TODAY ON AGDAY
APRIL 4, 2012
Good morning I’m Clinton Griffiths. A bipartisan group of senators introduced legislation Tuesday that may play a major role in the 2012 Farm Bill. It's called the Revenue Loss Assistance and Crop Insurance Enhancement Act of 2012. If passed it would be a major piece of the new Farm Bill. The act seeks to take out the complexity and duplication in farm programs. The RLAP works with crop insurance to help with losses between 12-25% of their historic revenue. And it's based on an individual farm's performance, not an area trigger. Assistance would also be commodity specific. RLAP provides assistance for farmers on planted acres at a 65% payment rate. Acres that didn't get planted due to bad weather would be paid at 45%. But what will it cost? In a year of tight budgets even Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack is answering for cuts at the USDA.
Vilsack made those comments at the Senate appropriations committee's agriculture subcommittee hearing. The focus was on USDA's fiscal 2013 budget proposal. The secretary fielded questions on everything from the women infants and children program to a new poultry inspection system.
CALI CITRUS GREENING:
Its news California citrus growers were hoping never to hear. USDA has confirmed a case of citrus greening in Los Angeles County which could threaten the state's 2 billion dollar citrus industry. The disease has already killed millions of citrus trees in Florida and Brazil. Leaving behind losses in the billions of dollars. Now agents say greening has been found in a lemon grapefruit hybrid tree. That tree--in a residential neighborhood in Los Angeles. Sales and shipments of citrus trees are being shut down in a five mile radius, a quarantine which may get bigger if more cases are found.
FUTURE OF FARMING:
Agriculture has been tasked with a very important responsibility for the future -- feeding a growing population. The late Dr. Normal Borlaug predicted agriculture will have to produce more food in the next 50 years, than what's been produced in the past 10,000 years combined. Farmers will need to do this on less land. This means yield will become an even larger focus, and solutions to producing more yield will require even more research. Jackson says his research is still almost a decade away from hitting the hands of researchers outside the land institute. When I listened to Jackson speak, he mentioned researchers need to quit being realists and think outside the box. Last week when you talked to the farmer at Plant Chicago, it seemed like he is taking that approach in his research. You're right. He's continuing to try new, innovative ways to produce fresh produce. But he even admitted his work isn't going to be the answer to feeding a growing population... He currently can't grow enough to feed Chicago. So, if you think about it, it's the realists, or today's and tomorrow's farmers, who are going to need to make sure the increasing number of people in the world don't go hungry in the future.
A dry mild winter has many producers speculating about its impact on 2012 crop yields. According to University of Illinois economist Darrel Good, there's very little correlation between average winter temps, winter precipitation and average state yield. He looked at records for Illinois and Iowa from 1960 through 2011. He says rain during the growing season makes a bigger impact.
IN THE COUNTRY; BABY BUTTON TOPS:
North Dakota isn't commonly thought of as the fashion capital of the world. But that doesn't mean clothing made there can't make it into the wardrobes of the rich and famous. Cliff Naylor from affiliate KFYR found an entrepreneur who's producing baby accessories being worn by famous children and lots of ordinary children. Thanks Cliff. Cliff says if you want to see more of these creations, Baby Button Tops has an Etsy page. At www.etsy.com. Food and Your Family is next.
SODA CONSUMPTION FIZZLES:
American's love of carbonated beverages is no secret. But it looks like the amount getting popped and poured in the U.S. is shrinking. Consumption of soft drinks hit their lowest level since 1996. The average consumer drank 714 eight ounce servings in 2011, that down 14 servings from a year earlier. This is the seventh straight year of declines. That equates to roughly 9.2 billion cases of cola. Coke, Pepsi and Dr. Pepper all saw less consumption while energy drinks grew by 16%.
And busy bees have been working hard to keep up with demand. The latest production numbers show in 2011, honey production totaled 148 million pounds. That's down 16% year over year. Honey stocks are also down causing record high honey prices. 2011 prices were about 173 cents per pound that's up about 7% compared to 2010.
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