Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Monday November 21 Ag News


For the week ending November 20, 2022, there were 6.4 days suitable for fieldwork, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 48% very short, 39% short, 13% adequate, and 0% surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 51% very short, 38% short, 11% adequate, and 0% surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Winter wheat condition rated 20% very poor, 20% poor, 39% fair, 20% good, and 1% excellent.

Sorghum harvested was 98%, ahead of 94% last year and 92% average.

Livestock Report:

Pasture and range conditions rated 42% very poor, 36% poor, 18% fair, 3% good, and 1% excellent.


Harvest neared completion with 4.8 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending November 20, 2022, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Cold temperatures and snow limited additional fieldwork to applying soil amendments such as anhydrous, manure, and lime.

Topsoil moisture condition rated 17 percent very short, 35 percent short, 47 percent adequate and 1 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture condition rated 24 percent very short, 38 percent short, 37 percent adequate and 1 percent surplus.

Harvest of the corn for grain crop was virtually complete at 97 percent. Moisture content of field corn being harvested for grain remained 16 percent.

Livestock were mostly in good shape with calves weaned and cattle out feeding on stalks.

USDA Crop Progress Report: 4% of Corn Remains in Fields; Wheat Condition Holds Steady

The U.S. soybean harvest wrapped up last week and just 4% of the nation's corn crop remained in fields, USDA NASS reported in its weekly Crop Progress report on Monday.

-- Harvest progress: 96% of corn was harvested as of Sunday, Nov. 20, up 3 percentage points from 93% the previous week. This year's harvest progress is now 2 percentage points ahead of last year's 94% and 6 percentage points ahead of the five-year average of 90%.

-- Crop development: 87% of winter wheat was emerged as of Sunday, 2 percentage points ahead of last year's 85% and 1 percentage point ahead of the five-year average of 86%.
-- Crop condition: 32% of the crop was rated in good-to-excellent condition, unchanged from the previous week but 12 percentage points below last year's rating of 44% good to excellent. That is the lowest good-to-excellent rating for the crop for this time of year in over 20 years.


Extension ag land management, leasing workshop scheduled statewide

Nebraska Extension and the Center for Agricultural Profitability at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln will host a series of in-person land management workshops covering current cash rental rates and leasing considerations for 2023. They will be held at locations across the state during the winter months.  

The workshops will offer updated leasing information relevant to landlords and tenants, including tips for communication and negotiating. They will address topics like current cash rental rates, managing and adjusting farmland leases, landlord-tenant issues, pasture leasing, crop share leasing and other management considerations.  

The presentations will be led by Allan Vyhnalek, an extension educator specializing in farm and ranch transition and succession, and Jim Jansen, an extension agricultural economist. Both are with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Center for Agricultural Profitability.  

Farm and Ranch Lease Considerations for 2023 Schedule
Dec. 5 in Ord: 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the office of Nebraska Extension in Valley County, 801 S St. Register: 308-728-5071. Lunch included.

Dec. 12 in Albion: 1 to 4 p.m. at the Casey's Building on the Boone County Fairgrounds, W. South St. and Fairgrounds Road. Register: 402-395-2158.

Dec. 19 in Norfolk: 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Madison County Extension Office, 1305 S. 13th St. Register: 402-370-4040. Lunch included.  

Dec. 20 in West Point: 1 to 4 p.m. at the Nielsen Community Center, 200 Anna Stalp Ave. Register: 402-372-6006.  

Dec. 21 in Saunders County: 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Eastern Nebraska Research, Extension and Education Center, 1071 County Road G, near Mead. Register: 402-624-8030. Lunch included.

Jan. 4 in Holdrege: 1 to 4 p.m. at the Ag Center on the Fairgrounds, 1308 Second St. Register: 308-995-4222.

Jan. 5 in Hastings: 9 a.m. to noon at the Adams County Extension Office, 2975 S. Baltimore Ave. Register: 402-462-3247.

Jan. 6 in O'Neill: 9 a.m. to noon at the Holt County Courthouse Annex, 128 N. 6th St. Register: 402-336-2760.

Jan. 9 in Beatrice: 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the office of Nebraska Extension in Gage County, 1115 W. Scott St. Register: 402-223-1384. Lunch included.

Jan. 17 in Hartington: 1 to 4 p.m. at Cobblestone Inn & Suites, 405 Arens Drive. Register: 402-254-6821.  

Feb. 1 in Lincoln: 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the office of Nebraska Extension in Lancaster County, 444 Cherrycreek Road. Register: 402-441-7180. Lunch included.

Feb. 20 in Lyons: 1 to 4 p.m. at the Lyons Community Center, 335 N. Main St. Register: 402-374-2929.

The meetings are free to attend, but registration is required for each date. The schedule and registration information for each location are listed. More information is available at https://cap.unl.edu/succession.  


– Jerry Volesky, NE Extension Forage and Range Specialist

Fall rain and snow are good for wheat and next year’s crops, but it does have its drawbacks.   One challenge is its impact on corn stalk feed quality.

While this fall has been relatively dry, there has and will continue to be areas that receive some rain or snow events.  Rain reduces corn stalk quality several ways.  Most easily noticed is how fast stalks can get soiled or trampled into the ground if the fields become muddy.

Less noticeable are nutritional changes.  Rain or melting snow soaks into dry corn stalk residue and leaches out some of the soluble nutrients.  Most serious is the loss of sugars and other energy-dense nutrients, which lowers the TDN or energy value of the stalks.  These same nutrients also disappear if stalks begin to mold or rot in the field or especially in the bale.  Then palatability and intake also decline.

Another factor that affects cornstalk grazing is wind.  Throughout the fall, there always seems to be those days where excessively high winds will easily blow corn leaves and husks off the field.  This of course, can impact the amount of feed, and after grain, those leaves and husks contain the highest nutritional quality.

There is little you can do to prevent these losses.  What you can do, though, is to closely monitor cow and field conditions while adjusting your supplementation program accordingly.  Since weathering by rain reduces TDN more than it reduces protein, consider the energy value of your supplements as well as its protein content.

Weathered corn stalks still are economical feeds.  Just supplement them accordingly.


The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is contacting producers for the December Hogs and Pigs Survey. This end-of-year survey is the most comprehensive gathering of quarterly data on market hog and breeding stock inventories as well as pig crop and farrowing intentions in every state.

“According to the most recent Quarterly Hogs and Pigs report in September, there were 73.8 million hogs and pigs in the United States,” said Nicholas Streff, NASS Northern Plains Regional Director. “The December survey and resulting report will continue to provide important indicators for the industry of what changes are occurring – if any.”

NASS will mail the questionnaires to all producers selected for the survey in late November. To ensure all survey participants have an opportunity to respond, NASS interviewers will contact producers who do not respond by mail or online to conduct telephone and personal interviews.

The data gathered in this survey allow NASS to accurately measure and report conditions and trends in the U.S. pork industry over the course of the year. The information is used by all sectors of the industry, including producers themselves, to help make sound and timely business decisions.

NASS will publish the survey results in the Quarterly Hogs and Pigs report on December 23. All NASS reports are available online at www.nass.usda.gov/Publications/. For more information, call the NASS Northern Plains Regional Office at (800) 582-6443.

Connie Lindstrom to Present Biofuels Benchmarking™ at Nebraska Ethanol Board’s December Meeting

The Nebraska Ethanol Board welcomes Connie Lindstrom, senior biofuels analyst at Christianson Benchmarking LLC., to present at its board meeting Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022, in Lincoln. Lindstrom will present on trends in Nebraska ethanol plant performance. The company specializes in Biofuels Benchmarking™, which allows ethanol plants to access a vast database of anonymized industry data, insights, and reports.

“By observing trends, decision-makers can set priorities and improve processes,” Lindstrom said. “Benchmarking information is key to managing risks, identifying opportunities and prioritizing resource use.”  A growing set of opportunities are emerging for Nebraska ethanol plants and agricultural producers, ranging from process optimizations to plant expansions and development of innovative co-product streams.
The Nebraska Ethanol Board will meet at 10 a.m. at Hyatt Place (600 Q Street) in meeting rooms I-III. The agenda includes:
    Presentation: Connie Lindstrom, senior biofuels analyst Christianson Benchmarking LLC
    Budget Report
    Fuel Retailer Update
    Nebraska Corn Board Update
    Renewable Fuels Nebraska Update
    Technical & Research Updates
    Marketing Programs
    State and Federal Legislation
    Ethanol Plant Reports
    Election of Board Officers for 2023

This agenda contains all items to come before the Board except those items of an emergency nature. Nebraska Ethanol Board meetings are open to the public and also published on the public calendar.


