November 27, 2015

Secretary Vilsack Responds to Lower Farm Income Forecast

Following updated farm income forecast numbers for 2015, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack made the following statement:

“As one growing season comes to an end and another lies on the horizon, USDA continues to seek out new and innovative ways to expand opportunity for America’s farming families and support markets that will boost farm income. Roughly one in three American farm products are exported, but there is significant and as yet untapped opportunity in markets in Asia and Europe. By the end of the year, I will have met with key leaders in those regions to promote the benefits of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and further negotiations on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, as well as expanded access in China. Expanded trade will help to drive higher commodity prices, additional farm income and agribusiness jobs that ultimately generate more cash flow in rural economies and support local businesses on main street.

“Thanks to its ability to remain competitive through thick and thin, American agriculture continues to enjoy some of the strongest years in our nation’s history, supporting and creating good-paying American jobs for millions, and positioning the United States as a reliable supplier of high-quality goods for domestic and foreign markets alike. Overall, today’s projections provide a snapshot of a rural America that continues to remain innovative, stable and resilient in the aftermath of the worst animal disease outbreak in our nation’s history and as the western United States unloosens itself from the grip of historic drought. For example, today’s projections indicate a rise in specialty crop receipts in 2015, while final farm income for 2014 was revised upward by $1.9 billion since August and $13.5 billion since February. Today’s estimates also indicate that new 2014 Farm Bill safety net programs are working as intended and helping producers protect their operations from changes in the marketplace.

USDA and the Obama Administration will continue to stand with America’s farming families, small businesses and rural communities as they build a brighter future for our country on the land that they love.”

Full Forecast:


Market Turn Prompts ARC/PLC Payments in NoDak

USDA North Dakota Farm Service Agency Executive Director Aaron Krauter says approximately 26,000 North Dakota farms enrolled in the new safety-net programs established by the 2014 Farm Bill are receiving financial assistance for the 2014 crop year.

The programs, known as Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC), are designed to protect against unexpected drops in crop prices or revenues due to market downturns.

“These new safety-net programs provide help when price and revenues fall below normal, unlike the previous direct payments program that provided funds even in good years,” said Krauter. “The county-based option of ARC protects against lower revenue from a combination of price and yield. For example, corn producers experienced a 30 percent drop in price below the historical benchmark price established by the ARC-CO program. Payments by county can vary because average county yields will differ.”

Crops receiving assistance in North Dakota include barley, corn, grain sorghum, lentils, dry peas, soybeans, and wheat. In the upcoming months, payments will be made for other crops after average prices for the marketing year are published by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Payments to participants in ARC-County or PLC for minor oilseeds, including canola and sunflowers, and chickpeas will occur in December. ARC-Individual payments will also begin in November.

Statewide, approximately 50,500 farms enrolled in ARC-County and 36,500 farms participated in PLC.


TPP Holds Promise for U.S. Meat Exports – #NAFB15

President Obama is embarking on a trade tour through Asia this week. Obama and 11 other Pacific Rim leaders met on Wednesday for the first time since negotiators completed the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. Obama urged the group to ratify the deal as quickly as possible.

A strong U.S. dollar, weakening foreign economies and stiff competition have made it an uphill climb for U.S. meat exports in retaining market share around the world.

U.S. Meat Export Federation President and CEO Phillip Seng thinks the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal will enhance agricultural trade. He was in attendance at the National Association of Farm Broadcasting’s annual convention and Trade Talk event in Kansas City last week.

Phillip Seng – USMEF

Beef exports were down 13 percent in volume and 10 percent in value year over year in the first nine months of the year and while pork exports held steady in quantity, they were down 16 percent in value, according to USDA statistics compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation.