Juvenile sent to NOC for escaping from correctional institution

first_imgA 17-year-old boy was on Friday sent to the New Opportunity Corps (NOC) for one year after he was charged for escaping lawful custody while he was in detention at the Juvenile Holding Centre in Sophia, Greater Georgetown.The decision was handed down by Magistrate Leron Daly on Friday when she informed the court that the juvenile will be sent to the correctional facility until he attains the age of 18.The teen was placed in the juvenile holding facility in Sophia after he was charged for unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition without being licensed to carry same.Based on reports, on August 9, 2018, the teen was in the process of being handed over to a social worker by the Police when he decided to make a run for it in a bid to escape.The lad jumped over the western fence of the compound and made good his escape. However, he was subsequently recaptured after Close Circuit Television (CCTV) footage showed the direction in which he ran.The teen will be heading to NOC where only on Friday last 13 juveniles escaped.Reports coming out of the Social Protection Ministry stated that an investigation has been launched into the escape of 13 juveniles from the facility. According to the ministry it is also investigation whether the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) were followed, and whether the staff had colluded with the juvenilesThe Police have since conducted several roadblocks along the main access road on the Essequibo Coast in an attempt to recapture the juveniles.On Thursday last, the juveniles had completed some chores in the compound of the facility, after which they started to run towards the western side of the premises, which is not fenced. This area is lined with bushes which lead to the backlands.The search is ongoing for a 15-year-old female of Vigilance, East Coast Demerara (ECD), who is serving 18 months for simple larceny; a 16-year-old girl of Bartica, Region Seven, who is serving two years for wandering; another 16-year-old girl of La Parfaite Harmonie, West Bank Demerara, who is serving three years for wandering; a 15-year-old male, of the Essequibo Coast, who is serving one year for simple larceny; a 16-year-old female of Number 10 Village, West Coast Berbice, who is serving two years for wandering; a 16-year-old male of New Amsterdam, Berbice, who is serving 21 months for attempting to escape from lawful custody; a 16-year-old male of Buxton, ECD, who is serving a three-year sentence for possession of a firearm; a 16-year-old boy of Tucville, Georgetown, who is serving 22 months for wandering; a 17-year-old girl of Mahdia, Region Eight, who is serving two years for wandering; and a 17-year-old boy of Lethem, Region Nine, serving 15 months for burglary.Meanwhile, on Friday last, at about 04:40h, three others also escaped from the correctional facility. They have been identified as a 15-year-old male of Lethem, Region Nine; a 17-year-old girl of Number 5 Village, West Coast Berbice; and a teenage boy of Berbice.last_img

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January 12, 2020 | by

ERC called in to probe “racial comments” by WPA member against PSC Head

first_imgThe Ethnic Relations Commission (ERC) was called in by the Private Sector Commission (PSC) to probe “racial comments” made by Government-nominated Commissioner on the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) and Executive Member of the Working Peoples Alliance (WPA), Desmond Trotman.Government GECOM Commissioner and Executive Member of WPA, Desmond TrotmanAn executive of the PSC explained to Guyana Times on Friday that the ERC was officially requested to probe the comments, after a letter surfaced from Trotman responding to one written by President of the PSC Captain Gerry Gouveia, which was published in Guyana Times on July 22.In Gouveia’s letter, headlined “Lowenfield was not legally directed to commence House-to-House Registration”, the PSC Chairman addressed the Chief Elections Officer stating, “We have sought legal advice on this matter and it is our understanding that you have not been legally directed by the Commission to proceed as you are doing and that to conduct House-to-House Registration is unlawful”.PSC President Captain Gerry GouveiaThe letter added, “We (PSC) have also noted that GECOM’s Internal Counsel has advised that GECOM would be in contempt of the ruling of the CCJ to carry out any instruction in this regard from former Chairman James Patterson, whose appointment by the President has been ruled to be flawed”.Among other things, the PSC Chair at that time had called for GECOM to suspend House-to-House Registration.Trotman, in his response letter dated July 24, 2019 to the PSC Chair, argued that he felt that Gouveia’s letter was riddled with inaccuracies and moreover aimed at disgracing Lowenfield’s character. Trotman stated, “It is not a true narrative of events and is deliberately designed to hold Lowenfield up to public ridicule. Additionally, your letter, in its attempt at assassinating his character and impugning by interference what you believe are his intentions, places the lives of Lowenfield and other members of his family in serious jeopardy”.Moreover the letter said, “Further, what I found most disconcerting is the tone you adopted— a tone consistent with that of a white slave owner, who, in the presence of his overseers, is penalising a delinquent slave for failing to carry out the instructions of “massa”. When I read that part of your letter I was filled with anger and I imagined the treatment of my forefathers by yours, as they were beaten…”Several calls made to the Chairman of ERC, Pastor John Smith, went unanswered on Friday; however, this publication was told by an officer at the ERC that the probe has commenced.In a statement to the media, PSC condemned the racist attack of a Government-appointed GECOM Commissioner.“This disgraceful, extremely offensive and defamatory behaviour has no place in GECOM or a democratic society. We would expect the Government to take the appropriate action with regard to Mr Trotman’s attack on the integrity and good name of the PSC Chairman,” the PSC said.The PSC, headed by Captain Gerald Gouveia, represents a large number of local businesses in Guyana. These firms pay 82 per cent of the total income and corporation taxes to Government and employ thousands of Guyanese, the PSC explained.The Commission is known for speaking out against certain issues affecting the country, including political matters which ultimately affect the investment climate and the business community.In recent times, the PSC has been urging all political players to abide by the Guyana Constitution and had called out President David Granger for failing to do so.last_img

