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

FEBRUARY 12, 2014 |

V O L . 8 0 , N O . 24 | W W W. I O WA FA R M B U R E A U . C O M

New farm bill choices won’t impact 2014 crop insurance BY TOM BLOCK The new farm bill signed into law last week by President Barack Obama creates new risk management programs for farmers, but it won’t impact crop insurance decisions due this spring, says Steve Johnson, Iowa State University Extension farm management specialist. Farmers may be inclined to wait

for details of the new farm bill programs to emerge, but it’s likely to be several months before program sign-ups begin, he said. M e a n w h i l e , JOHNSON the deadline to purchase crop insurance for this year’s corn and

soybean crops is March 15. “Farmers are going to think they’ve got to wait and make their crop insurance decision the last day because we’ll have farm bill implications,” said Johnson. “My message is the opposite. There’s nothing in this farm bill that’s going to impact crop insurance for 2014. “You have six weeks to make your crop insurance decision. You

have six months to make a commodity crop program enrollment decision.” The Senate issued its final approval of the 2014 farm bill on 68-32 vote last week, a week after it passed the U.S. House. Obama signed it into law in a ceremony at Michigan State University, completing a process that began more than two years ago. “Much has been made of the

Coalition will work against state GMO labeling bills


Ag, Iowa to be in thick of life sciences boom A futurist sees a revolution in life sciences and says agriculture will be in the middle of it. STORY ON PAGE 3

BY TOM BLOCK Farmers joined the U.S. food industry last week to launch a coalition seeking a unified federal standard for labeling food products made with genetically modified (GMO) ingredients only if there is scientific evidence of a health of safety issue. The Coalition for Safe Affordable Food wants to avoid a patchwork of state-by-state labeling requirements and affirm the safety of GMOs for consumers, said southwest Iowa farmer Ray Gaesser, president of the American Soybean Association (ASA). It costs farmers 15 to 30 percent more to grow identitypreserved soybeans, which would be required if every state had different GMO label requirements, he said. “When you look at the realworld impact of these state-bystate regulations, it would simply cost too much for farmers to bear,” said Gaesser, who farms near Corning. “If consumers are concerned, we need to give them some answers, but at the same time, we need a reliable system so we are able to provide safe, affordable food. We believe a single federal standard is the best solution to balance the needs of producers and consumers.”

delay in completing this farm bill, including the implication that the farm lobby has lost power,” said Ohio State University ag economist Carl Zulauf. “I suggest caution. It is quite an accomplishment to complete a farm bill in the current divided political environment. Few initiatives have gotten this far.”

Time to ditch “factory farm” term Activists love to throw around the term, and it’s up to farmers to show they are way off base. STORY ON PAGE 3

Russia to resume imports of U.S. meat Terry McNeely of Marion County Soil and Water District, points out the area where he will be coordinating a demonstration project to show how cover crops, wetlands, bioreactors and other technologies can help reduce nutrient loss in a flood-prone area near the South Skunk River in south-central Iowa. PHOTO/GARY FANDEL

Sales have been halted since early 2013 because of a dispute over the additive ractopamine. STORY ON PAGE 6

Water quality demonstration projects taking shape BY DIRCK STEIMEL


ven in the depths of a cold and snowy winter, the first green shoots of the Iowa’s ambitious water quality improvement program are starting to appear all over the state. Some of the early signs of progress in the state’s water quality initiative, officially called the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy,

are already visible this winter — or will be when the snow cover melts. That’s because thousands of farmers around the state last fall planted cover crops for the first time. But another clear signal of progress, according to Iowa agriculture officials, farmers and conservationists, is the formation of eight demonstration projects that are part of the department’s Water Quality Initiative. They are being

established in nine priority watersheds, designated by the state’s Water Resource Coordinating Council. The demonstration projects, which were chosen last fall by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS), are designed to provide farmers with a firsthand look at how soil conservation and water quality WATER QUALITY PAGE 2

The Spokesman 2014 Spring Planting supplement is included in this edition. COPYRIGHT 2014

A broad coalition



Along with the ASA, the 29-member coalition includes the American Farm Bureau, National Corn Growers Association, Grocery Manufacturers Association, American Bakers Association and American Beverage Association, among others The coalition supports legislation giving the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authority to mandate the labeling of GMO

Ames-based Renewable Energy Group broke ground last week on a $13.2 million improvement project at its Newton biodiesel refinery that will increase the plant’s ability to produce an even higher purity biodiesel from a wider array of raw materials. “This investment shows our continuing confidence in biodiesel for the long-term,” said Daniel J. Oh, president and CEO of Renewable Energy Group, Inc. “It furthers our efforts to enhance our lower-cost, multi-feedstock biodiesel business by continuing to broaden our customer base and provide more options for our customers to choose from.” The upgraded process, including distillation, removes impurities and leaves behind the purest form of the fuel. The final product far exceeds quality standards set by the biodiesel industry, while meeting the company’s more rigorous REG-9000 quality specifications.

Kelderman Manufacturing of Oskaloosa has been named the latest Iowa Farm Bureau Federation’s (IFBF) Renew Rural Iowa Award winner. Founded in 1970 in Gary Kelderman’s onestall hot rod shop, the problem-solving operation has grown to a 100,000-square-foot manufacturing facility and is a leading supplier of innovative products for agriculture. Perhaps Kelderman’s best-known product is the Kelderman fold kit designed for the 7000 and 7200 Series John Deere planters. The key to success for Kelderman Manufacturing has been the ability to innovate as needs arise. Whether designing a way for farmers to move their heavy equipment from field to field more efficiently, inventing a reel for combines to pick up downed corn in the field or creating a smoother ride for large trucks, Kelderman Manufacturing continues to bring innovation to the agriculture community.





projects can be implemented and to demonstrate their effectiveness in real-world conditions, according to Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey. “These demonstration projects allow farmers to see how water quality practices can work on farms in their area and help us make an impact on water quality,� he said. “We really see them as little incubators that can help us understand what can be done to improve water quality and how it can be economically viable for producers.�

