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A Prism Business Media Publication December 6, 2006 | 061206   
TABLE OF CONTENTS
 >> Logan Hawkes

 >> U.S. net farm income forecast lower for 2006

 >> Crop protection industry hones in on key issues

 >> Sen. Hutchison: Disaster aid energy are priorities

 >> Corn growers ask for expanded energy development

 >> News from the Top of the Hill

 >> Equipment Forum: Case IH promotes biodiesel use

 >> Agriculture facing more skirmishes with new Congress

 >> Mark your calendars for "Eye On Energy" Conference

 >> Congressional turnover may have broad impact

 >> Surplus straw may become fuel

 >> Road Warrior: Viva Las Vegas!

 >> Thiesse's Thoughts: Focus On Agriculture

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  EDITOR'S NOTE
Logan Hawkes
12/06/06    Crop News Weekly
Season's Greetings! My, how the season changes abruptly. Not that I didn't know it was coming. Let's see - there's harvest, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. That been the order of it for some time, right? I know that. It's just it seems to be happening faster and faster, like rolling downhill. Or maybe that's me that's rolling downhill. My how time flies when you're having a mid-life crisis.

In the spotlight this week, U.S. net farm income is forecast to be $58.9 billion in 2006, down from $73.8 billion in 2005, but slightly above the 10-year average of $57.2 billion. What's in your wallet? But despite lower farm income and declining sales and continuing consolidation of major players, the U.S. crop protection industry remains committed to providing effective materials to the nation's farmers, members of the Southern Crop Production Association were told at their recent annual meeting. In other news, ensuring disaster aid legislation and securing energy policies will take priority in coming weeks on Capitol Hill, according to Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. On the energy front, The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) has joined more than 100 growers and agribusinesses of the Agriculture Energy Alliance (AEA) in asking the U.S. Department of the Interior to allow development of energy resources in the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). Also in this issue, professional crop producers looking to cash in on cash crops need look no further than their own (bio) diesel fuel source.

You'll find these stories and more in this issue of Crop News Weekly. Happy reading (and season's greetings)!



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  FROM OUR MAGAZINES
U.S. net farm income forecast lower for 2006
12/06/06   
U.S. net farm income is forecast to be $58.9 billion in 2006, down from $73.8 billion in 2005, but slightly above the 10-year average of $57.2 billion, according to a report from USDA's Economic Research Service. The primary reasons for the anticipated decline are a drop in the value of livestock production and direct government payments combined with an increase in the cost of purchased inputs. - Elton Robinson, Farm Press Editorial Staff

Crop protection industry hones in on key issues
12/06/06   
Despite declining sales and continuing consolidation of major players, the U.S. crop protection industry remains committed to providing effective materials to the nation's farmers, says Stan Howell. "As we look forward and try to project what the industry's going to look like in the next five years, there's no doubt we will see further reductions," he told members of the Southern Crop Production Association at their annual meeting at Amelia Island, Florida. - Hembree Brandon, Farm Press Editorial Staff

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Sen. Hutchison: Disaster aid energy are priorities
12/05/06   
Ensuring disaster aid legislation and securing energy policies will take priority in coming weeks on Capitol Hill, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison told the 1,225 members of the Texas Farm Bureau gathered for their state convention. Hutchison has introduced legislation to provide more than $1 billion in aid for producers affected by wildfires, but action on additional aid may have to wait until the New Year as Congress wraps its final week in Washington.

Corn growers ask for expanded energy development
12/04/06   
The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) has joined more than 100 growers and agribusinesses of the Agriculture Energy Alliance (AEA) in asking the U.S. Department of the Interior to allow development of energy resources in the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). Noting that growers' fuel expenses and input costs had increased nearly $5 billion from 2004 to 2005, NCGA and AEA called for expanded access to offshore oil and natural gas reserves in the Gulf of Mexico and off the coasts of Virginia and Alaska.

News from the Top of the Hill
12/01/06    National Hog Farmer
Korea Rejects US Beef Shipment -- South Korea rejected the first shipment of U.S. beef because a bone chip was discovered in the nearly nine ton shipment of boneless beef. The shipment according to Korean officials will either be destroyed or returned to the U.S. The shipment was from Creekstone Farms Premium Beef, Arkansas City, Kansas. Korea's zero tolerance on bone chips has been a major concern to U.S. industry and continues to be an issue of contention between the U.S. and Korea.

US-Colombia Signs FTA -- Representatives of the United States and Colombia have signed the United States-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement (CTPA). The comprehensive agreement will eliminate tariffs and other barriers to trade in goods and services. According to USTR, U.S. farm exports that will receive immediate duty-free treatment include high quality beef, cotton, wheat, soybeans, soybean meal, key fruits and vegetables including apples, pears, peaches, and cherries; and many processed food products including frozen french fries and cookies. U.S. agricultural products that will benefit from improved market access include pork, beef, corn, poultry, rice, fruits and vegetables, processed products, and dairy products. The U.S. and Colombia have worked to resolve sanitary and phytosanitary barriers, including food safety inspection procedures for beef, pork, and poultry.