All layers in Nebraska during October 2022 totaled 6.92 million, down from 8.28 million the previous year, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Nebraska egg production during October totaled 164 million eggs, down from 206 million in 2021. October egg production per 100 layers was 2,370 eggs, compared to 2,492 eggs in 2021.

IOWA: Iowa egg production during October 2022 was 1.07 billion eggs, up 5 percent from last month but down 17 percent from last year, according to the latest Chickens and Eggs report from the USDA's
National Agricultural Statistics Service. The average number of all layers on hand during October 2022 was 41.0 million, up 2 percent from last month but down 17 percent from the same month last year. Eggs per 100 layers for October were 2,604, up 3 percent from last month but down 1 percent from last October.

October Egg Production Down 4 Percent

United States egg production totaled 9.13 billion during October 2022, down  4 percent from last year. Production included 7.83 billion table eggs, and  1.30 billion hatching eggs, of which 1.21 billion were broiler-type and 90.6 million were egg-type. The average number of layers during October 2022 totaled 374 million, down 4 percent from last year. October egg production per 100 layers was 2,439 eggs, up slightly from October 2021.
Total layers in the United States on November 1, 2022 totaled 375 million, down 4 percent from last year. The 375 million layers consisted of 309 million layers producing table or market type eggs, 62.6 million layers producing broiler-type hatching eggs, and 3.52 million layers producing egg-type hatching eggs. Rate of lay per day on November 1, 2022, averaged 78.7 eggs per 100 layers, up slightly from November 1, 2021.

October Milk Production in the United States up 1.2 Percent

Milk production in the United States during October totaled 18.9 billion pounds, up 1.2 percent from October 2021. Production per cow in the United States averaged 2,001 pounds for October, 17 pounds above October 2021. The number of milk cows on farms in the United States was 9.42 million head,
31,000 head more than October 2021, and 1,000 head more than September 2022.

Milk production in Iowa during October 2022 totaled 496 million pounds, up 8 percent from the previous October according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Milk Production report. The average number of milk cows during October, at 239,000 head, was 1,000 above last month and up 14,000 from October 2021. Monthly production per cow averaged 2,075 pounds, up 25 pounds from last October.

Iowa Cattle Industry Leadership Summit set for December 15-16

Iowa cattle producers have an opportunity to weigh in on cattle industry topics of concern at the Iowa Cattle Industry Leadership Summit and Annual Meeting. This year’s event will be held Dec. 15 through 16 at Prairie Meadows in Altoona, Iowa.

Throughout the day, attendees can participate in educational sessions, covering industry topics such as price risk management, international trade and Checkoff-funded production research. A full trade show and opportunities for networking will feature new products and solutions for producers in all sectors of the beef cattle industry.

Leadership Summit is also the culmination of our formal policy development process. Members are encouraged to participate in policy committee meetings, which provide the opportunity to review expiring resolutions and introduce new policy priorities for the Association. Decisions made by members in the policy committee meetings will be presented to the board for ratification at the Annual Meeting. Based on feedback we’ve received over the past year, we expect policy discussions to center on eminent domain and property rights, cattle market reform and the upcoming 2023 Farm Bill.

The day will come to a close with dinner, awards and a keynote address by Amanda Radke. Radke is a fifth-generation rancher from Mitchell, S.D., who has dedicated her career to serving as a voice for the nation's farmers and ranchers. Radke regularly tackles industry issues as a columnist and speaker. She believes food security is national security, and her work is focused on keeping producers on the land and ensuring every citizen has access to safe, affordable and nutritious food in this country.

To register for the Iowa Cattle Industry Leadership Summit, visit iacattlemen.org. Registration is highly encouraged, and early bird rates will be offered through Wednesday, Nov. 30.

Hotel accommodations can be made online by following the link and entering the delegate code and password listed below. To receive the group rate, you will need to make reservations prior to Thursday, Dec. 1.

NGFA calls on Congress to prevent a rail shutdown

The National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) called upon Congress today to act to prevent a rail shutdown in December.

