Rep. Finkenauer: “We Must Remain Vigilant To The Needs Of Rural Areas”

IARN — Congressional leaders offered financial support for small business owners under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Lawmakers now weigh the value of appropriated funding, which is filtered through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL).

Representative Abby Finkenauer (IA-01) on Wednesday chaired a virtual forum on the economic challenges facing rural communities amid the coronavirus pandemic Read more

Ernst Questions EPA’s Wheeler Over RFS In Committee Hearing

IARN — Yesterday the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee heard testimony from Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Wheeler on a wide variety of topics. Iowa Senator Joni Ernst sits on that committee, and she tells us she had a few questions for Administrator Wheeler about the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS). Read more

Senator Grassley Introduces Biofuels Relief Bill

IARN — The biofuels industry has been suffering during this pandemic. People are not driving as much, so the price of gasoline tanked. That means the profits for ethanol were non-existent. Several plants had to either severely restrict production or shut down completely. This affected the economy of Iowa as a whole, but also the economies of the rural towns where these plants are located. Yesterday, Senator Chuck Grassley helped introduce a Biofuels Relief Bill in Congress. Read more

Equipping Crops With Key Nutrients

IARN — Iowa farmers “hit the ground running” when it came to planting.

The state’s expected corn crop is three weeks ahead of the five-year average and nearly a month ahead of last year and the state’s expected soybean crop is off to a similar start.

Planting crops in a timely manner is a feat. However, one must nurture those crops to help them reach their full capacity. A technical sales manager offers further advice below. Read more

USDA Releases Payment Details For CFAP

IARN — U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue today released additional information regarding the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), which seeks to assist farmers and ranchers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Bill Northey, Under Secretary for Food Production and Conservation, says the Farm Service Agency (FSA) will start to accept applications next Tuesday, May 26.

“Through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, (the) USDA will provide 16-billion-dollars in direct payments to agricultural producers whose commodities suffered a five-percent, or greater national price decline,” Under Secretary Northey said.

U.S. Department of Agriculture staff built this program specifically for producers. Eligible producers may receive up to $250,000 for a combination of commodities. Payments will be prorated. Producers can expect to receive 80-percent upon approval.

Under Secretary Northey provides guidance for non-specialty crop producers, raising malting barley, canola, corn, upland cotton, millet, oats, soybeans, sorghum, sunflowers, durum wheat, and/or hard red spring wheat.

“Producers will be paid based on the inventory they held, which was subject to price risk on January 15. They will self-certify that inventory, and will be subject to spot checks on that certification. A payment will be made up to 50-percent of the producer’s 2019 production or inventory on January 15, whichever is smallest. The payment rate would be multiplied by the amount of inventory,” Under Secretary Northey said.

Livestock producers eligible for assistance raise: Cattle, lambs, yearlings, and/or hogs. Their payments will be calculated based on two sets of data, according to Under Secretary Northey.

“A single payment will be calculated based on the number of animals sold between January 15 and April 15. That number will be multiplied by a payment rate. We’re looking at the lost value during that time, on average,” Northey said. “Then the second payment, included in this initial payment that’s made, is based on the inventory a producer has on hand during at a date of their choosing between April 16 and May 14. We have a payment rate for that as well.”

Additional information on eligibility and payment rates can be found at

Story courtesy of the Iowa Agribusiness Radio Network.

Is China Making Good On Its Ag Purchases Under Phase One?

IARN — Just when things were beginning to look as though they were turning around regarding U.S. relations with China, COVID-19 reared its ugly head. It has stirred up a lot of anti-China sentiment in this country and openly in the Trump Administration. The President going so far as to say he was considering pulling out of the trade deal we waited two years to get. Many are concerned that China is not holding up its end of the agreement. This was not something many farmers wanted to hear as markets are already on shaky ground. One trade adviser says we need to take a step back and take a deep breath, China is honoring its purchases. Read more