TODAY ON AGDAY:
OCTOBER 19, 2011
Good morning, following a tsunami and nuclear crisis Japan says its ready to ease restrictions on U.S. beef. This as the country's own domestic production fell following those disasters. That has exporters hopeful Japanese markets will return to pre-2003 levels. Prior to 2003 Japan was America's largest customer. Then following a mad cow scare here in the U.S.-- the country put restrictions in place limiting imports to cattle 20 months or younger. Now there’s talk that limit could be raised to 30 months. The national Cattlemen's Beef Association says American cattle producers have been losing one billion dollars a year in exports...money that could be reclaimed if the age restrictions are eased. So far beef exports to Japan are up nearly 50% over last year.
TEXAS DUST STORM:
In Texas, they're using words like "biblical" and "dust bowl" to describe a massive wall cloud that roared through the Texas panhandle on Monday. A strong cold front brought wind gusts up to 70 miles an hour thru Lubbock, Texas. The drought is so intense in Texas, there's little moisture to hold-down soil. Lindsay Kennedy from the National Sorghum Producers captured the storm on videotape as it roared through Lubbock. There are some estimates the dust storm was two miles high. The wall of dust darkened skies and stopped traffic. Lindsay describes what she saw.
I-80 HARVEST EASTERN IOWA:
This week our Interstate 80 harvest tour takes us to eastern Iowa and the Marolf Farm. USDA's crop progress report shows that 45% of the state's corn and 87% of Iowa's soybean crops are now harvested. Both of those are ahead of average. Of course, when we stopped by the Marolf Farm last week, showers had just moved-in. I spoke with Dustin Marolf this week. The rain had quit and he was out in the fields pushing forward on this year's harvest. Next week, we'll travel to Spirit Family Farms in Sheridan, Illinois as we continue our journey across I-80 this harvest season.
SE FARMER OF THE YEAR:
A North Carolina livestock producer has been named the farmer of the year at this year’s. Sunbelt Expo in Moultrie, Georgia. Thomas Porter of Concord, North Carolina was selected from a group of producers representing nine states in the southeast region of the country. Porter raises poultry, hogs and beef cattle on his 850 acre farm. As a contract grower, he raises hogs for "Murphy-Brown" and broiler pullets for Tyson foods. According to a news release from Sunbelt Expo, the judges were impressed with how Porter built his farm from a humble start. His 300 head beef-cattle herd was started from his original small herd of five cows. They were also impressed with the environmental stewardship of his land. The contest is sponsored by Swisher-Sweets.
Today's machinery minute takes us back to the World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wisconsin. We looked at a self-propelled forage harvester from Claas. This is their largest model - the 980. With a 30 foot wide head, it can cover twelve-30 inch rows. Powered by 860 horses, it can chop 400 tons an hour. Danzinger says a new option this year is telematics. That allows the machine's owner to monitor the output of the machine from his home office.
IN THE COUNTRY; CALIFORNIA PEPPER:
Believe it or not peppers continue to gain in popularity around the country. With so many different shapes sizes and temperatures, there's sure to be one that fits everyone's pallet. Today, Tracy Sellers takes us to a high tech pepper producer in the heart of California who's finding his produce is becoming a hot commodity. Thanks Tracy. I'm a fan of the Anaheim pepper myself. Green or red...both bring back fond memories of home.
Up next food and your family.
JUNK FOOD INFERTILITY:
Hey there guys, put down the donut and listen up. In food and your family this morning new research that says for young men eating junk food not only impacts cholesterol, but may lead to infertility. The research comes from fertility doctors at Harvard University and the University of Murcia in Spain. They looked at the sperm from hundreds of men between ages 18 and 22.
What they found...those who ate more junk food had poorer quality than men who ate a healthy diet. Even weight and exercise didn't seem to matter. The sperm of men with poor diets were less likely to survive the journey to fertilize the egg.
Fast food chain McDonalds says it plans to roll out an HD television channel to about 800 of its stores by March. It hopes to eventually to take it nationwide. The channel is getting help from producer Mark Burnett and plans to include local programming, local sports, profiles and entertainment. McDonalds says just in southern California alone the channel has the ability to reach nearly 20 million customers a month.
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