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A PRIMEDIA Property November 9, 2005 | 051109   
TABLE OF CONTENTS
 >> Logan Hawkes

 >> USDA taking steps to improve barge traffic

 >> House ag panel passes $3.7 billion package

 >> Price outlook grim for U.S. corn producers

 >> Poultry industry intent on keeping avian influenza out

 >> Road Warrior of Agriculture: The Question

 >> Conservation Tillage Conference & Expo

 >> News from the Top of the Hill

 >> Insurance being touted as core of 2007 farm law

 >> NCC's Lange: Make sure price right for Doha talks

 >> 'Ball is in EU's court,' U.S. negotiators tell WTO

 >> Senate defeats latest payment limit amendment

 >> Senate votes to delay FSA closings

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  EDITOR'S NOTE
Logan Hawkes
11/09/05    Crop News Weekly
This week, special Veteran's Day observances will take place on Friday. Today also marks the two-week countdown to Thanksgiving. Now that harvest is all but over, we have a lot for which to be thankful.

But as we move from the 2005 harvest to the weeks and months of planning ahead for the new farm year, there are many concerns to ponder, not the least of which is the spiraling threat of an avian influenza outbreak. In Arkansas, however, the ag sector is taking stringent steps to solve the problem before it starts. In other news, USDA is seeking bids to help relieve recent problems with grain barges on the Mississippi. The agency has set aside $7.6 million in funding to bring about relief to problems created by Hurricane Katrina. Elsewhere this week, the House Agriculture Committee passed an agricultural reconciliation package drafted by Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., that would cut spending by USDA by $3.7 billion over five years. Meanwhile, faced with a huge domestic supply of corn, the USDA has projected a marketing-year average price of $1.90, marking the first time since the 2001-02 marketing year that prices have averaged below $2 per bushel. Also this week, make plans now for the 2006 Conservation Tillage Conference and Expo scheduled Feb. 1-2 in Sioux Falls, SD. It's never too early to plan ahead. And finally, do you fully understand the implications of changes in the 2007 Farm Bill and how it might affect life on the farm? Forrest Laws will walk us through some of those expected changes this week.

You'll find these and other stories in this issue of Crop News Weekly. Thanks for joining in this week, and Happy Vet's Day to all.



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Manage Rust, Other Soybean Maladies with Help from PHI
Asian Soybean Rust may be top-of-mind right now, but the Plant Health Initiative (PHI) reminds growers not to overlook SCN or aphids, either. The PHI provides management information on these and other pests, and links to other resources through their Web site - http://www.planthealth.info

  FROM OUR MAGAZINES
USDA taking steps to improve barge traffic
11/08/05   
USDA will be accepting proposals on a competitive basis from industry to help unload barges carrying grain commodities, with nearly $7.6 million in funding available for this effort. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns announced new steps to free up barges on the Mississippi River in an attempt to reduce stress on the grain transportation system caused by Hurricane Katrina. "USDA, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Coast Guard have been working aggressively to help the transportation system return to normal as quickly as possible along the Mississippi following Hurricane Katrina," said Johanns. "Our goal is to quickly unload barges so they can be reloaded with newly harvested grains." - Farm Press Editorial Staff

House ag panel passes $3.7 billion package
11/07/05   
The House Agriculture Committee passed an agricultural reconciliation package drafted by Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., that would cut spending by USDA by $3.7 billion over five years. The proposed reduction is 23 percent more than the $3 billion target assigned the Agriculture Committee by the House Budget Committee and more than the $3.01 billion in spending reductions approved by the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry. - Farm Press Editorial Staff

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Price outlook grim for U.S. corn producers
11/04/05   
Faced with a huge domestic supply of corn, the USDA has projected a marketing-year average price of $1.90, marking the first time since the 2001-02 marketing year that prices have averaged below $2 per bushel. That grim bit of news was part of the corn outlook presented by Delton C. Gerloff, agricultural economist with the University of Tennessee, during the Southern Region Agricultural Outlook Conference held recently in Atlanta. U.S. ending corn stocks grew to more than 2 billion bushels last year, says Gerloff, a result of record yields and production. - Paul Hollis, Farm Press Editorial Staff

