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Agriculture News

State Branding Programs and Local Food Purchases

Choices Magazine | Posted on October 11, 2018

Previous research on U.S. consumers details how the products they buy and where they make food purchases are changing. For example, in 1990, 80% of food for at-home consumption was purchased at supermarkets; by 2014, that number dropped to 65% (Ver Ploeg, Larimore and Wilde, 2017). The USDA Economic Research Service has calculated food at home expenditures since 1987, and annual data are available starting in 1929. In their calculation, production value or sales is equal to total expenditures. A 2016 survey of 1,000 Coloradans provides an interesting opportunity to explore how food product attributes (including source information) and other consumer issues affect decisions to purchase Colorado Proud products as well as where consumers choose to shop. The Public Attitudes about Agriculture in Colorado survey conducted by the Colorado Department of Agriculture and Colorado State University’s Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics is the most recent data from a continuing effort that has taken place every 5 years since 1996. This survey asks Coloradans to answer questions on a variety of topics, including perception of the safety of the food produced by Colorado farmers and ranchers, consumer’s trust of information from particular source, how consumers define local, trust of products labeled as local, familiarity with Colorado Proud, factors that are important to consumer purchasing decisions, and consumer motivations for purchasing more Colorado produce. A national survey group,conducted the Internet-based survey using a panel of Colorado residents between August 24 and September 6, 2016.

Changing housing market, timber glut limit prices

Mississippi State | Posted on October 11, 2018

Housing start fluctuations and an abundance of timber are limiting the ceiling on stumpage prices in Mississippi now, but expect the market to improve when sawmills begin stocking up for winter. According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau National, home construction dropped 13 percent from May to June, which is considered a significant decrease. The seasonally adjusted rate for July -- nearly 1.17 million homes -- was 1 percent above June but 1.4 percent below the July 2017 estimate.“Housing starts did drop sharply in June and only rebounded slightly in July,” said John Auel, an assistant professor of forestry with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. “This was likely due to increased mortgage rates and a limited supply of homes, which drives the prices up, so people are not purchasing at the rate which would improve housing starts.”For Mississippi tree farmers, this data, coupled with favorable harvesting conditions, means now is not the best time to sell their timber.“Dry weather increases the amount of timber on the market because you can get logging equipment on sites that you couldn’t get them on in the winter because they were too wet,” said Extension forester Glenn Hughes. “If you have a site that is on sandy ground or dry soils, you would want to hold off until the first quarter of 2019 to get a higher price when supplies tighten.”

We'll regret bypassing local shops for sake of a few bucks

Madison | Posted on October 11, 2018

We American consumers are a fickle lot.I was reminded of that again last week when a family-owned local grocery chain announced it is calling it quits after decades serving the Chicago market.The few giant national chains, the product of years of cutthroat consolidation, did them in, just as they have done in thousands of mom-and-pop stores across the land, including here in Wisconsin.All for the sake of saving a buck or two, shoppers unwittingly rush to the latest mega-store while the small businesses that have served as the bedrock of American commerce for centuries drop by the wayside.One of those shoppers wrote an op-ed for the Chicago Tribune last week blaming herself for the closing of the locally owned Treasure Island groceries.

What would the loss of 2-4D impact? | Posted on October 11, 2018

2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) was first marketed to control broadleaf weeds in 1945 and since that time has become one of the most widely used herbicides in the world. 2,4-D formulations include esters, acids, and several salts (WHO 1989). The dimethyl-amine salt (DMA) and 2-ethylhexyl ester (EHE) formulations account for approximately 90-95% of its total global use (Charles et al. 2001).The loss of access to 2,4-D would most certainly force applicators to switch to more expensive alternative herbicides and would likely result in decreased crop yields. Cost increases for agricultural uses associated with such a ban could be anywhere from $53 to $102 million. Cost increases for non-crop uses range from $130 to $510 million.

Trade and a frog

OFW law | Posted on October 11, 2018

The U.S. trade deficit rose in August to $53.2 billion. That’s up $3.2 billion. A decline in soybean and oil exports is what pulled us down. China is not buying our beans – at least, not now. Their companies don’t want to pay the 25% tariff imposed by China on our beans. There is some good news. USA Rice Chairman Charley Mathews, Jr. is cheering a big purchase – 90,000 metric tons of rice by Iraq. That is triple what they had been buying. The National Pork Producers Council is praising President Trump for announcing that the U.S. and Japan are to begin trade talks. National Pork Producers Council President Jim Heimer said: “Fantastic news. Japan has been our top export market for years.” 
Also, beef exports are expected to increase to South Korea. The duty has just been reduced to 21.3% from 40% and will be eliminated by 2026. Cattlemen are excited to see the U.S. as the largest supplier of beef to South Korea.We need to make free trade deals with South Korea, Japan, and other Asian countries because we are not part of the Trans Pacific agreement. President Trump withdrew.I said I wanted to talk about a frog. Here we go. Assume that you own a farm and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service came and said they would take it away from you, even though you own it. It would be off limits to you. The dusky gopher frog doesn’t live on your land but the government decided it would be a perfect home for that useless frog. He is an endangered species but to kick a farmer off of 1,500 acres of his land for a useless frog is outrageous.

