April 21, 2022


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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DOT Safe Driving. It’s not just for big rigs.

“Get-it-done” season is here for ag retailers, employees and customers. Before your drivers take to the roadways, help them with proper preparation and reiterate the importance of consistent safety practices to ensure that “get-it-done” season is “get-there-and-back-safely” season.

Often overlooked or taken for granted are safety practices and U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations that apply to pickup trucks used for deliveries. Pickup trucks have many uses in retail operations, from towing anhydrous tanks, spreaders or tender trailers to delivering bulk bags or pallets of product.

Any vehicle with a gross vehicle weight of 10,001 pounds or more and used by a business is a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) and is subject to DOT and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs).

Click the link below for important safety and compliance reminders from ResponsibleAg to help you prepare every driver ‒ especially your pickup delivery drivers ‒ to be as safe as possible on the road.

Link: Safety and Compliance from ResponsibleAg

Planting Proclamation Alters Truck Weight Limits for Crop Inputs Until May 11, 2022

Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a proclamation relating to the weight limits and hours of service requirements for the transportation of crop inputs for planting season.

The proclamation is effective immediately and continues through May 11, 2022. The proclamation allows vehicles transporting corn, soybeans, other agricultural seed, water, herbicide, pesticide, fertilizer (dry, liquid, and gas), manure (dry and liquid), gasoline, diesel #1, diesel #2, ethanol, and biodiesel to be overweight (not exceeding 90,000 pounds gross weight) without a permit for the duration of this proclamation. 


This proclamation applies to loads transported on all highways within Iowa (excluding the interstate system) and those which do not exceed a maximum of 90,000 pounds gross weight, do not exceed the maximum axle weight limit determined under the non-primary highway maximum gross weight table in Iowa Code § 321.463 (6) (b), by more than 12.5 percent, do not exceed the legal maximum axle weight limit of 20,000 pounds, and comply with posted limits on roads and bridges. 

Full proclamation: 2022 Spring Planting Proclamation

EPA's New Workplan Reforming the Pesticide Approval System

EPA announced a new workplan to protect endangered species from pesticides. According to EPA, the current pesticide approval system has major setbacks that make the process “unsustainable and legally tenuous.” 

The workplan describes four strategies and multiple actions:

  • A key strategy is for EPA to meet its ESA obligations for all FIFRA actions that invoke ESA. Because EPA does not have the capacity or scientific processes in place to meet all these obligations immediately, it has identified the FIFRA actions that are the highest priority for fulfilling its ESA obligations. These include actions with court-enforceable deadlines and new registrations of conventional pesticides.

  • A second strategy is to improve approaches to identifying and requiring ESA protections, especially for species facing the greatest risk from pesticides.

  • A third strategy is to improve the efficiency and timeliness of the ESA consultation process for pesticides, in coordination with other federal agencies.

  • And the final strategy is to engage stakeholders more effectively, to better understand their pest control practices and implement species protection measures.

You can view the press release here:

EPA Workplan Announcement

You can view the workplan here:

EPA Workplan Details

ARA Representing Ag Retailers Amid Union Pacific Shipment Restrictions

Courtesy: Agricultural Retailers Association

Last Friday’s news about the Union Pacific Railroad (UP) curtailing fertilizer shipments for certain customers creates additional pressure on a tight market as farmers and retailers struggle to obtain fertilizer supplies for the spring season. The announcement by UP selectively reduced service to certain customers which included several fertilizer manufacturers, without apparent regard for existing contracts or the essential nature of timely fertilizer deliveries.

In a public statement on their website, CF Industries observed that the timing of this decision “could not come at a worse time for farmers.” With the prospects of a global food shortage looming due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, any action that artificially restrains America’s ability to produce food is short-sighted from a global food security perspective. Reduced logistical capacity is likely to cause added chaos in an already stressed U.S. fertilizer market.

CF’s statement further noted that the announced change by the UP would “ … result in nitrogen fertilizer shipment delays during the spring application season and that it would be unable to accept new rail sales involving the Union Pacific for the foreseeable future.”

