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Merry Christmas

25 Dec

A White Merry Christmas in WY. 

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National Farmers Union

21 Dec
Issue Number 151 Dec. 17, 2012
In this issue…
GRU Update
New Blog Posts
BFU Applications Now Online
Around the States
NFU Education Activities and Opportunities
Price Barometer
Quick Links
NFU E-newsletter Staff:
Melisa Augusto,

Director of Communications

Communications Coordinator

EPA Announcement Puts Farm Dust Regulation Issue to Rest 

On Dec. 14, The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized an update to its national air quality standards for harmful fine particle pollution (PM2.5), including soot, setting the annual health standard at 12 micrograms per cubic meter, in response to a court order.


According to EPA, today’s announcement has no effect on the existing daily standard for fine particles or the existing daily standard for coarse particles (PM10), which includes dust from farms and other sources), both of which remain unchanged.


National Farmers Union (NFU) commends the EPA on continuing its position to leave PM10 standards unchanged,” said NFU Vice President of Government Relations Chandler Goule. “We can finally put this issue to rest. There has been a lot of misinformation circulating about supposed regulatory overreach so this final rule will hopefully put to rest any remaining anxiety regarding ‘farm dust’ regulation by EPA.”

NFU to President Obama: Include Farm Bill in Fiscal Package

NFU President Roger Johnson sent a letter to U.S. President Barack Obama Dec. 13 underscoring the importance of including a farm bill in legislation being prepared to avoid the proverbial fiscal cliff.

“The last farm bill has already expired, and severe impacts will be felt by farmers, consumers and agribusinesses in early 2013 if a new farm bill is not passed. The costs of a short-term extension of a farm bill will be high, and the legislative effort required to pass an extension is just as great as the work needed to pass a five-year farm bill,” Johnson said in the letter.


In June, the U.S. Senate passed the bipartisan Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2012 that would save $23 billion, while the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture passed its version of the farm bill in July, which would save $35 billion.


“Our national farm and food policy supports 16 million jobs across America, helps farmers manage their risk, continues to feed our nation’s food insecure, provides important conservation and energy programs, and invests in the rural economy. All of these important efforts are in jeopardy without a farm bill,” Johnson noted in the letter.


Click here to download letter.

NFU Urges Congress to Do Its Job


NFU Board of Directors passed a resolution Dec. 10 urging Congress to pass a comprehensive, five-year farm bill by the end of 2012 as part a legislative package to avoid the proverbial fiscal cliff. The 2008 Farm Bill expired on Sept. 30.


“The 112th Congress needs do its job. Congressional approval ratings are very low and the inability to pass legislation is alarming. There remains an opportunity to move beyond those problems if lawmakers come together to avoid the fiscal cliff as well as to pass a five-year farm bill,” the resolution stated.


In June, the U.S. Senate passed the bipartisan Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2012 that saves $23 billion, while the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture passed its version of the farm bill in July, which would save $35 billion.


“The time for obstruction and inaction is over. Family farmers and ranchers need the certainty that only a five-year farm bill can provide. The National Farmers Union Board of Directors strongly urges Congress to pass a five-year farm bill as a part of the legislative package to avoid the fiscal cliff,” the resolution concluded.

Click here for resolution.

2012 Scholarship Winners Announced

NFU Foundation presented scholarships to college students in memory of Stanley Moore, a long-time leader of North Dakota Farmers Union.


NFU Foundation presented three $1,000 Stanley Moore National Scholarship awards for 2012 to Ramon Portuese of Rocky Mountain Farmers Union; Amanda Stevens of North Dakota Farmers Union; and Kirsten Slaughter of Wisconsin Farmers Union.


“These three students have demonstrated a commitment to improving rural America,” said NFU President Roger Johnson. “This year’s winners will be the next generation of leaders, and Farmers Union is proud of what they have accomplished so far and will continue to accomplish.”


The program was established in the memory of Stanley Moore for his life-long dedication to Farmers Union. Moore was born into two prominent Farmers Union families. He also served as the NFU vice president and as chairman of the NFU Insurance Companies.


NFU Foundation is now accepting applications for the 2013 Stanley Moore Scholarships. The NFU Foundation Moore scholarship is open to Farmers Union members and their children who are seeking funding to attend a two- or four-year accredited college or university, or technical school for any area of study. All applications must be postmarked on or before April 20, 2013 to be considered. To download the application, please visit NFU’s Education page, or http://nfu.org/education/scholarships.

