Page 1

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

MARCH 12, 2014 | VOL. 80,

N O . 2 8 | W W W. I O WA FA R M B U R E A U . C O M

Iowa joins multi-state lawsuit challenging California egg law BY TOM BLOCK Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad last week joined five other states in a lawsuit opposing California’s egg-production law, which he says violates the commerce clause and discriminates against Iowa’s egg producers. The California law requires all eggs sold in the state to come from chickens raised in cages where

birds have enough room to spread their wings without touching another bird. About 30 percent of the eggs imported into California are produced in Iowa. “The burdensome law from the state of California effectively regulates the industry across state lines, hurts Iowa agriculture and is detrimental to Iowa egg producers,” said Branstad. “This law is an unwarranted burden being

imposed on Iowa’s producers by another state and violates the interstate commerce clause of the United States Constitution.” Iowa is the leading egg producing state in the nation, producing nearly 15 billion eggs per year. More than 9 percent of those eggs — 1.07 billion eggs per year — are sold in California, more than any other state. The Iowa egg industry contributes about $2 bil-

lion in total sales and impacts about 8,000 jobs. “Governor Branstad and I know a strong agricultural economy is critical to our continued economic growth,” said Iowa Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds. “California’s law adversely affects Iowa agricultural jobs, and we believe its negative effects and regulations felt by egg producers across the country is a violation of the com-

Mo. River farmers sue Corps for flood damage



Fitness matters for farmers, too A central Iowa farm couple says concentrating on their physical fitness has improved their work and social lives. STORY ON PAGE 3

BY TOM BLOCK Farmers in Iowa and four other states last week filed a lawsuit seeking compensation from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for damages caused by devastating, recurrent Missouri River flooding from 2006 to 2011. The 2011 flood lasted more than 100 days and was declared the worst in the region’s history. It deposited more than four feet of sand on land owned by David and Patrick Newlon, who farm near Percival in southwest Iowa. The Newlons joined nearly 200 farmers, small businesses and other riverside property owners in the lawsuit. “It’ll never be the same,” Patrick Newlon told the Omaha World Herald. The lawsuit, officially named Ideker Farms Inc. et al v. United States of America, was filed in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims on behalf of farmers and other property owners in Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota for damages sustained from one or more floods that occurred in 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2011. All four floods received a Presidential Declaration for Disaster. The named plaintiff is Roger Ideker of Ideker Farms Inc. of Corning, Mo., a third-generation farming operation, who said a recent change in Corps policy has led to a significant increase in flooding problems. “I know I speak for many farmers and others along the Missouri River when I say that the flooding we have experienced since 2006 has been much different than that of the past. The frequency and severity make it a real and continuing hardship and threat to our way of life.” The change in Corps’ management of the river is at the heart of

merce clause. We’re pleased that Democrats and Republicans are coming together in support of agriculture and against onerous regulations.” The lawsuit was filed in the Eastern District of California by Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster and co-signed by Branstad along with the attorneys general of Nebraska, Oklahoma, Alabama

USDA begins farm bill rollout Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says program sign-ups will begin soon and continue into next year. STORY ON PAGE 4

A farm advisor explains to Iowa Farm Bureau members the rigorous process for weekly testing of fertilizer and pesticide levels at a sugar beet farm in southern Spain. More than 170 Farm Bureau members from Iowa spent a week in Spain to learn about agricultural practices and cultural traditions as part of the annual County Presidents’ Incentive Trip. PHOTO/TOM BLOCK

Iowa farmers see traditions, challenges on Spain farms BY TOM BLOCK


raditions are an important part of agriculture in Spain, but those ties to the past carry both positives and negatives, Iowa Farm Bureau members learned on a visit to the second-largest country in Western Europe.

Centuries-old customs provide a touch of nostalgia and valueadded marketing opportunities for farms that raise fighting bulls, world-famous Iberian ham and Spanish wines. But at the same time, an unwillingness to embrace 21st century science and technology prevents row-crop farmers from planting the best corn and

soybean genetics available. “It was quite interesting to see the different ways they operate,” said Leo Stephas, a Clay County Farm Bureau member. “It’s always enjoyable to see how other people live and their customs. It inspires you when you meet these other farmers in a difSPAIN PAGE 2

Corn growers stress crop insurance Crop insurance was a key topic during the National Corn Growers Association’s policysetting session at the Commodity Classic. STORY ON PAGE 5

Ukraine turmoil affects grain markets An ISU grain market analyst says ongoing political strife in Ukraine could disrupt global crop markets. STORY ON PAGE 6




Iowa ranks first in the nation by generating about 27 percent of its energy from wind power last year, according to a new report from the American Wind Energy Association. The report said Iowa generated enough wind last year to power 1.4 million homes, second only to Texas, which generated enough wind energy to power 3.3 million homes. Iowa has 5,117 megawatts of installed wind energy capacity, with 1,055 megawatts under construction. The report said Iowa ranks third in the nation for the number of jobs — up to 7,000 direct and indirect, based on 2012 data — that are tied to wind generation. Iowa wind companies include Siemens and TPI Composites, the maker of blades, and Trinity Structural Towers, the maker of towers. The group said Iowa landowners receive about $16 million annually in lease payments for wind generation.

The Obama administration released the president’s proposed federal budget for fiscal 2015 last week, including a 10-year, $14 billion cut to the federal crop insurance program. The cuts would come from the producer premium subsidy, the level of retained earnings for insurance companies and agent compensation. The president’s budget proposes a $23.7 billion budget for the Agriculture Department in fiscal 2015. This is a $938 million reduction from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s fiscal 2014 budget. While the budget is widely considered to be “dead on arrival” in Congress, farm groups expressed concern about the symbolism of proposed cuts to crop insurance and food inspection budgets. The proposed budget also calls for closing or consolidating 250 Farm Service Agency offices nationwide and creating service centers to replace them.