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Poultry industry intent on keeping avian influenza out
11/05/05   
Amid growing noise about a worldwide avian influenza pandemic, Arkansas officials insist the state's poultry industry -- the largest in the nation -- is doing everything it can to keep the disease out of commercial flocks. So far, it's working. The avian flu virus is spread by chickens, ducks and other birds. A problem in Southeast Asia for years, the virus has recently continued a steady march west. It has now been found in birds in Turkey, Greece, Romania and the United Kingdom. Infected by birds, some 65 Asians have died of the virus since 2003. - David Bennett, Farm Press Editorial Staff

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Kirk Dosland, River Valley Coop, Lost Nation, Iowa

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Road Warrior of Agriculture: The Question
Dave Kohl writes: At the recent ECI Lending Technology Conference, a banker asked me a very good question. How can farming remain profitable with $1.50/bu. corn, $2/gal. diesel fuel, and fertilizer at $500 plus per ton, not to mention the high cost of seed, chemicals and taxes? This question is on almost every producer's and lender's mind coming into the fall and winter renewal seasons. First, some estimates from Minnesota are indicating that with current prices, the cost per acre will be approximately $450-500. Even with a home run yield, 2006 could be difficult for certain crops, such as corn. - The Corn & Soybean Digest

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Conservation Tillage Conference & Expo
11/09/05    The Corn & Soybean Digest
Mark your calendars for the 2006 Conservation Tillage Conference and Expo scheduled Feb. 1-2 at the Ramkota Hotel and Conference Center in Sioux Falls, SD. The conference will focus on using conservation tillage to boost Return On Investment and will feature speakers from Iowa State University, University of Minnesota, University of Nebraska, South Dakota State University and many top conservation farmers.

Ademir Calegari, a soil scientist from the Agriculture Research Institute in Parana, Brazil, will also be speaking at the conference. Brazil is a leading adopter of no-till, and Calegari will provide a fresh perspective on this method.

Other topics include new technology, soil and fertility and prepping for cost-share. In addition to the speakers, the conference features a tradeshow where growers can see some of the latest conservation technology.

News from the Top of the Hill
11/04/05   
Japan's Prion Committee Rules US Beef Safe - Japan's prion committee ruled the risk of BSE from U.S. beef is "extremely low if proper precautions are taken." The panel forwarded its report to Japan's Food Safety Commission (FSC). The FSC accepted the prion committee's recommendations and have announced a 28 day comment period. This is a major step forward in efforts to reopen Japan's market for U.S. beef. The prion committee chairman, Yasuhiro Yoshikawa, said, "Based on the assumption that all precautions are taken as requested, we consider the difference in risk between U.S. and Japanese beef to be extremely small." President Bush and Prime Minister Koizumi are to meet in mid-November and reopening the border will be a major topic of discussion. Japan closed its border to U.S. beef in December 2003.

House AG Committee Cuts Farm, Conservation and Food Stamps - The House Agriculture Committee passed its budget reconciliation package which includes $3.7 billion in cuts in farm, conservation, research, rural development and food stamp programs over five years. The cuts include:

  • Direct payments for farm programs are reduced by 1% for the 2006-2009 crop years.
  • Advanced program payments are reduced from 50% to 40% for 2006-2007 crop years.
  • Step 2 upland cotton program eliminated on August 1, 2006. The WTO ruled against this program earlier this year.
  • Conservation Security Program is reduced by $504 million.
  • Eliminate funds for the Renewable Energy Program for fiscal year 2007.
  • Eliminate value-added marketing funds for fiscal year 2007.
  • The research program, Initiative for Future Agriculture and Food Systems funds are cancelled for fiscal year 2007-2009.
  • Cut food stamp program by $844 million.

    The cuts in the food stamp program are receiving a great deal of attention because the Senate made no cuts in the program and with the recent release of the USDA report on hunger. USDA's report shows that the number of hungry people in the U.S. increased by 2 million in 2004. This is the fifth year in a row that the hunger number has increased. The Senate Agriculture Committee did not include any cuts in the food stamp program. During the debate, the Democrats on the House Agriculture Committee continued to state that the proposed budget even with the cuts in agriculture and other government programs will still increase the national debt by $20 billion. This is do to the administration's proposed $70 billion in tax cuts. The House of Representatives will consider budget reconciliation next week.

    Australia Pork Case - On November 18, the Australian High Court will hear Australia Pork Limited's (APL) request to expedite its appeal of a ruling that lifted a ban on pork imports. APL is requesting a hearing for the High Court to overturn an earlier ruling that allowed pig meat imports from countries including the U.S.

