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A Prism Business Media Publication October 11, 2006 | 061011   
TABLE OF CONTENTS
 >> Logan Hawkes

 >> Bootheel research on alternative fertilizer

 >> Corn growers unveil revenue assurance proposals

 >> Biodiesel plant will use 100 percent soybeans

 >> 2007 DCP sign-up begins

 >> Edible soybeans an option for 2007

 >> News from the Top of the Hill

 >> Fight weeds with plant pathogens

 >> Road Warrior: World trade blocs

 >> Test nitrogen levels this fall

 >> USDA selects 51 watersheds for CSP

 >> Energy price outlook rosier than last year

 >> Renewable energy offers multiple advantages

 >> United States wins one in WTO ruling

 >> Do you know a farmer/rancher that could use $10,000?



  EDITOR'S NOTE
Logan Hawkes
10/11/06    Crop News Weekly
With the end of harvest in sight and the harvest moon waning in the night sky, we're reminded the close of 2006 is not very far away. Demanding our attention at the moment are both the pending farm bill issue and, of course, midterm elections just on the horizon. Regardless which way you vote, exercise your right and head to the polls early next month.

In the top of the news, row crop farmers who have been struggling to get a handle on abbreviations like DP and DCP and MAL may soon have two to decipher if a National Corn Growers Association proposal begins to gain traction. Elsewhere, a new facility that will produce biodiesel fuel made entirely from soybean oil will soon be built in Arkansas, providing hope for alternative fuels in the Delta country. And it's time again - enrollment for the 2007 Direct and Counter-cyclical Payment Program began Oct. 1 and continues until June 1, 2007. Also this week, Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns announces that 51 watersheds in 50 states, the Pacific Islands and the Caribbean Area will be eligible for the 2007 Conservation Security Program (CSP). These watersheds represent more than 64,500 of the nation's potentially eligible farms and ranches. Finally, what a difference a year makes. With apologies to all who suffered through back-to-back hurricanes along the Gulf Coast last August and September, motorists and farmers have a lot more to smile about when they pull up to the pump this fall.

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



  FROM OUR MAGAZINES
Bootheel research on alternative fertilizer
10/09/06   
In an effort to help farmers reduce their fertilizer bills, Michael Aide is in the first year of studying the use of chicken litter on Missouri crops. "The concept of using poultry litter as an alternative nitrogen source isn't new," the agronomy professor at Southeast Missouri State University said at the recent Missouri Rice Farm field day near Glennonville, Mo. "But there's renewed interest in using it because of the current economic situation and cost of nitrogen fertilizer. We thought it would be very appropriate to take another look at litter in helping growers turn a profit." - David Bennett, Farm Press Editorial Staff

Corn growers unveil revenue assurance proposals
10/09/06   
Row crop farmers who have been struggling to get a handle on abbreviations like DP and DCP and MAL may soon have two to decipher if a National Corn Growers Association proposal begins to gain traction. The new abbreviations are BRP, which stands for Base Revenue Protection, and RCCP, which is short for Revenue Counter-cyclical Program. BRP and RCCP, which would work in complementary fashion, would compensate growers when market revenue declines below target levels, according to NCGA leaders. - Forrest Laws, Farm Press Editorial Staff

Biodiesel plant will use 100 percent soybeans
10/09/06   
A new facility that will produce biodiesel fuel made entirely from soybean oil will be built near DeWitt, Ark. Founders of Arkansas SoyEnergy Group, LLC, say they expect to produce the first 100 percent soy-based fuel by late 2007. The plant will crush soybeans grown within a 50-mile radius of DeWitt, creating a new market for area farmers as well as providing "homegrown energy" that can be used in farm machinery and vehicles. Soybean meal from the plant can be used for animal feed.

2007 DCP sign-up begins
10/09/06   
Enrollment for the 2007 Direct and Counter-cyclical Payment Program began Oct. 1 and continues until June 1, 2007. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns encouraged farmers to sign up for the program through the online DCP sign-up service. "Producers will find the Internet-based DCP sign-up service convenient and very user friendly," said Johanns. "The service is an example of the strides USDA is taking to make its programs more accessible, and I encourage producers with Internet access to use the system."

