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Iowa ag economy remains robust

By Staff | Jan 15, 2016

On New Year’s Eve, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey shared his observations regarding the state of the farm economy as the new year was about to begin.

“Many farmers saw the best-ever yields in 2015 as it was a year of record production for both corn and soybeans in Iowa,” Northey said in a statement released Dec. 31, 2015. “Unfortunately there were several challenges as well. Iowa was at the center of the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza outbreak this spring. Also, a significant drop in crop and livestock prices have created real challenges economically for farmers.”

Regarding the devastating Avian influenza outbreak Northey reported that at the end of December all HPAI quarantines had been lifted. He said the outlook for the poultry industry in the Hawkeye State to rebound is good. According to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship all but one of the 72 commercial poultry farms that had quarantines imposed have “begun the restocking process or are fully restocked.”

The secretary said progress in his department’s efforts to stimulate water quality improvement projects was one of the highlights of the year. The Iowa Water Quality Initiative has continued to enjoy broad support both from the public and governmental entities.

That’s very good news. This newspaper has strongly supported this important undertaking. Its success is vital to the quality of life in Iowa far into the future.

Northey shared some impressive good news regarding agricultural 2015 production totals for corn and soybeans:

A). 2.49 billion bushels of corn were grown in the Hawkeye State. That is 5 percent greater than the yield for 2014. It tops the previous record, which was achieved in 2009.

B). Soybean production was 550 million bushels surpassing the previous record of 525 million bushels set in 2005.

The secretary said declines in crop, livestock and land prices made the year a challenging one for the state’s farmers but said even so they “are optimistic and looking forward to 2016 and new opportunities.”

The export market remains strong for American agricultural products. Northey pointed out that Iowans have aggressively pursued sales abroad and have achieved great success. He said our state ranks second “among the 50 U.S. states in the value of its agricultural exports in USDA’s most recent calculations.”

Farm News appreciates Northey’s dedicated championing of our state’s agricultural sector. His year-end commentary is well worth reading in its entirety. It’s readily available on the IDALS website (www.iowaagriculture.gov).

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