Eager to get started Farmers say they are eager for field days at the demonstration projects, which are expected to begin this fall and continue over the next two years. During the field days, farmers will be able to see the effectiveness and practicality of various conservation tools and how they will work in their own operations. “It will give a chance to be pro-active and get out front on this issue,� said Arvin Boote, a Sioux County Farm Bureau member who farms near Hull. “We know that a one-size-fits-all program won’t work, so we need to see what makes sense in our area.� The demonstration projects are a key part of the overall Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy. Launched in 2013, the long-term strategy was developed by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship along with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, with technical support from Iowa State University. The voluntary strategy is a science and technology-based plan that provides farmers with a series of options, such as cover


Crop coverage options Under the new farm bill, crop growers will choose between a revenue program that covers price and yield losses called Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC), or a price support program called Price Loss Coverage (PLC). Beginning in 2015, PLC allows the purchase of Supplemental Coverage Option (SCO) insurance designed to supplement PLC payments when losses exceed 14 percent of normal levels.

For more water quality information, go to the Iowa Farm Bureau Conservation Counts website at http:// conservationcounts.

crops, bioreactors and wetlands, to reduce losses of nitrogen and phosphorus from their fields. IDALS allocated $4.1 million in state funding to support the initial eight demonstration projects over the next three years. That investment is being leveraged with approximately $8 million in matching funds to support the demonstration projects, Northey said. “We’ve had tremendous support from farm organizations, ag retailers and others for these demonstration projects,� he said. “There is just a real excitement about the program, and we think these demonstration projects will help that to grow.�

A variety chosen The eight initial demonstration projects were chosen to provide farmers throughout the state with information on how soil conservation and water quality practices will work in different landscapes, soil types and agronomic situations. In addition, the projects will also look at water quality issues that can be specific to certain landscapes or types of farming. For example, in the Van Zante Creek water quality project in Marion and Jasper counties of south-central Iowa, the focus will be on the bottomland near the Direct payments are eliminated. PLC is a target price type program that makes payments when crop prices drop below a “reference price� set in the farm bill. The reference price is $3.70 per bushel for corn, $8.40 per bushel for soybeans, $5.50 per bushel for wheat and $535 per ton for peanuts. Producers enrolled in the PLC program may also purchase SCO insurance.

Added options in ARC Farmers who choose Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) will have to make another decision of whether to enroll in countywide coverage on

The Martin-TillÂŽ Planting System    

South Skunk River, said Terry McNeely of Marion County Soil and Water District, who is coordinating the project. The demonstration project will showcase practices known to reduce nutrient losses to farmers, landowners and agronomy retailers in the watershed, he said. “We are looking at cover crops, filter strips and other things, and we see how it works in a floodprone area like this,� McNeely said.

Seed corn focus In east-central Iowa, a demonstration project centered in Benton and Tama County will look at ways to reduce nutrient loss from seed corn production fields, which are prevalent in the area, said Jim Brown of the Benton County Soil and Water Conservation District. “Seed corn is taken off the field earlier in the season, and there is less residue than commercial corn,� Brown said. “So we want to look at practices like cover crops, nitrogen inhibitors and others to reduce erosion and nutrient loss.� The Benton/Tama county demonstration project is supported by Farm Bureaus from those counties, along with DuPont Pioneer, which operates a seed corn conditioning plant in Dysart. In Sioux County, a demonstration project near the west branch of the Floyd River will look at conservation practices, such as terraces, cover crops and no-till, that could work well in an intensive livestock production area. The Sioux County Farm Bureau is a partner in this project, along with Dordt College in Sioux Center, the Iowa Pork Producers and ag retailers. For a complete list of the demonstration projects and details on them, go to the IDALS website at With the first round of dema commodity-by-commodity basis or choose individual coverage that applies to all of the commodities on the farm. Payments on the county option occur when actual county revenue for a commodity is below the ARC revenue guarantee for a crop year. Individual farm ARC would issue payments based on whole farm revenue rather than commodity by commodity like the county-level program. The program covers losses on 85 percent of base acres for the county option and 65 percent of base acres for individual coverage. The ARC guarantee effectively provides a band of revenue protection from 76 percent to 86 percent of historical revenue, with farmerpurchased crop insurance expected to cover deeper losses. Farmers who enroll in ARC may not buy SCO insurance because they are similar in effect. Payment triggers for both the ARC and PLC programs are based

1. Clean and lightly till without furrowing out.

BIOTECH 2. Place fertilizer in soil, not on trash or planter. 3. Allow the seed disc to lift part of the sidewall and leave it less dense. 4. Close without sidewall compaction. 5. Level row and seal air pockets.


food ingredients if the agency determines there is a health, safety or nutrition issue with an ingredient derived from a GMO, said Pam Bailey, CEO of the Grocery Manufacturers Association.

Proven and safe She noted that two decades of research has proved that GMO technology is safe and an estimated 80 percent of food consumed in the U.S. contains ingredients that have been genetically modified. Still, two states have passed

onstration projects just starting, IDALS last week announced that it was accepting applications for additional demonstration projects focused on water quality in the nine priority Iowa watersheds designated by the state Water Resources Coordinating Council. Those watersheds are on

the Floyd, West Nishnabotna, East Nishnabotna, North Raccoon, Boone, South Skunk, Skunk, Middle Cedar and Turkey rivers. IDALS will make up to $2.5 million available to fund the second round of projects, which are also set at a maximum duration of three years.

