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NCGA disappointed in VEETC repeal amendment

National Corn Growers Association President Bart Schott released the following statement in response to Senator Tom Coburn’s (R-Okla.) amendment to immediately repeal the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit in the small-business program reauthorization bill:

“We are disappointed that Senator Coburn is singling out the ethanol industry in his amendment to immediately repeal the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit (VEETC) while tax credits to the oil and gas industries remained untouched.  The American ethanol industry provides and supports 400,000 jobs here in the United States during a time of economic uncertainty. In addition, in the past year alone, ethanol added more than $50 billion to the national Gross Domestic Product and displaced the need for more than 360 million barrels of imported oil, valued at $16 billion.

“If this amendment passes, it could result in the ethanol industry reducing its production volume by 38 percent.  That is approximately 4 billion of the 10.75 billion gallons produced in 2009. … Continue reading

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U.S. pork producers provide assistance to Japan

U.S. pork producers are partnering with the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) to provide pork for victims of the massive earthquake and tsunami that struck northeastern sections of Japan on March 11. Estimates are that more than a half million Japanese residents are without adequate food and shelter. Food shortages are expected to last into the summer months.

On behalf of U.S. pork producers and importers, the National Pork Board has allocated $100,000 from the Pork Checkoff to provide pork product and to help get it distributed to those in need in Japan, said Conley Nelson, a pork producer from Iowa and a member of the National Pork Board. USMEF, which represents the U.S. meat industry in Japan from its office in Tokyo, will work with U.S. pork packers and others who have established distribution networks in Japan to make sure the food gets to those who need it.

The goal of the outreach program is to ensure that food requiring little or no preparation – such as pre-made bento (lunch) boxes – can be provided to people who have been displaced.… Continue reading

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Farmers prevail in court decision on EPA livestock rules

In a major court victory for the American Farm Bureau Federation and other farm organizations, a unanimous federal court of appeals has ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency cannot require livestock farmers to apply for Clean Water Act permits unless their farms actually discharge manure into U.S. waters. The ruling was welcomed by the American Farm Bureau Federation, National Pork Producers Council and several other agriculture groups that filed suit against EPA in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

“For the second time, a U.S. Court of Appeals has ruled that EPA’s authority is limited by the Clean Water Act to jurisdiction over only actual discharges to navigable waters, not potential discharges,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman. “We are pleased that the federal courts have again reined in EPA’s unlawful regulation of livestock operations under the Clean Water Act. The court has affirmed that EPA, like other federal agencies, can only regulate where it has been authorized by Congress to do so.”… Continue reading

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Who’s to blame for high food prices?

As prices continue to climb on the grocery store shelves, upset consumers are looking for someone to blame.

“Though several factors contribute to increased food costs, farm commodities continually receive the blame, but farm products represent only 19% of retail food prices. Prices of many agricultural commodities are still less than the levels that sparked 2008 food riots and real food prices have decreased 75% since 1950,” said Dwayne Siekman, CEO of the Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association. “Yes, grain prices are at increased levels. So, too, are the costs of supplementary root causes of increased grocery store prices including labor, energy, product marketing/packaging/shipping and speculation of the commodity markets. In fact, producer prices increased 3.6% throughout the past 12 months, according to a recent Bloomberg story. It also noted that growing economies in Asia and Latin America are boosting global demand for oil and other imported commodities, which increases input costs for American businesses.”… Continue reading

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Who's to blame for high food prices?

As prices continue to climb on the grocery store shelves, upset consumers are looking for someone to blame.

