Articles

Tariffs create a crisis for Wisconsin's dairy farms

For decades, Denise and Tom Murray rose before 5 a.m. and shuffled through mud and snow to milk cows on the farm that has been in their family since 1939. This month, after years of falling milk prices and mounting debt, the Murrays sold their last milk cow, taking pictures while holding back tears as the final one was loaded onto a truck and taken away.
 “It's awful hard to see them go out the last time,” said Ms. Murray, 53. “It's scary because you don't know what your next paycheck is going to be.” Wisconsin is known as “America's

U.S. Brings Home the Bacon

A deadly disease sweeping China's hog barns is reinvigorating the fortunes of U.S. meat companies.
 Outbreaks of African swine fever have led to the culling of millions of hogs in the world's top pork market. That is shrinking global meat supplies and boosting prices. The shift is welcome to U.S. meatpackers and farmers, whose hogs remain free of the disease, after a tough patch of low prices driven by record U.S. meat production and China's tariffs on U.S.

Coffee Cools Off Despite Demand

Call it the coffee paradox. The beverage has never been more popular, but the price of beans is at its lowest point in over a decade and down by a quarter since October.
 A pound of wholesale arabica beans, the premium variety favored in most coffee shops, has been selling for less than $1 since early March on the Intercontinental Exchange in New York, below what many producers say it costs to grow and process. Coffee drinkers might not have noticed any difference in price, given the prevalence of the $5 latte.

Farmer Aid Won't Cover Tariff Losses

The Trump administration has started compensating U.S. farmers for damage tariffs are doing to their business. Many farmers say the payments won't make up for lost sales to China and other foreign markets they were counting on to buy the huge amounts of crops and meat being produced across the Farm Belt.
 Bumper corn and soybean harvests and record pork production have pushed down prices for agricultural commodities. U.S. farm income is expected to drop 13% this year to $66 billion, according to the Department of Agriculture, extending a yearslong slump in the agricultural economy.

Growers' New Clout Tilts Farm Economy

Across the U.S. Farm Belt, the balance of power is swinging away from multibillion- dollar agribusinesses. For over a century, companies such as Cargill Inc. held sway over markets for U.S. corn, soybeans and wheat, quoting prices to farmers who trucked their crops to company grain elevators.
 Cargill and its peers would then market crops to food and beverage makers across the country. Now farmers are increasingly calling the shots. Running expanded, consolidated farms, big farm operators are pushing grain giants for better prices or striking their own deals

Heat Drives Wheat Prices

Global wheat prices have soared to multiyear highs as a heat wave sweeping across Europe and Asia slashes forecasts for this year's harvest. The price rise could potentially provide some relief to North American farmers, who have largely avoided such scorching weather, just as Chinese tariffs sap demand for other crops like soybeans.
 Chicago wheat futures hit three-year highs Thursday, while a key European benchmark topped a four-year high. The price of Paris-traded milling wheat has leapt 33% so far this year.

Cranberry Industry Bit by Tariffs

Cars and steel may be grabbing all the headlines as trade tensions mount, but countries that really want to needle the U.S. are springing retaliatory tariffs on the cranberry.
 A quintessentially American export, cranberries are nearly all grown in the U.S. and Canada. It is a trade duopoly, and most of the cranberry bogs in the U.S. happen to be in House Speaker Paul Ryan's home state of Wisconsin.
 “If cranberries get too expensive, they start using raisins or

Investors Jump for Almond Joy

In the Australian state of New South Wales, Harvard University is developing around 1,480 acres of former potato fields and other farmland, building a new dam and planting trees that will take about three years to bear their first edible crops.
 It is part of a growing bet on almonds by the college’s endowment, which is adding to the around 1,235 acres of almond plantations it already owns near a township called Hillston.