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South Carolina Remains Drought Free


The state of South Carolina remains drought free as reported in the latest drought monitor released by USDA yesterday.  Three months ago more than 90% of the Palmetto State was experiencing abnormally dry conditions, and one year ago, 75% of the state was abnormally dry, more than 50% in moderate drought, and 12% in severe drought.

Tar Heel State Remains Drought Free

In the latest drought monitor released by USDA, the Tar Heel State Remains drought free.  Just three months ago, a only a quarter of the state was drought free, and one year ago, more than 73% of the state was experiencing abnormally dry conditions and almost 7% was in moderate drought conditions.   The commonwealth of Virginia is also 100% drought free.

Tax Reform Proposal Unveiled

Some say Congress won’t actually get around to working on tax reform until 2017 – but House Ways and Means Committee Chair Dave Camp has unveiled a new tax reform proposal. The proposal calls for lowering income tax rates for most Americans and businesses – but also reducing the value of or eliminating entirely key tax breaks. Among other things – the proposal would reduce the number of individual income tax brackets from seven to three and raise the standard deduction to 11-thousand for individuals and 22-thousand for couples. The proposal also increases the child tax credit, reduces the mortgage interest deduction and eliminates the state and local income tax deduction.

New Nutrition Labels Coming Soon

Changes to food nutrition labels are likely several years off, but the FDA expects them to have a big impact. Deputy Commissioner Michael Taylor says they expect the new labels to influence consumers to eat healthier foods, and cause manufacturers to make products with less added sugars, fat, and calories. While changing the label is expected to cost about 2-billion dollars, he said the benefits will far outweigh the costs…

“It will be a $20-30 billion in benefits. We think that even understates the benefits of this rule when it has the impact it will have.”

Food Costs Rise Less than Anticipated in 2013

The latest Consumer Price Index (CPI) for food shows food-price inflation slowed during 2013, including prices for meat, poultry and dairy. The CPI for all food increased by 1.4 percent during 2013, compared with 2.6 during 2012. The rate of increase during 2013 fell well below the 20-year historical average of 2.8 percent.

For 2014, USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) expects food prices to increase at a more typical rate of 2.5 to 3.5 percent for all food.

Prices for food away from home increased by 2.1 percent during 2013 compared with 2.8 percent during 2012. Prices for food at home increased even less, at 0.9 percent compared with 2.5 percent during 2012.'

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.