News Filed Under Agricultural Economics
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The cost of fertilizer and strong market prices are inspiring Mississippi growers to increase their soybean acreage in 2004.
Robert Martin, Sharkey and Issaquena county director for Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said growers see more potential in soybeans this year than they have in past years.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Three agricultural agencies are bringing Mississippi farmers together in six upcoming meetings to consider issues affecting their industry in 2004.
Mississippi State University's Extension Service, the Mississippi Farm Bureau and the National Resources Conservation Service are organizing the meetings between Jan. 27 and Feb. 27. Meeting sites will be in Tunica, Grenada, Stoneville, Hattiesburg, Raymond and Starkville.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Farmers will remember 2002 for the wet harvest season, but economists will remember the depressed markets across the board that resulted in a 6 percent decline from the previous year's agricultural values.
Final numbers are in from the 2002 crops, and Mississippi agricultural economists are finding tallies near last December's expectations. The grand total of all the state's commodities plus government payments is $4.5 billion, down from $4.8 billion in 2001. (See Mississippi Value of Production Estimates)
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Researchers used the value Americans and Europeans placed on a chocolate chip cookie to determine consumer attitudes towards genetically modified foods.
The research, conducted jointly by Mississippi State University and the University of Reading, England, found that Americans on average are less concerned about consuming genetically modified foods than their European counterparts.
JACKSON -- Fifty lenders and other supporters of microenterprises recently met for the founding conference of the Mississippi Micro-Enterprise Association Network, designed to help the smallest businesses establish themselves in the state.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Growing row crops, turf and ornamental plants is big business in the state, and supporting these industries through research and education is a high priority at Mississippi State University.
Because of Mississippi's climate and growing conditions, the state produces a wide variety of crops. Some of these, such as cotton, soybeans and rice, have a significant impact on the state's economy individually. Others crops, such as pecans, flowers and home garden vegetables, are smaller but still significant to the state when considered as a whole.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The changes brought by the new Farm Bill will be the subject of four informational meetings held around the state the week of June 17.
Mississippi State University's Department of Agricultural Economics, Mississippi Farm Bureau and the Mississippi Natural Resource Conservation Service are sponsoring the informational meetings. Each will run from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The Mississippi Agricultural Economics Association invites those interested in learning about structural changes in an emerging food industry to their June 14 annual conference.
The meeting will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Bost Extension Building at Mississippi State University. Registration is from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m., and the $25 cost includes lunch. Organizers encourage early registration.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Researchers at Mississippi State University's Agribusiness Institute are in the process of determining consumer attitudes to genetically modified foods.
Genetic modifications of food are typically done to make the item easier for the farmer to produce or to make it more desirable for the consumer because of new or enhanced traits. For example, tomatoes have been modified to stay fresh on the shelf longer, a benefit to consumers, and soybeans have been developed to be resistant to a common weed killer, a benefit to farmers.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Recently revised estimates indicate that last year's Mississippi farm and forest products values continued their three-year decline from 1997's high of $5 billion.
The total estimated value of Mississippi agricultural and forestry production for 2000 was $4.7 billion, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Instead of showing a 2000 crop value increase from the previous year as earlier predicted, the state came in 1.2 percent lower than the $4.76 billion value registered in 1999.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- The drought of 2000 hit Mississippi's farmers hard, with conservative estimates exceeding $300 million in lost revenues and increased production costs.
Charlie Forrest, agricultural economist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said many of the actual losses are near impossible to calculate. The hardest hit commodities were cotton, soybeans, cattle and forestry.
By Linda Breazeale
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Agricultural economists predict that miracles still happen. Despite a costly drought in 2000, they expect Mississippi's farm value to hold near the $5 billion level.
Charlie Forrest, agricultural economist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said some slightly better market prices and increased acres are helping offset the statewide economic effects of the drought. Some estimates show the impact of the drought on the state's agricultural economy to be around $311 million in lost revenue and added costs.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- If you thought it was hard paying to fill up your car, try buying diesel for a farm tractor to plant crops that may not sell for enough to cover total production costs.
Tom Jones, agricultural economist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said farm fuel prices are running at least 55 percent higher than they did last year. While market prices have improved since last fall enough to soften the blow, crop prices remain below adequate levels.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Farmers are facing some of the lowest prices in 25 years as they harvest crops, many with yields greatly reduced by drought.
Problems from steadily rising production costs and falling prices are magnified by the lack of rain this year. In recent weeks, cotton prices have been as low as 45 cents a pound, soybeans $4.63 per bushel and rice $6 per hundredweight.
Dr. John Lee, ag economist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said these prices are significantly lower than prices in recent years.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Low yields and market problems brought on by Mississippi's weather challenges and Asian economic problems resulted in an estimated 8 percent loss to the state's agriculture's total gross income.
Dr. John Robinson, agricultural economist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said observers should remember 1997 was a record year, and supplies were high going into 1998. The "Asian Flu" resulted in less movement of U.S. products to Pacific Rim countries.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Many state producers will remember 1998 as a farming disaster as low market prices compounded yield losses from heat, drought and hurricane.
Corn and soybeans took the biggest hit as low yields matched lower prices. Production value for both fell 32 percent from 1997 even though acreage this year was higher than last.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Turbulent markets, at home and abroad, are giving U.S. farmers more to worry about than the weather.
Economic problems began in 1997 with Asian countries in financial distress, next came this summer's Russian crisis, followed closely by the recent drastic fall of the U.S. stock market. Combine these burdens with the weather challenges farmers faced this summer across the country and the picture is bleak.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- A second-year program is educating farmers in how to make good management and marketing decisions under the freedom granted them by the last Farm Bill.
Managing Profitability in Agriculture in Changing Times, developed by Mississippi State University's agricultural economics department, coordinates with MSU's Extension Service to teach farmers how to improve their operation by focusing on the basics.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Few areas of the financial world remained untouched by Asia's economic troubles that started in October, but Mississippi farmers are weathering it well.
Agricultural markets were shaken when Asian stock markets plummeted last fall. Hardest hit were Indonesia, Korea, Thailand, Malaysia and Taiwan. These countries along the Pacific Rim have traditionally been strong consumers of American grain, cotton and poultry.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Producers with insured crops in South Mississippi damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Georges can get relief for the loss by following the proper claims process.
Dr. John Robinson, ag economist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said Mississippi has about 60,000 acres of corn, cotton, soybeans and wheat in the 15 southeastern counties.