of annual production. With plants in almost every state in the country, the industry has surpassed RFS targets since the program began, while using an increasingly diverse mix of resources such as recycled cooking oil, soybean oil and animal fats. The latest production figures, which cover volumes reported
EDITORIAL STAFF  225-5413 or email@example.com
ADVERTISING  442-FARM CIRCULATION  598-3693
To place a free exchange ad, contact your county office for information. The Iowa Farm Bureau Spokesman (ISSN 0021-051X) is published weekly by the Iowa Farm Bureau, 5400 University Avenue, West Des Moines, IA 50266. Subscription price of $2 per year for mailing in the continental USA included in the dues of Farm Bureau members in Iowa. Additional subscription fee required for mailing outside the continental USA. Periodical postage paid at Iowa Falls, Iowa. Members please send change of address to your county Farm Bureau office. Postmaster send address changes (POD FORM 3579) to Iowa Farm Bureau Spokesman, P.O. Box 670, Iowa Falls, Iowa 50126. Letters to the editor and statewide news articles should be sent to Editor, Iowa Farm Bureau Spokesman, 5400 University Avenue, West Des Moines, Iowa 50266. Reprinting of Spokesman articles and photographs is not allowed without permission.
through September, show that the industry produced 140 million gallons in September, for a yearto-date biodiesel total of nearly 1.1 billion gallons. Last year, the industry supported some 50,000 jobs nationwide. Under the EPA’s definition, Advanced Biofuels under the RFS must reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50 percent compared with petroleum diesel. The agency has determined that biodiesel’s reduction is 57 percent to 86 percent. Iowa has 12 biodiesel refineries with an annual capacity of 315 million gallons. Iowa Farm Bureau Federation: Craig Hill, President; Joe Heinrich, Vice President; Denny Presnall, Secretary-Treasurer and Executive Director; Edward G. Parker, General Counsel. Board of Directors: District 1 - Carlton Kjos, Decorah. District 2 - Charlie Norris, Mason City. District 3 - Phil Sundblad, Albert City. District 4 - Doug Gronau, Vail. District 5 - Mark Buskohl, Grundy Center. District 6 - Nick Podhajsky, Traer. District 7 - Andrew Hora, Riverside. District 8 - Calvin Rozenboom, Oskaloosa. District 9 - Jim McKnight, Afton.
chopped down all of the genetically modified trees. “They really did all they could to get publicity and make it look like these plants were bad,” Evanega said. Through these types of publicity stunts, as well as pressure on the government, the activists effectively stopped the biotech experiment, and the virus thrives today.
Farmers are the losers While Greenpeace claims victory in Thailand, it’s clear that small indigenous farmers are the losers, Evanega said. Gonsalves and others conceived the transgenic papaya as a “pro-poor” crop that is particularly suited for low-income farmers, Evanega said. Farmers can save seed from the crop, and the developers worked to make sure that there weren’t patent questions that could affect farmers, she said. Surveys showed that a large majority of farmers would plant the GMO papaya if it would resist the ring spot virus. But the activists’ “zero-tolerance” to all GMO crops means that farmers in Thailand will never have a chance to grow it, Evanega said.
Hurts the environment As for the environment, it’s suffering too because of the papaya virus and the lack of resistant plants. Thai farmers, Evanega said, typically open up environmentally sensitive land in an attempt to grow papaya and outrun the virus, at least for a few years. “That is an absolutely unsustainable practice,” she said. While papaya was caught in the environmental activist crosshairs first, there is a “whole basket of forbidden fruit out there” in developing countries, Evanega said. Fruits, vegetables and other crops that are developed to resist insects and diseases without chemical pesticides show tremendous promise for the developing world, she said. But thanks to actions of a small group of activists in western countries, those improved plants can’t help farmers and consumers, Evanega said. “The zero tolerance policy is just pretty ridiculous; farmers and consumers should be able to choose.”
