Chocolaterie Stam in Ames, Iowa, has begun using a Smart car to deliver chocolate to customers. The car gets a "great reaction" from other drivers, who regularly do a double-take when the see the delivery car in traffic, said owner Terry Stark.
Godiva has created a line of chocolates dubbed Masterpieces that it will sell on Amazon and the online sites of traditional retailers including Walmart, Target, Costco and Walgreens. The luxury chocolate brand will promote the new line in a campaign including TV commercials and social media.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., emphasized the importance of keeping crop insurance fully funded when they conducted a listening session in Moorhead, Minn., last week. The House's work on the 2018 farm bill may be complete before January, Peterson said.
The USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service must incorporate more sophisticated technology by 2025 to improve the precision of the data it contributes to crop insurance rate calculations and federal budget projections, according to a report from the National Academy of Sciences. Having a methodology to assess the massive amounts of information collected is crucial, said Bob Young of the American Farm Bureau Federation.
Proposals such as the Congressional Budget Office's recommendation to reduce crop insurance premium discounts have not found traction with farm bill authors, and stakeholders hope that doesn't change as the full House and Senate begin debate on the 2018 farm bill. "I think there will be very strong support on both Agriculture Committees for crop insurance," National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson said.
Support for crop insurance, along with revisions to how cotton and dairy products are handled, topped issues discussed by participants at a recent University of Missouri summit. "The key to the farm bill is to provide an effective safety net for when times get tough or things don't work out exactly as we would like them to be," said Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo.
Crop insurance and commodity prices were among the top issues that participants at a listening session in Moultrie, Ga., discussed with House Agriculture Committee members last week. Cotton farmers discussed damage they incurred from Hurricane Irma, while pecan farmers urged crop insurance premium reductions.
Farmers in Iowa and South Dakota are pleasantly surprised by corn and soybean yields following dry weather preceded by a wet spring, said farmer Nels Sorensen. Soybean yields appear "exceptional" compared to 2015 levels, said Paul Kassel of Iowa State University.