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Aug 25, 2014

USDA raises beef, pork prices forecasts on drought, disease

WASHINGTON, Aug 25 (Reuters) – Retail prices for many U.S.
meats, already at record highs, continue to rise on a
combination of drought and disease, but overall food cost
increases remain near long-term averages, the U.S. Department of
Agriculture said on Monday.

The agency now forecasts pork, beef and veal prices to rise
by 6.5 to 7.5 percent in 2014, up from 5.5 to 6.5 percent
forecast a month ago. The overall “meats, poultry and fish”
category will rise by 4 to 5 percent.

Aug 18, 2014

Cost of raising a child in U.S. tops $245,000, USDA says

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – An average middle-income family in the United States can expect to spend about $245,000 over 18 years to raise a child born in 2013, the U.S. government estimated on Monday.

The Department of Agriculture’s annual “Cost of Raising a Child” report showed child-rearing costs – which reflect food, housing, childcare, education and other expenses – were up about 1.8 percent from 2012.

Aug 15, 2014

U.S. court upholds FERC rules on electric grid planning

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. court on Friday upheld rules from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission calling on utilities to take various actions, including increased planning of large transmission projects.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit affirmed FERC’s “Order 1000,” a series of measures from 2011 that requires large-scale regional planning of the nation’s electric grid designed in part to create greater access to renewable energy.

Aug 13, 2014

U.S. sets new ground beef procedures to stop E. coli outbreaks

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Wednesday announced new procedures for detecting and removing unsafe ground beef from grocery stores and suppliers as part of efforts to prevent potentially deadly illnesses caused by contaminated meat.

The move “will allow the agency to trace contaminated ground beef back to its source more quickly, remove it from commerce, and find the root cause of the incident to prevent it from recurring,” said USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).

Aug 12, 2014

U.S. to harvest record corn, soy crops, pushing stocks up: USDA

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. corn production in 2014 will crack the 14-billion-bushel mark for the first time, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said on Tuesday, although the crop forecast was slightly below trade expectations and could provide relief to the beaten-down corn futures market.

Soybean production will also be a record, setting up a tripling of ending stocks in 2014/15.

Aug 8, 2014

FAA bans U.S. airlines from flying over Iraq

WASHINGTON, Aug 8 (Reuters) – The U.S. Federal Aviation
Administration (FAA) on Friday restricted U.S. airlines and
commercial operators from flying over Iraq while armed conflict
raged and the United States launched air strikes.

The FAA had previously, on Aug. 1, restricted U.S. airlines
from flying at or below 30,000 feet (9,100 meters) over Iraq.
The latest order will be reviewed by year-end.

Aug 1, 2014

U.S. reforms poultry inspections to boost food safety

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced on Thursday reforms to decades-old processes for inspecting poultry facilities in a bid to cut down on the number of foodborne illnesses, but dropped an industry-backed plan to speed up production.

Under the new rule, poultry producers would be required, among other things, to perform microbiological testing at two points in their production process to prevent salmonella and campylobacter contamination.

Jul 31, 2014

U.S. EPA extends 2013 biofuel compliance deadline for third time

WASHINGTON, July 31 (Reuters) – The U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency on Thursday extended the deadline for the
third time for refiners to show compliance with 2013 federal
biofuel use targets, a move quickly criticized by the oil

Annual compliance reports would be due 30 days after the
pending publication of the final rule establishing the 2014
renewable fuel percentage standards, the agency said on its

Jul 29, 2014

U.S. proposes allowing pork imports from more Mexican regions

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture has proposed a change in regulations that would relax restrictions on pork imports from certain areas of Mexico, potentially allowing for larger U.S. imports.

The proposal would permit pork to be imported from certain areas of Mexico defined as having a low risk of classical swine fever (CSF), the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) said in a posting on Tuesday in the Federal Register.

Jul 25, 2014

U.S. meat, seafood prices rising on drought and disease: USDA

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Overall U.S. food inflation will remain near the historic norm in 2014, even as prices for meat and seafood are pushed higher by disease and widespread drought, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said on Friday.

USDA said wholesale pork prices will jump by 10 percent to 11 percent in 2014, hurt by declining supplies after a virus has killed millions of piglets in the past year.

    • About Ros

      "Ros Krasny is Boston Bureau Chief, leading coverage of the New England scene. She was previously a regional Federal Reserve correspondent based in Chicago, and spent many years writing about agricultural commodity markets with Bridge News and Knight-Ridder Financial news."
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