Poultry Industry Struggles Since RFS Mandates Went Into Effect

This post (below) is from the USDA. I like this quote from the last sentence of the summary

“The cessation of broiler industry growth, due to slowing growth in population, per capita consumption of chicken, and exports, places new financial pressures on broiler producers and new stresses on industry organization.”

Though the USDA will not tell you that escalating feed prices resulted from using 40 percent of the corn crop for ethanol production, which is the main cause of the decline in poultry meat production here in the U.S., I think that almost any poultry producer will explain that to you rather quickly. (!)

From the USDA…

U.S. broiler production has leveled off after decades of rapid growth

Between 1960 and 1995, annual broiler slaughter in the United States grew from 1.5 to 7.4 billion birds—4.6 percent per year, on average. With birds also getting larger—from an average of 3.35 pounds to 4.66—total live-weight production grew at an average rate of 5.6 percent per year.

While average weights continued to grow steadily after 1995, growth in annual slaughter slowed sharply and then fell in 2009 and again in 2012. Total live-weight production reached 49.8 billion pounds in 2008, but did not exceed that figure until 2013. In all, live-weight production grew by just 1.3 percent per year between 2003 and 2013, one-fourth of the 1960-1995 growth rate.

High produc­tion growth in earlier decades—and slowing growth later—reflected movements in demand for chicken meat. The cessation of broiler industry growth, due to slowing growth in population, per capita consumption of chicken, and exports, places new financial pressures on broiler producers and new stresses on industry organization.

source: usda

Agriculture Subsidy Chart Comparison

This is an interesting chart I found that was embedded in a WSJ article related to how the world trade agreement discussions are treating India. Trade in agricultural agreements – needless to say – is complex.

See how EU Ag subsidies have been falling over the years… although I do not know how much additional crop subsidization is provided by its member states these days.

Source: How Can India Be Breaking WTO Rules When Rich Countries Spend So Much More on Their Farmers?

A Farmer Speaks Out: Unsustainable High Input Costs of Industrial Farming

The fine folks over at Farm Journal’s AgWeb published a letter which they received from a viewer following a show that they aired about the U.S. Farm Report. I thought it was very well stated, and the unsustainability of today’s big ag trajectory is not discussed often enough. What is the cropland owner to do when caught on this hamster wheel???
—Kay M.


THE LETTER:

In today’s U.S. Farm Report Mr. Phipps rightfully pointed out that we all constantly need to learn new skills. But if these skills are just employed in the same direction we have been going for many decades now, then will accelerate the downfall of even more farmers.

Relentlessly driven by economic competition, farming today is a high input game hunting the highest yield.

Ironically in the same shows which feature serious brokers and farm journalists warning the farmers to be prepared for the consequences of their own endeavors and pointing out the vicious cycle of great harvests and depressed prices, farmers are still admonished to be early adopters of the latest technology, i.e. yield enhancing chemicals, machinery and growing methods…as if the narrow band of specialization of row crop farmers was leading anywhere but disastrous ruin for most in the long run.

Only a few very large operations of that kind make it – not without help from the taxpayer, by the way.

Who profits most? The providers of said chemicals, machinery and growing methods.

I do not need to point out who suffers most from that kind of agriculture which has been in the heads of most farmers. On the other hand, there are a good number of examples of farmers who are breaking the mold, resorting to very different approaches to farming, but they are not featured.

Most of them can be found in the organic and/or horse-farming community. As long as farmers let themselves be talked into the afore-mentioned rat race the attrition of their numbers can be safely assumed.

How about forming organizations in which farmers for example discuss optimal yields for themselves and their communities, not maximum outcomes with their price-destabilizing consequences? How about organizations which help farmers to overcome the narrow specialization and give them tools for more diversified farming operations?

I could give more examples, but the idea should be clear: If we continue to be going in the directions we have been going for several decades now we should not be surprised that we will arrive there. Only a few people with deep pockets can even start independents farms, most will be hirelings and/or dependents of large corporations.

–Respectfully, (Missouri Farmer)

The Electric Ziesel. I Want One.

Who Wouldn’t Want One? The Ziesel Workmachine.

This is an electric motored machine with lithium-battery technology.

This fun-to-watch video features the Ziesel multipurpose vehicle and shows some of its farm applications and versatility. Tracks mean that it causes very little soil compaction as it does its work. It has mounting equipment on the front and back, too.

To see specs go to the company website here: http://derziesel.com/wordpress/?page_id=74&lang=en