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A Prism Business Media Publication December 20, 2006 | 061220   
TABLE OF CONTENTS
 >> Logan Hawkes

 >> Glyphosate resistance a real 'eye-opener'

 >> Congress' performance doesn't measure up

 >> Conference offers opportunities for minority farmers

 >> U.S. still wanting in emergency preparedness

 >> News from the Top of the Hill

 >> Thiesse's Thoughts: Focus On Agriculture

 >> Road Warrior: Shoot from the hip management

 >> Product Review: Shaver stump grinders

 >> Farm policy debate: Extension of current program

 >> $3.50 cotton futures attracting more attention to corn

 >> Slightly bearish news for wheat

 >> 2007 sign-up for Conservation Innovation Grants

 >> Wear your corn crop?

 >> "Eye On Energy" Conference

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  EDITOR'S NOTE
Logan Hawkes
12/10/06    Crop News Weekly
There's a lot to be said about the holidays, those warm, fuzzy days with family around the fireplace or Christmas tree, exchanging gifts and roasting chestnuts around an open fire. Well, let's not get carried away. But chances are, in the least, most of us will be spending some quality time with family around the holidays reflecting on the abundant life we lead. Sure, farming is full of challenges and hard work. But it is an honorable profession. There's nothing like freedom to work our own land, to make our own decisions, to choose the path we will take in our fight for personal liberty and independence, and to know, in the end, we did it our way. (This is where the patriotic music with a holiday theme would come up and huge fireworks would explode across a sky blanketed by the image of Old Glory waving in the wind).

All joking aside, it is the time of year to greet our friends with heartfelt wishes of goodwill and to enjoy the comfort of family and home and all the things we hold near and dear. For many there is so much less. For us, there is much to be thankful about and it is a good time to remember all that makes our life special and wonderful, like the freedom to celebrate our faith and religion as we see fit. It is a time to reflect on the Christmas message and to embrace the future with the same kind of faith and hard work and determination that has become the standard for the American farmer. Happy holidays agriculture!

Now down to business. We're packed full of pre-Christmas news and issues this week so dig in and enjoy.



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  FROM OUR MAGAZINES
Glyphosate resistance a real 'eye-opener'
12/18/06   
Stanley Culpepper wasn't too concerned at first by a grower complaint about not being able to control Palmer amaranth with glyphosate. "This is not uncommon," says Culpepper, Extension agronomist with the University of Georgia. "We get 20 to 25 of these a year -- someone didn't use a residual herbicide, or they didn't make the application properly. We didn't think much about it." Culpepper collected some seeds from the grower's field and took them back to the laboratory at the University of Georgia's Rural Development Center in Tifton for testing. What he found "scared us quite a bit," he noted. - Forrest Laws, Farm Press Editorial Staff

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Congress' performance doesn't measure up
12/18/06   
Was the glass half-empty or half-full? How you rate Congress' performance in the session just ended may depend on your perception of how government should function. If you believe in laissez faire; he who governs least, governs best, you were happy to see Congress leave Washington before it could do any more damage to the Republic. If you believe in taking seriously the responsibilities spelled out in Article I of the Constitution (the one that begins "Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the Unites States") you probably were disappointed. - Forrest Laws, Farm Press Editorial Staff

Conference offers opportunities for minority farmers
12/15/06   
Small, minority and/or limited resource farmers will have their choice of more than 50 practical sessions, six half-day field trips and opportunities to network, learn and share with other farmers at the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group conference in Louisville, Ky., Jan. 25-28. Federal funds earmarked for scholarships are available for small, minority and limited resource farmers to attend the conference. Scholarships cover lodging, registration, transportation.

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U.S. still wanting in emergency preparedness
12/16/06   
Five years after the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001, U.S. emergency health preparedness is still wanting. That's according to the fourth annual report, "Ready or Not? Protecting the Public's Health from Disease, Disasters, and Bioterrorism." Released this week by the non-profit Trust for America's Health (TFAH), the 84-page report, available online at: http://healthyamericans.org/reports/bioterror06/BioTerrorReport2006.pdf, provides state-by-state preparedness scores based on 10 indicators. Based on those 10 indicators, half of states scored six or less, Oklahoma scoring the highest with 10 out of 10; Kansas scored a nine. California, Iowa, Maryland and New Jersey scored the lowest with four out of 10. TFAH's policy recommendations for agroterrorism and naturally occurring toxins are part of the all-hazards approach to public health preparedness. - Joe Roybal, BEEF Magazine

