A Primedia Property
March 9, 2005 050309

Table of Contents
Logan Hawkes
How to get more from your irrigation dollars
Six steps to execution
WTO rules against cotton subsidies
Brazil near approval for transgenic soybeans
News from the Top of the Hill
Concern over biotech crops unwarranted, Borlaug says
Asian rust -- much ado or real threat?
High natural gas costs bring increased fertilizer imports
U.S. expected to dominate world corn for next decade
NASS study shows family farms still have a role
Farm building boom
ASA urges congress to maintain balance
NCGA welcomes new Vice President of Marketing


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Letter from the Editor
Logan Hawkes
03/09/05    Crop News Weekly
Spring is in the air... and there's plenty of things going on around the world of agriculture, not the least of which is planting and spraying and keeping our fingers crossed that old man winter doesn't decide to stay a while longer. Some parts of the country are still trying to thaw while other regions are getting their usual early spring season.

Hot and cold, hot and cold - a term that describes both the weather and agriculture affairs at the national and global level. To jump start the news, WTO has ruled against cotton subsidies, a decision expected to have long-reaching affects on the broader ag industry in the months and years ahead. Also this week, are you getting the most for your buck when irrigating the fields? Find out how to save time and money. Also this week, after years of an official ban on transgenic crops, Brazil's government is expected to finally give formal approval to the planting of Roundup Ready soybeans by the end of 2005. Will this change competitive values in the global market? Elsewhere in the news, winner of a Nobel Peace Prize, Norman Borlaug, says fear over biotech crops is unfounded, and that bio-engineering, indeed, represents the world's best chance to feed the masses of tomorrow. Finally this week, already dominant in world trade in coarse grains, the U.S. share of world corn trade is expected to grow to nearly 73 percent by the end of the decade, according to the USDA's Baseline Projections to 2014. This could be good news, or bad.

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


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From our Magazines
How to get more from your irrigation dollars
David Bennett
03/07/05    Farm Press Daily
In discussing irrigation, drainage is a good place to start. Producers must be able to not only apply water to a field, but get it off quickly as well. "If you can't do that, what's the point of spending money to put out more water?" asks Earl Vories, USDA-ARS agricultural engineer stationed at the Delta Center in Portageville, Mo. "We irrigate most of our cotton in the Bootheel -- probably close to 60 percent. We have a great water supply... But, the truth is, irrigation by itself won't do much for you -- you must look at your whole production system.


Six steps to execution
Dave Kohl
03/07/05    Corn & Soybean Digest
Agriculture Road Warrior Dave Kohl writes: "Recently I had an opportunity to assist in the facilitation of a panel at the 11th Annual Executive Producer Roundtable sponsored by Northwest Farm Credit Services. One of the panelists, who was a former NFL football player now operating an agribusiness and farm ranch enterprise, discussed his six steps to execution of business strategy. Boy, were they powerful!"


WTO rules against cotton subsidies
Richard Brock
03/07/05    The Corn & Soybean Digest
In a decision that should have far reaching implications for the U.S. farm program and global free trade talks, the World Trade Organization on Thursday handed the U.S. a final defeat in the case brought by Brazil against U.S. cotton subsidies. The World Trade Organization's Appellate Body upheld core findings delivered last year by a WTO dispute panel, which ruled that U.S. subsidies to cotton farmers exceeded WTO ceilings and that some U.S. export credits amounted to illegal export subsidies.


Brazil near approval for transgenic soybeans
Forrest Laws
03/04/05    Farm Press Daily
Bags of seed sold by Sementes Monica, the seed-producing arm of the Grupo Monica holding company in Rondonopolis in north central Brazil, carry a small green logo with two small soybean leaves. By this time next year, those bags may also carry a small RR or whatever the initials are for Roundup Ready in Portuguese. After years of an official ban on transgenic crops, Brazil's government is expected to finally give formal approval to the planting of Roundup Ready soybeans by the end of 2005.


