Ideas. Stories. Community.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
KSJD's Spring Fund Drive is going on now! Click here to make your donation today.

Farm News & Views - December 6, 2022

The USDA Economic Research Service reports that one fifth of U.S. agricultural production was exported during the fiscal year that ended on September 30th. Grains and oilseeds, such as soybeans, produced $90.5 billion, or nearly half, of this year’s agricultural exports. Livestock, dairy, and poultry generated $41.4 billion, and horticultural products amounted to $39.5 billion. All together, fiscal year 2022 exports amounted to a record $196.4 billion. Factors that contributed to this years export sales included warfare in the Black Sea region that drove commodity prices higher amid strong global demand for food and agricultural products. But the USDA is projecting that exports will decrease in 2023 as economic growth slows around the world in the months ahead. Although the U.S. is an agricultural production powerhouse, the USDA points out that for the third time in five years, food and agricultural imports exceed exports, creating an agricultural trade deficit. Imports of fruits, vegetables, nuts, beer, wine, and distilled spirits all amounted to $199 billion, and exceeding exports by $3.4 billion.

Last week, NPR reported that a new congressional report found that of the 11 million loans made for the 2020 Paycheck Protection Program, about a million of them showed signs of fraud to the tune of $64 billion. Some pretty dumb loans were made to fake farmers under this program. For example, loans were advanced for potato farms in Palm Beach, Florida, orange groves in Minnesota, and for a cattle operations on a New Jersey oceanside pier. It’s easy to assume that folks approving these loans didn’t know "come here from sick-um" when it comes to farming.

The Washington Post article “Cutting-edge tech made this tiny country a major exporter of food” caught my attention recently. This report pointed out that the Netherlands, which is a country that’s not much larger than the state of Maryland, is the second largest exporter of agricultural products behind the U.S., when considering their value, While we depend on open fields to grow vegetables, they have almost 24,000 acres of production in greenhouses, that provides vegetables to much of western Europe. On the livestock side, the country is Europe’s largest exporter of meat, with Dutch farmers producing 4 million cattle, 13 million pigs and 104 million chickens annually. They’ve achieved these feats by developing cell-cultured meat, vertical farming, seed technology and robotics in milking and harvesting as well as finding innovations that reduce water usage and carbon and methane emissions.

Dropping water levels in Lake Powell and Lake Mead, caused by low Colorado river flows for the past several years have received plenty of attention recently. Now low water levels in Kenny Reservoir, located on the White River east of Rangely, Colorado will impact water rights on the White this summer. Last week, the Colorado’s Division of Water Resources curtailed or shut off junior water right diversions upstream of the Taylor Draw Dam at the request of the Rio Blanco Water Conservancy District’s Board of Directors, because low water levels in the reservoir are affecting power generation at the Dam.

Dr. Paul Dettloff wrote: "The cleverness of man will never outwit Nature."

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.