Is The U.S. Facing an Economic Downfall in the Poultry Agricultural Industry?

Could the United States be facing an economic crisis in the agricultural industry similar to the farmers’ debt crisis in the 1980s? There is the possibility that it may happen when we observe the events that occurred during those times. Farmers were consumed in debt which caused them to lose their land, equipment and homes. It affected global economies because of incurred loan debts and decreased assets value. The same thing happened in the mortgage industry beginning in 2007, which resulted in homeowners and entrepreneurs losing their assets.

 

 

 

 

In the 1980s, farmers relied on bank loans to purchase new equipment and inevitably increased prices for their farm products, such as chickens and turkeys. The profitability margin increased for many farmers, but only lasted for a little while. The agricultural debt in the U.S. increased to more than $350 billion by the end of 1981. Farmers were heavily in loan debt with low value of assets. According to The Huffington Post, over 60,000 farmers lost their farm and homes between 1981 through 1986.

 

 

It appears that farmers who raise poultry, including chickens and turkeys are subjected to loan debt compared to large chicken factories. Companies, such as Perdue and Tyson contract with farmers to produce the products. The poultry farmers obtain loans and put their whole possessions up for collateral without knowledge of the outcome. Just because the interest rates are low during the time of the loan, the Federal Reserve can interest rates at any time.

 

 

But, what happens when farmers have to refinance at a higher interest rate? It causes financial stress, risk, and burden on the farmer and his or her family. To start a chicken farm business, the entrepreneur needs approximately $1 million or more in capital. That’s an enormous debt for farmers considering one chicken is sold at approximately five cents per pound. So, who’s really bringing in high revenue, the chicken companies and manufacturers.

 

 

Farmers incur mostly financial debt and risk, rather than profits when they use their assets as collateral to receive loans from banking institutions. The banks are protected by federal government agencies, including Farm Service and Small Business. Who is protecting the farmers when they are encouraged to get loans and eventually default? Maybe the government can do something to start protecting the farmers who do all the hard work to raise chickens and turkeys.

How Australian Farmers Have Adapted to Climate Change

Australia and its agricultural industry have certainly felt the effects of climate change. However, farmers on this island nation have begun dealing with the changes in the weather using some creative techniques, with moderate success.

During this past year, the Australian farming industry chalked up a record in terms of crop production, which translated into record profits. This was a reversal in the downward trend in agricultural yields that the country began experiencing in the early 1990s. It was during this period that wheat production alone in Australia declined by some 25 percent. Based on available evidence, this reduction was directly attributable to rising temperatures that are an element of global climate change. More information about the effect of climate change on the Australian agricultural industry is available at www.reddit.com/r/agriculture.

Some observers have credited the recent turnaround to changes made by Australian farmers in response to the climatic changes. Dealing with such changes can in some cases involve the mere location where the farming is conducted. This is because drier areas that are farther inland have in recent years experienced less rainfall. In wetter areas, such a reduction can be beneficial to crop growth. This type of adaptation is illustrated by the expanded production of grapes on the Australian island state of Tasmania.

Other changes have been procedural in nature. One new technique is known as conservation tillage, in which new crops are planted without removing the residue of the previous harvest. Additionally, farmers have altered their plans in order to take advantage of the moisture that remains in the soil after summer, which has begun to experience greater precipitation than the winter months. Such new growing methods represent a change from the past, when farmers concentrated on increasing production when the conditions were good. Unfortunately, this philosophy cost them dearly during periods of drought. These new techniques and a particularly wet winter have together been credited for the success rate of Australian farmers during the past year.

However, continued success is not guaranteed, especially when considering that the growing conditions may worsen in the coming years. Although their methods have allowed many Australian farmers to remain profitable, they will need newer techniques and perhaps some good blessings if they want to maintain their businesses in the future.

 

North Carolina Farmer Busted with $500 Million Worth of Opium

Officials in Claremont, North Carolina, seized a field of poppy plants from a local farmer on Tuesday with a value estimated at $500 million.

 

The field was located on the farm of Cody Xiong in the small town of Claremont about 40 miles north of Charlotte. The poppy plants can be used to synthesize opium, and their production is highly illegal. Opioids are currently a major problem in North Carolina.

