Branstad praises Iowa Soybean Association for its leadership on issues that matter to Iowans
By Aaron Putze, APR
(Des Moines, IA – Dec. 17, 2014) Iowa’s soybean farmers and the association they created 50 years ago were recognized by Iowa’s top official for their leadership in agricultural innovation and for advancing grower profitability and competiveness to the benefit of every Iowan.
Gov. Terry Branstad, keynoting today’s opening session of ISA’s 50th Anniversary Symposium in Des Moines, said he’s amazed at the progress made by the organization since its creation in 1964. At the time, he was a high school student in Forest City and could never have imagined the catalyst ISA would be for innovation and ingenuity in agriculture.
“It’s amazing to think how much agriculture has changed and the key role ISA has played along the way,” Branstad told the audience of more than 300. “You’ve made it a priority to develop new markets and create new products for soybeans. It’s because of this work that Iowa continues to be a leader in agriculture.”
The governor recalled accompanying ISA’s Chief Executive Officer, Kirk Leeds, to China several times and complimented the shared efforts to grow relationships with the country and its president, Xi Jinping.
President Xi, he said, first traveled to Iowa in 1985 as part of a small delegation. While here, Branstad accompanied him on visits to several communities, a tour of the Mississippi River and joined him for picnics and birthday parties with guests he met while in the Hawkeye State.
Following Branstad’s reelection in 2011, he and a delegation of Iowa soybean leaders were welcomed by President Xi for a discussion in the Great Hall of the People.
“He spent nearly an hour telling us how much he loves Iowa and called us ‘an old friend,’” Branstad said. “That means a lot for a leader who represents a country that purchases more soybeans than the rest of the world combined.”
Branstad said many of the innovations that have occurred in Iowa agriculture are the result of Iowa’s soybean farmers and the work of the association they fund. Since 1964, the value of the state’s soybean crop has grown exponentially, benefiting local economies.
“Today, soybean production in Iowa is valued at $5.3 billion annually,” he said. “Iowans know how important soybeans are and how important agriculture is because these industries allow us to weather economic downturns much better than other states.”
He commended the farmers and ag industry professionals in attendance for their phenomenal work providing food, feed and fiber for the world’s growing population.
“Our nation’s ability to export soybeans to those who need them is well respected, and that’s due in large part to the work of Iowa’s soybean farmers,” he said, citing nearly 150 counties that depend on the U.S. for this important product. “It’s exciting to think of the new products and technologies that the Iowa Soybean Association will create and advance in the next 50 years.”
The governor also welcomed questions from the audience, and addressed topics ranging from consumer acceptance of modern agricultural production and funding the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy to committing funds to improve Iowa’s roads and bridges.
“I believe the timing is right for additional funding of the state’s road use tax fund,” he said, noting the recent and significant decline in fuel prices. “We’ve focused on property tax relief, reforming our education system and improving the health and wellness of our citizens.
“This year, our focus will be improving the state’s infrastructure including supporting efforts to connect every acre with high speed Internet.”
He also encouraged farmers to continue to advance the story of agriculture.
“What you do as farmers is often under attack,” Branstad said. “So it’s critical that improvements in agricultural technology and practices for growing crops and raising livestock be continuously communicated and championed.”
Also during the opening banquet, Branstad was presented Iowa Soybean Association’s Distinguished Service award for his dedicated service to the state’s soybean farmers and Iowa agriculture.
“It’s refreshing to have a governor who is so passionate about agriculture,” said ISA Chief Operations Officer Karey Claghorn in making the presentation. “You’re a true champion of our state and agriculture. We value his commitment to our farmers and for being a tireless promoter of what we do and the agricultural products we grow.
Branstad graciously accepted the award and said his support for farmers and the soybean association will not waiver.
“This Governor will always be your friend and your partner,” he said, “and together, we’ll continue to build the soybean industry for the future and to the benefit of this great state.”
Five-year ag forecast makes grain market planning mandatory: Kluis
(Des Moines, IA – Dec. 18, 2014) While 2015 margins will be tight for corn, soybeans and wheat, there are fundamental marketing principles farmers can use to reduce anxiety and increase the odds of long-term success.
Commodity advisor and broker Al Kluis, speaking today to farmers and agriculture industry officials attending the Iowa Soybean Association’s 50th Anniversary Symposium in Des Moines, said grain markets don’t have to create anxiety if you work at it and create a plan.
