Good morning I’m Clinton Griffiths. A new report shows little improvement to address the need for large animal vets...and it's not only America’s farmers who are feeling the impact. To combat the shortage of large-animal vets, a growing number of states are offering an attractive loan re-payment program. In some cases, those hefty loans disappear. But in return the newly trained veterinarian must agree to work in under-served regions of the state. Cliff Naylor from affiliate KFYR has our story.
Even though Texas and the southwest United States faced a record drought last year, new data from the AG Department shows the amount of parched pastures is even higher this year. Overall 47% of pastures across the country are in good to excellent condition. Last year at this time, 55% was good to excellent.
Meanwhile, the livestock marketing information center says hay use was reduced this past winter by weather conditions and record high hay prices. LMIC says US hay disappearance between December and May was the lowest since 1980. Many producers chose lower cost options, like feeding baled corn stalks. With the larger than anticipated hay stocks, this sets the stage for softer hay prices this marketing year.
The record warm winter and early spring not only meant early planting of crops, it also pushed along a noxious weed that cattlemen need to watch for. The Ohio state extension office says Cressleaf Groundsel is on the rise earlier than normal. The weed poses a threat to grazing livestock. Farmers need to be especially aware as they bale hay.
In other news - USDA announced Wednesday it has finalized its plans to consolidate and close-down some farm service agency county offices.
In Agribusiness today - the current downward spiral of US cotton prices. December futures have dropped 18% from just over 83 cents on May 9 to just under 69 cents last week. OA Cleveland from Mississippi State University says prices made a two year low last week and the price outlook is, at best, poor. Cleveland says the world carryover of cotton stocks is so large that the world stocks-to-use ratio is greater than 60%. In other words, the industry has so much cotton; more than 60% of the fiber for the next marketing year is already in storage.
Now to rice - the crop is planted and most has emerged. More than half of the crop is called good. Another 15% is excellent. In this morning's analysis, Farm Director Al Pell discusses the marketing outlook for rice.
Researchers at the LSU Aquaculture research station have recently succeeded in spawning an ancient fish that is threatened by habitat loss across the United States. Craig Gautreaux from the LSU Agcenter reports on this prehistoric animal. In Louisiana, Alligator Gar are found in river systems throughout the state and in saltwater marshes along the coast.
FOOD AND YOUR FAMILY:
If your child is headed to the National FFA convention this fall, he or she could be part of a major effort to fight hunger. The National FFA announced plans for the unique rally. The organic grocery chain "Whole Foods" has awarded a Wisconsin cheese maker for using sustainable practices on their farm. We’ve taken you to 'Crave Brothers' farm in Waterloo, Wisconsin. The brothers use the milk from their own dairy farm to produce farmstead cheeses. Whole Foods is now honoring its suppliers which use natural and organic practices. The Craves were one of the first dairy operations in Wisconsin to build a bio-digester to get rid of herd waste. The digester powers the farm, the cheese factory as well as 300 neighboring homes. And finally this morning, if you are at risk for Osteo-Arthritis, you might want to add tart cherries to your diet.