AgDay Daily Recap - January 20, 2012

January 20, 2012 04:26 AM

JANUARY 20, 2012

For generations farm kids have worked on their family operations. Not only is it a rite of passage, but for most farms it’s a necessary source of labor. However, proposed rules from the department of labor are being debated from Capitol Hill to the corner coffee shop. It was also discussed at recent national meeting of the American Farm Bureau. AgDay regional reporter Michelle Rook looks at the proposal. There were over 10,000 comments submitted on the proposed rule during the recent comment period and the vast majority of those were from ag interests. Farm group leaders say they're hopeful the Labor Department will take those comments into consideration.

The National Safety Council says on average 300 children die from farm-related injuries each year. A majority of those deaths are associated with farm machinery. In 2009, 16,000 children were injured on the farm.

The Keystone XL Pipeline heads back to the drawing board. The Obama administration rejected the project Wednesday citing insufficient time to conduct a proper review. The 1,700 mile pipeline would stretch across the country from Canada to Texas. The State Department says the project denial doesn't mean applications can't be resubmitted in the future.

In Minnesota, the state has signed a memorandum of understanding with the USDA and the EPA to develop a new water protection program for farmers. The idea is to voluntarily increase the number of producers using conservation techniques to protect rivers, streams and other waters. Farmers would commit to doing things that reduce run-off and erosion. Doing so would make their farm compliant with Minnesota's water quality standards.

After a year of record-breaking weather disasters, USDA says it will provide more than 300-million dollars in additional disaster aid to farmers, land owners, and others to help rebuild in 33 states. Between the flooding, hurricanes and drought, natural disasters impacted about 55 million acres of farmland in 2011. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says the money will go to three specific programs - the emergency watershed protection, the emergency conservation program and the emergency forest restoration program. The money helps remove debris from waterways and farmland, restore livestock fencing, protect eroded stream banks and restore conservation structures.

An ugly foe is now officially in Texas citrus orchards. State and federal agencies have confirmed the state's first case of citrus greening. Citrus greening is a bacterial disease that attacks the tree's vascular system. Once infected the trees can die within a few years. Citrus greening is spread by a tiny insect called the Asian citrus psyllid. While there's no threat to the fruit or to humans Texas officials are implementing emergency precautions.
The disease was found at a commercial grove in San Juan--on the southern tip of Texas.

This morning we've got the latest farm journal pulse results...on planting intensions. If you'll remember it's a bi-monthly text message poll sent to producers across the country from our corporate partners over at farm journal ---powered by commodity update texting service.

This week's question was a follow up to last week's USDA's supply demand reports. The pulse asked--Based on USDA's reports will you change your planting intentions? 1,250 people replied. 9% say they'll plant more corn. 10% will plant more beans. 2% more wheat. And the vast majority—78% say they're not changing a thing. To read more or sign up for the pulse go online to

One of the largest farms ever to be offered in eastern Colorado and western Kansas has been placed on the market. Nearly 18,000 acres of rich farmland are up for sale. The farmland is located near Burlington, Colorado. Some of the tracts are just over the Kansas state line. Canada-based Hudye Farms says it wants to take advantage of strong farmland values, low interest rates and rising commodity prices. You may remember the Hudye-name. Ben Hudye was a finalist for the top producer of the year award in 2010. Hudye says the farm is fully leased with young, aggressive farmers.

Mike North

Even if you got snow in recent days, or a cold blast of arctic air, many folks are wondering what happened to winter. In North Dakota, for instance, the state has seen record high temperatures and just-as-low snow totals this month. Those unusual weather factors are fooling some early blooming flowers to bloom even earlier. Cliff Naylor from KFYR-TV has our story. Still to come a web article ruffles some feathers after naming agriculture as the most useless degree in the country.

In Food and Your Family we end today with what some might consider an attack on the farm family. I was appalled to read an article yesterday that listed the top five most useless college degrees. Here they are in order as listed by yahoo writer Terrence Loose. At the top of the list...agriculture, followed by fashion design, theatre, animal science and horticulture. Loose says the information comes from the National Association of College and Employers 2012 job outlook study. It surveyed almost 1,000 employers on future hiring plans. If you're a touch shocked or think this article is out of touch--you aren't alone. From our Facebook page--Maria says the article is ridiculous...agriculture is the most rapidly growing sector in the world. Krista little says...there's no way animal science is useless. Right now the poultry industry alone is hurting for workers. Kyle says ag is huge right now...I think they've forgotten just how much agriculture does for this country and this world. Heather Patterson graduates in April. She says who is going to feed the world if this is a useless degree? And don't just take their word for it. According to the USDA between 2010 and 2015 more jobs will be available in agricultural and food systems, renewable energy and the environment than qualified graduates to fill them. Farm journal social media and advocacy editor Anna Lisa Giannini said it well. She points out a study done by --an agricultural job posting website added 3,000 jobs to its listing per month in 2010 and 2011. Anna Lisa finishes by saying to the author, you have caused me to wonder if there is something we aren't doing right when a well-educated man such as yourself does not fully understand the importance of what farmers do and the education required for them to do it well. I say...shhhhh...don't tell anyone. That's more job security for us.

So what do you think? Answer back by phone 800-792-4329. By email at Or sound off with everyone else on Facebook at

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