Grocery Decline; Mexico Considers Lifting Corn Tariffs
**Grocery prices declined to a 50-year low last year.
The USDA says retail food prices dropped 1.3 percent, the first ANNUAL decline since 1967.
Increased production of many commodities, lower transportation costs and a strong dollar were some of the reasons for the declines.
Drops in the price of eggs, beef and veal, pork and dairy offset increases for fresh fruit and other foods.
The USDA expects prices this year to range from flat to one percent higher.
**U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly, a Democrat from Indiana and a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, says he will support the nomination of Sonny Perdue to be the next Ag Secretary.
Donnelly says he received commitments from Perdue at last week’s confirmation hearing that the USDA would continue to be a partner in economic development for rural communities, including providing access to broadband and expanding market opportunities for farmers.
**The president of the U.S. Grains Council says Mexico, the number one customer of U.S. corn, is considering offering duty-free access to Brazil and Argentina.
Tom Sleight tells Brownfield corn originating from South America is already competitively priced, and eliminating tariffs would likely result in less demand for grain produced in the U.S.
Mexican corn imports from the U.S. were valued at more than $2 billion dollars in 2015.
Sleight says officials in Mexico are upset about Trump Administration trade and immigration policies and are willing to retaliate.