The Biden administration brokered an agreement between the National Railway Labor Conference, which represents railroads, and 12 rail labor unions on Sept. 15 that prevented a rail strike subject to final ratification by the unions. However, four unions have now voted against ratification. Congressional action will be necessary if they fail to reach an agreement before the “cooling-off” period ends, which is currently scheduled for Dec. 5 for one union and for Dec. 9 for the other three unions that voted to not ratify.

“A rail strike or lockout combined with existing challenges in the rail system and other modes of transportation, including trucking shortages and low water levels on the Mississippi River hindering barge shipments, would be catastrophic for the U.S. economy,” said NGFA President and CEO Mike Seyfert. “The rail network has experienced significant service disruptions at different times throughout the past year. Any additional disruption of rail service would immediately impact the nation’s food and agriculture and broader supply chains. The risk in both domestic and international markets is real. Congress must take bipartisan action to prevent a strike or lockout from occurring.”

NGFA and 192 other members of the Agricultural Transportation Working Group sent a letter to congressional leaders on Nov. 3 urging lawmakers to be prepared to prevent a shutdown of the rail system.

Cattle on Feed

Matthew Diersen, Risk & Business Management Specialist, South Dakota State University

The expectations before the November Cattle on Feed report were for fewer placements, more marketings, and fewer cattle on feed compared to a year ago. Several analysts expected placements to be down about five percent. The actual placements came in below the average expected as did the actual on-feed total. Feedlots in Colorado and Kansas have on-feed totals sharply lower than a year ago. Texas had a sharp decline in placements compared to last year, and those were uniformly lower across weight classes. Perhaps tight feed supplies are pressuring those feedlots. Idaho and Washington stood out slightly with increased placements compared to a year earlier. Overall, the report would be slightly supportive of nearby fed cattle prices as it indicates tighter supplies of market-ready cattle.

The on-feed situation is a continuation of a couple of longer-run patterns. In the October report the heifer mix in feedlots was reported at 39.7 percent of cattle on feed. This was an increase from a year earlier and from the prior quarter. It was also the highest heifer mix since 2001. The supply of feeder cattle outside of feedlots as of October 1 continued to decline. Note that the supply level outside feedlots was down 3.3 percent from a year earlier and the trade estimate for placements was down 3.6 percent - consistency of indicators is reassuring. At 28.6 million head, the supply outside feedlots is the tightest since 2014. There are fewer feeder cattle available, fewer being place, and a larger share of those have been heifers, which means continued tight fed cattle supplies going forward. Drought conditions are prevalent, especially in the western U.S. The dairy sector seems to have stabilized and is in a better position to compete for tight forage supplies compared to the beef (cow-calf) sector. The combination of these factors would generally be supportive of calf and feeder cattle prices for the remainder of 2022 and throughout 2023.

Heading into 2023, the Economic Research Service (ERS) and LMIC have price forecasts for fed cattle and feeder cattle that can be compared to recent futures prices. The ERS forecasts for fed cattle are $153, $154, and $155, respectively, for the first three quarters of 2023. The LMIC forecasts reflect a higher seasonal increase in the second quarter, with prices ranging from $147 to $158 across the three quarters. Recent live cattle futures prices for most of 2023 range from $155 to $160. Thus, fundamentals suggest some price pressure relative to the futures prices. This could be managed by using put options, establishing floor prices while leaving the upside open. Sharp rallies could be managed by stepping in futures sales. The ERS forecasts for feeder cattle are $177, $190, and $214, respectively, for the first three quarters of 2023. The LMIC forecasts reflect more uniformity, with prices ranging from $176 to $188. Feeder cattle futures prices show a similar uptrend expected as prices increase from $183 to $203 for much of 2023. The disparity may slightly favor using futures sales in nearby months, while favoring put option approaches for summer and fall months.

New Monounsaturated Soybean Oil Works Well in Pig Diets

Adding a fat source to the traditional corn-soy swine diet is common practice, but the type of fat can make a difference both for growing pigs and carcass quality. Polyunsaturated fats, the primary type in distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS), can reduce fat quality and complicate processing of pork bellies and bacon.

High oleic soybeans, high in monounsaturated fats, create a stable oil valued by the food industry and nutritionists concerned with heart health. And according to new University of Illinois research supported by the United Soybean Board, high oleic soybean oil performs well as a DDGS substitute both for growing pigs and pork processing characteristics.

