ALTOONA, Wis. (WEAU)- Finally-that's the sentiment of grain traders and others in agriculture who have been waiting for some long delayed USDA reports to be issued. Among the reports coming out will be the final numbers for the 2018 cropping season, new crop estimates for the South American crop and the December 1sr grain stocks. Preliminary surveys in the industry estimate the size of last fall's corn crop will come in at just over 14 and a half billion bushels on yields of 177 bushels per acre from 81.7 harvested acres. That estimate would also lower U.S. ending corn stocks by about 70 million bushels. The estimate of the soybean crop is also expected to be dropped to just under 4.6 billion bushels on yields of 51.7 bushels an acre from 88.2 million acres. Those numbers will come out at 11 o'clock our time this morning.
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue is also busy crunching some numbers. Members of Congress want him to be a little more specific on what it will cost to move 2 USDA agencies out of Washington, how much the move will save over time and what's the long term benefit for the public. Perdue wants to relocate the Economic Research Service and the National Institute for Food and Agriculture. He says the move to areas with a lower cost of living will attract better people to those agencies. So far, 136 different areas of the country have expressed interest in being the new home for those agencies, including Madison.
USDA Deputy Secretary Steve Censky says USDA is moving quickly to get things in place so farmers can soon start signing up for programs and benefits of the new farm bill. He told a farm audience this week his people are moving quickly to get things in place but signup is still "several weeks away." Censky said programs like the new Dairy Margin Protection program as well as ARC and PLC are getting top priority.
The upcoming U.S. Championship Cheese Contest at Lambeau Field Atrium in Green Bay is going to be the biggest in the event's 39 years.
The Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association, which runs the competition, says there are 2,555 entries coming from 35 states, including 29 first time entrants. The contest runs March 5th through the 7th with judging from 9 to 5:30 all 3 days. The event is free and open to the public with some product sampling also available.