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Friday, Feb. 22, 2013/Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013

Farm News/The Messenger, Fort Dodge, Iowa


Family receives stewardship award Cattlemen’s group recognizes Angus producers’ efforts By KAREN SCHWALLER

GREENVILLE — High commodity prices continue to make producers rethink what they can do get the most return from their farm land. A Greenville-area farm family has figured out their own way to do that, while making natural resources protection their No. 1 priority. Greg and Lola Wood and their son, Chris, operate Bittersweet Acres, an Angus seedstock operation that puts Greg most of its Wood acres into commercial hay production rather than row crops. The family received an award called the Environmental Stewardship Award Program from the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association in December. The family has been nominated for recognition at the regional level, which includes four other states. “One practice that makes Bittersweet Acres stand out is that they have maintained forage production on more than 400 acres in the face of increasing pressure to convert to row crops,” said Dal Grooms, communications director for the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association. “U.S. Census of Agriculture data for Clay County show that there has been a 60 percent drop in pasture acres between 1997 and 2007. It’s likely the 2012 Census will show a continued precipitous drop.” She said the 60 percent drop is equal to 54,383 acres. Pasture and forage pro-


duction, she said, are crucial to cow-calf production in Iowa, and that it’s the start of the balanced beef production for which Iowa is known. Dean Gronemeyer, NRCS district conservationist for Clay and Palo Alto counties, said that land is under more pressure today to produce food and fiber, and he feels that it comes at the expense of the soil and water resources. “Farmers like the Greg Wood family have shown that farming can be done in a manner Chris that protects Wood the soil, water and plant resources. As pastures are converted to cropland, fertilizer rates increase and buffers along the streams diminish,” Gronemeyer said. The forage operation on the Wood farm is a mix of alfalfa and orchard grass. They rotate 35 to 40 acres into corn each year (using minimum tillage), which provides stalk bales for bedding and acres for spreading manure when necessary. Their hay is marketed primarily to horse owners, and family members agreed that their marketing efforts of the forage has provided a better net return than a corn/soybean rotation. “We like raising hay, and we had to put up enough for all of our cows anyway,” said Greg Wood. “Most of our hay goes to Oklahoma and Texas, and some goes to New York and Florida, Kentucky and Alabama. We just picked up on a niche market.” The Woods bale all those

-Messenger/Farm News phots by Karen Schwaller

Chris Wood moves a few cow/calf pairs out of the barn to get some fresh air. They had just begun calving two days before this photo was taken. Their rotational grazing program has lent itself to an increase in calf weights without the use of creep feed. Weaning weights have increased by 10 to 15 percent.

GreG Wood and Chris Wood send a good share of hay out to southern and eastern states. Here, they use a Bale Band-It behind the baler, which ties 21 small square bales into one large bundle. This makes the bales easy to ship with less handling of individual bales. It also cuts down on labor, with only two people needed to do the baling on 400 acres of hay ground. acres of hay themselves with no outside help, using a large round 4-by-5 baler, a big square 3-by-3 baler and

small square baler. They use a Bale Bandit to bundle small square bales into 21bale units for shipping. The

units are then moved with stored inside on their Clay their own tractors and County farm. equipment. All 400 acres of hay, once baled, can be See ESAP, Page 2F

Project LIBERTY still on track

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WIE part of biofuels success

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Friday, Feb. 22, 2013/Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013

Farm News/The Messenger, Fort Dodge, Iowa


Progress 2013

Calcium Products to begin expanded production Larger FD plant set to go online in spring By JESSE HELLING

“Double-digit growth� over the past five years prompted Calcium Products Incorporated to expand its Fort Dodge plant. The company, which produces pelletized lime and gypsum for growers in agriculture and horticulture, broke ground in April 2012 on a new 58,900-squarefoot building due north of the company’s existing plant. The $7 million expansion will allow Calcium Products to increase its production of SuperCal SO4, which is described as “a naturallymined sulfur fertilizer and superior quality gypsum product,� is used by growers throughout North America. The project will create 10 new jobs. The expanded facility is set to begin full production later this spring, said Craig Dick, CPI vice president of sales and marketing. “Our equipment is still being shipped to us,� said Dick. However, barring any weather-related delays, the operation remains on track, he said. Dick said the expansion would “effectively double� the company’s production capacity and help to meet the increasing demand for SuperCal SO4. According to CPI’s website, the company’s products are sold by dealers in 14 states and four Canadian provinces. “SuperCal SO4, one of several soil amendment products we manufacture, has led industry sales as farmers and growers better understand the importance calcium and sulfur has on plant health, vitality and crop production,� said Dick. SuperCal SO4 provides 17 percent sulfur in the sulfate from, as well as calcium, which improves soil structure, aeration and drainage. That results in increased water infiltration while reducing soil surface crusting and improving seedling emergence. SO4 also helps break up compacted soil, increasing rooting depth, helps stabilize organic matter and decreases nitrogen loss to the atmosphere. The overall goal of improving soil quality is boosting crop yields. During the groundbreaking ceremony, CPI President Larry E. Moore spoke about the growth of the company into a profitable enterprise. “What we make are soil amendments,� he said. “In ’96, when we started down here, people didn’t understand processed products. They didn’t understand pounds instead of tons per acre. They thought I was some kind of snake oil salesman.� Moore said that CPI products play an important role in agriculture, particularly as Canada expands its ef-


forts across millions of acres. “There’s a lot of room for our products to play a role in that expansion,� he said. “That’s what we want our products to do.� According to Dick, the Fort Dodge project is largest on-site expansion in the history of the Gilmore Citybased company, which was established in 1987. CPI’s expansion has absorbed land purchased from Western Express, a Nashville, Tenn-based freight hauling company, acquired the property following a merger with Smithway Motor Xpress in 2007. The remainder of the Western Express site was sold to Iowa Central Community College in July 2012.

Since its announcement last year, local leaders have lauded CPI’s commitment to the city. “They will be adding some jobs and adding to our tax base,� said Dennis Plautz, chief executive officer of the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance. “More importantly, they will be becoming a more viable and larger company within Webster County. It adds value to the natural resources, but also adds value to the companies which they get their resources from. There’s great synergy between Calcium Products and the other companies they buy their raw material from in order to add value to it.� In May 2012, members of the Fort Dodge City Council unanimously approved a development agreement with CPI that will give the company up to $360,000 over four years in the form of incremental property tax rebates.

A view of the electrical panel that will regulate energy for Calcium Products Inc.’s new manufacturing facility. The $7 million company expansion will “effectively double� the company’s capacity to manufacture a sulfur and gypsum-based soil additive, said Craig Dick, CPI vice president of sales and marketing.

-Messenger photos by Jesse Helling

CrAig DiCk, vice president of sales and marketing for Calcium Products Inc., looks over the digital scales at the company’s new, 58,900-square-foot facility currently under construction in Fort Dodge. The $7 million expansion to the site will allow CPI to increase its production of mineral-based soil additives.

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Friday, Feb. 22, 2013/Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013

Farm News/The Messenger, Fort Dodge, Iowa


Progress 2013

Webster County to become ‘corn continent’ Cargill plant will create more demand for six counties’ production By LARRY KERSHNER tween the futures price and the local cash price. For exFORT DODGE — When ample, if the May futures Cargill’s wet milling plant contract is trading at $2.96 gets under and the cash price is $2.63, way, it will the cash price create an adis 33 cents ditional under May, or 150,000 minus-33 bushel daily cents. demand for More local corn – specifically, yet another basis is the market where difference beseven other tween the curprocessors rent local Kelvin Al are bidding Leibold cash price and Viaene for the comthe futures modity. price of the contract with the The demand is high closest delivery month. For enough that Kelvin Leibold, example, corn basis in Februan Iowa State University Ex- ary is usually defined as the tension farm management difference between the curspecialist, based in Iowa rent cash price and the curFalls, likens the region as a rent March futures price. continent of corn demand. According to ISU’s Ag Picturing each ethanol Decision Maker website the plant and feed mill as an is- five-year average for corn baland for buying grain, Lei- sis in North Central Iowa — bold said when they congre- from 2007 to 2011 — durgate in the numbers that ing the first week of February Webster County is seeing, is minus-33 cents. That averthey become a grain-buying age was derived from a maxcontinent. Previous continent imum of minus-39 cents and developments were formed a minimum of minus-21 around Eddyville and Cedar cents. Rapids, both with a substanTo show the current imtial Cargill presence. pact of seven corn buyers lo“When we see a continent cally, Valero’s ethanol plant around Fort Dodge,” Lei- in Fort Dodge was, at midday bold said, “we’ll see an im- on Feb. 13, bidding corn at pact on the basis.” $7.17 per bushel, 20 cents Basis is the difference be- more than the March futures


-Messenger/Farm News file photo

THE SHORTNESS OF 2012’S crop has kept the futures prices high and the local cash price higher, despite domestic and export demand falling off. Farm managers said so much $7 and $8 corn was sold off the combine last fall in North Central Iowa, that there is little corn not under contract available for end-users, who are bidding well over March future prices to entice producers to sell what’s in storage. price. At the same time, NEW Cooperative, in Otho, was bidding $7.07 per bushel for corn, 9 cents more than March futures. Compared to the average

minus-30 cent basis for the first week of February, to plus-20 on Feb. 13, this is a 50-cent swing. And that’s before Cargill jumps into the fray to buy an estimated 52 million bushels

annually. Al Viaene, plant manager for the Fort Dodge facility, said the company will source corn from a 90mile radius buying from producers and suppliers alike. Cargill is scheduled to start

up operations in September, Viaene said, and will gradually ramp up production to full capacity over the next few months. See BASIS, Page 4F


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Farm News/The Messenger, Fort Dodge, Iowa

Progress 2013


Continued from Page 3F

“We’ll be competitive in ster County and five surthe marketplace,� Viaene rounding counties, as “a said. He said Cargill will weather basis.� offer a portfolio of risk He said 2012’s drought management solutions for whittled the overall yield, producers. cutting the supply, while “Anytime you get anoth- demand remained high. er market it’s going to have “Many farmers sold their to help the basis,� said Kei- corn straight out of the th Dencklau, vice chairman field for more than $7 and of the Webster $8 per bushel,� County Supervisors Dencklau said. It and a farmer. “The was corn that never volume they made it into on-farm (Cargill) will use or off-farm storage. will have an imHe said the basis pact.� is partly caused by a Fifteen years ago, low supply, plus he said, there was there’s corn still beonly one market and ing held off the marthe basis was minusket. Keith 40 cents, he said, Dencklau “Some farmers because there were sold enough out of far fewer corn processors the field to pay their bills,� in the area. Dencklau said, “and then End-users bidding for put the rest in storage. corn in the Webster City re“And it’s hard to get it gion include ethanol plants away from farmers once Valero, POET in Gowrie, it’s in storage and they POET in Jewell, Corn LP in don’t have to sell it.� Goldfield, Cargill (in 2013), But even if the Webster plus NEW Cooperative in County area has decent several locations and area yields in 2013, Dencklau egg farms. thinks Cargill’s bidding on Dencklau said it wasn’t corn will have a positive too long ago that farmers impact on local corn basis. were limited to the distance “It’s a better basis here they could take grain, usu- now than (selling it down) ally by grain cart behind a the Mississippi.� tractor. “But today, everyone has Importing corn soon? a semi,� he said. “So if I According to Leibold, can get an extra 10 cents,� the addition of Cargill’s dethe semi makes the longer mand for 150,000 bushels haul workable. daily will equate to 25 perDencklau described the cent of the average total of current plus-basis in Web- the counties of Webster


Friday, Feb. 22, 2013/Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013

(41 million bushels), Hamilton (37 mb) Calhoun (33 mb), Pocahontas (33 mb), Boone (30 mb) and Humboldt (26 mb). With seven entities already looking to source corn locally, including four other ethanol plants, Leibold can foresee the Webster County region importing corn from outside the area, as long as the plants and feed mills can keep running. The problem, he said, is that grain may become too expensive for some plants to operate profitably, especially if 2013 sees a continued drought and lowered yields as in 2012. Another impact may be mothballing biodiesel plants and soybean crushing plants. Leibold said as the biofuels industry has improved corn basis, Iowa farmers, as a whole, have shifted from their traditional 50-50 rotation of acres between corn and soybeans, to 60-40 corn over beans. If basis continues to improve and more soybean acres are lost to continuous corn, he said, soybean basis will be pulled up in corn’s wake, but the lost soybean bushels could result in bean processors shutting down. He said businesses will continue to run as long as they can, but if they see they’ll lose less money by

closing than by operating, they’ll shut down, even if it’s temporary. Eye on revenue, not basis Mark Wolter, a grain merchandizer for NEW Cooperative, in Fort Dodge, which is a supplier of grain for ethanol plants, recommended farmers watch their revenue per acre, rather than basis levels. The current plus-basis is a weather-related phenomenon, as well as a shortage of corn in the region. “Last year,� Wolter said, “a lot of corn was sold right off the combine, because the price was high at harvest.� He said those buyers have burned through that corn and now looking for more. “The numbers indicate the corn isn’t out there,� he said. Even so, he advised caution for the future. “We’re only one good harvest away from $4 or lower corn.� World demand for U.S. corn is down, as well, as domestic demand has fallen off due to rationing from high prices. Even though the price remains high, that can change quickly, Wolter said. Producers should keep their eye on the price as revenue per acre, Wolter said, “the basis will take care of itself. “They shouldn’t get hung up on the basis so they don’t sell it at a good price.�

-Messenger/Farm News file photo

WHEN CARGILL begins competing for local corn in Fort Dodge, it will be yet another end-user in the Webster County area, which is expected to keep local cash bids close to future market prices, especially is the region fails to harvest a trend line yield in 2013, keeping local supply tight.


