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P E R I O D I C A L S : T I M E VA L U E D

NOVEMBER 20, 2013 |

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Livestock farmers urged to be proactive about inspections BY DIRCK STEIMEL Iowa livestock farmers should take a proactive approach as the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) launches a new program to inspect large- and medium-scale livestock operations across the state, agricultural legal experts said last week during a webinar sponsored by the Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers (CSIF). There are key steps that farmers should take before they are

contacted by the DNR to schedule an inspection, and there are important points to follow during and after the inspection, said Christina Gruenhagen, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation’s government relations counsel, and Eldon McAfee, an attorney who often represents livestock farmers. “It’s important to be involved in this personally,” Gruenhagen said during the CSIF webinar. “This is not something that you want your hired man to handle for you.”

The DNR’s new round of livestock farm inspections stems from an agreement the state environmental agency signed with the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The inspections are designed to assure that Iowa will continue to regulate livestock farms under the federal Clean Water Act (CWA). The work plan is a critical step toward resolving a petition filed by environmental activist groups in 2007, which demanded the EPA take over the program from

state regulators. The state inspections plan, which was hammered out with input from livestock groups, Gov. Terry Branstad and regulators, is designed to provide increased documentation of Iowa’s already strong program overseeing livestock farms.

8,500 farm inspections Over the next five years, approximately 8,500 Iowa livestock farms will be reviewed to document and determine their

compliance with CWA requirements. The DNR will also conduct risk-based site inspections depending on the type of farm and proximity to streams. In some cases, the agency will do “desktop” inspections looking at files and available aerial and satellite maps before determining if an onsite inspection is necessary. The DNR is in the process of hiring seven new employees to complete the inspections, said Kenneth Hessenius of the DNR’s INSPECTIONS PAGE 2

Ethanol groups vow to fight EPA proposal to trim RFS

Ethanol report was error-filled, misleading



Farm and ethanol groups last week vowed to fight a proposal by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reduce the required use of corn-based ethanol in 2014 to 13 billion gallons, down from the 14.4 billion that is set by statute in the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). They said the EPA proposal is a retreat from earlier pledges to develop a homegrown fuel that is better for the environment. “The EPA proposal turns the RFS on its head, runs counter to the law and is a complete capitulation to Big Oil,” said Monte Shaw of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association. The EPA proposal will “devastate” farmers and the rural economy, according to the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA). “This recommendation is illadvised and should be condemned by all consumers because it is damaging to our tenuous economy and short-sighted regarding the nation’s energy future,” said NCGA President Martin Barbre. The EPA proposal would also lower the overall requirement for renewable fuels to 15.21 billion gallons from the 18.15 billion set in the RFS. The total includes cellulosic ethanol and biodiesel. The EPA said it was proposing a reduction of the requirements to address the so-called “E10 blend wall” for motor fuels which has been a major sore point for the oil industry. But ethanol supporters say that the EPA can only waive the RFS requirements for severe economic harm or a shortage of biofuels, and the blend wall doesn’t qualify. The proposal by the EPA to lower the requirement would choke off innovation and evolution of the motor fuel market, leaving consumers at the mercy of oil companies, they said.

An Associated Press report slamming ethanol was slanted and full of holes.

Antibiotic resistance solution to require balancing act All segments, including animal ag, need to work together to reduce potential antibiotic resistance. STORY ON PAGE 4

For Nate Ronsiek, a Sioux County Farm Bureau member, no-till farming, terracing and other conservation structures have provided conservation benefits and economic value on his farm near Hawarden. PHOTO/GARY FANDEL

Conservation work shows real value for NW Iowa farmer BY TOM BLOCK


ix years of no-till proved its value in a 48-hour time span last spring for Hawarden farmer Nate Ronsiek. A pounding 3-inch rainstorm, followed by a 5-inch downpour the next day, washed away topsoil and created rills and gullies in some area farm fields.

But the soil in Ronsiek’s no-till fields held firm. “I didn’t have a single gully wash out,” he said. “It takes a long time to build that soil back up. Anything you can do to save any of that, it’s huge. Just seeing what happened after 8 inches of rain in two nights makes a big difference. There’s no way I’d go back to conventional tillage.”

Ronsiek’s conservation ethic was instilled in him at a young age by his late father, Vince, who installed miles of terraces across the hilly western Sioux County farm in the 1980s. The conservation award-winning farm also features windbreaks, grassed waterways and buffer strips, which are among the practices identified in CONSERVATION PAGE 2

Restaurant chains boost dairy use Finding ways to boost milk demand via pizza, tacos and other popular food items. STORY ON PAGE 5

See results from the 2013 FIRST on-farm corn and soybean seed trials in this edition of the Spokesman. COPYRIGHT 2013



The average cost of this year’s traditional Thanksgiving feast for 10 people is $49.04, a 44-cent price decrease from last year’s average of $49.48, according to the annual survey by the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF). The cost of this year’s meal, at less than $5 per serving, remains an excellent value for consumers, said AFBF President Bob Stallman. The big ticket item, a 16-pound turkey, came in at $21.76 this year. That was roughly $1.36 per pound, a decrease of about 3 cents per pound, or a total of 47 cents per whole turkey, compared to 2012. “This year, we can be thankful that Thanksgiving dinner, a special meal many of us look forward to all year, will not take a bigger bite out of our wallets,” said John Anderson, AFBF’s deputy chief economist. The average cost of the dinner for 10 has remained around $49 since 2011.

