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A Prism Business Media Publication August 16, 2006 | 060816   
TABLE OF CONTENTS
 >> Logan Hawkes

 >> New rust find in northwest Louisiana

 >> Soybean rust moving north in Georgia

 >> Immigration reform needed this year

 >> Farm groups on a roll...More to follow?

 >> USDA releases fourth of five farm bill papers

 >> News from the Top of the Hill

 >> National average for diesel tops $3 mark

 >> Thiesse's Thoughts: Welcome rainfall in Mid West

 >> Why do lenders weight collateral and equity heavily

 >> Soybean checkoff continues fight against disease, pests

 >> Workshop on energy from biomass

 >> USDA, Energy fund bioenergy fuels research projects

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  EDITOR'S NOTE
Logan Hawkes
08/16/06    Crop News Weekly
With so much trouble going on throughout the world, it's sometimes difficult to get focused on the needs at hand. I found myself drifting to the tube to surf the cable news channels this past week, as if knowing the latest developments of Middle East and terror activities would arm me with the ability to solve all the problems; to make it all go away. Then I hear the rooster crowing and realize I have spent half the night worrying about problems I can't solve. - sheesh -

In addition to all the world news this week, there's a lot to review in the world of agriculture, starting with another confirmed case of soybean rust in Louisiana. Also confirmed this week, soybean rust at an industry research field near Chula, Georgia, indicating the disease has spread further north in that state. Six Georgia counties have now confirmed ASR. In other news, a group of Texas farmers are challenging Congress to act quickly to pass an immigration reform law or risk severe damage to the state's agricultural economy, reflecting the opinion of a growing number of growers in the U.S. Elsewhere, the fourth of five 2007 farm-bill discussion papers, this one on renewable energy and energy-efficiency programs, is now available on the USDA Web site. The first three, released earlier this year, covered risk management, conservation and the environment, and rural development. Also in the news, the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), National Association of Manufacturers, and Coalition of Service Industries have called upon Congress to extend Trade Promotion Authority (TPA). They say TPA is critical if the U.S. wants other countries to engage in serious negotiations. And just in case you haven't heard, the national average cost of diesel has risen to just over $3 a gallon this week. Finally, and related, USDA and DOE have awarded nine grants totaling $5.7 million for research aimed at accelerating the development of alternative fuel resources.

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



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  FROM OUR MAGAZINES
New rust find in northwest Louisiana
08/15/06   
Asian soybean rust has been found in northwest Louisiana's Natchitoches Parish. Discovered in a Group 4 production field on Aug. 11, the disease was confirmed on Aug. 14. The field "was almost far enough along not to worry with rust," says Boyd Padgett, LSU AgCenter plant pathologist. "I've heard nothing about more being found in surrounding areas. That doesn't surprise me. It feels like it's about 300 degrees, right now. And there's been no rain. - David Bennett, Farm Press Editorial Staff

Soybean rust moving north in Georgia
08/14/06   
Asian soybean rust was confirmed Aug. 7 on leaves taken from Group IV soybeans growing in an industry research field near Chula in Tift County. A small leaf sample (<10 leaflets) was submitted to the University of Georgia diagnostic clinic, and rust was confirmed. The Tift County find makes six counties in south central Georgia reporting infections. Tift becomes the 29th county in the U.S. with soybean rust and the northernmost in Georgia this year. - Roy Roberson, Farm Press Editorial Staff

Immigration reform needed this year
08/14/06   
Representatives of the Texas fruit and vegetable industry used last week's annual conference as a platform to challenge Congress to act quickly to pass an immigration reform law or risk severe damage to the state's agricultural economy. Tamar Jacoby, with the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, said the window of opportunity to get a workable bill passed is narrow. Jacoby said if Congress does not act quickly following the August recess, the issue likely will be difficult to resurrect with a new Congress next year. She said the Senate has passed a reasonable bill that includes the three elements she believes to be crucial to a workable immigration program: border security, guest worker program and offering current illegals a path to legal status. - Ron Smith, Farm Press Editorial Staff