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Friday, Feb. 22, 2013/Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013

Farm News/The Messenger, Fort Dodge, Iowa


Progress 2013

Trade mission takes Black to Japan, S. Korea Somers beef producer promotes U.S. meat Jan. 28, importers were well aware of the likelihood while the Americans were Japan’s decision to lift re- there. strictions on importing beef In December, Black said, from cattle under 21 months Japanese importers were of age is good for the U.S. looking forward to proposed cattle industry, and it’s news changes that would lower that Dean Black can take the age of cattle that could some personal pride in. be brought into the country Black was a member of from 30 months of age. an Iowa Meat Trade MisThe limitation of importsion to Japan and South Ko- ing younger cattle only rea in December 2012. A means “It’s hard for them to cattle feeder near Somers, source cattle at certain times he is one of of year,” he Iowa’s represaid. “Now, sentatives on with it at 30 “They rate the national months of Cattlemen’s age, we will American beef Beef Promobe able to tion and Rehave a conas their No. 1 search sistent supply Board. to them all choice for taste He was year around, part of a panand they are and safety.” el of speakreally excited —Dean Black about that.” ers who shared cattle After the Somers beef producer production official meetmethods, a ings, Black market outsaid, the imlook for the U.S. beef indus- porters shared with their try and animal care and han- American visitors what their dling methods with retail projected budgets are for and food service representa- 2013. tives and importers. “They were all right in Making face-to-face con- the 40 percent range for intact with importers in Japan crease in imports,” he said. and South Korea is crucial It didn’t take a hard sell to to successfully building convince their hosts to do U.S. market share in those business with the Americountries, Black said. cans, Black said. “We met with the major “When they survey their importers over there who consumers, they rate Ameriimport the beef products,” can beef as their No. 1 he said. “They like to see the choice for taste and safety. producer who makes these Safety is huge over there, products; they like to know especially in Japan with the where and how their product earthquake and nuclear disis produced.” aster,” he said. Japan was once Ameri“We used to be No. 2 in ca’s largest beef importer, their market for safety in but restrictions were put in beef; their domestic market place following a U.S. out- was No. 1. But after the break of bovine spongiform tsunami situation, we encephaolopathy, known as moved up to No. 1,” Black “mad cow disease,” in said. “So, it’s not a problem 2003. of having to sell our beef on Although the Japanese quality and safety.” government didn’t officially However, the Japanese announce the change until are price-conscious, he said,



-Submitted photo

Beef Producers Scott Heater, Wapello, left, and Dean Black, Somers, visit with a worker and the manager of a Daiei Supermarket in Tokyo in December 2012. Signage at the meatcase explains the “We Care” U.S. beef and pork promotion coordinated by the U.S. Meat Export Federation. Weeks after the trade mission participants returned home, Japan lifted age restrictions on U.S. beef that had been in place since 2003, following an outbreak of BSE. and are also dealing with a struggling economy. Black said he found importers in both Japan and South Korea to be extremely knowledgeable about conditions in the United States, and particularly in the Midwest. “They know what’s going on in the Midwest with the drought and the cattle numbers decreasing because of the drought,” he said. “They’re almost as informed about what’s going on in Iowa as some producers around here.” Both countries import almost 70 percent of the food they eat, Black said, making them extremely dependent on outside markets.

He said he was most impressed by “how concerned they are about where they source their food, that they’re going to be able to have good relationships, so they can count on having a source to feed their people.” While some people might discount the value of trade missions, Black is a firm believer. “Some people may think they’re not worthwhile,” he said, “but they’re a definite asset as a business source. Our economy isn’t just in our backyard anymore; it’s worldwide. I had my eyes opened more being over there and hearing their questions about our corn and bean production, and our

animal production.” Black said he was surprised when trade mission members were briefed by the U.S. ambassadors in both countries to find out how well regarded Americans are in Japan and South Korea. “About 70 percent of the people in Korea have a favorable view of Americans, and I think Japan is like 87 percent,” he said. “A lot of that in Japan has to do with the support we gave during the disaster over there. “In fact, one of the heads of one of the largest companies over, when they found out some people from the United States were in the building, he made a point to

come downstairs and thank them personally. His wife was in the destruction zone and was helped out of there by U.S. forces.” In addition to Black, the trade mission group was comprised of Scott Heater, who raises seedstock near Wapello and is a director on the Iowa Beef Industry Council; Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey; and representatives from the Iowa Department of Economic Authority, the Iowa Pork Producers Association, Iowa Corn Growers Association and the U.S. Meat Export Federation. Partial funding for the mission was provided by the $1-per-head beef checkoff.

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Friday, Feb. 22, 2013/Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013

Progress 2013

Project LIBERTY still on track for start up LIBERTY to create economic ripple By LARRY KERSHNER

EMMETSBURG — The construction phase of POET/DSM Project Liberty facility will have a rippling effect across north Iowa, said Maureen Elbert, executive director of the Kossuth/Palo Alto Economic Development Corp. The new cellulosic ethanol plant, the first scheduled to go into production in Iowa, “will have a huge impact of economic linkage with more housing developed, and with the daily needs of construction as workers flowing into the area. “Those workers will have to eat somewhere,� Elbert said. She said the ripple effect will likely be felt to one extent or another in surrounding counties, naming Emmet and Pocahontas in particular. Maureen “They’re all going to feel the imElbert pacts,� she said. The presence of Project LIBERTY will also lead to new businesses, Elbert said. One Emmetsburg man, Eric Woodford, opened a baling equipment and supply business in Emmetsburg to meet the growing need for producers to bale stover. Elbert said she expects other businesses to spring out of the advanced biofuel industry development in Palo Alto Myrna County. Heddinger Equally excited about the development is Myrna Heddinger, mayor of Emmetsburg. She said adding Project LIBERTY on the east side of town will add to the industrial agribusinesses strength of the town, along with POET’s corn-based ethanol plant, AGP Processing Inc., and Kerber Milling Co. In the short term, she said housing and meeting the daily needs of temporary workers will be a boon for the city, but said it will also aid farmers by providing another revenue stream for their farms — selling stover from their fields.

-Messenger/Farm News photo by Dan Voight

WHILE CONSTRUCTION at the site of POET/DSM’s Project LIBERTY in Emmetsburg has been progressing over the past few months, a new phase has begun with the start of vertical construction of facilities. Precast concrete panels are being erected at the site by Lyndell Construction for the receiving facility. The nation’s first commercial cellulosic ethanol plant remains on schedule for completion this year.

Plant will produce ethanol from corn stover By LARRY KERSHNER velopment arm for the past five years. After months of EMMETSBURG — Af- planning and lessons ter walls have started going learned through POET’s piup for its receiving facility lot plant in Scotland, S.D., and the Palo Alto and after the March County Supervisors groundbreaking and approving rezoning grading, underfor the POET/DSM ground pipe-laying Project Liberty faciland foundation pourity on the southeast ing, Wirt said, edge of Emmets“We’re now at the burg, the project is point to see the fun still on schedule. stuff happening.� The $200 million POET announced plant is scheduled to last November the Adam begin production in purchase of the needWirt late 2013. At peak ed technology to capacity, the plant is draw sugars from expected to produce 25 mil- corn residue in a two-step lion gallons of ethanol, all process from ANDRITZ from corn stover — stalks, Inc., the American compoleaves and cobs. nent of an Austrian compaAdam Wirt, a 10-year ny. The bases for the ferPOET employee, has been mentation and saccharificaworking with the company’s tion tanks were poured last cellulosic research and de- fall.


The ANDRITZ technology includes a vertical reactor, an interstage washer and then the continuous steam explosion technology to draw out available sugars from the cellulose material. It’s those sugars — through Project LIBERTY’s proprietary enzyme and yeast technologies — that get converted into ethanol. Stover training Meanwhile, in the 27acre stockyard, 40 trucks are daily rolling in large round and large square bales of stover. POET is increasing the amount of biomass being delivered to the site, Wirt said, in an effort to fine-tune storage efforts and get farmers used to the biomass collection process. Wirt said just as farmers are accustomed to hauling

grain to an elevator, where a sample probe is taken of the grain, the bales will also be probed to determine moisture and dirt content. Wirt said Project LIBERTY will require 300,000 tons of stover annually once the plant hits peak capacity. “There’s no one in the U.S. that collects that much,� Wirt said, “so we are sourcing from local producers and large suppliers.� The stockyard, when full, will hold a mere three-week supply. He estimated the plant will require 70 to 90 trucks daily. “If we collect every ounce of corn residue in Palo Alto County,� Wirt said, “we wouldn’t have enough.� An acre can produce roughly a ton of stover. He said POET is seeking contracts with producers in

a 35-mile radius from the plant. “That’s a million corn acres, so we’d need about one-third of that.� This is the third fall in which the company is learning how to handle and store both types of stover bales, working out the logistics of an intense number of daily shipments. He said storing and han-

dling challenges at this commercial-scale operation, is completely different than at the South Dakota pilot plant. He said when the plant is finished experimenting with handling and storing bales some will go to additional storage research, some will See LIBERTY, Page 11F

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Friday, Feb. 22, 2013/Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013

Farm News/The Messenger, Fort Dodge, Iowa


Progress 2013

Cropland Containers expands niche, facility

DAVID FOUNTAIN uses a wet vacuum to remove residual water from the inside of the totes before they move down the line to an automated dryer.

Company refurbishes ag feed containers By LINDSEY MUTCHLER

WEBSTER CITY — In less than five years, Cropland Containers’ number of business accounts grew from two to 225. “I think it was the right time, right place,” said Brian Bilyeu, president and chief executive officer of the company. “In 2009, we didn’t know how it was going to go, but it’s worked out really well.” In 2013, the company is expanding its 85,000square-foot facility through the purchase of another building in Webster City. “We weren’t expecting to buy a second building, but


White Transfer gave us a lucrative offer and we said, ‘Well, let’s grow and expand in Webster City,’” Bilyeu said. Cropland Containers is the only one of its kind in the agricultural market, Bilyeu said. The company receives agricultural containers — such as 330-gallon totes and drums — from companies, such as Van Diest and United Suppliers that once held chemicals; washes them, recertifies them and then returns them to the company to reuse. “The go right back into the ag market,” Bilyeu said. “The purpose of the company is for businesses to be able to reuse the containers rather than always buying new.” With the expansion, the company is adding feed bins to its list of products. “We are building a new wash line and plan to get into washing feed bins for companies like Pioneer, Monsanto and others,” Bilyeu said. “It will be the biggest feed bin washing

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line in the U.S.” Jim Sharkey, plant manager for Cropland Containers in Webster City, said the facility has washed out feed bins on its lower wash room, but with the expansion, the company will build a new automated cleaning line. The expansion is expected to bring an additional 18 jobs to the area. The growth at Cropland Containers is benefiting the community with more than just jobs. They’re also increasing the tax roll, according to Dave Toyer, Webster City’s economic development director “They were leasing their existing facility,” Toyer said. “When they made the decision to relocate components to Webster City, they determined it would be a good move to purchase the building they’re in and acquire another vacant building in town.” That increased the size to around 150,000 square feet, Toyer said. Bilyeu said at

-Messenger/Farm News photos by Lindsey Mutchler

ReADy-TO-Use 330-gallon totes are stacked up at Cropland Containers in Webster City. The company, which cleans and recertifies agricultural containers, is the only one of its kind in the market, according to Brian Bilyeu, president and chief executive officer. this point, he plans to use one building for receiving dirty containers and the second one will be used as storage for the clean containers. The location of Webster City has been great for business, Bilyeu said.

The company’s headquarters are in Minneapolis, Minn., with its parent company Stainlez Inc. Webster City gave Cropland a more central location. “Webster City is a nice size community, and the

people working at Webster City, like Ed (Sadler) and Dave (Toyer) are excellent to work with,” Bilyeu said. “They’re always on the lookout for businesses we can partner with. It’s been really nice.”

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Farm News/The Messenger, Fort Dodge, Iowa

Friday, Feb. 22, 2013/Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013

Progress 2013

Iowa’s grape, wine industries are thriving Cold-climate hybrids fuels growth By DARCY DOUGHERTY MAULSBY

Did you know?

