AgDay Daily Recap -August 15, 2012

August 15, 2012 05:57 AM

AUGUST 15, 2012


Good morning I’m Clinton Griffiths. Not only are American farmers and ranchers worried about the impact of the 2012 drought, but so is the top export market for many U.S. farm products. While in Beijing this month for the 30th anniversary celebration of the U.S. China soybean partnership, U.S. leaders assured the Chinese they would be able to provide China's export needs this year. AgDay’s Michelle Rook was in Beijing to get the story.


The dwindling U.S. crops and rising grain prices have caught the attention of the G-20. The "Group of 20" richest nations will decide later this month on whether to convene an emergency gathering to discuss grain and food prices. Bloomberg news says officials from the U.S. and France could initiate the meeting of what's called the "rapid response forum". The forum helps to prevent a global food crisis when countries restrict trade because of shortages. The G-20 countries represent 65% of all farmland and nearly 80% of all global grains.


Two years of drought in the U.S. has taken a toll on U.S. feeder cattle supplies. And that's created an opportunity for Mexican cattle producers who struggled with their own drought. Cattle imports from Mexico to the U.S. have increased 16%. That brings the tally to 1.4 million head. According to Oklahoma state livestock marketing specialist Derrell Peel that's about a third higher than the average annual imports during the past decade. Just like Texas and Oklahoma last year, the drought in northern Mexico was every bit as severe.


Producers who rely on alfalfa are going to be disappointed.  In Friday’s crop production report, USDA said about 55 million tons of alfalfa and alfalfa-mix hay are going to be produced this year. That's a drop of 16% from last year. If that's true, it would be lowest amount of alfalfa since 1953 - which was also a drought year. As you might expect, some of the largest declines were in the Great Plains and cornbelt. On the other end of the scale, Arizona producers are anticipating a record crop. Much of the alfalfa is irrigated in Arizona.


Corn shelling is getting an early start this year. The crop progress report shows some states are three weeks early.


President Obama spent the past three days in the political battleground state of Iowa. He stopped at drought stressed farms talking about challenges farmers face, wind energy and the need for a farm bill. On Monday, Obama’s tour bus also made an unscheduled stop at the Iowa state fair, just a few hours after republican vice presidential candidate, Paul Ryan.


While the drought is a hot topic on the campaign trail, it's also keeping a focus on the yet to be finished 2012 farm bill. The bill, passed through the senate is waiting for house leaders to put it to a vote on the floor. The current bill expires at the end of September.


Wheat harvesters are pushing through the fields, attempting to finish this year’s crop.

Overall 94% of the winter wheat is done. 65% of spring wheat is now cut and it's called mostly good. Farm Director Al Pell looks at the wheat crop and where the prices might be going.


We know farming is one of the most dangerous occupations in the country. For instance, gasses from manure pits can overwhelm farm workers. Grain can quickly encase a farmer who climbs into a bin. The list goes on. That's why it's important that firefighters - especially volunteers in rural communities - are properly trained. In this report from the University of Kentucky, Jeff Franklin takes us to a training exercise. Jeff says the team will analyze the firefighter’s response to determine if there are any gaps.


The Center for Disease Control says rates of adult obesity remained high in 2011. No state had a prevalence of adult obesity of less than 20%. The CDC released a map showing where obesity is the highest.


Getting kids to healthier weights may require more regulation. That's a what new national study published in the Journal of Pediatrics found. It analyzed data on 63-hundred students in 40 states. The results show states with strict laws regulating the sale of junk food and sugary drinks in schools may help slow childhood obesity. Strict rule states saw the number of overweight students fall five percentage points in three years. States with no school junk food laws saw no change in the three year study.



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