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January 12, 2020 | by

Tartans spoil Spartans’ title bid

first_imgTiger-Cortes finished the night with 29 points, followed by teammate Kyle Gordien, who had 17. The Spartans entered the game tied with Chino Hills for first place, but Chino Hills defeated Ayala for the crown. The Spartans (24-4 overall, 8-2 league) were getting the calls and the ball was bouncing their way late in the fourth quarter, and it seemed as if Damien might pull out the victory. The Spartans had their chance with 11.1 seconds remaining in the game when they fouled Glendora’s Robert Meyer, who missed both free-throw attempts. The Spartans inbounded the ball to Griffin Ramme, but he couldn’t get an open look. He tried to throw up a shot, but it was blocked as time expired. kim.swanson@sgvn.com (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2239 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! LA VERNE – Damien High School’s boys basketball team needed a victory Thursday night over rival Glendora to secure at least a share of the Sierra League title, but came up just short, 62-60. “This was a hard one,” Spartans coach Matt Dunn said. “We fought hard and we kept fighting until the end, but we just came up short.” “We played with great competitive spirit,” Tartans coach Mike LeDuc said. “That’s what we have been trying to do and tonight it was natural and just came together for us.” The Spartans kept the game close, coming into the third quarter down just 30-29. But the Tartans’ Dominic Tiger-Cortes hit back-to-back 3-point baskets to extend his team’s lead to seven and the Spartans never fully recovered. center_img “He’s (Tiger-Cortes) had a really tough year, but he’s battling,” LeDuc said of his junior standout. “He’s battling to get his stroke back and he rose to the occasion tonight.” Tiger-Cortes’ back-to-back baskets seemed to spark the momentum for the Tartans, (15-13, 4-6) who rallied and jumped out to their biggest lead of the night, 46-36. But Ramme hit the last four points of the quarter on free throws to pull his team within six at 46-40 going into the final quarter, where he scored 15 of his 30 points. Ramme was 18 of 21 from the free-throw line – 10 of 12 during the fourth quarter. “He’s been unbelievable all year long,” Dunn said. “He played tremendous tonight.” last_img

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January 11, 2020 | by

Torpid economy calls for résumé polishing

first_imgWASHINGTON – Sharpen your skills. Take a class. Beef up the résumé . Network more. Those are some of the things you should do if you are looking for a job or thinking about leaving the one you have, but it is especially important now given signs that job growth around the country is slowing. A Labor Department report, released Friday, showed that wary employers added just 88,000 new jobs to their payrolls in April, the fewest in 2 1/2 years. The jobless rate edged up to 4.5 percent as job losses spread beyond the struggling manufacturing and construction sectors and into retailing and financial services. Workers’ paychecks also grew more slowly. What advice does Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, who once ran cereal giant Kellogg’s, have for jobseekers? Those with jobs, meanwhile, saw wage growth slow. Average hourly earnings rose to $17.25 in April, a 3.7 percent increase over the past 12 months. That marked the slowest annual rise in a year. Nonetheless, analysts considered the wage increase solid, and because it probably outpaced inflation, “workers are still staying ahead,” said Lynn Reaser, chief economist at Bank of America’s Investment Strategies Group.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! “What I would say to anyone in the job market is ensuring that their skills are as updated as possible. This is a continuous learning economy. We all have to upgrade our skills every single day. Learning never stops,” he said in an interview with The Associated Press. “In our economy, there is a real premium for skills.” Given the housing slump, rising energy prices and sluggish overall economic activity, “businesses are a bit more cautious and reluctant to hire as aggressively as they had,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Economy.com. “Businesses were voraciously hiring people a year ago and now they’ve got a bit of indigestion.” The new count of jobs added to the economy was the fewest since 65,000 in November 2004. The rise in the unemployment rate, however, was slight compared with March’s 4.4 percent rate – which had matched a five-year low. Taken together, the figures suggest the employment situation is weakening a bit – but not collapsing – as the nation’s economy makes its way through a soft patch. Economists do predict the unemployment rate will climb in the coming months and approach 5 percent by year end, still relatively low by historic standards. last_img

