col Tyson Foods profit rises by nearly 49 percent

SPRINGDALE, Ark. -- Tyson Foods Inc., the world's largest meat and poultry processor and marketer, reported its fiscal fourth-quarter profit rose by nearly 49 percent from results depressed by a charge last year. But the profit was below Wall Street estimates and it offered guidance for this year that was short of analysts' expectations.

Tyson earned $98 million, or 28 cents per share, for the three months ended Oct. 1 vs a year-earlier profit of $66 million, or 19 cents per share.

The latest quarter's results included a non-recurring income tax net benefit of $15 million, and $8 million in pretax losses it sustained from Hurricane Katrina. The items added 3 cents per share to its profit, Tyson said.

Sales fell 9 percent to $6.5 billion from $7.15 billion last year, mainly because of lower volume from one less week of sales this year, offset partially by increased sales prices and better product mix.

ASA outraged by palm oil-based imports


ST. LOUIS -- The American Soybean Association says it is outraged over the announcement that large amounts of biodiesel will be imported into the United States to take advantage of the new tax incentive for biodiesel sold in the country.

ASA' statement came on the heels of an announcement by EarthFirst Americas that its first shipment of palm oil-based biodiesel from Ecuador has arrived in Tampa, Fla., and that additional shipments are planned that would lead to 45 million gallons of in 2007. U.S. biodiesel production in 2005 is expected to total 30 million gallons and is expected to expand to 80 million gallons in 2006.

"Importing biodiesel will only subsidize foreign farmers and biodiesel producers with U.S. taxpayer dollars,'' said Bob Metz, a soybean producer from West Browns Valley, N.D. "The administration and Congress must act immediately to eliminate loopholes that allow foreign biodiesel from exploiting a key part of our national strategy for reducing our nation's dependence on foreign sources of energy.''

M.H. Eby celebrates new Story City plant

STORY CITY, Iowa -- M.H. Eby recently held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the opening of its new plant to manufacture livestock semi-trailers.

The new Eby 33,000-square-feet plant is located on 17 acres of land along side Interstate 35 at Exit 124 in Story City.

State and local officials were also on hand for the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

ABA, Farmer Mac reach agreement


WASHINGTON -- The American Bankers Association and the Federal Agricultural Mortgage Corporation have reached an agreement to bring ABA members pricing discounts, easier access and new opportunities in the secondary market for farm real estate loans.

Under the deal, ABA member banks will receive special pricing discounts on selected Farmer Mac products and new AgPower customized loan packaging services. ABA members will also benefit from a streamlined process through which they may access Farmer Mac.

China is top customer of U.S. soybeans

ST. LOUIS -- China continues to be the No. 1 destination for U.S. soybeans. The Chinese bought 435 million bushels of U.S. beans in the last marketing year, an increase from 302 million bushels.

Mexico continues to be the No. 1 importer of U.S. soybean meal and oil.

In the 2004-2005 marketing year, the U.S. exported 1.1 billion bushels of soybeans.

"We hear so much about South America competition, but now it's time for U.S. soybean farmers to celebrate, said Benny Cooper, United Soybean Board marketing chairman and a soybean producer from Kevil, Ky. "We are still the number one soybean exporter in the world.''

Johnson introduces bill on meat grading


WASHINGTON -- South Dakota Sen. Tim Johnson has introduced "Truth in Quality Grading Act for Meat'' in the U.S. Senate. Johnson said he introduced the legislation in response to the delay in county-of-origin labeling.

The senator maintains his legislation would ensure imported meat can't take advantage of a federal meat grade marketing tool.

"If some insist on delaying the labeling of the origin of meat, we should allow only U.S. cuts of meat to benefit from marketing tools,'' Johnson said. "The USDA grading label should have some strength to it. If the House Republicans want to delay COOL, let's take this first step and bring truth to our meat-grading system.''

RFD-TV donates $150,000 to FFA

WASHINGTON -- RFD-TV, the nation's first 24-hour TV network dedicated to rural America, has donated $150,000 to the FFA Seeds of Hope campaign.

The campaign is designed specifically to help agricultural teachers, families and student members of Gulf Coast FFA chapters rebuild from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

The National FFA Organization estimates that 120 FFA chapters and schools and 5,000 FFA members and their families were impacted by the hurricane.

Ankeny station adds E85 pump

ANKENY, Iowa -- Kum and Go has added an E85 fuel pump at its location in Ankeny.

The E85 pump is the first located in the Des Moines area for Kum and Go. The firm's other E85 pump is located in Ames. To mark the occasion, Kum and Go sold the E85 fuel for 85 cents per gallon Nov. 17 in Ankeny.

A complete list of E85 fueling stations in Iowa can be found on the IRFA web site at

Home construction starts plunge in October

WASHINGTON -- Home construction in October plunged by the biggest amount in seven months, providing dramatic evidence that rising mortgage rates are beginning to dampen the housing boom.

The Commerce Department reported that construction of new homes and apartments fell by 5.6 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 2.01 million units.

The decline was double what analysts had been expecting and indicated that rising mortgage rates are beginning to take a toll on housing, the economy's star performer in recent years.

In other economic news, the Labor Department said the number of Americans who have lost jobs due to hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma rose by 19,000 last week to total 561,400. That increase was down slightly from the 21,000 hurricane-related claims that had been filed in the previous week.

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