The U.S. government expects to buy more than 300,000 bags of corn seed — $20 million worth — after finding bags tainted by StarLink corn, according to USDA.

Seed companies, in the meantime, are screening millions of seed bags and destroying contaminated supplies. At the same time, EPA has announced that it will no longer approve transgenic crops that aren't suitable for human food.

Officials are quick to say that foods made from corn are safe to eat — and that seed supplies for planting should be adequate.

Funds for the emergency purchase will come from the Commodity Credit Cor-poration. It's unclear whether USDA will seek reimbursement from Aventis CropScience, maker of StarLink corn.

Back To Biodiesel. At press time, the Minnesota 2% biodiesel bill has not yet been signed into law. The bill, introduced in February, will require a 2% blend of biodiesel in all diesel fuel sold in Minnesota. Although signs look favorable, says Mike Yost, Minnesota farmer and point person on biodiesel legislation, the bill still needs to make its way through the environmental, transportation and tax committees. It has passed the House and Senate ag committees.

“If passed, this will be the beginning of helping jump-start a new industry,” says Yost. “We're plowing new ground and believe other states will try to replicate our efforts.”

Grain Exchange, DTN Announce Venture. Using information from Data Transmission Network Corporation (DTN), the Minneapolis Grain Exchange (MGEX) plans to develop a new cash-settled futures contract.

The MGEX will utilize DTN resources from its 1,000-plus elevator database to calculate each day's index price for outstanding contract positions. Cash-settled contracts differ from traditional futures contracts in that delivery is not an option; therefore, market participants can hold their outstanding futures positions until contract expiration without the threat of delivery. This also allows for simultaneous expiration of futures and options.

SCN Technology Patented. A technology tool recently patented by Pioneer will allow for faster launches of new soybean varieties with pest resistance.

The marker-assisted selection (MAS) process uses molecular markers to select soybean varieties with resistance to soybean cyst nematodes (SCN) and brown stem rot (BSR). The technology will help bring resistant varieties to market as much as two years faster than in the past.

Four new SCN-resistant varieties and one new BSR-resistant variety are available for 2001 using the technology.

Bayer Donates. Bayer Corporation contributed $210,000 to the American Soybean Association (ASA) and National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) during the recent Commodity Classic in San Antonio, TX.

The crop protection corporation donated $100,000 to support the Soybean Trade Expansion Program and $60,000 for the Regional Exchange Awareness Program. Both programs were launched by ASA and Bayer in 2000.

Bayer also contributed $50,000 to NCGA's ethanol marketing program, where focus is on increasing ethanol awareness and demand nationwide.

Midwest Soybean Conference. Leading marketing, policy and industry experts will speak at the Midwest Soybean Conference, set for Aug. 10-12 in Des Moines, IA.

Hosted by the Iowa Soybean Association, it will showcase concurrent sessions on topics such as: environmental management, pest and disease management, soybean and corn standards, and biotechnology. In addition, featured speakers will cover important marketing and policy issues. A trade show will also be a highlight of the conference.

For more information, visit www.iasoybeans.com or contact the Midwest Soybean Conference at 800-383-1423.