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President Tim Bardole, Rippey | At Large President Elect Jeff Jorgenson, Sidney | D7 Treasurer Dave Walton, Wilton | D6
October 2019 | Vol. 32, No. 1
Secretary Robb Ewoldt, Blue Grass | D6 Executive Committee Randy Miller, Lacona | D8 Board of Directors Brent Swart, Spencer | D1 Chuck White, Spencer | D1 April Hemmes, Hampton | D2 Casey Schlichting, Clear Lake | D2 Rick Juchems, Plainfield | D3 Suzanne Shirbroun, Farmersburg | D3 Marty Danzer, Carroll | D4 Jeff Frank, Auburn | D4 Tom Vincent, Perry | D5 Morey Hill, Madrid | D5 Bill Shipley, Nodaway | D7 Warren Bachman, Osceola | D8 Pat Swanson, Ottumwa | D9 Tom Adam, Harper | D9 Brent Renner, Klemme | At Large Steph Essick, Dickens | At Large Lindsay Greiner, Keota | At Large American Soybean Association Board of Directors Morey Hill, Madrid Wayne Fredericks, Osage Brian Kemp, Sibley John Heisdorffer, Keota Steph Essick, Dickens Dave Walton, Wilton United Soybean Board of Directors Delbert Christensen, Audubon Larry Marek, Riverside Tom Oswald, Cleghorn April Hemmes, Hampton Staff Credits Editor | Ann Clinton Communications Director | Aaron Putze, APR Senior Creative Manager | Ashton Boles Photographer | Joseph L. Murphy Staff Writer | Bethany Baratta Staff Writer | Carol Brown Staff Writer | Lauren Houska Staff Writer | Katie Johnson Sales Director | David Larson
12 Disease Erodes Demand
Hog disease slows soybean shipments.
16 Beagle Brigade
Four-legged friends deployed to protect our food system.
22 Setting the Table
Activities whet consumer appetites for exploring agriculture.
24 Gall Midge War
Continues Research ongoing to determine treatment options.
On the Cover: As African swine fever spreads Iowa Soybean Review is published eight times a year by: Iowa Soybean Association 1255 SW Prairie Trail Parkway, Ankeny, Iowa 50023 (515) 251-8640 | iasoybeans.com E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
throughout China and certain regions around the world, Iowa farmers continue vigelant care of their animals. African swine fever has not been detected in the U.S.
For advertising information in the Iowa Soybean Review, please contact Larson Ent. LLC (515) 440-2810 or Dave@LarsonentLLC.com. Comments and statewide news articles should be sent to the above address. Advertising space reservations must be made by the first day of the month preceding publication. In consideration of the acceptance of the advertisement, the agency and the advertiser must, in respect of the contents of the advertisement, indemnify and save the publisher harmless against any expense arising from claims or actions against the publisher because of the publication of the content of the advertisement.
Iowa Soybean Association Celebrates National Pork Month in October.
OCTOBER 2019 | IASOYBEANS.COM | 3
Kirk Leeds Chief Executive Officer, Iowa Soybean Association email@example.com, Twitter @kirkleeds
Digging out of this mess 2019 has been a rough year. Huge carryover, low prices, production challenges, record prevented-planted acres, lower yields, fears of an early frost, trade wars and African swine fever. Throw in a dysfunctional Congress and executive branch, political chaos, lack of any signs of civility between people who disagree with each other and more people running to be president than were in my high school graduation class. Then there was a curve ball from a pest threat called “gall midge” and what is turning out to be a disappointing year for my beloved Chicago Cubs baseball team. It's easy to see why people are stressed and more than a bit testy. There must better days ahead, right? September marked my 30th year on the Iowa Soybean Association staff. Over the years, I've seen agriculture go through many cycles. There have been some lean years and other years of growth and profitability. These cycles are part of agriculture and farmers much older than me remind me of this all the time. I didn’t work for soybean farmers in the 80s, but I was involved in family-owned businesses in several rural Iowa communities at the time. We felt the impact caused by the consolidation and lack of
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profitability in agriculture. I saw many of my high school classmates, who had grown up on family farms, have to leave the farm. I even ran for a seat in the Iowa legislature in the mid-1980s because I wanted to see if could help the state I love turn the economy around so that “all the best and brightest” didn’t feel compelled to leave to find better opportunities. After all, I wanted to think that I was one of those “best and brightest,” and I certainly didn’t want to leave! So how do we dig ourselves out the current mess? I will leave most of the above list of challenges we face for others to solve (particularly the political chaos and lack of civility), but I do think there are a number of things we can and must do in the soybean industry to move forward. First, we must double our efforts to find markets to replace the loss of sales to China. The good news is, soybean farmers — through investments from the checkoff and federal government — are already working hard on this one. We still have a long way to go to replace lost sales to the world’s largest market. But we have seen real growth in Southeast Asia, Europe, Central America, Egypt and other parts of Africa. Assuming we ever get Congress to approve the new
agreement with Canada and Mexico, we'll continue to see good growth. A new agreement with Japan could also help. Second, we must redouble efforts to find new uses for soybeans and pull out all stops to grow the demand for soybean oil-based biodiesel. The increased demand for more plant-based proteins by a segment of consumers could also prove to be important. We must also continue to support efforts to lower production costs in an environmentally sustainable way to compete for market share with competitors in South America. Finally, we must never lose focus on the most important market for Iowa soybeans — the domestic livestock market. Iowa is a leader in hog and egg production and a major player in turkeys, poultry, dairy and beef cattle. Adding value to Iowa soybeans by feeding them to poultry and livestock is still the best path forward, both for domestic consumption and for a global market that is hungry for high-quality proteins. So how do we dig out of this mess? One shovel at a time and one bushel at a time. It’s hard work, but it’s the only way.
