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As November nears, the threat of frost increases. This year's variable weather has impacted soybean conditions in the state. (Photo: Joseph L. Murphy)

Grain quality in focus as farmers continue harvest
Pushing into November, weather continues to be the main factor in farmers’ ability to get their crop harvested, said Charles Hurburgh. He manages the Iowa State Grain Quality Research Laboratory at Iowa State University (ISU) and the ISU Extension and Outreach-based Iowa Grain Quality Initiative.

“This year’s planting season was strung out, making it one of the latest on record,” Hurburgh said. This set the stage for expectations of wet crops and frost risk when crops were still immature, he noted. Read the full story at the link above.

Iowa farmers making up for lost time
Iowa farmers took advantage of favorable weather last week to make a large dent in this year’s soybean harvest. More than 30% of the state’s expected soybean crop was harvested last week, according to the Iowa Crop Progress and Conditions report released by the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). Read the full story at the link above.

ASA's Ryan Findlay on 2020 policy priorities
American Soybean Association (ASA) CEO Ryan Findlay details the policy priorities of ASA in fiscal year 2020. Trade and China, biodiesel and infrastructure are at the top of the list when it comes to advocacy in the coming year. Ryan details the importance of the Chinese trade relationship, the uniqueness of the biodiesel obstacles and the necessity of infrastructure changes as we move ahead in the coming year. He also touches on the recent transitions made in the ASA office in Washington, D.C., and what it means for farmers across the country.

Urge Congress to Renew the Biodiesel Tax Incentive
Members of Congress, both Democrats and Republicans, from across the United States support the biodiesel industry. It's urgent they act today to renew the biodiesel tax credit and save industry jobs. 

The incentive expired at the end of 2017, and it remains expired as we approach the close of 2019. Biodiesel producers and blenders are facing unprecedented business uncertainty; at least nine have been forced to cut production and lay off workers. Continued cuts in production and blending will impact the industry's ability to invest and grow. More than 60,000 U.S. jobs are on the line.

The House has introduced bipartisan legislation to extend the tax credit. Please thank legislators who supported it and urge everyone to renew the tax credit before the end of November.

Please fill out this form. You can add personal details and comments to the letter, and you can edit the letter to include additional personal comments. Different versions of the final letter will be sent to your Representative and Senators based on their past sponsorship of legislation to renew the tax credit.

Neal: Only 'a few more' USMCA talks with Lighthizer needed
There is fresh optimism on Capitol Hill about prospects for a House vote on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal told reporters after a meeting with U.S. Trade Representative Bob Lighthizer that Democrats would likely only need a few more meetings with him to wrap up a deal with the White House. 

“We have really narrowed our differences considerably,” he said. “There were a couple of bumps in the road last week, but they seem to be, at least for the moment, smoothed out.”

A top Senate Republican’s anxiety about the USMCA may be lessening after hearing from Agri-Pulse about Neal’s newfound optimism. 

“If this has happened like your question implies, I’ll take back some of the anxiety I’ve expressed,” Senate Finance Chairman Chuck Grassley told Agri-Pulse Wednesday afternoon. Earlier in the day, Grassley and several GOP colleagues went to the Senate floor to urge House Democrats to act swiftly to pass USMCA saying the clock was ticking.

This edge-of-field practice offers benefits for the soil, water and for pollinators
Farmers and landowners who want to increase pollinator habitat while also improving water quality should consider the benefits of saturated riparian buffers enhanced with native wildflowers.

Establishing pollinator habitat within riparian zones, where the agricultural value is lower and where the conservation and wildlife benefits are likely high, can be a win-win.

“Landowners looking for the combined benefits of native habitat and water quality can capture both by establishing pollinator-friendly species on top of saturated buffers,” said Dana Schweitzer, program coordinator with the Iowa Monarch Conservation Consortium at Iowa State University.

New Senate Bill Takes on Mental Health Issues in Farm and Ranch Country
The struggling farm economy has Congress taking action aimed at preventing a mental health crisis. The Senate’s two farmers, Iowa Republican Chuck Grassley and Montana Democrat Jon Tester, have introduced a bill to increase mental health services for farmers and ranchers. Grassley says the goal is to prevent suicide—something that exacerbated suffering during the 1980s farm crisis, and that is still a threat to farmers and ranchers.  Grassley’s hopeful rural communities and farmers will be more open to services now.

The bill would dedicate $3 million to a multimedia public service campaign partnership between the departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services. Grassley doesn’t anticipate controversy, though the bill doesn’t currently have a companion in the House.

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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