Proposed cuts to crop insurance and a restructuring of the nation’s food aid programs drew criticism from the nation’s soybean farmers today as the American Soybean Association (ASA) weighed in on the proposed 2014 budget from President Barack Obama. Included in the budget is a proposed $7.4 billion reduction in the federal crop insurance program.“As ASA has said many times over, soybean farmers are willing to do our part to address the nation’s fiscal challenges, and we have a vested interest in ensuring that the cuts needed are made in a strategic manner, with all potential consequences taken into account. As many farmers still struggle to recover from the worst drought in generations, now is not the time to make such a deep cut to the federal crop insurance program,” said Danny Murphy, ASA President and a soybean farmer from Canton, Miss.“Farming is an industry grounded in uncertainty, whether with regard to markets, prices, drought or rainfall, and we assume a huge risk when we put seed in the ground each planting season,” Murphy stated. “Farmers are not alone in assuming that risk. The crops we plant produce a variety of foods and other products that Americans depend on every day. Crop insurance is a critical tool to ensure that not only are part of the risks covered for American farmers, but also for the millions of Americans who count on what we produce.”In addition to the proposed cuts to crop insurance, ASA reiterated its strong opposition to a proposed restructuring of the nation’s international food aid programs. The proposed change would replace in-kind aid with cash vouchers for purchases of food aid from foreign suppliers instead of commodities grown by American farmers. The proposal would shift jurisdiction over $1.5 billion from the House and Senate Agriculture Committees to Foreign Operations, and provide that only 55 percent of food aid be purchased from American farmers.“Federal food aid programs provide nutrition to impoverished people in developing countries, and we remain absolutely opposed to the replacement of in-kind aid with cash, which takes a key market away from American producers and places aid recipients at risk by allowing purchases from suppliers whose safety and quality are unknown. The proposal would also adversely affect shipping and logistics providers, packaging companies, and private voluntary organizations,” Murphy added.Murphy did point out that not all was negative in the President’s budget. Several of ASA’s top priorities were reflected in the proposal, including both agricultural research and infrastructure. “A significant positive in the budget is the investment in agricultural research, including $383 million for competitive grants through the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI),” Murphy said. “Also encouraging is the President’s $50 billion commitment to ports and inland waterways through his ‘Fix It First’ program, and the goal of cutting timelines in half for major infrastructure projects, including ports and waterways.”###ASA represents all U.S. soybean farmers on domestic and international issues of importance to the soybean industry. ASA’s advocacy efforts are made possible through voluntary farmer membership by farmers in 30 states where soybeans are grown.For more information contact:Danny Murphy, ASA President, 601-906-3809, [email protected] Delaney, ASA Communications Director, 202-969-7040, [email protected]
Share in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, News June 10, 2019 924 Views California’s housing market is showing signs of recovery, as CoreLogic reported that April saw sales of new and existing homes and condos increased 10.7% from March, and the year-over-year decline in transactions was the smallest since last summer.A total of 38,730 home and condo sales April, which is down 4.6% year-over-year. Sales for the month were the lowest in five years, but was a slight improvement as the 4.6% annual decline was the lowest August 2018.Home sales declined at all price levels, but the decreases were the largest in the lower price tiers, as sales below $300,000 fell 12.2% year-over-year. Sales over $500,000 dropped 7.4%, and sales more than $500,000 declined 2.8%. Homes selling at more than $1 million dropped 4.5% since April 2018.“Last year some potential homebuyers got priced out of the market by the double whammy of rising prices and mortgage rates, which meant the mortgage payments they faced had risen significantly more than prices alone and had far outpaced income growth,” the report states. “There was also a psychological shift in 2018 where many home shoppers, facing a thin inventory, became discouraged and simply stepped out of the market, some fearing prices had neared a peak.”Sales of high-priced homes nationwide have taken a hit so far in 2019, as Redfin reported in May that homes priced at more than $2 million declined 16% year-over-year—the biggest drop in luxury sales since 2010.The price of homes in the remaining 95% of the market rose 2.7% year-over-year to an average of $300,000 in the first quarter, continuing six straight years of increases.CoreLogic states that home prices in California saw an increase of 3.5% in April compared to March, with the average sale price coming in at $497,000. The report, however, stated April’s increase was down from the 7.8% increase of April 2018.The housing market in California’s two largest markets, Los Angeles and San Francisco, saw mixed results in April. A total of 6,987 new and existing homes were sold in the San Francisco area in April 2019, which is a 13.7% increase from March, but a 7.6% decline year-over-year.Los Angeles reported sales of new and existing homes rose 11.6% in April to 20,074, and down just 3.3% year-over-year. Home sales in April were the lowest for that month since April 2014 when 20,008 homes were sold.