Global corn trade tightens as Argentine, U.S. exports dip
Drought in Argentina and lackluster sales in the United States, two of the world’s major suppliers, will reduce global corn exports to their lowest volume in three years, said USDA analysts on Wednesday. Shipments from another leading source, Ukraine, were in question because an extension of the Black Sea Grain Initiative past March 18 has not been resolved.
Interior funds project to reduce Colorado River water use
The Interior Department will provide $125 million for a program that compensates water users, including farmers, on the Upper Colorado River who voluntarily conserve water. The money for the System Conservation Pilot Program was part of $728 million announced by Interior Secretary Deb Haaland on Monday for Western water projects.
Cotton growers make room for more corn and wheat
Battered by drought and rising costs, U.S. cotton growers will devote more of their land to corn, wheat and soybeans — crops that promise higher revenue this year — while sharply reducing their cotton plantings, said a survey released on Sunday. The National Cotton Council said its survey of growers indicated 11.4 million acres will be planted to cotton this spring, 17 percent less than last year.
Swap crop insurance for area-based coverage — analysts
The government could save more than $2 billion a year if it replaced the public-private partnership of the crop insurance program with simpler and more tightly targeted disaster programs, said two agricultural economists. In an analysis for the American Enterprise Institute, Eric Belasco and Vincent Smith said a template for the less expensive program was the Pasture, Rangeland and Forage (PRF) insurance product offered by USDA.
Report: ag corporations boom despite California’s historic drought
In a report released Wednesday, Food & Water Watch found that agricultural corporations have used California's outdated water rights system to their advantage and expanded their most water-intensive operations, even as some rural communities have run out of water completely. (No paywall)
California’s water scarcity upends politics of powerful farm district
For decades, the Westlands Water District in California — the largest district in the nation — has led the fight against environmental rules that restrict the flow of water from California’s rivers to its farmers. It sued the government, lobbied friendly politicians and took on critics wherever …
Study: In California’s Central Valley, repurposing farmland could save communities
As the water crisis in California’s Central Valley intensifies, farmers are fallowing fields, slashing jobs and hemorrhaging money. But according to a study released this week, some rural towns might be better off abandoning agriculture entirely and repurposing farmland to create better-paying jobs, ease water usage, decrease pollution and preserve landowners’ revenue streams.
U.S. disaster payments are needed, say organic livestock producers
Abnormally high feed costs, partly the result of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, are ruining organic livestock producers and federal relief payments are vital to keep farmers in business, said organic trade groups and businesses. "A perfect storm of trade disruptions, international conflicts and acute drought conditions has created a situation no farmer could have planned for or foreseen," said the 13 groups in a letter to lawmakers released on Monday.
U.S. cotton production edges upward, market price falls
The drought-hit U.S. cotton crop is slightly larger than previously thought, at 14 million bales, but exports are stagnant for this marketing year, said the USDA on Thursday. The monthly WASDE report said cotton production was down worldwide.
Flash drought hits High Plains
Drought deepened during “quite the dry week” in the High Plains, said the Drought Monitor on Thursday. “Flash drought conditions are impacting the region, especially in the Dakotas, where warm, dry, and windy conditions have provided ideal harvest conditions but have started taking a toll.”
Low water on Mississippi hits grain prices at the farm gate
Farmers in the Midwest and the mid-South are paying the price for low water on the Mississippi River in the form of lower cash bids for their corn and soybeans — as much as $2 a bushel lower for soybeans, said USDA economists on Wednesday. At the same time, the cost of transporting fertilizer upriver has increased, and neither situation is likely to change before late winter.
Winter wheat crop in poor shape amid drought
Only 28 percent of the U.S. winter wheat crop is in good or excellent condition, one of the worst starts for the crop in years, said the USDA's Crop Progress report on Monday. Three-quarters of winter wheat land is in drought, including nine of every 10 acres in Kansas, the top wheat producing state.
U.S. is driest in a decade, as drought moves eastward
More than six of every 10 acres in the continental United States is in drought, with arid conditions stretching from the Appalachians to the Pacific Coast, said the weekly Drought Monitor on Thursday. Conditions worsened in the Ohio Valley, as warm weather combined with below-normal precipitation to dry the Midwest.
Drought in Plains and Southeast, says NOAA’s winter forecast
Winter will be drier and warmer than usual for the central to southern Plains and the Southeast, said government forecasters on Thursday, suggesting there would be little drought relief in major wheat-growing states or precipitation to restore water levels in the Mississippi River. It would be the third U.S. winter in a row under the La Niña pattern, which typically brings warmer and drier weather to the U.S. southern tier, from California to the Carolinas.
Growers sow winter wheat despite arid conditions
More than half of U.S. winter wheat territory is in drought but growers are sowing the grain at a faster pace than usual, said the Crop Progress report on Monday. In USDA's first look at the new crop, it said the grain was planted on 21 percent of winter wheat land in the 18 leading states, 4 points ahead of the five-year average.
U.S. corn and soy crops wilt during hot and dry summer
The drought-hit corn and soybean crops are smaller than expected, said the government on Monday, slicing 451 million bushels from its estimate of the corn harvest and 152 million bushels from its soybean forecast. The revisions reduced this year's crops to also-rans instead of contenders for the record books.
Drought pares U.S. corn and soy harvest, say traders
With the fall harvest getting under way, traders expect the USDA to trim its estimate of the U.S. corn crop by more than a quarter-billion bushels on Monday but to stick to its forecast of the largest soybean crop ever, at roughly 4.5 billion bushels. Dry weather in the western Corn Belt, including powerhouses Iowa and Nebraska, will lower corn production to just below 14.1 billion bushels, or 1 billion bushels less than last year, according to the average estimate from traders surveyed by wire services.
Gov. Newsom signs a fast-food labor bill but takes a measured approach toward ag
As he prepares for a possible presidential run, California Gov. Gavin Newsom has burnished some of his progressive credentials with a flurry of new legislation. On Monday, he rattled the fast food industry by signing a bill that could increase fast food workers' minimum wage to as much as $22 an hour, and he has made national news for his aggressive new policies to address the climate crisis.