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A Prism Business Media Publication October 4, 2006 | 061004   
TABLE OF CONTENTS
 >> Logan Hawkes

 >> CRP savings would be costly, analysts say

 >> More fodder for U.S. policy critics

 >> Thiesse's Thoughts: Harvest underway

 >> Brazil asks WTO to investigate U.S. in trade dispute

 >> News from the Top of the Hill

 >> Road Warrior: Asian Free Trade Zone

 >> Bioenergy, safety net are top farm bill priorities

 >> Drought relief likely hot issue in October

 >> Emergency appropriations reform bill introduced

 >> Louisiana soybean/corn harvest progressing rapidly

 >> Commentary: Renewable fuels are coming of age

 >> Renewable energy conference scheduled Oct. 10-12

 >> Specialty crops legislation benefits farmers

 >> Grain combine fires; still a burning problem

 >> Last straw -- farm programs blamed for obesity

 >> 2006 Mid-South harvest early for some crops

 >> Late surge in ASR cases not concern for soybean crop

 >> Ground Swell: Survey Finds Farmland Values Up Again

 >> American Cowman launched



  EDITOR'S NOTE
Logan Hawkes
10/04/06    Crop News Weekly
Already the October moon hangs in the evening sky and harvest continues across the Midwest at an accelerated rate. Iowa corn farmers are reporting the crop isn't a record and not as dry as a couple of weeks back, but say they still expect a decent yield. A few enterprising farmers have opened their Harvest corn maze operations, a growing trend to produce non-traditional farm revenue. All in all it's a good time of year to be involved in farming. With midterm elections looming, that could change.

In the top of the news this week, you've heard the expression "penny-wise and pound foolish." A new study released by the University of Tennessee's Agriculture Policy Analysis Center says ideas about doing away with the Conservation Reserve Program could be just that. As Congress prepares the next farm bill, some organizations are suggesting that it do away with or scale back the 34.7-million-acre Conservation Reserve and make more land available for farming. In other news, just when U.S. farmers thought they could breath a little easier about the Doha Round, U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab reportedly said the United States is willing to make more reductions in its farm programs to help re-start the world trade negotiations. Elsewhere, Midwest harvest is underway with mixed results being reported so far. Soybeans are strong in some areas, not so good in others. Overall it looks like it will be a productive year. Review the crop report in this issue for all the details. Meanwhile, Brazilian officials have filed a second request for a new World Trade Organization panel to investigate U.S. compliance with an earlier WTO dispute panel ruling against the USDA cotton program, once again indicating the U.S. ag industry remains subject to global complications. Elsewhere this week, according to a recent grower survey, bioenergy and the structure of safety net programs are of high interest to farmers and ranchers as the next farm bill is debated. And finally this week, farm-state senators struck out in their first attempt to pass a new emergency assistance bill. The issue is expected to garner a lot of attention when Congress returns and faces the reality of midterm elections.

There's a lot of news to cover this week, so dig in and enjoy. And thanks for reading Crop News Weekly.



  FROM OUR MAGAZINES
CRP savings would be costly, analysts say
10/03/06   
You've heard the expression "penny-wise and pound foolish." A new study released by the University of Tennessee's Agriculture Policy Analysis Center says ideas about doing away with the Conservation Reserve Program could be just that. As Congress prepares to get down to the task of writing the next farm bill, some organizations are suggesting that it do away with or scale back the 34.7-million-acre Conservation Reserve to save federal tax dollars and make more land available for growing crops. - Forrest Laws, Farm Press Editorial Staff

More fodder for U.S. policy critics
10/01/06   
Just when U.S. farmers thought they could breath a little easier about the Doha Round, U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab reportedly said the United States is willing to make more reductions in its farm programs to help re-start the world trade negotiations. According to press reports, Schwab was attending a meeting in Cairns, Australia, when she said Washington was willing to give more ground on the subsidies issue, which supposedly led to the collapse of the Doha Round negotiations in Geneva in July. - Forrest Laws, Farm Press Editorial Staff

Thiesse's Thoughts: Harvest underway
09/27/06   
The fall corn and soybean harvest is now getting into full swing in many portions of southern and western Minnesota. Primary attention is being focused on the soybean harvest, as many soybeans have now reached maturity, and timeliness is very critical to prevent soybean harvest loss. Frequent rainfall events in the past couple of weeks have slowed soybean harvest in many areas. Early soybean yield reports are predictably highly variable in Southern Minnesota, ranging from less than 40 bu./acre to over 60 bu./acre. Most growers are reporting good to excellent soybean yields thus far. - Kent Thiesse, The Corn & Soybean Digest

Brazil asks WTO to investigate U.S. in trade dispute
09/29/06   
Brazilian officials have filed a second request for a new World Trade Organization panel to investigate U.S. compliance with an earlier WTO dispute panel ruling against the USDA cotton program. The Bush administration blocked the first request, which was filed earlier this month, but will be unable to prevent the formation of a review panel now that the government of Brazil has filed the second petition. The filing occurred in advance of a WTO meeting in Geneva Sept. 28. - Forrest Laws, Farm Press Editorial Staff

