The Food and Drug Administration has published a petition from the International Dairy Foods Association and the National Milk Producers Federation to allow the use of artificial or ‘non-nutritive’ sweeteners in milk and dairy products. What would this mean for chocolate milk in school cafeterias?
Thirty-four thousand U.S. producers are being asked to take part in the USDA’s 2012 Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS) which will, for the first time, give a comprehensive look at the economic effects of last year’s drought on farms and ranches. Mitch Morehart is the ag economist who manages the survey and he tells Brownfield Ag News, “There’s been a lot of anecdotal evidence about some of the impacts and adjustments producers made but there’s been no actual measurement and that’s really the significance of this survey effort.”
Morehart says soybean growers will be asked for additional information about their crop practices in this survey, “The last time we collected detailed information about soybean production was in 2006.” The ARMS survey coincides with the Census of Agriculture and Morehart says they do not have to fill out both, “When we’ve contacted them to do the ARMS survey we inform them that that fulfills their obligation to do the census so they don’t have to be bothered again.”
Morehart says they typically get 70% participation in the surveys, which is a good sample, “We really appreciate and don’t take for granted the importance of the actual producers giving us information.”
Trained interviewers are visiting farms to gather the information on operating costs and farm-related income. He says the survey results will come out in mid-April. The ARMS survey results are used for agriculture policy-making and other ag-related decisions.
Soybeans were higher on commercial and fund buying. Weekly export numbers were strong and China bought another 123,000 tons of new crop U.S. beans. The trade’s watching weather and harvest activity around South America, with some concerns about quality due to wet conditions in parts of Brazil. The Buenos Aires Grain Exchanged lowered its outlook for 2012/13 Argentine soybean production to 48.5 million tons due to later than expected rainfall during key development periods. Soybean meal was up and bean oil was down on product spread adjustments.
Corn was higher on commercial and fund buying. Weekly export sales were down on the week but up sharply from the four week average, topping pre-report estimates. Corn’s keeping an eye on shipping delays out of Brazil and first notice day deliveries on the March contract have been light. Ethanol futures were higher. The Buenos Aires Grain Exchange sees Argentina’s 2012/13 corn crop at 25 million tons.
The wheat complex was higher on short covering and commercial buying. Chicago’s trying to keep up with corn and Kansas City is concerned recent snowfall in the Plains won’t break the drought conditions. Still, wheat export demand remains slower than expected, with weekly sales below pre-report estimates. European wheat was higher on the lower euro and talk of new export demand. Bangladesh bought 50,000 tons of optional origin wheat, South Korean feedmills picked up 21,800 tons of wheat from Canada, and USDA’s Commodity Credit Corporation purchased 28,500 tons of hard red winter for Ethiopia. Saudi Arabia is tendering for 440,000 tons of hard wheat and 110,000 tons of soft wheat.
Legislation that would restructure Nebraska’s corn checkoff board is being considered in the Nebraska Unicameral.
Corn Board executive director Don Hutchens says LB354 would allow Nebraska’s checkoff board to operate similar to those in other states.
“One, it would allow our board members to be elected within certain districts, versus appointed by the governor,” Hutchens says. “Two, it provides for a refund provision that if producers feel like the checkoff board isn’t doing what its intentions were, they can request and receive a full refund.”
Hutchens says one provision in the bill that is yet to be resolved is how much of the Corn Board’s budget should be allowed to be used for lobbying on federal legislation.
“We’ve had the ability to influence federal legislation over the last 35 years, since the Corn Board was formed,” Hutchens says. “Typically, the board spends probably less than three to five percent of our checkoff resources to influence federal legislation—i.e., the farm bill, i.e., trade issues.”
Hutchens says the Corn Board would still be restricted from lobbying at the state level.
Currently, the Nebraska Corn Board is classified as a state agency. Hutchens says the legislation would make it a quasi-state agency. That would allow the Corn Board to move out of the state office building and share office space with other commodity groups.
“There are some great opportunities for us to share resources–to be more efficient and more effective with what we do–and, frankly, (to be) more accountable to the producers who pay the checkoff,” Hutchens says.
