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A broker and risk management expert says several factors played into Thursday’s big drop in dairy prices.  Mike North is with Commodities Risk Management Group and says, “As we look at butter, cold storage numbers were up 24% from the week prior.  That’s huge.  Milk production up 1.8% year-over-year for the month of January, and probably the biggest number of all of them, the very fact that despite all of the chatter, despite all of the coffee shop rumors, milk cow numbers rose.”

North says buyers don’t feel any pressure to buy right now. 

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A leader with Cargill says ag groups must work together to help farmers mitigate risk by supporting trade, infrastructure, and technology.

Joe Stone says the future of the ag industry and its ability to feed the world depend on it. He says increasing market opportunities by reengaging in Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations is a good place to start.

“Our analysis indicates those 11 countries that are part of the new TPP represent a $62 billion market for US ag products and one analysis showed that could add more than $4.4 billion to farm income,” he says.

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The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association says it’s working behind the scenes to protect the integrity of beef amid emerging non-meat products coming to market, “We don’t want companies that are producing meat in a lab to be able to use a label “clean” because that disparages our own product. We’ve been working behind the scenes on this issue because, really, that’s the quickest way to get things done when we have a Congress and we have an administration that’s on our side.”

That’s Danielle Beck, NCBA’s director of governmental affairs, who says filing petitions with the USDA to protect the nomenclature of beef and beef products is not effective because it can take years to even receive a reply.

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Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle futures closed lower, pressured by the week’s steady to lower direct cash business and technical selling. The trade was also getting squared up ahead of the USDA’s Cattle on Feed report out Friday afternoon. February was $1.30 lower at $128.35 and April was down $.85 at $125.37.

Feeder cattle were down on pressure from this week’s direct business, technical selling, and the firm corn.

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Greg McInnis is vice president and insurance agribusiness manager at Central Insurance in Sioux City, Iowa. In this interview with Brownfield, he discusses current trends in risk management and insurance for agriculture and agribusiness.

AUDIO: Greg McInnis

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Soybeans were modestly lower on profit taking and technical selling. Forecasts have more crop weather issues in South America, but contracts were unable to hold onto the periodic gains and consolidated after hitting multi-month highs Wednesday. USDA expects U.S. soybean planting to be around 90 million acres, below most average pre-report estimates, with an average price of $9.25 per bushel for the 2018/19 marketing year. The USDA’s Ag Outlook Forum ends Friday.

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The USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service says the agency has opened up a comment period on potential work requirements for certain recipients of SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the largest part of the Farm Bill. Food and Nutrition Services administrator Brandon Lipps told reporters they are seeking input about Able-Bodied Adults with no dependents, who make up 9% of total SNAP recipients, “Most of you know that there’s been a lot of conversation for a number of years on how best to serve this population.

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The USDA says total poultry and cheese stocks in cold storage ended January at record levels. That’s the 14th month in a row with a new total cheese record and the third consecutive month for poultry. For both poultry and cheese, the big issues continue to be high production levels and steady to slow demand.

Year to year, cheese stocks increased 7% to 1.275 billion pounds, with American up 2% at 738.213 million, Swiss 19% higher to 28.478 million pounds, and “other” types 14% above a year ago at 508.508 million.

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A national coalition of ag and food groups has launched a program to financially incentivize farmers to improve soil health.

The program will create an environmental services market, says Debbie Reed with DRD Associates, a consulting business on the coalition’s steering committee.

“We intend to put together a buyer’s club of companies and others who are very interested in improving their corporate footprint and who will pay farmers to create these benefits for society by improving soil health,” she says.

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An Illinois farmer tells Brownfield he will stick with is regular corn and soybean rotation this year and not chase the current higher soybean prices…

“I think it’s a mistake for farmers to try to play this game. You know, they say, ‘oh, okay, today there’s more money in soybeans and so, we’ll just switch to soybeans, sure.’ But by the time harvest time comes along and everyone’s switched to soybeans, what do you think the price of soybeans is going to be?”

Norbert Brauer, who farms in south central Illinois, says the price will then drop, “Again, you’ll have an oversupply.

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