AgDay Daily Recap - December 7, 2011

December 7, 2011 05:02 AM

DECEMBER 7, 2011

Good morning. Some of the key lawmakers who will craft the next farm bill talked about the secretive nature of the so-called "Super Committee". That panel was charged with finding ways to cut the nation's deficit by a trillion dollars. But as you know, they failed. Part of the plan included an effort to "ram-rod" through a farm bill without holding any hearings. On Tuesday, three of the top key ag players spoke at the Farm Journal Forum. Clinton Griffiths has details from Washington. Clinton will be back here tomorrow. We'll hear more about the farm journal forum, which focused on securing global food security with sustainability.

The weed teams at the University of Illinois have spent the better part of a decade to figure out how water hemp develops resistance to herbicides. As we continue our look at the nation's weed warriors, Todd Gleason tells us about an Illinois scientist who says it's a 'numbers game'. Last month, researchers in Nebraska confirmed resistance to "2-4-D" in a water hemp population. While the case is isolated, Nebraska researcher Greg Kruger says it was the first known case. And it's the sixth herbicide that water hemp has become resistant. Coming up tomorrow on Weed Warriors we head to Oklahoma where researchers are battling against Italian ryegrass. It has long-been an issue for the state's wheat growers. We'll hear from the state's weed guru tomorrow on AgDay.

In Machinery Minute it appears America’s farmers are using some of the increases in net farm income to update their capital investments - like equipment and barns. The University of Illinois conducted a study to look at those investments. It shows the average capital purchases have been 90,000 dollars a year for the past three years. The researchers in Illinois say due to the improved cash flows, some farmers were catching up replacing older equipment that was not replaced earlier in the decade. The Illinois study shows an average 2,500 acre Illinois grain farm will have approximately one million dollars in machinery in 2010, an increase of approximately 300 from 2006. About 20% is financed.

In agribusiness it appears the c-m-e group - which is threatening to leave Illinois - is getting "courted" by neighboring Indiana. As we reported last week, CME is asking the Illinois legislature to help with some tax liabilities.  The futures exchange company - which operates the Chicago Mercantile and Chicago Board of Trade - says it's getting too expensive to operate in Illinois. The corporate tax rate in Illinois jumped up 46%. According to a report in the Indianapolis Star, the CME group has been in conversations with the mayor of Indianapolis and Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels. The on-line story says the conversations have been very preliminary. If the move were to happen, the familiar trading pits would remain in Chicago. But the pits only make-up 11% of the trade anymore. Most of it is done electronically. Those jobs and the corporate positions would move.

Mark Gold

As you head-out Christmas shopping, you better keep in mind some of the hidden dangers associated with some gifts and cards. Medical experts say there is a growing number of kids who get hurt after swallowing "button batteries". In this report from Nationwide Children's Hospital, Clark Powell says these tiny batteries can do a lot of damage - and are often found in places you never imagined. Doctor Jatana says if a child swallows a button battery, he or she may not show signs right away. And if they do, it might just be irritability, fever or vomiting. Many parents may assume it's just a virus. Food and your family is next.

In food and your family the idea of a tax on fattening foods and sugary-snacks is nothing news. But who should get taxed? The user or the product maker? Economists at Iowa State University examined how a "sin tax" would best be applied on sweeteners. Their work seems to indicate that if the goal is to reduce calories, lawmakers should tax the ingredients and not the final products. The economists at Iowa State University concluded that assessing the tax at the processing stage, food processors would reduce the amount of caloric sweeteners they put into their products. The economists said they are not advocating for or against any tax, but simply researching how and where a possible sweetener tax would be most effective in the fight to curb the obesity epidemic. We'll put a link on our website, if you want to take a closer look at the study.

And finally this morning...some news that'll likely make cheese producers happy, especially cheddar cheese. A marketing research firm called the NPD group conducts a study every three years to see what sort of items are used in America’s kitchens. NPD asked consumers about appliances, cookware and food ingredients that they have on-hand. Here are some of the highlights of their latest audit. It shows four in ten respondents use a recipe once a week or more. Twenty percent of households own a pressure cooker. And 55% of households have cheddar cheese "on hand right now." Food companies and appliance makers use this info for product development.

And don't forget to share your comments about the day's news or anything else. Email, phone or Facebook are all good ways to contact us.

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