This week’s Trending Headlines highlights the ongoing challenges facing ranchers in the western states including swarms of grasshoppers and increasing drought conditions. We also take a look at cattle markets and rising food and fuel prices. The blog wraps up with a look at Biden’s executive order to address competition in various industries, as well as an update on the farmer debt forgiveness program and the response from producers across the country.
1. “Cattle are competing against grasshoppers for food in the West's historic drought. The bugs are winning.” by Rachel Ramirez for CNN
Ramirez writes, “Against the backdrop of unprecedented heat waves and deadly wildfires, the West's historic drought has ranchers fighting another problem besides water shortages: a prolific hoard of grasshoppers is competing with cattle for food.
"Around 93% of the West is in some level of drought this week, and a bizarre impact of this pernicious dry condition is the explosion of the grasshopper population. Grasshoppers have devoured so much vegetation that many ranchers fear rangelands could be stripped bare.
"A 2021 grasshopper hazard map from the USDA shows each square yard of land contains at least 15 grasshoppers in parts of Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Arizona, Colorado, and Nebraska.”
2. “Cattle markets have been upended, and big meat producers are making 20 times normal margins as beef prices soar” by Ethan Wu for Business Insider
Wu writes, “As restaurants have reopened and with America's grilling season underway, demand has upended cattle markets. Futures contracts on ready-for-slaughter cattle have shot up 6.6% year-to-date and 27.7% in the last year. Wholesale beef prices are up 40% since March.
“Meanwhile, meat-eaters are already paying 5% more for ground beef and 9% for steaks year-on-year, according to NielsenIQ data.”
3. “Report: New Yorkers more worried about gas, groceries” by Jack Watson for ABC News 10
Watson says, “If you think the prices at the pump, or at the grocery store, have been a lot to handle lately, you’re not alone. According to new numbers from Siena College, New Yorkers are more worried about those prices than they have been in years.
“Sixty-three percent of polled New Yorkers in the second quarter of 2021 believe food prices have either a very serious to somewhat serious personal impact.”
4. “Colorado ranchers face not just drought but rising social pressures” published by Raw Story
"The drought's right here in your face, you never get away from that," says Janie VanWinkle, a Colorado rancher. "So it feels like we are always under attack, whether it's 'fake' meat, wolves, animal rights, environmental issues -- you name it.”
5. “Is the Biden administration stirring up race wars among ranchers in the West?” by Amy Jovi O’Donoghue for Deseret News
O’Donoghue writes, “Reyes Carballo, the Parowan rancher who runs 300 cattle on 300 acres, could get any federal debt relieved, if he had any and if he chose to. He is a native of Mexico who entered California, got his green card and became a U.S. citizen. He never took out a Farm Service Agency loan, and thinks the federal debt forgiveness program is wrong.
“‘That’s what causes racism in our country. When programs like this are implemented, it causes more problems for us minorities,’ he told the Deseret News.”
6. “Biden issues executive order on competition” by P. Scott Shearer for National Hog Farmer
Shearer writes, “President Joe Biden has signed a sweeping executive order to promote competition in the U.S. economy that will impact a number of industries, including agriculture, airlines, healthcare, broadband, and banking.
“‘For decades, corporate consolidation has been accelerating. In over 75% of U.S. industries, a smaller number of large companies now control more of the business than they did twenty years ago. This is true across healthcare, financial services, agriculture and more,’ said The White House.”
The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of beefmagazine.com or Farm Progress.