AgDay Daily Recap - April 13, 2011

07:42AM Apr 13, 2011
( )

April 13, 2011

We're getting more information about the agreed continuing resolution which will fund the U.S. government through the rest of the year. The 38 and half billion dollars in reductions will mean significant changes to U.S. Ag programs. The USDA received 20 billion dollars for its Ag programs...that's 3 billion less than last year. The reduction means there will be cuts in agriculture. For instance, food safety and inspection lost ten million dollars and rural housing loans lost 150. Here's how a few of the other stack up. WIC saw a near half billion dollar reduction. Dairy subsidies lost 350. The foreign food assistance program is down nearly 200 million dollars. The Ag credit insurance fund took a 430 million dollar hit and the ag research service lost nearly 45 million. I spoke recently with Alan Kemper, president of the American Soybean Association. He says it's no secret cuts were in the works.
This agreement for the rest of the fiscal year is expected to be voted on this week.
It must be approved by both chambers of congress.
USDA is taking steps to increase the use of ethanol in this country. Ag secretary Tom Vilsack says his department will provide funding for service stations to install flex-fuel pumps. USDA issued a rule to clarify what sort of fuel systems would be eligible for the funding. Vilsack says that includes blender pumps. The goal is to provide incentives to fuel station owners so they install pumps, which offer e-85 fuel. Vilsack says the white house wants to install 10-thousand pumps within five years.
The USDA is also planning to increase sugar imports. As we've told you a January freeze in Florida caused losses in this year's cane crop. The Ag department says they'll increase sugar imports by 325-thousand short tons. Companies that use the sweetener are pleased. U.S. sugar prices are currently higher than many other global markets.
Good morning Clinton. Agweb received several crop comments from Minnesota. From Renville county, a grower says they got over an inch of rain on Sunday. He says it's very wet there. In neighboring Mcleod county, a producer says there is standing water everywhere with all of the rivers and creeks out of their banks, tiles running full, and "n" disappearing under all the water.
We continue our special series on weed warriors this morning. It's part of a project we're doing in collaboration with our partners at farm journal. This week we're profiling some of the front line weed researchers at state schools. We have two reports this morning. One from Oklahoma State University and the other from the University of Kentucky. Both reports focus on weeds in wheat and what researchers are doing to control things like rye grass in the fight to keep yields heading higher. Jeff says currently in Kentucky there isn't a pre-emergent herbicide to extend control of rye grass...but weed experts say hope is on the horizon. Thanks to Lyndall and Jeff for those reports.
In agribusiness, there's encouraging signs for beef producers, but will sharply higher gasoline prices scare-away consumers? Farm Director Al Pell has this morning's analysis.
The conservation reserve program--or CRP as its called--helps farmers protect evironmentally sensitive land. More than thirty million acres are enrolled across the country and for 25 years its served participants well. But right now not everyone thinks the standard crp rules should apply. More than 25 congressional leaders in the house of representatives are urging President Obama to let willing farmers out of their CRP contracts. They say the land is needed to grow more food, prevent grain shortages and stem rising prices. The USDA's Bob Ellison takes a look at the current program and the legacy it's leaving. Thanks Bob. So far there's been no action on the request to open CRP lands to production. Enrollment and general signup for the current CRP ends soon.
Food and Your Family is next.
In food and your family a new study says adding an organic label to food makes people think it's better. Whether it actually is or isn't apparently has nothing to do with the food. This research looked to find out if just labeling something made people think it was healthier and tastier. It used volunteers to compare foods they thought were conventionally produced with its organic counterpart. Researchers found participants preferred almost all of the taste and health characteristics of organically labeled foods...even though it was exactly the same product as the non-organic. Even chips and cookies labeled organic were judged to be more nutritious.