 

“This is the second [poppy field] in the nation,” said Catawba County Sheriff Coy Reid. 4,000 pounds of opium poppy pods were previously found in Mountain View, California, this February, worth up to $400,000. A husband and wife team were arrested in conjunction with the opium bust, and had been grinding the plants into a fine powder for consumption.

 

Narcotics investigators came to the Poultry Road house of Xiong looking for some other information on a tip from a confidential source. When Xiong opened the door, he said, “I guess you’re here about the opium.” Investigators obtained a warrant to search Xiong’s property, and found the plants in a field out back.

 

The poppy plants were planted in rows like corn, and investigators said it did not appear that they were being manufactured into opium on the property.

 

“The plants are being harvested here, and sent somewhere else where the opium is being produced from the plant,” said Reid.

 

One individual in a nearby home was charged in relation to the found field, in addition to Xiong, who was charged with manufacture and trafficking by possession.

 

The plants were being removed from the acre-sized field and loaded into trailers by the sheriff’s department. Samples would be sent to a state lab to confirm that they are in fact opium poppy. The plants would still need to be weighed to determine their exact value.

 

“This is unbelievable,” said Reid. “We’ve been out here for about an hour pulling plants, and we’ve not made a dent in it yet.”

 

Iowa Corn Announces Scholarship Winners

While the farming and agriculture industry has seen a lot of advancement over the past few decades due to automation, it still relies heavily on people. The future of the industry will also continue to depend on the ability for farmers and other employers in the industry to find young talent. This past week, several young people across the State of Iowa were awarded scholarships to help them pursue their goals of having a career in farming.

 

The Iowa Corn Growers Association is the most prominent professional organization in the field of farming and agriculture. There are thousands of members of the organization located all over the State of Iowa and some surrounding states. The organization has been a huge proponent of encouraging young adults and kids with an interest to pursue the field. This past week they announced the winners of their Iowa Corn Future of Agriculture Scholarship for the upcoming 2017 and 2018 school year (http://www.wallacesfarmer.com/education/iowa-corn-future-agriculture-scholarship-winners).

 

Overall, the organization announced a total of eight young adults that won a $500 first-year scholarship and eight upperclassmen scholarships, also for $500 each. All of the scholarships will give direct assistance to help the winners pursue their degrees in the agriculture industry. Larry Bus, who is a spokesman for the organization and is also a full-time farmer, stated that the organization is committed to helping develop future talent for the industry. The organization believes that these students will each play an important part in developing future efficiencies and practices to help feed the world.

 

The winners of the scholarships will be awarded during the Iowa Corn Grassroots Summit, which is held in August every year. Overall, there are eight high school winners from all over the State of Iowa. The upperclassmen winners are all currently enrolled in college, the majority of which attended Iowa State University. All winners of the award went through a tough process. This included being judged an assessed on their applications, essays, grades, other activities, experience in the field, and letters of reference. They also were required to be current members of the ICGA, or be dependents of a current member.

 

How Do Organic Farms Keep Production Efficient?

Organic farming is becoming all the rage nowadays. You can’t go into any supermarket without finding information and products specifically made using organic methods. Organic farming is far different from any other type of production available. If the farm is certified USDA organic, they must follow strict regulations and guidelines in order to achieve and maintain that seal of approval. This means that the farm cannot use any type of chemical pesticide that is harmful to the environment and consumers’ health.

 

The problem with organic farming is that production can be slow and the yield of crops can be small because chemicals are not being used. The farm cannot use growth hormones or chemical growing agents because they will lose their USDA organic seal. Because of this, many farmers are using natural methods to grow their crops and keep the plants in good shape. There are many natural methods to get crops to grow stronger and for longer periods of time. Greenhouses are often used in organic farming because they use the natural sun to encourage growth and vitality. Because the plants are protected in a greenhouse, pests are often not an issue for these particular farmers.

