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Texas Ag Daily
Local food conversation to be held in Austin

When it comes to food, Texas consumers face a vast array of choices and a blizzard of buzzwords and information. To help consumers piece the puzzle together, Texas Farm Bureau (TFB), in partnership with the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (USFRA), will host Food Dialogues: Austin, Sept. 18, 2014, at the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center.

Two dynamic panels will focus on today’s most pressing food issues—animal welfare and food production. Evan Smith, editor in chief and chief executive officer of the Texas Tribune, will serve as the moderator for the event.

The first-of-its-kind event is inspired by a new generation of people who love to eat. It will take an in-depth look at Texas agriculture and answer tough questions about diverse food production methods and animal welfare issues.

The first panel discussion, “Animal welfare: Beyond the hype” will address how Texas cattlemen provide proper care to raise livestock efficiently, even when their methods—animal handling, antibiotics, hormones—can be controversial. A panel of cattle experts will discuss the variations on animal husbandry techniques and technologies used in the Texas beef business.

The second panel discussion, “Farming methods. Consumer interpretation,” will address the information and misinformation consumers receive from the daily bombardment of food messages. Consumer decisions shape food supplies, which shape farming practices, and a panel of experts will discuss health and safety concerns related to the foods we eat and the technology used to grow them.

For an agenda and more information about the panelists, visit http://www.fooddialogues.com/events/fd-austin. The event will be streamed live on www.fooddialogues.com or you can follow the conversation on Twitter using hashtag #FoodD.


AgriLife raises disaster awareness

As part of National Preparedness Month, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service is focusing more attention on disaster preparedness and encouraging Texans to take practical action toward protecting themselves, their families and their businesses.

This year’s theme, “Be Disaster Aware, Take Action to Prepare,” seeks to increase public awareness on how to protect against, prepare for and recover from an emergency or disaster.

Objective, research-based information is available, typically at no cost, from AgriLife, according to AgriLife Today. Materials are available through agency personnel in county offices throughout the state, as well as Texas Extension Disaster Education Network (Texas EDEN). Many materials from Texas EDEN may also be downloaded to mobile devices.


U.S. farm income forecast to fall in 2014

U.S. farm income is expected to fall nearly 14 percent in 2014—the lowest in four years—as expectations for record corn and soybean crops have pushed commodity prices to their lowest point in many years. 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) expects net farm income to be $113 this year, down from $131 billion last year.

The USDA’s latest forecast marks a sharp upward revision from February’s initial forecast when the federal government predicted farm income to decline by 27 percent. The change reflects a stronger increase in the profitability of the livestock sector, where farmers are benefiting from record prices for beef and pork, while feed prices remain low, according to the Wall Street Journal

Projected annual value of U.S. crop production is expected to slip nearly 11 percent this year, including a drop of $12.8 billion in corn receipts.

A 4 percent rise is expected in production expenses for farmers, marking the fifth consecutive year of increased costs. 


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