USDA projects U.S. corn production at a record 13.2 billion bushels, up from 12.9 billion bushels projected in USDA’s December forecast and 1 percent above the previous record of 13.0 billion bushels set in 2007. Corn exports are projected at 2.1 billion bushels, unchanged from last month and up from the estimated 1.9 billion bushels exported in 2008/2009. According to USDA’s World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE), U.S. corn yield is estimated at a record 165.2 bushels per acre in 2009. This is up 2.3 bushels from the December forecast and 4.9 bushels above the previous record of 160.3 bushels per acre set in 2004.

Rebecca Fecitt, U.S. Grains Council director of biotechnology programs, said the continued utilization of scientifically proven biotechnology applications provided by life science companies will help to increase corn yields, solidifying the need to continue developing markets for U.S. coarse grains.

"We hope to see this upward trend in yields for U.S. corn continue. As science becomes even more sophisticated, it will help increase and maintain our yields. This will be instrumental in feeding the world’s forecasted 9.1 billion people by 2050," said Fecitt. "The growing population, especially in developing countries, will demand more meat, milk and eggs as incomes continue to increase. We have to maintain our biotechnology education efforts in order to ensure that grain derived from biotechnology is accepted around the world."

USDA projects sorghum production at 383 million bushels, which is 19 million bushels higher than the December report. Exports are unchanged from last month at 140 million bushels.

Source: U.S. Grains Council

Panorama Meats announces new executive posts

Panorama Meats Inc., the Vina, Calif.-based producer of organic grass-fed beef has promoted Lori Carrion to chief operating officer and Wayne Langston to vice president, production.

Previously Panorama’s vice president, sales, Carrion will manage the sales, distribution, quality assurance and production departments at Panorama. She also monitors company compliance with the USDA National Organic Program. Prior to joining Panorama, Carrion worked for a nongovernmental organization administering Federal Crop Insurance Programs under the Risk Management Agency of the USDA.

In his expanded role, longtime Panorama production manager Langston will manage the recruiting of ranchers for the Panorama Organic Grass-Fed Beef program and oversee rancher compliance with Panorama’s cattle-raising protocols. Langston is a director of the Lassen County Cattlemen's Association and a past director of the California Shorthorn Association. Langston manages a registered Angus and Hereford cattle operation in Susanville, Calif.

Source: Panorama Meats Inc.

Texas to get 31 more Carl's Jr. restaurants

CKE Restaurants Inc. announced two franchise agreements that will bring an additional 31 Carl’s Jr. restaurants to Texas over the next nine years. Frontera Star Foods has committed to opening 20 units in the Laredo, Brownsville, McAllen, and Harlingen areas in Southeast Texas. The second franchisee, Burger Barons, has agreed to open 11 units throughout the Waco, Killeen, Temple, College Station and Bryan, Texas communities. Both franchisees are new members of the Carl’s Jr. franchise community.

“Texas continues to be a priority for CKE’s expansion and we are proud to have two strong franchise entities join us in the Lone Star state,” said Andrew Puzder, CEO, CKE Restaurants, Inc. “As our unit count in Texas grows, so does the demand for our big, delicious burgers. In fact, the Nov. opening in Leon Valley, Texas, was the highest grossing first week in the history of the company. I hope we see that record change hands a few more times this year.”

There are currently 34 Carl’s Jr. restaurants open in Texas (27 franchised, 7 company-owned), with an additional 352 units (252 franchise, 100 company) planned over the coming decade. On average, a new Carl’s Jr. restaurant employs 70 full- and part-time crew members, translating to more than 24,000 new jobs.

Source: CKE Restaurants Inc.