Home News 5 Ag Stories You Need to Read Today, May 8

5 Ag Stories You Need to Read Today, May 8

Corn planting is well underway in southwest Iowa

GREENFIELD, Iowa – This week, farmer Doug Holliday is planting corn just east of Greenfield. Since Monday, he’s been racing to get his crop into the ground. Rain is in the forecast for much of Adair county today; Holliday, who this year is planting corn into corn, says that’s no good.

“The corn-on-corn, we need it dry because we’re no-tilling,” said Holliday Wednesday. “We’re not doing any tillage, we’re just running a trash whipper and throwing the trash out of the way and planting in that little strip.”

Holliday pointed out that in southwest Iowa, much of the ground is classified as highly erodible land (HEL). He says continuous corn provides more organic matter to keep the soil from washing away, much like composting leaves in urban yards.

Ag Census reveals fewer organic farms in Iowa

DES MOINES, Iowa – The 2012 Census of Agriculture shows a decline in the total number of organic farms in Iowa, but organic farmers are making more than ever.

In 2007, Iowa was home to 542 organic farms, which together made sales of more than $33 million. In 2012, the number of organic farms fell by roughly 5.5 percent to 512 farms, but total organic sales spiked by over 70 percent to $57.5 million.

Small organic farms with sales under $5,000 dwindled over the same period, falling from 138 in 2007 to 67 in 2012; a decline of 51 percent. Since 2007, organic farms with sales of more than $5,000 have increased by about 10 percent, from 404 in 2007 to 445 in 2012.

The decline in small organic farms is accompanied by a corresponding drop in the proportion of total organic sales from them. In 2007, Iowa’s 284 organic farms with annual sales under $5,000 represented 0.008 percent of all organic products sold in the state. In 2012, Iowa’s 131 small organic farms represented just 0.002 percent of all sales.

Vilsack illustrates farm bill implementation

WASHINGTON (NAFB) – President Obama signed the 2014 Farm Bill into law on February 7, and since that time USDA has made progress throughout all farm bill titles, according to Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack.

He says the new farm bill supports critical economic development in rural America, which is why implementation is a priority for USDA. On April 15, USDA announced disaster relief through the Livestock Indemnity Program and Livestock Forage Disaster Program. In 2008, it took more than a year to set up disaster assistance programs, but this year, he says it took less than 10 weeks.

As of May 1, Vilsack says approximately 33,000 applications have been received and $16.3 million in payments have been distributed. USDA is now accepting applications to create web-based tools to help provide producers information on the ARC and PLC programs, along with the protection program for dairy and non-insured crop disaster assistance program.

Farm Bureau demystifies the 2014 farm bill in new video series

WASHINGTON (AFBF) – In an effort to boil down the complexities of the Agricultural Act of 2014, the American Farm Bureau Federation has produced several videos distilling key commodities programs and crop insurance provisions.

Click here to watch the videos on the American Farm Bureau Federation’s website.

“Now that safety net and risk management tools important in crop planning are in place,” said AFBF deputy chief economist John Anderson, “the next step is for farmers to be able to move forward with confidence in determining the best options for their individual farms. We created the farm bill video series with that goal in mind.”

The videos include a farm bill overview describing the basic provisions of the commodity title, including a description of the decisions related to program participation that will need to be made by farmers and landowners. Other videos go in-depth on the Price Loss Coverage and Supplemental Coverage Option, as well as the Agricultural Risk Coverage Program.

Brazilian corn production down, soybean production up

WASHINGTON (U.S. Grains Council) – For the 2013/2014 marketing year, which began Sept. 1, 2013, Brazil’s corn production is expected to decrease for the first time in six years. Current estimates show 72 million tons (2.8 billion bushels) compared to last year’s 81 million tons (3.2 billion bushels).

Chart courtesy of U.S. Grains Council

Following a bumper grain harvest of 188.2 million tons in 2013, Brazil is banking on a new record in 2014, with a harvest prediction of 189.4 million tons, according to the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics. Of this estimate, corn, soybeans and rice account for 91.4 percent, with increases in soybean estimates offsetting the decrease in corn estimates.

While soybean projections are strong in Brazil, a dry planting season has made corn projections lower than in previous years. Due to early season conditions being better suited for soybeans, 72.9 million acres were planted in soybeans this season, up 4.4 million acres compared to last year.