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Rural Wrap-Up: Five things you missed last week

Here are five things you missed last week, from low Mississippi River water levels to missile attacks on Ukraine.

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1. Historically low Mississippi River water levels affected farmers and consumers

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Drought in Mississippi has caused water levels to sink to incredibly low levels, which in turn has caused issues for farmers and agriculture exporters.

Arkansas Farm Bureau President, Rich Hillman called it yet another challenge for producers.

Soy Transportation Coalition’s Mike Steenhoek said the barge and towing industry has a 25-barge maximum tow size south of St. Louis. On a normal day, a single tow can have 30-40 barges. He added the costs associated with shipping soybeans have skyrocketed 218 percent in the last year. Currently, one ton of soybeans costs more than $90. One year earlier, the same shipment was about $28.

2. Producer and Consumer Price Indexes showed inflation is not slowing down

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The Producer Price Index jumped 0.4 percent in September, which is double the expectation.

Wholesale inflation is 8.5 percent higher on the year. Food costs dominated the index, with prices a stunning 11.9 percent higher on the year.

The CPI came in at 8.2 percent versus the 8.1 percent that the markets were expecting. That is only down a tenth of a point from August, despite the Fed’s aggressive rate hike campaign.

3. Florida is on its way to having the worst citrus crop since WWII

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USDA numbers showed Florida’s citrus crop is set to have its worst year in almost eight decades.

It came as growers get their first assessment of the damage that Hurricane Ian left behind. The state is set to produce just 28 million boxes for its current season, which is down 32 percent from last year and the worst since World War II.

4. Supreme Court wrapped up Prop 12 hearings

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The National Pork Producers Council and American Farm Bureau challenged California’s Prop 12, which bans the sale of pork from hogs that fail to meet the state’s new production standards.

Roger McEowen with the Washburn School of Law listened to the case as it was happening. He said opening arguments from both sides did not go well, to which he believes survives a motion to dismiss.

5. Markets and exports reacted to the latest attack on Ukraine

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Russian forces launched 84 missiles at infrastructure. The grain market responded instantly to the shelling with an increase in wheat prices as wheat futures rose by 5 percent.

According to Bloomberg, the latest escalation calls into question whether Ukraine’s grain export deal, expiring in about a month, will be extended.

There is about a month left until the end of the first stage of the grain deal. With the escalation of military actions, the likelihood of it will not be extended is growing.

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