“Though several factors contribute to increased food costs, farm commodities continually receive the blame, but farm products represent only 19% of retail food prices. Prices of many agricultural commodities are still less than the levels that sparked 2008 food riots and real food prices have decreased 75% since 1950,” said Dwayne Siekman, CEO of the Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association. “Yes, grain prices are at increased levels. So, too, are the costs of supplementary root causes of increased grocery store prices including labor, energy, product marketing/packaging/shipping and speculation of the commodity markets. In fact, producer prices increased 3.6% throughout the past 12 months, according to a recent Bloomberg story. It also noted that growing economies in Asia and Latin America are boosting global demand for oil and other imported commodities, which increases input costs for American businesses.”… Continue reading

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USDA sets new standards for poultry

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced implementation of revised and new performance standards aimed at reducing the prevalence of Salmonella and Campylobacter in young chickens and turkeys. The standards will become effective in July 2011. With the new standards, FSIS is encouraging establishments slaughtering chicken and turkey to make continued reductions in the occurrence of pathogens – namely Salmonella and Campylobacter – in the products they produce.

After two years of enforcing the new standards, FSIS estimates that approximately 5,000 illnesses will be prevented each year under the new Campylobacter standards, and approximately 20,000 illnesses will be prevented under the revised Salmonella standards each year.

“These improved standards are a stronger buffer between foodborne illnesses and our consumers, especially our most vulnerable consumers – children, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “There is no more important mission at USDA than ensuring the safety of our food, and we are working every day to lower the danger of foodborne illness.… Continue reading

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Ohio Ag Department given 8.8% cut in state budget

By Kyle Sharp

Ohio Agriculture Director Jim Zehringer and other Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) leaders discussed their plans to deal with an 8.8% budget cut in the coming year during a conference call held March 15 shortly after Gov. John Kasich announced his “Jobs Budget” proposal.

“We are going to be reduced in our general revenue funds by almost 9%, but we will continue to ensure the consumers of Ohio will have safe food,” Zehringer said. “The Ohio Department of Agriculture is about food, animal and plant safety, and there are a lot of companies in Ohio producing food. The one thing we never want them to do is have a recall or have someone get sick.”

ODA’s budget for Fiscal Year 2012 will be just under $48 million, with slightly more than $14 million of that coming from state General Revenue Funds. Federal funds, laboratory user fees and other sources make up the remainder of the budget.… Continue reading

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USDA releases study showing conservation practices protect water resources in the Chesapeake Bay watershed

America’s farmers and ranchers are being challenged by an onslaught of regulations, guidance and other requirements being issued by the Environmental Protection Agency, according to Carl Shaffer, president of the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau.

In testimony on behalf of the American Farm Bureau Federation before a House  Agriculture subcommittee, Shaffer said that nowhere is the impact of EPA activity more obvious than in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, where EPA’s recently finalized Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) guidelines could push hundreds of thousands of acres of farmland out of production.

“EPA itself projects that roughly 20% of cropped land in the watershed (about 600,000 acres) will have to be removed from production and be converted to grassland or forest in order to achieve the required loading reductions,” said Shaffer, a member of the AFBF board and executive committee.

Shaffer said EPA’s over-reaching focus on agriculture is particularly troublesome because agriculture has worked successfully with the Agriculture Department to reduce its environmental impact on the Chesapeake Bay.… Continue reading

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OFBF Celebrates Ag Week In D.C.

As the Nation pays tribute to agriculture today for National Ag Day, the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation’s County Presidents are in Washington D.C. meeting with lawmakers about issues important to farmers in Ohio and around the Country.

Ohio’s Country Journal’s Matt Reese and The Ohio Ag Net’s Ty Higgins are there to hear the message the OFBF is delivering to the Hill this week. The topics that are top of mind are energy and the environment, state and national budgets, estate tax and free trade agreements just to name a few.

Ohio Farm Bureau President Brent Porteus tells Ty why this trip is so important and what impact past trips have made.

The Senior Director of Legislative Policy for The Ohio Farm Bureau, Adam Sharp, talks to Ty about the issues that will be focussed on this week.

U.S. Representative Bob Gibbs from Ohio’s 18 talks about EPA’s overreach and other issues that he is tackling during his freshman year.Continue reading

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China opens to live swine

The National Swine Registry and purebred swine breeders breathed a collective sigh of relief after learning exports of live swine to China could resume pending H1N1 testing. China has been closed to U.S. swine since April 2009, following the discovery of H1N1 virus in humans in the U.S.

