THE
AGRIBUSINESS
EXAMINER
March 11, 2003, Issue #228
Monitoring Corporate Agribusiness
From a Public Interest Perspective

EDITOR\PUBLISHER; A.V. Krebs
E-MAIL: avkrebs@earthlink.net
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U.S. OPPOSES UN TREATY TO CONTROL
"WORST WEAPON  OF MASS DESTRUCTION"

DERRICK Z. JACKSON, BOSTON GLOBE: The United Nations has voted to go war against the world's worst weapon of mass destruction. The United States is against the resolution.

This news passed by with little notice last week. In Geneva, about 170 nations met in an effort to agree on a global treaty on tobacco. Cigarettes, according to the World Health Organization, kill four million people a year and will kill ten million a year by 2030 if current trends continue. Unless there is a war on tobacco, cigarettes will cut short the lives of 500 million of the six billion people on earth.

Most of the nations that gathered in Geneva agreed to a final text that will be presented to the WHO in May for adoption. The treaty, called the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, requires nations to implement serious tobacco control programs. It would require cigarette companies to put a health warning that would take up at least 30% of the surface of a pack. It would eliminate labeling that misleads smokers to think that a particular ''light'' or ''mild'' cigarette is less harmful than others.

The pact would require signatories to move toward a ban on cigarette advertising within the limits of a nation's laws. Signatories would be required to fund tobacco control programs and consider taxes that reduce smoking. With most of the world ready to fight a chemical weapon that could be lethal for the equivalent of two United States of Americas, WHO's director general, Gro Harlem Brundtland, called the treaty a ''real milestone in the history of global public health.''

The treaty is a real millstone for the United States. The problem is that the evil dictator killing millions is not Saddam Hussein. It is an industry run by madmen holed up in New York skyscrapers and corporate bunkers in Virginia and North Carolina. They have paid handsomely to assure that President Bush will not launch an attack. In the 2002 election cycle, big tobacco gave $6.4 million of its $8.1 million in contributions to Republicans. Philip Morris, the world's biggest cigarette exporter, paid $3.4 million to buy influence, with 80 percent of its contributions going to Republicans or the Republican Party.

So the ink had not even dried on the treaty when the US delegates started making noise that the Bush administration might not sign it. The U.S. health attache in Geneva, David Hohman, said the United States wants the treaty to allow a nation to opt out of provisions it finds objectionable. For the Bush administration, that means just about the whole treaty.

According to news reports, the administration is not happy with the idea of federal funding of antitobacco programs, a ban on free samples, or putting giant health warning on packs. Hohman said called the treaty's provisions a ''complication for our legislative process.''

A few other nations, among them China, Japan, and Germany, where cigarette production or advertising are rampant, have joined the United States in objecting to parts of the treaty. But Washington has been so singleminded in its attempt to sabotage the accord that it was called ''arrogant'' by Thai officials.

American tobacco control activists have even asked that the United States withdraw from Geneva rather than be such a drag on the negotiations. John Seffrin, CEO of the American Cancer Society, said: ''At this critical juncture, the United States government is working methodically to weaken virtually every aspect of this treaty. We call on the U.S. government to observe the first rule of the Hippocratic Oath: Do no harm.''

Last week, referring to Iraq, Bush said: ''The global threat of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction cannot be confronted by one nation alone. . . . A threat to all must be answered by all. High-minded pronouncements against proliferation mean little unless the strongest nations are willing to stand behind them -- and use force if necessary.''

For the world's greatest weapon of mass destruction, Bush would leave the world alone. In a couple of months, the tobacco treaty will be presented to the World Health Assembly. If it is adopted, it will go out for ratification. Only 40 nations need to ratify it for it to go into effect in the countries that approve it. If the Bush administration does not get behind the treaty, it will be every bit as cynical on cigarettes as it accuses Saddam Hussein of being with weapons inspections.

When he needed the United Nations to put pressure on Iraq, Bush complained that UN resolutions ''are being unilaterally subverted by the Iraqi regime.'' By subverting the global resolution against tobacco, the United States is telling the UN to get lost. The United States wants a UN resolution to go to war against a murderous dictator. When the UN wants war against the biggest killer on the planet, the U.S. is AWOL.
 

TYSON ETHICS COMPLIANCE OFFICER
TESTIFIES HE WAS NEVER TOLD ABOUT
FIRM'S IMMIGRATION LAW VIOLATIONS

BRIAN LAZENBY, ARKANSAS DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE: Tyson Food's former ethics compliance officer testified March 6 in Chattanooga that possible immigration law violations at several poultry processing plants never were reported as required under a Court ordered plea agreement.

"In my opinion, when you are dealing with possible criminal conduct, I would need to know about that," Dr. John Copeland testified about learning after the fact that several Tyson plants hired illegal workers. "We were dealing with issues of fraud, and it should have been reported."

Dr. Copeland testified he was hired to develop a "corporate code of conduct and compliance" for the company. The job was a result of a 1998 plea agreement in a case in which Tyson officials pleaded guilty to illegally attempting to influence former U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy, he said.

Tyson Foods and three of its managers now are charged with participating in a conspiracy to smuggle immigrants into the country, provide them with false documents and illegally hire them to work in Tyson plants across the United States. Dr. Copeland testified Thursday that his duties were to investigate possible legal and ethical violations and report his findings to the government.

He testified that Tyson Foods CEO John Tyson said Dr. Copeland's investigation into possible immigration violations was beyond the scope of his court-appointed responsibility.

"Basically, he said the compliance plan was getting in the way of business," Dr. Copeland testified. He also testified that Tyson lawyers Tom Green and Mark Hobson once told him he needed to remember that he was not a government agent.

Much of Thursday's court day was spent with lawyers in a "sidebar conference which the jury could not hear"  about whether Dr. Copeland could testify about a meeting with corporate executives in which they discussed the extent of Tyson's immigration violations, lawyers said.

Defense lawyers argued that because Tyson's legal counsel was present, the content of the meeting should be protected as attorney-client privilege.

"This is a classic situation of a privileged meeting," Mr. Green said. "Because this man is at a privileged meeting does not trump that privilege."

U.S. District Judge R. Allan Edgar said he would review the 1998 plea agreement before ruling whether Dr. Copeland can testify to what was said in the meeting.

If convicted on the immigration law charges, Tyson Foods could be fined up to $100 million, the amount prosecutors maintain the company saved by using illegal labor. Each of the managers could spend years in federal prison.
 

AG ECONOMIST TELLS
U.S. FARMERS STOP WORRYING
ABOUT BRAZILIAN SOYBEAN
PRODUCTION, RAISE MORE CORN

PEORIA JOURNAL STAR: Instead of worrying about rising South American production numbers, Illinois soybean farmers should turn to corn, said a University of Illinois Extension agricultural policy specialist.

''Anyone who even remotely follows the commodity markets realizes that South America has changed the supply fundamentals in a dramatic way over the past ten years,'' said Robert Hauser. While the United States remains the world leader in soybean production, South American nations like Brazil have made huge gains in recent years.

Brazilian soybean production has more than doubled from an average of 18.5 million metric tons in 1991 to an estimated 41.5 million metric tons in 2001, according to American Farm Bureau figures.

Since soybean production in Brazil has expanded faster than domestic use, the South American nation is aggressively seeking exports. That puts the United States and Brazil head-to-head when it comes to supplying soybeans to the world market, he said.

Hauser is bothered by reactions of U.S. farmers after visits to South American bean fields. ''We lose perspective when we talk about the need to beat Brazil or Argentina,'' he said.

A number of factors are responsible for the rise of soybean farms in South America, said Hauser. He cited tropical climate, soil fertility and cheap land as some of the reasons for the rise in soybean production in Brazil.

''Economic conditions and inflation (in South America) have stabilized over the past eight years. These factors not only have made it possible for South America, particularly Brazil, to engage in soybean production in a big way, but there are strong signs that the expansion is far from over,'' said Hauser.

After comparing a number of costs, South America has a distinct advantage in growing soybeans over the United States, he said.

''We have to take the economic signals as given. The market is telling us today to shift away from soybeans towards corn,'' said Hauser.

U.S. farm acreage devoted to soybeans has zoomed since the 1930s when soybeans began to be processed industrially for edible oil and proteinmeal. Soybean oil is now the most widely grown protein/oilseed crop in the world.