The Carroll Ose family, who run a wean-to-finish hog operation on their farm near Blairsburg, has been named the November winner of the “Gary Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award.” Carroll Ose and his wife, Judy, have three children, Erin, Mike and Lindsay, and raise corn, soybeans and seed corn in addition to hogs on their farm. The family was nominated for the award by their neighbor Randy Greufe, saying Ose is “very involved in the communities where he lives and does business. He helps make these communities better places to work and live.” Ose has been very active in supporting tree plantings in Hamilton County and has planted more than 1,000 trees over the years. The Wergin Good Farm Neighbor Award is made possible through the financial support of the Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers.




Iowa’s ground-breaking Nutrient Reduction Strategy. The voluntary strategy aims to reduce losses of nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus entering Iowa’s waterways. Those kinds of conservation practices are also smart business, as Ronsiek learned from his dad’s terrace-building efforts decades ago. “I’m sure glad he did it when he did. Over the years, it’s saved us a lot of topsoil,” said Ronsiek, a fifth-generation farmer who raises corn, soybeans and alfalfa. “We’re able to raise a good crop in these hills because we’re holding our water.”

Seeing is believing The 31-year-old gained his passion for no-till farming as a student at Kansas State, where he studied agricultural technology management, ag business and agronomy. “Seeing all the good things that can happen with no-till at Kansas State convinced me,” he said. “There are a lot of benefits that can come from it.” Ronsiek said most of his neigh-

to try (no-till), just to have somebody to bounce ideas off of,” said Ronsiek. In addition to soil conservation, Ronsiek found economic benefits of reduced tillage after conducting several years of side-byside comparisons of no-till and conventional tillage test plots as part of Iowa State Extension’s on-farm research program. “Scientifically, the more I look at no-till, the more With most of his neighbors adopting no-till, Nate I like it,” he said. Ronsiek has been able to share ideas on no-till farm- “There was virtuing. PHOTO/GARY FANDEL ally no yield difference between no-till bors have also adopted no-till practices over the years, which and conventional tillage in the test runs counter to news reports last plots. What I don’t spend on fuel week that ethanol is causing farm- and time for conventional tillage ers to abandon conservation prac- field trips I can invest elsewhere tices. To the contrary, he said the on the farm.” exchange of ideas among farmers often fosters even greater conser- Building fertility vation efforts. The time and money savings “Networking with other farm- are key factors for Ronsiek, who ers is so important if you’re going also has a growing seed dealership

Surge in Iowa land prices is clearly waning BY DIRCK STEIMEL The long-running upward price momentum in Iowa farmland values is clearly waning, according to a new survey of agricultural bankers by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. And there are growing signals that the near-term peak of land prices may have been reached in early 2013, according to Dave Miller, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation director of research and commodity services. With lower commodity prices, potential buyers are pulling back on their bids for farmland in all

parts of the state this fall, Miller said. “It is likely that with current corn prices near $4.50 per bushel, bidders for land may pull back on their bids by 5 to 10 percent and that land values will eventually plateau in a range from the prices seen in early 2012 to the recent highs,” he said. The Chicago Fed survey of ag bankers backs that up. While the survey showed Iowa land values rose 9 percent in the 12-month period ending Oct. 1, 2013, they were down 1 percent in the most recent quarter. Along with reduced

commodity prices, bankers said land prices were adversely affected by the erratic 2013 growing season. Miller said the primary risk to farmland values now would be a sharp upward move in interest rates. But, he said, there is little indication an interest rate hike is on the horizon. Lower commodity prices will affect land prices, but are not likely to sink them, Miller said. “Corn prices at $4 will temper the bidding for land, but it will not cause major declines in current land values.”

for Syngenta’s Golden Harvest and NK brands. Fierce competition for land makes expanding his land base unlikely, so he focuses on improving the productivity of his soil by building organic matter. He uses grid sampling and analyzes harvest maps to identify areas of his fields that will benefit from additional fertilizer. Just as importantly, the technology identifies poor yielding areas where applying more nutrients isn’t likely to do much good. “It’s kind of re-allocating your resources,” he said. “You might spend the same amount of money, but you’re putting it in the spot where it’s getting the most value. At the same time, you could take a spot that’s not producing anything and still have a net profit by reducing your inputs.”

More soil sampling Just like the neighborhood notill discussions, Ronsiek said soil sampling is gaining popularity as his neighbors and seed customers seek to improve their soil fertility. He’s covered hundreds of acres taking soil samples for customers this fall. “It’s taking off faster than I thought it would,” he said. “Guys are seeing a lot of good results from it. It’s pretty exciting to see guys start putting the pieces together.”


field office in Spencer, who also spoke during the CSIF webinar. The new employees will be trained under a special livestock curriculum, so the inspections will be uniform across the state, he said. Under the plan, the DNR will focus on Iowa livestock farms with 300 animal units and above. The agency’s rules say that 300 units equal 300 beef cows, 750 hogs, 3,000 nursery pigs, 200 mature dairy cows, 16,500 turkeys and about 37,500 broiler chickens.

