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Articles from 2006 In December


Ethanol May Push Corn onto Wheat Acres

As the U.S. ethanol industry continues to expand, the resulting high corn prices have driven up some corn acreage estimates for 2007 to nearly 90 million acres. Although soybean acreage may slip to make room for corn, agricultural economists say Nebraska farmers are considering planting corn in place of wheat they've already sowed.

With wheat futures high, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension cropping systems specialist Bob Klein says Nebraska producers planted probably 15% more wheat this fall. Now, with corn prices high, Klein says producers may kill off some of that wheat with herbicide to make way for corn in the spring.

"If the corn price stays up and wheat price stays where it is, it's pretty attractive to consider," he says in a Dow Jones release.

Even though Klein says Nebraska may have never had its farmers kill off their wheat crops, the high corn prices - Chicago Board of Trade March corn was at $3.86 3/4 per bushel on Wednesday - are far from ordinary, too.

Farmers Consider Replacing Wheat with Corn

As the U.S. ethanol industry continues to expand, the resulting high corn prices have driven up some corn acreage estimates for 2007 to nearly 90 million acres. Although soybean acreage may slip to make room for corn, agricultural economists say Nebraska farmers are considering planting corn in place of wheat they've already sowed.

With wheat futures high, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension cropping systems specialist Bob Klein says Nebraska producers planted probably 15% more wheat this fall. Now, with corn prices high, Klein says producers may kill off some of that wheat with herbicide to make way for corn in the spring.

"If the corn price stays up and wheat price stays where it is, it's pretty attractive to consider," he says in a Dow Jones release.

Even though Klein says Nebraska may have never had its farmers kill off their wheat crops, the high corn prices - Chicago Board of Trade March corn was at $3.86 3/4 per bushel on Wednesday - are far from ordinary, too.

Universal Bans Trans Fats at Amusement Parks

Universal Studios became the latest company to ban trans fats, announcing that it will ban the artery-clogging fat from its foods in its three amusement parks in California and Florida.

Disney announced healthier menus and a trans fat ban in its theme parks around the world earlier this year. Universal is looking into expanding the ban to all of its parks worldwide.

Some food will still be cooked with trans fats until the end of 2007, but 90% of the foods at Universal's U.S. parks are already cooked with trans-fat free oils.

SeaWorld Orlando has also moved towards healthier menus this year, and several fast food chains have also banned trans fats. In December, New York City became the first city in the U.S. to ban artificial trans fats in its restaurants' foods.

Soybean Farmers Support Animal Agriculture

Livestock and poultry consume over 94% of U.S. soybean meal, making animal agriculture soybean farmers' top customer. As a way of looking out for their customers, the soybean checkoff has developed two new tools to support livestock producers.

The first tool is a website - www.animalag.org - aimed at providing information about animal agriculture in order to promote the business climate of livestock production. The site addresses myths and criticisms of animal agriculture, outlines the benefits of animal agriculture, and provides information for those wishing to lend support to the livestock industry.

"The Web site will serve as an educational tool to show how livestock and poultry are beneficial, not just to soybean farmers, but to their local and state communities as well," says United Soybean Board Animal Agriculture Initiative team leader Phil Bradshaw.

The second tool is a complete kit of animal agriculture information. The kit includes information to help livestock and poultry producers, such as fact sheets on animal health, manure management, and nutritional information.

"If our number one customers can't succeed and thrive, neither can soybean farmers," says Bradshaw.

Arkansas Plant Board adopts new regulations to purge GM rice trait

Immediately following a meeting of its seed committee, the Arkansas Plant Board unanimously voted to send new regulations aimed at purging trace amounts of a LibertyLink (LL) GM trait from the state’s rice supply to public comment.

The new regulations, passed at the Plant Board’s Little Rock headquarters on Dec. 28.

The latest regulations focus on rice seed in the state — including farmer-saved — and come just a week after the planting of Cheniere was banned for 2007. Thus far, Cheniere is the only variety known to contain the offending trait.

The emergency regulation reads:

e. Testing Plant Seed (prior to April 1) 2007. All seed used for planting in 2007 shall undergo testing for the purpose of identifying seed lots that contain variants of LLRice.

