The 2012 Commodity Classic closed out its first full day at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville last night. Charles Hall, CEO of the North Carolina Soybean Producers Association says that North Carolina is well represented at this year’s Classic:
“North Carolina has a very strong delegation here, representing all of the commodities, I’ve seen a lot of them, and they’re certainly here representing farmers and a combination of discovering things about the industry and working on policy and working on challenges and just sharing some fellowship with farmers from other states.”
The 2012 Commodity Classic goes through Saturday in Nashville.
December GDP Numbers Revised
Another sign the economy may be turning around. The Commerce Department today revised upward its GDP numbers for the 4th quarter – showing the economy grew by 3-percent, its fastest pace since the spring of 2011. Economist Gus Faucher (FOH-shaye) says we really need 2-plus percent growth for solid expansion, and we've been growing so slowly for so long now we'll need a lot more to get back…
“The fact that we have three percent growth means that we have kind of extra growth that helping to absorb that slack in the economy. But, I think we’re going to need a period of three percent growth, a year, year and a half to make a dent in that unemployment rate.”
USDA Reports Shifts in Land Use
A report from USDA’s Agriculture Economic Research Service confirms that from 1945 to 2007 the amount of cropland decreased in the United States. Cynthia Nickerson says the reasons vary by region, whereas in some regions of the country where you have significant pressures to provide land for housing, you’ll see declines in crop land. In other regions of the country it could be for other competing demands for land. The study also showed that the nation’s cropland is becoming more concentrated in an area comprised of Iowa, Indiana, Missouri, Ohio and Illinois.
US Economy Still Dragging
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke says international and domestic issues continue to be a drag on the US economy.
“Fiscal and financial strains in Europe have weighed on financial conditions and global economic growth, and problems in US housing and mortgage markets have also held down not only construction and related industries, but household wealth and confidence.”
Department of Labor Not Listening to Child Labor Concerns from Farmers
Bill Northey, president of the National Association of State Department of Agriculture, as well as Iowa Secretary of Agriculture met with top Labor Department officials in Washington and says he came away convinced they’re turning a deaf ear to concerns in farm country about proposed child labor in agriculture restrictions….
“Sounds like there could well be restrictions on not letting a neighbor kid to help, or somebody to help either with livestock or driving a tractor, or a small piece of farm equipment. I hope that doesn’t come about the same way, I actually got more nervous about that after coming home than I was going in.”
Farmers Markets Provides More than Food
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, says local food systems and farmers markets help more Americans to appreciate the work of all farmers, big and small.
“To me, what this does is makes a closer between farmers and the rest of us. And I think that’s really important because we don’t appreciate our farmers as much as we should in this country and I this local food movement is giving us an opportunity to express appreciation for what all our farmers do.”
Today’s Ag Fact:
Americans spend just 9.5% of their income on food—less than any other country in the world.