Priority list of farms

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The DNR has established a priority list of which animal feeding operations to inspect first, said McAfee, an attorney with Beving, Swanson and Forest in Des Moines. The agency will first concentrate on farms that have already had spills or significant releases, McAfee said. After that, it will concentrate on large and mediumsized open feedlots, then large concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), those with 1,000 feeding units and finally what is called a medium-sized CAFO with 300 up to 1,000 animal feeding units. H ow eve r, M c A f e e a n d Gruenhagen cautioned, farmers shouldn’t be complacent about preparing for the inspection just because their operation may not be the top priority. “Just because you are down the list doesn’t mean you can relax,” Gruenhagen said. “It may be a case that DNR is doing other inspections in the area and wants to do yours at the same time as your neighbor’s.” McAfee said that to prepare for a potential inspection, it’s important that livestock feeders complete any required maintenance on manure storage and disposal facilities and equipment. Gruenhagen said farmers should also take a critical look at how their operation appears from the road and from satellite image services, such as Google Earth. “You want to see what they can

For those who are still skeptical, he compares soil sampling to checking the oil level in a vehicle before adding another quart. “If you’ve got enough, let’s not put any more on,” he said. “There’s a lot of cases where you’ll save money if you just put it in the right spot.” Where fertilizer is needed, Ronsiek prefers to use cattle manure because of its wide-ranging nutrient content. However, even in a livestock-rich area like Sioux County, he said manure is hard to come by as farmers realize its value. So he crunches the numbers to apply the manure where it will do the most good and supplements with commercial fertilizer only where necessary. “A guy has got to be flexible in these times,” said Ronsiek, who with his wife, Rachel, has two sons and a third child due next month. “Farming is a way of life, but if you don’t think about it as a business, it won’t be a way of life for very long.” He hopes sound conservation and smart financial decisions will afford his children an opportunity to carry the family farm into a sixth generation. “I’d love to see those guys be able to farm too, if they want to,” he said. “I want to leave something for them, like my dad did for me.” see about your farm and take that as an opportunity to determine what things need to be changed.” McAfee added that farmers should take the time to look for any errors in their manure management plans and other documents that are on file with the DNR or other environmental agencies. “If there is anything wrong, be sure to get it corrected because that’s what the DNR is using for the desktop inspections,” he said.

DNR will contact farmers The DNR will contact the farmer one to three days before the inspection and work out a time that is convenient, Hessenius said. And the agency, McAfee said, won’t enter livestock buildings but will instead inspect outside, looking for signs of manure discharges, or potential discharges. It’s important for the farmer to be present when the DNR inspector is on the property, Gruenhagen said. “You need to be there because you can answer any questions and clarify the information,” she said. In addition, it’s a good idea for the farmer to have another party, such as consultant who drafted the manure management plans, be present during the inspection to answer questions and verify information, Gruenhagen added. Following the inspection, the DNR will send a written notification of the results, McAfee said. It’s important that farmers open that letter quickly because it may contain time-sensitive recommendations that need to be addressed quickly. “I know everyone is busy, but this is a letter that you shouldn’t wait to open,” he said. To view the entire CSIF webinar about livestock farm inspections, go to www.supportfarmers. com. CSIF, which is supported by a broad range of Iowa agriculture groups, is also available to assist farmers on a one-on-one basis in evaluating their environmental risks and offer solutions. You can contact CSIF at 1-800-932-2436 or at There is no charge for CSIF’s services.


NOVEMBER 20, 2013


Editorial Ethanol attack misleads readers, misses conservation gains BY DAVE MILLER he recent Associated Press (AP) story that claims ethanol production is harming the environment and ruining Iowa soils is full of untruths and holes wide enough to drive my John Deere tractor through. I am a small family farmer who has grown corn, soybeans MILLER and wheat for 40 years, and wearing that hat, I found the story offensive. But as a researcher with advanced degrees in economics who has served on state and national boards, including the Offset Committee of the Chicago Climate Exchange, the Midwest Governor’s Association Greenhouse Gas Accord committee and the Iowa Climate Change Advisory Council, I found the claims the AP made about Iowa corn farmers and ethanol misleading with several inaccuracies. The Multi-State Land Use Study completed earlier this summer tells a much different story about how Iowa’s landscape has changed and how farmers respond to market trends. This study shows that despite the lure of record high grain prices, farmers in 40 of Iowa’s counties developed new wildlife habitat, with more land in those counties being converted to grassy habitat from cropland than grassy habitat going back to corn and soybeans. The study, conducted by Decision Innovation Solutions of Urbandale, examined USDA’s


Iowa farmers are rapidly increasing their use of cover crops to stem erosion and reduce nutrient loss. Cover crops are just one of the conservation practices that farmers have adopted in the past few years. FILE PHOTO

Cropland Data Layer for Iowa and six other Midwestern states. The analysis concluded that annual conversion of Iowa grassy habitat to active cropping accounted for less than 1 percent per year of Iowa cropland from 2007 through 2012. According to the USDA, acres planted to corn in Iowa were the same in 2012 as in 2007, not substantially higher as implied by the AP story.

Shifting to grassland One of the observations from doing this Multi-State Land Use Study is that we gained substantial insight into the validity, or lack of validity, that can result from using only a small-lens approach to assessing land-use change over time. This MultiState Land Use study shows the big picture: 857,000 acres of land once planted to corn and soybeans was shifted to grassy habitat, despite strong economic pressure to do otherwise. The AP story also didn’t consider the use of cover crops in a farm field, which hold nutri-

ents in the soil and reduce erosion. Thanks to the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy launched this summer and just instituted a few short months ago, Iowa farmers have exponentially increased their acres of cover crops.

