TODAY ON AGDAY
APRIL 19, 2012
Good morning I’m Clinton Griffiths. While touring the Midwest, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack says agriculture is a job-maker... Secretary Vilsack toured a factory in Madison, Wisconsin Wednesday that uses plant-based feed stocks to make a long list of products that are usually made from fossil fuels. The company - called Virent - received a two million dollar grant from USDA five years ago. The money was used to help launch Virent's bio-chemicals program. Virent researchers developed a substance that replaces oil-based plastics to create bio-based bottles for Coca-Cola.
Secretary Vilsack says the U.S. should rely on innovative companies like Virent and the productivity of America's farmers - and less on foreign oil.
BIODIESEL POLICY ROOK:
A new study released by the United Soybean Board shows the European Union's renewable energy policy would lower U.S. soybean prices. That's because it currently excludes biodiesel made from U.S. soybean oil. This is just one of the policy debates that's heating up in Washington for the biodiesel industry AgDay's Michelle Rook looks at the current policy agenda on capitol hill.
An animal activist group is taking aim at the National Pork Producers Council. The Humane Society of the United States filed a legal complaint with the Federal Trade Commission against the Pork Council. HSUS accuses the trade group of deceptive advertising for its "we care initiative" and "pork quality assurance plus" program. The HSUS says - quoting here - 'the pork council is betting the farm on a deceptive PR campaign designed to mislead consumers." In response, the NPPC says "The FTC complaint is the latest attack by animal rights activists on America’s hog farmers." It goes onto say that NPPC looks forward to the FTC quickly dismissing the complaint.
Following in states like Iowa's footsteps, Missouri legislators are one step closer to passing a bill that makes filming undercover videos on livestock farms or facilities a criminal offense. It's already passed the Missouri House. It prevents animal activists from lying on job applications, using false pretenses to gain access nor does it let a person record an image or sound, possess or distributes an image or sound without the consent of the owner. The law is a class "A" misdemeanor and may be punishable by six months to four years in jail. It does not prevent employees from reporting abuse.
BTR LFTB PRICES:
The debate of lean finely textured beef continues to impact the beef business. Prices of beef trimmings have fallen by half. Beef trimmings are used to make lean finely textured beef. The ground beef supplement has been used for 20 years. After controversy in March the price for trimmings are down 50% from a year ago. Prior to that, prices for the scraps were actually trending higher...as cattle prices hit record levels.
The warm winter, and early spring has beef producers watching for signs of anaplasmosis. Some cattlemen in northern states like Ohio lost livestock last year to the blood disease for the first time ever. Anaplasmosis is spread by ticks and flies and can be deadly. Populations of ticks are already reportedly high due to mild weather.
IN THE COUNTRY; CENTURY FARMS VIRGINIA:
The Virginia Commonwealth has a proud farming heritage, dating back to the 1600's. Traveling that state is like opening a history book. In this report from the Virginia Farm Bureau, Sherri McKinney takes us to a farm in the Shenandoah Valley which has been in the same family for more than a hundred years. Thanks Sherri. A popular sausage maker has a new corporate parent and a group of consumers want to throw McDonalds out of hospital eateries.
In Food and Your Family, a well-known breakfast sausage and sandwich maker has a new corporate home. Odam's Tennessee Pride is now part of the Conagra family. Conagra Foods bought the company for an undisclosed amount. Adding Tennessee Pride builds Conagra's frozen meals business. The deal includes facilities in Arkansas, Tennessee, and impacts roughly 750 employees. Odom's Tennessee Pride is the second largest producers of frozen breakfast sandwich in the U.S. with annual revenues of 190 million dollars. This is Conagra's third acquisition in the last year.