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Overall Theme of Farmers

Earlier this week, 4th District Representative David Price hosted his annual farmers’ briefing. Doug O’Brian, Deputy Undersecretary of USDA’s Rural Development was also there to speak with farmers and agribusiness leaders on the Washington perspective of agriculture:

“In terms of what farmers were interested in, from sort of the Washington perspective is, not surprisingly, they’re wondering what federal policy will do in the future to help them deal with the inherent risks in agriculture.”

House Ag's Lucas Shares Farm Bill Goals and Hope for Reform

Chairman Frank Lucas opened the first House Ag Committee Farm Bill field hearing of 2012 in upstate New York by summarizing his general goals for new multi-year farm legislation…

“First and foremost, I want to give producers the tools to do what you do best, and that is to produce the safest, most abundant, most affordable food supply, literally, in the history of the world. To do this we must develop a farm bill that works for all regions and all commodities.”
Lucas said he’s also committed to writing a strong crop insurance program into the next farm bill…

“The committee has heard loud and clear about the importance of crop insurance and we believe it is the cornerstone of the safety net.”

He voiced strong support for conservation programs and solicited input from producers on how to simplify them so they are easier for farmers and ranchers nationwide to use.

Farm Groups Prepare Ideas for Senate Ag Committee

Tom Sell – who manages the lobbying firm he co-founded with former House Ag Committee Chairman Larry Combest – says production ag needs to hammer home the following message to farm bill-writers on Capitol Hill…

“If we can do no harm to crop insurance, if we can keep it simple, if we can provide assistance when it’s needed and if we can minimize regulatory burden that producers have, we will keep it going, as Mr. Combest said should be our simple goal for this next farm bill.”

Sell says the big policy challenge facing the Senate and House Ag Committees is developing a risk management safety net that complements – but does not duplicate and therefore undermines – federal crop insurance.

Supermarkets Change Meat Labels

Supermarket News confirms that supermarket retailers were ready when mandatory nutrition labeling for ground or chopped meat and poultry products, and popular cuts of meat, went into effect on March 1. Some retailers were ready with on-pack labels for ground and chopped product and with Point of Sale materials for the other USDA-designated cuts of meat.

Warmer Weather Brings Faster Crop Development

Warm conditions across the South mean those corn crops already planted will be vulnerable – according to USDA Meteorologist Brad Rippey – who says the warm weather will cause the crops to emerge and develop quickly. Already 20-percent of the corn crop is planted in Texas, eight-percent in Georgia and four-percent in South Carolina…

“With the warm weather and the areas with abundant moisture, there will be a rapid development of the corn crop. So, again we’ll be keeping an eye on the north for any signs of cold air, certainly no appearance of that at this point, but if things change we’ll have to keep an eye on corn, wheat and other crops.”

Including blooming fruit trees in the Southeast – which Rippey says are way ahead of schedule. For Georgia peaches – Rippey says 69-percent of the crop was blooming by March 11th. Only three-percent of the peaches had bloomed at that same time last year.

Ethanol Big Part of NASCAR Season

Ethanol continued its strong run last weekend, fueling NASCAR’s Nationwide Series cars at Las Vegas. Sunoco Green E-15 is the fuel of choice for the drivers on the track. 21-year-old driving sensation Austin Dillon was at the wheel of the number three American Ethanol car in the Nationwide race. Dillon ranks second in driver points in his rookie season

Today’s Farm Fact:

According to a recent study by Harris Interactive, 95% of Americans think it is important to produce food domestically. 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.