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News Update

October 21, 2011

Signature on Trade Agreements Means More Jobs,
Levels Playing Field

Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack made the following statement today:

“Today, President Obama signed a major piece of his jobs agenda into law: new trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama. These agreements will support tens of thousands of jobs here at home, put unemployed Americans back to work, and open new opportunities for American businesses. For America’s farmers and ranchers, the trade agreements are an opportunity to strengthen U.S. agriculture, already a bright spot in our economy.

“Farm exports help support more than 1 million American jobs. This year and next, U.S. agricultural exports are on track to reach new highs, leading to a trade surplus of over $42 billion, eight times greater than five years ago. When implemented, these three agreements will increase farm exports by an additional $2.3 billion — supporting nearly 20,000 American jobs — by eliminating tariffs, removing barriers to trade and leveling the playing field for U.S. producers.

“Overall, these agreements are a win for the American economy — they mean higher incomes for farmers and ranchers, more opportunities for small businesses owners, and jobs for folks who package, ship and market agricultural products.”

President Signs FTAs with Colombia, Panama and South Korea

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President Bill Donald says the long-awaited implementation of free-trade agreements (FTA) with Colombia, Panama and South Korea is nearing. Today, Oct. 21, 2011, President Barack Obama signed the three agreements and the renewal of Trade Adjustment Assistance. Donald said the official signing is a step in the right direction.

“The swift passage of the trade agreements was a refreshing move of bipartisanship. We strongly urged the president to follow suit by signing these agreements. He did that, and we commend him for understanding the importance of free and open trade to job creation and economic growth,” said Donald. “Cattlemen welcome the opportunity to respond to growing global demand for safe and nutritious beef raised by farm and ranch families throughout the United States.”

In his remarks, President Obama underscored that these trade agreements will significantly boost American exports and support tens of thousands of American jobs. In fact, according to the International Trade Commission, the three agreements translate into 250,000 jobs. To cattlemen like Donald, the trade agreements increase beef demand and profitability. Cattle-Fax reports the average per head value of exports to live cattle to exceed $200.

“When I think of sustainability, I think of my children. By signing these agreements, we not only benefit in the short-term but we afford future generations the opportunity to remain in the family business providing food for this country and abroad. That’s sustainability,” said Donald. “These agreements spell opportunity for small businesses like mine.”

The pact with Korea would phase out over 15 years South Korea’s 40% tariff on beef imports, with $15 million in tariff benefits for beef in the first year of the agreement alone and about $325 million in tariff reductions annually once fully implemented. The same would happen with Colombia’s 80% tariff and Panama’s 30% tariff on imports of U.S. beef.

Stockgrowers Pleased With New GF&P Policies

The South Dakota Stockgrowers Association thanked Governor Daugaard and Game Fish and Parks (GF&P) Secretary Jeff Vonk this week for the newly announced changes to the GF&P policy directing the entry of their officers on private land.

In a letter to the Governor, Stockgrowers President Shane Kolb stated, “Your leadership on this issue has helped to address many of the concerns of private landowners and this new policy for GF&P is a significant step forward.”

The new policy instructs Conservation officers to limit their intrusion onto private property whenever possible, make efforts to contact landowners for permission to access land, and to avoid interrupting hunting and fishing activities when approaching hunters. The policy does not do anything to limit or restrict Conservation Officers’ access to private land if they suspect illegal activity.

“The requirement of Conservation Officers to seek permission from landowners before entering private land and the practical approach taken to direct Conservation officers in making compliance checks near roadways, pasture gates and along previously traveled routes are all very much appreciated,” said Kolb.

Management of Stored Grain Vital to Retaining Quality, Profit

Given the high commodity prices, it’s important for producers to preserve the crop’s quality by effectively managing stored grain, said Sam McNeill, extension agricultural engineer in the University of Kentucky (UK) College of Agriculture.

Cash prices at the grain elevators in Western Kentucky Oct. 20 averaged around $6.40 per bushel (bu.) for corn and around $12 per bu. for soybeans. With the average-size bin holding about 50,000 bu. of grain, the total value of grain in a bin is around $320,000 for corn and $600,000 for soybeans.

“Discounts of even a few cents can really add up for bins that size,” McNeill said. “For example, a discount of 5¢ per bushel could cost the producer $2,500.”

The following tips can help producers preserve grain quality and retain profits.

  1. 1. Check several spots inside storage bins for insects, mold, grain temperature and moisture composition, weedy material and damaged kernels.
  2. 2. Check outside bins for any evidence of rodents or insects. Clean up any spilled grain that could be an attractive food source for them.
  3. 3. Keep grain within 5°-10° F of the average outside monthly temperatures. The average temperature for October is around 60°. In November, it’s around 50°, and December’s average temperature is around 40°. Running aeration fans once a month can help accomplish this.
  4. 4. Inspect stored grain monthly to make sure the temperature and moisture within the bin remain stable. Moisture on the bin’s roof could be a sign of too much moisture.
  5. 5. Keep grain out of the top cone of the bin as it can interfere with airflow.
  6. 6. Educate all employees of the hazards associated with working in a grain bin. A good resource is available at county extension offices or on the UK Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering website,

McNeill said storage costs will vary among producers but are averaging around 3¢ per bu. per month for corn and 5¢ for soybeans above the base cost of 40¢ per bu. Producers can figure out their grain storage costs by using a decision tool available on the Iowa State Extension and Outreach website,

Plenty of Practical Management Tips in the
October Angus Beef Bulletin EXTRA

This month’s Angus Beef Bulletin EXTRA “Management Page” carried the following stories:

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