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Commodity Communicator Weekly

May 11, 2012

NRCS ANNOUNCES NATIONAL WATER QUALITY INITIATIVE CONSERVATION IN ARKANSAS . . . State Conservationist Mike Sullivan announced the launch of a new National Water Quality Initiative committed to improving impaired watersheds located within the Bayou Bartholomew watershed in Arkansas. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will manage the initiative by making funds available to farmers, ranchers and forest landowners in the selected watersheds.

Using funds from the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, NRCS will provide technical and financial assistance to producers to install conservation practices such as cover crops, filter strips and tailwater recovery systems in watersheds with impairments where the federal investment can make a difference to improve water quality.

For more information, click on the following link: NRCS - AR WQ Initiative.

AFBF INTERVENES IN MISSISSIPPI RIVER BASIN CASE . . . The American Farm Bureau Federation Tuesday, along with 14 state Farm Bureau organizations, including Arkansas, and 16 other national and regional agricultural organizations, filed a motion seeking to intervene in Gulf Restoration Network, et al. v. Jackson, et al., a lawsuit seeking to force the Environmental Protection Agency to establish federal numeric nutrient water quality standards for all states in the Mississippi River Basin. The resolution of the lawsuit could be significant for farmers, municipalities and others throughout the 31-state basin because numeric nutrient standards could lead to more costly and stringent limits on nutrient runoff to waters that ultimately contribute to the Mississippi River.
Under the Clean Water Act, states may use either “narrative” or “numeric” standards as a method for determining water quality. Most states in the Mississippi River Basin use narrative standards, such as “no nutrients at levels that cause a harmful imbalance of aquatic populations.” However, if this lawsuit is successful, EPA would be forced to override existing state standards with federal water quality standards and to express those standards as specific numeric limits on nutrients.

SAFEWAY JOINS IN GESTATION-SOW STALL BAN . . . The nation’s second-largest grocery chain wants to do business with suppliers who can provide pork without the use of gestation-sow stalls in the production process. On Monday, Safeway officials announced that they will start formulating plans to have a gestation stall-free supply chain. (Excerpt from PorkNetwork, Marlys Miller)

To read the article in its entirety, click on the following link: PorkNetwork - Safeway.

ACTIONS SHOWN ON WPF VIDEO, ‘INDEFENSIBLE’ . . . The verdict is in from the Animal Care Review Panel regarding the actions shown on the undercover video released on Tuesday, which was shot at a Wyoming Premium Farms’ (WPF) sow unit near Wheaton, Wyo. The panel of three animal well-being experts, called the animal mistreatment “unacceptable and indefensible.”

The panel is organized by the Center for Food Integrity (CFI) to review and respond to such undercover video investigations involving livestock farms. The objective is to provide an expert analysis of what the images and actions actually show for food retailers, the pork industry, agriculture and the media.

The experts on the Animal Care Review Panel that examined the video, included Dr. Temple Grandin, animal scientist and animal welfare specialist, Colorado State University; Dr. Candace Croney, ethicist, Purdue University; and Dr. John Deen, DVM, University of Minnesota.

The video under review was shot by an activist working undercover for The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), who gained employment at WPF for 27 days in April. The experts noted the video was comprised of brief excerpts and that being allowed to view unedited footage might possibly have allowed them to place the case in better context. (Excerpt from PorkNetwork, Marlys Miller)

To read the article in its entirety, click on the following link: PorkNetwork - WPF Video.

LONG-TIME AG JOURNALIST STEWART DOAN PASSES AWAY. . . . .Stewart Doan, senior editor of Agri-Pulse, unexpectedly passed away Thursday. Doan had covered agriculture for more than 28 years and was considered the premier rice and cotton journalist in the nation. Doan worked closely with Farm Bureau and even spoke on the farm bill at the AFBF annual meeting this past January.

The National Association of Farm Broadcasters issued the following statement: “We were saddened to learn earlier today about the passing of Stewart Doan. Stewart served as president of NAFB in 1998 and continued his involvement serving on countless committees and as a stringer for the NAFB News Service.”

….. The International Food Information Council 2012 “Consumer Perceptions of Food Technology & Sustainability' survey shows that Americans remain highly supportive of existing federal rules for labeling foods produced through biotechnology and very few cite biotechnology as an information need on the food label.     

According to the survey, satisfaction with current food labels remains high, despite extensive coverage of biotech labeling and modern food production issues in traditional and social media. Seventy-six percent of consumers could not think of any additional information (other than what is already required) that they wish to see on food labels.  Of the 24 percent who wanted more information, 36 percent wanted information related to nutritional content; 19 percent wanted more information about ingredients; and 18 percent wanted more food safety related information, such as possible allergens.  Only 3 percent of the 24 percent subset (or about five people and less than 1 percent of all surveyed) wanted more information about biotechnology. In addition, 87 percent of Americans say they have not taken any action out of concern about biotechnology.

When consumers were presented with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s current labeling policy for foods produced using biotechnology, which calls for labeling only when the food’s nutritional content or its composition is changed, or when a potential safety issue is identified, 66 percent of respondents indicated their support for the policy.

CORN WEBINAR THURSDAY AT 11:00 AM. . . . .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


 Commodity    Date
June 05
 Conference Call  9:00 AM Bruce Tencleve
Horticulture June 05  Conference Call  8:00 PM Bruce Tencleve
Forestry  June 06  Baucum Nursery, Little Rock 10:00 AM Matt King
Beef Cattle  June 07   Agora Conf. Center – Conway   9:30 AM Travis Justice
Equine June 07   Agora Conf. Center – Conway   9:30 AM Travis Justice
Poultry June 07  Agora Conf. Center – Conway   9:30 AM  Bruce Tencleve
Swine June 07   Agora Conf. Center – Conway   9:30 AM  Evan Teague
Rice   June 18  Rice Research & Ext. Center – Stuttgart
10:00 AM   Brandy Carroll
Soybeans June 18   Rice Research & Ext. Center – Stuttgart  10:00 AM   Brandy Carroll
June 18  Rice Research & Ext. Center – Stuttgart  10:00 AM   Matt King
Cotton June 19 
 Conference Call   8:00 AM  Gene Martin
Aquaculture  June 21   Conference Call   1:00 PM  Gene Martin

. . . . .The Arkansas Forage and Grasslands Council will host their spring forage tour May 17-18.  The tour headquarters is the Embassy Suites Hotel in Rogers.  This activity will be conducted jointly with the American Forage and Grasslands Council and will include:  insightful tours of area forage production practices, viewing of the National Hay Show, and networking with producers professionals and vendors from the region.  You can register online and get more details at   

GENERAL MOTORS PRIVATE OFFER. . . Members can save $500 on qualifying 2011/2012 model year Chevrolet, GMC or Buick vehicles. Complete details at


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