Industry Ag News 2/9

Carrie Muehling

  • At noon EST on Feb. 13, USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will release the much-anticipated 2022 Census of Agriculture data at and in their online searchable database, Quick Stats. The release event that will start at 12:30 p.m. EST will be livestreamed on USDA’s YouTube channel and website.
  • U.S. consumers are paying more for chocolate products as confection manufacturers raise prices in response to the soaring cost of cocoa. Cocoa prices are nearly 65 percent higher than they were one year ago, and New York futures prices are at a 46-year high. While consumer demand has remained relatively strong, higher retail prices are poised to take a bigger toll on volume sales and stifle category growth through much of 2024. According to a new research brief from CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange, cocoa prices are likely to remain elevated until a new African crop comes to market in late 2024. Consequently, additional price hikes for chocolate confections throughout the year are likely and any rebound in consumer engagement with the category is unlikely.
  • Registered voters support farmers and the protection provided by the crop insurance program, according to recently released data from National Crop Insurance Services (NCIS). American voters are asking Congress to support family farmers by passing a Farm Bill that protects, preserves, and improves crop insurance. A national poll of more than 1,100 registered voters conducted in September 2023 found that more than nine in 10 Americans agree that a strong and thriving American farming industry is critical to American national security.
  • Farmers can expect the largest recorded year-to-year dollar drop in net farm income in 2024. Income is estimated to be nearly $40 billion lower this year compared to 2023, down more than 25 percent. American Farm Bureau Federation economists analyzed the latest USDA data in a Market Intel. Net farm income is the profit farmers see after paying for operating expenses. Two major factors are impacting income forecasts – lower prices paid to farmers for crops and livestock, and increased costs for supplies. While these are early estimates and they could change throughout the year, USDA anticipates a decrease in net farm income, moving from $156 billion in 2023 to $116 billion in 2024.
  • Organic Seed Alliance (OSA) announced the appointment of Dr. Laura R. Lewis as its new executive director, effective January 29th. Dr. Lewis brings over 30 years of invaluable experience in agricultural systems from around the world to her new role at OSA.
  • Agri-Pulse welcomed CHS as the platinum sponsor for the 2024 Ag & Food Policy Summit focused on “Revitalizing Rural Revenues.”
  • Harold Wolle, president of National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), released a statement expressing condolences after the passing of Bill Northey, who served many important roles in agriculture, including president of the NCGA board from 1995 to 1996.
  • National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) board member and Iowa corn grower Bob Hemesath was recently elected to serve as president of the international agricultural advocacy group Farmers for Free Trade.
  • The American Soybean Association—the national advocacy organization for the industry—and 26 soy state affiliates have sent a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency asking the administration for help following a dicamba ruling in a federal district court in Arizona. The court ruled EPA made a procedural error in issuing 2020 dicamba registrations for over-the-top (OTT) use on dicamba-tolerant soybeans and cotton. Because EPA did not offer a public notice and comment period before issuing the registrations, the court ruled the agency was in violation of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act and vacated 2020 registrations for XtendiMax, Enginia, and Tavium.
  • The National Cotton Council released a statement expressing its disappointment with the new dicamba ruling.
  • Syngenta Group, one of the world’s leading global agriculture technology companies, announced that its manufacturing facility in St. Gabriel, Louisiana, US, has been recognized as a top user of green power by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Syngenta is the only company within the agricultural sector to be included in the latest EPA’s National Top 100 List of top users of green power from the Green Power Partnership.
  • Meyocks, a leading branding and marketing agency, announces the promotion of Kendra Kelly to operations leader. Kelly, who has been with the agency since 2016, is now overseeing human resources, information technology, risk management and facilities, as well as continuing her agency branding and marketing responsibilities.
  • Illinois fans tuning into this weekend’s big game may see some familiar faces in a new commercial featuring five Illinois farm families. The commercial, titled “Career Path,” will air during Super Bowl LVIII, Feb. 11, and close out Illinois Farm Families’ (IFF) “We are the 96%” campaign, highlighting the state’s family-owned farms.
  • Peanut growers from Alabama and Florida were able to fine-tune their farming operations with information gained at the Alabama-Florida Peanut Trade Show February 1, 2024 at the National Peanut Festival fairgrounds in Dothan, Alabama. The trade show was hosted by Alabama Peanut Producers Association (APPA) and Florida Peanut Producers Association (FPPA), and sponsored by National Peanut Board. The National Peanut Festival was the venue sponsor.
  • California produces the vast majority of kiwis that are sold in our local grocery stores, but due to recent research advancements from U.S. Department of Agriculture scientists, this may no longer be the case. In a recently published study, researchers noted that two cultivars that originated in Italy grew vigorously, and received little pruning before bearing fruit. There was also no need for supplemental irrigation, fertilizer, pesticides, or a warm climate for growth.
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