A Crisis 20 Years in the Making
Feb 25, 2014
California Farm Bureau Federation president Paul Wenger is hopping mad about the drought and the repercussions for the state's farmers. Last week the Interior Department's Bureau of Reclamation announced they're shutting the water off to farmers in California's Central Valley, the world's most productive agricultural region. That decision was forced on officials who hope to conserve enough water for human use this year, but the water crisis has been decades in the making, Wenger says.
"This crisis is the direct result of 20-plus years of inaction by politicians and policy-makers, who have failed to take the steps required to shield California from drought." California is the world's 10th largest economy, and produces $44.7 billion worth of agricultural products. In addition to dairy and beef products, California accounts for one-third of U.S. vegetable output, and two-thirds of fruit and nut production.
Every square mile of California is under drought conditions, but much of the Southwest and Central Plains also remain abnormally dry.
Cattle Feeding Profits Top $250 Per Head
What a difference a year makes. Higher cash prices and lower feed costs have pushed cattle feeding profits past $250 per head, a margin unthinkable just a few months ago. Last year at the same time cattle feeders were losing $102.19 on every animal shipped. Those margins calculations come from John Nalivka, Sterling Marketing, Inc., Vale, Oregon. Nalivka tracks prices and feeding costs for both cattle and hogs in a weekly summary called the Sterling Profit Tracker, available at Beef Today each week.
"Got Milk?" Is Gone
Dairymen are sending their "Got Milk?" campaign out to pasture. After 20 years, the iconic ads have ended in favor of a new campaign aimed at increasing milk consumption amid declining sales. The new ads, which roll out Tuesday, have the tagline "Milk Life" and feature ordinary people and tout milk's protein richness. The Milk Processors Education Program (MilkPEP), plans to spend more than $50 million on the campaign, which will include TV, print, digital, retail promotions and PR.
Still Grazing for Sunsets
Last week, we told you about the unofficial 7 best places in the world to view a sunset, according to the website Green Landscapes.
We asked you to send us sunsets from your ranch so we could publish here for the world to see. See our updated ranch sunset slideshow. Keep sending them, and we'll add yours to the slideshow!