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Posts tagged: Industry Insight

New Vision Means Better Inspection Services for Fruits and Vegetables

U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) inspectors Geno DeSanto and Bob Schofield examine bananas at the Philadelphia Food Distribution Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on May 21, 2008.USDA photo.

U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) inspectors Geno DeSanto and Bob Schofield examine bananas at the Philadelphia Food Distribution Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on May 21, 2008.USDA photo.

Exceptional grading, standardization and auditing services are the benchmarks that were set by USDA’s Fresh and Processed Products Divisions.  The two organizations within USDA supported the produce industry for nearly a century, providing quality grading and auditing services that businesses and consumers could trust.

Now, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has merged the two divisions into one unit that provides the same excellent service.  The new Specialty Crops Inspection (SCI) Division offers voluntary, audit-based inspection programs – utilizing Good Agricultural Practices and Good Handling Practices (GAP/GHP).  We will also perform uniform, quality grading services based on the U.S. standards for fresh, frozen and processed products. Read more »

Trade Documents at Your Fingertips: Anytime, Anywhere

Over the last three years, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has worked with the peanut and dairy industries to create a government-hosted electronic trade document repository. The eTrade Document Exchange (eTDE) System, funded by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service through the Market Access Program, makes electronic trade documents, including official certificates, available securely through the Internet to facilitate the domestic and international movement of U.S. agricultural products.

This system provides users with the ability to access commodity-related trade documents as PDF files that can be used to verify hard copy documents or to eliminate the use of hard copy documents entirely. It allows authorized product owners, buyers, carriers, brokers, and government port agents access to critical information around the clock and around the world.

USDA collaborates with trade associations to provide this information as an export service to the supply chain. The certificates available in the repository are provided by a variety of document providers. Some certificates are provided by USDA, some by programs under department certification, and some from commercial sources that operate independently. USDA validates the identity of each document provider and has security controls in place to ensure that certificate data obtained from providers remains unaltered once it is posted to the site. Read more »

USDA Market News Helps Minneapolis Grain Exchange Launch Apple Juice Contract

The USDA Market News Division of the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) works with various processors, buyers and brokers to track a wide variety of commodities. Since September 2010, USDA Market News has been reporting apple juice concentrate (AJC) prices as part of the National Apple Processing Report.  This report also includes information on prices for apple varieties, shipments, and quantities utilized in the processing of apples on a weekly and yearly basis.

The Minneapolis Grain Exchange, a Designated Contract Market and Derivatives Clearing Organization, announced the official launch date for its new apple juice concentrate futures and options contract on August 13, 2012. The exchange developed the apple juice concentrate contract after thorough preparation and collaboration with many segments representing the apple juice industry as well as USDA, AMS, Fruit and Vegetable Market News. Read more »

A Kentucky Recipe for Farmers Market Success

For nearly 15 years, the Jeffersontown, KY, Farmers Market struggled.  Dwindling to only four vendors selling to a handful of customers, the market was barely surviving from year to year. In 2009, the City of Jeffersontown found a recipe for success by combining the town’s enthusiasm and energy with support from USDA’s Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP) to reinvigorate and reinvent the farmers market.

FMPP is a competitive grant program administered by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS).  The program provides funds to help establish, expand, and promote farmers markets, roadside stands, community-supported agriculture programs, and other direct-to-consumer marketing opportunities.  FMPP has funded 443 diverse projects across the country since 2006. Read more »

New Marine Shipping Container Report Sheds Light on Available Opportunities

The Ocean Shipping Container Availability Report. The weekly report provides a snapshot of shipping equipment that is available at 18 different intermodal locations. Photo courtesy of Port of Los Angeles.

Access to market information is a critical component in the success of any business. This is the case in the agricultural export industry, where locating available marine shipping containers is often difficult.  For many in this industry, finding available containers can be like searching for buried treasure.  To make the search easier, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) developed the Ocean Shipping Container Availability Report (OSCAR).  Read more »

Data Dashboards: Bringing More Market Information to Life

A screenshot of the Boxed Beef Dashboard. The livestock dashboards allow you to see weekly volume and price information presented in graphs and tables that can be customized for viewing and downloaded for use in reports and presentations.

A screenshot of the Boxed Beef Dashboard. The livestock dashboards allow you to see weekly volume and price information presented in graphs and tables that can be customized for viewing and downloaded for use in reports and presentations.

It has been said that the most successful person in life (and in business) is often the one who has the best information.  For almost a century USDA Market News has been providing farmers, ranchers and businesses with the best market and pricing information.  Our real-time commodity reports, produced by the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), provide quick and easy access to volume and price information for boxed beef, cattle, hogs, and sheep.

Over the years, our reports have evolved to better meet the changing demands of the farmers and ranchers who rely on our data to remain competitive.  In the summer of 2010, we launched the first of our livestock data dashboards, providing a highly customized experience for our data consumers.

The Boxed Beef Dashboard, the newest addition to the Livestock and Grain Market News dashboards, includes a lot of the same great tools that have made our other dashboards so popular—interactive features for querying and viewing information, like navigation tabs, slide bars, graphs, tables, and daily market tickers.

A unique feature on the new Boxed Beef Dashboard displays a diagram of a steer that dynamically illustrates the area of the animal the cut of meat comes from. It also shows a color photograph and brief description of the wholesale beef cut, providing quick visual cues to help sort and sift the information more quickly.

Like all of our dashboards, it also offers a range of options to download and export custom datasets, giving you only the datapoints that are most meaningful to you.  The users’ guide provides a feature-by-feature overview of the dashboard and is a great place to start if you’re new to the datasets.

USDA Market News has been providing market information on cotton, dairy, livestock and grains, poultry and eggs, and fruits and vegetables for over 90 years. By visiting USDA Market News you can view hundreds of pre-made commodity reports—including the livestock dashboards—or create a custom report to see only the information you need.

Get the same insight as other industry insiders—visit the livestock dashboards.