Government Relations Update

Published every Wednesday, the Government Relations Update (GRU) features the latest in agriculture policy issues and news updates. To subscribe to this free update, please email governmentrelations@nfudc.org.

Excerpted from Dec. 12 special edition of GRU:The Senate Democratic Steering Committee approved committee assignments for Democratic senators in the 113th Congress today.
Below are the Democratic members of the Committee on Agriculture, listed in descending order of seniority with new committee members in italics:

Patrick Leahy, Vt.
Tom Harkin, Iowa
Max Baucus, Mont.
Debbie Stabenow, Mich. – CHAIRMAN
Sherrod Brown, Ohio
Bob Casey, Pa.
Amy Klobuchar, Minn.
Michael Bennet, Colo.
Kirsten Gillibrand, N.Y.
Joe Donnelly, Ind.
Heidi Heitkamp, N.D.

All other committee assignments can be viewed on Majority Leader Reid’s website.

Need More 2012 Farm Bill Information?

Log on to www.nfu.org/farmbill for the latest information on the 2012 Farm Bill. It includes both the House and Senate version of the bills and many farm bill resources, along with letters, news releases, and testimony that NFU has done about the legislation.

What’s New on the NFU Blog

Don’t forget to check out NFU’s blog at www.nfu.org/blog.

We will use this space to encourage dialogue about Farmers Union events throughout the country, education and outreach, our members, cooperative development and issues that impact U.S. family farmers, ranchers, fishermen and their communities.Dec. 14, 2012 Tired Criticisms of Renewable Fuels Merit a Response

Around the States

Nebraska Farmers Union Holds Annual Convention in Grand Island 

Nebraska Farmers Union held its annual convention Dec. 7 to 9 in Grand Island. The theme for the 99th annual state convention was “Leadership At Its Best Since 1913.”


This year’s convention featured a wide range of issues, including farm bill passage, climate change, ag market reforms, renewing the Renewable Fuels Standard, pipeline developments, EPA activities, ag market reforms, and new market development.


In his address to the convention, Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman discussed the possibility of another year of drought in the state. “Nebraska is the most irrigated state in the nation for crop production, and that helped the state manage the drought,” Heineman said. “But soil moisture throughout much of the state has been drastically depleted, raising concerns about what will happen to Nebraska’s crops and pastures if drought continues over the winter into next summer.”

Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman addresses Nebraska Farmers Union Convention

Other speakers at the convention included nationally recognized livestock market expert and retired USDA GIPSA Chief Administrator J. Dudley Butler. Butler reported on the particulars of the recent congressional efforts to strengthen and update USDA’s anti-trust regulations and agricultural marketing definitions and standards.


The convention weekend also saw NeFU members passing policies and special orders of business on issues including the farm bill, the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS), climate change, wind energy and the Keystone XL pipeline.


During their convention, NeFU also announced a collaborative launch of a Farm to Fitness Program as part of their ongoing efforts to identify, expand and promote new markets for humanely-raised livestock products in Nebraska.


“The Farm to Fitness program is a good match between food producers and food consumers,” said John Hansen, NeFU president. “This collaborative effort is a win-win for everyone.”


New England Farmers Union Holds Annual Convention in Vermont


The members of the New England Farmers Union (NEFU) elected Roger Noonan, owner of Middle Branch Farm in New Boston, N.H., and NEFU’s vice president, as their new president at NEFU’s annual meeting on Dec. 7, 2012, in Brattleboro, Vt. Noonan will take the helm of the 1,500-member organization, leading a 10-member board of directors.


“I am honored to be elected as president of NEFU,” Noonan said. “The Farmers Union has a long, proud tradition of supporting family farmers, ranchers and fishermen, and our New England division has much to bring to the national discussion of farm and fisheries policy. When we work together, our voices are amplified, and our concerns are heard and acted on by those setting policy at the federal level.”


Outgoing President Erbin Crowell of the Neighboring Food Co-op Association, an affiliate member, congratulated his successor and reflected on the achievements of NEFU, the youngest division of National Farmers Union, over the past three years. “NEFU has made great strides in three years,” he said. “Its affiliation with the national organization has really expanded its potential, and our member food co-ops have really appreciated the great information on the farm bill this year.”


Eighty members at the annual meeting voted for Noonan and updated NEFU’s policy book, including adding provisions in support of nutrition incentive programs that will increase the purchase of fresh fruits and vegetables at farmers’ markets and for more flexible purchasing authority for school lunch programs to increase buys of fresh produce from local farms.