News from the Top of the Hill
09/29/06    National Hog Farmer
Congress in Recess -- Congress was trying to complete action on a number of bills before leaving town until after the November 7 elections late last week. Congress is leaving a number of unfinished items for the lame duck session later this year. Only two appropriations bills, defense and homeland security, are expected to be completed before they leave. All of the remaining appropriations bills, including agriculture, will be considered when Congress returns the week of November 13. Other items that will be left for November are disaster assistance, immigration reform, estate tax, tax research and development tax credits, Commodities Exchange Act, etc. A concern to many is will the lame duck session be for only one week in November or will it carry-over into December.

AG Groups Ask House to Vote on Disaster Assistance -- Congressman John Barrow (D-GA) has filed a discharge petition trying to force the House Republican leadership to allow a vote on disaster assistance before Congress leaves for the November elections. Over thirty agricultural organizations sent a letter this week to every member of the House of Representatives urging them to sign the discharge petition. It takes 218 signatures to force a vote. The groups said, "A disaster is a disaster -- regardless if it comes from a hurricane, tornado, flood or drought. There are myriad nationwide agricultural disasters -- from coast to coast. Congress should not continue to fail to act." Currently, USDA has declared over 66 percent of all U.S. counties as primary or contiguous disaster areas. Agricultural organizations signing the letter included: American Farm Bureau Federation, American Soybean Association, American Sugar Alliance, Independent Community Bankers of America, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Corn Growers Association, National Cotton Council, National Farmers Organization, National Farmers Union, National Grange, USA Rice Federation, and Women Involved in Farm Economics.

EPA Particulate Matter and Air Quality Rule -- EPA issued its national air quality standards rule, "National Ambient Air Quality Standards," to address fine and coarse particle pollution or particulate matter. The rule strengthens EPA's previous daily fine particle standard by nearly 50 percent. The standard will go from 65 micrograms of particles per cubic meter to 35 micrograms of particles per cubic meter of air. Many agricultural groups had asked that agriculture be exempt, which it was not in the final rule. Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) has asked EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson to come and visit his farm so he could understand how the EPA expects farmers to contain dust on their farms. In the invitation letter to Johnson, Grassley said, "This visit will allow you to show me first hand how a farmer is to contain dust on their farm while combining." The American Farm Bureau Federation said, "Because agriculture will be included in the rule, it will be all the more critical to examine the breadth of the rule, and the monitoring provisions that will follow, to gauge their impact on farming and ranching operation."

USDA Appointments -- J. Burton Eller, Jr., has been appointed USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs. He will assist Under Secretary Bruce Knight and Deputy Under Secretary Chuck Lambert with the Agricultural Marketing Service, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, and Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration. Eller had been serving as an official of the Farm Service Agency. At one time, Eller was an executive of the National Cattlemen's Association. - Scott Shearer

Road Warrior: Asian Free Trade Zone
09/26/06   
Dave Kohl writes: "North America and Europe aren't the only regions of the world that may have free trade zones. Backed by the economic powers of Japan and China, a new free trade zone is being explored. This zone would represent over half of the world's population and about 25% of the world's GDP, about $10 trillion. This new zone could challenge the old spheres of the Western World. The U.S. and Canada were absent in the initial discussions despite close trade links with this region. Formal negotiation could begin in 2008 when the world is focused on China and the Olympics." - The Corn & Soybean Digest

Bioenergy, safety net are top farm bill priorities
09/28/06   
Bioenergy and the structure of safety net programs are of high interest to farmers and ranchers as the next farm bill is debated, according to more than 15,000 farmers and ranchers in 27 states surveyed by Farm Foundation's National Public Policy Education Committee. 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.

Drought relief likely hot issue in October
09/27/06   
Farm-state senators struck out in their first attempt to pass a new emergency assistance bill when Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., attempted to attach it to a port security bill. But, even if Republicans continue to bottle up the legislation, they are likely to hear plenty about it when they return to the campaign trail for the Nov. 7 elections. Nelson's amendment failed to get a vote on Sept. 14 after Republicans said it wasn't germane to the port security bill. Sens. Nelson, Kent Conrad, D-N.D., and Conrad Burns, R-Mont., say they will keep trying to find a way to pass the measure. - Forrest Laws, Farm Press Editorial Staff

Emergency appropriations reform bill introduced
09/29/06   
Saying he wants to ensure emergency assistance bills only help those with emergencies, Rep. Randy Neugebauer, R-Texas, has introduced legislation that would limit how Congress responds to natural disasters. Neugebauer's legislation, the Responsible Emergency Appropriation Limits Supplemental Act, H.R. 6176, would change House rules so that an emergency supplemental appropriations bill can only provide for a single emergency, contain only emergency spending, and must be free of earmarks. - Forrest Laws, Farm Press Editorial Staff

