U.S. Wheat Acreage Hits New Lows and Crop Insurance Costly
**Wheat acres hit a 108-year low in 2017, and they will be fewer in 2018.
Standard Grain's Joe Vaclavik tells AgDay weak prices are to blame, as well as a large global supply, but there has been some recent bearish news in the wheat markets.
The latest U.S. Drought Monitor is showing some dryness developing in the southern Plains. While Vaclavik says it's too early to see any market reaction, the funds are record short.
**As Congress expanded the role of crop insurance in recent years, the cost of the federally subsidized program has tripled to $9 billion annually.
If lawmakers are worried about those costs, the
Congressional Budget Office tells agriculture.com, they could alter the program to cut outlays by 25% or more, likely reducing participation in the largest program in the farm safety net.
Federal crop insurance has gained popularity among farmers as the government paid a larger share of the premium, making coverage more affordable. The program is defended as a faster and more equitable way of compensating growers for catastrophic losses.
**The Mexican government recently opened a proceeding in which grading standards are proposed for Mexican beef.
The U.S. Meat Export Federation filed comments, raising concerns about how English grade names could be used interchangeably with Spanish names.
USMEF senior vice president Thad Lively says this could create confusion in the marketplace and diminish the value the U.S. beef industry derives from the USDA grading system.