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Archive for March, 2011

Agriculture and Government

25 Mar

March 24, 2011
Thursday, March 31, 2011 – 2:00 p.m.
1300 Longworth House Office Building
, D.C.
Full Committee on Agriculture – Public Hearing
RE: Defining the Market: Entity and Product Classifications Under Title VII of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.
 April 6, 2011 – 9:30 a.m.
1300 Longworth House Office Building
, D.C.
Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry – Public Hearing

RE: To review the state of the beef industry.

Horse Industry News

25 Mar

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Nevada SB 364 – Horse Tripping has now been introduced

Sometimes it feels like we are being attacked from every direction – at the risk of sounding paranoid – the fact is, we are.

Now is the time for every horse person who has any hope of raising their children and grandchildren in a horseback culture…any chance of making a living with the animals we all love…we have to stand together. We have to remain vigilant. And we have to be much more pro-active than we have ever been before.

If you are not already a member, DO IT NOW, by clicking on this box and going to our “Join” page. We need your time, your resources, and your passion, if we hope to have a chance.

Below is a piece by Nevadan Linda Bunch with some specifics on who to contact at the Nevada legislature, and the main points to make.

Stand up! Speak out! Be heard!

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Nevada SB 364 “Horse Tripping”-Getting A Foot In The Door – Linda Drown Bunch

SB364 which was introduced into the Nevada State Senate on March 21, 2011, seeks to outlaw the practice of horse tripping throughout the state and making the engaging in or promoting such an event a criminal offense.
AN ACT relating to cruelty to animals; prohibiting a person from engaging in horse tripping for enjoyment, entertainment, competition or practice; prohibiting a person from knowingly organizing, sponsoring, promoting, overseeing or receiving admission money for a horse tripping event; repealing a requirement that any ordinance passed by a board of county commissioners creating an offense relating to horse tripping must impose a criminal penalty for the offense; providing a penalty; and providing other matters properly relating thereto.
  • Horse tripping is an event usually associated with Mexican rodeos called charreadas, and involves two cowboys on horseback chasing a horse, causing the animal to run. When the horse has reached full speed, a third horseman lassoes one of the horse’s front legs, then stops and pulls back on the rope, causing the horse to trip forward and fall to the ground. The Charro Rodeo Association banned “horse tripping” voluntarily in 1995.
  • According to the Legislative Digest, existing law authorizes a board of county commissioners to enact an ordinance prohibiting cruelty to animals, and requires any such ordinance relating to horse tripping to impose a criminal penalty for the offense. (NRS 244.359). The proposed legislation as currently written would wrest that authority from local governments and transfer it to the state.
  • A clear distinction needs to be drawn between horse tripping as previously defined and horse roping which is a popular event throughout the northern Great Basin.  Drawing its roots from the ranching traditions of the West, this is a timed event involving two ropers. The horse is released and one roper ropes the animals around the head, he sets the animal and moves it forward, allowing his partner to lasso the animal around the front feet.  The two ropers face each other and time is called when the slack is out of the ropes.  Most of the organized competitions such as the Jordan Valley Big Loop have strict rules regarding the handling of the horses where “tripping” a horse, that is roping by the front feet first and throwing the animal down, results in an automatic disqualification.  Handling unbroken horses in this manner was common practice in the days when ranchers ran larger bands of horses for ranch work and usually didn’t halter break them as weanlings as most do now. Colts never felt the touch of a human hand until they were at least yearlings or possibly two-year olds. This method of handling them was not only practical but resulted in fewer injuries than running them through a chute, for example, for purposes of branding, castrating, and getting a halter on them for the first time.  Many ranchers still use this method with their young horses; however, it is less common than earlier days mainly because handling horses in this manner requires a lot of skill and most breeders employ more hands on approaches than in the past.  Ironically, this would appear to be the safest, quickest, and most cost-effective way of handling the BLM horse herds when they are gathered for purposes of administering fertility drugs, medications, etc.
  • Legislation such as SB364 is a common HSUS and other animal rights organizations tactic to “get a foot in the door” so to speak. Their ultimate target is the outlawing of all rodeo events short of queen contests and trick riding; they will leave those areas to the feminist groups!  By attaching the “horse tripping” provision to a bill dealing with leaving dogs tethered on a short leash is an attempt to equate horses to the family pet. It is also playing to the wild horse advocacy groups who in their overly-sentimentalized and romanticized view of the mustang are targeting the state of Nevada with its overpopulation of wild horses.
SB364 has been referred to the Senate Natural Resources Committee where it will be debated. The time-frame is unknown due to the fact that when a bill is brought up for debate is a committee chairman’s decision; however, I would urge people to contact members of the committee expressing your feelings on the proposed legislation.  E-mail addresses are as follows:
John Jay Lee – lee@sen.state.nv.us
Mark Manendo, Chair – mmanendo@sen.state.nv.us
David Parks – dparks@sen.state.nv.us
Michael Roberson – mroberson@sen.state.nv.us
Dean Rhoads – drhoads@sen.state.nv.us
Another neat way to voice your opinions on any legislation in the current sessions was recently brought to my attention. Go to this website and follow the directions. It is super easy. (FYI: Madeline Pickens instructed her followers on her Facebook page to use her Wells, NV address when submitting comments. Then they look like Nevada constituents!!) Try it, you’ll like it. Don’t sit on your hands, take action, don’t wait for someone else to do it.  Remember people, Confucious say: ” Man who sit on hands has no leg to stand on.”(or something to that effect. lol)

