AgDay Daily Recap - February 21, 2012

February 21, 2012 09:09 AM

FEBRUARY 21, 2012

Good morning. Organizers from various farm shows this winter are reporting record attendance. Farmers and ranchers are taking advantage of strong commodity prices. In many cases they are looking to buy or replace existing equipment. But the question remains - will that optimism continue through-out 2012?

The latest "Rural Mainstreet Index" shows some declines. But overall the sector is still strong. That index is compiled each month by Creighton University Economist Ernie Goss. Based on a survey of bankers, it gauges the economic health of rural America in ten states. Those states are mostly in the western Corn Belt and northern and central plains. Goss says he sees somewhat softer agriculture commodity prices and higher input prices. He expects growth will continue, but it will not match the 2010 and 2011 expansion.

During the National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville, Kentucky, good weather and good spirits about the farm economy helped draw a record crowd to the show. More than 300,000 people walked thru the doors of the Kentucky Exposition Center. And many of the visitors were doing more than just "kickin' the tires". AgDay's national reporter Tyne Morgan tell us why increased sales is causing a delay in getting equipment to the field.

Meanwhile, the World Ag Expo just wrapped-up in Tulare, California. It's billed as one of the biggest outdoor farm shows that focus on equipment. While final figures are not yet in, organizers are expecting to see a record number of people passed thru the gates.
Big crowds are also expected at the 2012 commodity classic when it kicks-off in about ten days. Last year, when the meeting was held in Tampa, Florida, total attendance set a record of 4,800 people. Organizers from the Classic say this year’s show has already broken registration records with more than 5,200. I - and other members of the Farm Journal Media team - will be at the meeting in Nashville. I hope to see you there.

In news from our partners at Dairy Today - demand and prices for alfalfa hay in the western states are likely to drop this year as the commodity's biggest customer -- the dairy industry -- enters a period of red ink. That's the forecast of hay market analyst Seth Hoyt. Hoyt was speaking at the World Ag Expo. He told "Dairy Today" that prices for this spring's first cutting of supreme dairy hay in several western states will fall to the 210-to-270 a ton. Compare that to the 330 some California dairies paid last year. We talked with an Arizona farmer who says he's scaling back on some of his alfalfa acreage and putting it towards cotton. Rovey Farms about 600 acres in Glendale, Arizona, near Phoenix. Most of his crops feed the growing dairy industry in the state. The latest USDA data shows milk production in Arizona grew by 7% last month.

Meanwhile, Argentina is becoming a bigger player in dairy exports. According to the cattle network, the country exported 407,000 tons of milk last year. That's the first time that Argentina has exported more dairy than meat products. In the past two years, dairy exports have increase by a third. That story and much more, including production and policy issues, over at

Mark Gold

With this warm winter weather, it won't be long before garden plants start popping up across the country. Home gardens are a great way to get outside and grow some of your own food. And if it’s done right, those fresh vegetables can last the entire year. Canning these days, it seems is a lost art...a relic of rural America. But as Norm Hyde reports from the Virginia Farm Bureau, in pockets of the country canning is on the comeback.  Thanks Norm. Still to meat fresh from the lab. Scientists are growing the meat for a hamburger in a petrie dish. We'll tell you their plans next on Food and Your Family.

In food and your family it's not grilling season yet, but there's never a bad time for a backyard burger. And someday in the future, you might have the option of buying meat--that never came from cattle. Dutch scientists now say they've perfected lab-grown meat using stem cells from cattle. The cells come from cow muscle that are fed in a slurry of nutrients. Once the muscle starts to form it's even bulked up through exercise. Researchers say it takes 3,000 of these meat strips and 200 pieces of lab grown animal fat, to make one hamburger. They hope to taste test the first test-tube burger in October.

Counting calories may benefit more than just your waistline. New research shows it actually helps your brain. Research from the Mayo Clinic indicates consuming between 2,100 and 6,000 calories a day may increase the risk of memory loss. That was in people who were 70 years of age and older. The odds of having memory loss actually doubled in people who consumed a higher number of calories than those who ate less. Mayo clinic says this is just another reason to eat healthier as we age.

We'd love to hear from you! Contact us at 800-792-4329. Or drop an email to You can also check us out on some of that new technology, at

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