Solution to RIN market mess: Use more biofuel BY DIRCK STEIMEL Like a lot of people involved in agriculture, I’ve been trying to figure out all of the fuss about the ethanol blending credits known as RINs. It’s taken some work, but I may have come upon a simple solution. Congress created RINs when it passed the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), the law designed to help the country kick its foreign oil habit. Petroleum refiners use the credits, earned on each gallon of biofuel they buy, to satisfy their obligation to use biofuel under the RFS. The refiners can also sell the RINs to others, who aren’t blending in enough biofuels and need some credits to satisfy the RFS requirements. It’s that buying and selling of RINs that have caused turbulence. With America’s thirst for gasoline throttling back, refiners scrambled to buy more RINs so they would not have to add more than 10 percent ethanol into their fuel blends. The RIN price soared in 2013, and accusations started to fly. To make matters worse, there are a growing number of accusations of manipulation in the RIN market. Last week, 13 U.S. lawmakers, including all four Iowa members of the House, called on the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to investigate potential manipulation in the RIN market.
Using more ethanol I’m sure there’s a lot more to the very opaque RIN market than meets the eye. But you have to wonder if many of the current issues plaguing the market could be solved if the refiners simply stepped up and used more ethanol. There’s plenty of it around. I just saw stats showing that U.S. ethanol production is at a 16-month high and more is on the way with farmers bringing home a record corn crop this fall. Despite what petroleum companies say, there’s no reason to stop at a 10 percent ethanol blend. Many months ago, after a lot of testing, federal regulators approved the use of E15 for nearly every car on America’s roads. And the cost for service stations to add pumps and other infrastructure for E15 and other biofuels blends is not prohibitive, according to a recent study by the Petroleum Equipment Institute. Many states, including Iowa, have cost-share programs to help stations make the transitions. Yes, the RIN market is complicated. But I’m just not convinced the solution has to be.
OCTOBER 30, 2013
IOWA FARM BUREAU SPOKESMAN
Iowa’s 2013 harvest heads into the home stretch
fter an extremely variable growing season, which was too wet in the spring and too dry in the summer, Iowa farmers are working hard to bring home the 2013 corn and soybean crops. Most are making steady progress on the harvest despite occasional rains and snows that have kept combines out of the fields in some parts of the state.
Corn and soybeans yields this fall are highly variable from field to field, and often within fields, because of the variations in weather conditions, farmers say. Fields planted early last spring that caught timely rains in the summer are yielding well, while production has suffered in others. Overall, the most recent crop survey shows that Iowa farmers will harvest 2.19 billion bushels of
corn with an average yield of 162 bushels per acre, with the highest average corn yields in the northwest and northeast section of the state. In soybeans, the state’s production is pegged at 405.5 million bushels with an average yield of 43 bushels an acre. The highest soybean yields are projected to be in the northeast and east-central sections of Iowa.
Clockwise from top left: Norbin Johnson combines beans north of Terril; Bo Hanson and his grandfather, Brady, chopping corn silage near Castana; Brady Hanson with his grandsons, Sam, front, Bo, back, and his son, Brad, right; Will Larson combines soybean just east of Clearﬁeld; Matt Larson, 7, helps recover spilled beans with his mother, Bonnie. “This isn’t supposed to happen,” said Bonnie with a smile. Bottom: Todd Tremel works into the night near Earling.
Photos by Gary Fandel
6 OCTOBER 30, 2013 IOWA FARM BUREAU SPOKESMAN
Citing COOL, Tyson no longer buying cattle from Canada
yson Foods has stopped buying Canadian cattle for shipment to its U.S. beef plants, citing the impact of U.S. country-of-origin labeling (COOL) rules, company spokesman Worth Sparkman said in a statement to Meatingplace. The new policy became effective in mid-October, he said. Tyson is continuing to buy Canadianborn cattle that are finished for market at U.S. feedlots. “Like many others in the North American beef industry, we’re very disappointed by the changes made in the U.S. country-oforigin labeling rules. These new rules significantly increase costs because they require additional product codes, production breaks and product segregation, including a separate category for cattle shipped directly from Canada to U.S. beef plants without providing any incremental value to our customers,” Sparkman said. Tyson does not have enough warehouse capacity to accommodate the proliferation of products requiring different types of labels due to the regulation, he said. “We remain hopeful that these new rules will eventually be rescinded and we’ll be able to resume buying cattle directly from Canadian cattle feeders,” he said.
that although Chilean pork producers account for more than 95 percent of domestic consumption, they also have significantly increased their sales in export markets. Last year, Chile was the 12th most valuable export destination for U.S. pork products, totaling almost 17,000 metric tons valued at more than $42 million.
