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Commodity Communicator Weekly

May 25, 2012

SMITH EXPLAINS HOW TO WIN 'BATTLE OF THE TURNROWS'. . . . .University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture Weed Scientist Ken Smith says the war against herbicide-resistant pigweed needs to include turnrows and ditches. He gives his battle plan in this new video:

…..Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), the Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, is pushing to get the Farm Bill up for consideration by the full Senate the week of June 5th.  The bill was passed by the Senate Agriculture Committee by a vote of 16 to 5 on April 26th.  With the exception of Senator Gillibrand (D-NY), four Southern Senators voted against the Senate version of the Farm Bill since they felt the Commodity Title did not treat rice and peanut growers fairly.  Senator Stabenow will need 60 votes, as per normal Senate procedure, to have the Farm Bill considered by the full Senate.  She believes she does despite the heartburn from Southern Senators.  Given the fact that the time left in the legislative calendar is starting to wind down, Senator Stabenow knows she has to push hard to keep the Farm Bill moving.

WILL WE GET A FARM BILL IN 2012…..By Bob Gray….Well; it depends on who you ask and on what day you ask them. Chairman Frank Lucas (ROK) of the House Agriculture Committee was in Irvine, California this week, speaking at the Western Growers headquarters to a group of producers.  He stated that “There is a high probability one way or another that we’ll see an extension of the 2008 Farm Bill.”  Since the Chairman is under extreme pressure to cut $33 billion from farm programs in the House version of the Farm Bill, compared to the Senate’s $23 billion, Mr. Lucas is working feverishly to come up with these additional cuts.  At the same time he is both a realistic and practical man who has a very good understanding of the political process.  Meanwhile, the Ranking Member of the House Agriculture Committee, Collin Peterson (D-MN), who was in Crookston, Minnesota this week said he “remains confident that a compromise Farm Bill can be hammered out by early August.” So there you have it, folks!

GAS WOULD BE 29 CENTS HIGHER PER GALLON WITHOUT ETHANOL . . . . . Ethanol reduced wholesale gasoline prices by 29 cents per gallon between 2000 and 2011, according to an updated study conducted by Iowa State University’s Center for Agricultural and Rural Development. A similar study done a few years ago showed ethanol reduced the wholesale price of gasoline by just under 28 cents per gallon between 2000 and 2010.

The original study wasn’t funded; it was conducted because Professor Dermot Hayes, who authored the study with then-graduate student Xiaodong Du, was interested in the subject. The results of the study were published in Energy Policy, a peer-reviewed journal.
The Renewable Fuels Association funded an update of the study to include 2011 data.
“Last year, we were careening toward $5 gasoline,” said Bob Dineen, RFA president and CEO in a Delta Farm Press article. “Because of ethanol, because of the Renewable Fuel Standard requiring refiners to use renewable fuels, consumers were given some measure of relief,” he added.

ERS REPORT KEYS IN ON FAMILY FARM PRODUCTION . . . . . An update from USDA’s Economic Research Service focuses on three key features of U.S. agriculture that highlight the importance of family farms. First, small family farms (those with less than $250,000 in annual sales) make up 88 percent of all U.S. farms. Second, large-scale family farms—about 10 percent of all farms—account for a disproportionately large share of the value of production (72 percent). Third, farming is still an industry of family businesses. Nearly 98 percent of farms are family-owned, and they account for about 88 percent of production. Just over 2 percent of U.S farms are nonfamily farms, accounting for the remaining 12 percent of production.

. . . . .Long-term, global food security was on the minds of President Barack Obama, other world leaders and development advocates Friday and over the weekend as the G8 meeting was held at Camp David. The president announced a New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition. The initiative will depend to a greater extent than previous efforts on private-sector involvement and funding. Forty-five companies have pledged more than $3 billion to kick-start the effort, according to the president.

Through the New Alliance, corporate aid and NGO involvement will add to continued food aid from the U.S., European nations and other countries, the president said. The initiative also will focus on speeding the development and delivery of better seeds and storage, better use of technology to provide African farmers with information on weather and markets and working with the World Bank and other partners to better manage changing food prices and climate.
The president cited the Green Revolution—the use of plant breeding to produce high-yielding crops—“which pulled hundreds of millions of people out of poverty.” He also credited improvements in health and the role of micro-financing.

“Anyone who claims great change is impossible, I say look at the extraordinary successes in development,” he said.

HOW MUCH WILL YOUR HOLIDAY TRAVEL COST?.....Gas prices have generally dropped heading into the Memorial Day weekend, but experts say prices may start to rise again in some parts of the country before people hit the road for holiday travel.
On Tuesday, Ohio gas prices on average increased 6 cents during the day. Kentucky saw an average increase of 5 cents. According to AAA in its May 21 report, “Although the national average price has steadily fallen, this decline has been led by states east of the Rocky Mountains, while those West (including Alaska) have in fact seen prices rise during the last month.”
California (14.1 cents), Washington (12.6 cents) and Oregon (15.8 cents) have all seen more pronounced increases in AAA’s month-over-month analysis.
AAA estimates that more than 35 million Americans will take to the road this weekend. To see how expensive your Memorial Day travel could be, check out AAA’s Daily Fuel Gauge Report, which details state-by-state gas prices.

….. CBOT grain traders got their first taste on Thursday of trading without a two-hour cushion between the release of price-sensitive U.S. government data and markets being open, as the new 21-hour trading cycle exposed some frayed nerves.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture issued its weekly export sales report at 7:30 a.m. Central (1230 GMT) when the Chicago Board of Trade grain markets were open for business. The CBOT began a 21-hour trading cycle on Monday.

"I think the trade handled it well but there is a definite split between pit and electronic trade and I think that will be smoothed over by expanding pit trade," said Mike Zuzolo, analyst for Global Commodity Analytics.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is considering pushing back the release time for its market-sensitive crop reports to mid- or late-morning, during the height of Chicago trade to possibly minimize market volatility, according to an industry official who met with the agency this week.

…..The Agriculture Department wants to curb the practice of selling a food stamp card and then asking for a replacement by giving states more power to investigate people who repeatedly claim to lose their benefit cards.

Thursday it proposed new rules that would allow states to demand formal explanations from people who seek replacement cards more than three times a year. Those who don't comply can be denied further cards.

"Up to this point, the state's hands have been tied unless they absolutely suspected fraudulent activity," said Kevin Concannon, the department's undersecretary for food, nutrition and consumer services.

Overall, food stamp fraud costs taxpayers about $750 million a year, or 1 percent of the $75 billion program that makes up the bulk of the department's total budget for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

The finalists for the State Dairy Foods Contest have been selected.  

In the Main Dish Category: Layne Kelley from Greene County, Ashton Yarbrough from Benton County, Stephanie Williams from White County and Grace Harris from Sevier County.

In the Party Idea Category: Alexis Looper from Sebastian County, Savannah Adams from Jackson County,  Aaron Doss from Carroll County and  Zoie Finley from Izard County.

The above listed finalists will be participating in the State Contest June 6, 2012 at the State Fair Grounds in Little Rock.  

We want to thank everyone for participating in the county level contests.  Every recipe that was received was outstanding.

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


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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