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AgweekTV Full Show: COVID aid, Tom Vilsack, soybeans, WASDE report and meat packing plants

AgweekTV for March 13-14, 2021.

Coming up on AgweekTV, we will take a look at the COVID-19 aid coming. We will discuss Tom Vilsack being back as U.S. Ag Secretary. We will take a look at farmers gearing up to plant more soybeans this season. We will dive into the March WASDE report. Finally, we will talk about meat packing plant employees being the next in line to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

COMING UP ON AGWEEK TV

MORE COVID AID IS COMING BUT NOT IN THE FORM OF DIRECT PAYMENTS AND IT COULD HAVE AN IMPACT ON FUTURE FARM PROGRAM SPENDING.

TOM VILSACK IS BACK AS U.S. AG SECRETARY, BUT WITH A NEW AGENDA.

FARMERS GEAR UP TO PLANT MORE SOYBEANS IN 2021.

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WE HAVE ANALYSIS OF THE MARCH WASDE REPORT.

AND MEAT PACKING PLANTS WERE HIT HARD BY COVID OUTBREAKS, NOW WORKERS ARE NEXT IN LINE FOR VACCINES.

WELCOME TO AGWEEK TV, I'M MICHELLE ROOK.

ANOTHER $1.9 TRILLION OF COVID RELIEF ADVANCED THIS WEEK. THE AMERICAN RESCUE PLAN ACT INCLUDES MORE THAN $16 BILLION FOR AGRICULTURE, BUT UNLIKE PREVIOUS PACKAGES CONTAINS NO DIRECT PAYMENT FOR FARMERS AND RANCHERS.

THERE IS $4 BILLION TO ADDRESS FOOD SUPPLY CHAIN DISRUPTIONS AND MAKE INVESTMENTS IN PROCESSING, PLUS PROVIDE WORKER PROTECTIONS. THERE'S ALSO MONEY FOR FOOD DONATIONS FOR FAMILIES IN NEED AND $5 BILLION IN DEBT RELIEF FOR FARMERS OF COLOR.

BECAUSE OF THE WAY THE COVID BILL WAS PASSED IN CONGRESS, SENATE AG COMMITTEE RANKING MEMBER JOHN BOOZMAN WARNS IT MAY TRIGGER THE PAY-AS-YOU-GO RULES.

THE DEMOCRATS USED BUDGET RECONCILIATION AS THE VEHICLE FOR THE PACKAGE WHICH COULD RESULT IN AUTOMATIC SPENDING CUTS UNDER PAYGO RULES. THIS COULD SLASH FUTURE FARM PROGRAM SPENDING.

Don Wick: If it does go through the PAYGO rules we could really see farm programs zeroed out within the next five years. There's certainly some huge implications for agriculture and where we go with farm programs. So if there isn't a waiver done by the Senate it's going to have a big impact on what we see for farm programs at the Ag Department.

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WICK REPORTED ON AG SECRETARY TOM VILSACK DURING HIS FIRST TERM AT USDA. HE SEES VILSACK'S AGENDA A BIT DIFFERENT THIS TIME, WITH MARKET DEVELOPMENT STILL IMPORTANT, BUT MORE ATTENTION PAID TO COVID AID, CLIMATE CHANGE AND DIVERSITY WITHIN THE AGENCY.

U.S. AG SECRETARY TOM VILSACK SAYS EVEN WITH COVID AID ONE OF HIS TOP PRIORITIES, THE PAYOUT OF A THIRD TRANCHE OF MORE THAN $15 BILLION IN CFAP AA PAYMENTS REMAINS ON HOLD WHILE THEY REVIEW THE PROGRAM.

IN AN INTERVIEW WITH AGRIPULSE AND WHILE SPEAKING AT COMMODITY CLASSIC, VILSACK SAYS A FULL REVIEW MAY TAKE SEVERAL WEEKS. HOWEVER, SO FAR THEY'RE FINDING ONLY A SMALL PORTION OF THE AG INDUSTRY BENEFITED SUBSTANTIALLY FROM THE FIRST TWO COVID AID PACKAGES.

Vilsack: That's why it's important to really be careful about evaluating what has taken place, figuring out what needs to take place with the additional resources Congress has made available and making sure that at the end of all this we've done the very best job at USDA of trying to provide as much help to as many people who are in need as possible.