Louisiana soybean/corn harvest progressing rapidly
09/29/06   
Farmers harvesting Louisiana crops continue to dodge late-season rains. Now on the tail-end of collecting the soybean crop, "harvest is progressing rapidly," says David Lanclos, LSU AgCenter soybean/corn specialist. "I'm extremely optimistic with how things are shaping up. "Farmers are wrapping up the latest-planted soybeans in the sugarcane area. The average on those beans should be in the low 40-bushel range." - David Bennett, Farm Press Editorial Staff

Commentary: Renewable fuels are coming of age
09/28/06   
Renewable fuels are coming of age and that's great for rural America. As the nation works to reduce our dependence on foreign sources of oil, the potential for renewable fuels on the agricultural economy can be summed up in three words: positive, significant and imminent. The road to energy independence runs through the farm, and USDA Rural Development is playing a key role in encouraging the new agriculture economy represented by the renewable fuels industry. - Under Secretary Thomas C. Dorr United States Department of Agriculture

Renewable energy conference scheduled Oct. 10-12
09/28/06   
The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Energy will sponsor a conference on renewable energy Oct. 10-12 at the Americas Center in St. Louis. The event, "Advancing Renewable Energy: An American Rural Renaissance," is designed to create partnerships and strategies that will accelerate commercialization of renewable energy industries and distribution systems, the crux of President Bush's Advanced Energy Initiative.

Specialty crops legislation benefits farmers
09/28/06   
Calling it "an important step forward in improving farm policy to make U.S. agriculture more competitive and provide expanded benefits to both farmers and consumers," American Farmland Trust has endorsed the Equitable Agriculture for a Healthy America Act. The legislation was introduced today by a broad bi-partisan Congressional coalition led by Representatives Richard Pombo (R-CA), Adam Putnam (R-FL), Dennis Cardoza (D-CA) and John Salazar (D-CO).

Grain combine fires; still a burning problem
09/26/06   
University of Minnesota research show that combine and tractor fires still cause millions of dollars in property losses each year and even more because of lost time and downed crops during the busy harvest season. Fires not only cause huge losses and waste time...they also cause dozens of injuries each year, and occasionally a person is killed because of a farm machinery fire. - The Corn & Soybean Digest

Last straw -- farm programs blamed for obesity
09/27/06   
Big bad agriculture is at it again. This time, our farm programs are being blamed for the obesity epidemic in developing countries. According to Philip James, the British chairman of the International Obesity Task Force at the 10th International Obesity Congress in Sydney, Australia, existing farm policies, particularly agricultural subsidies in the European Union and the United States, have been damaging people's health for decades. - Elton Robinson, Farm Press Editorial Staff

2006 Mid-South harvest early for some crops
09/27/06   
The 2006 harvest season is a little ahead of schedule in the Mid-South, according to USDA's Sept. 25 crop progress report. In some areas, however, crop conditions are iffy at best. About 17 percent of the U.S. cotton crop has been harvested, compared to 15 percent last year and a five-year average of 14 percent.

Late surge in ASR cases not concern for soybean crop
09/27/06   
Louisiana's latest confirmation of Asian soybean rust came Sept. 25 with a find in St. Landry Parish. The disease has been found in 16 parishes. "If you look where these cases have occurred on the map, there are only a couple of soybean parishes left that don't officially have ASR," says Clayton Hollier, LSU AgCenter plant pathologist "However, we have deep suspicions the disease is there. It just hasn't been found yet. It's probably just a matter of time before ASR is found in those holdouts." - David Bennett, Farm Press Editorial Staff

Ground Swell: Survey Finds Farmland Values Up Again
A Purdue University survey of farm lenders, appraisers, land brokers and farm managers found that Hoosier cropland posted strong gains in value during the year that ended in June. The survey also revealed that cash rents rose in the same period but by a much smaller percentage. Purdue's Department of Agricultural Economics conducts the survey each June. Indiana farmland values have trended higher for about 20 consecutive years, says Craig Dobbins, a Purdue agricultural economist and survey coordinator. - Purdue University

American Cowman launched
About 90% of the beef cow-calf operations in the U.S. are small family farms with herds of 100 head of cattle or fewer, according to USDA. Collectively, these family beef operations contribute an important share of the American beef supply, along with having an essential role in the stewardship of natural resources and the leadership and social fabric of rural communities. BEEF magazine recognizes the importance of this beef production sector, and recently launched a new electronic venture called American Cowman that is designed to meet the information needs of today's family-owned cattle herds with up to 100 head. The American Cowman effort consists of a Web site ( http://www.americancowman.com.) and American Cowman Update, a twice-monthly electronic newsletter to be sent free to subscribers. Both endeavors provide a resource of information on facilities, nutrition, animal health, pasture and range, and genetics. Additionally the website includes industry news, new products, and links to breed associations, ranch horses, weather, markets, recipes, continuing education opportunities, and books about beef and rural life. To learn more and to subscribe to the American Cowman Update newsletter which will be sent out free via e-mail on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month, go to http://www.americancowman.com.



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