3 Picks: Production Costs, Syrian Crisis, Australian Conundrum
Sydney Fish Market. Photo by Nathan Cooprider @Flickr CC.
Below, are today’s three chosen agricultural-related news picks.
1) Net U.S. farm income in 2013 will be $120.6 billion, up 6 percent from 2012: “Total farm production expenses will increase 0.3 percent from the USDA’s February estimate to $354.2 billion, the highest level on record, in nominal and inflation-adjusted dollars. The agency said it expects rent, labor and feed prices to increase the most among farm expenses this year. Among farmer costs, feed, the biggest spending component, is projected to increase 3.7 percent from last year to $61.3 billion. Fertilizers will cost $28.2 billion this year, down 1 percent from last year, while seeds are up 4.9 percent, to $21.3 billion. ‘It’s important to note that while income numbers are staying up at nice levels, production costs are continuing to climb and climb,’ Bob Young, chief economist for the American Farm Bureau Federation in Washington, said in a phone interview.”
2) Food Sellers are unwilling to sell to Syria: “Syria’s efforts to step up food purchases are being thwarted by sellers unwilling to risk delays in payments from frozen foreign bank accounts. Civil war and a deepening humanitarian crisis have prompted the government of President Bashar Assad to issue a series of tenders for sugar, wheat, flour and rice in recent weeks. The country needs to import around 2 million tons of wheat this year as civil war has sliced its crop to a near-30 year low at 1.5 million tons, less than half the pre-conflict average. State buyers said payment for purchases via tenders would be made from the government’s frozen accounts abroad with waivers obtained from countries that have imposed financial sanctions. But international traders are showing little enthusiasm for the proposed payment system. ‘This is too much of a big risk. The process of getting funds from the frozen accounts is too slow and complex to enable a rapid offer in a grain tender,’ one European trader told Reuters.”
3) Julian Cribb Gives Australians a Verbal Lashing About their food situation: “‘When I started reporting in agricultural journalism there were 19,000 dairy farmers in Australia, today there are less than 3000 and they’re still leaving, so how many are we going to have left in 20 years time?’ He says this decline, combined with the supermarkets increasing reliance on imported foods, is making Australia’s food supply increasingly insecure. ‘Between 1/4 and a 1/3 of our fresh fruits and vegetables are coming from overseas now and a lot of them are coming from China. It’s a crazy situation, the Chinese have got a food problem of their own but they’re exporting their food to Australia.’”
This news post was written and compiled by K. McDonald.
Interesting Note: A very curious thing happened that I’d like to share. My Aug. 21st post, The Editors of Scientific American Take a Stance Against GMO Food Labeling, was one of the most popular ever, here on little b.p.a. Only recently have I added the social media buttons below posts, and that one quickly shot up to 257 facebooks, 13 Google 1+, 47 tweets, and 14 LinkedIns. I’m not sure when it happened, but Google News has removed it from their news index. This reduces its status and searchability, and I’d like to know why. One could speculate, but I’d rather have someone who knows way more than I do about this subject to weigh in. (Note that there is a difference between a Web search and a Google News search. The post obviously is still available by web search.)