Global corn trade higher
Chile won’t restrict pork Chile has determined that no action should be taken to limit pork imports after concluding an investigation on whether they were harming domestic pork producers. The South American country initiated a “safeguard” investigation in May on all imported frozen pork, including imports from the United States. Under international trade rules, safeguard measures are temporary emergency actions, such as duty increases, against imported products that have caused or threaten to cause serious injury to the importing country’s domestic industry. The Chilean Pork Producers Association had alleged that pork imports caused losses to its producers and requested a 14.3 percent added duty on pork imports. The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) said the concerns were unfounded and pointed out
The global corn trade will be 102.1 million metric tons (4 billion bushels) in 2013-2014, up from 97.6 million tons (3.8 billion bushels) in 2012-2013, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The top 10 corn importing countries account for 68 million tons (2.7 billion bushels) — about two-thirds of global corn trade. Japan will again be the biggest corn importer with 15.1 million tons (594.5 million bushels). Of the top 10 importers, five are in Asia, two in Latin America and two in Middle East/North Africa. The U.S. share of world corn trade has fallen from its historic level between 50 and 60 percent to a low of 18 percent in 2012-2013. The USDA currently projects that U.S. share will rebound to 31 percent in 2013-2014, but established competition from South America and Ukraine will make it difficult for the United States to regain all lost market share, the USDA said.
Crop reports continue Key monthly U.S. crop reports
Weekly Average Price Comparison Sheet Price comparisons: Week ending: 10/25/13 10/04/13 10/26/2012 Cattle - National 5 Area Confirmed Sales 102,093 NA 87,917 5 Area 65-80% Choice Steers: Wtd Avg. $128.76 NA $126.39 Average Weights (Estimate) Cattle 1323 NA 1321 Boxed Beef Choice 600-750 (5 day avg.) $200.97 NA $196.92 Boxed Beef Select 600-750 (5 day avg.) $185.40 NA $179.70 Five Day Average Hide and Offal Value $13.98 NA $13.10 Cattle - Interior Iowa - Minnesota Supply: 21,582 NA 25,435 Average Price Choice Steer: Live Basis $130.43 NA $125.82 Average Price Choice Steer: Dressed Basis $206.83 NA $198.12 Feeder Steers at River Markets (Neb. Feedlots) #1 Muscle Thickness 500-600# $192.88 NA $163.59 #1 Muscle Thickness 700-800# $170.12 NA $153.95 Hogs -- Interior Iowa - Minnesota ISM Friday Weighted Average Carcass Price $84.72 NA $80.88 Average Weights (Estimate) Hogs 277.1 NA 271.7 Sows 1-3 300# and up: Average Price $65.04 NA $47.76 Pork Loins 1/4” trimmed 13 - 19 pounds $115.26 NA $116.00 51-52% 185 pound Pork Carcass (5 day avg.) $94.42 NA $93.69 Feeder Pigs: National Direct Delivered Feeder Pigs 10 Pounds Basis - Wtd Avg. $56.00 NA $39.07 Feeder Pigs 40 Pounds Basis -- Wtd Avg. $72.54 NA $38.67 Sheep -- National Slaughter Lambs Negotiated Sales 7,200 NA 3,600 Choice & Prime Wooled and Shorn 100 lbs. NA NA No Test Iowa Large Eggs (cents per dozen) $0.92 NA $0.98 Young Hen Turkeys: 8 -16# - Eastern Region $107.00 NA $110.07 *Iowa Ethanol Prices $/gal $2.00 NA $2.34 Futures: Corn $4.40 NA $7.37 State Average Cash Corn Price $4.28 NA $7.31 Basis -$0.12 NA -$0.06 Futures: Soybean $13.00 NA $15.61 State Average Cash Soybean Price $12.58 NA $15.20 Basis: -$0.42 NA -$0.39 Slaughter Under Federal Inspection Estimates Estimates Actuals Hogs: 2,148,000 NA 2,157,000 Cattle: 598,000 NA 621,000 Sheep: 37,000 NA 46,000 Estimated Numbers through Saturday Cash Corn and Soybean prices are the Iowa Average Prices as reported by IDALS. NA-No report at time of publication. ***Confidentiality of data prohibits publication of this report under Livestock Mandatory Reporting. The report will be published when and if enough data is aggregated to meet the 3/70/20 guideline.*** Source: USDA Livestock and Grain Market News
will continue to be released during CME Group trading hours, despite complaints from the grain industry that high-speed traders have access to the data before it becomes available on public websites, Reuters reported last week. Since last year, when the USDA began releasing its key monthly crop reports while the CME grain markets were open, hedgers have complained that high-speed traders armed with algorithms and superfast data feeds have distorted the price discovery function of the markets. Previously, the reports were released when the markets were closed. Some agricultural trade organizations, including the National Grain and Feed Association, want
CME to suspend trading for a “pause” during monthly USDA crop reports, citing erratic Chicago Board of Trade prices during releases of USDA data.
Ethanol production up U.S. ethanol production in midOctober reached its highest output since June 2012, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The agency said ethanol production averaged 897,000 barrels per day — or 37.67 million gallons daily for the week ending Oct. 18. That is up 28,000 barrels per day from the week before and the highest of the year. The four-week average for ethanol production stood at 854,000 barrels per day for an annualized rate of 13.44 billion gallons.
CME Class III Milk Futures Closing prices Oct. 25, 2013 Contract October 2013 November 2013 December 2013 January 2014
Settle $18.25 $18.73 $17.94 $17.09
Spot Prices Block Cheese Barrel Cheese Butter NFDM Extra Grade NFDM Grade A
Last Week $18.25 $18.32 $17.72 $17.07
$1.8750 $1.8200 $1.4750 $1.8500 $1.9000
Contract February 2014 March 2014 April 2014 May 2014
Settle $16.80 $16.70 $16.68 $16.62
Milk Prices Oct. Class III Oct. Class IV
Last Week $16.77 $16.65 $16.57 $16.65
Iowa Hay Auctions Dyersville, Oct. 23
Hay, large squares, premium, $260; good, $235; fair, $110-175; utility, $135; large rounds, good, $155-175; fair, $135-140; utility, $80-100. Corn stalks, large rounds, good, $22.5036. Mixed, large squares, good, $235; large rounds, good, $175. Straw, large squares, good, $32-39.
Ft. Atkinson, Oct. 23
Hay, small squares, 2nd crop, $195-255; 3rd crop, $235. Grass, large squares, 2nd crop, $205; 3rd crop, $225-275; rounds, 2nd crop, $130185; 3rd crop, $50-170. Straw, large squares, $75.
Perry**, Oct. 19
Alfalfa, small squares, premium, $6.507.50; large squares, $125; large rounds, $180; small squares, good, $5-5.50; large squares, $75; large rounds, $80. Grass, small squares, premium, $5; large
rounds, $80; small squares, good, $4-4.50; large rounds, $75; small squares, fair, $3.50-4; large rounds, $65. Straw, large squares, $85; small squares, $4.50.
Rock Valley, Oct. 24
Alfalfa, large rounds, supreme, $200; premium, $180; good, $160-170; fair, $145-155; utility, $120-125; large squares, premium, $190; good, $160; fair, $145-155; utility, $120-125. Grass, large rounds, premium, $170-190; good, $145-160; fair, $135-142.50; utility, $70-100. Mixed, large rounds, fair; $135-145. Straw, large squares, $115-125; large rounds $125. Corn stalks, large rounds, $70-85.
Yoder**/Frytown, Oct. 23
Corn stalks, large rounds, $30-32. Grass, large rounds, $50-75. Alfalfa, large rounds, 4th cutting, $270290; small squares, $5.50.
**Perry and Yoder hay auction prices are per bale. All other prices are per ton. Contacts: Dyersville, 563-588-0657; Ft. Atkinson, 563-534-7513; Perry, 515-321-5765; Rock Valley, 712-476-5541; Yoder, 319-936-0126
The 2013 soybean market structure is inverted — later prices are lower than nearby prices. If your local market looks like the example above, it is a signal that the market wants your soybeans sooner rather than later. Combine this with a better-than-average basis (check your own location), and it is a clear signal to move the bushels to market. Cash ownership still could pay in these conditions; however, market factors would need to change to drive prices high enough to recover ownership costs.
