U.S. dominance in ag export race is softening

The United States lost its place as the world's largest wheat exporter a decade ago, and now its leadership in exports of corn, cotton and tree nuts is being challenged, said a new USDA report. "Changes in global patterns of production and agricultural markets affected U.S. export competitiveness during the last two decades," said the Economic Research Service.

China sets monthly record for purchases of U.S. food and ag

Although it is likely to fall short of its “phase one” target, China purchased a record $4.8 billion of U.S. food, agricultural and seafood products during October, contributing to the surge in grain and soybean prices, analysts said on Monday. “The big question right now for …

Trade war could cost U.S. fruit and nut industries $3 billion a year

The U.S.'s current trade war expands beyond China—India, Mexico and Turkey also have placed tariffs on U.S. fruits and nuts. The cumulative effect of the tariffs could cost the U.S. fruit and nut industries $2.64 billion per year directly and an additional $700 million by reducing prices in alternative markets, says a study by the Agricultural Issues Center at the University of California.

Rising temperatures a threat to Central Valley orchards

For many orchards, cold weather is a menace but in California's Central Valley, mild winters are becoming a threat, says Valley Public Radio. Crops such as peaches, pistachios and almonds need a certain amount of frigid weather - chill hours in agricultural terminology - to set the buds that bloom into flowers that produce fruit and nuts.

Is Nutella a jam rather than a dessert topping?

For decades, Nutella, the hazelnut-cocoa spread, has been classified by FDA as a dessert topping. Now, its producer, Ferrero, is petitioning the government to put it in the same class as jam, which would cut its serving size — and calorie count — in half, to one tablespoon and 100 calories, says Stat, the medical news site.

Record exports won’t cure U.S. peanut surplus

U.S. farmers are growing peanuts faster than the nation, or the world, can consume them, say USDA economists, who estimate the peanut supply will be a record 9.5 billion pounds following this year's harvest. Thanks to rising demand, led by China and Vietnam, exports are forecast for a record 1.5 billion pounds — one-fourth of this year's crop — but the U.S. peanut surplus could continue to grow.

Mixed nuts picture as pistachio harvest plunges in U.S.

U.S. pistachio production is expected to fall by half in the 2015/2016 crop year, causing the global crop to contract by 86,000 tonnes to 529,000 tonnes, the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service reported. The U.S. pistachio crop is in an off-year cycle of its alternate-bearing harvest, where trees produce a greater than average crop one year, and a lower than average crop the next.

Oh, nuts. Smallest U.S. ag exports in six years

U.S. farm exports, a major source of income for producers, are headed for their lowest sales tally in six years, says a quarterly USDA forecast. The new estimate of $124.5 billion in exports during fiscal 2016 is down modestly from the previous forecast, primarily because the market for nuts — walnuts, pistachios and almonds — is slowing.