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Commodity Communicator Weekly

January 4, 2013

JANUARY SUPPLY/DEMAND REPORT WEBINAR. . . . .Friday, January 11 at 12:30 p.m. . . . .The USDA will release its new U.S. and Global Agriculture Situation and Outlook next week.  Join Gene Martin, Farm Bureau Senior Market Analyst and Scott Stiles, UAEX Economist will break down the report and give insight into how the report will affect the markets.  

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FISCAL CLIFF PACKAGE PROVIDES ‘GOOD DOSE’ OF CERTAINTY
. . . . .“While much work remains on addressing the spending side of the ledger, the fiscal cliff package that was just approved injected a good dose of certainty into our nation’s tax policy,” American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman noted in a statement released Wednesday.   Stallman praised restoration of the $5 million exemption level for the estate tax, which was in danger of falling to just $1 million. On the minus side, the top estate tax rate increased from 35 percent to 40 percent. But permanent capital gains tax provisions that retain lower rates was a positive point, as was the inclusion of enhanced expensing provisions for businesses.

WE DIDN’T FALL OFF THE FISCAL CLIFF. . . . .There’s good news and bad news when it comes to averting the “fiscal cliff.” AFBF Economist Matt Erickson explains in the latest installment of Newsline.  “While we didn’t fall off the cliff,” said Erickson, “Congress has to do three things in the spring. One is to address the $1.3 trillion in across-the-board spending cuts over 10 years that was set to occur if no action was taken before Jan. 1. Two is the debt limit hike. Congress can only borrow so much and there’s a limit to that. That issue is going to be coming up here late February, end of March. Third, continuing resolution that funds most programs for fiscal year 2013 is set to expire March 27 of 2013. So Congress did kick the can down the road with this fiscal cliff package.”

ROBERT PASSES AG COMMITTEE GAVEL TO COCHRAN. . . . .Asserting his seniority on the Senate Agriculture Committee, Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) become the ranking member of the committee on Thursday, unseating Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), who stepped aside graciously.  In the end, Roberts supported Cochran, telling Politico, “I had hoped to stay, but agriculture is at a critical point and I just think you don’t want to roil the waters.”  “I’ll still be sitting right next to Thad and I intend to continue to make my voice heard,” continued Roberts.

PLANTING INTENTIONS SURVEY. . . . .The National Cotton Council is surveying growers for their 2013 planting intentions.  This is done each year to aid with industry planning and policy deliberations. Individual survey responses are anonymous and confidential.  Your help and cooperation is greatly appreciated.  In an effort to improve our Annual Cotton Planting Intentions Survey, we would like to give you the opportunity to fill out the survey online.  To respond to the survey online, go to http://www.cotton.org/survey/13planting-email/ .  Again, all responses to the online survey will be confidential and anonymous.  Please respond by Wednesday, January 16, 2013.
 
A summary of the survey results will be made public during the Joint Meeting of Program Committees at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday, February 9, 2013, at the National Cotton Council’s Annual Meeting in Memphis, TN.  If you have already filled out this year's survey, thank you very much for your participation. If you have any questions or comments feel free to contact Economic Services at (901)274-9030.
 
5TH ANNUAL CORN AND GRAIN SORGHUM PRODUCER CONFERENCE. . . . . .The Arkansas Corn & Grain Sorghum Board would like to invite you to the 5th annual Corn and Grain Sorghum Producer Conference. This year the Conference will be conducted at 2 locations with the content repeated at both locations.
    Tuesday January, 8 at the ASU Alumni Center in Jonesboro, Ark.  
    Thursday January, 10 at the Dumas Community Center in Dumas, Ark.


Registration for both conferences begins at 8:30 am with the conference starting at 9 a.m. and adjourning at 1:30 p.m.


FINAL RULE ANNOUNCED FOR LIVESTOCK TRACEABILITY. . . . .The Agriculture Department recently announced a final rule establishing general regulations for improving the traceability of U.S. livestock moving interstate.   The rule will become effective 60 days after it is published.  The anticipated effective date is around March 1, 2013.  States will have 6-12 months to implement their traceability efforts before enforcement actions begin.

In response to recommendations from Farm Bureau and other cattle groups, USDA modified the final rule to recognize brands as official identification when agreed upon by both the shipping and receiving states; maintain back tags as an alternative identification to ear tags for animals moving direct to harvesting; and exempt beef cattle under 18 months of age, with the intent to phase in these animals through a separate rulemaking once the system has proven effective for breeding cattle.

Under the final rule, unless specifically exempted, livestock moved interstate would have to be officially identified and accompanied by an interstate certificate of veterinary inspection or other documentation, such as owner-shipper statements or brand certificates. The rule encourages the use of low-cost technology and specifies approved forms of official identification for each species, including metal ear tags or “Brite” tags for cattle.  Producers utilizing livestock for custom slaughter or home consumption are exempted, as well as chicks moved directly from a hatchery.   

FOOD PERCEPTIONS IMPROVE
. . . . .A recent survey indicates some improvement in Americans’ perceptions on food production.  The survey, conducted by the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance (USFRA), shows that 53 percent of Americans believe food production is heading in the right direction.  That compares to 48 percent who believed the same in a benchmark 2011 USFRA survey.
However, the survey also found Americans still have widespread misperceptions about how today’s food is grown and raised.  More than one in four Americans admit they are often confused about the food they are purchasing, with young adults having the most concerns.  And three in five Americans say they would like to know more about how food is grown and raised.  However, 84 percent of Americans believe that farmers and ranchers in America are committed to improving how food is grown and raised.  

ANIMAL RIGHTS GROUP SETTLES LAWSUIT WITH RINGLING. . . . .An animal rights  group will pay Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus $9.3 million to settle a lawsuit the circus filed after courts found that activists paid a former circus worker for his help in claiming the circus abused elephants. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals says it was not admitting any wrongdoing in settling the lawsuit. The New York-based animal rights group was one of several involved in a lawsuit filed in 2000 against the circus' owner, Feld Entertainment Inc., claiming elephants were abused. Courts later found that the animal rights activists had paid a former Ringling barn helper involved in the lawsuit at least $190,000, making him ''essentially a paid plaintiff'' who lacked credibility.

ARKANSAS FARM BUREAU WINTER COMMODITY DIVISION MEETINGS . . . The annual Farm Bureau Winter Commodity Division meetings are set for Wednesday, January 30 at the Wyndham Riverfront Hotel in North Little Rock. Schedule of Activities is as follows:
8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. - Registration
9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. - Cotton,BeefCattle, Soybean, Specialty Crops, Swine, Forestry
11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.- Lunch
1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. - Dairy, Rice, Wheat & Feed Grains, Poultry,  Equine,  Aquaculture

2013 ARKANSAS RICE ANNUAL MEETING SCHEDULED FOR JANUARY 18. . . . .The Arkansas Rice Council and the Arkansas Rice Producers Group will hold their annual meeting and trade show January 18th in Jonesboro at the fairgrounds.  The meeting will include exhibits and a trade show as well as presentations from industry leaders on various topics.  Lunch will also be provided for visitors. For more on the meeting click this link: http://www.arkansasricefarmers.org/registration/

UofA EXTENSION OFFERS 2013 CROP BUDGETING TOOL. . . . .The University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is once again offering their crop budgeting tool for producers in Arkansas.  The tool allows producers to plug in numbers into a production cost estimate spreadsheet to estimate production costs for the upcoming year.  This service is particularly helpful as producers make their budget plans for the 2013 crop year.  For more information, click this link: http://www.arkansas-crops.com/2012/12/28/2013-crop-budgets/

USDA NRCS ACCEPTING 2013 EQIP ORGANIC, AG ENERGY AND HIGH TUNNEL APPLICATIONS THROUGH JAN. 18, 2013
. . . . .Farmers and landowners in Arkansas have until  Jan. 18, 2013, to submit applications to receive cost-share assistance to implement conservation activities through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program’s Organic, Ag Energy and High Tunnel Initiatives for the 2013 program year. Applicants can sign up at their local U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service field service center.  
News Release

USDA ANNOUNCED EQIP SIGN-UP DEADLINE TO ADDRESS THE STRIKEFORCE INITIATIVE IN 25 COUNTIES IN ARKANSAS. . . . .Farmers and landowners in the 25 Arkansas StrikeForce counties have until Jan. 18, 2013, to submit applications to receive cost-share assistance to implement conservation practices through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) for the 2013 program year.  Applicants can sign up at their local USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) field service center.
News Release  

FARM BUREAU VEHICLE PURCHASE PROGRAM. . . . . Members now have a better way to buy a new or used vehicle through this easy to use program.  Benefits include in-depth price reports, target prices, estimated values and certified dealers.  The $500 GM incentive for members is already built into the system for qualifying vehicles.  Complete details at www.FBVerify.com/Drive

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