 

Organic farming is more expensive to those working on the plants and this price is reflected in the product you’ll find in your local supermarket. It’s not uncommon to pay two or three times the price for organic produce than you’d pay for the chemical-riddled crop next to it. However, you can save money by visiting farmer’s markets and looking for supermarket sales and discounts specific to organic produce. Once you get in the habit of buying only GMO-free and organic products, you’ll find that going back to your old way of shopping seems “off”. You just won’t feel right buying chemical-produced items that you know are not healthy for your loved ones. While buying organic is more expensive and can be frustrating because crops are generally much smaller in size, it is well worth the price of admission when you look at all the health benefits of going on an all-organic diet.

 

Research Shows That Kid Gardeners Become Healthier Adults

There are numerous benefits to getting outside and planting a garden. First of all, not only will you be able to reap the benefits of your herbs, veggies and fruits in your own kitchen, but you’ll also be able to spend time in the great outdoors and away from screens and technology, which have worked their ways into almost every part of our lives. Gardening can even save you money on foods that would otherwise be expensive or hard to get at the supermarket.

 

These may appear to be the main reasons why people enjoy gardening and find it to be a worthwhile activity, but there may be one more reason too. It’s related to teaching children to garden.

 

New research from the University of Florida suggests that teaching children to garden and cultivate their own vegetables and fruits can help them to be healthier as they grow into young adults and adults.

 

The study specifically looked at college students who were taught to garden at a young age. Researchers examined how likely these students were to have healthy eating habits in college versus those college students who did not take part in gardening when they were young.

 

Overall, the study surveyed 1351 students at the University of Florida. In the end, it was found that those students who had been taught to garden as children ate approximately 15 percent more vegetables and fruits than those students who had never gardened when they were younger. This was true even when students were only eating at the dining hall and not preparing their own foods.

 

It seems that getting your hands dirty early on can be great for your health later in life. If you have children, consider cultivating their preference for homegrown vegetables and fruits, and you’ll see the benefits right now as well as down the line.

 

How does your Garden Grow? Does it Matter?

With recent advances in agriculture, you may find yourself scratching your head in the produce aisle. What’s the real scoop on GMOs, and is organic really better for you? Let’s explore the different choices you have when it comes to growing and purchasing fruits and vegetables.

 

Hydroponic

 

Hydroponic vegetables are grown in a liquid solution of water and nutrients. Of course, they’re nutritive value depends on the levels of nutrients they receive, but hydroponic vegetables have been found to have nutrient levels equal to or higher traditionally grown vegetables.

 

Organic

 

Organic vegetables are free from pesticides and artificial fertilizers. However, they are still exposed to environmental toxins if grown outdoors, and guidelines are relatively loose. You may be doing just as well to thoroughly rinse conventional produce.

 

Genetically Modified

 

GMOs are finally waning from the spotlight. After a large uproar and fears that changing a crops genetics could cause health problems and reduce taste, studies have shown the opposite. In fact, GMO crops are hardier and may be the answer to world hunger.

 

Your Garden, Your Choice

 

Absolutely continue researching healthy options, but don’t panic if you ingest produce of unknown origins. There’s no significant reason to scrutinize the fruit salad at the next barbecue you attend, or to spend extra money on your grocery bill. If you’re eating any sort of produce, you’re doing just fine.

 

Remember to wash your vegetables and fruit well, especially those that grow underground, as E.Coli can live in soil. You should also inspect produce for possible contamination by insects or mold prior to purchase.

 

While homegrown and wild produce may taste superior, don’t fret. You’ll still get the nutrients you need if you buy rather than grow.

 

Statistics Showing Increase In Crop And Pasture Land In Northwest And California

According to a recent survey and report by the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, agriculture land values have appreciated this year in the Northwest and California area. Evidence shows that there is an extremely tight regional supply of available land despite the fact that low commodity prices are bringing down the value of land in other areas.

The average value of land has decreased by $40 from last year. According to the report, the value of cropland this year is $4,090. In Idaho, the average cropland value increased by $100. It was a 3.1 percent increase to $3,300. In California, the average cropland price rose to $10,910 per acre. The new figure represented a 2.1 percent increase. Other regions that recorded a higher percentage increase in farmland value are Oregon and Washington. Oregon was up by 5 percent, while Washington rose by 4.9 percent. Their cropland value was $2,730 and $2,760 respectively.

The increase in cropland value was also consistent with the pasture values. Nationally, the average pasture value is $1,330 per acre. In Idaho, the pasture value is up by 4 percent, at $1,300 per acre. California recorded an increase by 3 percent as the pasture value was $2,700 per acre. The price per acre in Oregon and Washington increased by 3 percent and 2.4 percent in the two regions.

Ben Eborn, an economist at the University of Idaho Extension, said that the high commodity prices that inflated the market caused the first dip in national land values. The buyers were paying higher prices than they could generate from their land. Eborn predicted that the land values would probably go down in the coming years. Idaho farms did not inflate values at the rate that Midwestern farms did. Eborn said that many investors were leasing the land back to the growers who owned them before.

The Senior Vice President for Western Idaho, Doug Robson, stated that the employer’s internal data proved that the land values in the region have strengthened over the years. He attributed this to the state’s ability to attract investors, who could not find better alternatives to farm land. Doug anticipates that Idaho’s core growing areas will remain stable in the coming years.

 

 

Buyers Snap Up Farm Land With Prices Low

Prices for farms have continued to decline year after year but the land, when it goes to market, is quickly purchased by buyers. Most of the buyers of this farm land are local residents as opposed to speculators or those who buy and rent out farms to smaller tenants. Many feel that this is an overall more positive trend for a community and is helping to positively develop areas better than it might otherwise do so with more large scale commercial farms. In some cases these small farmers are even outbidding investors and hedge fund managers.

 

Many people are instead holding onto their farms and not putting it on the market in anticipation of improving future prices.

 

This trend is particularly true in the Midwest where low prices for the three products primarily grown here, wheat, corn, and soybeans, are only a third of their prior value and farmers are experiencing real challenges in making ends meet. Many are hoping for a rebound from these low prices which are mainly the result of production improvements in farming due to the heavy use of nitrogen to improve soil quality.

 

In Iowa, the Mecca of American farmland, prices are approximating $8,000 per acre of land. These prices represent a nine percent drop from earlier years and specifically from 2014. This is down from a peak of about $8,700 per acre in 2013. Iowa is the largest producer of corn and soybeans in the country.

 

Many owners of farmland will try to hold onto their land through thick and thin and pass it on to their heirs. Some do so for tax reasons and try to avoid the estate and gift tax. Others simply want to keep the farmland in their family line and pass down the property and way of life on to the next generation.

 

However, more so than anything else it is the unattractive nature of farmland to investors that is keeping the land out of the hands of speculators and in farmers hands. It would take a significant uptick in the cost of the underlying foods before speculators start to trade in farmland again. Tears of decline in prices have left them uninterested in investing in farmland though everyone realizes that farmland prices are cyclical.

 

Strict Regulations on Genetic Engineering

Genetic engineering is a topic that is constantly talked about in the farming and agricultural industry, based on the fact that there is so much controversy surrounding genetically modified crops. Like many issues that are heavily debated, there are two sides to the fence when it comes to GMOs. Opponents of the use of GMOs in our food believe that there are inherent risks to ingesting food that has been genetically modified. On the other hand, there are a lot of benefits that come with producing genetically modified food, primarily on the side of those that are producing the crops, as it is much easier and more predictable to tend to crops that have been genetically engineered. A great deal of guess factor is removed from the process when genetic factors have been modified, which is why it is so attractive to producers of various crops.

While it may provide a great advantage and be desirable to companies that would like to produce their food more efficiently and effectively, there are also a huge amount of regulations that come with producing genetically engineered crops. Over the last few months there’s been quite a bit of talk of draining the swamp, and this has been directly applicable to the discussion over genetic engineering. Many people are now calling to drain the swamp when it comes to erasing in eliminating laws that prevent genetic engineering, based mostly on the fact that it cost so much money to get over all the hurdles that come with working with genetically modified foods. Proponents for genetically modified food would like to see regulations dropped, which they feel would then put them in a great position to make more money and give a great boost to the agricultural industry. While it has been documented around the globe that genetically modified foods are for the most part completely safe for consumption, there’s no denying the fact that there is likely going to be a rocky road ahead when it comes to altering regulations that currently stand. As is with many industries, many of the bigger producers of crops are able to still get by with such regulations, while smaller producers are finding that the hurdles too great and are closing down their operations.