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Articles from 2008 In May


USDA to Conduct Survey on Continuing Pork Checkoff

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Marketing Service announced Thursday that it plans to soon ask pork producers and importers of hogs and pork if they want a continuation referendum conducted on the national pork program. AMS said should 15% of eligible producers and importers indicate that they do, the referendum will be held within one year after the results of the survey are announced. The results of the referendum will be binding on the secretary of agriculture, meaning that should a majority of those participating in the referendum vote to recall the program, the secretary would be required to order that the program be closed down.

The program manages the pork checkoff that collects 40 cents per $100 of price in all swine selling transactions, and the checkoff is used to fund pork advertising and promotion, consumer information, industry research and producer education.

A proposed rule governing the survey was published in the May 23 Federal Register, and AMS said comments on the rule are being accepted through July 22. The rule is posted at www.ams.usda.gov/LSMarketingPrograms in the "Pork Program" section.

Source: Feedstuffs

Survey on Continuing Pork Checkoff will be Conducted

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Marketing Service announced Thursday that it plans to soon ask pork producers and importers of hogs and pork if they want a continuation referendum conducted on the national pork program. AMS said should 15% of eligible producers and importers indicate that they do, the referendum will be held within one year after the results of the survey are announced. The results of the referendum will be binding on the secretary of agriculture, meaning that should a majority of those participating in the referendum vote to recall the program, the secretary would be required to order that the program be closed down.

The program manages the pork checkoff that collects 40 cents per $100 of price in all swine selling transactions, and the checkoff is used to fund pork advertising and promotion, consumer information, industry research and producer education.

A proposed rule governing the survey was published in the May 23 Federal Register, and AMS said comments on the rule are being accepted through July 22. The rule is posted at www.ams.usda.gov/LSMarketingPrograms in the "Pork Program" section.

Cleveland incorrigible, shameless sportsman

From Washington to Bush, there have been but few presidents who were fond of sports in the field and by the stream.

George Washington was a famous rifle shot and occasionally a waterfowler. He carefully preserved his lands and riverfront from invasion by pothunters.

Andrew Jackson was also a rifleman, but never used the shotgun, which was almost unknown at his time as a sportsman's arm.

“The first double-barreled shotgun I ever saw,” said Jackson to Gen. Harney in 1824, “belonged to Gen. Wade Hampton, who owned a splendid estate above New Orleans [in Mississippi] in 1812. I thought it was an effeminate sort of arm, and I said as much to Hampton, who laughed, and then showed me how to shoot ducks on the wing.”

President Rutherford Hayes was a good wing shot, and nearly every autumn before he became president he visited the St. Clair Flats or the fine shooting grounds near Sandusky Bay for a week or two of waterfowling.

President Benjamin Harrison was an excellent shot at ducks and snipe and a mean performer with the heavy eight- and ten-bore duck gun. He was one of only two presidents who were avid waterfowlers. He hunted all over the Eastern seaboard, both north and south, but never in this region.

Most everyone knows that President Theodore Roosevelt hunted bear in 1902 in Mississippi and again in 1907 in Louisiana. However, he wasn't the first to have ventured into this region for hunting. That honor goes to President Grover Cleveland, who was known as “Cleveland the Sportsman.” He was the other president who was an avid waterfowler.

A fine wing shot, Cleveland was a persistent gunner. On Chesapeake Bay and in the Carolinas, where he so often shot, he sat in a duck blind from dawn to dusk, scorning the customary midday return to camp and quitting only when he got his limit.

Once he tried out an enormous 8-gauge shotgun and let go both barrels. The recoil knocked him flat in the bottom of the blind, and he never used the gun again.

However, it was during his waterfowling trip to Orange Island (later to become Jefferson's Island) in southwest Louisiana that he first became known to the country generally as a “crack shot.” In January 1892, he hunted with his good friend, Joe Jefferson, a 19th Century comic actor best known for his portrayal of Rip Van Winkle, a role he acted for about 40 years.

There, Cleveland tested his double 12-bore, 8-pound Scott that cost him $125. His favorite ducking gun, however, was a 10-bore, 10-pound Parker of the hammer pattern. For shorebirds, he used his old $80 Colt 12-bore. There were few better duck shots than the President Cleveland.

