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A Prism Business Media Publication February 1, 2006 | 060201   
TABLE OF CONTENTS
 >> Logan Hawkes

 >> Global warming or no, rainfall deficit increasing

 >> Are you ready for a farm loan from Wal-Mart?

 >> Conservation Tillage Conference & Expo

 >> Tropical region remains volatile; more storms ahead

 >> News from the Top of the Hill

 >> Time to evaluate pricing 2006 wheat

 >> Credit for carbon

 >> Yield loss to insects up slightly, so is cost of control

 >> Budget more money for gas and diesel in 2006

 >> Farm Bureau delegates support extension of farm bill

 >> Farmers must get involved in farm bill debate

 >> Family farm demands hands-on management

 >> Renessen to test higher-value ethanol system

 >> Sign Up For MarketMaxx

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  EDITOR'S NOTE
Logan Hawkes
02/01/06    Crop News Weekly
It's a new month and a strange weather year, and on top of that we're now being told Wal-Mart may be getting into the rural farm credit business. It's a remarkable world isn't it? And did I mention a strange one?

We're packed full of news this issue starting, appropriately, with the weather. Sure, warmer winter temps are nice to have, but most everyone west of the Mississippi is looking for substantial rain - however we can get it. Also in the news, rural banking may get as easy as self check-outs at the local Wal-Mart in the near future. Or so some would have us believe if Wal-Mart is successful in acquiring a series of rural banks they are seeking. That could put a new meaning to the term "direct from the farm." Elsewhere in the news, it's your absolute last chance to make plans for attending the Conservation & Tillage Conference and Expo this week. Get the details below. And speaking of weather, experts are warning of another volatile tropical season just ahead. Could our rain finally come from here? Also this week, news about the future cost of gas and diesel, about the increasing costs of insect control, farmer involvement in the new farm bill, and higher value ethanol systems.

You'll find these stories and more in this issue of Crop News Weekly. Thanks for your support.



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  FROM OUR MAGAZINES
Global warming or no, rainfall deficit increasing
01/30/06   
The weather gods are nothing if not fickle: balmy, sunny, 70-degree days in late December and early January, when it should be wet, cold, and miserable? What's up with this? While California's Napa Valley and other areas have been suffering torrential rains and flooding, many areas across the Southwest, and even into the Hot Springs, Ark., area have been so dry that wildfires have been an ongoing problem. - Hembree Brandon, Farm Press Editorial Staff

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Are you ready for a farm loan from Wal-Mart?
01/24/06   
It sounds like a joke, but no one is kidding. Can you imagine Wal-Mart as your next rural banker? Agriculture Road Warrior Dave Kohl writes: "Guess who is in the crosshairs of Wal-Mart's future strategic plan. Yes, banks and possibly the Farm Credit System. Currently the FDIC is reviewing Wal-Mart's application for a bank charter. Why would Wal-Mart want to enter banking and possibly become an agricultural lender?" - The Corn & Soybean Digest

Conservation Tillage Conference & Expo
02/01/06   
When considering a change in conservation strategy such as switching to No-Till, Ridge-Till or Strip-Till, it is always good to hear from someone who as been there.

The 2006 Conservation Tillage Conference & Expo lets you do that. Farmers who have been using No-Till, Ridge-Till and Strip-Till for years will be telling about their experiences, answering questions and providing insight into what to expect.

The Conservation Tillage Conference & Expo is being held February 1-2 at the Ramkota Hotel & Conference Center in Sioux Falls, SD. It is being presented by Corn & Soybean Digest and Farm Industry News. Experts from Iowa State University, the Universities of Minnesota and Nebraska and South Dakota State University organized the program. To register to attend, you can to http://www.tillageconference.com, or call 1-800-722-5334. If you call, ask for the "Conservation Tillage Conference." - The Corn & Soybean Digest

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Tropical region remains volatile; more storms ahead
01/30/06   
Don't ask Charles Wax, an assistant state climatologist and head of Mississippi State University's geosciences department, exactly what kind of weather Mother Nature will wield. He doesn't have a crystal ball, after all. But he can tell you, based on trends and cycles and cause and effect, what is likely to happen and why. "Why was 2005 hurricane season so active? Everybody is thinking, 'Oh my, it's global warming. It's changed. Life will never be the same thing again,'" he said during a presentation at the annual Delta Ag Expo in Cleveland, Miss. on Jan. 18. "I can tell you with some assurance that none of those assumptions are true." - Andrew Bell, Farm Press Editorial Staff

