Corn & Soybean Digest Farm Industry News
A PRIMEDIA Property January 4, 2006 | 060104   
 >> Logan Hawkes

 >> Pandering to politics costs lives

 >> Conservation-Tillage Confernece

 >> News from the Top of the Hill

 >> High Fertilizer Prices: What to do?

 >> Conservation-tillage study shows benefits, concerns

 >> Maize Match brings farmers, corn hybrids together

 >> Conservation systems conference scheduled Feb. 1-2

 >> EPA working to address pesticide issues


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Logan Hawkes
01/04/05    Crop News Weekly
The holidays are behind us, and if you're like me, it's good to see them go. Not that it wasn't a good time for family and friends, for grand holiday meals and gift giving - whatever it is you do over the holidays. But the new year brings with it a sense of starting fresh, of new beginnings, of a clean slate. If you're like me, you hope it's a time when we you can avoid the problems of the past and forge ahead with new hope, new plans, and a fresh attitude about the tasks at hand. Best of luck to you in the New Year.

In this first issue of the New Year, we're still catching up with ourselves. Now that the holidays are over, expect to see a lot of ag news filtering down the pike as Congress heads back to work and as USDA gets ready to assess what the new year has in store for us. Soon we'll be hearing a lot about WTO, farm subsidies, conservation programs, tillage conferences, new equipment products, regulatory news and issues, and more, as 2006 gets under full swing in the days and weeks ahead. In this issue: can the U.S. government not see the forest for the trees? What does new technology have to do with conserving the soil? Was the WTO meeting in Hong Kong a waste of time? Will U.S. corn growers feel the pinch from Canadian provisional duties? Will ammonium nitrate on the farm be a thing of the past?

These are but a few of the stories you'll find in the spotlight in this issue of Crop News Weekly. Happy reading.


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Pandering to politics costs lives
Suppose that over the next year the entire population of the Memphis metropolitan area were to die: 2,700-plus people gone each and every day, over a million in a year. And further imagine that another 200 million-plus, more than half the population of the entire U.S., were made chronically ill and, in a majority of those cases, unable to work. Then consider that it was all caused by a disease that could have been eliminated through use of a common, cheap chemical, but the government refused to allow it, even though no scientific evidence had ever shown it to have caused harm to humans. - Hembree Brandon, Farm Press Editorial Staff


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Conservation-Tillage Confernece
What does new technology have to do with conserving the soil? It presents many new opportunities to make conservation measures easier to do and more profitable, according to some experts. These technologies include new seeds with better cold tolerance, auto guidance to make site-specific management easier and multi-level sensing programs that give farmers a picture ranging from the sky above to below the ground. All these and more will be explored at the 2006 Conservation Tillage Conference & Expo in Sioux Falls, SD Feb. 1-2. To view the complete program and to register go to or call 1-800-722-5334 to register to attend.

News from the Top of the Hill
12/30/05    National Hog Farmer
Mexico Ends Anti-Dumping Case Against U.S. Hams - The Mexican government has ended its two year investigation into the dumping of U.S. hams into Mexico. The government terminated its investigation without imposing antidumping duties. The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) said, "Mexico should never have initiated the case in the first place. The U.S. pork industry did not, and will not, dump ham or any pork product onto the Mexican market. We sell hams to Mexico because it is very profitable."

Hong Kong Reopens Market for U.S. Beef - Hong Kong has reopened its market for U.S. boneless beef from cattle less than 30 months of age. In 2003, Hong Kong was the fifth largest market for U.S. beef importing $90 million worth of product.

Arbitration in Livestock & Poultry Contracts Legislation - Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Russ Feingold (D-WI) have introduced S. 2131 that limits the use of arbitration in contracts. The legislation would prevent the use of arbitration in livestock and poultry contracts unless both parties have given written consent to use arbitration after a dispute arises. In introducing S. 2131 Senator Grassley said, "Often when there is a dispute between the packer and the family farmer, and the contract between the two includes an arbitration clause, the family farmer has no alternative but to accept arbitration to resolve the dispute. Arbitration has its benefits in certain cases, so it should be an option, but is should not be the only option." Grassley and Feingold introduced similar legislation in the 108th Congress.

