AgDay Daily Recap - December 1, 2011

December 1, 2011 02:36 AM

DECEMBER 1, 2011

Parents and agribusinesses across the country are worried newly proposed labor laws for farming operations may hinder the development of America’s future farmers. Today is the last day to comment on the Department of Labor's proposed child labor rules. The nation's Labor Department says it’s trying to make the rules for ag employment match those of factories and other non-ag workplaces. The proposed regulations would not apply to children working on farms owned by their parents. But it would keep kids from working on other farms--or in many ag jobs. That has seed companies worried about summer detasseler's. Iowa Senator Chuck Grassly says the rules could stifle the family farm. The comment period ends today. You can make your own comments online at the department of labor's website under the wage and hour division.

Also out of Washington, President Obama has signed a bill that appears to allow horse slaughter to resume in the U.S. Domestic horse slaughter has been all but banned since 2006. That year congress prohibited any money from being spent to regulate and inspect horses being transported for domestic slaughter. Since then, states have seen spikes in horses being abandoned and prices have bottomed out. In June a government accountability report said the U.S. slaughter rules were forcing horses to be shipped out of country for processing--where quote humane slaughtering protections do not apply. The new bill allows money to be spent on inspections.

In our Beef Today Report, packers are keeping a leery eye on the USDA's proposed GIPSA legislation. Just recently the ag department advanced parts of its proposed livestock marketing rules. But congress says not so fast. AgDay regional reporter, Michelle Rook shows us where things stand.

Meanwhile, cattle prices have been strong the second half of 2011. According to the Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle prices are up nearly 20% since July. And future's prices are predicting even higher prices in 2012. Holding up those markets are strong export demand and contracting U.S. supplies. The USDA is forecasting 2012 beef production will be down 5%. Morgan Stanley just named gold and livestock its top commodity picks for 2012.

Holding supplies in check is drought in the southern plains. Experts in Texas say it's virtually certain to continue at least until early summer. The cause of the record setting dry spell, remains two straight years of La Nina. And based on historical records, climatologists say there's 40% chance of La Nina returning for a third year...through 2013. Odessa Texas has registered just three quarters of an inch of rain for the entire year.

In the on-going battle over "farm dust", a house committee on Wednesday voted in support of the "Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act". The measure exempts farm dust from the clean air act unless the EPA can prove it's a significant health risk and that applying the standard is worth the cost.  In October the EPA released a statement saying it wouldn't increase regulations. Regardless, the farm dust regulation prevention act now heads to the full house for a vote. You can get many more updates on the beef industry, including market and production information from our partners at

Mike North

This is the busiest online shopping week of the year. Folks are hitting their keyboards to fill those Christmas wishes. On-line is also a good way to earn extra cash during the holidays. In this report from the University of Tennessee, Chuck Denney tells us about an "e-bay" Christmas. UT Extension experts say potential sellers need to be aware the additional income could have tax implications to consider. Food and your family is next.

In food and your family - do your teenagers eat enough fruits and vegetables? If they're like many of their peers - they do not! The Center for Disease Control just released a new report showing one third of U.S. teens eat vegetables less than once a day. It was a similar number for fruit. The current recommendations call for a cup-and-a-half of fruit and two-and-a-half cups of vegetables for girls every day. Boys should have even more. On the other end – 17% of students ate fruit more than four times a day.

And here's a reason why you should not peel your apple before you eat it. Researchers at Montana State say polyphenols found in the peels can help people with bowel disorders. This could be good news for people who suffer from colitis and Crohn's disease. Researchers found that consuming apple polyphenols - antioxidants found in apple peels - suppress inflammation at the cellular level.

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