The annual meeting, held at the Vermont Agriculture Business Education Center, featured Chuck Ross, Vermont’s secretary of agriculture,

who shared successes of Vermont’s embrace of local agriculture. Ross spoke about Burlington-based Fletcher Allen Hospital’s transition to serving farm-fresh food.



“People now go there to have lunch on purpose…not to have a bypass, but to have lunch,” he told the group.

Chuck Ross, Vermont’s secretary of agriculture spoke to New England Farmers Union members during their annual convention Dec.7.

Ross encouraged farmers to tell their stories to consumers, who want to know, he said, “what they’re eating, where it comes from and who grew it.” He also pushed farmers to work together. “We have to understand we are part of a food system,” he said, “and we all need to work together to think regionally.”


NEFU farmer members, including Penny Jordan of Jordan’s Farm in Cape Elizabeth, Maine; Ray Conner of Evandale Farm in Pittsfield, N.H.; and Perry Raso, of Matunuck Oyster Farm/Bar in East Matunuck, R.I., talked about their experience lobbying in Washington, D.C. Perry noted how important it was for NEFU to fight for the inclusion of aquaculture in the federal farm bill, in particular for the purposes of disaster assistance loans and crop insurance. Food safety training, research, scale-appropriate regulation and attention to shellfish aquaculture tenure are also essential, according to Perry. Beth Hodge of Hinsdale, N.H.-based Echo Farm Pudding described the certified-humane dairy and pudding operation she runs with her family and how she uses her business to teach animal husbandry to young people through 4-H programs.


In the coming year, as NEFU works to draw new members, New Hampshire and western Massachusetts will be the sites of membership drives to build on interest in strong local food systems.

NFU Education Activities and Opportunities

Webinar: Sanitizer Use on Fresh Produce January 31st, 2013The Iowa State University and Ohio State University On-Farm Food Safety teams will host a workshop on Sanitizer Use on Fresh Produce Jan. 31, 2012, from 12:45 to 5:00pm CST. The workshop will assist fruit and vegetable growers decide which post- harvest produce sanitizer options are best for their farms. To register, please visit http://bit.ly/T3Pvsh

Int’l Workshop for Rural Youth Program Now Accepting Nominees
Please consider the following leadership opportunity for young farmers in your state, the International Leadership Workshop for Rural Youth, to be held in Germany Jul. 15-Aug. 1, 2013.

Nominees must be between 25-45 years of age, and should be able to deliver speeches, present results, and lead group discussions. The 580 euro (approximately $750) participation fee, as well as travel costs to and from the workshop, would be shared by NFU and the Farmers Union state.

NFU staff will forward additional information on this opportunity soon, and more information can be found in a brochure (available via http://www.international-herrsching-seminar.de/fileadmin/SITE_MASTER/content/Dokumente2013/PDFs/Flyer2013.pdf, please see pages 12 ff for the English version) and on http://www.international-herrsching-seminar.de/en/. Please contact news@nfudc.org for more information.

2013 Scholarship Applications Now Available Online

Applications for two different scholarships are now available online. The Stanley Moore National Scholarships are open to to Farmers Union members and their children. High school seniors, college students or non-­-traditional students seeking funding to attend a two-­- or four-­-year accredited college or university or technical school for any area of study are encouraged to apply. Several $1,000 scholarships will be awarded with money to be used for tuition and books. The Hubert K. and Joann Seymour Scholarships are open to graduating high school seniors who are Farmers Union members and are continuing their education in either a two-year or four-year accredited college or university for any area of study. Scholarships will be awarded ranging from $1000 to $2000 total. Deadline for applications for both scholarships is Feb. 1, 2013.
2013 BFI Session Applications Now Online

NFU is now accepting applications for its 2013 Beginning Farmers Institute (BFI) program. The annual program, now accepting its third class of students, is open to individuals who are new to farming, are in the process of transferring an operation from a relative or non-relative to themselves, or are contemplating a career in farming or ranching.


Applicants accepted into the 2013 program will attend three separate education sessions, to be held in the spring and fall of 2013, in Washington, D.C., and Minneapolis, Minn., respectively, with a final session culminating at NFU’s annual Convention in March 2014 in Santa Fe, N.M. Program topics at the education sessions will include business planning, U.S. Department of Agriculture programs, tax and record keeping, estate transfer and marketing.

The Beginning Farmers Institute is supported by the NFU Foundation, Farm Credit and the CHS Foundation.

Interested applicants can download the 2013 application on the NFU website, as well as visit NFU’s education Facebook page for updates and further information on NFU’s youth and young adult education programs. Applications must be postmarked on or before Feb. 11, 2013.

