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August 10, 2005 050810

Table of Contents
Logan Hawkes
Taking a closer look at counter-cyclical payments
Developing the soybean genome
DR-CAFTA debate at merciful end
Rust found on Georgia/South Carolina border
News from the Top of the Hill
Soybean rust found in Mississippi sentinel plot
Up the creek without a manual
Agribusiness: Advan, new plant health company
Predictive Asian Rust model appears to be working
Getting the most out of the news
NCGA wants member agriculture photos for contest
ASA leaders witness signing of energy bill


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Letter from the Editor
Logan Hawkes
08/10/05    Crop News Weekly
Congress has left the building... and the President has retreated to his Texas ranch. Makes you wonder who's minding the store? Contrary to what Congress may think from time to time, the world keeps turning even in their absence, the corn and weeds keep growing, and the cost of a gallon of fuel keeps raging up and up and out of site. Will it ever end?

In the news this issue: all eyes and concern remain on the spread of Asian soybean rust with more than a few reports coming in recently that indicate there is some movement of the disease on the winds of Hurricanes Dennis and Emily. And now forecasters are calling for an extremely active remainder of the year in the tropics. In other news this week, we'll delve into the issue of counter-cyclical payments - the ups and downs of it all. Also read about efforts to map the soybean genome and consider the impact that knowledge might bring to the industry. Finally, DR-CAFTA is behind us now, thank goodness, and more than a few are breathing easier now that the issue is finally behind us. Or is it?

These stories and more await in this issue of Crop News Weekly. Thanks for visiting.

From our Magazines
Taking a closer look at counter-cyclical payments
08/09/05   
In this third of a series of columns looking at the reasons that might be used to justify the elimination of various components of the current farm program, we want to take a look at the counter-cyclical payments. This examination is triggered by three factors: (1) the persistent call by many for the elimination of agricultural subsidies, primarily in the U.S. and E.U., because these subsidies are said to stimulate overproduction resulting in low prices that harm farmers in less developed countries, (2) President Bush's call for developed countries to eliminate the $112 billion a year that they spend on subsidizing their farmers, and (3) the U.S. budget crisis that puts farm spending at risk. - by Daryll E. Ray, Southwest Farm Press


Developing the soybean genome
An agreement between Genaissance Pharmaceuticals Inc., Monsanto Company, and the Agricultural Research Service is expected to provide U.S. soybean plant breeders with new technology for more accurate and efficient plant breeding research. The project's intent is to map DNA markers in soybeans, creating a molecular genetic map of the soybean. - from Farm Industry News


DR-CAFTA debate at merciful end
08/08/05   
Did the Bush administration win the battle and lose the war in its two-vote victory on the Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement? Any hope U.S. officials had for expanding NAFTA and DR-CAFTA to the rest of the Americas may have evaporated in the heat of the midnight vote that might have been even closer than the 217-215 margin in the House. At presstime, Rep. Charlie Taylor, R-N.C., who was listed as not voting, was saying his should have been registered as a no vote. Taylor's 11th District is home to a number of struggling or closed textile mills. Other congressmen also reportedly were persuaded to abstain. - by Forrest Laws, Farm Press Daily


Rust found on Georgia/South Carolina border
08/04/05   
Along Georgia's coastal plain, new rust findings have been confirmed in Brooks and Effingham counties. "Finding rust in Brooks County isn't a big surprise -- it's right on the Florida border, south of Colquitt County," said Bob Kemerait, Georgia Extension plant pathologist on Friday afternoon. "So now, if you look at a map, there's a line of counties with rust -- Colquitt, Brooks and Tift." The Brooks County sample was collected Friday (July 29) on a private research farm. "One of the employees saw a suspicious leaf and brought it in. We check many suspicious samples that aren't rust. But this one was the real deal," Kemarait said. - from Farm Industry News


News from the Top of the Hill
08/05/05    National Hog Farmer
President Signs CAFTA - At a major White House ceremony, President Bush signed into law H.R. 3045, the Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement. Bush said, "Central American goods face almost no tariffs when they enter the United States. By contrast, U.S. exports to Central America still face hefty tariffs there. CAFTA will end these unfair tariffs against American products and help ensure that free trade is fair trade." A number of representatives of agriculture were in attendance including: American Farm Bureau Federation, American Meat Institute, National Cattlemen's Beef Association, National Corn Growers Association, National Cotton Council, National Pork Producers Council, Wheat Export Trade Education Committee, and U.S. Apple Association.

Energy Bill Passes Congress - Congress passed a comprehensive energy bill that provides for an increase in the use of ethanol, renewal of tax credit for biodiesel, and provides $14.5 billion in tax breaks over 10 years for energy companies and renewable energy resources. The bill does not include two controversial provisions, authorizing drilling in the Artic National Wildlife Refuge and liability protection for MTBE manufacturers, which stopped the legislation from passing in the last Congress. Highlights of the legislation important to agriculture include:

  • Refiners must use 7.5 billion gallons of ethanol annually by 2012 (double current production).
  • Extension of the biodiesel tax credits through 2008.
  • Expands small producer tax credits, providing incentives for producers who want to start a biodiesel facility or ethanol plant.
  • Extension of renewable production tax credit for wind, biomass and other energy sources.

