• The final numbers for agriculture exports in 2014 confirmed a record setting value.

    USDA said this week the agriculture exports for the fiscal year soared to a record $152.5 billion. That’s up from last year’s record of $141 billion. Agriculture exports in the last five years have increased 41 percent in value.

    Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack mentioned the Made in Rural America initiative in a statement Wednesday that the program led by USDA focuses on investments in rural businesses, among other things. Those efforts, according to Vilsack, help expand export opportunities.

  • With global food demand expected to outpace the availability of water by the year 2050, consumers can make a big difference in reducing the water used in livestock production according to Robin White, lead researcher of a Washington State University study appearing in the journal Food Policy.

    White says, “It’s important to know that small changes on the consumer side can help, and, in fact, may be necessary to achieve big results in a production system.”

    The study shows that meat packers and retailers can play a key role in creating incentives for water-saving livestock production with labels that appeal to consumer values.