North Carolina Ag Commissioner Steve Troxler is in Washington this week meeting with fellow ag leaders from across the country. Troxler says there’s a couple of topics of great importance to NC agriculture on the table, one of which is the consolidation on National Ag Statistics Service offices that the group plans to take up with Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack:
“I have a particular issue to talk to him about. They’re talking about the reorganization of the National Agricultural Statistics Service, North Carolina ahppens to be the only state in the union with the Memorandum of Understanding that we have and it’s going to be particularly damaging to North Carolina and our ability to collect the ag statistics that we need.”
And the other will be a workable guest worker program:
“Oh, that’s going to be a huge topic of discussion. And we have got to, as a nation, move forward with a guest worker program that is affordable and one that we can rely on. Without it, we have already seen crops that are not being picked, and it’s happening, not only in the southern part of the US, but also in some of the western states. So, immigration, and guest worker reform is going to be a huge topic.”
In his State of Agriculture address last week, Troxler said that he feels that guest worker programs should be delegated to the states, and states should stay out of immigration reform and leave it to the federal government.
Hormel Foods Discontinuing Use of Small Metal Crates
Hormel Foods Corporation's company-owned farms will phase out the use of small metal crates for confining pregnant hogs by the end of 2017. In an on-line statement, Hormel says the breeding sows at its company-owned farms in Arizona will be transitioning to group housing by the end of summer this year and at its farms in Colorado and Wyoming before 2018.
Humane Society of the United States President and CEO Wayne Pacelle said in a statement, this decision brings us closer to the day when the cruel confinement of pigs in gestation crates will be a bygone era for the entire pork industry.
Producers, Commodity Groups Prepare for 2012 Commodity Classic
Grain producers from across the country are gearing up for a trip to Nashville, Tennessee. The 2012 Commodity Classic takes place March 1st through the 3rd in Nashville. Jeff Sollars is an Ohio farmer that sits on the American Soybean Association Board of Directors and serves as a co-chair of Commodity Classic. The ASA, National Corn Growers Association, National Association of Wheat Growers and National Sorghum Producers come together to host one of the largest farmer-led conventions of the year:
“It offers a wide range of learning and networking opportunities for growers in the areas of production, policy, marketing, management and stewardship, as well as showcasing some of the latest equipment, technology and innovation.”
All four organizations use the Classic to conduct their annual business meetings.
Gas Prices Poised to Sky Rocket
Drivers beware, gas prices are predicted to skyrocket in the coming months, up maybe up as much as 60 cents a gallon. Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst with the Oil Price Information Service, explains what will be driving costs:
“In March and April, it becomes much more challenging. And there have been a number of refinery closures, and it’s going to make that switch between winter and summer gas much more problematic.”
Subcommittee Continues to Investigate MF Global
The House Financial Services Subcommittee held its second hearing on the MF Global Holdings failure late last week, with lawmakers focusing on an internal MF Global document that laid out extreme financial stress scenarios the firm could face in the near future. Just prior to the writing of the document, former Chief Executive Jon Corzine and the firm’s former Chief Financial Officer, Henry Steenkamp, had upbeat comments about the firm’s financial stability.
New NCBA President lays out Priorities for Yea
For 2012 – the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association will be led by J.D. Alexander, a Nebraska cattle producer. As he takes the reins, he says his number one goal is maintaining the strength of the organization:
“We’ve got a great site on the policy that we do a lot of good work as far making sure the environment, the climate that our people operate in, is going to be successful, and make it as easy for them to be profitable. So, I just want to make sure that we maintain that we’ve got a good organization, a great association moving forward.”