Governor Kim Reynolds Acknowledges Key Policy Priority for Iowa Cattlemen

Article courtesy of Iowa Cattlemen’s Association

AMES, Iowa – Last night, Gov. Kim Reynolds delivered her Condition of the State address to Iowans. The address unveiled her vision for Iowa, which included a key policy priority for the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association (ICA): enhancing restrictions on foreign ownership of agricultural land.

“At our recent annual meeting, ICA members voted to enact policy to protect food security and national security by limiting foreign ownership of agricultural land,” said ICA CEO Bryan Whaley. “Current federal law imposes no restrictions on the amount of private agricultural land that may be foreign-owned. The Iowa Legislature can’t control what’s happening in other states but our elected officials can ensure Iowa farmland continues to be owned and operated by Iowa farm families.”

Foreign investors own more than 40 million acres of agricultural land nationwide. Between 2010 and 2021, nearly 16 million of those acres were purchased by foreign investors. While this only totals approximately three percent of all U.S. private land, it’s been more than enough to garner the attention of federal lawmakers and ICA members.

“There are already enough barriers for farmers, particularly young producers, to build and grow a profitable operation,” said Whaley. “As we look at maintaining our family farms and ultimately our food chain, we need to make sure we eliminate things that threaten our member’s way of life. We are grateful to have the support of Gov. Reynolds on this issue.”

ICA appreciates the commitment to tightening restrictions on foreign ownership of agricultural land in Iowa and looks forward to working alongside Gov. Reynolds to enhance our existing laws.

About Iowa Cattlemen’s Association (ICA): Iowa Cattlemen’s Association represents nearly 8,000 beef-producing families and associated companies dedicated to the future of Iowa’s beef cattle industry. ICA’s mission is “Grow Iowa’s beef cattle business through advocacy, leadership, and education.”

Division of Agriculture has three inductees in the 2024 class of the Agriculture Hall of Fame

Article courtesy of Division of Agriculture Research & Extension, University of Arkansas System.

LITTLE ROCK — Three of this year’s inductees to the Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Fame — Fred Bourland, Mark Cochran and Charles Looney — have connections to the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.

“The selection of these three into the Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Fame truly attests to the quality and national impact of the people we have working for the Division of Agriculture on behalf of Arkansas’ agriculture industry,” said Deacue Fields, vice president-agriculture and head of the Division of Agriculture. “There is no greater honor — not only for these men, but also for those of us who work with them.”

Fred Bourland is a legend in the cotton industry. Bourland grew up on a farm in northeastern Arkansas and went to the University of Arkansas to escape. It didn’t work.

Fred Bourland, Charles Looney and Mark Cochran are all to be inducted into the Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Fame in 2024. All have Division of Agriculture connections. (U of A System Division of Agriculture photo)

With Ph.D. in hand in 1978, Bourland went to work as an assistant professor and cotton breeder at Mississippi State University. In 1988, he came back to Arkansas as a professor to breed cotton varieties and teach at the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences. In 1997, Bourland moved to Keiser – roughly 10 miles from his family’s Mississippi County farm – to continue his cotton breeding and research program while serving as director for the Northeast Research and Extension Center. In 2016, he stepped down as director and now focuses on cotton variety development.

His honors include the 2000 Genetics Research Award from the National Cotton Council, the 2010 International Cotton Researcher of the Year from the International Cotton Advisory Committee and the 2015 Cotton Research and Promotion Program Hall of Fame from the Cotton Board and Cotton, Inc., among others.

Mark Cochran spent 40 years working to improve the productivity and profitability of Arkansas farmers and ranchers as a faculty member at the University of Arkansas, including 10 years as vice president of agriculture for the UA System and head of the U of A System Division of Agriculture. He retired in 2021.

Cochran served as chairman of the national Council for Agricultural Science and Technology, from which he earned the President’s Award. One of the most significant accomplishments of Cochran’s career was the creation of the COTMAN program, a computer-based cotton production guide widely used by farmers to help manage costs and improve yield efficiencies.

Cochran also led efforts to obtain funding for the construction of the Don Tyson Center for Agricultural Sciences in Fayetteville, the Northeast Rice Research and Extension Center in Harrisburg and the expansion of the highly successful Arkansas Discovery Farms program, which now encompasses 13 farms and delivers scientific analysis to help determine the effectiveness of on-farm conservation practices.

Cochran came to Arkansas in 1982 to start his teaching career after earning his master’s and Ph.D. in agricultural economics from Michigan State University. He earned a bachelor’s degree from New Mexico State University.

Cattle have been a large part of Charles Looney’s life since he was a young boy in Camden. He is recognized internationally as an expert in cattle genetics and reproductive technologies. He spent 35 years in the industry in Texas before returning to his home state in 2018 as professor of cattle genetics improvement for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. His expertise centers on embryo transfer, in-vitro fertilization, tissue banking for cloning, timed breeding and on-the-farm use of these technologies to improve beef cattle genetics.

