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A Prism Business Media Publication September 27, 2006 | 060927   
TABLE OF CONTENTS
 >> Logan Hawkes

 >> Farm groups call for farm bill extension

 >> Bush administration puts forth trade pact with Columbia

 >> Stallman urges Ag Committee to extend farm bill

 >> Senate leaders turn back Conrad disaster bill

 >> New from the Top of the Hill

 >> Road Warrior: View From Canada

 >> September crop report

 >> Equipment Forum: Case IH unveils Puma tractor series

 >> Reducing harvest losses

 >> Arkansas could be biofuels production center



  EDITOR'S NOTE
Logan Hawkes
09/27/06    Crop News Weekly
While temps continue to drop across much of the Midwest, farm bill fever continues to rise across America. Farm groups, specialty organizations and rural farmers are all looking to the future as the farm bill becomes a larger issue in the upcoming midterm elections. But political experts are warning that with the political focus on terrorism and the Nation's war efforts, we shouldn't expect a lot of serious discussion and consideration of farm issues for some time.

Yet it is the farm bill that leads our issue this week with leaders of major U.S. farm organizations telling the House Agriculture Committee they support the 2002 farm bill and favor extending the law. American Farm Bureau Federation president Bob Stallman adds to the argument, agreeing that Congress should know the outcome of the Doha Round of world trade talks before beginning a new farm bill. Stallman is also urging Congress to pass an extension. In other news, a free trade agreement between the United States and Colombia will generate additional export opportunities for American farmers and ranchers, President Bush said in a letter notifying the House and Senate of his intent to sign the pact. And some bad news recently: The third time was not a charm as Senate Republican leaders once again blocked efforts by a bipartisan group of farm-state senators to provide assistance to farmers and ranchers hammered by weather disasters in 2005 and 2006. Also in this issue, get the run down on the USDA September Crop Report, read about the new Case IH Puma tractor series, and find out farmer's preferences for a new farm bill according to a recent survey.

You'll find these and other stories in the spotlight this issue. Thanks for reading Crop News Weekly.



  FROM OUR MAGAZINES
Farm groups call for farm bill extension
09/25/06   
Leaders of the major U.S. farm organizations have told the House Agriculture Committee they support the 2002 farm bill and favor extending the law as is until a final WTO agreement is in place. Some farm group presidents, meanwhile, said they would like to "build on the farm bill's strengths" by adjusting various provisions of the law. And the National Corn Growers Association asked for consideration of a new revenue assurance proposal its public policy team has been developing. - Forrest Laws, Farm Press Editorial Staff

Bush administration puts forth trade pact with Columbia
09/25/06   
A free trade agreement between the United States and Colombia will generate additional export opportunities for American farmers and ranchers, President Bush said in a letter notifying the House and Senate of his intent to sign the pact. It would also "help create jobs in the United States and help American consumers save money, while offering them more choices," he said. And it would "benefit the people of Colombia by providing economic opportunity and strengthening democracy." - Hembree Brandon, Farm Press Editorial Staff

Stallman urges Ag Committee to extend farm bill
09/22/06   
The World Trade Organization should be given the opportunity to finalize a new trade agreement before Congress begins the arduous task of writing the next farm bill, the president of the American Farm Bureau Federation says. Bob Stallman, a rice and cattle producer from Texas when he's not speaking for Farm Bureau, says that because Congress should know the outcome of the Doha Round of world trade talks before beginning a new farm bill, it should first extend the current legislation. - Farm Press Editorial Staff

Senate leaders turn back Conrad disaster bill
09/25/06   
The third time was not a charm as Senate Republican leaders once again blocked efforts by a bipartisan group of farm-state senators to provide assistance to farmers and ranchers hammered by weather disasters in 2005 and 2006. "A fair vote has been denied here in the Senate and the party in power has turned its back on American farmers," said Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D. Conrad and Conrad Burns, R-Mont., Ben Nelson, D-Neb., and other senators introduced two other emergency assistance bills for 2005 and 2006 that have not become law. - Forrest Laws, Farm Press Editorial Staff

New from the Top of the Hill
09/22/06    National Hog Farmer
AG Groups Inform Congress on Farm Bill -- Seventeen agricultural and commodity groups indicated their various positions on the 2007 farm bill before the House Agriculture Committee. A number of organizations, including the American Farm Bureau Federation, National Farmers Union, National Cotton Council, and US Rice Industry, indicated support for extending the current farm bill. The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) is advocating a change in farm policy. NCGA is supporting two new programs: the Base Revenue Protection (BRP) and the Revenue Countercyclical Program (RCCP). According to NCGA, these programs would work in a "complementary fashion to assist producers when market revenue falls below target levels. BRP provides coverage against declines in farm-level crop-specific net revenue while RCCP builds on this base with protection against declines in revenue measured at the county level, which is similar to Group Risk Income Protection (GRIP) in federal crop insurance." Additional farm bill hearings will be held this year by the House Agriculture Committee.

Pork Producers Present Views on Farm Bill -- The National Pork Producers Council's (NPPC) testimony before the House Agriculture Committee urged Congress to consider the needs of pork producers when writing the new farm bill. Those needs include: 1) maintain the U.S. pork industry's competitive advantage globally; 2) strengthen the industry's competitiveness; and 3) defend the industry's competitiveness by opposing unwarranted and costly provisions and regulations. NPPC addressed five issues important to the pork industry: risk management, conservation and the environment, ethanol, animal welfare and market structure and information. Concerning ethanol, NPPC indicated that beginning in 2008, "ethanol production could be large enough to cause displacement in the domestic pork industry. Given current and projected ethanol prices, ethanol plants likely will be able to outbid pork producers for corn. Additionally, any wide-spread drought would significantly accelerate this problem."