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Michael Dolch Director of Public Affairs, Iowa Soybean Association MDolch@iasoybeans.com
Sprint to the Finish
fter an unusually eventful August, Congress is back under the U.S. Capitol dome with an agenda full of critical issues that will take compromise in a deeply divided Congress. As I write this, a sprint to the finish is underway with fewer than 30 legislative days clinging to the House calendar and less than 40 in the Senate. During the state work period, and as Iowa’s congressional delegation crisscrossed their districts, Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) directors and advocate members followed closely, rallying to voice mounting frustration across farm country. Members engaged elected officials at more than 15 events, ranging from roundtables and town halls to farm visits and industry tours. Each opportunity was unique, but all were strictly business. ISA farmer-members laid out a host of issues impacting their profitability and freedom to operate. Members of Iowa’s House delegation heard key messages on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) trade agreement, which would stabilize two neighboring export markets. They also heard perspectives on the biodiesel tax incentive and the importance
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of America’s inland waterway system, including dredging the lower Mississippi River. Senators were urged to direct the Administration to restore biodiesel demand destroyed by EPA’s continued abuse of small refinery exemptions. But what does that mean? Simply put: a lost profit opportunity. It’s estimated the 31 retroactive waivers granted for the 2018 compliance year destroyed 387 million gallons of biodiesel demand. If you assume 1 bushel of soybeans yields 1.5 gallons of biodiesel, that would equate to 258 million bushels of lost soybean demand. If you subtract the lost demand from the current carryout of nearly 750 million bushels, the U.S. inventory would fall below a historically high, but manageable, 500 million bushels while also injecting life into the soybean market. Remember, this is a conservative, back-of-thenapkin calculation. Now consider this. Three years, 85 small refinery exemptions and an estimated 1.4 billion gallons of destroyed biodiesel demand later, the industry’s lost out on a potential domestic market for more
than 900 million bushels of soybeans. By my calculation, the Administration could orchestrate the ultimate win-winwin by supporting a domestic policy that’s good for farmers, consumers and the environment, not to mention help win the trade war with China. As I sit here pounding the keyboard, Jeff Jorgenson of Sidney – ISA’s President-Elect and Public Affairs Committee Chairman – is preparing to brief Senate leaders and staff on the expanding role of precision agriculture in farm profitability and feeding the world. In the coming weeks and months, it’s imperative that we secure federal funding to improve Mississippi River infrastructure, amend the U.S. Army Corps of Engineer’s Master Manual to prioritize flood control, and work to increase state and federal investments in water quality and soil conservation. It’s a sprint to the finish, folks, and not a time to coast or leave the work to others. We must go on offense, amplify our needs and concerns, and demand action rather than rhetoric out of Washington. Wishing you a safe and bountiful harvest season.
Iowa Soybean Farmers Elected to State, National Leadership Posts
owa soybean farmers have been elected to state and national leadership posts during a recent meeting of the Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) board of directors. Joining ISA President Tim Bardole of Rippey on the state association’s executive committee are Jeff Jorgenson, Sidney, President-elect; Dave Walton, Wilton, Treasurer; Robb Ewoldt, Davenport, Secretary; and Randy Miller, Lacona, At-large. “This executive committee
is experienced, dedicated and committed to doing what’s best for soybean growers,” Bardole says. “I’m looking forward to working with them to continue the mission
of ISA – helping soybean farmers be more competitive and profitable.” Several farmers were also elected to represent Iowa as American Soybean Association (ASA) directors. They include Walton and Steph Essick of Dickens. Re-elected to the ASA board were Brian Kemp of Sibley and Morey Hill of Madrid. Continuing to serve as ASA directors are John Heisdorffer of Keota and Wayne Fredericks of Osage.
Photo caption: Iowa Soybean Association executive committee members from left: Dave Walton (Treasurer), Tim Bardole (President), Robb Ewoldt (Secretary), Jeff Jorgenson (President-Elect) and Randy Miller (At-large). (Photo: Aaron Putze)
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BORON – GET BETTER PERFORMANCE FROM EMERGENCE TO HARVEST As genetic and agronomic practices continue to drive higher yield potential in soybeans, nutrient removal rates are also increasing, creating more demand for fertility. One micronutrient vital to many crops is boron, the world’s second-most deficient micronutrient, after zinc. Even though boron is only needed in small amounts, soybeans that have adequate boron throughout the entire growing season outperform those that don’t.
A JOURNEY THAT STARTS AT THE ROOT Some of the most important plant interactions happen below the soil surface. Without a healthy root structure, uptake of water and nutrients can be hindered throughout the season. Boron is essential to fuel earlyseason root growth and elongation, setting soybeans up for success. Boron also impacts other physiological functions, including nitrogen fixation, structural integrity and the uptake of other important nutrients, like potassium. Boron plays a crucial role in soybeans’ flowering and reproductive stages, impacting flower initiation and pollen development. But by the reproductive stage, sodium borate — the most commonly applied form of boron — may no longer be available in adequate amounts, due to its highly soluble form, which is susceptible to leaching. On top of this, boron cannot easily move from the leaves to other plant organs, like the flowers and pods. Therefore, since translocating boron isn’t an option, and the soil supply of sodium borate may be limited, growers hit a roadblock in crop nutrition.
But sodium borate isn’t the only option. An additional fertilizer, called calcium borate, is a more slowly soluble form which releases boron throughout the growing season. While some growers may apply foliar boron, its limited plant mobility reduces the effectiveness to only the plant tissues that foliar application touched. Applying only calcium borate, however, may not ensure adequate availability during early season growth, putting root and vegetative development at risk.
Dr. Ismail Cakmak, Sabancı University
©2019 The Mosaic Company. All rights reserved. Aspire and Nutriform are registered trademarks of The Mosaic Company.
Conduct regular soil and tissue tests to determine your boron needs. Discuss the results with your retailer to find an option that works best for your operation. For more information on what Aspire® can do for you, or to find a retailer, visit AspireBoron.com.
