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

Senate sets vote for Vilsack confirmation

IARN — The Senate will vote to confirm Tom Vilsack as Agriculture Secretary next week. The exact time is uncertain, but the Senate calendar has the vote planned for Tuesday, February 23. The Senate will debate the nomination for 20 minutes before voting, with the majority and minority parties receiving equal time. Expect smooth sailing for Vilsack, who breezed through the Senate Agriculture Committee nomination hearing earlier this month. Read more

Grassley touts Iowa’s energy industry in letter to Biden, McCarthy

IARN — Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says he finds recent comments from White House Climate Czar Gina McCarthy to be “disturbing.”

In his weekly press conference call with farm reporters Tuesday morning, Senator Grassley said he was surprised when he read a quote recently attributed to McCarthy about Middle America.

“Last week, she made this disturbing comment,” Grassley said. “Quote, ‘We have to get the middle of the country understanding and active on climate. We have to show them what resilience looks like.’ By Middle America, I don’t know whether she means what we would call in Iowa the Midwest states, or whether she means everything in this country except for the West Coast and East Coast. Either way, it’s kind of a disturbing question that we have to be educated about global warming.”

Grassley, a strong advocate for renewable energy, has sent a letter to McCarthy and President Biden inviting them to visit Iowa and learn about the state’s continued leadership in renewable fuel production and overall sustainable energy strategy.

“I think Iowans know a thing or two about resilience,” Grassley said. “So, I intend to invite Mrs. McCarthy to see it for herself. This isn’t the first time I offered her help to see the Midwest perspective. Twelve years ago when she was leading EPA, I invited Mrs. McCarthy to Iowa to see American agriculture from the point of view of a family farmer. When she visited, she had the opportunity to have a close up view of advances in the areas of agriculture and biofuels. As we all know, in the 12 years since her visit, Iowa has done even more to lead the nation in both biofuels and wind production.”

Iowa now ranks second in the nation for wind energy production, leads the nation with the highest wind power share and in 2019, wind turbines in Iowa generated more electricity than the state’s coalfired power plants for the first time. Iowa is also the number one producer of corn, ethanol, biodiesel and cellulosic ethanol in the U.S.

Full text of the letter can be found HERE.

Story courtesy of the Iowa Agribusiness Radio Network

Bitter cold weather not stopping successful 2021 Iowa Beef Expo

IARN — While it’s been bitter cold across Iowa this week with temperatures well below zero, the 2021 Iowa Beef Expo has continued without any hiccups.

Mallory Robinson is the new executive director of the Iowa Beef Expo. She says the schedule has been jam packed during this year’s event, which began on February 13th and runs through this Sunday, February 21st. Robinson says two new events for the expo are coming up this Friday. The first of which is called the Supreme Row Drive.

“Each breed picked a candidate for the bull and the heifer,” Robinson said. “They will get to come back Friday, February 19th at 4:30 p.m. to compete for overall champion. We have some great sponsors. We have $10,000 raised. The champion heifer and champion bull will each get $5,000 with $2,500 of that going to the consigner who brought the animal, and $2,500 of that going to the buyer that bought the animal at the Beef Expo.”

Robinson adds the second new event, which is also at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, is the Sale Heifer Futurity.

“Any open heifer that was sold in any of these sales this week that were bought by a junior exhibitor are able to bring them back on Friday and compete for an overall sale heifer,” Robinson said. “Purina actually sponsored this event for us and each kid will be getting some Purina products, but the champion overall will get $500 and the reserve will get $250. Just from what we’ve been able to tell from the ones that have been picked for our Supreme Row, some of them are open heifers and so they’ll be able to compete in both events.”

To stay up to date on the events at the Iowa Beef Expo, visit their online schedule. Sale results can be viewed on the Iowa Beef Expo Facebook page.

Story courtesy of the Iowa Agribusiness Radio Network

Photo courtesy of the Iowa Beef Expo