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March 23, 2005 050323

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Table of Contents
Logan Hawkes
New conventional soybean variety, UA4805, released
Column: One world government?
USDA cuts soy stocks, raises corn
USDA launches big soybean rust Web Site
News from the Top of the Hill
Information security
Ethanol industry doing well
Used equipment search
The Road Warrior: Twisted yield curve
Don't take your eye off the ball
Cover more ground
NCGA emphasizes importance of agriculture to economy
National Biodiesel Day marked by unstable petro prices


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Letter from the Editor
Logan Hawkes
03/23/05    Crop News Weekly
It's National Ag Week, and Easter Holy Week - not to mention the first week of the spring season and the annual observance of Passover. If we had the luxury of a long work break this week, we'd have plenty to celebrate and observe. Here's hoping you will at least find a day or two this week to observe and celebrate in your own special way.

In spite of a week full of special days, there's plenty going on in the world of ag. First up this week, there's a new soybean variety ready to roll out at a seed store near you. That is, if you live in or around Arkansas. But it's probably only a matter of time before variations are created for Midwest growers. In other news, who said the threat (or promise) of One World Government is over? Perhaps we don't hear about it as much...then again, on second thought, perhaps we should. Elsewhere, it looks like corn is up and beans are down. Or so it would seem after a look at last week's USDA monthly supply/demand update. But there is some good news for soybean growers worried about keeping up with Asian rust. USDA has launched its new interactive soybean rust Web site as part of a national soybean rust plant disease surveillance and monitoring network. Also good news this week, according to the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), the U.S. ethanol Industry set a record for annual production in 2004, with total U.S. ethanol production at about 3.4 billion gallons. I just love to watch corn (and soybeans) grow.

Here's hoping your week is a special one - in more ways than one. Happy reading.


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From our Magazines
New conventional soybean variety, UA4805, released
David Bennett
03/21/05    Farm Press Daily
A new, high-yielding Group 4 soybean has been released by the University of Arkansas. UA 4805 is a conventional variety bred by Pengyin Chen, soybean breeder for the University of Arkansas. "UA4805 has been tested about 80 times over the last five years," said Chen. "We're confident in it. It's a consistent high-yielder and has a nice disease package. It should do well across most environments found in Arkansas." Besides being a newly introduced variety, something else is being introduced with UA4805's release.


Column: One world government?
Daryll E. Ray
03/21/05    Western Farm Press
Driving through the countryside during the late 1950s and the 1960s, it was not uncommon to see a billboard proclaiming "Get the US out of the UN," reflecting, in part, the concern that US sovereignty might be compromised by decisions made at the United Nations headquarters in New York City. The sponsors of this billboard wanted to make sure that no world government would be able to impose its decisions on the citizens of the U.S. The UN was seen as a harbinger of a coming One World Government. We find it a bit ironic that, today, those fears seem to have subsided despite the creation of and broad powers given to the World Trade Organization and regional agreements like the North American Free Trade Agreement and the yet-to-be adopted Central America Free Trade Agreement.


USDA cuts soy stocks, raises corn
Richard Brock
03/15/05    The Corn & Soybean Digest
Thursday morning's USDA monthly supply/demand update lowered projected 2004-2005 U.S. and world soybean ending stocks, but raised the forecast for corn stocks again. The changes may not have a big impact on corn and soybean prices because they were largely expected by the trade. The USDA lowered its estimate of U.S. soybean stocks by 30 million bushels to 410 million bushels.


USDA launches big soybean rust Web Site
USDA
03/15/05    The Corn & Soybean Digest
Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns today unveiled USDA's interactive soybean rust Web site as part of a national soybean rust plant disease surveillance and monitoring network, during remarks to the Kansas, Iowa, Missouri and Nebraska Farm Bureau Federations meeting here. "USDA is launching this Web site to help ensure farmers and producers have easy access to all the best information and guidance on soybean rust," said Johanns. "This web page will serve as a one-stop shop for anyone who depends on the soy industry to help understand these issues and make informed decisions."


News from the Top of the Hill
Scott Shearer
03/18/05    National Hog Farmer
USDA to Appeal Canadian Case - The Department of Justice on behalf of USDA filed a request with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit asking the court to overturn the ruling by the U.S. District Court in Billings, MT that placed an injunction on USDA's rule that would allow Canadian live cattle under 30 months of age to be imported into the U.S. USDA said, "We remain 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."

