Goodlatte bill seeks H-2A replacement

Is this finally the year for immigration reform for ag employers?

Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., is dropping his “Agricultural Guestworker Act of 2017.” Find the summary if the bill’s features here and the press release from his office here, Goodlatte is wasting no time; the release says the bill will be marked up by the House Judiciary Committee on Oct. 4. Initial industry response seems 1,000% positive....


The latest fruit and tree nuts outlook report has been issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Find it here
The USDA says the 7% smaller apple crop should provide a boost to apple prices during the 2017-2018 marketing year, but offers a caveat. “ 

“While the anticipated smaller crop should provide a boost to U.S. apple prices during the 2017/18 marketing year, above-average production, competing large storage supplies from the previous harvest, and weak 2016/17 end-of-season prices will be mitigating forces on early-season fresh apple prices.”

On citrus, the USDA said the final estimate for the U.S. citrus crop in 2016/17 is 7.77 million tons, an 11% decline, year over year, with declines for most citrus fruit. For the next season, citrus output will be lower still, the USDA says, with the initial forecast for navel oranges down 10% from last season. “Also, while the full damage and loss assessment from Hurricane Irma is ongoing, early indications suggest Florida’s citrus production will slip again in 2017/18,” the report said. To say the least...


Check out a new USDA Economic Research Service report called “Food-at-Home Expenditures: Comparing
Commercial Household Scanner Data From IRI and Government Survey Data.”

Here is one bottom line observation from the report:

"In the IRI Consumer Network, households reported spending less per week on food categories containing unpackaged or random-weight items, including fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, and fish and seafood. For example, in 2012, average weekly expenditures on fresh vegetables in the IRI Consumer Network were 47 percent of those in CE and 45 percent of those in FoodAPS."

Why is that the case? From the USDA:

"The results suggest that IRI encounters more difficulty capturing purchases of unpackaged or random-weight items than packaged products. Differences in each survey’s design and length of reporting period also likely contribute to differences in reported expenditures. The shorter reference periods for the FoodAPS and CE surveys appear to lead to a more complete record of household food expenditures, although the panel design and level of detail contained in the IRI Consumer Network confer other benefits for economic research."

Since the USDA has purchased proprietary household and retail scanner data from market research firm IRI for use in economic research, it is relevant that IRI could be undershooting produce expenditures