Agriculture News from WY Business Council Agribusiness Division

11 Mar
214 W.15th Street; Cheyenne, Wyoming 82002
Tel: (307) 777-2800 Fax: (307) 777-2838
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John Henn, Livestock and Meat Marketing program manager in the Wyoming Business Council Agribusiness Division, discusses the importance of adding market value through verification in the beef industry. 
Adding Market Value through Verification
There are a number of things that can impact the market value of livestock, including the current low inventory numbers and increase in export demand.  Market value can also be influenced by adding marketing claims to a group of cattle.  These can include genetics, performance records, production or management practices, natural, age and source verification (ASV), or non-hormone treated cattle (NHTC).  The goal is to attract additional buyers interested in these claims to supply their needs and markets.
Verification has been a buzz word in the beef industry for close to 10 years.  Why is it needed or important?  Verifying any marketing claim differentiates the product in the marketplace by adding credence to the claim and acceptance that the claim is true or valid.  In other words, trust but verify.
The loss of export markets after December 2003 had a negative impact on the value of the beef products that were exported, especially to Japan.  According to the U.S. Meat Export Federation $177 per head was lost on fed cattle due to the loss of our export markets at that time.  To regain access to that market ASV of the animals the beef products came from had to be done through an independent third party audit process approved by the USDA.  Japan now requires that imported beef products from the U.S. must come from animals that are 20 months of age or younger when slaughtered.  This can be done through a Quality Systems Assessment (QSA) program or a Process Verified Program (PVP), which is more commonly used.  Producers adding ASV have seen an increased value to calves.  In 2010 Superior Livestock Auction reported $1.74 per hundred weight more for calves that were age and source verified compared to those that were not, adding $8.70 to a 500 pound calf. 
Food safety, the feeding of animal products, and antibiotic and hormone residue in beef are target markets for some meat companies, providing an opportunity for producers who supply cattle that meet those requirements.  “Natural” can have a varied meaning to different end users.  Meat companies that market natural beef have specific production practices for the cattle they purchase.  A producer that markets feeder calves or yearlings as natural can add credence to that marketing claim by having the natural production practice verified through an independent third-party audit process.  This helps to eliminate the risk for the feedlots and meat company buyers ensuring that the cattle produced meet their guidelines and protocols.  The NHTC market for the European Union requires an audit on the producer conducted by a USDA approved entity.
There are other management or production practices that can add value to cattle, especially when verified.  One specific practice that feeders are looking for is a pre- or post-weaning mineral nutrition for calves they purchase.  The positive impact of mineral nutrition on the calf’s health after arrival has generated an increasing interest by feeders, and is directly related to the increasing placement cost of calves, and costs related to ones that are pulled and treated. Feeders have documented that when a calf is pulled and treated once the loss per head is $80-90 due to drug costs, loss of performance, and decrease in percentage of carcass quality grade.
The Wyoming Verified program through the Wyoming Business Council can help Wyoming producers add value to their cattle, and help capture that added value through verifying these types of marketing claims.  In 2010, Wyoming Verified had 155 producers with 59,000 head enrolled in the program.  Producers participating in the program averaged $9 per head more for their cattle.  The ASV and the NHTC claims are through AgInfoLink’s USDA Process Verified Program.  For the ASV there is no cost for the on-site audit the Business Council conducts. 
Producers do have to purchase the required RFID tags for $1.75 with a $.75 per head enrollment fee.  The independent third-party verified marketing claims include Natural, BVD-PI Free, and a newly added Calf Nutrition Program at no cost to the producer.  Cattle enrol
led in the Wyoming Verified program are listed on the Wyoming Beef Cattle List at
www.wyobeef.com, which is promoted to potential buyers in the cattle feeding areas.
Verification of how and where our beef product is produced will become an increasingly more important practice in the future as the market and consumer demand for such information continues to grow domestically and globally.  If you would like to learn more or enroll in the Wyoming Verified program contact Business Council Livestock and Meat Marketing Program Manager John Henn at 307-777-2847 or email john.henn@wybusiness.org.
The mission of the Business Council is to facilitate the economic growth of Wyoming. The Business Council, a state government agency, concentrates its efforts on providing assistance for existing Wyoming companies and start-ups, helping communities meet their development and diversification needs, and recruiting new firms and industries targeted to complement the state’s assets. For more information, please visit www.wyomingbusiness.org.  


