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A Prism Business Media Publication October 25, 2006 | 061025   
TABLE OF CONTENTS
 >> Logan Hawkes

 >> Survey says U.S. citizens support incentives for biofuel

 >> Ending stocks higher for cotton, rice, soybeans

 >> Cotton, soybean crops get bigger, corn yields down

 >> An online toolkit for soybean studies

 >> Farmer-owned ethanol plants contribute to economy

 >> News from the Top of the Hill

 >> Face of farming set to change again

 >> WTO leader says agriculture is Doha 'stumbling block'

 >> Farm bill proposal kinder to environment, consumers

 >> USDA announces 35-cent CCP for corn

 >> Study shows impact of ag policy reform

 >> Chicago Council weighs in on next farm bill

 >> Good corn yields lead to more acres

 >> Researchers identify alternative fuels impact

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RFD-TV Call-in Show, Monday, October 30th at 7:00pm CST:
Syngenta LIVE -- Seed Treatments: Conveniently and consistently producing a better crop. Talk to industry experts about the value of seed-applied insecticide and fungicide treatments for corn and soybeans. Panelists include Syngenta Seed Treatment Representatives Mark Jirak and Cliff Watrin, and University of Illinois Representative Wayne Pedersen. Tune in for the call-in number.



  EDITOR'S NOTE
Logan Hawkes
10/25/06    Crop News Weekly
While harvest is a wrap for many Midwest growers, the last rush to bring in the crops is underway across the remaining fields as winter-like weather begins to make its presence known in some areas. While harvest numbers aren't in yet, it appears it has been a good yield and reasonably healthy crop in most areas - at least in the Midwest. Way down south, Texas Valley citrus growers are expecting a better-than-usual year with Sept-Oct rains bringing promise of a sweet, juicy crop. And life goes on. Then, there's the farm bill issue.

In the top of the news (you guessed it), the farm bill. There's more than one version of a 2007 farm bill being tossed around both Houses. The latest is another amendment being offered that would shift a portion of farm program payments to conservation program payments. Then there's the question as to whether farmers can even survive the coming years. Low prices, the drought of 2006, high energy costs, a world war on U.S. subsidies and a farm bill that may not be as farmer friendly as those in years past will contribute to fewer farmers. In other news, soybean breeders, producers and scientists have a new resource to tap. Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists recently launched "The Soybean Breeder's Toolbox," an online database that allows exploration of the soybean's genetic makeup, and we will tell you how to log in. Also this week, a study released by the National Corn Growers Association indicates local ethanol plant ownership generates significantly more economic activity for the communities in which the plants are located than plants owned by absentee investors. And in case you missed it last week, USDA has announced that corn farmers will receive a final counter-cyclical payment of $0.35 per bushel, while soybean growers will not receive a CCP payment based on season-average market prices for 2005.

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



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  FROM OUR MAGAZINES
Survey says U.S. citizens support incentives for biofuel
10/23/06   
Four in five U.S. adults agree that national and state governments are not doing enough to promote production of biofuels -- fuels made from agricultural crops or plant matter -- according to a survey released by the Biotechnology Industry Organization. The survey, conducted by Harris Interactive, also found that 82 percent of adults say national and state governments should provide financial incentives to biofuels producers to encourage the production and availability of biofuels. More than two out of three adults would use American-made biofuels even if these fuels cost slightly more than conventional gas.

Ending stocks higher for cotton, rice, soybeans
10/24/06   
USDA's World Agricultural Outlook Board reduced projected ending stocks for U.S. corn to just under 1 billion bushels and lowered its expectation for U.S. cotton exports and consumption in its Oct. 12 estimate of supply and demand. USDA projected cotton domestic mill use 200,000 bales lower based on declining use rates in recent months. Projected exports were also reduced 200,000 bales due to lower world import demand. Ending stocks for 2006-07 are 17 percent higher this month but are 11 percent below 2005-06. - Elton Robinson, Farm Press Editorial Staff

