AgDay Daily Recap - November 21, 2011

November 21, 2011 03:18 AM

NOVEMBER 21, 2011

Good morning. There's no word yet on how the United States plans to respond to a new set-back for the country of origin labeling law. On Friday, the World Trade Organization announced that it has ruled in support of complaints by Canada and Mexico. Those countries claim that the U.S. "COOL" violates global trade rules and unjustly harms agricultural commerce. Implemented in 2008, "COOL" requires retailers to show on the package where meats, fresh fruits and nuts come from. WTO says the measure violates rules on technical barriers of trade. It also says the labels are not clear enough in all instances. In a statement, the U.S. Trade Representative’s office says "We are pleased that the panel affirmed the right of the United States to require country of origin labeling for meat products."

"... We remain committed to providing consumers with accurate and relevant information with respect to the origin of meat products that they buy at the retail level. In that regard we are considering all options, including appealing the panel's decision."

The United States will have two months to decide whether it wants to appeal the WTO's decision. The nation's largest cattlemen's group - NCBA - says it strongly advises the United States not to appeal the ruling. It says "COOL" was a bad idea from the beginning... And it's not surprised the World Trade Organization agrees.

The latest cattle on feed report shows there's 11.9 million head in feedlots as of November first. That's 4% above November last year...and the second highest inventory since 1996. Marketing of those fed cattle were also up--about 3% over last year. Placements however were down slightly. Economists say finding cattle for feedlots may get even harder. Peel says the fall run of calves continues to be smaller than usual. Many cattle in the southern plains hit sale barns early due to the severe drought.

According to the National Turkey Federation, nearly 88% of Americans eat turkey at Thanksgiving. Last year, more than 244-million turkeys were raised in the U.S. With rising feed prices, turkeys are gobbling up profits for producers. But a University of Missouri poultry scientist has developed a cheaper feed which could fill turkey's tummies and producer's pockets. Kent Faddis with the University of Missouri has more. USDA says Minnesota, North Carolina and Arkansas are the top three turkey-producing states.

We invite you to join us Thursday for a special edition of AgDay, as we present our annual tribute to America's farmers - a Harvest of Thanks. We talked to farmers in Idaho, Illinois, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas about their love of land. We also talked about the importance of family in these farming operations. It's a special program you don't want to miss. Join us Thanksgiving morning for "A Harvest of Thanks" right here on AgDay.

Bryan Doherty

Just little more than a week ago, we're proud to say, our former colleague and friend, Lindsay Hill was inducted into the national association of farm broadcasting hall of fame. The hall of fame award was accepted by Lindsay's family. It’s an honor only bestowed on the best of the best. Lindsay had been a member of NAFB for a mere six years. Yet, in that time, she was named the farm broadcasting horizon award winner and last year the organization elected her as president. She was the youngest person to ever hold that position. Even Ag Secretary Vilsack offered his thoughts.

The odds on the birth of an albino buffalo are estimated at a million to one. The probability of three calves with that genetic defect being delivered in the same place are inconceivable. That improbable scenario has occurred in North Dakota and herds of people from all over the country continue to travel to the buffalo city to see the white sights. Cliff Naylor from AgDay affiliate KFYR-TV reports on the odds-breaking attraction. Cliff says there is a difference between white buffalo and albino buffalo. Albino buffalo all have pink eyes, like those in North Dakota. There's a white buffalo in Texas, but it's not believed to be an albino. By the way the museum is operated by the North Dakota buffalo foundation. To learn more, go to Food and your family is next.

In food and your family, McDonalds says its changing egg suppliers after a 20/20 investigation raised concerns about animal abuse. The incidents allegedly occurred at its supplier's egg farms in Iowa, Minnesota and Colorado. The 20/20 episode showed undercover footage of hens in tiny cages, and dead birds. McDonalds says it has stringent requirements for suppliers and the video raises questions about management at those operations.

And Thanksgiving is typically known as a time for eating in. But this year--according to a national restaurant association survey more than 14-million American's will enjoy their harvest feast at a local restaurant. The survey says in all, about 6% of Americans will eat outside of the home. And a majority of those respondents say they're doing so because of convenience. If you're worried about the disappearance of the thanksgiving tradition don't be. Better than 90 percent of people will eat Thanksgiving at home or at someone else's home this week.

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