Dry weather and above normal temperatures are expected across the upper Midwest from September to November, according to the National Weather Service.

“It does look like it should be a relatively warm fall but (there is) no real indicator for the eastern Corn Belt which way it is going to go,” USDA Meteorologist Brad Rippey told Agri-Pulse. However, Rippey said early autumn looks to be wetter for the upper Midwest.  

“That will be welcomed but if the rain comes too much too quickly this fall, we’ll get the drought relief, but it could hamper harvest activities,” he said.

FDA issues caution on adulterated crops ahead of tropical storm

As Tropical Storm Ida makes landfall, the Food and Drug Administration is reminding Gulf Coast and Southeast farmers who produce crops for food on how to identify adulteration.

“The FDA reminds harvesters that generally, if the edible portion of a crop is exposed to contaminated flood waters, it is considered ‘adulterated’ under the Federal, Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act,” the agency said in a release.

FDA noted underground crops like peanuts and potatoes are included. If the edible portion is not affected, the FDA said producers should still examine the crop for safe human consumption if it’s been damaged by floodwaters.

China’s pork production seen declining next year

After a national effort to rebuild and modernize its swine sector, China’s pork production is expected to decrease next year as imports increase, according to a new analysis from USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. The FAS report out of its Beijing office predicts China’s hog production will drop off by 5% in 2022.

“Low prices and disease outbreaks in 2021 led to significant slaughter and delayed restocking,” says the FAS bureau in China. “Pork production in 2022 will decline by 14 percent as fewer hogs come to market and government policies designed to limit price fluctuations inadvertently undermine expansion.”

And that may be good for U.S. producers that depend heavily on trade. The FAS office is also predicting that China’s pork imports will increase to 5.1 million metric tons “as consumer demand for pork exceeds domestic production.”

United Fresh, PMA announce officers of new organization
The new association that is being formed from the merger of United Fresh Produce Association and the Produce Marketing Association has announced leaders for the group, which will launch at the start of 2022.
Bruce Taylor, CEO of Taylor Farms in Salinas, Calif., and a past chair of the PMA, will serve as the first chair. The executive committee will also include the current PMA chair, Dwight Ferguson, president and CEO of the California Agricultural Leadership Foundation, and the current board chairman of United Fresh, Danny Dumas, president of Canadian fruit and vegetable company Couchesne Larose.
Laura Himes, senior merchandising director at Walmart, is the chair-elect, and Patrick Vizzone, the head of food, beverage & agribusiness, international, and head of Hong Kong Coverage for ANZ Banking Group, will serve as the committee’s secretary-treasurer.
Martha Hilton, vice president of produce and floral merchandising for Wegmans Food Markets, will serve as the United Fresh Start Foundation’s chair and a member of the executive committee.
Public comment period on $500M USDA meatpacking investment closes today

Today is the last day to provide comments on USDA’s request for input on spending $500 million in Build Back Better funds to expand meat processing capacity and increase competition in meat and poultry processing.

The agency put out a request for information on the subject after Secretary Vilsack announced the USDA’s investment early in July. Since then, 225 comments have been submitted, offering suggestions ranging from investing in more processor education to grant programs for processors with less than 200 employees, to modifying existing grant programs to better fit small processors.

According to the USDA release, the funds will be put toward “supporting new meat and processing facilities” and will take the form of grants, loans and technical assistance.

China new crop soy purchases continue strong pace

Chinese commitments to buy new crop soybeans from the U.S. for 2021-22 delivery continue strong in the final days of the old crop marketing year, according to USDA data.

The latest weekly data out of USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service shows export sales of 934,500 metric tons of new crop U.S. soybeans to Chinese buyers during the week of Aug. 13-19. Furthermore, subsequent daily sales announcements show China purchased 132,000 tons on Aug. 24, 133,000 tons on Aug. 26 and 129,000 tons on Aug. 27.

Physical exports of 2020-21 soybeans to China in the week of Aug. 13-19 were 71,200 tons, and shipments of wheat and corn to Chinese buyers were more substantial. The U.S. shipped 340,800 tons of 2020-21 corn to China in the same seven-day period. As for wheat – currently in its 2021-22 marketing year – the U.S. shipped 169,100 tons.   

Sugar growers sue over Everglades reservoir project
Florida sugar growers are suing the Army Corps of Engineers over construction of a reservoir designed to help restore the Everglades, claiming their water supply will be reduced.
The Sugar Cane Growers Cooperative of Florida, U.S. Sugar and Florida Crystals have filed separate complaints in federal court in Florida arguing that the Corps did not keep a promise to ensure that their water supply would remain steady.
Their complaints allege violations of the National Environmental Policy Act and the Water Resources Development Act in approval of the Everglades Agricultural Area Reservoir Project.
Vilsack lauds record forecast for U.S. ag exports in FY 2022

The USDA is forecasting record-breaking U.S. ag exports, which Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is chalking up to increasing international trade opportunities and American farmers’ ability to take advantage of those markets. In fiscal 2022, USDA’s Economic Research Service is predicting the U.S. will export $177.5 billion worth of farm commodities.

“Simply put, agricultural trade is all about opportunities – for our agricultural producers, our rural communities and the American economy as a whole, as well as for the global customers who value quality, cost-competitive U.S. farm and food products,” Vilsack said in a Friday statement.

Meanwhile, the U.S. ag sector and lawmakers continue to pressure the Biden administration to negotiate new free trade agreements and nominate a chief agriculture negotiator for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

Questions? Tips? Contact Bill Tomson at bill@agri-pulse.com