5 Mar
A new organic farming book from Acres U.S.A.
To see this email with images, click here.
To read this notice on your smartphone, click here.
New from Acres U.S.A.
On-Farm Solutions
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The Barn Guide to Treating Dairy Cows Naturally
Practical Organic Cow Care For Farmers
by Hubert J. Karreman, V.M.D.

Softcover, 190 pages, with 250+ full-color photos. Printed with glossy heavyweight paper and laminated heavy cover to survive barn use.
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Case studies listed by descriptive symptoms to help diagnose aliments when problems appear.
Seven broad categories for fast and easy reference.
Detailed visual signs to compare with on-farm symptoms for quick diagnosis.
Specific initial organic treatments and followup details to resolve the problem as efficiently as possible.
Full-color pictures of most case studies and hands-on exam topics.
Valuable advice to help make the best decision about cow care.

    The Barn Guide To Treating Dairy Cows Naturally gives organic farmers (and those seeking to avoid toxic or synthetic treatments) a boiled-down approach to over 100 of the common and not-so-common cow problems they could face in their herd. This book is meant to be extremely practical and instantly usable in the barn — presenting a thorough exam of the animal and listing the primary symptoms with full-color pictures of the problems. Dr. Karreman also suggests which items should make up your farm medicine kit, selecting a small set of natural treatments that he has found to work consistently well.
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Treating Dairy Cows Naturally
by Hubert J. Karreman, V.M.D.

Drawing upon veterinary treatments from the days before synthetic pharmaceuticals, and tempering them with modern knowledge and clinical experience, Dr. Karreman bridges the world of natural treatments with life in the barn in a rational and easy to understand way. In describing treatments for common dairy cow diseases, he covers practical aspects of biologics, botanical medicines, homeopathic remedies, acupuncture and conventional medicine. By incorporating conservation principles, he also alerts us to the need of keeping our waterways clean — both for our health and the health of the cows. This book should serve as a useful reference for years to come. Hardcover, 412 pages, Item # 6672. $40.00 (plus s&h;)

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Dr. Karreman is joined by renowned animal nutrition expert Jerry Brunetti to present an overview of the strategies and tools available for successful holistic herd health management. The emphasis is on natural alternatives for the treatment of common dairy cow problems, including complications in reproduction, birth and lactation. This video will provide you with a basic understanding of the power and the limitations of herbs, how to treat the whole cow, and how to build an herbal medicine kit for your farm.
DVD (NTSC-DVD format for U.S. & Western Hemisphere), 52 minutes. Item #6805. $25.00

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About The Author: Dr. Hubert Karreman has more than 25 years of practical experience working with dairy cows, 15 of those years as an in-the-trenches dairy veterinarian working primarily with organic dairy animals. From this experience he has developed a set of therapies allowable for use in organic livestock which are easy to apply across a variety of situations. Dr. Karreman has been continuously active in mainstream and alternative professional veterinary organizations and has given numerous invited presentations about organic livestock health care to farm and veterinary audiences in the United States, Canada, Holland and South Korea. During his 5 years on the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), he wrote recommendations for implementation by the USDA National Organic Program and also helped write the guidelines for complementary and alternative veterinary medicine for the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).
About Acres U.S.A.: Acres U.S.A. is the publisher for ecological agriculture, with books on natural farming, sustainable agriculture, eco-philosophy, organic growing and healthy living topics. Find these books intriguing? You’ll love our monthly magazine on organic/sustainable farming, now in its 40th year. Request a free sample copy or subscribe at www.acresusa.com, 1-800-355-5313.


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US Wheat Associates News

4 Mar
Wheat Letter

March 3, 2011

USW is the industry’s market development organization working in more than 100 countries on behalf of America’s wheat producers. The activities of USW are made possible by producer checkoff dollars managed by 19 state wheat commissions and through cost-share funding provided by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. For more information, visit www.uswheat.org or contact your state wheat commission. Original articles from Wheat Letter may be reprinted without permission; source attribution is requested.

1. Another Biotech Record in 2010
2. Senator Baucus Leads Trade Mission to Brazil and Colombia
3. USDA Says U.S Wheat Production and Stocks to Fall

4. Spotlight on Eastern Wheat
5. Wheat Export Market Development Benefits Wheat Producers and Our Customers
6. Grassroots Policy Set to Take Shape at NAWG Policy Meetings
7. Wheat Industry News

Online Edition:        Wheat Letter – March 3, 2011  (http://bit.ly/hKL532)        

PDF Edition:                

1. Another Biotech Record in 2010

The International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA) reports that a record 29 countries planted biotech crops on 148 million hectares (366 million acres) in 2010, a strong increase from the first commercial acreage of 1.7 million hectares (4.2 million acres) 15 years ago.  Of the 29 countries, 19 were developing countries that accounted for 48 percent of all biotech acreage. In addition, 90 percent of the 15.4 million producers growing biotech crops were classified as small resource-poor farmers. These numbers illustrate that biotech crops are the fastest-adopted crop technology in the history of modern agriculture.  

In 2010, 12 commercialized biotech crops ranging from soybeans to sweet peppers were planted around the world, but wheat is not yet on this list.  The complexity of the wheat genome compared to other crops like corn and soybeans is one factor that has limited biotech research efforts. Because biotech traits have helped other crops achieve peak potential yields, crops like wheat without biotech advancements are less competitive. As producers have identified more profitable alternatives, wheat planted area has trended lower for many years.

The good news for producers and wheat buyers concerned about maintaining an adequate supply in a future with rising demand is that public and private researchers are actively developing new varieties of wheat, utilizing conventional breeding methods and are increasingly exploring biotechnology advancements to increase productivity.  Renewed interest in wheat stems from an agreement in 2008 among the wheat industry to support the potential benefits of biotechnology.  In 2009, a trilateral statement among producer and industry groups in Australia, Canada and the United States reinforced the message of support to private companies, nonprofit organizations and universities to invest in biotech wheat research.  

Research and development has increased at a rapid pace, but full commercialization of biotech wheat is not expected for up to ten years. Traits benefiting producers and consumers are under development and field trials are underway in several countries around the world.