Save the Date for Association of Cooperative Educators (ACE) Institute Aug. 4 – 7

Please mark your calendars for the 2013 ACE Institute, Aug. 4-7 in San Juan, Puerto Rico!

The annual ACE Institute is the only annual conference dedicated solely to highlighting innovative programs in cooperative education. It provides a unique opportunity to network with educators across cooperative sectors as well as national boundaries

ACE is a membership organization that brings together educators, researchers, cooperative members, and cooperative developers from across cooperative sectors and national borders, resulting in ideas that enhance cooperative development, strengthen cooperatives, promote professionalism and improve public understanding.

Stay tuned, more information regarding the agenda and hotel accommodations will be available in early 2013 on www.ace.coop.

Farmers are Reminded of Whole Farm and Multi-Peril Crop Insurance Program Dates Approaching in Early 2013

USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) reminds producers of the fast approaching winter and spring sales closing dates for Multiple Peril Crop Insurance (MPCI) programs. This also includes the whole farm insurance programs Adjusted Gross Revenue Pilot (AGR) and Adjusted Gross Revenue-Lite (AGR-Lite). AGR and AGR-Lite cover most farm-raised crops, animals, and animal products.

Upcoming Sales Closing Dates

January 31, 2013 Final date to buy or change AGR insurance in select counties in Idaho, Oregon and Washington. Final date to submit required documents to continue or change 2013 AGR-Lite insurance for EXISTING POLICY HOLDERS in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington.

February 1, 2013 Final date to buy or change crop insurance coverage for 2013 Spring Planted Onions in Idaho, Oregon and Washington and Cabbage in Oregon and Washington.

March 15, 2013 Final date to buy or change ALL OTHER Spring Seeded MPCI (excluding wheat in counties with Fall and Spring planted types). Final date to buy 2013 AGR-Lite insurance for NEW APPLICATION/ENROLLMENT POLICIES in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington.

Current policyholders and uninsured growers must make all of their decisions on crop insurance coverage before the sales closing date. If there is no coverage in a county for a specific crop under the traditional MPCI program; producers may ask a crop insurance agent whether they would be eligible for coverage under a written agreement.

Producers are encouraged to visit with their crop insurance agent to learn specific details for the 2013 crop year. Federal crop insurance policies are sold and delivered solely through private insurance companies and agents. A list of crop insurance agents is available at all USDA Service Centers in the United States or on RMA’s web site at http://www3.rma.usda.gov/tools/agents/.

Ag Secretary Vilsack to Host Virtual Q&A Dec. 17

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will host a live Virtual Office Hours session on Twitter Dec. 17 at 3:30 p.m. EDT to answer questions on the important role of rural America to the national and global economy, increasing agricultural opportunities in U.S. communities, and the importance of passing a five-year Farm Bill.Secretary Vilsack will answer Twitter queries such as:

What are the emerging sectors in agriculture for new farmers and ranchers; where do I find them?
In both rural and urban communities, what is the significance of the agricultural sector?
I didn’t grow up on a farm. Are there other opportunities in agriculture besides farming that I should know about?

Submit your questions in advance to the @USDA Twitter account using the hashtag #AskUSDA.

WHAT: Secretary Vilsack will answer questions from @USDA on the important role of rural America to the national and global economy, increasing agricultural opportunities in U.S. communities, and the importance of passing a five-year Farm Bill.

WHERE: Tune in online by following @USDA and using #AskUSDA.

NFU Foundation
Consider NFU Foundation in Your Year-End GivingImagine that you’re 17 and feeling a little insecure. Then you attend the NFU All-States Leadership Camp and say, “Camp gave me the motivation to take the lead and learn how to work with people from all aspects of life.” Or “I am a better person today because of Farmers Union.”

Imagine you just started to farm and other beginning farmer programs don’t seem like a good fit.Then you find the NFU Beginning Farmer Institute (BFI) and say, “National Farmers Union’s ability to reach out to a broad cross section of farmers makes it different than other organizations. They teach at a level that opens eyes to a broader picture of where our farm fits into agriculture. It’s a powerful experience.”

Please enable us to keep our valuable programs sustainable by clicking here to make a tax-deductible contribution to the NFU Foundation. To learn what your donation pays for, click here. Help a child gain confidence and leadership skills. Help a person use their passion and sharpen their skills to start to farm. Your generous support does make a difference.

The Benefits of Being an NFU Member

Did you know that as an NFU member, you have access to a score of benefits, including discounts on hotels, office supplies, prescriptions and even pet insurance!


