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The 12th Annual Land Investment Expo will be held on January 25 at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines. Martha Stewart, founder of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, is the keynote speaker. Find out details and how to register below. (Photo: Joseph L. Murphy/Iowa Soybean Association)

Washington, D.C.— About half the Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency offices will reopen temporarily during the government shutdown. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced Wednesday the agency will open Thursday, Jan. 17, Friday, Jan. 18, and Tuesday, Jan. 22, to perform certain limited services for farmers and ranchers.

“We are bringing back part of our FSA team to help producers with existing farm loans. Meanwhile, we continue to examine our legal authorities to ensure we are providing services to our customers to the greatest extent possible during the shutdown,” Perdue said in a released statement.

Certain offices will be able to provide 1099 tax documents to borrowers who need them to file taxes by the Internal Revenue Service’s deadline. Staff may also process payments made on or before December 31, 2018, continue expiring financing statements, and open mail to identify priority items.

The employees will not, however, be able to issue new loans, process new applications for the Market Facilitation Program, or certify 2018 production for MFP payments. Disaster programs and the Dairy Margin Protection Program will also be off limits.

“Until Congress sends President Trump an appropriations bill in the form that he will sign," Perdue said. “We are doing our best to minimize the impact of the partial federal funding lapse on America’s agricultural producers.”

USDA has recalled around 2,500 FSA employees to open offices during normal business hours. Offices will be closed for the federal Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday on Monday, January 21. 

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Story County — The activist organization Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (ICCI) is taking on a new tactic in their effort to block the growth of livestock farms. Over the past two years, they have attempted to get the Master Matrix, a legal construction evaluation for medium to large-sized livestock barns, to be re-evaluated. Now they are working to create a statewide moratorium on new livestock barns including hogs, cattle, turkeys, chickens and aquaculture.

On Jan. 15, the Story County Board of Supervisors discussed appealing the Department of Natural Resources’ issuance of preliminary construction permits for LongView Pork LLC to build confinement units on three sites in Story County. These permits had been previously approved in December 2018. It was voted 2-1 to appeal the permit on just one site, the site closest to Nevada, to EPC, the state’s environmental protection commission.

A special meeting will be held Tuesday, Jan. 22, at 7:00 pm at Gates Hall, 825 15th St., Nevada to allow members of the public to provide input on the County’s use of the Construction Evaluation Review (Master Matrix scoring system) in 2019 and whether the County should adopt a resolution calling for a review and possible rewrite of the Master Matrix system.

These decisions impact the entire agricultural industry and the state of Iowa and could set a precedent statewide, potentially adding more hurdles to the industry. Iowa Farm Bureau, the Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers (CSIF) and other agricultural organizations are encouraging everyone involved in agriculture in Story County and the surrounding area to attend to the meeting and share their support for livestock farming.

For more information about the meeting, contact:

Iowa Farm BureauCSIF

Des Moines — The 12th Annual Land Investment Expo will be held on Friday, January 25, 2019, at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines. Martha Stewart, founder of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, an Emmy Award-winning television show host, bestselling author of over 90 books and America’s most trusted lifestyle expert and teacher, is the keynote speaker. Other speakers in the lineup include Senator Joni Ernst, Congressman John Delaney, Carroll Broadcasting's Farm Services Director Von Ketelsen and other experts.

The first Land Investment Expo was held in 2008, attracting strong interest from landowners, farmers and financial and policy leaders mainly from Iowa and surrounding states. The Expo has grown into one of the nation’s premier forums focused on the future of agriculture. The Iowa Soybean Association is a proud sponsor of the event.

Register

West Des Moines — Agricultural producers are struggling to achieve profits currently, but farmers have little control over most conditions that affect their economic well-being. However, farmers do have control over much of their own behaviors when it comes to managing stress.

“We can manage our behaviors much like we manage our livestock’s feed rations,” said Dr. Mike Rosmann, a farmer and psychologist, during a live Farm Bureau webinar Jan. 7. “Ingredients, such as work time, adequate sleep, healthy eating, recreation and talking with loved ones, can be varied and adjusted to maximize our well-being.”

This webinar offered scientific insights on stress, anxiety and depression and included strategies for behavior management that can help farmers manage stressors and function optimally as producers of food and renewable fuels.

Dr. Rosmann lives on his family farm near Harlan, Iowa. He writes a weekly column called Farm and Ranch Life that appears in 30 farming publications, including Iowa Farmer Today. Most of his life’s work is to improve the behavioral health of agricultural producers.

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West Des Moines — The Coalition to Support Iowa’s Famers (CSIF) has a wealth of information and connections to help livestock farmers be good neighbors.

One of the ways they help is through the Green Farmstead Partner program, a partnership between CSIF, Trees Forever and the Iowa Nursery and Landscape Association provides guidance to farmers who want to plant trees and shrubs at new or existing livestock sites.

Join CSIF for their Green Farmstead Partner Program Nursery Workshop on Feb. 5 to learn more about the program and planting windbreaks. They will discuss species selection and windbreak design, cost-share opportunities, and hear from a farmer/nursery relations panel.

The workshop will be held from 10:00 AM to 2:30 PM at Quality Inn & Suites Starlite Village Conference Center in Ames and is free to attend (includes lunch).

Register

Des Moines — Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig announced several employees who will serve in leadership positions at the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. The announcement came as Naig took the oath of office as the 15th Iowa Secretary of Agriculture this week.

“I am confident in the team that I have begun to assemble at the Department,” said Naig. “These individuals will put their passion and expertise to work to help move Iowa agriculture forward. Our team is focused on advancing the mission of the Department and ensuring that serving Iowans is at the forefront of our work every day.”

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West Lafayette, IN — A new report shows farmers have a weaker attitude about the agriculture economy from a month ago. The Purdue University and CME Group Ag Economy Barometer, which surveys farmers, shows a decline in December.  It fell seven points below the index reading from November to 127.

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Cedar Rapids — Cargill is proposing a multimillion-dollar upgrade to its soybean processing plant in Cedar Rapids.

The Minneapolis-based company plans a $37.62 million expansion and facility modernization to what is called the Cedar Rapids east soybean facility at 410 C Ave. NE, in an industrial section north of downtown near Cedar Lake.

“It says a lot about Cargill’s commitment to the area,” said Ron Corbett, business retention and expansion strategist for the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance. “This is a great way to start the new year with a $37 million investment by one of our anchor companies.”

Such an investment also supports a secondary economy of plumbers, electricians and others to service the equipment for years to come, and with farmers throughout Eastern Iowa supplying the plant with soybeans, he said.

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Washington, DC — Farm incomes have been on a steady decline since their peak in 2013. Just how much incomes are depressed varies, sometimes greatly, by state.

The most current USDA Economic Research Service data showing farm incomes dates back to 2017 but still tells a compelling story. David Widmar, of Agricultural Economic Insights, compared farm incomes from the 2011 to 2013 boom to the average of 2016 and 2017.

“At the national level, net farm income has declined 42 percent across these two periods,” he said. “The Midwest was hit hard, with I-States falling by more than 60 percent, and areas outside of the Midwest fell even harder.”

Efficiency and smart spending will continue to be imperative with no immediate end in sight for low prices.

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For media inquiries, please contact Katie Johnson, ISA Public Relations Manager at kjohnson@iasoybeans.com or Aaron Putze, ISA Communications Director at aputze@iasoybeans.com

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

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