Cover crop gains What’s more, 160,000 acres of cover crops were planted this year through the new water quality initiative and the regular state cost-share program. Since costshare programs have limits for how much each farmer can get, most are planting more, so various Extension and Farm Service Agency (FSA) coordinators put that estimate closer to 300,000 new acres of cover crops planted this year alone. That certainly mirrors my experience on my farm in south-central Iowa, where I got cost-share approved cover crops on 40 acres, but I planted 320 acres of cover crops, because it’s the right thing to do. I’m not alone. Cover crops are just one of 38 combinations of conservation

Some farm bill progress, SNAP still unresolved Work on the farm bill continues to move forward, even through Congressional recesses. Leaders of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees, along with other key members, have been working on drafting a compromise bill before that can be ready for the president’s signature by the end of the year. There has been progress, at least on the commodity title,

Spokesman Editor DIRCK STEIMEL News Coordinator TOM BLOCK Senior Features Writer TERESA BJORK Ag Commodities Writer BETHANY BARATTA Photographer/Writer GARY FANDEL

members reported. “I can say that all the face-toface meetings that have gone on with the principals — in the last couple of weeks — have made progress,” Rep. Frank Lucas, an Oklahoma Republican who chairs the House Agriculture Committee, told the POLITICO website. “We are getting to a common point on the commodity title.” However, wide differences still remain on funding for nutrition

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programs, called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP, said Iowa Rep. Steve King, who is on the farm bill conference committee. Many of the less controversial issues are addressed first, and just by staff, before lawmakers are brought in, King said. “The nutrition title will be the most difficult issue to resolve, and at this point, I don’t think there is progress made on nutrition,” he said last week. 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.

practices in the Nutrient Reduction Strategy, which was just put in place this year. Thousands of Iowa farmers are showing up at field demonstrations around the state, learning what practices work best for their farm and making plans for 2014. Iowa farmers have more than 591,000 acres enrolled in the continuous, targeted Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), more than any other state, the FSA reported in September. It’s almost 11 percent of the U.S. continuous CRP sign-up total. This is additional evidence that Iowa farmers continuously strive to balance environmental protection and family income. The AP story would have you believe that Iowa farmers have been lured to take acres out of the CRP because they see the value in a rising corn market. I say that was exactly the intent of the CRP program all along. It was put in place in 1985 during the farm crisis, when farms across the nation were failing for many reasons, including a bad corn market. The hope was that when markets improved, land best suited for farming would be put back into production, to grow food to meet all of the nation’s growing demands. And with $5 corn, and $13 soybeans, that’s what we’re seeing today.

Seeking better ways While the bulk of corn grown is used for food, there are more than 4,000 ways to use corn. Some include ethanol, yes, but corn is also used to make clothing, textiles, chewing gum, livestock feed, tires, aspirin, plastics and so much more. The point is, the rest of the world turns to Iowa farmers as inspiration because we are always seeking ways to improve, to do more with less, to be sustainable. The success of the Iowa farming economy provided a buffer that protected our state from the worst of the nation’s economic downturn. Whether you’re a farmer, an economist or a reporter, that is a story worth commending and sharing. Miller is the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation director of research and commodity services. This article first appeared in the Des Moines Register.

AP goes for splash, but is all wet on real story BY DIRCK STEIMEL Agriculture is getting a pretty rough treatment in the media these days. The latest attack was a report last week from the Associated Press (AP), which basically says that farmers in Iowa and around the Midwest have abandoned conservation practices to plant more corn so they can cash in on the ethanol boom. The AP report was an all-out attack on a fuel source that has aided the environment, spurred economic development in rural Iowa and, according to several studies, has saved consumers billions of dollars. There’s one problem: The facts just don’t support it. As my colleague Dave Miller expertly points out on this page, the AP report is full of untruths and holes wide enough to drive his big, green tractor through. But what really ticks me off is how the AP paints a picture of farmers in Iowa and other states abusing their land for a quick buck. That’s just not true, either. Instead, I see a whole lot of farmers stepping up to find new ways to conserve soil and improve water quality. They are making significant investments to improve their operations, such as planting cover crops, adopting strip-till practices or establishing wetlands. Ask them why and they almost inevitably say that they want to leave their land in better shape for future generations. Indeed, many farmers and conservation officials have told me that investments in conservation have grown recently, in part because farmers had earned additional income from the high commodity prices over the past few years. Of course, the AP report didn’t include interviews with any farmers who are stepping up their conservation efforts. No, farmers caring for the land would not have fit the story that the AP wanted to tell.

Looking for sensation I’ve been in the news game a number of years and have seen this repeated many times. A newspaper or news organization wants to make a splash and win a journalism prize or two, so it plays fast and loose with the facts. Most readers, especially those in the cities, will never know the difference. The true story of conservation gains, and of ethanol’s value, may not be as sensational as the one that the AP spun last week. But it does have one distinct advantage: It’s based on facts.


NOVEMBER 20, 2013


Antibiotic resistance solutions will require balancing act BY DIRCK STEIMEL The issue of antibiotic resistance is extremely complex, and all parties, including those in animal agriculture, need to be part of the discussion to find solutions that protect both human and animal health, said academics, regulators and others last week at a national symposium in Kansas City.

“It is important that the solution comes from science and not from politics,” said D r. R i c h a r d Raymond, a physician and former undersecretary for


food safety at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. “If we don’t get involved in this, the politicians will get involved.” Raymond, formerly a family physician in Nebraska, was the moderator at the conference, sponsored by the National Institute for Animal Agriculture (NIAA). Some lawmakers and activist groups have pushed to impose a

ban or severe restrictions on the use of antibiotics in livestock production. They claim that antibiotic use in livestock can build resistance to the drugs that are critically important to human health. But Raymond and others at the NIAA conference said that only about 18 percent of the antibiotics used in livestock production are ever used in humans. And there

World Food Prize to host IFBF annual meeting reception BY BETHANY BARATTA Iowa Farm Bureau members will have the opportunity to explore a recently renovated gem when they attend this year’s annual meeting Dec. 3-4 in Des Moines. This year’s evening reception will be held at the Dr. Norman E. Borlaug World Food Prize Hall of Laureates on Dec. 3 in Des Moines. The World Food Prize Foundation took on a $29.8 million capital project to restore the century-old Des Moines Public Library Building as the

Hall of Laureates. “It’s really such a great tribute to Norman Borlaug,” said Barb Lykins, meeting organizer and director of community resources for the Iowa Farm Bureau. “We really want our members to see it and experience it.” A shuttle will provide transportation from the Community

Choice Credit Union Convention Center and nearby hotels to the Hall of Laureates on 100 Locust St. in Des Moines. The shuttle will then make stops at nearby hotels. The reception, which will be held from 5:30 p.m. until 8 p.m., will feature entertainment by the Odyssey Trio’s harpist Kristin Maahs; flutist Sandra Moore

Wacha; and cellist Tom Hudson. “It is truly just a relaxing opportunity to have a bite to eat, tour the building, and for fellowship with other Farm Bureau members,” Lykins said. For more information about the Hall of Laureates, go to www.

