Ag Economy Continues to Shine, Improve Nation

Some good news about the U.S. economy is that it continues to turn the corner. That’s according to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack regarding the Automatic Data Processing National Employment Report – which shows private sector employment increased by 119-thousand from March to April.

Vilsack notes private sector employment has grown for more than 26 months – reflecting a good agricultural economy – which has been the second-most productive aspect of the U.S. economy since 1980. That productivity – he says – leads to better incomes and more job opportunities:

“You have record income levels, as we’ve had, record export levels of agricultural products, you’re soon going to see people being hired to produce tractors, and combines planters and pickers which basically farmers are now in a position to purchase because they’ve got the income to do so. You’re also going to see Main Street businesses impacted by good income.”

You can read more about the report here.

Hunting Rules for Feral Hogs & Coyotes Could Change in NC

North Carolina's wildlife agency is considering new rules on hunting coyotes and feral hogs.

The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission is proposing night hunting of hogs and coyotes with flashlights on private land.

Commissioners expect to decide on the new rules in July. They could take effect Aug. 1.  State officials have expanded the rules on trapping and hunting coyotes and feral hogs to control the animals, which reproduce quickly and eat just about anything.

Spring Pork Rally Hasn’t Materialized

The lack of a spring hog price rally and record-high feed costs are leading to an unanticipated period of financial losses. To quote Purdue University Extension Economist Chris Hurt – hog prices normally shoot up in the spring. In fact – according to Hurt – live hog prices rose by an average of about 11-dollars per hundredweight from early April to mid-May in the past five years. But this year – he says prices have struggled to hold onto their early April levels in the low $60s.

Food Safety Tips for Summer Cookouts

The season for summer cookouts begins this weekend with Memorial Day. USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline Food Safety Specialist Tina Hanes says the hotline gets questions every year about food safety for summer cookouts – picking up right around this time. Hanes says sticking with the basics is the best. That would be clean, separate, cook and chill:

“Use a food thermometer to check the temperature of meats and poultry that you may be cooking on the grill, use a thermometer, don’t forget that, and bring that outside along with your meat to the grill.”

Hanes says many cookouts happen away from home. When taking food to another location – she says it’s important to keep it cold to minimize the growth of bacteria and germs. For more food safety tips – call the hotline at 1-888-MPHotline -Tips also can be found online at


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