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Soy Briefs

Article cover photo
While China has recently started purchasing U.S. soybeans again, the decades-old relationship between the United States and the world’s largest soybean buyer is still uncertain. January 6 marked the six-month anniversary China's retaliatory 25-percent tariff on U.S. soybeans. (Photo: Joseph L. Murphy/Iowa Soybean Association)

Ankeny — Again this year, Farm Credit Services of America is graciously sponsoring 10 young or beginning farmers to participate at each stop on our upcoming 2019 ISA Farmer Research Tour.

  • Feb. 5: Storm, Lake King’s Pointe Resort, 1520 East Lakeshore Drive
  • Feb. 7: Ames, Gateway Hotel and Conference Center, 2100 Green Hills Drive
  • Feb. 12: Cedar Rapids, The Hotel at Kirkwood Center, 7725 Kirkwood Blvd SW

Registration opens at 8am and the day will conclude at 5pm. Breakfast and lunch are included. See a detailed agenda for each location.

The mainstay of the 2019 Farmer Research Tour continues to be providing valuable information on the latest research and management practices you can apply to your farm. There will be topics focused on your geographical area and ISA researchers will share data relevant to your region.

Email completed applications to Carrie Kelly at by Friday, Jan. 25.

Download Application

Ankeny — The Iowa Soybean Association (ISA), led by a 22-farmer board of directors and recognized as a Top Iowa Workplace by the Des Moines Register, is seeking a talented journalist with experience in the agricultural field for the position of Sr. Writer.

Located in the Ankeny Prairie Trail District, the ISA is a dynamic and highly respected organization dedicated to improving the competitiveness of Iowa’s 40,000-plus soybean farmers and leading on issues important to agriculture and all Iowans. 

ISA’s Sr. Writer is empowered to produce and deliver timely information about issues impacting soybean production and agriculture enabling soybean farmers to make more informed decisions benefiting their farms and industry.

Apply Now

West Des Moines — The Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers’ Farming for the Future Conference on Jan. 16 will feature a dynamic line-up of speakers who will provide new and beginning livestock farmers an opportunity to hear about the economics of calving under roof, outline strategies to reduce feed costs, discuss cattle health considerations and receive a rules and regulations update.

Limited access to pasture ground has prompted many Iowa livestock farmers to transition their cattle under roof. For many families, this type of production system is a feasible option to help diversify their farms and welcome home the next generation.

Register for Free

Washington, D.C. — This week marks a full six months since China retaliated against President Trump’s 25 percent tariff on $34 billion worth of Chinese goods.

That tariff, which took effect July 6, 2018, has rocked the foundation of a decades-old trade relationship U.S. soybean farmers built with China, the largest market for American beans. And, it has resulted in halted sales, plummeting crop prices, and a lack of security for farmers seeking funding for the 2019 season.

Davie Stephens, a soybean grower from Clinton, Ky., and American Soybean Association (ASA) president stated, “We are anxious to see real progress to end this trade war quickly. With Ambassador Gregg Doud of the Office of U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) and Under Secretary Ted McKinney of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) among the delegation in China to discuss trade today, we are hopeful that real progress is forthcoming. This has been a long and costly half year for farmers, and we need stability returned to this market. We cannot withstand another six months.”

Growers have taken to Twitter and other social platforms today with the hashtag #185DaysStillNeedTrade, along with the popular #RescindtheTariffs hashtag to continue demanding that the Administration bring an end to its lingering trade war with China and help restore certainty and stability to the soy industry.

Beijing, China — China approved five genetically modified (GM) crops for import on Tuesday, the first in about 18 months in a move that could boost its overseas grains purchases and ease pressure from the United States to open its markets to more farm goods.

Enlist E3 soybeans, jointly developed by Dow Agrosciences and MS Technologies, is one of those now approved for import by China. With this approval, farmers can plant Enlist E3 soybeans that include tolerances to 2,4-D choline, glyphosate and glufosinate. Herbicide options for Enlist E3 soybeans include Enlist Duo, a mix of glyphosate and 2,4-D choline, and Enlist One, a straight-goods 2,4-D choline option that can be tank mixed with approved herbicides.

Prior to this decision farmers could only plant Enlist E3 soybeans in certain areas. China’s green light gives farmers across the U.S. access to another tool to manage weeds.

Reuters reports the other crops approved for import by China include: BASF’s RF3 cannola and Bayer-owned Monsanto’s glyphosate-tolerant MON 88302 canola; SYHT0H2 soybean developed by Bayer CropScience and Syngenta but now owned by BASF. In addition, Dow’s DP4114 corn was also approved.

U.S. farmers and global seed companies have long complained about Beijing’s slow and unpredictable process for approving GM crops for import, stoking trade tensions between the world’s two largest economies.

The approvals, announced on the agriculture ministry’s website, were granted while a U.S. trade delegation is meeting with its counterparts in the Chinese capital this week.