Edible soybeans an option for 2007
10/09/06   
Small-seeded, highly water absorbing edible soybeans varieties have been grown for a number of years in Virginia, but new contract opportunities from Montague Farms offer even more opportunities for the 2007 season. In the past yield has been a problem in Virginia. Natto beans have only yielded about 80 percent of the yield of conventional beans grown for oil and livestock feed. MFS-591 is the 'gold standard' for natto soybean varieties, because of its high quality. - Roy Roberson, Farm Press Editorial Staff

News from the Top of the Hill
10/06/06    National Hog Farmer
Congress Fails to Pass Disaster Assistance -- Congress failed to pass disaster assistance before leaving town for the election recess. House Democrats collected 198 signatures on their discharge petition, falling 20 signatures short of the required number to bring disaster assistance legislation to a vote in the House of Representatives. Only two Republicans, Congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave (R-CO) and Congressman Ralph Hall (R-TX) signed the petition. Congressman Collin Peterson (D-MN), ranking member of the House Agriculture Committee, said "I am disappointed that the Republican leaders in the House failed to stand up for our farmers and ranchers who are suffering and struggling to cope with the impact of disaster on their operations." He also indicated, "We are going to keep reaching out to Republicans and Democrats from across the country to be sure that we get a deal that will keep our rural communities afloat as they recover from disaster." Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND) and others were not able to get unanimous consent for the Senate to consider disaster assistance. This issue is expected to be considered again during the lame duck session in November and December.

Manure Superfund Bill Discharged from Committee -- H.R. 4241 which clarifies that manure should not be regulated under Superfund laws was discharged from the House Energy and Commerce Committee. The Farmers for Clean Air and Water said, "This is good news for the nation's farmers and ranchers. HR4241 -- clarifying that natural manure does not fall under the severe liability provisions of the Superfund laws intended to clean up industrial, mostly abandoned toxic waste sites -- has successfully moved beyond the committee stage in the U.S. House of Representatives." The bill now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration. It is not known whether the House will consider the bill before Congress adjourns this year. There are currently 190 cosponsors of the legislation.

Opposition to Manure Superfund Bill -- Congressmen Henry Waxman (D-CA), Hilda Solis (D-CA), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), and Diana DeGette (D-CO) have written all members of the House of Representatives stating their opposition to H.R. 4241. In the letter the members state that communities need Superfund authority. The said, "Without this authority, local governments will not be able to protect the health of their communities, will not have the ability to mitigate resulting hazards, and will not be able to recover cleanup or treatment costs for contamination of public drinking water supplies caused by large animal feeding operations." Joining in opposition to the legislation include: U.S. Conference of Mayors, National League of Cities, National Association of Counties, American Water Works Association, League of Conservation Voters, National Association of County and City Health Officials, American Rivers, Clean Water Action, Environmental Defense, Natural Resources Defense Council, and Sierra Club.

25x25 -- The House Agriculture Committee approved a House resolution calling for a national goal of producing 25 percent of the total energy consumed in the United States from renewable agricultural resources by the year 2025. The resolution was endorsed by 20 state governors and more than 280 agricultural, business, and environmental organizations.

WTO Rules in Favor of Biotech -- The World Trade Organization (WTO) ruled in favor of the U.S., Argentina, and Canada in their WTO case against the EU over its illegal moratorium on approving agricultural biotech products. Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns said, "Today's decision affirms what the world's farmers have known about biotechnology for many years. Since the first biotechnology crops were commercialized in 1996, we've seen double-digit increases in their adoption every single year. Biotechnology crops not only are helping to meet the world's food needs, they also are having a positive environmental impact on our soil and water resources." - Scott Shearer

Fight weeds with plant pathogens
Although plant pathogens are typically viewed as detrimental, plant pathologists with The American Phytopathological Society (APS) say plant pathogens may be a successful, eco-friendly tool for managing weeds. "The use of plant pathogens to suppress weeds is considered as one of the alternative weed control options for areas or production systems where the use of chemical herbicides is not permitted or feasible," says Erin Rosskopf, USDA, Agricultural Research Service, Fort Pierce, FL. "Plant pathogens may also be used when the herbicide selection or usage must be rotated with other control methods in order to prevent the development of resistant weeds or lessen the impact of herbicides on the environment," she says. - American Phytopathological Society

Road Warrior: World trade blocs
10/05/06   
Dave Kohl writes: "We spent considerable time in the last Road Warrior column examining the newly emerging Asian trade zone. With over half of the world's population and 25% of the globe's output, it's a variable that farmers and ranchers must reckon with. In a 1990 article in a major dairy magazine, I wrote about the mega-trends of the agricultural industry. In that article I presented a perspective that global trade blocs would emerge in the next 25 years. My high school ag teacher, who has since passed, read the article and said he thought I was on to something." - The Corn & Soybean Digest

Test nitrogen levels this fall
Testing nitrogen (N) levels this fall can save producers time and money next spring, a University of Nebraska-Lincoln soils specialist says. Fields that will be planted into corn or sorghum next year may show higher than normal nitrates. Soil sampling for nitrogen levels following harvest will determine exact N levels. This gives producers a chance to plan for spring fertilizer applications, says Charles Shapiro, soils specialist at UNL's Haskell Agricultural Laboratory near Concord. - University of Nebraska

