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Soy Briefs

Article cover photo
Governor Kim Reynolds outlines the positive work her administration accomplished during the recent legislative session while providing opening remarks at the Farm Bureau Economic Summit in Des Moines last week. (Photo: Joseph L. Murphy/Iowa Soybean Association)

Des Moines, IA — A low-margin environment in grain production this year means farmers should be in constant contact with their lender and be willing to adjust as necessary.

“This economic environment calls for proactive adjustments and a high focus on cash flow,” said Jim Knuth, senior vice president of Farm Credit Services of America. He spoke as part of the Iowa Farm Bureau’s economic summit in Des Moines.

Farm Credit Services is the largest ag lender in Iowa and in the upper Midwest. The company holds portfolios of 57,000 customers from all types of industries, including agriculture.

He said there’s a clear dividing line between those struggling and those succeeding this year. Read more.

Ames, IA — Not too hot. Not too cold. Not too much moisture. Not too little moisture. Like Goldilocks, conditions have to be just right for the remainder of the growing season to produce a decent crop.

“We almost have to have a Goldilocks season for things to work out this year,” said Dennis Todey, director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Midwest Climate Hub based in Ames.

Cool, wet weather during the planting season certainly hasn’t created storybook conditions for this year’s soybean crop. Iowa recorded its wettest June (2018) to May (2019) period in 124 years, Todey noted.

Read more.

Washington, DC — President Donald Trump tentatively de-escalated the ongoing trade war with China on Saturday when he announced he will cancel a planned 25 percent tariff on $300 billion worth of Chinese goods.

“We’re holding on tariffs, and they’re going to buy farm product,” Trump told reporters at the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan, where he met with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The USDA Friday reported an export sale of 544,000 metric tons of soybeans to China. Also, from June 14 -20, the USDA reported net sales of 10,400 tons of pork to China and 7,300 tons of pork exports to China.

“I think our farmers are going to end up being the great beneficiary,” said Trump.

While investors await details of the agreement and confirmation from China, analysts and traders say there are limits to how much more China can buy from the country that is typically one of its top suppliers of soybeans, grains and meat.

Olin, IA — Attend the Iowa 4R Field Day on August 7 from 9:45 AM – 3:30 PM at 12952 70th St., Olin, Iowa 52320.

The field day will demonstrate to farmers practices they can follow to maximize profitability while conserving soil and water resources. Learn how you can improve your bottom line by using the 4Rs and edge-of-field practices to improve nutrient management. Lunch will be provided by the Jones County Cattlemen's Association. Registration limited to 150.

Register here now or call Sue Derscheid at 515-334-1063 or email information to by August 1.

Ames, IA — Ownership of Iowa farmland is increasingly shifting to landowners with little to no understanding of the conservation practices that improve soil resiliency, said Wendong Zhang, Ph.D., an assistant professor of economics at Iowa State University. He encourages tenants to communicate with landowners and share what‘s happening on the land to bridge the divide.

Farming is complex and conservation practices add another layer to the challenges of communicating what tenants are doing or want to do to improve the land, Zhang explains. “When you ask landowners if they want to sustain the land and improve long-term soil health and water quality, they are in agreement,” he said. “But they may not understand what that means for the tenant in terms of investment in different machinery for tillage, for example.”

Read more about how sharing information can bridge the divide with landowners.

West Des Moines, IA — Attend the Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers Start Smart event on Thursday, August 15 from 8:30 AM – 11:15 AM. The event will be held at the Penningroth Media Center 3000 East Grand Ave., Des Moines, Iowa 50317 and feature tools and topics specific to beginning farmers, including financing, risk management, and farm business planning.

Registration for the event is free if completed by August 14, however, participants will need to purchase admission tickets to the Iowa State Fair. Discount admission tickets are available now. For more information about the conference and to register, visit or call 800.932.2436. Space is limited.

Register for free today — and while you’re at it, enter their annual photo contest by July 19!

Washington, DC — The total number of unplanted acres this year could eventually top 10 million. The Hagstrom Report quotes USDA Undersecretary for Farm Production and Conservation Bill Northey as saying the final number could be the highest in years. The number of acres farmers say went unplanted ranges from two million to 10 million acres. A

 USDA survey of farmer planting intentions came out last week but was heavily criticized as out of date and not accurate. USDA’s National Ag Statistics Service says it will re-survey farmers on their planting intentions. Northey did say he doesn’t know exactly when NASS will conduct that second survey. USDA has already processed prevent plant claims totaling over $151 million. Officials say the total is likely to reach more than $1 billion before it’s all said and done.

The question then becomes, what do you do with those acres? Many will be looking to cover crops, perhaps even for the first time ever, to keep a living root in the ground to help soil health, prevent erosion, or help with weed prevention, all benefits of cover crops.

Washington, DC — The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) began its “Keep America first in agriculture” drive almost as soon as President Trump signed an executive order on June 11 calling for streamlining of federal regulation of agricultural biotechnology. Referring to gene-edited crops and animals, the executive order told regulators to use their existing powers “to exempt low-risk products of agriculture biotechnology from undue regulation.”

The industry says American preeminence in science and agricultural exports will suffer if gene-edited advances such as disease-resistant pigs are hog-tied by a needlessly long and costly approval process, so the USDA should supplant FDA as the federal regulator of gene-edited food animals.

For media inquiries, permission to republish articles or to request high-res photos, please contact Katie James, ISA Public Relations Manager at © 2020 Iowa Soybean Association. All rights reserved.