The growing trend toward imbibing premium drinks while out on the town is helping to boost spending in groceries on alcohol, according to a Kantar study. Grocers and other stores in the UK are offering more high-end choices to meet consumers' higher expectations, said Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar Worldpanel.
UK grocer Tesco is offering two low-alcohol sparkling wines, in the wake of its successful introduction of three still wines with low alcohol this summer. “Consumption of alcohol in the UK is down 18% over the last decade and we’re seeing more customers looking for a quality wine-drinking experience without the alcohol," said Tesco wine expert Alexandra Runciman.
Montana will conduct auction bidding for liquor licenses instead of offering them through a lottery system, under a bill passed by the state Legislature that is headed to the governor. This affects newly issued licenses but not private sales of existing licenses.
Government distribution and sale of alcohol were debated by candidates for county executive in Montgomery County, Md., last week. Some argued that the county should relinquish control of the business, while others asserted that the issue has been ineffective management.
Farm Credit Services of America CEO Mark Jensen says the agricultural economy is better than it was in the 1980s because of crop insurance and because there is less debt. Jensen, who became CEO of FCSA and Frontier Farm Credit Nov. 1, says, "We will provide the value in the market that our customers expect from us."
Nationwide response rates to USDA surveys have steadily decreased since 1992, with South Dakota's rate falling "well below the national average," according to Erik Garlach of the National Agricultural Statistics Service. Although reporting is not mandatory, the USDA relies on the information gathered for accurately administering crop insurance programs as well as disaster assistance disbursements.
A three-year demonstration project in Iowa will provide farmers with $5 per-acre premium reductions in exchange for planting qualified cover crops. "We see this new crop insurance premium reduction as a great way to reach a broader group of farmers and landowners in order to promote continued interest in planting cover crops," said Mike Naig, deputy secretary of agriculture in the state.
The 2018 farm bill should give quality equal priority to yield, says cotton farmer David Dunlow, who says many North Carolina cotton farmers lost money in 2015 and 2016 when heavy rains damaged crops. The other priority Dunlow and other cotton producers seek is inclusion of "seed cotton" as a commodity in the bill.
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue sought input from Iowa farmers about crop insurance at a recent roundtable in Johnston, Iowa, that included Rep. David Young, R-Iowa, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds and Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey.
Economist Randy Fortenbery of Washington State University believes the 2014 farm bill will be extended by at least a year, he said during a speech at the Tri-State Grain Growers Convention in Spokane, Wash. Consultant Matt Roberts of the Kernmantle Group said he does not anticipate dramatic revisions when a new bill is finalized, but noted the concerns of the dairy and cotton industries.