1. Testing Labs. All seed samples shall be submitted to a lab that has validated the 35S bar test.

2. Sampling. Any seed sample collected for the purpose of complying with these regulations must be ‘officially drawn’ samples under supervision of Plant Board Inspectors or an employee of another state’s AOSCA member. The Plant Board shall be responsible for submitting the samples for testing, receiving and disbursing test results and maintaining the chain of custody of the samples throughout the sampling and testing process.

3. Seed Source. Any seed anticipated to be used for planting rice must be tested. Seed produced inside Arkansas as well as any seed produced in other states but entering Arkansas through a purchase must be sampled and tested. Purchased seed from other states that has undergone testing under the same protocol as outlined in these regulations and receiving a ‘not detected within the specified detection limits’ and has documentation to present the results shall be exempt from additional testing. All lots of seed, be they bagged or in bulk, shall be subject to these regulations.

4. Participation. Entities having seed, saved from their own production, that is to be used for planting seed, are responsible for contacting the Plant Board and requesting having a sample collected for submission for testing. Information shall be provided to the Plant Board similar to the two year field history required for the Certified Seed Program, due to the emergency situation existing for 2007.”

No seed produced on farms that were involved in production of the Cheniere rice variety in 2005 and 2006 shall be eligible for testing.

5. Testing. The testing protocol (commonly referred to as the 35S bar test) shall be conducted by a lab that has had the validated protocol.

6. Detection Level. Testing shall be conducted to effect detection at the .01 (percent) level with a 95 (percent) confidence interveal.

7. Records Retention. Samples submission forms, results reports and any other records developed in carrying out this testing, shall be retained by the applicant (those entities owning and having the seed lot submitted for testing) and made available for review upon request by (an) authorized representative of the Arkansas State Plant Board.

8. Transfer of Seed. Copies of testing results for individual lots of seed shall be provided to anyone who purchases any portion of the tested lot. Results for all lots, of which any portion was purchased, shall be provided to the purchaser.

9. Authorized for Sale. Any lot of seed tested, utilizing proper protocols, that received a ‘not detected within the specified detection limits’ result, shall be legal for sale.

10. Failed Seed. Any lot of seed that tests ‘detected within the specified detection limits’ for LLRice may undergo a second test if desired by the applicant. A second or ‘new’ sample may be requested for submitting for the second test. Seed lots testing positive in two (2) tests shall be removed from the seed market and must be moved through the grain marketing channels by June 31, 2007, or be destroyed.

11. Exemption. ‘Specialty’ rice producers and millers who handle ONLY those rice varieties with characteristics such as aromatic qualities, that do not enter the grain marketing channels may be exempt from these regulations under specific conditions (including but maybe not limited to):

i. Their seed source can be documented and verified.

ii. Production records can be produced to confirm that NO Cheniere rice was produced on the farm in the past, that no equipment used in rice production on the farm was ever in a situation that would expose the equipment to the presence of Cheniere, and that all seed utilized on the farm came from documented sources and the seed was free of Cheniere.

iii. Records that confirm the specialty rice will not enter the long grain market channels.

e-mail: dbennett@farmpress.com

Soy Checkoff Creates Tools for Animal Agriculture

Livestock and poultry consume over 94% of U.S. soybean meal, making animal agriculture soybean farmers' top customer. As a way of looking out for their customers, the soybean checkoff has developed two new tools to support livestock producers.

The first tool is a website - www.animalag.org - aimed at providing information about animal agriculture in order to promote the business climate of livestock production. The site addresses myths and criticisms of animal agriculture, outlines the benefits of animal agriculture, and provides information for those wishing to lend support to the livestock industry.

"The Web site will serve as an educational tool to show how livestock and poultry are beneficial, not just to soybean farmers, but to their local and state communities as well," says United Soybean Board Animal Agriculture Initiative team leader Phil Bradshaw.

The second tool is a complete kit of animal agriculture information. The kit includes information to help livestock and poultry producers, such as fact sheets on animal health, manure management, and nutritional information.

"If our number one customers can't succeed and thrive, neither can soybean farmers," says Bradshaw.

Here's Our Top 10 Ag Stories of '06

We can't resist the temptation to join everyone else in reviewing the year by recalling what we see as big events in '06. Before the clock strikes midnight on Dec 31, Hoosiers related in any way to agriculture should take a few minutes to review the strides and challenges of Indiana agriculture in '06.

Someone else's list might be totally different. But here's our 'Top 10' Ag events that we covered or learned about in '06.