Cotton, soybean crops get bigger, corn yields down
10/23/06   
Better than expected yields in most cotton-producing states has increased the size of the estimated 2006 U.S. cotton crop by 2 percent from last month to 20.7 million bales, according to USDA's October crop production report. USDA also estimated record soybean production. Soybean production is forecast at 3.19 billion bushels, up 3 percent from the September forecast and up 4 percent from the 2005 crop. If realized, this would be the highest production on record. Based on Oct. 1 conditions, yields are expected to average 42.8 bushels per acre, up 1 bushel from September but down 0.2 bushel from last year's record high yield.- Elton Robinson, Farm Press Editorial Staff

An online toolkit for soybean studies
10/20/06   
Soybean breeders, producers and scientists have a new resource to tap. Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists at Ames, IA, recently launched "The Soybean Breeder's Toolbox," an online database that allows exploration of the soybean's genetic makeup through easily retrieved information. The website is the new interface to SoyBase, a pioneering, ARS-supported plant-genetic database established in 1993. - The Corn & Soybean Digest

Farmer-owned ethanol plants contribute to economy
10/20/06   
Local ethanol plant ownership generates significantly more economic activity for the communities in which the plants are located than plants owned by absentee investors, according to a study released by the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA). The study, "Economic Impacts on the Farm Community of Cooperative Ownership of Ethanol Production," concludes that, "Since a farmer-owned cooperative ethanol plant is literally a member of the community, the full contribution to the local economy is likely to be as much as 56% larger than the impact of an absentee-owned corporate plant." John Urbanchuk of LECG, LLC, conducted the analysis. - The Corn & Soybean Digest

News from the Top of the Hill
10/20/06    National Hog Farmer
AG Coalition for Vietnam PNTR -- The Agriculture Coalition for U.S.-Vietnam Trade sent a letter to every member of Congress urging the passage of Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) for Vietnam. According to the coalition, products benefiting would be beef, pork, dairy products, grapes, apples, pears, and soybeans. Under the agreement, tariff rates for approximately 75% of U.S. agricultural exports to Vietnam would decline to 15% or less. According to USTR tariffs would be reduced as follows:

  • Pork: Tariffs on pork offals will be immediately cut from 20% to 15% with further reductions to 8% over four years. Tariffs on other key pork and pork products will be reduced by 50% over five years, including tariffs on hams and carcasses, which will fall from 30% to 15% in that timeframe. Rates on processed pork products will be reduced from 20% to 10% over five years.
  • Beef: Tariffs on U.S. beef offals will be reduced from the rate 20% to 15% immediately and phased down to 8% over four years. Boneless beef will be cut from 20% to 14% over 5 years. The duty on beef sausages, currently at 50% will drop to 40% immediately and will be reduced to 22% over five years.
  • Hides and Skins: Tariffs on hides and skins will be bound at zero immediately. This is currently one of the United States largest exports to Vietnam.
  • Grains: Vietnam will bind its applied rate of 5% for both corn and wheat.
  • Soybean products: Tariffs on full fat soybean meal and flour will be reduced from 30% to 8% over five years. Tariffs on soybean oil also will be significantly reduced, from 50% to 30% with additional reductions to 20% over five years.

    Congress is expected to consider the PNTR legislation in November or December. Members of the coalition include: American Farm Bureau Federation, American Meat Institute, American Soybean Association, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Cattlemen's Beef Association, National Corn Growers Association, National Cotton Council, National Milk Producers Federation, National Pork Producers Council, and U.S. Apple Association.

    Cloned Food Closer to Approval -- The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has indicated that they are planning to release a draft risk assessment on livestock cloning before the end of the year. There is expected to be a 60 day comment period. Afterwards, FDA likely will lift a voluntary moratorium on the sale of milk and meat from cloned animals and their offspring. The Consumers Federation of America said in a press release, "By not requiring that cloned milk and meat be labeled, the U.S. Government is permitting these ethically questionable products to be foisted on a reluctant public through secrecy and stealth. There will be no freedom to choose in the cloned milk and meat marketplace."

    10 Biobased Items for Federal Procurement -- USDA announced 10 more biobased product categories (representing over 480 biobased products) that will receive special purchasing consideration by all federal agencies. The new items include: bath and tile cleaners; clothing products; concrete and asphalt release fluids; cutting, drilling, and tapping oils; deicers; durable films; firearm lubricants; floor strippers; laundry products; and wood and concrete sealers. The designations are part of the Federal Biobased Products Preferred Procurement Program or "BioPreferred." This program was authorized under the 2002 farm bill.

