READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, September 27th

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Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, September 27th

Higher Supplies Keeping Consumer Meat Prices Lower

Higher supplies of meat will continue to pressure consumer prices lower, according to a forecast by the Department of Agriculture. The USDA Economic Research Service Food Price Outlook predicts beef and veal prices to decrease one to two percent in 2017 but increase the same amount in 2018. That’s because in August, the U.S. cattle herd was at its highest level since 2008, according to meat industry publication Meatingplace. Lower beef prices are adding pressure to lower pork prices, along with an anticipated 4.9 percent increase in pork production this year. Large pork supplies are expected to change retail prices in a range of 0.5 percent lower to 0.5 percent higher in 2017, but increase 1.5 to 2.5 percent in 2018. Meanwhile, prices for poultry rose 0.2 percent from July to August and are one percent higher than last year. Despite high broiler production, many broilers have low weights, which along with larger birds demanding higher prices, has contributed to higher retail poultry prices.

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Farm Policy Facts Study Addresses Heritage Foundation Suggestions

A study sponsored by seven agriculture groups and released by Farm Policy Facts calls a plan by the Heritage Foundation misleading. Brandon Willis, former Agriculture Department Risk Management Agency administrator, crafted the study “How Heritage Foundation’s U.S. Farm Policy Proposals Would Put America Last.” The Heritage Foundation released a blueprint earlier this year for the 2018 Farm Bill, and claims it is time to change farm policy. The blueprint would eliminate revenue-based crop insurance and the Renewable Fuel Standard, eliminate the Waters of the United States Rule and eliminate bio energy programs. Willis writes in the Farm Policy Facts study that the Heritage Foundation assumes farmers are in a good position economically, but adds the Foundation cherry-picked the data and used a flawed methodology to “exaggerate the financial condition of actual farmers and ranchers.” Willis says 70 percent of the income reported was derived from other sectors. His research shows that wheat, corn and cotton farmers, when all cost are considered, profit less than 30 percent of the time. The study is available at www.farmpolicyfacts.org.

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Soybean Growers Want Dicamba Damage Answers

The American Soybean Association is demanding more answers regarding dicamba drift damage. ASA President Ron Moore this week addressed dicamba drift in a statement. Moore says the issue “isn’t going away,” and is “only getting worse.” The Association says it is supporting research at land grant universities to find answers. Moore says the independent research is needed, as well as research by states to “determine the root causes of this widespread problem and how to address them.” There are now a reported 2,200 complaints affecting 3.1 million acres of soybeans in 21 of 30 soybean-growing states, and ASA expects those numbers to climb. Moore says it’s “very important” to recognize that the industry does not have all the data needed to “clearly determine the causes” of dicamba drift damage.

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CropLife America CEO to Retire

CropLife America CEO Jay Vroom will retire at the end of 2018, ending nearly 30 years leading the organization. Vroom announced his retirement plans during the general session at the 2017 CLA Annual Meeting in California this week. During the announcement, he said he is “proud to have represented the industry,” during his tenure as CEO. Vroom will continue to serve as president and CEO of CLA over the next twelve months and will assist with the transition through the end of 2018. During that time, the CLA board of directors will work with a search firm to identify potential candidates for the next CEO. CropLife America represents the developers, manufacturers, formulators and distributors of plant science solutions for agriculture and pest management in the United States.

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Hurricanes Devastate Puerto Rico Agriculture

Hurricanes Irma and Maria combined destroyed about 80 percent of crops in Puerto Rico. The damage is so heavy that one farmer told the Seattle Times there is “no more agriculture” on the island. Across the island, Maria’s took out entire plantations and destroyed dairy barns and industrial chicken coops. Plantain, banana and coffee crops were the hardest hit. The island suffered a loss of $780 million in agriculture yields, according to Puerto Rico officials. Hurricane Georges in 1998 wiped out about 65 percent of crops and Hurricane Irma, which only grazed the island, took out about $45 million in agriculture production. For more than 400 years, Puerto Rico’s economy was based on agriculture, historically focused on sugar cane, tobacco and citrus fruits. However, that changed after World War II. Puerto Rico now imports about 85 percent of its food, and its food imports are expected to rise drastically.

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Coffee Supplies May Drop on Low Farm Earnings

International coffee growers are warning less coffee supplies may be in the future as coffee farmers are earning very little globally. The International Coffee Organization this week said farmers’ low earnings in many countries were depressing supply even as demand grows around two percent annually, according to Reuters. Rabobank last month forecast a 2017-18 global coffee deficit of 6.1 million bags amid rising demand, and signs of tightening supplies that are evident in top coffee grower Brazil, where inventories have dropped sharply. Investing in new coffee trees requires a long-term commitment, one that farmers with low profits are having to carefully consider, leaving global supplies in jeopardy. Coffee is primarily grown in Brazil, Vietnam, Colombia, Indonesia and Ethiopia.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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