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January 11, 2020 | by

Survivors and families remember Pearl Harbor attack

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWhicker: Clemson demonstrates that it’s tough to knock out the champOverall, 2,388 Americans died in the attacks, including some 900 still entombed in the Arizona. Hawaii Air National Guard helicopters flew over the harbor in “missing man” formation in honor of those lost. B-2 stealth bombers currently deployed to Guam from Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri performed an additional flyby. The crowd of about 2,000 honored the survivors with a standing ovation and several minutes of loud applause. Smith, of Olympia, Wash., was standing watch on the Oklahoma when he saw planes darting through the sky over the harbor. “One plane came in, circled, came right down to us. The guy opened the hatch to his plane and dropped his torpedo, waved at me and took off,” Smith said. “The next thing I knew there was a big explosion.” He was able to jump overboard, just avoiding being squashed by the capsizing battleship, and then swam ashore. Smith was among 18 survivors of the Oklahoma who came to Hawaii to help dedicate a new memorial to the vessel after the main ceremony. The Oklahoma lost 429 sailors and Marines – more than any battleship in the harbor except the Arizona. The $1.2 million monument includes 429 white marble standards, each with the name of a fallen sailor or Marine, surrounded by black granite panels etched with a silhouette of the battleship and notable quotes from World War II-era figures that were selected by some of the survivors. The Oklahoma was hit with the first torpedo of the morning assault. It capsized after being struck by eight more, trapping 400 men in its overturned hull. About 30 of the trapped men were later rescued by Pearl Harbor Navy Yard workers who hammered their way through the ship’s metal. Retired Navy Cmdr. Tucker McHugh, who co-chaired the USS Oklahoma Memorial Committee, said he thinks the memorial will bring some sense of closure. “I think there’s been a void in the minds and hearts of these shipmates that their shipmates were never honored with a lasting memorial,” McHugh said. “Total closure might come when the last survivor passes away and they’re all reunited together.” Retired Navy Adm. Tom Fargo, vice chairman of the Pearl Harbor Memorial Fund, an organization set up to raise money for a new Arizona memorial visitor’s center, said it was vital to remember the events of 66 years ago. The existing visitor’s center, across the harbor from the Arizona memorial itself, houses a museum and theaters where the public can learn about the attack. But the land underneath is sinking, creating the need for a new facility on more stable ground. Space also is a concern – the center sees an estimated 1.5 million visitors a year, far more than what memorial operators expected when the current building opened in 1980. Fundraisers have collected $32 million of the $50 million for the new center.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii – A few dozen graying Pearl Harbor survivors observed a moment of silence on Friday in honor of their comrades who perished in the Japanese bombing of Oahu 66 years ago. Wearing aloha shirts and orchid flower lei, the veterans stood on a pier overlooking the sunken hull of the USS Arizona and saluted the flag as a sailor sang “The Star Spangled Banner.” Survivors of each of the nine battleships bombed in the attack took turns setting wreaths before life preservers bearing the names of their ships. “We’re honoring the people who were killed. We’re not here for ourselves, we’re here for them,” said George A. Smith, 83, who was on board the USS Oklahoma the morning of Dec. 7, 1941. last_img

