See Newborn Piglets On The Pig Cam

Chuck Zimmerman

American Royal CenterRight next door to Kemper Arena is the American Royal Center which also includes Hale Arena . There’s a lot going in inside, including The American Royal Marketplace where you can do some early holiday shopping.

One of the neat things they have again this year is the Pig Cam. As part of the educational experience you can watch newborn piglets in the World of Ag through a live video stream!

American Royal CenterThis is who greets you at the entrance to the American Royal Center.

I wonder if she thinks they’re serving pork!

Farm Shows

Doha Trade Talks Weigh On Future Policy Decisions

Keith Good

FarmPolicy.comI sure appreciate the hospitality afforded by AgWired, thanks so much for the opportunity to make some guest posts on your excellent blog.

As Chuck indicated earlier today, I’m Keith Good and I write about current farm policy news events at I’m a licensed attorney and stay-at-home parent who has been blogging about farm policy for nearly two years. I hope you find the farm policy updates useful.

Negotiating activity at the on-going W.T.O. Doha Developmental Agenda trade talks has dominated farm policy news this past week.

Earlier this month, U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman laid out a bold U.S. proposal at the talks, offering to cut U.S. “amber box” payments, which include some trade distorting subsidies, by 60%.

A recent New York Times article summed up the proposal by saying, “The United States is seeking to swap cuts in subsidies for more access to global markets for its farmers. The European Union, while making some concessions, has so far declined to lower tariffs much further.”

Meanwhile, France has rigorously opposed EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson’s leeway as the talks progress.

As Tom Wright noted in Wednesday’s International Herald Tribune, “The French foreign minister, Philippe Douste-Blazy, had sought to force Mr. Mandelson to seek approval from the union’s 25 nations before making any fresh offers at the trade negotiations, which resume Wednesday in Geneva.”

An editorial from Friday’s Wall Street Journal summed up the French position this way, “France now stands in the way of a trade deal that would truly help poorer countries, all because a few middle-class farmers in the French province — not to mention agribusiness — are afraid to compete with poor farmers in the Third World.”

And, as Dr. Robert L. Thompson, the Gardner Chair in Agricultural Policy at the University of Illinois, has recently explained, Midwestern corn and soybean farmers could benefit from a successful Doha outcome.

“Midwestern producers have a great deal to gain from trade liberalization as demand in low income countries for products in which they have a comparative advantage, particularly corn and soybeans, outstrips those countries’ own productive capacity. It is the acceleration of economic growth in presently low income countries that has the greatest potential benefits for internationally competitive producers,” Dr. Thompson noted.

So despite the possibility of potential changes in future policy, new and expanded opportunities for some producers are certainly possible.

Keith Good writes The News Summary, an Email newsletter containing a summary of news relating to U.S. farm policy which is published most weekdays. To sign up for this FREE publication, just send him an Email.

Farm Policy

Bull Wall At American Royal

Chuck Zimmerman

Bull WallOutside the American Royal is a very large and very unique metal structure called “Bull Wall.”

The sculpture features cutouts of bulls. Very artsy and rustic and of course, very American Royal.

Bull WallSince one would wonder about what this is, there’s a sign that explains it all. I’m guessing the artist, Robert Morris, had a lot of people wondering what the heck he was doing. I assume he used some kind of welding equipment to make this thing.

Visit the American Royal to learn all about it.

Farm Shows

FarmPolicy Writer Keith Good Starts Today

Chuck Zimmerman

Keith Good - FarmPolicy.comLet’s give a great big AgWired welcome to Keith Good. Why? Because starting today Keith will be our first regular writer! Keith is a blogger and you can find him on FarmPolicy. He’s a policy and trade guy who will be bringing you a weekly summary of what’s new in the world of ag policy.

I think you’ll agree that policy has a direct impact on agricultural marketing and communications. I was looking for someone who deals with it every day and has special insight because of that dedication. I’m creating a new category called “farm policy” so you’ll always find Keith’s articles easily. In case you’re new to AgWired, the categories are links in the right sidebar which will call up all the articles we have on that topic.

If a weekly dose of FarmPolicy isn’t enough for you I highly recommend that you visit and subscribe to his daily emailed “The News Summary.” Neither will cost you a dime, although like us, Keith would be grateful for a donation! Just send Keith an email to this address if you’d like to subscribe to his daily summary.

Of course you want to know more about Keith don’t you? Well, “Keith Good graduated from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale (B.A. 1992, Economics; J.D. 1998, School of Law), and Purdue University (M.S. 1994, Agricultural Economics). He is licensed to practice law in Arkansas and Washington, D.C. He lives in Central Illinois with his wife, an Emergency Room Physician, and three kids (all under six years old), whom he currently takes care of full-time. He has been summarizing farm policy news since December 2003.”

