North Carolina agriculture officials are warning farmers to have their corn tested for a potentially harmful byproduct of mold. Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler says the risk of aflatoxin in corn has sharply increased because of the hot, dry summer and heavy rains of Hurricane Irene. Farmers who need to test their crops for insurance purposes can have samples of corn tested in Raleigh and Elizabeth City. Farmers who use bulk corn to feed their own animals can have it tested for free by a laboratory at the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
Food Prices Predicted to Continue to Rise in 2012
With high feed prices, and the drought in Texas the writing has been on the wall all summer. Now USDA economist Ricky Volpe says that beef and pork prices will continue to reach new record highs this year and next.
“In the meat sector, looking at the meat that comes from larger animals, that’s specifically cattle and hogs, we’re looking at near record prices for those, and that should be sustained through the reminder of 2011, and probably into 2012, because the outlook for herd expansion for herd expansion for either of the commodities is really poor. So, consumers can expect really high prices for these meat commodities through 2012.”
As far as overall food price inflation, Volpe says the numbers remain pretty much the same for this year, but next year is a bit different:
“For the year 2011 we maintain our overall forecast for all food to increase three or four percent over 2010 levels, and for 2012 we’re looking at an additional increase of 2.5 to 3.5 percent. Now, if we restrict our focus to food at home, which is grocery store prices, in 2011 we’re maintaining our forecast to 3.5 to 4.5 percent increase, and in 2012 we’re looking at three to four percent increase over 2011.”
Small Business too Apprehensive About Economy to Hire
CBS News Business and Economics Correspondent Rebecca Jarvis says a new Citibank survey shows small business owners want to hire, but are waiting for economic conditions that would support additional staff:
“A majority of them say that they’re going to be holding steady as far as job creation goes. 78% say that they’re keeping the same number of employees, 17% believe they’ll be increasing employees, and a much smaller number, just 5%, are planning to decrease employees.”
West Nile Virus Claims First Virginian Equine
A horse in Clarke County has been euthanized after testing positive for equine West Nile virus, Virginia's first reported case this year. State officials are urging horse owners to prevent West Nile and Eastern equine encephalitis by vaccinating their animals. Mosquitoes transmit both types of viruses, which usually lives in wild birds. Transmission between horses and humans is extremely unlikely.
Corn Yields Looking Grim
U.S. corn yields may fall to an eight-year low amid “widespread” problems from extreme heat and dryness over the summer, with a smaller harvest outlook signaling corn prices above $8 a bushel before the end of the year, according to a recent survey conducted by Allendale, Inc.