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A Prism Business Media Publication May 10, 2006 | 060510   
TABLE OF CONTENTS
 >> Logan Hawkes

 >> White House threatens veto of disaster assistance

 >> 15-inch, 2x2 skip pattern tops net return study

 >> Agribusiness: Herculex gains regulatory approvals

 >> Is ethanol finally catching on with investors?

 >> News from the Top of the Hill

 >> First shot in the 2007 farm bill debate?

 >> Mobile Soybean Rust Alert System

 >> Trade agreements remain in question as talks continue

 >> Senate passes supplemental spending bill

 >> Cochran named to '10 best' list

 >> Hurricane relief sign-up to begin May 17

 >> Sign Up for MarketMaxx



  EDITOR'S NOTE
Logan Hawkes
05/10/06    Crop News Weekly
Lest you forget, Happy Mother's Day to all the deserving mother-types of the world. While we would never forget the unselfish and giving nature of our dear mothers, it is easy to forget what day it is when the days on the farm get long and hard. So consider this your official reminder. Flowers are appropriate. So is a new car. Fit it in the best you can.

In spite of heavy rains in parts of the Midwest, things are heating up as we head into the blistering summer months. And so is the debate over disaster relief for farmers. In spite of the Senate passing a bill addressing disaster relief, President Bush says he will use his veto power against it because it includes disaster provisions for agriculture. The White House says the bill should be limited to hurricane disaster and financing war efforts. Also in the news, grain corn containing Herculex RW Rootworm Protection and Herculex XTRA Insect Protection has received regulatory committee approvals for food, feed and import into Japan, according to the traits developers, Dow AgroSciences LLC and Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc. These actions open Japan to grain containing the traits. Elsewhere in the news, is it time to get on the ethanol wagon? Politicians and investors seem to think so. In other news, in what could be the first significant shot fired in the 2007 farm bill debate, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) has released a report on how Mississippi River Basin (MRB) fertilizer run-off is contributing to a massive oxygen-depleted hypoxia zone in the Gulf of Mexico. Finally this week, trade agreements remain in question as talks continue over U.S. subsidies. But those opposed to U.S. farm policy aren't exactly sparkling clean in their own national programs.

You'll find these stories and more in this issue of Crop News Weekly. Happy reading.



  FROM OUR MAGAZINES
White House threatens veto of disaster assistance
05/08/06   
The White House says President Bush will veto the fiscal 2006 emergency supplemental appropriations bill the Senate passed by a vote of 78-20 because it contains funding for disaster assistance for farmers and other non-war and hurricane-related measures. The threat of a veto, which would be the president's first, was contained in a Statement of Administration Policy that came out almost at the same time that a group of 25 farm organizations sent a letter to the Senate Agriculture and Appropriations Committees asking them to continue their support of the legislation. - Forrest Laws, Farm Press Editorial Staff

15-inch, 2x2 skip pattern tops net return study
05/09/06   
A 15-inch, 2x2 skip-row pattern topped net returns in two out of three locations in a study conducted by Mississippi State University researchers in 2003-2005. The objective of the study was to provide estimates of costs and returns for eight row patterns: 15-, 30-, 38- and 60-inch row solid cotton, 15-inch rows with a 2x1 skip row (two rows of cotton with a 30-inch skip), 15-inch rows with a 2x2 skip row (two rows with a 45-inch skip) 30-inch rows with a 2x1 skip (two rows with a 60-inch skip), and 38-inch rows with a 2x1 skip (two rows with a 76-inch skip). - Elton Robinson, Farm Press Editorial Staff

Agribusiness: Herculex gains regulatory approvals
05/08/06   
Grain corn containing Herculex RW Rootworm Protection and Herculex XTRA Insect Protection has received regulatory committee approvals for food, feed and import into Japan, according to the traits developers, Dow AgroSciences LLC and Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc. These actions open Japan to grain containing the traits. Herculex RW and Herculex XTRA received U.S. regulatory approvals in 2005 and are available for the 2006 growing season. Herculex RW and Herculex XTRA are available in hybrids from Mycogen Seeds, the retail seed brand of Dow AgroSciences; and Pioneer. Beck's Superior Hybrids also is offering Herculex RW for 2006 and will introduce Herculex XTRA in hybrids for the 2007 growing season. - Farm Press Online