Farmers Union members can save up to 25 percent off your next car rental while experiencing the comfort and reliability that come with renting from Avis.

With 4,800 locations in over 140 countries, there’s always an Avis nearby to help you with your car rental needs. Click here to book your car rental or call Avis toll free at 1-800-331-1212. And remember to use your Farmers Union Avis Worldwide Discount (AWD) number: B291043 to enjoy these special savings!

Budget Logo

Nothing is smarter than getting great deals on great cars. And as a Farmers Union member, you get a great deal every time you rent.

Farmers Union members save up to 20 percent off our great rates, plus you can take advantage of specials on daily, weekly & weekend rates and upgrades.

Click here to book your car or call toll free 1-800-527-0700 and mention the Farmers Union BCD number R198143 to receive your discount.

Make the smart choice, rent Budget and start saving today!

For a complete list of the many benefits available to NFU members, please visit

NFU Partners with Home Grown Cow

NFU is teaming up with Home Grown Cow to provide farmers and ranchers with an opportunity to market certain products directly to consumers. Home Grown Cow also gives consumers an opportunity to browse products by location and farming style.


Visit Home Grown Cow’s website at www.homegrowncow.com.

Farm Price Barometer
November 2012Current Parity % of
Commodity Price Price Parity

Barley (bushel)……………..6.50……….12.60………52
Corn (bushel)……………….6.71……….12.00………56
Cotton, Upland (lb) ……..0.688………..2.08……….33
Flaxseed (bushel)…………14.00………31.80………44
Oats (bushel)……………….3.70………..7.61……….49
Peanuts (lb)………………..0.330………0.752………44
Rice (cwt)…………………..14.70………42.20………35
Sorghum Grain (cwt)…….12.30………21.10………58
Soybeans (bushel)………..13.80………28.90……..48
Wheat (bushel)……………..8.42……..18.30………46
Cattle (cwt)………………123.00……..292.00……..42
Hogs (cwt)…………………62.10………160.00…….39
Eggs, (dozen)………………1.19………..2.63………41
Milk, All (cwt)……………..21.10……….52.10……..40
*Lamb and manufacturing milk prices are one month behind all other prices in this analysis.
** Egg Prices are Mid-month in this analysis.
Taken from “Agricultural Prices,” USDA/NASS.

news2 NFU in the News

National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson and staff work with the media to ensure NFU and its members’ voices are heard throughout the media. For the latest NFU-related news and interviews, please visit

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US Wheat Associates News

21 Dec

December 20, 2012

U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) is the industry’s market development organization working in more than 100 countries. Its mission is to “develop, maintain, and expand international markets to enhance the profitability of U.S. wheat producers and their customers.” 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. 



In This Issue:
1. U.S. Wheat Demand May Not Be as Weak as Some Consider
2. Market Signals Buying Opportunity
3. U.S. Wheat Growers Help Celebrate 50th Anniversary of Leading Asian Baking Institution
4. TPP Talks Drive Toward Free Trade, Lower Cost for Wheat Buyers
6. Wheat Industry News

Online Edition: Wheat Letter – December 20, 2012 (http://bit.ly/RH2OkI)

PDF Edition: see attached (See attached file: Wheat Letter – December 20, 2012.pdf)

Crop Quality Information: USW Crop Quality Report (http://bit.ly/ACVDIp)

1. U.S. Wheat Demand May Not Be as Weak as Some Consider
By Casey Chumrau, USW Market Analyst

In its World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) released Dec. 13, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) surprised many analysts by lowering the 2012/13 U.S. wheat export forecast from 29.9 million metric tons (MMT) to 28.6 MMT, equal to 2011/12 exports. Based on the current level of total U.S. wheat sales, it is understandable why USDA would make such a move. However, there are many factors that suggest the United States could further increase the pace of sales in the second half of the marketing year.

As of Dec. 13, total known outstanding sales and accumulated exports were 17.7 MMT, 7 percent lower than last year’s year-to-date total. However, commercial sales at the end of June were 21 percent off last year’s pace. A very strong August and a solid end to the calendar year helped lagging sales narrow the gap with the prior year’s mark.