Research center will build scientiďŹ c base on practices to stem nutrient losses The Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy, launched in 2013, was a ground-breaking program to provide farmers with voluntary options to reduce farm nutrient loss and improve water quality. But researchers in the state aren’t stopping there. With a $1.5 million state allocation, the Iowa Board of Regents created the Iowa Nutrient Research Center to fill in gaps in existing research on nutrient management and to look for new techniques that farmers and others can use to reduce the loss of nitrogen and phosphorus from fields. “We don’t want to stay at a status quo, LAWRENCE we want to keep pushing forward on nutrient management research,â€? said John Lawrence, associate dean of the Iowa State University (ISU) College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, who is director of the Iowa Nutrient Research Center. “At the same time, we want to continue to improve farmers’ confidence in the research that is already out there.â€? Last fall, the Nutrient Re-

search Center funded 10 research projects that are currently being conducted at ISU, the University of Iowa and Northern Iowa University. They range from investigating the causes of corn yield loss after a cereal rye crop to determining the optimal performance of bioreactors to reduce nitrogen levels and to research on saturated buffers, which are designed to filter water from tile lines before it reaches streams and rivers. Other research is designed to develop desktop tools that farmers can use to determine the practicality of installing conservation tools on their own operations, “We wanted to have a balance between practical research that can help farmers determine which existing practices makes economic sense to implement, while other research will be pushing forward to discover new tools that farmers may eventually use to reduce nutrient loss,� Lawrence said. The Board of Regents has requested a second allocation for the Iowa Nutrient Research Center in its fiscal 2014-15 budget. For more details on the research that has been funded, go to www.nutrientstrategy.iastate. edu/center/projects.

on marketing year price averages, meaning any payments for yield or price losses won’t be made until the year following a loss. Farmers have to make a onetime, irrevocable decision to enroll in ARC or PLC for the life of the fiveyear farm bill. If a farmer doesn’t make a decision, farms are automatically enrolled in the PLC program. It is too early to know for sure which program will be best for Iowa farmers, Johnson said.

will develop spreadsheets and educational materials to help farmers with those decisions after the final regulations are written, Johnson said.

Livestock provisions

A preliminary analysis of the two programs suggests that, for 2014, ARC’s price coverage level is more favorable for corn and soybeans while PLC’s reference price is more favorable for peanuts, rice and barley, according to Ohio State’s Zulauf. However, farmers will need to consider how the two programs function over the life of the five-year farm bill, he says. Iowa State University Extension

The farm bill also includes provisions to support livestock farmers during disasters and reforms dairy price support programs. A Supplemental Agriculture Disaster Assistance program is funded permanently, including a Livestock Indemnity Program for livestock losses from adverse weather; a Livestock Forage Program for losses resulting from drought or fire; and a program of emergency relief to producers of livestock, honey bees and farm-raised fish not covered by other programs. The Dairy Product Support and MILC programs are replaced with a Dairy Production Margin Protection Program based on the difference between the price of milk and feed cost of producing milk.

laws governing GMO labels, and ballot initiatives have been introduced in several other states, setting up costly campaigns on both sides of the issue. “This technology has been used safely in our food supply for 20 years,� Bailey said. “Our nation’s food safety and labeling laws should not be set by political campaigns or state and local legislatures, but by the FDA, the nation’s foremost food safety agency.� The coalition also supports mandatory FDA safety reviews of all new GMO traits and federal standards for companies that want to voluntarily label their product

for the absence or presence of GMO food ingredients. A large part of the coalition’s mission will be to educate consumers about the benefits and safety of GMO technology. Crops grown using genetically modified traits require fewer pesticides, less water and keep production costs down, pointed out Martin Barbre, president of the National Corn Growers Association. “America’s farmers rely on this proven technology to protect crops from insects, weeds and drought, enabling us to deliver on that promise and to do so through sustainable means,� he said.

Planning long term


FEBRUARY 12, 2014


Editorial Agriculture and Iowa will be at heart of a revolution in life sciences BY DIRCK STEIMEL


revolution is quickly taking shape in life sciences that will create entirely new products and processes to make them, and Iowa farmers and agricultural researchers will be at the heart of the momentous changes, a futurist and leading authority on genomics research said last week during a lecture at Iowa State University (ISU). “We are moving from a revolution in digital code to one in life code, and you are really at ground zero right here,” said Juan Enriquez, a futurist, author and managing director of Excel Venture Management, a company that invests in breakthrough life sciences companies. “You are in a great place because this is where the basic life code research is being done.” Enriquez, who formerly was head of Harvard Business School’s Life Sciences project, spoke Feb. 6 at ISU’s Memorial Union. The lecture was co-sponsored by the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation. The revolution driven by life sciences will remake how things like medicines, vaccines and other products are manufactured and where they are made, Enriquez said. Old processes, such as using petroleum molecules to make plastics and other materials, will be replaced by cheaper, more reliable and environmental-sustainable techniques that use bacteria and other renewable materials as

Futurist Juan Enriquez predicts a revolution in life sciences and says agriculture will be at the heart of it. He spoke last week at Iowa State University. PHOTO/DIRCK STEIMEL

building blocks, he said. By learning, editing and replicating the life code, researchers will even be able to create processes to make artificial organs to replace diseased or damaged ones, to regenerate teeth to replace those lost to decay and develop entirely new medicines and foods, Enriquez predicted. Enriquez is also a prime investor in these new life code processes. He is co-founder of a company called Synthetic Genetics, which funds genetics-driven solutions to address global energy and environmental issues, and was a major funder of the breakthrough process to create the first artificial bacterial cell.

Gaining momentum While technology seems far away today, it will come far faster than most people expect, Enriquez said. He noted that digi-

tal technology seemed to take forever to progress and computers occupied entire rooms, then the technology gains just exploded. “Today, most people carry around smartphones that give them access to more information than the president of the United States, the most powerful person in the world, had access to 20 years ago,” Enriquez said. Along with doing the basic research in the life sciences, agriculture sits in a good position in the coming life-code revolution because farmers are such rapid adopters of new and promising technologies, Enriquez noted. He noted studies showing that the movement to hybrid seed corn by American farmers in the 1930s was one of the fastest adoptions of new technology in history. And that was not an isolated case. Iowa farmers have followed similar technology adoption curves

with fertilizers, herbicides, and now with genetically modified seed. “There is really no other industry that adopts technology faster than you do in agriculture,” he said. “And that has been a very consistent trend over the years. I don’t think I would bet against Iowa in this one.” The advances in life sciences will also provide valuable tools in tracing food-borne illness outbreaks and other problems, Enriquez said. “It will help you quickly find the source of the problem, and you won’t tar a whole industry just because there is a problem in one place,” he said.

