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November 8, 2013

Vilsack: USDA ERS Report Highlights Need for Farm Bill

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack says the Rural America at a Glance report released by USDA's Economic Research Service Thursday highlights the critical need for a new Food, Farm and Jobs bill that will help to reverse troubling demographic and economic patterns in rural America. Vilsack says too many people in rural America live in persistently-poor areas and too many people are still having trouble finding a good job. In addition - he says the populations of too many small towns and rural communities are shrinking. According to Vilsack - this is just another reminder we need a national commitment to create new opportunities in rural America that keeps folks in small towns and reignites economic growth across the nation. He says the farm bill would invest to grow agricultural exports and strengthen new markets for agriculture that hold job creation potential. Vilsack says the farm bill would also spur new opportunities to manufacture products and energy from homegrown materials - and invest in the future of Main Street businesses and communities. Vilsack says rural America needs a new farm bill now to meet the modern challenges highlighted in the 2013 edition of the Rural America at a Glance report head on and chart a pathway for future economic success across rural areas.

For the full Rural America at a Glance report - visit ( and click on the publications heading.

Brazil Catching Up With US

For a long time, the United States was the biggest kid on the block when it came to producing and exporting soybeans. But now we've got company.

"Brazil is giving us a run for our money," says Brian Williams, Mississippi State University Extension economist. "This last year, we edged them out in production, but just barely. If things go according to plan for Brazil next year, they'll actually top us in production. They did top us this past year in exports, and they're expected to do the same next year." Meanwhile, China - which imported 69 million metric tons of soybeans last year - is importing an additional 10 million metric tons this year. "Brazil is limited somewhat by its infrastructure," says Williams. "When they were bringing in a record crop last year, there was a bottleneck, and they weren't able to export as much as they wanted. Ships were lining up at the ports and sometimes waiting weeks and months. Some of them got tired of waiting and moved on up to New Orleans, where they knew they can get loaded faster. "So that's working in our favor - we have the infrastructure to export large quantities, while Brazil is still struggling in that area."

(From the Southeast Farm Press)

Oops! I Goofed!!

Good friend of mine, Brad Robb at the Cotton Board in Memphis, pointed out I made a rather big mistake in yesterday's newsletter. I ran a picture of a couple of what I called "8 row cotton pickers." Brad informed me in NO uncertain words those were cotton strippers apparently being used in a Texas cotton field. Brad also informed me no one yet makes a module builder attached to a stripper. Both Case IH and John Deere manufacture module builders attached to cotton pickers, however. I grew up around Texas cotton fields but that was back in the day when we still picked it by hand. So to keep Mr.Robb from laughing at me more than he does, I offer my sincere apologies for the mistake. It's not the first one I've made and it won't be the last. But as Brad put it: no, wait. Think I'd better leave that part out.

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