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Farm groups on a roll...More to follow?
08/12/06   
They're not receiving much credit for it in the media, but farm organizations scored a major victory when the Doha Development Round negotiations collapsed in Geneva last month. In other years and other scenarios, farm groups might have walked away from the talks, muttering how U.S. trade officials had done it to them again by agreeing to proposals from the European Union or Japan or other WTO members just to get an agreement. - Forrest Laws, Farm Press Editorial Staff

USDA releases fourth of five farm bill papers
08/11/06   
The fourth of five 2007 farm-bill discussion papers, this one on renewable energy and energy-efficiency programs, is now available at www.usda.gov/farmbill. The first three, released earlier this year, covered risk management, conservation and the environment, and rural development. A fifth and final theme paper will examine opportunities to strengthen U.S. ag's foundation. The latest paper is an analysis prepared by USDA economists of the agency's renewable energy and energy-efficiency programs, and looks at potential sources of energy under the ag umbrella. It tracks results of USDA renewable-energy and energy-efficiency programs, and contemplates enhancements and alternatives to those programs. - Joe Roybal, BEEF Mag

News from the Top of the Hill
08/11/06    National Hog Farmer
Senators Ask Korea to Reopen Market to U.S. Beef -- Thirty-one U.S. Senators asked South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun to personally help in resolving the opening of the Korean market to U.S. beef and reminding him of the importance of this issue to the U.S.-Korea free trade negotiations. In the letter the Senators stated, "It has been more than seven months since our countries' health officials agreed on initial conditions to resume trade. The restoration of beef trade prior to the conclusion of talks scheduled for the end of this year is essential to making meaningful progress and addressing Congressional reservations about a possible free trade agreement (FTA)." The letter was initiated by Senators Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, and Tom Harkin (D-IA), ranking member of the Senate Agriculture Committee.

USDA Energy Farm Bill Paper -- USDA released its farm bill energy paper, "Energy and Agriculture," which reviews USDA's renewable energy and energy efficiency programs. The paper also discusses various alternatives to these programs. The alternatives which are for discussion purposes only are:

1. Expand Federal Direct Market Intervention to Support Renewable Energy:

  • Raise the level of the Renewable Fuel Standard.
  • Extend renewable energy tax credits to 2015 or later.
  • Reduce biofuel tax credits when they are not effective in increasing biofuel supply or are not needed.
  • Provide accelerated depreciation on renewable energy equipment and facility investment.
  • Provide a depreciation allowance on certain land.
  • Use more land enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) for biomass harvesting and wind energy.
  • Refocus the CCC Bioenergy Program.

    2. Expand Federal Indirect Support for Renewable Energy:

  • Expand the national cellulosic ethanol research initiative.
  • Expand creative financial engineering to support development of the biobased economy.
  • Bridge the gap between Federally-funded basic research and industry-funded applied research and development.
  • Expand education and outreach for the bioeconomy.
  • Meet expected new demands for rural electric generation and transmission. The paper is available at http://www.usda.gov/farmbill.

    Pasture, Rangeland, and Forage Risk Management Tools -- USDA announced new risk management tools for pasture, rangeland and forage, beginning with the 2007 crop year. USDA's Risk Management Agency will be offering the Rainfall index insurance program and the Vegetation index insurance program which will allow livestock producers the ability to purchase insurance protection for losses of forage produced for grazing or hay. These products may be purchased through approved insurance providers. More detailed information regarding these two new programs is available at: http:///www.rma.usda.gov/policies/pasturerangeforage/

    Renew TPA -- The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), National Association of Manufacturers, and Coalition of Service Industries have called upon Congress to extend Trade Promotion Authority (TPA). AFBF said, "TPA is critical if we want other countries to engage in serious negotiations with the United States. U.S. agriculture relies on overseas markets and gaining access to those markets is vital to the overall success of farmers and ranchers. Agriculture's ability to compete in global markets, on fair terms, with better access to expanding markets is dependent on TPA." TPA expires next June. This authority allows the President to negotiate trade agreements for an up-or-down vote by Congress.

