Terrorist fears make dairy Expo add security
World Dairy Exposition officials already were uneasy about this year's show due to fear of foot-and-mouth virus and mad cow disease.
But the explosions last month at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon have caused security at the international livestock show in Madison, Wis., to go through the roof.
The show is being held at the Wisconsin capital's Alliant Energy Center and double the usual number of local sheriff's deputies will be patrolling the grounds.
Visitors from outside the United States will find they cannot store luggage at the Alliant center either before they check in or after they check out of their hotels.
Those measures are in addition to extra disinfections in cattle barns to reduce the chance of livestock diseases spreading.
"I think everyone is a little more aware of security," expo general manager Tom McKittrick said.
The show itself, which opened Wednesday and runs through Sunday, is different. Officials note one exhibitor from Pakistan canceled because of visa and flight difficulties, and the Food and Drug Administration canceled its display at the fair because of travel restrictions.
Also, tours of area farms will be given over the Internet, to reduce the number of people actually moving around area farms.
Exposition officials are not the only ones concerned about recent attacks having an impact on agriculture.
The World Food Prize symposium -- to be held Oct. 18-19 in Des Moines, Iowa -- will change its program to focus on potential disruptions in global food supplies because of agro- or bio-terrorist acts.
Also, University of Illinois pesticide safety specialist Mark Mohr said farmers, chemical dealers and lawn care businesses should take the time to study their storage practices, to see if they are vulnerable to theft or sabotage.
"Secure pesticide storage has always been a high priority to protect against accidents, or theft by criminals who would resell it," Mohr said. "With security on the minds of all ..., we now should include community and national safety alongside those reasons."
Drought hits 20 percent of Earth
Twenty percent of the world's landmass has been hit by drought at some point during the past two years.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration officials say their satellites show drought throughout Asia and Africa, with dry conditions also found in the southern and western parts of the United States.
The worst situation was found in Afghanistan and Pakistan, where about 60 and 40 percent of those countries, respectively, suffered from intense drought conditions this year.
Zimbabwe ct. backs land seizure
The Supreme Court in Zimbabwe has declared legal the seizure by the government of farms owned by white farmers.
The court, which the London Telegraph characterized as stacked with supporters of President Robert Mugabe, overturned a previous order that stopped a land seizure until a workable program for land reform could be devised.
Mugabe has targeted the white farmers as part of his program to return control of the land to all people in the country. Human rights groups say more than 100 people have died in state-sponsored violence that has arisen in response to the land seizure threats.
Union backs renewable energy amendment
The National Farmers Union wants the creation of a strategic renewable energy reserve dedicated to the production of ethanol and biodiesel.
The measure is being included as an amendment to the Farm Security Act now under review by Congress and union officials say it would reduce the U.S. dependence on imported oil while promoting the use of renewable energy products grown on farms.
"As the strategic oil reserve was wise policy at the time of its creation, so now is the development of a strategic renewable energy reserve," union President Leland Swenson said.
Subcabinet members take positions
Agriculture Department officials have sworn in three of the four members of their subcabinet, all of whom were recently sworn in by the Senate.
"I am pleased that the Senate has confirmed these nominees," Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman said. "Each of these individuals brings outstanding credentials and experience to their positions."
New members are Elsa Murano as undersecretary for food safety, Mark Rey as undersecretary for natural resources and environment, and Hilda Legg as administrator for the Rural Utilities Service. Edward McPherson will be sworn in later this week as chief financial officer.
Union opposes filtered milk use in cheese
The National Farmers Union recently sent letters to the Food and Drug Administration to underscore its opposition to a proposal to change the official definition of milk used in the making of dairy products.
Union President Leland Swenson said that changes would be misleading to consumers and would compromise the quality of dairy products.
They oppose a plan by the American Dairy Products Institute to allow the use of liquid ultrafiltered milk in cheesemaking. The FDA would have to give its approval before any new standard could be accepted.
John Deere expands irrigation services w/ purchase
Deere & Co. has completed its purchase of Richton International Corp. in an attempt to bolster its sales of irrigation equipment.
Deere will combine Richton's landscape irrigation equipment services division with a previously acquired McGinnis Farms business. The new entity will be called John Deere Landscapes Inc.
"It solidifies our plan to expand overall service and products to customers in the landscaping and irrigation business," Deere President John Jenkins said.
Grains mixed on CBOT
Soybeans futures were down, while corn and wheat were up, at the close Wednesday on the Chicago Board of Trade.
Harvest pressures hurt the prices of soybeans despite forecasts for frost in Minnesota and Wisconsin, which helped losses.
Corn futures benefited from thoughts the market might be technically oversold and forecasts for frost.
Wheat benefited from a spillover from Tuesday night's advances in electronic trading and some short-covering.
Oats experienced drops due to technical selling.
Soybeans: Nov 4.52 off 1, Jan 4.59 3/4 off 1 1/2, Mar 4.65 1/2 off 2, May 4.68 3/4 off 2 1/2.
Corn: Dec 2.10 3/4 up 1 1/2, Mar 2.22 3/4 up 1 1/2, May 2.30 1/2 up 1 1/4, Jul 2.35 3/4 up 1 1/2.
Wheat: Dec 2.69 1/2 up 6, Mar 2.79 up 5 1/4, May 2.81 3/4 up 4 3/4, Jul 2.86 up 3 3/4.
Oats: Dec 1.74 3/4 unch, Mar 1.58 1/2 off 1/2, May 1.50 1/4 off 1 1/4, Jul 1.43 off 1.