With high commodity prices and two years of summer drought, producers have seen potential profits evaporate in the summer heat. Consequently, many are re-thinking irrigation. David Heath of Bountiful Blessings Farm, in Craven Co. NC is resurrecting some old irrigation equipment to give it a try this year:
Heath plans on irrigating about 200 acres, starting with equipment that he’s rescued from the woods behind the fields.
White House Announces Rural Economy Boosts
Obama Administration officials have announced three significant actions to expand the government’s purchase of biobased products, promote regional rural job creation and develop a rural healthcare workforce. In a Presidential Memorandum, Mr. Obama directed the Federal Government to take decisive steps to dramatically increase the purchase of biobased products over the next two years. The Memorandum will also result in a 50 percent increase in the number of new products that are designated as biobased.
U.S. & South Korean FTA Activation Set
United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk says the free trade agreement between the United States and South Korea will be implemented on March 15, 2012. On that date – almost two-thirds of American farm exports to South Korea will become duty-free – including wheat, corn, soybeans and cotton. Tariffs on U.S. beef shipments will be phased out over 15-years.
Bush-era USTR Susan Schwab negotiated the trade deal with Seoul and says she finds it hard to believe it has taken so long to get to this point…
“It is unbelievable to me that an agreement like the US/Korea agreement, that took one year to negotiate, which is unbelievable that it only took one year to negotiate such a complicated agreement; 2006 to 2007, that five years later still has not been implemented. And the Europeans negotiated their agreement piggy-backed it on our, and theirs has been in effect since last July.”
Schwab also concluded the FTA negotiation with Colombia – another potentially big market for U.S. ag exports. The Obama Administration is still working to implement the terms of that agreement.
Continuous CRP Announcement Made
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced a new conservation initiative to protect up to 750-thousand acres of the nation's most highly erodible croplands. The new initiative will assist producers with targeting their most highly erodible cropland, land with an erodibility index of 20 or greater, by enabling them to plant wildlife-friendly, long-term cover through the Conservation Reserve Program.
Price Takes on a Greater Role in Meat Purchasing Decision
The impact of the economy and higher prices for meat and poultry products are making a significant difference for consumers at the meat case. Price has taken on an ever-greater role in the meat purchasing decision process, as price per pound has solidified its number-one ranking as the most important decision factor for consumers, while total package cost is now the second most important decision factor, surpassing product appearance, according to the seventh annual Power of Meat study.
Today’s Farm Fact:
Agriculture employs 14% of the U.S. workforce, or about 21 million people.