Creating jobs, wealth As the life sciences revolution progresses, it will create jobs and earnings for companies that are foresighted enough to embrace it, Enriquez predicted. And it will be important for U.S. policies to encourage the research and not impose regulations that will hinder growth. Enriquez said that is what has happened in Europe, where they have stunted gains in biotech and other areas by applying what is called the “precautionary principle.” That principle says that new technologies cannot be adopted is there is a chance that it could someday cause harm. “It sounds logical, but if you apply the precautionary principle, you would never build a step ladder or install an electrical outlet,” Enriquez said. “You just can’t move forward.”

Coalition forms to address critical need for immigration reform The Agriculture Workforce Coalition, the American Farm Bureau Federation and more than 70 of the largest American agriculture groups last week joined with the Partnership for a New American Economy to launch #IFarmImmigration, an agriculture campaign to support renewed efforts to enact immigration reform this year. The campaign will stress the agriculture sector’s critical need for immigration reform with activities online and on the ground, in Washington, D.C., and in key

districts. The campaign will also release new research on labor shortages, and throughout the month, farmers and ranchers will be on the ground telling their stories through farm tours, social and traditional media, videos and community events for members of Congress in their districts. “Immigration reform is critical for the agricultural industry,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman. “This campaign will highlight how many farmers rely on an immigrant labor force, and without reform, growers will begin to

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

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plant less labor-intensive crops or go off shore. Simply put, either we import our labor or we import our food.”

Timing is right The coalition is seeking meaningful immigration reform for farmers, ranchers and growers across the country, said AWC spokesman Chuck Conner, the president and CEO of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives. “This partnership is especially timely, with the House Republican caucus recently releasing their principles on immigration reform and recognizing in them the 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.

labor needs of agriculture,” he said. “Across the country, crops are rotting on the vine because our farmers don’t have the workers they need,” said John Feinblatt, chair of the Partnership for a New American Economy. “Our choice is clear. We either bring in our workers or we bring in our food. The American agriculture industry depends on getting this right.” The #IFarmImmigration month is part of the #IAmImmigration campaign. To learn more, visit aspx?id=38413#sthash.9EAfUKRu. dpuf

Shedding light on activists’ misleading label BY DIRCK STEIMEL Environmental activists throw around a lot of misleading and inflammatory terms these days to criticize Iowa livestock farming. But the one that really makes me see red is the term “factory farm.” In my years of reporting, I’ve been to a whole lot of Iowa farms and quite a few factories. But I have never seen a connection between factories and Iowa’s livestock farms, which are almost all family-run operations that care for animals, for the environment and their communities. But facts have never stopped these activists, and they shout “factory farm” every chance they get. In a recent press release criticizing the Iowa Department of Natural Resources work plan to inspect all of the state’s concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), one activist even went a bit farther. “CAFOs are not farms; they are factories,” according to the head of the Iowa Sierra Club. Those of us in Iowa agriculture can easily see right through a statement like that, and see it’s dead wrong. But we are not the audience for the activists. Instead, they are trying to influence Iowans in cities and towns, who are likely a few generations removed from the farm. They are susceptible to the activists’ fiction that livestock farms today have somehow become faceless corporations that don’t care for their animals, their communities or the environment.

Fighting the negativity So how do we counter the factory farm fallacy? The simple answer: tell and, more importantly, show the public that the factory farm term is simply not true. Get involved in Farm Bureau’s Speaker Corps and other programs that help farmers share their stories and perspectives. Also, get involved in your community. Activists like to point to today’s livestock barns to show that there is something amiss. But explain to city folks that there are many good reasons that many farmers have chosen to move their pigs and other animals indoors out of the cold and heat and away from predators and disease. Talk about how farmers treat manure as a highly-valued resource that is typically carefully injected into the ground as a natural fertilizer. But mostly, talk and show that behind almost every Iowa livestock farm is a family working together to care for animals, protect the environment and produce safe, wholesome food. It’s a message that the activists’ misleading terms just can’t overcome.


FEBRUARY 12, 2014


Dairy farmers face a number of legal issues today BY BETHANY BARATTA Several legal issues face the dairy industry in 2014, and dairy farmers should be aware of these legal issues and how they might impact the farm, said Melissa O’Rourke, a O’ROURKE farm and agribusiness management specialist with Iowa State University (ISU)

Extension and Outreach at a Dairy Days event in Bloomfield last week. O’Rourke said the Iowa Supreme Court surprised nearly everyone in Iowa agriculture with its February 2013 decision regarding liability for injuries that occur during recreational activities on farms. Iowa’s recreational use stature (Iowa Code chapter 461 C) had provided some protection for Iowa landowners who allow access to their land for various recreational uses listed in the statute. However, O’Rourke said, the statutory list

did not include educational tours or persons who may accompany school groups as chaperones. The 2013 Iowa Legislature took notice and revised the code to include “educational activities� as well as chaperones. “Despite this needed legislative change, farmers are still welladvised to take note of farm hazards and be vigilant about farm safety for family members and employees as well as occasional visitors to the farm,� O’Rourke said. She said regular reviews with insurance and legal professionals

Speaker Corps training

regarding farm premises liability insurance policies are also a good idea. Farms that offer farm-based activities for a fee (such as tours and bed and breakfasts) should inform insurance and legal advisors to obtain proper coverage.

Estate planning The American Taxpayer Relief Act (ATRA), passed in early 2013, is of particular importance to Iowa farmland owners in light of increasing land values, O’Rourke said. Rather than a possible reversion to old levels, ATRA makes a $5 million estate tax exemption amount permanent, and this exemption will continue to be indexed for inflation, expected to be up to $7.5 million by 2020. “Nevertheless, farmland owners should not ignore farm estate and succession planning based on a belief that the federal estate tax bite is being avoided,� O’Rourke said.

