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April 16, 2020
A five-minute summary of AAI, regulation, and industry activities for members of the largest state agribusiness association in the nation.
  • The pandemic’s effect on auction houses and their local communities

  • Iowa pesticide applicators get a self-service website 

  • A major hog plant closes and an investigation expands in the cattle packing system

  • Supply and demand report is out and more on ethanol difficulties

  • With limited funds until July the USDA meets for pandemic relief

Watch episodes from the past week anytime online!

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig announced that pesticide license applications and payments can now be completed online through the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship’s new pesticide self-service portal. 

“The online pesticide system modernizes the way the Department receives and processes license applications and payments,” said Secretary Naig. “This new system is an example of our continued focus on customer service across the Department. It will be especially helpful for applicators who are looking to get certified for this growing season.”

The system is available starting April 13, and can be accessed at

For information regarding pesticide applicator licensing and certification, call the Pesticide Bureau at the Iowa Department of Agriculture at 515-281-8591 or email

The ISU Center for Agricultural Law and Taxation is hosting a CARES Act webinar tomorrow (Friday) at noon. 

In this free webinar, Charles Brown and Kristine Tidgren from Iowa State University Extension provide an update for producers on COVID-19 legislation and resources applicable to their farming business. During the one-hour session, they will discuss:

  • Economic Impact Payments
  • IRS Tax Return and Payment Delays
  • Paycheck Protection Program and other loan options
  • CARES Act Tax Changes
  • Agricultural-Specific Provisions in the CARES Act
  • New Sick Leave and Family Leave Requirements
  • Other Possible Relief Provisions

Governor Kim Reynolds on Thursday banned all gatherings in northeast Iowa through the end of the month with some limited exceptions, as outbreaks in long-term care facilities grow and hospitalizations rates increase.

Counties in the northeastern part of the state have reached a level 10 according to the state's benchmark metric system determining when they implement more mitigation efforts. A valuation of 10 or more, according to the public health department's system, triggers a "shelter in place" order, but Reynolds did not use the term during a Thursday news conference.

Starting 11:59 p.m. Thursday, Reynolds said all gatherings for social, community, recreational, sporting or leisure activities must cease through April 30. People in those counties in that region can only gather with people in their own households. Exceptions include weddings, funerals, and religious services and those are relegated to 10 or fewer people.

The NGFA and Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) annual safety outreach effort, Stand Up for Grain Safety Week, is April 13-17.

But NGFA and its safety partners will continue with extensive plans to distribute safety updates and encourage facilities to adopt best safety practices throughout the week of April 13. Stand Up for Grain Safety Week helps raise awareness about grain handling and storage hazards, provides education and training, and conveys safety best practices.

During the week, companies can participate by providing a focused activity and/or toolbox talk on any hazard-prevention safety measure. NGFA will issue daily training guides throughout the week and share updates on social media with #StandUp4GrainSafety.

Two employees of Tyson Foods’s Columbus Junction, Iowa, pork processing plant died of the coronavirus, the company confirmed to The Hill.

The site, which is one of the largest pork processing plants in the US, had 148 confirmed cases. It closed on April 6 due to the outbreak.

Tyson Food is the second largest chicken, beef and pork processor in the world. Recent closures of processing plants due to coronavirus outbreaks have put a spotlight on the food supply chain. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said this week that the U.S. food supply chain remains sound.

hat was expected to be a banner year for ethanol production and corn sales now looks less promising – unless something even more unusual than a global pandemic occurs.

A trade war between Saudi Arabia and Russia helped turn oil prices lower in early 2020. COVID-19 arrived and the world dramatically dropped travel as people tried to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Word spread via various news releases that 2020 spring gas prices would be the lowest in years. Indeed on April 1, reports across Minnesota indicated E10 was selling for less than $2 per gallon.

All of this points to reductions in ethanol production and corn use.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Chinese government announced their plans to adopt a 10 percent ethanol blend for their motor vehicles. Back in September 2017, their goal was a nationwide ethanol mandate of E10 by 2020.

Farmers in Iowa have been experimenting with very early soybean planting dates, from late March to mid-April.

Iowa State University Extension Cropping Systems Specialist Mark Licht says based on reviews of the yield data, there is not a consistent yield benefit to planting early as opposed to planting the first week of May. But one benefit of very early planting is that it extends the planting window, allowing farmers to take advantage of ideal soil conditions in April. The data suggests—more so for corn than soybean—that early planting also reduces the risk of yield penalties for late planting. There are significant risks to planting soybean very early, and below is a list of them and how to mitigate those risks.

In a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), asks for support and relief for Iowa’s dairy farmers.

Ernst writes: “While few sectors of the economy have been spared from the economic impacts of the heroic efforts of Americans to contain the spread of the coronavirus, perhaps none have experienced the loss of markets to the degree of the U.S. dairy industry. For example, products typically sold to dine-in restaurants, that nearly all have closed due to social distancing requirements, are backing up in warehouses and much of the farm milk used to make those products no longer has a market.”

arming can be stressful in the best of times. Financial worries, unpredictable weather, unpredictable commodity prices, plant pests, livestock diseases and isolation all contribute to farmers’ anxiety. And now Iowa’s rural communities and families are coping with the unpredictability and imposed isolation produced by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In response to this additional uncertainty, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach will be offering seven online “Question. Persuade. Refer.” programs beginning Tuesday, April 14, said David Brown, behavioral health specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. QPR is a suicide prevention program that teaches participants three steps to help save a life from suicide.

“Just as people trained in CPR and the Heimlich maneuver help save thousands of lives each year, people trained in QPR learn how to recognize the warning signs of a suicide crisis and how to question, persuade and refer someone to help,” Brown explained.


Cedar Rapids - KCRG
Des Moines - WHO-TV
Ottumwa - KYOU-TV

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