Latest Consumer Confidence Numbers Weak
From August to September consumer confidence remained extremely weak. A healthy economic reading is about 90. For September, the Conference Board reports their index was at 45.4 only up slightly from August. The Conference Board's Lynn Franco:
“Until we see some sort of turnaround in the labor market, that convinces consumers that the recovery is really underway, we’re really very likely to continue bouncing along these levels.”
Human Strain of H1N1 Detected in African Pigs
UCLA scientists have found an exact strain of human flu virus in up to 89 percent of the pigs they tested in some African villages, making that continent - ground zero for a new pandemic. The danger is the virus could again mutate within swine, infect other pigs and then jump to humans, causing widespread death for people with limited resistance to the new strain of sickness.
The scientists say the H1N1 virus found in Cameroon is virtually identical to a virus found in people in San Diego just a year earlier, providing an astonishing example of how quickly the flu can spread all over the globe.
Farmland Becoming an Investment Haven for Non-Farmers
There’s been a lot of focus on the growing global population and what that means for food demand. As a result - investors have started taking notice of returns on resources that provide food, including farmland. In fact, United Soybean Board vice chair Vanessa Kummer says farmland is becoming the hot new investment item for hedge funds and investment groups in the U..S. and around the world….tape
“These funds are interested in buying farmland because they’re a stable investment. And I think this going to be a very interesting turn, much like when the large fund investors were able to use the commodities market.”
Kummer says this does raise some concern for how these investments will affect farming and the rest of agriculture
Study Looks at Livestock Traceability
A study assessing the impact of traceability and animal identification programs on the international market for red meat points out that the United States and India are the only two major beef exporters that do not already have mandatory traceability systems. According to the report, released by the U.S. Meat Export Federation, Argentina, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Uruguay all have animal identification/traceability programs in place.
Endangered Species Act Review Planned
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says it will conduct an in-depth status review of 374 rare southeastern aquatic, riparian and wetland animal and plant species to determine if any or all of them warrant federal protection as a threatened or endangered species under the Endangered Species Act.