Domestic producers of nitrogen products, especially urea ammonium nitrate (UAN), were already logistically challenged to meet all the domestic demand for UAN in 2022, and this situation has the potential to make it much worse. It is ARA’s understanding that UP has subsequently negotiated some flexibility back for fertilizer suppliers during the spring season, though there are still likely to be impacts to fertilizer customers.

The situation highlights three urgent matters that need attention by the federal government: 

(1) Rail reform to restrain monopolistic behavior of railroads needs to be acted upon by the Surface Transportation Board (STB) at the earliest opportunity. ARA along with several other agricultural shipper interests will be submitting a letter this week laying out specific recommendations that would improve the position of agricultural shippers. A public hearing of the STB on this topic is scheduled for April 26 and 27. Information on viewing or commenting was provided to ARA members in our Retailer Fact$ newsletter yesterday.

(2) The situation also highlights the need for access to multiple sources of fertilizer products for farmers and the ag retailers who serve them. U.S. import duties on UAN fertilizers from Trinidad and Tobago have priced those supplies out of the market when imported product typically accounts for 85 percent of the UAN used on the east and west coast. By preventing access to imports, these duties make domestic users totally dependent on domestic producers and domestic logistics to secure their supplies of fertilizer. UP’s decision to cut back available logistics in an already-tight supply situation underscores the cost and risk of leaving these duties in place. The Biden Administration should use every authority at its disposal to suspend these duties at least until the market returns to more normal conditions, and ARA has made that recommendation.

(3) Increasing the supply of domestically produced fuel, especially natural gas, would reduce the cost of a critical input in the nitrogen fertilizer production process. Greater access to domestically-produced petroleum products and expanded biofuel usage would influence fuel supply and demand – and therefore prices at the pump.

STB Hearing Announcement (public hearing April 26-27):


Retirement Party & AAI Headquarters Open House

Celebrate With Us!


Retirement Party In honor of Joel Brinkmeyer


Open House for the Agribusiness Association

of Iowa Headquarters Renovation


Celebrate Joel’s nine years as CEO of AAI and his

46 year career in the agribusiness industry


Celebrate the completed renovation of the AAI Headquarters


Welcome the new Agribusiness Association CEO, Bill Northey


Refreshments and hors d’oeuvres will be served


Thursday, April 28, 2022

3:00 PM - 6:00 PM

Agribusiness Association of Iowa

900 Des Moines Street

Des Moines, Iowa


Parking available north of the building, in paved lot directly east of the building, or in church parking lot across Ninth Street to the northwest of AAI.

FBI Issues Private Industry Cybersecurity Warning for Ag Retailers

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is informing Food and Agriculture (FA) sector partners that ransomware actors may be more likely to attack agricultural cooperatives during critical planting and harvest seasons, disrupting operations, causing financial loss, and negatively impacting the food supply chain. The FBI noted ransomware attacks during these seasons against six grain cooperatives during the fall 2021 harvest and two attacks in early 2022 that could impact the planting season by disrupting the supply of seeds and fertilizer. Cyber actors

may perceive cooperatives as lucrative targets with a willingness to pay due to the time sensitive role they play in agricultural production. Although ransomware attacks against the entire farm-to-table spectrum of the FA sector occur on a regular basis, the number of cyber attacks against agricultural cooperatives during key seasons is notable.

Two recent events from this spring:

  • In March 2022, a multi-state grain company suffered a Lockbit 2.0 ransomware attack. In addition to grain processing, the company provides seed, fertilizer, and logistics services, which are critical during the spring planting season.

  • In February 2022, a company providing feed milling and other agricultural services reported two instances in which an unauthorized actor gained access to some of its systems and may have attempted to initiate a ransomware attack. The attempts were detected and stopped before encryption occurred.