While corn has long been king in the Midwest, the number of acres devoted to soybeans has continued to expand. In Illinois, for example, farmers planted 11,500 acres of corn this year along with 10,400 acres of soybeans.

But Hauser doesn't expect U.S. farmers to stop producing soybeans. ''The transition will take place over a long period of time. It will be a gradual shift,'' he said.

While both corn and soybean prices have been depressed in recent years, corn offers the better opportunity for profit at this time, he said.

''Current market prices are signaling U.S. farmers to move to a crop in which they enjoy a comparative advantage --- corn. Without the soybean loan rate program, this signal would be much stronger,'' he said.

Hauser recognized his proposal isn't universally popular. ''This idea (of switching acres from soybeans to corn) is not well received by many groups in the United States,'' he said.

But the U.S. soybean producer is like a busy executive who employs a typist, Hauser said. ''The motivation is to free the executive to do other, productive things,'' he said.

''In the case of soybeans, U.S. producers may find themselves in the same situation as the executive, letting South America grow the soybeans because of greater incentives in the United States to produce corn,'' he said.
 

NFFC'S GEORGE NAYLOR:
RESPONDS TO AG ECONOMIST'S ADVICE,
AS PERFECTLY ILLUSTRATING
INADEQUACY OF THE "FREE MARKET"

Dear Dr. Hauser:

I read in an article from the Peoria Journal Star (November 19, 2002, see above)) where you suggest family farmers like myself are supposed to grow more corn and less soybeans because Brazil will be growing more soybeans at less cost. With all the tools in your economics toolbox, surely there is something more for people to understand. Here in Iowa, many farmers already went down that road in years past resulting in predictable problems with crop diseases.

Now that the corn-soy rotation has been in place for so many years, soybean diseases are rearing their ugly heads, so your suggestion is already being adopted. But what will happen when the corn diseases proliferate again, and even more nitrates pollute our waters? Your over-simple analysis may suggest monocropping, but mother nature will dictate deeper analysis and solutions.

Actually, this situation perfectly illustrates the inadequacy of the free market to achieve a beneficial, long run outcome, and the need for 21st century policies to avert an ever-looming disaster. According to your theory, farmer behavior should only be determined by market prices --- prices being driven down by unecological, subsidized production far, far away.

First, costs to the environment or rural society are not being factored in to market prices. Second, since the corn and soybean markets are really feedstuff markets that want protein and energy at least cost, producing corn or soybeans will be the only choices in many farming areas, and now you say corn must dominate. A more ecological but less profitable solution involving crop rotations with hay, pasture, and small grains is obviously precluded.

These crops fit a diversified operation that includes livestock, but the cheap corn and soybean meal, instead fuel livestock production in corporate livestock factories all over the world. Meanwhile, when family farmers close their barns for the last time (very apparent in dairy country), pasture and hayland gets plowed up to produce more corn or soybeans to add to that ever growing global stockpile. This is a downward spiral --- a race to the bottom.

Following the signals of a "free" market will only mean a legacy for our children and grand children of empty rural communities, diminished biodiversity, and loss of our most precious and democratic institution, the family farm. I beg that your valuable skills as an economist be used, together with democratic values and a sense of history, to offer deeper analysis and help our modern global society out of this alarming dilemma.

The National Family Farm Coalition believes a sensible farm program and international commodity and environmental agreements to set up pricefloors, conservation goals, and grain reserves are what will serve family farmers, consumers, and the environment. If you can lend us a hand, we'd be much appreciative.

Sincerely,
George Naylor, President of the National Family Farm Coalition
Corn and soybean farmer from Churdan, Iowa
 

BRAZILIAN SOYBEAN TRUCKS
LINEUP FOR 25 MILES TO UNLOAD
RECORD CROP FOR EXPORT

A 40-kilometer line of soybean trucks formed outside the southern Brazilian port of Paranagua, federal road police said on March 5, after delays in harvesting the record crop created a transportation bottleneck.

Paranagua's port authority said that vessels were loading soy normally at 1,200 tons an hour in the port's soy export corridor, which consists of eight terminals, but that there was a lack of producer and exporter storage space, forcing the trucks to be used as "rolling stores."

