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April 6, 2005 050406

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Table of Contents
Logan Hawkes
Corn intentions below expectations
Thiesse's Thoughts: March 31 crop report
Senate resolution sets lower reduction targets
News from the Top of the Hill
Brazil's farmers set sights on expansion
Biodiesel gaining recognition as alternate fuel
$22.8 million available for renewable energy
Brazil trip shows soybean rust a manageable threat
New Conservation Security Program enrollment ready
Golden Harvest rebounds
BSE research program and food safety initiative expand
USDA projects 2005 corn acreage to be 20 year high


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Letter from the Editor
Logan Hawkes
04/06/05    Crop News Weekly
In the Top of the News: the latest corn and soybean intentions report indicates corn a little stronger than soybeans - if the estimates pan out. USDA pegged 2005 U.S. corn planting intentions at 81.41 million acres, while soybean planting intentions are at 73.91 million acres. The USDA grain report was also released last week.

In other news, depending on who's counting, the Senate has approved a fiscal 2006-2010 budget resolution that would require agriculture spending cuts from $5.2 billion to $6.2 billion less than President Bush proposed in the budget. Also this week, a report that large acres of land have been cleared for soybeans, cotton and other crop development in Brazil, raising concerns over a future market flood of exports. Elsewhere, you might say that biodiesel is the "other white meat" of alternative fuel sources. Sales of the vegetable oil-based fuel reached 30 million gallons in 2004. Finally this week, Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns has announced the availability of $22.8 million to support investments in renewable energy systems and energy efficiency improvements by agricultural producers.

You'll find these stories and more in this issue of Crop News Weekly. Thanks for checking in.


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From our Magazines
Corn intentions below expectations
Richard Brock
04/04/05    The Corn & Soybean Digest
Thursday morning's USDA Prospective Plantings Report appeared to hold some bullish news for the corn market and bearish news for the soybean and wheat markets. The USDA pegged 2005 U.S. corn planting intentions at 81.41 million acres, versus trade estimates averaging 82.33 million acres in a range from 81.5-83.3 million and last year's actual plantings of 80.93 million acres. The USDA pegged U.S. soybean planting intentions at 73.91 million acres, versus trade estimates averaging 73.51 million acres in a range from 72.7-74.5 million and last year's plantings of 75.21 million acres.


Thiesse's Thoughts: March 31 crop report
Kent Thiesse
04/04/05    The Corn & Soybean Digest
On March 31, 2005, USDA released it's "Prospective Plantings Report" and it's "Quarterly Grain Stocks Report". Typically, these late March USDA Reports are very critical to farm operators and grain traders because these reports tend to have a high impact on grain market prices in the spring and early summer. This is the time of the year when many farm operators try to sell remaining grain inventories from the previous growing season, as well as look for opportunities to forward price a portion of the anticipated crop for the current year. In a majority of years, corn and soybean prices usually reach their peak price for a calendar year sometime between April 1 and July 15.


Senate resolution sets lower reduction targets
Forrest Laws
04/01/05    Farm Press Daily
Depending on who's counting, the Senate has approved a fiscal 2006-2010 budget resolution that would require agriculture spending cuts from $5.2 billion to $6.2 billion less than President Bush proposed in the budget he submitted to Congress in February. Senate Republicans agreed with a request by Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, to put agriculture's share of the deficit reduction efforts at $2.8 billion.


News from the Top of the Hill
Scott Shearer
04/01/05    National Hog Farmer
CSP Sign-up -- USDA has announced that approximately 235,000 producers in 220 watersheds are eligible to sign-up for the 2005 Conservation Security Program (CSP). USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) estimates there will be 12,000 to 14,000 contracts. The CSP program includes a renewable energy component. Eligible producers will receive compensation for "converting to renewable energy fuels such as soy biodiesel and ethanol, for recycling 100% of on-farm lubricants, and for implementing energy production, including wind, solar, geothermal and methane production." Sign-up is March 28 to May 27. Additional information is available at: http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/csp.

Japan BSE Testing -- The Japanese Food Safety Commission's Prion Expert Committee is recommending that the "risk to human health of not testing younger cattle is minimal." If adopted by the Food Safety Commission (FSC), cattle younger than 20 months would not have to be tested for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). FSC will now consider the committee's report and is expected to make a recommendation to the Japanese Ministries of Health and Agriculture later this spring. This week Japan confirmed its 16th case of BSE -- a 9 year-old cow.

Mandatory COOL for Fish -- Mandatory country of origin labeling (COOL) of fish and shellfish becomes effective on April 4. Food retailers will be required to provide labels regarding the country or countries of origin and the method of production (wild-harvested or farm-raised).

Canadian Border Trial -- U.S. District Court Judge Richard Cebull has set a trial date of July 27 for the case that R-CALF brought against USDA regarding reopening the Canadian border. R-CALF earlier won on its request for a preliminary injunction to suspend USDA from reopening the border to live cattle under 30 months of age. The court will hear arguments on whether the injunction should be made permanent.

Canada Changes Import Regulations for U.S. Commodities -- The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) announced that, effective immediately, it has expanded access for various U.S. commodities that have been prohibited since the Washington State bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) case in December of 2003. The new import regulations will allow "feeder cattle less than 30 months of age and goats and sheep less than 12 months of age for feeding or immediate slaughter, and bulls destined for animal semen production centers."

NPPC Legislative Seminar -- Pork producers and industry representatives will be attending the National Pork Producers Council's (NPPC) legislative seminar in Washington, DC on April 6 and 7. They will be meeting with Congressional members and staff regarding key issues important to the pork industry. They include national animal identification program, voluntary country-of-origin labeling, and international trade.

Congress Returns Next Week -- Congress returns next week from its two week spring recess. There are a number of items that Congress will consider in the coming including social security reform, transportation, budget reconciliation, reauthorization of the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), energy, etc. The Administration will begin its push for Congress to approve the Dominican Republic and Central American Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA). The agreement faces strong opposition from labor and sugar.

Brazil's farmers set sights on expansion
Forrest Laws
04/01/05    Farm Press Daily
A giant relief map of the state of Mato Grosso hangs in the airport in Cuiaba, Brazil. It shows large tracts of land north of Cuiaba and between Cuiaba and Mato Grosso So Sul that have been cleared for soybeans, cotton and other crops. But it also pictures vast areas of northern and eastern Mato Grosso that have yet to be cleared, land covered with grasses and scrub trees that grow to 10 or 12 feet in height because of the region's Cerrados or savannah climate. Things could be changing.


Biodiesel gaining recognition as alternate fuel
Forrest Laws
03/30/05    Farm Press Daily
You might say that biodiesel is the "other white meat" of alternative fuel sources. Joe Jobe, executive director of the National Biodiesel Board, says sales of the vegetable oil-based fuel reached 30 million gallons in 2004. That is substantially below the estimated 4 billion gallons in sales for ethanol. "We are about where the ethanol industry was in 1980," said Jobe, who spoke on biodiesel's potential at the Mid-South Farm and Gin Show. "The ethanol industry passed their excise tax credit in 1979, and, in 1980, they had about 30 million gallons in sales."


$22.8 million available for renewable energy
03/30/05    The Corn & Soybean Digest
Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns announced the availability of $22.8 million to support investments in renewable energy systems and energy efficiency improvements by agricultural producers and rural small businesses. "Enhancing our energy efficiency is a key goal of the Bush Administration," says Johanns. "Renewable energy is an exciting growth frontier for American agriculture. Implementing an innovative energy policy, which the President has proposed, provides an opportunity to strengthen both our national security and the rural economy."


Brazil trip shows soybean rust a manageable threat
Ohio State University
03/30/05    The Corn & Soybean Digest
Based on firsthand observations Ohio State University plant pathologists say that with diligent scouting, timing of fungicide applications and a blessing from Mother Nature, soybean rust is easily manageable. Anne Dorrance, an Ohio State research plant pathologist with the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, was part of a nationwide envoy of soybean pathologists and agronomists who traveled to Brazil to observe the impact of soybean rust on the country's crop. The purpose of the trip was to get a better handle on what U.S. soybean growers might expect from the disease as it is anticipated to spread northward.


New Conservation Security Program enrollment ready
Forrest Laws
03/30/05    Southwest Farm Press
Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns said farmers can begin signing up for a new enrollment of farms in the Conservation Security Program at Farm Service Agency offices nationwide (starting as of March 28). The new sign-up, announced at the National Agriculture Day Luncheon in Washington, will make the Conservation Security Program available to 235,000 farmers in 220 watersheds across the country. The sign-up will continue through May 27. The 2005 CSP sign-up includes the 202 watersheds announced by USDA last November and the 18 pilot program watersheds from the fiscal year 2004 sign-up.


Golden Harvest rebounds
Karen McMahon
03/28/05    Farm Industry News
When Monsanto revoked Roundup Ready (RR) licenses from Golden Harvest Seeds, the company's new owner Syngenta solved the problem with different Monsanto licenses. Golden Harvest recently announced that its dealers will sell RR products under two new brand names starting in 2006. The Laser brand will include Golden Harvest corn products with YieldGard insect protection and RR2 technology. The Fastart brand will include Golden Harvest soybean products with RR technology. Golden Harvest will also market its conventional soybean varieties and selected NK Brand RR soybeans along with Golden Harvest corn hybrids.


BSE research program and food safety initiative expand
04/01/05    Southwest Farm Press
Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns has announced that almost $2 million in funding has been redirected to enhance research on bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) and that $5 million has been awarded to 17 colleges and universities to establish a Food Safety Research and Response Network. The Food Safety Research and Response Network, spearheaded by North Carolina State University, will include a team of more than 50 food safety experts from 18 colleges and universities who will investigate several of the most prevalent food-related illness pathogens.



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From the News Wire
USDA projects 2005 corn acreage to be 20 year high
04/01/05    NCGA News
Corn producers intend to plant 81.4 million acres of corn for all purposes in 2005, up 1 percent from 2004 and 4 percent above 2003, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's March 31 Prospective Plantings report. If realized, this would mark the most corn acreage since 1985 when 83.4 million acres were planted for all purposes.
Last year, producers harvested nearly 91 percent of planted corn acreage. If corn yields return to the long-term trend-line and producers harvest a comparable amount of planted acreage, the resulting crop could be about 10.9 billion bushels, according to Max Starbuck, National Corn Growers Association director of economic analysis.


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