AMES — Some things shouldn’t be kept bottled up, like the impact of Iowa’s vineyards and wineries on agriculture and the state’s economy. “The industry is maturing,” said Michael White, Iowa State University’s viticulture specialist, who has watched Mike Iowa’s wine White industry grow from humble beginnings to a significant sector of the state’s agriculture industry. In the last few years, 15 new wineries have opened for business in Iowa. Many are located in north central and northwest Iowa, including the Garden Winery in Fort Dodge, 99 Bottles Winery in Garner, Train Wreck Winery in Algona and Old Town Winery in Ida Grove. As the industry evolves, other vineyards and wineries have gone out of business. “Many of the people who got into the business 10 years ago when they were -Messenger/Farm News photo by Darcy Dougherty Maulsby 55 or 60 are now 65 or 70, and their priorities have IOWA HAD APPROXIMATELY 30 acres of grapes in production in 2000. As of changed,” White said. “OthJune 2012, Iowa had 99 wineries with approximately 300-plus vineyards cover- ers decided that working ing 1,200 acres, including Old Town Vineyard and Winery in Ida Grove. Friday, Saturday and Sun-


Here are some facts about Iowa’s wine and grape industry from Iowa State University Extension and the “The Economic Impact of Iowa Wine and Vineyards:” ∫ Wine has been made in Iowa for more than 150 years. The book “History of Western Iowa” noted, “In 1867, over 500 barrels of wine were made from native grapes and shipped to Chicago, besides large quantities which were used at home.” ∫ The first commercial vineyard in Iowa was planted in 1857, 11 years after Iowa became a state. ∫ In 1893, the Council Bluffs Grape Growers Association was formed with 21 member growers and 100 acres of grapes. ∫ Iowa had approximately 30 acres of grapes in production in 2000. As of June 2012, Iowa had 99 wineries with approximately 300-plus vineyards covering 1,200 acres. ∫ There are approximately 40 different grape cultivars being grown in Iowa to produce Iowa wines, according to Iowa State University. ∫ Grape yields can run from 3 to 8 tons per acre in Iowa, with the average yield typically in the 3 to 4 tons per acre range. ∫ It typically takes 75 to 100 hours of labor per acre to hand harvest a full crop of Iowa wine grapes. ∫ One ton of Iowa grapes will produce approximately 150 gallons of wine, which equal 750 bottles of wine. day the rest of their lives It’s no secret that Iowa’s was not for them.” climate presents grape growers with many chalCold-climate hybrids lenges, including harsh winThroughout these ters; late-spring frosts that changes, the industry con- can damage vine buds; and tinues to chart a course of hot, humid summers that growth, White said. can contribute to the develIn 1999, there were 13 opment of molds and wineries in Iowa. Today, mildews, which can be diffithere are nearly 100 li- cult and expensive to concensed wineries and there trol. are roughly 320 commercial While Iowa’s grape vineyards producing grapes growing season is relatively for the industry, according short, growers are finding to practical solutions. “The development of cold-climate grape hybrids has helped fuel Iowa’s wine industry growth,” said White, who noted that most of the cold-climate grape varieties come out of breeding programs from the University of Minnesota and Cornell University. The La Crescent white grape and Marquette red grape are getting most of the attention in Iowa right now, said White. Both come out of the University of Minnesota’s breeding program. La Crescent’s intense nose of apricot, peach, and citrus lends itself to superior quality off-dry or sweet white wines. Marquette’s high sugar and moderate acidity make it very manageable in the winery. “Wines made with Marquette grapes are complex, with attractive ruby color, pronounced tannins, and desirable notes of cherry, berry, black pepper and spice on both the nose and the palate,” according to the University of Minnesota. “As a red wine, Marquette represents a new standard in cold hardy viticulture and enology.” Word is getting out about Iowa’s high-quality wines, too, as some of the state’s

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Friday, Feb. 22, 2013/Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013

Farm News/The Messenger, Fort Dodge, Iowa


Progress 2013

Calcium Products to begin expanded production Larger FD plant set to go online in spring By JESSE HELLING

“Double-digit growth� over the past five years prompted Calcium Products Incorporated to expand its Fort Dodge plant. The company, which produces pelletized lime and gypsum for growers in agriculture and horticulture, broke ground in April 2012 on a new 58,900-squarefoot building due north of the company’s existing plant. The $7 million expansion will allow Calcium Products to increase its production of SuperCal SO4, which is described as “a naturallymined sulfur fertilizer and superior quality gypsum product,� is used by growers throughout North America. The project will create 10 new jobs. The expanded facility is set to begin full production later this spring, said Craig Dick, CPI vice president of sales and marketing. “Our equipment is still being shipped to us,� said Dick. However, barring any weather-related delays, the operation remains on track, he said. Dick said the expansion would “effectively double� the company’s production capacity and help to meet the increasing demand for SuperCal SO4. According to CPI’s website, the company’s products are sold by dealers in 14 states and four Canadian provinces. “SuperCal SO4, one of several soil amendment products we manufacture, has led industry sales as farmers and growers better understand the importance calcium and sulfur has on plant health, vitality and crop production,� said Dick. SuperCal SO4 provides 17 percent sulfur in the sulfate from, as well as calcium, which improves soil structure, aeration and drainage. That results in increased water infiltration while reducing soil surface crusting and improving seedling emergence. SO4 also helps break up compacted soil, increasing rooting depth, helps stabilize organic matter and decreases nitrogen loss to the atmosphere. The overall goal of improving soil quality is boosting crop yields. During the groundbreaking ceremony, CPI President Larry E. Moore spoke about the growth of the company into a profitable enterprise. “What we make are soil amendments,� he said. “In ’96, when we started down here, people didn’t understand processed products. They didn’t understand pounds instead of tons per acre. They thought I was some kind of snake oil salesman.� Moore said that CPI products play an important role in agriculture, particularly as Canada expands its ef-


forts across millions of acres. “There’s a lot of room for our products to play a role in that expansion,� he said. “That’s what we want our products to do.� According to Dick, the Fort Dodge project is largest on-site expansion in the history of the Gilmore Citybased company, which was established in 1987. CPI’s expansion has absorbed land purchased from Western Express, a Nashville, Tenn-based freight hauling company, acquired the property following a merger with Smithway Motor Xpress in 2007. The remainder of the Western Express site was sold to Iowa Central Community College in July 2012.

Since its announcement last year, local leaders have lauded CPI’s commitment to the city. “They will be adding some jobs and adding to our tax base,� said Dennis Plautz, chief executive officer of the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance. “More importantly, they will be becoming a more viable and larger company within Webster County. It adds value to the natural resources, but also adds value to the companies which they get their resources from. There’s great synergy between Calcium Products and the other companies they buy their raw material from in order to add value to it.� In May 2012, members of the Fort Dodge City Council unanimously approved a development agreement with CPI that will give the company up to $360,000 over four years in the form of incremental property tax rebates.

A view of the electrical panel that will regulate energy for Calcium Products Inc.’s new manufacturing facility. The $7 million company expansion will “effectively double� the company’s capacity to manufacture a sulfur and gypsum-based soil additive, said Craig Dick, CPI vice president of sales and marketing.

-Messenger photos by Jesse Helling

CrAig DiCk, vice president of sales and marketing for Calcium Products Inc., looks over the digital scales at the company’s new, 58,900-square-foot facility currently under construction in Fort Dodge. The $7 million expansion to the site will allow CPI to increase its production of mineral-based soil additives.

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Farm News/The Messenger, Fort Dodge, Iowa

Friday, Feb. 22, 2013/Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013

Progress 2013

Sales of nitrogen tool bar boost Hagie Mfg. Item can be tailored to specific crop management methods By CLAYTON RYE

new for 2013 in addition to the 30- and 40-foot bars alCLARION — Among ready available. A purchaser farmers, the name Hagie has a choice of coulters by Manufacturing is readily as- either Yetter or Ag Source. sociated with sprayers, the Since its introduction in company’s main product 2002, the tool bar has been since the first ones were steadily increasing in built in 1947. They are strength from the ones that based on a design of a ma- were designed to cover chine formerly used for de- 1,000 acres per year to ones tasseling corn. now built to cover 10,000 Hagie sprayers are unique acres annually, according to with their front-mounted Lingenfelter. boom and in that sales are The tool bar is gaining in made only at the Clarion fa- customer acceptance becility. Hagie Manufacturing cause of its versatility, aldoes not use a dealer net- lowing it to be tailored to work to sell its products. specific crop management Now a Hagie product that methods. first went on sale in 2002 is Lingenfelter said the tool seeing increasing sales for bar offers a wider window two reasons; one is econom- of application, improved ic and the other environ- fertilizer placement and apmental. plication closer to the time That product is a nitrogen of pollination. tool bar that mounts on the Large farms or commerfront of the sprayer  using a cial applicators are using the quick method of detaching sprayer during the day and  at- applying fertilizer at night. the sprayer boom and taching the tool bar. Changing from boom to tool “The tool bar was meant bar takes 15 minutes and reto be used as a supplement quires only a few connecfor side dressing,� said tions. Newt Lingenfelter, Hagie “The tool bar is selling product manager. sprayers for us,� said LinSales of the nitrogen tool genfelter.  bar were steady through The tool bar offers a split 2008 at around 10 to 20 an- application of fertilizer   nually, he said.  when  corn is at growth Sales for 2013 are antici- stages V8 and up when the pated to be around 100 tool need for nitrogen is greatest. bars. Side dressing typically stops A 60-foot-wide model is at growth stage V4.

 -Messenger/Farm News photo by Clayton Rye

A HAgie nitrogen tool bAr is receiving its finishing touches at the company’s Clarion factory. Sales of the tool bar are expected to rise this year. During last year’s drought conditions when the crop was withering, Lingenfelter said some farmers did not apply the second fertilizer application as it would not have done any good, saving them the expense. It is the tool bar’s more efficient placement of nitro-

gen that offers an environmental advantage said Lingenfelter. The state of Iowa is developing a program called Nutrient Reduction Strategy as a result of the 2008 Gulf Hypoxia Action Plan where 12 states along the Mississippi River were called on to

reduce their nutrient loading to the Gulf of Mexico. States are to write their own plans to take into account each state’s conditions. In Iowa, three categories were identified as practices for possible nutrient reduction. One of these was nitro-

gen and phosphorus management. One of the management practices identified included application rate, timing and method. Hancock County is one of the counties participating in See HAGIE, Page 11G




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Friday, Feb. 22, 2013/Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013

Farm News/The Messenger, Fort Dodge, Iowa


Progress 2013


-Messenger/Farm News file photo

Project LiBertY’S campus will include 27 acres for corn stover storage. When full, it will contain a three-week supply for the plant.


Continued from Page 6F

be sold back to the livestock industry for bedding and feed, and some will go to the ethanol plant in Chancellor, S.D., where they’ll be burned to provide power for that plant. Once Project LIBERTY gets under way, Wirt said, the waste from stover processing will be burned on site to provide power for the plant. “Any excess will go to the other plant,” he said, referring to POET Biorefining, the corn-based ethanol plant next door. “Stover in Iowa is a great start for us,” Wirt said. “Cellulosic (ethanol) is a 50state solution.” Future processing When asked if the plant would be ca-

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pable of processing other source materials, such as switchgrass, Wirt said the company is determined to get stover processing down pat, and then look to expand into other source materials. POET is rapidly expanding its technology in corn processing and extracting more products than distiller’s dried grain for livestock feed. The company extracts corn oil from the process and markets that to biodiesel plants, and has other projects on the drawing board for new products. “People will see soon,” Wirt said, “that these aren’t just ethanol plants, but biorefineries. “We’re learning how to extract more products from corn.”

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the Nutrient Reduction Strategy program, and Jason Moore, who works out of the NRCS office in Garner. Moore said, “Many of the features of the Nutrient Reduction Strategy will use programs already in place.” He said the program will look at entire watersheds to work with nutrient reduction instead of a county by county approach. The existing programs will be used to tailor a solution for each area. Moore said nitrogen is the main problem in northern Iowa, and phosphorus is the main problem in southern Iowa. There will be an eco-


nomic benefit to farmers as fertilizer is better used; it will require less nitrogen to grow a crop. Lingenfelter said, “That extra pass with a nitrogen tool bar will require a little more management.” He likes to tell of the customer who told him, “I’ve always got time to make more money.” -Messenger/Farm News photo by Clayton Rye

Newt LiNgeNfeLter shows one of the three connections used to attach the tool bar to the sprayer unit, a 15-minute process to go from spraying to applying nitrogen.

Continued from Page 8F

best wines continue to earn numerous awards in national competitions, White said. Supporting economy Vineyards and wineries are also contributing to the state’s economy. According to the latest data available, Iowa wineries produce approximately 186,700 gallons of wine per year. Wine, wine grapes and related industries created more than $234 million of economic value for Iowa in 2008, according to MKF Research LLC. In addition, the wine and wine-grape sectors contributed at least $28.1 million in state and local taxes in 2008. MKF Research estimated that Iowa wineries’ revenues from wine sales totaled $7.1 million in 2008. During that same year, wine grapes, wineries and related in-

dustries accounted for 1,777 jobs across the state, for a payroll of $50 million. “Tourism is a major industry in Iowa, and the growth in the number of winery tasting rooms and winery events is adding to its success,” MKF Research said. Industry leaders believe the future success of Iowa’s wine and grape industry will rely on continued support from organizations like Iowa State University, the Iowa Department of Economic Development, the Midwest Grape and Wine Industry Institute, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and the Iowa Wine Growers Association. “Iowans are becoming more sophisticated in their tastes in wine,” said Christine Carlton, owner and operations manager of Two Saints Winery near St. Charles. “It’s rewarding to be part of an industry that continues to evolve and improve.”

