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Soy Briefs

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In this windy virtual farm tour, Ethan takes you to a soybean field to see how a planter cuts through the soil to carefully drop soybean seeds into rich topsoil. (Photo: Iowa Food & Family Project)

Ankeny – With a shift away from in-person activities this spring, the Iowa Food & Family Project (Iowa FFP) has developed a virtual learning series that showcases food and farming around the state. Each episode strives to build trust in modern agriculture, and this week the series showcased springtime soybean planting with Ethan Crow, a farmer from Marshall County who is a member of the Iowa Soybean Association Communications Squad.

To date, the series has more than 28,700 views. Videos are released every Thursday at noon across Iowa FFP social media channels and will continue through June.

The virtual learning series is one piece of the initiative’s consumer engagement activities. All year long, Iowa FFP connects with its audience of more than 130,000 food-minded Iowans on social media and through itsFresh Pickings eNewsletter and Fresh Pickings magazine. The initiative also hosts farm tours, farmer panels and speaking events. To learn more about Iowa FFP, visit  

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) reminds producers that FSA offers farm ownership and farm operating loans to agricultural producers who may not find success obtaining loans from their traditional financial institutions because of COVID-19. Farmers who cannot obtain commercial credit from a bank can apply for FSA direct or guaranteed loans.

“Farming and ranching is a capital-intensive business and FSA is committed to helping producers maintain their agricultural operations during this time of crisis,” said Amanda De Jong, FSA State Executive Director in Iowa. “FSA loans are designed to assist beginning and historically underserved farmers and ranchers, as well as those who have suffered financial setbacks from natural disasters or economic downturns.  Producers may find that an FSA loan is the best option for them if they cannot qualify for a loan with their traditional financial institutions or other financial institutions because of COVID-19.”

For more information call your local FSA office or visit

Farmers who are planting cover crops for the first time are eligible for $25 per acre through the cost share fund. Farmers who have already experienced the benefits of using cover crops and are continuing the practice can receive $15 per acre. Growers using no-till or strip-till for the first time to reduce soil erosion and input costs are eligible for $10 per acre. Farmers who use a nitrapyrin nitrification inhibitor to apply fall fertilizer are eligible for $3 per acre through the cost share fund.

Cost share funding through the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship is limited to 160 acres per farmer or landowner. The funds will be made available in July, but farmers can start submitting applications immediately through their local Soil and Water Conservation District offices.

Iowa farmers had planted 86% of their soybean crop as of May 17, nearly a month ahead of last year and 3 weeks ahead of average, according to the latest report from the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service. Iowa farmers had 96% of their corn crop planted, nearly one month ahead of last year and almost 3 weeks ahead of the 5-year average. One-fourth of the soybean crop has emerged; corn emergence improved to 62%.

You can’t avoid farm stress, but you can manage it. Whether you need help managing stress or you know someone else who needs support, we've collected resources here to help you find the information or professional you need. 

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.