A Primedia Property
January 12, 2005

Table of Contents
Logan Hawkes
Grower achieves successful no-till rotation
New Mexico ethanol plant to double in size
Clean Water Act making changes on farm
Neugebauer to serve on Agriculture, Financial Committees
Growing, marketing herbicide-resistant alfalfa challenging
Scott Shearer's 'News from the Hill'
Soybean rust may boost cotton acres
South-central Kansas producers are growing cotton
E85 pump in Iowa
Energy, fertilizer costs, rain may limit Texas grain acreage
NCGA, Coalition Partners: Natural gas crisis
NCGA applauds Senate Ag Committee confirmation


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Letter from the Editor
Logan Hawkes
01/12/05    Crop News Weekly
In The Headlines: no-till rotation that works; New Mexico ethanol; water changes on the farm; Neugebauer appointed; herbicide resistant alfalfa; soybean rust may boost cotton crop; E85 in Iowa - this and more this week in Crop News Weekly.

Arizona farmer Ron Rayner has been proving no-till crop rotation can work - even in the adverse conditions of the Arizona dry lands. For eight years neither a plow nor disk has touched fields that have grown cotton, alfalfa and cereal grains on his family's A Tumbling T Ranches. And the procedure has been working.

Elsewhere in the news this week, the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) recently congratulated Abengoa Bioenergy Corporation for beginning a 15 million gallon per year expansion to its ethanol plant in Portales, New Mexico. When completed, the plant will process over 11 million bushels of grain sorghum into 30 million gallons of ethanol and approximately 90,000 tons of distillers grains annually. Also this week, the federal Clean Water Act will soon, if it has not already, impact agriculture from California to Maine. In some states nutrient management plans are or will soon be required. In other news, soybean rust's arrival in the United States is rearranging the domestic cotton trade's perspective on American cotton acreage in 2005. It has gone from anticipating reduced cotton acreage this season in the wake of a module-busting 2004 crop of 22.82 bales to predicting acreage similar to 2004 or maybe even slightly more. In a related story, south-central Kansas apparently has its share of cotton farmers. At least so it would seem based upon recent Conservation Security Program contract awards in the region. Finally this week, vehicles capable of burning fuel with 85% ethanol can now fill up with E85 at the Heart of Iowa Co-op in Nevada, IA. The pump is the result of a joint promotion.

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


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From our Magazines
Grower achieves successful no-till rotation
Harry Cline
01/11/05    Western Farm Press
Goodyear, Ariz., cotton farmer Ron Rayner hardly fits the description of the Biblical giant Samson. Yet the two have a lot in common. Samson's long flowing hair is part of what was known as a Nazarite Vow that included the promise that no razor would touch his head. The veteran Arizona cotton producer has taken his version of an equally unique vow for a farmer in the arid Southwest. For eight year neither a plow nor disk has touched fields that have grown cotton, alfalfa and cereal grains on his family's A Tumbling T Ranches.


New Mexico ethanol plant to double in size
01/10/05    Southwest Farm Press
The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) recently congratulated Abengoa Bioenergy Corporation for beginning a 15 million gallon per year expansion to its ethanol plant in Portales, New Mexico. Financing for the expansion is being provided through Industrial Revenue Bonds approved and issued by the city of Portales, and when completed, the plant will process over 11 million bushels of grain sorghum into 30 million gallons of ethanol and approximately 90,000 tons of distillers grains annually. "The RFA congratulates Abengoa Bioenergy on their major expansion," RFA President Bob Dinneen stated. "Expanding the Portales ethanol plant will expand the positive economic impact on New Mexico. This is a great example of a successful ethanol plant outside the Corn Belt."


Clean Water Act making changes on farm
Harry Cline
01/10/05    Western Farm Press
The federal Clean Water Act will soon, if it has not already, impact agriculture from California to Maine. In California, farmers are going through the throes of meeting water quality runoff standards. In other states, nutrient management plans are or will soon be required. Under the new conservation title of the farm bill, growers can be rewarded for writing and adopting best management plans. At the Beltwide Cotton Conferences in New Orleans, a panel of growers and experts were obviously aware of the latest regulatory edict to face farmers; keeping nutrients and soil out of the "waters of the United States" as dictated by the Clean Water Act.