"Production is higher, and there's a transport bottleneck due to rain (which slowed harvesting in early February)," said Andrea Cordeiro of Parana-based broker Labhoro.

Policeman Rosmar Custodio Santos said the line on road BR-277 to Parana state capital Curitiba was growing, while Cordeiro said there was a risk that the queue of soy trucks could exceed the 100 km of 2001 and reach Curitiba.

Transport problems have been increasing for the No. 2 soybean exporter as its production expands. Last week, the government revised up its soybean crop forecast to 49.65 million tons in 2002/03 October/September, an 18% increase on last season's previous record of 41.91 million tons.

On Wednesday, two vessels were loading 57,000 tons and 60,000 tons of soybeans, respectively, while a third was due to sail with 30,000 tons of soymeal. Outside the port six vessels were waiting to load soybeans and four to load soymeal.

Shipping agents Transcar said that six vessels were scheduled to berth in Paranagua's export corridor between March 5-17 to load 347,000 tons of soybeans. The vessels were chartered by Bunge, Cargill, Louis Dreyfus and Archer Daniels Midland for China, Indonesia, Netherlands and Germany.
 

MEMBERS REPLACE OCEAN SPRAY
CRANBERRY CO-OP BOARD
WITH MEMBERS MORE RESPONSIVE
TO NEEDS OF SMALL-SCALE GROWERS

ASSOCIATED PRESS: Shareholders of Ocean Spray Cranberries voted over the weekend to replace the board with a dissident group that wants the business, a 900-member growers' cooperative, to be more responsive to the needs of small-scale growers.

At the annual meeting in Chicago, 53% of shareholders approved a resolution to replace the current 15-member board with a new 12-member board, said Gary Dempze, a spokesman for the dissident group, the Growers Information Coalition.

The tally, which was announced on Saturday, is based on preliminary figures tabulated by a third-party company. Officials from the coalition and Ocean Spray plan to meet on Tuesday to verify the results.

A dispute has raged within Ocean Spray, of Lakeville, Massachusetts, over whether the cooperative should remain independent or sell to a larger company with more marketing power. The dissidents have called for a smaller board that is open to the possibility of selling the brand.

Late last month, Ocean Spray rejected an $800 million offer for its juice business from a Wisconsin-based competitor, Northland Cranberries.

The plan was criticized by the company, as well as the dissident coalition, which said the offer could disrupt deliberations before this weekend's annual meeting.

The meeting had originally been planned for February 25, but Ocean Spray postponed it so growers could review a study by outside consultants on the company's future.

Ocean Spray has struggled in recent years as cranberry prices and demand have slumped. Its chief executive, Rob Hawthorne, resigned in November and Barbara Thomas was named interim chief executive.

A coalition member, Paul Jonjak, who was on the board from 1982 to 2000, said the vote showed that growers "felt disenfranchised and want to work with a board that keeps them more informed and treats them more like owners."
 

NEW  YORK TIMES EDITORIAL:
"STIMULATE ORGANIC GRAIN PRODUCTION
RATHER THAN ENCOURAGING
LIVESTOCK PRODUCERS TO COP OUT"

NEW YORK TIMES, March 5, 2003: If it weren't so dangerous, the chicken fight going on in Congress would be laughable. Representative Nathan Deal, a Georgia Republican, slipped a paragraph into a $397 billion spending bill that would allow farmers to give livestock nonorganic feed  but call their meat, eggs and milk "organic" anyway. That would clearly violate the new United States Department of Agriculture standard. Specifically, the provision, which was suggested by a Georgia chicken farm that contributed to Mr. Deal's campaign, prohibits the government from requiring that organic livestock producers use organic feed.

This is just the kind of provision, inserted at the last minute with Speaker Dennis Hastert's consent and without debate, that makes you wonder what else lies hiding in the darkly lit byways of the spending bill, passed by the House on February 13.

Given the bitter Congressional politics of recent months, Mr. Deal could not have expected the speed with which a bipartisan coalition formed to attack his chicken deal, a group that includes fellow Republicans, major food corporations and the agriculture secretary, Ann Veneman. But then this is exactly the kind of issue that creates cost-free bipartisanship. Everybody but Mr. Deal gets a chance to look good.