2 MARCH 12, 2014 IOWA FARM BUREAU SPOKESMAN based ag companies, including BASF and Syngenta, have seen most of their growth in the U.S. “Corn producers are in favor of biotech,” said Romeo, who grows about 600 acres of corn, along with barley, grapes and peas. “We are importing cotton, soybeans and corn produced with biotech, but we can’t produce the same thing. Our livestock are eating crops that we can’t produce. It’s nonsense.”


ferent country. They have the same problems we do, and they have the same objectives we do. They’re all concerned about their land and their products.” More than 170 Farm Bureau members spent a week in Spain Feb. 24-March 2 as part of the annual Iowa Farm Bureau County Presidents’ Incentive Trip, learning about agriculture and local cultural attractions. For the first time in history, all 100 county Farm Bureaus met the requirements to qualify for the trip, which included city tours of Madrid and Seville, as well as visits to farms raising pigs, olives, cork, fighting bulls, wheat and sugar beets. Located on a peninsula extending into the Atlantic Ocean, Spain has several climate zones that affect the kind of farms in each region. Corn can only be grown under irrigation due to sporadic rainfall and intense summer heat, said Alberto Ojembarrena, operations manager for Pioneer Hi-Bred based in Spain.

Biotech bans European corn farmers are further handicapped by limited access to genetically-modified (GM) hybrids, he said. Only one GM crop (MON810) is approved for planting in Europe, and none have gained approval since 1998. “We are stuck in 1998. We have not evolved in Europe since then,” said Ojembarrena. “We don’t have

Corn shortages

Manuel Hernandez, center, an employee on a diverse crop farm in southern Spain, explains the mechanics of a tomato planter to Farm Bureau members Leo Stephas of Clay County, left, and Chuck Souder of Floyd County. PHOTO/ TOM BLOCK

all the benefits you (U.S.) farmers have growing biotech crops.” For example, he said, some areas of Spain are battling heavy infestations of European corn borers but can’t plant new biotech hybrids that resist the pest. The complexities of different languages, cultures and currencies among the EU’s 28 member states makes agreement difficult, he said. He has seen biotech field trials destroyed by activists opposing biotechnology. There has been a hint of progress in recent months when the European Commission was forced to vote on Pioneer’s application for approval of a Herculex 1 hybrid, which was submitted in 2001.

But the process is still incomplete because some EU countries refuse to discuss the issue. “Our farmers are frustrated that they are not able to produce like you guys,” Ojembarrena said. “It’s really disappointing when we know we are selling something much safer and much better for the farmer.” The vast majority of biotech crops in the EU are grown in Spain, but the total of 360,000 acres is a fraction of that grown in Iowa alone, said Jose Luis Romeo, a farmer in northeast Spain and a member of Iowa-based Truth about Trade and Technology’s Global Farmer Network. As a result, a number of European-

Demand for corn in Spain is growing rapidly, further emphasizing the need for more productive hybrids produced with biotechnology, said Ojembarrena. “We have a much higher demand for corn than we are producing,” he said. “We are in a deficit for corn.” The lack of herbicide-tolerant crops means Spain’s farmers must use tillage or other, often harsher chemicals to combat weeds, added Romeo. He said he has to spray his corn three times to get effective weed control. The Iowa farmers also noticed many hilly slopes had been aggressively tilled as Spanish farmers prepared their fields for spring planting. ‘They have some ‘C’ and ‘D’ slopes, and they were working the ground black,” Stephas observed. “We could see washing really bad. That’s a concern.”

Regulatory challenges Like their U.S. counterparts, Spain’s farmers are also facing a crush of regulations. Romeo said insecticides like Poncho and Gaucho have been

Legislature submits budget plan


The Iowa House and Senate last week released a Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 joint budget target of $6.9718 billion, which is slightly less than the governor’s proposed budget of $7.0009 billion. The last time there was an agreement on joint budget targets was in 2004. The FY2015 joint budget target would spend 99.8 percent of the ongoing revenue, which is projected to be $6.983 billion. It will also spend 91.1 percent of the total spending authority, which includes ongoing revenues and one-time money. The budget proposal represents a 7 percent increase from the FY2014 budget, with part of the increase going to implement the commercial property tax relief and education reform bills that were passed last year, as well as the state’s increased share of Medicaid costs. In addition to agreeing on the overall spending amount, the chambers have also agreed on the amounts that will be spent in the seven budget subcommittees that

and Kentucky. It asks the court to rule that California’s law violates the commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution. The commerce clause prohibits any state from enacting legislation that regulates conduct wholly outside its borders, protects its own citizens from out-of-state competition or places undue burdens on interstate commerce. “California’s effort to unconstitutionally limit the ability of Iowa farmers to access California’s consumers must be stopped,” said Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey. “I support all efforts to


the lawsuit. The claims are brought under the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution for the unconstitutional taking of property without compensation. “These Missouri River residents invested their fortunes and futures in developing farms, businesses and communities on this land in reliance on the Corps managing the river in a way that would deter flooding. Valuable farm ground is being permanently destroyed, and a way of life is now threatened,” said plaintiffs’ lead counsel R. Dan Boulware, a part-


one-time expenditures, specifically in the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy, the Conservation Cost-Share Program and the Ag Drainage Well Closure program.