Is ethanol finally catching on with investors?
05/08/06   
There's been plenty of talk over the last 30-years of how ethonal was going to change life as we know it. We were told that dependence on oil production would be reduced vastly, that American farmers would get a boost in a declining agriculture market, and that a day would come that petrolueum was all put obsolete as a fuel source. It's been an uphill journey, but the way investors are jumping on the wagon, it may be time for the alternative fuel to come into its own. Potential breakthroughs in molecular biology are making it possible for genetically modified organisms to unlock the valuable sugars in everything from prairie grass and poplar trees to manure and wood chips, making the low-cost production of plant-based ethanol feasible. - Crop News Weekly

Additional Reading: The Chicago Tribune

News from the Top of the Hill
05/05/06    National Hog Farmer
BSE "Extraordinarily Low" in U.S. -- Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns released the status of USDA's enhanced BSE surveillance program. The study indicates that the U.S. may have between four and seven BSE positive cattle. USDA concludes that the "prevalence of the disease in the United states is less than 1 case per million adult cattle, based on an adult cattle population in this country of 42 million animals." The analyses will be peer-reviewed by outside experts. USDA will use the analyses and international standards to design an ongoing BSE surveillance program. Johanns indicated USDA is considering decreasing the number of animal tested each year. Since the beginning of the program in June of 2004, USDA has tested 696,644 animals.

EU to Increase Duty on U.S. Pork -- The European Union on May 16 is expected to increase the duty by 14 percent on various U.S. boneless pork cuts and hams. This is the result of the WTO ruling against the U.S. Foreign Sales Corporation based on a case filed by the EU.

FY '07 AG Appropriations -- The House Agriculture Appropriations subcommittee passed the fiscal year 2007 agriculture appropriations bill. The bill provides $18.4 billion in total discretionary funding and $76.079 billion in mandatory spending (farm payments, food stamps, etc.). Key items include:

  • Avian Flu/Pandemic: countermeasures and monitoring programs are funded at $80 million.

  • FSIS: Food Safety and Inspection Service is funded at $853 million which is an increase of $24 million over last year.

  • User Fees: The subcommittee rejected the administration's request for $105 million in user fees for meat and poultry inspection.

  • Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS): APHIS received an additional $92 million at $904 million.

  • BSE: The BSE detection and prevention activities were funded at $90 million.

  • Ag Research: The Agricultural Research Service was funded at $1.2 billion which is a cut of $49 million.

  • Conservation: Conservation activities are funded at $791 million which is a cut of $40 million.

  • Programs eliminated include: Healthy Forest Reserve, Invasive Species Grant, Wildlife Air Safety Initiative, and Child Nutrition Program, contingency reserve fund.

  • Chinese poultry products: Prohibits the exportation into the U.S. of processed poultry products from China.

    The House Appropriations Committee is expected to consider the bill next week.

    Administration Opposes Disaster Assistance -- The administration has stated its opposition to the agriculture disaster relief legislation contained in the Senate passed emergency appropriations bill. The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) stated in the administration's Statement of Administration Policy, that the administration "strongly opposes the Committee's agricultural assistance proposal, totaling nearly $4 billion. The 2002 Farm Bill was designed, when combined with crop insurance, to eliminate the need for ad hoc disaster assistance. In 2005, many crops had record or near-record production, and U.S. farm sector cash receipts were the second highest ever." The National Farmers Union (NFU) in a letter to members of the U.S. Senate said, "America's food producers have fallen victim to circumstances beyond their control. Droughts, floods, hurricanes, budget cuts, low commodity prices and skyrocketing energy costs have placed a significant burden on our nation's food and fiber producers." Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Congressman Ike Skelton (D-MO) have called upon the administration to reconsider its position.

