October 12, 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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Thank You For Your Membership!

As a member of AAI, you are the driving force of the organization Where Agribusiness Matters. Thank you for your membership and your commitment to the success of agribusiness in Iowa.

The following companies have recently renewed their membership for the 2024 Membership Year.

  • Dentons Davis Brown
  • FarmOp Capital
  • Belchim Crop Protection
  • Aurora Software
  • Energy Transfer
  • Arthur J Gallagher
  • BB&P Feed
  • Meyer Agri-Air Inc.
  • Two Rivers Cooperative
  • Bruntlett Elevator, Inc.
  • Nationwide Insurance
  • Premier Crop Systems LLC
  • Five Star Coop
  • Bunkers Feed & Supply
  • Steinbeck & Sons, Inc.
  • Van Maanen Seed & Chemical, Inc.
  • Aspinwall Coop Co.
  • United Services Assn., Inc.
  • Northland CDL Training
  • Tama Benton Cooperative
  • Quality Ag Service Inc.
  • FJ Krob & Co
  • Juhl Feed, Inc
  • Ewing Enterprises, Inc.
  • Dave's Feed Store, Inc.
  • Continental NH3 Products Co. Inc.
  • Aurora Elevator, Inc.
  • Anfinson Farm Store, Inc.

Not currently a member? Click Here to send us an email so we can follow up with your company and help you get connected to AAI.

Deadline Next Week For Petition Urging EPA To Withdraw Draft Herbicide Strategy

Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA), in cooperation with the American Soybean Association (ASA), encourage commercial pesticide applicators to sign a letter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) urging the agency withdraw the draft herbicide strategy.

Deadline to sign the petition is 10:59 PM CDT on Friday, October 20. Only a signer's name, city, and state will be included on the letter. Please pass this along to the commercial pesticide applicators in your business. 


Click Here for Petition


The proposed rules have raised major concerns for the ag industry as it would impose significant new regulatory burdens and uncertainties on nearly every agricultural herbicide user throughout the nation.


Concerningly, these restrictions could be very costly or entirely unworkable for many producers. Examples include: 

  • Requiring herbicide users to attain "points" by adopting certain runoff reduction practices (reduced tillage, cover crops, vegetative filter strips, contour farming, etc.) to use most herbicides (most herbicides could require 6, 9, or more points to use);
  • Downwind spray drift buffers as great as 500 feet for aerial application or 200 feet for ground application (these distances could be reduced by using coarser spray droplets or other mitigations);
  • Runoff mitigation exemptions can apply for applications more than 1,000 feet from terrestrial or aquatic "habitat" ("habitat" definitions are very broad and few areas are likely to qualify for this exemption) or if you are under a field/site specific runoff conservation plan;
  • If you have subsurface drainage, you cannot comply with runoff reduction practice requirements. All subsurface drainage must be channeled into retention ponds or saturation buffer zones.

November Elections: Early Voting Starts Next Week, Absentee Ballot Requests Due Oct. 23

Elections for school boards, city councils, and other local offices are coming next month. The deadline to request absentee ballots is Monday, October 23. Additionally, early voting begins on October 18 at county auditor offices and designated satellite locations.

Visit https://voterready.iowa.gov/ or your local county auditor office or website for details on how to request a ballot, find a polling place, and to find other voting related information.

New Nitrogen Science Education Specialist Joins Iowa State Faculty

Richard Roth has joined Iowa State University Extension and Outreach as a nitrogen science education specialist.

Roth started with the university on Sept. 18 and will serve as assistant professor in the Department of Agronomy at Iowa State, with an extension education appointment.

At Iowa State, Roth plans to work toward engineering nitrogen management strategies through the manipulation of old technologies and investigation of new technologies to optimize the agronomic, economic and environmental performance of cropping systems throughout the Midwest.

He obtained his bachelor's and master's degrees from Illinois State University before moving to Indiana where he graduated from the Department of Agronomy at Purdue University in 2021 with his Ph.D. in agronomy.

