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A Prism Business Media Publication March 8, 2006 | 060308   
TABLE OF CONTENTS
 >> Logan Hawkes

 >> Harkin pushes to close biodiesel tax loophole

 >> Johanns announces nitrogen fertilizer tool

 >> Weather and agriculture markets

 >> NCC 'losing confidence' in WTO process

 >> Conservation systems increase efficiency, profit

 >> News from the Top of the Hill

 >> Environmental wackoes at it again

 >> Threat of resistant weeds increasing

 >> Automated systems simplifying farm data

 >> Ethanol use rising, but corn acres falling

 >> Soybean rust spore discoveries spark concerns

 >> Farmers will get their share of cuts

 >> Crop insurance decisions

 >> Soybean checkoff touts safety of U.S. poultry

 >> Get CEU credits with online spray drift course

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  EDITOR'S NOTE
Logan Hawkes
03/08/06    Crop News Weekly
Did someone say it was going to be a tough year for agriculture? Was that you mumbling about fertilizer costs and increased prices for fuel and motor oil? Don't feel alone. With the threat of continued drought, out of control energy prices and farm bill woes, the deck seems to be stacked the wrong way. It reminds me of last year. And the year before. So what's new?

In the world of agriculture news and issues this week, Senator Tom Harkin has filed legislation designed to make certain that the biodiesel tax credit program is carried out as promised by Congress. The tax credit was passed to spur U.S. biofuels production and stimulate the rural economy. Also in the news, Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns has announced the release of USDA's Energy Estimator for Nitrogen, a web-based awareness tool that farmers and ranchers can use. Elsewhere, the National Cotton Council has echoed what other farm groups are saying, 'what faith can American growers have in the World Trade Organization (WTO)'? Also this week, have you been considering multiple inlet irrigation? There are many benefits, and a few considerations to make before making a final decision. In other news, environmental groups have filed suit again demanding the government rescind its approval of herbicide-resistant alfalfa. The Center for Food Safety, Sierra Club, the Cornucopia Institute and others of similar ilk want to toss out at least two decades of research and years of field trials. Finally this week, the threat of resistant weeds is on the rise, technology comes to the rescue on the farm, ethanol use is up, and more rust spores are detected in the Southland.

It's a jam-packed issue of Crop News Weekly. Get reading!



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  FROM OUR MAGAZINES
Harkin pushes to close biodiesel tax loophole
03/07/06   
Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) announced legislation that would ensure the biodiesel tax credit is carried out as Congress intended. The biodiesel tax credit was passed to spur U.S. biofuels production and stimulate the rural economy and Congress listed a number of vegetable oils as eligible for the tax break. The IRS is giving the biodiesel tax credit for production from palm oil, a feedstock not listed under statute and often imported from foreign countries. Harkin's bill would close this loophole and clarify that only feedstocks listed by Congress are eligible to receive the biodiesel tax credit. - The Corn & Soybean Digest

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Experts discuss glyphosate resistance on RFD-TV Live! Monday, March 13th

On March 13, 2006, RFD-TV Live! will focus on glyphosate resistance in the Midwest. Syngenta and University experts will discuss the latest on glyphosate resistance and the issues surrounding it on the live call-in show. http://www.agrimarketing.com/show_story.php?id=38728

Please plan to tune in and participate in this informative show. RFD-TV Live! with Syngenta discussing glyphosate resistance airs:
* Monday, March 13th, 2006 from 8 to 9 p.m. EST (7 to 8 p.m. CST)
* RFD-TV can be found on Dish Network channel 9409, DIRECTV channel 379 and Mediacom cable.

Johanns announces nitrogen fertilizer tool
03/07/06   
Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns has announced the release of USDA's Energy Estimator for Nitrogen, a web-based awareness tool that farmers and ranchers can use to identify potential nitrogen (N) cost savings associated with major crops and commercial N fertilizer applications. "The Energy Estimator for nitrogen provides our nation's producers with another new tool to reduce their energy costs and protect the environment," says Johanns. "Encouraging proper fertilizer management is part of USDA's comprehensive energy strategy to help farmers and ranchers mitigate the impact of high energy costs." - The Corn & Soybean Digest

Weather and agriculture markets
03/07/06   
The big "D" word (drought) is getting a lot of discussion by weather prognosticators and by grain market analysts during the late winter period, as we're preparing to plant the 2006 crop. Many areas of the Southwest U.S. and large portions of Texas and Oklahoma have been extremely dry this winter, as have some areas of Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri and Illinois. Even Southern Minnesota and Northern Iowa have been relatively dry the past couple of months; however, most of these areas have above average stored soil moisture as we head into the 2006 growing season. - Kent Thiesse, The Corn & Soybean Digest

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NCC 'losing confidence' in WTO process
03/06/06   
The latest proposal from the C-4 West African countries for "reforming" the U.S. cotton program is only serving to undermine what little confidence U.S. farm groups have left in the World Trade Organization, the National Cotton Council says. The proposal submitted by the trade ministers of Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mali calls for even deeper cuts in farm program payments to cotton producers than those tabled by U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman at the WTO meetings last fall. - Farm Press Editorial Staff

