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Strong global demand, especially for pork and other protein-rich foods, was a primary driver behind higher retail prices at the supermarket during the third quarter of 2011, according to the latest American Farm Bureau Federation Marketbasket Survey.
The informal survey shows the total cost of 16 food items that can be used to prepare one or more meals was $53.12, up $1.95 or about 4 percent compared to the second quarter of 2011. Of the 16 items surveyed, 13 increased, two decreased and one remained the same in average price compared to the prior quarter.
"Global demand for meat and dairy products remains strong and continues to influence retail prices here in the U.S.," said AFBF Economist John Anderson. "Many nations around the world rely on America to provide the food they need to improve their standard of living, particularly through the addition of protein to the diet. Strengthened demand for meats began in 2009, continued through 2010 and remains important as we look ahead to the close of 2011."
When is economic growth in the wake of a painful recession not good news?
When it is less growth than people expect.
The Billings real estate market is stabilizing, but it probably doesn't "feel" like that to many people, reported Howard Sumner, Billings real estate broker. An influx of new residents to the area is skewing the effects of stronger numbers. In addition, stricter underwriting requirements for mortgages are serving to dampen the impacts, added Sumner.
There are 5500 people moving into the Yellowstone County while some 4000 are moving out, according to the latest population figures, creating a net population gain of about 1500 people for the area.
Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. announced that it has filed an application with the North Dakota Public Service Commission for an advance determination of prudence to construct, own and operate an 88-megawatt simple cycle combustion turbine, as well as the related infrastructure needs for the project.
The natural gas-fired electric generation facility would be located on existing company-owned land next to the company’s R.M. Heskett Generating Station near Mandan. The facility is needed to meet the capacity requirements of Montana-Dakota’s electric customers served by the company’s integrated system. At capacity, the facility would generate enough electricity to serve about 86,000 Montana-Dakota customers.
Brewer Dental Center is building a new office in the Heights near Albertson's. The Brewers purchased a large chunk of land on Main and Hanson that was formerly a used car dealership. The new building on Main Street will look exactly like their current Brewer Dental Center on Central Ave. The building will face Main Street with the clinic on the side towards First Interstate Bank. They will have two tenants. City Brew has signed a lease and will have a drive through on the opposite side of the building towards the Albertson's. There will be another space available in the middle with 1200 sq. ft. for a small restaurant.
Most voters continue to believe America needs to do more to develop domestic gas and oil resources. They also still give the edge to finding new sources of oil over reducing gas and oil consumption.
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of likely voters shows that 19 percent believe the United States does enough to develop its own gas and oil resources. Seventy-five percent do not think the country is doing enough in this area.
A new report on the financial outlook for the nation's states says Montana could reach a debt-driven "tipping point" in 2038.
The Fiscal Health of the U.S. States, a report by Jeffrey Miron with the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, says a more sober assessment of states' pension funds liabilities as well as projected growth in health-care costs show that all states are in worse fiscal shape than generally believed.
Part of the issue is that officially reported pension liabilities assume a certain interest rate when discounting future payouts (typically, about 8 percent, the historical return on stocks), but this is a "risky" and "problematic" approach, according to Miron.
With a major segment of the county’s economy, perhaps, hanging in the balance, Yellowstone County officials pushed the state’s US Congressional delegation hard to find funding solutions to repair flood damaged irrigation systems, before they are needed this summer. The County Commissioners conference room was packed, on Tuesday, as ag producers described the situation and county commissioners quizzed state and federal officials about options.
Even though the county has suffered a record deluge over the past couple of weeks, it is quite possible that within a matter of weeks, the $17.5 million in crops, which sustain the county’s agriculture economic base, will be in serious need of moisture. Crops at risk include sugar beets, malt barley, wheat, alfalfa, corn and hay.
The Big Sky Business Journal
P.O. Box 3262
Billings, MT 59103