Funnel deadline make up the total budget. One of those budget subcommittees is the Ag and Natural Resources budget, which has a joint spending target of $43.06 million, which is less than the governor’s recommendation of $45.1 million. The Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy (Water Quality Initiative) will be addressed in this budget. Farm Bureau is asking that the ongoing appropriation for the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy be increased to $6.65 million. Gov. Terry Branstad had proposed $4.4 million. The joint budget target doesn’t include any one-time appropriations, which may be addressed in a separate bill, similar to last year. Farm Bureau strongly believes that water quality and soil conservation must be included in any ner at national law firm Polsinelli, based in Kansas City. According to the plaintiffs, for at least six decades prior to 2004, the U.S. Corps of Engineers had prioritized flood control when managing operations of dams, reservoirs and other structures along the river. During that time, floods were shorter and less frequent. However, Corps policy changed beginning in 2004 to conform river operations with environmental laws and regulations. “The Constitution essentially says that, if you are going to make people sacrifice their property for a public good like protection of native species of wildlife, then you have to pay them just

This week marks the second funnel deadline of March 14, which means in order to survive, House bills must be moved out of Senate Committees and Senate bills must be moved out of House Committees. The exceptions are Ways and Means, Appropriations and Government Oversight bills.

Corn checkoff In floor action last week, the House passed House File 2427, which proposes to increase the corn checkoff cap to 3 cents per bushel. The bill also creates a task force that will submit recommendations to the Legislature on how to increase awareness of the refund provision to checkoff collections, as well as how to increase participation in future referendums.


recently banned over concerns regarding their impact on bee health. “Seventy percent of the chemicals we have been using have been forbidden in the last five years,” he said. “We don’t know what’s going to happen with our soybeans. We don’t have the biotech varieties to protect our crops.” Leopoldo de la Maza, manager of agriculture operations at the Cortijo Los Arenales bull farm, said environmental regulations prevent him from clearing scrub brush on pastures that the farm’s animals graze. However, he can intensively graze the pasture to eradicate the undesirable plants, achieving the same effect but in a less environmentally friendly manner. Regulators, he said, are usually “on a computer or reading a book,” detached from the realworld impacts of their decisions. “They don’t know the day-today operation of the farm, or the economics,” he said. Francisco Javier Hernandez gave an overview of the regulations covering the 1,500 acre farm he manages, where he grows wheat, barley, sugar beets and vegetable crops. The land, situated on a former marsh that was drained in the 1970s, must follow stringent rules regarding fertilizer and pesticide applications. An engineer visits the farm weekly to take samples, and farmers can be penalized if any mistakes are detected. “They’re regulated so much more. They’ve got it worse than we do right now,” said Stephas. More coverage of the presidents’ incentive trip will appear in future issues of the Spokesman. uphold the right of Iowa farmers to sell their products, including eggs, in every state — free from unconstitutional restraints imposed by any state.” The lawsuit comes after Congress rejected a farm bill provision drafted by Iowa Congressman Steve King that would have prevented states from regulating agricultural products from other states that met federal standards. California voters approved larger hen cage requirements in a 2008 ballot measure. To avoid putting their own producers at a competitive disadvantage, California’s legislature then approved a law that required all eggs sold in the state to meet the same standard by 2015.

Five counties attain 2014 membership campaign goal

Five more counties reached their gain goals last week as the 2014 Farm Bureau membership campaign entered its final month. Black Hawk County passed its goal of 2,507 members with Brad Jesse of LaPorte City leading the compensation,” said plaintiffs’ county’s drive. co-counsel Benjamin Brown, Also reaching its goal was a partner at Cohen Milstein in Delaware County with 2,458 Washington, D.C. members. Kevin Maloney of ManThe lawsuit alleges that the chester is the county president. Corps policy changes directly led Jerry Mulder of Rock Rapids to the recurrent flooding, including: led the membership campaign in s )NCREASING THE WATER STORAGE Lyon County, which reached its levels and altering the schedule goal of 1,018 members. for water releases from the six O ’ B r i e n large reservoirs located along the County also reriver’s upper basin upstream from ported reaching Yankton, S.D.; its goal with s #HANGING THE STRUCTURE OF 1,076 members. dikes and dams along the river to Mark Shriver scour the banks and make the river of Sutherland is more shallow; the county press #REATING SECONDARY CHANNELS ident. that increase the frequency and David King duration of floods. o f G u e r n s e y MULDER

was the campaign chairman in Poweshiek County, which hit its goal of 1,849 members. The 2014 membership drive continues through April 1.






MARCH 12, 2014


Editorial Iowa couple promotes health and wellness on the farm

ment I hear from other people is ‘I don’t have time to exercise.’ Well, what are you going to do if you’re not able to work because of problems brought about by your lack of physical activity, or poor choices?” In fact, Steve and Penny both agree being healthy and physically fit has made day-to-day farm work much more enjoyable, providing a confidence boost and stress relief. Being fit and active will also allow the couple to enjoy activities after they retire from farming, Steve adds.



here’s no sense sugar coating it. Despite lots of media attention, countless studies and numerous public initiatives, Americans continue to deal with the consequences of inactive lifestyles and unhealthy behaviors, leading to increased health care costs and lower levels of workplace productivity. Issues l i ke obesit y, h igh blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and decreased mobility are often linked to poor lifestyle choices, especially when it comes to exercise and nutrition. And these negative consequences know no boundaries to anyone — no matter their age, gender, ethnicity, geographic location, profession or socioeconomic status. Despite the common stereotype of a hard-working, healthy lifestyle, farmers (and their families) aren’t immune to health-related issues. In fact, studies have shown that rural residents are now worse off than their urban counterparts when it comes to obesity. A 2012 Gallup-Healthways study that ranked occupation types by obesity levels found that 24.7 percent of workers in the “farming, fishing or forestry” sector were obese, ahead of other more sedentary occupations, such as sales, teaching and professional/ office work.

