Animal Rights Activists Gaining on Legislative Front

Who should decide the appropriate size of a pen for farm animals? American Farm Bureau Livestock Policy Specialist Kelli Ludlum says new legislation would bypass the research of veterinarians and animal scientists in favor of the politics of animal rights activists. Ludlum describes the cost impact for consumers…

“What it ultimately means for consumers is less choice and higher prices at the grocery stores. In general today cage=free eggs are from 50 percent to 100 percent more expensive. Now, we’re not necessarily talking about going all the way to cage-free, so you can assume that the cost point will be somewhere in the middle of cage-free and conventional eggs today.”

McDonald’s Releases Plan for Open Housing for Sows

Late last week, McDonald’s USA shared its ten-year plan to work with its pork suppliers to phase out the use of gestation stalls in its U.S. pork supply. In February, McDonald’s USA announced its commitment to work with its pork suppliers to assess the current state of sow housing and to develop next steps for gestation stall phase out.

The goal of McDonald’s ten-year plan, which was developed with input from its suppliers, pork producers and animal welfare experts, is to source all pork for its U.S. business from producers that do not house pregnant sows in gestation stalls by the end of 2022.

As an interim step, by 2017, McDonald’s will seek to source pork for its U.S. business only from producers who share its commitment to phase out gestation stalls.

NPPC Reacts to McDonald’s Announcement

The National Pork Producers Council expressed disappointment with McDonald’s decision to move forward with requiring its pork suppliers to phase out the use of individual sow housing. NPPC President, RC Hunt of Wilson, NC said that while they were disappointed, but, unlike other food companies, McDonald’s did the research to find out how complex this issue is, and at least they discussed their plans with the pork industry and has concerns with the available pork supply from stall-free operations.

2012 Atlantic Hurricane Forecast Revised

Colorado State Forecasters have slightly increased their hurricane forecast for the 2012 season; They say we can expect 13 named storms, five hurricanes and 2 major storms. Dr Phil Klotzbach(CLOTS-bock) says it's still a below average season…because the Atlantic has cooled down…and because of another phenomenon:

“We also think that we may have a weak to moderate El Nino event, if you have El Nino it tends to increase your shear, which is your change in wind direction with height. And if you have too much shear it tears apart the developing tropical cyclones.”

FDA Will Not Rename HFCS

The Corn Refiners Association effort to rename high-fructose corn syrup has been thwarted by the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA says using the term corn sugar instead would confuse U.S. consumers and could pose a health risk to those who suffer from fructose intolerance.

Winter Honey Bee Losses Down

According to the annual survey conducted by USDA, the Bee Informed Partnership and the Apiary Inspectors of America – total losses of managed honey bee colonies from all causes were 21.9-percent for the 2011-12 winter. That’s a substantial drop compared to the previous five years. 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.