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December 29, 2019 | by

Spotlight shines on Donegal restaurants in top food awards

first_imgA top selection of Donegal restaurants and food businesses are celebrating being named as finalists in the Food Awards Ireland. Following a tremendous number of nominations received from the public, the second annual event recognises the hard work and efforts of the Irish food industry.Accolades will be presented to the best restaurants, takeaways, pubs, hotel restaurants, cafes, and bistros, as well as shine the spotlight on the wonderful local producers who supply their delicious ingredients. Which Donegal eateries are among the crème de la crème of Ireland’s best? Here are the local finalists:Restaurant of the Year (Borders)The Olde Castle Bar & Red Hugh Restaurant (Donegal Town)Blas (Donegal Town)Chandpur Indian Restaurant (Donegal Town)The Harbour Restaurant (Donegal Town)Austies Bar & Restaurant (Rosses Point)Cafe/Bistro of the Year (Borders)Glenveagh Castle Tearooms (Letterkenny)Mac’s Deli (Letterkenny)Nancy’s Barn (Ballyliffin)Belles Kitchen (Rathmullan)Honeypot Coffee House (Letterkenny)Gastro Pub of the Year  (Borders)The Drift Inn (Buncrana) Caterer of the Year  (Borders)Crest Catering Company (Letterkenny)Mac’s Deli (Letterkenny)Best Indian EstablishmentChandpur Indian Restaurant (Donegal Town)Hotel Restaurant of the YearHarvey’s Point Hotel (Donegal Town)Chef of the YearChandpur Indian Restaurant (Donegal)Rana and Susan Miah of Chandpur – Food Awards Ireland 2016Chandpur in Donegal Town, earning three spots on the 2017 shortlist, are hoping to take home another prize to add to their many accolades in the industry. Chandpur took home the regional Restaurant of the Year award in 2016 and are hoping to do it again.Susan Miah of Chandpur told Donegal Daily: “We are mega mega proud because we are the only Indian and Rana in the only chef on the list from Donegal. In the Restaurant of the Year Borders 4 out of the 6 finalists are restaurants from Donegal Town which is amazing for our wee town.” The Food Awards Ireland promise to be one of the biggest and most memorable events in the food industry calendar this year with a range of accolades to be presented to the most deserving professionals and establishments in the field.The black tie event will take place at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Dublin on Monday the 13th of November, when the crème de la crème of the Irish food industry will come together for a glamorous night to celebrate the success of professionals and businesses in the sector.Irfan Younis, CEO of event organisers Creative Oceanic, said: “The tremendous amount of nominations received from the Irish public is a testament to the hard work of all those working within the food sector.“With fierce competition this year, we are looking forward to welcoming those who provide and supply us with gastronomic delights. Last year’s winners were great ambassadors and I am confident this year’s finalists and winners will follow in their footsteps. We would like to wish all the finalists the best of luck.” Spotlight shines on Donegal restaurants in top food awards was last modified: October 17th, 2017 by Rachel McLaughlinShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:bistroCaféChandpur Indian Restaurantfood awards irelandrestaurantslast_img

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December 29, 2019 | by

IT’S A WRAP FOR COMEBACK CHEF CONRAD!

first_imgDonegal celebrity chef Conrad Gallagher is giving it another go – this time in Hollywood.Conrad has started an online party food business.The Letterkenny cook has tried numerous ventures since leaving Ireland a couple of years ago.And this time the former Michelin star chef has opened his own online catering company. Vanity Catering does online upmarket catering for weddings, sixteen birthday parties and all sorts of high-brow functions.And just weeks after being set up, Conrad is catering for his first Hollywood wrap party with more than 1,200 guests this weekend.The chef is running the company with wife Candice out of their offices in Newport Beach, California.He has also secured a contract for a wedding for 800 guests at Newport Beach next June. But in between the major money gigs, Conrad is happy to pay the bills.For $580 including free delivery, Conrad will provide a buffet for 20 people.  IT’S A WRAP FOR COMEBACK CHEF CONRAD! was last modified: December 9th, 2013 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:Conrad GallagherVanity Cookinglast_img