He usually loaded with heavy charges of powder: four and one-half drams of black in his cartridge for duck and an ounce and one-eighth of No. 4 shot on top of the powder. He shot with great deliberation, and usually allowed the duck to get well up and away before he shouldered his gun. This he did in Louisiana, for the birds — being very abundant and not frightened by being shot at much — gave him plenty of time and all the leisure he wanted.

Jefferson's land abounded with waterfowl during the season: Canada geese, Western Brant, snow geese and wild ducks of every species, while snipe and woodcock were found in the surrounding fields. Sometimes, the roar of waterfowl could be heard for a mile or more away.

Cleveland remarked, “I never saw such clouds of ducks in my life as there were at Mr. Jefferson's place in Louisiana, and the marshes adjoining were alive with snipe and small wading game birds of every kind.”

The president had as his boatmen and guides two native Creole duck shooters. The men knew every bayou along the coast, and shot 36- and 40-inch long 14- and 16-bore doubles. They still used percussion caps, and loaded their guns with paper wadding for powder and shot. A breechloader was an abomination to them; their fathers did not have them, nor would they.

The president was amused with their quaint homely ways, and told some interesting stories about his visit and “Canadian guides,” when he got home.

He admitted in his book Fishing and Shooting Sketches that “as far as my attachment to outdoor sports may be considered a fault, I am utterly incorrigible and shameless.”

AutoFarm, Raven: FarmPro GPS

AutoFarm and Raven Industries have released the new FarmPro GPS Steering and Application Control System. This new GPS system is the result of an on-going collaborative product development agreement between two of the leading precision ag companies.

Designed for professional growers and custom applicators, FarmPro combines the Viper Pro state-of-the-art display and control system from Raven Industries with industry-leading sub-inch accurate RTK AutoSteer from AutoFarm.

FarmPro offers a feature-rich steering and application control system that is all right at the operator's finger tipS through a single large screen display.

“What is currently multiple but separate applications, requiring multiple screens in the cab, is now integrated into a single control stream with just one terminal in the cab,” says Paul Welbig, business development manager for the flow control division at Raven Industries.

“This all-in-one system for variable rate control and complete boom management, along with sub-inch accurate RTK steering will really simplify customers' lives in the field.”

“FarmPro combines the best-in-class in sub-inch RTK auto-steering with the best-in-class in variable rate spray and boom controls to offer customers a product that takes a back seat to no one,” says Justin Larouche, AutoFarm director of product management.

“Previously, customers have been dazzled by a lot of bells and whistles which often fell short in terms of useability, reliability and steering accuracy. With FarmPro, that situation has now been rectified in a single, easy-to-use system,” adds Larouche.

FarmPro offers a full complement of automatic steering and application control functions, including:

  • WAAS to RTK steering accuracy options as-applied maps.
  • Variable rate control of up to five products.
  • Automatic boom height control.
  • Automatic boom section control.
  • Large 10.4-inch color touchscreen display.
  • Windows XP operating system.
  • Shape file format for export to back office software.
  • Data transfer via USB key.
  • Auto calibration of steering and application functions.

“With its multiple functionality of steering and application controls, FarmPro will significantly expand the GPS market for both companies domestically and internationally,” says Larouche.

“This is an exciting new system that will help satisfy the expanding needs of our customers through real cutting edge technology.”

The FarmPro system is available through select dealers in the distribution channels of both AutoFarm and Raven.

Bush administration fights farm bill battle to bitter end

You can't say the Bush administration didn't go down swinging in its efforts to thwart the will of Congress and 1,000-plus farm organizations on the 2008 farm bill conference report.

In a press conference after President Bush vetoed the report, Deputy Agriculture Secretary Chuck Conner claimed the farm bill's new Average Crop Revenue Enhancement (ACRE) program would be “too lucrative” for corn, soybean and wheat growers.

(The statement came before House leaders discovered 24 pages had been left out of the bill sent to the president. The White House tried to make political hay out of the omission, but the House quickly passed the bill again.)

Conner said his reading of the ACRE provision led him to believe participation would be much higher for those than projections by the Congressional Budget Office, which used relatively conservative baseline figures for its analysis.

The result, he said, was that ACRE could double or triple the level of support that would be provided farmers under the old farm bill, an amount he said was approaching “parity” program levels.

His comments were interesting because USDA included a program very similar to ACRE in the farm bill proposals it released in January 2007. Back then, few anticipated corn, soybean and wheat prices would reach the levels they have, triggering the possibility of significantly higher revenue-based counter-cyclical payments.

