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USDA’s Planting Intentions Report Released This Morning

USDA’s Planting Intentions report is due out at 8:30 this morning. The data, compiled from 85,000 farmers is kept under lock and key until 8:30 EDT. NASS statistician Lance Honig:

“We’re doing a thorough review, record by record, after we collapse that data together, we’re analyzing it state by state, nationally, and using that information to formulate those estimates of each of the crops planted for 2012.”
Again that report will be released at USDA in Washington at 8:30 eastern time.

Response Rate to Ag Stat Surveys Declines

The response rate among farmers to key government crop surveys has gradually fallen in recent years – according to Joe Prusacki – Director of the Statistics Division at the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Prusacki says farmer response rates in recent rounds of the agency's quarterly agricultural surveys have been around 75-percent to 80-percent – down about five percentage points from a decade ago.

GDP Growth High at the end of 2011

The Commerce Department says gross domestic product in the fourth quarter of last year was at 3 percent, an unrevised and final number from the agency. But that's expected to slow in the first three months of this year. IHS Global Insight Chief US Economist Nigel Gault explains why growth was so high at the end of 2011:

“We had all the problems with debt ceiling, and Europe, firms were very pessimistic, ran down their inventories, found out that the economy was doing a bit better than they thought, and had to catch up, if you like, in the fourth quarter. So, there’s a lot of inventory building there.”

Act Would Stop Certain EPA Actions

The Preserve the Waters of the United States Act, sponsored by Senators John Barrasso, Dean Heller and Jim Inhofe would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers from using their clean water guidance to expand the regulatory regime under the Clean Water Act.

J.D. Alexander, president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, says – the legislation puts up a roadblock to EPA’s intentional end-run around the rulemaking process and Congress.

Gas Prices Continue to Rise

Cambridge Energy Research Associates Daniel Yergin says gas prices are high because crude oil prices are high and it's mainly because of uncertainty surrounding Iranian oil.

“It began with the Libyan disruption, the Arab Spring, but it’s clearly focuses on the…Iran’s nuclear program, and a sense that the clock is ticking between now and the end of June when various sanctions go into place.”

Ramps Season Gets Underway

Officials are marking the start of ramps season with some advice for people heading to western North Carolina hoping to harvest the plant.

The U.S. Forest Service says up to 5 pounds of ramps can be harvested for personal use without a permit. For any amount above that, a $20 commercial permit is required. The maximum total annual commercial harvest is 500 pounds.

Harvesters are encouraged to pick only what they need as a means of helping to ensure that populations of ramps remain in the forest for next year's harvest. Poaching of ramps is illegal. Those convicted of poaching may face fines.

Today’s Farm Fact:

97% of U.S. farms are run by families, farmer partnerships, or co-ops

For more Carolina ag news, visit I’m Rhonda Garrison with Southern Farm Network.



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