David's Stories

If you raise cattle, you don’t need to be told that the meat industry has been targeted by some powerful propaganda in recent years. You may have had a nagging feeling that something wasn’t quite right about what you were hearing. You may have seen widely repeated statistics making various c…

A report by the Government Accountability Office released dated November but released in December claims that under the Donald Trump administration, tariff relief payments by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to corn farmers were unbalanced and in excess of calculated damage from tariffs.

As the year wound down, corn growers have a lot of balls to keep track of in the air—or maybe knives. Nathanael Thompson, associate professor of agriculture economics at Purdue University, had three pieces of advice for corn growers:

In the face of ongoing worldwide supply chain difficulties that have had broad effects on the whole economy, agriculture and retail groups applauded as the House of Representatives passed the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2021 on Dec. 8. The act has been described as the most significant chan…

Global and domestic demand for wheat slowed slightly as both supplies and prices increased, according to the latest World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates of the U.S. Department of Agriculture released Dec. 9.

The outlook for 2021-22 United States wheat in December was for slightly lower supplies, unchanged domestic use, reduced exports, and higher ending stocks. Supplies are lowered on decreased imports with a weaker-than-expected pace for hard red spring wheat.

A recently released report on alfalfa market trends says the market is seeing “strong growth” driven by more consumer awareness of food production techniques, including animal feeds. But growers are trying to stay ahead of rising input costs.

According to the IMARC Group latest report titled “Alfalfa Hay Market: Global Industry Trends, Share, Size, Growth, Opportunity and Forecast 2021-2026,” the global alfalfa hay market will exhibit “moderate” growth during the next five years.

In a recently released document, the Joe Biden administration is reverting to a water rule that existed prior to the contentious attempts by the Environmental Protection Agency and Corps of Engineers under President Barack Obama to change the definition in 2015. The next step will be for the…

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, you should be able to easily get a turkey for Thanksgiving this year. And you probably will not pay any more for it than usual. It may not be the exact size or weight you wanted, though.

The overall revised corn yield numbers in the most recent World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates from the U.S. Department of Agriculture were up from September, although not as much as soybean yields.

The big news in the latest World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates release Oct. 12 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture was the upward revision to yield estimates for soybeans. Total yields did much better than expected in earlier estimates—including in drought-stricken areas.

As wheat farmers planted winter wheat, they looked back on a year hit by drought. This summer’s drought in the Dakotas and Minnesota eased enough to let corn and soybeans rebound to better-than-expected yields in those areas, but the moisture came too late for the wheat crop. Some Minnesota …

As dry conditions continue to reduce the flow of the Missouri River, the Corps of Engineers in September published the Draft Annual Operating Plan for the river for the 2021-22 season.

As the soybean and corn harvests approach full swing, the resiliency of the inland waterway system is being tested by the damage of Hurricanes Ida and Nicholas. Ken Eriksen, senior vice president-agribusiness at IHS Markit, said his sources tell him the impacts to barge movements of Hurrican…

Reuters reported Sept. 10 that the Argentine government has agreed to a contract with Belgian-based dredging firm Jan de Nul to dredge the silted-over Parana River, a major grain artery. The Parana is at its lowest level in 77 years, due to a drought in Brazil where it originates.

Soybeans are one of the most versatile agricultural products ever. The many food uses of soy products are well known. Because soybeans are high-protein, and soy protein includes all nine essential amino acids, it’s an important part of vegetarian and vegan diets, as well as being one of the best animal feeds.

Soybeans or soybean oil make up part of more than 1,000 products, and the directors of the United Soybean Board are always looking at unique, innovative ways to use and promote soybeans. Their research efforts, funded by the Soy Checkoff, have helped develop dozens of innovative products.

The seemingly endless water regulation wars took another turn in the last week of August when a federal judge in Arizona vacated the Donald Trump administration’s Navigable Wagers Protection Rule, which itself had replaced the Barack Obama administration’s widely unpopular “waters of the U.S…

Soy growers were buoyant as they met in St. Louis to promote themselves and make deals at the “Gateway to U.S. Soy” event. The annual meeting of the U. S. Soybean Export Council was a joint event co-sponsored by the Soya and Specialty Grains Association.

All grain movements to and from the New Orleans area have halted since the Coast Guard shut down the entire Lower Mississippi River in anticipation of Hurricane Ida, which made landfall Aug. 30, traveling up the west bank of the Mississippi River. The eye of the storm passed over Reserve, Lo…

Bending to a judge’s order, the Environmental Protection Agency banned all use of the insecticide chlorpyrifos on food crops. In a brief statement accompanying a prepublication version of the final rule, EPA simply said, “In August 2021, EPA released a final rule revoking all ‘tolerances’ fo…

Continuing severe drought in the Dakotas and Minnesota reduced soybean quality and production in those states, lowering estimates of both quality and production in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s latest World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates.

