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2012 Beltwide Cotton Conference Seeing Increased Attendance

Thursday wrapped up the first full day of the Beltwide Cotton Conference in Orlando, Florida. National Cotton Council’s Bill Richardson, show coordinator says that this year’s attendance is set to exceed 2011 numbers:

“I think all in all we’ll be up from last year.”

Richardson attributes some of the new interest in the Beltwide to more farmers getting into cotton, or expanding cotton acres:

“I think that has a part to do with it, I mean we have some growers that are new to cotton, and some growers that maybe expanding cotton. but, there’s certainly an interest in cotton. I also feel like from the consultants standpoint, feel like we have a good crowd from the consultants, and a lot of growers rely on their consultants to stay up on the new technical information.”

And as Richardson mentioned, not all attendees at this year’s Beltwide are farmers:

“We’re seeing a lot of people here that are involved in the decision-making process that may not necessarily be the grower but certainly impact what the grower does and help create a good number for his bottom line.”

Impact of FDA’s Antibiotic Ban Hard to Define

The Food and Drug Administration has ordered livestock producers to limit the use of a type of antibiotics because residues of the drugs could make people more resistant.  The agency's order will limit cephalosporins  – which are given to some cattle, swine and poultry Bob Ford Executive Director of the North Carolina Poultry Federation says as far as poultry goes, it’s already a limited use drug:

“You have to have a veterinarian to script it, so that puts more control on it than if it was over-the-counter, and it’s expensive. I mean, it’s just not a randomly used drug for the heck of it.”

But, if after the comment period ends on March 6, and the ban goes forward as written, Ford has this concern:

“This might be a first step into….if this doesn’t work and the find out this order is useless and they can’t enforce it or control it then they might go back to what they did in 2008 and try to revoke the whole use of it.”

Right now, the general thought is that the FDA is attempting to keep cephalosporin’s use strictly to label.

Got Milk? Milk Futures Lead More Popular Commodities

When it comes to big gainers, milk outgained gold, oil and other more popular futures contracts in 2011. Milk futures rose about 35.7 percent in price in 2011 to close at 18.77 cents per pound. That compares to an 11.7 percent rise in the price of gold and a 10 percent rise in crude oil prices.

Food Prices Moderate in Fourth Quarter

According to the American Farm Bureau Federation's latest Marketbasket Survey – consumers paid a little bit less for groceries in the fourth quarter of 2011. The informal survey shows a seven-percent decrease to $49.23 from the third quarter survey of the total cost of 16 basic grocery items. Still,  that's an increase of 5 percent when compared to one year ago. is dedicated to serving the agricultural industry in the Carolinas and Virginia with the latest ag news, exclusive regional weather station readings, and key crop market information. The website is a companion of the Southern Farm Network, provider of daily agricultural radio programming to the Carolinas since 1974. presents radio programs, interviews and news relevant to crop and livestock production and research throughout the mid-Atlantic agricultural community.