The research team fed growing pigs a standard corn-soybean meal finishing diet, plus DDGS or high oleic soybean oil (HOSO) as a fat source. They included DDGS at 25% and the HOSO at 2%, 4%, or 6% of the complete diet.

"When we fed the high oleic soybean oil, we saw reduced average daily feed intake, which makes some sense because as we include more energy in diets, pigs will usually consume less. The pigs were more efficient in converting that diet into pounds of gain," says Bailey Harsh, assistant professor in the Department of Animal Sciences at Illinois and lead researcher on two new studies in the Journal of Animal Science.

In addition to growth performance, the first study focused on overall carcass characteristics.

"When we think about what is important to producers or to the standard commercial finisher, it's how those pigs perform and yield in terms of carcass weight and fat free lean. We wanted to make sure all of that was in one study so a producer could look at that and say, well, here's the impact on my bottom line," Harsh says.

The researchers found minimal differences in primal weights across the diets, but the overall trend showed greater fat thickness and reductions in fat-free lean as the HOSO percentage went up.

"As we added more fat to the diet, moving from 2% to 6%, the pigs grew more efficiently but were a little bit fatter and their carcass cutability dropped just a little bit, but not enough that we would be too concerned," Harsh says.

A second study focused solely on loin and belly quality, including palatability, from the same set of pigs. Drilling down allowed the researchers to evaluate whether the diets affected the highest-value primal cuts.

"Bacon quality, as well as belly quality, is relatively dependent on a pig's diet," Harsh says. "If pigs are consuming a standard DDGS-containing diet which has more polyunsaturated fatty acids, those pork bellies will also be more unsaturated. We usually think about unsaturated fats as being very soft or liquid at room temperature, so you can have problems with softness of the bellies that can make them hard to slice. The loin is another primary outcome, so we needed to make sure we didn't have any major impacts on the loin either."

Harsh says she saw very little impact on palatability, oxidation, or belly and loin quality in pigs fed HOSO compared with the DDGS diet. As expected, bellies from HOSO-fed pigs were thicker and firmer, with a higher proportion of monounsaturated fatty acids compared with DDGS-fed pigs. And loin chops were just as tender, juicy, and flavorful in the HOSO-fed pigs as pigs fed the industry standard supplement.

Although the researchers evaluated three HOSO inclusion levels in the studies, they didn't specifically intend to make a recommendation for the swine feed industry. However, based on their results, Harsh says the 4% level looks promising.

"If we're talking about maximizing lean growth traits, the 2% is probably best because those pigs are a little bit less fat. But the 4% level probably is best for improving the thickness of bellies and making them a bit firmer, without compromising lean percentage to the same degree as the 6% level," she says. "Looking at all the traits together, the 4% HOSO inclusion seemed to be the sweet spot."

Although HOSO achieves good growth and meat quality characteristics, Harsh notes producers may pay a premium for the ingredient for now.

"Diet cost per pound of pig weight gain was actually a little more for HOSO than the DDGS diet. However, we really think most of that is a factor of availability," she says. "DDGS are plentiful, so cost is lower. HOSO currently makes up a small portion of the total market, so it is more expensive. But as high oleic soybean production increases, the price for HOSO will eventually go down."

The studies, "Effects of feeding high oleic soybean oil to growing finishing pigs on growth performance and carcass characteristics" [DOI: 10.1093/jas/skac071] and "Effects of feeding high oleic soybean oil to growing-finishing pigs on loin and belly quality" [DOI: 10.1093/jas/skac284] are published in the Journal of Animal Science. Authors for both papers are Katelyn Gaffield, Dustin Boler, Ryan Dilger, Anna Dilger, and Bailey Harsh. Funding was provided by the U.S. Soybean Board.

The Department of Animal Sciences is in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

Ag Committee Delegation Traveling to Cuba This Week

Congressman Salud Carbajal (D-CA) is leading a bipartisan House Agriculture Committee delegation of Rep. Jim Baird (R-IN) and Rep. Jahana Hayes (D-CT) to Cuba.

"As members of the House Agriculture Committee, we work every week in Washington to track the impact that U.S. agriculture and agricultural trade is having in nations around the globe. And as the United States is one of Cuba's largest suppliers of agricultural imports, we look forward to seeing the impact of U.S. products and the opportunity to survey local agricultural practices," said the delegation.