IOWA FARM BUREAU SPOKESMAN
Corn feed demand to improve
here’s been a lot of derision focused on the apparent level of U.S. corn feeding in the last few years. In all fairness, compared to historical levels, the apparent level of corn feeding hasn’t been unusually small. Mostly it’s a lack of understanding of the corn feeding number on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) balance sheets that is the biggest obstacle many analysts confront in understanding the situation. First and foremost, it’s important to remember the corn feed number on the USDA balance sheet is “feed and residual” use. Because we have no way of accurately documenting actual feed demand, there is no way to stipulate what is feed demand and what is residual demand. You’ll note there is a strong correlation between the corn yield and the amount being fed to livestock, although the relationship did break down somewhat the last few years. Paul Westcott at the USDA developed a model to project feed grain consumption. One of the key components of this model is the corn yield departure from trend. As that fluctuated, the feed grain consumption fluctuated. That suggests the residual use of corn likely accounts for the bulk of the year-to-year change of feed and residual use.
OCTOBER 30, 2013
Cash Strategist Hotline: 1-309-557-2274
CORN STRATEGY 2013 CROP: The decline in corn prices may have stalled, but the short-term trend continues to point lower. The next good selling opportunity may not come until well into the new calendar year. Use a rally to $4.50 on December futures to make needed sales.
2014 CROP: Recent action leaves prices positioned to drop to lower levels in the short term. Still, we think there will be an opportunity to begin pricing over $5 on December 2014 futures in early 2014. We remain reluctant to sell weakness. FUNDAMENTALS: The trade
DDGs, growth promotant impacts
is becoming increasingly comfort-
In recent years two other variables had significant roles in the changing nature of feed consumption. First, dried distillers grains (DDGs) have mostly been used as a replacement for corn in feed rations, not a replacement for protein. The last two years, that accounted for about 7 pounds of corn on an animal unit basis. Increased wheat feeding accounted for another 2.25 pounds of corn that weren’t fed, as well. About the same time we started replacing corn with DDGs, hog and cattle producers started using growth stimulants that further increased the efficiency of feed conversions, especially at the heavier weights. As you know, one of those for cattle has now been taken off the market. But as a whole, we find it interesting that the amount of corn fed to an animal unit the last two years was little different from the 1983 and 1988 drought years, indicating the shift is not in feed use, but in the residual use. The current forecast for this year is back at a more normal level, but it’s the residual that’s changing, not the feed use.
able with the prospect this year’s crop could be 14 billion bushels, or something close to it. Even so, demand for corn remains relatively robust. Profitability lifted the weekly grind rate for ethanol last week. Livestock profits should stimulate feed demand. And export sales and shipments are off to a much better
start than they were a year ago, even with large competitive supplies.
remains good, both from the export and processing sectors. We hear producers are pricing some crop across the scale. New-crop plantings are off to a relatively good start in Brazil. If world buyers become comfortable with good supplies to come from South America, buyers may become more conservative at these prices.
FAIL-SAFE: If January futures drop under $12.90, boost sales to 60 percent.
2013 CROP: Soybean futures stalled just under short-term resistance last week. If January futures cannot overcome $13.30 soon, the pattern still implies lower levels by year’s end, with a chance of seeing $12. Use strength to make catchup sales.
2014 CROP: The higher soybean/corn price ratio is stimulating plantings in South America and is expected to do the same in the United States next spring. Price the first 10 percent if November 2014 futures rebound to $11.90. FUNDAMENTALS: Good soybean yields are the bigger surprise this fall. Demand for soybeans
Iowa Corn & Soybean Basis CORN: (basis vs. December futures, 10/23/13)
NW $4.27 -0.16 SW $4.23 -0.20
NC $4.35 -0.08 SC $4.30 -0.13
NE $4.33 -0.10 SE $4.26 -0.17
SOYBEANS: (basis vs. November futures, 10/23/13) NW $12.63 -0.47 SW $12.55 -0.55
NC $12.66 -0.44 SC $12.67 -0.43
NE $12.71 -0.39 SE $12.81 -0.29
Neither AgriVisor LLC nor the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation is liable for any damages that anyone may sustain by reason of inaccuracy or inadequacy of information provided herein, any error of judgment involving any projections, recommendation or advice or any other act of omission. This publication is owned by the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation with advice provided by and copyrighted by AgriVisor Services LLC, 1701 Towanda Avenue, Bloomington, Ill., 61701. No reproduction of any material in whole or in part of this page may be made without written consent.
