The 2012 drought has had a significant effect on U.S. agriculture and global agriculture – according to USDA Economist Paul Westcott. Production estimates have been reduced for this year and prices have increased this summer from the drought. Assuming the weather is cooperative – Westcott says the crop production increase that was expected early in 2012 should happen in 2013…
“Increased production in response to the high prices we’ve seen recently will be occurring around the world. South America in particular will have increased production of crops that will be harvested next February through April.”
USDA Economist Paul Westcott.
Farmers Press Congress for Immigration Reform
During a call organized by the National Immigration Forum last week – farmers from the states of Washington, New York, Arizona and North Carolina said congressional inaction on immigration, federal enforcement of current laws and stricter state laws are leaving fruits and vegetables rotting on the vine. The Obama Administration has conducted raids on illegal immigrants – trying to get the public to see how immigration reform could move forward – but they have caused many longtime ag workers to be deported. These workers are skilled workers – according to NIF Executive Director Ali Noorani. But with immigration reform a controversial topic – many members of Congress have shied away from discussing it.
US Economic Growth Revised Downward
The government has revised the numbers for growth in the second quarter. CBSMoneyWatch.com Editor-at-Large Jill Schlesinger explains:
“The government released the final reading of second quarter growth. GDP was cut to 1.3% annual rate, its the slowest pace since the third quarter of 2011. It’s also down from last month’s 1.7% estimate.”
About half the downward revision came from a decline in farm inventories, and that's because of the record drought felt across the country.
Rainfall Reduces Drought Status in South Carolina
South Carolina's drought committee says rainfall has reduced the drought status in the northeastern portion of the state and Charleston and Beaufort counties. State Climatologist Hope Mizell says the panel met in Columbia on Thursday to assess the situation.
The South Carolina Drought Response Committee put much of the northeast portion of the state, as well as Charleston and Beaufort counties, in a normal status. That is improved from their prior status of incipient drought.
The panel took five counties along the Savannah River out of the severe drought category, placing some in a moderate level, while others moved to incipient drought.
Dietician Discusses School Lunch Program Controversy
The school lunch program has become a hot topic recently. After not being updated for 15-years – changes are being made. Nationally recognized dietician Dayle Hayes says there are good things about the program…
“There are more fruits, vegetables and whole grains. I wish we had done a little more pilot testing to try it in a few schools and work out some of the kinks we could be in a better place today.”
Hayes says the real source of controversy seems to be the calorie limits set for high school lunches.