Population growth is projected to outpace food production and biotechnology is a key factor to ensure sufficient food supplies. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) projects food demand will double by 2050 and an independent analysis by U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) concludes that world wheat trade must double by 2050 to feed the world’s growing population. Increasing production with scarce land and water resources will be a challenge and the adoption of biotechnology is one key factor th
at will be examined closely in the effort to meet the world’s nutritional needs.

The U.S. wheat industry remains strongly committed to being the world’s most reliable supplier of safe, high quality wheat.  In 2008, USW and the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) adopted a set of principles for the eventual commercialization of biotech wheat. These principles express support for biotech wheat, but also remain committed to offering choices to the domestic and export market. USW looks forward to working with our international customers to ensure market choice while also allowing the market to benefit from investment in biotechnology.  

2. Senator Baucus Leads Trade Mission to Brazil and Colombiaby Lola Raska, Montana Grain Growers Association
On Feb. 19, 2011, Senator Max Baucus (D-Mont) led a group of Montanans on a trade mission to Brazil and Colombia.  The importance of U.S. wheat trade was a key focus of our visits.
Brazil’s agricultural production is well diversified and they export many commodities, but they are a net importer of wheat, supplementing what they do not grow themselves largely with imports from Argentina.  Expansion of their agricultural export industry has been hampered by a lack of infrastructure to efficiently transport their crops to port terminals.  While Brazil is investing heavily in infrastructure development for city roads, airports and ports, I was informed that very little money is being invested to improve roads and rail for agricultural use.
An agreement on the World Trade Organization (WTO) decision that U.S. cotton subsidies violated global trade rules was reached last year in an effort to hold off Brazilian trade retaliation in exchange for several U.S. concessions.  Agricultural leaders I spoke with are closely watching development of the 2012 Farm Bill for continued U.S. compliance to WTO rules.  Senator Baucus cautioned the Brazilians that, as the United States is asked to reduce agricultural subsidies, we must receive more market access on both agricultural and industrial products before further concessions are made.  The Senator also asked specifically about phytosanitary objections Brazil has used to restrict wheat imports and he received assurances that the issue would be reexamined to ensure scientific standards are applied.  
In Bogota, Colombia, the dominant topic was the United States’ inability to finalize the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement (FTA).  This agreement has stalled in the United States mainly due to concerns about a history of violence against labor union members and human rights in Colombia.  In the meantime, U.S. wheat exports have lost significant market share as Colombia establishes free trade agreements with our competitors.  
Currently the largest market in South America for U.S. agricultural exports, Colombia imports 97 percent of the wheat they consume.  Though they value the high quality of our wheat, our share of the Colombian wheat market has dropped from 73 percent in 2008 to 43 percent in 2010 and we risk losing the entire market to Argentina and Canada if we do not act soon on the pending FTA. Based on direct input from Colombia’s milling industry, at current prices, U.S. wheat producers, especially hard red winter producers, stand to lose up to $100 million in wheat sales every year we must compete without a free trade agreement.  
Approval of the U.S.-Colombia FTA is the highest trade priority of the U.S. wheat industry and we are very pleased that Senator Baucus is working hard for its passage. This trade mission was a tremendous opportunity to support his efforts and assure the Colombian people that we will do our part to encourage our government to ratify and implement the FTA.  

3. USDA Says U.S Wheat Production and Stocks to Fall
by Chad Weigand, USW Market Analyst

U.S. wheat acreage will increase this year, according to Michael Jewison of the Foreign Agricultural Service. The U.S. Department of Agriculture held its annual Agricultural Outlook Forum this week where Jewison presented the 2011 Grain and Oilseeds outlook. USDA currently estimates 2011/12 wheat acreage at 57.0 million acres, a six percent increase from last year.

