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Soil Fertility Workshop Coming Up for Central SC Farmers

There will be a Soil Fertility Workshop on Tuesday, January 7th at the Tri-County Electric Co-op in St. Matthews. Guest speaker will be Dr. Charles Mitchell, Agronomy Professor at Auburn. The workshop will begin at 10:00 am and will conclude at 3:00 pm with a sponsored lunch. Call 803-874-2354 extension 114, or email by Friday.
Optimism Remains High for a Farm Bill this Month

Optimism remains high for completing a farm bill in January – but time is short and the window narrow for finishing a job that may have one last chance in the near-term. Conventional wisdom holds that the farm bill must get done by the middle of January – of there could be problems. Permanent 1940s law – requiring sharply higher dairy supports – and therefore prices – would take effect this Wednesday without intervention. American Farm Bureau Executive Director Dale Moore…

“I have heard Secretary Vilsack mention that folks should not be surprised if he doesn’t flip the switch and automatically Jan 1 provisions of permanent law kick in.”

The House voted to extend through January the expired 2008 farm law – including a suspension of permanent law – but the Senate never followed suit. Moore remains optimistic the extension won’t be needed…

“We have been encouraged by the signals coming from the four principles of the conference. Chairman Lucas and others have indicated that they have made some real progress on the tough issues and the commodity title. And we understand similar discussions on the SNAP program.”

But an expected deal among the principals is not the end of the road. All the conferees must vote – followed by the full Senate and more Conservative House – where more modest food stamp cuts, payment limits and reuniting farm and nutrition programs could still impede passage.

Pork Marketing Campaign Considered Success

The Pork Checkoff has wrapped up a successful collaboration with Costco. This is the third year for this promotion and Pork Checkoff Vice President of Domestic Marketing Ceci Snyder says it was a success and this retail promotion has moved a lot of fresh pork…

“Their sales have been phenomenal. They sell a lot of pork, so we know their consumer is discerning, loves to cook and is concerned about quality.”

Costco is considered the largest membership warehouse chain in the United States.

A Look Back at Agriculture’s 2013

2013 was a mixed bag for U.S. agriculture. On the economic front – farmers and ranchers did pretty well…

“Folks were able to market and sell their 2013 crop in many cases at some good prices. So the combination of good prices and a good crop in 2013 financially made it a pretty good year.”

But American Farm Bureau Chief Economist Bob Young says politically things did not go quite as well…

“We haven’t pushed the farm bill over the finish line nor the water resources development act or immigration reform over the finish line. We are right in the red zone on at least a few of those.”

Young says he expects Congress to pass WRDA and the farm bill in the first quarter of 2014. But he expects immigration to be more of a challenge…

“Frankly when you look at almost any other group in the country that is trying to deal with Congress and trying to get legislation moved through, to be able to say you have 2 of 3 as close as you do is a great accomplishment.”

Bob Young – American Farm Bureau Chief Economist.'

A native of the Texas Panhandle, Rhonda was born and raised on a cotton farm where she saw cotton farming evolve from ditch irrigation to center pivot irrigation and harvest trailers to modules. After graduating from Texas Tech University, she got her start in radio with KGNC News Talk 710 in Amarillo, Texas.