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ICYMI farm news highlights | Friday, January 21, 2022

At the end of the week, the headlines kept rolling in.

In case you missed it, we’ve rounded up some of the most recent news to keep you informed.

Agriculture Industry News

China agreed to increase its purchases of U.S. goods and services by $200 billion in 2020 and 2021. The agreement implied total agriculture, food, and seafood exports to China of $80 billion over the two years, but China was billions of dollars behind as the agreement entered its final month, according to a think tank that has monitored China’s performance.

“We continue to press China to increase their purchases,” said Vilsack at a House Agriculture Committee hearing. “They’re $13 billion short on purchases, and there are seven key areas where they have yet to perform — biotech approvals, DDG [distillers’ dried grains] sales, tariffs on ethanol, a variety of other [items].”

Mike Brown, president of the National Chicken Council, says in an essay published in a Maryland newspaper that President Biden is wrong to paint the meat and poultry industry as a villain behind sharply higher grocery prices. “This administration has chosen to put politics above protein,” he wrote.

Consumer prices rose 7% during 2021, with chicken prices up 10.4% and meat prices up 14.8%. In the essay in the Salisbury (Maryland) Daily Times, Brown said the increase in chicken prices “is barely outpacing inflation — even despite major inputs like corn, soybeans, gasoline, packaging, and transportation increasing by double digits. Yet chicken producers are somehow the villain?”

Manage Risk and Stress on the Farm

Larry Tranel, Iowa State University Extension dairy specialist, shares five guidelines to follow if you are feeling financial stress.

To read more about the guidelines and to learn 10 signs of financial distress, check out the full article here.

It’s natural for some struggles to arise during the transition and expansion of families. However, with open minds and a willingness to do the work, in-law relationships don’t have to be dysfunctional and can actually be wonderful.

The key, says Elaine Froese, is open, honest communication and plenty of it. Froese is an expert on family farm succession and conflict resolution, and she has worked with farm families for more than 30 years. Editor Lisa Foust Prater covers this topic and the strategies to employ.

Bryan Doherty of Total Farm Marketing writes, “Producers of commodities are receiving more dollars for what they produce. Profits are higher this year than last year. That is the good news. The bad news is that input costs are soaring.”

As input costs increase, the feeling of slipping profits is real and so is the potential for losses. Less-than-ideal crops, soaring input costs, or derailed supply of inputs make it easy to pencil in a challenging financial year ahead. There are lots of gray areas, but Doherty recommends preparing to handle more dollars and risk in the year ahead will be extremely important to your operation.

Editor Lisa Foust Prater asks the important question, “How do we stop envy taking over?” If another farmer has a better crop, remember you have your own blessings to be counted. But, it’s easier said than done and social media doesn’t help. Seeing filtered faces and perfectly posed photos can make us feel like we aren’t quite up to snuff.

Since kindness is key to protecting ourselves from envy (and has nothing to do with being religious), why not be proactive and bank some?

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