Showing posts from tagged with: agriculture news

How to Solve the Crop Survival Problem

Posted December 26, 2017 by Administrator

The 1960s and 70s gave birth to the green revolution, yielding significant increases in wheat and rice. This became possible by incorporating alleles into the crop genomes that made plants hardier and more resistant to rust diseases. This prolific crop production kept food affordable for Americans until the early 21st century, when the food crisis of 2008 destabilized prices. Ever since, yield trends fall increasingly short of predicted global needs for 2050, bringing a sharp focus back on improving crop yield and resilience.

21st Century Solutions for Modern Problems

Agro-scientists are looking to not only increase crop yields but improve their resilience as well. However, this is proving to be somewhat of a challenge. Most crop stressors are abiotic in nature, such as drought. While scientists can breed crops that are resistant to drought, these same plants cannot thrive under irrigation. The current goal is to develop a crop that is not only resistant to drought but can thrive under optimal conditions as well.

The biggest challenge thus far has been speeding up improved crop yields. Some possible methods of improvement include:

  • Forward genetic approach. This requires scientists to isolate genes associated with the preferred traits that improve crop yield. This allows them to select and cultivate plants with these traits, but progress is slow going.
  • Reverse genetic approach. Gene cloning allows scientist to understand how certain genes function. However, even when they know which genes are responsible for abiotic resilience, they cannot be certain which gene to target for the best results. Thus far, simple changes have not led to significant increases in crop yield.
  • Increase genetic diversity. Creating a cross between different types of plants can produce rare and resilient crops. For example, scientists have managed to cross an ancient wheat with wild grass to create a synthetic wheat that produces a high yield and is able to withstand drought conditions.

The most probable method to succeed is a combination of all of the above. Sharing research and genetic resources can help tremendously with field-testing. As crop problems evolve, the methods and techniques used to combat it needs to change as well. Farmers and other crop producers need to stay abreast of the latest changes and challenges facing the agribusiness industry. To learn more about improving and protecting your agribusiness, contact Cline Wood today.

This document is not intended to be taken as advice regarding any individual situation and should not be relied upon as such. Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC shall have no obligation to update this publication and shall have no liability to you or any other party arising out of this publication or any matter contained herein. Any statements concerning actuarial, tax, accounting or legal matters are based solely on our experience as consultants and are not to be relied upon as actuarial, accounting, tax or legal advice, for which you should consult your own professional advisors. Any modeling analytics or projections are subject to inherent uncertainty and the analysis could be materially effective if any underlying assumptions, conditions, information or factors are inaccurate or incomplete or should change.

Soy Meal to Boost Soybean Market

Posted May 2, 2016 by Administrator

shutterstock_273948848Some experts believe that soy meal may be the boost the soybean market needs to finally pull away from its below cost-of-production trend. And the US is in position to become the place where the world turns to meet its soy meal needs.

Trouble in South America

Recent issues in Brazil and Argentina have caused experts to lower their soybean production estimates for 2015-2016. Argentina’s inclement weather has cause the worst harvest in a decade. It also fulfilled experts’ calculation that it would take a weather event to drive the price of soybeans up from its record lows.

With Argentina struggling with its poor harvest, the US is next in line to meet global and domestic soy meal needs. US currently has 300 million bushels of soybeans and with demand growing, the price per bushel is expected to rise.

Not all trade experts are convinced that soy meal will be able to save the soybean market. While other experts say that what happens in the soy meal market in May and June will set the tone for how soybean futures will perform.

To help understand the ambiguous future of the soybean market and other important agribusiness news, contact the experts at Cline Wood.

Agricultural Slump Leads to More Aid

Posted April 11, 2016 by Administrator

livestock imageAs farm income is expected to hit a 14-year low, more agribusiness profits are being bolstered by US subsidies. Unless the price of important crops such as corn performs better than expected, the US farming community will continue to struggle to be profitable.

Over $50 Billion in Aid

According to USDA estimates, federal aid will comprise 25% for total profit for farmers this year. Total aid will reach over $50 billion, which is higher than was predicted two years ago. The last time farmers received this high of a payout was ten years ago in 2006. And agriculture states are looking for ways to help their farmers with even more government aid as the prices for certain crops continue to falter.

Corn and Soybeans a Losing Proposition

Agribusiness income is less than half what it was even three years ago. The main culprits of the lackluster profits are the price of corn and soybeans. Despite the fact that corn and soybeans are the biggest US crops, farmers will lose money for every acre they plant this growing season due to a significant drop in prices. And the price of corn over the next few years will be a major factor in the fate of the farming industry.

Experts estimate that corn prices will hover around $3.70 a bushel for the next nine years. If corn manages to rise above this estimated average, then the government won’t have to provide as much aid to farmers between now and 2025.  If corn prices drop, to say $3.00 a bushel, then government subsidies will need to increase over the next nine years.

In the meantime, states that depend on farming are looking at alternatives, such as adding cottonseed to the list of crops that qualify for subsidies, and emergency aid to help farmers make it through the lean years.

Contact the experts at Cline Wood to learn more about the current state of agribusiness and how it affects your business.

Stay Informed on Animal Health and Food Safety Regulations

Posted June 10, 2015 by Administrator

livestock imageThere are various Federal agencies that administer animal production health and food safety in the United States. These agencies are charged with:

  • Ensuring livestock production has a minimal negative impact on the environment,
  • Imported livestock is inspected and monitored to prevent transmissible diseases such as foot and mouth disease, swine flu, and avian flu – do not spread to U.S. food-producing animals,
  • Livestock feeding practices, and
  • Food safety for meat products.

The agency that is responsible for inspecting imported live animals is USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). This agency helps to ensure that livestock are not exposed to certain diseases that can cause catastrophic economic losses to U.S. food producing animals, or diseases that can also affect humans entering into the U.S. food supply.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) administers oversight of livestock feeding. The food ingested by livestock can have a major impact on the nation’s food supply and public health. The regulations are primarily focused on keeping contaminants and diseases out of the food supply. More information can be obtained at the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.

The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is the government agency responsible for inspecting slaughter facilities, animals and meat products. The FSIS generally focuses on  food-borne illnesses such as E. coli, salmonella and listeria.

Other animal health and food safety agencies include:

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