Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Agricultural News Monthly for December 1, 2015


The New EPA Renewable Fuels Standard - DesMoines Register, 11/30/15
"The required level for 2016, announced Monday, is above what the industry is on target to produce this year and higher than a proposed level the Environmental Protection Agency had recommended in May."

Ethanol production hits record as distillers are flush with corn Journal Sentinel, 11/25/15
"Flush with grain from the third-largest U.S. corn harvest, ethanol distilleries are cranking out unprecedented amounts of the biofuel. Ethanol production last week reached a record 1 million barrels a day, for an annualized rate of 15.5 billion gallons."

New biofuels eliminate need for blending with petroleum fuels EIA.gov, 11/9/15
"A new type of renewable diesel fuel is meeting the growing demand for renewable biofuels, which is driven by biofuel mandates and customer demands for higher quality. Unlike other biofuels, hydroprocessed esters and fatty acids (HEFA) fuels are nearly indistinguishable from their petroleum counterparts. Worldwide, more than a billion gallons of HEFA fuels were produced in 2014."

Controversial trade deal draws heavy lobbying from U.S. agribusiness - Harvest Public Media, 11/18/15
"A new trade deal aimed at cutting thousands of taxes and opening markets with 11 Pacific Rim nations has drawn heavy lobbying from some of America’s largest agribusinesses."

El Nino worst in over 15 years, severe impact likely - Phys.org, 11/16/15
"The phenomenon usually leaves countries like India, Indonesia and Australia drier, increasing chances of wildfires and lower crop production. In recent months, bone-dry conditions caused by the El Nino have sparked some of the worst forest fires in Indonesia's history. The phenomenon also often leads to heavier rainfall in the eastern Pacific and South American nations, raising the spectre of floods and landslides."

Study is first to map Earth's hidden groundwater - Phys.org, 11/16/15
"For the first time since a back-of-the-envelope calculation of the global volume of groundwater was attempted in the 1970s, an international group of hydrologists has produced the first data-driven estimate of the Earth's total supply of groundwater."

USDA allocated $5.6 billion toward helping new farmers and ranchers - Emporia Gazette, 11/14/15
"Congress has targeted money toward underserved groups and beginning farmers ... The program that we spend the bulk of our time financing is beginning farmers getting started in an agriculture production-oriented business. If somebody's interested in purchasing a farm, these are the kind of interest rates that are available to them: They put five percent down of the purchase price of the ground, FSA finances 45 percent of the purchase price at a 1.5 percent fixed interest rate for 20 years, and then another lender finances the remaining fifty percent and the interest rate is negotiable between that customer and that lender, but they have to do it for thirty years."

These cheap, clean stoves were supposed to save millions of lives. What happened? - Wash-Post, 10/29/15
These stoves, like fires, release toxic pollutants and many performed poorly on site due to cracking and other malfunctions, plus they've been a tough sell culturally.

US farmland prices stabilise - but 'further declines ahead' - Agrimoney, 11/13/15
"In the Chicago Fed district, prices rose 4% quarter on quarter in Illinois, and 2% in Wisconsin, but these gains were offset by losses elsewhere, including in Iowa."

Wheat Supply - Agriculture.com, 11/13/15
"World production estimates continue to be record large for the third year in a row. End stocks are also a record, for the second year in a row. The US carryover stocks stand at 25 MMT, about 11% of all world supplies. However, China’s end stocks are projected to be 87 MMT, 38% of world supplies."

Agriculture Startups Raise Record Amount in Third Quarter - WSJ, 11/6/15
"Agriculture startups raised $113.6 million in the third quarter, which is the highest amount raised in a quarter since industry tracker Dow Jones VentureSource began collecting data in 1992."

Despite Profit Potential, Organic Field Crop Acreage Remains Low - USDA, 11/2/15
"Despite the strong interest in organic food in the United States, overall adoption of organic corn, soybeans, and wheat remains low, standing at less than 1 percent of the total acreage of each crop."

The value of U.S. fruit and tree nut production continues to grow - USDA, 11/18/15
"The increase in value of fruit and tree nut production in the United States has accelerated since 2009 to reach an average of $26.6 billion in 2010-2014, up from an average of $7.1 billion in the 1980s and $10.7 billion in the 1990s."