Budget Committees Cut Agriculture - The House and Senate passed their respective budget resolutions this week. The House budget instructs the House Agriculture Committee to cut $5.3 billion from mandatory programs (farm bill, food stamps, etc.) over five years. The Senate Budget Resolution mandates cuts of $2.8 billion from mandatory programs over five years. The Senate defeated an amendment (46-54) that would have protected agriculture from cuts. House-Senate conference committee will now consider the budget resolutions.

Animal ID Legislation Introduced - Congressman Collin Peterson (D-MN), ranking member of the House Agriculture Committee has introduced legislation (H.R. 1254) that would require the establishment of a nationwide electronic livestock identification (ID) system. Peterson also introduced H.R. 1256, which would limit the disclosure of certain animal identification information. The legislation would also exempt certain information from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act, which has been a major issue for beef producers. Congressman Steve King (R-IA) also plans to introduce animal ID legislation.

GAO Feed Ban Report - The U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) has completed a study regarding the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) oversight of the feed-ban rule. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Tom Harkin (D-IA) requested the report, which found that FDA had made improvement in its management and oversight of the feed-ban rule since the last GAO report in 2002. However, FDA found that "program weaknesses continue to limit the effectiveness of the ban and place U.S. cattle at risk of spreading bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE)." The report sited various program weaknesses, which included:

  • "FDA acknowledges that there are more feed manufacturers and transporters, on-farm mixers, and other feed industry businesses that are subject to the feed ban than the approximately 14,800 firms inspected to date; however, it has no uniform approach for identifying additional firms.

  • FDA has not reinspected approximately 2,800, or about 19%, of those businesses, in five or more years; several hundred are potentially high risk. FDA does not know whether those businesses now use prohibited material in their feed.

  • FDA's feed-ban inspection guidance does not include instructions to routinely sample cattle feed to test for potentially prohibited material as part of the compliance inspection. Instead, it includes guidance for inspectors to visually examine facilities and equipment and review invoices and other documents.

  • Feed intended for export is not required to carry a caution label, "Do not feed to cattle or other ruminants," when the label would be required if the feed were sold domestically. Without that statement, feed containing prohibited material could be inadvertently or intentionally diverted back to U.S. cattle or given to foreign cattle."

    Enhanced BSE Surveillance Program - USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) as of March 6 has tested 263,115 high-risk cattle with no bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) positive cases found. This is a part of USDA's enhanced BSE surveillance program. The purpose of the testing program is to monitor the "health of U.S. herds" and gauge the "success of established BSE preventive measures."

    Senators Meet with Japanese Ambassador Regarding Beef - Fourteen U.S. Senators met with the Japanese Ambassador to press for a quick end to the Japanese embargo on U.S. beef imports. The Senators emphasized that U.S. beef is safe and this is not a food safety issue. Senator Wayne Allard (R-CO), who organized the meeting, said: "Bottom line here, we made it clear to the ambassador that Japan faces serious consequences if it does not reopen its markets to U.S. beef in the near future."

    Soybean Rust Website - USDA has launched a Web site to provide producers and the public with "timely and accurate" information regarding soybean rust for the 2005 growing season. This is part of the effort by USDA for a "federal, state, university and industry-coordinated framework for surveillance, reporting, prediction, and management of soybean rust." The website is http://www.usda.gov/soybeanrust.

    Conner - Deputy Secretary of Agriculture - President George Bush has nominated Chuck Conner to be Deputy Secretary of Agriculture. Conner currently serves as special assistant to the President for agriculture. Prior to joining the administration, Conner was president of the Corn Refiners and Association. Previously, he served as staff director of the Senate Agriculture Committee. The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) said that Conner's nomination "will prove to be invaluable as the U.S. Department of Agriculture navigates complicated trade and farm policy issues." The U.S. Senate will now consider Conner's nomination.

    Portman - Trade Ambassador - President George Bush nominated Congressman Rob Portman (R-OH) to be U.S. Trade Representative (USTR). Portman was elected to Congress in 1993 and serves on the House Ways and Means Committee. The first challenge Portman will face as head of USTR will be to win Congressional approval of CAFTA. Portman needs to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

    Information security
    Lance Hayden
    Apply*
    Working as an intelligence officer taught me a lot about the value of information. I learned that information owners are usually not the ones who assign value to their information. An owner might think she knows what her information is worth. She might even be right. But invariably, information is subject to market forces like everything else; and in the market for information, those seeking it determine the value. Working as a network security professional reinforced these lessons and showed me how broad the principle is. Organizations understand that they must protect data assets such as research plans, financial reports and private data.


    Ethanol industry doing well
    Kent Thiesse
    03/15/05    The Corn & Soybean Digest
    According to the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), the U.S. ethanol Industry set a record for annual production in 2004, with total U.S. ethanol production at about 3.4 billion gallons. This was a 21% increase over the 2003 total U.S. ethanol production of 2.81 billion gallons. Based on the January 12, 2005, USDA "World Supply and Demand Report", approximately 12% of the projected U.S. corn usage during the 2004-2005 marketing year will be utilized for ethanol production. This represents a total of 1.43 billion bushels of corn being utilized for ethanol production, which is a 22% increase over the 2003-2004 corn marketing year.


    Used equipment search
    Wayne Wenzel
    03/15/05    Farm Industry News
    Companies that sell new equipment have had a very good year. But that also means dealers who sold the new stuff can have a lot of trade ins to move off their lots. If you are looking to pick up a used machine or two, this might be a good time to do it. Most equipment manufacturers have used equipment locators on their Web sites. We've tracked down the direct links to some of the major used equipment locators to speed up your search.


    The Road Warrior: Twisted yield curve
    Dave Kohl
    03/17/05    The Corn & Soybean Digest
    Road Warrior Dave Kohl writes: Recently I was on the same program as Dr. Ed Seifried, a leading macroeconomist. One of the producers asked Dr. Seifried, "Why are short-term interest rates increasing, yet long term rates appear to be declining?" Let's explore his response and examine how it may influence farmers' and ranchers' decision making. First, short term rates, i.e. the Federal Funds rate, has increased from the 2003 level of one percent to two and one-half percent currently. The 30-year mortgage rate has declined from 6% in June to 5.39% currently. Why don't they both increase or decrease at the same rate?


    Don't take your eye off the ball
    Den Gardner
    Apply*
    Those who have played baseball or softball have often heard the sage old advice from their coach as they stood in the batter's box: "Don't take your eye off the ball." Well, I've played and coached baseball and softball over the years, but the phrase has connotations well beyond baseball this spring. It has to do with what many retailers are concentrating on throughout the country this year: soybean rust and helping their customers handle it.So much has been written about rust -- in our magazine, as well as in competitive magazines and newspapers, on radio, television and Web sites -- that I'm not going to do it here.


    Cover more ground
    Lynn Grooms
    Apply*
    As farm operations become larger, more producers are investing in their own application equipment. Economies of scale are in their favor. With competition from this on-farm application, ag retailers are increasingly challenged to grow the custom application segment of their businesses. Retailers do have some opportunities to build their custom application business, however, using innovative strategies and new equipment and products.



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    From the News Wire
    NCGA emphasizes importance of agriculture to economy
    03/21/05    NCGA News
    This week begins National Agriculture Week, March 20 - 26, giving Americans the opportunity to recognize the contributions agriculture has on the U.S. economy, notes the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA). "National Ag Week gives growers and commodity groups an opportunity to educate consumers on the importance of agriculture and the producers who grow our food, fiber, and now fuel," said NCGA CEO Rick Tolman. "U.S. agriculture is a strategic national asset; it is the basis from which this country was born, and as it has in the past, agriculture will continue to contribute greatly to solving the problems we face in our national economy."


    National Biodiesel Day marked by unstable petro prices
    03/18/05    America Soybean Association
    Biodiesel and soybean leaders commemorate National Biodiesel Day, March 18, by calling for the passage of bills extending the biodiesel tax incentive, creating a more rigorous Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) and instituting a small producer tax credit. The National Biodiesel Board (NBB), American Soybean Association (ASA) and leading Members of Congress are emphasizing the importance of building use of American-made renewable fuels like biodiesel as another spell of high petroleum prices hits the pumps.


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