Five other products known to be seeking approvals were not given the green light, including two GM alfalfa products developed by Monsanto and two DowDuPont soybean traits.

Chicago, IL — Reuters reported China bought more U.S. soybeans on Jan. 7. Reuters says it spoke with two traders with knowledge about the deal. It says one trader said Chinese state-owned firms bought three cargoes of soybeans or about 180,000 tons.  Another trader said the total was closer to 15 cargoes of beans or about 900,000 tons.

It reports the soybeans would be mostly shipped from terminals in the Pacific Northwest. It is harder now to confirm actual sales of beans to China due to the partial U.S. government shutdown.  The USDA is not releasing its daily export sales reports.  United States export inspections for soybeans show 2.5 million bushels were approved for China, but it's not known if the shipment will actually go there.

Washington, D.C. — The Department of Agriculture has extended the deadline to apply for Market Facilitation Program payments in light of the shutdown that has closed Farm Service Agency offices across the country.

Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue made the announcement Tuesday afternoon, saying in a release that the Jan. 15 deadline would be extended “for a period of time equal to the number of business days FSA offices were closed, once the government shutdown ends.”

FSA offices remained open through close of business on Dec. 28, but have been shuttered since. During that time, many producers received MFP funds.

“Farmers who have already applied for the program and certified their 2018 production have continued to receive payments,” Perdue said. “Meanwhile, I continue to urge members of Congress to redouble their efforts to pass an appropriations bill that President Trump will sign and end the lapse in funding so that we may again provide full services to our farmers and ranchers.”

Lenexa, KS — By the time January rolls around, farmers have usually purchased 80% of their seed corn and soybeans for the upcoming season. We know this, based on the national seed and planting survey Farm Journal conducts with farmers annually.

2019 could be a bit different, with at least one adviser, Jim Mintert, encouraging farmers to keep some of their seed-purchase options flexible a while longer.

“There are some opportunities out there to lock-in some positive returns, and you might not want to let those opportunities get away from you,” he says, in a story reported by Tyne Morgan, Host of the U.S. Farm Report. “That’s going to play out over the next few months, and I think that maintaining some flexibility is going to be important.”

The uncertainty surrounding prices could spark some last-minute decisions by farmers to change crop rotations, which is why Mintert encourages the flexibility.

To get a sense of what farmers are planning for this spring, Ag Web conducted a Pulse survey of 744 farmers during the first week of January:

  • 56% said they will plant in 2019 what they did in 2018.
  • 20% of farmers planning to make a change said they will plant fewer soybean acres and more corn in 2019, an exact opposite of last year’s responses.
  • 13% say they will expand beyond corn and soybeans and grow a different crop this season.
  • 5% said they plan to add livestock or expand the amount of livestock to your farming operation, similar to last year.

Des Moines — U.S. District Judge James Gritzner has thrown out a 2012 Iowa law supported by livestock interests that was intended to stop undercover investigations of animal cruelty at confinements. 

Gritzner ruled that the state had failed to show that either the confinements' reputation or biosecurity was harmed by workers observing, and in some cases photographing or recording, what they saw as animal abuse. He wrote that the law violated First Amendment rights.

Several similar state laws have been thrown out as a violation of First Amendment rights, Gritzner noted, including laws in Wyoming, Utah and Idaho.

At the time the bill was debated, Sen. Tom Reilly said, "What we’re aiming at is stopping these groups that go out and gin up campaigns that they use to raise money by trying to give the agriculture industry a bad name." Violations are various degrees of misdemeanor.

The request for summary judgment in the case came from the Animal Legal Defense Fund, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, Bailing Out Benji, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals Inc. (PETA), and the Center for Food Safety.  The Iowa Freedom of Information Council and the Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism had filed a brief on their behalf.

Lynn Hicks, spokesman for the Iowa attorney general’s office, said state lawyers were reviewing the decision and had not decided whether to appeal.

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Des Moines Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig reminded farmers about the Jan. 15, 2019 deadline to sign up for an innovative new program providing a $5 per acre premium reduction on their crop insurance in 2019 for farmers who planted cover crops this past fall.

“We continue to see interest in cover crops growing across the state. This program can be an important tool to help farmers as they increase cover crop acres beyond what might be eligible for other state and federal programs,” Naig said. “We have created a new online application process to make it as easy as possible for farmers to sign up and participate in the program.”

Farmers and landowners can sign up online to certify eligible land for the program. Cover crop acres currently enrolled in state and/or federal programs are not eligible for this program.

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For media inquiries, please contact Katie Johnson, ISA Public Relations Manager at or Aaron Putze, ISA Communications Director at

For permission to republish articles or to request high-res photos contact Aaron Putze at Iowa Soybean Association | 1255 SW Prairie Trail Pkwy | Ankeny | IA | 50023 | US

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