TWO IS BETTER THAN ONE Either form of boron is beneficial to soybeans; however, applying only one form may not be sufficient. Fortunately, Aspire® is formulated with two forms to ensure adequate boron all season long. Its Nutriform® Technology combines potash with fast-release sodium borate and slow-release calcium borate into each granule, allowing for the flexibility to apply in the spring or fall. Additionally, Aspire provides uniform nutrient distribution across the field, unlike a traditional MOP fertilizer blended with granular boron. In fact, a recent study by The Mosaic Company found soybeans with sufficient levels of uniformly distributed boron more rapidly take up potassium, and ultimately increase yield compared to conventional MOP + granular boron treatments.
PERCENT SOYBEANS PLANTED 79
70 60 50
SOYBEAN YIELD (bu/ac) 64 62 60 58 56
54 52 50
MOP + Granular B
ensure your soil and crops will get the nutrition needed for optimal yields.
MAY 19, 2018
MAY 19, 2019
Up to 60 percent of yield comes from soil fertility, but sometimes, weather will delay fertilizer application and in some cases planting, like what much of the nation has experienced the last few years. While weather may not permit spring fertilizer applications, planning for fall fertilizer options, like Aspire®, is an ideal way to
Dan Robison thanked Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) directors for the strong relationship between Iowa State University and ISA during a visit to Ankeny earlier this year.
Robison Recognizes ISA's Commitment to ISU, Research BY BETHANY BARATTA
he new dean for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Iowa State University (ISU) admits he has plenty to learn about the students, the state and its farmers. But Dan Robison is well aware how important the soybean industry is to the state and to the college. Robison began his role as the dean of the College of Ag and Life Sciences and director of the Iowa Agriculture and Home Economics Experiment Station earlier this year. “Over the years, the Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) has funded approximately $61 million of research at ISU,” Robison says. Most recently Robison was the dean of West Virginia University’s Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design. He was also the director of the West Virginia University Agriculture and Forestry Experiment Station. “That (investment) is an extraordinary amount of your cherished resource that you have funneled out to researchers in Ames,” Robison says. “Your work has been enabling others who care about the same mission.”
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Those financial contributions support current faculty and researchers at ISU and within the Iowa Soybean Research Center. They also help future students who might take part in identifying and solving challenges to soybean production, says Lindsay Greiner ISA immediate past president. “The relationship between Iowa State and ISA is important because the research dollars we invest in Iowa State not only benefit soybean farmers, but young people wanting to go into agriculture in Iowa,” says Greiner, a farmer in Keota. “They help the best and brightest in the field of ag further their studies. Quite possibly, the next great idea in soybean production will come out of Iowa State. When that happens, everyone benefits.”
Challenges Student enrollment at Iowa State and its College of Agriculture is projected lower this year; down about 1,000 students campus-wide and 100 students in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Greiner says Robison seems
prepared to take on that challenge. “I think with a dean like him, the quality of education and the job placement record Iowa State has, the College shouldn’t have problems attracting the best and brightest in the field of ag,” Greiner says. Declining enrollment isn’t reflective of the opportunities in agriculture, Robison says. “People are not going to stop eating, and the world population is going to continue to grow. I think the future is always bright for agriculture,” he says. Robison says the opportunity to be the new dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at ISU was a chance for him to have more of an impact. “We’re all trying to have a bigger, deeper, broader impact on the things we care about,” Robison says. “For me as an academic, if I want to be as positive of a force as I possibly can in the world of ag and natural resources — I could do that very well in West Virginia or North Carolina — but coming to Iowa is the pinnacle of that opportunity.”
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DISEASE ERODES DEMAND H O G D I S E AS E S LOWS S OY B E A N S H I P M E N TS BY BETHANY BARATTA
frican swine fever (ASF) is decimating China’s hog herd, further eroding U.S. soybean prices and raising questions about the safety of amino acids and other ingredients used in pork production being imported from China. Official reported cases of African swine fever in China alone have forced farmers to cull more than 200 million pigs in an effort to control the spread of the disease. Industry experts say, however, that the number of cases is vastly underreported.
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As many as half of China’s breeding herd have either died as a result of ASF or have been culled in attempts to control the spread of the disease. “China has the biggest hog herd in the world, and they have been severely impacted by this dreaded disease,” says Richard Fritz, a founding partner of Global AgriTrends, a global ag research and analysis firm. At 428 million head, China raises 65 percent of the world’s hog herd, as estimated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. By the end of 2019, China’s total swine inventory will be
down 13 percent to 374 million head, according to the latest USDA Foreign Agricultural Service’s Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) report published on April 9. An August outlook from Global AgriTrends predicted that ASF has wiped out 53 percent of China’s hog population. ASF has spread to all 31 of China’s mainland provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions since August 2018, according to Farm Journal’s Pork. It’s also been spreading throughout certain regions in Asia, Africa and Europe.
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“Seventy-five percent of the world’s hogs are threatened by ASF,” Fritz says. There is currently no vaccine or treatment available for the disease. “We are probably three to seven years away from a viable vaccine,” Fritz says.
Soybeans losing While ASF has driven up global pork prices, it’s bad news for soybean exporters and soybean demand, according to Minghao Li, assistant professor of economics at New Mexico State University and a recent post-doctorate research associate at the Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) at Iowa State University (ISU). “According to our estimation, a 14 percent decrease in pork production would lead to a 10 percent decrease in soybean import demand,” Li says. He was part of a team of researchers at CARD who
prepared an ASF impact study. China’s hog inventory dropped 32 percent between December 2018 and July 2019, Li says. Soybean prices have dipped an additional 3 percent in the past couple of months, and there could be a further decline in prices in the near future, says Chad Hart, crops market specialist at ISU. Although it’s difficult to separate the decreased demand for soybeans as it relates to the trade war versus ASF, it is affecting soybean shipments, Hart says. “The Chinese market is about 500 million to 600 million bushels behind in soybean demand over the past four to five months compared to the previous year,” Hart says. Nearly 80 percent of the soybeans China is sourcing are coming from Brazil, USDA data shows. Just 10 percent is coming from the U.S. Decreased demand due to ASF further erodes prices for Iowa
soybean farmers like Lindsay Greiner, immediate past president of the Iowa Soybean Association. “You take all the trade disputes going on and add in African swine fever, it definitely impacts our prices,” he says. “We’ve lost a lot of our market because there aren’t as many hogs to feed.” It’s added insult to injury, says ISA CEO Kirk Leeds. “The last thing U.S. soybean farmers needed was another reason to put doubt in the marketplace about demand,” he says. It’s unknown how long ASF — and the lingering trade dispute — could suppress U.S. soybean prices. Fritz says ASF is also impacting the hog population in Vietnam. While that’s terrible news for hog producers there, Fritz says farmers in the region will likely produce more poultry and aquaculture as a result. U.S. soybean farmers may see an increase in demand from those industries, he says.