News from the Top of the Hill
Scott Shearer
03/04/05    National Hog Farmer
Court Delays Canadian Rule - Judge Cebell of the U.S. District Court in Billings, Montana, granted R-CALF's request for a temporary injunction regarding the reopening of the U.S.-Canadian border as proposed by USDA. Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns said in a statement that he was "very disappointed in today's ruling by the court to temporarily delay the implementation of USDA's minimal-risk rule, which would re-establish trade with Canada for live cattle under 30 months of age. USDA remains confident that the requirements of the minimal-risk rule, in combination with the animal and public health measures already in place in the United States and Canada, provide the utmost protection to both U.S. consumers and livestock." The American Meat Institute stated "there is no legal or scientific reason to justify the continued ban on importing Canadian beef and cattle, we believe its enforcement is arbitrary and capricious and will ultimately be struck down by the courts." The National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) said "NCBA members do not believe litigation is the solution for protecting the economic interests of U.S. cattlemen and, therefore, chose not to participate in this effort."

Senate Disapproves Canadian Rule - The Senate voted 52-46 to disapprove USDA's rule to allow Canadian live cattle and meat under 30 months to enter the United States. The Administration stated that it strongly opposed the resolution of disapproval and the President "would veto the bill." The resolution will now be considered by the House of Representatives.

NPPC Concerned with Court's Environmental Ruling - The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) is concerned with the recent decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York regarding the 2003 Clean Water Act rule concerning livestock producers. NPPC said the "mixed decision" by the court "both helps and hurts pork producers' efforts to secure sound, sensible environmental regulations that protect water quality and allow animal agriculture to thrive in this country." According to NPPC, "Parts of the ruling tell pork producers if you are following standard, good quality manure handling practices that you do not need a permit. While this makes sense, other parts of the ruling will - without improving water quality - make it much more difficult and costly for operators to remain or enter into pork production." The court's ruling is the result of NPPC lawsuit against EPA's 2003 Clean Water Act rule regarding concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs).

BSE Hearing - Secretary of Agriculture Johanns testified before the House Agriculture Committee on the effects of BSE on U.S. beef exports and imports. There was great frustration by committee members that the Japanese market is still not open. Johanns indicated that it is time for Japan to set a date certain for its market to open for U.S. beef. He said that "additional delays could further complicate relations between the United States and Japan." Johanns was very strong that the longer the Canadian-U.S. border is closed Canada becomes more of a competitor to the U.S. long term. Also, if we do not open the U.S. market to Canadian live cattle and beef under 30 months, he believes it will make it more difficult in opening the Japanese market.

Japan & U.S. Beef - Senator Wayne Allard (R-CO) and nineteen other Senators wrote the Ambassador of Japan to state their concern that a solution had not been finalized to allow U.S. beef to be exported to Japan. The Senators said in the letter that "some in your government who are intent on stopping any resolution of this issue by using unrealistic requirements and dubious science. In light of this situation, if the Japanese Government fails to lift the ban expeditiously, we are afraid that the U.S. Congress may pursue equitable, retaliatory economic actions against Japan." A similar letter is being planned by members of the House of Representatives.

USDA Assessment on Canadian Feed Ban - USDA has completed its assessment of the implementation of the Canadian ruminant-to-ruminant feed ban. According to USDA's inspection team, "Canada has a robust inspection program, that overall compliance with the feed ban is good and that the feed ban is reducing the risk of transmission of bovine spongiform encephalopathy in the Canadian cattle population." USDA's Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) found that compliance by "feed mills and rendering facilities in Canada to their feed ban regulation is good."

Death Tax Repeal - Congressmen Kenny Hulshof (R-MO) and Bud Cramer (D-AL) have introduced the "Death Tax Repeal Permanency Act of 2005." This legislation would permanently end the inheritance tax. Currently there is a 10-year phase-out scheduled for 2010. The tax is then reinstated in 2011. The National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) has stated that the inheritance tax is "a death warrant for small-to-medium sized family businesses." The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) said that "permanent repeal is the only way to end the problems that death taxes cause farmers and ranchers. The uncertainty of current law, with its temporarily repeal, makes estate tax planning more complicated and costly and sometimes nearly impossible."