    USDA Changes -- The Senate has confirmed Bruce Knight as USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs. He will oversee the Agriculture Marketing Service, Animal Plant Health Inspection Service, and Grain Inspection Packers and Stockyards Agency. Knight is a native of South Dakota and prior to confirmation was head of USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service. JB Penn, Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services, announced he will be leaving USDA at the end of the month to become chief economist for Deere and Company. - from the desk of Scott Shearer

  • National average for diesel tops $3 mark
    08/11/06   
    The national average price for diesel passed $3 for the week ending Aug. 7, reports http://www.landlinemag.com. The U.S. Energy Info Agency says the $3.055/gal. national average is the highest since October 2005, when diesel hit $3.157/gal. in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Everything from strikes in Nigeria by owners of fuel tankers, to the EPA-mandated switch to ultra-low sulfur diesel, to the needs of U.S. farmers to irrigate more because of drought is being blamed for the disruption and depletion of diesel supplies. - Crop News Weekly

    Thiesse's Thoughts: Welcome rainfall in Mid West
    08/10/06   
    If there ever was such a thing as a just-in-time rainfall, it was probably the rain that fell across the southern third of Minnesota and northern parts of Iowa on August 1-2. Many of these areas were getting critically short of soil moisture and crops were starting to show some stress, especially after the extremely hot temperatures in late July. Most of the previously mentioned region received 2-4 in. or more of rainfall on August 1 and 2; however, rainfall amounts dropped off north and west of this region. Many areas of West Central and Northwest Minnesota got very little rainfall, and drought conditions continue to persist. The rainfall did come with some severe storms. Tornadoes touched down in Watonwan County causing significant damage to a handful of farm sites, and strong winds reaching over 80 mph flattened thousands of acres of corn in Jackson County, as well as across the border in Northwest Iowa. - Kent Thiesse, The Corn & Soybean Digest

    Why do lenders weight collateral and equity heavily
    08/10/06   
    Road Warrior Dave Kohl writes: "This was a question asked by an agricultural producer panel at a recent lending school. I often joke that lenders loan money on the five "C's" of lending: collateral, collateral, collateral, collateral and collateral. Of course, for many that is not true. Repayment capacity, character, conditions surrounding the loan and profitability are in many lenders' toolboxes, particularly for larger commercial agricultural loans. However, collateral and equity do play a role. They are the last line of defense for a lender in the worst-case scenario to recover monies loaned to the producer. Too little equity and collateral, and the lender and borrower can get upside down (liabilities & loan amount higher than asset value). In this case, the lender incurs losses." - The Corn & Soybean Digest

    Soybean checkoff continues fight against disease, pests
    08/10/06   
    With the growing season in full swing, soybean producers are paying attention to soybean rust confirmations in the South. And while rust is a serious disease that commands attention, it's not the only yield-robber out there. The farmer-leaders of the soybean checkoff are committed to helping producers fight plant illnesses and pests, including, but not limited to, rust. Economists estimate the effects of a soybean rust outbreak could potentially cost $240 million to $2 billion annually. - Farm Press Daily

    Workshop on energy from biomass
    08/11/06   
    A workshop for legislators, the business and manufacturing community, community leaders and interested citizens on the potential for producing energy and value-added products from biomass is set for Aug. 24 and 25 at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Little Rock. Milo Shult, the UA system's vice president for agriculture, said speakers will include leaders of companies now producing biofuels and other biomass products, including Cal McCastlain of Patriot Biofuels; Gary McChesney of Viceroy Acquisition Corporation (formerly Eastman Chemical); and Tommy Smith of Potlatch Corporation. - Farm Press Daily

    USDA, Energy fund bioenergy fuels research projects
    08/09/06   
    Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman and Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns announced the Departments of Agriculture and Energy have awarded nine grants totaling $5.7 million for research aimed at accelerating the development of alternative fuel resources. "To be a reliable renewable energy source, farmers and ranchers will need to be able to grow biomass in large quantities," Johanns said. "This joint research initiative will address our need for alternative energy resources and improve the efficiency with which biomass and plant feedstocks are used to produce renewable fuels such as ethanol." - Farm Press Daily



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