Big Crops, Low Prices – January 29, 2019

‘Big crops, low prices,’ for a long time ahead, says CBO

Farm-gate prices for corn and soybeans, the two most widely grown crops in the United States, are stuck in a rut for years to come, said the CBO on Monday in its long-term budget outlook.

Madison, WI, looks at former meat factory for wholesale food market

Madison, Wisconsin, was hit hard by the 2015 merger of Kraft and Heinz and its accompanying layoffs. Now, the city is assessing whether a meat processing plant shuttered in the merger could be repurposed as a food terminal for regional food producers.

SNAP enrollment declining to pre-recession levels

Some 38.6 million Americans were enrolled in SNAP at latest count, down by one-fifth from the peak of 47.6 million during fiscal 2013 and the slow recovery from the Great Recession.

Three nominees are given USDA posts while awaiting Senate votes

Saying he needed to get “all of our players on the field,” Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue gave senior-level jobs to three USDA nominees, effective on Tuesday, who are waiting for a confirmation vote in the Senate.


‘Radical re-think’ needed to fight obesity (The Lancet): The EAT-Lancet Commission, in a report on the interlocking problems of obesity, hunger and climate change, called for “a radical re-think of business models, food systems, civil society involvement, and national and international governance to achieve better human and planetary health.”

Dems target three Republicans on House Ag (The Hagstrom Report): The campaign arm of House Democrats named three members of the House Agriculture Committee — Rodney Davis of Illinois, Don Bacon of Nebraska and Jim Hagedorn of Minnesota — in a digital advertising campaign against two dozen Republicans it considers vulnerable for re-election in 2020.

Food stamps safe through April (Politico): Under an “obscure provision” of the spending bill that ended the partial federal shutdown, USDA is empowered to pay SNAP benefits through April even if the three-week extension of funding expires on Feb. 15.

Ethanol and land use: Negligible impact (AAEA): U.S. production of corn ethanol has doubled since 2008 and corn prices spiked from 2008-12 but had a negligible impact on total cropland area despite concerns about harm to grasslands and forests, says a paper in the American Journal of Agricultural Economics.

New tactics for ‘super weeds’ (Civil Eats): As weeds develop resistance to herbicides, control will require more management with steps that may include cover crops, crop rotations, burning crop residue, machinery to pulverize weed seeds, and new crop varieties that are more competitive with weeds.

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