Concern over biotech crops unwarranted, Borlaug says
Hembree Brandon
03/04/05    Farm Press Online
Since his youth on an Iowa farm, Norman Borlaug has spent a lot of years in Third World countries, received the Nobel Peace Prize, and garnered honors galore. All this has rewarded him with a bully pulpit that he doesn't hesitate to use. At USDA's Agricultural Outlook Forum 2005, he minced few words in his remarks, loosely titled "From the Green Revolution to the Gene Revolution -- a 21st Century Challenge." Honored by the Nobel committee for his "Green Revolution" that boosted crop production in Third World nations and saved millions from starvation, his work was with crops bred and developed in the laborious, time-consuming manner. Nonetheless, he is a firm believer in the utilization of genetically engineered crop varieties to help meet world food needs.


Asian rust -- much ado or real threat?
Elton Robinson
03/03/05    Farm Press Daily
Asian soybean rust might cause a few price blips in the coming growing season, but it's not likely to have a lasting impact on the market because of huge soybean supplies here and around the world, according to grain marketing analyst Richard Brock. In this article, Brock, who publishes the weekly newsletter The Brock Report, discusses a few of the issues he'll cover as a featured speaker at the 2005 Mid-South Farm and Gin Show, March 4-5 at the Cook Convention Center, in downtown Memphis. He'll speak Saturday morning, March 5, at 8:30 a.m.


High natural gas costs bring increased fertilizer imports
Hembree Brandon
03/02/05    Western farm Press
Imports of fertilizer are expected to lessen the impact of rising natural gas prices on the farm sector, according to USDA's Interagency Agricultural Projections Committee. While tightness in the U.S. natural gas market is expected to persist for the medium term, the resulting price volatility will likely have "only modest implications" for the farm sector because of increased imports of fertilizer, the committee said in its February 2005 Agricultural Baseline Projections.


U.S. expected to dominate world corn for next decade
Hembree Brandon
03/01/05    Western farm Press
Already dominant in world trade in coarse grains, the U.S. share of world corn trade is expected to grow to nearly 73 percent by the end of the decade, according to the USDA's Baseline Projections to 2014. China's share of world exports will decline, according to the report by the Interagency Agricultural Projections Committee, but the U.S. corn sector will face increased competition from non-European Union Eastern European nations and Argentina, which are expected to increase their shares of the global corn market.


NASS study shows family farms still have a role
Forrest Laws
03/02/05    Western Farm Press
Those who have been bemoaning the demise of the family farm should read a paper presented by the National Agricultural Statistics Service at the recent USDA Agricultural Outlook Forum. NASS representatives say that nearly one-quarter of the nation's farms that have multiple operators have operators in different generations. The paper's authors say those numbers imply the farms may have a succession plan, but it also can be interpreted to mean that most of those operations are run by members of the same family.


Farm building boom
Jodie Wehrspann
Farm Industry News
WHEN ROGER AND Glen Volkening split up their farming operations fours years ago, Roger was left without a farm shop. All equipment was stored and maintained in his brother's shop a mile and a half away. "All I had was a little machine shed built back in the '50s where I kept my welder and tools," says Volkening, who farms 1,300 acres with his wife Cathy in Marengo, IL. "I used an LP gas heater to keep it warm, but it wasn't very efficient. And we couldn't drive anything inside except for a small tractor." So after 35 years of farming, Volkening decided it was time to build his own shop.



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From the News Wire
ASA urges congress to maintain balance
03/08/05    American Soybean Association
The American Soybean Association (ASA) and more than 200 farm organizations urged the United States Congress to support the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 in a letter delivered today to Congressional budget writers. Signatories of the letter state that, "The new farm law represents a delicate balance by effectively addressing the stability of our agricultural production base, protecting our important natural resources and enhancing nutrition and food assistance programs for our citizens. The careful allocation of resources evidenced by the new law should not be upset."


NCGA welcomes new Vice President of Marketing
03/07/05    NCGA News
The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) today announced Fred Stemme is joining its staff as vice president of marketing, while June Silverberg and Lisa Kelley are joining the association's public policy staff in Washington, D.C. Stemme will oversee the association's marketing, communications, industry relations and membership programs, as well as Commodity Classic and other meetings. "I'm thrilled about the opportunity to roll up my sleeves and begin working with NCGA's grower-leaders, staff and affiliated state organizations," Stemme said.



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