Iowa Fuel Choice Coalition opposes Gov Reynolds ethanol mandate

IARN — Last month, Governor Kim Reynolds expressed her desire to mandate all fuels in Iowa contain at least 10% ethanol or 11% biodiesel. There would still be non-biofuels options available, but that gas stations would be limited to only having one pump available for those non-blended fuels. While the biofuels industry hails this as a step towards increasing the demand for the biofuels that drive a large portion of Iowa’s economy, not everybody is on board with the initiative.

There are Study bills in both chambers of the Iowa Legislature. House Study Bill 185 and Senate Study Bill 1179. According to the Fuel Choice Coalition, a group made up of many fuel retailers in the state., the legislation would severely limit choice at the pump, raise fuel prices, and be a burden to many rural businesses which sell fuel around the state.

More information, along with the associated interview audio, can be found by visiting the Iowa Agribusiness Radio Network.

China surpasses U.S., becomes EU’s biggest trading partner

IARN — New data from the European Union puts China ahead of the United States as the EU’s biggest trading partner. A spokesperson from China’s Foreign Affairs Ministry calls the data “great news for both sides.” 2020 saw China-EU economic and trade ties grow stronger against the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more

Tractor Supply acquires Orscheln Farm and Home

IARN — Tractor Supply Company, the largest rural lifestyle retailer in the United States, has announced it has entered into an agreement to acquire Orscheln Farm and Home in an all-cash transaction for approximately $297 million.

Orscheln Farm and Home operates 167 stores in 11 states including Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Indiana, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas, Kentucky, Illinois, and Ohio. There are 14 store locations in Iowa. The acquisition is conditioned on the receipt of regulatory approval and satisfactory completion of customary closing conditions.

Barry Orscheln, Chairman and CEO of Orscheln Farm and Home, commented, “For more than 60 years, my family, our Orscheln Farm and Home employees and I have been committed to serving the needs of rural communities across the Midwest. I am very proud of all that we have accomplished over this time. I am confident that with Tractor Supply our stores will be well-positioned to continue Orscheln’s tradition of taking care of our customers and communities for the next phase of growth.”

Tractor Supply’s preliminary estimates indicate the acquisition will be immediately accretive to earnings per share upon closing. The earnings accretion is anticipated to grow over time as planned synergies are achieved. Tractor Supply intends to fund the acquisition through existing cash on hand.

For Tractor Supply, Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC is acting as financial advisor, and Bass, Berry & Sims PLC is acting as legal advisor. Fifth Third Securities is acting as financial advisor to Orscheln Farm and Home, while Stinson LLP is acting as legal advisor.

Story courtesy of the Iowa Agribusiness Radio Network

Image from Tractor Supply

Bipartisan push seeks more farmers and ranchers eligible for PPP loans

IARN — Lawmakers seek clarified terms to ensure more farmers and ranchers are eligible for loans through the Paycheck Protection Program. The request was in a letter to the Treasury Department and Small Business Administration. Led by Representative Ron Kind and Senator Tammy Baldwin, Wisconsin Democrats, along with Republican Senator John Thune of South Dakota, the lawmakers say many farmers were falling through the cracks in when it was first created last year. Kind introduced legislation over the summer to increase the number of farmers eligible to receive a loan by allowing them to use gross income to calculate their loan award. Read more