Join the online conversation about Iowa Farm Bureau’s Annual Meeting by following and posting messages with #IFBF13 on Twitter and Facebook.

are definite risks to the human food supply of not treating animals with antibiotics, they said. “We all want to protect human health, but I really worry that we could end up doing something that hurts our ability to take care of animals,” said Dr. Mike Apley, a veterinary professor at Kansas State University. “So it has to be a balancing act.” At the same APLEY time, participants said there must be continued efforts by doctors and others to reduce inappropriate use of antibiotics in human health and in hospital settings.

Viewpoints differ The NIAA conference was titled “Bridging the Gap between Animal Health and Human Health,” and speakers included public health experts, consumer activists and a supermarket owner. The idea was to shed light on the latest research and find common ground on this often-polarizing topic, said Dr. Nevil Speer, a professor at Western Kentucky University and co-chair of the symposium. However, as presenters pointed out, research is often viewed through very different lenses. Different sides of the debate often look at the same scientific studies and come up with very different conclusions based on their own biases. The science behind the emergence, amplification, persistence and transfer of antibiotic resistance is highly complex and often open to misinterpretation, Raymond said. “If you think you understand antimicrobial resistance, it hasn’t been explained properly,” he said. Any changes in antibiotic use in livestock production may ultimately be driven by restaurants and supermarket chains, Apley said. Those groups are hearing about antibiotics from their customers and may make business decisions to buy from sources that limit antibiotic use, he said. While many questions remain about whether antibiotic use in livestock affects resistance in humans, it’s clear that those in animal agriculture must make certain that drugs are used correctly, Apley said. “Veterinarians and industry groups need to be very intolerant of any inappropriate use of antimicrobials,” he said. “We need to get used to saying no, that those things aren’t going to happen anymore.”

Sequester clips FSA payments Farmers who participate in Farm Service Agency programs will see payments reduced due to automatic spending reductions known as sequestration in fiscal year 2014, FSA officials said last week. The sequestration rate for FY2014 is 7.2 percent for mandatory programs, including the dairy indemnity payment program; marketing assistance loans; loan deficiency payments; noninsured crop disaster assistance program; 2013 direct and counter-cyclical payments; 2013 Average Crop Revenue Election program; and the 2011 and 2012 Supplemental Revenue Assistance Program. Conservation Reserve Program payments are specifically exempt by statute from sequestration and thus will not be reduced.


Dairy industry pursues greater sales in fast food restaurants pizza chain in 2009, 10 billion pounds of milk has moved through the pizza category. In just three years, more than 100 million pounds of U.S. cheese has been used in pizza chains in the Pacific Rim, according to Dairy Management Inc. (DMI), the dairy checkoff arm of the dairy industry.

BY BETHANY BARATTA U.S. dairy farmers are selling more milk through companies like Taco Bell, Domino’s, McDonald’s and Quaker through new products featured on their menus and the store shelves. Dairy farmers at the joint annual meeting between the National Dairy Promotion and Research Board, National Milk Producers Federation and the United Dairy Industry Association learned last week of the new products available now or expected to roll out soon from these companies. Brian Niccol, the president of Taco Bell, said the company is projected to use 1.7 billion pounds of fluid milk in 2013 in its food products, including the Doritos locos tacos, which was introduced this year. The introduction of the double steak and cheese quesadilla and fancy shredded cheese helped create a 4 percent increase in dairy volume sold through Taco Bell products. The dairy checkoff has placed


Make it with milk

McDonald’s executive Darci Forrest discussed new dairy-friendly options the restaurant chain is adding to its menu last week at a national dairy industry meeting. PHOTO/BETHANY BARATTA

a dairy scientist at the Taco Bell headquarters to help develop dairy-friendly menu items. Liz Matthews, chief food innovation officer for Taco Bell, said the company will launch a breakfast menu in 2014 that will feature a breakfast burrito, an inside-out cinnamon roll and a waffle as a breakfast taco.

“There is dairy in every single window (of the 2014 calendar), whether it’s sour cream, whether it’s melted cheese, whether it’s fried cheese,” Matthews said. The company is expected to use 2 billion pounds of fluid milk in 2014, she said. “Dairy is a huge part of our future.” Since partnering with Domino’s

Christian Bryzinski, strategy senior manager at Quaker, said the company has set out to change its customers’ habits through its “Make it With Milk” campaign. Eighty percent of consumers in the United States make their oatmeal with water. Everywhere else in the world, consumers are making their oatmeal with milk. Asking consumers to use milk to make oatmeal through a Quaker promotion at 1,400 stores led to a 5 percent increase in fluid sales. In its partnership with DMI, Quaker has hired dairy specialists to be a part of its team to develop ways to incorporate more dairy in its product line.

