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Soy Briefs

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The United States signed a bilateral trade agreement with Japan earlier this week in New York. The agreement calls for tariff reductions on frozen beef and pork, which indirectly benefits crop farmers. (Photo: Joseph L. Murphy/Iowa Soybean Association)

Ankeny, IA — U.S. President Donald Trump and Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe signed a trade agreement earlier this week, set to expand market access to the United States’ third largest agricultural market.

While the agreement doesn’t change anything specifically for U.S. soybean exports—the United States exported $947 million of soybeans to Japan in 2018—it’s welcome news, said Iowa Soybean Association President Tim Bardole.

“There’s nothing soybean specific in the agreement, but it does include expanded access for U.S. pork, beef and poultry—the largest consumers of our product,” said Bardole, who farms near Rippey.

Read more.

Washington, DC — All former U.S. Secretaries of Agriculture since President Reagan's Administration announced support for the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). In a letter to Congressional leaders, former Secretaries John Block (Reagan), Mike Espy (Clinton), Dan Glickman (Clinton), Ann Veneman (W. Bush), Mike Johanns (W. Bush), Ed Shafer (W. Bush), and Tom Vilsack (Obama) underscored the importance of passing USMCA saying,

"We need a strong and reliable trade deal with our top two customers for U.S. agriculture products. USMCA will provide certainty in the North American market for the U.S. farm sector and rural economy. We strongly support ratification of USMCA." Following the announcement, Secretary Perdue issued this statement:

"President Trump has fulfilled a promise, which many said couldn't be done, to renegotiate NAFTA and improve the standing of the entire American economy, including the agriculture sector," said Secretary Perdue. "Support for USMCA crosses all political parties, specifically when it comes to the agriculture community, and I am proud to stand side by side with former agriculture secretaries who agree USMCA is good news for American farmers. I commend President Trump and Ambassador Lighthizer, for their perseverance, leadership, and hard work to get USMCA across the finish line."

Former Secretaries Vilsack, Glickman, and Block joined Secretary Perdue at USDA today for a press conference to reiterate their support for USMCA. You may watch the press conference by visiting the USDA Facebook page. View the USDA Former Secretaries USMCA Letter.

Ankeny, IA — Brad Wilson, president and general manager of Western Iowa Energy, has been elected by his peers to serve as the new chair of the Iowa Biodiesel Board.

The board of directors elected Wilson during the Iowa Biodiesel Board and National Biodiesel Board Regional Annual Meeting, September 18 – 19 in Des Moines.

“I look forward to playing an active role in leading the Iowa Biodiesel Board for many reasons, but the most important is the organization’s focus on bringing additional value up and down the entire supply chain, from the farmers and feedstock suppliers through the end user,” he said.

Wilson became president and general manager of WIE in 2016. The multi-feedstock plant recently grew its capacity from 30 milion to 45 million gallons per year. It employs about 30 people, many with young families in Wall Lake, Iowa, a town of about 800 residents.

“Iowa is not only the top biodiesel producing state, but a strong leader in driving critical federal policy like the Renewable Fuel Standard and biodiesel tax credit,” Wilson said. “I look forward to stepping up to the challenge this position brings.”

Wilson, who previously served as IBB’s vice chair, replaces Tom Brooks, general manager of biodiesel producer Western Dubuque Biodiesel in Farley, Iowa. He stepped down after serving as chair for three years.

The full slate of officers for the organization is now as follows:

  • Chair: Brad Wilson, Western Iowa Energy
  • Vice Chair: Doug Lenhart, REG
  • Secretary: Reed Herzig, Bayer
  • Treasurer: Courtney Lawrenson, AGP

Washington, DC — China canceled a planned visit to farms in the U.S. heartland this week, Bloomberg reports. The trip was touted by the Trump administration as a building of “goodwill.” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin admitted it was a White House decision to call off the tour for Chinese Agriculture Vice Minister Han Jun and Trump suggested the visit to U.S. farming areas be rescheduled, Agri-Pulse reports.

“I think that we do see as the new normal this new amount of uncertainty with China and our regular scenario is probably, for the next year or two, more similar to what last year’s scenario was,” Mark Jekanowski, deputy chairman of the USDA World Agricultural Outlook Board

said. “We’re relatively early in the trade war.”

Washington, DC — Due to continued wet conditions over large portions of the north central U.S. there is an enhanced probability of impacts due to heavy rains over the next couple of weeks, says USDA’s Midwest Climate Hub.

Several rounds of heavy rain on top of ground that cannot accept any additional water will exacerbate ongoing flooding and create new flooded areas over the next two weeks, and potentially beyond. We are also looking at increased potential for record cold temperatures coming to the western and central corn belt and north western tier of states into early October. It is too early to tell at this time if we will have a light freeze (29 to 32 degrees Fahrenheit) or a hard freeze, but it is looking like this will happen on or around October 4th. 

Lenexa, KS — As you prepare to close the books on this year, you’ll soon shift your attention to 2020. A good rule of thumb is to start planning your finances at the same time you start your agronomic plans for the next year, says Jessica Lehman, managing director of agribusiness banking, First Financial Bank in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

To do so, schedule a meeting with your lender. In these meetings you can go over final numbers and projections for 2019, as well as talk through your options for next year, says Ashley Arrington, founder of ag consulting firm Agri Authority.

“Bankers want to know they are lending money to informed and competent operational managers,” Arrington says. 

Impress your lender this fall by taking the following steps.

Washington, DC. — The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is holding a public meeting to discuss a new initative called “A New Era of Smarter Food Safety.”

In an announcement on Sept. 17, the FDA said the consultation with international stakeholders — designed to debate public health challenges and the implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act — will take place on Oct. 21.

Specifically, the FDA intends to establish “a more digital, traceable, and safer system” to protect consumers from contaminated food.

Manhattan, KS — A new study conducted by veterinary researchers at Kansas State University sheds new light on a threatening swine disease: African swine fever.

The research team, headed by Megan Niederwerder, assistant professor of diagnostic medicine and pathobiology in the College of Veterinary Medicine, looks at the degradation of African swine fever virus in animal feed ingredients to understand the potential for disease spread through contaminated feed.

Up to now, data has been limited. Niederwerder's latest study, "Half-Life of African Swine Fever Virus in Shipped Feed," is now available online in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases. It examines the possible risk of African swine fever virus spreading to the United States through imported feed. The study provides more accurate half-life measurements that confirm the virus can survive a simulated 30-day transoceanic voyage in contaminated plant-based feed and ingredients.

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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