National Ag News for September 11, 2023

World Food Prices Lower in August

The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization’s Food Price Index averaged 121.4 points in August, a 2.6-point drop from July, reversing the rebound registered that month. The August drop pushed the index 38 points lower than its peak reached in March 2022. The overall drop was driven by declines in the index for dairy products, vegetable oils, meat, and cereals, while the sugar price index rose modestly. The Dairy Price Index averaged 111.3 points in August and took the biggest drop, down 4.6 points from July, the eighth-straight monthly decline. The Vegetable Oil Index averaged 125.8 points, 4.6 points below July. The Meat Price Index averaged 111.3 points in August, down 4.6 points from July, the eighth-consecutive monthly drop. The Sugar Price Index averaged 148.2 points in August, up 1.9 points from July and as much as 37.7 points, or 34 percent, from its level in the same month last year.

July Pork Exports Stay Above 2022 Levels

Building on a robust first half of 2023, July pork exports continue to outpace 2022 levels. USDA data showed July pork exports at 219,000 metric tons, up five percent from last year, while export value rose one percent to $628.7 million. Exports to the top market, Mexico, continued at a record pace. “Market diversification has been the top priority for the U.S. pork industry, and those efforts certainly reflect these results,” says Dan Halstrom, President and CEO of the U.S. Meat Export Federation. Through the first seven months of this year, exports were 13 percent higher than last year’s pace at 1.69 million metric tons. Beef exports stepped back in July, posting the lowest volume since January. July beef exports totaled 103,167 metric tons, 18 percent below last year. Beef export value was down 19 percent to $810.4 million, the lowest since February. Exports posted gains in Mexico, Taiwan, and Canada.

NCGA Wants Aviation Biofuel Tax Decisions Tied to Emissions Model

Asserting that U.S. tax policy should be tied to the best standards the government has, 17 of the nation’s top corn grower leaders sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. It encourages her to adopt an emissions model developed by the Energy Department as her agency works with the IRS to determine which biofuels lower greenhouse gas emissions enough to qualify for sustainable aviation fuel tax credits under the Inflation Reduction Act. The letter comes as corn ethanol has been used for years in cars and trucks while saving consumers money on fuel. Ethanol is being considered for use in the aviation arena, where experts say the biofuel would do for airplanes what it has done for autos. Corn grower leaders point out that the tax credit from the IRA will be crucial to ensuring ethanol is quickly made available in the aviation sector. A decision will get made this month.

U.S. and India Resolve Outstanding WTO Poultry Dispute

U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai says the U.S. and India resolved their last outstanding dispute at the World Trade Organization. As a part of the agreement, India also agreed to reduce tariffs on U.S. products like frozen turkey, frozen duck, and fresh and frozen blueberries and cranberries. Tai says the tariff cuts will expand economic opportunities for American agricultural producers in a critical market and help bring more U.S. products to consumers in India. “Resolving this last outstanding WTO dispute represents an important milestone in the U.S.-India trade relationship while reducing tariffs on certain American products enhances crucial market access for American farmers,” says Tai. In June, the U.S. and India agreed to terminate six outstanding disputes at the World Trade Organization. India agreed to reduce tariffs on certain U.S. products like lentils, almonds, walnuts, apples, and others. “This agreement resolves a long-standing dispute and deepens the relationship,” Tai adds.

August Rainfall Provides Inflow to the Missouri River System

Rainfall in the Missouri River Basin above Sioux City, Iowa, was above normal during August, resulting in above-average runoff. However, because of drier-than-normal conditions in previous years, total storage in the Missouri River reservoir system remains lower than normal. Based on September 1 system storage, releases from the Gavins Point Dam will be 13,000 cubic feet per second, slightly above the minimum rate. “August rainfall provided some inflow into the Upper Missouri River Basin Reservoir System,” says John Remus, chief of the Army Corps’ Missouri River Basin Water Management System. “Some areas received up to 400 percent of normal rainfall.” August runoff was 1.7 million acre-feet, 121 percent above average in Sioux City. The updated 2023 forecast for the upper basin is 29.1-million-acre feet, 113 percent of average. The annual average runoff for the upper basin is 25.7-million-acre fee. The total volume in the System was 55.5 MAF on September 1.

New Checkoff Website for the Sheep Industry

America’s Lamb producers can now turn to for resources on checkoff production, promotion, and other programs. The new American Lamb Board site officially launched on September 7. “This is a totally new site for America’s Lamb industry,” says Peter Camino, ALB Chair. “That includes commercial and seedstock producers, feeders, direct marketers, sale managers, auction markets, and processors.” He also says it’s home to everything about the American Lamb Board and the checkoff program. A wealth of information is available on the site, including the best practices for sheep productivity and efficiency, lamb quality, and recipes. There are also premium items for local promotions in the ALB store, free downloadable handouts, and details on ALB’s cooperative funding program. Producers can find the latest news and results of the American Lamb Checkoff’s activities and an online assessment payment tool. Producers selling directly to consumers can check out toolkits on marketing to ethnic markets.


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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