The Iowa Farm Bureau offers succession planning assistance, as does ISU Extension. O’Rourke said farmers and dairy operators must continue to improve manure management. That is especially true of small dairy operations. “Throughout Iowa, we have seen increased scrutiny by regulatory agencies of manure management practices,� O’Rourke said. “Dairy producers should be proactive, get educated and seek technical assistance to assure compliance.� O’Rourke told farmers they should take precautions when hiring new employees on their farms. “The best protection against whistle-blower activity is education and training,� O’Rourke said. Farmers should educate and train all employees in good practices and maintain “constant vigilance� that these practices are followed consistently, she said.

Groups offering free online quality training to beef raisers

Emmet County Farm Bureau member Bryan Kruse is interviewed by Laurie Johns, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation public relations manager, during a recent training session for the Farm Bureau’s Speaker Corps program. During the training session, Speaker Corps members discussed key issues, such as connecting with consumers and the recently-released Iowa Farm Bureau Food & Farm index. They also learned about trends in social media. PHOTO/GARY FANDEL


The Iowa Beef Industry Council and Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica Inc. have partnered to offer the Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program for free online until April 15. The free BQA Certification is open to all beef and dairy producers, veterinarians, allied partners, agricultural friends and students. The BQA program provides cattlemen with training and information they need to produce safe, high quality beef. “The BQA program is the gold standard of livestock handling and animal welfare programs to demonstrate the industry’s commitment to continually improve the sound production practices most cattlemen use every day to build beef demand,� said Doug Bear, director of industry relations for the Iowa Beef Industry Council, in


a press release. The online BQA program has customized programs specific to cow/calf, stocker, feedlot or dairy operations. The easy-to-use modules teach sound management techniques farmers can apply to their farm. “The cattle industry has embraced the BQA program because it is the right thing to do, and it also helps cattle operations tell their story to consumers who might not understand all of the safety measures cattlemen take in producing the food on the table,� Bear said. Those interested in taking advantage of the free online BQA certification opportunity should start at www.BIVI-BQA. com for the online modules. Click on Beef Quality Assurance and Beef Cattle Care or one of the other 18 categories available (Comprehensive Beef Quality Assurance–recommended), register and enter code BIVIBQA for your payment method. After all videos within a specific category have been observed with quizzes passed successfully, trainees will become BQA certified. For more information, contact Doug Bear, Iowa’s BQA coordinator, at or (515) 296-2305.

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Braving the elements

Dallas County Farm Bureau member Jon McClure unrolls a corn stalk bale on his farm last week. McClure and other livestock farmers worked in subzero temperatures to keep their livestock fed and warm as frigid conditions continued to grip Iowa. Temperatures in January averaged 13.9 degrees, 5.5 degrees below normal, marking the coldest calendar month in four years, according to Iowa State Climatologist Harry Hillaker. PHOTO/ GARY FANDEL

Work continues on property tax reforms The Iowa Senate last week passed Senate File 2078, which would reduce the future impact of property tax increases resulting from future growth in supplemental state aid. As a result of legislation passed last year, the full cost of increases in supplemental state aid are covered by the state for fiscal year (FY) 2014 and FY2015. (Previously, these increased costs had been shared between the state and property taxpayers). This bill would extend the new funding mechanism beyond the current two-year time frame into FY2016. The biggest potential impact to property taxpayers this session will be addressed as legislators continue to work through the mental health redesign. Property taxpayers’ contributions have op-

2014 ISSUE UPDATE erated under a statewide cap of $125 million since 1995, which has kept contributions limited and controlled. Two years ago, as part of the system redesign, the legislature transitioned to a $47.28 per capita funding formula while keeping the statewide property tax cap in place. While this per-capita approach maintained a limited and controlled cap, it was given a two-year sunset. As the legislature addresses the pending sunset, there may once again be considerable pressure to increase prop-

erty taxpayers’ contributions to the system. It is important to remind legislators that any changes to the funding of the mental health system should reduce the burden on property taxpayers, and that any remaining local share should stay limited and controlled. Both chambers also held subcommittee meetings on their versions of the “Connect Every Iowan Act� (House Study Bill 515 and Senate Study Bill 3119), which proposes to increase the extent and availability of broadband access across the state of Iowa. Each bill currently has several provisions, and Farm Bureau will continue to evaluate potential policy impacts as the bills move forward. Farm Bureau has policy supporting tax incentives and grants to help increase high speed Internet access for rural areas.

Iowa Farm Bureau’s crop insurance and marketing webinar set for Feb. 17 To assist farmers with 2014 crop insurance and pre-harvest crop marketing decisions, the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) is hosting a webinar Feb. 17 at 1 p.m. to highlight key updates to the programs in 2014. With crop margins expected to shrink this year, this informational webinar will provide insight to help Iowa farmers manage their 2014 crop revenue risk. This timely update on crop insurance will highlight new changes in 2014, including lower premium ratings, lower projected prices and trend-adjusted yield option factors. Steve Johnson, Iowa State University (ISU) farm management specialist, will present information enabling farmers to make informed choices on 2014 crop insurance. Ed Kordick, IFBF commodity services manager, will cover how the presented tools work with

Revenue Protection crop insurance to manage downside revenue risk. Strategies to conquer the common hesitations of selling a crop not yet harvested have never been more important to farmers. “Today’s farmers face numerous challenges, and understanding updates to crop insurance is one of those,� said Kordick. “With farmers facing added uncertainty heading into the 2014 growing season, crop insurance will be a vital tool this spring.� Farmers can access the webinar from their home or farm office by going to www.iowafarmbureau. com, clicking on the webinar banner and entering the forum as a guest on the day of the event. Preregistration is not required for online viewing. Participants will have the opportunity to text questions to the speaker during the webinar. For more information, contact Kordick at

Ehrhardt named new regional manager in northeast Iowa Samantha Ehrhardt began work last week as Iowa Farm Bureau Federation regional manager in far northeast Iowa, covering Allamakee, C h i c k a s aw, C l a y t o n , EHRHARDT

Fayette, Howard and Winneshiek counties. She replaces Jim Artes, who retired earlier this year. Ehrhardt grew up on a dairy farm in Allamakee County and is a graduate of Iowa State University, where she majored in agricultural studies. She most recently worked as a district field manager for the Iowa Corn Growers Association.