    Avian Infuenza- The administration announced a $7.1 billion National Strategy to Safeguard Against the Danger of Pandemic Influenza program. As part of this effort, USDA will request $91 million for additional resources to "safeguard the United States against highly transmissible forms of avian influenza." The additional funds will be used to stockpile animal vaccine, surveillance and diagnostic measures of wildlife/bird flyways, biosecurity measures, trade compliance smuggling interventions enforcement, research and development, planning and preparedness training.

    Canadian Cattle Over 30 Months - Nine Congressmen are asking USDA to expedite a rule to permit the importation of cattle over 30 months of age for slaughter and meat from such cattle. The members indicated the continued border closure for this type of cattle is having negative impact on U.S. plants. The letter said, the "border closure has led some beef processing plants to significantly reduce hours or close indefinitely to absorb the increasing pressure of the current situation, resulting in job loss, reductions in workers' take home pay, and plant closures." Those signing the letter were Congressmen John Boehner (R-OH), Mike Conaway (R-TX), Charles Dent (R-PA), Charles Gonzalez (D-TX), Mark Green (R-WI), Gil Gutknecht (R-MN), John Peterson (R-PA), Paul Ryan (R-WI), and Don Sherwood (R-PA).

    National Soybean Rust Risk Management Tool - USDA will continue to fund programs to track the spread of soybean rust and create the Pest Information Platform. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns said, "The soybean rust sentinel plots, mobile team monitoring program and online reporting system are important tools for our producers. Timely information is essential to help farmers combat plant diseases and we are committed to providing it." The soybean rust risk management tool is available at: http://www.sbrusa.net. - Scott Shearer, National Hog Farmer

  • Insurance being touted as core of 2007 farm law
    11/02/05   
    We have all seen those action movies where two characters are engaged in a life or death battle, and every time you think that one of them is dead that character rises up to attack the other in a vulnerable moment. Well, once again insurance-like programs are being touted as a key component of the 2007 Farm Bill. One inherently attractive aspect of the insurance approach is that it provides a means to respond to widespread drought and/or storm damage for events like hurricanes Katrina and Rita. This reduces or eliminates the need for Congress to vote on and fund annual ad hoc disaster assistance legislation. But in policy circles, this disaster element of crop insurance is described, at least implicitly, as a component of revenue insurance. - Daryll E. Ray, Farm Press Editorial Staff

    NCC's Lange: Make sure price right for Doha talks
    11/04/05   
    The ongoing negotiations in the World Trade Organization have the potential to bring far-reaching changes in U.S. farm programs. Farm Press Executive Editor Forrest Laws recently sat down with Mark Lange, president and CEO of the National Cotton Council, to discuss the status of the Doha Round talks. Some interesting observances were made that might help us all to better understand the issue and its long-reaching effect on U.S. agriculture. Explore the issue.

    'Ball is in EU's court,' U.S. negotiators tell WTO
    11/03/05   
    The World Trade Organization is waiting on the European Union to submit a "meaningful and credible" proposal on market access to keep the Doha Round negotiations from unraveling before the start of the Hong Kong meeting of WTO trade ministers in December. The United States and members of the G20 group of countries appear to have reached agreement on several issues under two of the so-called three pillars of agriculture in the trade talks, says U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman. Those two are export competition and domestic support. - Forrest Laws, Farm Press Editorial Staff

    Senate defeats latest payment limit amendment
    11/03/05   
    The Senate turned back an effort by Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, to impose a $250,000 per individual cap on farm program payments through an amendment to the FY 2006/2010 budget reconciliation package. Senators voted 53-46 against a motion by Grassley to waive a point of order raised by Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga. Chambliss, chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, argued that Grassley's amendment was not germane to the budget reconciliation package. Grassley actually fell 14 votes short of the three-fifths majority or 60 votes he would have needed to waive a provision of the Budget Act of 2003 cited by Chambliss. -Farm Press Editorial Staff

    Senate votes to delay FSA closings
    11/05/05   
    A plan to close or consolidate more than one-fourth of USDA's county Farm Service Agency offices nationwide could be put on hold by an amendment to the fiscal 2006 agricultural appropriations bill. The amendment, passed by voice vote during Senate deliberations on Sept. 20, would delay implementation of a plan that reportedly would shutter 665 of FSA's current 2,353 county offices. The House must agree to the amendment before it becomes part of the 2006 ag appropriations bill. - Forrest Laws, Farm Press Editorial Staff



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