And yet, his stealth paragraph, threatening as it is, may indirectly aid the cause of organic agriculture by alarming its Congressional supporters. Senators Patrick Leahy and Olympia Snowe have introduced legislation, co-sponsored by more than 50 other senators, that would kill Mr. Deal's provision. And Mr. Leahy and Representative Ron Kind have announced the creation of an organic caucus, designed to protect federal organic standards, which took effect last October, from other assaults.

There is a substantive point to be taken from Mr. Deal's effort to help out a local chicken farm. Too few farmers are raising organic grain for feed, especially in a market glutted with heavily subsidized conventional grain. Mr. Deal's provision became law when the spending bill was signed, and it must be repealed. Congress should look for ways to stimulate organic grain production rather than encouraging livestock producers to cop out, thereby confusing consumers and undoing the years of work it took to create the U.S.D.A.'s organic standards.
 

CHINA SEES PLIGHT OF IMPOVERISHED
FARMERS AND FARM WORKERS
AS POTENTIALLY EXPLOSIVE PROBLEM
THREATENING THE NATION'S FUTURE

WILLIAM FOREMAN, ASSOCIATED PRESS: The leaders of a fast-changing China opened their legislature March 5 by singling out the plight of impoverished farmers and workers as a potentially explosive problem that threatens the country's future.

Easing grinding poverty in the vast regions of China left behind by the nation's economic boom emerged as the top priority at the opening of a national legislature that will end with a new president and premier --- and, on Thursday, the unveiling of a new budget.

With China's next leaders sitting behind him in the Great Hall of the People, Premier Zhu Rongji stood at a flower-festooned podium and read a long list of "outstanding difficulties and problems" from his state-of-the-nation report to the National People's Congress.

Zhu, set to retire during the 14-day meeting, prominently mentioned the "slow growth in farmers' incomes and some urban residents" as well as the"rise in the unemployed." He also cautioned about environmental problems, government waste and corruption.

"We should continue to take developing agriculture and the rural economy and increasing farmers' income as the top priority of our economic work," Zhu said in delivering the 55-page report, broadcast nationwide on state television.

But many of his solutions --- training programs for laid-off workers, improved irrigation, more social services --- are likely to swell an already big budget deficit. Whether China can afford these measures may become clearer when the proposed budget is unveiled Thursday.

In recent years, China has increasingly been viewed as a shiny new economy that, by embracing the market, has shrugged off the dusty old days of communism. Zhu's generation of leaders focused on creating an export-driven industry that brought in hundreds of billions of dollars in investment.

China's success has fed perceptions that the Chinese have traded in their Mao suits for designer clothes and cell phones.

Although this image fits many in booming southern coastal cities like Shanghai, Shenzhen and Guangzhou, these are mere pockets of prosperity. In the poor interior provinces, hundreds of millions of people endure crushing poverty that has eased little since the communists came to power in 1949 promising prosperity.

As Zhu demanded more remedies for the rural and urban poor, he also called for steps bound to increase their misery. He supported more radical capitalist-style reform, more opening of China's markets to foreign competition and the closure of inefficient companies.

The premier said the government is aiming for seven percent economic growth this year, the minimum Chinese officials say they need to create jobs for millions laid off in the overhaul of state industry.

Across the street from the meeting hall, a farmer who gave only his surname, Wang, echoed the premier's call for greater help for the countryside.

"Overall, our lives have improved over the years, but there are still a lot of problems in rural areas," said Wang, visiting Beijing from the northeastern province of Liaoning.

Before saying more, Wang abruptly rushed off after noticing that police --- who had already questioned and searched him twice within five minutes --- were closing in again.

Legions of security forces aggressively patrolled the area. Wearing long green overcoats or black parkas with radio antennas poking out of pockets, the officers broke up small groups of people watching the 2,984 congress delegates drive off to lunch in black luxury sedans or in tour buses.

Keeping order and maintaining stability was another important theme of this year's congress, which is expected to mark the first orderly transfer of power in China's communist history.

Zhu, 75, will likely hand over his job to Wen Jiabao, a geologist with expertise in rural affairs. President Jiang Zemin, 76, is almost certain to be succeeded by 60-year-old Hu Jintao, who took over as Communist Party general secretary in November. Jiang is retaining a key military post, and many expect he will continue to play a powerful role.

