Charles's Feed
Feb 14, 2011

Obama would end subsidies to wealthiest farmers

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama called in his 2012 budget plan for the elimination of farm subsidies to the wealthiest U.S. growers on Monday, arguing that the payments distort the farm sector and some farmers can be paid even if no crops are grown.

Lawmakers rejected an identical proposal a year ago, ahead of the 2010 mid-term elections. They said any change in farm supports should be delayed until a scheduled overhaul in 2012.

Feb 14, 2011

Analysis: In food vs fuel debate, U.S. resolute on ethanol

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – As world food prices reach new highs, a handful of U.S. politicians and hard-hit corporations are readying a fresh effort to forestall the use of more U.S. corn and soybeans as motor fuel.

They are likely doing so in vain, say experts.

Unlike in 2008, when a wave of global panic over grain supplies provoked a fierce “food vs fuel” debate, there’s so far only muted outcry over biofuels, even after corn surged last week to within 10 percent of its 2008 peak following a forecast showing even higher use in the ethanol sector.

Feb 11, 2011

USDA deregulates corn amylase used for ethanol

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Agriculture Department said on Friday it has deregulated a variety of corn genetically engineered to produce a common enzyme that speeds the breakdown of starch into sugar, a vital step in making ethanol.

USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service said Syngenta, the Swiss maker of the enzyme, called alpha-amylase, will create an advisory council and take other steps to alleviate concerns by foodmakers about the genetically engineered corn variety. Syngenta first requested APHIS deregulate the corn variety in 2005.

Feb 9, 2011

U.S. corn stocks ratio to match lowest since Depression

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. government made a surprisingly deep 9 percent cut in its forecast for corn stockpiles on Wednesday, projecting the tightest supply-to-useratio since the Great Depression as more of the feedgrain is used to make ethanol.

Corn prices in Chicago jumped to their highest level since July 2008 following the Agriculture Department report, which threatened to rekindle heated debate about using crops for fuel as food prices soar and big importers scramble to build up stocks in order to head off civic unrest.

Feb 9, 2011

U.S. to forecast tighter corn, wheat supplies in 2011

WASHINGTON, Feb 9 (Reuters) – The U.S. government is set to
forecast still tighter supplies of corn and wheat this year in
a monthly report on Wednesday, underscoring the precarious
balance in world grain markets that has unnerved importers.

Grain prices have surged since last year to near record
highs of 2008 as drought and floods cut into the world’s crops
while feed, food and fuel demand races ahead, stoking prices
and sparking unrest in some Arab countries and elsewhere.

Jan 26, 2011

CFTC eyes reports from funds, pools, advisors

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. futures regulator unveiled two rules on Wednesday to require funds, commodity pools and commodity trading advisors to file reports to regulators on their operations, part of a sweeping series of Wall Street reforms.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s rules mirror a plan proposed on Tuesday by the Securities and Exchange Commission, but also seek to gather more data from some players who had been exempt from filing reports with regulators.

Jan 20, 2011

U.S. to list loan guarantees for biomass plants

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A handful of next-generation biomass plants will be named on Thursday as recipients of federal loan guarantees intended to bring new biofuels to market, said an industry source.

The loan guarantees would assist construction of commercial-size plants using material such as wood chips, straw or crop debris. The new feedstocks, predominantly cellulose, are supposed to replace corn as the major U.S. source of biofuels over time.

Jan 12, 2011

U.S. farm group: Install pumps, end ethanol credit

ATLANTA (Reuters) – Congress should transform the $6 billion a year ethanol tax credit into a program that underwrites the installation of “blender” pumps and pipelines so biofuels are more widely available, the largest U.S. farm group said on Tuesday.

The 45-cent a gallon tax credit, which goes to gasoline blenders, expires at the end of this year. Congress voted for the one-year extension last month amid arguments whether to end the tax credit altogether or to reform biofuels supports.

Jan 11, 2011
via MediaFile

Farm Bureau finds wealthy friend in Facebook


In the 21st Century, Shakespeare might ask, “What’s in a domain name?” To the 6 million-member American Farm Bureau Federation, the answer is a lot of money.

Facebook paid $8.5 million to acquire the Internet address ‘’ for internal use by its employees from the largest U.S. farm group.

Jan 11, 2011

USDA’s Vilsack seeks compromise on biotech crops

ATLANTA, Jan 10 (Reuters) – Agriculture Secretary Tom
Vilsack told the largest U.S. farm group on Monday that farmers
could see less government interference if they find a way for
traditional and genetically modified crops to co-exist.

Farm groups and the biotechnology industry are skeptical of
Vilsack’s “co-existence” proposal. He launched it last month at
the same time the Agriculture Department said planting
restrictions might accompany deregulation of biotech alfalfa.