Looney has graduate degrees from the University of Arkansas and Louisiana State University. He founded two cattle genetics companies in Texas, namely OvaGenix and Ultimate Genetics, after serving as a scientist and consultant in the field for several years. While he was working for Granada Biosciences, Looney was on the team that produced the first embryo-derived bovine clones. His work at Ultimate Genetics included the world’s first transgenic cloned calves and the first cloned bull.

Looney earned the President’s Award for Outstanding Service from the American Embryo Transfer Association in 2019 and an Award of Distinction from the University of Arkansas in 2014. The Arkansas Cattlemen’s Association presented him with its Producer Education Award in 2022.

“What an amazing group of farmers and those who help our farmers make agriculture Arkansas’ No. 1 business sector,” said Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Chair Debbie Moreland of Roland. “Agriculture is such a critical cultural and economic part of Arkansas. It is what binds so much of our state together.”

“These we will induct have made a national impact on rice, soybeans, cattle and cotton and have helped steer the academic and research efforts that underpin Arkansas agriculture.”

“I say this often to my friends, and it bears repeating; agriculture is one of the great success stories of our state. The Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Fame is pleased to bring recognition to these individuals who have impacted our state’s largest industry in such a positive way.”

Class XXXVI induction ceremonies are set for 11:30 a.m. March 1 at the Grand Ballroom of the DoubleTree Hotel in Little Rock. Contact Cindra Jones at 501-228-1609 for ticket information or click here to purchase tickets online.

To learn about extension programs in Arkansas, contact your local Cooperative Extension Service agent or visit Follow us on X and Instagram at @AR_Extension. To learn more about Division of Agriculture research, visit the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station website: Follow on X at @ArkAgResearch. To learn more about the Division of Agriculture, visit Follow us on X at @AgInArk.

About the Division of Agriculture

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work within the nation’s historic land grant education system.

The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses.

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs and services without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

Utilizing Drones for Ranching Operations

 By Jameson Brennan, Assistant Professor & SDSU Extension Livestock Grazing Specialist. Additional Author: Krista Ehlert.

Unmanned aerial vehicles (drones or UAVs) have been used widely for precision agriculture within cropping systems. More recently, livestock producers have been interested in utilizing drones as a tool for monitoring grasslands, checking cattle, inspecting fences, and monitoring water sources. A considerable amount of information is out there about the current and potential uses for drones, but if you are interested in integrating drones into your operation, there are a few things to know.

Drone Pilot License Requirements
The use of drones is regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Drone regulations can differ depending on the intended use, recreational or commercial. For those wishing to fly their drone recreationally, The Recreational UAS Safety Test is required and is available for free online on the FAA website. Commercial drone pilots fall under the Code of Federal Regulations Part 107 and are required to be a licensed remote pilot. Though flying a drone over your pasture to view a water tank may seem like a recreational activity, because it is being used on a commercial operation, it is best to err on the side of caution and obtain a remote pilot license.

Part 107 licensure does not require that you take a training course, and free test prep materials are available online through the FAA website. In addition, many third-party Part 107 test prep programs exist, and often times may contain more up-to-date information regarding drone regulations. Topics covered on the test range from understanding airspace classification and regulations, to impacts of weather on aircraft performance. Once you are ready to test, you will start by creating an account on the FAA’s Integrated Airman Certification Rating Application (IACRA) site. From there, you will create an account with a company called PSI, the third-party contractor that the FAA utilizes to run their testing, and schedule a test at an authorized testing center. The cost of the exam is $175, and a minimum passing score of 70% is required. Upon successful completion of the exam, you can formally apply for a remote pilot license, which requires a background check and typically takes one to two months to receive. Your license is good for two years, and a renewal course can be done online for free.

Flying Your Drone
Drones can be registered online before you have a remote pilot’s license by creating an account with the FAADroneZone site. Registration costs $5 per drone and is valid for three years. Drones that weigh between 0.55 and 55 pounds are required to be registered with the FAA if they are flown recreationally, and all drones, regardless of weight, must be registered if used for commercial purposes. No matter what purpose you are using your drone for, registered drones must be visibly marked with their registration number on the outside of the drone.

During flight, drones must be kept within the visual line of sight at all times of the drone pilot or a designated visual observer, must yield to other aircraft, and must be under the control of the pilot at all times. Airports, hospitals, major sporting events, areas with military operations, and many other things can affect airspace regulation, so be sure to use up-to-date sectional charts when planning flights and check the FAA’s B4UFLY app before takeoff to make sure you are in approved airspace.

While they cannot replace eyes on the ground and do require jumping through a few hoops to fly legally, drones could be a worthwhile investment for incorporating technology into your ranching operation. For the safety of your operation and for liability purposes, producers looking to utilize drones on their operation should be familiar with the regulations surrounding drone flights.

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