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Farm News/The Messenger, Fort Dodge, Iowa

Friday, Feb. 22, 2013/Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013

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Alpaca farm adds fiber mill — and backlog Success at C&M Acres quickly exceeds its owners’ expectations By BARBARA WALLACE HUGHES

some of our fiber made into yarn,” Davies said. After he spent a week at a MAXWELL — The suc- friend’s mill in Minnesota, cess of C&M Acres’ fiber the Davieses began remill has surprised even its searching the four compaowners — two accountants nies in North America that who wrote a detailed busi- produce the machines they ness plan. needed to equip their mill. “Our plan was, three Then they waited. years from when we “None of this stuff is sitopened, I would get to retire ting around in a factory,” he from my day job and just be said. “They make a piece on the farm,” said Christian when you order it. So in Davies. “It happened in February of last year, the three months.” equipment started to come Christian and Michelle in. Then we had a lot of Davies operate a 20-plus- learning time to get up to acre alpaca farm near speed. Then, we opened to Maxwell and have been the public in May.” breeders and fiber producers Davies alsince 2006. so spent a She has week at an worked full“We never even existing mill time at the in Pennsylvafarm since thought of dog hair, nia learning then while to use the he continued cat hair, buffalo, same equipto work full ment that was time in yak, bunny.” being inAmes. at —Christian Davies stalled Last year, C&M Acres. C&M Acres they began The couple considering knew how to adding an process fiber automated by hand, “but fiber mill to their operation. we had no idea how to do all Today, they have a six- of this with industrial equipmonth backlog of fiber or- ment.” ders to be processed. The equipment has to be “We were very conserva- set up differently for every tive in our (business plan) type of fiber that’s estimate; we just didn’t real- processed, Davies said, takize how much was out there. ing into account the length We knew there were alpaca of the fibers or the amount breeders out there; we knew of crimp in each one. there was tons of alpaca Sheep’s wool also presents a fiber,” Davies said. “But we challenge because it has to figured it would take a while be washed to take out the for people to come to us. lanolin, otherwise the oil What we failed to realize is will gum up the machines, there’s twice as many lla- he said. mas running around as there The couple no longer are alpacas.” sells hand-processed fiber And, he said, there are at “because you can’t produce least four to five times as it nearly as quickly or conmany sheep. sistently,” Davies said. “We never even thought As an example, “Michelle of dog hair, cat hair, buffalo, couldn’t keep enough fiber yak, bunny. We started get- washed (by hand), and she ting massive amounts of was washing all day to keep fiber in February (2012) me going in the other and we didn’t start opening room,” he said. to the public until May,” he With their new industrial said. fiber-washing machine, she The idea to operate a fiber “can now do in two hours mill grew out of the cou- what took nine hours beple’s own business need. fore,” he said. “We started contemplatC&M is now processing ing the idea because we about 100 pounds of fiber were spending many thou- per week. Before they sands of dollars having just opened the mill, the

-Messenger/Farm News photos by Barbara Wallace Hughes

christiAn dAvies prepares a machine to spin fiber into yarn at C&M Acres Alpaca Farm and Fiber Mill. Davies and wife Michelle added the fiber mill last year to their alpaca farm near Maxwell. The Davieses process all types of fiber from alpaca and llama to sheep’s wool and dog hair. A limited amount of buffalo and yak fiber has been shipped to C&M from places as far away as Alaska, Canada and Montana. Davieses were processing about 5 pounds of their own fiber. “The reality is, we shear about 700 or 800 pounds of our own fiber; we have 4,000 pounds of other people’s fiber sitting upstairs (at the mill),” Davies said. “We can now do any size or shape of yarn, any ply, from lace all the way up to bulky,” he said, “from single-ply thread all the way up to, right now, I have an order for a five-ply bulky yarn.” In addition, the Davieses have found a way to use lesser-quality fiber that wouldn’t be ideal for spinning or weaving. “We make sheet felt, using the leg or neck fiber that isn’t the best fiber in the world,” Davies said. They also make a cored yarn that’s wrapped around cotton or jute cord and is used for rug making. “They’re super soft,” he said, “and it’s a good use of fiber that would otherwise be thrown away.” C&M is the only fiber mill in the country, he said, that offers both woolen and worsted processing.

curious AlpAcAs at C&M Acres crowd around Michelle Davies. Davies and husband Christian are accountants who decided to raise alpacas, in part, because they would be small enough for her to handle on her own. Because of the fast success of the couple’s fiber mill — their business plan predicted he would be able to retire from his day job in three years — both are now working full-time on their Maxwell farm.


Michelle  dAvies  is surrounded by bags and boxes of fiber that will be processed at C&M Acres’ fiber mill. The mechanized mill processes fiber much more quickly than Davies and husband Christian used to process it by hand. However, mill equipment has to be set up differently for each type of fiber. For example. the oily lanolin in sheep’s wool has to be removed before the fiber is run through the spinning machines. But the length and the amount of crimp in a fiber also determines how the machines have to be set up. In woolen processing, the fibers are pulled and stretched, and the fibers are combed in worsted processing. The former creates a fluffier yarn that appeals to knitters, and the latter, which is known as pin drafting, produces a tighter yarn that is more favored by weavers. The Davieses are also now mass producing fiber products for commercial companies, something they hadn’t anticipated in their business plan. “We just got a contract from somebody for making the insides of pillows. We’re washing and fluffing the fiber and sending it back to them,” Davies said. “We have somebody else who is working on designer, highend New York fashion, and we’re making the thread for them.” The ability to appeal to multiple markets is partially responsible for C&M’s success. They raise both types of alpacas — the fluffy coated huacaya and the curly coated suri. There are 22 recognized coat colors for alpacas, and the Davieses raise black, white and everything in between. C&M Acres sells bred



A recently  instAlled, specially built washing machine can clean in two hours the same amount of fiber that was formerly processed by hand in nine hours. The company that produced the machine has only made 38 other such washers. and open females, herdsires and fiber animals. The Davieses also offer mobile herdsire breeding services as well as traditional breeding services at their farm. They hold classes on fiber and fiber processing, as well as general education about alpacas. They sell Shacht weaving and spinning equipment, offer farm setup assistance and board other people’s alpacas. In addition, they just refinished remodeling their farm store, where they sell fiber from their herd, along with hand-

made products, including scarves, felting and wall hangings. C&M also serves as a teaching facility, serving as a sponsor for the annual camelid (primarily alpaca and llama) seminar at Iowa State University in nearby Ames, having ISU vet students get hands-on experience at the farm and allowing one ISU professor to perform blood studies on the alpacas. The university’s small ruminant club generally visits about twice a year, Davies said.




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Farm News/The Messenger, Fort Dodge, Iowa

Friday, Feb. 22, 2013/Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013

Progress 2013

CenUSA Bioenergy researches biofuels system By KRISS NELSON

AMES — A $25 million grant for biofuels research was awarded from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to Iowa State University in August 2011 and is considered the largest single grant ever received by ISU. The project, CenUSA Bioenergy, has now entered in its second of five years for the research project of investigating the creation of a Midwestern sustainable biofuels system. Ken Moore, professor of agriculture and life sciences at ISU, is the project’s director. His duties are to facilitate the work of the project and to essentially ensure the research teams have everything they need. He is also in charge of project administration. ISU, along with Purdue University; University of Wisconsin, Madison; University of Minnesota, Twin Cities; University of Nebraska, Lincoln; University of Illinois, Champaign; University of VermontBurlington and the USDA Agricultural Research Service make up the network that are, according to CenUSA Bioenergy, investing in a regional system for producing fuels from feedstocks derived from potentially high biomass producing herba-

ceous perennials using the pyrolytic conversion process. “The focus is to grow perennial energy crops on land that is not well suited for row crops,” said Moore. Moore said there are nine separate objective research areas being focused on in the study. “This is a multi-state project with over 100 people involved, nine teams and team leads,” said Moore. “I enjoy interacting with these people and they take the responsibility for what they’ll say and do and they deliver. They are the best of the best.” The nine CenUSA program areas are: ∫ Feedstock Development, which is led by USDAAgricultural Research Service employees Ken Vogel and Mike Casl er, has a goal to develop improved perennial grass cultivars and hybrids that can be used on marginal cropland in the Central United States for the production of biomass for bioenergy. They have chosen native grasses, Moore said, including switchgrass, bluestem and Indian grasses. “All three of those are na-Submitted photo tive to Iowa and are very adaptive here, they want to KEVIN SHINNERS, CenUSA project co-director, harvests prairie grasses. CenUSA is funded by the largest be here,” said Moore. single grant ever received by Iowa State University, a $25 million grant awarded from the USDA. The project is researching the creation of a Midwestern sustainable biofuels system. It involves nine teams with a toSee CENUSA, Page 3G tal of more than 100 people in multiple states.

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Rick Titus in his 38th year of selling and installing more efficient fireplace inserts. Rick Titus of Clarion started his business, called “The Country Store”, in 1975 and even though he has moved into town now, he has no intention of retiring any time soon. “l enjoy and love doing this.” said Titus. “I’ve covered every corner of the state because I’m an expert, and that is not meant as a boast. I don’t think anyone else in the state does exactly what I do.” What he does, is sell and install the Fuego Flame (brand name) fireplace insert, which he believes are the most efficient inserts on the market, for the money. However, it took him awhile to find out about that brand. “I was living in Littleton, Colorado. and came across a brochure for the Heatilator fireplaces, which were made at Mt. Pleasant, Iowa,” said Titus. “When we moved back here 3 years later, I decided I was going to call them and become a dealer.” Titus was soon displaying the units at county fairs and got some business. But then in checking back with his customers, to his amazement, he found out they were sending most of the heat up the chimney. “I then tried selling other brands of fireplaces like Preway, and Majestic and found they were no better. These were touted to be energy efficient, having fans and adjustable dampers, but they still were not burning like a wood stove, so I just kept looking. I was selling wo od stoves, but not everyone wants a wood stove in their home. Then I found out about the Fuego Flame Fireplaces, which were as close to wood stove efficiency as you will find. This company made Zero Clearance fireplaces and also made four different sized inserts, so now I could offer my customers a super efficient fireplace, or install one of the inserts inside of their existing wood burning fireplace, no matter how large or small,” Titus said. But then it wasn’t long before he found a fireplace that has an unusual shape, like a two sided, or see-thru. or arched opening, and these inserts would not fit. So he decided to just make the inserts from scratch to fit these unusual fireplaces. He even built an insert to fit a four sided fireplace for Bill Knapp in Des Moines. The Fuego Flame fireplace inserts can make any fireplace burn up to 70% efficient, and needs no electricity while keeping 99% of the heat in the home. It burns slow like a wood stove while keeping the beauty of the fireplaces overall appearance and fun of watching the fire. Once the insert is installed, the average fireplace can heat 1,000 to 1,500 square feet of a well insulated home, while using 2/3 less wood, and protects the home from runaway fires. It can burn most of the night on just 3 or 4 hardwood logs, leaving you a nice bed of hot burning coals to ignite new logs come morning. “Some of my customers use the fireplace 24/7 all winter long, and rarely hear their furnace kick on. Thus they save a tremendous amount of fuel each month. These inserts literally pay for themselves by saving the customers fuel,” Titus says. The inserts are made using 12-guage steel, which Titus said transmits the heat quicker because it’s lighter. Cool air from the house enters underneath the insert, and is then circulated up the back of the fireplace with the heated air exiting out the top, all without the use of a fan. The temperature of the air coming off this insert varies from 200 to 1000 degrees. Titus says, “You bake in your oven at 350, and you can feel that kind of heat coming out of the top of the fireplaces heat opening. Most heat circulating fireplaces do not come close to putting out that kind of heat, for they send all their heat up the chimney.” The Fuego Flame inserts are installed using an insulated ceiling, which prevents the stove heat from going up the fireplaces chimney. The insert damper control is on the inserts face plate, so you can close the doors and then close the damper. The inserts also burn with their damper 95% closed, thus making the wood burn nice and slow. The twin glass doors are made using ceramic glass, which will take 1400 degrees temperature, so you neve r have to worry about breaking the glass with heat, and you get to enjoy watching the slow burning logs inside. These twin doors are easy to clean with very little effort. “Remember when you were a kid sitting around the campfire, or at a family reunion, how much fun it is to sit around the campfire? Well, you can have that same fun in your home with a real wood burning fire in your fireplace all winter long, and enjoy the romance of the flames; and everyone could use more romance, right? It is actually mesmerizing to watch the flames, and you don’t even have to say a word as you watch the fire. Now you can have the romantic comfort of a campfïre and enjoy all that warmth in your home saf ely and efficiently,” said Titus. For those that can’t or don’t wish to burn wood, Titus offers super efficient gas logs as an option. He started selling those in 1991, and they offer the same nice flame effect, but without the work and cleanup from real wood. “I’ve got people who bought a fireplace from me in the 70’s and 80’s that are now having me put gas logs in those same fireplaces,” said Titus. These gas logs are capable of heating up to 1,000 square feet of the averag e well insulated home, so if you have a power outage, these gas logs will keep you toasty warm, and keep the pipes from freezing in your home. Titus has covered a large area of the Midwest in his sales and installation travels, “I have built and installed units in fireplaces from Minneapolis to Kansas City and all over Iowa.” said Titus, “I’ve learned that if I go to a county fair, I get business from that area.” He a lso feels that word of mouth has been his best advertising, and that the personal attention he can offer gets the sales. “I do all the work myself,” said Titus. “I don’t even charge for estimates when I come into your home. I feel an in home visit is the only way I can know exactly what the customer needs.” Titus is also not afraid to tackle, or at least look at , any chimney problems including a cracked chimney. “I’ve fixed one of those many times for someone,” said Titus. “I installed a stainless steel liner inside the chimney and made it safe and efficient.” Titus explained that these inserts are not like others that you can buy, and that it takes some time to install them. “This is not a quick fix job,” said T itus. “I don’t just shove it into your existing fireplace, collect a check and leave. Most of the other inserts on the market make your fireplace look like it has a wood stove shoved into it, and they change the whole look of the fireplace by putting a big metal shroud around the insert. It takes me from six to eight hours to do this, but it will be done right and you’ll never need to do anything more with it.” Titus has even thought of people who like to cook food over a wood fire. “I’ve developed a barbeque grill that will fit inside there,” said Titus. “You can grill steaks or bake potatoes. It will work great for putting a dutch-oven in the fireplace too.” Feel free to contact Rick at The Country Store for more information. You can call either 515-532-3881 or 515-293-2455, or visit his website at:, or email him at “We don’t know what the future holds for our electrìcal system in this country,” said Titus. “If someone wants to control us, they could cut off the electricity, food supply, or disrupt our fuel. Everyone should have a way to heat their home without electricity.”

