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Commodity Communicator Weekly

April 19, 2013

HORSE SLAUGHTER NEWS…..Congress may once again ban the use of federal funds to inspect horse slaughter plants in the United States. The ''Safeguard American Food Exports'' Act, a bipartisan measure introduced in the Senate would prevent horse slaughter operations in the U.S. and end the export of horses for slaughter abroad. A similar block occurred in 2005, but was not renewed in 2011.

The 2014 White House budget sent to Congress last Wednesday also prevents horse slaughter operations in the U.S. by not providing any funding for inspection. This comes despite the fact that USDA has received at least five applications for horse slaughter facility inspection services from rural communities, reports Cattle Network.

ENERGY EFFICIENCY REAP GRANTS AVAILABLE
…..On Tuesday, the USDA announced additional funding for the Rural Energy for America Program or REAP for short.  Previously, the program was expected to have around $21 million, with around $200,000 of that allocated to Arkansas; now the USDA has announced the program will have $60 million nationally, which means Arkansas should have more than $500,000 available to producers.  May 31 is the deadline for applications.
        
REAP provides a 25 percent cost share for implementing energy efficient or renewable energy projects on a farm.  REAP can be used to cover virtually any energy upgrades on your operation:

  • Irrigation Upgrades – Replace Power units, Pivot renozzleing, replacing a well
  • Poultry House Upgrades – Ventilation, Heaters, Insulation
  • Renewable Energy - Windmills, Solar Panels, and Biomass Generators
POULTRY INDUSTRY WILL BE LOOKING FOR WHEAT…..Given the short corn supplies in the US, poultry companies are going to be buying wheat to feed their birds.  There are a number of brokers that have been looking to source wheat for the mills.  Producers are encouraged to look beyond traditional elevators for delivering their grain as prices and basis to the feed mills may be more advantageous.  

THE HOUSE RELEASES SECOND RFS WHITE PAPER
…..The House Committee on Energy and Commerce released its second white paper on the Renewable Fuels Standard.  This white paper deals with the Agricultural Sector Impacts.  Members are seeking constituent comment on this as they consider what to do about U.S. Energy Policy.  http://energycommerce.house.gov/content/white-paper-series-on-renewable-fuel-standard

ADMINISTRATION COMMITTED TO CONSOLIDATING GOVERNMENT TRADE OFFICES…..Included in the president's budget request last week was a statement reaffirming the administration's goal of consolidating all trade promoting, negotiating and financing activities into a single new department.  The proposed new department would include Commerce's core business and trade functions, the Small Business Administration, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the Export-Import Bank, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation and the U.S. Trade and Development Agency. It also would bring in USDA's business development programs, Treasury's Community Development Financial Institutions Fund, the National Science Foundation's statistical agency and industry partnership programs, and Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics. It would move Commerce's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to Interior.

RICE DEPOT RECEIVES LARGE DONATION
. . . . .Tyson Foods, Inc. donated 27,240 pounds of chicken today to the Arkansas Rice Depot in conjunction with the statewide food bank's new freezer dedication and open house.

Tyson Foods has been a long-time supporter of the Arkansas Rice Depot, which supports food pantries in all 75 counties in Arkansas. The agency combats hunger in Arkansas by annually distributing more than 9 million pounds of food every year, accounting for 15% of the state's population.

"Words cannot express how grateful we are for Tyson Foods 'generous donation," said Laura Rhea, President and CEO of Arkansas Rice Depot. "Without the support of organizations like Tyson, we would not be able to serve hundreds of thousands of individuals, seniors, and children who might otherwise go to bed hungry. This donation will add a needed source of protein to the meals of the families we serve."

AGRICULTURE IMMIGRATION REFORM
…..Agriculture immigration reform has now moved to the front of the line in the legislative process.  Eight Senators over the last several months have been working on a comprehensive immigration reform package that was unveiled this past week.  The legislation entitled Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 (S.744) has specific agricultural provisions that are part of the overall package that was produced by this bipartisan group of eight Senators.  A draft has been prepared of some of the key agriculture provisions which are included in the following article.  There are still a lot of questions that need to be answered in the weeks ahead as this bill starts through the legislative process.

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.  (https://fb.secure.zag.com/member-login-form.html)



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