Producers Preferences for Farm Bill -- In a survey of 15,000 producers in 27 states, producers ranked renewable energy, enhancing opportunities for small and beginning farmers, and assuring a safe and affordable food supply as their top three goals for the next farm bill. Producers indicated that bioenergy production and food safety programs should receive new or additional funding. When asked what existing programs should continue to receive funding, producers ranked disaster assistance and crop insurance at the top followed by working land conservation programs, marketing loans, direct payments and countercyclical payments. Medium and large-size operations placed a higher priority on the safety net, while smaller operations placed a higher priority on working land conservation programs. The survey was conducted by the Farm Foundation.

Other key findings of the survey:

  • "Payment limits enjoy support among all categories of farms, but support is greater among small farms than large farms.

  • Producers surveyed in seven states favor a fruit and vegetable support program but not necessarily one modeled on traditional commodity programs. Instead they prioritize disaster assistance, crop insurance and block grants for state programs.

  • Respondents support technical and financial assistance to address conservation goals, particularly water quality and soil erosion control measures. Producers value continued support for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and the Conservation Security Program (CSP).

  • Respondents support free trade negotiations and expanded trade opportunities. However, they also favor comprehensive negotiations that include food safety, labor and conservation issues. They favor negotiations that focus on domestic policy goals ahead of trade policy goals.

  • Producers favor country of origin labeling and prefer mandatory labeling over voluntary labeling. Producers support mandatory animal identification programs. They also favor BSE testing, with preference for voluntary guidelines for testing by industry rather than government-mandated programs.

  • When asked about the expected future transition of their farm or ranch, more than 50 percent expected the transition would be to a family member.

  • Producers surveyed in three states supported agricultural credit programs, putting the highest priority on beginning farmer programs."

    The complete survey can be found at http://www.farmfoundation.org.

    Oman FTA -- The United States Senate passed the U.S.-Oman Free Trade (FTA) Agreement Implementation Act. Eighty-seven percent of Oman's tariff lines will go to zero for agricultural products on the first day of the agreement. The remaining tariffs will be phased out over 10 years. The legislation now goes to President Bush for his signature.

    Pork Producers Come to Washington -- Over 100 pork producers from through-out the United States were in Washington, D.C. last week to meet with administration officials and key Senators and Congressmen to discuss key issues facing the pork industry. Various issues discussed were CERCLA reform, mandatory price reporting, fatigued hog legislation, and the free trade issues with Peru, Columbia, and Vietnam. - from the desk of Scott Shearer

  • Road Warrior: View From Canada
    09/20/06   
    Dave Kohl writes: "I had the opportunity to spend a week in Western Canada recently. Sometimes we take our neighbors to the north for granted, but they are the U.S.'s biggest trading partner. The U.S. is also the biggest foreign investor in Canada, over 50%, followed by England and Germany. The province of Alberta, north of Montana, is becoming very wealthy. The whole area from south of Calgary up to the Yukon border is oil patch rich. This is definitely impacting farming and ranching..." - The Corn & Soybean Digest

    September crop report
    09/20/06   
    The USDA Crop Report released on September 12 increased the estimated U.S. corn production for 2006 by 1%, or by approximately 138 million bushels from the August 1 estimate. The expected total production level in 2006 is now projected at 11.114 billion bushels, with a national average corn yield of 154.7 bu./acre. This may seem surprising to many growers in Minnesota, given the drought conditions that have existed in many areas of the state for much of the summer. Minnesota's average 2006 corn yield on Sept. 1, 2006, is projected at 164 bu./acre, which is 10 bu./acre lower than the final 2005 corn yield of 174 bu./acre, but is up 4 bu./acre from the estimated yield of 160 bu./acre on August 1, 2006. Some feel that the USDA corn production estimates for 2006 are underestimated, given some good to excellent crop growing conditions in many areas later in the growing season. Kent Thiesse, The Corn & Soybean Digest

    Equipment Forum: Case IH unveils Puma tractor series
    09/22/06   
    Case IH set a standard in high horsepower tractors with Steiger, Quadtrac, Magnum and Maxxum. Puma springs from that same lineage. Dependable power is being brought back to growers and dealers by the new Case IH Puma family of tractors. Designed for the grower who wants a multi-purpose machine that's easy to use, with plenty of power and solid reliability, the Case IH Puma tractor is the fuel-efficient new workhorse that simplifies operations for growers. It handles a wide variety of tasks in many different types of farm enterprises -- from row-crops to hay and forage to vegetables.

    Reducing harvest losses
    09/18/06   
    Additional ear droppage can be caused by deteriorating stalk and ear shank strength. Harvesting at higher moisture content may be beneficial to reduce loss. The disadvantage is higher drying costs, which can be a major factor because of high LP cost. The key to reducing header ear loss in down corn is to get the snouts under the down corn to lift the corn stalks up... - University of Minnesota

    Arkansas could be biofuels production center
    09/21/06   
    Biofuels production in Arkansas has gone from zero last summer to 20 million gallons this summer, and it is projected to be 60 million gallons in 2007. In a few years, biofuels production could make "energy" a major new commodity for Arkansas farmers and foresters. That was the consensus of industry experts, scientists, legislators and government officials at a workshop in Little Rock, Ark. - Howell Medders, University of Arkansas



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