The World Trade Organization (WTO) accepted it's Working Party's report to accept Russia as a member. U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said, "Russia's accession is good for the United States, good for Russia, and good for the WTO. Russia's market access commitments and the steps that it is taking with regard to intellectual property rights, information technology, sanitary and phytosanitary transparency, and the full range of WTO rules and disciplines will create a new and stronger basis for conducting trade relations between our countries." Russia's Parliament will have to ratify its membership to the WTO. Congress will have to pass Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) status for Russia for the United States to benefit from the agreement. Russia is the world's-largest economy that is not a member of the WTO.
Growth in Agricultural Productivity & Changing Organization of U.S. Farming — U.S. agricultural productivity has increased by nearly 50% since 1982, while using less land and labor, according to the findings of USDA's Economic Research Service's (ERS) study, "The Changing Organization of U.S. Farming." Innovations in farm organization, business arrangements and production practices have allowed farmers to produce more with less, the study notes. The use of genetically engineered seeds and no-till have allowed producers to reduce the use of machinery, fuel and pesticides.
The report also forewarned what is needed in the future to meet global demand. The report said, "If global population and energy demands grow as expected, and if prices continue to fluctuate – or even undergo larger swings, which might cause farmers to underinvest in capital-intensive technologies – current productivity gains will not keep pace with the increasing demands placed upon U.S. agriculture." Some key items from the study include:
P. Scott Shearer