AgDay Daily Recap - October 18, 2010

October 18, 2010 10:01 AM
 

TODAY ON AGDAY:
OCTOBER 18, 2010

TRADE DEFICIT:
THE MONTHLY U.S. TRADE DEFICIT SURGED IN AUGUST, FUELED BY A RECORD GAP IN TRADE WITH CHINA AND A WEAK OVERALL SHOWING FOR AMERICAN EXPORTS. BUT U.S. AGRICULTURE SEEMS TO BE THE EXCEPTION. FIRST THE OVERALL NUMBERS...THE COMMERCE DEPARTMENT REPORT SHOWS THAT THE OVERALL U.S. TRADE DEFICIT IN AUGUST EXPANDED BY NEARLY 9% TO 46 BILLION DOLLARS. EXPORTS OF U.S. GOODS REACHED 153-BILLION, BUT IMPORTS HIT OVER 200-MILLION.
ANALYSTS SAY THAT THE WORSENING MONTHLY DEFICIT SHOWS THAT OBAMA ADMINISTRATION'S GOAL TO DOUBLE EXPORTS OF U.S. PRODUCTS WITHIN FIVE YEARS IS NOT AN EASY TASK.

AG TRADE:
THE BRIGHT SPOT CONTINUES TO BE AMERICAN AGRICULTURE, WHICH SHOWS A TRADE SURPLUS OF 1.8 BILLION. FOR AUGUST, AG EXPORTS WERE VALUED AT 8.5 BILLION. IMPORTS PEGGED 6.6 BILLION. FOR THE YEAR, THE TRADE SURPLUS IS 27-BILLION. OUR PARTNERS AT PRO FARMER NEWSLETTER SAYS WITH PRESSURE CONTINUING ON THE U.S. DOLLAR, DEMAND FOR U.S. AG COMMODITIES IS EXPECTED TO CONTINUE.

STATE BY STATE:
STEPPING THROUGH THE AGRICULTURAL HEADLINES STATE BY STATE, WE START THIS MORNING IN ILLINOIS. THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE SAYS TRIM-RITE FOOD CORPORATION IS REOPENING A CLOSED MEAT PROCESSING FACILITY IN RANTOUL. THE OLD MEADOWBROOK FARMS FACILITY WILL BEGIN PROCESSING HOGS FOR TRIM-RITE LATER THIS FALL. THE COMPANY EXPECTS TO CREATE ABOUT 100 NEW JOBS.  IN OHIO, THE COUNTRIES LARGEST INDOOR CATTLE FEEDLOT HAS BEEN SOLD. TEXAS BASED-- INGURAN PURCHASED THE 188 ACRE FACILITY FOR MORE THAN ONE MILLION DOLLARS. THE OWNER PLANS TO HOUSE ABOUT 5,000 HEIFERS AS PART OF A BREEDING OPERATION. THOSE CATTLE WILL THEN BE SHIPPED OVERSEAS TO COUNTRIES LIKE RUSSIA, TURKEY AND INDIA. THE OWNER SAYS THE BUSINESS HAS CONTRACTS FOR 20,000 ANIMALS. HE PLANS TO CONTINUE PURCHASING CATTLE FROM OHIO PRODUCERS. AND IN PENNSYLVANIA, HILLANDALE FARMS IN GETTYSBURG IS PLANNING A NEW ENERGY PLANT. ONLY THIS ONE RUNS ON THE WASTE FROM THE POULTRY POPULATION. THE 2.5 MEGAWATT PLANT WILL USE THE BY-PRODUCT FROM 5 MILLION LAYER HENS FOR POWER. THE WASTE WILL BE TURNED INTO A GAS AND THEN CONVERTED TO ELECTRICITY. IT’S EXPECTED TO BE OPERATIONAL IN 2012.

