Crop progress reports were released last week, nationwide. In North Carolina there were few surprises, but that doesn’t mean that there wasn’t disappointment. NC AG Commissioner Steve Troxler says the biggest concern is the corn crop:
"Well, not only dry but hot. When you couple the two together you're certainly going to have some production problems and I think the report is reflective of that and especially with the corn yield forecast that's at 81 bushels per acre. You know everybody is concerned about the amount of corn that we have available for our feed and our livestock industry and we're also producing ethanol out of it and of course there's other uses. So we wanted a big corn crop nationwide and this is reflective that North Carolina's not going to have that."
If ever there was a year that producers wanted and needed a good cotton crop, this would be the one:
"The price of cotton is very good, the demand is there... but we're seeing some suffering in the cotton yield, too."
The state’s peanut crop is the bright spot:
"The peanut yield right now looks really good at about 3,300 pounds per acre and the good news I'm hearing the forecast that contract prices for peanuts this fall is going to be very, very good."
The state’s tobacco crop is hanging in there.
Good News at the Gas Pump
There's some relief at the gas pump. More from CBS News Correspondent Frank Settipani:
Drivers can thank a drop in the price of crude oil for a nine cent per gallon dip in gasoline prices over the past three weeks. But industry analyst Shelby Lundberg says gasolina isn't exactly cheap, "The average nationally is now $3.61, .84 above what we were paying a year ago."
Drivers in Tuscon are paying the lowest in the country average of $3.26 for a gallon of regular. Chicago is the most expensive place to fill the tank with an average price of $3.97.
Renewable Energy Industry Focusing on Federal Supports
As the federal budget remains in a precarious position and cuts lie ahead in government spending - a contraction of federal support remains a real threat to the continued growth of renewable energy. The leadership of 25 x ’25 says with Congress in recess - now is the time for 25 x '25 partners to band together and clearly articulate the strategic national value of clean energy solutions from America’s farms, ranches and forests. Read more...
Large Trade Deficit Causing Concern
The U.S. trade deficit at 53.1-billion dollars in June is at its highest level since 2008 - rising 4.4%. Coalition for a Prosperous America Executive Director Michael Stumo says that’s an alarming level:
"The trade deficit shows that imports exceed exports and that we are importing what we could otherwise produce. Imports are substitutes for what we would produce. If we produced it, we would create the jobs and wealth that goes with that production here in America. But instead our politicians are persuing Free Trade Agreements which continue that disturbing trend."
Stumo says what’s needed to help fix the problem is a dynamic national trade strategy to neutralize the unfair practices in other countries