AgDay Daily Recap - April 29, 2011

April 29, 2011 10:14 AM
 

TODAY ON AGDAY:
APRIL 29, 2011

NCBA SUES EPA:
GOOD MORNING. THE NATIONAL CATTLEMEN'S BEEF ASSOCIATION AND THE FLORDIA CATTLEMEN'S ASSOCIATION FILED A LAWSUIT WEDNESDAY AGAINST THE EPA IN U.S. DISTRICT COURT. THIS SUIT IS ON GROUNDS THAT THE EPA VIOLATED THE FEDERAL ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEDURES ACT WHEN IT SET NUMERIC NUTRIENT STANDARDS FOR THE STATE'S WATERSHED. THIS IS THE 9TH LAWSUIT RELATED TO THE EPA'S NOVEMBER 2010 DECISION. IN THAT DECISION THE FEDERAL AGENCY SOUGHT TO OVERRIDE THE STATE'S CURRENT CLEAN WATER RULES AND STANDARDS. IT REQUIRES ALL BODIES OF WATER MEET SPECIFIC NUTRIENT LEVEL TARGETS. THE NCBA AND FLORIDA CATTLEMEN'S SUIT SAYS THE EPA IS OUT OF LINE PRODECURALLY, BECAUSE, FOR ONE, THE STATE HAD ALREADY ADOPTED A NUMERIC NUMBER PLAN AND IT HAD ALREADY BEEN APPROVED BY THE EPA. THE NCBA SAYS THIS IS JUST ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF THE EPA PANDERING TO ACTIVISM. FLORIDA CATTLEMEN SAY THEY STILL DON'T HAVE ANY INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW TO MEET THESE EPA STANDARDS OR HOW MUCH THAT MIGHT COST. THIS SUIT WILL LIKELY BE COMBINED WITH THE EIGHT PREVIOUS SUITS WHICH ARE ALREADY CONSOLIDATED IN THAT TALLAHASSEE COURT.

WILDLIFE SUIT:
EPA ATTORNEYS ARE BUSY. IN ADDITION TO THE NCBA SUIT, THE NATIONAL WILDLIFE FEDERATION ALSO FILED SUIT THIS WEEK AGAINST THE AGENCY. THIS CASE INVOLVES THE RENEWABLE FUEL STANDARD.  THE NATIONAL WILDLIFE FEDERATION ACCUSES EPA OF "FAILING TO ENFORCE LAWS THAT PROTECT IMPERILED GRASSLANDS". THE WILDLIFE GROUP SAYS THE RFS IS PROMPTING MORE FARMERS TO TURN-UNDER GRASSLANDS TO GROW MORE CORN FOR ETHANOL. THE FEDERATION CALLS IT "DESTRUCTIVE AND UNNECESSARY," AND WILL HURT GRASSLAND BIRDS.

INDIAN SUIT:
A FEDERAL JUDGE HAS APPROVED A 680 MILLION DOLLAR SETTLEMENT BETWEEN THE AGRICULTURE DEPARTMENT AND AMERICAN INDIAN FARMERS WHO SAY THEY WERE DENIED LOANS BECAUSE OF DISCRIMINATION. THE TWO SIDES AGREED ON THE DEAL LAST YEAR. BUT THE FEDERAL COURT HAD TO APPROVE IT. INDIVIDUALS WHO CAN PROVE DISCRIMINATION COULD RECEIVE UP TO A QUARTER MILLION DOLLARS. THE LAWSUIT WAS FILED IN 1999 AND CONTENDS INDIAN FARMERS AND RANCHERS LOST HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS OVER SEVERAL DECADES.

STORM ISSUES:
NEARLY 300 PEOPLE IN FIVE STATES WERE KILLED BY STORMS THAT PLOWED THROUGH THE SOUTHEAST ON WEDNESDAY. OFFICIALS SAY MORE THAN 130 WERE IN ALABAMA ALONE. URBAN AREAS, LIKE TUSCALOOSA, TOOK A DIRECT HIT. RURAL REGIONS ALSO SUSTAINED WHAT AG OFFICIALS CALL "SERIOUS DAMAGE" THE STATE'S MULTI-BILLION DOLLAR POULTRY INDUSTRY WILL BE IMPACTED. MORE THAN 200 POULTRY BARNS WERE DESTROYED AND ANOTHER 180 DAMAGED BY THE STORMS. THE VIOLENT SPRING WEATHER HIT MORE THAN A DOZEN STATES THIS WEEK. THOSE THAT DIDN'T HAVE TORNADOES, HAD HEAVY RAIN AND MAJOR FLOODING. ALONG THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER, ILLINOIS, MISSOURI, TENNESSEE RESIDENTS ARE FIGHTING WEAKENED LEVEE SYSTEMS. THE STORMS ARE ALSO IMPACTING RAIL TRAFFIC. BNSF SAID IT HAD TRACKS OUT OF SERVICE BECAUSE OF FLOODING IN MONTANA, NORTH DAKOTA AND MISSOURI.

LATE PLANTING:
EVEN WITHOUT RIVER-FLOODING, MANY PARTS OF THE CORNBELT LOOK LIKE THIS - - STANDING WATER AND SATURATED FIELDS. BY THIS TIME EACH SPRING, A QUARTER OF INDIANA'S CORN HAS USUALLY BEEN PLANTED. THIS YEAR, IT'S 2%. A PRODUCER FROM NORTHERN INDIANA SAID YOU CAN ONLY TWEAK THE EQUIPMENT SO MUCH WHILE WAITING FOR THE SKIES TO CLEAR. WY-KOFF SAYS MUCH OF HIS FARMLAND IS SANDY, SO HE'LL NEED FOUR-FIVE DAYS ONCE IT STOPS RAINING TO GET INTO HIS FIELDS. BUT HE ALSO HAS SOME LOW-GROUND WHICH MAY TAKE UNTIL THE END OF MAY TO SEE A PLANTER.

FARM BILL MEETING:
SENATE AG COMMITTEE CHAIR DEBBIE STABENOW HAS CALLED HER FIRST FARM BILL HEARING. THE SENATOR FROM MICHIGAN WILL HOLD THE FIELD HEARING IN HER HOME STATE. THE MEETING IS SET FOR MAY 31ST AT MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY. WITNESSES WHO WILL SPEAK AT THE HEARING HAVE NOT BEEN ANNOUNCED.

DOW EARNINGS:
IN AGRIBUSINESS THIS MORNING, DOW CHEMICAL COMPANY--PARENT OF DOW AGRO-SCIENCES SAYS FIRST QUARTER EARNINGS WERE STRONG IN ITS AG SEGMENT. THE HEALTH AND AG SCIENCES DIVISION SAW RECORD SALES--TOPPING ONE AND HALF BILLION DOLLARS. THAT'S UP 17% OVER LAST YEAR'S FIRST QUARTER. DEMAND FOR SEEDS, TRAITS AND OILS IS UP MORE THAN 25%.

CME CORN TRADES:
FROM INPUTS TO PUT OPTIONS, THE CHICAGO MERCANTILE EXCHANGE GROUP IS PROPOSING CHANGES TO THE DAILY TRADING LIMIT ON THE CHICAGO BOARD OF TRADE. THE CHANGE WIDENS THE LIMIT FOR CORN FUTURES AND OPTIONS TO FIFTY CENTS PER BUSHEL. IT'S CURRENTLY SET AT 30 CENTS. THE CME SAYS THE LARGER LIMIT IS NEEDED DUE TO PRICE VOLATILITY. THE LIMIT WAS LAST EXPANDED FROM TWENTY TO THIRTY CENTS IN MARCH OF 2008.

ANALYSIS:
GARY WILHELMI

IN THE COUNTRY; PHOTO VOICE:
NO MATTER WHERE YOU LIVE, LIKELY THERE ARE A FEW THINGS NOT UP TO PAR. ALL OF US SEE AREAS WE KNOW CAN BE IMPROVED WITHIN OUR OWN COMMUNITY...THE PROBLEM IS GETTING OTHERS TO RECOGNIZE THE ISSUE AS WELL. ONE TENNESEE TOWN NOW HAS A PROGRAM WHERE KIDS ARE USING CAMERA'S TO CAPTURE IMAGES OF THOSE PROBLEMS. CHUCK DENNEY GIVES US A SNAPSHOT OF "PHOTO VOICE" IN THIS REPORT FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE. THANKS CHUCK. YOU HEARD CHUCK MENTION THE PROGRAM WAS MADE POSSIBLE FROM A FEDERAL GRANT. 138 TOWNS WERE PART OF THAT GRANT---DYERSBURG WAS THE SMALLEST. STICK AROUND. FOOD AND YOUR FAMILY IS NEXT.

WATER WELLS FLOOD:
IN FOOD AND YOUR FAMILY HEAVY RAINS ARE SATURATING COMMUNITIES ACROSS THE COUNTRY. WATER QUALITY EXPERTS AT OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY SAY ALL THAT RAIN AND POTENTIAL FLOODING IS A THREAT TO DRINKING WATER. EXTENSION WATER EXPERTS SAY NORMALLY SOIL DOES A PRETTY GOOD JOB OF FILTERING WATER.  BUT WHEN IT’S SATURED, THAT DIRT LOSES ITS ABILITY TO REMOVE POLLUTANTS. THAT MEANS WELLS NEAR SEPTIC SYSTEMS MAY BE UNSAFE. IF A WELL IS CONSTRUCTED PROPERLY IT’S NOT A PROBLEM BUT SOME ESTIMATES SAY 40% OF THE NATION'S WELL WATER IS CONTAMINATED. EXTENSION EXPERTS AGREE ROUTINE WATER TESTS ARE WORTH THE MONEY.

LOCALIZED DAIRY:
YOU'VE PROBABLY HEARD THE PHRASE "BUY LOCAL" AS A WAY TO ENCOURAGE CONSUMERS TO PURCHASE GOODS FROM YOUR HOMETOWN OR A LOCAL FARMER. BUT DOES IT HELP PRODUCERS? NEW RESEARCH FROM CORNELL UNIVERSITY SAYS IT MIGHT NOT BENEFIT THE DAIRY INDUSTRY. RESEARCHERS DEVELOPED AN ECONOMIC MODEL OF DAIRY PRODUCTION, SHOWING THE STEPS FROM COW TO DAIRY COUNTER, INCLUDING TRANSPORTATION. THEY WANTED TO SEE IF KEEPING PRODUCTS LOCAL WOULD HELP REDUCE THE CARBON FOOTPRINT. THE STUDY SHOWS THE AVERAGE DISTANCE TRAVELED FOR ALL U.S. DAIRY PRODUCTS IS MORE THAN 300 MILES FROM FARM TO MARKET. RESEARCHERS SAY INCREASING LOCALIZATION LOWERS THE COST OF MAKING THE PRODUCTS BUT INCREASES THE PROCESSING AND DISTRIBUTION EXPENSES.
 

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