- Cheesemakers push for rapid fix to 199A tax law issue
- MDA seeks $20 million for Rural Finance Authority
- Direct cattle trade at sharply higher prices
- CME dairy markets mixed entering holiday weekend
- Grain Bin Safety Week February 18th – 24th
- NPPC urges Senate leaders to schedule key ag confirmation votes
- ’18 Farm Bill an evolution of revolutionary 2014 legislation
- NPPC concerned about potential taxes on steel/aluminum imports
Friday, February 16th 2018
--The number of farms in the United States for 2017 is estimated at 2.05 million, down 12 thousand farms from 2016. Total land in farms, at 910 million acres, decreased 1 million acres from 2016. The average farm size for 2017 is 444 acres, up 2 acres from the previous year. Farm numbers and land in farms are differentiated by six economic sales classes. Farms and ranches are classified into these six sales classes by summing the sales of agricultural products and government program payments. Sales class breaks occur at $10,000, $100,000, $250,000, $500,000, and $1,000,000. Producers were asked during the 2017 mid-year surveys to report the value of sales based on production during the 2016 calendar year. Land in farms, at 910 million acres, was down 1 million acres from 2016. The biggest change for 2017 is that producers in Sales Class $1,000,000 or more operated 1.3 million more acres than in 2016. Similar to the previous year, in 2017 over 30 percent of all farmland was operated by farms with less than $100,000 in sales. Forty-one percent of all farmland was operated by farms with sales of $500,000 or more. The average farm size continued to increase in 2017 as the number of farms declined more than land in farms. The overall average size increased by 2 acres to 444 acres per farm. Average farm sizes increased in the $250,000 - $499,999, $500,000 - $999,999, and $1,000,000 or more sales classes and decreased or remained unchanged in the others. The total number of farms in Minnesota in 2017 was 73,200, down 100 farms compared with a year ago, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Farms and Land in Farms 2017 Summary report. The number of farms in both the $10,000-$99,999 and the $100,000-$249,999 sales classes decreased by 200 farms. Total land in farms in Minnesota in 2017 was 25.9 million acres, unchanged since 2013. Farms in both the $250,000- $499,999 and the $1,000,000 and over sales classes showed an increase of 100,000 acres from 2016. The average farm size in Minnesota in 2017 was 354 acres, up one acre from 2016. The average farm size in the $500,000-$999,999 sales class increased 19 acres from 961 acres on average in 2016 to 980 in 2017.
--The Dayton administration is asking the Minnesota Legislature to approve 20 million dollars in state bonding for low-interest loans to farmers. Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson says it's a non-partisan issue that's critical to all members of the legislature, "They want to be able to go home and say we are supporting young and beginning farmers, we're supporting this transition,... the land moving from one generation to the other." Frederickson says over half the dollar amount of the loans goes to beginning farmers. The programs also help farmers who are struggling financially because of low commodity prices.
--While dairy products including flavored milks are working their way back into school menus, a popular fast food chain has decided not to feature a couple of popular dairy products. McDonald’s announced they will stop promoting Happy Meals with cheeseburgers and chocolate milk by June. The restaurant chain says the items will be available, but consumers will have to request them since they won’t be listed on the menu boards any longer. The change is being applauded by the Center for Science in the Public Interest. A similar move was made four years ago to take soft drinks off the Happy Meal menu, which resulted in a 14% reduction in soft drinks going served to children.
--The USDA and the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy have agreed to continue working together to enhance environmental sustainability in the dairy industry. Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue signed a Memorandum of Understanding Wednesday at a California dairy farm along with Dairy Management Inc. Chairman and Innovation Center board member Paul Rovey. Perdue says the USDA has resources that can help the dairy industry be successful, but they are spread out through various agencies. Perdue says the new memorandum can help the DMI-based online innovation center more easily interact with USDA and centralize research and conservation efforts. The original 2009 Memorandum of Understanding was credited with advancements in farm waste to energy programs. The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy was established in 2008 to address consumer needs and expectations and help dairy farmers share best practices. It is funded through the dairy checkoff.
--Syngenta says its overall sales were down one-percent last year but seed sales were six-percent higher than 2016. Syngenta CEO Erik Fyrwald calls 2017 “an historic year for Syngenta with the closing of the ChemChina transaction.” He says the company achieved “record free cash flow” in 2017 despite another challenging year in agriculture with pressure on farm incomes. But, Syngenta’s crop protection sales were down three-percent last year. Meanwhile, the Swiss-based company announced this week its acquisition of satellite-image company FarmShots Incorporated, of North Carolina. Syngenta says Farm-Shots aims to offer growers secure data about their crops on “multiple devices” that can be exported into most ag software.
--The U.S. Senate Ag Committee discussed the state of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission during a hearing Thursday. Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow of Michigan told Brownfield ahead of the hearing, markets need to be fair and transparent, and free of fraud and abusive practices. “I have a lot of questions just in general on what’s being done so that our farmers and businesses can continue to have confidence in using these tools for risk management.” CFTC chairman Christopher Giancarlo testified American agriculture and American commodity futures markets are vital national interests. “Even with extreme volatility as we saw recently, CFTC regulated markets were able to successfully take on and manage risk, enabling valuable risk transfer to support and stabilize the broader financial market.” The hearing reviewed many commodity trading issues including education, oversight and enforcement.
Wednesday, February 14th 2018