That will be increasingly important, he adds, as the easy ride to profitability in agriculture is over. Through 2018, farmers must be disciplined and strategic in their approach to making business decisions.
“There are five ways to improve your approach to marketing and hope isn’t one of them,” he said.
Kluis encouraged farmers to:
Currently, the world is digesting record global supplies of grain, including nearly 4 billion bushels of soybeans grown this year by U.S. soybean farmers. Big yields create big supplies and they’ve created softening prices but the outlook isn’t entirely grim.
“The U.S. Department of Agriculture often overestimates ending stocks and underestimates demand,” said Kluis. “Long-term grain cycle lows were due fall of 2014 and we experienced them.”
Keep in mind, Kluis adds, that there’s a growing need for what U.S. farmers produce. For example, the U.S. hog inventory is approximately 80-82 million head. Since 2009, China’s hog herd has increased by more than 80 million.
“More than 200 million people will soon move from rural poverty to the city in China and when they make more money, they’ll want to eat better and that includes more pork in their diets,” he said. “Hogs need feed and that’s why I believe we’ll see China do to the corn market in the next decade what they did for the soybean market the past decade.”
Overall, Kluis’ outlook for U.S. grain prices is positive.
"I’m friendly to soybeans long term because of China,” he says. “Yes, ending stocks are large right now. But every time the department of agriculture comes out with a new supply-demand report, they trim ending stocks.”
Kluis, whose first job was working for the American Soybean Association, credited soybean leaders for building markets 20 years ago that are now paying dividends for current and future Iowa soybean farmers.
In 1974, soybean demand totaled nearly 1.5 billion bushels. Now, a crop of nearly 4 billion bushels will find a home. Also in 1974, U.S. soybean revenue totaled roughly $5 billion. Today, revenue is approaching $42 billion.
"Thank you to the founders of the soybean association for what it did for farmers beginning 20 years ago,” Kluis said. “That work has helped build markets and sustain long-term growth in demand and prices.”
Additional thoughts shared by Kluis:
Effectiveness of ag’s outreach to consumers will define farming’s future
By Aaron Putze, APR
(Dec. 18, 2014 – Des Moines, IA) – The competitiveness of America’s farmers will continue to hinge largely on effectively managing economic gyrations and capitalizing on scientific advancements.
But ever-changing consumer preferences and the public’s evolving interest in a variety of food and faming topics will greatly influence how farmers and agricultural stakeholders do business.
That’s the consensus of respected agricultural experts sharing the stage during day-two of the Iowa Soybean Association’s 50th Anniversary Symposium held in Des Moines.
Participating in “Thinking Forward. The Next 50 Years of Agriculture” were:
Observations shared by the panel participants included:
Dr. Robb Fraley
Putze serves as director of communications and external relations for the Iowa Soybean Association. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Soybean meal: a knight in shining armor for U.S. farmers
Commodity trade expert says soymeal will be primary driver of U.S. soybean market’s future
By Easton Kuboushek
(Des Moines, IA – Dec. 18, 2014) The exceptional quality of U.S. soybean meal is recognized globally and will be the primary driver of farmer competitiveness and profitability over the next decade.
The assessment, made by world commodity trade expert Emily French during the Iowa Soybean Association’s 50th Anniversary Symposium, is rooted in the exponential worldwide demand growth for protein.
“What’s so fascinating right now is we’re sitting in a period of time where there has never been more pressure on the world food system,” said French. “Yes, we’re going to have 9 billion people in 2050. But let’s not forget that there will also be income growth and emerging markets.” French suggests income, in addition to population growth, will drive the focus of those trying to feed a hungry world. As population grows, especially in China and India, the size of the middle class will increase and drive demand for higher quality food and protein. That, in turn, will drive demand for soybean meal.
“American farmers need to be best friends with meal,” said French. “It’s your knight in shining armor when it comes to improving soybean prices.”
In the past decade, China has driven demand in the world soybean market, importing over one-third of U.S. production in 2014. Who then, will lead the world in soymeal imports over the next 10 years? According to French – India.
“India to the world meal market will be what China is to the world bean market,” says French.
Further analysis by French on the outlook of world soy can be summarized in what she refers to as the “Soy Complex.” It includes:
Kuboushek is a communications specialist for the Iowa Soybean Association. He can be reached at email@example.com.