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Russia plans to resume imports of U.S. meats


.S. and Russian food safety officials held talks last week to work out details on the reopening of Russian markets to imports of U.S. pork, beef and turkey products, according to a notice posted by Russia’s Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance agency (VPSS). Russia’s food safety chief Sergei Dankvert, meanwhile, told the country’s Interfax News agency that Moscow plans to end the ban, beginning with turkey in mid-February and pork by March. Russia banned imports of U.S. pork, beef and turkey early last year based on fears of their containing the feed additive ractopamine.

U.S. exports ethanol Bunge Ltd. is exporting U.S. corn-based ethanol to Brazil, the world’s second-largest consumer of the biofuel, according to two people with direct knowledge of the deal. Bunge, based in White Plains, N.Y., is shipping about 12.5 million liters (3.3 million gallons) of the fuel to the Port of Itaqui in Brazil’s northeast. Brazil’s center south produces about 90 percent of the country’s sugar and ethanol.

Poor logistics in Brazil, make it cheaper for blenders in the northeastern region to import ethanol from North America.

China cancels corn order Chinese importers canceled purchases of four cargoes of U.S. corn last week, after one cargo was diverted to Vietnam the week before, U.S. government data showed, as a dispute over an unapproved genetically modified (GMO) strain remained unresolved. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) confirmed the cancellation of 220,000 metric tons of corn by China for shipment in the current marketing year. In a weekly export sales report last week, the USDA said 63,127 metric tons of corn that was reported shipped to China in the week ending Dec. 19 was instead bound for Vietnam. Other cargoes have been reported switched to

Japan, South Korea and Spain in recent weeks. China has rejected more than 600,000 metric tons of U.S. corn since November because the shipments contained MIR 162 corn, a GMO strain developed by Syngenta Ag that is not approved for import by China. “Exporters don’t anticipate that this GMO issue is going to be resolved anytime soon. They could try to deliver on the contracts, but it could be senseless given the risk of rejection because it can be costly to sell it out at a discount,” said Shawn McCambridge, analyst with Prudential Bache. “I would expect to see some more (cancellations) going forward. Unless something changes very quickly, I don’t anticipate that we’ll see any additional shipments being made this year.”

Meat exports mixed Exports of U.S. beef, pork and lamb closed 2013 on a mixed note. Beef exports eclipsed the $6 billion mark for the first time, setting a new annual value record. At the same time, pork exports declined below 2012’s record highs, while lamb sales rose in value on lower volumes, according to statistics released by the USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF). Beef exports continued their surge in December, surpassing year-ago totals by nearly 13 percent in volume and 20 percent in

Weekly Average Price Comparison Price comparisons: Week ending: 02/07/2014 01/10/2014 Cattle - National 5 Area Confirmed Sales 15,864 9,210 5 Area 65-80% Choice Steers: Wtd Avg. NA $138.97 Average Weights (Estimate) Cattle 1337 1337 Boxed Beef Choice 600-750 (5 day avg.) $210.77 $214.98 Boxed Beef Select 600-750 (5 day avg.) $209.19 $211.58 Five Day Average Hide and Offal Value $14.67 $14.63 Cattle - Interior Iowa - Minnesota Supply: 8,959 5,888 Average Price Choice Steer: Live Basis $139.83 $140.15 Average Price Choice Steer: Dressed Basis $223.00 $221.49 Feeder Steers at River Markets (Neb. Feedlots) #1 Muscle Thickness 500-600# $223.56 $215.61 #1 Muscle Thickness 700-800# $173.28 $175.17 Hogs -- Interior Iowa - Minnesota ISM Friday Weighted Average Carcass Price $81.79 $76.08 Average Weights (Estimate) Hogs 281.6 282.9 Sows 1-3 300# and up: Average Price $60.45 $63.33 Pork Loins 1/4” trimmed 13 - 19 pounds $121.53 $115.22 51-52% 185 pound Pork Carcass (5 day avg.) $97.82 $83.33 Feeder Pigs: National Direct Delivered Feeder Pigs 10 Pounds Basis - Wtd Avg. $84.73 $84.11 Feeder Pigs 40 Pounds Basis -- Wtd Avg. $103.07 $92.89 Sheep -- National Slaughter Lambs Negotiated Sales 8,400 7,400 Choice & Prime Wooled and Shorn 130-150 lbs. $156.25 $160.00 Iowa Large Eggs (cents per dozen) $1.07 $0.84 Young Hen Turkeys: 8 -16# - Eastern (cents/lb) 100.50 99.90 *Iowa Ethanol Prices $/gal $1.92 $2.08 Futures: Corn $4.45 $4.33 State Average Cash Corn Price $4.31 $4.26 Basis -$0.14 -$0.07 Futures: Soybean $13.32 $12.78 State Average Cash Soybean Price $12.88 $12.43 Basis: -$0.44 -$0.35 Slaughter Under Federal Inspection Estimates Estimates Hogs: 2,095,000 1,950,000 Cattle: 559,000 555,000 Sheep: 37,000 39,000 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. Source: USDA Livestock and Grain Market News