VILSACK SAYS HE'S ALSO FOCUSED ON MARKET DEVELOPMENT TO HELP FARMERS IMPROVE THEIR PROFITABILITY. THIS INCLUDES EXPORTS, NEW CARBON MARKETS AND MORE LOCAL PROCESSING.

Vilsack: I think there is a chance for us to have better markets from a standpoint of openness and greater transparency and potentially create processing competition if you will that creates new opportunities local and regional food systems.

VILSACK IS ALARMED 90-PERCENT OF FARMERS DON'T MAKE THE MAJORITY OF THEIR INCOME FROM FARMING AND WANTS TO CHANGE THAT.

HE SAYS HE'LL ALSO ASK CONGRESS FOR MONEY TO REBUILD USDA AS STAFFING WAS CUT IN HALF OVER THE LAST FOUR YEARS.

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USDA PUNTED ON DOMESTIC SUPPLY AND DEMAND CHANGES IN THE MARCH WASDE REPORT.

THEY LEFT U.S. CORN ENDING STOCKS AND SOUTH AMERICAN PRODUCTION UNCHANGED, AND INCREASED WORLD ENDING STOCKS 1.2 MILLION METRIC TONS.

U.S. SOYBEAN CARRYOUT WAS ALSO STATIC, BUT IS STILL AT PIPELINE SUPPLIES. BRAZIL PRODUCTION WAS RAISED ONE MILLION TON, BUT OFFSET BY A HALF MILLION TON CUT IN ARGENTINA.

AND U.S. WHEAT CARRYOUT WAS UNCHANGED, BUT WORLD STOCKS WERE LOWERED 3 MILLION TONS WITH AN INCREASE IN CHINA FEED WHEAT USAGE.

JOINING US WITH REPORT ANALYSIS IS RANDY MARTINSON. AND RANDY, USDA REALLY DIDN'T DO ANYTHING WITH U.S. ENDING STOCKS. THEY KICKED THE CAN DOWN THE ROAD, SO WHEN WILL THEY ACTUALLY HAVE TO MAKE SOME OF THESE REVISIONS?

WE HOPE THAT THEY WOULD DO IT FAIRLY SOON AND YOU KNOW WE DO HAVE THE QUARTERLY GRAIN STOCKS COMING OUT HERE IN MARCH, AT THE END OF MARCH, AND ALSO THE PROSPECTIVE PLANTINGS REPORT. BUT I DON'T THINK THEY'LL DO IT IN THAT, THAT'S GOING TO ONLY BE MID-YEAR. I THINK WE'RE GOING TO BE LOOKING AT, POSSIBLY WE'LL HAVE TO SEE THE JUNE QUARTERLY GRAIN STOCKS REPORT COME OUT, AND THAT WOULD SHOW UP IN THE JULY NUMBERS.

SOUTH AMERICAN PRODUCTION WAS LEFT UNCHANGED ON CORN. WE GOT SLIGHT REVISIONS IN SOYBEAN PRODUCTION. I GUESS THE SURPRISE WAS THAT USDA ACTUALLY INCREASED BRAZILIAN PRODUCTION A MILLION METRIC TONS, WHICH IS CONFUSING WITH ALL THE PRODUCTION ISSUES THEY'VE HAD.

AND WITH SOME OF THE PRIVATES NOW STARTING TO COME WITH LOWER PRODUCTION ESTIMATES. SO YEAH, THAT WAS A SURPRISE. RIGHT NOW WITH THE DELAYS IN THE HARVEST WE'RE STARTING TO HEAR AND SEE SOME PRETTY POOR PICTURES COMING OUT OF THE REGION. I WAS A LITTLE SURPRISED THAT THEY DID IT. I REALLY DON'T THINK WE'VE GOT A 133 CROP COMING OUT OF BRAZIL.

SO RANDY ONE OF THE REVISIONS THAT USDA DID MAKE ON A WORLD BASIS WAS LOWERING WORLD WHEAT ENDING STOCKS THREE MILLION METRIC TONS AND WHERE DID THAT COME FROM?

