Nick has been doing a great job keeping us up to date on the drought in Russia and its effect on the wheat market here. Now, Bloomberg has a report that Russia has extended its ban on exports of wheat and flour "at least until next year's crop is harvested." Expect wheat (and food) prices to rise this year in response.
Another story Nick shared with us involved a meeting in Ft. Collins, CO with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, dealing with proposed regulations for contracting between cattle packers and feeders. At times, the discussion broke down into a virtual shouting match between supporters of the new rule - largely coordinated by an organization called R-CALF USA - and opponents. In the aftermath, five (five!) U.S. senators have written a letter to Vilsack expressing their concern about "questionable" tactics employed by R-CALF USA leading up to the meeting.
Speaking of Tom Vilsack, he took some heat this week for comments attributed to him in an article I referenced last Friday, indicating that "traditional" farm subsidy programs may be sacrificed to some extent in order to finance more creative projects like expanding broadband access. Now, Vilsack is disputing the details of the story and saying he was not quoted accurately. Brownfield's account says, though, that "the article aside, Vilsack’s USDA has been criticized by some for putting too much emphasis on rural development programs, and organic and so-called 'local food' initiatives, and not enough on traditional farming."
Finally, could farm kids really be the height of fashion? AOL says the founders of the Farm Boy & Girl clothing company are betting that they are. Dan Adamson and Brian Goldenman first marketed their clothing line at the Minnesota State Fair in 2002, and have since expanded the idea into a $2.5 million company. The AOL reporter did not mention whether the clothes are equipped with farm-scented scratch and sniff, however.
I hope you all have a good weekend (and enjoy an extra day off, maybe). As for me, I'm off to go look at some dead presidents carved into a mountain. See ya next week!