The opening followed a request from the USDA APHIS Veterinary Services to Chinese authorities, requesting acceptance of temporary testing for H1N1 in order to resume exports. Earlier this week, the Chinese Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine responded with a letter to the USDA, saying they had agreed to accept temporary health testing for H1N1 and, based on this protocol, trade for U.S.-origin live swine can resume.

“This is a tremendous announcement for our purebred swine breeders whose primary export market, before 2009, was China,” said NSR CEO Darrell Anderson, noting the impact of the lost access over the past 22 months has been devastating to NSR’s exporting members.… Continue reading

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ODA celebrates agribusiness during Ag Week

Ohio Department of Agriculture Director James Zehringer, in celebration of National Agriculture Week, announced the department’s commitment to promoting economic development in the state by declaring “Ohio’s doors are wide open for agribusiness.”

Director Zehringer also announced the release of a new video designed to showcase the department’s commitment to agribusiness in Ohio. The video, which can be downloaded on the department’s website at http://www.agri.ohio.gov/videos/kasich-zehringer.htm or viewed on our YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/user/OhioDeptofAg, features Governor Kasich and Director Zehringer discussing the state’s pledge to foster agribusiness growth in Ohio.

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Corn and soybean prices: mission accomplished?

In the Jan. 18 Weekly Outlook, it was suggested that corn and soybean prices had the dual objectives of (1) allocating old-crop supplies so as to maintain pipeline supplies at the end of the year and (2) directing spring planting decisions.

“Specifically, these prices needed to ensure an increase in corn acreage and maintain soybean acreage at the 2010 level,” said University of Illinois economist Darrel Good.

For soybeans, the declining pace of both the domestic crush and exports, along with the prospects for a large increase in double-cropped acreage in 2011, suggested that soybean prices had increased enough by mid-January to accomplish the dual price objectives.

“That conclusion was reinforced by the improving condition of the Brazilian soybean crop and prospects for a record harvest in 2011. The USDA confirmed prospects for a record large Brazilian soybean crop last week,” he said.

Soybean prices increased another 40 cents from Jan.… Continue reading

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Kasich signs bill designating Ohio Ag Week

Gov. John R. Kasich signed House Bill 89 to designate the second full week of March as “Ohio Agriculture Week.” Gov. Kasich was joined by bill sponsor Rep. Timothy Derickson (R-Oxford), Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee Rep. David Hall (R-Killbuck), Director of the Department of Agriculture Jim Zehringer, and representatives from the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation and Future Farmers of America (FFA).

House Bill 89 was passed unanimously by the General Assembly and is intended to increase public recognition of the vitally important role agriculture plays in Ohio. Generating $98 billion per year and employing one out of every seven Ohioans, agriculture is the state’s leading industry. The 1,100 processing facilities across the state employ more than 60,000 workers, and each family farm in Ohio indirectly creates job opportunities for neighbors in and around their communities.… Continue reading

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OCWGA shapes national policy

The Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association (OCWGA) delegates went to the Commodity Classic with a purpose of establishing a national set of guiding principles for policy development that will address changes to ethanol and farm policy. The OCWGA delegates introduced language during the Corn Congress for the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) as well as during committee meetings for the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG). OCWGA has affiliation with both national trade organizations.

In addition to the specific policy pieces, OCWGA introduced a resolution for both national organizations to adopt as a core belief. The resolution stated, we believe the U.S. Government should balance the budget by reducing spending resulting in a reduction of the federal debt. NCGA delegates approved the language as part of the organization’s ‘What We Stand For’ section. NAWG has currently tabled the resolution in order for member states to allow for discussion at the state level across the country.… Continue reading

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Bob Evans to move company headquarters


Bob Evans Farms Inc. said Thursday that it would move its corporate headquarters to New Albany, Ohio, from its long-time location in Columbus.

The new location is about 25 miles northeast of Columbus.

The new corporate campus is expected to be done in 2013, the company said in a news release. “We’re pleased to announce our plans to remain in Central  Ohio. We have been a major part of the Ohio economy for decades, employing nearly 14,000 Ohioans, and contributing more than $1 million annually to philanthropic community-based efforts across the state,” CEO Steve Davis says in the release. “Ohio is where our company was founded … and we’re committed to growing our company here.”

