National Ag News for February 15, 2023

Consumer Price Index Increases

The Consumer Price Index rose 0.5 percent in January on a seasonally adjusted basis, after increasing 0.1 percent in December, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Tuesday. Over the last 12 months, the all-items index increased 6.4 percent before seasonal adjustment. The food index increased 0.5 percent in January, and the food at home index rose 0.4 percent over the month. Four of the six major grocery store food group indexes increased over the month. The index for other food at home rose 0.7 percent in January. The index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs increased 0.7 percent over the month, as the index for eggs rose 8.5 percent. The index for cereals and bakery products rose 1.0 percent over the month, while the index for nonalcoholic beverages increased 0.4 percent in January. In contrast, the fruits and vegetables index fell 0.5 percent over the month, with the fresh vegetables index declining 2.3 percent. The index for dairy and related products was unchanged in January.

New Decree by Mexico Allows for Some GM Corn Imports

Mexico officials issued a new decree this week calling for a ban on imports of biotech corn used for certain purposes, effective immediately. The decree also indicated the Mexican government would continue to allow imports of biotech corn used as animal feed while exploring substitutes. Once substitutes are established to satisfy supply needs, all GM corn will be banned. The National Corn Growers Association expressed serious concern with the accelerated implementation timeline. NCGA President Tom Haag says, “Singling out corn – our number one ag export to Mexico – and hastening an import ban on numerous food-grade uses makes USMCA a dead letter unless it’s enforced.” NCGA continues to call on the Biden administration to initiate a U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement dispute settlement panel regarding the issue. The ban, according to NCGA, would be catastrophic for American corn growers as well as the Mexican people, who depend on corn as a major staple of their food supply.

States Considering Grocery Tax Relief

Lawmakers in several states are considering tax relief for consumers at the grocery store. Progressive Grocer reports many starts that charge a grocery tax are working to extend, end or change the charges as a form of inflation relief. Mississippi, home to the highest grocery tax in the nation of seven percent, recently proposed a bill to slash the tax rate in half. A poll of Mississippi consumers found 68 percent favor suspending the grocery tax. Meanwhile, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee has considered another grocery tax holiday following a four-week suspension last year. Lee says, “We should do that again this year, but let’s extend it to three consecutive months.” Earlier this month, Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt proposed to halt the state grocery tax of 4.5 percent. Meanwhile, Missouri lawmakers are considering removal of the one percent grocery tax in the state. Progressive Grocery reports other states are looking at pushing the decision back to municipal governments.

Deliveries of Caloric Sweeteners Rising

Total caloric sweetener deliveries—an indicator of sweetener consumption in the United States—rose by one percent in 2021 to 127.4 pounds per capita, according to USDA’s Economic Research Service. Annual growth in per capita sweetener deliveries had not been observed since 2014 amid the backdrop of a long-term declining trend that started after peaking at 153.7 pounds in 1999. Growth in 2021 was driven by an increase in refined sugar deliveries per capita, the largest component, which were up 1.9 percent in 2021 at 69.8 pounds and the highest since 1995. The growth countered the 1.2 percent decrease in per capita high-fructose corn syrup deliveries to 39.5 pounds. High-fructose corn syrup deliveries, the other major component, have been steadily decreasing since topping out at 65.9 pounds in 1999, driving the long-term decline in total sweetener deliveries. While per capita deliveries of other caloric sweeteners increased by 2.4 percent in 2021, the volumes have been relatively small, historically hovering at 20 pounds.

US Tractor Sales Start 2023 Lower

U.S. ag tractor sales finished January 2023 in the negative, while all segments of ag equipment grew in Canada, according to the latest data from the Association of Equipment Manufacturers. Total U.S. ag tractor unit sales fell for January in all segments except one, with 100-plus horsepower two-wheel-drive tractors growing 22.8 percent. U.S. combine sales, however, continued its growth streak, climbing 132.7 percent year-over-year. In Canada, combine harvesters led sales again, up 179.6 percent, moving 137 units in January. Overall unit sales in tractors finished the month up seven percent. Curt Blades of AEM says, “Most of the trends we’re seeing in this month’s report continue what we saw throughout most of 2022.” Blades adds, “However, the industry-wide growth we see in Canada this month is a pleasant sight, and we hope that trends continue and expands to the U.S. market.”

USDA: Al Gore to Keynote Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate Summit

The Department of Agriculture Tuesday announced Former Vice Preside Al Gore as the opening keynote speaker for the Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate Summit. The AIM for Climate Summit is scheduled for May 8-10 this year, in Washington, D.C. USDA says the summit will bring together partners to increase and accelerate investment in and support for climate-smart agriculture and food systems innovation. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says of Gore, “He has been on the forefront of the climate crisis for more than 40 years and is a leader in the international response to combating climate change.” Launched at COP26 in 2021, AIM for Climate is an initiative co-led by the United Arab Emirates and the United States that seeks to enable global partnerships and solutions at the intersection of agriculture and climate change. The deadline to submit proposals for these activities is Thursday, February 24. For more details on how to apply, visit the AIM for Climate Summit website.


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.