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Soy Briefs

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The American Soybean Association and other ag groups submitted joint comments on the farm bill implementation to Secretary Perdue last week. (Photo: Joseph L. Murphy/Iowa Soybean Association)

Washington, DC — Last Friday, March 1, the American Soybean Association and other ag groups submitted joint comments on farm bill implementation to USDA Secretary Perdue.

The letter highlights that the programs included throughout all titles of the Farm Bill are critically important, particularly at a time of uncertainty in the ag and rural economy, and an uncertain trade environment.

The letter also outlines the need for increased educational efforts on how different Farm Bill programs are changing and the choices that producers will be making, and encourages USDA to quickly move forward with all implementation.

Washington, DC — The American Soybean Association, National Corn Growers Association, National Association of Wheat Growers and National Sorghum Producers announced their support for the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) last Friday, March 1.

Mexico and Canada account for 25 percent of all U.S. agriculture exports and USMCA preserves and builds upon the existing trading relationship between the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Kansas City, MO — A new report says farmers are struggling to pay back loans. It says nearly one out of five loans in one particular farm program are now delinquent.  That's the worst January default rate in at least nine years.

The report was done by "The Kansas City Star". It reports nationwide, 19.4 percent of FSA direct loans were delinquent in January.  That's compared to 16.5 percent for the same month a year ago, and while those FSA direct loan delinquencies are high, the agency is a lender of last resort for riskier agricultural borrowers who don't qualify for commercial loans.

Watch this video for more insights.

Washington, DC — U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Scott Gottlieb announced Tuesday that he is resigning after nearly two years as the head of the country’s food and drug regulator, according to news reports. Under his tenure, the agency pressed to be a part of overseeing the creation and regulation of the growing cell-based meat sector, focused on cracking down on teen vaping and pushed for increased generic drug competition.

Washington, DC — The USDA has announced the appointment of 20 scientists to the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, whose role will be integral to the development of the 2020-2025 set of guidelines. Each round of dietary guidelines engenders some controversy, and this latest effort is sure to be no different, as the committee members discuss the myriad issues surrounding the question of what makes up a healthy diet.

Washington, DC — The agriculture emissions discussion generally fails to take into account productivity gains, according to an analysis by John Newton, chief economist for the American Farm Bureau Federation. Changes in farm productivity and practices have lowered ag’s carbon footprint, even if emissions have held relatively stable over time, he says. Put simply, U.S. farmers are producing a lot more than they used to on a similar amount of inputs.

Farm productivity has grown 163 percent since 1990 although inputs are only marginally higher than they were then (see chart above). And between 1990 to 2016, total methane emissions per unit of beef and milk production declined by 10 percent and 25 percent, respectively.

Newton notes many dairy producers have invested in methane digesters that capture the gas from manure and use it generate power.

Newton’s bottom line: “Focusing only on aggregate greenhouse gas emission levels can obscure the successful achievements agriculture has made in the areas of productivity and sustainability.”

Des Moines, IA — The Iowa State Fair, Pioneer and media sponsors Iowa Farmer Today and WHO radio BIG SHOW are seeking entries for the 2019 Way We Live Award. The Way We Live Award, in its 11th year of recognizing outstanding farm families, will identify six Iowa families who exemplify hard working farm values and a love for the occupation of farming. So far, the Way We Live Award has been given to 63 well-deserving Iowa families.

To enter your family or someone you know, submit an entry form that describes how living on a farm and choosing the occupation of farming has shaped the family’s life.  All entries must include a family picture that illustrates the family’s commitment to their farming operation. Entry forms can be downloaded from the Iowa State Fair website:  All entries must be postmarked or e-mailed by May 17, 2019.

Winners will receive a prize package including $250 cash, Fair admission, a parking pass, food vouchers and recognition in the Paul R. Knapp Animal Learning Center during the Iowa State Fair, August 8-18, 2019.

Eligible families must be residents of Iowa and the farming operation can be centered around any agricultural commodity. Families may be entered by a member of the family or by others.

Applications can be e-mailed to or postmarked by May 17 to:

Iowa State Fair, Emily Wynn, PO Box 57130, Des Moines, Iowa 50317-0003

Ottumwa, IA — Bacon continues to drive consumer demand for pork, which helps drive demand for soybean meal. JBS USA is looking to meet this growing foodservice and retail demand for bacon with a $20 million expansion of its Ottumwa, Iowa, pork plant.

The expansion includes additional bacon processing and equipment upgrades, including a state-of-the-art slicing equipment. Twenty-five new jobs will be added at the plant.

The facility upgrades will be completed by September 2019. The Ottumwa facility, built in 1976, produces 6 million 8-oz. servings of pork per day and more than 1 billion pounds of fresh pork and bacon products per year.

Norwich, UK — A new method to take genetic material from wild plants to boost the disease resistance of food crops is the outcome of an international collaboration.

A global alliance of researchers has pioneered a new method to rapidly recruit disease-resistance genes from wild plants for transfer into domestic crops. The technique promises to revolutionize the development of disease-resistant varieties for the global food supply.

The technique called AgRenSeq was developed by scientists at the John Innes Centre in Britain working with colleagues in Australia and the US. It was published today in Nature Biotechnology. The result speeds up the fight against pathogens that threaten global food crops, including wheat, soyabean, maize, rice and potato, which form the vast bulk of cereals in the human diet.

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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