AgDay Daily Recap - April 20, 2012

April 20, 2012 05:57 AM

APRIL 20, 2012

Good morning I’m Tyne Morgan, in for Clinton Griffiths. One day after HSUS announced it's filing a complaint against the National Pork Producers Council, another top livestock group says they are next. HSUS filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission over the Pork Council's We Care Initiative and Pork Quality Assurance Plus. The animal rights group says the programs give false claims regarding the welfare of pigs. A spokesperson from the National Cattleman's Beef Association says he expects NCBA will become the next target of HSUS. NCBA says it's been outspoken on its opposition of the egg bill, which makes them a target for HSUS. The egg bill was created by both HSUS and United Egg Producers, would require egg producers to move to new enriched cages. Many livestock groups think this bill creates a slippery slope, since HSUS is involved. Therefore, the groups also think the recent accusation against National Pork Producers council, stems from their opposition of the egg bill. NCBA says if HSUS does decide to target beef next, it has nothing to hide and welcomes any review of its beef quality assurance program.

Meanwhile, NCBA and other livestock groups continue to express concern over the bill and other federal mandates. Producers representing livestock and poultry industries joined forces on capitol hill this week, to voice concerns over animal production mandates. The producers sat on a panel to explain how they care for their livestock and poultry. Producers also voiced concerns over the egg bill. NCBA says hearing from lobbyists regarding the negative impact of mandates is one thing, but hearing from real producers has more meaning. NCBA says the panel allowed congressional staffers to hear how federal mandates could directly impact livestock producers across the country.

In news from our partners at Dairy Today, U.S. milk production is on the rise. USDA reports March milk production increased 4.3% from last year. And the first quarter of 2012 was more than 5% better than the first quarter of last year. California continues to lead in milk production. It's up 220 million pounds from a year ago. The number of dairy cows is also up. The average number of dairy cows in the first quarter was 9.2 million, an increase of 86,000 head over last year.

Thanks Mike. As Mike mentioned, Texas farmers are trying to "make hay" as conditions are quite favorable. There's a similar story in Kentucky. The record warmth in March are pushing crops weeks ahead of normal. Some farmers are scrambling to cut their wheat silage. Normally it's not done until May. Jeff Franklin has details in this report from the University of Kentucky. Jeff says one of the big concerns now is the lack of moisture. About a third of the state is now considered abnormally dry by the U.S. drought monitor.

Chip Flory

As many of our regular viewers know, we do a special program each month that's intended to help farmers create a succession plan for their farming operation. It's called Leave a Legacy. As we've learned, planning is key in creating a successful transition. And it's not always easy. Clinton visited a farm in western Indiana where a recent college grad wants to come back to the farm, but there plenty of questions as to how it'll work. Thanks Clinton. There's also a daughter in the Cottingham family - Leslie. But she's pursued a career off-farm. However the Cottinghams say there's always a place for her at home.

Oregon health officials are warning consumers about the risks of drinking raw milk. This comes after a recent e coli outbreak being linked back to raw milk from an Oregon dairy farm that caused four children to be hospitalized, and as many as 18 people sick. Of those four children hospitalized, officials say all have developed a syndrome called HUS, which is a type of kidney failure and can lead to death. The state of Oregon allows the sale of raw milk on-farm with restrictions on the number of animals that produce the milk. A month ago the Centers for Disease Control released a report showing 60% of disease outbreaks caused by dairy products between 1993 and 2006 were caused by nonpasteurized products. Raw milk advocates continue to stand by the product saying pasteurizing milk removes vitamins and nutrients and alters the taste of milk.

It seems like the right thing to do - buy those canvas grocery bags instead of using plastic bags each time you go to the store. But if you don't wash those bags on occasion, you could be putting your family at risk. According to a survey from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, only 15% of Americans regularly wash their totes-bags. They can become a breeding ground for harmful bacteria. Cross-contamination occurs when juices from raw meats or germs from unclean objects come in contact with cooked or ready-to-eat foods like breads or produce. According to the academy, bacteria can be eliminated by frequently cleaning the bags in the washing machine or by hand with hot, soapy water. You should clean all areas where you place your totes, such as the kitchen counter. And store totes in a clean, dry location.

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