Fewer physical demands Surprised? You shouldn’t be, according to Steve and Penny Radakovich, who run a 1,000-

Iowa farmers Steve and Penny Radakovich say making a commitment to physical fitness has allowed them to enjoy an active lifestyle, including a visit to Machu Picchu in Peru. SUBMITTED PHOTO

acre beef farming operation near Earlham. “Farming has changed a lot and has become more about hydraulics and automation,” commented Steve, who said technology has made farm work much less physically demanding. This is one of the reasons Steve and Penny chose decades ago to lead a more health-conscious lifestyle. “What got us started was the type of farming we do,” said Penny. “Steve’s work was taking us all over the world, and we realized there were a lot of neat things to see and do, so we wanted to make sure we were physically able to enjoy them.” Rafting in the Grand Canyon, snorkeling off the coast of the Galapagos Islands, climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa and hiking trips in places like the Amazon jungle and Alaska’s wilderness are

just a few examples of the adventures Steve and Penny have shared as a couple, not to mention the countless road races and marathons Steve has completed. “We believe aging is biological, not chronological,” explained Steve, who turns 70 this year. “And an active lifestyle opens the doors to a lot of different things.”

No excuses Steve and Penny, who both usually exercise anywhere from one to three hours daily, will be the first to say their approach to exercise and nutrition isn’t necessarily for everyone, but they do believe everyone should do something — and the excuse of time and location should not be a deterrent. “Fitness doesn’t guarantee health or longevity, but it puts the probabilities in your favor,” said Steve. “The biggest argu-

Communication key to biotech coexistence The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) last week said it supports the Agriculture Department’s decision to move forward with an important recommendation about biotechnology and coexistence. The recommendation, from the final report of the Advisory Committee on Biotechnology & 21st Century Agriculture (AC21), is to foster communication and collaboration to strengthen coexistence among farmers. American Soybean Association (ASA) President and Iowa farmer

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

Ray Gaesser said the AC21 report failed to show any evidence of significant problems among biotech and organic growers warranting additional steps beyond enhanced communication and education. However, organic groups aggressively pushed back on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s coexistence strategy with a deluge of comments expressing their desire for more regulations and restrictions on biotech crop production. Some organic groups want biotech companies or farmers who use biotech crops to pay for economic losses if their organ-

EDITORIAL STAFF [515] 225-5413 or

ADVERTISING [800] 442-FARM CIRCULATION [866] 598-3693

To place a free exchange ad, contact your county office for information. The Iowa Farm Bureau Spokesman (ISSN 0021-051X) is published weekly by the Iowa Farm Bureau, 5400 University Avenue, West Des Moines, IA 50266. Subscription price of $2 per year for mailing in the continental USA included in the dues of Farm Bureau members in Iowa. Additional subscription fee required for mailing outside the continental USA. Periodical postage paid at Iowa Falls, Iowa. Members please send change of address to your county Farm Bureau office. Postmaster send address changes (POD FORM 3579) to Iowa Farm Bureau Spokesman, P.O. Box 670, Iowa Falls, Iowa 50126. Letters to the editor and statewide news articles should be sent to Editor, Iowa Farm Bureau Spokesman, 5400 University Avenue, West Des Moines, Iowa 50266. Reprinting of Spokesman articles and photographs is not allowed without permission.

ic crops are rejected due to cross pollination. “We are disappointed by the implication from activist groups opposed to modern farming practices that there is widespread disagreement when it comes to coexistence and agricultural biotechnology,” AFBF President Bob Stallman said in a statement. “Frankly, that assertion does not hold up to scrutiny.” Stallman and Gaesser said farmers who raise premium crops have a successful history of implementing the production practices necessary to preserve the value of that crop. 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.

Eating better The Radakoviches believe it’s never too late to start exercising, but also say nutrition is just as important. Eating more fruits and vegetables, cutting back on fried foods, watching portion sizes and being aware of caloric intake are all a part of their healthy lifestyle. “Our eating habits have definitely changed,” said Penny. “You don’t have to starve yourself, but nutrition and dieting is a mindset.” Ashley Christensen, the Safe Routes to School regional liaison for the Upper Explorerland Regional Planning Commission in Decorah, agrees that proper nutrition, getting daily exercise and making good choices are keys to personal success. “Health is a personal choice, just like most everything else in life. We choose our jobs, we choose our friends, we choose what color to paint the walls, and we choose whether or not to be healthy. We choose what we put into our mouths and how we spend our free time, whether it’s in front of the television versus going out for a walk,” explained Christensen. Though working with kids is a focus for her, Christensen believes it’s just as important for adults — and farmers — to pay attention to the benefits to be derived from healthy lifestyle choices. “By eating right and staying active, farmers will be more alert and ready to react to emergencies and even just the day-to-day duties of farm labor,” she said. “And by taking care of their bodies and health today, farmers will physically be able to continue doing what they love long into the future.” Mark Yontz is a freelance writer from Urbandale.

