AgDay Daily Recap - February 9, 2012

February 9, 2012 02:49 AM

FEBRUARY 9, 2012

Good morning. At farm meetings across the country this winter a popular topic is the generally mild weather. And a new government report will add fuel to the discussion. In a new report just released from NOAA, January was the fourth warmest on record for the 48 contiguous states at 36.3 degrees. NOAA reports nine states -primarily in the plains and western corn belt - had temps ranking among their 10 warmest. This was accompanied by below-average precipitation for much of the country. Meteorologists say the reason lies with the artic oscillation.

Snow fall in the northern tier of states was also below average in January. According to the Rutgers global snow lab it was the third smallest amount of snow cover in 46 years of recording that data.

And in contrast to the lower 48, several towns across Alaska had their coldest average January temperatures on record. Nome was on average 16-degrees below zero, McGrath Alaska was 29 below and Bettles, Alaska - on average - was 35 degrees below zero.

While much of the nation has been drier this winter, drought-plagued Texas has actually seen above-average precipitation for the second month in a row. That stands in stark contrast to the drought-related problems we showcased in our special report "From Flood to Fire". This morning we continue our economic analysis by looking at the agricultural losses associated with record flooding. National reporter Tyne Morgan has our report. Thanks Clinton. Mother Nature left its mark on 2011. Last year alone, the United States experienced 14 weather disasters with each measuring at least a billion dollars in losses. Four of those came from flooding and tropical storms and had a direct impact on agriculture. And farmers are still feeling the brunt of such a dramatic year. Clinton, farmers aren't just focused on restoring flooding fields but anxious to get the infrastructure rebuilt. Tyne, I heard one of the farmers mention the bird's point levee being rebuilt, but not to its original height. You're correct. And that's just one example of the battle still being fought. In fact polling shows a majority of farmers want that levee back the way it was. But as we all know, getting everything back in order will take time. What do have tomorrow? Clinton, we asked three of the best weather experts to pore through the climate models and data for us to see what 2012 might bring for farmers. Should we expect the return of another strong La Nina, or will it fade? That's tomorrow on AgDay.

South American weather will likely be a key factor in today's supply-demand report which USDA releases at seven-30 central time. Our reporting partners at Pro Farmer Newsletter say there could be changes on the demand side due to expected lower corn and soybean production in Brazil and Argentina.

In Agribusiness companies across the country are releasing their latest earning's reports.
And so far they look good. Syngenta says 2011 sales are up nearly 15% coming in at 13.3 billion. Manufacturing giant, Agco reported sales of 8.8 billion up nearly 30% from a year ago. Tyson sales climbed nearly 10% in the first quarter to 8.3 billion. And Agrium says 2011 sales are up 50% with net earnings at 1.5 billion.

Vince Malanga

In the northern plains, winters get mighty cold. And you need a nice pair of wooly mittens to keep your hands warm. A couple of farm wives in North Dakota have 'stitched' together a successful business by making mittens and gloves. Cliff Naylor from KFYR-TV tells us about the North Dakota wooly girls. Thanks Cliff. You can check out their work online at Food and Your Family is up next.

In Food and Your Family, when athletes prepare for the Olympics, many beef up on protein. But for Chinese athletes, their meat options are dwindling. According to a blog entry by a Chinese Olympic rower, athletes have been banned from eating meats such as pork and beef. The ban comes after testing revealed clenbuterol, also known as a lean meat powder, in pork. This powder is used by athletes to help build muscle and burn fat.  It's also used by livestock producers as a growth enhancer helping the animals produce leaner meat. With the ban in place, Chinese athletes have to stick with poultry and fish.

Are you infamous for grabbing a snack mid-morning or mid-afternoon when hunger sets in? Studies show consumers are now choosing healthier options when fulfilling their snack cravings. Surveys show nearly 45% of snackers surveyed made a conscience decision to choose healthier options, such as fresh fruit, raw vegetables, nuts and seeds.

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