National Ag News for December 30, 2022

U.S. Beef Exports to East Asia on a Record Pace

The USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service released a report titled “U.S. Beef Exports to East Asia on a Record Pace.” Despite economic uncertainties brought on by COVID, continued global supply chain challenges, and a competitive global beef market, American exports to East Asia were outstanding in the first half of 2022 in terms of value and volume. The report says, “During the first three quarters of 2022, U.S. beef exports to East Asia, including Korea, Japan, China/Hong Kong, and Taiwan, were a record $6.6 billion.” That’s a 22 percent increase on a value basis from last year’s exports worth $5.4 billion. “On a volume basis, the exports were up 6.4 percent,” the report says. “Despite surging food prices in recent months, higher-volume shipments indicate a continued demand for beef products.” It also shows that East Asia’s relatively stable middle class has high disposable income and is willing to absorb the rising costs.

What 2023 Will Mean for Ethanol Margins

America’s ethanol industry saw its production margins get weaker late in 2022. MarketWatch says the ethanol industry outlook will depend on multiple factors. Margins have recently dropped below the same time last year. Iowa State University’s Center for Agricultural and Rural Development says the average return over operating costs at a typical dry-mill ethanol plant was 34.64 cents per gallon. That’s over one dollar lower than the same time last year when the center put the average margin at $1.38 per gallon. The university says the average ethanol price in Iowa was at $2.44 a gallon, 85 cents lower year to year, while the average price of corn was $6.82 a bushel, about $1.10 higher than a year ago. Some of the key issues for the U.S. ethanol industry to watch include Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs), Carbon Capture Projects, the future of Small Refinery Exemptions, and fewer limits on E15 sales.

Baby Formula Imports Face Tariffs Again in 2023

Baby formula imports into the U.S. will be subject to tariffs again in 2023 as the exemptions implemented during a nationwide shortage are scheduled to expire. Reuters says the shortage began during supply chain issues brought on by COVID, and those issues began to get worse in February of this year. During that month, the biggest U.S. supplier recalled some products and closed down a manufacturing plant after reporting bacterial infections. Responding to the crisis, American health regulators relaxed import policies, and President Biden invoked the Cold War-era Defense Production Act to rebuild lagging supplies. Congress made the tariff waivers temporary as part of a deal to pass the measure quickly. Last August, Walmart and Target Corporation, two of the nation’s biggest retailers, said supplies of baby formula were improving. The maker of the biggest brand in the market, Enfamil, says formula shortages will likely persist until the spring of 2023.

USDA Invests Over $9 Million in Bioproduct Development

USDA is investing $9.5 million to support the scale-up of sustainable bioproduct manufacturing in the U.S. Three projects are getting funded through the National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Bioproduct Pilot Program. The program presents an opportunity to spur economic activity in the nation’s rural areas while lowering commercialization risks associated with bringing biobased products to market. “Adopting a more circular economy ensures that wealth and other economic benefits in the form of jobs and other opportunities are created, and stay, in rural communities,” says Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack. “We must support and incentivize practices like these because that’s what consumers want, and what farmers and our planet need.” The Pilot Program’s exploration into bioproducts accelerates USDA’s efforts to develop circular bio-economies, where agricultural resources are harvested, consumed, and regenerated in a sustainable manner. NIFA says each of the recommended projects can help bridge the gap between invention and the marketplace.

The Second Annual Ag Transporters Conference is in March

Transportation Go! is a conference for soybean, grain, and other transportation issues in the Upper Midwest. It will take place March 15-16, 2023, in Omaha, Nebraska. It’s the second annual transportation conference after a successful debut event in Milwaukee earlier this year. “This is an active conference, not a passive one,” says Eric Wenberg, executive director of the Specialty Soya and Grains Alliance, which organizes and hosts the event. “We encourage discussion and expect real dialogue to take place during every segment of the agenda.” He also says there are many challenges in agricultural transportation, and this conference brings together smart and experienced people from different avenues of the supply chain into the same room to take on those challenges together. Omaha, a key ag transportation hub, will bring together the industry’s top stakeholders, from boots-on-the-ground commodity growers to traders and shippers of specialty field crops. For more information, go to

American Lamb Growers Looking Ahead to 2023 Trends

The “2023 Meat Trends to Watch Report” says understanding the overarching trends in American meat consumption can help keep meat in the mix. “There are challenges ahead for the lamb industry, but there are also opportunities ahead,” says Peter Camino, American Lamb Board Chair. “But the entire industry will need to make changes to improve our competitiveness and profitability.” The report covers trends like economic pressures at the meat case, noting that while many are seeking less expensive cuts at the meat case, others are more open to experimenting in the kitchen. Others may also trade up at the counter instead of dining out. The report also covers sustainability, noting that it’s critical for products and businesses to talk to customers about their sustainability efforts. Other important topics in the report include health and wellness, convenience, and technology. The ALB is closely watching these trends and how they influence consumers.


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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