AgDay Daily Recap - December 2, 2011

December 2, 2011 04:43 AM

DECEMBER 2, 2011

Good morning, Clinton is on assignment. Legislation was introduced this week that would clear the way for construction of a major oil pipeline from Canada to the Gulf Coast. The pipeline - called Keystone X-l - has been in legal and political turmoil for months. It would run from Alberta, Canada, through Montana, the Dakotas, and due south through the plains. It's estimated the pipeline would bring an additional 700,000 barrels of oil to the U.S. every day. On Wednesday, Indiana Senator Dick Lugar and North Dakota Senator John Hoeven introduced a bill that would require the Obama administration to allow work to begin on the Canada-to-Texas pipeline within 60 days of passage. The State Department must approve the project. Originally a decision was expected by the end of the year. But it was delayed pending a study of a new route. The seven billion dollar pipeline is opposed by many environmental groups. 37 republicans signed-onto the bill. However, passage of the measure appears difficult in the democratic-controlled senate.

Meanwhile the biofuel had a big year. According to a news release from the national biodiesel board, the industry set a record by producing more than 800 million gallons of bio-diesel. The NBB says this more than doubles last year’s production of 315-million gallons. Production levels were lower last year because congress allowed a biodiesel tax credit to expire. Without the incentive, some producers suspended operations.

Many people will be headed out this weekend looking for the perfect Christmas tree. You can find them at tree farms across the country. This year, however, there's been a bit of a flap. And it stems from a proposed "Check-off" program. Many of the nation's Christmas tree growers have been working for two years on a check-off program, just like those for corn, soybeans, pork, and dairy industries. The industry says it's needed to help promote real trees and to help pay for research. USDA would assess 15-cents per tree on the largest growers. But last month, the phrase "Christmas tree tax" went viral on the internet. In response, USDA pulled back on its plan to implement the check-off. Some growers were upset with what they feel was a "knee jerk" reaction. USDA estimates the tree check-off would generate two million dollars a year. The Dulls are very active in the Indiana Christmas Tree Association. In fact, their tree farm helps organize the "trees for troops" program which helps provide real Christmas trees to U.S. military bases across the country and around the world.

The trees for troops program is a nationwide effort. Growers in just about every state take part. One of those growers is Willow Oaks Christmas Tree Farm in Caroline County, Virginia. In this report from the Virginia Farm Bureau, Norm Hyde takes us to the farm where the business is a labor of love. Thanks Norm. I bet Marie will be busy this weekend. Still to come, analyst Greg Wagner joins us to discuss grain stocks and what USDA could do on some upcoming reports. Later, find out why it might be okay to chew gum in school. But first, we're headed to Mississippi State where the school of ag is trying to "beef-up" the football team. That's later - in the country.

In it simply a threat or could the CME leave Chicago? The CME Group owns the Chicago Mercantile and the Chicago Board of Trade. It's looking for help with its tax liabilities. The company is threatening to leave Illinois if it can't get help from the state legislature. The Chicago Tribune is reporting that there's an impasse on legislation that would help not only CME, but the parent company of Sears and K-mart. The impasse is split along party lines. The Tribune says a number of lawmakers and the governor want the bill to provide substantial tax relief for workers and less for businesses. The Chicago Mercantile has been around since 1898.

Greg Wagner

The college football season is starting to wind-down, especially for those not headed into the post-season. Last weekend the Mississippi State Bulldogs had a huge win over in-state rival "Ole Miss". And now the bulldogs wait to find out which bowl they'll play in. Part of the reason of their success could come from the department of animal and dairy sciences on campus. No kidding! Amy Taylor tells us why in this report provided by MSU. Up next, find out why it's "okay" to have your kids chew gum in school! Food and your family is next,

It may be too late for this football season, but there should be plenty of avocadoes - to make guacamole - next year. The California Farm Bureau says after staying tight for most of this year, avocado supplies should make a comeback in 2012. The California harvest begins in April. Until then, most avocadoes on the market come from Chile or Mexico.

The next time your child gets in trouble for chewing gum in school, they could tell the principal they're chewing gum as a science experiment. Researchers at Coventry University in London have been studying the relationship of people growing tired during the day and chewing gum. Their work was even published in a medical journal. It shows that people were more alert when they chewed gum. They studied a group of under-grads at the college. They said the alertness could be related to "heightened cerebral activity" or the arousing effects of mint flavor. A couple of years ago, another researcher said chewing gum helped people get into a positive mood. Who knew that gum could be good for your health!

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