The new location offered an abundance of available land, infrastructure, ease of development, and a convenient location near major transportation routes and the airport, according to the company. The company had moved to its Columbus location from Gallipolis, Ohio in 1968.… Continue reading

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What’s new from Commodity Classic

By Matt Reese

Commodity Classic provides a great opportunity for all of the major players in crop production to highlight new products on the horizon. Here are some highlights from the trade show at Commodity Classic.

BASF

BASF Crop Protection unveiled a new active ingredient called Xemium. This proprietary substance is the next generation fungicide of the chemical class of carboxamides, also known as SDH (Succinate Dehydrogenase) inhibitors, which describes their mode of action. Field trials show Xemium to be a highly effective and selective fungicide against major diseases in cereals, soybeans, corn, oilseed rape and specialty crops including grapes and potatoes.

Depending on regulatory approval, first market introductions are planned for 2012 in North and South-America as well as in Europe.

“Our years of experience with carboxamides enabled us to discover Xemium, which is a perfect extension of our current fungicide portfolio. The unique mobility in the plant and the high inhibition of fungal target enzymes deliver excellent disease control,” said Christoph Wegner, head of Research and Development at BASF’s Crop Protection division.… Continue reading

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Cold winter weather will probably not slow western bean cutworm

Corn farmers who might have hoped that a new insect threat would be slowed by this winter’s frigid temperatures could be disappointed, says a Purdue University Extension entomologist.

The western bean cutworm is likely to emerge from winter in numbers capable of exacting a toll on the corn crop this summer, said Christian Krupke.

“A question I’ve gotten a lot from farmers is, with the colder-than-average winter will we have a lot of mortality of the overwintering larvae?” Krupke said. “The answer is probably not. That’s not because of the temperature of the air; it’s more because we’ve had so much snow and relatively few days without snow.”

Snow cover insulates crop fields and “keeps the temperature in the soil higher than it would be if the soil were bare, which actually helps the larvae survive,” he said.

Fortunately, timely scouting of fields, insecticide treatments and some biotech (Bt) corn varieties have proved successful in controlling the bug.… Continue reading

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USDA crop report fairly uneventful

The biggest news in a somewhat uneventful Crop Report from the Agriculture Department is the drop in projected U.S. wheat exports and the subsequent bump in stocks, according to Bob Young, chief economist for the American Farm Bureau Federation.

“Most traders expected little change in today’s report and that’s pretty much what happened,” Young said. “The big report to look at will be USDA’s planting intentions report that will be released March 31. USDA still sees very tight global grain stocks, and we are going to need to see big U.S. and world grain crops to make up the balance.”

USDA’s March World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates or WASDE report showed no changes in corn or soybean stocks, but USDA did lower projections for U.S. wheat exports for the 2010-2011 marketing year by 25 million bushels from the February estimates. USDA forecasts increased global supplies of wheat, particularly in Australia, and a slower than expected pace of shipments into the final quarter of the wheat marketing year that ends May 31.… Continue reading

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Broadband loan program at USDA

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that USDA issued a Notice of Solicitations of Applications and regulations implementing the 2008 Farm Bill for the broadband loan program. Building out broadband infrastructure remains an important Obama Administration priority to help lay a new foundation for economic opportunity to help rural America win the future.

“Broadband investments are an essential part of the Obama Administration’s effort to ‘win the future’ by out-innovating, out-educating, and out-building our global competitors,” Vilsack said.  “Investments in rural broadband networks create jobs and economic opportunity for rural America.  Broadband is critical communications infrastructure of the 21st century, and it is vital to building vibrant rural communities.”

The interim regulation for the Broadband Program requires that certain definitions affecting eligibility be revised and published annually by the agency in the Federal Register. For the purpose of this interim regulation, the agency has amended two definitions: Broadband Service and Broadband Lending Speed and Incumbent Service Provider.… Continue reading

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