April 20, 2023


A five-minute summary of AAI, regulation, and industry activities for members of the largest state agribusiness association in the nation.

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Reminder About Custom Blending Regulations

This week, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sent out a Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) Compliance Advisory regarding custom blending. This encompasses blending pesticides with other pesticides, pesticides with fertilizer, and pesticides with feed.

There are no new regulations, but it is meant to clarify the existing regulations for those who custom blend. The information is below:


A custom blender is any establishment which provides the service of mixing registered pesticides to a customer’s specifications, specifically, a pesticide-pesticide, pesticide-fertilizer, or pesticide-animal feed mixture. Custom blending means the service of mixing pesticides to a customer's specifications. The regulatory requirements stated in the 40 Code of Federal Regulations Part 167.3 include:

  • the blend is prepared for a specific customer must not be held in inventory
  • the pesticides used in the blend must bear end-use labeling which does not prohibit the use of the pesticide in the blend, 
  • the blend is customized using registered pesticides,  
  • the blend is delivered to the end-user with a copy of the end-use labeling of each pesticide used in the blend and a statement specifying the composition of the mixture. 
  • The blend is to be used on the customer’s property (included leased or rented property). 

Facilities that custom blend and do not meet the above requirements must register as a pesticide producer under FIFRA Section 7. Further, if custom blend products are produced, sold or distributed, or held for sale or distribution without meeting the above requirements, the products would be considered unregistered and/or misbranded under FIFRA Section 3 and may be in violation of FIFRA. Facilities selling or distributing products claiming to be custom blended that do not meet the above requirements may be in violation of FIFRA and be subject to enforcement, including Stop Sale Orders and/or federal penalties.

For more information contact the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship Pesticide Bureau or EPA Region 7. 


Gretchen Paluch, Pesticide Bureau Chief

Email: pesticides@iowaagriculture.gov Phone: 515-281-8591

EPA Region 7 -

Mark Lesher, Email: lesher.mark@epa.gov Phone: 913-551-7054

Iowa Seed Corn Cover Crop Initiative 2022 Results and 2023 New Collaboration

In 2022, over $589,000 in financial assistance was provided to farmers and landowners through the Iowa Seed Corn Cover Crop Initiative for cost share associated with cover crop conservation practices through the Water Quality Initiative (WQI). The Iowa Seed Corn Cover Crop Initiative is a project developed by the Iowa Seed Association in partnership with the Agribusiness Association of Iowa, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, and Iowa Corn. Seed corn growers continue to show increased interest in the adoption of cover crops on acres used for seed corn production. Nearly 200 seed corn growers signed up for funding in 2022, covering over 41,000 acres, saving almost 125,000 tons of soil, and spending an estimated $1.6 million of their own money to implement cover crops. 

Partnerships with eight seed companies, representing the vast majority of seed corn production in Iowa, provide cost share, technical assistance, outreach, and education dedicated to seed corn growers. Funding incentives available to seed corn growers are $15 per acre for winter-hardy and $10 per acre for winter-kill cover crops. An additional $5 per acre incentive is available for first-time cover crop users. In 2022, sixteen new users established cover crops through the Initiative. Applications are being accepted at www.sustainableseedcorn.org for planting cover crops this fall.

For 2023, the Iowa Seed Association approved a new collaboration with Heartland Cooperative for dedicated outreach and technical assistance for edge-of-field water quality practices that are permanent and not invasive to field operations. By connecting seed corn growers with technical and cost share information on these practices, increased knowledge of these practices can facilitate accelerated implementation.   

The Iowa Seed Corn Cover Crops Initiative focuses on ways to help increase adoption of cover crops specifically within the seed corn production system in Iowa. The focus on seed corn is driven by the unique opportunity that seed corn provides due to the earlier harvest, thereby providing better timing opportunities for establishing cover crops in the late summer and fall after harvest. Cost share applications for planting cover crops on seed corn acres this coming fall are being accepted. Visit www.sustainableseedcorn.org for more information.

GEAPS Scholarship Opportunities Available

Grain Elevator and Processing Society (GEAPS) is accepting applications for two scholarships that have had very few applicants. The scholarships are for the 2023-2024 academic year. Deadline to apply is April 30 with winners announced in May.

Henry H. Kaufmann Memorial Scholarship 

The Kaufmann Memorial Scholarship supports industry professionals who are looking to improve their versatility by eliminating language barriers in the workplace. It applies to tuition, books and fees at accredited institutions. Students attending institutions outside the United States may apply if their college or university’s language program is formally affiliated with an accredited U.S. school. 

More Info & Online Application

Harold Reese Memorial Scholarship Application 

The Harold Reese Memorial Scholarship is open to industry professionals and students. This scholarship provides financial assistance to participants in the GEAPS distance education program, and to students at other schools studying grain-related fields.

More Info & Online Application

Dicamba Training and Resources

soybeans person

Cutoff date for over the top application of dicamba products on soybeans in Iowa is June 12.

Links to the online training sites from the various manufacturers, along with product label links, can be found on the Agribiz.org website:


Completion of any of the online dicamba training modules fulfills the requirement for the year.

Need To Renew Your Commercial Pesticide Certification?

If you need commercial applicator training, or are looking to renew your company pesticide license or commercial applicator certification, visit the Pesticide Bureau website for links to the self-service portal and other applicator related information:




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Participate in ISU’s Nitrogen Rate Trials

The Iowa Nitrogen Initiative is looking for farmers, crop advisors, ag retailers, and fertilizer applicators to conduct nitrogen rate trials utilizing variable rate technology. ISU researchers will use the data collected to provide the best nitrogen science in the world for the benefit of productivity, profitability, and environmental performance. Put your variable rate technology to use and be a part of this innovative project!


