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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Monday, April 1st – No Foolin’

Corn Back On Top of the USDA Prospective Planting Report

A DTN summary of the USDA Quarterly Grain Stocks and Prospective Plantings Report shows that corn is once again the acreage leader this year. Farmers are expected to plant 92.8 million acres of corn this spring. That’s a four percent rise over 2018. Soybean acreage is projected at 84.6 million acres, down five percent from last year. Wheat planting may set the wrong kind of record this year. The all-wheat acres are forecast at 45.8 million, down four percent from 2018. If it does hold true, that would be the lowest all-wheat acreage on record since 1919, the first year that USDA began keeping track. DTN notes that the survey likely took place before flooding hit the Midwest states, so the numbers will likely be much different in Nebraska, Iowa, and Missouri. USDA says corn ending stocks were at 8.6 billion bushels, within the range of expectations and three percent lower than last year. Soybean stocks took a huge jump from last year, rising 29 percent to 2.7 billion bushels. The all-wheat ending stocks were also higher compared to last year, up six percent to nearly 1.6 billion bushels.

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China Talks May Drag On Before Wrapping Up

Larry Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council, put a damper on the prospect of the U.S. and China wrapping up trade talks in the next few weeks. Politico says Kudlow is normally upbeat, but he threw out a bunch of caution last week by saying it may take a few months yet for President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping to meet and finalize an agreement to end the trade war. “We’ll get there when we get there, and it will be a historic moment,” Kudlow said during the keynote speech at the Export-Import Bank’s annual conference. “If it takes a few more weeks or a few more months, so be it.” Negotiations were still ongoing as of late last week as both U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (Muh-NOO-chin) were in Beijing. A Chinese delegation will visit Washington, D.C., this week in order to continue talks and will likely meet with President Trump. However, Politico says any permanent end to the trade war between the world’s two largest economies will have to come during a face-to-face meeting between the two presidents.

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NBB Asks EPA to Reform Small Refinery Exemptions

The Environmental Protection Agency held a hearing last week on the proposed Modifications to Fuel Regulations, which are intended to provide flexibility for E15 and to Elements of the Renewable Identification Number Compliance System. Members of the National Biodiesel Board testified during the hearing and asked the EPA to not adopt the proposed changes to the RIN system as it finalizes the E15 rule. NBB’s Vice President of Federal Affairs Kurt Kovarik said at the public hearing that EPA must change its practice of encouraging retroactive small refinery exemption petitions. “We ask the agency to use this opportunity to instead address the timing of small refinery exemption petitions,” he said during testimony. “If EPA finds that it can easily propose a quarterly compliance deadline in the RIN proposed rule, the agency should feel just as comfortable applying a similar reasonable administrative requirement that small refineries submit petitions before the end of the compliance year.” NBB Chair Kent Englebrecht says they appreciate EPA taking claims of RIN market manipulation seriously. However, because the agency has yet to see evidence of such behavior, he says they’d like EPA to not finalize the RIN reform portion of the proposed rule.

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House Ag Chair Pushing for Rapid Dairy Program Implementation

House Ag Committee Chair Collin Peterson, Glenn Thompson of Pennsylvania, along with more than 70 Democratic and Republican colleagues wrote a letter last week to Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue. They’re asking the secretary to make implementing the dairy provisions in the new farm bill a high priority. The lawmakers are concerned about the continuing loss of dairy farms, as well as just how deficient previous dairy programs were in slowing those farm losses. Peterson and Thompson note that the 2018 Farm Bill can provide much-needed assistance to the nation’s struggling dairy farmers. The letter says, “Provisions of the new farm bill, especially the new Dairy Margin Coverage Program, will provide vital help if they can get it to dairy farmers quickly enough.” Peterson says the average Minnesota dairy farmer earned $15,000 last year, about a third of what they did in 2017. “Given what faces dairy farmers, USDA needs to get a move on implementing these dairy programs as soon as possible,” Peterson says. “I hope USDA will overcommunicate on what the new programs can do for farmers because Congress worked hard to include higher and more affordable coverage options.”

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U.S. Hog Inventory is Up 2 Percent

U.S. pork farms contained more than 74.3 million hogs and pigs as of March first. That’s a two percent climb from March of 2018, but it’s down slightly from December first of last year. The USDA’s National Ag Statistics Service came out with its Quarterly Hogs and Pigs report last week. National Hog Farmer Dot Com says the numbers came in right where industry analysts expected they would. NASS says 67.9 million of those were market hogs. The other 6.3 million were kept back for breeding. Farmers weaned 33 million pigs on U.S. farms between December of 2018 and February, up three percent from the same period last year. From December through February, producers also weaned an average of 10.7 pigs per litter. Hog producers intend to have 3.1 million sows farrow between March and May of this year, as well as 3.2 billion sows farrow between June and August. Iowa has the largest inventory among the major hog-producing states, coming in at 23.5 million head. North Carolina and Minnesota had the second and third-largest inventories respectively. Carolina had 8.9 million head, while Minnesota had 8.7 million.

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Farm Bureau’s “Harvest for All” Helps Hungry Americans

The farm and ranch families that makeup Farm Bureau donated just over 32 million pounds of food to assist hungry Americans. They also raised more than $360,000 as part of their “Harvest for All” program. The initiative is now in its 17th year and spearheaded by the members of the Young Farmers and Ranchers Program. When you combine the numbers, the monetary and food donations total up to an equivalent of 28.2 million meals. In addition to raising the food and funding for the initiative, farmers and ranchers also totaled up 22,500 volunteer hours assisting local hunger groups last year. “Hunger continues to be a concern for many Americans in rural areas and farming communities,” says Paul Molesky, Chair of the Farm Bureau’s Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee. “Farm Bureau’s long tradition of helping put food on the tables of those who need it the most continues through our Harvest for All efforts.”

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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By Brian Allmer - The BARN

Brian Allmer & the BARN are members of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB), the Colorado FFA Foundation, the Colorado 4H Foundation, the Colorado Farm Show Marketing Committee, 1867 Club Board Member, Denver Ag & Livestock Club Member, the Weld County Fair Board, the Briggsdale FFA Advisory Council, Briggsdale 4H Club Beef Leader & Founder / Coordinator of the Briggsdale Classic Open Jackpot Show.