March 5, 2008

USDA Agriculture Projections to 2017

The Interagency Agricultural Projections Committee has recently released a report outlining agricultural projections for the next ten years.

The projections are one representative scenario for the agricultural sector for the next decade. As such, the report provides a point of departure for discussion of alternative farm sector outcomes that could result under different assumptions.... Although export competition is projected to continue, global economic growth, particularly in developing countries, provides a foundation for gains in world trade and U.S. agricultural exports. Combined with increases in domestic demand, particularly related to growth in ethanol production, the results are generally higher market prices. As a result, overall net farm income remains strong and reaches record levels in the latter part of the projections. (Source: Report abstract).

USDA agencies that are part of the Projections Committee include the Economic Research Service, Farm Service Agency, Foreign Agricultural Service, Agricultural Marketing Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service.

January 23, 2008

January 23, 2008 - New USDA Economic Research Service Data Available

The ERS State Fact Sheets contain frequently requested data for each state and for the total United States. These include current data on population, per-capita income, earnings per job, poverty rates, employment, unemployment, farm and farm-related jobs, farm characteristics, farm financial characteristics, top agricultural commodities, top export commodities, and the top counties in agricultural sales.

Poverty data from 2005 (the most recent available) has been added.


U.S. Summary Page
Minnesota State Fact Sheet

December 11, 2007

December 11, 2007 - Anniversary of a Pest

On December 11, 1919, the citizens of Enterprise, Alabama erected a monument to the boll weevil, the pest that devastated their fields but forced residents to end their dependence on cotton and to pursue mixed farming and manufacturing. A beetle measuring an average length of six millimeters, the insect entered the United States via Mexico in the 1890s and reached southeastern Alabama in 1915. It remains the most destructive cotton pest in North America.

The Library of Congress has created a page detailing the history of the Boll Weevil and its positive and negative affects on agriculture in the United States, specifically the Southeast. In addition, the Alabama Agriculture Extension Station has published a History of the Boll Weevil in Alabama, 1910-2007. For information on current US Department of Agriculture information, check out the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service - Boll Weevil Programs.


December 5, 2007

December 5, 2007 - Updated report on U.S. Forest Service Renewable Resources

"The Resources Planning Act (RPA) Assessment reports on the status and trends of the Nation’s renewable resources on all forest and rangelands, as required by the Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources Planning Act of 1974. Renewable resources evaluated in RPA Assessment reports include fish and wildlife, water, forests, range, wilderness, as well as the ability of those resources to provide outdoor recreation opportunities. Since 1990, the effects of climate change on forest resources have been an additional focus of Assessment research. RPA Assessment results are used by public and private land managers to set a broad-scale context for evaluating future changes in renewable resources."

The Interim Update to the 2000 Resources Planning Act Assessment report is now available. Besides including a link to the report, this page also lists additional statistical resources of forests, land use, timber, and outdoor recreationl.

Information about the National Forests in Minnesota can be found at the Region 9 - Eastern Region web site or visit the National Forest sites: Chippewa and Superior.


December 4, 2007

December 4, 2007 - Census of Agriculture

Farmers in Minnesota and throughout the United States will soon be receiving the 2007 Census of Agriculture questionnaire. Every five years this Census provides "a complete count of U.S. farms and ranches and the people who operate them. The Census looks at land use and ownership, operator characteristics, production practices, income and expenditures and many other areas." Many federal, state, and local governmental agencies, especially the US Department of Agriculture, look to the Census as a way to gauge farmers' needs. In addition Congress uses the information for policy development at the national level.

Data from the 2007 questionnaires will be compiled during 2008 with the results being made public in February 2009. Detailed reports will be available to the county level.

Previous Census of Agriculture are available at the National Agricultural Statistics Service page or by clicking on the links below.

2002 Census
1997 Census
1992 Census
Historical Census (1840 - 1950)


December 3, 2007

December 3, 2007 - Congress back in Session

With Congress back in session for the next three weeks, several pieces of major legislation are on the agenda including:

* Appropriations
* War
* Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT)
* Terrorist surveillance House version Senate version
* Farm bill
* Energy

Check out the House of Representatives or Senate websites for additional information on debates and votes.

November 14, 2007

November 14, 2007 - Diminished Capacity and Red Meat

How fresh is that red meat in your refrigerator? Yesterday Congress looked into that question when the House Committee on Energy & Commerce, Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations held hearings on Diminished Capacity: Can the FDA Assure the Safety and Security of the Nation's Food Supply? – Part IV – Deception in Labeling. The controversy centers around companies using carbon monoxide gas to keep meat looking red longer. The technique was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2004, but several groups question its use. Representatives from Minnesota's Cargill and Hormel companies testified as well as staff from the US Department of Agriculture and the FDA and staff from groups S.T.O.P. (Safe Tables Our Priority) and Food & Water Watch.

House Committee on Energy & Commerce
* Witness List
* Statement of David Acheson, FDA, Assistant Commissioner for Food Protection, November 13, 2007
* Testimony (not yet available)

October 12, 2007



Information on the 2007 Census of Agriculture is now only one click away at The new web site is a clearinghouse created by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) to provide farmers, ranchers and the rest of the agricultural community with the latest news and information about the upcoming Census. NASS will mail out Census forms on December 28, 2007 to collect data for the 2007 calendar year.

Conducted every five years by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Census is a complete count of the nation’s farms and ranches and the people who operate them. The Census looks at land use and ownership, operator characteristics, production practices, income and expenditures and other topics. It provides the only source of uniform, comprehensive agricultural data for every county in the nation. United States law (Title 7, U.S. Code) requires all those who receive a Census report form to respond even if they did not operate a farm or ranch in 2007. You will soon be able to fill out the form here:

You can view a comprehensive FAQ on the web site here:

September 28, 2007

September 28, 2007 - Largest Corn Crop ever Forecasted

2007 is set to produce the largest corn crop in United States History with current forecasts at 13.3 billion bushels. According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service's Crop Production September 12th numbers, production is expected to average 155.8 bushels per acre. This number is second only to the 2004 average. The Crop Production website includes historical data back to the 1960's as well as forecasts for other crops.

Source: USDA