USFR Weekly Recap - March 12-13, 2011

March 11, 2011 11:39 PM
 

THIS WEEK ON U.S. FARM REPORT
EPISODE #1961
MARCH12-13, 2011

JOHN OPEN
HELLO AND WELCOME TO U-S FARM REPORT, I'M JOHN PHIPPS. WE ARE PERFECTING THE ART OF STALEMATE IN GOVERNMENT AT ALMOST EVERY LEVEL. SENATORS FILIBUSTER AT THE DROP OF A HAT, LEGISLATORS PLAY HOOKEY, AND VIRTUALLY EVERY BILL IS LADEN WITH EXTRANEOUS RIDERS TO MAKE EVEN POPULAR MOTIONS HARD TO SUPPORT. WHILE SOME WOULD CHEER GRIDLOCK, IT IS LESS ATTRACTIVE WHEN YOU ARE ALSO ALARMED ABOUT WHERE WE ARE HEADED. WITH THE STEERING WHEEL FROZEN, IT IS HARD TO AVOID COLLISIONS AND CLIFFS. SO IT IS THAT THE FEDERAL BENCH IS WOEFULLY UNDERSTAFFED SINCE ANY SENATOR CAN HALT ANY NOMINATION FOR ANY REASON, AND IMPORTANT TRADE DEALS ARE HELD UP FOR POLITICAL GAMESMANSHIP. AL PELL IS HERE WITH ONE SUCH STORY, AND THE REST OF THE NEWS....

KOREA FTA
THANK YOU JOHN. THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION IS URGING CONGRESS TO MOVE QUICKLY TO APPROVE AN UN-FINISHED FREE TRADE AGREEMENT WITH SOUTH KOREA. THE F-T-A WAS AGREED UPON NEARLY FOUR YEARS AGO, BUT CONGRESS HAS YET TO RATIFY THE PACT. THIS WEEK, U-S TRADE REPRESENTATIVE RON KIRK WENT BEFORE A SENATE COMMITTEE SAYING IT'S TIME TO FINISH THE DEAL. BUT SOME SENATORS WARN CONGRESS WILL NOT MOVE ON THE F-T-A UNLESS THE ADMINISTRATION ALSO COMPLETES TRADE DEALS WITH COLOMBIA AND PANAMA.
THE U-S DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE SAYS ABOUT 60 PERCENT OF U-S AG PRODUCTS SENT TO SOUTH KOREA WOULD IMMEDIATELY BE DUTY FREE. THAT INCLUDES CORN, WHEAT, SOYBEANS, COTTON AND WINE. DUTIES ON PRODUCTS SUCH AS BEEF AND PORK WOULD DECLINE OVER TIME. USDA SAYS KOREA IS CURRENTLY THE FIFTH LARGEST MARKET FOR U-S AGRICULTURE GOODS. THAT COUNTRY IMPORTS NEARLY FOUR BILLION DOLLARS WORTH EACH YEAR. IF THIS F-T-A IS APPROVED, THAT AMOUNT COULD INCREASE BY NEARLY TWO BILLION DOLLARS.

PORK PROMOTION
THE POPULAR MARKETING PHRASE "THE OTHER WHITE MEAT" WHICH HELPED DRIVE SALES OF PORK CHOPS AND TENDERLOINS IS GOING TO GET PUSHED TO THE BACK BURNER FOR AWHILE. THE NATIONAL PORK BOARD ANNOUNCED A NEW BRANDING CAMPAIGN WHICH CELEBRATES PORK'S VERSATILITY. THE NEW SLOGAN IS "PORK - BE INSPIRED". THE PORK BOARD SAYS THIS CAMPAIGN IS INTENDED SHOW HOW PORK CAN BE USED IN ANY MENU, FOR ANY MEAL. THE NEW CAMPAIGN ROLLS OUT THIS MONTH. IT'LL INCLUDE NATIONAL ADVERTISING, PUBLIC RELATIONS, SOCIAL MEDIA, RETAIL AND FOODSERVICE MARKETING. THE CHECKOFF SAYS "THE OTHER WHITE MEAT" CAMPAIGN WILL STILL BE AROUND, BUT NOT AS PROMIMENT OF A ROLE. THAT CATCHY PHRASE HAS BEEN USED FOR NEARLY 25 YEARS!

FLORIDA STRAWBERRIES
IF YOU'RE PLANNING TO VISIT FLORIDA FOR SPRING BREAK, DON'T FORGET ITS RIPE TIME FOR STRAWBERRIES. STRAWBERRY HARVEST IS UNDERWAY ACROSS THE SOUTH. INSPITE OF COLD WEATHER THIS WINTER, MANY GROWERS ARE EXPECTING A GOOD SEASON. WISH FARMS IN PLANT CITY FLORIDA MARKETS AND GROWS ABOUT 1500 ACRES OF STRAWBERRIES. THE RUBY RED FRUIT IS AN IMPORTANT PART OF THE LOCAL ECONOMY. FARMERS AT WISH SAY AS TOUGH AS THIS WINTER WAS IT WAS ACTUALLY BETTER THAN LAST YEAR. FLORIDA RANKS SECOND BEHIND CALIFORNIA IN STRAWBERRY PRODUCTION. IT GROWS ABOUT 15-PERCENT OF THE TOTAL CROP. BY THE WAY, THE FLORIDA STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL WRAPS-UP THIS WEEKEND IN PLANT CITY.

