National Ag News for November 13, 2023

September Pork Exports Steady, Beef Lower

September U.S. pork exports were slightly lower than a year ago but maintained a robust pace. USDA data compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation shows pork exports reached 221,140 metric tons, one percent less than last year, while export value dropped four percent to $643.7 million. For the first three quarters of this year, pork exports rose nine percent year-over-year to 2.13 million metric tons and climbed seven percent in value to almost $6 billion. “Pork exports achieving another $200 million month in Mexico is fantastic,” says USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom. Beef exports continued struggling compared to 2022 but showed increasing strength in Western Hemisphere markets. Beef exports totaled 98,757 metric tons, 15 percent below last year and the lowest total of 2023. Value fell 12 percent to $797.5 million. Exports were lower across the board in Asia but picked up momentum in Mexico, Canada, and other locations.

Farmers Union Supports Increased Poultry Transparency

National Farmers Union President Rob Larew supports the finalized “Transparency in Poultry Grower Contracting and Tournaments” rule from the USDA under the Packers and Stockyards Act. He says monopolies in agriculture have put the squeeze on farmers and consumers for far too long. “Poultry growers face an especially unfair contracting system that’s opaque and secretive,” Larew says. “This finalized rule issued last week will require poultry companies to be more honest in their dealings with growers.” He also calls this good news for family farmers and will bring strong rules to promote sorely needed transparency for livestock producers. The final poultry rule released last week is the first of several updates USDA wants to make to the Packers and Stockyards Act. USDA also announced efforts to increase competition and innovation in seeds, improvements to USDA meat procurement requirements, and the establishment of a new Chief Competition Officer position at USDA.

Injecting Carbon Into National Forests and Grasslands

The U.S. Forest Service proposed a change in regulations that would allow it to consider requests to inject carbon dioxide beneath the 193 million acres of national forests and grasslands. Currently, the Forest Service is barred from authorizing “exclusive and perpetual use and occupancy” of its land by outsiders, a prohibition that would apply to carbon storage because the gas would remain underground for hundreds of years. The proposed regulation would create an exemption for carbon capture and storage projects. If approved, the USDA agency could “authorize proposed carbon capture and storage on National Forest Service system lands where and if it’s deemed appropriate.” Public comments on the carbon injection idea will be accepted until January 2. The Forest Service says the proposed rule would harmonize carbon storage regulations with the Bureau of Land Management, the other major federal land manager. The BLM issued its carbon storage policy in July 2022.

NCBA Opposes Beef Imports from Paraguay

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association opposes the USDA’s decision to allow Paraguayan beef imports starting next month. NCBA has repeatedly raised concerns with USDA over Paraguay’s history of foot-and-mouth disease and the outdated information used to justify Paraguay’s access to the U.S. market. NCBA is concerned that USDA’s failure to use information from recent site visits in the risk assessment may pose a risk to the safety of the U.S. cattle herd. “USDA based their decision on a deeply flawed risk assessment that uses old data from site visits that were conducted more than nine years ago,” says NCBA Executive Director of Government Affairs Kent Bacus. “Paraguay has a history of FMD outbreaks, and it’s unclear if their inspection system can provide an equivalent level of safety for animal health to prevent possible FMD on U.S. soil.” He also says diplomacy shouldn’t be done on the backs of U.S. cattle producers.

Genetically Modified Seed Prices Rising Faster Than Non-GM

Prices paid for crop seed increased significantly faster than the prices farmers received for crop commodities between 1990 and 2020. During that period, the average prices farmers paid for all seed rose by 270 percent, while the crop commodity price index rose 56 percent. For crops planted predominantly with genetically modified (GM) seed, like corn soybeans, and cotton, those seed prices rose by an average of 463 percent between 1990 and 2020. During this period, GM seed prices peaked in 2014 at 639 percent above 1990 levels. Despite their higher cost, GM crop varieties have provided significant productivity gains for farmers, partly through higher yield, but also by lowering farm production costs. For example, GM traits for insect resistance reduce the need for pesticide applications. Similarly, GM traits for herbicide tolerance provide a substitute for mechanical tillage, thus reducing the cost of labor, machinery, and fuel previously used in controlling weeds.  

Corn, Soybean Export Sales Rise

USDA data shows that export sales of corn, soybeans, and wheat were all higher for the week ending on November 2. Corn sales to overseas buyers totaled 1.02 million metric tons. That’s 36 percent higher than the previous week and four percent higher than the prior four-week average. Mexico was the biggest buyer at 384,800 metric tons. Corn exports for the week totaled almost 825,000 tons, the highest in the marketing year so far. Soybean sales rose seven percent above the prior week to 1.08 million metric tons but was still eight percent lower than the four-week average. China was the top buyer at 692,400 metric tons. Soybean exports reached 2.24 million tons; 12 percent higher than the previous week. Wheat sales through November 2 totaled 354,300 tons, 29 percent above the prior week but still 26 percent below the four-week average. Wheat exports rose 34 percent to 134,300 tons.


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.