For more information, visit:

Iowa Nitrogen Initiative - Department of Agronomy (iastate.edu)

or email Ben Gleason at AAI, bgleason@agribiz.org


Ag groups say Wall Street rules should not extend to family farms

Source: Feedstuffs

Wall Street rules intended for publicly traded companies should not extend to family farms. That is the message the American Farm Bureau Federation and six other agricultural groups sent to the Securities and Exchange Commission. The SEC proposed a rule to require public companies to report on Scope 3 emissions, which are the result of activities not owned or controlled by a publicly traded company but contribute to its value chain. Public companies that produce goods from agricultural products would need to report emissions from the relevant agricultural operations. The farm groups’ concern is that the rule will burden family farmers and ranchers and drive further consolidation in agriculture—all for no real environmental benefit.

In a letter sent this week to the SEC, the organizations stated: “This tracking will be extremely expensive, invasive, and burdensome for farmers and ranchers, at the cost of improved production practices that generate actual environmental gains. Family farms, particularly smaller ones, will be hardest hit, with the rule driving greater consolidation and fewer family farms. The easiest path for registrants will be to source their inputs from larger corporate operations with greater resources and more sophisticated data-gathering and reporting systems. Alternatively, registrants may simply vertically integrate their supply chains, leading to further consolidation.”

In the letter, the organizations ask the SEC to recognize it wouldn’t be appropriate to subject farmers to Scope 3 reporting requirements, and to draft a rule that specifies that companies cannot compel farmers and ranchers to provide emissions information.

[...] Read Full Story

USDA announces avian influenza vaccine trials

Source: AgDaily

As producers prepare for the peak highly pathogenic avian influenza season in the spring and summer months, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that they’re testing a number of potential vaccines. 

The announcement came during an April 13 roundtable discussion with poultry industry stakeholders. 

Initial data from the animal study with a single dose of the vaccine are expected to be available in May, while the researchers expect to have two-dose vaccine challenge studies with results completed in June.

Should these trials prove to be successful and should the USDA opt to continue their development, the agency will then identify vaccine manufacturers and enter into a dialogue with them to gauge their interest in the production of these vaccines.

However, before those vaccine manufacturers are identified, several stages must be discretely completed, including feasibility work and product label submission and review.

While the whole process usually takes up to three years, emergency situations may expedite the process. The agency estimated that in a best-case scenario, there would be a 18 to 24 month timeline before having a vaccine that matches the currently circulating virus strain, is available in commercial quantities, and can be easily administered to commercial poultry.

“Since the first case of HPAI was confirmed in a commercial flock in the U.S. in Feb. 2022, USDA has followed Secretary Vilsack’s clear direction to quickly identify cases and respond immediately to stop the virus from spreading,” said Acting Deputy Secretary Kevin Shea.

[...] Read Full Story

Top 10 Ag Retailers With the Most Grain Elevator Revenue

Source: CropLife

Full disclosure: CropLife magazine does not include grain elevator revenue when compiling its annual list of the top 100 largest ag retailers in the U.S., better known as the CropLife 100. If we did, the rankings would look a whole lot different.

Instead, we only use sales figures from two areas that have traditionally been our editorial sweet spot: crop inputs (fertilizer, crop protection products, and seed) and services (custom application).

That’s not to say we don’t ask CropLife 100 survey recipients to provide us with grain sales information. We do. And it’s become a valuable part of truly understanding each company’s entire revenue profile — and the added challenges and opportunities that come along with it.

According to a report from CoBank, “Grain and farm supply cooperatives have delivered tremendous value to their customers over the past three years, a period that featured extreme volatility in prices for grain, fertilizer, and energy as well as unpredictable economic activity stemming from COVID and the Russia/Ukraine conflict. While grain prices and farmer income should remain favorable during 2023, we believe there is a strong chance that the crop cycle will turn down in 2024 or soon thereafter.

“The prospect of lower grain prices and financial pressure at the farm level, combined with the newly emerging risks, has business implications that ag retailers should begin preparing for now,” according to the report.

Despite these challenges and risks, there are plenty of opportunities for grain elevators to improve margins in the years ahead. And if 2022 is any indication, leading the way in grain elevator revenue will be the 10 companies featured in the slideshow above (listed in reverse order of sales). These ag retailers combined generated $16.6 billion in total sales from grain revenue, which accounted for 68% of total CropLife 100 grain sales.

[...] Read Full Story

Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri join forces in quest for $1B grant to become 'clean hydrogen hub'

Source: Des Moines Register

The governors of Iowa, Nebraska and Missouri are partnering in a quest to land up to $1 billion in federal funding to establish a regional hub for clean hydrogen production, touted as an important step in meeting the nation's climate change goals.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides $7 billion for development of up to 10 large-scale regional clean hydrogen hubs with networks of hydrogen producers and users. The Midwest coalition seeks one of the grants, which could range in size from $500 million to $1 billion, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

A study conducted by Ideal Energy, a solar and energy storage company based in Fairfield, calls Iowa the potential “Persian Gulf of Renewable Hydrogen.” The state is “extremely well-positioned to become a center of renewable hydrogen production and consumption,” given its large renewable energy infrastructure, existing fertilizer production facilities (hydrogen can be used in producing nitrogen fertilizers) and demand for hydrogen products, the study says.

Hydrogen is expected to help energy-intensive industries like manufacturing and transportation reduce their carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions. President Joe Biden seeks to cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030 and reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

[...] Read Full Story

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