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It's the Economy, Silly!

The Economy, Silly!
Audio via DairyCast.com

Bob Young, American Farm Bureau's chief economist, is seeing food costs going up through their consumer surveys.
Our surveys' would suggest those food prices are up, and up significantly.
However, there are enough of uncertainties in the market places that suggest that food prices will only be a factor but not the driver.

Other activity in agriculture suggests that the sector as a whole is doing well. There still are issues with corn and bean prices remaining high, with impacts to cattle prices. But over all 2012 looks pretty good.

WTO, "Not" on Country of Origin Labeling (COOL)

wto country of origin labeling
The World Trade Organization has ruled that the USA Country of origin labeling (aka COOL, USDA info) is violating global trade rules and may impact global agricultural commerce.
“We remain committed to providing consumers with accurate and relevant information with respect to the origin of meat products that they buy at the retail level,” [Andrea Mead, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Trade Representative] said in a statement. “In that regard we are considering all options, including appealing the panel’s decision.”
COOL is considered by the US Swine industry to be a burden because the costs to implement and use out weight the benefits. For beef, many countries avoid exporting the the USA, also because of the USA COOL regulations.

What does the future of America hold?


What does the future of America hold? Some good perspective from a recent video series at the Wall Street Journal titled "America: A Portfolio of Ideas" featured several different perspectives and is highly recommended. To give you a feel for what it holds we share this brief audio featuring John Naisbitt (Megatrends) and Gloria Naisbitt on the influence of culture on our trading relationship with China.

US and China Playing Chicken on Poultry Trade

via ft.com
US and Chinese trade agreements and their implementation are going to the World Trade Organization because the US believes China is unfairly using tactics to keep US poultry out of China.
“Let me be clear: the US does not arbitrarily seek disagreements with China,” said Ron Kirk, US trade representative, as he unveiled the grounds for the US action. “But we won’t negotiate indefinitely, because US farmers, ranchers, small business owners and workers can’t afford to wait when their exports are being blocked and American jobs are at stake.”

Phosphorus' Impact on Agriculture


Phosphorus is a critical component to life and essential for agriculture. Without phosphorus nothing can grow. And approximately 85 percent of the global phosphate reserves are located in Morocco. With its large reserves, Morocco can direct the price of phosphorus, thus effecting agriculture input costs.

From Market Place Money, ecologist Larry Baker, University of Minnesota:
We're going to have a population of 10 billion people and extremely limited phosphorus reserves if we continue to use them the way we do now. And perhaps a lot of starvation and hardship could follow.

How are International Carbon Markets Evolving?

Carbon Farming The Australian government recently approved new laws to startup the Carbon Farming Initiative that will put in place access to international carbon markets for farmers, forest growers, and landholders. It also puts in place a method utilize money collected from the carbon markets to assist households, businesses, and industry adjust to the impacts of the markets.
A family earning an income of around $100,000 [AUD] who has two teenagers is expected to face an average cost of living impact of $653 [AUD] per year. This family will receive assistance of about $679 per year made up of approximately $73 [AUD] extra in payments and $606 [AUD] in tax cuts, which means they are $26 [AUD] better off.
Additional information can be found at Clean Energy Future.

Where Are The Top Ag Econ Departments?

ag econ Agricultural economics plays a major role in shaping the world. Farmers, producers, and managers all want to know what to plant, when to buy, when to sell, and why. People in ag econ help do the research and discover the key inflection points to help those in production make decisions.
  1. International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), Washington, District of Columbia (USA)
  2. Department of Economics, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa (USA)
  3. Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of California-Berkeley, Berkeley, California (USA)
  4. Economic Research Service, Department of Agriculture, Government of the United States, Washington, District of Columbia (USA)
  5. Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland (USA)
  6. Département Sciences Sociales, Agriculture et Alimentation, Espace et Environnement (SAE2), Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA), Ivry, France
  7. Department of Applied Economics and Management, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York (USA)
  8. Department of Applied Economics, College of Agricultural, Food, and Environmental Sciences, University of Minnesota-St. Paul, St. Paul, Minnesota (USA)
  9. Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina (USA) 1010.15
  10. Department of Agricultural Economics, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana (USA)

What is Agriculture's Macro Economic Condition?

Ag Econ
Audio via SwineCast.com
What is Agriculture's Macro Economic Condition? - Dr. Terry Barr, CoBank's Knowledge Exchange Group, and Ross Anderson, Chief Credit Officer with AgriBank, discuss (audio) major topics of concern in today's agricultural arena.  Do we feed or export grain?  Turn it into ethanol?  And when will the Washington debate turn to the Farm Bill?

Food Bioterrorism, Risks In The Milk Supply?


Where does milk come from besides "cows"? This maps shows that 50% of US milk comes from a small number of counties.
If a dairy disease outbreak occurs in relatively few regions in the country, this would have a huge impact on milk production and availability to consumers throughout the country.

Dr. Terry Etherton highlights that these concentrations are a risk from a disease outbreak point of view, and also from bioterrorism point of view.
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