Crude Prices Fall & Pressure On Ports
The price for a barrel of crude oil continues to fall and there is speculation that it may drop below $40 a barrel even though that might be a stretch. The prices have been inching lower and in fact are the lowest they've been since May of 2009. What does this mean for pump prices? They're already lower than they have been for years. As of yesterday, the current national average is $2.54 a gallon although the average here in the northwest is over $2.80. The lowest prices in the nation right now are in the lower midwest and the south.
Ag groups continue to put pressure on the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association over the slowdown at the ports. Commodities are losing money on a daily basis and many contracts have either had to be renegotiated or cancelled. Many groups like the U.S. Meat Export Federation are urging the two groups to come to an agreement. USMEF CEO, Philip Seng.
SENG: Any disruption like this is very disturbing not only to the exporter but it's also a major concern for our importers. I recall years ago when Australia used to have some horrendous strikes, people were switching from Australian product as a result of the strikes so this is very serious to us.
Now with today's Food Forethought, here's Lacy Gray.
Many within the ag industry have mixed feelings when it comes to the $1.1 trillion omnibus package that was approved by the Senate this last weekend. Several important programs to agriculture were given increased funding, while others were cut even further. The National Cattlemen's Beef Association found many reasons to applaud the spending bill, not the least being the provision that withdraws the Environmental Protection Agency's interpretive rule on the Waters of the U.S., and the provision directing USDA Ag Secretary Vilsack not to implement a second beef checkoff. Other victories included language in the package that prohibits a sage grouse endangered species listing, something that could have a severe impact on farmers and ranchers in the western United States. The bill also provides a 3% increase in funding for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative. Disappointingly though the package allows for further cuts to voluntary conservation programs that have proven successful in helping to improve soil and water health. Ah well... as with all things federal - you win some, you lose some.
Thanks Lacy. That's today's Northwest Report. I'm Greg Martin on the Ag Information Network of the West.