THE BIGGEST SHARE OF THAT CAME FROM CHINA FEED WHEAT WAS INCREASED BY FIVE MILLION METRIC TONS. AND THAT, YOU KNOW, IT'S THE SECOND MONTH IN A ROW THAT WE'VE SEEN THEM INCREASE THEIR BEEF USAGE IN CHINA. SO IT TELLS US THAT MAYBE SOME OF THE RUMORS OR THE CONCERNS ABOUT SLOWING DOWN CORN DEMAND INTO CHINA IS REAL AND THAT WHEAT IS WHAT TAKING ITS PLACE.

YEAH BECAUSE CORN PRICES ARE TOO HIGH SO THEY'RE FEEDING WHEAT INSTEAD.

EXACTLY. THEY'VE BEEN SEEING A HUGE INCREASE IN CORN PRICES, THEY'VE BEEN RELEASING WHEAT OUT OF THEIR RESERVES, THEY'VE BEEN IMPORTING WHEAT THE U.S. AND THIS KIND OF SHOWS THAT THEY'RE LEANING MORE TOWARDS WHEAT THAN THEY ARE TOWARDS CORN.

SO NOW THE BIG KEY WILL BE BE BOTH THE PROSPECTIVE PLANTINGS AND THE QUARTERLY STOCKS REPORT, RIGHT?

THAT ACREAGE REPORT AT THE END OF THE MONTH, IT'LL OVERSHADOW THE QUARTERLY GRAIN STOCKS, BUT THAT'S SOMETHING THAT'S IMPORTANT TO WATCH BECAUSE IT WILL GIVE US AN IDEA OF JUST WHERE THE DEMAND HAS BEEN AFTER THE FIRST HALF OF THE MARKETING YEAR.

AND YOU CAN GET MORE ANALYSIS ON THE AGWEEK MARKET WRAP AT AGWEEK.COM .

WITH SOYBEAN PRICES AT MULTI-YEAR HIGHS, INTEREST IN GROWING THE CROP IS REACHING THE HIGHEST LEVELS IN RECENT MEMORY. IT'S OUR AGWEEK COVER STORY.

SOYBEAN ACREAGE IS EXPECTED TO RISE IN 2021, THE QUESTION IS, BY HOW MUCH.

USDA PROJECTS 2021 SOYBEAN ACREAGE AT 90 MILLION ACRES, UP ABOUT SEVEN MILLION ACRES FROM A YEAR AGO.

CREDIT PART OF THE RISE TO PRICE. AVERAGE CASH SOYBEAN PRICES SHOT FROM $8.28 PER BUSHEL IN MAY 2020, TO $10.90 PER BUSHEL IN JANUARY 2021. THAT'S THE LAST MONTH USDA HAS STATISTICS, BUT THAT CASH PRICE IS THE HIGHEST BEANS HAVE BEEN SINCE LATE 2014.

CHAD HART AT IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY SAYS THOSE ARE PROFITABLE LEVELS. HOWEVER, HE WARNS ABOUT VOLATILITY, SO RISK MANAGEMENT IS IMPERATIVE.

Chad Hart: AS QUICKLY AS WE COME UP IN PRICES WE CAN MOVE BACK DOWN, ESPECIALLY IF WE DO GET ALL THE ACREAGE WE'RE EXPECTING, AND WE GO GET MOISTURE COMING BACK INTO THE GREAT PLAINS AND THE MIDWEST HERE. THE IDEA IS, THE MARKET IS WILLING TO MOVE VERY QUICKLY IN EITHER DIRECTION.

WE'LL KNOW MORE IN LATE MARCH, WHEN USDA RELEASES ITS ANNUAL PROSPECTIVE PLANTINGS REPORT. YOU CAN READ MORE IN THE NEXT AGWEEK MAGAZINE, OR AT AGWEEK.COM .

PERSISTENT DROUGHT THIS WINTER MAY HAVE SOME BEARING ON WHAT FARMERS PLANT IN 2021 AND ATMOSPHERIC SCIENTIST ERIC SNODGRASS SAYS IT HAS MANY FARMERS CONCERNED.