02/08/2013 2.101 NA 1330 $182.12 $179.62 $13.59 1,770 $127.00 $198.00

value led by growth in sales to Japan, Mexico, Hong Kong and Central/South America. Totals for 2013 were up 3 percent in volume to 1.17 million metric tons and 12 percent in value ($6.157 billion) — breaking the 2012 value record. Pork exports exceeded $6 billion for the third consecutive year, but declined 5 percent in volume and 4 percent in value behind 2012’s record pace, finishing at 2.14 million metric tons valued at $6.05 billion. Mexico, Central/ South America and the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) region posted strong results in December to bring the month’s totals up slightly from

CME Class III Milk Futures Closing prices Feb. 7, 2014 Contract February 2014 March 2014 April 2014 May 2014

$84.70 274.0 $45.08 NA $83.25

Settle $23.21 $21.05 $19.69 $18.96

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

Last Week $23.11 $21.47 $20.04 $19.20

$2.2325 $2.2050 $1.8200 $2.0900 $2.0175

Contract June 2014 July 2014 August 2014 September 2014

Settle Last Week $18.85 $18.88 $18.81 $18.73 $18.66 $18.64 $18.62 $1846

Milk Prices Feb. Class III Feb. Class IV

$23.29 $23.30

Iowa Hay Auctions Dyersville, Feb. 5

Hay, large squares, premium, $180-192.50; good, $135-160; fair, $100-130; utility, $80-120; large rounds, good, $125-160; fair, $80-115; utility, $70-90. New seedling, large squares, good, $97.50. Oat hay, large squares, good, $87.50; large rounds, good, $75-95; fair, $75. Straw, large squares, good, $34-55. Prairie grass, large rounds, fair, $90-105. Corn stalks, large rounds, good, $45. CRP, large squares, good, $72.50-87.50. Mixed, large squares, good, $130-155; large rounds, good, $120-145. Grass, large rounds, good, $100-130; fair, $80-100.

Ft. Atkinson, Feb. 5

Hay, small squares, 1st crop, $190-235; 2nd crop, $145; large squares, 1st crop, $120145; 2nd crop, $115-165; 3rd crop, $140180, large rounds, 1st crop, $95-155; 2nd crop, $90-215; 3rd crop, $135-185. Grass, large squares, $90-160; large rounds, $90-165. Straw, large squares, $100-130; large rounds, $75.

Perry**, Feb. 1

$175.53 $149.28

year-ago levels. “2013 presented a new set of challenges,” said USMEF President and CEO Philip Seng. “Last year, the closure of the Russian market to U.S. red meat products and our continued absence from the dynamic beef market in the People’s Republic of China stand out. And there were challenges in other markets, ranging from Indonesia to Saudi Arabia. The industry is focused on these challenges, and USMEF is targeting the markets where we have the best chance of succeeding and creating a positive return for American producers and exporters.”

Alfalfa, small squares, premium, $6-7;

large squares, $95; large rounds, $105; small squares, good, $4.50-5; large squares, $60; large rounds, $65. Grass, small squares, premium, $4.50; large rounds, $65; small squares, good, $3.50-4; large rounds, $60; small squares, fair, $3.50; large rounds, $50. Straw, small squares, $3. Corn stalks, large rounds, $20.

Rock Valley, Feb. 6

Alfalfa, large rounds, supreme, $160-167.50, premium, $135-150; good, $127.20-130; large squares, good, $130. Grass, small squares, premium, $135-155; good, $115-120; large rounds, $135-137.50; good, $110-115; fair, $85-105; utility, $50-85; large squares, utility, $65-80. Mixed: large rounds, premium, $145-155. Straw: large rounds, $75-85. Corn stalks: large rounds, $50. Oat hay: large rounds, $120.

Yoder**/Frytown, Feb. 5

Grass, large rounds, $40-47.50; large squares, $42.50. Alfalfa, large rounds, $82.50-105; small squares, $5.60; large squares, $47.50-90.

**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

$52.12 $80.27 4700 $111.75 $0.94 95.00 $2.37 $7.09 $7.15 +$0.06 $14.53 $14.35 -$0.18 Actuals 2,084,000 583,000 36,000

This week, the graph is a look ahead at estimated costs and projected revenues for 2014 new-crop soybeans. This example uses November soybean price since early January less a 45-cent basis and an anticipated yield of 50 bushels per acre. Compared to the Iowa State University estimated costs of production of $557 per acre, the example new-crop opportunities project losses at this time. February starts the key month when the base price is set for revenue crop insurance products. Make sure to use this time to project your own costs, consider your crop insurance alternatives and make a new-crop marketing plan. In addition, the new farm program should be studied for how it will interact with crop insurance.


Export demand for U.S. corn surging, may go higher


ince the release of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Jan. 10 report, there has been a notable increase in corn export activity. The sales pace is so far ahead of the level based on the USDA’s current forecast that some analysts are thinking the USDA could raise the export forecast as much as 100 million bushels on the February report. The week after the January USDA reports, sales were only 24.7 million bushels. Sales the next two weeks were 70 million and 64.5 million. Even more encouraging, nearly one-half of the sales reported the last two weeks have been to Japan, one of our traditional customers. The take away from the export activity the last three weeks is that buyers appear to believe downside price risk has become limited, at least for now. Given corn’s price relative to wheat, and the picture unfolding in South America, there’s reason to think export prospects should be good into summer. Problems in Argentina have been well advertised. Price relationships and a poor start to planting are thought to have cut acreage 12 to 14 percent. Subsequent weather problems have hurt yields, with the latest indications pointing to a 23 million metric ton crop, down 12 percent from last year. That could cut Argentina’s exports as much as 20 percent. But the biggest change may be in Brazil. It has been a big competitor the last two years, especially during summer and fall, because of the increased output in their second corn crop that mostly comes from the center/west states. We already know the soybean/corn price ratio cut Brazil’s first crop plantings 5 percent. Brazil’s government is still forecasting second crop corn plantings will be as large as last year. But officials in Mato Grosso see economics cutting the second crop area 12 percent. Considering the drier conditions to start the year in some areas, a less robust yield than the near record Brazil’s government is currently using could cut the second crop output 8 million to 10 million metric tons, 17 to 22 percent less than Brazil produced last year. Exports, specifically in the summer/fall period, could be cut a similar amount. That’s 300 million to 400 million bushels of business that could be shunted elsewhere, specifically to the United States. That’s potential business for summer and fall activity that has been especially hit hard the last two years. ϾϏ͕ϏϏϏ

FUNDAMENTALS: All aspects of the demand sector should be a part








375 2/7/13



of strengthening prices through the winter. Cold weather, and relatively cheap corn prices, should bolster feed demand. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is said to be reconsidering its proposal to lower the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Export demand for ethanol is helping to bolster the weekly grind. This year’s lower prices are bolster1425

2013 CROP: Use this move up


to price any old-crop soybeans you may still own. Weather improvement in Argentina and harvest progress in Brazil suggest $13 prices will not be long lasting.







