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Commodity Communicator Weekly

April 20, 2012

HOUSE AG COMMITTEE MOVES FORWARD WITH FARM BILL PROCESS. . . . .House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas has announced another series of hearings on the 2012 farm bill to begin next week in Washington, D.C. The six subcommittees will hold the hearings throughout April and May to hear from national agricultural stakeholders advocating for policy priorities.
In June, the committee held 11 audit hearings on agriculture programs to look for ways to improve programs for farmers, increase efficiency and reduce spending. Lucas then took committee members to the countryside to hear directly from producers in the field. The hearings slated for Washington will round out the information gathering in advance of writing legislation, according to a House Ag Committee news release. Witnesses for the hearings have not been announced.
The hearing schedule is as follows: April 25, Subcommittee on Rural Development, Research, Biotechnology and Foreign Agriculture—rural development programs; April 26, Subcommittee on Conservation, Energy and Forestry—conservation programs; April 26, Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy and Poultry—dairy programs; May 8, Subcommittee on Nutrition and Horticulture— nutrition and specialty crop programs; May 10, Subcommittee on Department Operations, Oversight and Credit—credit programs; May 16, Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management—commodity programs and crop insurance; May 17, Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management—commodity programs and crop insurance; May 18, Subcommittee on Conservation, Energy and Forestry—energy and forestry programs.

LEGAL ISSUES IN ANIMAL AGRICULTURE. . . . .The National Agricultural Law Center (NALC) is providing an online webinar titled, ''Legal Issues in Animal Agriculture: Regulating Living Space.'' The webinar will be held May 10, from 12-1 p.m. EST. The webinar is the first in a series of NALC outreach activities focused on legal issues in animal agriculture. NALC Staff Attorney Elizabeth Rumley will be the presenter.

FORAGE TOUR SCHEDULED FOR MAY 17-18 IN NORTHWEST ARKANSAS. . . . .Register Now (at for the 1st Annual AFGC National Tour hosted by the Arkansas Forage and Grassland Council, May 17-18 in Rogers, Arkansas at the Embassy Suites.  In addition to an amazing tour that the Arkansas group is putting together, the AFGC National Hay Competition and the Cool Season Grass Workshop will also be held in conjunction with this event!

CFTC FINALIZES SWAP RULES. . . . .Large buyers and sellers of grain most likely will not be named as swaps dealers under a proposed rule change by the Commodities Futures Trading Commission. In Wednesday's agreement, CFTC increased the cap used to qualify as a swaps dealer to $8 billion over 12 months and restated its intention that certain hedging activities will be exempt.

Defining who qualifies as a swaps dealer and the end-user exemption have become hot topics within the broader context of the Dodd-Frank Act since it passed in 2010. Under original proposals, any company that traded $100 million or more per year of swaps -- off-exchange trades between private parties -- was considered a swaps dealer. The designation means stiffer margin and capital requirements, increased recordkeeping and oversight of business practices, which could have eliminated swaps from many grain companies' risk management tool boxes.  (DTN)

. . . . .DTN reports that each $1/gallon increase in 2012 will shave this year's profit margins as much as 4.5%, for an Illinois corn grower.  This percentage is much greater for the Arkansas Rice Farmer; each $1/gallon increase can mean more than a 15% decline in 2012 profits given the University of Arkansas rice budgets.

HERBICIDE’S EFFECTIVENESS WANING. . . . .An article in Monday’s USA Today says growers’ almost exclusive use of Roundup and Roundup Ready soybean seeds has resulted in less effectiveness and more money spent on trying to control weeds. Roundup’s key ingredient is glyphosphate. The weeds it once controlled are growing more resistant to it, so farmers are looking for alternatives, often turning to “more chemicals and more tillage, which leads to increased rates of soil erosion,” according to the article.

U.S.-COLOMBIA TPA WILL TAKE EFFECT IN MAY. . . . .President Obama and Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos announced over the weekend that the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement will enter into force on May 15, now that Colombia has met the labor rights requirements of the agreement. The announcement was made at the Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia.

. . . . .Recordings of the weekly corn producer webinars are available online at  The first two webinars covered fertilizer timing, nutrient deficiencies, insect threats and more.  The series will continue throughout the growing season on Thursdays at 11a.m.  To join the conference, follow the instructions below:

You have 3 options to join:
Option 1:  Download Webex Ap and Join from Smartphone or Tablet
             Click the link:
            Open the Ap: Enter Meeting Number: 572 822 694 and Password: WCPU12
Option 2:  Call 1-877-668-4490
            enter Meeting Number/Access Code: 572 822 694
            when asked for attendee ID press #

Option 3:  Join from Computer  
            Click the link:
            Enter your name and email when prompted and click "Join Now".
            Say Yes or OK to any boxes which pop up
            Click Join using computer or enter your phone number area code first to have Webex call you back

. . . Members can save $500 on qualifying 2011/2012 model year Chevrolet, GMC or Buick vehicles. Complete details at . . .(Gary Keathley)

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