2012 Commodity Classic Kicks off Today

As one of the four host commodity groups at Commodity Classic, National Sorghum Producers and the Sorghum Checkoff have a large presence at the convention in Nashville, getting underway today. Lindsay Kennedy, External Affairs Director for National Sorghum Producers:

“It’s kind of a farmer invasion in Nashville right now, the Opryland is filling up, registration this year is over 5,000 for the first time, so we’re looking at a record crowd for this year’s Classic.”

The Commodity Classic continues through Saturday at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville.

Immigration Committee Conducts Third Hearing

North Carolina lawmakers considering the state's response to illegal immigration are hearing from representatives of businesses that have often hired cheap labor.

The House Select Committee on the State's Role in Immigration Policy is sorting through the hot-button issue in this election year. The committee heard Wednesday from representatives of the home building, construction and farming industries.
It's the legislative committee's third meeting since it was created last year.

2012 Census of Agriculture Form on It's Way

The Census of Agriculture is conducted every five years – which means this year USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service will mail out forms to all farms in the U.S. to collect crop production and livestock data for 2012. Audra Hubble is with NASS and says the information collected is confidential…

“We cannot share any individuals information with any one else, any different USDA agencies. So, it is held confidential, and what we publish is only data in summary form, so nobody can tell the information from your individual farm from looking at the published reports.”

Hubble says the form typically doesn’t take longer than 30 minutes to complete. NASS tries to get as many responses as possible – but Hubble says phone or field follow-ups may occur to achieve an 80-percent participation rate.

New Nutrition Information on Meat Debuts this Week

Dr. Elisabeth Hagen, Under Secretary of Agriculture, explains that consumers will see new meat nutrition information on some meat packages, but also, in some cases, near where the products are displayed.

“For the ground products, you’ll see those on the packages as the customer is accustomed to seeing them, on the whole cuts of meat, particularly at the point of purchase, there will different options. One would be to lable the product, we realize not all retailers have the ability to do that kind of labeling at point-of-purchase, another option would be to display this type of nutrition facts and information prominently where the customer buys the products.”

Immigration Legislation under Fire

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is scheduled to hear arguments today on challenges to the Georgia and Alabama laws filed by civil liberties and immigrant rights groups and a challenge to Alabama's law filed by the federal government. In the case pitting Alabama against the federal government, the attorneys general of nine other states have filed an amicus brief supporting the state of Alabama, saying they want to ensure that state sovereignty is respected.
A number of foreign governments have filed amicus briefs opposing both Georgia and Alabama's laws, saying they're harmful to diplomatic relations.

Today’s Ag Fact:

According to a 2008 USDA study, agricultural exports generated 920,000 full-time jobs, including 608,000 in the nonfarm sector.


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