The FBI advisory can be found at the following link:

View the full advisory, including resources and mitigation strategies

Dicamba Cutoff Date in Iowa: June 20

The EPA announced it has approved label amendments that further restrict the use of over-the-top dicamba in Iowa and Minnesota.

View EPA Announcement


The revised labeling prohibits over-the-top dicamba application:

  • On dicamba-tolerant crops after June 20 in Iowa


Also, the EPA is now requiring that all growers (not just growers in Iowa and Minnesota) using XtendiMax must check:


within 7 days of application in case their state has made any local label updates. Growers using XtendiMax must have all relevant labeling in their possession at the time of application.

View the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship Press Release


April 28

Retirement Party & Open House

AAI Headquarters | 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM


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Nominations for Iowa Farm Environmental Leader Awards Due May 2

Submit nominations for the 2022 Iowa Farm Environmental Leader Awards by Monday, May 2.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the award, and IDALS is looking forward to recognizing those that have taken steps in their farming operations to improve or protect the environment and natural resources of our state while also serving as local leaders to encourage other farmers to follow in their footsteps. This award is a joint effort of the Governor, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, and Iowa Department of Natural Resources to honor the exemplary voluntary efforts of these farmers. 

Find the nomination form and more information here: https://iowaagriculture.gov/farm-environmental-leader-awards. If you have any issues with the submission system, please contact:

Casey Judge

Office: (515) 725-4119

Cell: (515) 822-1851


This award can be a great way to show farmers who are working hard to lead conservation efforts that we see and appreciate everything they do! 

Secretary Naig Invites Students to Join the 2022 Choose Iowa Calendar Contest

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig is encouraging school-age students to participate in the 2022 Choose Iowa Calendar Contest hosted by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. Artwork submitted should feature at least one aspect of Iowa agriculture — food, livestock, crops or renewable fuels, for example. Submissions will be judged on both creativity and the ability to connect agriculture to everyday life. 

Secretary Naig will honor the winning artists during an awards ceremony on Tuesday, Aug. 16 during the 2022 Iowa State Fair. Winning submissions will also be included in the 2022 Choose Iowa calendar distributed online at ChooseIowa.com and at the Department’s booth in the Varied Industries Building.

Students 18-years-old or younger are invited to participate in the contest. Pictures should be drawn in a horizontal orientation using only black lines on plain white, 8.5 by 11-inch paper; pictures should not be colored in. Entries can be emailed to media@iowaagriculture.gov or mailed to:

Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship

Coloring Calendar

502 E 9th St.

Des Moines, Iowa, 50319

Each submission should include basic information about the artist, including the artist’s name, age, school, hometown, and the name, email and phone of a parent or guardian. For consideration, entries must be postmarked or emailed to the Department by June 1, 2022.

For creative inspiration, previous calendars are available here.

Save the Date: DMACC Agribusiness Career Fair October 3, 2022

The DMACC Agribusiness Fall Career Fair will be held on Monday, October 3, 2022 in the FFA Enrichment Center on the Ankeny DMACC campus. More information will be coming as as the summer and fall months draw nearer.

Questions can be directed to:

Andrea Rouse

Agribusiness Department

Des Moines Area Community College




Biden administration increases focus on rural America

Source: Feedstuffs


In an effort to fulfill promises made on the campaign trail, the Biden administration rolled out a new Rural Partners Network to help ensure the many resources allocated under the American Rescue Plan and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law find their way to those who need it in rural America.

While speaking from Clarksdale, Mississippi, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and White House Domestic Policy Advisor Susan Rice announced the new whole-of-government effort led by USDA to transform the way federal agencies partner with rural places to create economic opportunity in rural America. The USDA-led RPN is an all-of-government program that will help rural communities access government resources and funding to create jobs, build infrastructure and support long-term economic stability.

Vilsack and Rice were in Mississippi with Rep. Bennie Thompson, R-Miss., to meet with community leaders and stakeholders who will benefit from RPN in Clarksdale and Greenwood, Mississippi. The Biden administration hit the road last week to begin a multi-week Rural Infrastructure Tour to highlight new federal funding and investments in rural America.