News from the Top of the Hill
01/27/06    National Hog Farmer
Japan Closes Market to U.S. Beef - Japan suspended U.S. beef imports after it was discovered that a veal shipment from Atlantic Veal & Lamb, Brooklyn, New York contained vertebral column which is prohibited under the agreement that reopened the market between the United States and Japan. Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns has sent three top USDA officials, Dr. J.B. Penn, Dr. Charles Lambert, and Dr. Curt Mann, to Japan this week to discuss the case and to explain what actions USDA is taking to ensure this does not happen in the future. The Japanese are waiting the results of an investigation that is being conducted by USDA's Office of Inspector General and Food Safety Inspection Service. Johanns Holds Meeting for U.S. Beef Companies - Secretary Johanns met this week with executives from companies that participate in USDA's Beef Export Verification Program. Johanns reiterated the steps that USDA was taking in the Japanese case:

  • USDA would submit a report to the government of Japan on USDA's investigation, actions, and the consequences for failure to comply with our requirements.
  • The plant in question has been delisted for export of beef products into Japan.
  • USDA will require a second FSIS signature on our BEV export certificates.
  • USDA inspections will be a part of the BEV program.
  • FSIS will hold a conference call with district managers to reaffirm requirements on all countries with which we have a Bovine Export Verification program.
  • USDA will have a conference call with District Offices and Offices of International Affairs to reaffirm requirements of all countries relative to the BEV program.
  • FSIS inspectors will review procedures and ensure compliance in plants approved to ship to Japan
  • No additional plants will be listed under the BEV programs until the proper procedures are in place.
  • A USDA team will be dispatched to Japan to work with the Japanese government to review all shipments that are there to ensure compliance.
  • FSIS will conduct an investigation of the plant in question.
  • Further training of FSIS inspectors on BEV requirements and a required signed validation that they have successfully completed the training.

    Also speaking to the executives were Barry Carpenter, USDA Agricultural Marketing Service, and Karen Stuck, Food Safety and Inspection Service, to review a plant's quality control responsibilities and review of country requirements and export certification process.

    Taiwan Reopens for U.S. Beef - Taiwan will resume trade with the United States for boneless beef from animals under 30 months of age. The U.S. exported over $56 million worth of boneless beef to Taiwan in 2003.

    Canada Confirms BSE Case - The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) confirmed an other case of BSE. The case was a six-year old cross-bred cow in Alberta, Canada. According to CFIA, no part of the animal entered the human food chain or animal feed system. Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns stated that he did not anticipate any change in the "status of beef or live cattle imports to the U.S. from Canada under our established agreement." The National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) said, they did "not expect this case to affect the beef trade status between the United States and Canada or other countries. We believe the United States should continue to engage in trade that is consistent with the international standards outlined by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), and we expect countries that trade with us to do the same." The National Farmers Union (NFU) however called for the Canadian border to be closed. NFU asked Secretary Johanns to "suspend all imports of Canadian cattle immediately, until we can be assured that Canada has its problem under control, and it can meet U.S. meat inspection standards." Japan has indicated that this latest case will not affect Canada's beef exports to Japan.

    Calls for Hearings on Packers & Stockyards - A bipartisan group of twelve Senators led by Senator Tom Harkin (D-IS) has called for the Senate Agriculture Committee to hold hearings on USDA's failure to enforce the Packers and Stockyards Act. This is the result of a USDA Office of Inspector General's audit report that found that USDA's Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) management "prevented employees from conducting investigations into complaints of anti-competitive market behavior and covered up the lack of enforcement by inflating the reported number of investigations conducted." The report found that there have been no anticompetitive complaints filed by GIPSA since 1999. Records were incomplete in over half of the investigations that GIPSA claimed to be active. GIPSA did not refer competition complaints to the USDA General Counsel for prosecution between November 2002 and February 2005. The audit report was requested by Harkin in April 2005.

    Farm Bill Hearings - The House Agriculture Committee announced the first two farm bill field hearings. The hearings will be held on February 6 in Fayetteville, N.C. and on February 7 in Auburn, AL. These are the first in a series of hearings the committee will conduct this year to review the 2002 farm bill. The committee wants to hear from farmers, ranchers, agribusiness, and government officials. The hearings are to give producers the opportunity to tell the committee what parts of the 2002 farm bill are working and what changes need to be made when Congress begins writing the new farm bill next year.