USDA selects 51 watersheds for CSP
Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns announces that 51 watersheds in 50 states, the Pacific Islands and the Caribbean Area will be eligible for the 2007 Conservation Security Program (CSP). These watersheds represent more than 64,500 of the nation's potentially eligible farms and ranches, covering nearly 24 million acres of cropland and grazing land. "This is the fourth year the Conservation Security Program has recognized farmers and ranchers for their ongoing stewardship on working agricultural lands," Johanns said. "Our investment in this voluntary program has already proved beneficial by creating many successful cooperative public-private partnerships across the nation." - The Corn & Soybean Digest

Energy price outlook rosier than last year
06/10/06   
What a difference a year makes. With apologies to all who suffered through back-to-back hurricanes along the Gulf Coast last August and September, motorists and farmers have a lot more to smile about when they pull up to the pump this fall than they did this time a year ago. Gasoline prices have dropped about $1 a gallon within the last month and diesel fuel hasn't been far behind. While some political wags have tried to attribute the decline to the upcoming mid-term elections, there's little doubt the outlook for energy supplies has improved considerably since September 2005. - Forrest Laws, Farm Press Editorial Staff

Renewable energy offers multiple advantages
10/06/06   
One has only to contemplate the rapidly rolling numbers on the service station pump to understand the need for a reliable, affordable, domestic energy supply. Over the past few months motorists have paid more than $3 a gallon for fuel to get them to work, to markets and to even more critical locales such as hospitals. And folks who drive for a living, long haul truckers, for instance, have been hammered by high energy costs. - Ron Smith, Farm Press Editorial Staff

United States wins one in WTO ruling
10/06/06   
The World Trade Organization has ruled in favor of the United States, Argentina, and Canada in a WTO case against the European Union over its moratorium on approving agricultural biotech products and state bans of previously approved products. "Today's decision affirms what the world's farmers have known about biotechnology for many years," said U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns.

Do you know a farmer/rancher that could use $10,000?
10/07/06   
Nominations are now being accepted for American Farmland Trust's 2007 Steward of the Land Award. The $10,000 prize is presented each year to a farmer or rancher that best exemplifies American Farmland Trust's (AFT) mission of stopping the loss of productive farmland and promoting farming practices that lead to a healthy environment.

Nomination forms can be completed online at http://www.farmland.org/programs/award/default.asp, or can easily be printed out for completion by tradition methods at the same address. You may also call 202-378-1255 for an application, or with questions. Nomination materials will be accepted until 5 p.m. EST on Friday, December 1, 2006.

Tom Hutson, a dairy farmer from DeLancey, NY was named the 10th Steward of the Land earlier this year. He operates River Haven Farm in New York's Catskill Mountains, part of the Catskill-Delaware watershed, where reservoirs supply drinking water for millions of New York City residents. By working with the locally-based Watershed Agricultural Council (WAC), and often himself serving as the pilot-site for project, Hutson and neighboring farmers have kept the watershed pristine enough to satisfy federal drinking water standards, sparing New York City the cost of a billion dollar water filtration plant. He and fellow farmers have participated by conserving their land and implementing conservation practices with technical and financial assistance from WAC.

"Tom has always understood how his farm's stakeholders include not only the consumers of his products but also the residents of New York City, whose clean drinking water depends on environmentally friendly agriculture," said Ralph Grossi, president of American Farmland Trust. "Tom both works the land and sustains it, yet preserved his land through an easement."

Noting the bald eagles that nest at Hutson's farm, Grossi added, "Tom, like all of AFT's Stewardship winners, is a champion of good agriculture-leading and showing by example on his farm how you can provide consumers with food and environmental benefits-and attract wildlife at the same time. He is a true steward of the land and a great inspiration to farmers across the country."

AFT's Steward of the Land Award is also working to raise awareness of the public benefits agriculture provides as discussions about changing farm policies in the 2007 Farm Bill begin. "As the 2007 Farm Bill approaches, it's more important than ever to show examples of people in agriculture working so hard to implement good stewardship practices on their land," said Grossi. "We need to keep in mind the many things that good farm stewards provide: clean water, open space and wildlife habitat and more, in addition to the food, fiber, fuel and timber products we enjoy every day. AFT can only honor one farmer each year through its Steward of the Land Award, but by supporting incentive-based farm policies that link payments to good stewardship and sound land management, our nation can honor thousands of farmers every year."

Established in 1997, AFT's Steward of the Land Award recognizes the American farmer or farm family who best demonstrates leadership in protecting farmland and caring for the environment. The award honors the memory of Peggy McGrath Rockefeller, an avid farmer and conservationist who helped found AFT.



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