Reports show farm economic climate in flux

BY DIRCK STEIMEL With the farm bill finally passed and crop margins significantly tighter, it’s clear that the economic climate of American agriculture is changing in many different ways. That fact was hammered home for me by a couple of recent economic reports: one that looked at trends in government payments to farmers and the other at agricultural credit conditions in Iowa and other parts of the Corn Belt. The first report, part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s 2014 farm income outlook package, showed how the farm safety net is evolving with the elimination of direct payments in the new farm bill and increased reliance on crop insurance. Government payments to farmers in 2014 are projected to plummet more than 45 percent to just over $6 billion. Farm payments had been holding lower for nearly a decade because high crop prices virtually eliminated the need for counter-cyclical payments. But in 2014, with direct payments now off the table, government payments are projected to drop sharply. Interestingly, the biggest category of farm payments now are for conservation programs at about $3.7 billion. The growing prominence of the programs, such as the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), the Conservation Security Program (CSP) and the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), are a clear signal that farm programs are providing a clear benefit to society, not only to farmers. It will be interesting to see if the lower crop prices that are forecast for the coming years cause government payments to rise when the new farm bill is fully operational in 2015. The other report, the quarterly survey of agricultural bankers by the Chicago Federal Reserve, showed credit conditions are becoming tougher. Several statistics were telling. In the Chicago Fed district, which includes Iowa and parts of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin, the survey found a sharply reduced rate of repayment on non-real estate loans, especially in Iowa and Wisconsin. There was also a higher rate of renewals and extensions on loans, and a higher percentage of farm loans showing severe repayment problems. The survey of bankers also showed that farmers’ capital purchases, such as land, equipment and vehicles, is likely to pull back in 2014 as agriculture adjusts to a new climate. Once again, a situation to watch closely as we head into the growing season.


private partnership for the delivery of the federal crop insurance C o r n fa r m e r s f r o m I owa program and keep implementaand 26 other states represent- tion with private crop insurance ing the National Corn Growers agents, not government agencies. Association (NCGA) recently met Iowa Corn Growers Association at the Commodity Classic in San (ICGA) President Roger Zylstra, a Antonio to discuss policy to form farmer from Lynnville, said Iowa’s a legislative direction for the orga- resolutions were well received. nization. “The biggest thing I think of Iowa’s grassroots policy pro- significance to Iowans is that we cess brought forth six resolutions had put down specific actions that that were accepted by the national we wanted to make sure that condelegate body. servation compliance actually tied Issues related to crop insur- to crop insurance,� said Zylstra, ance, biotechnology, communica- a Jasper County Farm Bureau tions, farmer confidentiality, etha- member. “If we get stuck into the nol and the farm bill were top of situations that we’ve had the last mind for the delegate body. The couple of years with really adverse Iowa resolutions included: weather, we don’t lose our crop s 3UPPORT MAINTAINING OR IN insurance coverage. That is just creasing funding of research at really critical to our Iowa farmers.� all levels to improve corn quality, Zylstra, who is the vice chair lower input costs and increase the of the NCGA trade and biotech use of corn. action team, said it was important s 3UPPORT THE PROTECTION OF that the Iowa delegation and othfarmers who have planted ap- ers support biotechnology and the proved biotechnology products farmers’ freedom to operate. without threat of judicial proceed“We also made it clear that ings requiring them to terminate (U.S.) trading partners need to crops. get an approval process in place s 3UPPORT A COMPLETE SCIENCE that’s dependable and that we can based, yet expeditious, regulatory essentially predict,� he said. “We process in the U.S. for all biotech- are not going to allow other counnology events. tries to dictate the technologies s 3UPPORT A FARM BILL THAT that we use to grow our crops. We includes both farm programs and don’t want to cause any undue a nutrition title. disruption in the markets, but on s3UPPORTNOHARDDOLLARCAPON the other hand, we want access the government’s share of the crop to the products that we think are insurance premium. going to be necessary for us to be s 3UPPORT THE CURRENT PUBLIC competitive.� BY BETHANY BARATTA

Iowan honored as national conservation award winner Iowa farmer David Ausberger has been named the national winner of American Soybean Association’s (ASA) Conservation Legacy Award. The award recognizes soybean farmers for outstanding environmental and conservation practices, while maintaining profitable farming operations. Ausberger, who farms near Jefferson, was honored for his use of no-till — or as he describes it “never till� — and expansive cover cropping, a practice he says enables him to better manage soil and water quality, disease, weeds and insects. Ausberger also pointed to innovative strategies like the

strategic application of nutrients through an extensive composting program that makes use of poultry litter from a nearby operation, and waste wood chips from the city of Jefferson. Another Iowa farmer, Tim Smith from Eagle Grove, was selected as the inaugural honoree in the National Corn Growers Association’s Good Steward Recognition Program. The program and award funding was provided by the Howard G. Buffett Foundation as part of the Harvesting the Potential campaign to raise awareness among U.S. farmers of the importance of conservation agriculture.

Quality, Affordable Travel since 1967!

Canadian Rockies Tour Explore Banff, Jasper and Whistler





Iron Magnesium Magnesium Manganese

Corn growers seek protections for crop insurance, biotech crops








Essential crop functions are dependent on complex interactions between NPK and micronutrients. The correct amount of some nutrients - and not enough of others – can starve crops and reduce yield potential. Remember the Law of the Minimum: “Yields are limited by the nutrient in shortest supply.�

If your goal is to improve fertilizer efďŹ ciency and grow more with less - don’t overlook the power of MicroSolutions Micronutrients. • 800-831-4815



TAKING. Choose the soybeans that have a legacy all their own: FS HiSOYÂŽ. The ďŹ rst proprietary soybean brand, HiSOY has been a part of the land for nearly 50 years. Grow proud and pass it on. See your local FS member company or visit

14 days from $1699* Departs July 25, 2014. Start in Seattle and drive through the lush forestlands of the Pacific Northwest. Visit Grand Coulee Dam and then head east to the “Big Sky Country� of Montana followed by journey’s through Glacier & Waterton National Parks. Travel through Kootenay National Park and then spend two-nights in Banff National Park. Continue northbound along the Icefields Parkway and in the heart of the Canadian Rockies you will visit Lake Louise; experience a “snow coach� ride onto Athabasca Glacier; Jasper & Yoho National Parks; Revelstoke and the Lake Okanagan region. Continue to Kamloops, “Canada’s friendliest city;� and the resort town of Whistler. Then travel to Vancouver for your twonight stay before returning to Seattle. Enjoy a city tour including a stop at Pike Place Market before flying home. *PPDO. Plus $159 tax/service/government fees. Alternate departure dates available June-September. Seasonal charges may apply. Add-on airfare available.