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Farm News/The Messenger, Fort Dodge, Iowa

Progress 2013

CenUSA Harvest of these feedstocks, he said comes later in the year, such as postfrost, or around mid-October. Because these plants are perennials, Moore said there will still be 50 percent cover even after the harvest, so the ground is protected over the nongrowing winter months. ∫ Sustainable Production Systems is headed up by Jeff Volenec of Purdue University and Rob Mitchell from USDA-ARS is to, conduct comparative analyses of the productivity potential and the environmental impacts of promising bioenergy crops and management systems using a network of 14 fields strategically located across the central United States. ∫ Feedstock Logistics research is led by Stuart Birrell at ISU and Kevin Shinners at the University of Wisconsin to develop systems and strategies to enable sustainable and economic harvest, transportation and storage of feedstocks to meet industrial needs. ∫ Feedstock Conversion, managed by Robert Brown of ISU is a study to perform a detailed economic analysis on the performance of a refinery based on pyrolytic processing of biomass into liquid fuels and provide biochar to other researchers on the project. ∫ System Performance study is led by Cathy Kling of ISU and Jason Hill with the University of Minnesota and is a study to provide detailed analyses of feedstock production options and an accompanying set of spatial models to enhance the ability of policymakers, farmers and the bioenergy industry to make informed decisions about which bioenergy feedstocks to grow, where to produce them, what environmental impacts they will have and how biomass production systems are likely to respond to and contribute to climate change or other environmental shifts. ∫ Markets and Distribution research is handled by Keri Jacobs at ISU and Dermot Hayes, also of ISU to study farm-level adoption decisions, exploring the effectiveness of policy, market and contract mechanisms that facilitate broad-scale voluntary adoption by farmers. Also, to evaluate impacts of an expanded advanced biofuel system on regional and global food, feed, energy and fiber markets. ∫ Health and Safety is led by Chuck Schwab and Mark Hanna of ISU to conduct a detailed analysis of all tasks associated with biofeedstock production for hazard targets of personnel, equipment, environment, downtime and product. Also, to determine potentially hazardous respirator exposure limits associated with the production of biofeedstocks. ∫ Education study is directed by Raj Raman of ISU and Patrick Murphy at Purdue University to provide rich interdisciplinary training and engagement opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students in all areas of the bioenergy value chain to meet work force challenges of the bioeconomy. “This study,” said Moore, “helps build up the human capital to support this research when the project is done. We’re putting students with the scientists.” One way this is done is through the CenUSA Internship program. Participants of this program are a diverse group from multiple institutions across the United States, representing disciplines including physics, biological systems engineering and agronomy. During the internship, students will participate in weekly reports and meetings as well as field trips to bioprocessing facilities, research facilities and agronomic field stations. ∫ Extension and Outreach, run by Jill Euken of ISU is to deliver sciencebased information and informal educational program linked to CenUSA +

Friday, Feb. 22, 2013/Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013

Continued from Page 2G

project goals to agricultural and rural economy stakeholders and youth programs linked to 4-H and FFA programs. Extension and Outreach is also for helping to establish a “citizen science” program to promote shared learning on the impacts of perennial grass agriculture and ecosystems. A third of the project’s

budget, Moore said, is spent on education and extension, proving just how integral a part they both are for the project. Moore said an advisory board has been made with industry professionals representing the supply chain and their role is to provide high-level, broad advice and to serve as an important link and network into

stakeholder groups. “The advisory board has been a very valuable component to the study and have come up with excellent questions and ideas,” said Moore. A workshop, the “2012 Commercialization Workshop, a Roadmap to Commercialize Thermochemical Biofuels in the Midwest” Moore said was

held in December. With the many industry participants, Moore said he considers the workshop a success. “I am very optimistic and upbeat from the industry of the potential of processing materials and making fuels out of them,” said Moore. Moore said he is also very confident about the

project and its outcomes, and even though it is still very early on in the project, CenUSA Bioenergy has already seen positive results. “I have never been concerned about the success of the project due to the team,” said Moore. “These people can’t fail. They are the experts.”

Cargill Corn Milling North America The Fort Dodge bio-refinery campus in an investment in the future of agriculture. Together with CJ, we will harness our investments in biotechnology and create value added products for our customers. This investment will create jobs in Iowa, reinvestment in the local community and help connect our farmer customers to global customers. Cargill Fort Dodge will provide competitive bids and timely payments to corn suppliers. We will source corn from approximately a 90 mile radius and will operate a high speed corn unloading facility at Fort Dodge, where safety will be a top priority. We will offer a menu of unique risk management products (specialty contracts) to help growers diversify their grain marketing risk. Our merchandising staff will be making customer visits to establish relationships with local corn suppliers. Cargill has been in the grain business for almost 150 years. Our longevity, financial stability, and global presence is unmatched in the marketplace. We are looking forward to serving local corn suppliers in the Fort Dodge area and becoming the area’s “Partner of Choice.”

“Cargill’s newest corn wet mill ethanol facility in Fort Dodge.”

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Farm News/The Messenger, Fort Dodge, Iowa

Friday, Feb. 22, 2013/Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013

Progress 2013

Startup FEC Solutions is broker for corn oil

Troy Shoen, marketing director for Riverhead Resources, said the companies of the Riley Resource Group are small enough and nimble enough to adjust quickly to new and emerging opportunities within the biofuels industry.

Company is offshoot of biofuels industry

-Messenger/farm News photos by Larry Kershner

KrySTal hamicK, an employee of Feed Energy, measures the content of free fatty acids from a batch of acidulated soybean oil. Knowing the content helps the company accurately blend the oil into poultry and swine feed.

By LARRY KERSHNER more valuable than that.” Besides serving as a corn DES MOINES — As the oil broker, another compagrowth of the biofuels in- ny focus is to find additiondustry virtually exploded al industrial uses for the oil in Iowa, it has spawned the through refining. creation of additional en“We think we’ve found trepreneurial startups, in- the key to keeping the valcluding one in Des Moines ue in corn oil,” Shoen said. — FEC Solutions. “As one strips out more A part of the Riley Re- products, it makes the oil source Group, based in Des more valuable.” Moines, FEC was formed As FEC’s research and in 2006 as a broker of corn development team looks oil coming out of the for more outlets for the oil, ethanol industry. Shoen thinks that eventualAccording to Troy Shoen, marketing director for Riverhead Resources, serving the other subsidiary branches of the group, the role of FEC in the ag economy creates a larger demand for corn oil, extracted from distillers dried grains, the byproduct of the ethanol process. The result is added value to the oil that flows back to corn growers. Iowa’s 22 ethanol plants produce upward of 33 million gallons of corn oil “and all of that oil needs a home,” Shoen said. FEC sources the oil, through open bidding and through some contracts, then markets this oil to primarily biodiesel plants, but also in exports and industrial uses, such as plastics and asphalt. In a typical year, Shoen said, biodiesel plants cut back production during the fourth quarter because they have enough product on hand to meet the demands of the Renewable Fuels Standard. The price of corn oil will then slip from 40 cents per pound to 30 cents. “There is no reason corn oil should ever be at 30 cents,” Shoen said. “It’s

ly ethanol plants will see ethanol as its primary byproduct and corn oil as its primary income source. “This is what’s fun about the energy markets,” Shoen said. “We’re just on the cusp of what can happen. “There’s more room for growth and opportunity.” FEC, he said, is small enough and versatile enough to make the needed adjustments to take advantage of new opportunities as they arise.

A little history In 1986, FEC’s chairman, Bob Riley, purchased Feed Energy in Des Moines. Feed Energy, not to be confused with FEC Solutions, removes solids from vegetable oil stocks through an acidulation process and then markets the refined oil as a livestock feed additive. Most of the oil is mixed with poultry feed, but some also

goes into swine feed, Shoen said. Feed Energy provides this diet additive for the bulk of Iowa’s poultry feed industry. He said the additive is a way for livestock growers to get the required amount of kilocalories into animal diets, without adding carbohydrates or protein. “It’s like Gatorade for us,” Shoen said. Feed Energy’s target audience is animal nutritionists, he said. Business man-

19 4 7 - 2 0 1 3

agers are a secondary target for its products. “A tertiary audience is feed mills,” Shoen said. “We also get feedback from producers.” This includes carry-out numbers of daily rates of gain and market weights. Since Feed Energy’s products are derived from soybean oil, it has vitamins A and D and antibodies for overall animal health. See FEC, Page 7G


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Farm News/The Messenger, Fort Dodge, Iowa

Friday, Feb. 22, 2013/Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013

Progress 2013

Pioneer offers T Series, new line of soybeans Products will be similar to Y series of past years By KRISS NELSON

the largest number of soybean advancements by PioSPENCER —DuPont neer in a single year, and Pioneer, a leader in soy- was developed, Schafer bean seed sales, has recent- said, through DuPont Pioly announced it will be ex- neer’s Accelerated Yield panding its product offer- Technology process. ings with a new line of soy“The next generation T beans. Series soybean products Don Schafer, DuPont Pi- provides growers a total oneer senior marketing package that helps them manager for soygain the most from beans, said the new every acre,” said line of soybean Schafer. “A step products, the T Sechange from earlier ries, will be introofferings, the T Seduced in limited ries is a direct result quantities through of the AYT system trials and plots and that allows Pioneer will have a full volsoybean breeders to ume launch in time maximize yield pofor the 2014 growtential, agronomic Don ing season. Schafer traits and resistance Schafer said the to yield-robbing new products will be posi- pests.” tioned in plots throughout According to DuPont PioIowa beginning this spring, neer, the AYT process pinallowing producers to see points native trait genes for the new soybeans firsthand increased defensive trait and eventually get to take a protection and improved look at all of the data when pest resistance packages taithey are harvested this fall. lored for specific geograThe new T Series vari- phies. eties succeed Pioneer’s Y AYT employs novel trait Series of soybeans that were integration through a propriintroduced several years etary matrix of gene mapago. ping, molecular breeding “We previously had the Y technologies and intense loSeries, and this class is sim- cal field testing. The system ilar,” said Schafer. “The T is a key part of a compreSeries is large with great hensive plan to accelerate performance in the market- yield gain and broaden replace shown through four sistance to key diseases and years of trials.” insects. The new series includes Schafer said the AYT 39 new products, which is process helps bring products

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DuPont Pioneer will expand its product offerings with a new line of soybeans. The T Series products will be positioned in plots throughout Iowa beginning this spring. to the marketplace quicker, with better traits and higher yielding soybeans as well. The T Series of soybeans will consist of 34 varieties that will carry the Roundup Ready gene; two new Plenish high oleic varieties; five

new products with the LibertyLink gene and two new varieties with the Roundup Ready/STS stack. Also, 32 products are soybean cyst nematode-resistant and 29 carry a major Phytophthora-resistant

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gene. The T Series was also developed with feedback from producers. DuPont Pioneer teams, he said have worked locally with growers, developing a product to fit their needs.

Schafer suggests producers continue to contact and work alongside their local DuPont Pioneer dealer, discussing issues they have in their fields, in order to get them the right product for their acres.

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Farm News/The Messenger, Fort Dodge, Iowa


Progress 2013

BioCentury Research Farm is first in nation Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s dedicated to R and D in biomass production By KRISS NELSON

AMES â&#x20AC;&#x201D; The BioCentury Research Farm at Iowa State University is a first-in-the-nation facility dedicated to research and demonstration in biomass production and processing. Now in its in third year of operation, the ISU BioCentury Research Farm has been working on several projects for the use of different feedstocks in biomass production and different trials on harvesting, storage and transporting of the biomass. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We are designed to bring all of the pieces together,â&#x20AC;? said Lawrence Johnson, director of the BioCentury Research Farm. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Other places may be working on a particular piece, but nowhere else is there someone trying to bring those pieces together in one place. We go all the way back to plant genetics up to conversion. Having all of the pieces is very important.â&#x20AC;? A current project being researched in conjunction with DuPont Ethanol is helping develop a supply chain for the 560,000 bales the company will need each year at its cellulosic ethanol facility being built near Nevada. Andy Suby, biomass processing facility manager, said handling that massive number of bales is quite an undertaking, and they are working together on figuring out the most productive way to harvest, bale, store and transport that much biomass. Single pass harvesting They are working on a singlepass harvesting system that will eliminate the customary three to four passes across the field, reducing compaction and the raking part of the process â&#x20AC;&#x201D; which should dramatically reduce the amount of dirt raked up into the corn stover.


â&#x20AC;&#x153;With single pass harvesting, you pull the baler behind in the combine where it makes a square bale, in most cases, and all there is to do is pick up the bale later,â&#x20AC;? said Suby. â&#x20AC;&#x153;This also allows for controlling the height of the cutterbar, to accommodate the ground you are going over and can be tailored site-specific to take the right amount of corn stover needed off of the field.â&#x20AC;? Suby said they have also been consulting with POET for its cellulosic plant in Emmetsburg, as well, and that this project has been ongoing at the BioCentury Research Farm practically since the farmâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s beginning. Through research of handling corn stover, they have also found a merging market for the biomass for other uses than fuels. For example, Johnson said, other companies are using the stover for other value-added products such as chemical, paper, construction products and the BioCentury Research Farm are helping to provide the material to those companies for the development and research of these products. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We are the only source of clean stover for people,â&#x20AC;? said Suby. Suby added that they also have the capacity to meet any specification and size of the stover a processor wants and they do the majority of the drying and grinding of the corn stover used in these situations. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We work closely with the companies,â&#x20AC;? said Johnson. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We like to see these technologies commercialized.â&#x20AC;? Other feedstocks Other forms of research include studying specialty crops, such as miscanthus and switchgrass, for use for biofuels and finding a market for those alternative crops; conversion processes of feedstocks; and one of the newest subjects being researched is the use of algae to be used eventually as biodiesel and for food in the aquaculture industry. Martin Gross, graduate student at ISU is heading up the research of utilizing algae. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The idea stemmed from some previous research that I read that

used a biofilm to grow algae instead of just allowing the algae to be suspended in a culture,â&#x20AC;? said Gross. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Other than that, the idea kind of developed piece by piece with no real influence by any one thing.â&#x20AC;? Gross said algae can contain up to 60 percent oils, which is much more than other oil crops. â&#x20AC;&#x153;So algae is an ideal feedstock for making biodiesel,â&#x20AC;? said Gross. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Many of these oils are omega 3 fatty acids which have significant health benefits. The reason fish are high in omega 3s are because they eat algae. Algae can also be used as a feed source for aquaculture, livestock or pet food. Researchers at ISU are looking into its potential as a thermochemical feedstock.â&#x20AC;? Typically, Gross said algal cultivation has been mainly performed in open ponds or closed photobioreactors in which those algal cells are suspended in liquid and harvested through costly sedimentation, flocculation and/or centrifugation devices. The objective of his project at the BioCentury Farm is to develop a novel biofilm-based algal cultivation system to reduce the biomass harvest cost. â&#x20AC;&#x153;In our attached growth system, algal cells are attached to a material that is rotating between nutrient-rich liquid phase and carbon dioxide rich gaseous phase for alternative absorption of nutrients and carbon dioxide,â&#x20AC;? said Gross. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The algal cells can be harvested by scrapping from the attached surface, and thus, the expensive harvest procedures commonly used in a suspension cultivation system can be avoided.â&#x20AC;? Gross is hoping this algae harvesting process can go commercial soon and has started his own company. â&#x20AC;&#x153;My company, Gross Renewables LLC, is currently working on this,â&#x20AC;? he said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It is hard to say when, but if our research is successful, we should be able to leverage money to commercialize the process.â&#x20AC;? -Messenger photo by Kriss Nelson â&#x20AC;&#x153;Some of our brightest students that have worked on projects at the BioCentury Farm are going out Andrew Friend, graduate student in mechanical engineerand starting up companies from ing, left, and Lysle Whitmer, program engineer for the Center for Sustainable Environmental Technology, work on the fast pyroltheir research,â&#x20AC;? said Johnson. ysis unit located in the thermochemical train.

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Farm News/The Messenger, Fort Dodge, Iowa

Friday, Feb. 22, 2013/Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013

Progress 2013


Continued from Page 4G

About Riley Resource Group

-Messenger/Farm News photo by Larry Kershner

Feed energy employee Richard Mulbrook monitors an indicator to assure that oil gets through to injectors in the company’s acidulation processor.

The companies that make up the Riley Resource group are Feed Energy Co., FEC Solutions, Riverhead Resources and Decision Innovation Solutions. As chief executive officer, Robert G. Riley Jr. is a proponent for balanced and sustainable systems, including agriculture, environment, innovation, business and government. Advocating long-term perspectives, he works to create synergy and manage polarities within and between many entities, in-

cluding his business interests, and various nonprofit, institutional and governmental agencies in which he is involved. In 1986, Riley purchased Feed Energy and immediately began the process of building a feed ingredient company with products developed on innovation, research and sound science. In 2006, he formed FEC Solutions to pursue opportunities within the biofuel industry. In 2009, Riley started Riverhead Resources and became a strategic advis-

er and investor in Decision Innovation Solutions. Riverhead provides experts in proven business systems. DIS specializes in stochastic data analysis and dynamic risk-based modeling. Riley has worked for more than 40 years in the fats and oils industry. He is asked to speak frequently about the essential capitals of sustainable systems — feed, food and fuel production, government policies and the role of innovation. Riley is active in professional, state and commu-

nity organizations including: n Leader, American Feed Industry Association. n Director, Iowa Poultry Association. n Director, Iowa Partnership for Economic Progress, of which he is chairman of the Iowa Innovation Corporation. n Trustee, The Nature Conservancy in Iowa. n Director, Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines. n Leader, Capital Crossroads Initiative, of which he is co-chairman of Natural Capital committee.

Both Feed Energy and FEC are members of the Safe Food/Safe Feed Program through the American Feed Association. “We are always cognizant that what we feed the animals feeds us,” Shoen said. “It all makes its way into us ultimately.” Forming FEC Solutions In the mid-1990s, the biofuels industry kicked into high gear and ethanol plants appeared on the Iowa landscape like popping corn. According to Shoen, Chairman Riley saw that distiller’s dried grain would compete with Feed Energy’s products as a livestock feed additive. So he formed FEC Solutions to create a marketing channel for the increase of corn oil that would hit the open market. FEC brokers that oil into other outlets, such as biodiesel, plastics and asphalt, without competing with Feed Energy’s markets.



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Friday, Feb. 22, 2013/Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013

Progress 2013

ePig provides a one-stop shop for swine Online service to link pig buyers, sellers By LARRY KERSHNER

MASON CITY — A new online service to link buyers of pigs with sellers, and renters of hog facilities with those with empty buildings, is going active this month. “This is an idea that’s way past its time,” said Steve Weiss, president of ePigFlow, based in Mason City. “We know of no other service like this. There are auction services for equipment and cattle, but not for swine.” Think of it as eBay for pigs, or Craig’s List for facilities. Weiss, a former chief financial officer for Iowa Select Farms, said ePigFlow assists pork producers with two key requirements for a successful operation. They are: ∫ A robust pig-flow model that carries a producer through the financial peaks and flows created by various things such as market fluctuations and diseases. ∫A method for buying/selling or renting/leasing available swine facilities. “This is designed as a one-stop shop for asset utilization,” Weiss said. The basic idea is that pig buyers and sellers sign onto the service. Signup is free.


“This is an idea that is way past its time.” —Steve Weiss President, ePigFlow

A buyer can see who has pigs for sale and the asking price. The buyer posts a bid and the seller can either accept or counter bid. The process continues until the pigs are sold or one of the parties breaks off the discussion. If they enter into an agreed sale, the buyer pays the money up front to ePigFlow, which places the funds in an escrow account. The pigs are shipped within a few days of the escrowed payment. When the shipment arrives, the buyer uses a provided form to note any discrepancies in the pigs and determines a discount. The seller either agrees to the discount, or rejects it. If accepted, the buyer is sent the discounted amount, and the remainder goes to the seller, minus a handling fee for ePigFlow. If the seller contests the

-Messenger/Farm News photo by Larry Kershner

Steve WeiSS, president of ePigFlow, a new online clearinghouse to link pig buyers with sellers, explains how the service will work. The service works like eBay for the feeder pig industry. discount form, ePigFlow will send a field specialist for dispute resolution. The seller will determine if the discount is justified or not. Weiss said the service is totally transparent. The buy-

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er’s pigs were discounted. Over a period of time and multiple transactions, both sides will get to know with whom they want to do business and whom to avoid, Weiss said.

Another part of the service is a close-out survey for the buyers to show how well the pigs fared when shipped to market. See EPIG, Page 9G

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Progress 2013


Continued from Page 8G

Weiss showed his new service to pork producers at the 2013 Pork Congress on Jan. 23 and 24 in Des Moines. He said the service was announced at a Minnesota swine exhibition earlier in


Farm News/The Messenger, Fort Dodge, Iowa

January, and expected it would go active this month. Fees will be assessed on a per-pig-shipped basis on a sliding scale depending on how many pigs are being traded. Sellers and buyers can develop long-term

contracts for hundreds of thousands of pigs. For such large volumes of sales, the per-pig fee is down to pennies. Other trades can be upward to 50 cents per head. The company is a divi-

sion of Value Added Science and Technologies, based in Mason City, of which Weiss is also president. “We don’t think of ourselves as a source (for feeder pigs),” Weiss said, “but






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Friday, Feb. 22, 2013/Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013

Progress 2013

Yetter’s meat locker serves diverse area Ludwig offers catering, considers adding a commercial kitchen By DARCY DOUGHERTY MAULSBY

YETTER — While Jason Ludwig earned his degree in graphic art and design, a unique career path has allowed him to master the art of meat cutting at the Yetter Locker. For 10 years, he has expanded this thriving business, which now serves customers from Algona to Jefferson. Ironically, the locker’s location at the end of Summit Street sometimes proves tricky for first-time customers in this town of population 36. “We still have people who stop at the elevator and call to ask directions,” said Ludwig, 36, who grew up on a farm near Auburn. As one of three meat lockers in Calhoun County, the Yetter Locker has carved out a niche by offering high-quality products and catering. None of this was by design, said Ludwig, who worked for the Graphic Edge in Carroll from 1998 to 2003. “I joke that I was young and dumb when I de-


cided to buy the locker er’s best-selling products inwhen I was 26.” clude fresh-cut steaks, ground beef and Yetter baFrom part-time to own- con. “People can’t get ership enough bacon,” said LudLudwig learned the meat- wig, who serves on the cutting trade by working board of the Iowa Meat part-time at a locker south Processors Association. of Omaha during his years The Yetter Locker also as a student at Universal supplies the sausage that’s Technical Institute. After served each winter in Jolley graduating from UTI and re- for that town’s famous Satturning to western Iowa, urday morning biscuits-andLudwig occasionally helped gravy breakfasts. process deer at the Yetter “They wanted more spice Locker, which was owned in their sausage than our by Mel Smith. standard recipe,” Ludwig When Smith surprised said, “so their mix has a rate Ludwig one day by offering and a half of seasoning.” him the chance to buy the Customers can order what locker, Ludwig decided to he calls Jolley sausage. try his hand at business Ludwig relies on a wide ownership. range of his own recipes and “I didn’t like sitting be- those of previous owner hind a desk and was willing Charlie Lietz for his awardto take on a new challenge,” winning meat products. said Ludwig, who graduated “In the past 10 years, I’ve from Wall Lake View noticed that people want Auburn High School in hotter, spicier sausages and 1994 — the same year that bratwursts,” added Ludwig, the current Yetter Locker who continues to develop was built. new recipes, including a For Ludwig, the customer maple and blueberry breakalways comes first, he said. fast sausage that he hopes to The business is open from 8 offer soon. a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. Catering flourishes to noon on Saturday. Unique products are just Some of the Yetter Lock- one of the ways that Ludwig

and his two full-time employees and two part-time employees cater to customers. “If you tell me what you want to eat for the week, I’ll have it all boxed up and ready for you to pick up,” said Ludwig, who has won many awards for his dried beef, sausage and more at the Iowa State Fair and IMPA competitions. “You can even save money by buying locally, since we do our best to stay cost-competitive.” The Yetter Locker also serves customers by offering catered meals for public events including co-op meetings, wedding receptions and family reunions. The team has served groups ranging from 40 to more than 400 people. Ludwig launched the catering business in 2009 after purchasing a mobile grill from a gentleman in Sac City. While Ludwig customizes his catering to each clients’ unique needs, typical menus include roast beef or brisket, smoked or grilled pork loin, ham or pulled pork. Popular side dishes range from Ludwig’s homemade baked beans to cheesy hashbrowns, steamed vegetables or green beans sauted with onions and bacon. “This is meat-and-potatoes country,” said Ludwig, -Messenger/Farm News photo by Darcy Dougherty Maulsby


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JASON LUDWIG, who serves on the board of the Iowa Meat Processors Association, is shown cutting beef ribs at the Yetter Locker. who values the assistance of his employee Jeremy Rierson, of Carroll, who has a culinary degree. The catering enterprise has been so successful that Ludwig is looking at ways to expand the 50-by-60-foot locker to include a commercial kitchen. As he continues to grow

the business, Ludwig never forgets how closely the Yetter Locker’s success is tied to the farm economy. “There’s a lot of livestock in Iowa, and it’s such an economic benefit to the state,” said Ludwig, who also raises cattle. “We’re proud to support Iowa agriculture.”


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Friday, Feb. 22, 2013/Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013

Farm News/The Messenger, Fort Dodge, Iowa


Progress 2013

Area meat lockers offer more than processing Services range from providing gift boxes to supplying retail outlets By EMILIE NELSON-JENSON

STANHOPE — A well known local locker is once again open for business with new ownership in downtown Stanhope. Owner Ahmad Manci purchased the Stanhope Locker in October, and with a staff of six employees continues to produce the same well- known beef jerky, meat sticks and sausage the Locker has been known for many years. Although he had never been to the Stanhope Locker, Manci saw it as a business opportunity. “I heard this locker was for sale,” said Manci. “I knew that it would tie in well with my other business.” Manci also owns the Pammel Grocery and Pammel Deli in Ames, and will be able to provide meat for the businesses through the locker. “For the past 25 years I

was going to other lockers for meat,” he said. Besides the signature jerky and meat sticks, the Stanhope Locker sells ground beef through its retail store. “We have our ground beef at $2.99 a pound, that has been going over very well,” said Manci.

processes deer. “We will also work with someone who wants to order a quarter or half beef,” he said. The Stanhope Locker offers plenty of room for butchering, allowing a quicker pick-up time for customers. “We are available for those who want to do beef or lamb,” said Manci. “We have plenty of room. Our goal is to make sure that we not only treat our customers right we make sure they get their products on time.”

“We have a unique retail area and a lot of award winning products.” —Mark Skoglund Owner, Skoglund Meat Locker

Most of the products prepared at the Stanhope Locker come from local producers, Manci said. “Most of the products we get locally,” he said. “Lots of local beef and lamb from around the area.” The locker also butchers beef, lamb and goats and


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WEST BEND — For more than 35 years, the Skoglund Meat Locker has offered specialty meats and meat processing in the West Bend area. Owner Mark Skoglund said the locker can process lamb, beef, pork, and deer for area farmers and hunters in a timely matter along

-Messenger/Farm News photo by Emilie Nelson-Jenson

Tau VinchaTTle, left and Ahmad Manci cut a portion of beef that will be steaks at the Stanhope Locker. Manci purchased the locker in October. with producing its specialty retail products such as its award-winning hams, meat sticks, sausage and fresh cut meats. “We do a lot of custom beef, pork and lamb for area farmers,” said Skoglund. “We have the capacity to accommodate the orders in our new larger facility with less wait time for someone who

needs something processed The venison season is always a big time for us.” Skoglund Locker also has access to local producers for customers interested in purchasing half and quarter beef. “We can arrange for that locally,” said Skoglund. Skoglund’s locker is also known for its private label items and fundraiser

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products. “We can do fundraising with our meat products and we manufacture snack sticks for other groups,” he said. The Skoglund Meat Locker also offers gift boxes and mail order gift boxes of their meat products. “We have a unique retail area and a lot of award winning products,” said Skoglund.

