National Ag News for October 10, 2022

August Pork Exports Higher While Beef Again Tops $1 Billion

U.S. pork exports in August topped year-ago totals for the first time in 2022. USDA data compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation shows beef exports were slightly above the large volumes of last August and once again surpassed $1 billion in value. “We talk about the importance of developing a wide range of markets for U.S. red meat, and the August numbers are a great example of that,” says USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom. “Exports face significant headwinds in some key destinations. However, the emphasis on broad-based growth pays dividends and allows the overall export picture to remain positive.” Pork exports reached 226,300 metric tons, the largest total since November 2021, while the value rose four percent to $659 million. Beef exports topped 133,800 metric tons, up one percent from last year and the second-largest volume on record, with the export value at just under $1.04 billion.

Dairy Industry Groups Hold Press Conference on Labor Shortage

Groups like the American Business Immigration Coalition Action, the National Milk Producers Federation, the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, and many others involved in U.S. dairy held a press conference on labor shortages. The press conference took place during the World Dairy Expo to help call attention to the urgency of fixing the national farm labor shortage by passing new agriculture workforce solutions in the Senate. Brody Stapel, president of the Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative Board, says dairy is a unique industry with different challenges than any other sector of agriculture. “Our cows must be milked twice a day, every day, and our raw product is extremely perishable,” he says. “That makes a steady workforce that much more important.” Walt Moore, president of the American Dairy Coalition, applauded the House of Representatives for passing the Farm Workforce Modernization Act and said it’s urgent that Senators from across the country do the same.

Drought Conditions Cover 321 Million Acres of Crops

Drought intensified in many of the nation’s top corn-growing states during the past week. Nationally, 321.6 million acres of crops are experiencing some level of drought, while more than 31 million beef cattle across the country are living with drought. The latest drought monitor map shows a pocket of D2 severe drought emerging in Illinois with poor crop conditions and low hay yield in that region. While drought conditions in Texas have improved recently, pockets of D4 exceptional drought are still present in one percent of the state. D3 extreme drought covers 12 percent of Texas. Drought also intensified in Minnesota, which saw its first area of D3 extreme drought since last December. Wisconsin’s D2 severe drought in the northwest corner spread out to cover four percent of the state. A small part of Iowa is experiencing D4 exceptional drought, while five percent of the Hawkeye State is experiencing D3 extreme drought.

World Food Prices Drop in September

The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization says the Food Price Index averaged 136.3 points in September, 1.1 percent below August and the sixth-straight monthly decline. The decline was driven by a sharp fall in the international prices of vegetable oils and moderate decreases in those of sugar, meat, and dairy products. Together, that more than offset a rebound in the cereal price index, which averaged 147.8 points in September, a 1.5 percent rise from August. The Vegetable Oil Price Index averaged 152.6 points in September, down more than six percent from August month-on-month and the lowest level since February 2021. The Dairy Price Index averaged 142.5 points, down a half-percent from August and the third-consecutive monthly decline. However, that was still almost eight percent higher than the same time last year. The Sugar Price Index was 109.7 points, down 0.7 percent and its lowest level since July 2021.

Barge Operator Can’t Make Deliveries Due to Dry Mississippi River

The largest barge operator in the U.S. told its customers last week that it won’t be able to make good on deliveries due to the shrinking Mississippi River. Bloomberg says Ingram Barge Company declared a force majeure in a letter to customers because of the “near-historic” low water along the Mississippi River. The river is the top way to get American grains exported to the world market. Drought has dropped the water level far enough that ships are beginning to run aground. The U.S. Coast Guard is responding to stuck vessels in at least two places, including Stack Island between Louisiana and Mississippi and upriver near Memphis. American Commercial Barge Line, another shipping company that uses the river to transport goods, says the drought is causing the most severe impact on navigation since 1988. The logjam comes at the worst time as grain harvest is in progress, and supplies will pile up.

NCGA: Collaboration Will Propel Climate Advancements

Field to Market recently released a report titled Climate Action in U.S. Agriculture that showcases increasing climate commitments from its diverse membership sectors. The report essentially creates a clearinghouse of self-set sustainability and climate targets to give companies and organizations a one-stop shop to benchmark goals, drive performance, and promote accountability. Some of the key findings in the report include 73 percent of the members having public commitments on climate action, up from 68 percent in 2021. Of the 29 corporate members, 22 percent have set science-based targets for reducing emissions. Two of the five goals set by the National Corn Growers Association directly address climate concerns and are documented in the report. The goals are to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 13 percent and increase energy efficiency by 13 percent. NCGA Sustainability Director Rachel Orf says the group is working to assist their growers in reaching those goals by 2030.


By Tucker Allmer - The BARN

Tucker Allmer & the BARN are members of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB), the Colorado FFA Foundation, the Colorado 4H Foundation, the Colorado Farm Show Marketing Committee, 1867 Club Board Member, Denver Ag & Livestock Club Member, the Weld County Fair Board, the Briggsdale FFA Advisory Council, Briggsdale 4H Club Beef Leader & Founder / Coordinator of the Briggsdale Classic Open Jackpot Show.

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