TODAY ON AGDAY
FEBRUARY 22, 2012
Good morning. After years in the making a trade deal between the U.S. and South Korea now has a "go" date. The two governments say the free trade agreement will be implemented on March 15th. Negotiations on the Free Trade Agreement with South Korea started more than five years ago. President Obama signed the trade deal back in October. However, it's taken several months to figure out the "fine print" of the FTA. Also, the South Korean parliament had to approve the measure, which it did in November. The U.S. Trade Representative’s Office says the FTA could mean thousands of new American jobs. The American ag sector is expected to benefit as well. When the FTA goes into effect on March 15, almost two-thirds of U.S. exports of agricultural products to Korea will become duty-free, including wheat, corn, soybeans for crushing, cotton and a variety of fruit crops. And, almost 80% of U.S. exports of industrial products such as ag equipment to Korea will become duty-free.
Crude oil futures prices ended higher on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract for the benchmark grade rose $2.60 cents a barrel - closing at $105.84 a barrel. The market is watching Iran's next move, after it cut-off oil shipments to Britain and France. In this country, there's been upward movement of gas prices. According to Triple-A, the nationwide average for a gallon of gasoline is $3.57. That's a penny higher than Tuesday, 19-cents higher than a month ago, and 40-cents higher than a year ago.
The state of Texas has seen more rain this winter, but it may not be enough. For the first time rice farmers in part of that state may not get any irrigation water this year. The Lower Colorado River Authority is set to decide on March first. The irrigation water flows to three major rice producing counties near Austin. Thousands of farmers stand to be affected. Area lakes and reservoirs are low after 2011 and the worst drought in the state's history.
FUTURE OF FARMING EQUIPMENT:
If we want to talk about the future of farming, it must include a look at equipment.
Technology on-and-in equipment is changing at a rapid pace. As we continue our series, AgDay's national reporter Tyne Morgan shows us why the concepts companies are introducing today, are providing a glimpse into the future. From the introduction of steam tractors in the 1800s, to the commercialization of auto steer in tractors in 2004, there have been several changes that have revolutionized the way people farm. And just when you think they can't possibly come up with anything to top the last, you see this. Although that robot you just saw is a prototype, Clinton, when you compare it to the autonomous technology, it's very similar. It's kind of scary when you think about it. Very interesting. So how soon until we see this in the field? Well, the autonomous equipment for harvesting will be available this fall, so, by the end of this year. As for the robot, there is no timeline, but I’m wondering if I can borrow it this summer to help plant my garden. ....and I'm wondering if I can get it this weekend to pick up after my kids.
Thanks, Tyne, very interesting.
IN THE COUNTRY; SHOVEL READY POTTER:
As all farmers know, the end result of your crops really depends on the type and quality of soil you have. When there's clay, there are certain farming techniques you practice.
In North Dakota, there's plenty of clay. And as Cliff Naylor tells us, one "shovel-ready" artist couldn't be happier. Thanks Cliff. After the break, scientists are digging into the food borne disease, salmonella in search for a cure. And researchers find a way to make almond's safer. Food and Your Family is next.
In food and your family this morning researchers say they're getting close to developing a vaccine for salmonella. The food borne disease is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people worldwide. Scientists at UC Davis are using mice to develop the shot. It's been three years in the making. The researchers think they're on the right track. Currently salmonella kills one in four African children and there's concern that will continue to rise without a cure. The bacteria is also becoming increasingly antibiotic resistant.
And did you know that almonds are pasteurized to kill salmonella. The way those nutritious nuts are processed is getting simpler and safer. USDA's agriculture research service first gave the almonds a burst of infrared heat, then roasted them with hot-air leaving the taste or texture unchanged. Researchers said this process will save both time and money.
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