Recently, USDA released their 2011 year-end crop summary for agriculture. It came as no surprise that it contained good news and bad news. NC Ag Commissioner Steve Troxler:
“I think if I were going to characterize this last year, I’d say it was the one that got away.”
While several crops succumbed to drought and Hurricane Irene, there were a couple of bright spots, according to Troxler:
“Corn, cotton and tobacco all took a beating because of natural disasters, primarily in the eastern part of the state. But, on the other hand you turn around, peanuts and sweet potatoes had an excellent year, and soybeans were up just a little bit. I’d say that soybeans were so-so.”
Cotton yielded just over a bale an acre on average, soybeans averaged 80 bushels to the acre, and corn yielded seven bushels to the acre, less than average at 84 bushels. Then flue-cured tobacco yielded 550 pounds to the acre, less than the average 1,550 pounds.
Economist Says Hog Producers are Making Wise Decisions
Dr. Chris Hurt, Purdue Extension agricultural economist believes hog producers have made a wise decision and remain cautious about expanding their breeding herds despite the industry’s return to profitability. Hurt notes there is still much economic uncertainty for them.
Two-thirds of Nation’s Poultry Plants Expected to go with New Inspection System
USDA’s Food Safety Under Secretary Dr. Elisabeth Hagen says she anticipates two-thirds of the nation’s poultry plants will participate in the newly proposed poultry inspection system.
“There are somewhere around 300 poultry establishments, we expect thtat around 200 of them will want to participate in this new approach to inspection. And that gives me the opportunity to remind folks that this is voluntary, there’ll be plants that may not opt into this new approach to inspection.”
CPI for Food Continues to Increase
The Consumer Price Index for food increased at a faster pace than overall inflation last year, although the increase fell far short of that paid for energy commodities. According to the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for food increased by 0.1 percent during December, following an increase of 0.2 percent in November. For the year, the food index was up 4.7 percent, compared with an increase of 1.5 percent during 2010.