South Korea has reclaimed its position as the No. 3 market for U.S. beef after lifting a five-year ban put in place following the first case of mad cow disease in the U.S. in 2003. Industry sources expect sales to South Korea to continue rising in coming months amid some stability in the currency markets and as the cookout season begins.
Barring any unforeseen weather factors, the coming growing season should be favorable for alfalfa, according to Dr. Bruce Anderson, professor of agronomy at the University of Nebraska- Lincoln. Conditions are good for a pretty favorable growing season so far, Anderson said.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said last Wednesday that it will allow a 60-day delay on implementing more stringent feed ban regulations for livestock feed ingredients. The regulations, meant to help prevent any potential spread of bovine spongiform encephalopathy.
Legislation aimed at stopping the slaughter of wildlife that are munching on crops has passed the state Senate and now goes to the House. Under the bill, ranchers and farmers could no longer kill wildlife on private land unless the animals were predators threatening people, pets or livestock.
While strong 2008 incomes and years of conservative borrowing have kept U.S. farmers in a relatively good credit situation heading into planting season, the long-term outlook is less positive, analysts said.
The Montana House of Representatives strongly endorsed a bill that paves the way for construction of a horse slaughterhouse in Montana and aims to bring the industry back to the U.S. Backers said ranchers and those who own horses have been struggling ever since all the slaughterhouses in the country were closed down.
Japanese consumers have shifted their buying habits to lower-priced cuts of meat and U.S. beef exporters can take advantage of that move, but must overcome an unfavorable exchange rate hurdle. Still, the beef exporters will have to accept a partial consumer shift to other protein sources as well, market observers say.
The state of the ethanol industry is decidedly different than it was just months ago, but Renewable Fuels Association President Bob Dinneen told industry representatives last Tuesday at the National Ethanol Convention that despite the tough economic times, he believes the ethanol industry will emerge better for it.
Land values fell in the fourth quarter of 2008, but so far in 2009, land is holding its own, slightly off last years highs. Land prices in the fourth quarter were down 6 percent in Iowa and 3 percent in Illinois, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.