Corn & Soybean Digest Farm Industry News
A PRIMEDIA Property November 30, 2005 | 051130   
 >> Logan Hawkes

 >> Reconciliation support depends on whose ox is being....

 >> The Road Warrior of Agriculture: Outward migration

 >> Thiesse's Thoughts

 >> Cautious fertilization adjustment planned

 >> Hold everything! Low corn prices favoring storage

 >> Proposed new phone charge: boon or a boondoggle?

 >> Soil Compaction: What can you do after the fact?

 >> Campaign urges smarter farming

 >> News from the Top of the Hill

 >> 'Team effort' preserved payment limit language

 >> Brandon: Deficit reduction and agriculture

 >> House approves Deficit Reduction Act, cuts ag spending

 >> Congressmen, farm groups want OFAC language

 >> Conservation Tillage Conference & Expo


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Logan Hawkes
11/30/05    Crop News Weekly
Sufficiently stuffed and honestly grateful for the great Thanksgiving weekend, it's time to head back into the news as Christmas shoppers head to the crowded malls. And like the shoppers, we have a lot from which to choose this week in the world of ag news.

In a nutshell, U.S. farmers are being asked to give up more than $3 billion in farm program benefits over the next five years so other taxpayers can avoid paying the alternative minimum tax on some incomes above $100,000. More than a few eyebrows are being raised over this one. Also this week, Stockpiling rather than selling appears to be the growing trend for grain producers looking to get the best deal from their corn crop. And where have we heard this before - "Talk is Cheap"? That is until you open your phone bill and try to puzzle through all those mysterious add-on charges that make up a good chunk of the total due. Now things are getting worse. Elsewhere this week, the notion of smarter farmers and wiser ranchers using the latest technology to make operation decisions is an admirable goal. The creators of a new conservation planning campaign hope it will also be a practical aim. Finally, the chairmen of the Senate Ag Committee is telling us $3 billion in cuts for agriculture program funding will help with the federal deficit and represents agriculture's 'part' in helping with the national problem.

You'll find these stories and a lot more featured in this week's edition of Crop News Weekly. Happy reading.


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Reconciliation support depends on whose ox is being....
U.S. farmers are being asked to give up more than $3 billion in farm program benefits over the next five years so other taxpayers can avoid paying the alternative minimum tax on some incomes above $100,000 a year. The budget reconciliation legislation under consideration in Congress contains tax cuts of $70 billion between 2006 and 2010, but the alternative minimum tax reduction would account for more than a third of the total. The House Agriculture Committee voted 24-20 on Oct. 28 to approve $3.7 billion in spending cuts in USDA's budget over the next five years. Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., boasted that the decrease was 23 percent higher than the $3 billion required in the House-Senate Budget Resolution passed last spring. - Forrest Laws, Farm Press Editorial Staff


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The Road Warrior of Agriculture: Outward migration
11/28/05    The Corn & Soybean Digest
Dave Kohl writes: "At a recent agrilending conference I was asked if the recent energy prices would end the outward migration of people to rural areas from large metropolises. The answer is no in most cases. To a certain degree, when gas prices are below $3, the benefits of living in rural areas outpaced the drawbacks of energy costs. In many cases, the cost of homes, real estate taxes and cost of living more than overcomes the economics of travel. Some innovative companies are allowing their employees to telecommute, or work from home one or two days per week."

Thiesse's Thoughts
11/28/05    The Corn & Soybean Digest
Kent Thiesse writes: "Fueling Our Future... Energy From The Land" is the theme of the 23rd Annual Rural Legislative Forum on Friday, Dec. 9 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the South Central College Conference Center, 1920 Lee Blvd., North Mankato, MN. Some key questions that are often heard by the general public regarding bio-fuels and renewable energy include: Why am I paying widely varying prices at different stations for E-85? Why can't I find renewable fuel products at more locations throughout Minnesota? If ethanol and biodiesel are such a great deal, why do we need mandates and incentives? What about wind, biomass, solar and other renewable energy sources?"


