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Commodity Communicator Weekly

July 6, 2012

EPA OFFICIAL WHO QUIT OVER 'CRUCIFY' REMARKS HIRED BY GREEN GROUP…..A former Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) official who resigned earlier this year for comparing his work to crucifixion has found new employment with a leading green group. The Sierra Club announced on June 29 that Al Armendariz would be joining the group’s “Beyond Coal” campaign next month as a senior representative.

To read the news release, click on the following link: E2 Wire - Armendariz .

TRANSPORTATION BILL GOOD FOR AGRICULTURE
. . . . .The recently approved, 27-month highway bill not only keeps transportation projects rolling until September 2014, it contains key provisions exempting farmers, ranchers and covered farm vehicles from several federal regulations.  Farmers and ranchers will still be exempt from requirements like commercial driver’s license, medical certificates, hours of service requirements, and pre- and post-trip inspections as long as the vehicle is under 26,000 pounds, or if the vehicle is over 26,000 pounds, farmers are exempt up to 150 air miles from their farm if they cross state lines. In-state travel is exempt from the regulations, as well.

EPA ANNOUNCES PARTICULATE MATTER HEARINGS
. . . . The Environmental Protection Agency announced two public hearings on the proposed revisions to the ambient air quality standards for particulate matter. The proposal would retain the current standard for coarse PM, which includes dust generated by normal farming practices, and tighten the standard for fine PM.

One hearing will be held on July 17 in Philadelphia, Pa. The other will take place on July 19 in Sacramento, Calif.

Farm Bureau supports legislation that would remove the regulatory authority from EPA for dust generated by farms. AFBF also supports the retention of the current coarse PM air quality standard.

REAP SUPPORTED BY POULTRY INDUSTRY
…This week, twelve poultry associations representing many of the nation’s leading poultry producing states delivered a letter to the House Agriculture Committee asking for renewal of the Farm Bill’s Energy Title’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) with mandatory funding.  

INDIA HAS REMOVED THE FLOOR PRICE OF BASMATI RICE
…"Basmati rice can be exported without any minimum export price (MEP)," a commerce ministry statement said.  India, the world's biggest producer of basmati rice, was selling the grain at prices above $700 per ton. India already allows overseas sale of the common rice variety without any restriction.

HOUSING MARKET CONTINUE TO RECOVER…In the May report, April’s housing start number was revised from 699,000 to 744,000, a 6.4 percent increase. Starts in the month of May fell 4.8 percent below this revised number to 708,000, which is 28.5 percent above the May 2011 rate of 551,000. Mortgage interest rates fell in June to the lowest level since the Mortgage Bankers Association began collecting data. Throughout the month, the interest rate for a 30-year fixed conforming mortgage hovered at 3.87 percent, with points varying from 0.40 to 0.49.

FORESTRY COMMISSION BATTLES WILDFIRES
…With all but 2 counties (Desha and Calhoun) under burn bans the AR Forestry Commission has fought hundreds of fires over the last few weeks.  In addition to the air takers, the National Guard has brought in Blackhawk helicopters to help suppress fires.  It is more important than ever to make sure you do everything you can to protect your property from fire.  Visit http://www.arkansasfirewise.com/ for more information.

U.S. CORN CROP RATING 48% GOOD TO EXCELLENT
…this week's 48% good to excellent total on corn is the lowest since the famous 1988 drought year. That year same time the G/EX total was 23% for corn. So, one might think that this year's crop prospect is quite a bit better than back in '88. But in 1988 there was still a hefty grain reserve program in effect. That's obviously not the case this year with the "just in time" philosophy ruling the commodity world.

SORGHUM CHECK OFF LAUNCHES LEADERSHIP SORGHUM PROGRAM…The Sorghum Check off recently launched a new program called Leadership Sorghum, which is designed to develop the next generation of leaders within the sorghum industry. The Sorghum Check off is currently accepting applications for its inaugural class. To learn more or fill out an application, visit www.SorghumCheckoff.com/leadership. The deadline to apply is July 20.

ARKANSAS RIVER VALLEY DROUGHT MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE….. Tuesday July 10, 2012, 6:30 p.m. - 9 p.m. at Arkansas Tech University's Doc Bryan Auditorium, 1605 Coliseum Drive Room 109, Russellville, Arkansas 72801
Topics:
* Tax implications of selling your cowherd by Kent Dollar, Certified    
   Public Accountants, Inc.
* Forage management: Making your farm resilient to drought by Dr.    
   John Jennings, professor-forages, U of A
* Stretching your hay with crop residues and byproduct feeds by Dr.    
   Shane Gadberry, assoc. professor-ruminant nutrition, U of A
* Winter annuals for fall and winter grazing by Dr. Paul Beck,   
   associate professor, U of A
* Dealing with insect pests during drought by Dr. Kelly Loftin,  
   extension entomologist, U of A
There is no cost or registration required for this event. Contact the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture /Pope County Extension Office at 479-968-7098

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.


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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