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August 6, 2013
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Ag Notebook: Delays for new beef plant, strengthening rail competition

S. Korean investors beef plant hits snag in Scottsbluff

Scottsbluff, Neb., Mayor Randy Meininger said this month at a city council budget workshop that the Future Food Energy plant developers are looking to locate elsewhere, including nearby Gering, according to KDUH News.

In recent months, South Korean investors have been in discussions with city officials in Scottsbluff, Neb., and a nearby beef-processing company about building a new plant, to produce beef that’s transported back to consumers in their home country.

It’s no secret in the beef industry that countries like South Korea, China and India are growing their middle classes, and, with that additional income, are increasing their appetites and demand for beef.

But instead of depending solely on U.S. suppliers, South Koreans are trying to produce more of their own beef — and they’re now coming to the U.S. looking to do it here, since they lack the resources at home.

South Korean investors had been inquiring about building a 358,000-square-foot plant on 43 acres of land currently owned by the city of Scottsbluff, and most of the beef processed there would be exported back to South Korea.

Future Food Energy is the company that would operate the plant.

Future Food Energy had offered to buy 43 acres of city land for $10,000 an acre.

Agriculture economists at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, said this would be a new dynamic in Nebraska’s beef industry.

However, questions about financing, doubts raised by some city residents and negative reactions from the city planning commission and the area’s economic development agency were cited for the plant developers change of mind decision.

NFU signs coalition letter supporting competitive rail markets

National Farmers Union was among a group of 37 organizations that sent a letter to the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation urging action to strengthen competition in the U.S. rail transportation market.

“Family farmers and ranchers — and the rural communities in which they live — need access to fair rates for rail shipments,” said NFU President Roger Johnson. “NFU has long advocated for the protection of captive shippers, and federal regulators haven’t kept pace with an increasingly anti-competitive business climate for users of rail transportation.”

The top four shippers control ninety percent of freight rail service, and 78 percent of the 28,000 places where cargo is picked up have access to only one rail carrier. Not coincidentally, rail rates have increased two-and-a-half times more than both trucking rates and inflation.

USDA Announces 2nd sugar exchange results

The Commodity Credit Corporation announced results of additional action taken this summer on July 26, to reduce the domestic sugar oversupply and reduce the cost of the CCC Sugar Loan Program.

The second sugar exchange effort in the past two months reduced the sugar oversupply and further minimized the severity of sugar loan forfeiture to CCC by 46,559 metric tons by retiring credits under the Refined Sugar Re-Export Program.

This action cost CCC $6.9 million, but averted an expected $19.2 million in loan forfeiture costs, saving an estimated $12.3 million.

CCC used the $6.9 million to purchase 15,504 metric tons of sugar under the Cost Reduction Options of the 1985 Farm Bill, which authorizes CCC to purchase surplus program crops if the purchase results in expected program savings. The purchased sugar was exchanged for sugar import access generated by the Refined Sugar Re-Export Program at an average ratio of 3.0 tons of import access per ton of CCC sugar.

CCC is monitoring the market on an on-going basis and will take action as necessary to reduce the cost of the Sugar Program.

Sugar Program costs are expected to increase in 2013 due to record crops in North America and world prices that no longer support U.S. prices at the Sugar Program support level.

NFU Joins Suit to Support COOL

National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson issued a statement after the NFU Board of Directors voted unanimously today to intervene in a recently-filed Country-of-Origin Labeling lawsuit seeking an injunction to vacate and halt the implementation of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) final COOL rule:

“The packer-producer organizations that have filed the suit against the USDA are continuing to refuse consumers’ right and desire to know where their food comes from.”

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The Fence Post Updated Oct 16, 2013 02:41PM Published Aug 19, 2013 09:19AM Copyright 2013 The Fence Post. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.