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KARTA Announces Funds for On-Farm Research Grants

KARTA Announces Funds for On-Farm Research Grants

The Kansas Ag Research and Technology Association is making funds available for research grants to stimulate on-farm research efforts by KARTA members.

The focus of the program is to foster an understanding of plot layout and design, data collection and handling, analyses, presentation and making connections to people who can help a producer engage in rsearch,.

The end-goals of the project are for producers to have the skills and connections to conduct scientifically valid on-farm research to support their internal decision making and helping them be able to evaluate the large volume of research that comes across everyone's desk regularly.

Any paid-in-full member of KARTA is eligible to apply for a research project, Application forms and submission requirements are available here. Watch the deadline; you need to submit by Feb. 13.

Any paid-in-full member of KARTA is eligible to apply for a research project, Application forms and submission requirements are available here. Watch the deadline; you need to submit by Feb. 13.

Beginning in 2013, there will be four tiers of support available: A new Individual Study: $550; A new Producer led Group Study: $550/per group participant; A continuation Study (individual or group): $450 with up to two years of continuation work eligible for award; a new University-led Group Study (cooperative work): $350/per group participant with continuation studies  for this class evaluated at the time of application.

Producers who receive awards are expected to conduct a study to their best of their abilities and are expected to ask other KARTA members for help if they need it. They are expected to accomplish the study in the same year as the award and to prepare a presentation to the next annual KARTA event about their project.

At the same time, KARTA members are well aware that on-farm research can face challenges from extreme weather, equipment or labor problems, data or software problems that can cause producers not be able to complete a project in a given year.

KARTA allows rolling a project forward into the next year in the event one of these challenges occurs. Methodology or results from a non-funded study that can be substituted may be allowed in the event of project failure or the money can be returned and the study canceled as a last resort.

Herbicide drift - communicate better, assume less

Herbicide drift - communicate better, assume less

The main two things I do for Riceland grower-members are answer questions from growers or their consultants and troubleshoot in the field. Most of the troubleshooting is the result of an off-target drift or something else that caused crop injury.

In previous years most of the drift complaints I have walked resulted from glyphosate. In 2012 I had very few glyphosate complaints, but I was run ragged looking at Newpath injury on conventional rice. The complaints ran the gamut — drift from an adjacent field, drift from long distances, temperature inversion issues, plane getting in the wrong field, farmer getting his own fields mixed up, contamination in the load, carryover.

This was totally out of character from previous years when the few complaints I walked were simply drift from adjacent fields. I do not know what the difference was last year, but let’s start today to keep it from happening again this year!

We are in a situation now where the number of Clearfield and conventional fields are similar. Last year there was a little more Clearfield, but the trend seems downward a bit. I believe more growers are heeding the message that they need better technology rotations on their farms. Therefore, in 2013 there is a 50-50 chance that an adjoining field or field close enough to be affected will be a conventional rice field.

Many of the “mess-ups” I walked last year could have been prevented with better communication and fewer assumptions. Growers and applicators need to do a much better job of communication. This also means communication between a grower and the neighbor’s applicator and vice versa.

One suggestion would be to have very clear maps of what all fields are planted to — for your neighbors with copies for their applicators if their applicators are different than yours. The University of Arkansas has done an excellent job with the “flag the technology” program, but you have to put the flags up. They do no good in the shop. I walked numerous fields that had been smoked last year and the flags were not put up until after the neighboring field was sprayed.

In several situations last year I heard, “He has always had that field, or farm, in Clearfield before!” Well he didn’t last year and those are ugly situations. Again, less assuming and more communication are in order. Several times I heard, “He could have told me.” Perhaps, but you should have asked. A lot of problems will be avoided with two-way communication.

Another communication issue I saw more than once last year resulted from the word “hybrid.” Either the applicator or the neighboring grower asked the neighbor what was in a field and the reply was “hybrid.” The assumption was hybrid meant Clearfield hybrid. Well, the field in question was planted to a conventional hybrid. It got smoked and everybody was mad.

