READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Monday, November 26th

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Monday, November 26th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

China Takes Action to Increase ASF Reporting

The Chinese agriculture ministry is taking steps to counter concerns that the number of African Swine Fever cases in the country is being underreported. The ministry made it illegal to delay or obstruct reports of new ASF outbreaks, to issue false test reports, to distribute falsified health certificates, or to illegally dispose of infected animals. Reuters says Chinese officials are also offering rewards to people who file reports on new cases. Experts suspect that the 60 outbreaks reported in 18 Chinese provinces may not be an accurate number. China has already imposed transportation limits and other biosecurity measures designed to get control of the infectious disease. To date, the infection has caused China to cull hundreds of thousands of pigs from herds across the country. Officials in Beijing also announced a new case of ASF that killed 55 of 73 pigs on a single farm. China is home to 500 million pigs, more than the combined number of animals found in the rest of the world.

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Beef Production Forecast Drops Slightly for 2018-2019

USDA recently reduced its forecast for beef production in 2018 by 30 million pounds. The new forecast is 26.9 billion pounds. The slight revision is based on numbers at the end of the third quarter, and from fourth-quarter expectations of slightly fewer steers and heifers to be slaughtered and fewer bulls in the slaughter mix. The industry website Meating Place Dot Com says those slaughter numbers are all found in USDA’s monthly Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry Outlook report. Despite the lower slaughter prediction in the fourth quarter of this year, the steer and heifer slaughter rate per weekday in the fourth quarter is expected to remain above the rate for the same period in 2017. The 2019 beef production forecast was lowered by 100 million pounds to 27.8 billion. The adjustment comes from fewer-than-expected cattle placed in feedlots in the third-quarter of 2018, which would reduce the expected number of fed cattle marketed and slaughtered in early 2019.  The September Cattle on Feed Report says there were 4.7 percent fewer cattle placed in feedlots, but 3.6 percent fewer cattle marketed than last year. That means there are 5.4 percent more cattle on feed than a year ago, which supports expectations of strong marketings in the first half of 2019.

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NFU Study Found Farmers Got 11 Cents of Every Thanksgiving Dollar

Farmers and ranchers took home only 11.3 cents of every dollar that Americans spent on their Thanksgiving Day feast. That’s according to the Thanksgiving edition of the National Farmers Union’s Farmer’s Share publication. The Farmer’s Share compares the retail prices of food in a traditional Thanksgiving holiday dinner to the amount farmers receive from each item they grow. “We should take the time to recognize the farmers and ranchers that provided our Thanksgiving meals,” says NFU President Roger Johnson. “While consumer holiday prices continue to decline, farm income is dropping at a much faster rate. We’re in the midst of the worst farm economic downturn in generations, and we hope Farmer’s Share illustrates that to the general public.” On average, farmers get 14.8 cents of every food dollar consumers spend throughout the year. More than 85 percent of food costs cover marketing, processing, wholesaling, distribution, and retailing. Johnson says farmers and ranchers play the most valuable role in actually producing the food we eat throughout the year, yet they make just pennies on the dollar for their products. Johnson adds, “The major integrators who control the poultry markets have used their extreme bargaining power to suppress the earnings of the men and women who produce our turkeys while, at the same time, they take in record profits for themselves.” He says those same growers that raise our poultry get about five to six cents per pound of turkey they produce.

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Farmland Sales Activity Picking Up

Landowners appear to be getting more interested in selling agricultural land. The total amount of land that Farmers National Company has listed for sale is up 21 percent compared to last year. Randy Dickhut is the senior vice president of real estate operations at Farmers National Company. He says most of the sales are coming from individuals or ownership groups who’ve decided that now is the time to sell. “They may have inherited the land or even owned it for years, but sellers have watched the land market, and some are deciding to take advantage of the still historically good land prices,” Dickhut says. “Some sellers are thinking that there is more downside risk in land prices than upside potential, so now is the time for them to sell.” At the other end of the spectrum, Famers National says buyers are generally more cautious right now, which causes some land brokerage companies to experience more no-sale auctions that don’t achieve the reserve price during the public auction sessions.

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Feds Taking Steps to Address Rural Veterinary Shortages

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture is taking steps to address veterinary shortages in rural America. The agency says 74 food animal and public health veterinarians will get educational loan assistance in exchange for a three-year commitment to practice in a USDA-designated veterinary shortage area. The awards were handed out as part of the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program. It’s designed to help protect animal welfare and public health in rural communities by make sure there’s adequate access to veterinary services. John de Jong (de-YOUNG), president of the American Veterinary Medical Association, says farmers and ranchers depend on veterinarians to keep their animals healthy. “Access to veterinary care in rural areas is critical because animal diseases have a direct impact on local economies and public health,” de Jong says. “This program is one of the best tools available to help address veterinary shortages. We’re grateful Congress recognized its importance by providing a $1.5 million increase in program funding.” Since its inception, the program has placed veterinarians in federally-designated shortage areas across 45 states. However, 113 shortage areas remain unfilled this year.

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FDA Will Allow Romain to Return Soon

FDA Administrator Scott Gottlieb took to Twitter on Thanksgiving to talk about romaine lettuce. In addition to referring to plans to allow romaine to return to the market after the E. coli outbreak in Canada and the U.S., he talked about a possible new labeling standard to aid in tracing products during future outbreaks. One of his Thanksgiving tweets says the FDA believes the E. coli-infected lettuce came from California. Gottlieb says, “The goal now is to withdraw the product that’s at risk of being contaminated from the market, as well as to re-stock the market.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the FDA announced the outbreak on November 20th, asking all levels of the supply chain to remove romaine from the market, as well as the product that hasn’t shipped yet. Gottlieb noted that romaine from Arizona and Florida will be harvested soon. “We’re working with growers and distributors on labeling produce for location and harvest date, as well as possible other ways of alerting consumers that the new product is ‘post-purge,’” he tweeted. “We’re looking to make this labeling the new standard rather than a short-term fix.”

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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