TODAY ON AGDAY
MARCH 2, 2012
Good morning everyone. The 2012 Commodity Classic is now off-and-running in Nashville. A record crowd has registered for the four day event. For the U.S. grain industry - this is the marquee event. We have team coverage of the Classic and we begin with Clinton Griffiths, Clinton!
Thanks Clinton. AgDay regional reporter Michelle Rook is also in Nashville. She talked with the head of the Corn-Grower Association about policy priorities for this year. And the paramount issue is the farm bill.
A major topic for the grain industry during Commodity Classic has been infrastructure, including deep water ports. U.S. Grains Council President Thomas Dorr said the U.S. must increase port sizes if it wants to keep its competitive exporting edge. He says the Panama Canal expansion will triple shipping capacities in South America by 2014. We talked with NCGA CEO Rick Tolman about the shipping challenges in the U.S. He says the U.S. has seen cost over runs and delays in improving ports, so finding a different system is critical. Tolman thinks a combination of funding and work from both the public and private sector is what it will take to get the job done. He says increasing taxes is not the solution since congress is opposed to anything right now that would come at the expense of taxpayers’ dollars.
In Machinery Minute, Deere & Company plans to make its massive tractor plant in Waterloo, Iowa even larger. The company says it will invest 70 million dollars to expand the manufacturing capacity at the Waterloo Works. That's where the company builds large farm tractors. Deere says it sees strong global demand for large tractors for several years to come. The expansion will increase capacity by more than 10%. This expansion builds-upon Deere’s largest product launch in company history. John Deere saw record sales in 2011, and the first quarter of 2012 looks to be on pace with another record year. Deere does not expect to add any new jobs as a result of the expansion in Waterloo.
AG EQUIPMENT EXPORTS:
In other machinery news exports of U.S. made agricultural equipment increased 23% last year. That's about 11-billion dollars’ worth of machinery goods shipped to other nations. The Association of Equipment Manufacturers says it's welcome news after the 23% drop during the depths of the recession in 2009. Australia had the biggest gain, up 60% from a year ago. Exports of U.S. Ag machinery to South America increased 31%, totaling more than a billion dollars. AEM says Canada is still the top importer at three-and-a-half billion dollars’ worth of farm equipment.
IN THE COUNTRY; MITTEN LADY:
If you're in the upper Midwest, it's not time to put away that winter gear just yet. The state experienced a winter blast this week. KFYR's Cliff Naylor tells us how one woman is taking advantage of the cold and turning something old, into something new. Thanks Cliff. Still to come how much sugar does your kid eat? Some new numbers next in Food and Your Family.
In Food and Your Family, if you're trying to improve your cholesterol, you may want to consider a diet high in soy and vitamin D. Researchers from two different universities found eating foods rich in soy will help lower your LDL cholesterol. Meanwhile, consuming more vitamin D will help increase your HDL, or what they call the good cholesterol, while also improving heart health. Examples of foods rich in vitamin D include fish and eggs.