"We will be meeting with farmers and agricultural experts to help us understand the current state of agriculture and food supply in Cuba, as well as discuss where opportunities for mutual economic benefit may exist for American businesses and the Cuban people. We are eager to report our findings back to our colleagues and our committee upon our return."

The bipartisan delegation is expected to meet with Cuban farmers, agricultural business operators, and local officials to discuss the current state of agriculture in Cuba, the impact that U.S. commodities are having in Cuban markets and households, and related issues.

Wisconsin Singer Wins 10th Annual National Anthem Contest

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) announces that Franki Moscato of Oshkosh, Wisconsin, is the winner of the 10th annual National Anthem Contest, sponsored by Norbrook®. Moscato will sing the “Star-Spangled Banner” at the 2023 Cattle Industry Convention & NCBA Trade Show in New Orleans during the Opening General Session as well as at the Friday night “Party Gras” concert.

“Farming has been part of my family’s history since before my ancestors arrived from Wales in 1857,” said Moscato. “It is an honor to be chosen to sing for an industry that means so much to me.”

Moscato first sang the National Anthem at the age of 11, has performed at Lambeau Field and competed on the television show “American Idol”. She was cast in two feature films and a human trafficking documentary series used in schools across the nation. Moscato is actively engaged in her community as a hospital volunteer, and she created the Franki Moscato Foundation to fight the growing teen suicide epidemic. She inspires kids to recognize bullying and suicide awareness through regular school assembly performances and keynote presentations.

“My goal is to inspire people of all ages to try their best, to take risks and to do things that they otherwise wouldn’t attempt,” said Moscato.

As the winner of the contest, Moscato will receive roundtrip airfare to New Orleans, hotel room for three nights, convention registration, a meet-and-greet hosted by Norbrook®, plus a pair of boots, jeans and a shirt from Roper or Stetson. Online voting by the public determined the winner.

The annual Cattle Industry Convention & NCBA Trade Show is the oldest and largest convention for the cattle business. The 2023 convention is Feb. 1-3, and features education, entertainment and meetings of NCBA, Cattlemen’s Beef Board, CattleFax, National Cattlemen’s Foundation and American National CattleWomen. For best pricing, register before December 1 at  convention.ncba.org.

NFU Releases 2022 Farmer’s Share of Thanksgiving Food Dollar

Today, National Farmers Union (NFU) released the 2022 Farmer’s Share of the food dollar for several items typically served for the Thanksgiving holiday.  

"Corporate profits and consumer food costs continue to go up and up, but the share of the farmer’s share of the food dollar remains low,” said NFU President Rob Larew. “Thanksgiving is a time of family and community, often centered around food, but thanks to price gouging by corporate monopolies in the food system, that meal is getting increasingly difficult to afford. NFU will continue to push back against harmful anti-competitive practices and for policies that bring fairness to farmers and consumers alike.”

Even though consumers are paying more for food this year, almost none of that increase is being passed on to America’s family farmers and ranchers. Multiple waves of mergers and acquisitions during the last several decades resulted in agriculture and food supply chains that are not only uncompetitive and fragile but also underpay farmers.

Included in the 2022 Thanksgiving Farmer’s Share numbers are:
·     Turkey: Retail Price - $1.99/pound, Farmer’s Share - $0.06/pound
·     Sweet Corn, 16oz frozen: Retail Price - $2.59, Farmer’s Share - $0.44
·     Stuffing, 12oz box: Retail Price - $3.59, Farmer’s Share - $0.13
·     Boneless Ham, 2lb: Retail Price - $12.98, Farmer’s Share - $1.00
·     Mashed Potatoes, 5lb bag: Retail Price - $5.99, Farmer’s Share - $1.30
·     Apple Pie Filling, 21oz can: Retail Price - $4.99, Farmer’s Share - $1.03
Farmer’s Share data is derived from USDA, NASS “Agricultural Prices". Retail prices based on Washington, D.C. based Safeway locations.

Happy Thanksgiving! There’s Plenty of Butter

First, the bad news (for consumers): Heading into the holiday baking season, butter prices are, indeed at an all-time high. That’s for a few reasons. The biggest one is simple demand. Americans love butter, with the highest per capita consumption since the 1960s leading to the highest overall demand ever for the nation’s pre-eminent spread and ubiquitous baking ingredient. Overseas markets are also getting in on the act, with another record year for dairy trade possible in 2022.

