Nationwide response rates to USDA surveys have steadily decreased since 1992, with South Dakota's rate falling "well below the national average," according to Erik Garlach of the National Agricultural Statistics Service. Although reporting is not mandatory, the USDA relies on the information gathered for accurately administering crop insurance programs as well as disaster assistance disbursements.
A three-year demonstration project in Iowa will provide farmers with $5 per-acre premium reductions in exchange for planting qualified cover crops. "We see this new crop insurance premium reduction as a great way to reach a broader group of farmers and landowners in order to promote continued interest in planting cover crops," said Mike Naig, deputy secretary of agriculture in the state.
The 2018 farm bill should give quality equal priority to yield, says cotton farmer David Dunlow, who says many North Carolina cotton farmers lost money in 2015 and 2016 when heavy rains damaged crops. The other priority Dunlow and other cotton producers seek is inclusion of "seed cotton" as a commodity in the bill.
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue sought input from Iowa farmers about crop insurance at a recent roundtable in Johnston, Iowa, that included Rep. David Young, R-Iowa, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds and Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey.
Economist Randy Fortenbery of Washington State University believes the 2014 farm bill will be extended by at least a year, he said during a speech at the Tri-State Grain Growers Convention in Spokane, Wash. Consultant Matt Roberts of the Kernmantle Group said he does not anticipate dramatic revisions when a new bill is finalized, but noted the concerns of the dairy and cotton industries.
Marion County, Mo., Farm Bureau president Joe Kendrick and other farmers in the state plan to discuss funding for crop insurance as a priority at their December annual meeting. Farm Bureau vice president Ralph Griesbaum noted crop insurance ultimately helps keep food prices low for consumers.
Citrus growers, universities and government sources are uniting to address the deadly citrus tree disease huanglongbing, which has not yet affected California crops but has infected trees in Texas and Florida. Efforts in Texas to eliminate the Asian citrus psyllid, which carries the bacteria, have kept damage to Texas citrus minimal, said Dale Murden of Texas Citrus Mutual.
The advantages and disadvantages of on-farm water storage systems vary depending on factors including access to groundwater and crop prices, says Brian Williams of Mississippi State University. Farmers have to sacrifice acreage for water storage systems, says Williams, but they benefit from being able to mitigate drought risk.
Coca-Cola will test a new stevia-sweetened cola in a small international market during early 2018. The latest formulation is said to improve on earlier attempts to substitute stevia for sugar; the company has tweaked the recipe to eliminate the aftertaste that consumers previously disliked.
J.M. Smucker Co. has watched its e-commerce sales of coffee and Jif peanut butter rise by more than 150% and 75%, respectively, during the company's most recent quarter. "These represent some of the fastest-growing categories in e-commerce as they are well suited for a subscription model," said CEO Mark Smucker.