AGWEB POLL:
THANKS CINDI...WE'LL CHECK IN WITH YOU LATER. NOW HERE ARE THE RESULTS OF LAST WEEK'S AGWEB POLL. THE EDITORS ASKED "DO YOU SUPPORT GOVERNMENT-MANDATED CHECKOFF?" JUST UNDER 15% OF YOU SAID "YES". MORE THAN 60% SAID "NO". 18% THINK THEY SHOULD BE VOLUNTARY. THANKS TO ALL OF YOU FOR VOTING IN THIS UNSCIENTIFIC POLL. AND NOW HERE'S THE BRAND NEW AGWEB POLL QUESTION. "HOW LONG UNTIL YOU FINISH HARVEST?" ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR WEEKS OR MORE? GO TO www.agweb.com , SCROLL DOWN THE RIGHT HAND SIDE AND CAST YOUR VOTE.

WALMART INITIATIVE:
IN AGRIBUSINESS THIS MORNING, WALMART IS MAKING A MAJOR PUSH INTO THE WORLD OF AG. IT'S LAUNCHING A NEW GLOBAL COMMITMENT TO SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE. WALMART SAYS BY 2015 IT PLANS TO SELL ONE BILLION DOLLARS IN FOOD FROM 1 MILLION SMALL AND MEDIUM FARMERS WHILE INCREASING THE INCOME OF THOSE FARMERS BY 10 TO 15%. IT ALSO PLANS TO PROVIDE TRAINING TO THOSE FARMERS ON CROP SELECTION AND SUSTAINABLE AG. YOU CAN FIND MORE ABOUT THEIR PLAN AT WWW.AGDAY.COM UNDER SHOW LINKS.

COTTON PRICES:
AS THE OPENING BELL RANG ON FRIDAY, COTTON PRICES SOARED ON THE BACKS OF A POOR CROP IN CHINA AND PAKISTAN. CHINA IS THE LARGEST IMPORTER OF COTTON. COTTON FUTURES SURGED TO 119-CENTS A POUND, BUT LOST SOME OF ITS STEAM, CLOSING AT 109. ANALYSTS SAY THE HIGHER COTTON PRICES WILL LIKELY BE FELT BY CONSUMERS WHEN THEY BUY T-SHIRTS.

