AgDay Daily Recap - March 20, 2012

March 20, 2012 02:59 AM

MARCH 20, 2012

Good morning I’m Clinton Griffiths. It's the first day of spring and the annual acreage battle is as heated as the actual temperature we're seeing through-out parts of the country. Next week, USDA will release its prospective plantings report. During the USDA Ag Outlook Forum last month, the agency predicted a record 94 million acres of corn. Some private firms put the crop at 95 million. What do farmers intend to plant? AgDay's Michelle Rook talked to growers from across the country to find out their ideas for the 2012 crop season. If farmers do get the 94 million acres of corn with USDA’s 164 bushel trend line yield forecast, the result will be a record crop in the U.S. That will mean the ending stocks number would bounce back up to around 1.6 billion bushels, which is double the 801 million bushel carryout in the latest supply and demand report. Market analysts say that could take the corn price back below five dollars.

From our partners at Dairy Today - the impact of a mild winter continues to show-up in the monthly milk production tally. Milk production in the 23 major states during February totaled just over 15 billion pounds, up nearly 5% from February 2011. That output was actually up more than 8%, but the percentage increase was adjusted lower after factoring in last month's additional leap-year day. California increased its milk production by nearly 11%. The golden state produced 3.5 billion pounds of milk in February 2012.

Meanwhile, Wisconsin is one of those states that continues to produce more milk. And the governor is encouraging that growth. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker announced a "Dairy 30-by-20" initiative. He hopes the state's dairy producers can grow the state's milk production to 30 billion pounds by the year 2020. That's a 15% increase over the next eight years. Walker says by increasing milk production, it will help Wisconsin’s cheese makers to grow. The state is developing two grants to help farmers who wish to expand.

We've all received those "scam" letters and emails, and it appears the Department of Agriculture is not immune. The Ag Department says fraudulent letters are being sent by fax to individuals and businesses in at least four states. The 'scam' letter comes from a USDA procurement officer and seeks personal information. It asks for personal and financial information. It bears the agency's logo and seal. It also includes the name "Frank Rutenberg". USDA says these letters are false. So far, the faxed letters have shown up in Alabama, Nebraska, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Brian Basting

Urban sprawl has made farming a challenge in some parts of the country. In areas of California that's especially true. Tracey Sellers of California Bountiful introduces us to one farm family that's using their years of experience to do less farming and more educating. Thanks Tracy. Is white rice a diabetes risk? One study says yes...rice growers question the research. That story is next in today's Food and Your Family.

In Food and Your Family - the U.S. rice industry is taking exception to a recent study that connects the consumption of white rice to type-two diabetes. Last week, Harvard University released the results of a study that associates eating more rice with a significantly higher risk of type 2 diabetes, especially for Asian populations. Rice is grown worldwide and feeds more than half of the globe. The U.S. Rice Federation is arguing the study. It says the research didn't factor in the lack of activity, obesity and other growing diabetes risk factors. The Federation's nutritionists of course are not recommending a change in diet.

And while more people are facing the threat of diabetes, coffee drinkers have an upper hand. German researchers reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, that consuming at least 4 cups of coffee per day lowered the drinker’s risk of type two diabetes by 23-30%. The study of more than 42,000people also found no link between coffee consumption and heart disease nor the risk of cancer.

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