    Deficit Declines -- The U.S. Treasury Department announced the fiscal year 2006 deficit was $247.7 billion. This was the lowest budget deficit in four years. However, it still ranks as one of the largest single fiscal year deficits in U.S. history. - P. Scott Shearer

  • Face of farming set to change again
    10/20/06   
    Low prices, the drought of 2006, high energy costs, a world war on U.S. subsidies and a farm bill that may not be as farmer friendly as those in years past seem to point to another round of farm liquidations over the next few years. Liquidation of course is another way of saying that farmers are "going broke." Part of the American farmer's problem is that the average, non-farming American doesn't understand that subsidies help invigorate the rural economy. - Elton Robinson, Farm Press Editorial Staff

    WTO leader says agriculture is Doha 'stumbling block'
    10/20/06   
    WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy says agriculture holds the key to the resumption of the Doha Round negotiations, and, until agriculture's issues are resolved, he expects little progress toward reaching a new global trade agreement. An article on the Bloomberg.com Web site says Lamy told European Parliament members in Brussels today that he is trying to get the five-year-old negotiations restarted by meeting with countries and groups of countries to find a solution to the impasse in the Round. - Forrest Laws, Farm Press Editorial Staff

    Farm bill proposal kinder to environment, consumers
    10/20/06   
    Rep. Ron Kind, D-Wis., no stranger to being on the short end of farm legislative debates, has introduced the first in what is expected to be a long line of proposals for the 2007 farm bill. Kind, who authored an amendment that would have shifted $19 billion from farm program to conservation program payments in the 2002 farm bill, calls his measure the Healthy Farms, Foods and Fuels Act, H.R. 6064. (The House defeated the 2002 farm bill amendment by a vote of 226-200.) - Forrest Laws, Farm Press Editorial Staff

    USDA announces 35-cent CCP for corn
    10/18/06   
    USDA has announced that corn farmers will receive a final counter-cyclical payment of $0.35 per bushel, while soybean growers will not receive a CCP payment based on season-average market prices for 2005. The $0.35 per bushel will be part of a total of $3 billion in final 2006-year direct payments to producers enrolled in the Direct and Counter-cyclical Payment Program and $1.6 billion in 2005 corn counter-cyclical payments. - Forrest Laws, Farm Press Editorial Staff

    Study shows impact of ag policy reform
    10/18/06   
    U.S. farm policy reform without corresponding multilateral trade reform and market access would result in lower production and incomes for many U.S. agricultural producers over the next 15 years, according to a study conducted by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Research Economics. Among the program crops, the largest reductions in production would occur for cotton and rice, which would decline by 11 percent and 13 percent respectively by 2020 if the United States undertook reform alone. - Elton Robinson, Farm Press Editorial Staff

    Chicago Council weighs in on next farm bill
    10/17/06   
    The 2007 or 2008 farm bill -- if Congress doesn't act next year -- could be a far different animal from its predecessor if some non-farm groups are able to put their stamp on it. For months, farmers have been telling anyone who listened that they want to keep the current law. But the Chicago Council on Global Affairs recently released a report that calls for what would amount to a complete makeover. - Forrest Laws, Farm Press Editorial

    Good corn yields lead to more acres
    10/17/06   
    It started out as a demonstration plot in 2005, a few acres of corn planted in a twin-row, 30-inch pattern using a borrowed Great Plains planter. But when the plot on Dulaney Farms, just south of Clarksdale, Miss., yielded 280 bushels per acre, "that opened our eyes," said Wayne Dulaney, who farms with his father, Edwin, uncle, Terry and brother, J.D. After the good results, the Dulaneys started making plans to gear up for more corn acres in 2006. They liked the idea of twin-row production, but were a little hesitant about purchasing new twin-row planters. - Elton Robinson, Farm Press Editorial Staff

    Researchers identify alternative fuels impact
    The first comprehensive analysis of the full life cycles of soybean biodiesel and corn grain ethanol shows that biodiesel has much less of an impact on the environment and a much higher net energy benefit than corn ethanol, but that neither can do much to meet U.S. energy demand. The study, which was funded in part by the University of Minnesota's Initiative for Renewable Energy and the Environment, was conducted by researchers in the university's College of Biological Sciences and College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences. - The Corn & Soybean Digest



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