Independent Meteorologist Kyle Bridgers explains that South Carolina’s drought conditions have vastly improved:
“The extreme drought has limited itself to just the Midwestern part of the state.”
The state's Drought Response Committee says while the entire state was in a moderate or severe drought recently, most of the state is now in the lowest drought status.
North Carolina’s Piedmont and extreme southern Coast Plain are still showing abnormally dry conditions as of Thursday, but the state is technically drought free:
“The last time we were drought free was in 2010.”
For more on the drought conditions, visit our weekly drought monitor report.
World Food Prices Moderate
The United Nations says overall food prices throughout the world were down in May, to their lowest levels in eight months. Abdolreza Abbassian is with the UN Food and Agricultural Organization:
“Prices have been very high and that is significant because they have come down from those high levels. In May they averaged to be down by 4%.”
Survey Reports on Sow Gestation Trends
Results of a survey issued at World Pork Expo show that the overwhelming majority of the U.S. sow herd spends some time in individual housing. The findings confirm National Pork Producer’s concerns about recent pronouncements by food companies that they will use only pork from operations that are gestation-stall free. The survey, conducted by University of Missouri extension economist Ron Plain, found that currently only 17.3 percent of sows spend a portion of gestation in open pens.
Court Rules on Use of Antibiotics in Animal Feeds
U.S. Magistrate Judge Theodore Katz has ordered the Food and Drug Administration to evaluate the safety risks to human health associated with the use of antibiotics in food-producing animals. According to the Manhattan Judge, the agency has done - shockingly little - since proposing in the 1970s to order a substantial reduction in the use of antibiotics in animal feed.
Katz rejected FDA’s argument that it had addressed the threat from antibiotics by initiating a voluntary program that encourages the industry to use the drugs – judiciously - because public hearings would consume extensive periods of time and agency resources. In its failure to act, Katz wrote - the agency avoided the Congressionally mandated scheme for addressing drugs not shown to be safe.
Fed Thinking Out of the Box
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke says the Fed is ready to take unconventional steps to bolster the US economy but at this point, not decision has been made.