Two new products are helping to achieve that goal: a breakfast shake that is 50 percent dairy, has 10 grams of protein, 8 grams of whole grains and 6 grams of fiber. It comes in a single-serve plastic container that people can drink on-the-go. Warm & Crunchy combines oatmeal and crunchy granola and can only be made with milk. Darci Forrest, senior director of the menu innovation team at McDonald’s, said the partnership with the dairy industry means more dairy-friendly options on the company’s menu. In 2013, McDonald’s introduced 27 new dairy-friendly products. “The different components and delivery of dairy is a way for us to feel good about what we’re serving,” Forrest said. “I love that about dairy. People feel good about it on the whole.” McDonald’s also has an on-site team that includes dairy scientists and other experts who work in the company’s product development sector.

Watershed grants The Iowa Watershed Improvement Review Board has approved 10 applications totaling $2.3 million in grants to support projects that will improve water quality or reduce flooding in the state. The grant funds will be matched by recipients, who will provide $6.5 million in funding to support the projects. The approved grants are: • Yellow River Headwaters, Winneshiek County, $300,000. • Clear Creek Watershed, Johnson County, $263,540. • Honey Creek-Lindsey CreekDry Run Creek, Delaware and Clayton counties, $60,000. • Central Park Lake, Jones County, $121,698. • West Fork Middle Nodaway River, Adair and Cass counties, $298,563. • Gere Creek, Cherokee County, $299,942. • Rathbun Lake, Lucas and Wayne counties, $144,000. • Silver Creek, Howard and Winneshiek counties, $240,000. • Mosquito Creek, Pottawattamie County, $279,811. • Hurley Creek/McKinley Lake, Union County, $300,000.

Hog barn open house Matt and Janene Raasch of Odebolt are hosting an open house for their new hog barn Nov. 27 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The event will include a pork lunch, tours of the building and a brief program at noon. The Raasch family raises hogs for The Maschhoffs. For directions to the open house, go to


FSA county elections Ballots for the 2013 Farm Service Agency (FSA) county committee elections have been mailed to eligible voters. To be an eligible voter, farmers and ranchers must participate or cooperate in an FSA program. The ballots can also be requested at local FSA offices and must be returned to those offices by Dec. 2.

*In 6,543 comparisons from 2011 to 2013, DEKALB products out-yielded leading competitive products (+/-2 Relative Maturity) with similar traits by 6.8 bushels per acre. Data represents the top 10 volume DEKALB products. Included all commercial strip trial data. Data as of November 6, 2013. 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. DEKALB and Design® and DEKALB® are registered trademarks of Monsanto Technology LLC. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Always read and follow IRM, where applicable, grain marketing and all other stewardship practices and pesticide label directions. ©2013 Monsanto Company.


U.S. farm exports hit record


.S. farm exports hit a new record of $140.9 billion last fiscal year, an amount that supports about 1 million American jobs, according to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. The former Iowa governor said the past five years, 2009-2013, represents “the strongest five-year period for agricultural exports in our nation’s history.” Compared to the previous fiveyear period from 2004-2008, U.S. agricultural exports increased by a total of about $230 billion, Vilsack said. And the average volume of bulk commodities exported increased by nearly 4 million tons per year during that same period. “We need to remain focused on keeping up the incredible momentum we’ve seen over the past five years,” he said, continuing his push for a new farm bill that includes support for U.S. trade promotion programs. “These trade promotion efforts return $35 in economic benefits for every $1 invested — a great value for producers who gain access to additional market opportunities abroad, as well as rural communities that depend on a solid agriculture sector to create and support jobs,” he said.

Brazil boosts biofuel use Brazil is contemplating a policy move that could mop up some

and Grain Trade Summit 2013 in Minneapolis. Mielke said a shift to a 7 percent mandate would increase soy biodiesel demand by 0.8 million metric tons in 2014, requiring 4.2 million metric tons of additional soybean crush.

Ban threatens soy

of the country’s massive soybean harvest, but analysts differ on how helpful it could be. Soy crushers and biodiesel manufacturers are asking the government to increase the country’s biodiesel mandate to 7 percent from 5 percent by Jan. 1. The government’s energy minister said he is contemplating the request. A Reuters story said a 2 percentage point increase in the mandate would create an additional 8 million to 9 million metric tons of soybean demand in Brazil next year. Brazil’s government estimates the soy crop at 88 million to 90 million metric tons, shattering last year’s record of 81.5 million metric tons. Oil World analyst Thomas Mielke said the proposed policy change would lead to “sharply higher” biodiesel use and soybean demand in Brazil but not as big as the Reuters story suggests, according to a copy of an Oct. 22 presentation he delivered at the Oilseed

U.S. farmers may lose as much as 4 million acres of annual soybean production if regulators move too quickly to ban trans fats in processed food, according to the American Soybean Association. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said recently it’s on a “clear track” to ban partially hydrogenated oils, the main vehicle for trans fats, because of links to heart disease. About 8 million acres of soybean-oil demand already have been lost since concerns about trans fat began prompting food processors and restaurants to switch to healthier alternatives, said American Soybean Association President Danny Murphy. “We understand the logic and the need for it, but we just want to make sure the FDA doesn’t totally disturb the market by moving really quickly,” Murphy, who grows corn and soybeans on his farm in Canton, Miss., said. “We stand to lose substantial market share.” U.S. farmers are forecast to harvest 75.7 million acres of soybeans, the Department of Agriculture said Nov. 8. Soybean futures have dropped 6.8 percent in