USDA noted that the increase in demand for U.S. wheat due to limited supplies of high quality milling wheat from other origins will boost plantings. Winter wheat plantings are up 10 percent according to USDA, with the soft red winter (SRW) crop having the largest increase. SRW plantings are up by 47 percent following last year’s record low, to 7.8 million acres. Hard red winter plantings increased by 1.0 million acres to 29.6 million acres. USDA anticipates a slight reduction in spring wheat plantings due to more favorable returns for oilseeds such as canola and soybeans. USDA’s spring wheat acreage projection currently stands at 16.0 million acres, down from 16.3 million acres last year.

Production is expected to decrease despite an increase in wheat acreage. Based on trend yields, USDA is projecting the national average yield to decline from last year’s record by 2.6 bushels, to 43.8 bushels per acre. USDA also warned of an increase in abandoned acres due to the persistent dry conditions in the central and southern Plains. Current crop conditions for many hard red winter (HRW)-producing states are down significantly from last year, with 24 percent of the total HRW crop in either good or excellent condition compared to 50 percent last year. USDA projects the wheat harvested-to-planted ratio to fall to 0.83 because of increased abandonment, down seven percent from last year’s 0.89, but just under the 10-year average of 0.84.

A decline in both carryover stocks and production will push total U.S. supplies down this year. USDA forecasts U.S. supplies at 81.9 MMT, down nine percent from 2010/11. However, supplies will still be at their second h
ighest level in the past 10 years and five percent above the five-year average of 78.1 MMT.

Demand in the U.S. is expected to grow in 2011/12, with USDA anticipating a two percent increase in domestic use, from 32.0 MMT to 32.5 MMT. U.S. exports will remain relatively strong due to tight carryover stocks from most major exporters. Additionally, exports from the Black Sea region will likely remain below average as governments in the region replenish stocks. USDA currently projects 2011/12 U.S. exports at 31.3 MMT, down from 35.4 MMT in 2010/11, but seven percent above the five-year average.

To read more from the event or download presentations, please visit http://www.usda.gov/oce/forum/.

4. Spotlight on Soft Red Winter Wheat
by Julia Debes, USW Communications Specialist

Editor’s Note: The generous financial support from U.S. wheat producer check-off dollars managed by 19 state wheat commissions and cost-share funding provided by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service ensure that USW has the resources needed to help overseas buyers understand the reliability and functional benefits of U.S. milling wheat. This is the fourth in a series of articles focusing on USW member state wheat commissions.

Doug Goyings knows exactly where his wheat goes after leaving his farm. Goyings, who farms about 800 acres of soft red winter (SRW) wheat in addition to corn and soybeans in Paulding, OH, dropped his cell phone in a semi-load of wheat during harvest. To his surprise, he received a call from a facility in Georgia weeks later where his wheat was being cleaned.

From the farm to the elevator, SRW farmers like Goyings in Ohio, Maryland, Virginia, Arkansas and several other states in the eastern United States have access to both domestic and international markets..  Ohio leads the region by producing 45.8 million bushels of SRW in 2010, according to USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Maryland and Virginia produced 8.1 million bushels and 8.16 million bushels respectively.

Goyings explained that in addition to planting wheat as part of a rotation with corn and soybeans, he takes advantage of regional needs to increase his income per acre of wheat. Goyings also bales wheat straw and sells it as bedding for Kentucky racehorses or as mulch to the nursery industry.

Robert Hutchinson, who grows SRW on the eastern shore of Maryland in Cordova, also plants SRW as a part of a rotation. He explained that he is far enough south to plant soybeans behind his wheat, but timing is critical.

“With wheat, you have to get crops planted and harvested within a short window of time,” Hutchinson said. “It is twice the work to plant two crops, but you have twice the chance to hit a home run.”

Maryland faces additional challenges with rainfall and runoff into the Chesapeake Bay. Runoff into the bay is strictly managed, and many wheat farmers have implemented management practices like no-till tillage, broadcast seeding using vertical tillage and slow release fertilizer as part of an inter-industry effort to restore Bay waters to sustainably healthy levels.

As part of that effort, Hutchinson explained Maryland has a cover crop program that pays farmers to plant crops like wheat or barley. The crop can be harvested, but no fall fertilizer can be applied and no spring fertilizers can be applied before March 1, reducing the yield output of the crop.