    The President will sign this priority legislation this month.

    Non-Definitive Cow Tests Negative for BSE - USDA announced that the "non-definitive" BSE test result reported on July 27 tested negative. Further tests were conducted at the Veterinary Laboratories Agency in Weybridge, England.

    More Farm Bill Forums - USDA announced that additional Farm Bill Forums will be held in Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Wyoming. These forums are to provide the public the opportunity to offer comments on farm bill policy. Future Farm Bill Forums are:

  • August 11 - Iowa State Fair, Des Moines, IA
  • August 12 - Fresno County Fairgrounds, Fresno, CA
  • August 16 - Penn State University's Ag Progress Days, University Park, PA
  • August 17 - Jackson Hole, WY
  • August 18 - Indianapolis, IN

    Masters Named FSIS Administrator - Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns has named Dr. Barbara Masters administrator of USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). Masters started her career with FSIS in 1989 and most recently has served as acting administrator of FSIS.

    Congress Gone until September - Congress is now in recess until September 6. Prior to leaving for its summer recess Congress passed the energy bill, highway bill, and CAFTA-DR. During this recess would be a good opportunity for producers to meet with their Senators and Congressman at town hall meetings, State Fair, etc., to discuss key issues such as mandatory price reporting, country-of-origin labeling, and farm bill policy.

    Soybean rust found in Mississippi sentinel plot
    08/05/05   
    The latest incidence of Asian soybean rust in Mississippi was found in a Poplarville-area sentinel plot sponsored by the Mississippi Soybean Promotion Board. Meanwhile, Extension soybean specialists and plant pathologists reported more findings of the disease in Georgia this afternoon. More rust was also confirmed in Alabama and Florida Thursday. The infection level on the Group 5 soybeans found at the Poplarville, Miss., site was "less than half of 1 percent," said Alan Blaine, Mississippi Extension soybean specialist on Friday morning. - by David Bennett, Farm Press Daily


    Up the creek without a manual
    It never seems to fail, just when you depend on that tractor the most, something goes wrong and you're down until you get it fixed. It could go a lot faster if you have the right tools, and that includes the right manual to walk you through the process. Mamnuals, while lifesavers, tend to get lost, detroyed or misplaced. But don't let that stop you. Youy can find the right manual for the right tractor with one easy click. Right Here.


    Agribusiness: Advan, new plant health company
    05/08/05   
    Advan, a new plant health company to serve the United States and Mexico, is being formed by Mitsui and Co. of Japan and the Sipcam-Oxon Groups of Italy and will be owned 50:50 by the two respective U.S. subsidiaries. "Advan, LLC, is a new plant-health company that will service three key markets: the turf/ornamental market, the specialty agriculture market and the home-and-garden market," said Lynn Brookhouser, Advan president and CEO. "I'm excited about this because of the opportunity it represents for our customers, suppliers, owners and employees. - from Farm Press Daily


    Predictive Asian Rust model appears to be working
    08/04/05   
    Throughout this year's growing season, a computer model has been employed to help soybean researchers and growers pinpoint and forecast locations of possible rust outbreaks. Joe Russo, president of ZedX, Inc., an information technology company based in Pennsylvania that helped design this new technology, reports the model appears to be working. Russo says he wasn't surprised when Asian soybean rust showed up in sentinel plots in southeast Mississippi, South Alabama, the Florida Panhandle and south central Georgia in mid-July -- because that's where the computer model indicated the disease would most likely occur after Hurricane Dennis. - from Farm Industry News


    Getting the most out of the news
    Times are getting tougher. What once took the best part of a day to accomplish seems like is taking longer. That leaves little time to catch up on the kind of news you need to know to help you in your business. The Corn & Soybean Digest takes the guess work out of what you need to know - when you need to know it. Are you subscribed? Take a moment and sign up today and start making your time a little more efficient.


    From the News Wire
    NCGA wants member agriculture photos for contest
    08/09/05    NCGA News
    As a way to showcase and capture agriculture, the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) is encouraging corn growers from around the country to click their way into the winner's circle in the "Gallery of Corn" photo contest. "The NCGA-sponsored photo contest is a great opportunity for growers to showcase the agriculture sector to the entire nation, from family life on the farm to planting to harvesting," said Dave Boettger, chairman of NCGA's Grower Services Action Team. "This is a terrific way to let consumers know how important agriculture is and how integrated it is into everyone's lives -- what better way to do so than through pictures." NCGA grower members, families and affiliated state organization members and employees can showcase their talents and family life in agriculture by taking pictures and entering them in these categories: Planting, Growing, Harvesting, Livestock, Families on the Farm, Scenic and Miscellaneous.


    ASA leaders witness signing of energy bill
    08/08/05    American Soybean Association
    Representing the 25,000 growers-members of the American Soybean Association (ASA), two of ASA's top farmers were among the invited guests that witnessed today's momentous signing of the omnibus Energy Policy Act of 2005 by President George W. Bush at a ceremony held at the U.S. Department of Energy's Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, N. Mex. The legislation contains major ASA-supported provisions including an extension of a federal excise tax credit through December 31, 2008, creation of a new small agri-biodiesel producer credit, provisions for alternate fuel infrastructure and establishment of a 7.5 billion gallon renewable fuels standard.


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