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Peaches Growers Sleeping with One Eye Open

Many crops are getting an early start in the southeast this year due to the warm winter, and an even warmer March. Mike Parker, Extension tree fruit specialist with NC State says that the area’s peach growers are sleeping with one eye open for a late freeze:

“It does bring back 2007, the April 7th freeze of 2007, no question about that. And some of our growers can frost protect with wind machines if the conditions are right. But, otherwise, we look at the long-range forecast and that’s the scary part, the long-range forecast looks good! But, we just don’t know. When do you ever really feel comfortable? Historically, the growers used to tell me that you had to get past Easter, didn’t matter when Easter was, end of March or end of April, you just had to get past Easter.”

SC Schools Looking at Banning “Pink Slime”

The South Carolina House wants to ban public schools from buying meat containing the common beef filler dubbed "pink slime." The House approved an amendment to its budget plan barring state money from buying food for students treated with ammonia hydroxide. Rep. Chip Limehouse said ammonia shouldn't be served to children. He sees no good reason to put that in anyone's food but doesn't want to dictate to the private sector.

The U.S Department of Agriculture says it will give school systems a choice of beef patties made with lean finely textured filler or less lean ground beef without it, going on to say that the filler is safe.

Consumer Prices Still Rising

Consumer prices rose by the most in 10 months in February as the cost of gasoline spiked. The Labor Department says its Consumer Price Index increased 4-tenths of a percent, and Gasoline accounted for more than 80 percent of the rise.

Mark Vitner, a senior economist at Wells Fargo, says other components of the CPI were better behaved:

“Food prices, were actually unchanged, which is surprising, because anecdotally, we’re hearing a lot from folks that prices at the grocery stores have increased a lot.”

Senator Expresses Concerns to Labor Secretary

During a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing on the Department of Labor’s Fiscal year 2013 budget proposal – U.S. Senator Jerry Moran from Kansas had the opportunity to question Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis on the Department of Labor’s proposal to restrict activities for youth working on family farms and ranches – and do away with 4-H and FFA programs.

The DOL is working on re-proposing portions of the rule – which Moran says sends a message that everything is OK. …

“I’m hopeful that the comment period that you’re now in, will result in significant changes, if not withdrawal of the proposed rule. We have pages of people that have contacted us with additional comments, but the comment period has expired. It does highlight how the department’s initial announcement of proposed rules are out of touch with farm families and youth in rural communities.”

If the federal government can regulate the relationship between parents and their children on their family farm – then Moran says there’s nothing off-limit in which the government can intrude on anyone’s way of life.

Today’s Farm Fact:

More than 84% of farm bill-related spending goes to food and nutrition programs like food stamps, not to farmers. 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.