AgDay Daily Recap - March 30, 2012

March 30, 2012 05:08 AM
 

TODAY ON AGDAY
MARCH 30, 2012

GOVERNOR BEEF TOUR:
Good morning I’m Clinton Griffiths. You may very well see that phrase - 'dude. It's beef' on t-shirts and bumper stickers. That was the message Thursday after elected leaders of four states got a firsthand look at a beef processing plant that's been under pressure in the last two weeks. The governors and lieutenant governors from four states that have plants owned by Beef Products Incorporated got a firsthand look at how lean, finely-textured, beef is processed. The tour is intended to show the governor's support for BPI. The South Dakota-based beef processor
Is caught-up in the debate over lean, finely-textured beef - or pink slime - to its critics. BPI opened the doors of its Nebraska plant to the governors and the media. During the tour, they explained what parts of carcass are used and why it's treated with an ammonia-water-based mixture to kill bacteria. After the tour, the governors spoke about the damage the company has endured. BPI suspended operations at three of its four plants - including sites in Iowa, Kansas and Texas. The company says that's 650 workers.

BIOFUELS POLICY:
With gasoline prices rising at the pump lawmakers are looking for solutions to the nation's fuels policy. However, the ethanol industry is at a crossroads when it comes to government support to continue to grow production. AgDay's Michelle Rook has the story. Ruth says the topic of renewable fuels policy has been noticeably absent in this year's presidential campaign, but with gas prices rising it may re-emerge as a key campaign issue. He says the president mentioned it in his State of the Union address but has not backed it up with any funding in this budget.

PLANTING INTENTIONS:
At 7:30 a.m. the USDA releases its spring planting intentions report. You can see the numbers and get plenty of analysis over at our corporate cousins, www.agweb.com. Pre-report estimates are putting corn acres at 95 million. That would be about 3 million higher than last year. Soybeans are pegged to come in between 74 and 75 while wheat planting clock in at around 56 and half million acres. Regardless of what the reports say, spring's early arrival has many farmers already in the field. But the chance of a cold snap remains high. Analysts say if weather damages these early planted crops today's estimates can be tossed out.

MISSISSIPPI LOCKS AND DAMS:
New legislation in congress is looking to double the amount of money available for the nation's crumbling locks and dams. Kentucky Congressman Ed Whitfiled plans to introduce the bill being called wave 4. It speeds the replacement of aging infrastructure doubling funding to 380 million dollars a year. It would also increase a tax on barge operators. Roughly 60% of the more than 200 locks on the nation's rivers are over 50 years old.

ANALYSIS:
Bill Biedermann

IN THE COUNTRY; AUTISM STUDY:
A new report out from the CDC reveals staggering statistics about autism in this country. The latest estimates show one in 88 American children have some form of autism. In boys it’s one in 54. That’s nearly an 80% increase in the past decade. It's an issue affecting all communities. For years doctors have prescribed drugs to help children. But as Clark Powell of Ohio State University's Wexner Medical Center shows us ideas on treatment are changing. Thanks Clark.
Studies have shown early diagnosis and intervention makes a big difference in the life of the child.

FOOD COLORINGS:
In Food and Your Family the scuttlebutt over food coloring and its link to ADHD continues. A new study from scientists in Oregon say the science is blurry. The connection between artificial food colors and hyperactivity surfaced in 2007 after a UK study that suggested a link between 6 food dyes. While Europe began requiring warnings, the U.S. FDA is yet to that far. Now researchers in Oregon have done meta-analysis and say the link isn't reliable. The results different depending on where the food stats come from. Scientists say this suggests more research needs to be done.

STARBUCKS BUGS:
And speaking of food coloring Starbucks customers are bugging out over the drink chains red coloring. Several strawberry flavored drinks get cochineal extract to make it more red. Turns out the coloring comes from the cochineal insect---it lives on prickly pear cactus in South America.
It's been around since the days of the Aztecs and Mayans. Starbucks told ABC news it switched to the insect coloring to get away from artificial dyes.

CONTACT:
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