Along with better communication and eliminating assumptions, I encourage every applicator to take a close look at the mixing and loading area and eliminate any potential source for mess-ups. The most common source is unlabeled containers. I looked at several situations last year where the applicator was in disbelief that something was obviously in the airplane that was not supposed to be. They were excellent applicators and no doubt being totally honest. However, the result in the field left no doubt a serious mistake had been made. We have a couple of months to get lined out to prevent a lot of train wrecks — please do.

Senators Work to Stop Duplicative Pesticide Permits

Senators Work to Stop Duplicative Pesticide Permits

Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts and  Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) have introduced legislation to eliminate a burdensome, costly and redundant Environmental Protection Agency permit requirement for applications of pesticides.

"This double layer of red tape is costly to the agriculture industry and consumers. It also takes aim at public health departments by requiring permits on top of existing permits for pesticide use," said Roberts. "This creates confusion and the potential for significant penalties. Our bill eliminates this redundant permit requirement while at the same time ensuring proper pesticide use through existing law."

At issue is the January 2009, Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals opinion in National Cotton Council v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, that requires pesticide applications to be permitted under the Clean Water Act. This National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit is now in addition to any label requirements or restrictions already placed on the use of a pesticide under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act.

"Not only is EPA pursuing regulations that are economically crippling, they are also pursuing regulations that are clearly duplicative," said Johanns. "The agenda being pushed by this Administration's EPA amounts to more red tape, more roadblocks and more needless headaches. President Obama has repeatedly promised to eliminate duplicative regulations, but actions speak louder than words. That's why we're acting on an economically and environmentally responsible solution to this government-made problem."

At issue is the January 2009, Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals opinion in National Cotton Council v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, that requires pesticide applications to be permitted under the Clean Water Act. This National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit is now in addition to any label requirements or restrictions already placed on the use of a pesticide under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act. 

Since early in 2012, the EPA has enforced a now permanent rule in response to the Sixth Circuit Court ruling requiring approximately 35,000 pesticide applicators to get permits to cover about 500,000 applications per year. EPA estimates determined the permit rule will cost states, local entities and pesticide applicators $50 million and require one million hours to implement per year. Under the Clean Water Act, unlawful discharges are subject to $37,500 per day in fines.  

This requirement is of particular concern for public health officials who are now restricted in their ability to control mosquitoes, and the spread of diseases like the West Nile virus. It is also a significant issue for agriculture.

Senator Roberts and Johanns' bill, S. 175, ensures Clean Water Act permits are not needed for the applications of pesticides and amends FIFRA by stating that no permit shall be required for the use of a pesticide that is registered under FIFRA. Roberts introduced the same legislation in the last Congress where it was blocked from consideration on the Senate floor. Also in the 112th Congress, the House and the Senate Agriculture Committee passed similar legislation, H.R. 872, with strong bipartisan support.

The bill has the following original cosponsors: Senators Jerry Moran (R-KS), Roy Blunt (R-MO) John Barrasso (R-WY), John Thune (R-SD), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), David Vitter (R-LA), Michael Enzi (R-WY), James Inhofe (R-OK) and John Boozman (R-AR).

Cotton clothing center stage in “Let’s Design” competition in India

Cotton clothing center stage in “Let’s Design” competition in India

Cotton Council International (CCI) will launch the fifth season of its “Let’s Design” TV show, a pan-India fashion design competition that trains India’s future clothing designers and educates consumers on the benefits of cotton clothing, in March 2013.“Let’s Design” will air on zoOm TV in India, and U.S. viewers can watch the show with a zoOm cable subscription or on zoOm’s YouTube channel. Conceptualized by CCI, in association with the Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI), to make cotton the medium of choice for young designers, “Let’s Design” has become a popular TV show and India’s premier design competition.

“On ‘Let’s Design’ future design leaders illustrate the versatility of 100 percent cotton fabric in fashion by creating distinctive apparel that conveys their unique points-of-view,” said Agnieszka Fijol, CCI’s program head of India. “This design competition is part of our ‘Cotton Education’ program, which focuses on increasing consumer demand for 100 percent cotton products in India. With about 80 percent of the U.S. cotton crop exported, increasing global demand for cotton is critical to the U.S. cotton industry’s future.”

The fashion design competitiontakes India’s future fashion design leaders through a series of design challenges that test their creative and technical design skills and “real world” product marketing sensibilities. A panel of industry experts judges the designs, eliminating one or more designers each round. This season’s theme is the world’s five fashion capitals:  New York, London, Paris, Milan and Tokyo. Shortlisted contestants have been asked to interpret their favorite fashion capital in a single garment.

In addition, “Let’s Design” has been effective in creating pan-India consumer awareness about cotton. The last season of the show had an estimated visibility of over 400 million people in India. “Let’s Design” social media, including Facebook, Twitter and the “Let’s Design” microsite, also actively engaged consumers, creating 72.8 million consumer impressions.This consumer awareness of cotton is particularly important in India, one of the most populous and fastest growing economies in the world.

Recent Global Lifestyle Monitor research by CCI and Cotton Incorporated in India found that 70 percent of apparel items at retail contained cotton, which reflects consumer demand as more than eight out of 10 Indian consumers (84 percent) prefer their clothing to be made of cotton and cotton blends.

“We are proud to associate ‘Let’s Design 5’ with our outstanding Indian partners, building global cotton demand while supporting U.S. exports,” said Jimmy Webb, CCI president and a cotton grower from Georgia. CCI partners include FDCI as a fashion partner, Supima as a fabric partner, zoOm as broadcast partner, Verve as a magazine partner and as an online partner.

BASF and John Deere Gang Up on Soybean Disease

BASF and John Deere Gang Up on Soybean Disease

Soybean producers have a choice this season for a deal that combines an effective soybean fungicide with an effective way to apply it as BASF and John Deere partner to boost yields through better crop protection efficiency.

Growers who purchase $300 or more of Priaxor fungicide from BASF before March 15, may qualify to buy John Deere spray nozzles between April 1 and May 31 with no payments and no-interest financing for 150 days.

Priaxor fungicide is a broad spectrum fungicide that has shown a yield increase over untreated acres in 87% of more than 75 field trials conducted by BASF in 2010 and 2011.

New offer pairs BASF's Priaxor fungicide with spray nozzles from John Deere to boost efficiency

Deere's nozzles offer precision sprayer performance in a variety of specialized applications including the Twin-Air nozzle for use in low crops with complex canopies.

The companies say this enhanced targeted coverage maximizes the effectiveness of Priaxor by distributing it evenly on soybean leaves, where it delivers its chemistry.

For more on the cooperating agreement, visit

Check out our extensive roundup of new products from the fall farm shows, visit - the more people we send that way the better.

For more up-to-date information on that, check out our bi-weekly e-newsletter on trends and developments in machinery and ag technology. Click here POWERIRON to join thousands of readers who receive our updates free of charge every other week.

For Willie Vogt's observations about the growth of technology in our industry, be sure to visit his FARMER IRON column.

In addition, if you have interest in livestock technology be sure to visit for news and views and new products related to beef cattle and the beef industry.

And, there's always something new going on at our world-class show sites:

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Russia Bans U.S. Beef and Pork Exports on Ractopamine Concerns

Russia Bans U.S. Beef and Pork Exports on Ractopamine Concerns

Beef and pork exports to Russia will be halted Feb. 11 on concerns that the U.S. cannot guarantee the products are free of ractopamine, according to information released to Bloomberg from Russian food safety authority Rosselkhoznadzor.

Russia first announced in December that it would require testing of U.S. meat exports to ensure all meat was free of the feed additive. At the time, the U.S. Trade Representative's office said it was "very concerned" with the testing protocol and that it appeared to be inconsistent with WTO member obligations.

Beef and pork exports to Russia will be halted Feb. 11 on ractopamine concerns

Regarding the full ban, Rosselkhoznadzor told Bloomberg that the U.S. Food Safety and Inspection Service was unable to guarantee that meat shipments would be free of the additive.

"The Rosselkhoznadzor informed FSIS of the US Ministry of Agriculture that despite the repeated warnings the growth promoter ractopamine prohibited for use in Russia was detected during the laboratory monitoring of imported food product safety in pork consignments produced by plant No.17D and beef liver produced by plant No.235 which was a crude violation of Russian and CU animal health requirements," the food safety service said in a statement Wednesday.

Ahead of the ban this week, Rosselkhoznadzor warned that out of the four countries from which it requested ractopamine-free guarantees – Brazil, Mexico, Canada and the U.S. – the U.S. was the "only country that has taken no measures to ensure compliance with said requirement."

According to the U.S. Meat Export Federation, value of beef exports to Russia totaled $203.7 million and pork exports totaled $202.9 million from January to September, 2012.

‘Land-grabbing’ in under-developed nations becoming global concern

The race for land, water and perhaps a captive food market is on.

Or so says a new study published in the online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

A Science Daily report calls the new research “the first global quantitative assessment of the water-grabbing phenomenon,” the process of some nations and many large corporations buying up property and available water resources in less wealthy and often under-developed countries.

The study suggests such land-grabbing may put a strain on land and water resources in countries where the strategy has been in practice for a number of years.

The study represents the joint work of researchers at the University of Virginia and the Polytechnic University of Milan in Italy.

Researchers claim land-grabbing has been a common practice in recent years but has escalated at an alarming rate since 2009 in direct response to a rapid increase in world food prices, and they suggest if the practice continues unchecked or unregulated, it could lead to undesirable results for local communities in many under-developed nations.

According to the official study, societal pressure on the global land and freshwater resources is increasing as a result of the rising food demand by the growing human population, dietary changes, and the enhancement of biofuel production induced by rising oil prices and recent changes in United States and European Union bioethanol policies.

Many countries and corporations have started or are continuing a policy of acquiring relatively inexpensive and productive agricultural land located in foreign countries, as evidenced by the dramatic increase in the number of transnational land deals between 2005 and 2009.

Appropriation of freshwater resources

Often known as “land-grabbing,” this phenomenon is associated with an appropriation of freshwater resources “that has never been assessed before.”

“Here we gather land-grabbing data from multiple sources and use a hydrological model to determine the associated rates of freshwater grabbing. We find that land and water grabbing are occurring at alarming rates in all continents except Antarctica.

“The per capita volume of grabbed water often exceeds the water requirements for a balanced diet and would be sufficient to improve food security and abate malnourishment in the grabbed countries,” writes researcher Maria Cristina Rulli,Assistant Professor, Department of Hydraulic, Roadways, Environmental, and Surveying Engineering, Politecnico di Milano.

The study shows that foreign land acquisition is a global phenomenon, involving 62 grabbed countries and 41 grabbers.

The study reveals Africa and Asia account for 47 percent and 33 percent of the global grabbed area, respectively, and about 90 percent of the grabbed area is in 24 countries.

Indonesia, the Philippines and the Democratic Republic of Congo represent the countries most affected by the highest rates of land/water grabbing.

As far as who is doing the grabbing, the report indicates the countries most active are located in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Europe and North America. The study further indicates about 60 percent of the total grabbed water is appropriated through land grabbing by companies in the United States, United Arab Emirates, India, United Kingdom, Egypt, China and Israel.

The study is quick to point out that one of the major problems associated with large, foreign agriculture land expansion is that in most cases where land has been acquired, there is a switch from natural ecosystems such as forests and savannas and from small-holder agriculture run by local communities to large-scale commercial farming run by foreign corporations that may not be sensitive to local needs.

But the study also offers the possibility that such large farming operations may provide employment opportunity in countries where there are high levels of poverty and unemployment.

Researcher Paolo D'Odorico, co-author of the study, says one negative effect of land-grabbing is that local populations are often excluded from the direct use and management of their land and water resources.

He says foreign land acquisitions could lead to overuse of water and land with negative effects on the environment, whereas “local small-holder farmers are often in a better position to be good stewards and managers of their land and water.

“By losing control of part of their land and water, in many cases local people are giving up to wealthier nations their most precious natural resources — resources that could be used now or in the future to enhance their own food security,” D’Odorico said.

He advises that both the United Nations and the national governments involved should ensure that some of the wealth generated by foreign investments in agricultural land be used to benefit local populations.

Peanut Caucus to give industry a voice in Congress

Peanut Caucus to give industry a voice in Congress

U.S. Representatives Martha Roby (R-Ala.) and Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (D-Ga.) have announced the re-formation of the Congressional Peanut Caucus for the 113th Congress. 

The group of 17 lawmakers representing states with significant peanut farming and production will work together to ensure that peanut interests have a strong voice in Congress, and that peanut issues are taken into account in agricultural legislation.

Reps. Roby and Bishop will again co-chair the group.

"We saw last Congress what a difference it makes when Members from peanut-producing states team up to ensure our interests are considered on equal footing in agriculture legislation," Rep. Roby said.

"As Congress considers the next farm bill, the Congressional Peanut Caucus will be back as strong as ever helping to facilitate communication and cooperation among Members from states with peanut interests. I look forward to working with my friend, Rep. Sanford Bishop and all our Caucus Members as we try to ensure a level playing field for our peanut producers."

"I have had the distinct honor of being known as the 'Peanut Congressman,' a title I wear with great pride and take very seriously," said Congressman Bishop.

"The 113th Congress will be presented with numerous new challenges for America's agriculture. As the peanut industry is crucial to the health and well-being of the rural South's economy, I and the rest of the Congressional Peanut Caucus are committed to ensuring its success for the future."

Members of the Congressional Peanut Caucus are:

• Rep. Martha Roby (R-Ala.) co-chair

• Rep. Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (D-Ga.) co-chair

• Rep. John Barrow (D-Ga.)

• Rep. Jo Bonner (R-Ala.)

• Rep. George K. Butterfield (D-N.C.)

• Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.)

• Rep. Michael Conaway (R-Texas)

• Rep. Rick Crawford (R-Ark.)

• Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.)

• Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.)

• Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.)

• Rep. Mike McIntyre (D-N.C.)

• Rep. Alan Nunnelee (R-Miss.)

• Rep. Austin Scott (R-Ga.)

•Rep. Terri Sewell (D-Ala.)

• Rep. Steve Southerland (R-Fla.)

• Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.)

Appreciation from industry

Peanut industry groups expressed appreciation for Members of Congress taking an active role in representing peanut interests.

Randy Griggs, executive director of the Alabama Peanut Producers Association said, "As the number of lawmakers who represent rural areas declines, it is more important than ever that those with like interest remain united. This and the budget challenges our country faces make the voice of the peanut caucus that much more important.

“Reps. Roby and Bishop are to be commended for organizing and promoting this group as a way to make sure that the voices of peanut producers are heard. It is an effective means of representing the nation's growers."

Don Koehler, executive director of the Georgia Peanut Commission said, "The Congressional Peanut Caucus provides a forum for the peanut industry to communicate directly with peanut state lawmakers about important consumer and industry issues. We are so grateful for Reps. Roby and Bishop taking the lead with re-establishing the Caucus.

“The Caucus plays an important role in educating members of Congress, who do not represent peanut states, about the economic and health impacts of peanuts. Peanut producers in the Southeast look forward to working with the Caucus in the 113th Congress."

The industry plays a vital role in the U.S. economy, as peanuts are the 12th most valuable cash crop grown in the U.S. with a farm value of more than $1 billion annually.

American peanut farmers produce around 1.9 million tons of peanuts annually on approximately 1.44 million acres. Georgia, Alabama, Florida and Mississippi grow the majority of all American peanuts, followed by Texas, North Carolina, Virginia and Oklahoma.

Peanuts are an important nutritional resource with seven grams of protein per serving, more than any other nut.

Peanuts are continuing their legacy as an invaluable research commodity, most recently in the field of health and medicine. The application of peanut research to yield a better understanding of disease risk reduction, practical dietary interventions associated with Type 2 Diabetes, and some cancers could be the next big peanut breakthrough.

For more information from the Georgia Farm Bureau, see





New Harvest Tech at Work

I know I'm pretty lucky because I get to see new equipment in action pretty early. Sometimes when you see a new tool demonstrated, however, you wonder how it will work in the "real world." I know equipment and tech makers are constantly testing what they build, but still the skeptic in me wonders just what will happen.

Take John Deere's Machine Sync System which allows the combine operator to "link" to the tractor pulling the grain cart and enhance unloading on the go. It's a nifty technology, geared toward allowing just about anyone to drive that auger wagon tractor. But does it really  have a value?

In a conversation with one Iowa farmer recently I got some perspective about how this kind of technology can pay off. The drought of 2012 did create fields with widely variable yields. You could get sick watching the yield monitor in real time as yields popped up above 200 bushels per acre in some areas and crashed to zero in others.

For a combine operator going through high- and low-yielding areas of the field you're going to want to move faster and slower to cut down on harvest time. With Machine Sync, this farmer found he could do that and not worry about the tractor beside him as he unloaded on the go. With the tractor and combine linked, the combine operator could change speeds at will as he unloaded grain.

That's a productivity boost because you can harvest as fast as practical. And frankly, the most experience tractor driver in North America wouldn't be able to change speeds that fast on their own.

Not every year is like 2012 (thank heavens) but this example shows one way new tech is providing enhanced productivity on the farm. Kinze's driver-less technology for the unloading tractor offers the same potential since combine and tractor also "connect" during the unload process. And I'm sure we'll be seeing a lot more tech like this soon.

An interesting tech opportunity to ponder for 2013.

Next Generation Farming

IRS Filing Deadline for Farmers Delayed

Rarely am I glad to hear any news from my accountant about the IRS, but this news came as a bit of a surprise: Our filing date for taxes this year has been pushed back to April 15.

According to the IRS's statement released January 18, farmers and fisherman who miss the March 1 deadline will not be subject to a penalty if they file and pay by April 15.

Apparently Congress isn't the only place struggling with internal operations.

The decision to move the filing date for farmers and fishermen from March 1 to April 15 is because of complications in implementing the American Taxpayer Relief Act, or ATRA, that Pres. Obama signed into law at the start of the year following the "fiscal cliff" crisis. The act affected several tax forms dealing with farmers and fishermen, specifically Form 4562 on Depreciation and Amortization.

According to their announcement, "These forms will require extensive programming and testing of IRS systems, which will delay the IRS's ability to accept and process these forms. The IRS is providing this relief because delays in the agency's ability to accept and process these forms may affect the ability of many farmers and fishermen to file and pay their taxes by the March 1 deadline."

A guidance regarding the rescheduled tax deadline is also expected to be issued sometime "in the near future," according to their statement.

Not that this changes things much. We still have to pay our taxes, and Washington D.C., is still dysfunctional. But for farmers who are staring at a serious tax bill this year, this will come as some minor relief. That's one less month you'll have to pay on interest if you have to take out a loan to cover your taxes this year.

But given a choice between an extra month-and-a-half to pay taxes and a less dysfunctional Congress, I think most of us would probably choose the latter.