When we think about farmers, particularly here in the Brazos Valley, we normally think about producers who grow cotton and grain, and or maybe even the produce that we find in our local Farmers’ Market.
When you’re an agricultural producer, you face challenges every year, but with this year’s growing season only about half over, and a damaging hailstorm already on the books, many are anxious about what adversity they could be facing next.
Two weeks ago, when a hailstorm hit our area, roofs were damaged, trees had their leaves knocked off, and vehicles were dented. But on its way to town, it wreaked havoc on crops in the Brazos River Bottom.
The slowdown in pork processing is causing problems for U.S. pork producers, not the least of which is that pigs are still growing and are still being born every day. Producers are being forced to make some very tough decisions.
The slowdown in beef processing around the country due to the Coronavirus has caused a slip in calf prices that has put many ranchers plans to market their calves on hold. For those beef producers the question becomes how long do I wait to sell or sometimes how long can I wait?
Over the last twenty years, the Beef Industry has pushed for a higher quality more consistent product because that’s what consumers wanted. Today when you shop you may have noticed more of the higher UDSA grades available at your grocery store. That’s also what consumers want.
Since the nation’s beef cattle herd had already hit its peak as far as the size of the herd, cattle prices were projected to slowly rise this year, but that was prior to the coronavirus. Since the first of the year prices have dropped almost three hundred dollars per calf, even though demand for beef remains good. But markets don’t like uncertainty.
To say that over the last twenty years farming has become more complicated is a bit of an understatement. When you couple the technology that is required to put in a crop today with the marketing expertise it takes to sell a crop it’s easy to see why farmers would take exception to a politician claiming that he could teach anyone to be a farmer.
The coronavirus outbreak in China has not only caused health concerns worldwide, but it’s resulted in China putting much of its economy on hold and that is having negative effects in a variety of business sectors around the globe. Agricultural commodity markets are no exception.
The Ag Industry encourages its producers to talk with consumers and tell their story to try and bridge the disconnect that exists between the two groups, but it’s also important that producers engage with their elected representatives.
Predictions of a rebound in corn production in the Midwest coupled with rising competition from Brazil, Argentina, Ukraine, and Russia, and a steady but static demand, along with the expected record supply of corn suggests that there will be significant downward price pressure at some point this spring or summer.
John Sharp, the Chancellor of the Texas A&M University System made headlines recently when he sent a letter to Harvard University’s president claiming that some of Harvard’s faculty had engaged in an unethical campaign to discredit Texas A&M over its involvement in a study on red meat.
Some experts are optimistic about the prices ranchers may be receiving for the calves that they sell this year. Part of what’s fueling this optimism is a strong demand for U.S.beef, both here at home and abroad
Precision agriculture allows farmers to use new technologies to help them increase crop yields and hopefully profitability by lowering inputs like land, water, fertilizer, herbicides, and insecticides.
Most people in agriculture will tell you every year is different with different challenges than the year before. 2019 certainly bore that out. Most old-timers we talked to couldn’t remember a year that had started so wet due to continuous rains in the fall and then remained wet for so long through the winter and spring.
Our traditional Christmas celebrations wouldn’t be possible without production agriculture. Everything from the trees we decorate, to the tables we gather around, to many of the gifts we give originates on a farm or ranch.
While the use of Artificial Intelligence in agriculture is relatively new there are some applications that are currently being utilized in Ag machinery and a lot more that look very promising moving forward.
While Ag experts don’t see any day soon when a machine is able to run a farm, there is huge potential for using them to help with some of the management decisions farmers must make during a growing year.
Ranchers, just like farmers are always hoping for better prices next year, and a strong demand for beef here at home along with some optimism about increased exports has many industry experts encouraged for 2020.
When most of us go grocery shopping we just assume that whatever we’re looking for will be there, giving little thought to the fact that none of the traditional favorites that we enjoy during holidays originate at a grocery store.
This year we had a frost that came about three weeks early and that means that ranchers’ summer pasture grasses have gone dormant and even if winter grasses have been planted, they’re fairly slow-growing until we get into late winter or early spring. Hence it’s up to ranchers to provide their cattle the nutrition necessary to sustain themselves.
This time of the year finds most farmers attending meetings with representatives from seed companies and gathering data on new varieties that might be under consideration for the upcoming planting year.
After two years of excessive rains at harvest time, this year cotton farmers are counting their blessings. They had good weather conditions for picking this year’s crop although it was really late due to exorbitant rains we received that started last fall and didn’t let up until late last spring.
If you’re a rancher, for the most part, when your calves are ready to be sold, you have to take whatever the market price is at the time you’re selling. Cattle prices have been falling and while there is a seasonal pattern for calf prices in the U.S., this year there have been some other contributing factors.
Due to the record breaking wet weather this fall and spring most of the crops in our area were planted much later than normal and gave producers cause to worry about what kind of problems Mother Nature might throw at them. Cotton is starting to be harvested
If you know what grain sorghum is you’re probably familiar with the red colored grain that we see grown in our area. There are, in fact, many versions and colors of this grain and one variety notable for its potential health benefits was developed here at Texas A&M.
The anti-animal agriculture movement began by arguing for animal rights and animal welfare, then moved to food safety, and now the major argument being used is the carbon footprint, but in the scientific community the story surrounding methane as a greenhouse gas in changing.
For years the Beef Industry has competed with other products as a protein source, whether it was with chicken or pork or fish, and plant based alternatives have always been available. But the Beef Industry is drawing a line in the sand when it comes to the use of the term “beef” by any alternative products. on Gill is a Professor and Livestock Specialist for Texas A&M AgriLife Extension.
The U.S Beef Check-Off Program was started in 1986 as a producer funded marketing and research program that assesses one-dollar per beef animal at the time the animal is sold. In 2014, Texas beef producers created a check-off of their own. The Texas Beef Council uses that money for research, education and marketing.
Most years you can ask any farmer and he can tell you about something that just wasn’t right weather wise, but last year at harvest time the weather was a disaster and it carried over into this year at planting time.
The continuous and excessive amounts of rain we received that began last September and carried on through the spring not only prevented a lot of last year’s cotton crop from being harvested, it also delayed the planting of this year’s crops and in many cases changed plans.
There’s a myth that’s been perpetuated for several years that all our modern day farms are large corporate farms. The truth is that 97% of all farms are family owned and run. Just because they are incorporated does not mean that they are a corporation in the traditional sense of the word.
Suburbia continues to put pressure on agricultural producers particularly in a state like Texas where agriculture is such an important part of the economy. More than one thousand people move to Texas every day, and many feel that growth is on a collision course with the agricultural community.
Most ranchers are like dry land farmers in that they depend on whatever rainfall they get to grow their crop, which in a rancher’s case is forage for his cattle. But what if a rancher, like many farmers had the ability to irrigate?
On average, one out of every three acres of crops grown in the United States is exported to other countries. Those exports account for about twenty percent of the value of annual agricultural production so when other countries raise tariffs on U.S. agricultural products to make them more expensive for their consumers to buy, it definitely has a negative impact on our nation’s farmers. Joe Outlaw is a Texas A&M AgriLife Economist.
Trade talks between the United States and China are expected to dominate the G20 Summit being held in Japan this week. And since U.S. Agriculture has a huge stake in the discussions, we thought it would be appropriate to take a closer look at what triggered the almost year-long trade tensions between the United States and China. Joe Outlaw is a Professor and Texas A&M AgriLife Economist.
President John F. Kennedy was quoted as saying “The farmer is the only man in our economy who buys everything at retail, sells everything at wholesale, and pays the freight both ways.” It’s also true that when a farmer’s crop or a rancher’s animals are ready to go to market, they have to take whatever the market pays them, and right now prices for beef producers are in a slump.