Enough about Keith. Keep an eye out for his articles. They will speak for themselves!

Farm Policy

Flame That Flu Away

Chuck Zimmerman

Red Dragon Poultry House SanitizerI haven’t said much about avian flu because I just don’t really know much about it. However, when you’ve got one of these flame shooting poultry house sanitizers we may just not have to worry too much! I like propane (I just wish it were cheaper) and here’s a great use for it. In fact, if you want to see a video of Flame Engineering’s Red Dragon Poultry House Flame Sanitizer just look here (9.1MB WMV).

The Propane Education & Research Council is helping promote the flaming sanitizer.

Red DragonThe Red Dragon, a new implement from Flame Engineering, Inc. (LaCrosse, KS), utilizes six liquid propane torches that project intense, sweeping flames underneath a sturdy steel hood to kill bacteria. The heat from the flames stays constant at approximately 1400° F, which is hot enough to effectively eliminate a host of harmful pathogens.

“The use of propane to help in the sanitation process of poultry houses is important for both the poultry industry and the propane industry,” said Mark Leitman, Director of Agriculture Programs for the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC). “Hopefully, growers will see these positive results from Texas and seek out flame sanitation in their area.”

I’d think there are some other uses for a unit like that. I know I can come up with some. How about you?

Ag Group, Agribusiness

Pouring Milk Makes You Test Positive

Chuck Zimmerman

New Got Milk AdsMajor League Baseball may not be very happy about the new Got Milk tv ads but I say, “Get a life.” They’re funny and created by the California Milk Processor Board.

It’s a series of ads that look like a breaking news story about players “pouring” a performance enhancing product. I think it’s very well done. It’s all in fun says the agency. “Goodby, Silverstein & Partners Co-Founder Jeff Goodby whose agency created the campaign says Brosnan needs to get a sense of humor, “It’s just milk. Believe me, we know parody is based on a serious topic. So we wanted to make sure that it was goofy enough so that people didn’t get upset.”

They apparently did as this statement by MLB’s Brosnan shows. “There is nothing humorous about steroid abuse. I would think that the California Milk Processor Board and their advertising agency would know better regarding an issue that threatens America’s youth.”

Ag Group, Agency

Beef Is What Ambassadors Are Made Of

Chuck Zimmerman

American National CattleWomen, Inc.Maybe I could enter as an “old” student and be an ambassador for beef! If you read AgWired you’ll probably get the impression that I think beef is good. But if you’re a real student you can compete for some cashola.

The National Beef Ambassador Competition is slated for November 3-5 in Austin, Texas, at the Hilton Austin Airport Hotel. Students from 25 states will compete for over $5,700 in cash and scholarship awards.

National Beef Ambassador ProgramThe National Beef Ambassador Program provides leadership training for the youth beef ambassadors, who advance the interests of the beef industry through promotion and peer education. The program is funded in part by America’s Beef Producers through the Beef Checkoff Program and is administered by American National CattleWomen, Inc. (ANCW) on behalf of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board.

Ag Group, Beef

Hass Avocado Board Announcement

Chuck Zimmerman

HASS Avocado BoardThere’s some new people on the Hass Avocado Board thanks to Sec. Johannes. I thought you might want to know.

Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns today appointed three producer members, three alternate producer members, and two importer members to serve on the Hass Avocado Board.

Robert Bednar of Valley Center, Calif., was reappointed to serve a three-year term, beginning Nov. 1, 2005, and ending on Oct. 31, 2008. Newly appointed producer members, alternate producer members, and importer members will serve three-year terms beginning Nov. 1, 2005, and ending on Oct. 31, 2008. Producer Members appointed are: Bennett R. Drake of Temecula, Calif.; and Ralph De Leon of Santa Paula, Calif. Alternate Producer Members appointed are: John D. Lindstrom of Bonsall, Calif.; Bradley R. Miles of Carpinteria, Calif.; and Kenneth J. Roth of Vista, Calif.. Importer Members are: James C. Donovan of Ventura, Calif.; and Avi Crane of Laguna Hills, Calif.

Ag Group, Government

What’s In The Food You Eat? ARS Knows

Chuck Zimmerman

Ag Research Service Food SearchWant to know what’s in the foods you eat? USDA’s Agricultural Research Service, Food Survey Research Group (say that 3 times real fast) just introduced a new online search tool today that let’s you find out all the food ingredient information you could ask for. It’s called “What’s In The Foods You Eat.” You can run it online or download the search tool to your computer.

This assumes you want to know the answers. Let’s say you’ve just washed down a 16 oz. T-bone with a couple bottles of beer. Do you really want to know this?

Actually they introduced it to dieticians today in St. Louis at the American Dietetic Association convention. I’m sure those folks need a resource like this to provide good information to their clients.