Home 5 Ag Stories 4 Ag Stories You Need to Read Today, August 11

4 Ag Stories You Need to Read Today, August 11

At home or away, most potatoes are eaten in forms that add calories

WASHINGTON (USDA ERS) – When advised to “eat your vegetables,” Americans may also need to be reminded to “watch how you prepare them.”

ERS researchers recently looked at the types of vegetables and vegetable-containing foods eaten by Americans and found that instead of eating vegetables in their simple, unadorned state, Americans often eat vegetables in ways that add calories and sodium and reduce dietary fiber.

For potatoes prepared at home, potato chips were the most commonly eaten form, accounting for 28 percent of potato consumption. In restaurants, fast food places, and other away from home eating places, fried potatoes accounted for 59 percent of potato consumption.

Food intake surveys show other potato dishes, such as mashed and scalloped potatoes, are often prepared with added fats and sodium. Baked and boiled potatoes accounted for 19 percent of at-home potato consumption and 12 percent away from home, and the skin was usually not eaten, reducing dietary fiber content.

AFBF: “Little harm” expected from Russian ag export ban

WASHINGTON – An American Farm Bureau Official expects little harm to U.S. food exports from Russia’s just-announced yearlong ban on food from the U.S. and European Union. Farm Bureau Trade Advisor Dave Salmonsen sees Russia hurting itself more than the U.S. in an apparent retaliation for western sanctions over Moscow’s backing of Ukraine separatist.

Salmonsen says the U.S. poultry industry will now look for other markets for some $300 million a year in exports that were going to Russia. Pork Exports were less than $20 million last year, after a Russian ban on pork treated with meat-leanness additive, ractopamine. But a bigger impact will be felt in Europe, which supplies $15 billion of Russia’s $40 billion in annual food imports. Salmonsen harkens back to the days of President Jimmy Carter and the U.S. Grain Embargo of Russia.

“Then, it was a U.S. government action; a response to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan back then, and here it is: the Russian government saying that they won’t take in product. It’s a response to sanctions placed upon them from their actions around the Ukraine, and so this is affecting the European Union, the U.S., Australia, Canada, and Norway.”

Salmonsen sees Russia turning to Brazil for meats, but expects a challenge for Russia to replace produce from nearby Europe.

Pork, Beef Exports on Record Pace through June

DENVER – U.S. pork and beef exports remained strong in June, pushing export value for both products to a record pace in the first half of the year.

Statistics released by USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation show monthly pork exports in June totaled 181,531 metric tons, up 7 percent from a year ago. Export value increased 25 percent to $585.1 million.

In the first half of the year, U.S. export volume and value reached record highs. Beef exports volume was up five percent in June and set a new monthly value record of $631.7 million. First-half export value also set a new record of $3.27 billion. Export volume was up 8 percent from a year ago but trailing the 2011 record.

Survey Says: Beef Checkoff Pays off

ITHACA, N.Y. – A recent study shows Beef Checkoff funds seriously helped those export numbers set records; for every dollar invested in the Beef Checkoff from 2006 to 2013, about $11.20 was returned to the beef industry.

The study by Cornell University shows without the Beef Checkoff, U.S. beef demand would be an estimated 15.7 billion pounds less than with checkoff programs in place, according to Meatingplace. Checkoff funded marketing has increased beef demand by 2.1 billion pounds a year. With ongoing budget problems, the study was commissioned to evaluate checkoff programs.

The results concluded all eight of the checkoff’s demand enhancing programs had positive impacts on beef demand. Those programs include advertising, marketing, industry information, new-product development, public relations, nutrition research, beef-safety research and product-enhancement research.

The above stories are provided courtesy of the National Association of Farm Broadcasters New Service, powered by the American Farm Bureau Federation.