An additional challenge east of the Mississippi River is crop competition — and not just with corn and soybeans. Hutchinson explained that barley is an increasing competitor to wheat on the eastern shore, but the market is not as steady as for wheat.

“Wheat has a better bang for its buck,” he said.

John Hoffman, who farms about 400 to 500 acres of SRW with his father in Circleville, OH, agreed that the diversity of crops that can be grown in Ohio’s fertile soil can make planting decisions difficult.

“You have to enjoy growing wheat, because it is hard to compete with corn and soybeans,” Hoffman said.

Hoffman also double-crops soybeans behind his wheat. In addition to a short timeframe to harvest wheat and plant soybeans, he explained that high levels of humidity and rainfall can make disease management difficult.

However, Hoffman explained that advances in technology have helped make management easier and better for the environment. For example, global positioning satellite technology allows him to more accurately apply fertilizer and crop protection products where they are needed.

Wheat researchers in the eastern United States at Ohio State University, the University of Maryland and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) are working to further improve wheat quality, disease resistance and yield for SRW.

In November 2010, Virginia Tech was the second public university to sign a public-private collaborative agreement with Monsanto to advance their wheat breeding programs and generate superior varieties. The agreement will initially focus on improving yield and increasing resistance to Fusarium head blight (scab).

From the shores of the Chesapeake Bay to the shores of Lake Erie, farmers east of the Mississippi River will continue to grow high quality SRW wheat ideal for both international and domestic customers. Goyings said he expects there will always be wheat around, but that agriculture will continue to find ways to be more efficient.

 “If it wasn’t for the innovative farmer, we wouldn’t be growing what we do today,” Goyings said. “Innovation…that’s agriculture.”

5. Wheat Export Market Development Benefits Wheat Producers and Our Customers
by Steve Mercer, USW Director of Communications

I am currently traveling with wheat industry leaders from California and Oklahoma to visit export customers in Mexico, Chile and Peru as part of a USW Board Team trip. Larry Hunn, a third-generation farmer from Clarksburg, CA, and chairman of the California Wheat Commission and Mike Schulte, CEO of the Oklahoma Wheat Commission, just spent our first full day overseas in Guadalajara, Mexico, with USW Regional Vice President Mitch Skalicky.

USW Board Teams are intense, regional visits arranged per the organization’s bylaws to give Board members the chance to review the work of local USW offices, to learn about local milling wheat needs and to thank milling and baking customers for their business.

At our first stop, we learned that there are nearly 200 centers for industrial training throughout Mexico that are supported by federal and state government agencies and private industries, known by their Spanish acronym, CECATI’s. Ms. Rebeca Porras Zarate is Director of CECATI #56 in Guadalajara where 5,000 mostly young adults from the state of Jalisco receive training in a wide variety of trades. In addition to information technology and computer repair, English and French language classes, and hospitality services, CECATI #56 trains about 500 students in baking arts.

“U.S. Wheat Associates first provided support for baking training here in 1982, soon after this center was founded,” Skalicky said. Today, such well-known organizations a Microsoft, the Organization of American States and Inter-American Development Bank provide funding and resources to help train Mexicans for job opportunities.  

Larry, Mike and I met USW Technical Specialist Marcelo Mitre at CECATI #56 where he was helping direct a bread baking seminar for local independent bakery workers. USW had hired Juan Manuel Tiznado, a baking consultant with AIB International, to lead the seminar focused on helping the participants recognize how artisan baking processes can be used to improve the quality and value of bread for independent Mexican bakeries.

“While programs like this demonstrate the benefits of using flour made from high-quality U.S. wheat, in the process we are also helping small Mexican bakeries improve their products and profitability,” Mike Schulte said.

“It is impressive to see all the work behind the programs that wheat producers support through USW,” Larry noted.

I think each of us left with at least some extra sense of accomplishment and new admiration for efforts like CECATI #56 to improve the lives of the Mexican people.