200 150 100 50 0 Basis Chicago Futures

-50 3/14/13





ing corn demand in world trade. We’ve had two consecutive weeks of good sales. 0DUFK 6R\EHDQV

Since late December, March futures have traded in a $12.62 to $13.39 range.







Ä?LJÄ?ĹŻÄž Ĺ?ĹśÇ€ÄžĆŒĆ?Ĺ?ŽŜ On the nearby chart there's a layer of resistance at $13.50. Until March can close over $13.50, the action best looks like a consolidation prior to the next leg down. A close under $12.55 should end rally opportunities.

1225 1200 1175

2014 CROP: Use rallies to $11.25 on November futures for catch-up sales. Even though we see prices dropping lower this year, we believe there will be more opportunities this winter/ spring to add to sales at current, or better, levels.




remains on South America, although this week’s USDA supply/demand report will temporar-


opportunities ahead to begin newcrop pricing. Target a move into the $4.75 to $5 range on December futures to initiate sales.





2013 CROP: Corn prices have

2014 CROP: We still see better


Cash Strategist Hotline: 1-309-557-2274

CORN STRATEGY moved to our initial sell target. While we think there’s potential for prices to eventually move higher, we think it’s important to reward the market with a sale. Boost your sales to 60 percent now. Given the modest carry, you can use a hedgeto-arrive (HTA) contract based on July futures to capture some storage returns on the sale as well.

FEBRUARY 12, 2014

1150 2/7/13




ily capture attention. Weather has improved prospects in Argentina with the trade comfortable with a low/middle 50 million metric ton crop. Scattered dry pockets over the last month may have diminished Brazilian potential, but Brazil’s large crop will still easily be a record. Harvest is moving forward at a fast pace, with exports set




275 225 175 125 75

25 -25

Basis Chicago Futures

-75 3/14/13





to surge during February. That will rapidly start to undermine the U.S. shipping pace.

1st crop


Iowa Corn & Soybean Basis

2nd crop


CORN: (basis vs. March futures, 2/5/14)

SOYBEANS: (basis vs. March futures, 2/5/14)

NW $4.27 -0.16 SW $4.20 -0.23

NW $12.73 -0.43 SW $12.80 -0.36

NC $4.35 -0.08 SC $4.32 -0.11

NE $4.31 -0.12 SE $4.31 -0.12

NC $12.74 -0.42 SC $12.74 -0.42

NE $12.68 -0.48 SE $12.78 -0.38

data - CONAB

Ͳ ϭϾϴϏ͏ϴϭ ϭϾϴϹ͏ϴϲ ϭϾϾϏ͏Ͼϭ ϭϾϾϹ͏Ͼϲ ώϏϏϏ͏Ϗϭ ώϏϏϹ͏Ϗϲ ώϏϭϏ͏ϭϭ

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

12-23-13 —10% sold @ $11.72

8-1-12 — 10% sold @ $12.90

12-31-13 — 10% sold @ $11.35

2-4-13 — 10% sold @ $13.35

80% unsold

4-22-13 — 10% sold @ $12.06 6-3-13 — 10% sold @ $13.25 10-28-13 — 10% sold @ $12.78 11-11-13 — 10% sold @ $13.00 12-9-13 — 10% sold @ $13.34 1-21-14 — 20% sold @ $12.99

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.

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.

CattleFax projects improved weather, record prices Creighton University professor emeritus Art Douglas told cattlemen and women last week at the 2014 Cattle Industry Convention and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Trade Show he expects improved moisture conditions in the majority of the United States, including improvements of the drought-affected areas of the west coast. As precipitation returns back to more normal levels for the 2014 growing season, CattleFax predicts farmers in the U.S. should grow an adequate corn crop to build the carryover supply. The improved corn supplies should assure lower corn/input costs over the next 12 to 24 months, according to CattleFax grain market analyst Mike Murphy. “The lower input cost will have a direct correlation to improved feeder cattle and calf values in

2014, and with continued help from Mother Nature, we will be in better shape with regard to hay supply and prices moving forward,� Murphy said. Global market specialist Brett Stuart indicated beef exports are expected to be near even in 2014 with record-high prices being the limiting factor. CattleFax senior analyst Kevin Good indicated the combination of improved moisture conditions resulting in lower input costs and record high calf values should lead to beef cow herd expansion beginning in 2014. Beef production in the U.S. will fall, with per-capita supply declining 4.5 percent. Good said because of the continued tighter feeder cattle supply, the margin segments of the beef production system, both feedyards and packers, will struggle with

excess capacity. Look for continued closure of both packing and feeding entities over the next 12 to 24 months, he said. Prices are expected to average $135 per hundredweight compared to $126 during 2013, an increase of 7 percent. Yearling prices are expected to average $168, an increase of 13 percent from the 2013 average of $146. According to Good, calf prices will average $193, up 13 percent from last year’s average of $168. “After years of tightening supplies, the cow-calf sector will again remain in the driver’s seat during 2014,� Good said. CattleFax CEO Randy Blach summarized the year ahead by saying almost all segments of the production chain will be profitable, although margin operators will continue to face challenges over the next few years.










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