LOOKING AT CURRENT DROUGHT CONDITIONS HE SAYS THE REGION NEEDS 200-PERCENT OF AVERAGE MOISTURE THIS SPRING JUST TO GET BACK TO NORMAL. AS FAR AS THE DROUGHT OUTLOOK, HE SAYS LONG RANGE MODELS SHOW LA NINA BUILDING BACK IN THE SPRING AND EARLY SUMMER, WHICH IS CORRELATED WITH DROUGHT IN THE MIDWEST.

Eric Snodgrass: What we continue to see is their outlook is such that the drought persists across our state, possibly being lesser on the eastern side but certainly as you get to the central and west it is supposed to continue to be there.

SNODGRASS SAYS IF THE DROUGHT EXPANDS EAST ACROSS THE SOUTHERN PLAINS IT WILL LIMIT MOISTURE FROM THE GULF REACHING THE DAKOTAS THIS SPRING.

THE BALANCE OF SUMMER HE'S WATCHING SEA TEMPERATURES OFF THE WEST COAST. IF THEY PARK THE RIDGE OVER THE CENTRAL U.S. IT MEANS A DRY GROWING SEASON. HOWEVER, NONE OF THE LONG RANGE MODELS CURRENTLY WANT TO DO THAT.

THE SOUTH DAKOTA SENATE KILLED A PROPOSAL TO BLOCK THE MERGER OF THE STATE'S AGRICULTURE AND ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES DEPARTMENTS.

ON MONDAY THE SENATE DEFEATED A RESOLUTION OF DISAPPROVAL BY AN 18-17 MARGIN. THERE WAS A MOTION TO RECONSIDER, BUT IT WAS WITHDRAW ON TUESDAY.

GOVERNOR KRISTI NOEM PROPOSED THE MERGER THROUGH AN EXECUTIVE ORDER TO SAVE MONEY AND CREATE A ONE STOP SHOP FOR FARMERS. EITHER CHAMBER COULD HAVE STOPPED IT WITH A MAJORITY VOTE.

COMING UP ON AGWEEK TV, OUR LIVESTOCK TOUR CONTINUES, WITH AN OPERATION PRODUCING LAMBS SOLEY FOR MEAT, RATHER THAN WOOL.

THE AGWEEK LIVESTOCK TOUR IS SPONSORED BY TRANS OVA AND STOCKMENS LIVESTOCK EXCHANGE.

SHEEP NUMBERS HAVE BEEN CONTRACTING IN THE U.S. FOR SEVERAL YEARS, BUT AN UPTICK IN DEMAND FOR LAMB MEAT IS DRIVING A RESURGENCE. ON THIS WEEK'S AGWEEK LIVESTOCK TOUR JONATHAN KNUTSON TALKS TO A NORTH DAKOTA OPERATION PRODUCING AN ALL MEAT BREED.

<Jonathan Knutson: THIS IS JONATHAN KNUTSON ON THE AGWEEK LIVESTOCK TOUR AT RURAL BROCKET, NORTH DAKOTA, WITH A FATHER AND SON PAIR OF LIVESTOCK FARMERS. AND YOU HAVE A PARTICULAR BRAND OF SHEEP THAT YOU'RE PROUD OF. FOR PEOPLE WHO AREN'T FAMILIAR WITH THAT, PLEASE EXPLAIN ABOUT THAT

Luke Lillehaugen: THEY BREED IS CALLED KATAHDIN. THEY'RE A HAIR SHEEP, SO WE DON'T HAVE TO SHEAR THESE. THEY SHED THEIR WINTER COAT OUT IN THE SPRING, JUST RUBBING IT AGAINST THE FENCE. THERE'S NO VALUE IN THE HAIR, THEY'RE STRICTLY, YOU KNOW, THEY'RE A MEAT BREED, AND THEN WE SELL BREEDING STOCK OFF THE FARM WITH THEM.

PEOPLE WHO AREN'T FAMILIAR WITH LAMB AND MUTTON, THEY MAY HAVE HAD MUTTON, WHICH DOESN'T NECESSARILY TASTE VERY GOOD. BUT LAMB IS A VERY DIFFERENT PRODUCT, SO PLEASE EXPLAIN ABOUT THAT.