    Next Week - President Bush will deliver his State of the Union address next week. This will give an indication of the priorities the administration will have for the year. The following week, the President will send to Congress his proposed budget for fiscal year 2007. - Scott Shearer

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    Time to evaluate pricing 2006 wheat
    01/26/06   
    On Jan. 4, the Kansas City Board of Trade July wheat contract price of $3.85 matched the contract high that had been set on Oct. 12, 2005. Using a five-year average basis of 34 cents, the market was projecting a June wheat price of $3.51 ($3.85 -- 34 cents). The winter wheat crop is normally made in March, April and May. If moisture is below average during the spring, June wheat prices will average above $3.51. If moisture is above average, wheat prices will be below $3.45. - Kim Anderson, Farm Press Editorial Staff

    Credit for carbon
    01/25/06   
    The Iowa Farm Bureau Federation continues to support carbon credits by expanding a pilot program to national markets. Farmers in Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska have enrolled 330,000 acres in the carbon credit program that pays farmers to reduce carbon through no-till conservation practices. Companies buy the carbon credits to offset emissions. For example, the University of Iowa purchased carbon credits in this program to offset emissions from its power plant, which is gearing up for a biomass plant to burn oat hulls from Quaker Oats. - Farm Industry News

    Yield loss to insects up slightly, so is cost of control
    01/26/06   
    There was good news and bad news regarding the impact of insects on the 2005 cotton crop. The good news is that for the last five years, yield losses to insects have trended much lower. The bad news is that the cost of controlling the pests is trending upwards. According to Michael Williams, Extension entomologist at Mississippi State University, overall yield loss to insects in 2005 was up slightly from 2004, at 4.57 percent, completing a five-year trend toward lower losses. - Elton Robinson, Farm Press Editorial Staff

    Budget more money for gas and diesel in 2006
    01/25/06   
    Barring another major disruption, gasoline and diesel prices are expected to hold steady in 2006, according to a University of Nebraska-Lincoln ag economist. However, producers are being urged to budget more money for gasoline and diesel expenses as world demand for energy grows faster than crude oil is being produced. Unleaded fuel soared to more than $3/gallon in many parts of the U.S. in 2005, and diesel to around $2.75 in many areas. Prices have dropped, but hay producers shouldn't expect big price declines in 2006. - eHay Weekly

    Farm Bureau delegates support extension of farm bill
    01/25/06   
    American Farm Bureau Federation delegates are asking Congress to extend the provisions of the 2002 farm bill until a new World Trade Organization agreement is reached that "increases foreign market access for U.S. farmers and ranchers." Delegates attending the AFBF's annual meeting in Nashville, Tenn., on Jan. 11, said they do not want to change U.S. farm programs until the current Doha Round of WTO negotiations is completed. And they said they wanted to make sure that agreement provides greater market access to U.S. farm products. - Forrest Laws, Farm Press Editorial Staff

    Farmers must get involved in farm bill debate
    01/24/06   
    Bob Stallman says U.S. farmers have a choice: They can pay attention to writing the next farm bill now or they can pay in blood sweat and tears for trying to fend off farm legislation they don't want later. Stallman, a farmer from Texas who serves as president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, says that if his fellow growers don't become deeply involved in the next farm bill debate someone else is likely to do it for them. - Farm Press Editorial Staff

    Family farm demands hands-on management
    01/24/06   
    Fred Wyatt believes in hands-on farming. His hands. You can find him in the fall sitting at the controls of a big, green, eight-row cotton harvester, harvesting all 5,000 acres of his crop near Hollister, Okla. This is a family farm, he'll tell you. He and his son-in-law, Justin Waldroop, along with their wives, do the work. That the Wyatts are harvesting such a large acreage of cotton this year and making excellent yields is a dramatic success story in itself. They had abandoned the crop. - Vic Schoonover, Farm Press Editorial Staff

    Renessen to test higher-value ethanol system
    01/24/06   
    Renessen LLC, a biotechnology company, has announced plans for a pilot plant to test a unique technology system in which new biotech corn hybrids with increased energy and nutrient levels will be combined with a novel dry corn separation technique designed for ethanol facilities. The new system represents a step change in the agriculture and biofuels industries and has the potential to increase the profitability of corn growers, ethanol producers, and swine and poultry producers. - The Corn & Soybean Digest

    Sign Up For MarketMaxx
    02/01/06   
    Sign up and play The Corn And Soybean Digest's fantasy grain game called MarketMaxx. It's easy, fun and hopefully you'll learn a little more about how to market the corn and beans your raise. It's easy to sign-up. Just log on to http://www.marketmaxx.net and register at the top left and begin trading your fictitious 100,000 bu. of corn and 50,000 bu. of soybeans. If you're a winner at the end of the game on October 31 you could take home the grand prize of a year's use of a Massey Ferguson tractor or combine. Or, win additional prizes such as a computer system from Syngenta Crop Protection, customized rugged mobile computers from Grayhill Custom Mobile Solutions or a high-speed satellite Internet service from Agristar Global Networks. - The Corn & Soybean Digest



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