The generational shift has been in the making for nearly a decade, and the mostly ceremonial national legislature will likely rubber-stamp the party's choices for new leaders.

"They are more cultured, more knowledgeable, they know more about the world, they have more political experience and they are younger," said Shanghai delegation member Chen Chuanwei, sipping tea outside the auditorium. "They are," he said, "very appropriate to bring us into the new century."
 

USDA NATIONAL AG STATISTCS SERVICE:
EXAMINES CORN, SOYBEAN AND WHEAT
SOLD THROUGH MARKETING CONTRACTS

Amid growing interest regarding changes in the structure of the Nation's grain and oilseed markets, the National Agricultural Statistics Service  (NASS) is issuing this special report titled Corn, Soybeans, and Wheat Sold Through Marketing Contracts. All information contained within this report is based on the 2001 Agricultural Resource Management Study (ARMS), covering 2001 production. This is the first time NASS has issueda report on the characteristics of contract production.

The 2001 ARMS contained questions on both marketing and production contract arrangements, as  farms can have both types. However, virtually all of the reported contracts for corn, soybeans, or wheat were marketing contracts, thus limiting this report to marketing contracts. The following information is provided to understand differences between the two types of contracts.

Marketing contracts refer to verbal or written agreements between the farmer (contractee) and the buyer (contractor) generally a processing and/or marketing company that set a price (or pricing mechanism) and determine an outlet for a specified quantity of a commodity. Most management decisions remain with the farmer, who retains ownership during the production cycle. The farmer assumes all risks of production, but shares price risk with the contractor.

Marketing contracts can take many forms, including:

* forward sales of a growing crop, where the contract provides for later delivery and establishes a price before delivery;

* price setting after delivery based on a formula that considers grade and yield; and

* pre-harvest pooling arrangements, in which the amount of payment received is determined by the net pool receipts for the quantity sold.

Production contracts involve paying the farmer a fee for providing management, labor, facilities, and equipment, while assigning ownership of the product to the contractor. The contract specifies in detail the production input supplied by the contractor, which may be a processor, feed mill, or another operation or business. The contract also specifies the quality and quantity of the particular commodity. Because the contractor controls the amount produced and the production practices, the contractor often dominates the terms of the contract.

Advantages of production contracts for farmers include the sharing of production and marketing risks with the contractor and the availability of financing either directly from the contractor or indirectly through other lenders who are more assured of loan repayment under this arrangement.

HIGHLIGHTS

According to the most recent survey information, 62,300 U.S. farms utilized more than 82,100 corn, soybean or wheat marketing contracts during 2001. This information comes from the Agricultural Resource Management Study, conducted by USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) in late Winter and Spring, 2002. The number of contracts by crop shows over 44,700 farms with corn contracts, almost 27,700 farms with soybean contracts, and almost 9,700 farms with wheat contracts.

For the 2001 crop year, 10.4 percent of the total U.S. corn production, 8.6 percent of the soybeans, and 4.8 percent of the wheat was sold through marketing contracts. When corn and soybeans are combined, Ten percent of their total production was sold through marketing contracts.This compares to an earlier report  from USDA's Economic Research Service showing 11% of the combined 1999 corn and soybean crops sold through marketing contracts. Wheat contracts totaled six percent of the 1999 crop production.

The weighted average price received by farmers for contracted corn was $2.14 per bushel, compared to the NASS Market Year Average price (MYA) of $1.97 for the 2001 crop. The weighted average price for contracted soybeans was $4.63 per bushel, compared to the MYA of $4.38, while wheat had a contract price of $2.98, compared to the MYA of $2.78 per bushel. Corn farms which sold identity-preserved varieties received $2.19 per bushel, and reported receiving an average 24 cents premium above Number 2 Yellow corn. The average contract-specified premium, above Number 2 Yellow corn, was 22 cents.

Cooperatives and elevators, combined, were by far the primary contractor group. Respectively, 69%, 64%, and 71% of contracts for corn, soybeans and wheat were held by cooperatives or elevators. The contractor group representing processors, seed companies, and feed mills handled contracts for another 20%, 30%, and 18% of corn, soybeans, and wheat, respectively.

