Ag trade deficit to climb by 45 percent — USDA

After setting a record this year, the agricultural trade deficit will balloon further, to $27.5 billion in fiscal 2024, thanks to the unyielding American appetite for fresh produce, coffee, and wine, say government forecasters. More food and ag imports will flow into the United States at the same time that farm exports shrink, led by a decline in sales to China.

Coffee acreage declines in Hawaii

Hawaii, the top coffee producer in the United States, is expected to see marginally lower production this year than last, and coffee acreage will be down nearly 3 percent.

Smallest farmers missing out on fair trade benefits, study says

Fair trade products have exploded in popularity over the last two decades. In 2014 more than 40 percent of all coffee was produced under one of four initiatives: Fair Trade, Rainforest Alliance, UTZ Certified, and 4C. But how much do these certifications, which pay farmers a premium above …

Coffee, a small but growing niche in California

It's a very small undertaking, about 30,000 trees on three dozen farms. Yet Californians are willing to pay $18 for a cup of locally grown coffee, says the Food Observer, produced by the University of California. "To make the most of their precious water, Southern California farmers have begun experimenting with coffee plantings and producing beans that fetch a premium."

For Texas high school students, a low-cal latte before first period

Timber Creek High School in Keller, Texas, opened a coffee bar that sells lattes, mochas and iced blended coffee drinks along with muffins and fruit cups to students, joining several other schools in the Forth Worth area that offer the caffeinated perk, reports the Star-Telegram. "We have a generation that drinks coffee," said a food-service manager for the Keller schools who oversees the coffee shop.

California coffee gets a boost

As the avocado market struggles in California, niche growers on the southern coast are switching to an unexpected crop: coffee. “[T]hey are eyeing machinery that can harvest the beans, which would reduce labor costs, as well as a contraption called a demucilager that mechanically strips coffee berry skin and pulp off the beans, rather than using water to clean them,” says The New York Times.

As world gulps more coffee, inventory tightens

The global stockpile of coffee is headed for a five-year low, at less than a three-month supply, thanks to record demand that has driven up coffee prices 31 percent since the start of the year, says a semi-annual USDA forecast. "Global consumption is forecast at a record 153.3 million bags," each weighing 60 kg, says USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service.

Coffee faces grim future with drought and rising temperatures

Climate change could “cut the global area suitable for coffee production by as much as 50 percent by 2050,” largely because of drought and higher temperatures, says a report by the Climate Institute. Of the 25 million coffee farmers around the world, many are small landholders living in countries that are among the most vulnerable to climate change, including Vietnam, Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua. Major retailers like Starbucks have already warned that their customers could see supply shortages, according to the Climate Institute.

El Niño drought trims coffee crop in Asia

Coffee growers in Vietnam, Indonesia and India, three of the seven largest coffee-producing nations on earth, will harvest smaller crops — down by a combined 2.5 percent — due to drought magnified by the El Niño weather pattern, according to a USDA forecast. The semi-annual Coffee: World Markets and Trade report said a record crop of Arabica beans in Brazil, the world's largest coffee grower, would lead to a modest rise in global production.

Good news for coffee drinkers—WHO agency says no conclusive cancer risk

An exhaustive review of research finds no conclusive evidence of a risk of cancer from drinking coffee, said the International Agency for Research on Cancer in its first look at the hot drink since 1991, when it found a weak link to cancer of the bladder. On the five-point scale used by the WHO agency, the only lower rating than "not classifiable" for coffee is "probably not carcinogenic."

IARC takes a new look at its rating of coffee as possible carcinogen

Coffee is one of the favorite beverages of the western world. It also has been rated since 1991 as "possibly carcinogenic to the human urinary bladder" by the WHO's cancer agency, which will open a week-long review of coffee, mate and "very hot beverages" on Tuesday.

Climate change may put coffee growers in hot water

Vast swathes of coffee-growing territory in Central and South America may become too hot for the comfort of coffee trees in coming decades, thanks to global warming, says Eater, warning "coffee is under threat."

Hot, dry weather cut Brazil coffee crop 10 percent

The world coffee crop is up marginally from last year to a total of 150 million bags weighing 60 kg apiece, boosted by record-setting harvests in Indonesia and Honduras, said the USDA's semi-annual Coffee: World Markets and Trade report.

Colombia recovers from coffee rust fungus, others struggle

Colombia, the third-largest coffee grower in the world, will harvest 13 million bags of Arabica beans in the coming season, its largest crop in two decades.

Maps and graphs and an infographic

For those who like their food and ag statistics in graphical or map format, here is a trio:

World coffee crop falls for second year in a row

Global coffee production is forecast for 149.8 million bags weighing 60 kg apiece, down for the second year in a row, says USDA in its semi-annual Coffee: World Markets and Trade report.

Coffee genome is sequenced for first time

A group of scientists says it has sequenced the coffee genome, reports the Washington Post, opening the door to breeding disease-resistant coffee plants, naturally decaffeinated coffee "and even genetic engineering." The consortium says their genetic map, when compared to chocolate, show the plants followed separate paths to producing caffeine, which suggests it is a valuable trait.

Coffee output rises in countries battling rust fungus

Coffee production is on the rise in Colombia and Central America, where growers battle the rust fungus, said USDA in its Coffee: World Markets and Trade report.

“Feed the Future” aids 7 million farmers

The "Feed the Future" program, which combines private sector and U.S. funding with local leadership to spur agricultural development overseas, "reached nearly 7 million smallholder farmers and helped to save 12.5 million children from the threat of hunger, poverty, and malnutrition in just the last year alone," says USAID, the parent agency.

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