After such an enjoyable visit, the team expanded its knowledge of the Mexican wheat food industry over lunch with flour milling executives with Grupo Kasto and Harinera Guadalupe. Much of our discussion centered on the outlook for the 2011/12 U.S. wheat crop and longer-term perspective on world wheat supplies.

Larry, Mike, Mitch and I shared our belief that U.S. and world wheat supplies will be adequate for 2011/12, weather and government policies may yet play a role. For example, Mike expressed some caution about the continuing dry conditions in parts of the HRW production region, but said he was encouraged by recent rains and in the crop’s ability to withstand harsh conditions.
We expressed our thanks to these customers for their continued loyalty to U.S. wheat producers and promised to help them stay informed about our crop.

An early morning flight on March 3 will take us next to Mexico City for nearly two days of meetings with customers and a visit to the USW regional office for Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean.

You can read more about the Board Team by logging on to the USW Facebook page at www.facebook.com/uswheat and opening the Discussion tab. I am also posting some photos on the page.

6. Grassroots Policy Set to Take Shape at NAWG Policy Meetings

Wheat growers who volunteer to represent their state producer organizations on the NAWG Board of Directors are in Tampa, Fla., this week to meet as part of the 2011 Commodity Classic.

Commodity Classic is a large convention and trade show for growers of wheat, corn, soybeans and sorghum. It is also NAWG’s annual meeting, and the last time the growers who make up NAWG’s Board will meet before their focus turns to the busy harvest and planting seasons.

At the 2011 Classic, members of NAWG’s Board of Directors will hold a full complement of policy meetings. These sessions allow Board members from around the country to bring their states’ ideas to the national association for consideration, setting the policy that will guide NAWG’s activities for much of 2011.

In addition, USW and the Wheat Foods Council are participating with NAWG in an exhibit in the Commodity Classic’s major trade show. The exhibit focuses on the bright future of wheat based on significant increases in research on new wheat varieties and its profit opportunities.

For more about NAWG’s activities at the 2011 Classic, please visit here or www.wheatworld.org/2011Classic.

7. Wheat Industry News

National Agriculture Day Heads to DC. On March 15, 2011, the Agriculture Council of America will host three major events in Washington, DC: a coffee with Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, a luncheon at the U.S. Capitol, and a National Celebration of Agriculture Dinner. For more information, visit http://www.agday.org.

NCI Announces Grain Procurement Short Course. The Northern Crops Institute will hold an Advanced Grain Procurement Strategies Short Course from May 16 to 20, 2011 in Fargo, ND. The registration deadline is April 25. For more information, visit http://bit.ly/hJJmnN.

Congratulations to Phua Lock Yang, Biscuit/Bakery and Noodle Technologist in USW’s Singapore Office, and his wife Tracey on the birth of their son Avens.

Condolences to Mr. Alwin Arifin on the recent death of his father, Mr. Bustanil Arifin, former Minister of Cooperation for the government of Indonesia and the owner of Sriboga Flour Mill in Semarang, Indonesia. USW President Alan Tracy first met Mr. Arifin in 1981 when Tracy was General Sales Manager of USDA. “He was a larger than life figure, already a legend in the grain trade at that time, yet he took time with me and was very kind,” Tracy said.

Follow USW Online! Like our page at www.facebook.com/uswheat for the latest updates and discussions of what is going on in the world of wheat. Also, find breaking news on twitter at www.twitter.com/uswheatassoc, photos of our activities at www.flickr.com/photos/uswheat and video stories at http://www.youtube.com/uswheatassociates.

Nondiscrimination and Alternate Means of Communications
U.S. Wheat Associates prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, marital or family status, age, disability, political beliefs or sexual orientation. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact U.S. Wheat Associates at 202-463-0999 (TDD/TTY – 800-877-8339, or from outside the U.S.- 605-331-4923). To file a complaint of discrimination, write to Vice President of Finance, U.S. Wheat Associates, 3103 10th Street, North, Arlington, VA 22201, or call 202-463-0999. U.S. Wheat Associates is an equal opportunity provider and employer.