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Cautious fertilization adjustment planned
Bobby Sollis has done the math. With fertilizer prices the highest he's ever seen, pushing for higher wheat and corn yield makes little sense for 2006. "The extra bushels I might get will not pay for what it costs to make them," Sollis says. "I don't think I will lose as much by cutting back on fertilization a little." It's a decision he's not made lightly. He figures he's built up a little reserve in his Grayson County, Texas, soils. "I've fertilized a long time to raise a good corn crop, and the cost of fertilizer and fuel will kill us this year if we don't economize." - Farm Press Editorial Staff

Hold everything! Low corn prices favoring storage
11/28/05    Ohio State University
Stockpiling rather than selling appears to be the growing trend for grain producers looking to get the best deal from their corn crop. Matt Roberts, an Ohio State University Extension agricultural economist, says that several factors, including the weather, transportation problems and a record harvest, are driving producers to store more grain. "It's very profitable to store simply because there is a great demand for storage," Roberts says. "For producers who have on-farm storage, the more storage you do have, the better." Impacts from Hurricane Katrina, transportation disruptions and the second largest corn harvest on record are contributing to the attitude of storing now and selling later. - The Corn & Soybean Digest


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Proposed new phone charge: boon or a boondoggle?
Talk is cheap? Yeah, sure -- until you open your phone bill and try to puzzle through all those mysterious add-on charges that make up a good chunk of the total due. Now, your friends at the Federal Communications Commission are floating a proposal to make you pay even more (yeah, that's the agency that went ballistic over a nanosecond of Janet Jackson cleavage during a Super Bowl halftime show, but willy-nilly has allowed sponsors to cram more and more and more ads into TV shows that are themselves infinitely more offensive than the Timberlake/Jackson faux pas that 99.9 percent of viewers missed anyhow). The controversial hike in the Universal Service Fund would hit phone users for an estimated additional $707 million per year, with a disproportionate share falling on rural users, lower income users, and those who make few or no long distance calls. For some low-use subscribers, the increase could be as much as 1,000 percent, opponents contend. - Hembree Brandon, Farm Press Editorial Staff

Soil Compaction: What can you do after the fact?
11/28/05    University of Minnesota Extension Service
Minnesota has received its fair share of rain this year. Crops are being harvested in less than ideal soil conditions. The results are deep tracks across the low spots, or worse, the whole field. What management strategies should you be using to alleviate these tracks this spring? First, let's look at what causes compaction. The number one defense against soil compaction is soil structure. It also determines the ability of a soil to hold water, nutrients and air necessary for plant root activity. The wetter the soil, the heavier the equipment or the more aggressive your tillage operations the more you can damage soil structure. - The Corn & Soybean Digest

Campaign urges smarter farming
The notion of smarter farmers and wiser ranchers using the latest technology to make operation decisions is an admirable goal. The creators of a new conservation planning campaign hope it will also be a practical aim, and have broad appeal. Titled "Conservation Planning: Smarter Farmers -- Wiser Ranchers," the campaign is designed to educate framers and ranchers and other New Mexicans about the value of utilizing U.S. Department of Agriculture-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) as a partner in planning farm and ranch conservation improvements. Throughout the campaign NRCS is offering a free packet of information about conservation planning and the kinds of data that can be incorporated in making those farm and ranch decisions. - Farm Press Editorial Staff

News from the Top of the Hill
11/25/05    National Hog Farmer
Australian Court Rules to Continue Pork Imports - The Australian High Court refused Australian Pork Limited's (APL) request for special leave to appeal an earlier court ruling that allowed the importation of pig meat into Australia. The High Court's decision brings an end to APL's effort to stop the importation of pig meat. Australia has been a growth market for U.S. pork exports this year.

Mandatory COOL Legislation - Senators Conrad Burns (R-MT), Max Baucus (D-MT) and 10 other Senators have introduced legislation, S. 2038, to reinstate the deadline of September 30, 2006 for the implementation of mandatory Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL). This is in response to the recent two year delay signed into law as part of the fiscal year 2006 agriculture appropriations bill. Baucus said in a press release, "It's time for Congress to heed the will of the people - producers and consumers in Montana and the rest of the country want COOL and it's time we make that happen."