The new payments could be higher, in part, because the administration fought against raising target prices and marketing loan rates, claiming they could cause the U.S. government to violate its World Trade Organization obligations.

Thus, the administration is being hoisted on its own petard, in some respects, because of its decision to put participation in the World Trade Organization ahead of the interests of U.S. farmers.

Conner's criticism drew the ire of the National Corn Growers Association, an organization that has supported President Bush on numerous issues, and American Farmland Trust.

“In a last-minute effort to make a case to sustain the president's expected veto of the 2008 farm bill, USDA officials are attempting to create confusion and concern over the new Average Crop Revenue Election program,” they said. “We understand and share the desire for more reform in the farm bill, but resorting to misleading statements and faulty assumptions to support a veto is wrong. Congress and the American people deserve better.”

Conner also had negative things to say about the payment limit reforms in the farm bill — despite the fact critics have said USDA could have ended much of the abuse of the system by exercising the authority it already had.

If this administration feels so strongly about the farm bill's provisions, it can do what it's done on numerous occasions — simply delay writing the regulations or issue such obscure rules no one can implement them until it leaves office in January. But trying to stop this farm bill this late in the process was the wrong policy at the wrong time.

CFTC: Funds not driving crop prices

According to officials with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, there is little economic evidence that commodity prices are being systematically driven by speculators.

Jeffrey Harris, CFTC's chief economist told the House Agriculture Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management, that the CFTC analysis was based on the following reasons:

  • Prices have risen sharply for many commodities that have neither developed futures markets (durum wheat, steel, iron ore, coal, etc.) nor institutional fund investments (Minneapolis wheat and Chicago rice).

  • Markets where index trading is greatest as a percentage of total open interest (live cattle and hog futures) have actually suffered from falling prices during the past year.

  • The level of speculation in the agriculture commodity and the crude oil markets has remained relatively constant in percentage terms as prices have risen.

  • Our studies in agriculture and crude oil markets have found that speculators tend to follow trends in prices rather than set them.

  • Speculators such as managed money traders are both buyers and sellers in these markets. For example, data shows that there are almost as many bearish funds in wheat and crude oil as bullish funds.

“Simply put, the economic data shows that overall commodity price levels, including agriculture commodity and energy futures prices, are being driven by powerful fundamental economic forces and the laws of supply and demand,” Harris said. “These fundamental economic factors include increased demand from emerging markets; decreased supply due to weather or geopolitical events; and a weakened dollar.

“Together, these fundamental economic factors have formed a perfect storm that is causing significant upward pressure on futures prices across-the-board.”

The testimony flies in the face of testimony made April 22 at an agricultural forum held at the CFTC, where several cotton merchants and grain handlers said speculators were to blame for the extreme price volatility which nearly paralyzed forward contracting of crops in early March.

Joe Nicosia, CEO of Allenberg Cotton Co., said one category of speculator, index funds, “have turned futures contracts into investment contracts, thereby defeating the purposes for which agricultural contracts were created. The result has rendered the agricultural contracts, particularly the cotton contracts, ineffective for hedging against price risks, the discovery of prices and the actual pricing of commercial transactions.”

Nicosia said the CFTC “doesn't have the information to determine what went wrong. So much is taking place off the exchange. Fundamentally what took place was a systematic approach to push prices higher. You saw larger volume and larger prices than ever existed in night sessions while the industry slept.”

Harris said that given the widespread impact of the higher futures prices, the CFTC “will continue to collect and analyze our data closely, including continuing discussions and work with academic institutions, industry experts and other government experts and economists.”

New AGCO LT Series tractors boost power

Heavy-duty, mid-range AGCO LT Series tractors are now Tier III compliant with more power, even better fuel efficiency and B100 use approved.

The AGCO LT85A and LT95A tractors combine the versatility of utility tractors and the rugged engineering of high-horsepower row crop tractors.

The new models are also equipped with the most advanced semi-powershift transmission available, high flow hydraulics and a rear end built to handle one of the highest hitch lift capacities in the mid-range market.

In addition to more power, the tractors feature a new look with a single piece hood that can be raised up and out of the way for easier servicing.

“AGCO LT Series tractors are the ideal all-around tractor that diversified crop and livestock operations can depend on,” says Tom Weir, product marketing manager, mid-range and specialty tractors. The heart of the new tractors is the advanced B100 approved, 4.4L SisuDiesel engine with its common rail fuel injection system and Electronic Engine Management. It delivers 85 PTO hp to the LT85A and 95 PTO hp to the LT95A.

The four-cylinder engine with its four valve per cylinder design delivers the performance of a six-cylinder engine with greater economy in a more compact package.

Fuel consumption is lowered with high efficiency even at high power. The engine block itself has been designed to improve temperature equalization for less stress on components and longer engine life.

“With fuel prices at record high levels, the use of biodiesel is an increasingly attractive option,” says Weir.

“SisuDiesel engines have gone through extensive testing for use with blends up to and including 100 percent biodiesel. Of course it is vital, that the biodiesel meet approved ASTM D6751 quality standards and that service recommendations be followed.”

The new LTs are equipped with the Auto 4 semi-powershift transmission with 16 speeds forward and reverse.

A single T handle on the right hand console controls the clutchless speed and range changes of the Auto 4 transmission. The multi-function shuttle allows the operator to change direction, declutch and powershift speeds with his left hand, keeping the right hand free for implement control.

“The Auto 4 makes any kind of shuttle work, from loading to rear blade work, smooth and easy,” says Weir. “Put it under load, and you can move equally well through speeds as you need more torque on hills or in soft ground.”

The new LTs also come with 26 gpm open center hydraulics as standard equipment. This high flow rate for an open center system is more than adequate for quick loader response.

Higher output and increased flow control for live third function loader attachments or for rear attachments like those using hydraulic motors can be achieved with the optional 29 gpm closed center load sensing system. If hydraulic flow isn't a concern, an economical 15 gpm system is another option.

Lower link sensing on the 3-pt. hitch with lift capacity of 7,817 pounds standard and 9,189 pounds optional also sets the LT Series apart from the competition.

“When a mid-range tractor can handle weights like these, it gives you confidence in the way the tractor has been engineered,” says Weir. “Even if you never need that kind of capacity, it's nice to know it's there.”

Customers can select from open platform or cab models and 2- or 4-wheel drive. “Buyers can custom design a tractor to match their needs and their budget,” adds Weir. “Whether cab or platform, the LTs deliver a spacious and uncluttered work area with easy to reach and operate controls, while the optional air-ride suspension seat combines with one of the quietest cabs in the industry for greater operator comfort and productivity.”

For more information on AGCO Tractors, visit www.agcoiron.com.

Researchers seek treatments for resistant barnyardgrass

Incidents of herbicide-resistant barnyardgrass in Arkansas are common and destined to become even more so. A new population, the second suspected of being resistant to Command, has been found in a rice field near the Missouri border.

Unable to officially declare the population resistant in mid-May, Jason Norsworthy is still “extremely suspicious” of the biotype.

“I haven't had the chance to run the dose-response curve,” says the research weed scientist and assistant professor at the University of Arkansas. “We're in the process of doing that. We've looked at individual pots three times in the greenhouse. Each time, Command failed at field-use rates on this biotype.”

The suspect population is some 75 to 100 miles from the first discovery of Command resistance in Arkansas barnyardgrass (see http://deltafarmpress.com/mag/farming_top_rice_weed/index.html.). “It isn't like this new find is just a few miles down the road.”

Norsworthy is “99 percent sure” the new biotype is just as resistant — if not more — than the earlier find.

“We're probably two weeks from being able to say the biotype is positively resistant. The plants in the greenhouse were sprayed 14 days ago. We applied lower-than-label rates and higher-than-label rates to see how the plants respond relative to other populations. It's safe to say the 1X rate is failing and some 2X rate applications are failing as well.”

Late last year, seed from a field near Delaplaine in northeast Arkansas was sent to Norsworthy, who wasn't told what to screen the weed against.

“When samples come in, we screen them against eight different rice herbicides. I noticed the biotype had trouble with Command and that turned out to be what was being used so much in the field. It all fits.

“After Command failed on it a third time in the greenhouse, I called (the seed supplier) and said, ‘This may be the real deal, here. Can you give me the cropping history?’”

The seed was from an operation close to the supplier. “The best he could tell is the field had been growing continuous rice and, for around the last six years, had been sprayed with Command exclusively.”

The barnyardgrass population in the field wasn't large. As a result, the farmer would put out Command pre-emergence, “walk away, and call it good. That's the worst thing from a resistance-management standpoint. Anyway, that grass population gradually grew worse. It still isn't unbearable but alarming enough for the (seed supplier to notice) and collect some plants.”

