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AgDay Daily Recap - January 12, 2012

09:12AM Jan 12, 2012

JANUARY 12, 2012

Good morning. The market is bracing for the release of several key reports from USDA. The Ag Department will dispatch the numbers at 7:30 central time. The reports include the final crop production figures from the 2011 crop. USDA will also issue its quarterly grain stocks report. Analysts are not looking for much change in the production numbers from the USDA. However, the demand number remains a much bigger question, some believe more corn has been used domestically as a result of lower prices. Those numbers could lead to the discussion about more corn acres in 2012. We'll get some comments from Matt later today for his reaction to the data. Of course, you can get the numbers immediately after USDA releases them at 7:30 CST, 8:30 EST on AgWeb. And be sure to check back through-out the day for analysis from the Farm Journal Media team.

While farmers focus this morning on the USDA's supply demand reports, this week in Hawaii, the country's largest farm organization was focusing on the USDA and the upcoming 2012 Farm Bill. Delegates from across the country gathered at the American Farm Bureau meeting in Honolulu. One of the last items of business, voting on the organization's policy positions for the New Year. From taking a stand on children's ability to work on the family farm to seeking a balanced budget amendment, these decisions determine the stance of the organization's lobbyists in Washington. One of the most debated discussions included setting Farm Bureaus position on the safety net for American farmers. Stallman says Farm Bureau is supporting a three legged approach to the safety net. Those legs include, a marketing loan program, a catastrophic revenue loss program and of course crop insurance.

In our Beef Today Report, cattle prices are mixed but holding steady this week. Even though it’s early in the year, market experts say 2012 is poised for a strong showing. Derrell Peel with Oklahoma State University says 2012 could be one of the strongest ever for cattle markets. He says beef production is expected to be down about 4% this year.
Cattle inventories are also expected to get smaller. After losing production cows to heavy culling in drought stricken areas of the southern plains, Peel says if drought persists there could be a repeat in 2012. Peel says when the USDA's inventory report comes out later this month he expects to see a spike in cattle throughout the northern states. Many were transplanted to greener pastures from the southern plains.

In other news from the beef industry, authorities in Fresno County, California are investigating what appears to be a case of arson against a major beef processing firm. And so far, it appears an animal activist group is to blame. The fire destroyed 14 cattle trucks at Harris Ranch in the San Joaquin Valley. According to AgWeb, containers of accelerants with timers were placed beneath a row of the trucks. There were kerosene soaked ropes to carry the fire to other trucks in the same feed lot. The ranch released a statement from CEO John Harris. Harris says "I had suspected animal liberation front may have been involved and now they are in fact claiming responsibility for it. They are clearly a terrorist group intent on stopping American agriculture from producing the world's safest food supply." We visited the Harris Ranch in 2010 as part of our "Leave a Legacy" TV show. Harris Farms has been under continuous family operation since 1937. It is one of the largest beef ranches in California. Harris says the attack has not at all impacted our company's operations and has only reinforced the company's commitment to produce high-quality beef. You can get many more updates on the beef industry, including market and production information from our partners at

In Agribusiness Archer Daniels Midland says its streamlining operations. That means about 1,000 jobs, mostly salaried employees will be eliminated. The company says its trying to reduce its global workforce in hopes of enhancing the cost structure of the company. It’s offering a voluntary early retirement incentive in hopes meeting that 3% workforce reduction goal. Once implemented, ADM says the company's pre-tax expenses will fall by more than 100 million dollars making it more competitive globally.

It’s been a volatile two weeks for orange juice futures. First it was a possible freeze. Then yesterday the EPA said it would ban shipments of OJ from the world’s largest producer, Brazil. This after concerns about fungicides ending up in the juice. Futures jumped on Tuesday, the contract hit a record high of $207 dollars per hundred. Those fears and futures fell Wednesday after inspectors eased concerns about the fungicide ban.

Mike North

As most people can attest to, managing your home budget during these tough economic times is very much a balancing act. It's easy to teeter-off center. And when you live in the country, you often miss out on economic opportunities. Chuck Denney tells us how the UT Extension is trying to help young mothers about money management at home. Thanks Chuck. The extension says it will conduct extensive surveys with the families in the pilot counties to learn more about access to health care and employment opportunities in those areas. Food and Your Family is next.

In Food and Your Family the Centers for Disease Control is wrapping up its data for 2011 and it shows a third of all foodborne disease outbreaks - reaching over multiple states - was connected to fresh produce. The CDC says there were 16 multistate outbreaks of foodborne illnesses in the U.S. last year. Five involved fresh produce. The most visible case involved cantaloupes. Other cases included romaine lettuce, papayas and alfalfa sprouts. To take a closer look at the yearly review go to

And it appears American's are eating less meat than they did a decade ago. That's got experts looking for reasons why. According to the USDA's December supply demand report, Americans are expected to consume about 12% less meat this year than they did just five years ago. While chicken and turkey per capita consumption is holding steady, pork consumption has fallen slightly over the last ten years. Per capita consumption of beef, however, has been falling since the early 70's. It's down from about 90 pounds per person per year to roughly 50 pounds. That's all the time we have this morning. We're glad you tuned in. Don't forget. Go to Agweb this morning for the USDA reports and analysis through-out the day.