News from the Top of the Hill
Scott Shearer
12/15/06    National Hog Farmer
Congress Adjourns for the Year -- The 109th Congress has adjourned for the year. In the closing days, Congress passed a continuing resolution to fund the government, including agriculture, through February 15. A number of tax provisions were renewed including the research and development tax credit, state sales tax deductions, and college tuition deduction. Other tax provisions important to agriculture include:

  • Tariff on imported ethanol: extends the 54-cent-per-gallon tariff on imported ethanol until January 2009. The tax was due to expire October 1, 2007.

  • Cellulosic ethanol: 50 percent bonus depreciation for new qualified cellulosic ethanol plants placed in service through December 31, 2012. This provision applies to cellulosic ethanol derived from feedstocks such as switchgrass, wood fibers, shell hulls, agricultural residue, and organic sources.

  • Wind energy: extends the wind energy production tax credit until December 31, 2008.

  • Energy taxes: extends credits and deduction, including credit for electricity produced from renewable sources. The 110th Congress will begin on January 4, 2007.

    Vietnam PNTR Approved -- Congress on the last day of session approved permanent normal trade relations status (PNTR) for Vietnam. This was strongly supported by the agricultural community. Products benefiting will be beef, pork, dairy products, grapes, apples, pears, and soybeans. Under the bilateral 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.

    Senators Send Warning on Korea FTA & Beef -- Seven members of the Senate Agriculture Committee sent a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns and USTR Ambassador Sue Schwab stating that without South Korea's resumption of U.S. beef exports and the acceptance of a bone tolerance for future shipments, they would oppose a free trade agreement (FTA) with South Korea. The Senators stated in the letter, "As Members of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, we regret coming to this decision since Korea is an important ally and trading partner. However, we cannot reward bad behavior and must stand behind farmers and ranchers in the United States who produce the safest, highest quality product the world has to offer." Signing the letter were Senators Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Norm Coleman (R-MN), Kent Conrad (D-ND), Pat Leahy (D-VT), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Jim Talent (R-MO), and Craig Thomas (R-WY).

    Senators Concerned about Cloned Meat and Milk -- Senator Pat Leahy (D-VT) and other Senators have written the Secretary of Health and Human Services stating their concerns with the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) plans to allow the inclusion of meat and milk from cloned animals in commercial markets. The Senators ask FDA to re-submit FDA's new draft risk assessment to scientific peer review by the Veterinary Medicine Advisory Committee. The letter states, "The availability of new scientific data demands that FDA pursue comprehensive scientific scrutiny on this issue." Others signing the letter were: Senators Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Norm Coleman (R-MN), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Herb Kohl (D-WI), and Arlen Specter (R-PA).

    Keenum Confirmed for USDA Post -- The United States Senate confirmed Mark Keenum as Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services. Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns said, "Mark has built a reputation as an honest, hard-working and insightful person. Those qualities will serve him well in his new role overseeing both our domestic farm support programs and our global efforts relating to agricultural trade." Keenum has been serving as chief of staff to Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS). He has been involved in a number of previous farm bills and is a former assistant professor of economics at Mississippi State University.

    Final Election Results -- The last Congressional race was decided this week when Ciro Rodriguez defeated Congressman Henry Bonilla (R-TX) in a runoff election. Bonilla served as chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture. The Democrats will control the House 230-205.

    USDA Annual Outlook Forum -- USDA announced that the 83rd annual Outlook Forum, "Agriculture at the Crossroads: Energy, Farm & Rural Policy," will be held March 1-2, 2007. The forum will focus on bioenergy and its implications for agriculture. Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns said, "USDA's 2007 Forum will consider the outlook for renewable energy and the enormous opportunity it represents for agriculture and rural America." The forum will also feature perspectives on the 2007 farm bill. Additional details may be found at: http://www.usda.gov/oce/forum.

