Consumers are growing increasingly interested in regional Hispanic snacks such as chilaquiles, churros and aguas frescas, according to a new report from J.M. Smucker and Technomic. Of particular interest to consumers are snacks' portability, familiarity and authentic ingredients, the report said.
Runa is planning to lean more heavily on its energy drink line to spur grow while it undertakes an internal review of its ready-to-drink tea line, said CEO Alex Galindez. "We are focusing on things that have worked, on the things that are already showing great growth potential and focus on that, rather than try to be all things to all people," Galindez said.
Botanical flavors, enhancements to cold-brew coffees and health-forward beverage ingredients are among the biggest consumer trends this year, said Agneta Hoffmann of Bell Flavors and Fragrances. "We will see a shift to a more relaxed and health-conscious theme for this year, and the sports drinks and sports nutrition category will be heavily impacted as it has been for the last two years," she said.
The farm bill protects more of the US food system than many people understand, writes Tom Vilsack, US Dairy Export Council CEO and former USDA secretary. "Unfortunately, most people are unaware of the farm bill's importance because they think it impacts only farmers," he writes.
Reductions to crop insurance premium discounts and the application of means testing to qualify were topics recently analyzed by Kansas State University and Mississippi State University, Philip Brasher writes. "Kicking out the big farms increased the loss ratio and would require a rate increase on the remaining small farms," said Art Barnaby of Kansas State University.
High inventories of soybeans and corn, along with unresolved trade negotiation issues, may keep farm income prospects relatively low this year, predicted the Federal Reserve in a recent report. However, potential updates to the farm bill could help reverse those downward trends, Ray Scherer writes.
An increase in prices for crop insurance would make farming prohibitively expensive, said Ind. farmer Harold Parker at the 2018 Fort Wayne Farm Show. Farmers who need financing are usually required to get crop insurance by lenders, said Randy Kron of the Indiana Farm Bureau said.
Servi-Tech CEO Greg Ruehle emphasized crop insurance's critical role to House Agriculture Committee member Roger Marshall during a recent town hall meeting in Dodge City, Kan. "The number one issue I need to make sure gets taken care of this spring is the farm bill," said Marshall.
Federal budgetary appropriations and policies are important to farming success, so it is wise to learn about them from the beginning of an agriculture career, writes Markie Hageman of Fort Hays State University. Hageman explains the how the farm bill is structured, the process for developing legislation and the proportion devoted to crop insurance.
The La Nina weather phenomenon is likely to create drier than typical weather in the South this year and a wetter winter than usual in the Northern US, according to Mike Halpert of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The rest of the nation will have "an equal chance for above-, near- or below-normal temperatures," predicts NOAA.