Cash Strategist Positions CORN
7-16-12 — 10% sold @ $6.35
at a glance 2014
8-21-12 — 10% sold @ $6.50 4-29-13 — 10% sold @ $5.36 5-13-13
— 10% sold @ $5.33
6-3-13 — 10% sold @$5.27 50% unsold
7-11-12 — 10% sold @ $12.92
2014 100% unsold
8-1-12 — 10% sold @ $12.90 2-4-13 — 10% sold @ $13.35 4-22-13 — 10% sold @ $12.06 6-3-13 — 10% sold @ $13.25 50% unsold
Iowa Farm Bureau members have free 24/7 access to AgriVisor daily updates through the Members portion of the IFBF website: www. iowafarmbureau.com. The AgriVisor link is on the homepage under the Daily Market chart.
China’s demand drives elevated pork market
The global pork industry has experienced a positive third quarter, according to Rabobank’s Pork Quarterly. In line with expectations, the Rabobank five-nation hog price index continued its upward trend, resulting in a peak of 162 percent in August, just below the last peak of 165 percent in August 2008. The index declined at the end of the third quarter due to the recovery of supply after the summer heat. However, global pork prices are forecast to remain elevated for the remainder of the year, supported by demand resulting from start of the Chinese festival season. Compared with the second quarter 2013, pork prices in the third quarter 2013 showed double digit increases in almost all major producing regions. The main drivers were tighter-
than-expected supply in the United States, due in part to the impact of the porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV), and the EU, due to the impact of the EU’s introduction of group housing of sows in January 2013, and continuing robust import demand. For the remainder of the year, global pork prices are forecast to remain elevated. The limited increase of the sow herd in almost all regions shows that farmers are cautious to expand production. Despite the positive prospects with regard to the feed prices, farmers first want to regain part of the lost margins of the last few years before expanding production. Into 2014, declining feed costs will continue to support slow herd rebuilding. Combined with productivity increases, this will result in higher supply and, likely, lower
prices. However, the price slide will be slow due to the limited growth of sow numbers, the continuing demand growth in Asia and still relatively high feed costs, which will curb supply growth at least until mid-2014. The approval of Shuanghui’s acquisition of the largest global pork company, Smithfield, has been yet another sign of China’s growing dominance in the global pork industry. The country’s import demand has been exerting more and more influence on prices in different regions throughout the world in the last few years. The acquisition is but one illustration of China’s ongoing search for sufficient pork supply to feed its growing and wealthier population, a situation which will continue for the foreseeable future, Rabobank said.
OCTOBER 30, 2013
IOWA FARM BUREAU SPOKESMAN
Trait Stewardship Responsibilities Notice to Farmers Monsanto Company is a member of Excellence Through Stewardship® (ETS). Monsanto products are commercialized in accordance with ETS Product Launch Stewardship Guidance, and in compliance with Monsanto’s Policy for Commercialization of BiotechnologyDerived Plant Products in Commodity Crops. Commercialized products have been approved for import into key export markets with functioning regulatory systems. Any crop or material produced from this product can only be exported to, or used, processed or sold in countries where all necessary regulatory approvals have been granted. It is a violation of national and international law to move material containing biotech traits across boundaries into nations where import is not permitted. Growers should talk to their grain handler or product purchaser to confirm their buying position for this product. Excellence Through Stewardship® is a registered trademark of Biotechnology Industry Organization. B.t. products may not yet be registered in all states. Check with your Monsanto representative for the registration status in your state. IMPORTANT IRM INFORMATION: Genuity® RIB Complete® corn blend products do not require the planting of a structured refuge except in the Cotton-Growing Area where corn earworm is a signiﬁcant pest. Genuity® SmartStax® RIB Complete®, Genuity® VT Double PRO® RIB Complete® and Genuity ® VT Triple PRO ® RIB Complete® corn are blended seed corn products. See the IRM/Grower Guide for additional information. Always read and follow IRM requirements. Roundup Technology ® includes Monsanto’s glyphosate-based herbicide technologies. Individual results may vary, and performance may vary from location to location and from year to year. This result may not be an indicator of results you may obtain as local growing, soil and weather conditions may vary. Growers should evaluate data from multiple locations and years whenever possible. For more information regarding the intellectual property protection for the seed products identiﬁed in this publication, please see www.asgrowanddekalb.com. ALWAYS