Pork Producers Relenting to Animal Rights Groups

Last week, The McDonald’s Corporation said that it would begin working with its pork suppliers to phase out the use of gestation crates to open pen housing, relenting to pressure from animal rights groups.

The system, known as gestation crates, has been singled out as inhumane, and several states have moved to ban or restrict their use not only in pork production. Dr. Gene Nemechek, swine veterinarian with Pfizer Animal Health explains that these changes cannot happen overnight, and will very likely result in higher pork prices:

“These changes will require a lot of maintenance, repair and upkeep on the buildings and a change in the whole building style, and so it’s going to cost a considerable amount of money for most producers to change over to this new style, especially if it has to be done immediately. And based on the farm economy and the general economy, most producers are not able to do that just right away, and because they have an extra investment in the production pork, I think one of their concerns is will people be willing to pay higher prices for product after this is all completed.”

Consumer Price Index Sees Bump Due to Higher Gas Prices

Higher gas prices drove up the Consumer Price Index in January. But by factoring out energy costs, the government set the core inflation rate at a modest 2.3 percent. Economist Mark Zandi says that's just about right for the economy.

“It’s fast enough to keep businesses happy, and enjoying good profits, but it’s not too fast to create problems for consumers who have to pay those high prices.”

Lack of Moisture Could Change Production Plans in the Carolinas

As we heard from NC State Climatologist Dr. Ryan Boyles on Friday, farmers in the Carolinas are starting to get very concerned about moisture, or the lack there of. Kent Messick, Section Chief for Field Services for the North Carolina Department of Agriculture says concerns are so high that in the southeastern part of the state, Messick there’s a construction boom in the center pivot irrigation business:

“Because of three and four years of drought in North Carolina, there are a lot of center-pivot irrigation being installed in southeastern North Carolina. we’ve seen a tremendous construction boom of center pivots there because of moisture stress and trying to plan ahead and do whatever they can.”


Texas Cotton Crop Key for Cotton Numbers

The National Cotton Council is expecting planted acres to go down, abandonment to go up and prices to remain about steady. NCC Chief Economist Gary Adams says Texas is the key…tape

“Texas is coming off a record-setting drought in 2011, there has been some relief in some areas, but still there are some concerns that remain, so I think that we have to monitor Texas very closely.”
Adams notes that Texas and the Southwest region account for half of the total U.S. cotton crop…

“As we look at the potential impact on the US crop, just the situation in Texas alone has the potential to move that US crop around by two or three million bales depending on how weather conditions play out.”

Another factor impacting the Texas crop – Adams says – is competition from peanuts – which are enjoying rapidly rising prices.

Food Checkout Week

In the week ahead – farmers and ranchers will be reaching out to consumers -offering information and cost-saving tips on putting affordable, nutritious meals on their tables. American Farm Bureau Women’s Leadership Committee Chair Terry Gilbert describes one of the new events during Food Check-Out Week…

“Well, this year our national event is going to be in Indianapolis, Indiana and we’re trying something new…we’re going to have two celebrity teams that are going to work with the farm wife, and they’re going to cook, and we’re going to have a panel of judges that will judge the dishes that they prepare.”

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