Michelle Rook / Special to Agweek
YANKTON, S.D. — The recent U.S. Department of Agriculture Prospective Plantings Report contained a few surprises, with United States farmers indicating they will plant fewer acres of corn and soybeans but more acres of wheat versus a year ago. The March 29 report showed farmers plan to plant 88 million acres of corn, down 2 percent from 2017, with soybean acreage also down 1 percent at 89 million. All wheat acreage was up 3 percent at 47.3 million acres, and spring wheat was up 15 percent at 12.6 million acres.
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — The last year has been rough for dairy producers in the region with a milk surplus driving prices below the cost of production. However, dairy producers attending the Central Plains Dairy Expo in Sioux Falls, S.D., March 27-29 were actually talking more about the other challenges they are currently facing, including a labor crisis and a possible trade war.
LE MARS, Iowa — Le Mars, Iowa, has long been known as the "Ice Cream Capital of the World." However, this northwest Iowa town is also home to another hidden gem, the Le Mars Toy Store. It may just be the largest most diversified farm toy store in the country, with tens of thousands of farm toys of every make and model. The store is truly one you have to see to believe. "We talk about everything from custom to general toys, from 1/16 to 1/64, to restoration and our salvage yard," says Albert Schultz, owner of the Le Mars Toy Store.
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — Most consumers are several generations from the farm but at the annual Ag Day at the Pavilion in Sioux Falls, S.D., on March 17, they learned all about the state's number one industry. More than 2,500 Sioux Falls-area consumers participated in hands-on educational activities about agriculture and food production. "They're learning that I don't just get my food in the freezer aisle or in the produce section. There's a lot of people involved to make this happen," says Kaia Hedrick, special events coordinator for the Washington Pavilion.
MERIDA, Mexico — Mexican agribusinesses are concerned about the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement. Many Mexican companies already have been buying South American grains and oilseeds over the last year to be proactive, in case the talks are not successful.
ANAHEIM, Calif. — Uncertainty about trade under the Trump Administration continues with recent tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum, leaving U.S. agriculture concerned about a possible trade war, especially with China. President Donald Trump on March 1 announced plans for import tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 15 percent on aluminum. Trump didn't specify which countries the tariffs would apply to. However, it did trigger response from Canada, the European Union, Mexico, Australia and China.
VERA CRUZ, Mexico — With the United States in the midst of the re-negotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, the importance of the Mexican market to agriculture has made headlines. A delegation of 10 South Dakota farmers returned from a Feb. 18-24 trade mission to Mexico to talk with their neighbor and customer to solidify this relationship. The See for Yourself Tour was hosted by the South Dakota Soybean Research and Promotion Council.
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — A few weeks after Congress passed the most sweeping tax reform in decades, farmers are working with their tax professionals to figure out what it ultimately means for their farming operations. Patricia Wolff, American Farm Bureau senior director of congressional relations, specializes in tax law. She says the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has many positive aspects for agriculture.
MITCHELL, S.D. — Most consumers are now several generations removed from the farm, and for the last 40 years that has led to a continual erosion of trust in farmers. As a result, farmers and farm groups have been focusing their efforts on bridging that gap with the consumer. The latest research from the Center for Food Integrity has some good news for farmers in that area.
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — Thirty years ago it was hard to find a pork entrée besides pork chops on any restaurant menu. However, today it's not uncommon to see pork belly, cheek or shoulder being featured on those same menus. The change can in part be attributed to the engagement the pork industry has had with chefs as part of their annual culinary Taste of Elegance contest.