“Any nation that needs soybeans at this time of year has to come to us to getthem,” he said. But the prices of retail bread and wheat products remained the same because thewheat value in the product is already quite low. Through 1996, world wheat stocks dropped to a very low level. It becameimperative to either grow a very large crop or use less wheat. Because those stockswere so low, prices rose. Shumaker said the rising wheat prices earlier this year didn’t really affectGeorgians, though. Local prices dropped near the harvest period. The main grainexporting facility in Savannah closed last year, further depressing prices. Georgia farmers grew a very large corn crop. Farmers really had to manage theway they sold their corn, to reduce their risk of getting caught by falling prices, hesaid. A lot of the effect farmers felt was due to a cold, wet spring in the Midwest. Thatkept those farmers from harvesting their wheat on time and planting corn. Other feed grains include soybeans. Georgia farmers are just getting back intogrowing soybeans. “For many years, other crops such as peanuts, cotton, corn orwheat, were more profitable,” Shumaker said. “So farmers grew those instead ofsoybeans.” New management programs are helping Georgia farmers grow soybeans atprofitable levels. They’re contributing to the record U.S. soybean exports thisyear, too. “Here at the end of 1996, I would expect to see some increase in soybean acres (for1997),” Shumaker said, “and a slight decline in the corn market.” The near-record crop caused prices to fall sharply during harvest. They droppedfrom $5.50 per bushel during early spring to about $2.50 per bushel duringharvest in September and October. But that’s good news for livestock farmers and retail meat buyers. Lower cornand other feed grain costs help lower the cost of raising beef cattle, hogs andchickens. Lower production costs gradually translate into slight retail price drops. Worldwide wheat production jumped through the rest of 1996. “In fact, right nowthere is really an excess of wheat in the market,” Shumaker said. That’s pushingprices back down. “1996 was a good year for all the grains in Georgia — corn, wheat and soybeans,”said George Shumaker, an economist with the University of Georgia ExtensionService. Current price ratios between soybeans and corn suggest that soybeans are likely toreturn a greater profit than corn for grain farmers, he said. Mother Nature smiled on Georgia grain farmers this year. Not just by sending usfavorable weather, but by making growing conditions unfavorable in the Midwest. This is the first year farmers are operating under the “Freedom to Farm” bill thatallows them to switch to crops that can be more profitable for them. Shumakersaid that’s allowed them to plant different crops as world market prices havedropped or risen.
I rise to oppose this bill, principally for the reason that this House has defeated such legislation twice in the last two decades, and it is this: it removes a principle at the core of the law written to protect everybody, and particularly the most vulnerable, and that is the blanket prohibition against taking the life of another. That is at the core of our criminal law that protects everybody, particularly the most vulnerable. In removing that prohibition, which has been in our law for as long as this country has existed, this Parliament is taking a huge step.I appeal to our members tonight. I’m sure we’ve all had the experience—I know I have—or know about the experience, of witnessing the suffering, the fear, and the anxiety of a dying person and those around them, and, sometimes, a difficult death. Alongside that personal connection, we have to weigh up, in our role as lawmakers—not just as parents or children or siblings or friends of those who we’ve seen die, but as lawmakers. Our role is not principally to alleviate suffering; our role is to ensure that our society has a set of laws that protect those who most need protection.Did you know that in our law, section 179 of the Crimes Act, it is a crime to incite the suicide of another person, even if they don’t actually commit it—even if they don’t actually commit it? Why is that there? Because we don’t want people encouraging a depressed disabled young person to think that their life isn’t worth anything. As lawmakers, the reason there is a blanket prohibition is because you are not always the best judge of the value of your life, and the price that our community pays for enabling a doctor to take your life, free of criminal scrutiny, is that many other people are more vulnerable. Their lives will become more fearful, and they’ll become more subject to the pressure to make the judgment themselves that their life has less value and therefore they should make the decision. It is a slippery slope. That is why this bill, with its cold, technical, bureaucratic process of death, tries to look like it’s safe.We have to weigh it up, and every Parliament up to now has said that the balance between what is enabled for an individual and the cost of that enablement to the rest of society is too big a risk to take. I put the case that as lawmakers that is the question that we need to weigh up: is the gain in personal autonomy—because the research shows people embark on euthanasia principally for autonomy reasons; they may not be suffering that much—worth the broader cost to our community? I don’t think anyone can, in their heart of hearts, believe that this bill will make life safer for the disabled or that it will make our community more warmly embracing of our ageing population. Who pretends that? It won’t—it won’t.That is why I will oppose it and invite others to. You know, we’re not creating medical procedure here; we’re creating an exemption from the criminal law against killing for a specified group—that is, doctors, who do not want to carry this burden—under some conditions that amount to box-ticking. So I ask the Parliament to consider that very carefully—the removal of the blanket prohibition against taking a life, which should be subject to scrutiny and accountability.
Press Association Mirallas missed a spot-kick in the Toffees’ goalless Barclays Premier League draw at West Brom last week after making an apparently impromptu request to take over from regular penalty-taker Leighton Baines. With Mirallas substituted soon after, a storm grew around the incident, adding to the pressure on Martinez amid a run of just one win in 13 games in all competitions. But the Spaniard played down the matter on the night and insists no bridge-building between the Belgian winger and the rest of the squad has been necessary since. Martinez said: “Obviously it is something that has been addressed internally and is water under the bridge. “The only problem we had was that Kevin missed the penalty. That is the end of the matter internally. “Sometimes you feel in a great moment and you want to take a penalty. “It is not a negative having players that want to have the responsibility and show they can help the team in specific moments. “The issue here is that he missed the penalty – nothing else.” The penalty miss came just before half-time in the clash at Goodison Park and Mirallas did not return for the second half due to a hamstring injury. Martinez expects the 27-year-old to be available for Saturday’s trip to Crystal Palace and is also hopeful James McCarthy (hamstring), Darron Gibson (knee) and Sylvain Distin (groin) could be back in contention after recent injuries. As they were not involved in the FA Cup last weekend, Everton have spent the week since the West Brom match at a warm-weather training camp in Qatar and Martinez has been pleased with players’ progress. Martinez, speaking at a press conference, said: “We are hoping Kevin is going to be joining the group between today and tomorrow. He is one of the players who has benefited massively from being away and being able to work. He feels a lot stronger and I do feel he has got a great opportunity to be involved in the squad against Crystal Palace. “James McCarthy has been doing really well – he and Darron Gibson and Sylvain Distin have. They have joined the group, which is really positive. “Leon Osman, Steven Pienaar and Tim Howard are still longer term but they are progressing well and got real good benefit of working away this week.” Everton’s form has seen Martinez criticised by some supporters but he remains confident of their overall backing and feels all facets of the club remain united. Martinez said: “I think we are all aware of the potential we have as a team and I think this season we have had huge expectations. I just see that when you really care about your team and you really care about what you can achieve you are going to get frustrated – when you don’t win you cannot be happy. “But at the same time there is a real support behind the players and a real understanding. “There is always a feeling of getting ready for the next game and the next battle. I feel there is a real natural feeling about what we are going through. It is about making sure we use these situations to make us a stronger football club and the fans have been terrific.” Martinez has not ruled out making further additions to his squad before Monday’s transfer deadline but claims it is unlikely. He said: “In this window we are not looking to try to find solutions. All the work we did in the summer was to have a strong enough squad for all the competitions. “Having said that, we will always try to use the windows in our favour and we will never stop trying to help the players we have at the club and being as strong as we can be.” Everton boss Roberto Martinez claims the Kevin Mirallas penalty controversy has been consigned to history.