AgDay Daily Recap November 18, 2011

November 18, 2011 05:15 AM

NOVEMBER 18, 2011

There have been rumblings all year of fewer farm hands available for production and harvest. Now the USDA is confirming it. While the drop isn't staggering, Secretary Vilsack says it’s a trend that's likely to continue as long as America fails to solve its immigration and guest worker issues. In its latest farm labor report the NASS Office says the number of hired workers are down one percent compared to a year ago. There were 1,141,000 workers hired on the nation's farms during the week of October 9th. Farm operators paid those workers an average wage of $11.15 cents per hour.  That's slightly higher than last year. The biggest drops in hired workers came in the drought stricken southern plains, California, the Corn Belt and in the Pacific Northwest. Vilsack says in many cases finding workers is a challenge. Secretary Vilsack says the issue of immigration and farm workers is too politicized. He thinks politicians are using it to scare people rather than finding a system that works.

A deadly line of storms stretched across the southeast Wednesday. At least six people died in three states. Forecasters say tornadoes touched down in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina.

While the southeast begins to clean up, further west, Oklahoma is doing the same. Just two weeks ago tornados swept across the southwest corner of that state...hitting a dairy and damaging one of the extension research stations. Oklahoma State University's Dave Deken has the story.

The world's largest beef processor is considering getting into the dairy business. Brazilian based JBS says it plans to expand into dairy markets in its home country. JBS says the fast growing Brazilian economy and population should provide opportunities in the dairy business. It's not giving details but JBS expects the expansion to happen next year.

And from our reporting partners at dairy today...the National Milk Producers Federation has voted to renew and continue the cooperatives working together program for the next two years. But there are some changes. The federation says the assessment has been lowered to two-cents per hundredweight. Also, the money will only be used for international market development and export sales assistance. Two years ago, CWT eliminated its herd buyout program and put more emphasis on exports as a way to improve the bottom line for dairy producers.

Mark Gold

Our final installment of outdoors on the farm this week takes us to northern Michigan. The mission...a turkey hunt. But this time around Pro Farmer editor Chip Flory wasn't the only big name in camp. Joining him was a certain a special guest you just might recognize from Nashville. To learn more about Justin Moore - including upcoming appearances - head to Food and your family after the break.

In food and your family, one the leading names in farm equipment is trying to fight world hunger. And they could get their name is the Guinness book of world records. All this week, John Deere has been constructing a massive structure of canned food. It's located at the John Deere pavilion in Moline, Illinois - where Deere is based. It took five days and 300,000 cans to create a John Deere combine. And not just any combine, but their brand-new "S" series.

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