SPIRIT OF THE HEARTLAND
FOR MOST OF US, CELERY GOES GREAT WITH PEANUT BUTTER OR CHEESE SPREAD. BUT FOR ONE FAMILY IN CALIFORNIA, THE GREEN STALK IS A WAY OF LIFE. IN THIS REPORT FROM CALIFORNIA COUNTRY, TRACEY SELLERS TAKES US TO THE FIELDS TO CHECK OUT A CROP WITH A LONG GROWING SEASON - AND A BIG DEMAND FOR WATER. TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THIS IMPRESSIVE OPERATION, HEAD ONLINE TO "DUDA-DOT-COM". AS ALWAYS, WE'LL POST A LINK ON OUR HOME PAGE FOR EASY ACCESS.

BAXTER BLACK
LARGE ANIMAL VETERINARIANS UTILIZE A NUMBER OF TOOLS FOR THEIR TRADE - SOME MORE EFFECTIVE THAN OTHERS. BAXTER BLACK JOINS US NOW FROM HIS ARIZONA RANCH. BAXTER WILL JOIN US AGAIN IN TWO WEEKS...UNTIL THEN, CHECK OUT HIS WORK ONLINE AT BAXTER-BLACK-DOT-COM."

TRACTOR TALES
TRACTOR TALES THIS WEEK TAKES US TO STERLING, NEBRASKA. COLLECTOR BOB WOLFF SHOWS OFF HIS OLD JOHN DEERE CRAWLER. ROBERT'S FARM IS HOME TO AN ANTIQUE MACHINERY SHOW HELD EACH YEAR IN AUGUST. TO LEARN MORE, HEAD ONLINE TO "DEER CREEK SODBUSTERS-DOT-ORG". WE'LL POST A LINK ON OUR HOME PAGE FOR INSTANT ACCESS.

CHURCH SALUTE
TODAY ON COUNTRY CHURCH SALUTE WE TRAVEL TO MILFORD, DELAWARE AND THE AVENUE UNITED METHODIST CHURCH. ITS HISTORY OF 234 YEARS IS ALMOST SIMULTANEOUS WITH METHODISM IN AMERICA. IN FACT, AN EARLY CIRCUIT-RIDING PREACHER DESCRIBED THE DELMARVA PENINSULA AS "THE GARDEN OF METHODISM IN AMERICA." TODAY THE REGION IS HOME TO MORE THAN 500 METHODIST CHURCHES. THE PRESENT BUILDING IS THE CONGREGATIONS FOURTH HOUSE OF WORSHIP AFTER ITS FOUNDING IN 1787. IT WAS COMPLETED 1939 WITH SEVERAL ADDITIONS AND IMPROVEMENTS SINCE. IN FACT, A MAJOR RENOVATION IS UNDERWAY NOW. THE 1200 MEMBERS OF AVENUE CHURCH WORK TO KEEP THEIR MINISTRY ACTIVE IN THEIR COMMUNITY WITH LITERALLY DOZENS OF SEPARATE PROGRAMS FROM SCOUTING TO ANGEL FOOD. THE LEAD PASTOR IS EARLE BAKER. GERALD BURBAGE, A LONG-TIME VIEWER SENT US THE HISTORY AND PHOTOS. OUR CONGRATULATIONS TO THE CONGREGATION FOR THEIR YEARS OF SERVICE.

MAILBAG
LONNIE COOPER HAS A PROBLEM WITH BIG OIL: "WE NEED TO GET ENERGY PRODUCTION OUT OF THE HANDS OF BIG COMPANIES LIKE EXXON AND SHELL AND THE OTHER BIG COMPANIES AND PUT IT IN THE HANDS OF SMALLER GROUPS AND FARMERS." SHOULD EXPLAIN THAT LONNIE WAS EXPRESSING HIS SUPPORT FOR ALGAE-BASED ENERGY PRODUCTION, WHICH IS WHOLE 'NOTHER ISSUE. IT WAS THIS REMARK THAT I WANTED TO ADDRESS. HATING ON BIG OIL IS A NEAR HABIT, AND WITH GAS PRICES CLIMBING TOWARD $4, I SURE THE ANIMOSITY WON'T BE DYING DOWN SOON. BUT FOR THE LIFE OF ME, I CAN'T UNDERSTAND WHY. HERE IN THE U-S WE HAVE ENJOYED RIDICULOUSLY CHEAP GAS AND DIESEL PRICES COMPARED TO REST OF THE WORLD. IT WOULD SEEM THAT HUGE OIL COMPANIES HAVE DONE THEIR JOB EXCEPTIONALLY WELL. I THINK WE ARE BLAMING THE DEALER FOR THE PRICE OF OUR ADDICTION. WE HAVE BUILT OUR CULTURE AROUND CARS, AND WE LIKE IT. IN FACT, WE ARE EVEN WILLING TO RISK OUR ENVIRONMENT TO KEEP ROLLING. BREAKING UP OIL COMPANIES - OR WHATEVER SOLUTION IS TRIED - WILL NOT CHANGE THIS FACT: OIL COMPANIES SELL US STUFF WE REFUSE TO BE WITHOUT. UNTIL WE STOP DRIVING SO MUCH OR USE ENERGY MORE EFFICIENTLY, ANY ENERGY PROVIDER WILL NATURALLY PRICE WHAT THE MARKET CAN BEAR. ONE COMPLAINT ALTERNATIVE ENERGY FANS HAVE IS OIL IS TOO CHEAP TO COMPETE AGAINST. BUT WE HAVE HAD THE POWER ALL ALONG TO DEAL WITH BIG OIL. AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE, DON'T BUY THEIR PRODUCT. OR, ALTERNATIVELY, DO BUY THEIR STOCK.
 

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