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Commodity Communicator Weekly

August 30, 2013

HEARING SET FOR PROPOSED BUFFALO RIVER WASTE WATER PERMITS . . . . .The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) will hold a public meeting and hearing at Yellville October 1, 2013, to discuss and receive comments on the proposed renewal of two waste water discharge permits for National Park Service (NPS) facilities located on the Buffalo River in Marion County. The event will begin at 6 p.m. at the Yellville-Summit School District Cafeteria, 1124 North Panther Avenue, Yellville, AR.

The comment period for the facilities is being reopened for the duration of the public hearing only, and the comment period will close when the hearing adjourns. Oral and written comments will be accepted at the hearing but written comments are preferred in the interest of accuracy.

For more information, click on the following link: ADEQ - BR NationalPark Service WWTP Permits Public Hearing.

VILSACK ADVOCATES FARM BILL, LABOR REFORM PASSAGE. . . . .The Agriculture Department released its Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade yesterday. USDA projects that fiscal year 2013 agricultural exports will reach $140 billion, which if realized would be a new record.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack made the following statement on this news, while emphasizing the need for Congress to pass farm bill and immigration legislation:

“Driven by the productivity of U.S. farmers and ranchers, we have achieved five years of positive momentum for agricultural exports and [yesterday’s] forecast is another promising development. Agricultural exports have a real impact on Main Street and beyond, supporting more than 1 million good jobs here at home. We're counting on Congress to help keep up this momentum. With just a few weeks left before expiration of many farm bill programs—including trade promotion programs that return $35 in economic benefits for every dollar invested—producers and rural communities need passage of a comprehensive Food, Farm and Jobs bill as soon as possible. This would enable USDA to continue trade promotion, and carry out a wide variety of additional efforts to support a productive U.S. agriculture sector. At the same time, America’s farmers and ranchers need a reliable and stable agricultural workforce to keep up production. Passage of the commonsense immigration reform measure, which was already approved by a bipartisan majority in the U.S. Senate, would further strengthen American agriculture and help put our nation on solid footing to maintain strong exports in the years to come.”

STUDY: DEEPENING MISSISSIPPI RIVER WOULD ADD JOBS. . . . .A study conducted by economist Tim Ryan and commissioned by the Big River Coalition and the Louisiana Department of Trans¬portation and Development, has determined that by deepening the Mississippi River to 50 feet, allowing larger vessels, would create nearly 17,000 jobs and add $11.5 billion to the U.S. economy. The Mississippi currently has a 45-foot draft.

According to the Louisiana Weekly, the Water Resources Development Act of 1986 authorized the river to be deepened to 55 feet, but it never went below 45 feet because of the local maintenance costs that would have been required. However, the latest WRDA bill in the Senate shifts maintenance costs up to 50-foot drafts to the federal level.

USDA REPORT OUTLINES SCIENTIFIC METHODS FOR QUANTIFYING GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS..... The Climate Change Program Office of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Office of the Chief Economist released and requested public comments on the report Science-Based Methods for Entity-Scale Quantification of Greenhouse Gas Sources and Sinks from Agriculture and Forestry Practices. The report is the work of 38 scientists from across academia, USDA and the federal government, who are experts in greenhouse gas estimation in the cropland, grazing land, livestock and forest management sectors. The report has undergone technical review by an additional 29 scientists.

Rice fields and production are discussed prominently in the study. Regarding greenhouse gas production, the study discusses flood irrigation management, returning rice straw to the soil, incorporation of rice straw and flood in rice fields to aid decomposition and improve waterfowl habitat, and fertilizer depth. Many of the conclusions are based on research from Asian studies of rice fields. The document is open for public comment for 45 days from Aug. 28.

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