National Ag News for November 16, 2023

Cost of Thanksgiving Dinner Drops Slightly

This year’s Thanksgiving Day dinner won’t be as hard on the checkbook as it was in 2022. However, the meal will still reflect historically high costs. The American Farm Bureau Federation’s 38th annual survey provides a snapshot of the average costs of this year’s holiday feast for 10, which is $61.17 or less than $6.20 per person. This is a 4.5 percent decrease from last year’s record-high of $64.05, but a Thanksgiving meal is still 25 percent higher than in 2019. The centerpiece of a traditional meal is turkey, which helped bring down the overall cost. A 16-pound turkey averages $27.35 or $1.71 per pound, down 5.6 percent from 2022. Cranberries took the sharpest drop as a 12-ounce bag averages $2.10, down 18 percent from last year. The cost for a classic meal was cheapest in the Midwest at $58.66. The Northeast was the most expensive at a cost of $88.43.

Groups Applaud House Passing Farm Bill Extension

Competitive Markets Action and the Organization for Competitive Markets applauded the House of Representatives for passing H.R. 6363, which included a one-year extension of the current farm bill. “We applaud Speaker Mike Johnson and House leadership for swiftly passing the bill by an overwhelming margin in the chamber closest to the American people,” says Marty Irby, president of Competitive Markets Action. “We are grateful to Ag Committee Chair Glenn ‘G.T.’ Thompson for securing an extension of the farm bill through the Fall of 2024.” They also say the maneuver offers ample time and opportunity to get the job done right. “We also hope House and Senate leaders will produce a new farm bill that brings clarity to the marketplace by preventing the nullification of countless state and local agriculture laws that some legislators are seeking to wipe out,” Irby adds. “We’re hoping to bring significant reform to USDA’s commodity checkoff programs.”

USDA Investing in Support for Beginning Farmers and Ranchers

USDA’s Deputy Secretary Xochitl (zo-CHEEL) Torres Small announced the agency is investing $27.9 million across 45 organizations that teach and train beginning farmers and ranchers, including veterans. “The next generation of farmers and ranchers hold the promise for the future of American agriculture and rural prosperity,” says Torres Small. “We’re providing our newest producers with the support they need to succeed and the educational resources to guide their operations on the path toward long-term sustainability and profitability.” The investment is part of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program which supports a wide range of professional development activities and topics, such as managing capital, acquiring and managing land, and learning effective business and farming practices. As the average age of U.S. producers continues increasing, Torres Small says the agency is accelerating efforts to provide meaningful support to a large number of upcoming farmers and ranchers.

CoBank: Grain Storage Outlook Improves

The profit outlook for U.S. grain elevators storing corn and soybeans has improved significantly for the 2023-2024 marketing year with buy basis falling and carries returning to the futures markets. The world market is currently awash in grains, and CoBank says global supplies of corn and soybeans are abundant. The current challenge for grain elevators is simply getting ownership of bushels. Farmers have been reluctant to sell as corn and soybean prices are down sharply from their peaks early in the year. A new report from CoBank says the challenge of getting bushels should begin slowing in early 2024. The rising cost environment will likely compel farmers to begin selling in January, February, and March 2024 to generate cash ahead of next spring’s planting and operating expenses. “Higher land rents and borrowing costs combined with rising input prices will likely compel farmers to sell in 2024,” says Tanner Ehmke of CoBank.  

Dairy’s Long-Term Outlook is Bright

The future of America’s dairy farming is bright as global growth and American production capacity and innovation combine to create a “powerhouse.” Gregg Doud is the incoming president and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation. “In terms of the protein world, dairy is a huge part of the future,” Doud says. “As a former Chief Agricultural Negotiator for the U.S. Trade Representative, I can tell you the opportunities are there for U.S. dairy’s taking with robust outreach and appeals to the world’s consumers.” Doud made his remarks during the NMPF’s annual meeting in Florida. During the past year, America’s dairy producers faced operating margins at their lowest since the federal dairy safety net was adopted in its current structure in 2014 as prices plummeted from record highs. Forecasts during a panel discussion showed an improving price outlook for next year, even as inflation continues to be a challenge for consumers.  

Dolcini Joins American Farmland Trust Board of Directors

Val Dolcini (Dole-CHEE-nee) was unanimously elected to the American Farmland Trust Board of Directors by the AFT members. Dolcini is the U.S. Head of Sustainability and Government Affairs for Syngenta and will support the members’ efforts to promote sound farming practices while protecting and keeping farmers on the land. “We are thrilled to have Val join AFT to help us grow to new heights in the future,” says AFT President and CEO John Piotti (Pee-AHT-tee). “Val’s diverse and extensive experience in agriculture and passion for our work will be an invaluable asset for AFT in the years to come.” Dolcini’s work spans over 25 years of agricultural policy and management experience in the state, federal, and nonprofit sectors. “Farming and agriculture have been my focus and passion throughout my entire career,” says Dolcini. “I specifically want to focus my time on the board to expand opportunities for new and beginning farmers.”


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.