A Primedia Property
February 23, 2005 050223

Table of Contents
Logan Hawkes
Will agriculture's funding be slashed for budget deficit?
New RTK System putting tractor guidance on the curve
Bush's budget proposal faces many hurdles
USDA pilots state-level conservation innovation grants
News from the Top of the Hill
Swimsuits optional at anti-GE leader's farm
Not all of sunny California are anti-biotech
REVIEW: History of the Deutz-Fahr tractor
Refuge regs grow
Rust prediction
Commodity Classic General Session: The future of ag
NCGA again urges congress to tackle energy legislation


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Letter from the Editor
Logan Hawkes
02/23/05    Crop News Weekly
In The Top of the News: It's probably not a surprise to U.S. farmers that less than two months into the new year, the Bush administration and congress are considering which agriculture programs to slash in order to reach a 2006 budget conclusion. But experts in the industry are worried about more than just a few cuts. The last time the nation's deficit spiraled out of control, agriculture programs were all but choked to death. Expect a lot of buzz about this issue in the weeks and months ahead.

In other news, anyone who's ever driven a tractor with a cultivator rig for 10 or 12 hours a day knows that having a GPS guidance system can make life better. Get the latest on a new roll out of equipment that will make the job easier. Also this week, U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service Chief Bruce Knight has announced 12 states and the Pacific Basin will pilot state-level Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) in fiscal year 2005. And Scott Shearer is back with another look at developments on the Hill - and there have been plenty. Also in this issue, if you're not a biotech farmer, you're invited to a party Out West - and swimsuits are apparently optional. And finally, catch a little history this week with an interesting tale about a tractor - and a company - that just wouldn't be denied.

Thanks for joining us again, and happy reading.


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From our Magazines
Will agriculture's funding be slashed for budget deficit?
Daryll Ray
02/22/05    Farm Press Daily
Recently, we have been on the road making presentations to a wide variety of groups concerned about agricultural policy. One of the questions that is garnering quite a bit of attention - sometimes in quiet conversations and other times in open discussion - is the issue of the large federal deficit and its potential impact on farm program funding. Everyone remembers the 1980s and the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act and the squeeze it put on farm program spending. The current projected deficit of $368 billion does not include the cost of military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, which will add $80-$110 billion to the national overdraft.


New RTK System putting tractor guidance on the curve
02/22/05    Southwest Farm Press
Anyone who's ever driven a tractor with a cultivator rig for 10 or 12 hours a day knows that having a GPS guidance system that can steer a tractor or combine in a straight line isn't that big a deal. It's when a tractor can move down a quarter-mile, curved row with no human hands at the wheel and not plow up any cotton that GPS Guidance Systems will have arrived. AutoFarm, the agricultural arm of the company that developed the first GPS steering system in 1992, believes that day is here.


Bush's budget proposal faces many hurdles
Hembree Brandon
02/21/05    Farm Press Daily
Weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth have been the order of the day since the announcement of the Bush administration's proposed budget for fiscal 2006. Every organization and special interest group under the sun has been bombarding the media with comments, mostly negative, on how the budget will affect them. There are, indeed, a lot of negatives in the proposal that President Bush says with characteristic redundancy "is a budget that's a lean budget."


USDA pilots state-level conservation innovation grants
02/21/05    Western Farm Press
U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service Chief Bruce Knight has announced 12 states and the Pacific Basin will pilot state-level Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) in fiscal year 2005. State-level competitions will be available in California, Colorado, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, Texas and the Pacific Basin. CIG, a component of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, provides farmers and ranchers with the opportunity, through innovation, to address some of the country's most pressing natural resource conservation needs.


News from the Top of the Hill
Scott Shearer
02/18/05    National Hog Farmer
Record U.S. Pork Exports - The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) announced record U.S. pork exports for 2004. Pork exports were over $2 billion in value and 995,000 metric tons in volume. Compared to 2003, this was an increase of 40% by value and 35% by volume. U.S. pork exports have increased 292% by value and 337% by volume since the Uruguay Round, according to NPPC. Other trade agreements that have helped increase pork exports include the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), China World Trade Organization agreement, and agreements with Russia and Australia. NPPC is now urging Congress to pass the Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA), which would increase U.S. pork exports by an estimated 20,000 metric tons per year.

Disapprove Canadian Meat Rule - Senator Ken Conrad (R-ND) has introduced S.J. Res. 4, a resolution of disapproval regarding USDA's Canadian meat rule. If passed, the resolution would prevent USDA from implementing the rule. The resolution must pass both the Senate and the House of Representatives and be signed by the President to become effective. Conrad strongly supports keeping the border closed to Canadian cattle. Currently, even though the border is closed to live Canadian cattle, meat from animals under 30 months of age continues to be shipped into the U.S. Since USDA allowed this type of meat to enter the U.S. last year, it is equivalent to 1.6 million of head of cattle entering the U.S.

BSE Hearing - The House Agriculture Committee will hold a hearing on March 1 regarding the effect of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) on U.S. meat exports and imports. Trade with Canada and Japan will be key issues during this hearing.

Smithfield-ContiBeef Merger of Cattle Feeding Business - Smithfield Foods' subsidiary, MF Cattle Feeding, and ContiBeef have announced the formation of a 50/50 joint venture cattle feeding business. The new entity will include the cattle feed yards of ContiBeef and MF Cattle Feeding, located in Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas.

