Packaging Changes Could Affect Food Prices

Recently, Pioneer Hi-Bred announced that they are going to change the way they sell soybean seed to the farmer. Instead of being sold by the pound, they will begin selling by count, much like the switch in corn seed in recent years. NC State grain specialist Dr. Ron Heiniger says this will have an impact on the farmer, and ultimately the overall food supply:

“It’s not a good trend for growers in the long term. Certainly it would be great to go back to a fifty pound bag of corn seed where we got 40,000 seeds out there, but the problem in doing that it is just too expensive to do that.”

Its been said that agricultural output will have to increase by as much as 50% in the next 20 years in order to feed a growing world population. Changes like this are going to make it more difficult. Most soybean production goes into animal feed.

USDA’s Latest Food Price Forecast Shows Little Change

USDA food price economist Ephriam Leibtag, reviews USDA's latest food price forecast for this year:

“This month’s update just has one change. Retail pork prices have been adjusted a little downward, projections are now for pork prices to rise 2-3%, and that is lower than in the past. All of the other numbers, all the way up to restaurants and grocery stores are unchanged. That means that food prices in general are projected at 2.5 to 3.5 %, restaurant prices at 2-3%, and grocery store prices at 3%.”

Consumer Confidence Slips Significantly

Consumer confidence has taken a dip. The Conference Board's measure of Consumer Confidence is now at 62, down from 64.4 in May. The board's Lynn Franco:

“The real key here is the labor market. We get several months of strong growth followed by several months of very weak growth and that is doing very little to instill confidence in consumers.”

The measurement for a healthy economy is around 90. Franco says if consumers don't see confidence in the future they may be less likely to spend.

South Carolina Peaches Coming Off Early

A mild winter and early spring could mean a plentiful peach crop for South Carolina this year. Clemson University horticulture professor Desmond Layne says the 2012 peach crop will likely be ready earlier than usual. Layne says South Carolina farmers have already shipped about 40 million pounds of peaches so far this year. The state is consistently the nation's second-largest peach-producing state behind California.

Online Map Shows Consumers Where to Find Antibiotic-Free Meat

A group that believes the government is moving too slowly when it comes to the use of antibiotics in animals is showing consumers where to get meat from animals raised without antibiotics. Shoppers can use an online map to find retail locations, farmers, markets, farms and restaurants sourcing antibiotic-free meat. The map’s launch coincides with a new “Meat Without Drugs” campaign. Public health advocates say scientists have long known that antibiotic use – whether in medicine or agriculture – fuels antibiotic resistance. But the pork industry has continually pointed out that there is no scientific study linking antibiotic use in food animals to antibiotic resistance in humans. is dedicated to serving the agricultural industry in the Carolinas and Virginia with the latest ag news, exclusive regional weather station readings, and key crop market information. The website is a companion of the Southern Farm Network, provider of daily agricultural radio programming to the Carolinas since 1974. presents radio programs, interviews and news relevant to crop and livestock production and research throughout the mid-Atlantic agricultural community.