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April 9, 2020
A five-minute summary of AAI, regulation, and industry activities for members of the largest state agribusiness association in the nation.
  • USDA still surveying the 2019 harvest 
  • Senators ask for more flexibility during the pandemic
  • Farmers are getting some relief for their pesticide applicators
  • Farm labor shortages in Europe could be a boost for U.S. ag exports

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Made possible by the NGFA-OSHA Alliance, companies can participate in Stand Up for Grain Safety Week by providing a focused activity and/or toolbox talk on any prevention measure. The Grain Elevator and Processing Society and Grain Handling Safety Coalition are partnering with NGFA and OSHA in the national outreach effort.

Share updates on social media with #StandUp4GrainSafety!

NGFA has several resources designed to help you participate in Stand Up for Grain Safety Week, including Safety Tips Sheets, training videos and interactive courses here at

John Deere, in collaboration with the UAW, the Iowa Department of Homeland Security and the Illinois Manufacturers’ Assn., announced it is producing protective face shields at John Deere Seeding Group in Moline, Ill. Deere employees will initially produce 25,000 face shields to meet the immediate needs of health-care workers in several of its U.S. manufacturing communities.

Materials and supplies are on order to produce an additional 200,000 face shields. The company is using an open-source design from the University of Wisconsin-Madison for the project and leveraging expertise, skills and innovation of its employee base.

“Our manufacturing and supply management teams, along with our production and maintenance employees, the UAW and our partners have worked tirelessly to ensure we could lend our support and protect our health-care workers during this crisis,” said John May, chief executive officer, Deere & Co.. “By working closely with the communities where our employees live and work, we can help support the needs we’ve identified close to home and, as the project expands, address additional, urgent needs across the country.”

Hearing that all is not well in farm country, unfortunately, is hardly news anymore. Grain and dairy farmers have lived through two intensely wet years, with tariffs shrinking export markets, and depressed milk prices causing record numbers of dairy farmers to exit the business.

Adam Kramer, owner of Black Sand Granary in Patch Grove has a message of hope for farmers looking to shave costs and improve their farm business profitability. His message to farmers is to focus on building soil health, and to use data to determine which acres actually yield a profit.

Kramer is a certified crop advisor (CCA), and in 2019, took over the successful cover crop program launched by Crawford County Land Conservation Department and USDA-NRCS. In 2019, he was the Iowa Certified Crop Adviser of the Year. That recognition led to an even bigger award in 2020 when Kramer was recognized as the International Certified Crop Adviser of the Year.

Dirk Maier, a professor in agricultural and biosystems engineering at Iowa State University, recently received the Outstanding Achievement in International Agriculture Award.

Mr. Maier, who regularly contributes articles to World Grain, a sister publication of Milling & Baking News, is a leading expert in stored product protection and delivery of quality grains. His international activities have benefited Iowa agriculture and rural development. Mr. Maier played an active role in establishing the Middle East and Africa Training Center for Feed Manufacturing in Tunisia, a collaborative effort that involved multiple government agencies. During its first year, more than 200 industry professionals from Tunisia and Algeria were trained.

His work as director of the international Consortium for Innovation in Post-Harvest Loss and Food Waste Reduction has enhanced the international reputation of Iowa State as a leader in the fight against food waste and insecurity.

Iowa-U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), a relentless advocate for Iowa's biofuels community, is continuing to fight for farmers and producers during the coronavirus pandemic. After pushing to bolster the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) in the bipartisan Phase 3 relief package Congress passed, Ernst is now requesting additional funds be allocated to the biofuels industry through the program. In case you missed it, Ernst's efforts were covered by a number of outlets.

Planting season won’t wait. Corn and soybean farmers across the most productive parts of the Midwest are preparing to plant their crops as the COVID-19 pandemic locks down communities and the economy.

Farmers and suppliers say the lockdowns are going to complicate the planting process, but that they’re optimistic that with precautions and planning, they’ll be able to minimize the threat of illness and keep disruptions largely at bay.

“When the weather’s good and the ground’s fit we roll, we move and we put a lot of hours in,” said Kendell Culp, who raises corn and soybeans on 2,000 acres near Rensselaer, Indiana. “Now we have to be more intentional about our actions and how we interact with people and socialize and communicate.”

That includes working to minimize face-to-face interactions with suppliers and service providers, said Brian Jones, who operates a 2,000-acre farm near Greenfield, Iowa.

POET, Inc., the world’s largest ethanol producer, will idle production at its bio-processing facilities in Ashton and Coon Rapids, Iowa, and in Chancellor, South Dakota, and delay the start of its new plant in Shelbyville, Indiana. 

In an exclusive telephone interview with Successful Farming, POET President and Chief Operating Officer Jeff Lautt said none of POET’s other 23 ethanol-producing plants have been idled. However, he added, the company has significantly slowed production at some of its other plants and has stopped buying corn at seven plants.

POET is headquartered in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and operates 27 ethanol plants and an ethanol research center in seven states. Its plants’ total annual production capacity is 2 billion gallons of ethanol, 10 billion pounds of distillers’ dried grains, and 600 million pounds of corn oil.


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

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