On-Farm Storage Eases Elevator Business - Agriculture.com, 11/9/15
"Every year you see more people building on-farm storage. The expansion of on-farm storage doesn’t always get recognized."

US agri co-ops set records for income and revenue - thenews.coop, 11/3/15
"US agri co-ops are celebrating record performances for the fourth year in a row with net income up 16.5% for 2014 and revenue rising 0.4% from 2013. Last month – National Cooperative Month – agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack announced a report showing that co-ops earned $6.5 billion in net income and generated $246.7bn in total revenue last year."

La Paz County fights foreign farms over water for alfalfa - AZ Central, 11/6/15
"Companies from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have bought thousands of acres of land in the Arizona desert for large-scale farm operations."

In the fields, a search for monarch butterflies - Harvest Public Media, 11/12/15
"An Iowa State University report estimated an 81 percent decline in the monarch population in the Midwest between 1999 and 2010, with a 58 percent decline in milkweed presence during the same time."

Italy's slippery 'extra virgin' olive oil scandal - CNBC, 11/13/15
"Italy's anti-fraud police squad in Turin is examining whether seven well-known olive oil brands – Carapelli, Bertolli, Santa Sabina, Coricelli, Sasso, Primadonna and Antica Badia – have been selling lesser-quality virgin olive oil as "extra virgin" olive oil."

‘Marijuana is stealthily being redefined as a consumer business — one that could be worth $25bn, if you believe the estimates’ - FT, 11/13/15
More states (like Missouri) are considering legalization of marijuana, while it remains illegal in most of Europe.

Antibiotic resistance: World on cusp of 'post-antibiotic era' - BBC, 11/19/15
 "All the key players are now in place to make the post-antibiotic world a reality. "If MCR-1 becomes global, which is a case of when not if, and the gene aligns itself with other antibiotic resistance genes, which is inevitable, then we will have very likely reached the start of the post-antibiotic era.

No taxpayer savings in first year of Farm Bill commodity payouts - Harvest Public Media, 11/19/15
"The government’s idea was to save money by replacing fixed costs with variable expenses that would, at least in some years, be lower than the old amounts. It didn’t work out that way for the 2014 crop year, the season for which payments are now being distributed. (For corn and soybeans, the crop year runs September 1 through August 31.) “It’s going to be over $6 billion,” said University of Illinois economist Gary Schnitkey. That’s more than a billion over the annual direct payment amount."

Climate Change, Water Scarcity, and Adaptation in the U.S. Fieldcrop Sector - USDA, November 2015
Included in this report is an interesting chart showing projected changes in the production of major Ag commodities in the U.S. (Wheat trends upwards while all the rest go down.)

Putting the Chicken Before the Egg - NYT, 11/23/15
This story features pastured chicken egg production.

Farmland Partners continues November buying spree - Bizjournals, 11/30/15
After farmland in Louisiana and Illinois was added this month, Farmland now owns or has under contact 253 farms with more than 104,000 acres.

Boom leaves farmers stuck with high property taxes - Harvest Public Media, 11/23/15
"In Madison County, Nebraska, where Tegeler farms, nearly $20 million in property taxes were collected from agricultural land in 2014, three times the property taxes paid on farmland in 2004."

Weyerhaeuser and Plum Creek Merger to Create World’s Largest Timber Company - The Land Report, 11/29/15
"The massive timber giant will own 13 million acres. The proposed $8.3 billion transaction, which both boards of directors approved unanimously, would constitute the largest private ownership of land in the U.S."

How Long Can Florida's Citrus Industry Survive? - NPR the Salt, 11/27/15
"It's been nine years now since the disease was confirmed in Florida. It infects every part of the state and has led to a steady decline in orange, tangerine and grapefruit production. The USDA stunned Florida growers when it announced it was lowering its estimate of this year's orange crop to 74 million boxes. That would be Florida's smallest orange harvest in more than 50 years."

U.S. hemp sales will reach $500M in 2015 - Daily Camera, 11/19/15
Sales of hemp products will reach $500 million this year, up 25 percent from 2014.

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