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December 29, 2019 | by

LAUSD’s runaway benefits costs

first_img That annual figure is expected to grow rapidly – by an estimated $790 million annually – as a portion of the district’s overall budget as more baby-boomer teachers reach retirement age. District officials are planning a retreat with union leaders, retirees and others next month to explore options to address the problem. Possibilities include setting aside more money for future costs, and negotiating reduced benefits for current and future employees – an option that is expected to meet with strenuous union opposition. The problem is not unique to Los Angeles. About 60 percent of the school districts across California are facing similar unfunded liability problems, according to the state Legislative Analyst’s Office. About 75 districts, including the LAUSD, are facing the most severe costs because they offer lifetime health benefits to retirees. The majority of districts only provide health care through age 65, senior policy analyst Paul Warren said. “If you have a large liability, like L.A.’s, in our view the key is that you’ve got to build in the costs of retiree health benefits the way they do for pensions,” Warren said. New national accounting standards take effect next year, requiring public agencies to more accurately account for these costs, standards that have already been in effect in the private sector for years. Warren commended the LAUSD for addressing the problem early while most school districts are continuing to ignore it. In a report Thursday, a chart provided by the LAUSD notes that General Motors is facing an unfunded liability of $61 billion and had to make layoffs and benefit cuts to pay for it. It notes that Los Angeles County has an unfunded liability of $16 billion and the city of Los Angeles’ is $3.2 billion. Holmquist said most of the increase in the projection is a result of the actuarial specifications in the new rules. But about $2.2 billion of the increased estimate is attributable to a change in the projected interest rate – about 5 percent, down from 6.5 percent – that would be earned if those funds were set aside and invested. Harrison Sheppard, (916) 446-6723 harrison.sheppard@dailynews.com 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Los Angeles Unified’s unfunded liabilities for providing its retirees lifetime health care benefits has soared to $10 billion – more than double the district’s estimates 18 months ago, officials said Thursday. Fueled in part by benefit boosts, a growing number of expected retirees and spiraling health care costs, the surge in the cost of providing promised lifetime health benefits threatens to squeeze funding for everything from textbooks and teachers to new schools. “The real effect of this is we have to use up an increasingly larger portion of our general fund revenue to pay for benefits for people who don’t work here any longer,” said David Holmquist, director of the district’s Office of Risk Management and Insurance Services. “Because we’ve never set aside money for that, it comes out of our operating budget. That obviously affects the classroom.” AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECasino Insider: Here’s a look at San Manuel’s new high limit rooms, Asian restaurant The $10 billion represents how much the LAUSD would need to have set aside, at 5 percent interest, to pay off its future benefit costs without dipping into the operating budget, much like a pension fund sets aside and invests funds to pay future benefit costs. But, the LAUSD – like most school districts and a number of private corporations throughout the country – has never set money aside in investment accounts to handle this liability. Instead, it funds it on a “pay-as-you-go” approach. David Tokofsky, chairman of the Audit, Business & Technology Committee, said the re-evaluation was intended “not to spread panic, but to spread reality in management assessment in an open, public way.” He said the district needs to create a “prudent reserve.” This year, retiree health benefits will take $235 million out of the district’s operating budget – funds that would otherwise be used for classroom read more

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December 28, 2019 | by

EPA Granted Chlorpyrifos Rehearing

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Todd NeeleyDTN Staff ReporterOMAHA (DTN) — The EPA will get another hearing on a federal court’s 2018 order to ban all chlorpyrifos registrations, as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit granted the agency an en banc hearing in an order handed down on Wednesday in San Francisco.In August 2018, the EPA asked for the hearing that will be before all non-recused judges in the Ninth Circuit on the week of March 25, 2019, in San Francisco.On Aug. 9, 2018, a three-judge panel on the court ordered EPA to cancel all chlorpyrifos registrations in 60 days. The court ruled the agency was not justified in maintaining the insecticide’s registration “in the face of scientific evidence that its residue on food causes neurodevelopmental damage to children.”Chlorpyrifos’ registration was set to end on Oct. 9, 2018.En banc hearings are reserved for cases that are particularly complex. According to the court order, the three judges that issued the 2018 ruling were not part of the vote to allow a rehearing. They are judges Marsha Siegel Berzon, Jay Scott Bybee and Ryan Douglas Nelson.Chlorpyrifos is the main ingredient in Dow AgroScience’s Lorsban insecticide, which targets pests such as soybean aphids, spider mites and corn rootworm.Attorneys with the U.S. Department of Justice argued in EPA’s petition that the law requires the court to allow the EPA to reconsider the insecticide’s registration.The petition argued the court’s revocation of the registration was in conflict with cancellation requirements laid out in the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, or FIFRA.The legal pursuit began in 2007 when the Pesticide Action Network North America and the Natural Resources Defense Council petitioned EPA to cancel chlorpyrifos registrations.The EPA denied a petition filed by environmental groups on March 30, 2017, to ban the pesticide outright. The agency said in a statement at the time that farmers need chlorpyrifos, and an agency that relies on “sound science” when making decisions.That move was a surprising reversal from the stance of the EPA under the previous administration, which had indicated as recently as fall 2016 that it was prepared to issue a full ban on the pesticide.The court decided the EPA had been ignoring its own science that showed chlorpyrifos is allegedly a danger to children.Following the court’s August 2018 decision, an EPA spokesman told DTN the decision was based on data that was not accessible to the agency.A Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health study has been widely used as support for the ban, despite divergent scientific views among EPA scientific review panels, and former President Barack Obama’s administration’s USDA questioning the study, and its data.A 2016 EPA scientific advisory panel indicated some members of that panel said they had difficulty assessing the study, because the raw data from the study was not made available.On July 30, 2018, the California Department of Pesticide Regulation released a scientific assessment that concluded that chlorpyrifos should be listed as a toxic air contaminant in the state based on evidence of its neurological effects and exposure risks.Agricultural groups have expressed concern over a ban, arguing that doing away with chlorpyrifos could complicate the battle against insects, especially when growers are being encouraged to rotate chemistries to guard against insect resistance.Todd Neeley can be reached at todd.neeley@dtn.comFollow him on Twitter @toddneeleyDTN(BAS/SK)© Copyright 2019 DTN/The Progressive Farmer. All rights reserved.last_img

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December 17, 2019 | by

Tariffs Slow Export Projections

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Jerry HagstromDTN Political CorrespondentSAN DIEGO (DTN) — So many farmers are dependent on off-farm income in today’s economy that lenders say the worst threat to farmers is a general economic recession, the chief economist for the American Farm Bureau Federation said here Tuesday.“Farm lenders say the reason why we can continue to do what we are doing is off-farm income,” Farm Bureau Chief Economist John Newton said during a panel discussion by agricultural economists at the Crop Insurance Industry Convention here.“It is off-farm income that allows folks to continue to farm. Lenders are really concerned about a slowdown in the U.S. economy,” added Newton as he presented statistics on the decline in farm income since 2013.The general U.S. economy is performing well, Newton said, but he is worried because consumer confidence and the CEO confidence index have both fallen.Newton said USDA statistics show that in 2018, gross farm income was $435 billion and production expenses totaled $369 billion, resulting in net farm income of $66.3 billion, which was down $57 billion, or 47%, since 2013.The 2018 figures included $13.6 billion in government payments, up 18% year to year. That included traditional subsidies plus market facilitation payments to make up for trade losses and disaster paymentNet farm income in 2018 was the third lowest over the last 20 years in inflation-adjusted terms, with income down in all regions of the country, he said. Without the government payments, it would have been the lowest net farm income of all time, he added.President Donald Trump has tried to address the trade deficit that has grown since the approval of the North American Free Trade Agreement and China joined the World Trade Organization, but that has created “headwinds” for the farm economy and could hurt the overall economy, Newton said.“No commodity exemplifies what has happened more than soybeans,” Newton said.The tariffs that China imposed on U.S. soybeans and other farm products in retaliation for the tariffs that Trump imposed on foreign steel and aluminum “deeply impacted” the 10-year export sales projections that USDA had made in 2018, said Ashley Hungerford of the USDA Office of the Chief Economist,Hungerford noted, “Nobody wins in a trade war, which is the motto of most economists,” as she pointed to a graph displaying USDA’s original and revised projections for export sales.Soybean stocks-to-use ratios are now so high that USDA has projected it will take several years to “unwind” or sell off those stocks, which means soybean prices are likely to be low.Hungerford pointed out that the stocks-to-use ratio was only 5% when China imposed the tariffs on U.S. farm products and is now about 20%.“For every five bushels of soybeans used, one bushel is left over,” she said.The cash price that farmers get in areas such as the Dakotas that were dependent on exporting soybeans to China have gone down in relationship to the futures price compared to the prices that farmers are getting in areas where soybeans are sold for domestic use, she said.Soybean exports are 40% below previous levels, and the soybean stocks-to-use ratio of over 20% is unprecedented.“If we don’t see a resolution to [the China trade conflict],” Newton said, “I don’t see how soybeans can maintain the price they have today.” The soybean price, he said, may be $7 to $8 per bushel, not the $9.50 price of today.Farm debt is at a record level of $410 billion, Newton said. The debt-to-asset ratio is not as high as it was during the farm crisis of the 1980s, he said, but it is at 13.5% and has been rising for the last six years.USDA has projected net farm income slightly higher for 2019 at $77.6 billion, but it has not provided details of how it came up with that estimate, and it is hard to put projections on 2019 income because it’s not known what farmers will plant or what the weather will be like, he said.“It is a really, really challenging time for U.S. agriculture,” Newton said. “We are taking equity out of our operations.”Jerry Hagstrom can be reached at jhagstrom@njdc.comFollow him on Twitter @hagstromreport(CC/AG)© Copyright 2019 DTN/The Progressive Farmer. All rights reserved.last_img

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December 17, 2019 | by