After last year's find, Norsworthy was hoping the Command resistance “was just an isolated case. Now, I'm worried this could be ready to start jumping. It isn't good to find another resistant population so shortly after the first.”

Testing

The number of weed seed samples being sent in for testing shows “farmers are really concerned about resistance,” says Bob Scott, Arkansas Extension weed specialist. “They're asking us to run more and more. Right now, the number of samples coming in claiming propanil and/or Facet resistance — or both — is rather staggering.”

The bulk of barnyardgrass samples used to come largely from Poinsett County. Recently “we're getting calls from Prairie County, Arkansas County and others where previously propanil and Facet were working well.”

The greenhouse screening takes time and patience. “Frankly, many folks believe there's a magic box we stick the plants in and a ‘plus’ or ‘minus’ lights up on the side indicating resistance or not. If only it was that easy.

“No, we have to grow the plants out in a greenhouse and spray them with a herbicide. And they must be compared to a susceptible plant.”

And in the case of Command resistance, testing has to be done with a soil application. The plants are irrigated to try to mimic a natural system as much as possible.

With late-planted crops and frequent rains, Ford Baldwin — Arkansas weed scientist, consultant and Delta Farm Press contributor — believes this year will be a “throw-away-the-book year for weed control. But the Command-resistant barnyardgrass situation shows you can't take the potential lightly. It's like Palmer amaranth (pigweed) in the sense of massive genetic diversity. It can adapt very quickly.”

Treatment

The Command resistance that's showing up is manageable, says Baldwin. “The overall picture isn't rosy, though, and a serious reckoning is coming on. To me, resistance in barnyardgrass is the biggest weed threat in rice. It's even bigger than red rice.”

Asked about control options in barnyardgrass, Ronnie Helms says producers must take into account “we already have propanil-resistant barnyardgrass, Facet-resistant barnyardgrass and cross resistance with propanil/Facet. Now, Command is in the mix.”

Producers “always come up with their own ‘magic mix’ of herbicides to control weeds on the bulk of their acreage,” says Helms, farmer, researcher and consultant with G&H Associates south of Stuttgart, Ark. “They gain a comfort level with certain products. But because of these resistance issues, we can't do that any longer. We'll have to integrate other modes of action into the weed management program.”

Helms names Ricestar HT and Grasp as good products for barnyardgrass control. Regiment or Clincher can be used post-flood on escapes. Newpath is also available — “when able, we use a lot of Newpath/Command or Clearpath/Command. (Newpath and Clearpath are for Clearfield rice only.)

“That's all good because in a rice field there's usually sprangletop, barnyardgrass, grass weed species, broadleaves, aquatic weeds, and sedges. There's a diverse population of weeds in rice and two-, three-, or four-way mixes aren't uncommon. And when you use those mixes, you're helping reduce the risk of resistance.”

One concoction that Helms employs may be new to some producers: Ricestar HT with Regiment. “By doing that, we're controlling everything in the field and even have enough activity to bang up yellow nutsedge. Regiment is good on grasses and great on broadleaves. Ricestar HT is good for barnyardgrass and sprangletop and has some activity on broadleaf signalgrass and crabgrass. Put them together and it's a nice mix using two modes of action that, as far as we know, have no resistance.”

Like Helms, Baldwin likes getting residual herbicides into weed control programs. “Unfortunately, there aren't that many residuals. With the patent off Facet, the price has dropped considerably and made it more attractive for some growers who don't have Facet-resistant barnyardgrass. Some are using a Prowl/Facet delayed pre-emergence approach like we used before Command came along.

“That was always an excellent treatment. Folks tended to prefer Command because it was cheaper, a little more consistent and didn't take as much water management.”

And Command has hardly worn out its welcome and usefulness. “Even though we've had a couple of Command-resistant fields show up, we're telling growers to continue to use Command as a soil-applied program,” says Scott. “For the money, it's one of the best wide-spectrum grass controls available. We're relying on products like Ricestar to come back with ACCase inhibitors.”

Another suggestion is using Facet as a soil-applied program instead of post. “Our research has shown that barnyardgrass that Facet won't kill post-emergence can be controlled much better with Facet applied as a pre-emergence.”

No patterns

The main thing about resistance is to not establish a pattern, said all interviewed.