Neugebauer to serve on Agriculture, Financial Committees
01/10/05    Southwest Farm Press
Rep. Randy Neugebauer will serve on the Agriculture and Financial Services Committees during the 109th Congress, his office announced. Neugebauer's reappointment to the Agriculture Committee benefits West Texas and the Big Country as he is in a position to influence policy that affects rural and agricultural America, according to the announcement. The appointment also gives him a seat at the table when discussions concerning the reauthorization of the 2002 farm bill begin later this year.


Growing, marketing herbicide-resistant alfalfa challenging
Harry Cline
01/11/05    Western Farm Press
So far it has not spawned an anti-biotech attack, but that does not mean there are no challenges associated with the herbicide resistant forage crop. Herbicide-resistant (Roundup Ready) alfalfa is expected to be offered for sale commercially this year. However, none seem insurmountable and researchers at the recent National Alfalfa Symposium in San Diego say the path seems clear for what one called the "landmark" movement into a new biotech crop that offers great potential to reduce weed control costs; produce cleaner alfalfa and be a possible solution to new water quality regulations facing western producers.


Scott Shearer's 'News from the Hill'
Scott Shearer
01/07/05    National Hog Farmer
Senate Agriculture Committee Confirms Johanns - The Senate Agriculture Committee unanimously confirmed Governor Mike Johanns (R-NE) as Secretary of Agriculture on Jan. 6. His confirmation will now go before the full Senate for consideration. The Senate Agriculture Committee earlier held Johanns confirmation hearing where there were a number of questions from committee members regarding farm bill, rural development, trade, value-added products, national forests, budget, and food safety. The two issues that received the most attention were trade relations with Japan and Canada. Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) emphasized the importance of reopening Japan for U.S. beef, and he suggested that Johanns needs to personally go to Japan, a special envoy needs to be named, and the President needs to be involved. Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS) and others agreed that Japan must be treated as a highest priority for Johanns and the administration. A number of members raised concerns with the proposed opening of the Canadian border now that Canada has verified a second case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). The Senate Agriculture Committee plans to hold a hearing on this issue.

Agriculture Groups Support Johanns - A number of agricultural organizations sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) urging the U.S. Senate to confirm Governor Mike Johanns (NE) as Secretary of Agriculture. The letter stated: "America's food and agriculture industry will face many challenges in the near future, including budget reconciliation, reauthorization of the Farm Bill, and several international trade agreements. A steady and consistent farm policy is an important element of our national security, ensuring that Americans will continue to have access to the safest and most abundant food supply." Organizations signing the letter included: American Soybean Association, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Cattlemen's Beef Association, National Corn Growers Association, National Cotton Council, National Milk Producers Federation, and National Pork Producers Council.

109th Congress Begins - The 109th Congress was sworn-in this week with nine new Senators and 41 new House members. The leadership for the Senate is Senator Bill Frist (R-TN), Majority Leader; Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Majority Whip; Senator Harry Reid (D-NV), Minority Leader; and Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), Minority Whip. House leadership includes Congressman Dennis Hastert (R-IL), Speaker of the House; Congressman Tom DeLay (R-TX), Majority Leader; Congressman Roy Blunt (R-MO), Majority Whip; Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Minority Leader; and Congressman Steny Hoyer (D-MD), Minority Whip. Major issues will be social security reform, budget, and judicial nominations. Some of the issues that agriculture will deal with this session include budget cuts for agriculture, mandatory price reporting, national animal identification system, agriculture concentration, bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), and trade.

Chambliss New Senate Agriculture Chair - U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) has been named chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee. Chambliss was elected to the Senate in 2002. He served on the House Agriculture Committee for eight years prior to being elected to the U.S. Senate. The American Farm Bureau Federation stated that Chambliss "has always been open to working with farm organizations, seeking input and being able to see all sides of the equation. He is a good leader who has earned the respect of the agriculture industry."

