AgDay Daily Recap - February 6, 2012

February 6, 2012 07:33 AM

FEBRUARY 6, 2012

Good morning everyone. The Department of Labor is starting back at square one on its Farm Labor rule that would have prevented many young people from working on family farms. The Department announced last week that it is stopping its plans to implement the new rules. It's now going to accept additional public comment. It received more than 18,000 public comments to the federal register after the rule was posted. Following uproar in the agriculture sector and some in congress, the Department of Labor decided to revisit the language which would have changed the "parental exemption", which allows children under 16 years old to work with a parent or guardian.

AgDay's new national reporter Tyne Morgan joins us now. Tyne this issue touched a nerve for many families who rely on their children to perform certain chores on the farm. What's changed in the Labor Department’s proposal? Clinton. The new rule would have only allowed the exemption on farms "wholly owned" by the parents. Now, the DOL rule would revert back to the original language of farms "substantially owned" by the parents or guardian. But what does that really mean? That's one reason lawmakers conducted a hearing on the matter. Here's why the issue is important to safety regulators. The National Safety Council says on average 300 children die from farm-related injuries each year. A majority of those deaths are associated with farm machinery. In 2009, 16,000 children were injured on the farm. I understand you spoke to a farmer who testified in last week's hearing. Yes, Clinton, I spoke to one of two farmers who participated. Overall, she felt agriculture was well represented and as a whole, the major concerns with the legislation were heard. Thanks Tyne

Federal regulation - or "over"-regulation from the perspective of some Ag groups - was one of the key issues being discussed during the cattlemen's convention. The annual gathering wrapped-up this past weekend in Nashville. AgDay regional reporter Michelle Rook talked with one of the key leaders about the group's focus. Alexander also told Michelle that foreign markets are the future for the beef industry. He'll be making that a top priority for his administration.

Export demand and a shrinking national herd has cattle profits looking positive for 2012 say analysts at Cattlefax. That's in spite of improved drought conditions. Although many are skeptical rains will stick around. Creighton University's Art Douglas thinks cattle numbers will continue to decline in 2012, reaching a low in 2013.

Mark Gold

If you haven't eaten at a Brazilian restaurant yet, more than likely you will soon. The industry is booming here in the U.S. Not necessarily because of the taste or flavor but because of how it's cooked and how it's served. Our old friend Cliff Naylor of KFYR in North Dakota dishes on the growing trend of Brazilian barbeque. Thanks Cliff. Definitely a meat eaters dream. Still to come, more concerns about Brazilian orange juice and a break through on food safety in leafy greens. Food and Your Family is next.

In Food and Your Family the Food and Drug Administration says go ahead and enjoy a glass of orange juice. But it’s still watching Brazilian companies closely for fungicide residues. You may remember the FDA was alerted to elevated levels of chemical and fungicide residues in shipments of orange juice from Brazil. It was also found in sources from China and Canada. It's been testing ever since. Now the agency is putting more companies on import alert. At least 5 Brazilian companies on the list--that means ports can detain, inspect and test shipments as they come in.

Keeping with the food safety theme, scientists at Texas A&M University say they've found electron beam irradiation can reduce health risks in fresh cut lettuce and spinach.
The scientists were looking for ways to reduce infections from viruses, including poliovirus and rotavirus. Fresh produce can get those viruses from dirty irrigation or wash water. Using irradiation the risk of infection went from 20% to 6%. Scientists say it's not a silver bullet but should be used with good farming practices.

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