AgDay Daily Recap - January 18, 2012

January 18, 2012 06:21 AM

JANUARY 18, 2012

Good morning. With the failure of the super committee to write a Farm Bill the process will go back to its normal protocol. The big question however, is can congress get a new bill crafted and approved this year with a shortened session and the presidential election front and center? And even if they do, how deep will the cuts be to farm programs? AgDay's Michelle Rook looks at the many uncertainties surrounding the 2012 Farm Bill.  The vote by Farm Bureau members to abandon support for direct and counter cyclical payments is a huge departure from past policy. However, elimination of the direct payments is a concern because it may make the Farm Bill non-compliant with trade rules governed by the World Trade Organization. Michelle says Farm Bureau's proposal is currently being scored by the congressional budget office.

In the on-going efforts to find a cause to the serious decline of honeybee populations, a scientist at Purdue University says an insecticide coating on seed maybe a factor in the bee deaths. Christian Krupke is an associate professor of Entomology at Purdue. He's been analyzing bees found dead around hives for two years. He's found the presence of certain types of insecticides that are commonly used to coat corn and soybean seeds before planting. Seed makers will coat seeds with talc. The powder helps keep seeds flowing through planters. Krupke says the contaminated talc is quite light and moves easily thru the air. It can float from fields onto flowering plants that honeybees maybe pollinating.


Alfalfa is no stranger to honey bees. This year, those fields are shaping up to be no stranger to profits either. Hay prices in the U.S. are nearly 70 dollars a ton higher than they were a year ago. According to the USDA's recent Ag prices report, the all hay price in December was 177 dollars a ton. That's up slightly from November--but 66 dollars higher than December 2010. Alfalfa hay is even higher. It's average price is 199 dollars a ton--nearly 80 dollars above the previous year's monthly average. Severe drought in the southern plains combined with historically high grain prices continues to drive hay values across the country.

Thomas Grisafi

Climbing grain bins, getting on-and-off farm equipment, baling bay, feeding livestock - - farm and ranch life can give your body all kinds of aches and pains. Some can be treated with ibuprofen or aspirin. But some pain - like that caused by arthritis - requires more significant treatment. In Tennessee, the cooperative extension is using a swimming pool to help arthritis patients improve mobility and dexterity. In this report from UT Institute of Ag, Chuck Denney says the pool is a great-place to help manage pain. Thanks Chuck. According to USDA's Agra-bility Project - which helps disabled farmers - arthritis affects approximately one-third of all adult farm and ranch operators. It is considered one of the leading causes of disability by customers of the USDA Agrability project. Food and Your Family is next.

In Food and Your Family the Burger King chain is looking to expand beyond the drive thru. It’s now testing a drive and deliver model at stores in Washington D.C. The fast food giant has seen sales dip in recent years. Now it’s trying to recreate the offering delivery much the way pizza joints do it. Burger King is using thermal packaging to keep burgers hot and fries crispy. It also charges a two dollar delivery fee and requires a minimum order of 8 to 10 dollars depending on the store. Delivery is promised within 30 minutes and customers must live within a 10 minute drive. McDonalds offers limited delivery in New York---but, it has no plans of expansion.

And you may want to eat the delivered burger on a red plate. New research says using a red plate or red-trimmed glass may reduce the amount of calories you eat. This came from a group of Swiss researchers. They found people snacked less when food was put on a red plate. They also drank less sweetened beverages from cups with a red sticker.  The scientists think the red color is a subconscious stop signal for the brain. So far the research isn't clear on whether red in the decorations at a restaurant or the color of the food itself would have the same affect.

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