ADM earnings fall short of expectations

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Archer Daniels Midland Co., the nation’s largest ethanol producer, said last week that its fiscal third-quarter profit rose 4 percent, but the results fell short of Wall Street expectations, driving shares down more than 4 percent.

Net income for the three months ending March 31 rose to $362.9 million, or 56 cents per share, up from $347.8 million, or 53 cents per share, during the same period last year.

Revenue rose 25 percent to $11.38 billion from $9.12 billion a year earlier.

The consensus forecast of 11 analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial was for earnings of 61 cents a share on revenue of $9.65 billion.


"We performed well in a challenging quarter," ADM Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Patricia Woertz said in a news release.

In particular, the company’s oilseeds processing operating profit decreased due to lower biodiesel processing margins.

Bio Industry Alliance releases publication

MILWAUKEE — The Wisconsin Bio Industry Alliance has partnered with Wisconsin’s Office of Energy Independence to produce the first edition of the "Wisconsin Guide to Building Biofuels Facilities.

The guide is available for download in the blog section of the WBIA Web site.

"With the help of a very supportive governor, the Office of Energy Independence, and the WBIA, the bio industry is growing rapidly,’’ said Joshua Morby, executive director of the WBIA. "This guide is a great resource to have in attracting new biofuel facilities in the state, and continuing the growth of this developing industry.’’

Beef remains big on restaurant menus

MINNEAPOLIS — Total sales among America’s 935,000 restaurants are expected to reach $537 billion this year, according to a study by the National Restaurant Association.


Beef continues its strong position on national menus, with 89 percent of chefs in the NRA study rating beef as a "hot" or a "perennial favorite’’ menu item.

U.S. restaurants sold more than 8.3 billion pounds of beef, reflecting a 3.7 percent overall increase from 2006. Of that volume, 63 percent was ground beef, 17 percent steaks, 12 percent roasts, and 8 percent other beef.

In Minnesota, 28,000 cattle producers raise more than $1 million in beef animals annually.

Dutch panel to study impact of biofuels

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — A Dutch commission has proposed a system aimed at ensuring that crops used to create biofuels as replacements for oil and gas do not do more harm than good.

In the rush to develop biofuels, forests are burned in Asia to clear land for palm oil, and swaths of the Amazon are stripped of diverse vegetation for soya and sugar plantations for ethanol.

"We all know that biomass potentially can play an important role in sustainable energy production," said Environment Minister Jacqueline Cramer. "But the question is: How do you do that in a way that is truly sustainable?"

The scheme makes the Netherlands a front-runner among nations seeking to tackle the new climate change dilemma. Other European countries are working along similar lines and are closely watching the Dutch initiative — the first to reach the level of government consideration.


The Dutch panel, called the Cramer Commission because the environment minister chaired it before being appointed to the Cabinet, has drawn up a framework which companies can use to measure the sustainability of crops used for biofuels.

AFBF wants high-speed rural Internet bill

WASHINGTON — The American Farm Bureau Federation wants lawmakers to back legislation to rapidly implement high-quality, affordable broadband Internet service, especially in rural areas.

The Farm Bureau says rural America lags behind urban and suburban residents in the use and availability of high-speed Internet connections. Twenty-four percent of rural Americans have high-speed Internet access at home, compared to 39 percent of urban and suburban residents.

"Access to high-speed Internet access is important to rural America,’’ said Bob Stallman, Farm Bureau president. "Broadband plays a critical role in health, education and economic development.’’

MGEX reports record wheat futures volume

MINNEAPOLIS — The Minneapolis Grain Exchange is reporting double-digit increases in trading volume for April.

Final April numbers for spring wheat futures volume set an all-time record with 178,019 contracts — 14 percent above the previous April record set in 2005. It is also the second-highest spring wheat volume in the exchange’s history.

Open interest in the hard red spring wheat futures contract closed the month at 55,969 contracts — an 11 percent increase over 2006.

Meanwhile, MGEX membership is growing. Eleven new membership sales were reported in April, with more than half of them selling at an all-time price of $135,000.

Michael Doyle hired by Foremost Farms

BARABOO, Wis. — Michael Doyle is Foremost Farms’ new vice president-finance.

Doyle of Lake Elmo, Minn., succeeds Duaine Kamenick.

Before being hired by Foremost, Doyle was chief financial officer for Creekstone Farms Premium Beef and managed the financial/operational functions for the firm.

Foremost Farms USA, headquartered in Baraboo, operates 20 manufacturing facilities and two milk transfer stations for its 3,000 dairy farmer-members in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio.

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