USDA meteorologist Brad Rippey, says the east should continue to have very warm weather for the remainder of the month:
“No doubt about spring coming early across the eastern half of the country, as we expect very mild conditions as we wrap up February, primarily from the Plains eastward.
One thing also we can say, is that rather stormy conditions nearly nationwide, and that does include much of the east.”
Rising Demand for Organic and Non-GMO Grains Outpaces U.S. Production
Rising demand for organic and non-GMO foods led to a sharp rise in organic grain imports last year. A new report by CoBank says U.S. production of non-GMO crops has risen, but domestic production for organic corn and soybeans remains well short of current U.S. demand. Food manufacturers are currently exploring new incentives for U.S. growers to transition to organic production, but the transition takes years, a roadblock one CoBank researcher says is “likely holding some U.S. growers back from taking advantage of the market opportunity.” CoBank says demand for both non-GMO and organic crops will continue to grow and, ultimately, monetary incentives will determine whether U.S. growers choose to close the supply deficit. Imports of organic grains from countries such as India, Ukraine, Romania, and Turkey surged in 2016 to meet U.S. demand for organic food products. Organic corn imports more than doubled from 2015 to 2016, and the domestic shortfall for organic soybeans was even greater, with roughly 80 percent of soybeans supplying the U.S. organic market imported in 2016.
Trump Tells Canada to Expect Only “Tweaking” of NAFTA
During his visit with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, President Donald Trump said there would only be “tweaking” needed to the North American Free Trade Agreement. Trump called the trading relationship between the U.S. and Canada “outstanding,” but has yet to outline what kind of tweaks he has in mind for NAFTA. During a press conference with Trudeau, Trump said he is more concerned with the U.S. trade relationship with Mexico under NAFTA. Politico speculates Trump may be considering separate bilateral deals with both Canada and Mexico, breaking away from the decades-old three-nation trade pact.
Switch to Smaller Birds Means More Tender Chicken
Wendy’s has confirmed reports that it is making adjustments to the chicken used in its sandwiches and salads in an attempt to address consumer concerns that its chicken products have a rubbery texture.
The Dublin, Ohio-based restaurant chain hopes to reduce the average size of its chicken by 20 percent because the meat from smaller birds are believed to be more tender and flavorful and is ready to spend nearly $30 million system-wide to implement the changes to smaller birds. The company also noted that chicken-quality issues regarding toughness of the meat have been reported across the restaurant industry.