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    Thiesse's Thoughts: Focus On Agriculture
    12/12/06   
    Some would argue that we no longer need the traditional commodity-based federal government farm programs, and that the next Farm Bill should be a totally different approach to farm policy in the U.S., thus freeing up federal funding for rural development, renewable energy and other less traditional agriculture-related federal programs. Others would argue that the current farm policy in the U.S. has made the agriculture industry strong and has provided the necessary safety net to support and protect producers, but hasn't hampered growth and innovation in the agriculture industry. This debate will likely be the crux of framing the issues during next several months. - Kent Thiesse, The Corn & Soybean Digest

    Road Warrior: Shoot from the hip management
    12/12/06   
    Dave Kohl writes: "This is the time of year when many of you are taking time to think about your business in 2007 and beyond. I was asked a question concerning the effectiveness of business planning in a webinar I conducted. A recent study at Virginia Tech of approximately 350 producers from five different states provides some insight. A general overview of the results finds the larger your business becomes, the more important deliberate and objective growth and business planning is..." - The Corn & Soybean Digest

    Product Review: Shaver stump grinders
    12/15/06   
    Farm Industry News magazine works hard to bring you the latest information about products you can use, like the new Shaver StumpBuster Series stump grinder. Check out the latest issue of "Buyer's Express" and discover new products that can make life on the farm and ranch better. like seed tenders, bale feeders, corn shields and more. - Farm Industry News

    Farm policy debate: Extension of current program
    12/15/06   
    A year ago, an extension of the 2002 farm bill was the best agricultural commodity organizations could have hoped for as debate on the 2007 farm bill began. Today, the 2002 farm bill is "the foundation on which we can build, it is no longer a ceiling," said U.S. House Agriculture Committee Chairman Larry Combest, R-Texas, speaking at the USA Rice Outlook Conference in Las Vegas. The reason the debate has flipped, according to Combest, is primarily due to higher commodity prices driven by the strong demand for renewable fuels, which has cut the cost of farm policy. - Elton Robinson, Farm Press Editorial Staff

    $3.50 cotton futures attracting more attention to corn
    12/14/06   
    What a difference a year can make. Last winter, when the organizers of the Delta Ag Expo in Cleveland, Miss., announced the beginning of its session on corn production, three-fourths of the audience got up and walked out. Next month, when Mississippi Extension Corn Specialist Erick Larson begins the same session, he may be speaking to a standing-room-only crowd. The difference: Sharply higher corn prices brought on by rising demand for ethanol is creating more interest in planting corn. - Forrest Laws, Farm Press Editorial Staff

    Slightly bearish news for wheat
    12/13/06   
    USDA projected higher U.S. ending stocks and lower exports for wheat, higher exports for rice and lower domestic use for cotton in its Dec. 11 supply and demand estimates. Projected U.S. wheat ending stocks for 2006-07 were raised 20 million bushels to 438 million bushels, a number higher than in November, but generally already anticipated by the trade. - Elton Robinson, Farm Press Editorial Staff

    2007 sign-up for Conservation Innovation Grants
    12/13/06   
    USDA has announced a request for proposals for Conservation Innovation Grants. The CIG program is designed to stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies. "CIG rewards the creation of new and innovative approaches to managing the nation's natural resources more effectively and efficiently," said Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns. "It allows applicants to come up with practical solutions to address conservation and resource management on a local, regional or national scale."

    Wear your corn crop?
    Think ethanol is the only hot value-added product made from corn? Think again. These days you can cover up with a blanket, perfect your golf swing off a tee and even get a good night's sleep on a pillow all made from -- you guessed it -- corn. A plastic called polylactide (PLA), manufactured in the U.S. by NatureWorks LLC, has revolutionized the use of corn in everyday products. It can be used to make everything from packaging for food products to apparel to carpet to fiberfill. - Kate Royer, The Corn & Soybean Digest

    "Eye On Energy" Conference
    Spiraling energy costs are forcing farmers to examine every agronomic practice on their operations, especially tillage. That's the focus of the 2007 Conservation Tillage Conference and Expo, Jan. 30-31, themed "Eye On Energy" and slated for the Ramkota Hotel and Conference Center in Sioux Falls, SD. University experts and conservation-focused farmers will detail how conservation practices can help stretch energy dollars. The conference provides tillage info for beginners, as well as veteran no-till, strip till, ridge-till and mulch-till growers. Offered are four 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 www.tillageconference.com or call 800-722-5334, ext. 14698. The conference is sponsored by The Corn & Soybean Digest and Farm Industry News.



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