12-28-17 RMFU: Workshops Will Provide Tools To Beginning, Expanding Farmers

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Workshops Will Provide Tools To Beginning, Expanding Farmers

The Colorado Tourism Office, Rocky Mountain Farmers Union and Guidestone Colorado are co-hosting Growing Your Farm Business:  Visioning and Scaling Up Workshops in January and February for beginning and expanding farmers and ranchers.  These workshops are in partnership with Local Food Hub organizations: Excelsior Food Hub in Boone,  Valley Roots Food Hub in Mosca, and Southwest Farm Fresh in Mancos and will take place during the following dates and locations:

January 11-12 (Boone, CO) 
January 18-19 (Salida, CO)  
February 2-3 (Cortez,CO)  
Pre-registration is required at http://www.GuidestoneColorado.org.

“This exciting initiative is not only an investment in the next generation of farmers and ranchers but in the future of our state’s agricultural and agritourism economy too,” said Elizabeth O’Rear, Manager of CTO’s Heritage & Agritourism Program. “The Colorado Tourism Office is proud to partner with the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, Guidestone Colorado and Local Food Hub The organizations to build on the success of existing programs in the State by increasing resources and enhancing opportunities to help Colorado’s newest producers expand their work and more quickly achieve success.” Continue reading

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, December 28th

CLICK HERE to listen to TODAY's BARN Morning Ag News with Brian Allmer...

CLICK HERE to listen to TODAY’s BARN Morning Ag News with Brian Allmer…

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, December 28th

Farmers Respond to Poll on NAFTA

The bi-monthly Farm Journal Pulse Survey recently asked farmers a simple question: “Do you think the U.S. should withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement?” About one-third of the nearly 900 responses were positive. Producers who voted for getting rid of the agreement did so because they believe the Ag economy would be better off without the trade deal or because they believe the U.S. can negotiate better deals individually with Canada and Mexico. At the other end of the spectrum, 40 percent said no to withdrawing, saying that NAFTA is crucial to U.S. farmers and to maintaining a low-cost food supply. A quarter of the respondents said they’re still not sure if it’s necessary to keep or eliminate the 24-year-old trade pact with Mexico and Canada. The varied responses are similar to the reponses and positions of different ag trade groups, agribusinesses, and associations. While U.S. Trade Representaive Robert Lighthizer is concerned about what he calls a “lack of headway,” trade officials from Canada and Mexico are still moderately optimistic a new NAFTA deal can get done by March of 2018.


Investment Firms Once Again Purchasing Farmland

Wall Street investment firms are once again putting money into farmland. Institutional investors are buying up farmland as farmers, who would normally be competing for the land, are hanging on to their cash. This investment money can mean different things for local ag communities. Some institutions will purchase land and lease it back to a farmer, who can then continue to operate. Brian Wise, the Director of Acquisitions for U.S. Agriculture of Indiana, says deals like that are standard practice for his company. This is good news for agribusinesses in the area as the farmer’s business relationships with those retailers can stay intact. However, if a farmer’s financial records and position are less than solid, firms often choose to rent to another producer. Investment firms have been known to make very large purchases of land. Denver-based Farmland Partners, Inc., bought more than 8,600 acres of land in Illinois at a cost of $55.3 million. However, firms own less than one percent of the $2.5 trillion land market in the U.S. Farmers or their families own or control 61 percent of the 91 million acres in U.S. farms.


USDA Issues Alerts on Fradulent Organic Certificates

The USDA Ag Marketing Service is alerting the American organic trade about two new fraudulent organic certificates that are making the rounds. The National Organic Program has received reports about certificates listing two businesses as organic, including Cloud Vaping Industries and the Vietnam Agricultural Biotechnology Joint Stock Company. These certificates falsely represent the businesses as certified organic under the USDA Organic regulations. That is a violation of the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990. It’s possible that the fradulent certificates were created without the business operator’s knowledge or without the certifying agent in the certificate. The posting of the fradulent certificates doesn’t mean the business or certifying agent were involved in any illegal activity. USDA also says the vigilance of the organic community is very vital to ensuring the integrity of the organic seal. Any unethical use of organic certificates in order to market, label, or sell non-organic foods as organic can result in a civil penalty of up to $11,000 per violation.


U.S. Soy Losing Ground in Race to Feed Livestock

Compared to other soybean-supplying countries around the world, the protein content of U.S. soybeans is losing ground. A Bloomberg report says the world is eating more meat, poultry, and dairy products than ever, but U.S. farmers may be losing some ground to Brazil in the competition to feed the world’s animals. South America and Europe expanded their soybean sales this year, driving the number of American soybean exports lower. After a wet harvest season, especially in the Midwest, the harvest yielded soybeans with less protein content, a key ingredient that helps those animals build muscle. This year’s protein content was 34.1 percent per bushel, tied with 2008 for the lowest number since USDA began keep track. U.S. exports often have to contend with higher-protein soybeans from Brazil, with Brazilian beans typically around 37 percent. However, the widening gap between U.S. and Brazil soybeans potentially means an erosion in buying demand, especially from China, which is the world’s largest buyer. Brazil’s share of the soybean export market is expected to rise to 43 percent this season while the U.S. share falls to 37 percent.


Purdue Releases 2018 Ag Economic Sector Forecasts

The Agricultural Economics Department at Purdue University released a 2018 Ag Outlook Report that contained 12 different articles looking at different aspects of the Ag economy. Just some of the aspects covered include cash rents, farmland values, and the price outlook for corn and soybeans. Professor Craig Dobbins says that reducing input costs has been a priority for farmers since 2013, but cash rents are slower to come down than most. Dobbins says that, “Reductions in cash rents have occurred. The cash rent per bushel of corn in 2013 was $1.43. Purdue’s projected cash rent for 2018 is $1.13 a bushel, down 21 percent over the last four years. Professor Chris Hurt says corn farmers have produced record crops three of the past four years. With ending stocks carrying over, 2017 will have one of the lowest average marketing prices in years. Corn acres are expected to decline next year, meaning a possible return to more profitable prices in the next three years. Dr. Hurt says, even with more soybean acres next year, futures markets are suggesting a 2018 price that’s 30 to 40 cents higher than 2017.


South Korea Importing U.S. Potatoes Again

A South Korean ban on fresh U.S. potatoes is no longer in effect. The ban on Idaho, Washington, and Oregon potatoes began in 2012. The Packer says the ban began because of technical concerns, with the South Korean government putting new regulations in place for exporters shipping potatoes into the country. A quota system in place will cap U.S. exports to South Korea at 3,583 metric tons, but the quota will rise in the future. Potatoes U.S.A. says they’ve received numerous requests for American table-stock potatoes and are excited to finally be able to ship the product to them. While only three states are currently allowed to export potatoes to South Korea, the potato industry is currently working to get access for more states to ship potatoes. The guidelines will be released to the U.S. potato industry in January. National Potato Council CEO John Keeling says, “We thank the USDA, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, and their Korean counterparts for resolving this issue.”

SOURCE: NAFB News Service