A measure of global food commodity costs remained largely unchanged in November despite stronger prices for vegetable oils and sugar. World prices for grains, meat and dairy prices all eased during the month, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s Food Price Index.

The index averaged 135.7 points during November, just slightly below the October level and only 0.3 points above the level a year ago.

The index for corn, wheat and other grains fell by 1.3% in November, due in part to the extension of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, which ensured that grains and oilseeds could continue to move out of Ukraine. Wheat prices fell 2.8% last month.

Vegetable oil prices rose 2.3% but dairy prices declined 1.2%, and FAO’s index of meat prices was down nearly 1%, reflecting a drop in global beef prices.

Keep in mind: Starvation and malnutrition, worsened by drought, flooding and war are severe in parts of the world. A new FAO report says the situation will only deteriorate without systemic improvements to the way farmers grow their food.

The report, The Future of Food and Agriculture, lays out what needs to happen to transform farming systems to make them sustainable and better suited to survive severe disruptions.

“Many of the (Sustainable Development Goals) are not on track and will only be achieved if agrifood systems are transformed properly to withstand ongoing global adversity that undermines food security and nutrition due to growing structural inequalities and also regional inequalities,” said FAO Director-General Qu Dongyu.
Delinquencies down, lending up for farm loans, KC Fed finds 
Delinquent farm loans in the third quarter reached an all-time low in the area covered by the Kansas City Fed, which includes Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Wyoming; 43 counties in western Missouri; and 14 counties in northern New Mexico.
The latest quarterly report also found farm real estate loans grewabout 7% in the third quarter from the same quarter a year ago, while non-real estate loans were up 2%.
“The quick rise in farmland lending pushed real estate loan balances at those banks to historically high levels, and production loans continued to move towards the recent average,” KC Fed economists Nathan Kauffman and Ty Kreitman said in their report.
“Lending has grown alongside a sharp rise in interest rates, supporting an increase in the net interest margin and return on assets at agricultural banks for the second consecutive quarter,” the economists said.
Simpson: Senate has two weeks to pass Farm Workforce Modernization Act 

If the Senate does not pass the Farm Workforce Modernization Act in the next two weeks, it’s unlikely Congress will agree on H-2A reform in the next two years, Idaho Republican Rep. Mike Simpson said during a press call Tuesday.

Simpson, one of the authors of the House-approved bill, said the opportunity to pass it is narrowing, especially if the Senate makes any changes and sends it back to the House for clearance. He doesn’t see it passing in the next couple of years due to partisan gridlock.

“As Republicans take over the House, any bill that comes out of the House will be much more partisan and unable to pass in the Senate and we will just fight back and forth,” Simpson said. "This was a hard bill to come up with. There were some tough compromises in this bill and I think the Senate needs to recognize that.”
Spain, Turkey, China biggest ag importers from Ukraine

Spain, Turkey and China are so far the biggest importers of Ukrainian corn, wheat, vegetable oil and other ag commodities from Ukraine since the country resumed shipping from its Odesa ports, according to new data published by the consulting firm APK Inform.

Spain imported more than 2.3 million tons from Aug. 1 through Dec. 1, while Turkey imported more than 1.7 million and China took about 1.5 million.

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The overall total amount of Ukrainian ag exports since a safe corridor for ships was created under the United Nations’ Black Sea Grain Initiative is more than 12.4 million tons of ag commodities, according to the data. Corn makes up the largest percentage of commodities shipped out of Ukraine – about 42% – while 29.5% is wheat.

Take note: One of the reasons Spain is the largest importer of Ukrainian grain is the weather. Farmers throughout the European Union are suffering very hot and dry weather that’s taking a toll on crops and boosting the need for imports.

“On a positive note, a surge in corn imports originating from Brazil and Ukraine, with the recent four-month extension of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, have increased predictability of the EU grain market balance,” USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service said in a new analysis.

FAS says total EU grain production for the 2022-23 marketing year is now expected to drop to 270 million metric tons, an 8% decrease from the previous year.

Ag innovation center grants available from USDA
USDA’s Rural Business-Cooperative Service is making $8 million available to establish and operate Agriculture Innovation Centers that will provide assistance to ag producers seeking to develop and market value-added products.
The minimum award under the program is $600,000 and the maximum is $1 million. Matching funds are required for at least one-third of the total project budget.
The application deadline is Feb. 23, according to today’s Federal Register notice.

She said it: “Democrats have really given middle America the middle finger.” That was Sen. Joni Ernst, R- Iowa, responding to a question on Fox News Sunday about Democrats proposing to move their first-in-the-nation presidential nominating process from Iowa to South Carolina.

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