AgDay Daily Recap - February 17, 2012

February 17, 2012 03:28 AM

FEBRUARY 17, 2012

Good morning. The increasing regulatory environment in agriculture continues to be a thorn in the side of Ag sector interests. But cattlemen may bear the lion share of those regulations. Independent by nature and opposed to government intervention, they have made putting a halt on regulations at the top of their 2012 hit list. In our "Beef Today Report", AgDay's Michelle Rook reports on which regulations cattlemen have in the crosshairs.

Thanks Michelle. Cattle prices continue to remain strong this week. Chicago live cattle futures in February are trading near 127...feeders near 157. But those higher prices aren't benefitting everyone in the value chain. Oklahoma State's livestock marketing specialist, Derrell Peel says feeder cattle markets are red hot...especially lighter weights. He says that's good news for cow calf producers and those running stockers. But high prices are already squeezing margins at U.S. feedlots and packers.

A group of Chinese leaders are heading home after spending a week on U.S. soil. A trip that included a stop in Chicago and Des Moines, Iowa to talk agriculture. During this stop at the World Food Prize Center in Des Moines, the delegation agreed to purchase 4.3 billion dollars’ worth of U.S. soybeans. That equates to roughly 317 million bushels. The U.S. Soybean Export Council says china currently consumes about 25% of all U.S. soybean production. They expect that to continue to grow as the country’s population improves its living standards.

Some farmers in the south are getting anxious to get into their fields. Mike Hoffman has the details in crop watch. Good morning Mike. Good morning Clinton. In Sevier County, Tennessee, a commercial grass, hay and alfalfa grower checked-in. He says his county is much above normal rainfall. It's been very wet since late fall. He can't get on the ground to spray, fertilize or plant. He says moisture goes down deep.

Darren Frye

Homes of the future may rely more heavily on solar energy. But how do you build solar homes that are both functional yet attractive to buyers. In other words, will these solar powered homes have enough "flair" for modern man. In this report from the University of Tennessee, Chuck Denney tours a model home called "The Living Light." Thanks Chuck. The University plans to take the house on a statewide tour. Up next, Food and Your Family.

In Food and Your Family the United States and China agreed to a five-year deal that will guide discussions on food security, food safety and sustainable agriculture between the two nations. The deal was reached as part of the U.S. China Ag Symposium held in Des Moines, Iowa. The Ag Department says the strategic cooperation agreement will outline goals and responsibilities shared by both nations. The deal will outline how the U.S. and China will address issues of food safety, security, sustainability and trade that are common to both countries. China is the number one importer of U.S. agriculture goods. Last year the total hit over 20-billion dollars.

Also from USDA, the U.S. and the European Union have formed a partnership that will allow easier access to each other’s organic food markets. Under the deal, the two programs are considered equivalent. The Ag Department says the arrangement will expand markets for American organic goods abroad. USDA says the U.S. organic market grew nearly 8% to nearly 29-billion dollars in 2010.

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