Cattle buying interest in the North appeared to be improving Thursday afternoon with most majors willing to bid up to 202.00 in parts of Iowa and Nebraska. Light to moderate business was expected to develop over the remainder of the afternoon. Asking prices appear to be around 203.00 to 205.00. On the other hand, business in the South remains at a standstill. Asking prices in Kansas and Texas are around 126.00 to 128.00, with bids of 125.00 reported by private sources. The kill totaled 113,000 head, 20,000 more than last week, but 11,000 smaller than a year ago.
Boxed beef cutout values closed firm to higher on light demand and offerings. Choice boxed beef was up .59 at 186.16, and select was .89 higher at 185.76.
Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle contracts settled 50 points higher to 55 lower. The market was supported by stronger outside markets, higher boxed beef values and prospects of higher cash prices in the feedlot trade. The February contract expired at noon at 128.00 .55 lower, and the April was down .02 at 129.85.
Feeder cattle contracts settled 20 to 55 points higher on support from the live pit and prospects of a steady to higher cash cattle market. March was up .55 at 142.00, and the April also gained .55 to settle at 144.92.
Mar. corn closed at $7.19 and 1/2, up 10 cents
Mar. soybeans closed at $14.74 and 1/4, up 16 and 3/4 cents
Mar. soybean meal closed at $434.80, up $5.50
Mar. soybean oil closed at 48.82, down 45 points
Mar. wheat closed at $7.07 and 3/4, up 3 and 1/2 cents
Feb. live cattle closed at $128.00, down 55 cents
Apr. lean hogs closed at $81.00, unchanged
Apr. crude oil closed at $92.05, down 71 cents
May cotton closed at 85.29, up 91 points
Mar. Class III milk closed at $16.98, down 7 cents
Mar. gold closed at $1,577.70, down $17.50
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 14,054.49, down 20.88 points
A recent report from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) documents that only 20-thousand gallons of cellulosic biofuels were produced in 2012.
That’s far short of the cellulosic volume goals set forth in the 2007 Energy Security Act, which called for 500 million gallons by 2012, one billion gallons for 2013 and 16 billion gallons by 2022.
EIA says a realistic timeline for production capacity of 250 million gallons of cellulosic biofuels may be around 2015.
But while there is still plenty of skepticism about cellulosic, DuPont Pioneer agronomy research manager Andy Heggenstaller—who is part of the DuPont cellulosic ethanol project at Nevada, Iowa—remains optimistic.
“I think what we’re going to see is that DuPont and some other companies are going to make this happen in that 2015 timeframe,” Heggenstaller says, “and then I think we’ll see a game change in the rate of expansion in the industry.”
Heggenstaller has been working with Nevada area farmers on the corn stover removal process.
DuPont broke ground on the Nevada plant last fall. Officials say the 30-million gallon plant will begin operation in mid-2014 with full scale production expected by the spring of 2015.
The Washington State Agriculture Department is warning consumers about E. coli found in a sample of raw cream from a dairy in Sequim, Washington. The Dungeness Valley Creamery is recalling its products because of the possibility they may be contaminated with E. coli. All retailers were notified on the state of discovery, February 22nd. No illnesses have been reported. Raw milk sales in Washington are legal in Washington State if from an state ag department licensed operation.
There are no easy answers to the sow housing issue facing the pork industry. At the recent Pork Industry Day in West Point, Nebraska, Brownfield visited with the CEO of the National Pork Board, Chris Novak, about this thorny issue.
U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack continues to insist that his agency does not have “the capacity or flexibility” to avoid cuts to meat inspectors if sequestration takes place March first. Vilsack has said meat inspections would not be affected immediately under the cuts but he told CNN last night that “every line item of the budget, with the exception of some of the nutrition programs, is subject to the same amount of cut, the same percentage cut.”
Vilsack says the $2 Billion in automatic budget cuts would cause the ag department to furlough food inspectors for up to 15 days – at some point – at more than 6,000 meat and poultry plants.
Vilsack told CNN there’s “no wiggle room” because food safety is mostly people and if the people who inspect meat, poultry and eggs are furloughed, processing facilities will have no choice but to shut down.