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Soy Briefs

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At one point Tuesday, RAGBRAI's AG OASIS, presented by the Iowa Soybean Association, was so busy that each bicyclist passing by had to walk their bike to ensure their safety amid the congestion, a testament to the popularity of the stop. (Photo: Joseph L. Murphy/Iowa Soybean Association)

Cumming, IA — As a Premier Friend of RAGBRAI this year, the Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) presented the “AG OASIS” on the third day of the event. The stop gave riders a chance to hop off their bikes at Howell’s Greenhouse and Pumpkin Patch on their ride from Winterset to Indianola for hydration, rest and some fun!

The beautiful countryside and Iowa hospitality has made the event immensely popular amongst cyclists, attracting riders from all 50 states and many countries. Officials estimated that over 35,000 riders would participate this year. 

“RAGBRAI is such a unique opportunity to connect with consumers across the state — and the nation,” said Pat Swanson, ISA District 9 director and Ottumwa soybean farmer. “It’s the perfect time to showcase the ‘ag’ in RAGBRAI.”

In a booth set up just inside the entrance to the AG OASIS, ISA offered branded items, “soy snacks” — a Chex mix that included soy nuts and edamame — and a chance to chat and ask questions.

“People had such a wide range of questions throughout the day,” Swanson said.

Read more about ISA's RAGBRAI engagement.

Des Moines, IA — Linda Funk, executive director of The Soyfoods Council based in Ankeny, has been recognized on the Iowa Restaurant Association's inaugural list of 40 “Women to Watch” in hospitality!

More than 100 nominations were submitted from across the state. All showcased women in Iowa's hospitality industry said to be blazing new trails, leading by example or impressing their peers, customers and managers. Check out the list here.

Beijing, China — The Chinese government has given the go-ahead for five companies to buy up to 3 million tons of U.S. soybeans free of retaliatory import tariffs as trade negotiations between the two nations continue, according to people familiar with the situation.

The retaliatory tariff-free quota for 2 million to 3 million tons will be part of a goodwill gesture toward the U.S., and there could be a second round of exemptions depending on how the trade talks progress, two of the people said, declining to be identified as the information is private.

Washington, DC — U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are set to travel to China Monday for the first high-level, face-to-face trade negotiations between the world’s two biggest economies since talks broke down in May.

The Trump administration was expected to announce between $4 billion and $7 billion in trade war payments to farmers and ranchers by the end of this week. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said growers would receive a minimum of $15 an acre for plantings of two dozen eligible crops. Some 277 million acres were planted to those crops.

New Boston, Texas — Renewable Energy Group, Inc. (REGI) today announced the closing of its New Boston, Texas biorefinery due to challenging business conditions and continued federal policy uncertainty, most notably the long-lapsed federal biodiesel tax credit.

The company acquired the 15-million gallon per-year biodiesel plant near Texarkana, Texas in October 2012 and began producing biodiesel there several months later. The facility is capable of running both high and low free fatty acid feedstocks and has truck and rail access.

“This closure comes today as a result of the poor economics over the last 18 months resulting in large part from the uncertainty surrounding the Biodiesel Tax Credit,” said Cynthia J. Warner, REG President and CEO. “Despite significant bipartisan support, Congress’ inaction on this value-added incentive has led to unsustainable market conditions.”

Lobbyists and lawmakers still have hope of achieving a revival of the Biodiesel Tax Credit, but know their window is rapidly closing.

A wild weather year brought excessive moisture to many areas of the U.S., resulting in planting occurring at a historically slow pace. The cooler and wetter than normal weather didn’t seem to budge throughout May, a weather pattern Drew Lerner of Weather World, Inc. said was forecast this winter.

With cooler than normal conditions, Lerner's biggest concern right now is an an early frost or freeze.

“At best we're going to have a normal frost and freeze,” said Lerner. “I do not see this growing season being extended, especially in the northern parts of the Midwest. The odds are really high that we're going to end up with the northern areas finishing out early.” 

Read more weather insights.

Lenexa, KS — The 2017 Census of Agriculture shows the number of hogs produced in the United States is climbing, and the number of hog operations is on the rise for the first time since 1935. The total number of hog farms grew by 5% at 66,439 farms up from 63,246 farms in 2012.

With Iowa pig farmers consistently being Iowa soybean farmers' No. 1 customer, it’s no surprise that the state of Iowa leads the pack with 22,730,540 total number of hogs. 

Twelve counties in Iowa made the Top 20 list with Washington County ranking third at 1,332,048 head, closely followed by Sioux County at fourth with 1,259,133 head. Also earing a place among the top 20 are Lyon (6), Hamilton (7), Plymouth (8), Carroll (10), Hardin (12), Kossuth (14), Palo Alto (16), O’Brien (18), Wright (19) and Sac (20).

Olin, IA — Farmers are invited to attend the Iowa Soybean Association’s 4R Field Day at the Darin Stolte farm at 304 Rose Ave, Olin, IA 52320 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (registration will begin at 9:30 AM). RSVP by Aug. 1.

The goal of the field day is to show farmers and landowners ways to maximize profitability while conserving and improving soil health and water quality. The 4Rs of nutrient management — Right Source, Right Time, Right Rate, Right Place — will be discussed as well as in-field and edge-of-field practices that reduce nutrients entering water bodies. The field day is free, and lunch is provided.

North Liberty, IA — Plan to attend the ISA’s "Making Soil Conservation Profitable" event on Aug. 20. Learn the benefits of soil and water conservation practices from farmers, landowners, agronomists, and peer-to-peer discussions. 

The event will be at Hills Bank, 590 W. Forevergreen Road, North Liberty from 9:45 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The event is free and includes a catered lunch from LJ's. Sponsored by: Iowa Soybean Association, Next Generation Ag Advocates, Hills Bank, and Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance

Registration is limited to 75 people. RSVP by Aug. 10.

Nevada, IA — Plan to attend the Iowa Soybean Association event "Making Soil Conservation Profitable" on Aug. 30. Attendees will learn the benefits of soil and water conservation practices from farmers, landowners, agronomists, and peer-to-peer discussions. The event will be held at Couser Cattle Company, 20408 620th Ave, Nevada from 9:45 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event is free and includes lunch, catered by the Story County Cattlemen. Sponsored by: Iowa Soybean Association, Hertz Farm Management, and Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance. Registration is limited to 75 people. RSVP by Aug. 20.

For media inquiries, please contact Katie James, 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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