Republicans Name Members of Senate Agriculture Committee - The Senate Republicans have named Republican members of the Senate Agriculture Committee for the 109th Congress. Members are Senators Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), chairman, Richard Lugar (R-IN), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Jim Talent (R-MO), Craig Thomas (R-WY), Rick Santorum (R-PA), Norm Coleman (R-MN), Mike Crapo (R-ID), and Charles Grassley (R-IA). Santorum and Thomas are new to the committee.

USDA to Allow Imports of Live Canadian Cattle - USDA announced that it would allow imports of live cattle less than 30 months of age from Canada beginning March 7. The imports will be subject to certain restrictions to ensure the cattle are slaughtered by the time they reach 30 months of age. Restrictions include "permanent marking of the animals as to their origin, requiring them to move in sealed containers to a feedlot or to slaughter, and not allowing them to move to more than one feedlot while in the United States." USDA also announced that meat from cattle over 30 months of age will be allowed. This has caused concerns within the U.S. meat industry. The National Meat Association (NMA) has called USDA's decision, the "outsourcing of our cattle slaughter industry." The American Meat Institute (AMI) has taken legal action in filing a lawsuit against USDA in U.S. District Court, tating: "There is no legal or scientific justification for continuing to ban Canadian cattle 30 months of age and older." R-CALF has said that 30 months is too high and it should be 20 months of age. Congress will now have 60 legislative days to either accept or reject the rule. This announcement came one day before Canada announced its second case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).

Canada Has Second BSE Case - The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has confirmed its second case of BSE or mad cow disease. An eight-year-old dairy cow from Alberta, Canada tested positive for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). The cow was born in 1996, prior to Canada's 1997 feed ban. CFIA indicated that the animal did not enter the human food or animal feed systems. USDA stated that it "remains confident that the animal and public health measures that Canada has in place, including the removal of specified risk materials (SRMs) from the human food chain, a ruminant-to-ruminant feed ban, a national surveillance program and import restrictions, combined with existing U.S. domestic safeguards and the additional safeguards announced as part of USDA's BSE minimal-risk rule announced Dec. 29 provide the utmost protections to U.S. consumers and livestock." The National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) stated that the "subsequent finding of BSE in this animal should not have any bearing on the implementation of the rule scheduled for March 7, 2005. This is an important step toward normalizing global trade, which increases profitability for America's cattle producers." Senators Byron Dorgan (D-ND) and Tim Johnson (D-SD) have asked Agriculture Secretary Veneman to keep the Canadian border closed now that Canada has confirmed a second case of BSE.

Record U.S. Pork Exports - The U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) reports that U.S. pork exports have set a new record. Exports for the first 10 months of 2004 have already surpassed the record for all of 2003. According to USMEF, exports from January-October 2004 were "34% higher in volume (819,694 metric tons) compared to the same period of 2003, and 38% higher in value at $1.789 billion." Exports for all of 2003 were 757,905 metric tons (mt), valued at $l.582 billion. In 1989, U.S. pork exports totaled 152,817 mt with a value of $377 million.

Inspectors Claim Plants Violating BSE Rules - The National Joint Council of Food Inspection Locals claim that U.S. meat plants are "allowing brains and spinal cord from older cattle to enter the food supply." This is a violation of government regulations regarding bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). The union stated: "Meat plants have yet to implement measures required by the U.S. Agriculture Department (USDA) to protect consumers." USDA disagrees with the inspectors union and said that "SRMs are being removed and being disposed of according to regulations implemented in January 2004."

National BSE Conference - An industry-sponsored conference regarding bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) Prevention in North America will be held Jan. 27 in Washington, D.C. The purpose of the conference is to discuss the "current BSE situation in North America and to identify and analyze options that may be needed to further reduce BSE risk." Sponsors include: American Feed Industry Association, American Meat Institute Foundation, Canadian Cattlemen's Association, National Cattlemen's Beef Association, and National Renderers Association.

