Odesa, Ukraine, port officials are making preparations to resume grain exports despite uncertainty over the survival of a deal struck Friday with Turkey, Russia and the United Nations to allow a resumption of trade, according to the firm UkrAgroConsult.
Russian missiles struck Odesa on Saturday, provoking fear that the deal could be scuttled.
“We continue the technical preparation for the launch of the export of agricultural products from our ports,” said Ukrainian Minister of Infrastructure Oleksandr Kubrakov.
DOJ settlement with poultry companies could spell trouble for tournament system
Advocacy groups cheered the Justice Department’s announcement of settlements that, in addition to making nearly $85 million available to poultry processing workers, could make it easier for USDA to make changes to the way companies pay growers.
The department issued a proposal in May addressing the “tournament” system used in the industry, seeking to "stop unfair, deceptive, discriminatory, and anticompetitive practices in the meat and poultry industry.”
On Monday, DOJ released consent decrees with Cargill Meat Solutions, Wayne Farms and Sanderson Farms, as part of its review of Cargill and Continental Grain’s purchase of the two poultry companies, which will become Wayne-Sanderson Farms.
“These stipulations effectively prohibit Cargill-Continental’s use of the abusive tournament system, in which contract poultry farmers compete with each other for a price they will be paid for raising poultry,” Farm Action said. Its president, Joe Maxwell, told Agri-Pulse he thinks “we'll actually see Cargill and Continental be more willing to accept or at least not oppose these other reforms” to the Packers and Stockyards Act.
In a statement in which it did not admit wrongdoing, Cargill said it has “committed to stronger grower support including longer contracts, true base pay, assisting with access to capital to enhance their operations, and a profit-sharing program for growers and employees – a first of its kind.”

IPEF leaders to negotiate at ministerial summit

U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo will meet virtually today with leaders of the other 13 Indo-Pacific Economic Framework nations for ministerial-level negotiations.
The potential multilateral pact will be popular with farm groups if the U.S. can get substantial agreements to lift non-tariff trade barriers. The effort has faced significant criticism because it will not contain traditional market access deals to reduce tariffs.
The virtual meeting will be closed to the public and media, prompting complaints from Arthur Stamoulis, executive director of the Trade Justice Education Fund.
“For IPEF to achieve its goal of creating a new trade model that benefits working people across the region, it cannot be created in a close-door process that gives hundreds of corporate advisors privileged access to negotiators and draft texts, while shutting out most of civil society and the public,” he said.
Young, beginning farmers receive focus at farm bill listening session
Representatives from several Minnesota farm groups urged the House Ag Committee on Monday to update its programs to raise the limits for Farm Service Agency guaranteed and direct farm loans for younger and beginning farmers.
The speakers cited rising land prices and high input costs as significant barriers to beginning farmers, urging the committee members to raise loan rates and take a closer look at how these programs are operating.
"The price per acre in this country and this district is such that it’s very cost-prohibitive for someone to get into farming,” Rep. Angie Craig, D-Minn., told Agri-Pulse after the hearing. "So I think we have to take a look at how we can support that transition."
Take note: Commodity group representatives at the event also repeated a familiar message about crop insurance: "Do no harm.” Several groups, including the Minnesota Corn Growers Association, did call for increasing reference prices in commodity programs, however.
But wait, there’s more: Dairy producers also called for the committee to carry the updated Supplemental Dairy Margin Coverage program into the next Farm Bill, since it has seen changes since the formula was first created in 2014.
Food prices to rise in 2023, but not as much as they did in 2022, ERS projects
Food inflation should ease next year, USDA’s Economic Research Service said in an outlook updated Monday.
After an expected rise of between 10-11% in 2022, food-at-home, or grocery, prices are projected to rise between 2 and 3% in 2023, ERS said. The price of food at restaurants is expected to increase 6.5-7.5% this year, and 3-4% in 2023.
The outlook noted the steady rise in food prices over the past year. The food-at-home Consumer Price Index increased 1% from May to June and was 12.2% higher than June 2021, and the food-away-from-home CPI rose 0.9% in June and was 7.7% higher than June 2021.
Oakland port back in operation after trucker protest
The Port of Oakland is back up and running after several days of being shut down by truckers protesting California’s new “gig worker” law, AB 5.
“The Port of Oakland has resumed full operations,” said Port Executive Director Danny Wan.
"We appreciate the independent truck drivers' use of the designated Free Speech Zones and we thank local law enforcement for their continued assistance.”
“The truckers have been heard and we now urge them to voice their grievances with lawmakers, not the Port of Oakland,” Wan said.
Truckers in the state are worried about the impacts of the law, which they say would make it much more difficult to operate their own businesses.
She said it: "We've got to address it. How we get that in the right place, I think there's more questions and answers right now. But we're going to have to come up with some answers in the 2023 Farm Bill.” — Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill. when asked by Agri-Pulse about how initiatives to curb climate change should factor into the farm bill. A Minnesota producer had urged the House Ag Committee on Monday to maintain separation between crop insurance and climate initiatives in the next Farm Bill. 

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