Congress should build into the new farm bill pathways that will allow small and midsized producers to make a living from the land rather than having to rely on off-farm income, as is common now, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Monday. In a speech to the National Farmers Union convention, Vilsack used the administration's initiatives to develop markets for climate-smart products, expand local meat processing and encourage local marketing of farm goods as examples of ways to create or increase farmers' revenue streams.
The U.S. economy will slow in the new year, constrained by sharply higher interest rates, at the same time that farmers and ranchers expand production, projected the Agriculture Department on Monday. Prices for most commodities — including corn, soybeans, wheat and hogs — would decline somewhat from this year's elevated levels but remain comparatively high.
Roughly 2.1 million acres of grasslands in the Great Plains were converted to cropland in 2018, equal to the loss of four footballs fields of land per minute, said the World Wildlife Fund on Wednesday. At the same time, the Plowprint Report said a nearly equal amount of land was returned to …
The “phase one” trade agreement with China, one of President Trump’s top trade achievements, calls for Beijing to buy huge quantities of U.S. food, agricultural and seafood exports. Sales of soybeans, cotton, pork, corn, sorghum and wheat are stronger than a year ago but an Iowa think tank …
President Trump says his administration will "make it up" if farmers and ranchers are hurt by Chinese trade retaliation. Two agricultural leaders in Congress were skeptical of possible politically driven bail-outs on Tuesday, with Senate Agriculture chairman Pat Roberts saying, "We don't want another subsidy program. We need to sell our product."
The Transportation Department issued a 90-day waiver for truckers hauling agricultural loads from an 11-hour limit per day behind the wheel. Nebraska Sen. Deb Fischer said the waiver will allow more time for the government to decide how to get livestock and other ag commodities to market.
Top U.S. poultry processors are planning to expand production this year, reports Bloomberg. As prices for feed grains have plummeted, worrying farmers, processors are taking advantage of the lower costs.
Commodity prices are still in a trough but U.S. farm income is on the rise for the first time since 2013 because producers are sending more crops and livestock to market than initially expected, said the USDA. It forecast net cash farm income, a measure of liquidity, of $100.4 billion this year, far stronger than the February forecast of $93.5 billion, but only three-fourths of the record set in 2013.
After setting back-to-back records for soybean plantings, U.S. farmers indicated in a survey that they will plant more wheat and corn while cutting back on soybeans in 2018, said Farm Futures. Soybeans nearly matched corn, the most widely grown crop in the nation, in acreage this year with farmers believing the oilseed would be more profitable than corn.
On a voice vote during a brief meeting in the Capitol, the Senate Agriculture Committee approved the nominations of Rostin Behnam, Brian Quintenz and Dawn Stump for commissioners of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the watchdog agency for the derivatives market. If confirmed by the Senate, the nominations would restore the CFTC to nearly its full complement of five commissioners.
The deepening drought in the northern Plains will result in the smallest harvest of spring wheat since 2002 — 423 million bushels, said USDA in its first forecast of the crop. Futures prices for hard red spring wheat, a high-quality variety and 90 percent of all U.S. spring wheat, soared in the past month as dry weather threatened a squeeze on supplies.
In the three-way race for leadership in the world wheat market, Russia will be No. 1 in the current marketing year, says USDA's Grain: World Markets and Trade report. It's the first time Russia would take the top spot; the United States was No. 1 in 2016/17 and the EU led in 2015/16.
Two months behind schedule, the EPA has proposed the targets for renewable fuel use in 2018 — corn-based ethanol in its usual place as the primary biofuel, at 15 billion gallons, and so-called advanced biofuels at 4.24 billion gallons. The agency said it will begin the technical analysis that could lead to a permanently lower mandate for advanced biofuels, which are being produced in far smaller quantities than envisioned in a 2007 law.
Two years ago, world cotton production was the lowest in 13 years, due to smaller plantings and plunging yields. This year, the world will produce 14 percent more cotton than in 2017 for a harvest of 24.6 million tons that will drive down the season-average cotton price by 13 cents a pound, says the International Cotton Advisory Committee.
The Senate Agriculture Committee voted, 16-5, to clear for a floor vote the nomination of CFTC commissioner Christopher Giancarlo to become chairman of the agency that oversees the derivatives markets. President Trump, who named Giancarlo as acting chairman on the day he took office, is halfway through submitting nominations for the four other commissioners.
The Trump administration has a target for beginning the renegotiation of NAFTA — mid-August — but there is no deadline for wrapping up discussions, assuming that talks are fruitful, said U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. "We're going to get a good agreement, one that is transformative," Lighthizer told the Senate Finance Committee.
For the second time in a week, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue told lawmakers that government is a greater threat to U.S. farmers than drought or disease. And in nearly the same words at two House hearings, he offered the might of the U.S. government to boost farm income through larger food and ag exports.
Along with corn and soybeans, U.S. wheat prices reached a record high in 2013, just before the collapse of the commodity boom. The USDA projects that this year's wheat crop will end the four-year decline in prices, partly because the harvest will be nearly one-half billion bushels smaller than a year ago.