A Primedia Property
January 26, 2005 050126

Table of Contents
Logan Hawkes
Johanns to 'sell' consumers on farm program bargain
EU resumes wheat export subsidies
Conservation Security Program sign up
From the Road Warrior: How do you stack up?
Publication compares RFV, RFQ
News from the Top of the Hill
Monsanto buying leading fruit-vegetable seed company
More forage, but less filling
U.S. seen as market for Italian equipment makers
Texas Soybean Association meeting set for Victoria
Custom Farming Primer
Soybean Rust Reference Guide
Stakeholders to examine biotech regulatory process

Letter from the Editor
Logan Hawkes
01/26/05    Crop News Weekly
Unless the winter weather slowed you down the past few days, it's been business as usual as January quickly comes to an end. The prospect of more cold weather may tarnish hopes of an early spring, but it's still too early in the year to call it one way or the other. Eventualy, the weather will change.

As for the news this week, a few changes to note. For instance, the European Union announced last week it would reinstate wheat export subsidies for the first time since 2003 - in response to demand from EU exporters. Also this week, news that the number of watersheds eligible for Conservation Security Program (CSP) funds have increased. The USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) initiated the watershed approach back in 2004 as a method of 'phased development.' Elsewhere in the news, according to Colorado State researchers, continued elevated carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere may reduce forage quality among the world's grasslands and lead to reduced weight gain in animals. And Monsanto expands its offerings with the recent definitive agreement to acquire Oxnard, Calif.-based Seminis, Inc. The move puts Monsanto into the fruit and vegetable seed business. Also this week, despite a weak U.S. dollar that makes their goods more expensive and hampers competitiveness, Italian farm equipment manufacturers look increasingly to America to increase sales and profits. And finally, you may remember that last week we featured an article about how many land owners are turning to custom farming contractors to work the fields and run the risks. This week, get primed on how you can start your own custom farming operation.

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

From our Magazines
Johanns to 'sell' consumers on farm program bargain
Forrest Laws
01/25/05    Farm Press Daily
Mike Johanns says he will make a case for the bargain U.S. consumers receive from farm programs as he begins to travel the country as the nation's 28th secretary of agriculture. Speaking at his first new conference since being sworn in as secretary, Johanns said his career as an attorney and politician in Nebraska after growing up on an Iowa dairy farm has given him the opportunity to see things from the consumers' point of view.


EU resumes wheat export subsidies
Richard Brock
01/24/05    The Corn & Soybean Digest
The European Union on Thursday announced it would reinstate wheat export subsidies for the first time since 2003 in response to demand from EU exporters. The EU grain management committee agreed to open a tender for export rebates on two million metric tons of wheat. Bids will be taken in the tender starting January 28 and the first results will be announced on February 3. While the direct impact on wheat prices from the EU move may not be big, the resumption of subsidies is clearly not good for the wheat market from a psychological standpoint.


Conservation Security Program sign up
Kent Thiesse
01/24/05    The Corn & Soybean Digest
The USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) initiated a watershed approach in 2004 for implementation of the Conservation Security Program (CSP) that was part of the 2002 Farm Bill. Under this approach, a total of 18 watersheds were selected nationwide for the first CSP sign-up in 2004. Now an additional 202 watersheds in the U.S. have been selected for the second CSP sign-up in 2005. The watershed approach was chosen by NRCS to implement the Conservation Security Program in a "staged" fashion, with new watersheds being added each year.


From the Road Warrior: How do you stack up?
Dave Kohl
01/24/05    The Corn & Soybean Digest
Dave writes: "Recently I had the pleasure of conducting two young and beginning farmer and rancher leadership institutes for East Carolina Farm Credit and Farm Credit of Central Kansas. If the cold winds of winter have got you down, you should enroll in one of these seminars because they are very motivational and uplifting. I asked the young producers a series of questions to get them to discuss issues as a couple or group. One question pertained to family living cost. It was interesting to watch couples discuss their living withdrawal and the perceived amount."


Publication compares RFV, RFQ
01/24/05    Hay & Forage Grower
A new South Dakota State University publication explains the difference between relative feed value (RFV) and relative forage quality (RFQ), and the indexes used to assess forage quality. The more widely used RFV index assesses quality and compares forage varieties, helping hay buyers and sellers price forages. The RFQ index, introduced about three years ago, takes into account the differences in digestibility of the forage's fiber fraction and can be used to more accurately predict animal needs and performance.


News from the Top of the Hill
Scott Shearer
01/21/05    National Hog Farmer
Johanns Confirmed by Senate - The United States Senate yesterday confirmed Governor Mike Johanns (R-NE) by voice vote as Secretary of Agriculture. Johanns served six years as Governor of Nebraska. As governor, he focused on trade, ethanol, value-added agriculture, and drought relief. His first challenges as Secretary of Agriculture will be re-opening of the Japanese market for U.S. beef, re-opening of the U.S.-Canadian border for Canadian live cattle under 30 months of age, BSE, and the 2006 budget. President Bush is expected to ask for significant cuts in USDA's 2006 budget which will be released in early February.

Inauguration - Thousands of citizens from throughout the United States were in Washington, D.C. this week for the inauguration of George W. Bush's second term as the 43rd President of the United States and Richard Cheney as 46th Vice President of the United States. President Bush has indicated that social security reform and the war on terrorism will be priorities of his second term. During this week's festivities approximately 1500 agricultural leaders, producers, administration officials, and Congressional members and staff attended the 2005 Inaugural Agricultural Gala. The "AG Ball" continues to be one of the most popular events at inaugurals.

Tax Credit for Small Ethanol Producers - Congressman Steve King (R-IA) has introduced legislation that would give additional small ethanol producers a tax credit. Currently, ethanol producers that producer under 30 million gallons per year are eligible for a ten-cent-per gallon tax credit up to 15 million gallons of production annually. King's legislation would expand the tax credit to those who produce up to 60 million gallons annually. King stated, "We need to add value as close to the corn stalk and soybean stubble as many times as we can."

Dietary Guidelines Announced - USDA and the Department of Health and Human Services announced the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005 which are to "promote health and reduce risk of chronic diseases through nutrition and physical activity. The new guidelines emphasize reducing calorie consumption and increasing physical activity. The report makes 41 key recommendations, of which 23 are for the general public and 18 for special populations. The recommendations are grouped into nine general topics: adequate nutrient within calorie needs, weight management, physical activity, food groups to encourage, fats, carbohydrates, sodium and potassium, alcoholic beverages, and food safety. The Guidelines recommend eating more fruits and vegetables; add whole grains to the diet; consume fat-free or low-fat dairy products; and exercise at least 30 minutes per day. The science-based guidelines are developed every five years.

New Guidelines for FSA County Committee Elections - USDA announced new uniform guidelines for conducting USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) County Committee elections. Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman said the guidelines are "intended to make the election process for County Committees more accessible to all producers, especially minorities and women." The 2002 Farm Bill authorized USDA to develop uniform guidelines to increase the participation of minorities and women producers. The adopted guidelines include:

  • Requires that ballots be mailed directly to FSA state offices to apply only at the request of one candidate, or when the Secretary determines that this procedure is necessary in any specific County Committee area. In all other cases, voters will return their ballots to their respective county offices. Ballot opening and counting will be fully open and accessible to the public, with 10 days advance notice of the date and time of the vote tabulation.
  • If no valid nominations are filed, the Secretary may nominate up to two individuals to be placed on the ballot. If the Secretary does not exercise this authority, then the State Committee may nominate up to two individuals to be placed on the ballot. If neither the Secretary nor the State Committee chooses to exercise their authority, then the respective County Committee shall nominate two individuals to be placed on the ballot.
  • County Committees will annually review the local administrative area (LAA) boundaries to ensure the fair representation of Socially Disadvantaged Producers (SDA) in the area, with sufficient time allowed for public input of proposed LAA boundary changes prior to FSA State Committee review. In specific instances, FSA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. may conduct further review of LAA boundary changes if further review is sought by either the public or deemed appropriate.
  • FSA county offices shall actively locate and recruit eligible candidates identified as SDA farmers and ranchers as potential nominees for the County Committee elections using any reasonable means necessary, including the development of partnerships with community based organizations.
  • Allows for the release of voter names and addresses to candidates. All other eligible voters will only be entitled to review a list of the voter names.

    Additional information regarding the election guidelines may be found at: http://www.fsa.usda.gov/pas/publications/elections.

