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May 4, 2005 050504

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Table of Contents
Logan Hawkes
Domestic food security pillar of U.S. agriculture
Theisse's Thoughts: Federal Energy Bill
Column: Scratch felines off rules of the game
News from the Top of the Hill
Overproduction: What it means depends upon who you ask
EU announces register for approved biotech feed products
Senate approves Conner for No. 2 USDA post
EU Approves Bt10 Corn Test
Stripe rust hammers Arkansas wheat
Challenger MT875B takes top spot with CAT engine
Federal grant dollars for energy efficiency
ASA: More needs to be done about soybean rust


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Letter from the Editor
Logan Hawkes
05/04/05    Crop News Weekly
National food security or Homeland security - what's the difference? Haven't we been hearing a lot about all the money and effort going into Homeland security since the tragic events of 9/11? And the nation's food safety, isn't that an important part of Homeland security? Indeed, there is a major difference according to California Agriculture Secretary A.G. Kawamura, who says he will fight for stronger food security in his home state and across the nation, and that priority should be placed on the issue because of possible vulnerabilities. Get the full story inside.

In other news: Kent Thiesse takes us down the road of the current energy bill legislation and where it has gone since the House passed the measure in late April. Also this week, Columnist Ron Smith can't refrain from taking a shot at new legislation that puts stray house cats on the lists of varmints that can be hunted and shot. And there's still plenty of talk in the news about U.S. farm subsidies, and the argument that they are good/bad for the world economy. Also this week, the Senate has approved the nomination of Charles Conner, former White House assistant for agriculture, to be the new deputy secretary of agriculture. And finally, meet the all new and powerful AGCO Challenger MT800 series tractor - what a ride!

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


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Manage Rust, Other Soybean Maladies with Help from PHI
Asian Soybean Rust may be top-of-mind right now, but the Plant Health Initiative (PHI) reminds growers not to overlook SCN or aphids, either. The PHI provides management information on these and other pests, and links to other resources through their Web site - http://www.planthealth.info

From our Magazines
Domestic food security pillar of U.S. agriculture
Harry Cline
04/29/05    Western Farm Press
California's agriculture secretary is as adamant about what he calls domestic food security as he is about the homeland security that has dominated America's consciousness since 9-11. A.G. Kawamura, secretary of California's Department of Food and Agriculture, ranks domestic food security as one of his five pillars of stone for the sustainability of California and the nation's agriculture. "Do not confuse this with homeland security," the Orange County, Calif., strawberry grower told the California Agriculture Symposium in Sacramento recently. The security he is talking about here is a national policy to ensure that America can feed, clothe and fuel itself as a nation.


Theisse's Thoughts: Federal Energy Bill
Kent Thiesse
04/27/05    The Corn & Soybean Digest
Congress is again trying to pass a federal energy bill to promote development and use of renewable fuels, and address other long-term energy issues in the U.S. The bill would provide tax cuts and subsidies to energy companies that develop renewable fuels, seeks to expand domestic oil and natural gas drilling, encourages the construction of new refineries, and prevents states from requiring specialized fuel blends that are different than federal requirements. On April 21, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a Federal Energy Bill by a vote of 249 to 183.


Column: Scratch felines off rules of the game
Ron Smith
04/29/05    Southwest Farm Press
Mom's rule, we finally figured out, prevented us from decimating the songbird population with our small-gauge shotguns and .22 rifles. We had a rule when I was growing up, Mom's rule. Anything we killed, with a few notable exceptions, we had to be willing to eat. Exceptions included snakes, rats and crows, all of which we considered vermin in those less enlightened days. Other wildlife -- rabbits, squirrels, gamebirds, fish, frogs and turtles -- we could hunt, kill and clean and mom would fry, fricassee or roast to our mutual delight. Fried rabbit, squirrel or quail, with mom's biscuits and gravy, provided excellent table fare, in season, of course. Mom and dad did not allow us to break game laws, either.


News from the Top of the Hill
Scott Shearer
04/29/05    National Hog Farmer
Animal Identification, Premises Registration - The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) announced the development of an interactive Premises Registration Map that will allow producers to access their state's Animal Identification and Premises Registration website. NPPC developed this tool to assist producers with the "voluntary process" of registering their premises as part of a National Animal Identification System being developed by USDA. In a press release, NPPC said, "Premises registration is still voluntary, but NPPC encourages all producers to take action now as this first step toward implementing the tracking system is necessary for insuring the health and safety of U.S. livestock." Producers can go to the Interactive Premises Registration Map (http://www.nppc.org/hot_topics/premidstatesites2.html).

Packer Ban - Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) has introduced S. 818, which would prohibit a packer to own, feed, or control livestock for slaughter. Grassley introduced similar legislation in the last Congress. Joining Grassley as cosponsors are Senators Mark Dayton (D-MN), Byron Dorgan (D-ND), Mike Enzi (R-WY), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Tim Johnson (D-SD), Ken Salazar (D-CO), and John Thune (R-SD).

House Passes Energy Bill - The House of Representatives passed the Energy Policy Act of 2005. The legislation contains a renewable fuels standard that provides for 5 billion gallons of renewable fuels to be blended into the nation's fuel supply by 2012. Daylight Savings Time would be extended by two months. Alaska's Artic National Wildlife Refuge is opened to oil and gas development. The bill provides for greater tax breaks for the oil and natural gas industries than what President George Bush has advocated. The bill now goes to the Senate where the key debate will be on the House provision that provides an exemption from lawsuits for producers of methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE). Many states and communities are concerned about the cost of cleanup of water contaminated by MTBE. This issue caused the energy bill to stall in the last Congress. The American Farm Bureau Federation in a letter to Congress said, "Farming and ranching is an intensive business. The United States is in dire need of a new national energy policy and the Energy Policy Act of 2005 places this nation one step closer to realizing the cure for our ongoing energy crisis."

Canadian Rule - Amicus Brief - A number of agricultural organizations and industry groups filed amicus briefs (friend-of-the-court) with the U.S. Court of Appeals in the Ninth Circuit in support of USDA's appeal of the preliminary injunction against the rule that would allow Canadian live cattle to be imported into the United States. Those filing briefs included: the American Meat Institute (AMI), American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), National Cattlemen's Beef Association (MCBA), National Pork Producers Council (NPPC), North American Meat Processors, National Restaurant Association and United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW). An AMI press release states: "No scientific justification exists for continuing the ban on Canadian cattle and beef and that the U.S. beef industry is being harmed, economically, by the ban - harm that will intensify if the protracted ban remains in place." NPPC said that it had joined in because "science should drive opening the border - not a legal challenge."

Branding Imported Beef - Congressman Denny Rehberg (R-MT) has introduced legislation that would require the U.S. Treasury Department to "mark livestock" imported into the United States. Rehberg stated that federal law requires imports to be "branded or marked with their country of origin, but the Treasury Department has for years exempted livestock under its so-called 'J list' of imports that are excluded from the branding provisions of the Tariff Act of 1930." The proposed legislation would prevent Treasury from exempting livestock from the 1930 law.

Taiwan Imports U.S. Beef - The United States exported its first shipment of boneless beef to Taiwan this week. The U.S. can export boneless beef from cattle under 30 months of age. This is the first shipment to Taiwan in 18 months. The U.S. exported $56 million in boneless to Taiwan in 2003.

Overproduction: What it means depends upon who you ask
Daryll Ray
04/25/05    Southwest Farm Press
The subsidies that the U.S. government provides to farmers are among the bones of contention in the ongoing World Trade Organization (WTO) trade liberalization talks. The argument being made, by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and countries of the global South, is that U.S. subsidies have stimulated U.S. farmers to overproduce, leading to lower world prices for major commodities like corn, cotton, and soybeans. Some farm groups argue that overproduction was not in the problem in the 1998-2001 crop years when the season average price paid to farmers for corn was below $2per bushel. World consumption of coarse grains exceeded production in three of those four years and world stock levels declined.


EU announces register for approved biotech feed products
Forrest Laws
04/27/05    Western Farm Press
The European Commission has decided to allow European Union member countries to continue importing processed feed products containing specific biotech traits listed on its "existing products" register. The action comes after the commission learned in late March that 1,000 metric tons of corn containing the Bt10 gene, which is not authorized for import by member countries, may have been shipped to the EU from the United States between 2001 and 2004. The 26 genetically modified organisms -- 12 varieties of corn, six of oilseed rape, five of cotton, one of soybean, one biomass and one yeast cream -- have all undergone the EU's extensive regulatory review and been approved for use in the European Union, according to a statement issued by the commission.


Senate approves Conner for No. 2 USDA post
04/28/05    Farm Press Online
The Senate has approved the nomination of Charles Conner, former White House assistant for agriculture, to be the new deputy secretary of agriculture. The action, which was by unanimous consent, came after Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, removed a hold on Conner's nomination. Craig and other senators have been unhappy with provisions of the Central American Free Trade Agreement-Dominican Republic. Prior to serving as President Bush's top agricultural adviser, Conner was president of the Corn Refiners Association in Washington.


EU Approves Bt10 Corn Test
Richard Brock
04/27/05    The Corn & Soybean Digest
Swiss Biotech firm Syngenta announced last week its support for the European Union's plan to require shipments of U.S. corn gluten and brewers grain to be certified as free of its unauthorized Bt10 corn variety and said it expected testing for the presence of Bt10 to be available soon. The company says it has been working closely with world leading and independent testing laboratory, GeneScan, as well as with the animal feed trade. "The certification for EU importation is expected to be operational within a few days at U.S. ports of departure," said a Syngenta press release.


Stripe rust hammers Arkansas wheat
David Bennett
04/29/05    Farm Press Online
Already lagging in acreage, much of Arkansas' wheat crop will probably lag in yield too. "Stripe rust is kicking our wheat around," said Gene Milus, a University of Arkansas plant pathologist. "For anyone who didn't spray a fungicide, stripe rust will likely put a dent in their test-weight yield. I see a lot of fields that should have been sprayed. You can walk into these fields with blue jeans and come out of them with orange or yellow jeans." In the southwest part of the state, many varieties are "nearly 100 percent covered up with stripe rust. The wheat there has already flowered and is in grain-fill currently."


Challenger MT875B takes top spot with CAT engine
04/25/05    Farm Industry News
The AGCO Challenger MT800 series tractors already rank among the top performers in the high-horsepower tractor category. Now a new B generation ups the ante, and an all-new model, the MT875B, debuts with a massive 570 gross engine horsepower. "Each one of the MT800B series tractors features an additional 10 to 20 hp, compared to its predecessor," says Tim Miller, general marketing manager for Challenger track tractors. "However, the new MT875B not only expands the lineup, but takes gross engine horsepower to a new level among modern-day production tractors." All MT800B models, including the 875, will be available in both ag and special application versions.


From the News Wire
Federal grant dollars for energy efficiency
04/29/05    NCGA News
Have you ever thought of installing a new technology that would help reduce your energy costs, such as corn stoves, or been interested in the construction of an ethanol plant, but were worried the costs were too high? The U.S. Department of Agriculture is taking measures to help agricultural producers and small rural businesses complete projects such as purchasing a corn stove through the Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvements Grant Program. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently announced that $11.4 million is available in grants aimed at making purchases of renewable energy systems and making energy improvements for agricultural producers and small rural businesses. This program is designed to help agricultural producers and rural small businesses reduce energy costs and consumption and help meet the nation's critical energy needs. Agricultural operations with gross income less than $1 million per year will receive additional consideration.


ASA: More needs to be done about soybean rust
04/27/05    American Soybean Association
In testimony today before a joint hearing of the House Agriculture Committee's Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management and the Subcommittee on Conservation, Credit, Rural Development and Research, the American Soybean Association (ASA) said that much has been accomplished to prepare for soybean rust, but also expressed concern that more needs to be done to prevent significant market disruptions. "U.S. soybean farmers have made significant contributions in preparing for soybean rust, and played a critical role in getting U.S. research off the ground," said ASA President Neal Bredehoeft, a soybean farmer from Alma, Mo.


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