AgDay Daily Recap - December 30, 2011

December 30, 2011 06:04 AM

DECEMBER 30, 2011

Good morning. We're closing out 2011 with an update on one of the biggest Ag stories of the year - flooding on the Mississippi River. On Thursday, the corps of engineers announced its Mississippi Valley division will receive 800-million dollars to help pay for repairs of damaged levees. While a lot of attention focused on the bird's point levee flooding in southeast Missouri, this funding covers the entire district. It stretches from Canada to the Gulf, encompassing parts of 12 states. Damage assessments to levees are still underway, but engineers estimate that repair costs for documented damages in the Mississippi Valley district alone are approaching one billion dollars. The core says even with the new funding, it will take years to restore the system to its pre-flood conditions. As far as bird's point levee, the corps has ended construction for the winter, stopping at 55 feet. The corps tells AgDay that their plans are to return the levee to 62.5 elevation with work starting in the spring. That was the elevation of the levee before it was breached.

Meanwhile flooding in Louisiana - caused by the opening of the Morganza spillway - had an impact on farmers in that state. But actually, flooding took a back seat to drought. In this report from the LSU Agcenter, Tobie Blanchard says weather extremes affected many of the state's major crops. The most recent data shows nearly eight billion dollars have been paid out to farmers for losses to the 2011 crops. It's been a combination of weather disasters - wide-spread flooding in the central united states, flood and wind damage from tropical storm Irene in the northeast, and of course the intense drought in the southern plains. Texas producers have received about a quarter of the insurance payments.

Sue Martin

This is a "giving" time of year. Whether it's giving thanks for the people we love or giving things to people in need. There's an antique tractor club in northern Indiana that uses harvest time - and their favorite green iron - to share with others less fortunate. Wes Mills has our story about the grains of goodness. The northern Indiana Johnny Poppers will be holding its annual holiday banquet next week. Because of their grain sales, they'll be able to donate split 24,000 dollars among area food pantries, several FFA chapters and a local cancer support group. Well done guys. Our thanks to Bethany Zill for sharing her gift of song with us. The rural lifestyle is an important part of her life. Bethany grew-up on a North Dakota farm where her family grew wheat. The song - Fire Up that Old John Deere - is available on her CD, entitled "Where Roots Run Deep". To order a copy, Bethany says you can email her at

In Food and Your Family parts of California has seen its share of cold weather. Freezing temperatures put citrus growers in the central valley on alert. In 2011 California citrus sales totaled 1.3 billion dollars...and accounted for about a third of all citrus produced in the U.S. Which is why farmers there are doing what they can to save this year's crop. According to California Citrus Mutual --this month farmers in the central valley set up more that 16,000 wind machines to keep air flowing and temperatures up. Setting up those massive fans cost growers 62 million dollars.

And January first, marks the beginning of the end for the incandescent bulb. The 131 year old invention is set to be replaced by newer, more energy efficient models. It's part of a law signed in 2007 mandating the phase-out. The first to go, the 100 watt light year, 75 watters followed by the 40 and 60 models in 2014. Earlier this month congress passed a spending bill that pulls funding for the enforcement of the phase-out.
However, retailers and manufacturers are planning to move forward anyway.

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