Naturally Raised Livestock -- USDA has announced that it is considering the development of a voluntary standard to address production practices associated with the term "naturally raised" for livestock. USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) will conduct three listening session to allow public input on a voluntary marketing claim standard for "Naturally Raised Livestock." Livestock would include beef, pork, lamb, bison, etc. The sessions will be held: December 11 at the Jefferson Auditorium-USDA South Building, Washington, D.C.; January 17 at the Hyatt Regency Tech Center, Denver, CO; and January 18 at the Seattle Marriott SeaTac Airport, Seattle, WA. More information is available at http://www.ams.usda.gov/lsg/.

Canadian Cattle Over 30 Months -- USDA has sent to the Office of Management and Budget a proposed rule to allow for the importation of Canadian cattle over 30 months of age. After OMB's review, the proposed rule will have a 60 day public comment period. USDA would like to finalize the rule the second quarter of 2007.

Congress Returns for Lame Duck Session -- Congress returns next week for a lame-duck session to try and finalize a number of issues including appropriations bills, Vietnam PNTR, tax extenders, etc. before the new 110th Congress begins on January 4. A key issue for agriculture will be consideration of a disaster aid package. House Republican leadership continues to raise objections. - Scott Shearer

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Equipment Forum: Case IH promotes biodiesel use
12/01/06   
Professional crop producers looking to cash in on cash crops need look no further than their own (bio) diesel fuel source. When approved supplies are available, every engine powering Case IH equipment globally is leaving the factory with a biodiesel blend in the tank. And, all Case IH engines are warranted for approved B5 blends and most engines are warranted up to the B20 level. "One hundred percent factory fill of a biodiesel blend is a logical next step in the process of embracing biodiesel," says Randy Baker, president of Case IH North America. "Adding to demand for soybeans while producing the crop is the type of strategy our customers like to pursue," Baker says. "It's good environmental stewardship," he points out, "and it's good business.

Agriculture facing more skirmishes with new Congress
12/01/06   
A more urban-oriented Congress is likely to bring "a lot more skirmishes over subsidies" and other farm programs, says Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga., a member of the Appropriation Committee's Agriculture Subcommittee. "Before the recent elections, I would've said the 2007 farm bill would be similar to the current farm bill: some fine-tuning, but not a lot of changes," he told members of the Southern Crop Production Association at their annual meeting at Amelia Island, Florida. - Hembree Brandon, Farm Press Editorial Staff

Mark your calendars for "Eye On Energy" Conference
12/06/06    The Corn & Soybean Digest
Spiraling energy costs are forcing farmers to take a hard look at every agronomic practice on their operations, especially tillage. You can learn about how conservation tillage can be a perfect fit to help control input costs at the 2007 Conservation Tillage Conference and Expo Jan. 30-31, 2007. The theme of this year's conference is "Eye On Energy" and will be held at the Ramkota Hotel and Conference Center in Sioux Falls, SD.

University experts as well as conservation-focused farmers will look at ways that conservation practices can help stretch energy dollars. The conference provides tillage information for beginners as well as veteran no-till, strip till, ridge-till and mulch-till growers. The program offers four information tracks:

Track I: Learn The Basics: Tillage 101
Track II: Keep Corn On Corn Profitable
Track III: Manage Your Energy Costs
Track IV: Match New Technology To Tillage

To register, visit http://www.tillageconference.com or call 800-722-5334, ext. 14698. The conference is brought to you by The Corn And Soybean Digest and Farm Industry News.

Congressional turnover may have broad impact
11/30/06   
The "tidal wave" of voter sentiment that swept away Republican control of Congress could "turn negotiations on their head" in developing a new farm bill next year, says Jay Vroom. "This administration, and all of us who have issues on Capitol Hill, will be faced with a new set of leaders -- Harry Reid, Barbara Boxer, Ted Kennedy, and Tom Harkin," the president of CropLife America said at the annual meeting of the Southern Crop Production Association. - Hembree Brandon, Farm Press Editorial Staff

Surplus straw may become fuel
A beneficial use for the millions of tons of surplus straw produced in the Pacific Northwest every year may be just around the corner. Researchers with USDA-ARS and the Western Research Institute are developing technology for converting the straw into synthetic gas that can be used to produce electricity or liquid fuel. In a prototype gasification reactor, straw is re-duced to small particles that are converted into a mixture of vaporized gasses that can be used to produce synthetic liquid gas. - Hay & Forage Grower

Road Warrior: Viva Las Vegas!
11/29/06   
Ag Road Warrior Dave Kohl writes: "I just finished my 29th consecutive American Bankers Association Agricultural Bankers Conference in Las Vegas, NV. This year's conference had over 600 in attendance, from 32 states, Canada, Australia, Nepal and the Republic of Georgia. Yes, I had my picture taken with Elvis, got to hear a Bill Clinton impersonator, just missed the Rolling Stones and, no, I didn't lose any money on the tables or slot machines. Beyond that, as with any of the ABA's well-organized, information-packed conferences, there was much food for thought..." - The Corn & Soybean Digest

Thiesse's Thoughts: Focus On Agriculture
11/29/06   
USDA gathered input from agriculture producers and others at a series of Farm Bill Listening Sessions in 2005 and early 2006. The input gathered at these Listening Sessions was used by USDA to develop a series of analytical theme papers, which were intended to be used as support information to help guide the decisions related to the development of the next Farm Bill. - Kent Thiesse, The Corn & Soybean Digest



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