Weather Forecast


USDA Farmers Markets Directory updated

By Wes Nelson

USDA Farm Service Agency

WILLMAR — A recent update of USDA’s online Farmers Markets Directory now lists 8,144 markets nationwide, up from 4,685 reported in 2008. The directory is voluntarily updated by managers of farmers markets, state departments of agriculture, marketing associations and others, and is available online at

This year the directory has been enhanced to include a new Application Programming Interface that improves customer access to the data.

USDA’s support of farmers markets is just one component of its “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food” initiative to help local and regional food systems, and spur economic development.

By successfully restoring the link between consumers and producers, new income opportunities are provided for local agricultural producers and the money that those opportunities generate is more likely to stay within the local community.

Local food and direct marketing opportunities, including farmers markets, are one of the fastest growing segments of agriculture. According to the latest Census of Agriculture, direct sales of food products from farmers to individual customers rose nearly 50 percent between 2002 and 2007.

Worth an estimated $1 billion in 2005, local food sales grew to $4.8 billion in 2007 and nearly $7 billion last year, according to industry estimates.

The five states with the largest number of farmers markets include: California – 759; New York – 637; Illinois – 336; Michigan – 331; and Ohio – 300.

Officials from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture also recently announced that more than 160 farmers markets can be found in the “Minnesota Grown” directory, the online version of which can be found at:

The online directory allows people to locate a farmers market by location, or by the day of the week. Free printed copies of the directory are available online, or by calling 1-800-657-3878.

2013 corn crop

to be largest in U.S. history, second largest

for Minnesota

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s August Crop Production Report, corn production in the United States is expected to total 13.8 billion bushels, which is up 28 percent from last year’s drought-reduced crop and would be the largest corn crop in U.S. history.

Based on Aug. 1 crop conditions, USDA is forecasting an average corn yield of 154.4 bushels per acre, up 31 bushels from last year and would be the highest average U.S. corn yield since 2009.

According to USDA, our nation’s corn farmers will harvest 89.1 million acres of corn for grain this year, which is up 2 percent from 2012.

In Minnesota, corn production is expected to total 1.36 billion bushels, down slightly from last year’s record high production of 1.37 billion bushels.

Based on Aug. 1 crop conditions, USDA projected that corn yields in Minnesota will average 166 bushels per acre, up 1 bushel from 2012. However, the slightly lower production estimate is because the 8.2 million acres of corn expected to be harvested for grain is 130,000 acres less than last year.

USDA projects

10 percent decline in Minn. soybean production

The August Crop Production Report also indicates that soybean production in Minnesota will total 272 million bushels, down 10 percent from last year’s total of 301 million bushels.

Based on Aug. 1 crop conditions, USDA is forecasting that soybean yields in Minnesota will average 41 bushels per acre, 2 bushels less than last year. However, the main reason for the dramatic decline in Minnesota soybean production is a 5 percent reduction in the number of harvested acres, which USDA estimated at 6.63 million acres, the lowest acreage since 2007.

Nationwide, soybean production is expected to total 3.26 billion bushels, up 8 percent from last year and would be the third largest soybean crop in U.S. history.

Based on Aug. 1 crop conditions, USDA is forecasting an average soybean yield of 42.6 bushels per acre, up 3 bushels from last year’s national average.

Minnesota sugar beet production expected to decline 18 percent

Following last year’s record high production of 12.3 million tons, USDA estimates that Minnesota sugar beet producers will harvest 10.1 million tons this year, down 18 percent.

Minnesota’s average yield is projected at 22 tons per acre, down 4.5 tons from 2012. In addition, the harvested acreage estimate of 460,000 acres is 3,000 acres less than last year.

WTO rules in favor of U.S. chicken producers

It was recently announced that a World Trade Organization dispute settlement panel determined that China had violated numerous WTO obligations by imposing anti-dumping duties and countervailing duties on imports of chicken “broiler products” from the United States.

The ruling is a major victory for U.S. chicken producers and processors since the imposition of higher duties resulted in an 80 percent drop in American exports of chicken broiler products to China.

This is the second of three recent WTO disputes in which the United States has challenged China’s administration of its anti-dumping and counter-vailing duty measures.

The U.S. has prevailed in the first two disputes — on a specialty steel product, and now on chicken broiler products. The U.S. is also actively litigating a dispute regarding automobiles.

Wes Nelson is executive director of the USDA Farm Service Agency in Kandiyohi County.