#10- He planted when? With the Indiana Prairie Farmer yield guessing contest officially over, now it can be told. Tracy Mabry, Morgantown, produced 67 bushels per acre of soybeans on 8 acres of fair to poor land, planting soybeans February 28 and March 1. Early planting continues to defy logic.

#9- Seeing double- Joe Rush, Logansport, demonstrated just how far technology has come by using auto-guidance and RTK GPS accuracy to plant twin row corn, by planting fields a second time with the row spacing set 5 inches to the side of the first planting. He produced 212 bushels in twin rows in the yield guessing contest field, and actually topped 220 bushels per acre in twin rows in another field where he applied more nutrients.

#8- Premise identification enacted - The Indiana State Board of Animal Health implemented the first phase of animal identification, requiring registration of all farms with livestock on Sept. 1, '06. 4-H exhibitors must comply with the ruling.

#7- No more vet checks? Brett Marsh, state veterinarian, announced late in the year that BOAH had changed language so that the state no longer requires health checks for Indiana animals at shows. However local show officials may still require vet checks.

#6- Soybean groups merge- The Indiana Soybean Growers Association and the Indiana Soybean Board completed a historic merger, forming the Indiana Soybean Alliance in mid-fall.

#5- No corn checkoff- The corn checkoff bill sailed through the Indiana House, only to be derailed when Senator Johnny Nugent, R-Lawrenceburg, refused to hear the bill in the Senate Ag Committee. Plans to bring the bill back through another committee in '07 have already been announced.

#4- All hail the FFA! –Indianapolis hosted its first National FFA Convention in late October, with more than 50,000 guests, most of them teenagers, invading the city. By nearly all accounts, the convention went off much smoother than most expected. It returns to Indy next October.

#3- Biodiesel plants arrive- Indiana went from zero to two soy biodiesel plants making B-100 fuel operating already, and the largest soy biodiesel plant in the country under construction near Claypool.

#2- Super-high corn prices- Ethanol dreamers were hoping for $3 corn, but not as quickly as it happened. And it went higher than expected, going above $3.50 per bushel. How long it stays there and implications for land values and cash rent remain big question marks.

#1- Ethanol, ethanol, ethanol! – You could make ethanol plant openings the top 10 events by themselves, and it would be hard to argue. Groundbreaking for the Cardinal Ethanol Plant near Winchester by Governor Daniels in October marked the 16th, or is it 17th?- who is counting?- ethanol plant in some phase of planning or construction within Indiana. When Governor Daniels took office in '05, there was one commercial-sized plant here.

With all that said, here's wishing you a prosperous new year!

Especially For Women

Annie's Project - a series of farm and ranch management meetings especially for women – begin Jan. 22 in North Dakota. The sites are Underwood, Carrington, Grand Forks, Cavalier, Grafton, Minot (afternoon and evening), Bowbells, Watford City, Devils Lake, Dickinson, McClusky, Fargo, Wahpeton, Oakes and Jamestown.

The program will be delivered to all sites by interactive television and local presenters.

Topics include:

How bankers make loan decisions.
Tracking expenses and income for business and families.
Mastering spreadsheets.
Land rental agreements.
Retirement, farm transfer and estate planning.
Grain and livestock marketing.
Insurance needs, such as crop insurance
Personnel management.
Why and how to develop business plans.

More information about Annie's Project and registration details can be found at www.ag.ndsu.edu/anniesproject.

The cost is $100 per person. Seating is limited at all sites.

Grazing Strategies

Advice on grazing strategies during dry periods and getting the most out of your winter stockpiled pastures will be shared by Jim Gerrish at the 2007 East Central Grazing Conference Jan. 23.

The Montgomery and Warren County SWCD and Bear Brush, Charrette Creek and Elkhorn Creek AgNPS SALT Projects in cooperation with USDA-NRCS are sponsoring Gerrish of American Grazing Lands Services LLC.

The conference will be held at the Merchants Building at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds in Montgomery City. Doors will open at 3 p.m., and the program will begin at 4:30 p.m. RSVP's to the Warren County SWCD office in Warrenton should be submitted by Jan. 12. Registration is $15 in advance and $20 at the door per person and includes a steak dinner.

FYI
For more information or if you are interested in being a vendor at the conference please contact the Warren County SWCD at (636) 456-3434.