Competitive prices will help to drive the pace of sales in the second half of 2012/13 (see “Market Signals Buying Opportunity” below). Since September, U.S. prices have remained relatively stable while competitor prices rose. As of Dec. 2, U.S. soft red winter (SRW) and white wheat are less expensive than wheat from any other major exporter and major customers have noticed. In the month of December, Egypt has purchased 473,000 MT of U.S. wheat, compared to just 150,000 MT earlier in the marketing year and nearly tripling the 2011/12 sales-to-date of 246,700 MT. Tender results announced Wednesday showed Egypt purchased SRW at FOB $335/MT, which is about $20 below Russian milling wheat. This is a strong reversal from early August when Russian wheat prices were about $30/MT less than SRW.

In addition, the United States has an ample supply of high quality wheat, unlike many competitors. U.S. production increased 13 percent in 2012/13 to 61.8 MMT, the highest mark since 2008/09. Unfavorable weather resulted in less fortunate harvests for other major wheat producers. Aside from Canada, which increased production by 8 percent, production in all the traditional wheat producers and the Black Sea countries declined in 2012/13. As a result, several suppliers have discussed limiting exports. Ukraine has publicly vacillated on the topic and Russia has indicated it will consider limits in 2013. This week, the Argentine government announced that it will allow 4.0 MMT of wheat exports for the marketing year, a 27 percent reduction from its original plan to permit exports of 5.5 MMT.

Poor weather conditions not only lowered production levels but also affected the crop quality around the world. Harvest reports this week from Australia, for example, indicate lower-than-expected protein levels from the premier wheat growing region in the east and a 26 percent decline in production for the year. Fortunately, the United States added to its consistent supply of high protein wheat in 2012/13 thanks to a harvest with above average protein levels for hard red winter (HRW) and hard red spring (HRS) wheat.

Futures prices have trended down in the last few weeks, which could make U.S. wheat even more competitive. However, the series of bullish factors outlined here complicate the current marketplace. Knowledgeable U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) representatives across the world are available to help customers navigate the market, manage risk and capitalize on excellent opportunities to purchase high quality U.S. wheat.

2. Market Signals Buying Opportunity

U.S. wheat futures prices have generally been trading within a relatively stable range since July after running up significantly with corn prices. U.S. wheat exports were slower than originally forecast at the beginning of marketing year 2012/13, especially for HRW, because prices stayed higher than comparable wheat from competing origins. Yet in the past month, HRW futures have moved nearly $1.00 per bushel lower ($36/MT), signaling what could be this year’s best opportunity to buy in a down-trending market.

“The price trend for nearby U.S. wheat prices has definitely changed,” said Vince Peterson, USW vice president of overseas operations. March HRW futures traded between $8.80 and $9.60 from about Aug. 1 until early November when the high side of the daily trading range started dropping. Then last week, the USDA lowered its U.S. wheat export forecast for the second month in a row.

“Two days later, the bottom of the range broke through $8.80 for the first time in four and a half months,” Peterson observed. “That is usually a sign that the market is setting up a new trend down in prices.”

How far down is the key question. Most of the pending factors that may affect the wheat market appear to be supportive of prices. The southern plains received a little rain a few days ago but virtually the entire U.S. HRW production region is now severely dry. Hard wheat supplies from the Black Sea region are thin and there are production concerns about the Southern Hemisphere crops currently being harvested.

“It is much more reassuring to buy and cover supply needs at incrementally lower prices than it is to be chasing a market that is heading up,” Peterson said. “So this slide in wheat prices may be an opportunity to make purchases at about the lowest levels available in this crop year.”

Customers can track U.S. wheat market cash, futures and export prices and read the USW Price Report posted every Friday at www.uswheat.org/reports/prices. For more information, contact your­­ local USW office. To monitor crop and weather conditions in the United States and around the world, visit http://bit.ly/zpVuxr.

3. U.S. Wheat Growers Help Celebrate 50th Anniversary of Leading Asian Baking Institution

Representatives from the U.S. wheat industry joined Sean Chen, Premier of the Republic of China, in Taipei Nov. 18 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the China Grain Products Research and Development Institute (CGPRDI). Including a baking contest, training exhibitions and displays of both established and new wheat food products developed at CGPRDI, the event reflected the important education and research conducted there over the years.

For Adams County, WA, wheat grower Mike Miller, speaking at the celebration was a chance to link the past to the future.

“I am a fourth generation farmer and I work very hard to make sure four more generations of my family have that opportunity,” he said. “And I suggested that we see the relationship with this institution and our customers in Taiwan the same way. American farmers have done everything they can to provide the best quality wheat at the best price consistently and they can trust us to keep doing that in the future.”

Miller is a member of the Washington Grain Commission, representing wheat producers in Adams, Chelan, Douglas, Grant and Okanogan counties. He is also a member of the National Wheat Improvement Committee and sits on Washington State University’s Variety Release Committee.

