The American Farm Bureau Federation’s Second Quarter Marketbasket Survey shows food prices have dropped. This informal survey shows a drop of about three-percent for the total cost of the 16 food items surveyed compared to the first quarter of 2012. The cost for the overall basket of goods – at $50.91 – is down about one-half of one-percent compared to a year ago. AFBF Economist John Anderson says the current Midwest drought will likely have an impact on food prices next year…
“The lags between production and retail price realizations can be very long and a lot of things can happen to muddy the water. In general a drought is a difficult circumstance to deal with and it will reduce production of some of the items.”
First Lady’s HealthierUS School Challenge Goal Met, Exceeded
More than 37-hundred schools are now certified in the HealthierUS School Challenge – one of the key parts of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Initiative to end childhood obesity within a generation. USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Janey Thornton made the announcement recently – noting USDA committed to working with schools across the nation to reach the goal of having 2,250 schools certified by the end of June 2012.
House Members Consider Splitting the Farm Bill
The House Ag committee approved it's version of the farm bill and is now waiting for approval by House leadership to get it on the calendar for debate on the House floor. The commodity title budget is 35-billion versus food stamps and social programs at 750-billion.
Ag Committee member Indiana Congressman Marlin Stutzman says there's mounting frustration by members representing farm states over Ag's willingness to make budget cuts – but resistance from others to consider the proposed two-percent cut to food stamps. That frustration prompted conversations about splitting the bill in two with true farm issues in one bill and nutritional assistance in another…
“We are giving concessions on $35 billion and we are getting no concession on the $750 billion, so I think there is a great frustration and concern with the size of the food stamp program. I believe it is time to split the bill.”
House speaker John Boehner has not yet agreed to give the bill floor time before the August recess.
Fed Chairman Points to Congress for Economic Stall
Bernanke reports on the economy and says the recovery is threatened by Congress' failure to address tax and spending decisions needed by the end of the year and says they need to fix it.
Bernanke went on to say the federal reserve hasn't made any decisions yet but is looking at taking more steps to try to stimulate the economy.
Inflation Remains Unchanged
The last figures from the Labor Department shows inflation was unchanged in June. Mark Zandi, chief economist with Moody's Analytics, says cheaper gas held down consumer prices:
“We saw large declines in energy prices, that was mostly gas, which rose in the spring but has been falling over the last several months so that accounts for the biggest declines.”