Read the Full Press Release


Registration Opens October 30 at 10:00 AM.

Details for exhibitors about the Agribusiness Showcase & Conference will be sent out next week to all known past exhibitors and sponsors. Want to make sure you are on the list? Click below:

Add me to the Showcase Exhibitor Notifications list


October 13

Agribusiness Showcase Committee Meeting

1:30 PM | AAI Main Office Board Room

December 11

AAI Legislative Committee Meeting

10:00 AM | AAI Main Office Board Room


Agricultural Trade Update Webinar from IEDA

IEDA's International Trade Office will host an update with state and global industry leaders to share current affairs within ag trade and examine new insights and opportunities.

IEDA Ag Trade Update Webinar

November 15, 2023

9:00 AM

The webinar is free, but registration is required.

Registration Page

Contact Information

Email: international@iowaeda.com

Crop Insurance Discounts For Cover Crops

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship will again offer its crop insurance discount program for acres that are planted with cover crops. Farmers and landowners who plant fall cover crops will have the opportunity to apply for a $5 per acre discount on their spring crop insurance premiums. 


Farmers and landowners may start enrolling in the crop insurance discount program on December 1.


To qualify for the program, the cover crop acres cannot be enrolled in other state or United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) cost share programs. 


Now in its seventh year, this innovative program has become a model for other states as well as the federal government. To date, nearly 2,000 farmers have enrolled over 1,000,000 acres of cover crops in the program.


More information is available from the crop insurance discount page on the CleanWaterIowa.org website.


Iowa Nitrogen Initiative to bring more precision to fertilizer rates

Source: Iowa State University News Service

When Michael Castellano tells people there are billions of different variations of farmer decisions and environmental conditions that can affect how much nitrogen fertilizer is just enough for a plot of corn, he’s occasionally chided for embellishing. Really? Billions?

“They’ll say, ‘Mike we get that it’s complex. You don’t need to exaggerate.’ But I’m not exaggerating. When you do the math, it’s literally billions of possible combinations of hybrid varieties, management practices, weather and other variables,” said Castellano, the William T. Frankenberger Professor of Soil Science and an Iowa State University professor of agronomy.

That uncertainty has big economic and environmental implications. Applying too little nitrogen hurts yields. Applying too much hurts profits because nitrogen is typically the most expensive input for corn production. Excess nitrogen in fields also contributes to water and air pollution.

Despite incentives to use just the right amount of nitrogen fertilizer on corn fields, current official recommendations are broad and ideal rates can vary widely from field to field and year to year. A research team led by Castellano and his ISU colleague Sotirios Archontoulis, Pioneer Hi-Bred Agronomy Professor, is collecting data from trials across Iowa – mostly in fields of participating volunteer farmers – to build models that offer far more granular guidance. 

“This project is an investment that will help keep Iowa the best place in the world to grow corn and soybeans,” Castellano said.

The research team plans to develop three decision-making tools:

  • Updated and more dynamic benchmark recommendations for nitrogen rates will account for differences in genetics, soil, management and weather. Farmers also will be able to see anonymized data from trials to see the real-world outcomes of various rates and practices.
  • Forecasting will estimate ideal rates based on current and near-term predictions for soil and weather conditions. That’s important because weather has a disproportionate impact on nitrogen rates, Castellano said.
  • Hindcasting will help farmers look back at a prior growing year to explore how their crop’s nitrogen needs would have changed if they’d done things differently, from planting a different hybrid to applying at a different time.
  • Castellano said the goal is to continually refresh the tools with new trial data every year.

“As long as farmers are innovating and the weather is changing, optimal nitrogen rates will be changing. We need ongoing research to provide farmers the information to make the best decisions possible,” he said.