“I used to regularly say, ‘If it's not broke, don't fix it,’” says Baldwin. “Well, I was wrong. That's a bad policy when it comes to resistance management.

“This barnyardgrass resistance is scary. We must have new technology very soon. To get run out of Clearfield rice because of red rice would be an awful shame. But we've been fighting red rice almost since the beginning of rice production. It hasn't put very many out of business yet. Barnyardgrass, on the other hand, will put you out of business.”

The progression of barnyardgrass resistance is sobering.

“It used to be, when barnyardgrass was at three or four leaves, you could go out with 4 quarts of Stam on a warm day and that would take care of it. Now, once that grass gets up and growing, we can kill about 80 percent. You go out with another product and kill 80 percent of the 20 percent that was left. If you're not careful, you'll still have barnyardgrass in the field at the end of the year. The implications of that are frightening.”

Be it ever so humble (or palatial), hotel shortcomings are numerous

I've long had a theory that people who design and operate hotels and motels never actually stay in them.

Over the decades of my working career, I've spent hundreds of nights in hotel/motel rooms on most of the world's continents and in every state in the U.S. (except North Dakota, which I've never had occasion to visit and therefore am not really sure even exists, although at a Las Vegas show once, I shared a table with a guy who claimed to live in a North Dakota river valley where the winters were “relatively mild” — this after he'd made a pretty good dent in a bottle of champagne, and hey, I'd seen the movie “Fargo” with all that snow and ice).

The hotels/motels have ranged from mom-and-pop backwoods cabins with the barest of essentials to palatial resorts in breathtakingly beautiful settings that cost more per night than I once earned in a week, with service that ran the gamut from absolutely first class to execrable (one quickly learns that a higher rate does not necessarily insure a higher quality room or better service).

Among observations from all those “guest” nights away from home, no matter how fancy or plain the place:

  • One or more of the pictures on the wall will be hanging grossly crooked. Further, it will be nailed or bolted in that position (yeah, like anyone's eager to filch a painting of bulldogs playing poker or yet another starving artist painting of Venice).

  • At least one of the lamps will (a) have a burned-out bulb, or (b) will not be plugged into the wall socket, which usually will be in some unreachable spot behind the bed, or (c) will have a bulb with the wattage equivalent of two fireflies, making reading an impossibility.

  • The bedside clock radio will, in nine cases out of 10, be set to alarm at 3 a.m., at full volume, on the most grating music station on the dial.

  • The TP will be industrial grade.

  • The rack holding towels/washcloths will be centered directly over the john. It is a given that one or more of said towels/washcloths will be inadvertently knocked into the john.

  • The desk, if there is one, will be positioned (1) where the air conditioner will be blowing directly on you and (2) in order to have plug-ins for laptop and cell phone charger it will be necessary to unplug a lamp and/or the TV.

At a hotel in a major city recently, after several problems with balky air-conditioning, I was moved to a room so large one could have held a square dance. It was elaborately appointed. A fireplace. A wet bar. Lamps/drapes/TV electrically controlled with bedside switches. A very nice room. But the ever-so-elegant French provincial writing desk was barely big enough for my laptop computer and it was so low and the chair seat so high I couldn't get my legs under the desk and had to sit sideways to type.

Even a North Dakota Motel 6 desk would likely have been better (if indeed there really is a North Dakota).

NCGA debuts Food and Fuel Resource Center

“As a disinformation campaign against corn ethanol continues with enormous funding from special interests, the National Corn Growers Association has created an Internet resource center that focuses squarely on the food versus fuel issue,” said Rick Tolman, NCGA's chief executive officer. “Not only can farmers produce more than enough corn for all needs, but other factors such as high energy costs have much more impact on global food inflation and shortages.

“Corn growers are sick and tired of being accused of crimes against humanity and of causing starvation in Africa,” Tolman said. “These statements are not only egregious and offensive, but they ignore the facts, and our resource center is one part of a truth campaign we've been waging for some time now.”

The Food and Fuel Resource Center (http://www.ncga.com/FoodandFuel/FoodAndFuel.asp) includes links to the latest research on corn ethanol issues as well as news articles, testimony, presentations, white papers, fact sheets, Web site links and quotes.

It will be updated on a regular basis and offer a strong response to critics of the U.S. corn and ethanol industries while stressing the many benefits ethanol provides for the domestic economy, energy security and sustainability.