“CHINA HAS THE BIGGEST HOG HERD IN THE WORLD, AND THEY HAVE BEEN SEVERELY IMPACTED BY THIS DREADED DISEASE.” — RICHARD FRITZ, GLOBAL AGRITRENDS
Dave Hommel, a pig and grain farmer from Eldora, continues to provide routine care for his pigs as African swine fever spreads throughout China and certain regions around the world. African swine fever has not been detected in the U.S.
OCTOBER 2019 | IASOYBEANS.COM | 13
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Pig farmers on the defense There’s hope that efforts to stave off the disease will keep ASF out of the U.S. “Although AFS will continue to spread, I think we can cut the rate at which it does,” Frits says. The disease would have a huge impact on the U.S. Studies led by ISU Economist Dermot Hayes estimate a loss of $8 billion for the pork industry in the first year alone. An additional $1.5 billion in soybeans and $4 billion in corn would be lost as well, Hayes says. Greiner, a soybean, corn and hog farmer near Keota, understands what those losses would mean to his family. He’s taking extra precautions to keep ASF out of his herd. He’s working with his integrator, Eichelberger Farms, to monitor feed ingredients and limit traffic on and off the farm. He’s also keeping in close contact with his veterinarian to monitor herd health. That’s always a good practice, but even more so with the threat of a foreign animal disease, says Chris Rademacher, associate director of the Iowa Pork Industry Center and an ISU Extension swine veterinarian.
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“It’s really important that swine producers get educated about this disease. They should be having conversations with their feed suppliers to talk about feed sources, the processing steps that are in place and the biosecurity that happens at feed manufacturing plants,” Rademacher says. China may be one of the few suppliers of certain amino acids or other ingredients used in pig production, which creates a dilemma for producers. Rademacher says one option is to put in a voluntary quarantine to reduce the survivability of ASF in potentially contaminated ingredients coming from China. “In some cases, holding ingredients for a time period allows for the pathogen survivability to be reduced, depending on the ingredient,” he says.
What to watch for ASF is a viral disease which causes high death loss in domestic and wild pigs, according to Liz Wagstrom,
chief veterinarian for the National Pork Producers Council. ASF spreads through close contact with infected animals or their excretions or through feeding uncooked contaminated meat to susceptible pigs. In Africa, it is also spread by warthogs and other native pigs that do not show clinical signs of the disease, as well as by soft-bodied ticks. ASF is very hardy in the environment. The ASF virus does not infect other animals or humans, and there are no food safety implications.
ISA takes precautions Business and trade relationships with China are vitally important to the Iowa Soybean Association, says ISA’s Leeds. But the format of trips to the country looks a little different these days in light of ASF. Recent ISA trade missions to the country shifted ISA members from visiting Chinese farms to instead meeting in corporate office buildings or other off-farm locations.
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Greiner, who took part in a trip to China earlier this year, says he put other precautions into place to protect his herd. “I wore shoes over there that I’ll never wear again. I took the clothes that I wore over there directly to the dry cleaner when I got home. I washed and dried my clothes twice, as my veterinarian recommended,” he says. He also stayed away from his hogs for an additional 10 days. The travel itinerary for an ISA board development trip to China and Japan this summer was revised to take extra precautions. “Even though part of the trip was focused on soybean production in the northeast part of China, we cancelled all farm visits. We wanted to make
sure we didn’t inadvertently cause the further spread of this disease,” Leeds says. ISA is also adhering to the suggested travel protocols from the National Pork Producers Council, which cancelled the World Pork Expo this year due to the risk of ASF. A delegation of Chinese reporters hosted in Ankeny by the ISA in September also had to update its itinerary. Farm visits were replaced by meetings with farmers in area restaurants. “We have to take every precaution we can because it’s devastating for Chinese producers and could have huge implications not only on the U.S. pig herd, but to global soybean demand as well,” Greiner says.
“IT’S DEVASTATING FOR CHINESE PRODUCERS AND COULD HAVE HUGE IMPLICATIONS NOT ONLY ON THE U.S. PIG HERD, BUT TO GLOBAL SOYBEAN DEMAND AS WELL.” — LINDSAY GREINER
Contact Bethany Baratta at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Healthy pigs on the Lindsay Greiner farm.
OCTOBER 2019 | IASOYBEANS.COM | 15
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BEAGLE BRIGADE F O U R - L E G G E D F R I E N DS D EBY P LOY E D BARATTA TO P R OT E C T O U R F O O D SYST E M BETHANY BY JOSEPH L. MURPHY
tanding about 16 inches tall, Burnie, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) canine officer, moves from bag to bag while patrolling the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. As travelers navigate the U.S. port of entry, they flash a smile at Burnie and pat him on the head unaware of the vital work he is doing. Burnie is one of 120 beagles that work side-by-side with agriculture specialists at more than 180 ports to protect the food supply and agricultural industries. They prevent the intentional or unintentional entry of harmful plant pests and animal diseases into the U.S. Known as the “Beagle Brigade,” this important group of four-legged friends is working the frontlines every day. The dogs can scan luggage for smuggled
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or forgotten fruits and meat products in seconds, compared to the timeconsuming process of opening and visually inspecting bags. “They work at a molecular level,” says Tim Lauth, CBP’s chief agriculture specialist for the region. “They are trained on five or six scents when they come out of school, but by the time they end their career they can identify hundreds of scents.” Beagles like Burnie and his Minneapolis partner Scarlett were chosen because of their keen sense of smell, non-threatening size, high food drive and friendly disposition with the public. “Not much gets through with the beagles working in tandem with their agriculture specialist partners. Together,
they are great,” Lauth says. “But you still need the human touch.” The beagles are the first wave of inspection in a multi-step process. CBP agriculture specialists have extensive training and experience in biological sciences and agricultural inspection. Several agents in Minneapolis hold Bachelor of Science degrees in agronomy and entomology. Other agents spend their spare time working on the family farm. Jeff Powers, a CBP canine agriculture specialist, works with Burnie every day, patrolling the international flights arriving in Minneapolis and transporting thousands of passengers. “He gets a lot of attention at work,” Powers says of his furry partner.
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Currently, one of the top threats to U.S. agriculture is African Swine Fever (ASF) – a highly contagious viral disease affecting pigs. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), it is estimated to have already impacted about 40% of China's 450 million pigs and has spread to other countries in Asia and Europe. The virus causes nearly 100% mortality, and there is no vaccine or treatment at this time. If it were to reach the U.S., it could cause severe damage to the nation’s pork industry. “While pork from pigs with ASF is safe to eat, the ramifications of ASF in the U.S. could be widereaching,” says Jamee Eggers, producer education director for the Iowa Pork Producers Association. Eggers says if the disease were to make it to the U.S., it could drive pork prices down rapidly and cause a decrease in demand for soybeans and corn, because these crops are key components of pig feed. Currently, pork production in Iowa creates 141,813 jobs and nearly $37 billion annually in sales, according to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. "Agriculture is so important to Iowa that even if a consumer doesn’t think they are related to pork production, they likely know someone, work with someone or
have family that could be directly affected by the loss of jobs," Eggers says. "It could have a far-reaching impact on rural Iowa communities." ASF is only one of a dozen highpriority foreign animal diseases and invasive plant pests that the Beagle Brigade and CBP are working to keep out of the U.S. Others include the Khapra beetle, nematodes, cottonseed bugs, rust fungus, Newcastle disease, fruit flies and propagative plants. "You can have something as simple as an orange that has a fruit fly on it or a leaf with an aphid on it. These small pests can wipe out millions of dollars in agricultural goods," Lauth explains. On a typical day in fiscal year 2018, the CBP processed 1,133,914 passengers and pedestrians. On average, CBP agriculture specialists discovered 319 pests at U.S. ports of entry and 4,452 materials for quarantine each day. "The Beagle Brigade and their CBP agriculture specialists are a key component of our nation’s first line of defense against illegal agriculture products," Eggers says. "Right now, we are focused on illegal pork products, but the beagles also protect against illegal citrus and they help find other seed products to prevent noxious weed and harmful plants from being introduced into the country."
Jeff Powers, a CBP K-9 agricultural specialist, checks a bag after Burnie, a K-9 officer, alerted to a smell.
CANINE OFFICERS WORK THE FRONTLINES EVERY DAY TO SAFEGUARD U.S. AGRICULTURE.
THE "BEAGLE BRIGADE" PREVENTS THE INTENTIONAL OR UNINTENTIONAL ENTRY OF HARMFUL PLANT PESTS AND ANIMAL DISEASES INTO THE U.S.
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BIODIESEL BUILDING BLOCKS B I O D I E S E L ABY D DS VA LU E TO L I V E STO C K BETHANY BARATTA BY BETHANY BARATTA
ivestock farmers understand the value of soybeans as a high-protein source for their livestock. Likewise, soybean farmers realize the value of livestock in creating demand for their product. Both industries are supported by biodiesel production. Biodiesel is made from a diverse mix of feedstocks, including recycled cooking oil, soybean oil and animal fats. It is estimated that 13 percent of biodiesel and renewable diesel in the U.S. is made from animal fats. “Animal fats and livestock producers are really important to the biodiesel industry,” says Alan Weber, partner at MARC-IV. “Last year, it’s estimated more than 2 billion pounds of animal fats were used to produce biomass-based diesel (biodiesel and renewable diesel) in the U.S.”
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Because of the use of animal fats drop values for carcasses, as well as for biodiesel production, the fuel increased prices received by cow-calf adds value to livestock carcasses and producers. A cow-calf producer would animal fat. have received approximately $20 per “During these times of suppressed head for each steer or heifer sold from grain and livestock prices, producers their operation. are looking for every “Cattle farmers in nickel we can, so the our state are farmerreturn to livestock from feeders, and that’s the biodiesel is significant straightforwardness right now,” says Iowa of Iowa’s production Soybean Association ag system,” says Matt (ISA) Board Treasurer Deppe, CEO of the Iowa Dave Walton, a soybean, Cattlemen’s Association. corn, cattle and sheep “They not only raise producer near Wilton. cattle, but they raise Matt Deppe Weber notes that crops, too. Value-added use of animal fats and is the key to the success tallows for biodiesel production of our producers, and biodiesel is one increased inedible tallow prices more way we can enhance value to by approximately 13 percent from our crop and livestock products.” 2009 to 2017, which led to increased Similar to the beef industry, use of
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animal fats and tallows for biodiesel the pork industry, particularly as production increased choice white production margins get tighter,” grease by approximately McGonegle says. “Then, there’s the 17 percent from 2009 benefit of using animal to 2017, which led fat — choice white grease to increased drop — in biodiesel production. values for carcasses, We view that as another as well as increased way to increase our prices received by sustainability, just like we market and feeder pig use the manure nutrients producers. Biodiesel from our hog herds for production adds crop production.” approximately $2.50 Biodiesel production Pat McGonegle to $3 per head for hog adds nearly 90 cents to producers, MARC-IV every bushel of soybeans estimates. in Iowa, according to the Iowa It’s a win-win for Iowa livestock Biodiesel Board. farmers and crop growers, says John Western Iowa Energy Weber, a crop and hog farmer When Western Iowa Energy, a from Dysart. 45-million-gallon biodiesel plant “After soybeans are crushed, the livestock industry uses soybean meal in Wall Lake, was first designed, a $5 million addition for the prefor feed rations, and soybean oil is treatment of animal fats was part utilized for biodiesel production. of the plans. Animal fats from packing plants are “We took that level of risk to say also used in biofuels. So, the two we’re the first ones to produce that industries really complement each level of biodiesel out of animal fat,” other,” Weber says. says Kevin Ross, secretary of Western Pat McGonegle, CEO of the Iowa Iowa Energy’s board of directors. Pork Producers Association, says “I think our plant really pioneered biodiesel and pork production go hand-in-hand, especially in Iowa. animal fat being a major factor “There’s no doubt that the in biodiesel.” indirect impact of biodiesel is making Though operations have shifted soybean meal a cost-effective protein since the plant opened in June 2006, source that’s very important to the plant has produced biodiesel,
which included up to 70 percent animal fats. Ross, who was named president of the National Corn Growers Association earlier this month, says biodiesel not only supports the livestock industry, but the corn industry, too. “We are using a hybrid of distillers corn oil, soybean oil and animal fats to determine the best blend to run through our plant,” Ross says. “Biodiesel is something that’s adding value to soybeans, carcasses and corn.” Increasing demand for soybean oil benefits livestock producers such as ISA District 7 Director Bill Shipley’s family. “The soybean oil is a byproduct of making soybean meal, which goes in our feed rations. So if there’s a good market for soybean oil, then that means soybean meal is more cost effective,” Shipley says. His family raises pigs, cattle and sheep in addition to soybeans, corn and alfalfa. “Soybean meal is our numberone use for soybeans, so we have to find a use for the oil,” Shipley says. “That’s why biodiesel is so important.” Contact Bethany Baratta at email@example.com.
