Thousands of Farmers Markets Listed in USDA Directory
Sunday marked the start of National Farmer’s Market Week. Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan announced a 9.6-percent increase in National Farmers Market Directory listings Friday. USDA’s online database identifies 7,864 farmers markets operating through the U.S. - up from 7,175 listed markets last year.
Merrigan explains that states are increasingly using studies to show the economic benefits of direct sales to consumers by farmers:
“More and more states are coming out with economic analysis that show the facilitation of local agriculture can be very important to the economic development of the state, job creation in their state and their bottom line. Georgia recently stated from their study that if everyone spent $10 per week of their food budget to buy local, it would be $2 million to the state economy.”
Farm Production Expenditures Reach Record High
USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service released its 2011 Farm Production Expenditures summary late last week. Farmers spent a record-high 318.7-billion dollars to produce ag products last year. That’s an increase of 10.2-percent over 2010. The average production expenditures per farm were up 11.3-percent at $146,653. The largest expenditure category was feed. Farmers spent an average of $25,129 on feed in 2011.
National Recognition for Southeastern Crops
Farmers in the nation's mid-section are suffering through a brutal drought. That in turn means higher prices for farmers in the Southeast who have a bumper crop. Correspondent Jim Krasula reports:
“Unlike their counterparts in the Midwest and plains, many farmers across the southeast, including William Gillis, are looking at their best harvest in years:
‘For us to have such a good year, we know that someone else had to have a bad year.’
With much of the nation suffering though drought conditions, corn and soybean prices are near record highs.”
Legislators Point Fingers on their way to the Airport for the August Recess
While Nebraska’s Mike Johanns criticized the Senate leadership for choosing not to move the House-passed disaster relief legislation - Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow criticized the House leadership for refusing to move forward with a comprehensive five-year farm bill. The House Agriculture Committee passed its version of the farm bill last month with strong bipartisan support - and the full Senate passed its farm bill in June.