Decline in Commodities, Farmland – April 17, 2019

Amid decline in commodity prices, farmland values could fall too

Farmland values are still at elevated levels despite the sharply lower farm income of recent years but may drift lower in the near term, according to two examinations of the farm economy.

The big customer for U.S. animal protein: Mexico

Nearly 1 of every 4 pounds of U.S. red meat and poultry exports goes to Mexico, the overall top customer of U.S. food and agriculture exports, says the USDA.


Beef outbreak spreads (New Food Economy): The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that 109 people had been sickened and 17 hospitalized in six states due to an E. coli outbreak in ground beef.

The online grocery wars wage on (Harvard Business Review): In the competition for online grocery market share, retailers are besting Amazon’s encroachment by building brand loyalty, taking delivery orders via text message, and keeping up communication with customers.

Another ruling against Monsanto (Guardian): A French appeals court ruled that Monsanto was responsible for the neurological damage experienced by a farmer who accidentally inhaled fumes from the company’s Lasso weedkiller.

Minnesota to regulate nitrogen fertilizer (Winona Post): The state Agriculture Department is on track to approve in May a regulation that would regulate use of nitrogen fertilizer in areas with vulnerable groundwater beginning in 2020.

Training vineyards for mechanical pruning (University of California): Wine growers can convert to mechanical pruning from hand-pruning of grape vines by retraining the vines rather than having to replant their vineyards, a vast savings in costs.

Bringing 5G broadband to rural America (New Food Economy): The White House plans to auction rights to use a portion of the radio spectrum to internet providers to deploy 5G technology and provide $20 billion in subsidies to build the 5G network in rural America. Skeptics say it’s not clear if 5G will work in rural areas because of the short range of the signals and interference from trees and other physical obstacles.

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