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Two Saints winery has grape expectations Construction manager turns to new career following layoff weeds that were really tall and were choking out our little grapevines,” said Carlton, who quickly gained an ST. CHARLES — Al- appreciation for effective though Christine Carlton weed control. Today, Carlton’s and used to wonder what she’d do after she retired, her an- Edgington’s vineyard has swer came sooner than expanded to more than 10 planned. When an unexpect- acres, where they grow nine ed layoff ended her 26-year different types of wine career in construction man- grapes. “Each variety has its own agement amid the economic turmoil of 2008, Carlton personality,” Carlton said. began her new role as a win- “Noiret wants to grow in a jumble. Edelweiss produces ery owner. “I either had to get anoth- large clusters of big grapes, er job or start my dream a but it’s kind of wild and little sooner,” said Carlton, crazy and needs to be cut 60, whose interest in Iowa’s back.” Caring for the grapevines expanding wine industry led to the creation of Two and running the winery reSaints Winery, in St. quire a lot of hours, said Charles, which she owns Carlton, who works at Two with her partner, Gary Edg- Saints full time, while Edgington helps out on nights ington. Carlton and Edgington and weekends when he’s not found the right location for working full time as a projtheir new vineyard and win- ect manager for Baker Elecery south of Des Moines and tric in Des Moines. “You purchased 65 constantly acres near the have to small towns of “I either had to get mow the St. Charles property and St. Marys. and train another job or The pair unthe vines on dertook much start my dream a the wires,” of the consaid Carlstruction work little sooner.” ton, who ofon their winery, which in—Christine Carlton ten begins cludes a Two Saints Winery her spring and sum2,400-squaremer days in foot banquet the vineroom, adjacent yard at 6 serving area, spacious outdoor deck, tast- a.m. before opening the ing room, gift shop and winery at 11 a.m. She rebasement where Edgington turns to her outdoor chores ferments and bottles wine. in the evening after the win“We get to meet so many ery closes at 6 p.m. During the labor-inteninteresting people through the winery,” said Carlton, sive spring season, Carlton who noted that Two Saints and Edgington hire Max Winery’s prime location Chavez of Carlisle and his near Interstate 35 has at- crew of eight to nine worktracted many out-of-state ers to handle the extensive visitors since the tasting pruning chores. One of the room opened five years ago. most inexpensive labor forces at the winery includes the free-range Buff OrpingLearning to farm Managing the vineyard ton and Black Australorp involved more of a learning chickens that Carlton purcurve than building the win- chased as chicks from the ery, said Carlton, who grew feed store in St. Charles. “Not only do they lay a up in Des Moines. “Gary and I were two city kids, and lot of eggs, but they do a we were somewhat naive great job of eating bugs in when we planted our first the vineyard,” Carlton said. When the grapes are five acres of grapes.” The pair carved out a ready to harvest from late vineyard in a former pas- August to mid-September, ture, not realizing that weed Carlton and Edgington often seeds can lay dormant in the receive extra help from famsoil for decades before ger- ily and friends. “While the vineyard and minating when the condithe winery are a lot of work, tions are right. “That first year we fought I love it,” Carlton said.



-Messenger/Farm News photos by Darcy Dougherty Maulsby

CHRISTINE CARLTON checks a gauge on one of the large tanks in the fermentation and bottling room in the basement of Two Saints Winery, near St. Charles.

CARLTON notes that more than 90 percent of Two Saints’ wines are made from grapes grown at the vineyard, with the goal is to increase this to 100 percent. Red distinguishes Two Saints Since grapevines prefer hot, dry weather, the summer of 2012 produced some exceptional grapes that will help create the superior dry red wines that distinguish Two Saints Winery. “We age our red wines at least three years in special aging tanks to get the tannins right and develop the flavor,” said Carlton, who noted that Iowans are becoming more sophisticated in their wine tastes. Two Saints Winery offers 17 varieties of red and white wines, including their bestselling Frontenac Blush, which starts with a delicate strawberry aroma and continues with a playful tart cherry flavor with subtle ki-

Marketing a taste of Iowa Since the success of a winery depends not only on distinctive products but creative marketing, Carlton looks for new ways to attract visitors to Two Saints Winery. The winery hosts weddings, reunions and other gatherings, along with Hear It in the Grapevines live music performances at an outdoor pavilion from April through September. In the winter, Carlton and Edgington offer weekend wine tasting classes that focus on wine and food pairings. In March and April this spring, Two Saints Winery will debut Tanks and Tapas on the weekends, where guests can enjoy tapas and sample wine right from the tanks. As members of the Heart DURING THE WINE classes at Two Saints Winery of Iowa Wine Trail, Carlton near St. Charles, winemaker Gary Edgington uses and Edgington also exthese bottles to show the sugar content of various change ideas and cooperate types of wine, from sweeter varieties to dry wines. on promotions with other lo-




wi and floral notes. More than 90 percent of Two Saints’ wines are made from grapes grown at the winery, said Carlton, whose goal is to increase this to 100 percent. The wine also provides the starting ingredient for other unique items. A neighbor, Holly Wiederin, creates Off the Vine Wine Gelee with grapes and wine from Two Saints Winery. This popular product, which is sold through Two Saints’ gift shop, can be spread between cake layers; served with waffles, pancakes or croissants; incorporated into a sauce for baked ham; used as an ice cream topping or served as an appetizer with cheeses.


cal wineries. This past January marked the second year for The Wines of Warren County, where visitors paid $5 a ticket to sample local wineries’ wines and vote in a cook-off contest featuring homemade chili made with wine. Proceeds from the event were donated to a food bank in Indianola. All these opportunities make Two Saints Winery an enjoyable second career for Carlton, who looks forward to adding walking paths this spring throughout the property’s rolling terrain so guests can experience Iowa’s wildlife, wildflowers and birds. “I’ve always liked gardening and spending time in nature. Now I get to do it on a big scale and share it with others, so it’s very rewarding.” For more information on Two Saints Winery, log onto, or find the winery on Facebook.







Farm News/The Messenger, Fort Dodge, Iowa

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Friday, Feb. 22, 2013/Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013

Farm News/The Messenger, Fort Dodge, Iowa


Progress 2013

Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a worldwide taste for U.S. pork Kossuth Co. producer leading NPBâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s efforts on the pork industry,â&#x20AC;? he said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Feral pigs can pose our commercialALGONA â&#x20AC;&#x201D; As presi- raised pork to diseases the dent of the National Pork industry has eliminated, Board, Conley Nelson making todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s pork better knows there is a lot of quality and safe for conwork to be done in telling sumers to use.â&#x20AC;? the story of agriculture, Nelson said they heard and in making sure that from a large Texas retailer U.S. pork has plenty of of domestic pork who told takers around the world. the NPB that pork is one of Nelson, who is in his the products that is very second three-year term on important to his retail the NPB, said the group chain because much of his met in San customer Antonio, base is HisTexas, early panic. He â&#x20AC;&#x153;The U.S has low said pork this year to discuss the was a good production costs, protein for status of the U.S. pork chain to great quality and the industry and sell because to be updatthe Hispana good supply ed on the ics eat so ways that much of it. of pork.â&#x20AC;? Pork CheckNelson off dollars â&#x20AC;&#x201D;Conley Nelson said anyare being National Pork Board thing they used to procan do to mote pork to promote the the U.S. pork indusHispanic population. try to Hispanics, domestiThey chose San Anto- cally or internationally nio, in part, because 61 will naturally help pork percent of the population producers in Iowa. there is Hispanic, and beâ&#x20AC;&#x153;Pork is the meat of cause 37 percent of the choice in the world, and overall population of itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the most eaten protein Texas is Hispanic. in the world â&#x20AC;&#x201D; not in the â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Hispanic people U.S., but around the are great users of pork,â&#x20AC;? he world,â&#x20AC;? Nelson said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;One said, pointing toward the in three or four pigs is excontinued demand for pork ported. Japan and Mexico among Latinos. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s part are our top customers, with of their culture. The His- other Asian countries bepanic population is also sides China, South Vietgrowing.â&#x20AC;? nam and South Korea beAnother reason they coming great markets as chose Texas is because it well.â&#x20AC;? has the largest population Nelson said Chinaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s of feral pigs, which con- pork industry is about six cerns the NPB. Nelson times larger than the U.S. said feral pigs are a con- pork industry, but that their cern because of the poten- pigs are raised primarily in tial spread of disease. â&#x20AC;&#x153;backyard herds.â&#x20AC;? He said â&#x20AC;&#x153;We wanted to go there that as large as China is, to understand feral pigs pork producers there have and the impact they have a difficult time getting



-Messenger/Farm News photo by Karen Schwaller

Conley nelson, president of the National Pork Board and Kossuth County Pork producer, traveled to Texas in January, meeting with other board NPB members to discuss the promotion of the U.S. pork industry. He said the Hispanic population is becoming a large consumer of U.S. pork. Demand for pork in Asia is also rising. their pork into their large urban areas. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The U.S. has low production costs, great quality and a good supply of pork,â&#x20AC;? Nelson said, adding that more countries are looking toward the U.S. as a supplier of quality pork products. He went on to say that pork is a cultural necessity in the Asian countries, and that those countries are growing their middle class population. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The first thing those people want to do is to get more pork,â&#x20AC;? he said, adding that in those coun-

tries, they prepare and eat nearly every part of the pig, including snouts and ears, which American people donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t necessarily want because they have the â&#x20AC;&#x153;luxuryâ&#x20AC;? of being able to afford to buy the prime pork cuts. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a good fit with our domestic market,â&#x20AC;? he said. Mexico and Asia are large enough consumers of pork that the Iowa Pork Producers Association sends trade missions to those areas regularly. Nelson said the U.S. should set another record on pork exports to anywhere in the world. December numbers

on exports are not in yet. Domestically, he said pork is becoming more popular among urban chefs because of its versatility. Nelson said television cooking shows are beginning to feature more pork dishes. But even as the popularity of pork increases, Nelson said pork producers continue to be diligent in finding ways to raise quality pork at the lowest possible price. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Today we raise 30 million more pigs than we did 50 years ago, on 39 percent less sows,â&#x20AC;? he said.

â&#x20AC;&#x153;Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve reduced our carbon footprint by 35 percent, reduced our water footprint by 41 percent, and weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re utilizing 78 percent less land. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a great sustainable story that the pork industry can be proud of. Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve got a great continuous improvement attitude.â&#x20AC;? Nelson said Iowa raises 30 percent of the nationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s pigs, making it a dominant pork production state. But even with that distinction, Nelson said there is a lot of speculation out there. See NPB Page 4H

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Farm News/The Messenger, Fort Dodge, Iowa

Friday, Feb. 22, 2013/Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013

Progress 2013


Continued from Page 3H He said people worldwide need to understand the story of pork production in the U.S., and know that pork producers raise a quality product that is safe to consume. He said that kind of speculation was a lot of the reason that the fairly new U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance was formed. The NPB is one of its largest contributors. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Modern agriculture is being attacked today, and weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve lost touch with consumers,â&#x20AC;? he said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Through this alliance we

-Messenger/Farm News photo by Karen Schwaller

Conley nelson, president of the National Pork Board and Kossuth County pork producer, said he remains optimistic about the future of the pork industry.


can create a dialogue about modern ag practices because our story is not being told out there.â&#x20AC;? Nelson said this dialogue session brings together opponents of modern ag practices, people of the farm, medical professionals, the media and others, who all sit and discuss modern ag practices â&#x20AC;&#x201D; including meat production, the use of antibiotics in the meat industry, GMOs and the promotion of agriculture in general. â&#x20AC;&#x153;You canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t get a point across by arguing about ALTON Hawke & Co. Ag. 800-657-4398

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it,â&#x20AC;? Nelson said. â&#x20AC;&#x153; ... but if you can sit down together and discuss it with logic, science and common sense, and hearing someone elseâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s perspective, you can be educated.â&#x20AC;? Nelson said there are too many people â&#x20AC;&#x201D; even in rural America â&#x20AC;&#x201D; who think their food comes from the grocery store. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re two to four generations away from someone in the family that farmed, so people donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t understand the concept of farming today,â&#x20AC;? he said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;In general, agricultural people are modest â&#x20AC;&#x201D; telling their story isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t natural for them. As we continue on, weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll figure out how to tell the story of agriculture in a better way.â&#x20AC;? Nelson said he remains optimistic about the future of the pork industry. â&#x20AC;&#x153;There will be lots of challenges, but pork producers are committed â&#x20AC;&#x201D; theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve chosen it to be their career, their livelihood, their focus,â&#x20AC;? he said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Their commitment to do what they do is amazing. Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re losing money right now in the pork industry, but you donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t see people getting out of it. Theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re digging in â&#x20AC;&#x201D; theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re committed, focused and passionate.â&#x20AC;? For more information on the pork industry in general visit:

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Farm News/The Messenger, Fort Dodge, Iowa

Friday, Feb. 22, 2013/Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013

Progress 2013

Farm record keeping program goes to the cloud By LARRY KERSHNER

ROCKWELL CITY — Tracking some of the more difficult records in farming — manure management, soil testing, nutritional needs of fields based on the next crop — will become more simple for producers this month. Called Real Time Ag, farm managers and consultants will be able to keep such records for Mike their clients Sexton “in the cloud.” Aside from no longer worrying about losing data in event of a computer crash, inspectors with the Department of Natural Resources are also enthused about the new service. Software designer Michael Sexton, of Rockwell City, described the program as “the back end in record keeping.” Mindy Nasers, the regional sales manager said, “When it hits the market, it’ll be top-notch.” Real Time Ag ties the regulatory requirements for nutrient management of livestock waste, with compliance through spreading records.