Call for Details! 888-817-9538

Travel with oth e Farmers r !

Š2012 GROWMARK, Inc. S13268


Ukraine turmoil could disrupt grain markets


pheaval in Ukraine could cause shipping delays and disrupt grain supplies across the globe, according to an Iowa State University economist. Ukrainian farmers have ramped up their production of corn and soybeans in recent years, most of which is exported. But recent tensions with Russia, focused in the Crimea region and the Black Sea, could create a bottleneck that shuts down Ukrainian exports to the rest of the world. The Black Sea is the main avenue by which Ukrainian crops reach international markets. If shipping traffic on the Black Sea is shut down for an extended period, Ukrainian grain will have nowhere to go, said Chad Hart, an Iowa State University (ISU) associate professor of economics and an ISU Extension and Outreach grain markets specialist. With less global supply, commodity prices could rise, Hart said. “If Ukraine continues to have problems, it pulls supply out of the world market,” he said. “That tends to mean higher prices.” That scenario has already started to play out for the price of soybeans, which has climbed in

cy (RMA) has finalized the 2014 corn and soybean base prices for crop insurance policies. For the majority of the Corn Belt, 2014 established crop insurance guarantees are $4.62 per bushel for corn, $11.36 per bushel for soybeans and $6.51 per bushel for spring wheat. By comparison, the 2013 base prices for crop insurance coverage were $5.65 per bushel for corn, $12.87 per bushel for soybeans and $8.44 per bushel for spring wheat.

said Plain and Brown. “Each of the last five weeks increased the number of farms with the disease by more than 250. As of Feb. 23, the total number of infected swine farms was 4,106.” Hog slaughter last week totaled 2.052 million head, down 4.8 percent from the week before and down 6.6 percent compared to the same week last year.

China moving on MIR162 China’s process to approve

Hog prices soaring recent weeks due to the situation in Ukraine as well as continued demand in China and harvesting delays in South America, Hart said. Cary Sifferath, U.S. Grains Council regional director for the Middle East and Africa, said Ukraine’s ports are open and vessels are loading but shipments are becoming increasingly difficult. “We’re seeing farmers holding grain to hedge against a devaluing currency,” he said. The instability is creating opportunities for additional U.S. exports to North Africa, the Middle East and China, he said. Ukraine’s corn planting is due to start in the next 30 to 45 days, and credit availability may become an issue, Sifferath said.

Crop insurance prices The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Risk Management Agen-

Hog futures set new record highs last week as slaughter numbers dropped and uncertainty surrounding supplies intensified due to the porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) virus, University of Missouri economists Ron Plain and Scott Brown said last week. The April lean hog futures contract settled at $113 per hundredweight on March 7, up $6.15 from the previous Friday. May hog futures ended the week at $117.75 per hundredweight, up $6.35 from the week before. June hogs gained $8.28 to close at $120.50. The July contract ended the week at $118.55 per hundredweight, up $7.10 for the week. Prior to February 2014, no hog futures contract had ever closed above $108 per hundredweight, the economists noted. “The number of new cases of PED virus continues to climb,”

Weekly Average Price Comparison Sheet Price comparisons: Week ending: 03/07/2014 02/07/2014 Cattle - National 5 Area Confirmed Sales 49,745 15,864 5 Area 65-80% Choice Steers: Wtd Avg. $149.12 NA Average Weights (Estimate) Cattle 1335 1337 Boxed Beef Choice 600-750 (5 day avg.) $236.02 $210.77 Boxed Beef Select 600-750 (5 day avg.) $232.87 $209.19 Five Day Average Hide and Offal Value $15.57 $14.67 Cattle - Interior Iowa - Minnesota Supply: 8,662 8,959 Average Price Choice Steer: Live Basis $148.18 $139.83 Average Price Choice Steer: Dressed Basis $238.62 $223.00 Feeder Steers at River Markets (Neb. Feedlots) #1 Muscle Thickness 500-600# $228.58 $223.56 #1 Muscle Thickness 700-800# $178.77 $173.28 Hogs -- Interior Iowa - Minnesota ISM Friday Weighted Average Carcass Price $107.38 $81.79 Average Weights (Estimate) Hogs 281.8 281.6 Sows 1-3 300# and up: Average Price $71.56 $60.45 Pork Loins 1/4” trimmed 13 - 19 pounds $152.28 $121.53 51-52% 185 pound Pork Carcass (5 day avg.) $106.69 $97.82 Feeder Pigs: National Direct Delivered Feeder Pigs 10 Pounds Basis - Wtd Avg. $88.87 $84.70 Feeder Pigs 40 Pounds Basis -- Wtd Avg. $114.03 $103.07 Sheep -- National Slaughter Lambs Negotiated Sales 9,900 8,400 Choice & Prime Wooled and Shorn 130-150 lbs. $153.75 $156.25 Iowa Large Eggs (cents per dozen) $1.06 $1.07 Young Hen Turkeys: 8 -16# - Eastern (cents/lb) 99.80 100.50 *Iowa Ethanol Prices $/gal $2.28 $1.92 Futures: Corn $4.89 $4.45 State Average Cash Corn Price $4.60 $4.31 Basis -$0.29 -$0.14 Futures: Soybean $14.58 $13.32 State Average Cash Soybean Price $14.10 $12.88 Basis: -$0.48 -$0.44 Slaughter Under Federal Inspection Estimates Estimates Hogs: 2,053,000 2,095,000 Cattle: 544,000 559,000 Sheep: 38,000 37,000 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

