Shrinking Supply of Dairy Heifers May Limit Growth of U.S. Milk Production

February 16, 2024 CoBank

A sharp decline in the number of dairy heifers available to replace older cows exiting the U.S. dairy herd could limit any meaningful growth in domestic milk production over the next few years. The number of dairy replacement heifers has fallen almost 15% over the last six years to reach a 20-year low, according to data from the USDA’s most recent Cattle report.

Rising Cocoa Prices are Souring the Outlook for Chocolate Candy Makers

February 12, 2024 CoBank

U.S. consumers are paying more for chocolate products as confection manufacturers raise prices in response to the soaring cost of cocoa. Cocoa prices are nearly 65% higher than they were one year ago, and New York futures prices are at a 46-year high. While consumer demand has remained relatively strong, higher retail prices are poised to take a bigger toll on volume sales and stifle category growth through much of 2024.

Food Deserts in Rural America Expose Need for Broader Distribution Strategies

October 10, 2023 CoBank

Food insecurity remains prevalent in the U.S. with sparsely-populated rural areas often being disproportionally affected. Rural communities comprise 63% of all U.S. counties but 87% of counties with the highest food insecurity rates. The primary challenge for rural residents is the prevalence of low-access food deserts, where the distance to supermarkets impedes the ability of consumers to access a wide range of food and beverage options.

Plant-Based Meat Alternatives Struggle to Maintain Early Momentum

August 15, 2023 CoBank

U.S. consumers remain interested in plant-based meat alternatives, but higher prices have led many prospective return consumers to taper off their purchases. The price of plant-based meats is often several dollars a pound higher than for equivalent meat and poultry products. Beyond cost, lingering negative perceptions surrounding taste, value and versatility are also obstacles the category has yet to overcome. 

Seaboard Foods Donates to Rural High School STEM and Ag Programs with CoBank Matched Funds

October 7, 2022 Seaboard Foods

With the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projecting careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) to grow twice as quickly as other industries, Seaboard Foods contributed $38,300 to several rural high schools where it operates to fund industrial arts programs and equipment. Several of the donations were made in partnership with CoBank’s Sharing Success Program which funds community and educational efforts in rural America.