AG Rural News

The USDA Rural Development has announced new leadership for several key roles within the Rural Development mission area. Gina Sheets, former Director of Agriculture in Indiana, has been named the Chief Innovation Officer for Rural Development. Sheets will lead the Rural Development Innovation Center to strengthen rural communities through strategic partnerships, regulatory reform and more. Marie Wheat was named Director of External Affairs. She will work with regulators and stakeholders to grow the market for chemicals and consumer products made from ag commodities. Continue reading New leadership at USDA Rural Development at Brownfield Ag News.
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The U.S. farmers’ share of the cost of a basic Thanksgiving dinner and it is 11.4 cents, according to National Farmers Union. NFU’s policy director Rob Larew says consumer holiday food costs have declined slightly but incomes for farmers and ranchers have dropped, “We’re in the midst of the worst farm economic downturn in 30 to 40 years and we’re hopeful these numbers can help illustrate that fact to the general public.” The NFU Farmers’ Share is based on USDA’s monthly Agriculture Prices report and compared to price points of common grocery foods at Safeway supermarket. Continue reading Farmers get a bit more...
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  An associate professor with Ohio State University says farm income is expected to increase this year for the first time in four years. Ani Katchova says there are many reasons for the forecasted increase. “Commodity prices have stabilized and, especially from last year, we’re expecting to see some sale of inventory,” she says. “This is mixed news for some of the commodities- crops are stable to slightly increasing, whereas we see a large improvement to livestock.” She tells Brownfield farm assets and equity is also expected to improve. Continue reading Farm income expected to rise at Brownfield Ag News.
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Nearly 200 farm groups and agribusinesses are urging congress to preserve Section 199 in the House’s proposed tax reform legislation. Ag groups sent a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi stating that Section 199, the Domestic Production Activities Deduction, is critical to rural communities. The letter emphasizes that now is not the time to raise the tax burden on farmers and ranchers, especially as most of agriculture is facing a fourth consecutive year of tighter margins. Continue reading Farm groups want to preserve Section 199 for ag at Brownfield Ag News.
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Ag News

The fifth round of NAFTA negotiations in Mexico City is over, with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer issuing a written statement which almost exactly matches what he said after the fourth round back in October. “We have seen no indication that our partners are willing to make any changes that will result in a rebalancing and a reduction in these huge trade deficits,” Lighthizer said at that time. In his written statement, Lighthizer said he was concerned about the lack of progress and said he hoped there would be more before the end of the year. Continue reading USTR ‘concerned’ about lack of...
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  The USDA reports red meat supplies in cold storage at the end of October were down on the year. Pork was lower than what some analysts were expecting, at 597.295 million pounds, slightly below a year ago, even with record monthly highs for loins and boneless hams, while beef was actually above some estimates at 506.931 million pounds, but still posting a 5% year to year decrease. Monthly out-movement, from September 30th to October 31st, for both was slower than normal because of record pork production and higher than a year ago beef production, so while demand is generally good,...
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A group of Senators representing major agricultural states are requesting an analysis of how any changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement would impact agriculture. Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill is among lawmakers calling for an economic evaluation of NAFTA by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. She tells Brownfield Congress wants fair trade policies, but it’s harder than it looks.  “We’re not going to walk away from NAFTA or impose some kind of new penalty on products from Canada or Mexico and not have retaliation against ag.” Secretary Ross has previously said agricultural exports would not be hurt too badly if the U.S. Continue...
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  The end is in sight for the 2017 U.S. corn and soybean crops. Weather was mixed throughout the season, from planting, to development, to harvest, but the USDA expects a new record high average yield for corn and an all-time high for soybean production following record planted acreage. As of Sunday, 96% of U.S. beans are harvested, compared to 93% last week, 98% last year, and the five year average of 97%, while 90% of corn is harvested, compared to 83% a week ago, 96% a year ago, and 95% on average. Continue reading 96% of U.S. soybeans, 90% of corn harvested at...
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