Weekly Average Price Comparison Sheet Price comparisons: Week ending: 11/15/13 10/25/13 11/16/2012 Cattle - National 5 Area Confirmed Sales 2,121 102,093 4,651 5 Area 65-80% Choice Steers: Wtd Avg. NA $128.76 NA Average Weights (Estimate) Cattle 1334 1323 1322 Boxed Beef Choice 600-750 (5 day avg.) $201.16 $200.97 $192.93 Boxed Beef Select 600-750 (5 day avg.) $188.44 $185.40 $173.13 Five Day Average Hide and Offal Value $14.63 $13.98 $12.94 Cattle - Interior Iowa - Minnesota Supply: 1,899 21,582 3,008 Average Price Choice Steer: Live Basis NA $130.43 $124.90 Average Price Choice Steer: Dressed Basis NA $206.83 $195.93 Feeder Steers at River Markets (Neb. Feedlots) #1 Muscle Thickness 500-600# $194.27 $192.88 $165.99 #1 Muscle Thickness 700-800# $172.83 $170.12 $147.79 Hogs -- Interior Iowa - Minnesota ISM Friday Weighted Average Carcass Price $79.58 $84.72 $74.68 Average Weights (Estimate) Hogs 280.8 277.1 272.6 Sows 1-3 300# and up: Average Price $68.17 $65.04 $58.90 Pork Loins 1/4” trimmed 13 - 19 pounds $107.00 $115.26 NA 51-52% 185 pound Pork Carcass (5 day avg.) $92.94 $94.42 $82.99 Feeder Pigs: National Direct Delivered Feeder Pigs 10 Pounds Basis - Wtd Avg. $73.69 $56.00 $52.35 Feeder Pigs 40 Pounds Basis -- Wtd Avg. $77.21 $72.54 $54.14 Sheep -- National Slaughter Lambs Negotiated Sales 5,700 7,200 1,700 Choice & Prime Wooled and Shorn 100 lbs. NA NA $91.75 Iowa Large Eggs (cents per dozen) $1.22 $0.92 $1.09 Young Hen Turkeys: 8 -16# - Eastern Region $103.06 $107.00 $107.09 *Iowa Ethanol Prices $/gal $1.83 $2.00 $2.29 Futures: Corn $4.22 $4.40 $7.29 State Average Cash Corn Price $4.20 $4.28 $7.28 Basis -$.02 -$0.12 -$0.01 Futures: Soybean $12.81 $13.00 $13.88 State Average Cash Soybean Price $12.46 $12.58 $13.50 Basis: -$0.35 -$0.42 -$0.33 Slaughter Under Federal Inspection Estimates Estimates Actuals Hogs: 2,124,000 2,148,000 2,136,000 Cattle: 575,000 598,000 605,000 Sheep: 41,000 37,000 40,000 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

Chicago this year.

Pork export decline September pork exports were down 8.9 percent due to big declines in shipments to Russia and South Korea. In total, 21.4 percent of U.S. pork production was exported during September, while imports equaled 4.1 percent of production. More than 20 percent of U.S. pork production has been exported every month since January 2011. During the first nine months of the year, pork exports totaled 3.6 billion pounds, down 8.6 percent compared to last year. January-September pork imports were up 8.3 percent and

totaled 646 million pounds. The number of hogs and pigs imported during September were down 9.6 percent. U.S. pork imports during September were up 26.8 percent compared to a year earlier. Most of the imported pork came from Canada.

Swine virus spreads Testing data from the National Animal Health Laboratory Network says that as of Nov. 3, the Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea (PED) virus has been confirmed in 1,069 swine premises in 19 states. This is an increase of 90 locations from the week before. The number of new cases has set new records each of the last four weeks.

CME Class III Milk Futures Closing prices Nov. 15, 2013 Contract November 2013 December 2013 January 2014 February 2014

Settle $18.82 $17.98 $17.36 $16.95

Spot Prices Block Cheese Barrel Cheese Butter NFDM Extra Grade NFDM Grade A

Last Week $18.78 $17.89 $17.16 $16.94

$1.8200 $1.7575 $1.6500 $1.9000 $1.9750

Contract March 2014 April 2014 May 2014 June 2014

Settle $16.78 $16.73 $16.72 $16.80

Milk Prices Nov. Class III Nov. Class IV

Last Week $16.87 $16.72 $16.69 $16.81

$18.25 $20.20

Iowa Hay Auctions Dyersville, Nov. 13

Hay, large squares, premium, $290; large squares, good, $215-277.50; large rounds, fair, $115-135; large squares, utility, $125; large rounds, $80-115. Mixed, large squares, good, $277.50. Grass, large rounds, good, $165. CRP, large rounds, good, $100-130. Straw, large squares, good, $33-43.

Ft. Atkinson, Nov. 13

Hay, small squares, 1st crop, $230-270; 3rd crop, $220-260; large squares, 4th crop, $170-210; large rounds, 1st crop, $170-220; 2nd crop, $180-250; 3rd crop, $200-310. Straw, large squares, $100-130. Corn stalks, large rounds, $65-90.

Perry**, Nov. 9

Alfalfa, small squares, premium, $6.507.50; large squares, $125; large rounds, $175; small squares, good, $5-5.50; large squares, $90; 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, $55; small squares, $4.50.

Rock Valley, Nov. 15

Alfalfa, large rounds, premium, $185-195; large rounds, good, $155-167.50; large rounds, fair, $140-150. Grass, large rounds, premium, $155-165; large squares, good, $110-117.50; large rounds, $120-145; large rounds, fair, $112.50-115. Mixed, large rounds, good, $130-140. Straw, large squares, $80-120; large rounds, $80-105. Corn stalks, large rounds, $75-85.

Yoder**/Frytown, Nov. 13

Corn stalks, large rounds, $34-37. Grass, large rounds, $72.50-80. Alfalfa, large squares, $92.50-112.50; small squares, $7.10-7.60. Wheat straw, small squares, $4.40.

