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Agriculture News

Perdue and Delaware come to terms

Meat + Poultry | Posted on March 8, 2018

Perdue Foods and the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) have reached an agreement in which Perdue will pay an administrative penalty of $77,300 and an associated $7,601 assessment for expenses associated with the DNREC’s investigation into the company’s violations of its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit.

Will Rising Interest Rates Lead to Intensifying Risks for Agriculture?

Choices magazine | Posted on March 8, 2018

To encourage economic recovery, the Federal Reserve responded to the Great Recession by slashing interest rates and engaging in monetary easing. Short-term interest rates were pulled down and held near zero for several years. Due to these historically low interest rates, borrowing has been inexpensive for farmers. Along with lower income, the availability of cheap debt encouraged farmers to take on more credit. According to the most recent official USDA Farm Income and Wealth Statistics data (2018), farm sector debt has grown by more than 50% since the Great Recession began. In 2018, outstanding sector debt volume is projected to reach its highest level since the early 1980s, and debt backed by farm real estate is expected to be at the highest level on record. Following historically high profitability for many farm sector participants from 2012 through 2014, prices for many commodities have declined substantially while input costs have not declined as much (Patrick, Kuhns, and Borchers, 2016). As result, net farm income, a measure of farm sector profitability, is now half of its peak in 2013. As one way to compensate for reduced income, farmers tapped into working capital built up during the preceding high-income years. As a result, farm sector working capital has declined by $100 billion since 2012. As previously mentioned, farmers also borrowed more. Multiple years of expanding farm sector debt and declining profitability and liquidity have raised concerns about the farm sector’s financial resiliency.

Dean Foods to terminate more than 100 dairy contracts | Posted on March 8, 2018

More than 100 dairy farmers in eight states need to find a new home for their milk.  Dean Foods issued a written statement saying they made the difficult decision to end milk procurement contracts with selected farmers on May 31st. The farms are in Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, New York, North Carolina and South Carolina.  Dean foods says the surplus of raw milk at a time when the public already is consuming less fluid milk is one factor in the decision.  They also say companies expanding their presence in the milk processing business have exacerbated the situation.

World's Largest Cheese Contest Returns To Wisconsin

Wisconsin Public Radio | Posted on March 8, 2018

Judges in Madison this week will sample 3,402 types of cheese, butter, and yogurt — all in the name of crowning the winner of this year’s World Championship Cheese Contest. The competition first took place in 1957, as a panel of judges tried about 50 different cheddars in the back of a creamery warehouse.Now, it’s the largest competition in the world. And this year, it has a record number of entries. 

Commissioner Sid Miller prevails in three-way GOP race

The Texas Tribune | Posted on March 8, 2018

Sid Miller maintained about 56 percent of the vote in a three-way race to lead a department whose wide-ranging responsibilities include inspecting lottery balls and running the federal school lunch program.

Milk Prices Continue to Plummet in Southeast, Appalachian Regions

Dairy Herd Management | Posted on March 7, 2018

January milk prices fell 5.8% since December in the Southeast and are down 14.8% since last year. In the Appalachian region prices dipped 4.8% since December and were 14.4% below where they were the same time last year.

Dozens More Dairy Farmers Lose Milk Contracts

Ag Web | Posted on March 7, 2018

At least two dozen producers who ship milk to Dean Foods in Pennsylvania, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina and Ohio were told they have until May 31, 2018 to find a new home for their milk. If this sounds familiar that’s because, almost one year ago, producers in Wisconsin were told by their processor, Grassland Dairy, that they had 30 days to find a new home for their milk. While that wave of milk rehoming was due to export market woes, Dean says their issue is purely domestic. According to Smith, many factors lead Dean to this place, including “a surplus of raw milk at a time when the public already is consuming less fluid milk and companies assertively entering or expanding their presence in the milk processing business, have exacerbated an already tenuous situation in a highly competitive market.” Unfortunately, this could only be the first wave of Dean suppliers that will lose their contracts in 2018.“We expect to consolidate our supply chain by a meaningful amount over the next 18 to 24 months while also making sure that we deliver the same great quality, value and service that our customers have come to expect from us,” Ralph P. Scozzafava, chief executive officer at Dean Foods told the Food Business News. “For this important reason, we’ll implement our supply chain changes in phases with targeted completion in 2019.”

England and Ireland farmers dealing with structure and livestock losses due to Storm Emma

Agriland | Posted on March 7, 2018

As farmers count the structural, livestock and income losses caused by Storm Emma, the south-east and eastern regions are emerging as the “most severely” affected, according to FBD Insurance. Farm organisations are demanding that farm inspections take account of the scale of the damage; while also calling for penalty restrictions on losses directly caused by the extreme weather conditions of recent days. “While the storm itself has moved on, farmers are now coming to terms with the impact of the weather at farm level. This storm came at the worst possible time with calving and lambing in full swing.

General Mills to create South Dakota's largest organic crop farm

Atlanta Journal Constitution | Posted on March 7, 2018

General Mills announced a deal Tuesday to create South Dakota's largest organic crop farm as the company works to secure enough organic ingredients to meet growing consumer demand worldwide. Gunsmoke Farms will convert 34,000 acres — more than 53 square miles — near Pierre to organic by 2020, where it will grow organic wheat for General Mills' popular Annie's Macaroni & Cheese line. General Mills, which is guaranteeing a market for the wheat, is working with Madison, Wisconsin-based Midwestern BioAg to develop the crop rotation and soil-building program needed for such a large farm to go organic. The company will measure results in sequestering carbon in the soil, increasing biodiversity on the landscape and bringing socio-economic benefits to local communities.

Food scholarships could help more students finish college

SF Gate | Posted on March 7, 2018

According to the Wisconsin HOPE Lab, more than 50 percent of community college students nationwide do not have access to healthy and affordable foods. The majority of these students are financially independent and provide for others. Many are single parents. They grew up in the middle class and did not qualify for reduced-cost or free meals during their K-12 education through the federally funded School Breakfast Program and National School Lunch Program. But once they graduate high school, parental support often ends and so do the programs meant to help feed them.