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Commodity Communicator Weekly

June 29, 2012

BRAZIL INTRODUCES LARGEST AG STIMULUS PLAN EVER. . . . .Brazil introduced a new Agriculture and Livestock stimulus plan that earmarks BRL115.2 billion (US$55.25 billion) for business investment during the 2012/13 harvest, with low-interest credit lines for producers of beef cattle, swine, goats and sheep, the Ministry of Agriculture said Thursday.  For beef cattle farmers, the program's credit lines were renewed for the purchase of matrices and breeding cattle or buffalo, where the limit per producer is BRL750,000 (US$359,712), with up to five years for repayment and an interest rate of 5.5 percent. For swine producers, a credit line was established for matrices retention, with a limit per producer of BRL1.2 million (US$575,539), a payment period of two years and 5.5 percent interest rate. For goat and sheep production, credit of up to BRL600,000 (US$287,769) is available for purchasing breeder animals, with payment plans of up to 10 years and a 5.5 percent interest rate.  Of the total funding commitment, BRL86.9 billion (US$41.68 billion) has been designated for business costs and marketing, and BRL28.2 billion (US$13.53 billion) for investment programs. It represents a 7.5 percent increase in government lending for agriculture from last year, and the new plan reduces annual interest rates from 6.75 percent to 5.5 percent.  Different segments of the stimulus plan will be set aside for small, medium and large producers, but the brunt of the funding will go towards medium-sized farmers, cooperatives and sustainable producers, said Mendes Ribeiro Filho, agriculture minister. The ministry's Programa ABC, which incentivizes sustainable “best practices” adoption by farmers, will have BRL3.4 billion (US$1.63 billion) available for lending. Limits on financing per producer were raised 23 percent from last year's program, and funding ceilings for cooperatives registered with two government programs were also raised.

DROUGHT AREA LARGER THAN LAST YEAR, LOSSES MAY RIVAL 1988
. . . . .According to the National Drought Mitigation Center, 72 percent of the continental United States is classified as “abnormally dry” or worse. By comparison, at the end of the third week in June last year just 32 percent of the continental United States was classified as “abnormally dry” or worse. Some meteorologists are already comparing this year to the drought of 1988, which was estimated to cost American agriculture $78 billion. Last year’s drought had a big impact on the U.S. cattle industry and strained the financial resources of many ranchers. This year’s drought, however, will hit consumers much harder due to the impact it has already had on corn and soybean production. Last week USDA rated 63 percent of the U.S. corn crop as good or better. This week that figure had dropped to 56 percent and agronomists say the crop is deteriorating rapidly.

USDA REPORT INDICATES MORE BEANS AND CORN
. . . . .Corn plantings were up 550,000 acres from intentions at 96.41 million acres, while soybeans were up 2.18 million acres from the March intentions report at 76.08 million acres.  Cotton, at 12.64 million acres was down 560,000 from the intentions and more than 2 million acres less than 2011 plantings.  Overall rice acreage was down 28,000 acres from 2011.  However Arkansas increased plantings 146,000 acres to 1.251 million acres this year. Arkansas long grain plantings rose 200,000 acres from 2011, while medium declined 145,000 acres.  Acreage declined in all other states except Missouri.  (To see entire report click on Acreage Report.)

AMERICANS’ PREFERENCE FOR OUTDOOR RECREATION CHANGING
. . . . .The USDA Forest Service Southern Research Station (SRS) recently published a national study, Outdoor Recreation Trends and Futures, showing that Americans' current choices for outdoor recreation differ noticeably from those made by previous generations. Participation in "traditional" activities such as hunting and fishing has flattened or declined while participation in activities that involve viewing and photographing nature is growing. Because of the continued importance of public lands for outdoor recreation, study findings have direct implications for how these lands are managed in the future. For complete study visit: http://www.srs.fs.usda.gov/pubs/40453

RENEWABLE FUEL STANDARD CHALLENGES
. . . . Challenges to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and biofuels development are all over the news these days. Intended to speed the development of a biofuels industry by encouraging refiners, importers, and blenders to invest in the development of this emerging market, the current RFS was established by the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act. It should be noted that the development of this new market will benefit working forests. Because traditional markets for timber have been shrinking, new markets are essential for preserving existing forests. When no profitable market for timber products exist, forest land is much more likely to be converted, either for development or for more profitable agricultural purposes.

UAEX CONFIRMS SOUTHERN RUST IN 10 COUNTIES
. . . . . Southern Rust has been found in Arkansas, Jefferson, Lee, Lonoke, Monroe, Prairie, St. Francis, Jackson, White, and Woodruff  Counties corn.  The highest disease severity was 2 to 4 pustules per leaf on corn in Monroe and Lee counties which was more than 1 to 2 pustules per leaf that was observed in all other counties.  It is important to know if southern rust is present before a fungicide is applied.  Fungicides with a strobilurin only (Headline or Quadris) are only effective if applied before rust is found in the field.  Fungicides with a triazole only (folicur, tilt, promimax, evito, domark, and several generics) or triazole + strobulin (stratigo, headline amp, quilt, and quilt xcel) are effective if applied before or after rust is found in a field.