Some interesting observations appear when comparing contract terms across the three crops. While 16% and 18% of the corn and soybean contracts, respectively, carried confidentiality clauses, only eight percent of the wheat contracts did so. The percent of farms with two or more contracts was roughly the same for corn and soybeans, at 12% and 14%, while the percent of wheat farms with two or more contracts was only seven percent. The number of contracts with no specified length was roughly the same for all three crops, ranging from 15% to 19% of all contracts. The percent of corn contracts with penalty clauses for reduced production was 23%, compared to 15% and 13%,
respectively, for soybeans and wheat.

When comparing the delivery of contract production off the farm, some additional differences show up. Although the percent of contracts delivered off the farm is comparable between crops, ranging between 79% and 85%, the distances traveled for contract delivery versus non-contract delivery are significantly different. The mean miles for contract production delivered off the farm is almost twice the distance of available, non-contract delivery for corn and soybeans, and more than twice the distance for wheat.

For regions with sufficient information to publish, the percent of total production under contract was greatest in the Lake States for corn and soybeans, at 11.4 and 13%, respectively, while the Mountain States region had the highest percentage of wheat production under contract with 9.7 percent. The Mountain States region also had the highest average contract price for wheat, at $3.26 per bushel, while the Corn Belt region was highest for corn at $2.16 per bushel, and the Lake States held the highest price for soybeans under contract, at $5.03 per bushel.

Across the three crops, partnerships held the highest percentage of multiple contracts, with over 20% of partnerships holding two or more contracts for corn and soybeans.

Across most domains (geographic, type of farm, or size of farm), the contractor group representing processors, seed dealers, and feed companies held a greater percentage of contract soybean production than the other two crops. The percentages ranged from a low of 18% of production for partnerships to 38.9 percent in the Corn Belt region.

The complete report can be viewed at:
http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/reports/nassr/field/pgs-bb/special-reports/armsan03.txt
 

IOWA SEN. GRASSLEY WILL FIGHT
CONCENTRATION IN CORN, SOYBEAN
AND WHEAT MARKETING CONTRACTS,
VOWS NO REPEAT OF MEAT INDUSTRY

On Thursday, February 27 National Agricultural Statistics Service released its first ever report on the use of marketing contracts in corn, soybeans and wheat production.

Senator Chuck Grassley (Rep.-Iowa) had requested the report in October. After the report was released, the Senator said he won't let concentration latch on to the grain market the way it has to meat production.

"I don't intend to allow the corn and soybean markets to be consumed by the multi-nationals the same way vertical integration has happened with the large meat packers. We aren't going to play catch-up through regulation on Iowa's crops like we have to with cattle and pork production," Grassley said.

"Agriculture can't afford to have the same thing happen to our corn and soybean producers."

Grassley requested the study to identify possible market influences and to get a better understanding of what row crop producers are experiencing.

                                           EDITOR'S NOTE

Readers of the THE AGRIBUSINESS EXAMINER can now view all 226 editions of the online
newsletter at the Corporate Agribusiness Research Project's website
http://www.ea1.com/CARP/

A convenient on-site "Search" engine will also now allow the reader easy access to all the subject
material contained in the aforementioned back issues.

In addition, to these issues the web site also provides readers with THE AGBIZ TILLER, and
"Between the Furrows."

THE AGBIZ TILLER, the progeny of the one-time printed newsletter, is an on-line news feature
of the Project. In-depth essays dealing with corporate agribusiness activities are posted here
periodically.

In "Between the Furrows," there is a wide range of pages designed to inform and educate readers
on the inner workings of corporate agribusiness. In addition to CARP's "Mission Statement,"
"Overview" and the Project director's "Publication Background," the viewer will find a helpful
"Fact Miners" page which is an effort to assist the reader in the necessary art of researching
corporations; a page of  "Quotable Quotes" pertaining to agribusiness and corporate power; a
"Links" page which allow the reader to survey various useful public interest, government and
corporate web sites; a "Feedback" page for reader input, and a page where readers can order
directly the editor's The Corporate Reapers: The Book of Agribusiness from Essential Books in
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