Articles

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.

Strawberry Jam: Japanese Curlers Stumble Into Food Fight

AOMORI, Japan—The finest strawberries from all over Japan were stacked high at a sports center here on Tuesday: the Super Deluxe Tochigi Maiden, Red Cheeks, the Skyberry and the world's heaviest, the Sweet King.
 “So sweet!” said Olympic curler Satsuki Fujisawa as she took a bite from one while cameras flashed from the assembled media at the event ahead of a tournament. Once again, she carried the weight of national pride on her shoulders.

Tax Law Puts Grain Companies on Defensive

Some agricultural companies are revamping operations to avoid being stung by the new U.S. tax law.
 Under the new law, farmers get larger tax savings for selling crops to agricultural cooperatives. To avoid being put at a disadvantage, some ethanol makers and family-owned grain companies are setting up their own cooperatives.
 Executives say that if Congress doesn't change the law or they aren't able to register their own farmer-backed cooperatives, processing plants could run short of crops and small grain elevators could be driven out of business.

Farm Towns,With Changing Priorities, Reject Meatpackers

TONGANOXIE, Kan.—Rural Americans are turning their backs on the industry that made the U.S. the biggest meat-exporting country in the world.
 Residents of Tonganoxie, a 5,300-person town in northeast Kansas, spent part of the fall hanging white-and-red placards that say “No Tyson in Tongie” on fenceposts and pickup trucks. Their efforts were part of a public push against Tyson Foods Inc., the largest U.S. meat processor by sales, which trumpeted in early September its plans to build a $320 million chicken-processing complex just south of town.

In Russia, Wheat Abounds

U.S. wheat farmers are losing out to an old rival: Russia. The 83 million tons of wheat Russian farmers are forecast to have reaped this season has cemented the country's resurgence as an agricultural superpower and ratcheted up the pressure on U.S. farmers, who sowed fewer acres of wheat in 2017 than ever before. Wheat prices at the Chicago Board of Trade hit $4.19 a bushel this week, down almost 25% since Russia began a record wheat harvest in July.