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July 27, 2005 050727

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Table of Contents
Logan Hawkes
Rust on the move
Busted to back in black
Georgia soybean growers being encouraged to spray
Track rust on the Web
News from the Top of the Hill
USDA funds to protect agricultural land
Emily more help than harm to LRGV farmers
Next step for energy bill
Breeders tackle Asian rust
Corn-soy blend tool for fighting hunger
CAFTA-DR vote expected this week
NCGA extends invitation to Pimentel


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Letter from the Editor
Logan Hawkes
07/27/05    Crop News Weekly
It's the middle of the summer season and already record high temperatures are being reported everywhere from California to Maine. Add to that an exceptionally busy tropical season in the Gulf of Mexico, and it all makes for a very strange weather year. A few comments have been made around the water cooler in recent days about an early fall and winter season. What's your take?

Speaking of hot - things are warming up on Capital Hill this week with the discussion centering on the proposed energy bill. During a final nine-hour negotiating session that ended shortly before dawn on Tuesday, a joint Senate-House energy bill conference committee agreed to nearly double production of ethanol. The bill is scheduled for final vote as early as today or Thursday. In other news, Asian soybean rust keeps cropping its ugly head up in southern bean fields. The disease is spreading, as expected, but so far has failed to invade the soybean rich Midwest. In related news, there's a new Web site where you can track the progress of Asian rust. Also this week, Agriculture Deputy Secretary Chuck Conner has announced the reallocation of nearly $12 million to help agricultural producers in 22 states protect their working lands through the Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program (FRPP). In other news, CARE, the humanitarian organization that fights global poverty, has sent packets of Corn Soy Blend to many of its U.S. donors to highlight how CARE uses this tool in their poverty-fighting arsenal. Also, get the latest news from the Top of the Hill with Scott Shearer. Lawmakers are trying to wrap up the session before a month long recess which starts this weekend.

You'll find these and other stories in this issue of Crop News Weekly. Happy reading.


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From our Magazines
Rust on the move
07/26/05   
On July 18, Mississippi Extension specialists announced the discovery of Asian soybean rust in a sentinel plot in George County. The plot, in extreme southeast Mississippi, wasn't far from earlier rust findings in Baldwin County, Ala. And within 24 hours two more rust discoveries were made -- one in Florida, another in Georgia. The isolation of the Mississippi plot (since destroyed to remove any chance it would send rust spores to commercial fields) heightened the need for scouting vigilance but didn't warrant new fungicide spraying recommendations, state Extension specialists said. - by David Bennett, Farm Press Daily


Busted to back in black
07/25/05   
Ten years ago, West Memphis, Ark., farmer Fred Bollinger was broke and near the end of his farming career. Twelve banks in five towns had turned him down for a crop loan. He was down to one employee, trusty John "Tip" Stanton, who had been with him 31 years. Bollinger admitted there was good reason for his misfortune. He could barely borrow enough money to get a cotton or rice crop in the ground, much less care for it through the season. "It looked like I didn't know what I was doing. My fields were so weedy that people were calling my landlords asking for the timber rights to my crop. I was so broke I couldn't pay attention." - by Elton Robinson, Farm Press Daily


Georgia soybean growers being encouraged to spray
07/25/05   
Because of the location of where rust was found in Georgia, extension plant pathologist Bob Kemerait is encouraging soybean growers located in the coastal plain with plants in bloom stage to spray. He told Southeast Farm Press he is troubled with where the rust was picked up. "I thought if rust was found in Georgia, it would be in the southern part of the state: maybe Seminole County, coming out of Alabama. Tifton, in Tift County, is in the heart of the coastal plain, right on I-75 about 65 miles north of the Florida line." - from RustTracks newsletter, The Corn & Soybean Digest


Track rust on the Web
07/25/05   
Wish you could track the progress of Asian rust on the World Wide Web? Now you can. Field reports from Asian soybean rust extension specialists affiliated with the land grant universities are now available on the Soybean Rust Advisory Program (SoyRAP) Web site. Visit http://www.soyrap.com and click on the map to see crop reports from various regions. In addition to Asian soybean rust, most locations also report on weather and crop conditions. - by Wayne Wenzel, Farm Industry News


News from the Top of the Hill
07/22/05   
Canadian Cattle Enter U.S. - On Monday, the first load of Canadian cattle crossed the border into the United States since May of 2003. This is the result of the unanimous decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals that lifted the preliminary injunction to keep the border closed. The American Meat Institute (AMI) said, "Live Canadian cattle once again coming into the United States is a victory of science over economic isolationism and should signal the world that the North American beef market is back open for business."

Canadian Border Ruling Reaction - USDA officials have promised to move quickly to restore trade in cattle under 30 months of age with Canada following last week's decision by the United States Court of Appeals of the Ninth Circuit. Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns said, "I applaud today's ruling by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to lift the preliminary injunction that blocked implementation of the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) minimal risk regions rule. Because the ruling is effective immediately, we are immediately taking steps to resume the importation of cattle under 30 months of age." Johanns added: "This is great news for the future of the U.S. beef industry, specifically the many ranchers, feeders, and processing plants that have been struggling to make ends meet due to the closed border." The National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) said it is "pleased that the 9th Circuit Court agreed with the science: beef is safe from BSE. U.S. Cattlemen are best served when international trade is based on science and we expect our trading partners to follow the science that BSE does not pose a public health or food safety risk." R-CALF, who filed the original case, stated their disappointment in the ruling and said they remain "confident that USDA's Final Rule was not justified, and the USDA did not provide sufficient justification for overturning a longstanding policy that protected both the U.S. cattle herd and U.S. consumers from the introduction of BSE."

