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Farm News & Views - July 19, 2022

Last week, testimony presented at a U.S. House Agriculture Committee hearing pointed out that while more than half of American farmers will reach retirement age in the next 10 years, entry into farming is an increasingly difficult process for young want-to-be farmers who are not in line to take over or inherit an established farm or ranch. According to Nathan Kauffman, vice president and economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, “Barriers include high prices of existing land, buildings and equipment, increasing input costs and volatile markets.” The committee is looking for ways to mitigate some of these risks while supporting young and beginning farmers in the next farm bill. Agriculture Committee Chairman David Scott of Georgia stated that access to credit is a tool that the committee should make available to the next generation of men and women who will take the place of those who are retiring from farming.

Reports about inflation have been top news stories recently, and the Labor Department said food, housing, and gasoline were the largest contributors to the U. S. inflation rate, but the growth of food prices in June was 1%. That’s down from 1.2% in May. Although prices increased across many food categories, with large increases in the price of butter, sugar, sweets and flour, beef, pork, poultry, fish and egg prices, which had driven the rising grocery prices most of this year, were lower.

As most of us look for ways to trim expenses, the spending category that’s probably the easiest for us to reduce is food, according to economists. Suggestions for reducing our food expenses include making grocery lists for the food items we need before going to the store, pursuing grocery store ads for sale items, and using store discount coupons wisely, since store coupons are usually only for brand name products that are often more expensive than store brands, and avoid shopping when we’re tired and as hungry as hostages, because we may be tempted to buy items that aren’t on our lists. Even though we may shop economically, we should avoid wasting the food we’ve purchased. According to the USDA, Americans waste between 30% and 40% of our food supply annually, which amounts to 133 billion pounds of food worth $161 billion. The University of Minnesota Extension suggests that we can reduce food waste by hanging a magnetic dry erase board on the refrigerator door, where we can note the date that purchased food or leftover meals were stored. That will provide a reminder of when it should be consumed.

About 2,000 fairs are held in North America annually, offering industrial exhibits, demonstrations, and competitions aimed at the advancement of livestock, horticulture and agriculture, often with emphasis on educational activities for 4-H and FFA members. Upcoming fairs in the Four Corners Region include, Montezuma County Fair July 29th to August 6th, San Juan County New Mexico Fair August 8th to the 13th, La Plata County Fair August 10th to the 14th, Dolores County Fair August 10th to the 13th, San Juan County Utah Fair August 17th to the 20th, and the Apache County Arizona Fair September 7th to the 10th.

Editorial cartoonist Lou Erickson wrote, “Gardening requires lots of water-most of it in the form of perspiration.”

Bob has been an agricultural educator and farm and ranch management consultant for over 40 years in southwest Colorado. He writes about agricultural issues from his farm near Cortez, and has helped to produce farm reports on KSJD for more than a dozen years.