ANALYSIS:
BOB UTTERBACK

INDIANA COTTON:
IT'S A PHENOMENON THAT'S NOT NEW TO AGRICULTURE. KIDS GROW UP, GO OFF TO SCHOOL AND NEVER RETURN TO THE FARM. SOMETIMES THERE'S NO INTEREST, SOMETIMES THERE'S NOT ENOUGH TO GO AROUND AND SOMETIMES LIFE JUST TAKES PEOPLE IN ANOTHER DIRECTION. THAT'S THE STORY OF ONE INDIANA MAN...HE LEFT HIS ARKANSAS FAMILY FARM FOR JOB TO THE NORTH...WHILE HE NEVER MADE IT BACK TO HIS FATHER'S FIELDS, NEARLY 60 YEARS LATER HE'S PROOF HOW DEEP THOSE ROOTS CAN RUN. YOU MIGHT SAY DOYLE VANDERBURG IS ENJOYING RETIREMENT. HE AND HIS WIFE HAVE DOWN SIZED, HE'S GOT GOBS OF GRANDKIDS AND FOOTBALL SEASON IS UNDERWAY. BUT DOLYE IS NOT A NATIVE OF MISHAWAKA INDIANA, WHERE HE WORKED, LIVES AND RAISED A FAMILY...DOYLE IS ORIGINALLY FROM A SMALL FAMILY FARM IN HUNTER ARKANSAS...HE SAYS THAT'S 12 MILES FROM BRINKLEY FOR THOSE OF US WHO AREN'T FAMILIAR WITH THE AREA. I GRADUATED IN 1952 FROM THERE WITH 52 IN MY CLASS AND I HAD SOME FRIENDS UP NORTH, I THOUGHT WELL I'M GOING TO GO NORTH AND SEE WHAT I CAN DO. HE WOUND UP AT THE OLD BALL BAND RUBBER PLANT, WHICH MADE EVERYTHING FROM GYM SHOES TO RAIN COATS. DOYLE SAYS, “FOR MY AGE I PUT DOWN THERE I WAS 17 AND 11 MONTHS AND THE GUY THAT DOES THE HIRING SAID WHY DIDN'T YOU DO LIKE THE REST OF THE HILLBILLYS DO AND TELL A LIE ABOUT YOUR AGE.” I SAID SIR I WAS BROUGHT UP TO NEVER TELL A LIE. HE SAID YOU'VE GOT A JOB NOW. A JOB IN NORTHERN INDIANA, AND HIS FAMILY'S FARM IN NORTHERN ARKANSAS....DOYLE WASN'T PLANNING TO MAKE IT A CAREER. I THOUGHT WELL ONE YEAR, MAYBE TWO BUT NOT OVER THREE AND I'M GOING BACK TO THE FARM. BUT YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT TOMORROW BRINGS. I WOUND UP WITH 39 YEARS THERE. AND THROUGH THE YEARS, HIS MIND OFTEN WANDERED BACK TO HIS DAYS ON THE FARM, HEAT WAVES BOUNCING OFF THE FIELDS OF COTTON, WHITE BOLLS STRETCHING INTO THE HORIZON, AND HARVESTING HANDS FLYING THROUGH THE ROWS. A LOT OF PEOPLE WOULD PICK 3,400 POUNDS OF COTTON A DAY. BUT I WAS KIND OF ON THE LOW SIDE. I WOULD PICK ENOUGH TO MAYBE SIT DOWN ON AND TAKE A LITTLE REST. ABOUT 25 YEARS AGO, DOYLE MISSED THE FLUFFY FIBER SO MUCH, HE DECIDED TO START HIS OWN FARM...IN A FLOWER POT. THEY SAY YOU CAN'T RAISE IT BUT I'M GOING TO TRY. I JUST STARTED OUT, BABY IT AND PAMPER IT AND I GOT IT GOING PRETTY GOOD. DOYLE IS QUITE POSSIBLY THE ONLY COTTON FARMER IN THE STATE OF INDIANA...A STATE KNOWN MORE FOR BASKETBALL AND CORN THAN FOR COTTON. HIS NEAREST COMPETITION SITS SOME 400 MILES TO THE SOUTH. THE COTTON GREW BUT NOT ALWAYS WELL. IT WAS BETTER AT CULTIVATING CONVERSATION. THEY SAY WHAT IS THAT AND I TELL THEM COTTON. MOST OF THE TIME THAT'S WHAT HE TOLD THEM--UNLESS THEY WERE A FORMER SUPERVISOR AT THE BALL BAND PLANT WHERE HE OCCASSIONALLY GREW A FEW PLANTS. HE SEEN ME WATERING IT AT NIGHT..WE DIDN'T GET ALONG VERY GOOD..AND HE SAID WHAT IS THAT? AND I LOOKED AROUND AND I SAID DON'T TELL NOBODY BUT ITS MARIJUANA...HE LOOKED AT ME AND COUPLE OF DAYS LATER IT WAS PULLED UP. I DON'T KNOW WHO DONE IT TO THIS DAY BUT THAT WAS ALL MY COTTON CROP AT BALL BAND. IN 25 YEARS AS A NORTHERN COTTON FAMER, DOYLE SAYS THE BOLLS ONLY OPEN UP ABOUT HALF THE TIME. THIS YEAR'S UNUSUALLY WARM SUMMER BROUGHT A LOT OF BOLLS AND AN EARLY HARVEST. USUALLY IT’S IN LATE SEPTEMBER BEFORE THOSE BOLLS OPEN BUT THIS YEAR IT WAS LABOR DAY THIS YEAR. I TOLD MY WIFE, I'M GETTING BETTER YOU KNOW...AND JUST IN TIME. COTTON IS NOW SELLING FOR ITS HIGHEST PRICE IN 15 YEARS. AFTER NEARLY SIX DECADES OF WORK, IT MAY BE THE PERFECT TIME FOR NORTHERN INDIANA'S LONE COTTON FARMER TO COME OUT OF RETIREMENT. DOYLE SAYS IF BOLLS DON'T OPEN UP...HE CUTS THEM OFF OF THE PLANT AND HANGS THEM IN A WINDOW. THE HEAT FROM THE SUN AND BEING INDOORS WILL USUALLY POP THEM OPEN. STILL TO COME ON AGDAY, A JUNK-FOOD JUNKIES DREAM DIET. . . AND IT'S ALL FOR SCIENCE.

