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March 12, 2020
A five-minute summary of AAI, regulation, and industry activities for members of the largest state agribusiness association in the nation.
  • USDA promising school meals to some children in midst of pandemic shutdown concerns
  • EPA asks for time on decision to appeal a refiner court ruling; agriculture events are being delayed by a virus outbreak
  • USDA looking to update vehicle fleet; Iowans can enroll grasslands in a conservation program next week
  • New ag inspectors hoping to prevent deadly hog virus from getting into the U.S.

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Gov. Reynolds today signed a Proclamation of Disaster Emergency, activating the disaster response and recovery aspects of the Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management’s Iowa Emergency Response Plan. The proclamation authorizes state agencies to utilize resources including personnel, equipment and facilities to perform activities necessary to prevent, contain and mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 virus.

Testing at Iowa’s State Hygienic Laboratory has indicated five additional presumptive positive cases of 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Iowa residents, bringing the total to 8 presumptive positive cases, all related to travel. All are recovering at home in isolation.

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig announced that the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship has hired three additional field staff to expedite the implementation of soil conservation and water quality practices across the state, according to a department release. The watershed coordinators will work in the Floyd, Middle Cedar and North Raccoon River watersheds — the top priority areas identified in the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy. They will provide technical support to local farmers, landowners and communities who choose to add conservation practices that reduce phosphorus and nitrogen losses, the release says.  

“We’re engaging more farmers and landowners than ever before, and the Department is committed to supporting their efforts with local resources,” said Secretary Naig in the release. “These new coordinators will build upon successful projects happening in these watersheds and help accelerate the adoption of practices that benefit their communities and downstream.  

Increased storage capacities combined with larger, faster handling, and automated equipment contribute to the safety and health hazards of grain workers.

NGFA, OSHA, the Grain Elevator and Processing Society (GEAPS), the American Feed Industry Association, and the Grain Handling Safety Coalition are working together to raise awareness of industry and OSHA resources available to identify potential hazards at grain, feed, and processing facilities through the Stand-Up for Grain Safety Week.

During this week, each day will have an identified safety topic and employers and workers will be able to conduct site activities such as employee training, hazard hunts, audits of preventative measures, corrections of any identified hazards, and a review of engulfments prevention measures and procedures.

At the 2020 Annual Meeting of the National Council for Farmer Cooperatives (NCFC), Brad Davis, Chairman of the Board and President of Ag Processing Inc a cooperative (AGP), was named recipient of the award for Farmer Cooperative Director of the Year.

The prestigious award is presented annually to a farmer cooperative director in recognition of outstanding leadership and contributions to his/her cooperative’s achievements. Davis has served on the AGP Board of Directors for over 26 years and as AGP Chairman since 2002. During that time, Davis also served as General Manager of Gold‐Eagle Cooperative, a position he held for over 35 years. Overall, he held various roles in the cooperative system for more than 40 years.

“Brad’s leadership as Chairman of the AGP Board reflects his commitment to cooperative values and our mission to serve agriculture,” said AGP CEO Keith Spackler. “His insights and dedication to collaboration and communication enhance our strategic planning and investment programs, and have been an important part of the ongoing success of AGP.”

The EPA this year will deliver important decisions to U.S. agriculture, including on chlorpyrifos, glyphosate, the neonicotinoids, pyrethroids, and atrazine, according to FarmProgress. But one product ag retailers and their grower-customers will be keeping a close eye on in 2020 is dicamba.

Rick Keigwin, Director of EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs, spoke about some key decisions the agency will be making this year at the recent Southeast Regional Fruit and Vegetable Growers Conference in Savannah, GA.

The agency will decide in 2020 whether the registrations for new dicamba products remain or are modified further for the 2021 season. The registration for new dicamba herbicides used on new resistant crops such as soybeans and cotton started in 2016. It’s no secret the roll-out ran into trouble due to drift, or off-target, issues, and crop injury complaints.

Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue says China has continued its progress in implementing the US-China Phase One trade agreement. In a release, the department says the country has taken several additional actions to realize its agriculture-related commitments. 

The most recent actions include conditionally lifting a ban on imports of beef and beef products from animals over 30 months of age, signing a protocol that allows the importation of fresh California nectarines, and updating lists of facilities approved for exporting dairy, infant formula, seafood, and fish oil and fish meal. Perdue says these measures are promising steps to fulfill their purchase commitments. 


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

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