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State Ag Officials Voice Concerns with Trade Approach

2 months, 1 week ago AFBF

State agriculture officials say the Trump administration needs to aggressively seek market access across the globe, while expressing concerns with the administration's trade agenda. The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture passed two resolutions this week during its annual meeting that leadership says reaffirms the critical importance of international trade to the organization. The group of state agriculture officials says NASDA remains concerned with the use of unilateral action against trading partners to correct trade disputes. The organization also says a fully-seated, functioning appellate body at the World Trade Organization will not only allow the U.S. to work with like-minded countries to hold China accountable for its trade-distorting practices, it will also "enable the administration to remedy trade disputes with  other countries who may discriminate against American farmers and ranchers.” The organization is comprised of leadership from state agriculture departments.

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WASDE Predicts Second-largest Corn Crop, Record Soybean Crop

The Latest World Agriculture Supply and Demand report predicts the second-largest corn crop for the United States this year and a record soybean crop. Corn production is forecast at 14.82 billion bushels, up 241 million from last month on an increased yield forecast. The outlook predicts larger production, increased domestic use, greater exports, and higher ending stocks. The season-average corn price received by producers is projected ten cents lower with a midpoint of $3.50 per bushel. Meanwhile, U.S. Soybean production is projected at a record 4.6 billion bushels, up 107 million on a record yield forecast of 52.8 bushels per acre. The season-average soybean price is forecast at $7.35 to $9.85 per bushel, down $0.30 at the midpoint. Finally, the wheat supply and demand estimates are unchanged from last month, and the season average farm price range is unchanged at the midpoint of $5.10 per bushel and the range is narrowed $0.20 per bushel to $4.70 to $5.50.

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USDA Says Meat and Animal Product Exports up in 2018

All major U.S. animal protein sources experienced growth in exports in the first half of 2018 compared to the same period in 2017. The Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service said this week that trade data for the first half of the year indicate year-over-year growth for U.S. exports of all major meats as well as dairy and eggs. Dairy exports led the way, increasing by nearly 20 percent, likely due to competitive prices. Lamb and mutton exports increased by 16 percent, albeit from a much smaller base than other meats. Strong global demand, particularly from Asian markets, pushed beef and veal exports up 15 percent. First-half 2018 pork exports, more than six percent above a year ago, were driven higher mainly by larger shipments to Mexico, South Korea, Central and South America, and the Caribbean. On the poultry side, turkey meat exports grew at levels on par with pork, while broiler meat and egg exports grew by only two and one percent, respectively.

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Refiner Waivers Could Cost Ethanol Industry $20 Billion

New research estimates the U.S. ethanol industry could lose 4.6 billion gallons of domestic demand and $20 billion in sales from the administration’s approach to the Renewable Fuel Standard. Economists at the University of Missouri estimated the losses over the next six years, if the Environmental Protection Agency continues exempting dozens of small refiners from their blending obligations under the RFS. The research estimates U.S. ethanol consumption will drop by an average of 761 million gallons per year between 2018 and 2023, or a total of 4.6 billion gallons over the six-year period. That is equivalent to 1.64 billion bushels of corn demand, or nearly 300 million bushels per year. The Renewable Fuels Association said the analysis demonstrates the need for EPA to reallocate small refiner exemptions to larger refiners to ensure statutory RFS volumes are maintained. RFA Chief Economist Scott Richman says the research: “Clearly shows that demand destruction from small refiner exemptions is real and has substantial economic consequences.”

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Farm Groups Again Call for Year-round E15

Farm groups penned a letter to President Trump Wednesday urging the administration to allow E15 sales year-round. The groups also expressed concern that any benefit from year-round E15 sales and proper implementation of the Renewable Fuel Standard could be nullified if refiners are given further regulatory bailouts that undercut the spirit and intent of the law. The letter follows comments made by Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue last month at the Farm Progress Show that an announcement on the RFS and E15 would be coming soon. The letter also notes that ethanol prices, RIN credit prices, and ethanol profit margins are falling, as small refiner exemptions issued by EPA have reduced ethanol demand and inflated stocks. The letter was signed by the American Farm Bureau Federation, National Corn Growers Association, National Farmers Union, National Sorghum Producers, American Coalition for Ethanol, Growth Energy, and the Renewable Fuels Association.

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Monthly Tractor, Combine Sales Increase

Farmers and ranchers purchased more combines and tractors last month according to the latest data from the Association of Equipment Manufacturers. The latest monthly report shows tractor sales were up 14 percent in August, compared to the same period last year, and combine sales were up 23 percent for the month. Two-wheel- drive tractors under 40 horsepower sales increased 19 percent compared with August of last year, and large four-wheel-drive tractor sales were up 17 percent. So far this year, for the eight months in 2018, a total of 164,500 tractors were sold which compares to 152,000 sold through August 2017 representing an eight percent increase for the year. Meanwhile, sales of combines for the year total just more than 3,000 compared to 2,400 in 2017, a 24 percent increase.

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