BIODIESEL PRODUCTION ADDS NEARLY 90 CENTS TO EVERY BUSHEL OF SOYBEANS IN IOWA,
ACCORDING TO THE IOWA BIODIESEL BOARD.
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OV E R S E A S OBSTACLES M A R K E T ST U DY T R I P R E V E A L S C H A L L E N G E S I N C H I N A , JA PA N M A R K E TS BY BETHANY BARATTA
n ongoing trade war between U.S. President Donald Trump and China’s President Xi Jinping has essentially stopped soybean trade between the two countries. Soybean buyers and sellers would like to do business with each other, but a 30 percent tariff on U.S. soybeans has forced Chinese buyers to look elsewhere to meet their soy needs. At the same time, an aging and declining population in neighboring Japan means opportunities may be limited to sell more soybeans there. These were just two of many takeaways from a recent trip of several Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) board members to the two countries. It was part of the ISA board development program, which allows directors to experience soybean markets that buy from or compete with the U.S. “These trips are about making sure farmers who volunteer to serve on our board understand key markets,” says ISA CEO Kirk Leeds, who led the trip in July.
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Tariff roadblock Discussions with grain buyers in China reiterated their preference for U.S. soybeans. “Everybody we met with wanted to buy our soybeans. They appreciate the quality, consistency and availability of Iowa and U.S. soybeans,” says Leeds. “But, until there’s a resolution to the trade dispute, they won’t buy with 30 percent tariffs. Nobody wants to be left holding the bag by ordering or buying with this uncertainty.” In addition to the tariffs, African swine fever (ASF) is eroding the demand for soybeans in China. “Clearly, one of the reasons China has been able to source soybeans so easily from other countries is because of the reduced demand for soybeans due to ASF,” Leeds says. Some analysts estimate the Chinese hog herd has been cut in half due to the disease. “ASF is a significant problem, and it’s not over yet. Most representatives we met with were saying it’s caused a
25 to 30 percent reduction in the hog herd; Rabobank estimates a 50 percent reduction,” Leeds says. The country’s immense population of nearly 1.4 billion is difficult to fathom without experiencing it firsthand, says Casey Schlichting, ISA district 2 director from Clear Lake. “You can’t understand the population until you physically get there and see it,” says Schlichting. “It’s just unbelievable. “Beijing is a city of 23 million,” he continues. Iowa has a population of 3 million. It’s overwhelming to wrap your head around how many people they have to feed.” For a country that large, ISA District 3 Director Rick Juchems expected to see modern soybean handling facilities. “Their crushing facilities are large, and very automated, but their handling systems leave a lot to be desired,” says Juchems, a crop and livestock farmer near Plainfield. “In the plants we visited, they were handling all their soybean meal by hand, putting them in bags and also moving the bags by hand.”
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Slowing economy Leeds says discussions with grain millers revealed a slowing of the Chinese economy and a somber tone. “A lot of processors and feed mills were not running at full capacity,” Leeds says. “There has been a downturn in demand for meal and oil, which is a sign of an economy that’s not doing well.” Different from previous visits to the country, Leeds says the conversations with those at the crushing facilities took on a more subdued tone. “They would love to have our soybeans, and they appreciate the relationship we have with them. But they still have to source soybeans and have a business to run,” Leeds says.
Mature market The directors spent four days in Japan studying this mature market. “The preference in the Japanese market for U.S. soybeans is based on a longterm relationship established after World War II,” Leeds says. Due to the lack of land for production, Japan imports a significant portion of its food, including most of its soybean needs. Nearly 70 percent of soybean imports in the Japanese market are fulfilled by U.S. farmers. Soyfoods are a main part of the market in Japan; tofu is a staple in the Japanese diet. It
could provide an opportunity for Iowa farmers looking to diversify their acres or farm, Schlichting says. “The edible, non-GMO soybean is what Japan is looking for at least for human consumption,” Schlichting says. Despite the preference, there isn’t much potential to increase soybean sales to Japan due to an aging and declining population. “Japan is a mature market, and there’s not a lot of room for expansion,” Juchems says. The trip provided a firsthand look at the challenges associated with these two markets. “China wants to do business with us, but their hands are tied,” Schlichting says. “In Japan, they want to do business with us but there is a declining population. There’s no room for uptick in that market.” Leeds says the trip reiterated the need to not only maintain relationships, but also to broaden the U.S. soybean sales portfolio. “These are important markets, and it’s good to understand them. But as you think about moving the pile of beans, these two markets are not going to be the answer,” he says. “It was a reminder that we have to find new opportunities in the world like Southeast Asia, North Africa and other places. And we have to continue to grow our market share in Europe.”
