AgDay Daily Recap - October 10, 2011

October 10, 2011 05:23 AM

OCTOBER 10, 2011

Good morning. It's a story we've been following for months, even years now. Three proposed Free Trade Agreements with South Korea, Columbia and Panama are now in the hands of congress. And according to reports those pacts could go up for vote this week. If passed the agreements could be worth billions to American agriculture. This week the South Korean president is expected to visit Washington. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid mentioned a possible vote as early as this Wednesday in lew of that visit. The house may do the same. Early estimates say the deal with South Korea alone would boost U.S. exports to that country by nearly 11 billion dollars. The U.S. dairy export council says the Korean FTA could create as many as 10,000 additional U.S. jobs. Both the National Milk Producers Federation and the Export Council are in favor of passing the free trade agreements.

Those were the kinds of hot topics filling the World Dairy Expo last week. Coming up tomorrow, we begin our coverage from this year's event. We're exploring everything from policy to forage equipment this week in our special coverage from the Expo in Madison, Wisconsin.

The check's in the mail. That's the word from the USDA on more than 750,000 CRP contracts covering more than 400,000 farms. The USDA says it's paying out 1.7 billion dollars on an average rental payment of 55 dollars per acre. CRP is designed to protect America's most vulnerable lands from erosion and help reduce sediment runoff. Acreage enrolled is expected to be planted in vegetative cover and contracts generally last 10 to 15 years.

The Conservation Reserve Program is designed to help protect America’s land resource. Farmers in Missouri may be wondering if their farms are destined for the program. After massive flooding events this summer, many producers are still trying to get in the field. AgWeb editor Greg Vincent has the story.

Thanks Greg. USDA Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says he's not siding with livestock producers on a bill set to change the renewable fuels standard. The RFS flexibility act was introduced in the house last week. The bill seeks to make changes to the ethanol mandate by tying it to corn supply. If supplies dip the renewable fuels standard would be cut by 25%. Currently the RFS mandates the ethanol industry produce 12.5 billion gallons. Next year that number is more than 13 billion. Secretary Vilsack says now is not the time to pull support for ethanol. He says new, non-corn feed stocks are about to come online.

While prices are good for livestock producers--packers are feeling the pinch.
Reuters says beef packers are paying near record prices for cattle and they're seeing their largest losses in two and half years. Now the big harvesters say they may need to decrease slaughter numbers. The margin meltdown has happened just in the last few weeks. Packers took advantage of this summer's high volumes following skyrocketing feed costs and severe drought. Now supplies are getting tight.

Today is Columbus Day but most markets are open. The only things you won't find on today's boards are foreign trade or bonds and interest rates.
The ticker at the bottom of the screen reflects Friday's close.

Grain prices ended the week in a slump. Corn dropped to six dollars in the December Chicago contract. Easing prices however may be enticing to grain importers like China and Egypt. After USDA reported a jump in inventories analysts expect export sales to pick up.

Mark Gold

Texans tend to be a little more familiar with our neighbors to the south--than the Canadians up north. Well recently leaders with that state's Farm Bureau took a tour--visiting America’s largest trading partner. Matt Felder with the Texas Farm Bureau shows us how this herd of Stetson’s faired on the farms of Ontario and Quebec. Thanks Matt. Still to come, the dangers of cold and flu season for kids with asthma. Ag for your health is straight ahead.

In Ag for your health, with harvest comes dust--especially in a dry year like we're in. Mix in fall pollen and you've got a lot in the air especially for those with asthma. Clark Powell with Nationwide Children's Hospital tells us why--for those living with the disease, fall mixed with cold and flu season can be a dangerous combination. Thanks Clark. Last year flu led to the death of 115 children in the U.S. and among those with pre-existing conditions--one in five had asthma. A good reminder to be diligent. That's all the time we have this morning. We're glad you tuned in.

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