Small Meat Processors and USDA Consolidation
**The nation's small meat processors are facing the new market reality of an increasing demand for healthier local meat options along with the often-complicated set of regulations that go with it.
According to Agri-Pulse, small meat processors number approximately 800 nationwide and have had to adjust to realities imposed from outside the industry.
Rebecca Thistlewaite, with the Niche Meat Processors Assistance Network at Oregon State University, says authority over inspections is currently only active in 27 states, as funding has dissipated because of budgetary constraints.
**Building on a controversial USDA reorganization rolled out in May, Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue announced further steps to realign "a number of offices within the U.S. Department of Agriculture in order to improve customer service and maximize efficiency."
Successful Farming reports among several steps, the Grain Inspection, Packers, and Stockyards Administration, or GIPSA, will be merged into the Agricultural Marketing Service. Currently, both GIPSA and AMS carry out grading activities and work to ensure fair trade practices.
**Brazilian exports of soybeans are surprising the market during this harvest. According to a study by National Supply Company, Brazil exported around 44 million tons of grain from January to June this year, a record volume for the period.
Exports for 2017 are estimated at 63 million tons, 22% higher than the total exported last year.
According to Successful Farming, Brazilian soybean exports could grow even more if there are weather problems in the U.S.