Digital Divide – August 19, 2019

‘Digital divide’ persists, though 53 percent of farms conduct business on internet

More than half of U.S. farm operators say they do business over the internet, a 13-point increase in six years, as ownership of computers and access to the internet blossomed, according to USDA. Nonetheless, the Pew Research Center says rural Americans are much less likely than their city counterparts to have a smartphone or broadband service at home.

Ag sector ‘uncertainty’ pulls down sales for world’s largest farm equipment maker

Farmers are sitting on their checkbooks instead of buying new equipment because of the Sino-U.S. trade war and planting delays in the United States, said the chief executive of Deere and Co., the world’s largest farm equipment manufacturer. Deere, which also makes construction and logging equipment, said overall sales fell 3 percent during May, June and July, led by a 6-percent drop in agriculture and turf, its largest division.

The Future of Food Summit – EatingWell & IFIC

September 18, 2019 – New York City

For the first time ever, EatingWell and the International Food Information Council Foundation are bringing together thought leaders across academia, agriculture, manufacturing, technology, retail and the media to discuss the Future of Food and how our food system needs to change for the better. Taking place on September 18 in NYC, the summit will feature thought-provoking panel discussions, including a keynote address by Ali Bouzari, Co-Founder of Pilot R&D and Render. For a full line-up of panel topics and speakers and to buy tickets, visit #futureoffood


Antibiotic spray ineffective against citrus greening (New York Times): In a test of a medically important antibiotic approved for spraying orange trees, researchers found the oxytetracycline had no impact on citrus greening, a bacterial disease that kills orange and grapefruit trees.

E-Verify weakness exposed at meat plants (Washington Post): Touted as a tool against undocumented immigrants, the E-Verify database failed to detect fraudulent use of authentic documents, allowing meat processing plants in Mississippi to hire hundreds of workers who later were arrested by federal agents.

Trump gave green light for ethanol waivers (Reuters): President Trump gave the go-ahead to EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler to issue waivers that retroactively exempted 31 small petroleum refineries from compliance with federal requirement to blend ethanol into gasoline, said three unnamed sources.

Trump ‘has the backs of farmers’ (CBS News): The billions of dollars in federal payments to farmers and ranchers are proof “President Trump has the backs of farmers” in the Sino-U.S. trade war, said White House trade adviser Peter Navarro on “Face the Nation.”

Pumpkin spice Spam (Hormel Foods): A limited run of pumpkin spice Spam will go on sale online Sept. 23.


– Pro Farmer holds annual Midwest crop tour to scout likely corn and soybean yields and crop size in major states, through Thursday. Lance Honig, crops branch chief of USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, will attend three days of the tour.

– USDA releases weekly Crop Progress report, 4 p.m. ET.

– National Wildlife Federation hosts biennial America’s Grassland Conference, through Thursday, Bismarck, North Dakota. Speakers include North Dakota Sen. Kevin Cramer and Collin O’Mara, the federation’s chief executive.

– House Oversight Committee subcommittee hearing, “Courage under fire: Examining government preparedness and response to wildfires in California,” City Hall, Simi Valley, California. For details, click here.

– USDA releases annual Mushrooms report, 3 p.m. ET.

– U.S. Apple Crop Outlook and Marketing Conference, through Friday, Chicago. Ted McKinney, agriculture undersecretary for trade, will speak on Friday. The conference includes the association’s annual crop outlook.

– USDA releases monthly Cold Storage report, 3 p.m. ET.

– USDA releases monthly Food Price Index, 9 a.m. ET. At present, food inflation is forecast at a below-average 2 percent for this year and in 2020. This would be the fourth year in a row that food prices rose less than the 20-year average of 2.3 percent annually.

– USDA releases monthly Cattle on Feed report, 3 p.m. ET.

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