    Veneman to Head UNICEF - U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan announced that Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman will become executive director of UNICEF. Veneman said she would focus on hunger and malnutrition. UNICEF was established in 1946 to be an advocate for the well-being of children.

    Monsanto buying leading fruit-vegetable seed company
    01/24/05    Western Farm Press
    Monsanto Co. announced today that it signed a definitive agreement to acquire Oxnard, Calif.-based Seminis, Inc., for $1.4 billion in cash and assumed debt, plus a performance-based payment of up to $125 million payable by the end of fiscal year 2007. "The addition of Seminis will be an excellent fit for our company as global production of vegetables and fruits, and the trend toward healthier diets, has been growing steadily over the past several years," said Hugh Grant, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Monsanto. "Seminis is uniquely positioned to capitalize on this fast-growing segment of agriculture, and the acquisition likewise expands Monsanto's ability to grow."


    More forage, but less filling
    01/21/05    Western Farm Press
    Continued elevated carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere may reduce forage quality among the world's grasslands and lead to reduced weight gain among animals, according to Agricultural Research Service scientists and cooperators. Their five-year study was published in the journal Ecological Applications. Plant physiologist Jack A. Morgan led the study with ARS colleagues and cooperators at Colorado State University. Morgan heads the ARS Rangeland Resources Research Unit in Fort Collins, Colo.


    U.S. seen as market for Italian equipment makers
    Ron Smith
    01/20/05    Southwest Farm Press
    Despite a weak U.S. dollar that makes their goods more expensive and hampers competitiveness, Italian farm equipment manufacturers look increasingly to America to increase sales and profits. "The United States is the market of the future," says Pier Silvio Mayer, managing director of Sovema, a manufacturer of tillage, hay and mowing equipment in Modena, Italy. Sovema, along with just about every other significant equipment maker in Italy, displayed its wares at the 35th EIMA (International Agricultural and Gardening Machinery Manufacturers Exhibition) trade show in Bologna.


    Texas Soybean Association meeting set for Victoria
    01/21/05    Southwest Farm Press
    The Texas Soybean Association will hold its 38th Annual Meeting at the Victoria Community Center (2905 E North St.) in Victoria, Texas on Thursday, Feb. 3, 2005, in conjunction with the 2005 Soybean Production Conference sponsored by the Texas Cooperative Extension Service. All soybean producers are invited to attend this free event. Registration will begin at 8 a.m. and the program will start at 8:30 a.m. Speakers and topics include: Dr. Jim Heitholt, Texas Agricultural Experiment Station, Dallas, Texas, Variety Evaluation Projects in Texas; James Grichar, Research Scientist, Texas Agricultural Experiment Station, Beeville, Texas, Texas Gulf Coast Soybean Planting Date Study: A Three Year Summary; Joe Krausz, Extension Program Leader for Plant Pathology and Microbiology, Soybean Diseases Old & New, and more.


    Custom Farming Primer
    Jodie Wehrspann
    01/11/05    Farm Industry News
    You may remember that last week we featured an article about how many land owners are turning to custom farming contractors to work the fields and run the risks. This week, get primed on how you can start your own custom farming operation. Custom farming can be a good way for established farmers to increase their income. According to John Baker, agricultural attorney with Iowa State University, it is ideal for farmers who have excess machinery capacity but don't have additional ground to farm.



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    From the News Wire
    Soybean Rust Reference Guide
    01/25/04    American Soybean Association
    The American Soybean Association (ASA) will soon publish an online edition of its highly regarded 20-page Soybean Rust Reference Guide on the Association's web site SoyGrowers.com. This new grower resource is an expanded version of the Guide ASA distributed to all its members in early January. The printed and online Guide include a special message from ASA's President, and a section that outlines the steps the Association has taken to prepare for soybean rust and how these efforts are now paying off.


    Stakeholders to examine biotech regulatory process
    01/21/05    NCGA News
    In an effort to address the regulatory issues surrounding new agricultural biotech products, the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) is sponsoring the Second Generation Ag Biotech Conference March 15 in Washington, D.C. Despite the success and increasing adoption of biotech crops, opposition and questions remain regarding how new innovations will be regulated in the future. Many of those questions and concerns will likely be directed at the "second generation" of biotech products, which will introduce output traits with industrial characteristics, according to Nathan Danielson, NCGA director of biotechnology.



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