House Agriculture Committee Subcommittees - Congressmen Bob Goodlatte, chairman, and Collin Peterson, ranking member, of the House Agriculture Committee recently named chairmen and ranking members of the various subcommittees. Those named include: Subcommittee on Conservation, Credit, Rural Development, and Research, Frank Lucas (R-OK), chairman, and Tim Holden (D-PA), ranking member; Department Operations, Oversight, Dairy, Nutrition, and Forestry, Gil Gutknecht (R-MN), chairman, and Joe Baca (D-CA), ranking member; General Farm Commodities and Risk Management, Jerry Moran (R-KS), chairman, and Bob Etheridge (D-NC), ranking member; Livestock and Horticulture, Robin Hayes (R-NC), chairman, and Ed Case (D-HI), ranking member; and Specialty Crops and Foreign Agriculture Programs, Bill Jenkins (R-TN), chairman, and Mike McIntyre (D-NC), ranking member.

National Pork Industry Forum - The National Pork Industry Forum will be held March 3-5 at Coronado Springs Resort, Orlando, FL. The Forum is for anyone who is involved in the production, sale and marketing of pork. There will a series of "update sessions" with industry experts and leaders to discuss issues facing the pork industry. Some of the topics include: animal rights, animal identification and meat traceability, animal welfare, environmental issues and the air emissions consent agreement between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and pork producers. The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) and the National Pork Board will hold their respective delegate body sessions on March 4 and 5 to vote on resolutions and organizational policies. Additional information may be found at http://www.nppc.org/Eventinformation.html and http://www.porkboard.org/PorkForum/default.asp.

National Pork Producers Delegate Body - Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns has appointed 154 pork producers and 10 importers to the 2005 National Pork Producers Delegate Body. Established under the Pork Promotion, Research and Consumer Information Act of 1985, the delegate body and the National Pork Board direct the administration of Pork Checkoff funds. The appointments are for one year. The complete list of producers appointed may be found at http://www.usda.gov/2005/02/0050.xml.

Crawford Nominated to Head FDA - President Bush has nominated Lester Crawford to serve as director of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Crawford, a veterinarian, has served as acting FDA director for nearly a year. A bipartisan group of Senators believe FDA has become to close to the companies it regulates and will want Crawford to explain how FDA will remain independent and will regulate drug companies.

Swimsuits optional at anti-GE leader's farm
Harry Cline
02/18/05    Western Farm Press
OK you farmers out there growing biotech cotton and corn. You are contaminating your neighbor's crops. The EPA, FDA and USDA and every agricultural corporation in American has led you astray. So plow those crops under now. Then shed your swim suit and come out to California and discover why one man is trying to nab GMOs for ten years so as to avoid contamination to his organic operation. Second thought: Hold on to those swimsuits.


Not all of sunny California are anti-biotech
Harry Cline
02/15/05    Western Farm Press
The boards of supervisors of two of the largest agricultural counties in the nation have gone on record supporting agricultural biotechnology crops and the rights of farmers to plant them. Kings County, Calif., board of supervisors in February followed the lead of the Fresno County, Calif., board of supervisors in passing a resolution supporting biotechnology. Fresno County is the largest agricultural county in the nation with almost $3 billion in annual agricultural income and its supervisors passed a pro biotechnology resolution in December. Kings County ranks ninth with more than $1 billion in agricultural income.


REVIEW: History of the Deutz-Fahr tractor
Daryl Bridenbaugh
02/15/05    Farm Industry News
Four Wheels Ahead: A Biography of the SAME Group is one of the most interesting books that I have ever read. The family behind the SAME tractor is much like the Deere family in America. The two Cassani brothers invented and built the first diesel tractor in 1927 when they were still in their early 20s. In 1952 they produced the first front-wheel-assist tractor. They were mechanical geniuses, visionaries and entrepreneurs who literally had their fingerprints on every tractor they built. They established a company philosophy of constant improvement and innovation. Grandsons are still at the company and are keeping the genius alive.


Refuge regs grow
02/16/05    Farm Industry News
The new corn hybrids with stacked Bt traits require close attention to the insect-resistance management requirements. The YieldGard Plus hybrid contains both the YieldGard corn borer gene and the YieldGard rootworm gene. The refuge requirements are different for the two traits. The corn rootworm refuge must be within or adjacent to the YieldGard Plus field. The corn borer refuge may be up to a half mile from the YieldGard Plus field.


Rust prediction
02/16/05    Farm Industry News
Researchers at St. Louis University and Iowa State University have created a forecasting tool to help predict the spread of Asian soybean rust. The researchers expect to use the tool this winter to make regional forecasts for various states, including Missouri and Illinois. Last August, the researchers made a rust prediction map that projected the soybean rust spread from South America to the southern U.S. during hurricane season.



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From the News Wire
Commodity Classic General Session: The future of ag
02/22/05    NCGA News
How will agriculture look in the future? What role will farmers play in addressing the nation's imminent challenges? What tools are available to producers to prepare for changes in market? These and other questions concerning the future of U.S. agriculture will be addressed during an exciting Commodity Classic general session panel discussion Feb. 25 in Austin, Texas. Immediately following the panel discussion, Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns will present the keynote address. Noted ag commentator John Phipps will moderate the panel, which includes Greenpeace co-founder Patrick Moore; agriculture biotechnology expert Sano Shimoda; and Lynn Jensen, U.S. Department of Agriculture's rural development director for South Dakota.


NCGA again urges congress to tackle energy legislation
02/18/05    NCGA News
The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) renewed its call for passage of a comprehensive energy bill that includes a Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) this week in written testimony submitted to the House Subcommittee on Energy and Air Quality. NCGA's testimony noted that creating the RFS, in which a small percentage of the nation's transportation fuel supply is provided by renewable fuels such as ethanol, provides a positive roadmap for reducing consumer fuel prices, increasing our nation's energy security and stimulating rural economies.


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