This year’s drought is having a severe impact in the western states. It actually began last year, when regular monsoons failed and the amount of snowpack was greatly reduced.

Of the 17 most affected states, Arizona is the worst hit, along with Utah, Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico. Some prime agricultural areas in Washington and Oregon are also affected. The drought’s effects on California are especially significant, since agriculture is a major driver of the state’s economy.

For months, U.S. shipping interests have been issuing anguished complaints about massive container imbalances, delays, jams, rising costs and the alleged refusal by some carriers of United States containerized exports. Now two U.S. senators and President Joe Biden have acted to address the i…

New low-carbon fuel standards coming online in California and other states and approved and about to be enacted in Canada are creating such demand for soybean oil as a renewable diesel feedstock that it could soon be priced out of the export market altogether.

No one appreciates nature’s timelines better than Lee DeHaan, director of crop improvement and the lead scientist for the Kernza domestication program at The Land Institute in Salina, Kansas. Kernza is the trademarked name for a variety of perennial intermediate wheatgrass (Thinopyrum interm…

A second federal judge has halted payments to minority farmers under a Joe Biden administration program of farm debt payments that uses race as a criterion of eligibility. U.S. District Judge Marcia Morales Howard of the U.S. District Court for Middle Florida issued a preliminary injunction …

The National Pork Producers Association is asking the Joe Biden administration for help against a June 21 ruling by a federal district court striking down production line speeds that were approved in 2019 under the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s New Swine Inspection System. The ruling affe…

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates showed few changes in its June 14 corn and soybean estimates. It raised its corn export forecast by 75 million bushels to a total of 2.85 million bushels, with no change in projected feed usage. The WASDE raised projected ethanol usage by 75 million bushels and reduced projected carryover by 150 million bushels to 1.107 million bushels, equal to 7.4% of usage and lower than was forecast earlier in the year. Corn carryover projections have steadily shrunk since last June.

The projected 2021 corn yield projections remained unchanged at 179.5 bushels an acre, the USDA still expects corn production of just under 15 billion bushels (although other crop estimators disagree).

A federal judge issued a ruling June 10 that halted the Joe Biden administration’s plan to make agricultural loan debt payments to “socially disadvantaged” farmers using race as the criterion for eligibility. The ruling came in response to a suit filed by 12 plaintiffs from several states re…

China gets most of the press on ag trade issues, but it’s easy to forget that the biggest destination for United States feed corn is Mexico, not China. Mexican yellow corn imports from the U.S. stood at $2.7 billion in 2019, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture-Foreign Agriculture Ser…

In the wake of the rejection by United States District Judge Vincent Chhabria of Bayer’s proposed $2 billion settlement of claims against its signature product Roundup, Bayer announced several steps it will take to mitigate future risk. While the company hinted it may pull glyphosate as a Ro…

The regenerative ranching movement got a huge boost when the Noble Research Institute announced in February that it will “focus all of its operations on regenerative agriculture and set its primary goal to regenerate millions of acres of degraded grazing lands across the United States.”

The announcement was the culmination of a series of internal discussions the Ardmore, Oklahoma-based organization has been having for several years. The decision means the organization will be winding down the plant science and plant breeding side of its research activities.

A study of ag transportation released in December by the U.S. Department of Agriculture revealed that 80% of United States ag freight moves on only 17 transportation corridors that make up 17% of the U.S. highway network. The study, titled “Importance of Highways to U.S. Agriculture,” was un…

Is the end in sight for the agricultural insecticide chlorpyrifos? On April 29, 2021, a three-judge panel at the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the Environmental Protection Agency within 60 days to either ban chlorpyrifos completely, or to fix safe tolerances for it in food residues.

Even in a year in which Russia, Australia and Canada all produced record wheat crops, United States wheat export levels to China were up by 2.7 million metric tons above last year’s totals. With continued tight supplies of corn and soybeans and strong demand from China forecast to continue, …

A group of more than 300 agricultural groups sent a letter April 27 to Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg demanding immediate action on a shortage of containers for exporting ag products that is worsening, as a growing United States hunger for imports accelerates an imbalance between…

A bill that, if passed, would give the U.S. Department of Agriculture authority to lay the groundwork and set standards for a “carbon farming” market was introduced in Congress April 20. The U.S. Senate Ag Committee planned to take up the Growing Climate Solutions Act April 22 during a commi…

“I can’t remember a time when there were as many variables involved [with the World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates] as today,” remarked Jim Sutter, CEO of the U.S. Soybean Export council, at the beginning of a webinar discussing the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s newly released A…

A letter of concern signed by a broad coalition of more than 40 agricultural groups, ports and other river stakeholders along the Columbia/Snake river system is opposing a plan to breach four Snake River dams to protect spawning salmon. The plan was proposed by Rep. Mike Simpson of Idaho.