TODAY ON AGDAY
JANUARY 3, 2012
Good morning. As we start our Tuesday, it's also the first day of the Beltwide Cotton Conference. This year cotton farmers from across the south are in Orlando, Florida for the four day event. Put on by the national cotton council and its partners, attendees will hear experts from the cotton industry focusing on helping producers survive and prosper.
A feat that was easier to accomplish in 2011 thanks to record prices...if those fields survived an onslaught of weather challenges. Leaders say in spite of lower prices this year, the outlook for 2012 is positive.
Acreage for another traditional southern crop could expand in 2012 - peanuts. And some of those acres could come from cotton. The 2011 drought and lower production led to strong prices. USDA expects peanut production is down 13% from the previous year. Prices for peanuts used to make peanut butter hit nearly $1,200 a ton this fall. That's up from $450 a ton in 2010. Some analysts say favorable prices could attract more farmers from outside the traditional growing regions. Georgia - by far - produces the most peanuts with about a half million acres planted. Alabama and Texas are other big producers.
Also a popular nut crop in the southern U.S...the pecan. While prices are high, there's fewer of the holiday favorite to go around. Drought has cut into production in key growing states. As Ed Wolff from the Texas Farm Bureau reports, even in a difficult year, the pecan popularity is growing...especially overseas. Thanks Ed. A recent study from Rabobank say tree nut prices should remain competitive in the coming years. It says China is the driving force behind demand and higher prices. Besides pecans, the largest demand looks to be for almonds, walnuts, pistachios and hazelnuts.
IN THE COUNTRY; WINTER BIRDING:
While winter isn't always the easiest time of year to enjoy wildlife, there are a few things you can do to enjoy nature's creatures. And it doesn't require spending too much out in the cold. Bird watching can be fun and easy reminder of warmer days to come. As Joe Wilkinson of the Iowa DNR reports, with a little effort and the right food our feather friends will visit all winter long. Thanks Joe. Up next, why experts now recommend an early trip the dentists. Ag for your health right after a few messages.
In Ag for Your Health this morning, if you're the proud owner of new little one or expecting a baby in the New Year, don't forget to make a dentist appointment. Experts now say children should have their first turn in the chair by the time they turn one. Clark Powell with Nationwide Children's Hospital has more on the importance of taking care of toddler's teeth. Thanks Clark. Experts say many family dentists hesitate to see babies simply because they're not trained. In that case it may take finding a pediatric dentist for those little ones. That's all the time we have this morning. We're glad you tuned in.
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