Luke Lillehaugen: YEAH, THE LAMB IS WHAT YOU IDEALLY WANT TO GO AND BUTCHER. ON THE BEEF END, IT WOULD BE LIKE, YOU KNOW, YOU DON'T TAKE YOUR OLD CULLED COW OR OLD BULL IN TO GET THE STEAK OUT OF. YOU KNOW, YOU DO IT, AND THAT'S THE SAME, THE MUTTON IS THE OLD SHEEP THAT IT'S A TOUGH MEAT, IT'S NOT VERY GOOD TASTING BUT THE LAMB, ESPECIALLY ON THESE HAIR SHEEP, IT'S A VERY MILD FLAVORED MEAT, AND PEOPLE REALLY SEEM TO ENJOY EATING IT.

BY AND LARGE IT'S BEEN A REALLY WONDERFUL WINTER, SO I HOPE THE SHEEP AND LAMBS ARE HOLDING UP PRETTY WELL.

Luke Lillehaugen: REALLY, YOU KNOW, THE LAST COUPLE OF DAYS THEY'VE STAYED IN HERE BECAUSE WE'VE BEEN COLD. BUT OTHER THAN THAT IT'S BEEN REALLY NICE, BEEN ABLE TO KEEP IT ABOUT FORTY DEGREES IN THE BARN.

THE FAMILY EXITED THE SHEEP BUSINESS IN 1993, BUT REENTERED IN 2005.

HAY SUPPLIES ARE GOOD, BUT PRICES REMAIN STRONGER THAN SOME EXPECT, IN PART BECAUSE OF THE THREAT OF DROUGHT.

ALAN WESSEL HAS BEEN HOLDING HAY AUCTIONS AT SAUK CENTRE, MINNESOTA, TWICE A MONTH FOR THIRTY YEARS.

HE SAYS SO FAR, THEY'RE SEEING A GOOD SUPPLY OF HIGH QUALITY HAY FROM AROUND THE REGION, BUT HE KNOWS THINGS CAN CHANGE QUICKLY IF THE DRY CONDITIONS CONTINUE.

WESSEL SAYS THIS TIME OF YEAR LIVESTOCK PRODUCERS ARE USUALLY RUNNING SHORT ON FEED, SO THIS AUCTION WAS A BIG ONE. AND SOME PRODUCERS ARE BUYING EXTRA HAY NOW, IN CASE OF DROUGHT.

Alan Wessel: ALWAYS GOOD INSURANCE POLICY TO HAVE AN EXTRA LOAD OR TWO IN THE SHED, SHOULD WE ENCOUNTER THOSE CONDITIONS THIS SUMMER.

SAMPLES ARE TESTED FOR QUALITY, AND TYPICALLY HAY SELLS FOR $1 PER POINT OF RELATIVE FEED VALUE. SO HAY AT 150 RFV WOULD GO FOR $150 PER TON.

UP NEXT, WITH FEWER IN-PERSON EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES HOW CAN YOU GET LEADING EDGE INFORMATION?

THE WEATHER WAS A ROLLER COASTER RIDE THIS WEEK, SO WILL SPRING GO OUT LIKE A LION?

HERE'S JOHN WITH OUR AGRI-WEATHER OUTLOOK.

THE AGWEEK SOIL HEALTH MINUTE IS SPONSORED BY THE NORTH DAKOTA CORN COUNCIL

MOST IN-PERSON EVENTS FARMERS RELY ON FOR EDUCATIONAL UPDATES HAVE BEEN CANCELLED THIS YEAR, WHICH CAN LEAVE ROOM FOR MISINFORMATION TO SPREAD.

IN THIS SOIL HEALTH MINUTE, ABBEY WICK HAS ADVICE FOR FINDING CUTTING EDGE INFORMATION.

Abbey Wick: FARMERS ARE GETTING A LOT OF INFORMATION THIS WINTER VIRTUALLY, AND IT'S TOUGH TO KNOW WHAT YOU SHOULD BELIEVE AND SHOULDN'T BELIEVE. SO WITH THAT QUESTION, I WENT RIGHT TO ONE OF THE EXPERTS ON THE EAST COAST, SUZANNE WAINWRIGHT EVANS, WHO WORKS IN ENTOMOLOGY, AND WORKS WITH INDUSTRY, AND ALSO FARMERS, AND HOW DO YOU DECIPHER WHAT INFORMATION YOU SHOULD BELIEVE AND SHOULDN'T BELIEVE. SO SUZANNE CAN YOU GUIDE US THROUGH THAT PROCESS?