July 27 Hearing Postponed - U.S. District Judge Richard Cebull has postponed the July 27 hearing regarding R-CALF's case for a permanent injunction against imports of Canadian cattle and beef. Cebull wants to wait until the Court of Appeals of the Ninth Circuit issues a written opinion on last week's ruling that reopened the U.S.-Canadian border.

Courts to Hear Australia Pork Case - On Aug. 23-24, the Australian Courts will hear the their government's appeal of an earlier ruling against the import risk assessment that allowed U.S. processed pork to be imported. Record levels of U.S. processed pork have been exported to Australia since the government's decision last year to allow U.S. imports.

One Week Left to Sign-Up for the Air Emissions Consent Agreement - Producers have one week left to sign-up for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) air emissions consent agreement. The deadline for sign-up is July 29th. Additional information can be found on the National Pork Producer Council's website at: http://www.nppc.org/hot_topics/airemissions.html.

Crawford Confirmed Head of FDA - The Senate confirmed Lester Crawford, DVM, as Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Previously, Crawford served as administrator of USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service and as FDA Deputy Commissioner.

USDA funds to protect agricultural land
07/21/05   
Agriculture Deputy Secretary Chuck Conner has announced the reallocation of nearly $12 million to help agricultural producers in 22 states protect their working lands through the Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program (FRPP). FRPP provides financial and technical assistance in the purchasing of conservation easements to limit conversion of farm and ranch lands to non-agricultural uses. To participate in this voluntary program, landowners agree to use their land for agricultural purposes and to develop and implement a conservation plan. - from Western Farm Press


Emily more help than harm to LRGV farmers
07/23/05   
Hurricane Emily's sideswipe appears to have been beneficial for South Texas agriculture. With landfall 75 miles south of Brownsville, the storm brought little more than badly needed rainfall to the Lower Rio Grande Valley area. While making an informal, drive-by survey of crop conditions in Hidalgo County, Texas, Cooperative Extension agent Brad Cowan said he had not seen too many flooded fields. Instead, he said he was impressed with how healthy and green irrigated cotton looked a day after the storm. - by Rod Santa Ana III, Southwest Farm Press


Next step for energy bill
07/22/05   
With the recent passage of a Senate energy bill, Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., said the legislation is a step toward a cleaner, more diverse U.S. energy policy that would reduce dependence on foreign oil. Pryor was responsible for two amendments in the bill: one related to adoption of alternative fuels and another to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In his alternative fuels amendment (co-sponsored with Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb.), Pryor pointed specifically at biodiesel and hythane. His measure requires the Department of Energy, in conjunction with universities throughout the country, to prepare reports evaluating how best to deploy the fuels. - by David Bennett, Farm Press Daily


Breeders tackle Asian rust
07/18/05   
Like other soybean breeders, Grover Shannon is following Asian soybean rust with a keen eye. "I'm watching the weather and crossing my fingers," he said from the Missouri Bootheel's Delta Center in Portageville. "We don't want it." With fellow researchers, Shannon recently returned from Vietnam where many U.S. soybean varieties are being screened for soybean rust. Vietnamese soybeans are hit with rust annually. While Shannon was there, rust was just beginning to show up. - by David Bennett, Farm Press Daily


Corn-soy blend tool for fighting hunger
CARE, the humanitarian organization that fights global poverty, has sent packets of Corn Soy Blend to many of its U.S. donors to highlight how CARE uses this tool in their poverty-fighting arsenal. "Superflour" is what CARE field staff regularly call the product that is made from U.S. soybean flour and cornmeal fortified with vitamins and minerals. CARE asked the World Initiative for Soy in Human Health (WISHH) and the National Soybean Research Laboratory to assist in producing the packets that were shipped with the "A Healthy Future Starts Here" brochure that also shows fields of U.S. soybeans and corn. - from The Corn & Soybean Digest


From the News Wire
CAFTA-DR vote expected this week
07/25/05   
In what could be the final week of debate on the Central American-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR), the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) is continuing the drive to get final passage of the agreement through the House of Representatives. Citing that CAFTA-DR could enhance U.S. agricultural exports by $1.5 billion when fully implemented, NCGA continues its push to garner the support needed for the agreement which is expected to go to the House floor for a vote on July 27. NCGA staff are meeting all this week with various House members and will be meeting with House leadership Wednesday. NCGA is continuing to urge growers to blanket their legislators with calls supporting CAFTA-DR. Growers can call the U.S. - from NCGA News


NCGA extends invitation to Pimentel
07/25/05   
The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) has invited Cornell University's Dr. David Pimentel and the University of California, Berkeley's Dr. Tad Patzek to an open forum in Washington, D.C., to discuss ethanol's energy balance and environmental impact. Pimentel and Patzek recently released a study that suggests ethanol generates 29 percent less energy than it takes to produce it. Pimentel has authored two other studies that have had similar findings and is the only researcher whose results have suggested ethanol has a negative net energy balance. Several independent researchers have also concluded the opposite of Pimentel's results. The Department of Energy, Argonne National Laboratory and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln are among the groups that have indicated ethanol has a positive net energy balance up to 67 percent. - from NCGA News


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