AgDay Daily Recap - December 21, 2011

December 21, 2011 06:39 AM

DECEMBER 21, 2011

Good morning. Despite assurances from Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack that the government is not trying to prevent kids from working on the family farm, an Iowa lawmaker is taking no chances. The U.S. Labor Department has proposed updating regulations that would impact minors who work in farming or ranching operations. Congressman Tom Latham wants to make sure the Department of Labor will recognize the role that minors on family farms play in the daily operation. He's concerned about "over-reach" by the federal government. Family farms are typically exempt from such rules. According to ProFarmer Washington consultant, Jim Wiesemeyer, the labor department will ease some of their proposed rules affecting kids under 16 who work on farms. The rules are not likely to be finalized until 2013.

Blizzard like conditions blew through the southern plains Monday and Tuesday. High winds and blinding snow caused deadly accidents closed roads in five states. This video comes from western Kansas where some parts got as much as ten inches. Road crews struggled to keep up. So far the storm is blamed for six deaths including four in New Mexico and two in Colorado. However, the quick blast should have minimal effect on cattle herds in that part of the country. Livestock futures surged Monday out ahead of the storm but fell back Tuesday on easing concerns. The moisture is beneficial for drought stressed pastures and winter wheat.

That snow will provide some badly needed moisture in the plains. Meanwhile, parts of the southeast could still use some help. Meteorologist Cindi Clawson is filling in for Mike Hoffman this morning. Good morning Cindi. Good morning Clinton. The "NASS" office in Florida says pasture conditions in the panhandle and northern counties ranged from very poor to excellent but most are poor to fair condition. Dry soils limited winter grazing. Cool season pastures grew enough for light grazing in some locations. However, drought severely limited winter forage in other locations. Most producers were actively feeding hay.

As we wind-down 2011, many cotton growers will remember this year as challenging one. That was certainly the case in Mississippi. One of the problems in 2011 will be a continuing problem in 2012 - herbicide resistant weeds. In this report provided by Mississippi State Extension, Leighton Spann talks with the weed warriors in his state about other yield-robbing weeds. Mississippi farmers harvested about 600,000 acres of cotton this year - a 43% increase from 2012.

In Machinery Minute it seems our neighbors to the north are readily adopting mobile technology. A new study from Farm Credit Canada says Canadian farmers are just as likely to purchase smartphones and tablet computers as their urban counterparts. About 30% of Canadians own smartphones, 6% own tablets. The study also found nearly 90% of respondents have high speed internet.

And John Deere says it plans to expand its manufacturing capacity in Iowa. The city of Ankeny offered the company economic incentives to keep jobs there. Deere plans to spend 85 million dollars expanding facilities including adding a 300,000 square foot building. The additional production capacity is for Deere's self-propelled sprayers.

In agribusiness it sounds like the Chicago Mercantile Exchange is staying put in Chicago. This after state legislators passed a bill lowering the company's tax burden. The legislation got approval from the state's general assembly and was signed by Governor Pat Quinn. It makes changes to the state's corporate tax laws, lowering CME's taxes to 27.5-4% of all electronic trades. Previously they had to pay taxes on all trades...costing the group nearly 160 million dollars this year. The new law cuts those taxes in half.
CME says it will remain headquartered in Chicago

Darren Frye

Ask just about any child - including my son - and they'll say Santa Claus lives north - way north - at the North Pole. So how do you get there from here? Well you might want to start your journey in North Dakota. Apparently, Santa may have a smaller house there. Our friend Cliff Naylor from KFYR-TV in Bismarck, North Dakota followed one family on their trip to find Santa before he leaves on his magical Christmas ride. Still to come this Wednesday morning, we'll travel to the dairy state for the seasonal taste of eggnog. Plus, would knowing how much exercise is required to burn off those Christmas goodies change your behavior? We'll explain in food and your family.

In food and your family, it's time for that seasonal dairy treat - eggnog. A southern Wisconsin creamery ramped-up its production to meet the demand. Sassy Cow Creamery is a farmstead dairy in Columbus, Wisconsin. Making eggnog is a bit more complicated than simply bottling milk. It starts with a custard-like mixture made from cream. They add sugar and pasteurized eggs. They use milk from their own herd and they sweeten it with real cane sugar. Sassy Cow Creamery's eggnog is found in grocery stores in Madison and Milwaukee.

So how long would you need to jog in order to burn off that holiday treat? Health experts say that information may be more effective than traditional nutrition labels. Researchers at John's Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health studied teenagers at stores with different types of signage. One sign had calorie counts, one broke down calories by the percent of recommended daily intake and one listed the required time jogging needed to burn off the drink. For example, a can of soda requires fifty minutes of jogging. Researchers say the signs converting calories to exercise minutes were most influential.

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