Nasers, who is also a pork producer, she understands the need for accurate tracking of manure spread records. She said this program will give producers peace of mind that they have it right when DNR reviews their records. The target audience of the program will be to consulting firms and cooperatives who help livestock operations manage their Mindy nutrient Nasers plans, Sexton said. The real selling point is that all the records will be stored on a dedicated server. Sexton said the DNR has reviewed and approved the program. Although on-farm inspections will still be performed by the DNR, its routine records checking can be done without traveling to a farm. Inspectors will be given limited-time access to the plans and can download compliance records without leaving their offices. -Submitted photo “This has the same security that banks have,” Sex- A SAMPLE SCREEN Shot of the Real Time Ag records that will be kept to document producers’ manure ton said. For instance, if a management compliance with the Department of Natural Resources. Real Time Ag is described by its creator as “the back end in record keeping.” See CLOUD, Page 9H

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Friday, Feb. 22, 2013/Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013

Farm News/The Messenger, Fort Dodge, Iowa


Progress 2013

Western Iowa Energy part of biofuels success By LARRY KERSHNER prices and benefiting stock growers. WALL LAKE — AccordMost biodiesel plants, Joing to a study released on Jan. hannsmeyer said, use “salad 21 by CARDO Entrix, an in- grade” bean oil to make ternational environmental biodiesel. Since WIE uses a and natural resource manage- variety of inedible feedment consulting firm, based stocks, it has a refinery for in Florida, the impact stripping out solids, on a farmer’s income such as calcium and if there was no biofufree fatty acids, then els industry equals: uses the refined oil for ∫ $64,000 less make methyl esters per year for a hog — biodiesel. producer who finish“Five years ago,” es 16,000 pigs annuJohannsmeyer said, ally and farms 1,200 “animal fats were acres with a corn-soyselling for 30 to 40 bean rotation. percent less than toBill ∫ $121,000 less day.” Horan per year for a cattle According to the producer who markets 3,500 Jan. 21 report, issued by head annually and farms Cardno ENTRIX, that’s 1,200 acres with a corn-soy- worth about $3 per pig. Just bean rotation. with the increased demand ∫ $44,000 less per year for animal fat, processors can for a grain farmer with 800 pay more for the pig, because acres in a 50-50 rotation of the fat is more valuable. corn and soybeans. Iowa’s 12 biodiesel plants First in Iowa have rated capacity of 314.5 WIE is the first plant in million gallons and produced Iowa with a preprocessing 184 million gallons of system for free fatty acids, biodiesel in 2012 accounting said Bill Horan, chairman of for about 17 percent of total the board of directors at WIE. U.S. biodiesel output. Horan and his partners also One of those 12 plants is built biodiesel plants in NewWestern Iowa Energy LLC, ton and Washington. in Wall Lake, which has “It was an iffy thing,” Hocarved out a unique place in ran said. “No one was using Iowa’s biodiesel market, animal fats then. manufacturing 30 million “But as it turns out, it was gallons per year. Where most one of the best decisions biodiesel plants use primarily we’ve ever made. It’s kept us soybean oil, 75 percent of competitive.” WIE’s feedstock is in animal Competitive enough, he fat — predominately choice said, that the plant repaid its white grease. It also uses tal- $20 million debt in five low and bacon grease. years. The board focused earWIE, said General Manag- ly in the plant’s history on er Jeffrey Johannsmeyer, has paying down debt rather than access to six pork packing make distribution payments plants for its white grease and to investors. tallow from beef plants in “But we have made some Sioux City and Omaha; and really nice distribution paybacon grease from food pro- ments over the years,” Horan ducers, such as Hormel in Al- said. bert Lea, Minn. Besides animal fats keepThe plant can use soybean ing the plant competitive, oil; however, it currently is a Horan also credited the more expensive feedstock, plant’s crew that “keeps the Johannsmeyer said. plant running efficiently. Nevertheless, biodiesel “We also have good manplants add to market demand agement which is key to any of animal fats, value to the fat business.” climbs, increasing livestock


Iowa ranks in top 5 of U.S. states

-Submitted photo

WESTERN IOWA ELECTRIC, in Wall Lake, is one of 12 Iowa biodiesel plants. The plant manufactures biodiesel primarily from choice white grease, but can also process tallow and vegetable oils. Because of the biofuels industry’s presence, a Jan. 21 report claims, the value of Iowa crops and livestock products are enhanced. Improving communities Benefits to a community’s life is another aspect of the biofuels industry, Horan said, that is often missed in reporting. He said because these plants bring employees into

communities to operate the plants, he said, an unintended social phenomenon occurs. Young people with advanced degrees get interested in church boards and other community programs, becoming leaders, which

changes the community. “The biofuels industry, which is extensive in Iowa,” Horan said, “has created a tremendous opportunity for young people, where they want to raise their families in smaller communities.”

WASHINGTON (E2) — According to a report released by E2, a national community of business leaders who promote sound environmental energy policy that builds economic prosperity, the U.S. advanced biofuels industry “could be worth more than $60 billion within the next decade and more than 18,000 jobs could be created by the 26 biorefineries that are expected to open by 2015.” Advanced biofuels are plants creating renewable fuels without using feed grains. There are now more than 80 advanced biofuel companies, refineries and related operations located in at least 27 states, the report said. California leads the list with 30 companies, followed by Illinois (eight), Colorado (six), Texas (five) and Iowa (four). See TOP 5, Page 8H

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Friday, Feb. 22, 2013/Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013

Progress 2013

Top 5

Continued from Page 7H

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Farm News/The Messenger, Fort Dodge, Iowa


Progress 2013


Continued from Page 6H

farmer’s computer crashes, manure management plans and other data are still safe. The records are retained for five years. It also stores results of soil testing, and even tracks the dates for when the next soil test is required — at least once every four years. “The beauty of being on-

line,” Sexton said, “is if something changes, the client doesn’t have to reload a program. “We can retool it so (the changes) will be seamless.” When asked how the program can discourage a producer from cheating on the records, Sexton said, that the program cannot be saved

without all of the required information being entered. This system will make it harder to cheat, he said, “but we don’t see this. Manure is too valuable. Guys don’t waste it. “They want to spread it over as many acres as possible.” In fact, Nasers said if she

has excess manure, there are plenty of people in line to buy it from her. Real Time Ag will also track the balance of nutrients in a field following harvest and make recommendations for applications prior to or during the next growing season, based on what the next

crop will be. “No matter what rotation you have,” Sexton said, “this system will make it happen, regardless of the manure source — beef, hogs or litter.” Sexton said he’s been awarded two Iowa Economic Development grants for the system, one for de-

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Farm News/The Messenger, Fort Dodge, Iowa

Friday, Feb. 22, 2013/Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013

Progress 2013

Duffy: Crop prices spur rise in farmland value By KRISS NELSON

AMES —Iowa farmland values continue to rise, and questions are looming as to how much longer this trend will last. Mike Duffy, Iowa State University economics professor and extension farm management economist, said the primary reason for the rise in farmland values is the rise in prices producers are receiving for their crops. “Farmers made more money than they have, and higher incomes are translated into higher land costs and rents,” said Duffy. According to information provided by Duffy in a press release, as farm income in-

creases, so will land values. In 2005, corn prices averaged $1.94 per bushel in Iowa and the preliminary estimate for prices for November 2012 was $6.80. Soybean prices changed from $5.54 to $13.70 over the same period. But besides commodity prices and an increase in farm income, Duffy said there are other causes for the increase in farmland values. including that interest rates are at the lowest in recent memory. According to the release, farmland purchased by investors went from 18 percent in 1989 to 39 percent of purchases in 2005, but investor purchases are back to the

1989 level of 18 percent this year after decreasing for the third year in a row. “Land is a unique commodity,” said Duffy. “Farm-

ers are the primary purchasers, and they primarily buy land to own it, not to sell it.” Duffy said the recent Ru-

ral Life Poll indicated 65 the same percentage agree percent of the farmers with the statement that land agreed or strongly agreed was a good investment. with the statement that land See VALUE, Page 11H was overpriced, but about

-Messenger/Farm News file photo

IOWA’S AVERAGE CROPLAND value increased to $7,300 per acre, up 23.7 percent from 2011. Farm real estate value in Iowa averaged $7,000 per acre in 2012, up 22.8 percent from 2011. The average farm real estate value of farmland and buildings increased to $175 billion in 2011, a 26.3 percent increase from 2010.

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Friday, Feb. 22, 2013/Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013


Progress 2013


Continued from Page 10H

How long will this trend continue? “Land prices will remain high as long as commodity prices remain high, yields are adequate and non-land costs don’t increase too much,” said Duffy. “I think over the next few years, corn is likely to settle back to $4.50 or so and land values will adjust accordingly.” Should those paying high land prices be concerned that history is repeating itself and they are putting themselves at risk? Duffy said the last big boom was in the 1970s, and the bust started in 1981 through 1986. During that time, land values dropped 67 percent from $2,147 to $787 an acre. There was also a boom in land prices in the 1910-1920 period, followed by the bust from 1921 to 1935. “In the 1970s, there was a lot of money borrowed,” he said. “The net income was not increasing, and there was a lot of land sold on contract; we don’t have that today.” There has been some speculation that farmers and investors with “old money” and those with deeper pockets are the only ones that can make farmland purchases and that leaves the average farmer and young farmers unable to compete in the farmland buying market. Duffy said not all of the financial support buyers have has been handed down, and everyone needs to farm within their means. “It has always been hard to start farming,” said Duffy. “There was even a theory called the ‘land tenure ladder’ developed in the 1920s.” This theory, Duffy said was that it was a process towards ownership — you didn’t start out by owning land. “People need to be patient and farm based on the resources they have available. If that means they have to pass up buying a piece of ground for now, then so be it,” said Duffy. “That is better than going broke. “Unfortunately, some people think like the song that says, ‘We want it all and we want it now.’ Similarly I saw a church bulletin board that said, ‘Lord grant me patience— now.’” Paul Sickler, farm manager and real estate broker from Farmers National Co. serving counties in northwest Iowa, Minnesota and South Dakota, reiterated much of what Duffy believes. Sioux County, where the record land sale was last year, is one of the counties Sickler serves. That particular farm, Sickler said, happened to be a very good 80-acre parcel in a strong area of Northeast Sioux County. As he understands, a neighboring farmer was interested and purchased the land for $21,900.


Farm News/The Messenger, Fort Dodge, Iowa

The main reasons Sickler sees farmers buying land at this time includes production agriculture being very profitable for the past three years; many buyers have the money available to purchase land; and that rates remain historically low and very high commodity prices. Sickler added that the prospects look favorable for production agriculture to remain strong into the future. Ray Frye, owner of Frye Farm Management in Webster City, said farmland values in the six-county area he manages around Webster City have also been on the rise and much like Duffy and Sickler, said low interest rates and high commodity prices are responsible. “It’s a function of low interest rates, horrible investment rates outside of farm ground and higher grain prices,” said Frye. Frye has been managing farms for 35 years. He said a high quality piece of ground, with good drainage and a crop soil report of 75 or better could bring upwards of $11,000 to $12,000 in his managing area. “The price ranges and a lot will depend on location,” he said. As far as who specifically is buying the land at such high prices, Sickler said there are a few possibilities. “As far as investors, there is a lack of alternative investments that provide much of a return on investment, as compared to buying land,” said Sickler. “Recently, there has been land come up for sale, and this may be the only time in that farmer’s lifetime that particular parcel of land comes up for sale.” Frye echoed Sickler, saying that buyers are farmers with sizable operations who have the opportunity to buy a piece of land that connects to theirs as well as some investor purchases, and farmers that may have an emotional tie to the ground as well. Frye said although there has been a lot of talk about the farmland market crashing, he doesn’t see that happening. “There has been a lot of concern, but not right away,” said Frye. “It could drop 20 percent or so someday, but not seeing a huge crash happening.” Should the rise in land values be considered a speculative bubble? “Some are concerned that land prices are getting too high and that this may be a speculative bubble,” said Sickler. “I guess time will tell in regards to that, but it does make it harder for younger/beginning farmers to purchase land.” “I don’t think we are on a speculative bubble,” said Duffy. “I think land values will correct as we see commodity prices get back to a more ‘normal’ level, but that will be like a tire with a nail, not a bubble.”

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Pocahontas Equipment Co. LLC 1400 W. Elm St. Pocahontas, IA 50574 712-335-4522

Robinson Implement 2002 St. F24 Irwin, IA 51446 712-782-3171

Central Iowa Farm Store, Inc. 203 Iowa Ave. Old Hwy. 30 W. Marshalltown, IA 50158 641-753-3996

Casady Brothers Implement 1705 W. 2nd St. Webster City, IA 50595 515-832-4447

Moss Brothers, Inc. 2476 240th St. Dallas Center, IA 50063 515-992-3858

Franken Implement & Service 2782 360th St. Rock Valley, IA 51247 712-722-3941 +



Farm News/The Messenger, Fort Dodge, Iowa

Friday, Feb. 22, 2013/Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013


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2013 Progress Ag Edition  

A publication of Farm News and The Messenger depicting growth and progress in the agricultural industry.