AgDay Daily Recap - January 31, 2011

January 31, 2011 04:09 AM
 

TODAY ON AGDAY:
JANUARY 31, 2011

RR ALFALFA:
JUST IN TIME FOR SPRING PLANTING, USDA HAS GRANTED NON-REGULATED STATUS FOR ROUNDUP READY ALFALFA SEED. THAT MEANS FARMERS CAN PLANT IT ANYWHERE WITHOUT BARRIERS OR GEOGRAPHIC RESTRICTIONS. AS YOU WOULD EXPECT, THERE ARE ALREADY THREATS OF LITIGATION OVER THE RULING. GE ALFALFA HAS BEEN AT THE CENTER OF COURT ACTION SINCE 2005. IN 2007, A FEDERAL COURT RULED THAT ALL BIOTECH ALFALFA SALES BE HALTED. USDA'S DECISION CLEARS THE WAY FOR PLANTING. AMERICAN FARM BUREAU PRESIDENT BOB STALLMAN SAYS VILSACK'S CONSIDERATION OF A PLAN TO REQUIRE SETBACKS OR GEOGRAPHIC RESTRICTIONS ON THE PLANTING OF A GE CROP WOULD RUN COUNTER TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF MODERN SCIENTIFIC AGRICULTURE. STALLMAN SAYS IT WOULD ALSO MAKE IT DIFFICULT FOR THE U.S. GOVERNMENT TO CONVINCE OTHER COUNTRIES NOT TO RESTRICT BIOTECH SEEDS AND THE FOODS PRODUCED FROM THOSE CROPS. VILSACK SAYS THE AGENCY IS WORKING TO ASSURE THE CONTINUED AVAILABILITY OF NON-GE ALFALFA SEED. ALFALFA IS THE FOURTH LARGEST FIELD CROP IN THE U.S. COVERING 20 MILLION ACRES. MOSTLY USED FOR LIVESTOCK FEED, THE CROP IS WORTH ROUGHLY 8-10 BILLION DOLLARS ANNUALLY.

OPPONENT REAX:
THE DECISION ON GE ALFALFA WAS RECEIVED NEGATIVELY BY ORGANIC ALFALFA PRODUCERS, WHO ARE CONCERNED ABOUT CROSS CONTAMINATION WITH THEIR CROPS. NON-GMO ALFALFA IS OFTEN USED BY ORGANIC DAIRY FARMERS, AND OTHER ORGANIC GROWERS. MEANWHLE, THE CENTER FOR FOOD SAFETY - WHICH DROVE THE LEGAL BATTLES AGAINST BIOTECH ALFALFA AND SUGARBEETS - IS PREPARED TO SEEK A COURT ORDER VACATING THIS LATEST GOVERNMENT APPROVAL. THE BIOTECH OPPONENT SAYS - QUOTING NOW - "USDA HAS BECOME A ROGUE AGENCY IN ITS REGULATION OF BIOTECH CROPS AND ITS DECISION TO APPEASE THE FEW COMPANIES WHO SEEK TO BENEFIT FROM THIS TECHNOLOGY... DESPITE INCREASING EVIDENCE THAT GE ALFALFA WILL THREATEN THE RIGHTS OF FARMERS AND CONSUMERS, AS WELL AS DAMAGE THE ENVIRONMENT."

SUGAR BEETS:
THE ALFALFA ANNOUNCEMENT MAY BE A PREAMBLE OF THINGS TO COME. VILSACK IS EXPECTED TO ANNOUNCE A DECISION FOR PLANTING GENETICALLY ENGINEERED SUGAR BEETS VERY SOON. THAT COULD HAPPEN AS EARLY AS THIS WEEK. IN AUGUST LAST YEAR A FEDERAL JUDGE STRUCK DOWN THE USDA'S APPROVAL OF GMO SUGAR BEETS, WHICH MAKES-UP 95% OF THE NATION'S CROP. THE JUDGE SAYS ADDITIONAL PLANTING WON'T BE ALLOWED UNTIL USDA SUBMITS AN ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT. BEET FARMERS SAY WITH SPRING QUICKLY APPROACHING, NOT KNOWING HAS THEM CONCERNED. THE LAWSUIT ON SUGAR BEETS IS STILL HEADED FOR A THREE-JUDGE PANEL
THE CASE IS SCHEDULED FOR FEBRUARY 15TH.

STABENOW:
THE NEW CHAIR OF THE SENATE AG COMMITTEE, DEBBIE STABENOW, ISSUED A STATEMENT EXPRESSING SUPPORT FOR USDA'S DECISION. BUT SHE ALSO CAUTIONED THAT FLAWS IN THE CURRENT BIOTECHNOLOGY REGULATORY SYSTEM, CAUSED BY MULTIPLE LAWSUITS, MUST BE ADDRESSED TO PROVIDE CERTAINTY FOR INDUSTRY INVESTORS, FARMERS AND CONSUMERS.

FARM PONDS:
THANKS MIKE. MIKE'S TALKED A LOT OVER THE PAST COUPLE OF MONTHS ABOUT DRYNESS THROUGH-OUT THE CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN PLAINS. MOST NOTABLY, WINTER WHEAT CROPS ARE BEING AFFECTED. BUT SOMETHING ELSE THAT'S FEELING THE PRESSURE IS FARM PONDS. IN THIS REPORT FROM OKLAHOMA STATE'S "SUNUP", DAVE DEKEN SAYS LOW WATER LEVELS PUT STRESS ON FISH COMPETING FOR THE SAME FOOD.

CATTLE REPORT:
IN AGRIBUSINESS, THE USDA RELEASED ITS CATTLE INVENTORY REPORT FRIDAY. ALL CATTLE AND CALVES CHECKED IN AT 92.6 MILLION HEAD...DOWN 1% FROM LAST YEAR. THE 2010 CALF CROP ALSO FELL 1% TO 35.7 MILLION. THESE ARE THE LOWEST TOTALS SINCE THE 1950'S.  DIGGING DEEPER, BEEF COWS WERE ACTUALLY DOWN 2% WHILE MILK COWS WERE UP ONE. THE BIGGEST LOSER WAS BEEF REPLACEMENT HEIFERS DOWN 5% YEAR OVER YEAR. THAT ADDS TO QUESTIONS ABOUT WHEN PRODUCERS WILL START REBUILDING HERD NUMBERS. TIGHT SUPPLIES HAVE PUSHED CATTLE MARKETS TO RECORD HIGHS IN RECENT WEEKS. BUT AS I LEARNED AT TOP PRODUCER SEMINAR IN CHICAGO LAST WEEK, DON'T EXPECT THESE HIGH PRICES TO LAST FOREVER.

ANALYSIS:
MARK GOLD

IN THE COUNTRY; ARTHRITIS EPIDEMIC:
AG PRODUCTION IS OFTEN A TEST IN HARD WORK AND REPETITION.  OVER THE YEARS BOTH TRIALS CAN TAKE A TOLL ON THE BODY. BY THE TIME THIS STORY IS OVER, ABOUT FIVE MORE PEOPLE WILL BE DIAGNOSED WITH ARTHRITIS. IT HAPPENS MORE THAN A MILLION TIMES A YEAR IN THIS COUNTRY AND IT’S NOT JUST AGING BABY BOOMERS WHO ARE AT RISK. AS CLAK POWELL SHOWS US, IN AN EFFORT TO GET A GRIP ON ARTHRITIS, DOCTORS ARE REACHING OUT ACROSS ALL GENERATIONS. BY 2030 EXPERTS PREDICT 67 MILLION AMERICANS HAVE ARTHRITIS. TO PREVENT PROBLEMS DOCTORS RECOMMEND STRETCHING, EXERCISE AND DRINKING PLENTY OF WATER. STILL TO COME...TACO BELL HAS A BEEF WITH A LAWSUIT SURROUNDING ITS BEEF..FOOD AND YOUR FAMILY IS NEXT.

TACO BELL RESPONDS:
TACO BELL ISN'T TAKING ALLEGATIONS ABOUT ITS SEASONED BEEF LIGHTLY. IN TODAY'S FOOD AND YOUR FAMILY THE COMPANY HAS LAUNCHED AN ADVERTISING CAMPAIGN TO SPREAD WHAT IT SAYS IS THE TRUTH. TACO BELL SAYS ITS SEASONED TACO FILLING IS MADE WITH 88% USDA INSPECTED BEEF...WHICH IT SAYS IT BUYS FROM TYSON FOODS. LAST WEEK A LAWSUIT WAS FILED AGAINST THE COMPANY FOR FALSE ADVERTISING. THE SUIT WHICH DIDN'T SEEK DAMAGES OR COMPENSATION SAID TACO BELL'S SEASONED MEAT WAS LESS THAN 35% BEEF...AND THE REST WAS ADDATIVES AND FILLERS. TACO BELL SAYS THAT'S NOT TRUE AND HAS REVEALED THE ENTIRE RECIPE WHICH INCLUDES, BEEF, SPICES, A MIXTURE OF OATS, STARCH AND OTHER INGREDIENTS.

FOOD LABELS:
IN OTHER NEWS FROM THE PANTRY, HOW OFTEN DO YOU READ THE NUTRITION LABELS? IT'S BEEN 16 YEARS SINCE NUTRITION FACTS WERE PUT ON THE BACK OF NEARLY EVERY FOOD AND BEVERAGE IN STORES. ACCORDING TO FOOD MARKET RESEARCH GROUP 'NPD', INTEREST IN READING THOSE LABELS HAS STEADILY DECLINED. STARTING IN 1994, FOOD MAKERS WERE REQUIRED TO ADD THE NUTRITION FACTS LABELS TO FOOD PACKAGING. THE LABEL SHOWS SERVING SIZE, CALORIES, NUTRIENTS AND SO ON. NPD CONDUCTED A STUDY AND IT SHOWS ONLY ABOUT HALF OF US ACTUALLY READ THE LABELS. THAT'S DOWN FROM 60% FROM A DECADE AGO. THE FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION IS CURRENTLY REVIEWING GUIDELINES FOR FRONT-OF-PACK LABELING, WHICH UP TO NOW HAS NOT BEEN REGULATED.

CONTACT PAGE:
THANKS FOR STARTING YOUR WEEK WITH US...AND FEEL FREE TO CONTACT US BY PHONE AT 800-792-4329. OR DROP AN EMAIL TO INBOX@AGDAY.COM . YOU CAN ALSO CHECK US OUT ON SOME OF THAT NEW TECHNOLOGY, AT WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/AGDAY .
 

 

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