Meanwhile, butter supplies haven’t, as of yet, been able to keep up with that demand enough to stabilize prices. That’s especially been the case in the past couple months, when retailers traditionally stock up in anticipation of the holidays. And of course, once you get past the actual cost of making butter itself and then add transportation, packaging, labor, and all the other the costs that are making everything else more expensive too, you have a recipe for record butter prices on the grocery shelf. And that’s making consumers (and media) notice.

But are higher prices the same thing as a “shortage”? We posit, not. Are store shelves empty? There’s always some one-off instances somewhere, but with those exceptions, no. Are crowds of consumers lining up for blocks outside local supermarkets to buy out rationed supplies, like early-COVID toilet paper? (Everyone stand six feet apart, please!) No again. And is anyone who wants to buy butter currently being deprived of anything other than $5 should they choose a four-pack, maybe a little extra if it’s extra-creamy European Style?!?? (And often less is you catch a good sale.)

That’s three strikes, and still, no one’s out of butter.

It’s easy to understand the concern: Butter is, after all, nature’s most perfect sandwich spread, the ingredient that makes a top-quality croissant worthy of a nasal-sounding French pronunciation. And even with all this, the underlying concern that’s fueled the “shortage” worries is itself showing signs of fading. Milk production is on the rise again, and with that, butter futures traded on commodities markets are declining. While some product prices rise and stay that way, butter goes up and down. Take a look at this chart -- a dozen years of butter-price history that includes both the value of butterfat to a farmer (blue line) and the cost at the grocery store (orange line). See how they move together – and see where the blue line’s expected to go in 2023.

“What goes up, must come down” applies to butter. Production chases prices, and eventually higher production pushes prices down. That’s not always so great for farmers, by the way – and one nice thing for them about current pricing is that it’s helping farmers smooth out a challenging few years and rebuild the balance sheets they need to thrive. So be patient if you’re feeling sticker shock, and in the meantime, feel good that you’re helping a farmer.

But above all, don’t feel like you’re at risk of a butterless Christmas. The food chain, and the law of supply and demand, are ensuring that doesn’t happen. The holidays would be less happy without butter, but it just ain’t gonna happen. So Happy Thanksgiving. And here’s to, um, butter days ahead.

NTF Celebrates 75-year Tradition of National Thanksgiving Turkey Presentation

National Turkey Federation (NTF) Chairman Ronnie Parker presented the National Thanksgiving Turkey named "Chocolate" to President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. today during the National Thanksgiving Turkey Presentation. "Chocolate" and his alternate, "Chip," received a formal pardon from the holiday table and will now reside at the Talley Turkey Education Unit at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina. This year's presentation marked an exciting milestone as NTF celebrated 75 years of this time-honored American tradition dating back to 1947.

"When I started my career in the turkey industry 44 years ago, I never dreamed that I would have the opportunity to present the National Thanksgiving Turkey at the White House," said NTF Chairman Ronnie Parker. "I want to thank President Biden for welcoming the National Turkey Federation and my family to the White House. Chocolate and Chip had a pretty remarkable day for two turkeys from North Carolina! While this event is a fun tradition that has spanned 75 years, it is also an important reminder of the importance of American turkey producers and agriculture in delivering food to the table. It's an honor to represent these hardworking men and women. Happy Thanksgiving!"
Additional Information

The 2022 National Thanksgiving Turkey and alternate were raised in Monroe, North Carolina, by NTF Chairman Ronnie Parker. Parker is a 44-year veteran of the turkey industry and serves as General Manager of Circle S Ranch. Parker was joined in presenting the National Thanksgiving Turkey by Lexie Starnes, a 4th generation member of the Starnes family involved in the operation of Circle S Ranch. While in Washington, D.C., Chocolate and Chip stayed at the historic Willard InterContinental. Following their visit to the White House, the turkeys will retire to NC State University where they will be under the experienced care of veterinarians, faculty and students within the Prestage Department of Poultry Science.

NTF's participation in the National Thanksgiving Turkey Presentation began in 1947 with President Harry Truman. It has continued for 75 years across 14 successive administrations.

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