[...] Read Full Story

Interest rates, strong U.S. dollar taking large toll on ag, rural economies

Source: Feedstuffs

The combination of high interest rates and a strong U.S. dollar is beginning to take a disproportionate toll on rural industries like agriculture, forest products, mining and manufacturing. Most international transactions are still conducted in dollars, and a strong dollar makes U.S. exports more expensive and imports cheaper. That disproportionally hurts the backbone of the rural economy, according to a new quarterly report from CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange.

While the U.S. economy is outperforming expectations, the rest of the world—Europe and China in particular—has fallen short. As a result of the U.S. economic position relative to other countries, the dollar has gotten much stronger than previously anticipated. The expectation that interest rates will remain high for the foreseeable future has also contributed to the strengthening dollar.

“The challenge for agriculture and other rural industries that rely heavily on global markets is their export partners simply can’t afford to buy U.S. products,” said Rob Fox, director of CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange. “When you combine the loss of exports with a general slowdown in the U.S. economy, it’s a double whammy for many businesses operating in rural America.” 

The disruptive geopolitical and economic events in recent years resulted in the historically irregular situation where commodity prices and the dollar were both moving upward in tandem. But those events are now fading as market drivers. The fundamental inverse relationship between the broad array of commodities and the dollar has largely returned.

CoBank said farm bill negotiations will take a back seat while the House of Representatives attempts to select a new speaker and Congress works to pass its annual appropriations bills before the Continuing Resolution expires on Nov. 17. The most likely outcome is an agreement by year-end to extend the current farm bill by a few months or up to a year or more.

[...] Read Full Story

FMCSA cuts back on relief for drivers during emergencies

Source: FreightWaves

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has cut back on the regulatory relief it provides for carriers and drivers during emergencies declared at the state level.

The changes, announced on Tuesday, ensure that “the relief granted through emergency declarations is appropriate and tailored to the specifics of the circumstances and emergencies being addressed,” the FMCSA stated.

“This rule also revises the process for extending automatic emergency regulatory relief where circumstances warrant and allows for potential reporting requirements when FMCSA issues an extension or modification.”

The stricter provisions mean that during a regional emergency called by a state governor as a result of weather or other supply chain disruptions, drivers and carriers will be exempt only from daily and weekly limits on driving time, but not from other requirements — such as driver medical certifications and vehicle inspection requirements — which had automatically been exempt in emergency waivers since 1992.

FMCSA has also reduced the duration of automatic relief from 30 days to 14 days for those regional emergency declarations, a middle ground after pushback from trucking groups and 27 Republican lawmakers on the agency’s initial proposal to cut it to five days.

“These commenters noted that five days may not be long enough to deal with certain emergencies, citing various examples of emergencies from recent years, where emergency relief efforts extended beyond five days,” FMCSA stated.

[...] Read Full Story

Betting the Farm on Relationships

Source: CropLife

Given our magazine’s target market, I don’t spend that much time “down on the farm” itself. Typically, my interaction with grower-customers tends to come at various trade shows held throughout the year where farmer panels may be present.

Here, such as the one recently held in conjunction with the 2023 Tech Hub LIVE event in Des Moines, IA, this past July, grower-customers usually discuss the key market challenges facing their operations. At the Tech Hub LIVE grower panel, this included many of the usual suspects for anyone working in the agricultural world these days — concerns about data sharing, how to relay the complexities of the business to the general public, and of course, labor.

This past June, however, I had the chance to visit an actual working farm in my home state of Ohio. Sayre Farms was founded in 1969, when Stanley Sayre moved to Mantua, OH, from Pennsylvania, where he had been raising potatoes. His son, Chuck, now runs the family farm, and it was he who invited a group of CropLife® magazine representatives to stop by for a visit.

According to Sayre, his father originally grew myriad products on the family farm, including vegetables. However, as labor issues became more of a concern back in the 1980s, Sayre Farms switched over to easier-to-manage row crops. Today, the farm primarily grows corn, soybeans, and wheat on “a little less than 2,000 acres,” said Sayre. The operation also conducts aerial crop spraying for customers using a helicopter.

[...] Read Full Story

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