U.S. FILES WTO CASE AGAINST INDIA FOR POULTRY IMPORT RESTRICTIONS
. . . . India continues to block poultry imports from any country with a reported incident of Avian Influenza, despite the fact they have a long history of outbreaks in their country. After years of negotiations the United States Trade Representative took the first necessary step in pursuing a case by requesting the establishment of a WTO dispute settlement panel after consultations with India in April failed to resolve the U.S. concerns. This move marks the fifth time the U.S. has brought a WTO case against India. This is the first case for the recently established Interagency Trade Enforcement Center. Litigation at the WTO can take one to two years to conclude.

WTO SET TO HEAR CHINA ANTIDUMPING CASE ON U.S. POULTRY
. . . . .In 2009, President Obama’s decision to impose tariffs on Chinese tires pursuant to Section 421 of U.S. trade law caused China to initiate anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations on U.S. chicken and automobile exports. In the fall of 2011, USTR initiated a WTO dispute case – to challenge China’s imposition of anti-dumping and countervailing duties against imports of U.S. chicken “broiler products”.  The WTO Dispute panel is reportedly now in place and ready to hear the case.

UAEX ROW CROP VERIFICATION TOUR JULY 10
. . . . .There will be a Row Crop Research Verification Tour on July 10, 2012.  The tour will start at 7:45 at the Rice Research and Extension Center in Stuttgart.  This tour will consist of updates from the Corn, Cotton, Rice and Soybean Research Verification Programs. Supreme Court to Review Forest Roads Case…The U.S. Supreme Court will review the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit Court's ruling in NEDC v. Brown. The Ninth Circuit ruled last year that forest roads are "point sources" of water pollution requiring industrial discharge permits typically applied to factories and sewage plants, a decision that overturns EPA's 35 years of successful regulation of forest roads under the Clean Water Act."

CORN WEBINAR THURSDAY AT 11:00 AM. . . . .Recordings of the weekly corn producer webinars are available online at http://www.arfb.com/media-communications/webex/default.aspx  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: https://arfb.webex.com/arfb/j.php?ED=198284012&UID=0&PW=NMzEzZTJkMmI3&RT=MiM3
            OR
            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: https://arfb.webex.com/arfb/j.php?ED=198284012&UID=0&PW=NMzEzZTJkMmI3&RT=MiM3
            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

BIOTECHNOLOGY FARMER ASSURANCE PROVISION IN HOUSE AGRICULTURE APPROPRIATIONS BILL. . . . .Farm Bureau supports a provision (Section 733) included in H.R. 5973, the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (Agriculture Appropriations Bill).  The provision clarifies the secretary of agriculture’s authority to partially deregulate a biotechnology trait by introducing temporary stewardship requirements that allow farmers to continue to grow and harvest a crop that has previously been deemed safe and deregulated, but is being challenged in court.  Section 733 is receiving strong opposition from the anti-biotechnology groups, which have repeatedly filed procedural lawsuits against the Department of Agriculture (USDA) as a method to disrupt the regulatory process and jeopardize the commercialization of safe, approved biotechnology.  The House is expected to consider the Agriculture Appropriations Bill in July, and AFBF anticipates an amendment will be offered by Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) to strike Section 733.

SECRETARY VILSACK ANNOUNCES 23 NEW WATER QUALITY IMPROVEMENT PROJECTS IN NINE MISSISSIPPI RIVER BASIN STATES . . . Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that $8.4 million in financial assistance is available to support 23 new partnership projects in several Mississippi River Basin states under USDA's Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative (MRBI).  These projects will fund producer activities that will avoid, control and trap sediment and nutrient runoff from agricultural lands, improving water quality throughout their operations. MRBI is helping producers implement conservation and management practices that prevent, control and trap nutrient runoff from agricultural land. Selections were based on the potential for managing nitrogen and phosphorus -- nutrients associated with water quality problems in the Basin -- while maintaining agricultural productivity and benefiting wildlife.  USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) manages the initiative. The 23 selected projects are located in Arkansas, Iowa, Kentucky, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Nine projects were selected in Arkansas. Producers have until July 18, 2012, to submit applications. For more detailed information on the Arkansas projects, click on the following link: USDA NRCS - 2012 MRBI Projects in Arkansas.

GENERAL MOTORS PRIVATE OFFER. . . Members can save $500 on qualifying 2011/2012 model year Chevrolet, GMC or Buick vehicles. Complete details at http://www.arfb.com/member_services/gm/

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