“EVERYBODY WE MET WITH WANTED TO BUY OUR SOYBEANS. THEY APPRECIATE THE QUALITY, CONSISTENCY AND AVAILABILITY OF IOWA AND U.S. SOYBEANS.” — KIRK LEEDS, ISA CEO
Contact Bethany Baratta at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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SETTING THE TABLE I OWA F O O D A N D FA M I LY P R OJ E C T AC T I V I T I E S W H E T CO N S U M E R A P P E T I T E S F O R E X P LO R I N G AG R I C U LT U R E BY KELLY VISSER
Bonnie Raso, an executive assistant at EMC Insurance from Des Moines, picks up a handful of feed during a stop at Ben and Nick Albrightâ€™s feedlot in Lytton during Expedition Farm Country. The stop included insights on modern beef production, hormone use and mixing feed rations.
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During Food U in July, consumers discussed farm-totable connections and learned tips for cooking pork at the Des Moines Social Club.
Jeff Frank welcomed 40 consumers to his soybean and corn farm in Auburn during Expedition Farm Country. The visit included discussion around precision agriculture, current challenges and the role of soybeans in livestock feed.
“THERE ARE SO MANY ‘AH-HA’ MOMENTS WHEN WE VISIT FARMERS AND SEE FIRSTHAND HOW FOOD IS GROWN AND RAISED. I’VE ATTENDED A FEW IOWA FOOD & FAMILY PROJECT EVENTS AND EACH ONE HELPS ME MAKE INFORMED DECISIONS VERSUS TRENDY DECISIONS AT THE GROCERY STORE.” —JULIE KOHLES, school social worker from Johnston
ood is universal; it’s comforting and inspiring. Just the idea of burgers sizzling on the grill or a bowl full of mom’s homemade chicken noodle soup are enough to stir up treasured memories. Most importantly, food is a tasty way to build common ground between consumers and farmers. The Iowa Food & Family Project (Iowa FFP), an agricultural awareness initiative involving the Iowa Soybean Association and nearly 30 partners, builds consumer confidence in modern farming by starting the conversation with food. The initiative interacts with nearly 120,000, foodminded fans each month. In partnership with the state's commodity groups, agribusinesses,
retailers, restaurants and health organizations, Iowa FFP sets the table for consumer engagement by sharing family-friendly recipes, nutrition information and cooking tips for Iowa-raised protein products. Once the conversation is started — through social media, email newsletters, print magazines, community events or in-person farm tours – Iowa FFP offers deeper perspectives on modern agriculture. These consumer conversations often center around headlines in the news, ranging from the latest in trade and water quality to livestock comfort and misleading food label claims. In July, Iowa FFP hosted a Food U tour for 28 curious consumers. The day-long event included a cooking
class with Iowa Pork Producers Association, followed by a virtual tour of a modern pig barn and discussion on the role of soybeans in pork production. Throughout the summer, Iowa FFP hosted livestock-focused farm visits to Rose Acre Farms in Guthrie Center with the Iowa Egg Council; Rowe Ranch in Lorimor and Ben and Nick Albright’s beef farm in Lytton with the Iowa Beef Industry Council; Jones Family Dairy in Spencer with Midwest Dairy; and Jonathan Wetter’s pig farm in Rinard with IPPA. To learn more about Iowa FFP, visit iowafoodandfamily.com. Contact Kelly Visser at email@example.com.
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Adam Bierbaum , farmer from Griswold
GALL MIDGE WAR CONTINUES R E S E A R C H O N G O I N G TO D E T E R M I N E T R E AT M E N T O P T I O N S BY BETHANY BARATTA
owa Soybean Association (ISA) member Adam Bierbaum and his dad Brent suspected a problem in their soybean fields in early July last year. “We started seeing soybeans die on the edge of the soybean fields,” Adam says. “On the outside borders of the fields were strips of wilted soybean plants.” They didn’t know how bad the problem was until they consulted with a variety of agronomists searching for answers. The Griswold farmers called agronomists at Iowa State University (ISU), which ruled out herbicide injury and sudden death syndrome. Splitting open stems, ISU agronomists confirmed the plant injury was the result of soybean gall midge. “It was a pest we never heard of
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before, so that was something new for us,” Adam says. “It was easier to spot damage when we knew what we were looking for.” The pest ate its way about 60 feet into the field and took out half the yield of that entire field. This year, the war on soybean gall midge continues in the state and on the Bierbaum farm. Confirmations of soybean gall midge were reported in 2011 from Nebraska and in 2015 from South Dakota. In 2016 and 2017, there were isolated reports of soybean injury by soybean gall midge in northwest Iowa. There was significant field edge injury and economic loss in at least 65 counties throughout Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota and South Dakota last year.
Since finding the pest in Iowa fields, not much is yet known on the life cycle of the pest or how to control its emergence and spread. “Despite everybody’s efforts to come up with a strategy to control them, there doesn’t seem to be a silver bullet yet,” says Drew Clemmensen, regional agronomist for ISA. Clemmensen has been working with farmers in western Iowa, an apparent hot spot for soybean gall midge infestations.
Tricky pest Soybean gall midge adults are identifiable by their distinct black and white banding pattern around their legs. But it’s the larvae that are doing damage inside the soybean plant stem. Soybean gall midge larvae are clear
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and turn bright orange as they mature. “When the eggs hatch, larvae feed inside the stem, which essentially stops the movement of nutrients and water to the plant,” Clemmensen says. Midges are weak fliers, which means gall midge infestation is slow to spread. However, it’s been difficult to control adult midges before they lay their eggs.
