AgDay Daily Recap - January 16, 2012

January 16, 2012 09:31 AM

JANUARY 16, 2012

Good morning. Government agencies including EPA had a busy year in 2011 proposing new regulations or sending down updated guidelines for existing rules which effect agriculture. The year started with Farm Bureau filing a lawsuit in response to EPA's guidance for total maximum daily loads in the Chesapeake Bay. It was just one of a long list of environmental regulations some farm groups will continue to fight in 2012. AgaDay's Michelle Rook was in Hawaii during the Farm Bureau's national meeting. She talked with key Farm Bureau leaders about their current efforts to stop the regulatory burden. Minnesota Farm Bureau President Kevin Paap says farmers will follow the rules but farmers want to follow rules they were involved in developing. That's why they want to be involved early in discussions involving regulations.

A new report seems to indicate that demand for ethanol is growing. According to a new government report, U.S. exports of ethanol set a new monthly record of 152 million gallons in November. Brazil was the leading destination for U.S. product and accounted for nearly half of total shipments for the month. December exports have not been tallied yet, but year-to-date totals are expected to exceed a billion gallons for 2011.

U.S. pork exports continue their strong showing. The U.S. Meat Export Federation says November pork exports set another monthly volume record. More than 215,000 metric tons valued at nearly 600 million dollars were shipped in November. That's 22% more than the same month in 2010. This puts pork export value on pace to hit 6 billion dollars in all-time record.

Cattle exports were also strong. More than 100,000 metric tons of beef was shipped out of the U.S. in November. Beef is also on a record setting pace which combined with last week's USDA reports is helping cattle markets. Higher than expected corn stocks led to a drop in prices and pushed livestock contracts to record highs. At the Chicago MERC on Friday, March feeder cattle contracts raced to $152.57 per hundred. That's nearly fifty cents higher than its previous peak set back on January 5th. USDA says corn ending stocks are at 846 million bushels—13% higher than what traders were expecting. That has the industry anticipating lower feed costs in the coming months. Finding enough market ready cattle to eat that cheaper feed however, is what's helping prop up prices.

Thanks Mike. Sticking with weather - what will the rest of winter look like. USDA's Chief Meteorologist says it's difficult to say. Bob Ellison has details.

Thomas Grisafi

The National Western Stock Show, continuing this week in Denver, Colorado, does more than celebrate the cattle in this country. It’s also a celebration of all things western. For one 75 year-old western singer, performing there is the chance of a lifetime. Photojournalist Anne Herbst with the Denver Post got a preview of this modern day Roy Rogers. Thanks Anne. Ron also wrote an original song for the National Western's new Wild West show. Still to come, John Deere sets a record and the cost of food fell sharply in December. I'll explain coming up in Food and Your Family.

In Food and Your Family the U.N.'s Food and Agriculture Organization released its final food price index for 2011. It found, while high, prices actually fell throughout most of the year. According to the FAO's food price index, prices actually peaked in February of last year. The whole year average however, was the highest in more than two decades.
Today prices are about eleven percent lower than they were last year at this time. The drop is attributed to lower commodity prices around the world combined with slowing demand and a strong dollar.

And you may remember this from last year. John Deere's project--"can do"--where a team of employees created a full-sized combine made entirely of canned food. It used 308,000 cans and more than 11,000 bags of food to create the 60 foot wide, 80 foot long model. Guinness World Records has now certified the feat as the largest sculpture ever built from canned food...more than double the number of cans used by the previous record setting attempts.

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