READ AND FOLLOW PESTICIDE LABEL DIRECTIONS. Roundup Ready® crops contain genes that confer tolerance to glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup® brand agricultural herbicides. Roundup® brand agricultural herbicides will kill crops that are not tolerant to glyphosate. Warrant® Herbicide is not registered in all states. Warrant® Herbicide may be subject to use restrictions in some states. The distribution, sale, or use of an unregistered pesticide is a violation of federal and/or state law and is strictly prohibited. Check with your local Monsanto dealer or representative for the product registration status in your state. Acceleron ® and Design ®, Asgrow® and the A Design®, Asgrow®, Bollgard® and Design®, Bollgard II® and Design®, DEKALB® and Design®, DEKALB®, DroughtGard™, Genuity Design®, Genuity Icons, Genuity ®, Respect the Refuge and Cotton Design®, RIB Complete and Design®, RIB Complete®, Roundup Ready 2 Technology and Design®, Roundup Ready 2 Yield®, Roundup Ready PLUS®, Roundup Ready®, Roundup Technology®, Roundup WeatherMAX and Design ®, Roundup®, SmartStax®, Transorb and Design®, VT Double PRO®, VT Triple PRO® and Warrant® are trademarks of Monsanto Technology LLC. Deltapine® is a registered trademark of Monsanto Company. Channel® and the Arrow Design® is a registered trademark of Channel Bio, LLC. LibertyLink® and the Water Droplet Design® is a registered trademark of Bayer. Herculex ® is a registered trademark of Dow AgroSciences LLC. Respect the Refuge and Corn Design® and Respect the Refuge® are registered trademarks of National Corn Growers Association. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. ©2013 Monsanto Company. 2013R03
Ag groups cheer action on water transportation BY DIRCK STEIMEL Farm groups cheered last week’s overwhelming passage of the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) by the U.S. House. The bill, which passed on a 417 to 3 vote, is designed to set a blueprint of repairs and improvements in the nation’s aging inland waterway system. The Senate passed its version of the water resources bill in May, and now the two versions will go to conference committee. “The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) is extremely pleased the House passed H.R. 3080, the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2013,” said Bob Stallman, AFBF president. “As one of AFBF’s priority legislative issues, passage of WRRDA is welcome news for America’s farmers and ranchers.” The $8.2 billion WRRDA bill provides a plan for improvements to the inland waterway system, as well as flood control, harbors and other water-related projects. That
blueprint must then be followed by actual funding allocations to specific projects. While a waterways bill has historically been passed every two years, the last WRRDA bill to be signed into law was in 2007. The overwhelming passage of the WRRDA bill shows that there is strong, bi-partisan support for the inland waterway system, said Mike Steenhoek, executive director of the Ankeny-based Soy Transportation Coalition. “It is important to build on this support for the type of funding the inland water transportation system requires,” he said.
Vital to exports The inland water system is key to the ability of American farmers to get their products into both domestic and export markets, Stallman said. “Having an efficient and reliable inland waterway system linked to competitive ports is vital to America’s ability to provide affordable farm products domestically and to compete interna-
tionally,” he said. “More than 60 percent of grain grown by U.S. farmers for export is transported via inland waterways, and 95 percent of farm exports and imports move through U.S. harbors.”
New projects for flood protection, port improvements and upgrades to the nation’s aging locks and dams infrastructure authorized under WRRDA are long overdue, Stallman added.
Court rules for farmer in lawsuit against EPA
A federal court last week ruled in favor of West Virginia poultry farmer Lois Alt in a lawsuit she brought against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The court ruled that contrary to the EPA’s contention, ordinary stormwater from Alt’s farmyard is exempt from National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit requirements. Alt filed suit against the EPA after the agency threatened her with $37,500 in fines each time stormwater came into contact with dust, feathers or small amounts of manure on the ground
outside of her poultry houses as a result of normal farm operations. The EPA also threatened separate fines of $37,500 per day if Alt failed to apply for a NPDES permit for such discharges. The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) and the West Virginia Farm Bureau intervened alongside Alt as co-plaintiffs. “The outcome of this case will benefit thousands of livestock and poultry farmers who run their operations responsibly and who should not have to get a federal permit for ordinary rainwater from their farmyards,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman.