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Articles from 2010 In October


Rains Slow Brazil Soy Planting

Rains Slow Brazil Soy Planting

Tracking the South American market is big business these days, especially for soybean producers. And during September and into early early October planting in the key soybean-growing areas of Brazil took a hit due to heavy rains caused by the La Nina weather pattern.

Experienced weather watchers know that La Nina is traditionally a dry weather pattern for the region, but that hasn't been the case for 2010-2011 planting. This wet weather is one of the reasons soybean trade in the U.S. market has pushed higher.

Dow Jones reports that the private weather service Somar says weather concerns for the region have vanished. Based on that there could be downward pressure on U.S. prices if Brazil catches up with planting.

In the planting race farmers in Mato Grosso are usually first into the fields, but this year neighboring Parana managed to plant first. How that may impact the soybean market will be seen early next spring in the U.S.

Europe Changing Biotech Rules Again

Europe Changing Biotech Rules Again

Europe remains a hotbed of biotech controversy. While grain producers in North America, South America and China move ahead with the technology, European farmers must wait as government officials continue to battle over the technology.

Now it appears that EU officials may change rules giving individual members greater power over the GMO approval process. Currently, states can pass on the vote to approve the import of a technology and later the European Commission can vote to allow new tech into the region. This process already slows adoption and availability of the technology.

Talk of turning the power back to the states is already causing controversy in the region. The approach would create a new country-by-country situation that could impact internal trade for the region.

The proposals continue to create controversy because they would allow regulators to ban biotech crops for ethical, socioeconomic or moral reasons. One official was quoted by wire services noting this move amounts to "abandoning the scientific and environmental basis." The proposals focus solely on ways to ban the technology rather than on ways to promote adoption of the technology on European farms.

Author Sets Sustainability Tone for Science Event

Author Sets Sustainability Tone for Science Event

Three research groups have gathered for their annual meeting in Long Beach this week, and they've chosen to keynote the event with Pulitzer-prize winning author Thomas Friedman, author of " Hot, Flat and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution—and How it Can Renew America."

The three science groups - The American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America and Soil Science Society of America - got their meeting going in the direction of the event's main theme: "Green Revolution 2.0: Food+Energy and Environmental Security."

HOT, FLAT, CROWDED: Author Thomas Friedman set up a strong challenge for attendees of the ASA, CSSA and SSSA International Annual Meeting.

From Friedman's perspective American has lost its groove. And to show what that means he kicked off his talk with the slide of a Daimler-built car sold in South Africa that feature "German Engineering, Swiss Manufacturing and American Nothing." Tough words at a time when many are questioning where the country is headed for the future. But Friedman sees opportunity ahead as we change from an IT - or information technology - based innovator to an ET or Environment or Energy Technology-based innovator.

He laid out the challenges ahead noting that there's a correlation between the market and nature and in 2008 they both hit the wall. Acknowledging the climate change deniers, he takes an interesting perspective on the idea. "I call it the Cheney perspective," Friedman says. "Vice President Dick Cheney talked about Iraq and said that if there was even the smallest chance that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction we needed to act decisively to stop them. That's exactly the way I feel about the climate. If there's a one percent chance that greenhouse gases could cause a problem, we need to act decisively."

As he laid out the other challenges - petrodictatorships, global climate change, loss of biodiversity, and energy poverty - he came to a single conclusion. All of these problems can be solved by the same solution: an abundant, cheap, clean, reliable source of electrons. And he says the best country to lead this revolution is the United States.

On that tone, to a room filled with more than 2,000 scientists, Friedman kicked off the 2010 conference. The event runs through Wednesday in Long Beach, Calif.

'Flat, Hot, Crowded' Author Sets Tone for Science Meeting

'Flat, Hot, Crowded' Author Sets Tone for Science Meeting

Three research groups have gathered for their annual meeting in Long Beach this week, and they've chosen to keynote the event with Pulitzer-prize winning author Thomas Friedman, author of " Hot, Flat and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution—and How it Can Renew America."

The three science groups - The American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America and Soil Science Society of America - got their meeting going in the direction of the event's main theme: "Green Revolution 2.0: Food+Energy and Environmental Security."

HOT, FLAT, CROWDED: While Author Thomas Friedman set up a strong challenge for attendees of the ASA, CSSA and SSSA International Annual Meeting, he offered the crowd a dose of optimism too.

From Friedman's perspective American has lost its groove. And to show what that means he kicked off his talk with the slide of a Daimler-built car sold in South Africa that feature "German Engineering, Swiss Manufacturing and American Nothing." Tough words at a time when many are questioning where the country is headed for the future. But Friedman sees opportunity ahead as we change from an IT - or information technology - based innovator to an ET or Environment or Energy Technology-based innovator.

He laid out the challenges ahead noting that there's a correlation between the market and nature and in 2008 they both hit the wall. Acknowledging the climate change deniers, he takes an interesting perspective on the idea. "I call it the Cheney perspective," Friedman says. "Vice President Dick Cheney talked about Iraq and said that if there was even the smallest chance that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction we needed to act decisively to stop them. That's exactly the way I feel about the climate. If there's a one percent chance that greenhouse gases could cause a problem, we need to act decisively."

As he laid out the other challenges - petrodictatorships, global climate change, loss of biodiversity, and energy poverty - he came to a single conclusion. All of these problems can be solved by the same solution: an abundant, cheap, clean, reliable source of electrons. And he says the best country to lead this revolution is the United States.

On that tone, to a room filled with more than 2,000 scientists, Friedman kicked off the 2010 conference. The event runs through Wednesday in Long Beach, Calif.

Microloan Funding to Boost Business for Rural Areas

Microloan Funding to Boost Business for Rural Areas

Microloans aren't just for developing countries anymore. In fact, late last week Deputy Agriculture Secretary Kathleen Merrigan announced the agency has selected recipients in 36 states to receive funds to make loans to boost small business development, create jobs and strengthen rural communities.

The funding comes through the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program, authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill.

In a press statement, Merrigan notes the program " continues the effort of the Obama Administration to rebuild and revitalize rural communities. In many cases, an entrepreneur needs only a small amount of money, a microloan, to get started."

Merrigan made the announcement in Lexington, Ky., where the Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation was selected to receive a $500,000 loan and a $100,000 grant to provide employment opportunities in southeastern Kentucky through investments, training and management assistance. The corporation has administered micro-loans since 1992.

The purpose of RMAP is to support the creation, development and ongoing success of rural microentrepreneurs and microenterprises. Under the program direct loans and grants are made to Microenterprise Development Organizations (MDOs). The MDO uses the loan funds to establish, or recapitalize an RMAP-funded rural microloan revolving fund.

For a complete listing of microloan and grant recipients in this latest round, just click HERE.

Report Shows Money Paid to the Dead

Report Shows Money Paid to the Dead

Administering government payments is probably no easy task, but chances are paying dead people could be avoided. That's the message in an oversight report released by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., pointed to more than $1 billion in government money sent to the dead in the past decade.

In a notice aimed at pointing to the waste in Washington, Coburn's office issued the report and he noted in a press statement that "this practice is disgraceful and, in many cases, robs the living of promised benefits." According to his staff-generated report more than $1 billion has gone to 250,000 deceased individuals since 2000.

Here are a few highlights:

The Social Security Administration sent $18 million in stimulus funds to 71,688 dead people and $40.3 million in questionable benefits payments to 1,760 dead people.

USDA sent $1.1 billion in farm subsidy payments to deceased farmers.

Medicaid paid more than $700,000 in claims for prescriptions for controlled substances written for over 1,800 deceased patients.

The information was generated by Coburn's staff after review of General Accountability Office reports and government audits.

Schaumann Selected to FSA Committee

Schaumann Selected to FSA Committee

The Obama Administration has announced that Sam Schaumann, Billings, will serve on the Missouri Farm Service Agency State Committee. As a member of the State Committee, Schaumann will oversee the activities of the agency, including carrying out the state agricultural conservation programs, resolving appeals from the agriculture community and helping to keep producers informed about FSA programs.

Schaurmann joins previously appointed FSA State Committee members Stephen Burke of Charleston, Kenneth Hensley of Albany, Sharon Oetting of Concordia, and Aaron Whelan of Stoutsville.

"These individuals will work with USDA to help farmers and ranchers build and maintain successful operations that produce the safe, nutritious food supply that America needs while spurring economic development in our nation's rural communities," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "They bring the experience and passion necessary to help continue the Obama Administration's efforts to rebuild and revitalize rural America."  

Schaurmann owns and operates a commercial beef cattle operation on acreage that has been in the family since 1887 and has been designated a "Century Farm." He was previously a staff officer in the Army National Guard and has worked for the State Emergency Management Agency. Schaumann serves on the Billings RIV School District Board of Education and Christian County Soil and Water Conservation Board of Supervisors. He has a B.S. degree in wildlife conservation/management from Missouri State University.

USDA's Farm Service Agency works to increase economic opportunity and improve the quality of life for rural Americans. Some of the agency's efforts include facilitating income support, disaster assistance and conservation programs, providing operating loans for the procurement of farm equipment, seed and fertilizer, as well as offering ownership loans to help new and veteran producers purchase a farm. FSA also works to procure various commodities to benefit low-income families through domestic food assistance programs.  

 

Source: USDA-FSA Missouri Office

Extension Specialist Hits the Field!

Dave Smith fields his share of calls about trees and shrubs. It goes with the territory today with an Extension ag educator working in a mixed county- part suburban, part rural. The population of Johnson County where Smith works is well over 100,000, but there is still a large farming base. He's convinced that he should serve farmers as well, and go above and beyond just answering calls about trees and shrubs, even if they are important.

Smith is one of a handful of Extension educators seeking to reach out and work with farmers on on-farm test plots. His goal this year was to establish a twin-row vs. 30-inch row corn study. Since no one in his county is trying twin-rows yet and doesn't have the equipment, he wound up working with a Rush County farm family who had just purchased a Great Plains planter for twin-row planting. He convinced them to put out a field-size, replicated plot. A neighbor brought in a 30-inch row planter to plant the 20-inch row strips. The family used their new planter to plant the twin-rows.

While harvest is over, he's still working with Bob Nielsen, Purdue University corn specialist, to analyze results. You'll find them here as soon as they are available.

Smith also worked with farmers in his own county on nitrogen plots. The goal was simple and nothing new- apply different rates of N and measure the results. What's different is that he's trying to help Nielsen establish baselines for rates and production over a variety of years to know how much N farmers in various parts of the state might want to apply year in and year out.

For an Extension ag educator with a pHD in weed science, working with farmers on key issues on their own farms is important. Smith specialized in herbicide work and weed control while completing his pHS program.

His hope is that other Extension ag educators in other parts of the state will follow his lead. Some efforts were made in the past, primarily to promote countywide hybrid or variety trials. However, until recently, educators haven't been encouraged to get out amongst their clientele

One exception is Jeff Phillips. The Tippecanoe County Extension ag educator is constantly talking to farmers and dealers, and conducting various trials. This year, he is cooperating with Indiana Prairie Farmer and Precision Planting on a detailed plot that compares planting speed, seed depth and tension on planter units. Already harvested as well, results should be available soon.

Crop Pest, Production Short Course and Trade Show Dec. 7-9

Crop Pest, Production Short Course and Trade Show Dec. 7-9

The Minnesota Crop Pest Management Short Course and Minnesota Crop Production Retailers Trade Show will be held Dec. 7-9 at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

The three-day program begins Tuesday, Dec. 7 and includes soil fertility research reports and pesticide applicator recertification.

The Natural Resources Conservation Service will provide USDA Technical Service Provider Training for technical service providers on Dec. 7. This session will provide an understanding of water erosion processes and the equation used to predict water erosion under differing management systems.

The Agricultural Fertilizer Research and Education Council will showcase a number of research projects funded by Minnesota's new program. The Dec. 7 afternoon program will feature six research projects spanning the 2008-2010 cropping seasons.

On Dec. 8, the program will continue with pesticide applicator recertification and Crop Pest Management Short Course. The theme of this year's general session will cover perspectives on flexible nutrient management approaches, the future of corn breeding and the trends in deployment of transgenic insect resistance traits, and the economic and other consequences on farming practices caused by the evolution of herbicide resistant weeds. The concurrent sessions this day will focus on emerging corn and soybean insect and disease issues, soybean nematodes, agricultural climate outlook for 2011, corn nitrogen needs following alfalfa, and increasing soybean yields with additional inputs.

The concurrent sessions at the CPM short course continues on Dec. 9 with sessions on herbicide adjuvant and application issues; plant analysis uses and limitations; alfalfa weevil biology and management; IDC management in soybeans; soil phosphorus chemistry and management; nitrate losses in agricultural drainage; fertility options for continuous corn; managing drainage variability and recent research in crop rotations.

The full program can be reviewed by visiting the Institute of Ag Professionals Crop Pest Management Short Course page located at the Institute for Ag Professionals website. Certified crop advisors will be able to collect a total of 15 CCA continuing education credits over the course of the 3-day program.

The registration fees for the 2010 CPM Short Course and MCPR Trade Show are:

  • General Registration (on or before 11/19/2010) - $120.00
  • General Registration (after 11/19/2010) - $170.00
  • Pesticide Applicator Recertification (Category A & C on or before 11/19/2010) - $130.00
  • Pesticide Applicator Recertification (Category A & C after 11/19/2010) - $180.00
  • Pesticide Applicator Recertification (Category A & H with or without C on or before 11/19/2010) - $170.00 Pesticide Applicator Recertification (Category A & H with or without C after 11/19/2010) -$210.00

General short course registration, technical service provider training registration and pesticide applicator recertification registration plus hotel reservations can be accomplished by following the directions listed at the Minnesota Crop Retailers CPM web page.

If you have questions about the CPM Short Course Educational Sessions, contact David Nicolai (612-625-2778). Questions regarding the pesticide applicator recertification can be directed to Dean Herzfeld by calling (612) 624-3477. For all other questions pertaining to the 2010 CPM Short Course and MCPR Trade Show contact Jessi Brunelle at the Minnesota Crop Production Retailers (952-253-6244).

MSU Dairy Club to Hold Its 52nd Annual Cheese Sale Nov. 10-24

MSU Dairy Club to Hold Its 52nd Annual Cheese Sale Nov. 10-24

Michigan State University Dairy Club members will be conducting the group's 52nd annual cheese sale from Nov. 10-24. The annual sale is a major fundraiser for the Club, which uses the sale profits for organizing educational events such as the annual Dairy Awareness Day, coordinating elementary school tours of the MSU Dairy Teaching and Research Center, and sending members to industry conferences such as the annual American Dairy Science Association meetings.

This year's sale will feature the traditional items and friendly customer service that customers have come to expect, but several changes are expected to improve the gift-buying and –giving experience.

MSU Dairy Club vice-president and cheese sale coordinator Jessica Makowski, animal science senior from Macomb, says that in addition to the traditional cheese boxes, buyers will find that the club has made some updates to the product line based on customer feedback.

"We've added Ritz crackers to the boxes in response to buyer feedback and, because it was a popular item, are making the shelf-stable sausage available once again," she says.

Makowski added that customers can also look forward to seeing a new and improved website and a new online ordering system, providing customers with an alternative method for ordering beyond mail order or coming to campus to order in person. Detailed descriptions and pricing options will be provided for each item, and customers will be able to pay through a secure payment system on PayPal using credit or debit cards.

"The online option is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so it's a convenient alternative for customers who want to order at a time other than during traditional business hours," she says.

Makowski added that the new online system also allows the sale organizers to track orders and keep track of inventory more efficiently.

Although online ordering is available starting this year, club members will still be conducting over-the-counter sales at the entrance to the MSU Dairy Store in Anthony Hall (southwest corner of Farm and Shaw Lanes on the MSU campus; metered parking is available on the east side of the building) and preparing orders for pickup or shipping through UPS.

Cheese sold by the MSU Dairy Club for its annual fundraising event is produced in the MSU Dairy Foods Processing Plant. The milk used to make the cheese also has a tie to the MSU Dairy Club -- it is produced by the dairy animals consigned to the annual Spartan Spectacular sale held each March in conjunction with the Michigan Holstein Association's spring production sale at the MSU Pavilion for Agriculture and Livestock Education. Club members partner with the MSU dairy judging program to help the state sale crew water and milk the consignments from the time the animals arrive several days before the sale up through sale day in exchange for the money earned from selling the milk.

The MSU Dairy Club will be holding its 52nd annual cheese sale from November 10-24. Online, mail-in and phone orders will be accepted through 5 p.m. on Nov. 29. Cheese orders will be available for pickup from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday from November 10-24 and December 2-3.

For more information about the cheese sale, please visit the website at www.msudairyclubcheese.com or contact the MSU Dairy Club by sending an e-mail to dairyclb@msu.edu or calling (517) 355-3699.