TODAY ON AGDAY
FEBRUARY 1, 2012
The American Farm Bureau Federation wants quick action in its lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency's "pollution diet" for the Chesapeake Bay. The Farm Bureau filed its opening legal brief, asking for a summary judgment. In December 2010, the Farm Bureau and several state Farm Bureaus filed suit against EPA for setting levels on how much nitrogen, phosphorous and sediment can be allowed into the Bay and its tributaries. The Farm Bureau says the EPA is going far beyond its traditional and lawful authority. It says the nutrient diet would have a devastating impact on farmers who live and work in the six east coast states that feed into the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Stallman says farmers in the watershed have a track record of conservation and sound stewardship. He says EPA is trespassing into legal territory reserved for state governments.
At this time of year, there's only a monthly condition update on the winter wheat crop. Right now it shows 49% of the Kansas crop is rated good to excellent. 39% is fair. And just 12% is poor to very poor. While the data looks promising, unusually warm, dry and windy January weather has decreased soil moisture and winter wheat condition. In Oklahoma, more than half of the crop is rated good to excellent according to this monthly winter wheat report. 37% is fair. And 9% is poor to very poor. Scattered showers and unseasonably warm temps have pushed the crop along. However, the showers have done little to reduce the drought problem. In Texas it's another rough start to the year, 38% of the winter wheat is poor to very poor. Another 36% is fair. 22% is good and just 4% is excellent.
Conditions for cotton in Texas aren't looking any better. And that may force an unusual shift in crop acreage for 2012. Texas Agrilife Extension predicts there will be more cotton in dry land this year versus irrigated acres. They're attributing the potential shift to higher irrigation costs and water shortages. Dry land cotton acres must be certified for insurance by July 15th.
MACHINERY MINUTE; IRRIGATION SECURITY:
In Machinery Minute a device that helps provide security to your home or business may also save your irrigation systems from crooks. During the recent Georgia Peanut Farm Show, we talked with a representative from a company called Central Monitoring. Based in Albany, Georgia, the company installs alarm systems for homes and businesses. Now, it's making big gains in alarm systems for pivot irrigation systems. As we've been reporting, crooks are stripping pivots of copper wire, leaving those systems power-less. Barton says there's a onetime set-up fee for the system, as well as a monthly fee - just like a home security system. Since the product roll-out last May, they've installed 200 systems in southern Georgia. The company is now rolling-out the product nationwide. To learn more about the device, check out their website which is www.pivotalarm.com. Their phone number is 800-442-1125.
IN THE COUNTRY; TOP PRODUCER OF THE YEAR:
One of the most prestigious producer conferences in the country is underway in Chicago.
The Top Producer Seminar is the nation's largest and longest-tenured agricultural business event. And this year it's headed for its biggest turnout yet. More than 1000 people and over 700 of the biggest producers in the country are on hand. It's also where organizers will reveal the Top Producer of the Year. So far the field has been narrowed down to three finalists. Mike Stamp of Decatur, Michigan, Tim Richter of Lime Springs, Iowa and Greg Halverson of North Dakota. This week we'll profile all three on our road to the big announcement. We begin in Michigan with Mike Stamp. Tomorrow, as promised, we'll introduce you to our next finalist, Tim Richter of Lime Springs, Iowa. He's building an operation and a future with help from his brother and an unrelated partner. Up next, a Christmas trees for troops project gets national recognition. We'll be right back.
In Food and Your Family the spring like winter may have you planning this year's garden. And for those of you looking for novelty plants, Oregon state scientists have just released a rather unique tomato variety. Take a look, this is called the indigo rose tomato and it's a deep purple color. Scientists say it's the first "really" purple variety and it contains higher than normal levels of antioxidants. The healthy purple tomato is intended for home gardens and fresh markets. Professor Jim Myers at Oregon State says many people expect the indigo rose to have impressive flavor to match its extraordinary color but, he says it just tastes like a tomato.
There's good news for canola growers. Canola may soon be a major player in the sports world and food industry. According to Food Navigator USA a Canadian company is working to develop canola-protein-based products. If finalized, you'll find the protein in products such as dietary supplements and nutritional beverages. The report says nearly a dozen major players in the food industry are testing canola protein for other purposes, which would increase canola demand.
TREES FOR TROOPS:
Most of us have Christmas in the rear view mirror at this point, but a program we told you about late last year is getting national recognition. Trees for Troops, brought together Christmas tree growers from around the country--donating nearly 20,000 trees to military families in 2011. The program is run by the National Christmas Tree Association's Christmas Spirit Foundation. Now the effort is one of the top 20 finalists in The Joining Forces Community challenge which seeks to recognize organizations and individuals that serve military families. Finalists will be judged in January and February and the public can vote. Go to www.challenge.gov. Winners will be announced February 24th.