U.S. not invited to Canada’s upcoming trade meeting — only ‘like minded’ nations allowed

Global News | Posted on October 11, 2018

Canada has not included the United States in an upcoming meeting aimed at saving the international trading system because it doesn’t share the views of the 13 invited countries, says the new Canadian trade minister. Canada will host senior ministers from 13 “like-minded” countries for a two-day discussion in Ottawa later this month to brainstorm ways to reform the World Trade Organization, said Jim Carr, Canada’s newly appointed international trade diversification minister.

Peoples Company, Stine Seed offer a paid-in-full cover crop program to land owners

Michigan Farm News | Posted on October 11, 2018

Iowa-based land brokerage firm Peoples Company, offering management, investment and appraisal services in 20 states, is partnering with Stine Seed, the largest independent corn and soybean seed company, and one of the most-recognized corn and soybean seed brands, to offer land owners a “paid-in-full, managed cover crops program.” According to a press release announcing the cover crop partnership program, the initiative will demonstrate to land owners that it’s possible to simultaneously protect environmentally sensitive acres, maximize yield on the productive acres and improve overall return on investment.“Peoples Company is committed to helping land owners effectively manage their property to maximize productivity, but also to reduce environmental impact,” said Peoples Company President Steve Bruere. “Our program will show land owners it’s possible to reduce environmental impact while increasing productivity.”The program, called the Sustainability Cover Crop Initiative, will be offered to land owners in Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska and Missouri, for a three-year term, starting in 2019 with two major conditional strings attached.To receive cover crops paid-in-full by the program – a value of up to $30/acre – land owners must agree to have their land professionally managed by Peoples Company during the three-year term and commit to planting Stine Seed.

Minnesota provides grants for milk coolers

Minnesota Department of Agriculture | Posted on October 11, 2018

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) announced that its Agricultural Growth, Research and Innovation (AGRI) Milk Cooler Grants are now available. The MDA will award up to $22,500 to eligible institutions to increase the use of Minnesota dairy by adding milk coolers to their nutrition programs. “Our goal is to invest in schools and early care and education organizations so they can buy and serve more Minnesota dairy,” said Minnesota Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson. “Dairy is a good source of protein, calcium and vitamin D. Kids at a young age are more likely to become lifelong consumers of milk and other dairy products, which benefits Minnesota’s farmers.”The MDA anticipates awarding up to $22,500 to assist Schools and Early Care and Education organizations in purchasing milk coolers for their meal programs.  Each school or organization may apply for up to $1,500.00.  A maximum of three proposals will be accepted for each organization or school.  Eligible expenses include the cost of the milk cooler and associated installation expenses.

U.S. dairy experts cast doubts on Canadian trade deal ending deep slump for American farmers

Journal Sentinel | Posted on October 11, 2018

U.S. dairy farmers remain hopeful that a new trade deal with Canada could help lift them out of a deep slump, but some are casting doubt that it will make much of a difference in an American market flooded with milk. The deal, announced Monday by President Donald Trump, is “more of the same,” except it hurts Canadian farmers, said Jim Goodman, a Wisconsin dairy farmer and president of the National Family Farm Coalition.“Canadian family farms will go out of business, and Canadian dairy farmers will see their incomes fall due to increased U.S. imports. And while the slightly expanded market will offer small benefits to some U.S. farmers, it does nothing to reduce the overproduction at the heart of our dairy crisis,” Goodman said.  The new deal is called the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. Under the terms, still being finalized, Canada would open more of its dairy market to trade and has agreed to drop its quota and pricing system for “Class 7” milk powders  — a move that could help the struggling American dairy industry as it seeks export markets.But it opens only about 3.6 percent of Canada’s market for dairy, poultry and eggs to the U.S., and that’s not much for American farmers.“The impacts will be minimal. Canada’s entire dairy market is smaller than that of Wisconsin,” Goodman said.Tensions over the North American Free Trade Agreement were heightened last year when Canada raised tariffs on ultrafiltered milk used to make cheese and other dairy products.

Happy National 4-H Week

Ag Daily | Posted on October 11, 2018

Millions of 4-H students, parents, and volunteers will celebrate the 76th consecutive National 4-H Week. The festivities run from Oct. 7 through 13; you can find the 4-H youth and alumni sharing the theme, Inspire Kids to Do. This year’s theme hopes to inspire the youth to take advantage of opportunities, empower them with the skills they need to succeed in life and their future career. 4-H gives today’s youth the tools to pursue their passion while creating their own course. It was founded on the belief that the youth can develop their own, unique skills, to allow them to grow and take shape in order to be the leaders of tomorrow in their communities.  Research has shown that the young people involved in 4-H are nearly four times as likely to contribute to their communities and twice as like to engage in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs.