AgDay Daily Recap - November 29, 2011

November 29, 2011 04:21 AM

NOVEMBER 29, 2011

The CEO behind one of the largest bankruptcies in U.S. history may get some congressional face time. Former MF Global CEO-- Jon Corzine has been called to testify before the Senate Agriculture Committee. Corzine's presence is requested for December 13th by Committee Chairwoman Senator Debbie Stabenow. Mf Global filed for bankruptcy back on October 31st. Since then about one billion dollars of the firm's customers' money has gone missing. Mf Global accounts have been frozen while the feds investigate. Experts say it’s likely many farmers, agribusinesses and grain elevators may struggle to get their money back.

As Americans took time out for Thanksgiving, in Washington...the Super Committee...just ran out of time. The group failed to agree on a plan to cut more than one trillion dollars from the country's budget. That means the 2012 farm bill is back at the starting gate. As we reported the congressional leaders worked on a farm bill package that reduced spending by some 23 billion dollars. For the most part, the content and wording of that legislation was written behind closed doors. That had many leery of what the final bill would look like. Now, it’s back in the hands of the committees to try to write the bill next year.

Ag policy will be at forefront of this year's Farm Journal Forum in Washington D.C. This year the discussion will center on securing global food security. Since 1997 the farm journal forum has been a venue for independent discussion and dialogue. Participating in the conversation is Senate Ag Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, former Secretary of Ag Dan Glickman and farmer/philanthropist Howard G. Buffett...just to name a few. Join us, on December 5th and 6th at the Capital Hilton in Washington D.C.

In news from our partners at Dairy Today - the latest milk production report shows the nation's largest dairy state is growing its herd size. USDA says California cow numbers increased by 27,000 head from October 2010 levels. The report also shows milk production jumped two-point-four percent. Although larger from a year ago, a spokesman for the California Milk Producers Council says the state is not in expansion mode. The council says the approximate 1.8 million cow herd gets the state back in line where it was five years ago. The herd shrunk in 2009 due to high feed costs. The council says the milk production increase in California comes primarily from increases in production per cow. Right now, production is about 23,000 pounds of milk per cow.

In other dairy news - the world's largest dairy exporter says it plans to double sales in China. Fonterra is a New Zealand-based co-op with 13,000 members. According to Bloomberg, China's dairy market will increase in value by 10% a year for the next several years. Fonterra says it plans to take advantage of the growing-economy in China, doubling its sales by the year 2020. China's dairy industry collapsed in 2008 after melamine-tainted milk killed at least six infants in that country. And don't forget, for the very latest news affecting the dairy industry, including production and policy issues, check out

As the price of copper remains strong, bandits remain aggressive in stealing the precious commodity especially from farmers. Un-protected irrigation systems are a big target. In Arkansas, lawmakers and police departments are working together to toughen a state law already in place. In this report from the Arkansas Farm Bureau, Ken Moore explains how the law would focus on unscrupulous scrap buyers. Metal theft is certainly not unique to this country. Just last week, Britain's government introduced legislation that would put metal thieves at risk of having their own property seized if convicted by the courts.

Darren Frye

There are lots of ways to build a college fund. Scholarships, military service, student loans and savings plans are just a few common ways to pay for higher education. But one North Dakota family is chopping its own path when it comes to college financing. Cliff Naylor with AgDay affiliate KFYR has the heart and house warming story. Thanks Cliff. Up next big box superstore Wal-Mart plans its own healthy foods seal of approval and how much are consumers willing to pay for sustainable foods? Food and your family is next.

In food and your family it’s never too early to start making healthy choices at the dinner table. And according to Food Navigator USA, Wal-Mart plans to help with that in 2012. The mega-store is set to roll out a "front-of-packaging" healthy seal on its private label products. The seal will only appear on qualified healthy foods. Wal-Mart hopes it helps customers identify and make healthier choices. It says the seal is supported by a nutritional food standard and soon, qualifying national brands may also be able to use the healthy seal on their products.

And a new study just released by min-tell is looking at what's driving consumers to restaurants. It found three-quarters of people base their decision on the menu. But what's not pulling in people is locally grown or sustainable foods. Only 7% of people say those kinds of ingredients drove them to a restaurant. However, more than half surveyed say they would pay more for those foods but only between one and five percent more.

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