Joe Gaynor (left) demonstrates how MARS will improve our services, helping ensure that farmers and ranchers know they're getting a fair price, wholesalers make better decisions about what and how much to buy, and commodity traders buy and sell based on current market information.
Editor’s Note: The free webinar on the Market Analysis and Reporting Services (MARS) has been moved to Thursday, April 14, 2016 at 2 p.m. Eastern. Sign up using this link: http://bit.ly/1MxNAWj
For over 100 years, USDA Market News has been an indispensable service, used by agricultural producers of all sizes to get timely, unbiased data from Market News reporters across the country. Farmers, ranchers, and the entire agricultural supply chain turn to USDA Market News – administered by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) – for data that serves as the information lifeline for America’s agricultural economy. Now, Market News is entering a new phase, deploying the Market Analysis & Reporting Services (MARS). It’s a big step forward for AMS, Market News and for the markets and producers that use our data every day.
MARS was formally unveiled during the recent USDA Agricultural Outlook Forum. It includes the ability to capture livestock auctions for commodities like feeder cattle and will eventually include more than 600 commodities in real time (where applicable), and moves reporter’s data capture from the paper age to a connected digital age. That means a reporter at a livestock auction in, for example, Kansas will know in real time what comparable feeder cattle is selling for at an auction in Texas. Read more »
Matt McCue and Lily Schneider of Shooting Star CSA, an organic farm in California. Their operation is chemical and pesticide free and they rely on practices that reduce impact on the environment.
Teamwork can improve virtually any endeavor, from partnering with a neighbor by exchanging butchered meat for hay to feed the rest of the herd or simply sharing a ride to save on gas. The result is usually savings and efficiency.
At USDA, that notion is taken to another level with public-private partnerships that improve economic stability for producers, the financial sector, and a nation that leans heavily on the shoulders of its farmers and ranchers. Read more »
Mar-Bil Jersey Farm has been in Bill Yoder’s extended family since the 1700s and his grandfather built their big red barn nearly 100 years ago. Photo by Keri Pickett Photography.
Organic food sales in the United States have shown double-digit growth during most years since the 1990s, and this trend shows no sign of slowing. The Nutrition Business Journal reports annual growth in the nation’s organic food sales has generally exceeded 10 percent since the downturn in the American economy in 2008. U.S. organic food sales approached an estimated $37 billion in 2015, up 12 percent from the previous year. The country’s top food retailers, including Costco, Kroger, Walmart and Target, have expanded their organic food offerings in recent years, and have announced initiatives which could further boost demand.
Although organic sales have been increasing from a small base, the Organic Trade Association estimates that U.S. organic food purchases accounted for nearly 5 percent of the total food market in 2014. In addition, U.S. sales of organic personal care products, linens, and other nonfood items were in excess of an estimated $3 billion in 2014. Certified organic farmland has also expanded, while not as fast as organic sales. Read more »
2016 Agricultural Outlook Forum panelist, farmer Randall Hildreth at his 500 acre farm in Marengo County, Alabama. Nearly 200 of those acres were in Heir Property status and are currently in the process of getting a cleared title. (Photo courtesy of Randall Hildreth)
Focus on land tenure and transition issues has grown considerably in recent years, especially its impact on new and beginning farmers. “New and beginning farmers are the future of American agriculture,” said Deputy Secretary Harden. “The average age of an American farmer is 58 and increasing, so we must help new farmers get started if America is going to continue feeding the world and maintain a strong agriculture economy.” As the age of the principal farm operator continues to increase, the focus on this issue intensifies. Land tenure, succession and estate planning, and access to land for new and beginning farmers will be among the topics discussed in a session at USDA’s 2016 Agricultural Outlook Forum this month. Read more »
A group of 30 university students, announced by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, will get a head start to a career in agriculture as winners of USDA’s Agricultural Outlook Forum Student Diversity Program. Twenty university juniors and seniors were chosen based their essays on “Agriculture as a Career.” Additionally, 10 graduate students were chosen in response to “The Greatest Challenge Facing Agriculture over the Next Five Years.” Read more »
The Market Information for the Organization of the Americas (MIOA) members also toured the local wholesale market, Centrais de Abastecimento do Distrito Federal S.A (CEASA-DF) in Brasilia, Brazil. U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) Fruit and Vegetable Programs Market News Chief of the International Reports Section Dr. Luis Palmer (second from right with blue shirt) tours the market with MIOA members. Photo by Francisco Stuckert, CONAB
Over the last 25 years, the American farmer has become increasingly aware of the impact of South American agricultural output on the global supply of grains and oilseeds. For example, in recent years Brazil has risen to the number one position as an exporter of soybeans. Further, the combined output of Brazil and its neighbors, Argentina and Paraguay, is challenging the United States’ position as the world’s leading supplier of corn.
Brazil is unique in that it has a relatively stable agricultural output trend due to improving production techniques, and in most years, abundant rainfall for production of various crops. The climate and cropping patterns are behind the increases in agricultural production, which were made possible by the shift of production into regions less prone to drought. There is also the potential for expansion into untapped lands, although infrastructure and land ownership issues are a limiting factor. Meantime, thanks to ample rainfall and land resources enjoyed by producers, Brazil has the potential to become an agricultural powerhouse for years to come. Read more »