The U.S. wheat industry is an integral part of CGPRDI’s heritage. USW Country Director Ron Lu reports that in 1962, state wheat commissions from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma – supporting the legacy organizations to USW – provided seed money to the Taiwan Flour Mills Association (TFMA) to start the Taiwan Wheat Foods Promotion Council. That led the U.S. wheat industry to support establishment of the Taiwan Baking School to help bakers produce new products and open their own baking businesses. In 1982, TFMA, USW, Taiwan Grains Foundations and the Taiwan baking industry built new facilities to expand training programs. The Taiwan Baking School moved to the new facilities in 1984 and it was renamed as CGPRDI. In its history, CDPRDI has trained 300,000 bakers.

“I am sure everyone who laid the groundwork would be very proud to see how this wonderful facility has grown and blossomed into the leading baking school in Taiwan and in Asia,” said Steve Wirsching, USW vice president and director, West Coast Office, Portland, OR.

The celebration coincided with USW’s annual Crop Quality Seminar series, allowing Miller and Wirsching to participate. They were joined by: Glen Squires, CEO of the Washington Grain Commission; Royce Schaneman, executive director of the Nebraska Wheat Board; Dr. Senay Simsek, assistant professor, wheat quality research, North Dakota State University; Matt Weimar, USW regional vice president, People’s Republic of China/Hong Kong; Lu and his Taipei-based USW team.

4. TPP Talks Drive Toward Free Trade, Lower Cost for Wheat Buyers

American wheat producers sell a lot of their wheat into the Asia-Pacific region where population and purchasing power are increasing rapidly. Yet while demand for wheat is also growing in the region, tariff and non-tariff barriers still exist. Liberalizing trade can help keep U.S. wheat supplies available to more customers at a lower cost. The best opportunity to do so is through the regional Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade agreement (FTA).

TPP talks include Brunei, Chile, Singapore, New Zealand, the United States, Australia, Peru, Vietnam, Malaysia, Mexico and Canada. This agreement has ambitious goals to eliminate virtually all tariffs, take on new “21st Century” issues and strengthen commitments on sanitary-phytosanitary (SPS) measures relating to food and plant safety.

“As we have seen from previous agreements in markets like Mexico, Peru and Colombia, U.S. participation in regional free trade agreements provides real benefits to both U.S. wheat producers and their customers,” said USW President Alan Tracy. “We are excited about the TPP and the promise it shows for liberalizing trade in the Asia-Pacific region.”

Among existing TPP participants, Vietnam is a market that best represents the incredible growth in demand for wheat. On average over the past five years, Vietnam annually imported about 100,000 MT (3.5 million bushels) of U.S. soft white (SW) and HRS, but total demand reached 2.7 MMT (almost 100 million bushels) in 2011/12. Because Vietnam already has a separate FTA with Australia, Aussie wheat will have a five percent tariff advantage over U.S. wheat by 2016. TPP has the potential to permanently eliminate that tariff advantage, resulting in a more competitive evaluation on U.S. wheat quality and price.

Establishing new SPS commitments among TPP trading partners could reduce trade impediments. This is important, as the number of non-tariff barriers, like SPS restrictions, has increased as tariffs have fallen in some countries.

Members hope to expand TPP to eventually encompass the entire Asia-Pacific region. In MY 2011/12, the 21 Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) countries imported more than 15.8 MMT (580 million bushels) of U.S. wheat, valued at $5.05 billion and representing over 45 percent of U.S. exports. Yet overall demand for wheat is still growing rapidly.

The ability to come to a compromise agreement on the wide-range of topics under negotiation will take time. Fifteen negotiating rounds have been completed to date and the parties hope to wrap up negotiations before APEC meetings in November 2013. However, as U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk has noted many times, substance will drive the timeline, not a hard deadline. While the negotiating timeline is uncertain, one thing is for sure: an ambitious FTA with the Asia-Pacific region will be good for U.S. wheat growers and their customers in TPP member countries.