Manure Not a Toxic Substance - Congressmen Ralph Hall (R-TX) and Roy Blunt (R-MO) have introduced H.R. 4341 which would remove manure from a classification of toxic substances under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) or Superfund. The purpose of the legislation is to make certain that farms, ranches and other properties that apply manure will not become Superfund sites. In introducing the legislation, Blunt said, "Some attorneys are trying to rewrite scientific terms, like organic nutrients, calling it hazardous waste in an effort to milk millions out of the nation's agricultural economy. The intent of Congress, clearly, was not to place organic nutrients in the same category as heavy metals and nuclear waste." There are 27 other Congressional cosponsors to H.R. 4341.

Farm Bill Extension - Congressmen Collin Peterson (D-MN), ranking member of the House Agriculture Committee, and Jim Costa (D-CA) have introduced legislation that would extend the 2002 Farm Bill through 2008. The legislation also provides that if the President does not submit implementing legislation on the "outcome of the Doha Round" by January 15, 2008, there would be an additional one year extension. Peterson said, "Extending the 2002 Farm Bill programs will allow us to write the next Farm Bill with a full understanding of the international trade picture to be sure that we are providing the best possible support to American agriculture."

Crowder Nominated AG Trade Ambassador - President Bush nominated Richard Crowder to be Chief Agriculture Trade Negotiator at USTR. Crowder currently serves as President and CEO of the American Seed Trade Association. He was Under Secretary of Agriculture for International Affairs and Commodity Programs from 1989-1992. Crowder has also worked for DEKALB Genetics Corp. and ConAgra. USTR Ambassador Rob Portman said, "He brings to the negotiating table unique insight to the needs of farmers and ranchers coupled with solid experience in the government."

Congress to Return in December - Congress will return in December to try and complete a number of issues before Christmas. Items that the leadership would like to complete include: pension reform, extension of tax breaks, appropriations, and budget reconciliation. The House of Representatives returns on December 5 and the Senate on December 12. - Scott Shearer

'Team effort' preserved payment limit language
Barring any unforeseen developments, U.S. farmers will receive their 2006 farm program payments under the same rules that have been in effect since President Bush signed the current farm bill in May 2002. Some growers may not realize that new regulations that would have cut the maximum direct, counter-cyclical and marketing loan gain payment amounts in half could have been in effect next year if a gaggle of Midwestern senators and environmental organizations had had their way. When the Senate began voting on Amendment 2359 to the Budget Deficit Reduction and Reconciliation Act of 2005 on Nov. 3, opponents of the group thought they had enough votes to defeat the proposal to place a "hard" $250,000 cap on farm payments. But, in Washington, you never count on anything until all the votes have been counted. - Farm Press Editorial Staff

Brandon: Deficit reduction and agriculture
Agreeing to $3 billion in cuts for agriculture program funding in order to achieve a reduction in the mushrooming federal deficit "was not easy and not something I wanted to do," says Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga. "But, agriculture has always stepped up to the plate and been willing to do its fair share to reduce the federal budget deficit," the chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee told members of the Southern Crop Production Association at their annual conference. The deficit reduction package reduces spending on farm commodity programs by about $1.7 billion, he noted, while still protecting the structure of the 2002 farm bill. - Hembreee Brandon, Farm Press Editorial Staff

House approves Deficit Reduction Act, cuts ag spending
The House of Representatives approved legislation that would reduce total mandatory spending by $49.99 billion during fiscal years 2006/2010. The Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 includes cuts of $3.7 billion in agriculture programs. Passage of the bill on a party line vote of 217-215 sets up a conference with Senate members, whose version of the legislation reduces mandatory spending by $35 billion, including cuts of $3.014 billion over the five years. The conference will be scheduled after the House and Senate return from their Thanksgiving recess. - Farm Press Editorial Staff

Congressmen, farm groups want OFAC language
A large group of senators, representatives and farm and trade organizations has called on a House-Senate Conference Committee to prohibit the use of fiscal year 2006 funding to enforce the Treasury Department's payment-in-advance rule for cash agricultural sales to Cuba. The request by seven senators, 42 House members and 55 farm organizations is setting up a potential confrontation with the White House, which has threatened to veto legislation that contains the Cuba agricultural trade language sought by the letter writers. - Forrest Laws, Farm Press Editorial Staff

Conservation Tillage Conference & Expo
11/30/05    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.


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