[...] Read Full Story

A dozen reasons to ditch the EWG’s Dirty Dozen list for good

Source: AgDaily


Every spring, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) releases their annual Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists. The EWG claims to be ranking fruits and vegetables based on the levels of pesticides from “dirtiest” to “cleanest,” but that’s not really the case. Despite their efforts to get consumers to purchase organic versions of the “dirtiest” fruits and vegetables on the list, consumers are becoming more and more aware of the fact that these lists don’t help, and in some cases can even be harmful.

It’s time to ditch the Dirty Dozen list for good, and here are 12 reasons why:

1. The EWG manipulates the publicly available data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Pesticide Data Program to scare consumers about perfectly safe conventional produce. The PDP annual summaries consistently show that over 99 percent of sampled products have residues well below EPA tolerances, which are set based on an extensive and rigorous risk assessment reflecting all the toxicological information available. In fact, the residues are so incredibly low (parts per BILLION levels) that we’d essentially have to eat a toxic level of any of these foods before even reaching a level in which the pesticide residues may have negative effects.

2. It’s not an assessment of actual risk. By the EWG’s own admission, the Dirty Dozen “does not incorporate risk assessment into the calculations. All pesticides are weighted equally, and we do not factor in the levels deemed acceptable by the EPA.” Peer-reviewed research shows that exposures to the most commonly detected pesticides on the 12 commodities pose negligible risks to consumers.

[...] Read Full Story

War in Ukraine: Risks and Opportunities for U.S. Farmers 

Source: AgWeb


Before Putin’s forces even breached the Ukraine border, fear and speculation drove commodity prices skyward. Concerns are warranted: Trade disruptions in energy, fertilizer and grains are inevitable. In fact, effects are likely to last for years, possibly even decades. 

Ukraine and Russia are major grain exporters (see chart). As of March 22, Ukraine’s ag minister said this year’s spring planting could be half last year’s 37 million acres. He also worries only half the 16 million acres of winter wheat that was planted in Ukraine last fall will get harvested.

Geopolitical strategist Peter Zeihan is even more pessimistic, predicting virtually no 2022 crops will be harvested in Ukraine, and what is will be used internally. Here are his reasons:

  1. Russian troops are destroying towns to wreck any guerrilla infrastructure preemptively. This also destroys ag infrastructure.
  2. Ukraine has limited industry. It can’t make machinery or fertilizer. 
  3. Imports of any kind are difficult or impossible. At present, ag products are not included in sanctions, but ships already are refusing to dock in nearby ports. If Russia succeeds in capturing Odessa, the world’s largest wheat offloading facility, it would cut Ukraine off from any sort of maritime supply and utterly destroy its agriculture.

Zeihan predicts Ukraine will be sent into “a 1980s Ethiopian-style famine” for years. “Ukraine is not just vanishing from agriculture this year, it will shift from the fourth-largest total agricultural exporter to a net importer until the Russian system collapses,” he says. “That won’t be this decade.”

[...] Read Full Story

Ag supply chain likely to get even worse at harvest

Source: Brownfield Ag News


An ag economist says he expects a tight supply chain situation to get worse by harvest this year.

“The outlook is maybe as bleak, if not bleaker than what we’re currently dealing with,” said the University of Missouri’s Ben Brown.

Brown says strong demand for ag products, despite elevated costs, combined with a shortage of shipping containers and labor are making a tight shipping situation worse for the ag supply chain.

He tells Brownfield normally the supply chain is less stressed this time of year as the shippers prepare for the busier harvest season.

“We’re not seeing that; we’re not seeing any relief,” he said. “As we look ahead to the next couple of months, things continue to be projected tight as we think about logistics.”

Brown said there hasn’t been an incentive to build more shipping crates for the last decade and recent high steel prices encouraged several existing containers to be scrapped, leaving the supply chain with a shortage.

[...] Read Full Story

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