Conservation systems increase efficiency, profit
03/03/06   
Multiple inlet irrigation can help reduce the quantity of water runoff from fields and reduce pumping by as much as 20 percent, according to studies conducted in the Arkansas Delta. These findings were among the more than 80 presentations at the ninth annual National Conservation Systems Cotton and Rice Conference at Robinsonville, Miss., to update farmers on the latest findings on conservation tillage and other management techniques and systems. Because of Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) issues related to non-point source pollution, information has been needed on how farmers can take a proactive, preventive stance in managing irrigation water applications and runoff. - Hembree Brandon, Farm Press Editorial Staff

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News from the Top of the Hill
03/03/06    National Hog Farmer
Price Reporting Recommendations - Producer groups have written Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns requesting that USDA implement the recommendations of the Government Accountability Office (GAO) study on price reporting. The report, "Livestock Market Reporting: USDA Has Taken Some Steps to Ensure Quality, but Additional Efforts Are Needed," which was released last December made six recommendations to enhance price reporting for cattle, swine, and sheep. The recommendations were to: "(1) prepare publicly available reports on the volume of transactions excluded by reporters and their effect on report prices, and take steps to increase public awareness of reporting methods and processes; (2) clarify AMS reporters' instructions while following federal and departmental statistical and information reporting guidance; (3) post quarterly audit information on its website and identify additional audit information to add in the future; (4) develop auditing methods to allow conclusions to be drawn about overall data accuracy; (5) review its auditing methods to increase the overall effectiveness of the compliance program; and (6) conduct a further inquiry into the issues raised during one of the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyard Administration's (GIPSA) investigations." Those signing the letter were: National Pork Producers Council, National Cattlemen's Beef Association, American Sheep Industry Association, and American Farm Bureau Federation. The groups also indicated that they will continue to press Congress to renew mandatory livestock price reporting.

US-Colombia FTA Completed - USTR announced that the United States and Columbia have completed a free trade agreement (FTA). US Trade Representative Rob Portman stated, "The United States and Colombia agreed on terms for a comprehensive trade opening agreement that will enhance economic growth and prosperity between the U.S. and Columbia. The free trade agreement with Colombia will generate export opportunities for U.S. agriculture, industry, and service providers, and help create jobs in the United States." The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) said in a news release that the tariffs on some pork and pork products will be eliminated immediately while the tariffs on others will be phased out over a five-year period. Colombia is the second largest agricultural market for the U.S. in Latin America with exports of $667 million in 2005. Coarse grains, wheat, cotton, and soybeans are the major agricultural exports.

Coalition Opposes User Fees - A coalition of over 40 producer organizations and agribusinesses have written members of the U.S. Senate and Congress opposing the Administration's proposal to implement $105 million in user fees for meat and poultry inspection. In a letter to Congress, the coalition said, "Food safety "user fees" would also create the perception of conflict of interest between inspectors and the industries they are supposed to regulate, which could erode public and international confidence in the U.S. food safety inspection system." Those signing the letter included the American Farm Bureau Federation, American Meat Institute, Grocery Manufacturers Association, National Cattlemen's Beef Association, National Chicken Council, National Pork Producers Council, and National Turkey Federation.

World Meat Congress - The 2006 World Meat Congress will be held April 26-29 in Brisbane, Australia. This is the world's largest meat industry conference. The theme of the conference is "2020: Meat the Road Ahead." The conference will focus on the needs of the consumer in 2020, how we are to supply these needs, the communities' expectations, and what is in store for us regarding trade policy. More information regarding speakers, program, registration, etc. concerning the Congress can be found at http://www.2006worldmeatcongress.com.au. - Scott Shearer

Environmental wackoes at it again
03/03/06   
The environmental wackoes are at it again. The same old group of warm and fuzzy-sounding organizations have filed suit in federal court demanding the government rescind its approval of herbicide-resistant alfalfa. The Center for Food Safety, Sierra Club, the Cornucopia Institute and others of similar ilk want to toss out at least two decades of research and years of field trials. They cite the same old lame and scientifically unfounded allegations of pollen contamination from GMO crops and are even tossing in concerns that herbicide-resistant alfalfa introduced this season will harm alfalfa export markets. The mass media will pick up the press release and you can read all the inflammatory quotes and half truths there -- no questions asked. Harry Cline, Farm Press Editorial Staff

Threat of resistant weeds increasing
03/03/06   
Donna Lee's take-home message is this: glyphosate resistance in weeds is a "real problem heading right toward us. A proactive approach is needed to sustain glyphosate-tolerant technology. It's a great thing, and we need to keep it around. "We'll have to become more and more cognizant in order to keep it viable," said Lee, a Louisiana Extension agent in East Carroll Parish. "There are no new products to take glyphosate's place. If we end up with (ubiquitous) resistance to glyphosate, we are in for major problems." - David Bennett, Farm Press Editorial Staff