03/08/2013 71,781 $127.55 1324 $197.28 $194.93 $13.86 22,407 $126.59 $203.11 $180.27 $144.45 $71.09 276.1 $55.94 NA $79.61

Syngenta’s MIR162 genetically modified corn is under way after the firm submitted additional material to authorities in November and should go through quickly, Vice Agriculture Minister Niu Dun told Reuters as China’s parliament convened last week. Asked if the corn variety could be approved within the first half of 2014, he said: “It is possible.” He said the exact timing would depend on the agriculture ministry’s biosafety committee.

CME Class III Milk Futures Closing prices March 7, 2014 Contract March 2014 April 2014 May 2014 June 2014 Spot Prices Block Cheese Barrel Cheese Butter NFDM Grade A

Settle $22.68 $21.27 $20.25 $20.02

Last Week $22.15 $20.83 $20.07 $19.94

$2.2925 $2.2500 $1.8800 $2.0400

Contract July 2014 August 2014 September 2014 October 2014

Settle Last Week $19.88 $19.65 $19.60 $19.47 $19.40 $19.15 $19.17 $18.93

Milk Prices March Class III March Class IV

$23.14 $23.35

Iowa Hay Auctions Dyersville, March 5

Hay, large squares, premium, $200-252.50; good, $140-170; fair, $110-140; utility, $67.50; large rounds, good, $130-165; fair, $100-130; utility, $70-95. Oat hay, large rounds, good, $85. Straw, large squares, good, $30-70. Corn stalks, large rounds, fair, $17.50-19. CRP, large squares, good, $105; large rounds, good, $100-155. Mixed, large squares, good, $200; large rounds, good, $100-155. Grass, large rounds, good, $80-150; fair, $65-80.

Ft. Atkinson, March 5

Hay, small squares, 1st crop, $230-240; 2nd crop, $130-140; large squares, 1st crop, $115-170; 2nd crop, $130-185; 3rd crop, $140-240; large rounds, 1st crop, $60-140; 2nd crop, $70-180; 3rd crop, $60-180. Grass, large rounds, $60-125. Oat hay, large rounds, $95-110 Straw, large squares, $45-85. Corn stalks, large rounds, $45-80.

Perry**, March 1

Alfalfa, small squares, premium, $6-7; large squares, $80; large rounds, $90; small squares, good, $4; large squares, $55; large rounds, $65. Grass, small squares, premium, $4.50; large rounds, $65; small squares, good, $3.50; large rounds, $55; small squares, fair, $2.50; large rounds, $50. Straw, small squares, $3. Corn stalks, large rounds, $15.

Rock Valley, March 6

Alfalfa, large squares, premium, $160-165; good, $130-145; large rounds, premium, $150-175; good, $125-145; fair, $105-122.50. Grass, small squares, premium, $140-150; good, $125; large rounds, good, $110-100; fair, $80-100; large squares, utility, $40. Straw: small squares, $5. Corn stalks: large rounds, $40-55.

Yoder**/Frytown, March 5

Grass, large rounds, $47.50-77.50; large squares, $45-60; small squares, $3.80-4.30. Alfalfa, large rounds, $45-92.50; small squares, $4.10-5.90; large squares, $47.5077.50.

**Perry and Yoder hay auction prices are per bale. All other prices are per ton. Contacts: Dyersville, 563-588-0657; Ft. Atkinson, 563-534-7513; Perry, 515-321-5765; Rock Valley, 712-476-5541; Yoder, 319-936-0126

$34.25 $64.90 6,800 No Test $0.90 96.31 $2.37 $7.03 $7.24 +$0.21 $14.71 $14.67 -$0.04 Actuals 2,132,000 587,000 41,000

The key month of February is past, and we know that the base (spring) insurance corn price for 2014 crop is $4.62. Illustrated this week are the December corn futures prices since the first of the year (dashed blue line). The solid line represents the February average used for crop insurance at $4.62. The soybean base (spring) price for 2014 crop insurance is $11.36. Both are down significantly from last year’s base price — corn is $1 lower and soybeans are $1.50 lower. Market direction from here is unknown, but the crop insurance decision is a most important first step in a 2014 risk management plan. Make sure to check out the Trend-Adjusted Actual Production History (APH), which is available for revenue or yield protection policies.


