AgDay Daily Recap - January 17, 2012

January 17, 2012 03:46 AM

JANUARY 17, 2012

Good morning. After a booming year for the overall agricultural economy in 2011, will we see a repeat performance in 2012? It's difficult to say at this point, according to leading economists at the "Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute" or "FAPRI". In 2011, the Ag sector saw record net farm income and record Ag exports. FAPRI researchers say higher yields, weaker exports and the European debt crisis could hinder a repeat. Institute Director Pat Westhoff says instead of 5-6 dollar corn, farmers could easily see 3-4 dollar corn. Because of the volatile situation, he says what people think and see about the markets today will be different six months from now. As far as the livestock sector, Westhoff says the sell-off of cattle in Texas last year will help keep cattle prices high for the next several years. But he says chicken producers won't be as lucky going into 2012. He says demand for chicken meat has not kept pace. Westhoff says there's an expectation that chicken production will decline this year.

What a difference a year makes. Last year at this time, North Dakota had about two feet of snow on the ground. That snowpack played a role in the record flooding we saw last spring and summer. It also meant thousands of acres of farmland went un-planted. Now, there's very little snow and some temperature records were recently shattered. Nick Dreyer from AgDay affiliate KMOT-TV says this winter doesn't even feel like winter - and it's giving some North Dakota farmers new hope come this spring.

In news from our partners Dairy Today the makers of Pepsi and a host of other well-known food products is looking to the dairy industry to increase its revenues. Sam Lteif is General Manager of Pepsico's Global Nutrition Group. He was speaking at the 2012 Dairy Forum this weekend. He says over the next decade dairy products will play a key role in the company's global growth strategy. The Dairy Forum is a gathering of dairy processors and some producers. Ltief says Pepsico is not entering the commodity businesses of fluid milk and butter. Rather, the company looks to dairy ingredients and new product development to fill specific nutritional niches.

Dairy producers may want to get out the calculator. The latest projections from economists at the National Milk Producers Federation show the milk income loss contracts may start paying out in February. According to the NMPF, payments may be triggered under the MILC program for February, March and July of this year. Economists say while the numbers work now, changing feed and milk prices make projections a moving target. And don't forget, for the very latest news affecting the dairy industry, including production and policy issues, check out

Mike North

Texas has long been known for its agricultural and western lore. From the home of the infamous Texas Rangers, to herds of longhorn cattle, from black gold to its modern day diversity of crops. It seems Texas is a pretty good place to give something new a try. Which is exactly what a small collection of farmers are doing. They're attempting to transplant the olive industry from the hills of Italy and California into the dusty lands southwest of San An-tone. Nathan Smith with the Texas Farm Bureau reports. Thanks Nathan. Food and Your Family is next.

In response to that deadly cantaloupe outbreak last summer in Colorado, a trade group in California is now calling for the creation of a mandatory state marketing order. The marketing order would set specific safety guidelines and "best practices" for cantaloupe producers. The California cantaloupe advisory board says while their products have never been associated with foodborne illnesses, they want to assure consumers that the industry is serious about food safety. The California growers group is encouraging other states to adopt a marketing order as well. A similar step was taken in 2006 after an e-coli outbreak was linked to spinach. From that outbreak came the creation of the leafy green marketing order.

And new research out of China may have you reaching for a fourth cup of coffee. Scientists say the morning go-juice significantly cuts the risk of developing Type II Diabetes. The research, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found people who drink four or more cups of coffee daily had a 50% lower risk of developing the illness. Type II Diabetes accounts for 90-95% of all diabetes cases worldwide. The team noted that previous studies found two compounds in coffee that significantly inhibit diabetes causing substances from forming in the pancreas.

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