Automated systems simplifying farm data
03/03/06   
Agriculture is on the cusp of technology that can make really complex recordkeeping simple, says Ted Macy. "It's a very exciting time" in terms of hardware and software that will automate generation, storage, and analyzing much of the data related to crop production, he said. "Precision agriculture technology has become a given, an integral part of everyday farming operations." Macy, who's president of MapShots, Inc., Cummings, Ga., says many of the hardware/software incompatibilities that have limited the use of such technology are now being resolved as the industry becomes more standardized. - Hembree Brandon, Farm Press Editorial Staff

Ethanol use rising, but corn acres falling
03/02/06   
U.S. corn growers are counting on more U.S. motorists to put a new tiger in their tank in 2006 and 2007, but the same factors that are increasing the demand for the tiger -- ethanol -- could also lead to lower corn acres. USDA is projecting that corn use for ethanol will increase by 550 million bushels or 34 percent in the 2006-07 corn marketing year as oil distributors substitute renewable fuels for the more expensive petroleum-based kind. - Forrest Laws, Farm Press Editorial Staff

Soybean rust spore discoveries spark concerns
03/01/06   
Soybean rust was found at the end of February at three sites in Montgomery County, Ala., creating concern for over-wintering of disease spores farther north than central Florida. The three sites in Alabama were found on kudzu in areas protected by old buildings. Finding live spores in Montgomery County is significant, for two primary reasons: Montgomery is in the center of Alabama, roughly 140 miles north of the Gulf of Mexico and the area recently recorded low temperatures in the mid 20s F, which caused die back of most annual plants, but did not destroy these host plants. - Roy Roberson, Farm Press Editorial Staff

Farmers will get their share of cuts
03/02/06   
Saxby Chambliss says farmers should get a "deficit reduction" credit for the $13 billion the government was expected to spend on farm programs in the first three years of the 2002 farm bill but didn't. Chambliss, the Senate Agriculture Committee chairman, said farmers are willing to share in the Bush administration's budget-cutting efforts, but he believes they made a big down payment to that end in 2002-04. That was then and this is now, says Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns. He says that, even with the farm program reductions the president proposed on Feb. 6, the administration expects to spend $7 billion more in fiscal 2007 than projected in the 2002 farm bill. - Farm Press Editorial Staff

Crop insurance decisions
02/28/06   
During the next couple weeks, many farm operators will be finalizing their crop insurance decisions for the 2006 crop year. March 15 is the deadline to purchase crop insurance for 2006. Producers need to analyze how crop insurance fits into their risk management and grain marketing strategies for the coming year. There are very few changes in the various types of crop insurance policies for 2006, as compared to last year. Most producers have a pretty good handle on the mechanics of standard APH (yield only) Multi-Peril Insurance policies, compared to RA and CRC revenue coverage policies (yield and price). - Kent Thiesse, Corn & Soybean Digest

Soybean checkoff touts safety of U.S. poultry
02/28/06   
With the recent case discovered in Iraq, avian influenza has been a hot topic in the news lately, but it doesn't currently affect the health and safety of U.S. poultry. The soybean checkoff is working with other agricultural groups to make sure this stays that way. "U.S. poultry has no cases of the highly pathogenic avian influenza virus," says Phil Bradshaw, USB Animal Agriculture Initiative (AAI) Team Lead and soybean farmer from Griggsville, IL. "It is important to stress that U.S. poultry production is safe and a high quality product when prepared correctly." - The Corn & Soybean Digest

Get CEU credits with online spray drift course
03/08/06   
More than 500 American Society of Agronomy (ASA) Certified Crop Advisers (CCA) from 37 states and Canada have completed an accredited continuing education (CEU) course offered free online at The Corn And Soybean Digest Web site and the Farm Press University Web site. The course on spray drift management developed by the magazine staff was launched six months ago and has drawn strong support nationwide, says publisher Greg Frey. "We've been gratified by the positive response received from Certified Crop Advisers from Maryland to Florida and from Georgia to New Mexico and California." Here are some of the comments of those who completed the free online course:

  • "Great course with good information." - Logan, NE, CCA Darwin Frey.
  • "Great way to earn CEUs." - St. Peter, IL, CCA John Henson.
  • "This course on spray drift management is well-designed." - Pierre, SD, consultant and certified CCA Allison Kiesz.
  • "Good test." - Lebanon, MO, consultant and certified CCA Dwight Betherum.
  • "Thank you for the opportunity." - Phillip Cox, farmer/manager and CCA from Canton, MS.

    The course features a series of texts and 27 multiple-choice questions. The participant can proceed only if he or she answers the questions correctly. An incorrect answer takes the CCA back to the area of the text where the correct answer is found.

    The course may be printed out before taking it online, but it must be completed online to earn credit. Middleton, WI, consultant/farm owner Robert Perry likes that feature. "I appreciate being able to print the course and study offline," he says.

    "This is a great way to earn CCA credits," says Madera, CA, CCA Irving Gates. "I often struggle finding time to attend events offering CCA credits. Having the capability to do it online, late at night or early morning, is a great option."

    Benjamin Jahnke, Manchester, WI, farm owner and CCA says "Thank you for saving me time, money and gas."

    The ASA has accredited the course for one unit in integrated pest management until August, 2008. When a CCA completes the course, he or she e-mails the course administrator, who then notifies ASA of the completion. There is a verification of completion the CCA can also print out for his or her records.



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