    Farm Bill Extension -- Senators Jim Talent (R-MO) and Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) have introduced legislation that would extend the 2002 Farm Bill until legislation implementing the Doha Round trade agreement is passed by Congress. The goal is to complete the agreement by the end of the year. Talent said, "A farm bill extension, pending a fair agreement at the WTO, sends a signal to our trading partners. We will not unilaterally disarm farmers and ranchers in Missouri without assurances that we will get real and meaningful reforms from them in return. We must maintain the current framework until we know the rules of the game." Those co-sponsoring the legislation include Senators Bond (R-MO), Coleman (R-MN), Dorgan (D-ND), Landrieu (D-LA), and Pryor (D-AR). - Scott Shearer

  • First shot in the 2007 farm bill debate?
    05/05/06   
    In what could be the first significant shot fired in the 2007 farm bill debate, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) has released a report on how Mississippi River Basin (MRB) fertilizer run-off is contributing to a massive oxygen-depleted hypoxia zone in the Gulf of Mexico. Combining and updating studies done by government agencies since the mid-1990s, the EWG report claims the entire Missouri Bootheel, northwest Tennessee, a significant portion of northeast Arkansas and scattered Mississippi counties and Louisiana parishes are chief run-off offenders. EWG's hope is the debate will focus on this problem and political momentum will swing in its favor and against commodity subsidy payments. - David Bennett, Farm Press Editorial Staff

    Mobile Soybean Rust Alert System
    05/09/06    American Soybean Association
    The American Soybean Association and Doane Advisory Services have partnered to bring soybean growers a new mobile soybean rust alert system that will alert subscribers when rust has been detected in their region. This mobile alert system will provide a vital service to growers during the summer months when they often don't have immediate access to a computer but do carry a cell phone. The new service places a brief call to subscribers on a weekly basis only when USDA confirms a new occurrence of soybean rust in your region or a nearby region (you choose which regions you want). After notifying subscribers of this new rust development, the call will direct users to visit http://www.SoyRAP.com for additional information concerning soybean rust. The SoyRAP.com mobile rust alert service is FREE to ASA members and is only $25 for others. The SoyRAP.com mobile rust alert service is an exclusive ASA member benefit that is designed to help soybean growers manage rust. SoyRAP.com is sponsored by BASF Corporation, Bayer CropScience and Syngenta Crop Protection.

    Trade agreements remain in question as talks continue
    05/05/06   
    For farmers, international trade agreements resemble carnival games, you know going in you're going to get fleeced. At least that's the way it's played out so far and, based on the tone of ongoing negotiations, U.S. ag commodity competitors and countries that would like to continue to insist that the United States do away with farm subsidies and open markets to their products but express an entrenched unwillingness to lower their own tariffs or do away with their own sometimes subtle subsidies. - Ron Smith, Farm Press Editorial Staff

    Senate passes supplemental spending bill
    05/04/06   
    The Senate, ignoring a veto threat from President Bush, voted 78-20 to pass an emergency supplemental appropriations bill that contains $3.9 billion in disaster aid for farmers who suffered losses due to multiple weather problems in 2005. The supplemental bill, which authorizes a total of $109 billion in spending, is $14 billion above the level the president requested. The White House issued a Statement of Administration Policy that said the president would veto the bill if it exceeded the $92.2 billion he requested for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and hurricane relief. - Forrest Laws, Farm Presss Editorial Staff

    Cochran named to '10 best' list
    05/03/06   
    Mid-South farmers have known for a long time that Sen. Thad Cochran was one of the region's best-kept secrets. Working mostly "behind the scenes," the senior senator from Mississippi has probably done more to help producers stay afloat in the last 20 years than any other member of Congress. Now the rest of the country is beginning to see what a quiet force Cochran can be thanks to an article in Time magazine. Time recently selected Cochran as one of the 10 best senators in the 109th Congress, based on interviews with dozens of academics, political scientists and current and former senators. - Forrest Laws, Farm Press Editorial Staff

    Hurricane relief sign-up to begin May 17
    05/03/06   
    Farmers in affected counties in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina and Texas can begin signing up for USDA's 2005 hurricane disaster assistance programs at USDA Service Centers May 17. The aid will be provided through four crop and livestock assistance programs funded by $250 million in Section 32 funds that were authorized immediately following the storms, which occurred in July, August and September of last year, Agriculture Mike Johanns said. - Farm Press Online

    Sign Up for MarketMaxx
    05/09/06   
    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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