Nutrition Website - the U.S. Agriculture Department (USDA) announced a new nutrition website, www.nutrition.gov/, designed to help the public with answers to nutrition and food related questions. USDA said, "Health solutions begin with the availability of reliable nutrition and physical activity information the public can use to make good health choices and maintain a healthy weight. The Web-based resource includes databases, recipes, interactive tools and specialized information for infants and children, adult women and men and seniors."

Outlook Forum - The USDA Outlook Forum, set for Feb. 24-25, will focus on managing risks from bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) and Avian Influenza, energy price prospects, ethanol and co-products, early debate over the next Farm bill, new dietary guidelines, World Trade Organization talks and the bio-safety protocol. In addition, the forum will feature USDA's forecasts for 2005 planting, production, trade and prices. Details can be found at http://www.usda.gov/oce/forum.

Soybean rust may boost cotton acres
Harry Cline
01/05/05    Western Farm Press
Soybean rust's arrival in the United States is rearranging the domestic cotton trade's perspective on American cotton acreage in 2005. It has gone from anticipating reduced cotton acreage this season in the wake of a module-busting 2004 crop of 22.82 bales to predicting acreage similar to 2004 or maybe even slightly more, according to Robert Norris, president of Cotton Council International. Norris, who heads Calcot, the largest cotton marketing cooperative in the West, added "duplicating yields is another story."


South-central Kansas producers are growing cotton
David Bennett
01/07/05    Southwest Farm Press
"Historically, this area -- south-central Kansas through north-central Oklahoma -- has been wheat and cow country," said Dusty Albright. "That's been the case for 80 years, at least." It'll come as no surprise that Conservation Security Program contracts were recently awarded to cotton farmers. The surprise may come in knowing the farmers in question call south-central Kansas home.


E85 pump in Iowa
Farm Industry News
Vehicles capable of burning fuel with 85% ethanol can now fill up with E85 at the Heart of Iowa Co-op in Nevada, IA. The pump is the result of a joint promotion between the co-op, Lincolnway Energy and Monsanto's "highly fermentable corn" initiative. The pump is being billed as Iowa's flagship E85 pump, implying that consumers can expect more E85 pumps in the future. The Iowa Department of Agriculture has compiled a following list of vehicles that can burn E85 fuel. This is only a general guide. Be sure to check your VIN and owner's manual.


Energy, fertilizer costs, rain may limit Texas grain acreage
Ron Smith
01/03/05    Southwest Farm Press
Texas corn growers, despite late season harvest difficulties, capitalized on better than average rainfall and put a decent crop in the bins. "Yields have been good all over the state," says David Gibson, executive director of the Texas Corn Producers Board at a media breakfast preceding the annual Texas Commodity Symposium held recently in conjunction with the Amarillo Farm and Ranch Show. "Some farmers had corn flooded out and farmers in the High Plains still have corn in the fields (in early December) but we had good rain on this crop."


From the News Wire
NCGA, Coalition Partners: Natural gas crisis
01/10/05    NCGA News
In comments submitted last week to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) and 26 other agriculture-related groups known as the Ag Energy Alliance said steadily increasing natural gas prices are significantly impacting the profitability of U.S. farmers. In December, Committee Chairman Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.) issued a request for comments and legislative proposals that offer long-term solutions to the looming natural gas supply and demand crisis. Corn production requires considerable amounts of natural gas; it's used as a primary feedstock for fertilizer, as well as an energy source for powering irrigation pumps and grain dryers.


NCGA applauds Senate Ag Committee confirmation
01/07/05    NCGA News
The Senate Agriculture Committee on Thursday unanimously recommended that the full Senate confirm Nebraska Gov. Mike Johanns as the 28th secretary of agriculture. The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) strongly supports the nomination of Johanns, who has been a staunch advocate of ethanol and other value-added agriculture. During his confirmation hearing before the committee Thursday, Johanns reaffirmed his commitment to ethanol and explained how Nebraska became one of the nation's leaders in ethanol production.


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