Plant it Forward South Carolina has received a$25,000 donation from South Carolina electric and Gas. The Plant it Forward SC program will provide relief funds specifically for covering a portion of seed costs in the 2016 crop year, as well as hay losses to livestock farmers due to the floods last fall. Total agriculture losses from the October flooding event are expected to exceed $500 million
NC Cotton Producers Schedule Referendum
North Carolina cotton growers will vote April 1 on whether to continue a checkoff program that supports their industry.
The referendum would reauthorize an assessment of up to $1 per bale of cotton sold, but the N.C. Cotton Producers Association’s board of directors plans to continue the assessment at the current level of 80 cents per bale. The assessment would be in effect for another six years.
The checkoff program supports improvements in cotton production, marketing and research, and also promotes the general interests of North Carolina’s cotton industry.
All North Carolina cotton producers who planted the crop in 2015 and intend to plant cotton this year are eligible to vote in the referendum at their county Cooperative Extension office on April 1. Polling hours will be from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
GMO Labeling Markup Rescheduled for Tuesday
Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts now says the committee will markup his GMO labeling bill Tuesday, following the postponement of the planned markup last week. While the action was delayed due to changes in the Senate schedule, the delay also allows the Kansas Republican to seek more Democratic support for the bill.
USDA Again Drops Exports Forecast
USDA analysts have once again lowered their expectations for U.S. agricultural exports this fiscal year. In August, USDA forecasted exports to reach roughly $138 million. That forecast was revised in December to $131 million. USDA now predicts exports will total $125 million, down more than 10 percent from last year. USDA economist Rob Johansson says one-third of the decline is because of reduced sales to China.
A Look at the Forecast for 2016 Livestock Prices
USDA Chief Economist Rob Johansson, giving the USDA’s Outlook Forum the forecast for 2016 livestock prices:
“Fed steer prices are expected to climb to $137 per hundred weight, down 7%, hog prices are forecasted to fall 47 per hundred weight, down 6% from last year, broiler prices are expected to average 88 cents per pound, that’s down 3%. And with increased production and weaker exports 2016 all-milk prices are expected to fall 8% from last year.”