Ag Chat with Scott Schultz - February 4

ALTOONA, Wis. (WEAU)- U.S. Department of Agriculture officials have announced that the agriculture leaders of Canada and Mexico will speak at USDA's 95th Agricultural Outlook Forum Feb. 21-22 in Arlington, Va. Minister Lawrence MacAulay of Canada and Secretary Victor Villalobos Arambula of Mexico will join U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue for the forum's keynote address on February 21. The plenary session will mark the first time the three ministers have spoken jointly at a public forum since the signing of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement in November. This year's Agricultural Outlook Forum, themed "Growing Locally, Selling Globally," highlights issues and trends affecting agricultural production and global markets. It's designed as a platform for exchanging ideas, information and best practices among domestic and foreign producers, processors, policymakers, government officials, and non-governmental organizations.

Richard Hurd / CC BY 2.0 / MGN

Last week's cold likely reduced milk yields and disrupted transportation. However, there was still plenty of milk available for cheese vats. Cheesemakers across the country told the USDA's Dairy Market News that production remains at or near capacity. In the Northeast, cheese manufacturers continue to receive heavy milk loads despite the winter storm. The combination of Super Bowl pizza and nachos and comparatively inexpensive U.S. cheese for export has likely boosted demand.

The USDA's Commodity Credit Corporation has announced interest rates effective through February 28. The Commodity Credit Corporation borrowing rate-based charge for February is 2.625 percent, the same as 2.625 percent in January. The interest rate for crop year commodity loans less than one year disbursed is 3.625 percent, the same as in January. Interest rates for Farm Storage Facility Loans approved for February are: 2.5 percent with three-year and five-year loan terms, 2.625 percent with seven-year loan terms, and 2.75 percent with 10-year and 12-year loan terms.

We often think about the advertising during Super Bowl Sunday - and, of course, about the game. In the meantime, Americans consumed copious amounts of food and drink throughout the day and night. Food industry spokespeople estimated that Americans yesterday consumed 88 million pounds of cheese, 1.3 billion chicken wings, 325.5 million gallons of beer, 2 million pizzas from Domino's pizza alone, 58.4 million pounds of avocados, 10 million pounds of ribs, 3.8 million pounds of popcorn and $227 million worth of potato chips. Cornell University estimates that average Americans consume about 6,000 calories on Super Bowl Sunday, which is more than is consumed on either Thanksgiving or Christmas.