New Soybean Guide

If you're having trouble assessing environmental and pest problems in your soybean fields, take a look at a new program called "Soybean Management and the Land: A Best Management Practices Handbook for Growers."

The handbook will be available as both a printed guide and on the Web. To get a copy, contact your Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) district offices, county extension service offices, Farm Bureau offices and soybean association offices.

The program was developed collaboratively by the American Soybean Association, NRCS, Monsanto and Phillip Morris.

Online Markets Grow

The merger of two established e-commerce Web sites, with addi- tional financial backing from a Dutch-based bank, have been announced. Farms.com, a five-year- old U.S. agricultural e-commerce site that offers cattle auctions, ag chemicals and ag commodities online, is partnering with the Canadian eharvest.com, which specializes in the pork industry.

Farms.com is also placing over 40% of its equity with vTraction.com, a food and agribusiness Internet "incubator" launched recently by Rabobank Group, Utrecht, Netherlands.

The new firm will retain the name farms.com. The merger will offer farmers both an electronic marketplace for farm inputs like chemicals and outputs such as grain and livestock.

Cenex Harvest States Cooperative, Cargill and DuPont are developing Rooster.com, an e-commerce site on which farmers can market crops and buy crop inputs. Scheduled launch: May 1. Biotech Education

American consumers will hear a strong pitch for ag biotechnology this spring when the seven major corporate players launch a public information program. Aventis, BASF, Dow AgroSciences, DuPont, Monsanto, Novartis and Zeneca have joined with trade organizations across the food chain to inform consumers about the benefits of biotechnology.

"We've found through research that consumers want to hear more about crop biotechnology and the benefits it offers for food, industrial and pharmaceutical uses," says Ted McKinney, Dow AgroSciences. "It's important to get the information out so the consumer can make informed judgements. We want them to know we have a listening ear, an understanding of the issues and a willingness to address their questions."