**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

As the 2013-14 crop year gets off to a start, it is always a good idea to be aware of deferred prices. Illustrated this week is a snapshot of the soybean market for this crop year and glimpses of the next three years. The blue solid bars on the left side of the graph are futures prices for this year’s crop (Nov. 13-Aug. 14). As you can see, this crop year’s prices are inverted; i.e., they reflect lower markets as time goes on. The red striped bars represent the 2014 crop (November 2014 to August 2015) and indicate even more discount to the current crop. The green checkered bars and the solid purple bar on the right are a snapshot of the futures value of the 2015 and 2016 crops at this time. Margins may get much tighter as prices move much closer to costs than we have had for years.


Soybean supplies become more comfortable for users Thanks to a good U.S. soybean crop and last spring’s good South American crop, the world supply of soybeans will be relatively abundant as the next South American harvest commences. It won’t be as large as it was a few years ago, but certainly enough that it somewhat diminishes the need for a huge South American crop. On an absolute stocks basis, inventories at the three primary exporters should be 12 million metric tons larger than they were last year if the current consumption pace holds. Those extra 12 million metric tons this year give world buyers a cushion against demand being a little better, or the South American crops being a little smaller than currently expected. If the South American crops are as good as currently forecast, soybean supplies will become burdensome in the second half of the marketing year. There will be some concern about the ability of Brazil to move supplies into the world pipeline. But the current demand for U.S. soybeans implies some users, notably China, may be building reserves to counter potential logistical problems. Even if the logistics prove to be somewhat of a nightmare again, large crops will still deter users from chasing prices sharply higher. And attitudes will be even worse if U.S. plantings are as big as some of the current forecasts indicate. If so, soybeans could join wheat and coarse grains in having comfortable supplies again, at least until the next drought.

NOVEMBER 20, 2013


Cash Strategist Hotline: 1-309-557-2274

CORN STRATEGY 2013 CROP: The quick turn lower on corn prices suggested the trend for the six- to sevenweek cycle has already turned down. That leaves the market vulnerable to slipping into the 20-week low due at year’s end. Nearby futures could slip as far as $4 when that low comes. Make sure you have sales made to cover cash flow needs to accommodate that possibility.

2014 CROP: Even though acres are likely to decline, the ending stocks could grow again next year if yields are near trend. Prices may slip lower in the short term, but it will be important to start pricing on strength in early 2014. A move back near $5 isn’t

yet out of the question.

FUNDAMENTALS: Not only are U.S. farmers still holding an unusually large portion of the crop just harvested, but Brazilian farmers are said to still own a large portion of this year’s second-crop corn. Because of storage limitations, that will have to be

moved ahead of soybean harvest starting in late January.

to suggest the overall fundamental structure will get as tight as it was last year, or two years ago. But South America looms large as a make, or break, for the market in the weeks ahead. But for now, the weather is good and planting has gone relatively well. And given China’s large import pace, the risk is rising for a sudden

slowdown with ports starting to get congested.

SOYBEAN STRATEGY 2013 CROP: Use a rebound to $12.95 on January soybeans to make catch-up sales. Last week’s hard break positioned the market to break into the December cycle low, with new lows of the move not out of the question. 2014 CROP: The price ratio between soybeans and corn continues to point to a shift in acres to soybeans in 2014. Short term, November futures may not hit our $11.90 target, but we think there will be a chance of seeing that mark again in early 2014.

FUNDAMENTALS: Demand for soybeans and soybean meal remain good, but not good enough

Iowa Corn & Soybean Basis CORN: (basis vs. December futures, 11/13/13)

Cash Strategist Positions CORN


7-16-12 — 10% sold @ $6.35

at a glance 2014

100% unsold

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. The AgriVisor link is on the homepage under the Daily Market chart.

NW $4.21 -0.09 SW $4.18 -0.12

NC $4.35 +0.05 SC $4.28 -0.02

NE $4.27 -0.03 SE $4.22 -0.08

SOYBEANS: (basis vs. January futures, 11/13/13)

NW $12.77 -0.38 SW $12.80 -0.35

NC $12.81 -0.34 SC $12.85 -0.30

NE $12.82 -0.33 SE $12.94 -0.21

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.

Sow packers to require premises ID tags by 2015 In an effort to improve preharvest traceability and improve national disease surveillance in the pork industry, many major U.S. sow packers and processors will require a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) approved, official premises identification number (PIN) swine tag as a condition of sale for breeding stock beginning Jan. 1, 2015. “This is a positive step for our industry as we continue to create a more robust surveillance and traceability system that can help protect our animals, our livelihoods and our customers,” said National Pork Board President Karen Richter, a producer from Montgomery, Minn. “I encourage producers who may not already be using official PIN

tags to register their premises and begin using the tags now.” According to Dr. Patrick Webb, the Pork Checkoff’s director of swine health, the USDA-approved, official PIN tags for breeding swine are customizable with or without a management number and can be purchased in multiple colors. “This allows producers to use the official tag in any color as a management tag or wait to apply the tag to sows and boars before leaving the production site to enter harvest channels,” Webb said. Once an animal is identified with an official PIN tag, it shouldn’t be removed or given a different official tag in the case of parity-segregated farms. Also, records documenting the identification and movement of

breeding stock should be kept for three years. Allflex USA Inc., Destron Fearing and Y-Tex Corporation have USDA approval to manufacture official PIN swine tags. When ordering, producers must provide the nationally standardized PIN for the breeding farm. If the site doesn’t have a PIN, producers can register for one by going to www. To date, packers that will require PIN tags as of January 2015 include: Johnsonville, Hillshire Brands, Calihan Pork Processors, Bob Evans Farms, Wampler’s Farm Sausage, Pine Ridge Farms, Pioneer Packing Co., Pork King Packing and Abbyland Pork Pack.



Spokesman November 19, 2013  
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