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Commodity Communicator Weekly

January 25, 2013

New Livestock and Poultry Commission Director Named…..Gov. Mike Beebe on Thursday named Preston Scroggin of Vilonia as director of the Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission.

Scroggin, 46, is Faulkner County judge and president of the County Judges' Association of Arkansas. The commission’s previous director, Steve Bryles, passed away in December. Scroggin will assume his new duties February 1.

FARM BILL UPDATE…Arkansas Farm Bureau applauds the Farm Services Agency for expediting sign-up procedures after Congress extended the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 by one year to include the 2013 crop season.

 “The extension of the 2008 Farm Bill by one year is helpful in that it provides some clarity for the coming season,” said Randy Veach,president of the Arkansas Farm Bureau. “We’re thankful for FSA’s efforts to help farmers sign up for these programs, particularly at a time when many are in the process of securing their 2013 crop loans.”

 The extended programs include, among others, the Direct and Counter-Cyclical Payment Program (DCP), the Average Crop Revenue Election Program (ACRE), and the Milk Income Loss Contract Program (MILC). Sign-up for the DCP and ACRE begins on Feb. 19. MILC contracts are automatically extended to Sept. 30.

 As discussions with lending institutions are occurring and planting decisions now being made, farmers are particularly aware of the need for the FSA programs.

 “Many of our farmers need these programs as they go through loan qualifying process,” Veach said. “Frankly, some are going to need the direct payments to make the financial equation work for them. Thankfully, the extension of the Farm Bill provides us some certainty and we know financial institutions value that certainty.”

 FSA has noted 2013 DCP and ACRE program provisions are unchanged from 2012, except that all eligible participants in 2013 may choose to enroll in either DCP or ACRE for the 2013 crop year. This means that eligible producers who were enrolled in ACRE in 2012 may elect to enroll in DCP or may re-enroll in ACRE (and vice versa). 

 Veach noted the one-year extension of the Farm Bill, and the stability it provides, should demonstrate to Congress the need to push forward with a new five-year program that provides the needed structure for farm and ranch families to make long-range plans for their businesses.  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Wednesday introduced in the 113th Congress the same version of the farm bill that was passed by the Senate last session.

 Beef Checkoff Lawsuit Delayed…..A lawsuit filed last August charging that beef checkoff funds are being “misused” remains on hold pending the release of an audit of the USDA’s Office of Inspector General, according to documents filed in the case.

The OIG is examining the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s use of the beef checkoff funds.

This most recent order in the case extends a stay that was granted in October. At the time, the OIG’s report was due in mid-January; now,though, the report is due to be released in April. The stay has been granted to May 1.

 JAPAN PLANS TO RELAX RESTRICTIONS ON US BEEF IMPORTS ON FEB. 1…..Japan will ease restrictions on U.S. beef imports next month, boosting supplies to restaurant chains such as Yoshinoya Holdings Co. (9861), after food safety authorities said the change wouldn’t increase health risks.

 “We will implement the relaxation as early as Feb. 1” after explaining the decision to the public, Health Minister Norihisa Tamura told reporters in Tokyo on Tuesday. The Food Safety Commission recommended the change in October.

 Japan, the biggest buyer of American beef before an outbreak of mad-cow disease in 2003, will allow imports of beef from cattle up to30-months old, from 20 months previously.

…UAEX has released its first app to help producers in the 2013 growing season.  The Corn Advisor includes lime and other nutrient calculators, a library of photos to help diagnose nutrient deficiencies, diseases, and insect damage, as well as access to production handbook.  The app is only available in the Google Play Store for Android, but is expected to be released in the Apple Store in the next few weeks.

MONSANTO OFFERS BRAZILIAN FARMERS ROYALTY-FREE SOYBEANS…Monsanto Co. agreed to waive two years of royalties on its Roundup Ready soybean seeds for Brazilian farmers who agree to forgo claims in a patent dispute.

Growers who sign the agreement won’t pay the technology fee on soybean seeds, marketed by Monsanto as Roundup, in the current and subsequent growing seasons. Growers would waive the right to try to recoup royalties previously paid. The agreement would resolve claims by growers who claim the patent on the original Roundup Ready soybeans expired in 2010, ending their obligation to pay Monsanto royalties on the seeds. Monsanto argues that Brazilian law extends the patent to late 2014, when it expires in the U.S.

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