Adverse Weather Takes it Toll on Producers

ANALYSIS - It's not just the US which is suffering from extreme weather conditions, recovering from 10 years of drought Australian producers are asking the government for drought relief measures. Meanwhile, European producers are feeling the pinch as feed prices rise rapidly, reports Charlotte Johnston, TheCattleSite editor.
calendar icon 17 August 2012
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The US Department of Agriculture has announced that it will purchase up to $170 million of meat for federal food programmes, to help producers being impacted by the drought.

The government said in a press release that this was part of the Obama Administration's commitment to do everything it can to help those being affected.

Whilst thankful for this commitment to buy meat (albeit a mere fraction of what is produced), the industry has criticised the government for not fully addressing the issue of high feed costs and the effects this has had on subsequent years’ supplies.

On top of this, industry has received no response to its request for an alteration to the renewable fuel standard that would release corn stocks from ethanol use.

Following on from this announcement, President Obama highlighted the need for the Farm Bill on a trip to Iowa.

Earlier this month the US House of Representatives departed for their five-week August holiday without finalising the pending Farm Bill.

The drought is not only affecting producers in the US. Despite being drought-free for the first time in a decade, Australian farmers are pushing the government to provide some form of drought relief, as meteorologists predict the return of dry El Niño conditions.

Meetings have taken place this week between industry and government to work through the proposed drought reform measures.

“The Government’s drought policy must find the balance between allowing farmers to build self-reliance through their own risk management and preparedness, and ensuring that appropriate assistance is available to farmers in the case of a severe or prolonged drought," said National Farmers' Federation President Jock Laurie.

The adverse weather conditions seen across the world are also affecting livestock producers in Europe, as the prices for wheat and soya rise rapidly.

Drought in North America is driving supply side concerns, and wet weather has meant a delayed harvest in Northern Europe, which has put pressure on domestic supplies.

Charlotte Johnston, Editor

Charlotte Johnston - Editor

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