Next Week

A record-shattering Commodity Classic will begin next week in Nashville, Tennessee. Commodity Classic is the nation’s largest farmer-led, farmer-focused convention and trade show. This year – Commodity Classic Co-Chair Jeff Sollars says more than 5,000 growers, farm families and agri-business leaders will attend the convention – making it the largest in Commodity Classic history.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will address the Commodity Classic crowd for the third straight year – which Sollars says is a testament to the importance of the show…

“Given the discussions of the 2012 farm bill and federal budget, the Secretary’s message will be very important to those attending Classic this year.”

House Ag Chairman: Answers Needed Before Able to Move Forward with Farm Bill

As lawmakers on both the Senate and House Agriculture Committees look for budgetary and policy answers in preparation for the possibility of writing a new farm bill this year – there are many unanswered questions. House Ag Chairman Frank Lucas says his first concern is how much money will be available…

“Is it going to be a $23 billion reduction that Senator Stabenow and I agreed to, or will it be the $32-$33 billion the president talked about in his budget proposal? Or what will Mr. Ryan off the House Budge Committee throw at us? He had a $40 billion number last time. I need a number, I need to know what’s available to me, I need leadership to commit to floor time, and I think we on the ag committee will try and make something happen.”

This year – the committees more than likely will at least start farm bill negotiations with the proposal they put together for last fall's failed super committee on budget-reduction.

Obama Blamed for High Gas Prices

Gas prices are soaring, and Republicans candidates are tossing barbs President Obama's way. Oil analyst Peter Beutel says the uptick is largely beyond the president's control. He blames Obama, like the presidents before him, for failing to have a comprehensive energy policy.

“I don’t know that I’d necessarily blame the Obama Administration for where gasoline prices are today, but certainly they can’t say that they’ve done anything to avoid them.”

Administration Hindering Oil Production

API CEO Jack Gerard says the president talks about increasing US energy production but the administration policies are a hindrance to production.

“Leasing less often, shortening lease terms, going slow on permit approvals, and increasing or threatening to increase industry’s development costs through higher taxes, higher royalty rates, higher minimum lease bids, and more regulations.”

Possible Stumbling Blocks for KORUS

The U.S. & South Korea Free Trade Agreement faces possible repeal by South Korea’s opposition party. However, analysts watching those developments, tend to think such rhetoric is political in nature and repealing the pact would actually be costly economically and politically. The South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade says the government will take the necessary steps to "maximize benefits" to South Korean companies and the general public.

National Forest Service Launching Awareness Campaign

As spring approaches many families start to plan for spring break and summer vacations. The US Forest Service would like to see more activity this, and for years to come, and to create awareness about what our national forest system has to offer Chief Tom Tidwell discusses a website designed to promote more activity in our nation's forests – a website promoted through public service ads connected to the movie, "The Lorax".

“Using the characters from Dr. Seuss’s “The Lorax”, from this major film, the public service announcements will encourage users to go to the campaign website which is discover the forest dot org, because you can go there and find opportunities close to where you live, whether you want to go for a hike, or a walk, you want to go canoeing, or ride a bicycle. So, that’s the other key thing, it encourages people to not only go outdoors, but here’s a great tool to be able to help you, help your family know where to go.”

The first US national forest is the Pisgah National Forest near Asheville, NC, land that was originally part of the Biltmore estate.

Today’s Farm Fact:

Agriculture is the number one economic driver in North Carolina with an annual value of more than $76 billion dollars. The nearest competitor is the military with an annual value of approximately $35 billion. 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.