Field trials Erin Hodgson, associate professor at Iowa State University (ISU) and ISU Extension entomologist, has been researching the pest, trying to understand its life cycle. Hodgson and her team set up adult emergence cages in fields planted to corn last year, suspecting the midges were overwintering in the soil. “Our findings in the cages validated what we suspected,” Hodgson says. The team discovered that adult emergence was over a two-week period, which makes targeting the adults before they lay eggs more difficult. “In some of the research plots we set up, soybean plants went from looking really good to dead and dying within 10 days,” Hodgson says. ISA field trials show that wilting plants are a sign that the midges are moving through to the next row, Clemmensen says. “By the time you see the symptoms, midges are definitely present,” he says. “If your first row is starting to wilt, midges have moved on to the next row and are already feeding.”
Attempts to control pest The Bierbaum family skipped their crop rotation this year, keeping corn on some acres in an attempt to suppress the pest. But the midge flew to nearby soybean fields to feed. “It started out as a small area, and then we saw it more throughout the season. We’re seeing it in fields this year where we didn’t see it last year.
Some of that, though, is that we’re better at identifying it,” Bierbaum says. ISA’s On-Farm Network® team has been working with farmers, including the Bierbaums, to see if seed treatments or insecticides are effective in controlling the pest. So far, neither seem to be effective. “Insecticides are usually sprayed over the top of plants, so the pest has to be somewhere out in the open where it comes in contact with insecticide. When the adults emerge out of the ground and lay eggs on the stem, there’s not a whole lot you can do to get a product in contact with them,” Clemmensen says. He notes that no insecticides have been labeled for use in controlling soybean gall midge. ISA has been using the insecticides within a research/emergency declaration to research their efficacy. Working with both ISA and ISU, the Bierbaums have tested a variety of seed treatments and insecticides to investigate responses. “The trials have been inconclusive so far. It’s difficult to determine the response because plants are still dying,” Bierbaum says.
Research ongoing Hodgson and her team continue to check emergence traps to monitor the spread of the pest. Efficacy evaluations are also ongoing to see how seed treatments and insecticides could prevent injury from the soybean gall midge. “We haven’t found the magic yet,” Hodgson says. She hopes information the team gathers this year will help to determine a mode of action for future growing seasons. If you suspect a soybean gall midge infestation, send a photo to Hodgson via Twitter (@erinwhodgson) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
ISU test plot.
“WHEN THE EGGS HATCH, LARVAE FEED INSIDE THE STEM, WHICH ESSENTIALLY STOPS THE MOVEMENT OF NUTRIENTS AND WATER TO THE PLANT.” — DREW CLEMMENSEN, ISA Regional Agronomist
Soybean plants impacted by gall midge.
Soybean gall midge larvae.
Contact Bethany Baratta at email@example.com.
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IAWA Receives Partnership Award from State Departments of Agriculture Association
owa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig and the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) presented a 2019 PublicPrivate Partnership award to the Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance (IAWA) Business Council at the 2019 NASDA Annual Meeting. The NASDA Public-Private Partnership award recognizes private organizations that partner with a state Department of Agriculture to implement a program, project or service that positively impacts its residents. Secretary Naig nominated IAWA for collaborating with 14 businesses and organizations to improve Iowa’s water quality. “Collaboration among public and private partners is key to implementing scientifically proven solutions that improve water
quality locally and downstream,” says Naig. “IAWA is taking a leadership role in increasing private funding, which accelerates the implementation of conservation practices that support the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy.” The Midwest Agriculture Water Quality Partnership (MAWQP) Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) is one success story, co-led by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and the IAWA. The $11 million contract has aligned 48 partners — including 19 agribusinesses — and $39 million in non-federal match to improve water quality. The MAWQP has improved conservation on more than 3.5 million acres of private lands in less than three years. The partnership has also created
a Conservation Infrastructure Initiative that has accelerated demand for conservation practices. This group is made of up more than 100 representatives from the public and private sector; it works towards implementing and securing support to increase conservation practices. Three working groups have been created — strategy, cover crops and conservation drainage — to develop recommendations, which make substantial progress towards Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy goals. “The IAWA Business Council has been instrumental to the success of our public-private partnerships,” says IAWA Executive Director Sean McMahon. “Our Business Council members are investing substantial resources to make a real and meaningful, positive impact on Iowa’s water quality.”
The Last Word Editor’s Notes by Ann Clinton firstname.lastname@example.org
Somewhere in the middle
recently moved my oldest daughter into a dorm room at Iowa State University. Outfitted with a laptop, mini-fridge and hand-me-down couch, she set up her little space in the world. The whole experience was surreal for me, especially since she’s still 3 years old in my mind. There is no describing the emotion that overwhelmed me when we said our goodbyes that day. However, my heart was filled with so much pride and happiness for her that it was hard to feel sad. That child of mine has been ready to fly since the day she was born. As an infant, she cried until she could walk. As a teenager, she was off to find adventure as soon as she could drive. This was a natural transition for her. However, I have found myself in a strange season of life. The space between hanging on and letting go.
I am a big believer in the beauty of her wings, but I can only pray I’ve given her strong enough roots. I have come to realize that being her mom is less emotional than it is humbling. There is so much I want to protect her from, and yet, so many experiences I hope she gets to enjoy. There’s not a parent reading this that does not understand what I mean. It’s a universal heartache. When you love someone with every bit of your being, what more can you do to prepare them for the world? Nothing. You just keep doing what you’re doing. As we were putting together content for this issue of the Iowa Soybean Review, it occurred to me that agriculture is in a state of flux, as well. The future seems a little scary and the challenges a bit daunting. Problems such as gall
midge and the threat of African swine fever aren’t the issues we want to be reporting to you. Sometimes, I wish I could change the headlines. I know I’m not a farmer and trying to relate to the stress of being one isn’t really possible. However, I do know one thing for sure … you’re a farmer because you love agriculture. Your wings are your innate hope for the future, and your roots are truly in the soil. I believe you are ready for whatever comes next because you have given your heart to the unknown your entire life. As you roll down the rows in your combine this month, know my thoughts and good wishes are with you. Please know I love to hear from you when you get a chance to send an email my way. Until next time, keep doing what you do.
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IT TAKES HEART. Grit and determination got you here. Faith will keep you going. You were made for this.