KSU JUNKFOOD DIET:
IF YOU'RE A JUNK-FOOD JUNKIE, A MONTH LONG DIET OF SNACK CAKES AND CHIPS MAY SOUND LIKE A DREAM, BUT FOR A FOOD SCIENTIST IN KANSAS, IT'S SERIOUS SCIENCE. DETAILS IN FOOD AND YOUR FAMILY. KANSAS STATE PROFESSOR MARK HAUB IS ATTEMPTING TO PROVE SOME COMMON BELIEFS ABOUT NUTRITION IN RELATION TO SNACK FOODS ARE UNTRUE. HIS DIET INCLUDES THINGS YOU MIGHT SEE ANY COLLEGE STUDENT EAT -- CHOCOLATE CAKE ROLLS, BREAKFAST PIZZA, DONUTS AND SUGARED CEREAL. ACCORDING TO KANSAS STATE, HAUB ACTUALLY LOST SEVEN POUNDS WITHIN THE FIRST FOUR DAYS. ALTHOUGH HE KNOWS THE FOOD ISN'T GOOD FOR YOU...HAUB SAYS PORTION CONTROL IS THE KEY. HE'S KEEPING CALORIC INTAKE TO 1,800 A DAY. HAUB CLAIMS THE DIET IS EASY ON A BUDGET...ONLY FIVE DOLLARS A DAY. HE WILL BE RECORDING HIS RESULTS ON FACEBOOK THROUGHOUT THE COURSE OF HIS EXPERIMENT.

WOMEN BEEF SHOPPERS:
WHO DOES THE GROCERY SHOPPING AT YOUR HOUSE? RESEARCHERS SAY WOMAN MAKE 93% OF THE FOOD PURCHASES IN THE U.S. A JOB THAT ISN'T ALWAYS AS CLEAR CUT AS ONE MIGHT THINK. NEW LABLES LIKE ORGANIC AND HORMONE FREE ARE POPPING UP ON FOOD EVERYWHERE.
RECENTLY THE FOUNDER OF THE MARKETING COMPANY "JUST ASK A WOMAN" TOLD A GROUP AT THE 2010 FOOD SYSTEMS SUMMIT THAT THESE NEW LABLES ARE CONFUSING. SHE SUGGESTS THINGS LIKE BEEF BE LABELED AS TRADITIONAL BEEF RATHER THAN CONVENTIONAL.  THE WORDS HELP WOMEN CONNECT EMOTIONALLY REMINDING THEM OF GRANDMA'S COOKING. SHE ALSO SAYS THE TERM ORGANIC IS GETTING DILUTED. MANY SHOPPERS SEE IT AS A MARKETING PLOY RATHER THAN DEFINING PRODUCTION PRACTICES.

CONTACT PAGE:
TAKE A MINUTE AND THINK ABOUT US THIS WEEK. WE'D LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU. GIVE US A RING, SEND US A PICTURE OVER EMAIL OR START A CONVERSATION ON FACEBOOK, AT WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/AGDAY .
 

 

 

 

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