Suzanne Wainwright Evans: ONE OF THE THINGS I DO IS WHO'S GIVING YOU THAT INFORMATION AND I WANT TO KNOW, ARE THEY QUALIFIED TO BE GIVING YOU THIS INFORMATION. AND SO I ALWAYS HAVE IN MY BACK POCKET FOR EACH OF THE DIFFERENT SEGMENTS OF THE INDUSTRIES I WORK WITH, SOME KEY QUESTIONS I WANT TO ASK THESE PEOPLE, TO SEE IF THEY CAN PASS THAT LIKE LITMUS TEST. THEN I ALSO ASK IF THERE'S ANY RESEARCH TO BACK THIS INFORMATION UP? CAN YOU SITE ANY PAPERS? BECAUSE UNFORTUNATELY A LOT OF ANECDOTAL STUFF GETS PASSED AROUND. AND WE WANT TO HAVE GOOD, SOLID, REPLICATED RESEARCH TO PROVE OR DISPROVE THESE ANECDOTAL OBSERVATIONS.

GREAT INPUT, SUZANNE, THANKS FOR ANSWERING THAT QUESTIONS ON HOW TO DECIPHER WHAT INFORMATION IS GOOD INFORMATION.

COVID VACCINATIONS CONTINUE AND NOW ESSENTIAL WORKERS LIKE PACKING PLANT WORKERS ARE IN LINE. DETAILS NEXT.

MANY MEATPACKING PLANTS WERE HIT HARD BY COVID, BUT NOW SOME ARE STARTING TO MAKE VACCINES AVAILABLE TO THE WORKFORCE.

TYSON AND JBS PLANTS IN IOWA HAVE RECENTLY BEEN ABLE TO VACCINATE EMPLOYEES, AND MINNESOTA FOOD PROCESSOR HORMEL HOPES TO HAVE VACCINES AVAILABLE IN A WEEK OR SO.

MINNESOTA IS ACCELERATING ITS VACCINE TIMELINE, PUSHING UP PRIORITY GROUPS THAT WERE TO START IN APRIL. THAT INCLUDES PEOPLE WORKING IN FOOD PROCESSING.

HORMEL HAS 18-HUNDRED WORKERS IN AUSTIN, AND PLANT MANAGEMENT SAYS THEY'VE WORKED HARD OVER THE PAST YEAR TO KEEP EMPLOYEES HEALTHY, AND NOW THEY'RE HAPPY TO MOVE TO THE NEXT PHASE.

Richard Carlson: THEY HAD TO ADAPT TO PPE AND SOCIAL DISTANCING AND LOTS OF DISRUPTIONS IN THEIR DAY IN ORDER TO KEEP COVID OUT AND REALLY HAVE DONE A PHENOMENAL JOB.

CARLSON DID NOT HAVE THE NUMBER OF PLANT EMPLOYEES WHO HAVE HAD COVID.

JOIN US FOR THE 39TH ANNUAL AGWEEK FARM SHOW MARCH 23 AND 24, DURING NATIONAL AG WEEK. THE EVENT WILL BE HELD VIRTUALLY AT AGWEEK DOT COM.

**REGISTER AT AGWEEK.COM //}

VISIT VENDOR BOOTHS AND TAKE IN GREAT EDUCATIONAL EVENTS, LIKE A MARKET ROUND TABLE, AG POLICY DEBATE, A SOIL HEALTH PANEL, WAYS TO COMBAT HIGH FEED COSTS, AG CONTRACT PROTECTIONS AND SPECIALITY CROP PRODUCTION. I'LL BE HOSTING THE DISCUSSIONS AND INVITE YOU TO SUBMIT QUESTIONS AHEAD OF TIME. WE'LL ALSO HAVE SEVERAL PRIZE GIVEAWAYS. LEARN MORE AT AGWEEK DOT COM BACKSLASH VIRTUALSHOW

THANKS FOR WATCHING THIS WEEK'S EDITION OF AG WEEK TV.

REMEMBER, FOR ALL YOUR AG NEWS, GO TO AG WEEK.COM , OR YOU CAN FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK AND TWITTER AS WELL. HAVE YOURSELF A GREAT AND SAFE WEEK.

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