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Dan Robison began in his role as the dean of the College of Ag and Life Sciences and director of the Iowa Agriculture and Home Economics Experiment Station at Iowa State University on March 31, 2019. (Photo: Joseph L. Murphy/Iowa Soybean Association)

Ankeny, IA — The new dean for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Iowa State University (ISU) admits he has plenty to learn about the students, the state and its farmers. But Dan Robison is well aware how important the soybean industry is to the state and to the College.

Robison began in his role as the dean of the College of Ag and Life Sciences and director of the Iowa Agriculture and Home Economics Experiment Station on March 31.

He stopped at the Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) during the summer board meeting, engaging with ISA leaders and thanking them for their continuous support of the College and the Iowa Soybean Research Center.

“Over the years, ISA has funded approximately $61 million of research at ISU. That’s extraordinary,” Robison said. Read more from his visit.

Washington, DC — China has suspended imports of all U.S. ag products in its latest move during the trade war between the world’s largest economies.

The action also comes after President Trump’s threat to impose 10 percent tariffs on nearly $300 billion worth of Chinese goods starting on Sept. 1.

China may also impose additional tariffs on U.S. farm products and will not rule out imposing import tariffs on U.S. farm products that were bought after Aug. 3, the Ministry said. China on Monday also let the yuan weaken past the key 7-per-dollar level for the first time in more than a decade. The United States responded by designating China a currency manipulator.

According to government data, as of July 25, at this point in the marketing year U.S. soybean exports to China are down by 63.2 percent compared to 1 year ago and down by 70.9 percent compared to 2 years ago. Soy growers are working to market their product elsewhere, and U.S. soybean exports to non-China markets total 30.836 million metric tons (MMT) up 23.3 percent over a year ago. The bulk of that increase is to the EU-28, which this year totaled 7.381 MMT, versus 4.575 MMT a year ago.

Additionally, Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) livestock futures swung wildly on Monday amid growing tensions in the U.S.-China trade war. The market has been expecting China to increase meat imports to offset the deaths of millions of hogs in an outbreak of African swine fever, but rising tensions between the countries has resulted in 62 percent retaliatory tariffs on U.S. pork into China, limiting sales and leaving U.S. pork supplies hefty.

Banks remain concerned about the possibility of a recession amid the escalation.

Tokyo, Japan — Japan and the United States have agreed to target a broad deal on bilateral trade by September, seeking to bridge differences of opinion over tariffs on beef and the automobile sector, the Nikkei business daily reported on Sunday.

As part of a drive to rectify what he claims are unfair global trade imbalances, U.S. President Donald Trump has been urging Tokyo to accelerate trade talks that would open up Japan’s politically sensitive agriculture sector, as well as curbing Japan’s U.S.-bound auto exports.

The agreement to target a deal by September was reached during a meeting between Japanese Economy Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in Washington, D.C., the Nikkei said, citing unidentified negotiating sources.

Maintaining —or expanding — market access to Japan is essential to the Iowa soybean industry, according to a recent study from World Perspectives, Inc. Japan is the most important market for U.S. red meat exports, ranking first in value for both beef and pork.

Des Moines, IA — Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts, North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb and Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin are calling on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to prioritize reform clarifying that CO2 emissions from agricultural feedstocks are not pollutants subject to regulation under the federal Clean Air Act.

The letter written to the EPA can be read here.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, biogenic CO2 emissions from the processing and use of agricultural feedstocks such as corn, soybeans, oilseeds and farm residues are carbon neutral.

“Removal of this regulatory barrier is key to unlocking investment in the 21st century bioeconomy in rural areas across America,” said Gov. Reynolds. “The agricultural sector in our states is poised to invest billions of dollars to develop the potential of the bioeconomy, if only the EPA would remove the threat of unwarranted regulatory burdens. We appreciate the Trump Administration's commitment to decreasing regulatory barriers and stand ready to work with the Agency to resolve this issue.”

Washington, DC — The average farm real estate values for the U.S. is up $60 from 2018 to $3,160 per acre, according to USDA’s 2019 Land Values Summary. U.S. cropland values are up $50 for 2019, with a national average of $4,100 per acre. The previous high, also at $4,100 per acre, was reached in 2015.

Iowa’s farm real estate value, a measurement of the value of all land and buildings on farms, averaged $7,190 per acre in 2019, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service Land Values 2019 Summary. This is down $80 per acre or 1 percent from last year’s level.

Cropland, at $7,260 per acre, was down $30 from last year. Pasture, at $2,720 per acre, was down $70 from last year.

Cropland cash rent paid to Iowa landlords in 2019 averaged $230.00 per acre according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Non-irrigated cropland rent averaged $230.00 per acre, down $1.00 from last year. Irrigated cropland rent averaged $235.00 per acre. Pasture rented for cash averaged $59.00 per acre, up $5.00 from the previous year.

Ames, IA — Renewable Energy Group, Inc. (REG) announced its financial results for the second quarter, which ended June 30.

Revenues for the second quarter were $560.6 million on 197.4 million gallons of fuel sold. Net loss from continuing operations attributable to common stockholders was $57.6 million in the second quarter of 2019, compared to net income from continuing operations attributable to common stockholders of $28.3 million in the second quarter of 2018. Adjusted EBITDA in the second quarter was negative $42.3 million, compared to Adjusted EBITDA of $44.3 million in the second quarter of 2018.

"The challenging margin environment continued in the second quarter as a result of uncertainty around both the Biodiesel Mixture Excise Tax Credit (BTC) and small refinery exemptions," said Cynthia (CJ) Warner, President and Chief Executive Officer. "Within this context, our underlying performance was strong with a 15 percent increase in gallons sold and a 2 percent increase in gallons produced. We continue to believe that the BTC will be reinstated, which will reward our strong operational performance."

Warner continued, "On the non-operating front, we are pleased that we finalized the sale of our Life Sciences business and paid off our 2019 convertible notes without financing, primarily from cash on hand."

Dyersville, IA — Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer met with local farmers Monday to discuss expanding broadband access in Eastern Iowa.

Finkenauer and Federal Communications Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel toured a farm in Dyersville that uses precision agriculture tools that depend on broadband. The farmers use these tools to record yield sizes and plan for spring planting. Finkenauer is working to make broadband more accessible to rural farm areas.

Some farmers in Eastern Iowa have been using broadband for more than a decade, and they say while the technology has gotten better over the years, there are still problems with broadband service reaching rural areas.

Finkenauer says there are a lot of benefits to increasing service. “It’s good for the environment, to have precision agriculture. You know how much fertilizer you’re putting on, knowing where you should be planting or where the good ground is,” says Finkenauer. She is currently working on the Broadband Accountability and Transparency Act she introduced in July. The bill would give rural Internet providers better access to data.

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.

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