National Ag News for October 11, 2022

National School Lunch Week: USDA Serves 224 Billion Since 1971

President Joe Biden recently declared this week as National School Lunch Week. The annual declaration highlights how school meals remain a vital lifeline, supplying well-balanced, free or low-cost meals to kids across the country since the program began in 1946. USDA’s Economic Research Service also released a report analyzing data on school lunch meals served. USDA found that between 1971 and 2021, the National School Lunch Program served about 224 billion meals. Of these meals, 126.4 billion were served for free or at a reduced price. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020 interrupted the operations of many schools through fiscal years 2020 and 2021. As a result, about 3.2 billion lunches were served through the program in 2020 and 2.2 billion in 2021, fewer than the 4.9 billion in 2019. The drop reflects the use of a USDA pandemic waiver allowing schools to serve meals through the Summer Food Service Program and the creation of the temporary Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer program.

Report: Plant-Based Products Appeal Wearing Off

Plant-based food is a hot market, but plant-based meat alternative is not, according to a recent study by Deloitte Insights. The researchers say there are many contributing factors, including supply chain problems and a tough comparison point from an impressive prior year. However, data from Deloitte’s Future of Fresh survey suggests three consumer-driven reasons for the current stagnation. The addressable market may be more limited than many thought. Dramatically improved taste in recent years unlocked new interest, but the portion of the population open to trying and repeat buying it may already have reached a saturation point. With inflation, fewer people are willing to pay a price premium. Willingness to pay a premium for plant-based alternative meat dropped nine percentage points from last year. Finally, some assumed benefits are being questioned by consumers. Even buyers of plant-based alternative meat are changing their views on some of its attributes. The biggest change is in health perceptions.

Mosaic Company Announces Hurricane Ian’s Impact on its Fertilizer Producer

The Mosaic Company recently announced that North American Phosphates was negatively impacted by damage caused by Hurricane Ian. Significant flooding and high winds were experienced throughout central Florida during the storm, and this caused modest damage to Mosaic Company facilities and supporting infrastructure. Early assessments indicate phosphate production could be down by approximately 200,000-250,000 metric tons, split roughly evenly between the third and fourth quarters of 2022. Repairs are expected to be completed over the next couple of weeks. In addition to production impacts, the timing of shipments was also affected by the storm. Phosphates sales volumes in the third quarter are now expected to total 1.60-1.65 million metric tons, as port and rail closures delayed late third quarter shipments to October. Mosaic plans to provide further updates when it reports third quarter results. The Mosaic company produces fertilizers in West Central Florida, where Hurricane Ian made landfall late last month.

NCC Announces 2023 Beltwide Cotton Conferences

The National Cotton Council recently announced the 2023 Beltwide Cotton Conferences, set for January 10-12 at the New Orleans Marriott in New Orleans. The event offers attendees timely updates on the latest research, technology and issues affecting U.S. cotton production and processing. The BWCC, coordinated by the National Cotton Council, annually brings together the U.S. cotton industry to exchange information about cotton production. The BWCC’s Consultants Conference will run the afternoon of January 10 and extend through the morning of January 11. The 12 cotton technical conferences will meet concurrently beginning on the morning of January 11 and conclude by noon on January 12. The Cotton Sustainability Conference will plan to focus on the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol. The Cotton Engineering-Systems Conference is planning presentations on data analytics, robotics, remote sensing and unmanned aerial vehicles, among others. Those planning to attend are encouraged to register via the BWCC home page at

Walmart Foundation Teams Up with National FFA Foundation

The Walmart Foundation Monday announced a $750,000 grant to the National FFA Foundation to incorporate sustainability principles in school education. The National FFA Foundation will leverage the expertise of the National FFA Organization to develop these educational resources. The National FFA Organization is working to ensure they meet the demand by educating the next generation of leaders. This generation will lead by example, act responsibly and create solutions to feed, clothe and fuel the world. National FFA Organization Chief Program Officer Christine White says, “The funding made available allows us to create new sustainability-focused education resources and programming that integrates current sustainable practices across multiple disciplines.” The focus of these resources will be to leverage the social influences of students by creating an inclusive program so all students enrolled in agricultural education can see how sustainability is meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs. 

National Average Fuel Prices Edge Higher Again

The nation’s average gas price climbed for the third straight week, rising 13.8 cents from a week ago to $3.92 per gallon. The national average is up 22.5 cents from a month ago and 67.0 cents per gallon higher than a year ago. The national average price of diesel increased 18.0 cents in the last week to $5.04 per gallon. OPEC+ decided to cut oil production by two million barrels a day recently, causing an oil price surge of 20 percent, largely the reason for the increase in fuel prices. However, some refinery issues that increased prices appear to be improving in the West and Great Lakes. GasBuddy’s Patrick De Haan says, “prices in those two regions are likely to inch down, even with OPEC’s decision, as the drop in wholesale prices has offset the rise due to the production cut.” According to GasBuddy, U.S. retail gasoline demand fell last week by 0.3 percent.


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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