6. Wheat Industry News

  • Holiday Schedule. USW Headquarters and West Coast offices will be closed Dec. 24, 25 and 30, 2012, and Jan. 1, 2013. The next issue of Wheat Letter will be Jan. 10, 2013.
  • Bunge CEO Calls for Export Infrastructure Improvements. Alberto Weisser, chief executive officer of Bunge Ltd, recently called for major agricultural exports to update road, rail and waterways networks and remove trade barriers to improve food security, adding, “We need the ability to grow commodities where it makes the most sense to grow them and to move them where they need to go.” To read more, visit http://reut.rs/V3a8lp.
  • IGP Intro to Flour Milling Short Course. The International Grains Program (IGP) in Manhattan, KS, will hold its IAOM Introduction to Flour Milling course Jan. 14 to 18, 2013. For more information or to register, visit http://www.grains.ksu.edu/igp/.
  • WMC Asian Noodle Short Course. The Wheat Marketing Center (WMC) in Portland, OR, will hold its Asian Noodle Technology and Ingredient Application Short Course March 19 to 22, 2013. For more information or to register, visithttp://www.wmcinc.org.
  • NCI Pasta Production Short Course. The Northern Crops Institute (NCI) in Fargo, ND, will hold its Pasta Production and Technology Short Course April 16 to 18, 2013. For more information or to register, visithttp://www.northern-crops.com/.
  • A Vision for “Biohappiness.” Dr. M.S. Swaminathan, head of his own research foundation based in India, recently wrote in Frontiers in Plant Genetics and Genomics: “I believe that the current concerns of biosafety and the impact of GMOs on biodiversity will soon give way to an appreciation of the potential benefits that the new genetics can confer on humankind. Agricultural science and genetics together have fed the world and will continue to feed the world. Thus, the use of the tools of molecular genetics based on a careful and transparent analysis of the risks and benefits by a competent regulatory agency will help us to enter into an era of biohappiness based on the intelligent application of genetics to human well-being.”
  • Congratulations to Roy Chung, Terrence Herman and Paola Valdivia, who mark significant anniversaries with USW this month. Chung has worked for USW for 35 years and is the bakery consultant in the USW Singapore Office. Herman marks 20 years with USW and is the director of information systems in the USW Headquarters Office. Valdivia has worked for USW for 10 years and is the administrative assistant in the USW Santiago Office. Thanks for your hard work representing U.S. wheat producers around the world!
  • Congratulations to USW President Alan Tracy and his wife Kris on the birth of their granddaughter Finley Rose Tracy, born to Paul and Lily Tracy in Austin, TX, Sept. 28, and their granddaughter Savannah Christine Tamminga, born to Sarah and Joshua Tamminga in Durango, CO, Dec. 12 (12-12-12).


U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) is the industry’s market development organization working in more than 100 countries. Its mission is to “develop, maintain, and expand international markets to enhance the profitability of U.S. wheat producers and their customers.” 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. 

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Kentucky Agriculture News

21 Dec


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Agriculture Weekly Roundup

21 Dec
Weekly Roundup
Week of December 10 – 21, 2012
Members in the Media
Must Reads
Looking Ahead
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Members in the Media
Rep. Conaway: New chairman Mike Conaway grabs gavel at Ethics Committee 

Rep. King: King Will Chair House Ag Subcommittee

Rep. Gibson: As He Prepares to Move On, Gibson Backs Farming Bill


Rep. Scott: Austin Scott to Chair Ag Subcommittee

Must Read

Lucas Announces New Leadership Team for the Ag Committee“I am pleased to announce the Committee’s leadership team for the next Congress. Our Subcommittee Chairmen have demonstrated a commitment to ensuring the success of American agriculture and rural economies. I look forward to working with them as we address the important issues our agricultural producers and rural constituents face,” said Lucas. (Agri-Pulse)


U.S. Lawmakers Chide CFTC Over Cross-Border Rules

A group of U.S. Congress members across the political divide urged the country’s top derivatives regulator to decide quickly how its rules apply abroad, or risk disrupting derivatives markets. (Reuters)


House Ag Committee Action
Thursday, December 13, 2012
Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management

The Subcommittee examined the challenges facing the United States and international regulators as they attempt to balance various derivatives reforms across a global marketplace. Appearing for the first time before a Congressional committee, regulators from the European Union and Japan cautioned that U.S. markets were at risk if due care was not taken to complement regulatory structures across foreign jurisdictions.

House Highlights
Thursday, December 20, 2012
The House passed the National Defense Authorization Act Conference Reportin a 315-107 vote. 

The House also passed H.R. 6684, the Spending Reduction Act, in a 215-209 vote. This bill would repeal the automatic defense and non-defense discretionary cuts scheduled to occur in 2013 under the sequestration provisions of the Budget Control Act.

Looking Ahead
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!




For the most current information, visit http://agriculture.house.gov/hearings/. All public hearings and meetings available for live online viewing.





Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2012

For more information on the
House Committee passage of the bill click on the image above.

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