National Ag News for May 9, 2023

Economic Research Service: Farm Income Decline Varies by Region

After reaching recent highs in 2021 and 2022, the average net cash income of U.S. farm businesses is expected to decline by 18 percent in 2023 compared with 2022. Farm businesses across the country are forecast to see higher production expenses, lower cash receipts, and lower Government payments in 2023, resulting in lower expected average net cash farm income. However, this overall decline will vary considerably across the country. USDA’s Economic Research Service uses resource regions to depict the geographic specialization in production of U.S. commodities. Farm businesses in the Northern Crescent region, which leads the nation in dairy production, are forecast to see the largest average percentage decrease, 30 percent, while those in the Mississippi Portal, which leads the nation in rice production, are forecast to see the smallest percent decrease, nine percent. Meanwhile, the Fruitful Rim will see an estimated 24 percent decline in average net cash income.

AEM Offers Ways to Address the Industry’s Technician Shortage

It’s no secret to anyone working in equipment manufacturing the ever-growing technician shortage is a problem poised to get a lot worse before it gets better. According to a 2020 report, the industry may need to fill as many as 73,500 heavy equipment technician positions by 2025. In addition, the report stated equipment manufacturing possesses a job opening rate three times higher than the national average. Among survey respondents, 95 percent agreed with the assertion there was a skills gap in the industry, while 89 percent reported a shortage of workers within their companies. Julie Davis, AEM Senior Director of Workforce and Industry Initiatives, says, “Equipment manufacturers can and should embrace and adopt a number of short-term and long-term strategies to set themselves up for sustained success as it relates to workforce development. AEM offers four tips to businesses for addressing the shortage: focus on retention, fill the talent pipeline, diversify and optimize recruitment strategies, and collaborate with others.

March Pork Exports Largest in Nearly Two Years; Beef Exports Show Signs of Rebound

March U.S. pork exports were the largest since May 2021, and beef export volumes were the largest since October, according to the U.S. Meat Export Federation. March pork exports totaled 260,195 metric tons, up 17 percent year-over-year and the ninth-largest volume on record. Export value was also the ninth largest at $724 million, up 18 percent from a year ago. These results capped a strong first quarter for U.S. pork as exports reached 716,691 metric tons, up 14 percent from a year ago, valued at $1.96 billion. Beef exports totaled 120,495 metric tons in March, down five percent from a year ago. Export value fell 17 percent to $892.6 million, but both volume and value were the highest in five months. Through the first quarter, beef exports were down eight percent year-over-year to 326,494 metric tons, valued at $2.35 billion. March exports of U.S. lamb muscle cuts totaled 218 metric tons, down five percent from a year ago.

Research Reveals How Grazing Management Affects Cattle Weight Gain

USDA’s Agricultural Research Service is completing a 10-year study on grazing practices. The study focuses on the two systems of grazing, season-long grazing and intensive rotational grazing, looking at how the systems affect cattle foraging behavior, diet quality, and yearly weight gain in semi-arid, extensive rangelands. The study showed herds in the multi-paddock rotating system feeding in more linear pathways instead of moving around looking for greener grass and selecting bites of more digestible vegetation. They also fed slower, spent more time on the same patch of grass, and didn’t turn their heads around much while feeding, compared with steers in the continuous grazing system. These behaviors of less selective foraging resulted in a lower diet quality, reducing weight gain during the growing season. Results, published in Agriculture, Ecosystems, and Environment, show that large herds grazing in small, homogenous paddocks have little opportunity to move around in ways that let them feed on high-quality diet.

Smidt Named AFT’s New Director of Land Use and Protection Research

American Farmland Trust has named Sam Smidt as National Director of Land Use and Protection Research to develop and implement the organization’s land use protection research agenda. Among his duties, Smidt will lead the Land Use and Protection Research Initiative, which includes and builds upon the existing Farms Under Threat projects. He will also be part of both AFT’s internal virtual research team that discusses and prioritizes overall research needs and AFT’s farmland protection unit, which will work with Sam to help identify and prioritize research questions that could advance farmland protection and retention efforts and AFT’s policy and program development. With an extensive agricultural background, Smidt is skilled at evaluating and modeling land transformation impacts on human and natural systems. Smidt is a native of Morton, Illinois, and he has graduate degrees in both earth and environmental science and policy from Michigan State University and The University of Iowa. 

Fuel Prices Fall for Third Straight Week

For the third consecutive week, the nation’s average gasoline price has fallen, declining 7.5 cents from a week ago to $3.50 per gallon. The national average is down 7.5 cents from a month ago and 80.7 cents per gallon lower than a year ago. The national average diesel price declined 6.3 cents in the last week to $4.01 per gallon, $1.51 lower than one year ago. GasBuddy’s Patrick De Haan says, “In addition to gasoline prices declining, the average price of a gallon of diesel will join gasoline in the days ahead, falling below $4 per gallon.” De Haan attributes the decline partly due to oil prices holding near recent lows and the transition to summer gasoline being essentially complete. The debt ceiling concerns have also hit oil markets and remain a threat moving forward, should lawmakers approve a solution to the looming potential shutdown of the U.S. government, oil prices may see a stronger rally.


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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