Budget Cuts Agriculture - The Senate passed by a one vote margin an omnibus five-year budget reconciliation package. The legislation cuts $39.7 billion from government programs over five years including $2.72 billion in agricultural programs. The House will vote on budget reconciliation next month. The cuts in agriculture according to the Senate Agriculture Committee include:

  • No across-the-board cuts for commodity programs
  • Advance direct payments reduced to 40% for crop year 2006; further reduced to 22% in crop year 2007
  • Cotton Step 2 program terminated effective August 1, 2006
  • Milk Income Loss Contracts: dairy support program is extended for two years
  • EQIP extended to 2010, funds reduced $1.27 billion for fiscal years 2007-2009; $1.3 billion in fiscal year 2010
  • Conservation Security Program (CSP) extended to 2011, funds capped $1.954 billion for fiscal years 2006-2010; $5.65 billion fiscal years 2006-2015
  • Watershed Rehabilitation program: cancellation of funds available prior to October 1, 2006
  • Renewable Energy Program: limit fiscal year 2007 funds to $3 million
  • Value-added Grant program: cancel unspent funds prior to October 1, 2006
  • Rural Business Investment Program: cancel unspent funds prior to October 1, 2006
  • Rural Business Strategic Investment Grant Program: cancel unspent funds prior to October 1, 2006
  • Rural Firefighters Grant Program: cancel unspent funds prior to October 1, 2006
  • Initiative for Agriculture and Food Systems: cancel unspent funds for fiscal years 2007-2009.

    Hong Kong & WTO Negotiations - The recent WTO Negotiations in Hong Kong moved the process forward but there was no major breakthrough. The key decisions, tariff reductions and cuts in domestic support, were postponed until April 30, 2006. The negotiators did agree to eliminate export subsidies by the year 2013. Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns said that he was "impressed by the spirit of cooperation among some countries and the desire to achieve something real and important before the clock runs out on the Doha round in 2006." American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) President Bob Stallman said AFBF is "disappointed that minimal progress was made in Hong Kong during the Doha Development Round of negotiations. It is frustrating that the European Union and other countries, unwilling to advance meaningful agricultural reform, have delayed negotiations."

    Canada Imposes Duties on U.S. Corn - The Canadian government has imposed provisional duties of $1.65 per bushel on imports of U.S. corn. Canada claimed that U.S. corn imports are dumped and subsidized. Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns and U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman in a joint release stated, "Canada has conducted two prior investigations of U.S. corn imports, revoking a countervailing duty order after a GATT panel decision was adopted in 1992 and finding no injury in a second investigation in 2001. We believe that Canada should again find that U.S. corn imports are not injuring Canadian corn growers and that the unwarranted provisional duties announced today should therefore be terminated." A final determination regarding anti-dumping and countervailing duties is due March 15, 2006.

    Fertilizer Regulation - The House Subcommittee on Homeland Security Prevention of Nuclear and Biological Attacks approved legislation that would regulate production and sale of ammonium nitrate (fertilizer). The legislation will require that any individual, who produces, sells or buys ammonium nitrate to register with the Department of Homeland Security. Sellers of ammonium nitrate will be required to keep records of purchasers including drivers' license number or other photo-identification and the amount of ammonium nitrate purchased. - Scott Shearer


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    High Fertilizer Prices: What to do?
    Recently, fertilizer prices have been higher and supplies of some nutrients have been tighter. Yet most realize, and research continues to confirm, the critical role of fertilizer use in profitable crop production. Here are some suggestions for keeping fertilizer bills as low as possible without compromising the yield that brings much needed revenue. - The Corn & Soybean Digest

    Conservation-tillage study shows benefits, concerns
    The technical capability and popularity of conservation-tillage in North Carolina has greatly increased since the early trials of the practice nearly a half-century ago. In a recent presentation George Naderman, former North Carolina State University Extension soil specialist (now retired) said that for various reasons "we have come to count on it." Many farmers appreciate the efficiency conservation-tillage provides them, and with diesel costs at two and three times higher than three years ago, the fuel savings alone are now especially important. This may nudge producer interests even more towards no-till, strip-tillage or minimum-tillage practices. - Roy Roberson, Farm Press Editorial Staff

    Maize Match brings farmers, corn hybrids together
    For farmers, finding the right corn hybrid can be like finding a needle in a haystack, but a Purdue University Web site strives to help them find that needle. "Maize Match is a relatively simple program that allows you to compare two hybrids from the Purdue corn performance database," said Phil DeVillez, a Purdue Extension agronomist. "This is a tool that farmers can use to help them make hybrid selection." Maize Match is located online at - The Corn & Soybean Digest

    Conservation systems conference scheduled Feb. 1-2
    Ways to boost production while cutting cost will be the focus of the nation's leading conservation systems conference, which will feature more than 80 researchers and producers. The ninth annual National Conservation Systems Cotton and Rice Conference will be held at Tunica, Miss., Feb. 1-2. Additionally, the conference has added roundtable discussions with leading experts serving as facilitators. The conference, which alternates yearly between Texas and Mississippi, will be held at the Grand Casino Conference Center at Tunica, Miss. - Farm Press Editorial Staff

    EPA working to address pesticide issues
    The issue of pesticide spray drift is expected to generate "a lot of discussion" between the Environmental Protection Agency and agricultural interests during 2006, says Jon Scholl, the agency's counselor for agricultural policy. There will be "a lot of public meetings that will offer opportunities for everyone to be involved," he told members of the Southern Crop Production Association at their annual conference at Orlando, Fla. - Farm Press Editorial Staff


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