Russian, Ukraine tensions shock the markets


olitics were the big driver in the grain markets last week, with the Russian/Ukrainian tensions exploding across the trade after Russia sent troops into Crimea. As the week ended, the situation was still far from resolved, but emotions had calmed down from where they started the week. As far as the grains were concerned, the immediate uncertainty surrounded how the situation would affect corn and wheat that Ukraine still has to ship from last summer’s crop. Data indicate Ukraine still has about 2.5 million metric tons of wheat and 3 million metric tons of corn to ship yet this year. At the end of the week, it was said Ukraine’s ports were operating relatively normally. If the situation doesn’t escalate and export activity continues, the two countries will supply about 15 to 18 percent of the corn and wheat to the total world trade. In truth, the remainder yet to be shipped is relatively small, with the remainder of the wheat equivalent to 92 million bushels and the corn to 118 million bushels. There’s plenty of grain around the world, including in the U.S., to easily accommodate any significant disruption. To put the portion of world trade in perspective, the U.S. supplies about 25 percent of the wheat traded in the world, with our corn exports supplying 41 percent of the world’s needs. Nevertheless, any disruption would cause some shifts in world trade flows. If Ukraine’s shipments are disrupted, wheat could easily be sourced out of the U.S., EU, Australia or even Canada. Late word on the latter suggests the government is finally putting pressure on railroads to expedite grain shipments. And it’s thought India’s new wheat crop could be well over 100 million metric tons. Given the large stocks India is thought to already control, it would put pressure on India to get serious about selling wheat into the world. There are fewer places to source corn or other coarse grains, but there will be corn available to ship out of South America and South Africa. And it’s possible some buyers might look to India to buy feed quality wheat to replace any lost corn from Ukraine. The bigger concern might be how the situation impacts availability from the new crop. But past political conflicts like this haven’t tended to have lasting implications. The Falkland Island war between Great Britain and Argentina comes to mind.

MARCH 12, 2014


Cash Strategist Hotline: 1-309-557-2274



Central IL Daily Cash Corn


2013 CROP: Get sales up another 20 percent now, taking your total to 80 percent. If the corn is stored on farm, consider using a hedgeto-arrive (HTA) contract for a May/ June delivery. Basis should improve with the Mississippi River re-opening, along with demand to fill export orders. A close under $4.78 on May futures would indicate a short-term top has been seen. Timing counts suggest futures could decline into late May once a top has been seen.

2014 CROP: Price 15 percent of your new crop now. If December futures close under $4.80, sell another 10 percent, boosting the total to 25 percent. The next good chance to price corn at these levels may not come until summer.



is again talking that the export





has ruled the market this week more than reality. The political tension between Russia and Ukraine could undermine Ukraine’s ability to continue exporting, but so far, loadings haven’t been impacted. And the USDA has already built into its forecasts increasing U.S. exports through summer.

150 100 50 0 Basis Chicago Futures

-50 4/11/13






Central IL Daily Cash Soybeans

1750 1650 1550

take soybean shipments, even though there are reports its ports are congested and the country has requested delays in shipments. While there’s still a chance for nearby futures to run toward $15, this market is overpriced given the harvest of a large South American crop. We do not recommend owning inventory.




2013 CROP: China continues to

get sales up to recommended levels. Even though old-crop prices are still moving up, new-crop prices have not been inclined to willingly follow.


350 4/2/12


2014 CROP: Use strength to






1350 1250


1150 4/2/12


pace may potentially pull soybean inventories under pipeline levels. At the same time, soybean premiums at Brazilian ports are declining, enough to push the differential with the U.S. close to making soybean imports justifiable. If the Chinese are successful in getting shipments delayed, it could have more impact on prices at China’s ports than those




275 225 175 125 75

25 -25

Basis Chicago Futures

-75 4/11/13





in the U.S. Brazil’s crop is still record large, with harvest 52 percent complete.

Iowa Corn & Soybean Basis CORN: (basis vs. May futures, 3/05/14)

NW $4.52 -0.30 SW $4.43 -0.39

Cash Strategist Positions CORN


at a glance 2014

7-16-12 — 10% sold @ $6.35

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 2-10-14 — 10% sold @$4.42 1/4 40% 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 4-22-13 — 10% sold @ $12.06 6-3-13 — 10% sold @ $13.25

2-18-14 — 10% sold @ $11.38 3-3-14

— 10% sold @ $11.72 60% unsold

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.

NC $4.61 -0.21 SC $4.59 -0.23

NE $4.58 -0.24 SE $4.58 -0.24

SOYBEANS: (basis vs. May futures, 3/05/14) NW $13.72 -0.48 SW $13.75 -0.46

NC $13.75 -0.46 SC $13.75 -0.46

NE $13.66 -0.55 SE $13.75 -0.46

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.

Hog farmers upbeat about their future U.S. pig farmers find optimism even though concerns over hog health and disease rank as a top concern, according to the results of a survey released last week at the National Pork Industry Forum in Kansas City, Mo. The survey, fielded late in 2013, found 30 percent of producers said hog health and disease were the single biggest challenge they faced. This result is not surprising given that Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDV) continues to impact farms across the country. “In a year that brought significant herd losses due to PEDV, the survey underscores that the issue is still top of mind for many producers,� said Karen Richter, National Pork Board president

and a producer from Montgomery, Minn. “But with this concern comes opportunity for the Pork Checkoff, with 27 percent of producers also saying that the checkoff was best positioned to fund additional research into PEDV.� At 27 percent, providing PEDV research ranked first from a defined list of choices when asked: “How can the checkoff help you in 2014?� When asked the open-ended question of what is the single most important thing the Pork Checkoff can do to help your operation be more successful, advertising and promoting pork ranked No. 1 at 23 percent, followed by educating consumers about the safety of pork at 12 percent.

Additional marketing-related concerns included improving export and international trade potential, increasing demand and opening more markets to pork. According to the survey results, three of every four producers surveyed (75 percent of the 550 respondents) reported that the pork industry is on the “right track.� Not only is that result the highest in survey history, but is up 16 points from the 2012 result of 59 percent. Of the 13 percent of producers that said the industry was headed in the wrong direction, the most commonly reported reason was related to competition, too much regulation, the inability to turn a profit and disease problems.


MARCH 12, 2014


Every operation can use a sharper lens.