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Commodity Communicator Weekly

April 5, 2013

APRIL SUPPLY/DEMAND REPORT WEBINAR. . . . .Wednesday, April 10 at 12:30 p.m. . . . .The USDA will release its new U.S. and Global Agriculture Situation and Outlook tomorrow.  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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. . . .In these trying economic times, growers and agribusinesses are actively seeking ways to maintain, increase profits, and/or diversify their operations.  The 2013 National Value Added Conference provides a wonderful opportunity to enhance understanding, identify resources, and to network with other service providers as well as innovative entrepreneurs.  

The theme of the 2013 Conference is "Local Economic Development Through Entrepreneurship".  Please make plans now to attend the 15th Annual National Value Added Conference to be held in Rogers, Arkansas (May 19-21) at the Embassy Suites Northwest Arkansas - Hotel, Spa & Convention Center.  Featured conference speakers include Joe Quinn, Wal-Mart Senior Director of Issue Management and Strategic Outreach, and Doug O'Brien, Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development USDA.

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2013 Value Added Conference Agenda_.pdf

. . . . .During 2012, imports of popular white fish continued to grow, despite lingering health and safety issues with Asian farmed fish.  U.S. imports of pangasius (basa, tra and swai), primarily from Vietnam, and tilapia (mostly raised on Asian farms) both jumped by about 18 percent.  Channel catfish (ictalurus) imports, virtually all from China, fell by 13 percent.
China is the world's largest supplier of tilapia, producing twice as much as Egypt, the number two producer. U.S. tilapia imports grew from 425,168,000 lbs in 2011 to 501,426,000 in 2012.  At the same, health and safety problems, reflected in FDA import refusal actions targeting tilapia, continued last year with 70 shipments refused due to banned and potentially dangerous drugs, chemicals and bio-toxins such as salmonella.
Vietnam is by far the world's largest supplier of pangasius, with other Asian nations such as Thailand, Bangladesh and India producing relatively small amounts.  U.S. imports of pangasius grew from 196,256,000 lbs in 2011 to 230,970,000 lbs in 2012.  During the year, the FDA brought 17 import refusal actions against pangasius, reflecting continuing quality problems.
Imports of channel catfish (ictalurus) declined somewhat from 7,419,000 in 2011 to 6,428,000 in 2012.  Nevertheless, FDA import actions against ictalurus actually increased to 28 last year from 20 in 2011, reflecting persistent health and quality problems in China's aquaculture industry.  
U.S. Farm-Raised Catfish provide American lovers of white fish with a safe, healthy alternative to potentially tainted imported competitors.

. . . . .Two livestock groups have come together to launch a program aimed at stopping animal abuse and reassuring consumers that all is well on the farm. The program is called See it? Stop it!, and it is the first of its kind to empower all who work with animals to be on the lookout for animal abuse. Sherrie Neikamp, Pork Checkoff director of animal welfare, said the pork and dairy industry have joined forces to make sure any case of animal abuse or neglect is reported quickly and to the proper authorities, ''Animal abuse is absolutely unacceptable and will not be tolerated.'' The guidelines of the program state that animal care is the responsibility of everyone who works with animals , ''Individuals who work around animals have an obligation to immediately report any signs of deliberate animal abuse or neglect.''

''Animal well-being always has been the top priority of pork producers,'' said NPPC President Randy Spronk, a producer from Edgerton, MN. ''The See It? Stop It! initiative confirms that commitment and is a way to let animal caretakers know that it's their moral responsibility to speak up to stop any animal abuse.''

STATES FEELING THEIR WAY THROUGH TRACEABILITY RULE. . . . .USDA's animal disease traceability (ADT) rule went into effect March 11. As individual states feel their way through the process and adopt rules and regulations in response to the new national standard, specialists encourage producers to stay informed on how the rule will impact them.

The rule requires any sexually intact beef animal or bison over 18 months of age to have official ID prior to moving interstate. In addition, all dairy cattle, as well as all recreational and exhibition cattle of any age and gender are required to have official ID.

. . . . .The Agriculture Department will cut the direct payments for all crop farmers by 8.5 percent this year, not just for farmers who would be required to pay back certain other payments, a representative for the USDA's Farm Service Agency has confirmed to DTN.

"Sequestration limits options for the Farm Service Agency (FSA) significantly, but we are committed to carrying out these required cuts in a way that provides the least disruption to our customers," the FSA representative said.

FSA will reduce direct payments in order to avoid requiring about 350,000 producers to refund a portion of the payments they have already received through other programs.

– The Arkansas Pollution Control and Ecology Commission (APC&EC) will hold four public hearings during April of 2013 to receive comments on proposed changes to Commission Regulation 2 (Arkansas Water Quality Standards) developed through the Triennial Review process. The schedule for the public hearings on Regulation 2 is as follows:

  • April 15, Jonesboro: Allen Park Community Center, 3609 Race Street, 6 p.m.
  • April 18, Fayetteville: Room 219, Fayetteville City Administration Building, 113 W. Mountain Street, 6 p.m.
  • April 22, El Dorado: South Arkansas Community College, East Campus, Workforce Development Building, 3696 E. Main Street, 6 p.m.
  • April 24, Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) Headquarters Building Commission Room, 5301 Northshore Drive, North Little Rock, 2 p.m.
A copy of the draft regulation showing the proposed changes, along with related support documents, is available for viewing or downloading at the ADEQ’s Internet web site located at:

Oral and written statements will be accepted at the hearings, but written comments are preferred in the interest of accuracy. In addition, written and electronic mail comments will be accepted if received no later than 4:30 p.m. May 8, 2013. Written comments should be mailed to Doug Szenher, Public Outreach and Assistance Division, Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality, 5301 Northshore Drive, North Little Rock, AR 72118, or sent by electronic mail to:

. . . The deadline for complying with requirements of the Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasures (SPCC) rule is rapidly approaching. The compliance deadline is May 10, 2013.

As a reminder, the compliance deadline only applies to new farms, i.e. those coming into existence after August 16, 2002. According to EPA, farms in existence on or before August 16, 2002, should have already had an SPCC plan in place and should be updating their plans to conform with the new requirements.

Note: There is an ongoing legislative effort that would increase the SPCC Planning thresholds to 10,000 gallons for a single tank and 42,000 gallons total cumulative storage.

For those Farm Bureau members who do not want to run the risk of a legislative solution failing, SPCC planning services can be arranged by contacting ECCI at 501-975-8100.

For more information, go to: EPA - SPCC for Agriculture.

. . . Farmers and landowners in portions of Arkansas, Jefferson, Lonoke and Prairie counties in Arkansas have until May 17, 2013, to submit applications to receive financial assistance to implement conservation practices through the Bayou Meto (Middle) Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watershed Initiative (MRBI) project.  The ranking process will be completed by May 31, 2013.
A complete list of approved practices, information about the project, and the project area map is available at

. . . . . 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

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