Are we on the brink of another farm crisis? To help us explore that question this hour, guest host Chris Farrell spoke with an academic who shared what happened in the 1980s, when American farmers faced a real economic crisis.And then an economist and a Minnesota farmer explored what's happening now.
Shot on location across the country, The American Farm is an authentic portrait of the fight to go from seed to stalk, and from farm to fork. The History Channel series presents an up-close look at one full year of family farming, told through an unprecedented year on the ground, capturing breathtaking visuals, private moments and personal interviews.
Weather-induced disasters in multiple points across the nation in recent weeks seem to be occurring at a rate that has run unabated in recent years. Massive flooding in the Missouri River basin has taken lives and caused billions of dollars in agricultural losses in the Midwest. Flooding is continuing throughout this week in Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri where a late winter storm – a so-called "bomb cyclone" – has sent river waters soaring above their banks, breaching more than a dozen levees and causing fatalities. Property losses are huge and still mounting as they continue to be estimated. Solutions from the Land (SfL) extends its sympathy for the losses that are being suffered by the people of the region and hope residents there can find the strength needed to bring about a full recovery. By building coalitions of land managers, scientists, government and value chain partners and others around agro-forest ecosystems or landscapes, better efforts can be made to ensure continued production of essential food, feed, fiber, energy and similar products in a time of changing climates, all while improving the delivery of environmental and economic values from the land
A new report sees few reasons for optimism in the U.S. agricultural sector, pointing to the global slowdown impacting demand, the continued trade war with China and flooding in the nation’s farm belt. “U.S. agriculture will face challenges in 2019 as slowing domestic and global economic growth rates, trade talks continue and weather casts uncertainty in the short- and long-term markets, ” the latest quarterly rural economic review from CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange division said.According to CoBank, U.S. commodity markets remain focused on negotiations between U.S. and China to resolve the trade war that has caused retaliatory tariffs on a wide range of U.S. farm products, including soybeans and pork. And the ratification in Congress of the trilateral U.S. Mexico Canada Agreement, a replacement for NAFTA, also faces hurdles.The U.S. Department of Agriculture said in a report Monday it expects China’s demand for oilseeds and related products to grow in the current marketing year but at a slower pace due to African swine fever. The disease has devastated domestic hog production in Asia’s largest economy, reducing the need for feed.For calendar 2018, the U.S. shipped $3.14 billion worth of soybeans to China, down 74 percent from 2017, when it was $12.25 billion
China’s decision to block imports of Canadian canola products signals a significant threat to Canada’s canola farming industry — and has the government rushing to resolve the dispute. The canola farming and export business in Canada is a major economic driver and represents one of the country’s most valuable commodities. The crop contributes approximately $26.7 billion to the economy every year and employs more than 250,000 people, according to Brian Innes, vice-president of public affairs with the Canola Council of Canada.
According to Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, stored grain damaged by floodwaters cannot be sold or fed, meaning a direct loss for most farmers. Some individual insurance policies may cover part of the loss. Good grain sitting more than 1 foot above the flood line can be fed and sold with specific case-by-case FDA approval. Farmers are to contact their local Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for the best way to dispose of damaged grain in their area.Flood damage across the Midwest is expected to top $3 billion, with ag losses in Iowa alone estimated at $214 million. That amounts to a lot of visits to the FSA office, inspections by the DNR and EPA, and visits to the bank. Farm bankruptcies were already on the rise throughout the Midwest after years of low commodity prices and fallout from the trade war. Some farmers won’t survive to farm another year.
The PLC (Price Loss Coverage) program option makes payments only if MYA (marketing year average) price is below ERP. Thus, a key program decision factor is the relationship between a covered commodity’s expected MYA price and ERP. Assuming a simple forecast that 2019 MYA price is the currently projected 2018 MYA price, expected 2019 MYA price ranges from 23% under ERP for long-grain rice to 51% above ERP for sesame seed (see Figure 1, Appendix Table 1, and Data Note 1). Corn, soybean, and wheat MYA price is 4% under, 2% over, and 6% under ERP, respectively, as of March 2018. Only 1 other covered commodity (dry peas) is within their range of values. Ten covered commodities have a MYA price that is 13% or more under ERP. The lower is MYA price compared to ERP, the more likely will a PLC payment be triggered. As of March 2018, this simple forecast analysis suggests corn, soybeans, and wheat will have a closer program decision than most other covered commodities and that it will be critically impacted by how demand and supply evolve over the 2019 production period. Small decreases in supply or small increases in demand could eliminate 2019 PLC payments for corn, soybeans, and wheat. Alternatively, the likelihood of PLC payments will increase if supply and demand changes for these crops lead to lower prices. Other key program decision factors include that: (1) ARC (Agriculture Risk Coverage) program option, but not PLC, pays on yield variation, (2) PLC pays over a wider, often much wider, range of MYA prices as ARC payments are limited to 10% of its benchmark revenue while PLC payments are bounded by the lower US loan rate, and (3) PLC payments start at 100% of ERP while ARC payments start at 86% of benchmark revenue.
As the left hardens its commitment to fighting climate change, social injustice, and rampant capitalism, the question of what to do about animals will become inescapable.
A young dog imported from South Korea into western Canada last October brought along a dangerous hitchhiker: the Asia-1 strain of canine distemper virus (CDV), which until then had not been reported in North America. Scientists at Cornell’s Animal Health Diagnostic Center (AHDC) identified the virus in samples from the dog, which they suspect was part of a shipment of animals rescued from a Korean meat market by an animal welfare organization. Dogs that are already immunized against CDV likely are not at risk from the Asian strain, but if the virus comes into contact with wildlife, it may take a serious toll on wild carnivore populations.
A federal judge has ruled that grazing should be allowed to continue on four allotments in the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area. Magistrate Judge Patricia Sullivan on March 22 released her findings on a lawsuit brought by the Greater Hells Canyon Council of La Grande claiming cattle grazing on the Hells Canyon allotments were imperiling the Spalding’s catchfly, a rare wildflower found only in the inland Northwest.Sullivan granted a motion for summary judgment to the Forest Service and the interveners in the case, the McClaran family, which holds permits to the allotments, and Wallowa County.