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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, April 12th

New Census of Agriculture Data Released

The U.S. Department of Agriculture released the results of the 2017 Census of Agriculture. The census covers around 6.4 million points of information about America’s farms and ranches and the people who operate them. The National Ag Statistics Service collected the information that shows both farm numbers and land in farms have continuing small percentage declines since the last census back in 2012. The average age of all farmers and ranchers continues to rise. Some of the other highlights include the fact that there are 2.04 million farms and ranches in the country. That’s 3.2 percent lower than 2012. The average farm size is 441 acres, up 1.6 percent. American farms and ranches cover 900 million acres, also down 1.6 percent. Average farm income is $43,053. A total of 43 percent of the nation’s farms had a positive net cash farm income in 2017. Farm expenses are $326 billion, with feed, livestock purchases, hired labor, fertilizer, and cash rents topping the list in 2017. Also in 2017, over 130,000 farms sold products directly to consumers, with sales totaling $2.8 billion.


Perdue Unhappy with Vietnam Decision on Glyphosate

The Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development made the decision to ban the importation of glyphosate. U.S. Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue says he’s extremely disappointed in the decision. “It’s a move that will have a devastating impact on global agricultural production,” he says. “As I’ve said before, if we’re going to feed 10 billion people by 2050, farmers around the world need all the tools and technologies at their disposal.” Perdue says the USDA has shared scientific studies on the safety of glyphosate with the Vietnamese Ag Ministry on numerous occasions. The studies come from the Environmental Protection Agency and other internationally-recognized regulatory bodies and they all show glyphosate as unlikely to be a carcinogenic threat to humans. He says the decision by Vietnam flies in the face of all the available scientific evidence. Vietnam has sidestepped its obligation to notify the World Trade Organization of the regulatory change. “Vietnam also needs to look at the potential ramifications for its own farmers,” Perdue adds. “Not only will it slow the development of Vietnamese agricultural production, but there’s also a real risk that the country’s farmers will turn to unregulated, illegal chemicals in place of glyphosate.”


U.S. Soy Leaders Hold Successful Meetings in China

Leaders from the U.S. Soybean Council, the American Soybean Association, and the United Soybean Board visited with Chinese customers to reinforce and strengthen trade relationships. “We are ready to do more business with China in the coming season,” says ASA President Davie Stephens. “Our farmers are proud of the soy they grow in the U.S., and we are optimistic a mutually beneficial trade agreement will be reached soon so that open and free trade can start again.” USB Chair Keith Tapp says customers around the world know they can count on American soybean farmers to deliver a consistent, sustainable, and nutritious product year after year. “U.S. soy is the preferred choice in more countries than ever before and continues to deliver strong performance internationally and here at home.” The visits to Beijing and Shanghai were a part of USSEC efforts to maintain and continue to build relationships with exporters and stakeholders in China. The U.S. Ambassador to China, Terry Branstad, delivered keynote remarks during the meeting in Shanghai. The American organizations wanted to remind Chinese customers of the benefits of U.S. soy, thank them for their trust in American soybean farmers and the U.S. supply chain, and foster business in the future with U.S. soy interests.


ASF Picture Getting Even Worse

African Swine Fever is continuing to devastate China’s hog population while it disrupts global pork markets and forces U.S. industry stakeholders to work together on prevention efforts. David Williams of Informa Economics and Bill Even, CEO of the National Pork Board, recently gave presentations at the North American Meat Institute’s Meat industry Summit. The trade industry website Meating Place Dot Com says both presentations were very bleak. “African Swine Fever is the worst possible disease in swine in the world,” Even said during his remarks. “China is home to half the world’s pigs, so preventing ASF in North America is critical. There is no vaccine for ASF. There’s no way to treat it.” Even says the Chinese producers they’ve spoken to describe the disease as a flow of hot, molten lava, moving slowly through their facility but killing everything. ASF has killed 18 percent of China’s herd, which topped 435 million head before the outbreak. That 18 percent is more than the entire U.S. hog population. The disease is transmitted through sick animals, as well as contaminated feed and casings. Outbreaks are now popping up in Vietnam, Tibet, Cambodia, and South Africa. ASF is not in the United States, nor have any U.S. pigs been affected by the disease to date. It’s a viral disease that only affects pigs, so it’s not a public health threat.


House Ag Chair Backs One-Time Payment for Flooded Grain

Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue says farmers ought to be eligible for federal compensation for grain lost in flooded bins this spring. At nearly the same time, House Ag Committee Chair Collin Peterson called for a one-time payment to flooded grain operators. Insurance policies typically cover grain bins and the equipment needed to move the grain. However, that doesn’t apply to the contents of the grain bins. The USDA says none of the agency’s disaster programs cover stored grain hit by floods. The problem is farmers are storing larger-than-normal amounts of grain because of past bumper crops and an ongoing trade war. “I think we can do a one-time thing to try and help people with that,” Peterson says. What makes the flooding even worse for farmers is grain cannot be sold for food use if it’s been contaminated by flooding because of possible mold and fungal development. On Capitol Hill, Perdue compared flooded grains in bins to flooded grain fields, saying, “If it was flooded prior to harvest, would we have compensated for it? Yes. Just because it’s in the bin, does that make it different? They haven’t marketed that. I think it’s something we should consider.”


Burger King Selling Plant-Based Whopper

Burger King, the fifth-largest fast food chain, is getting into the plant-based alternative protein market. Burger King, working together with Impossible Foods, announced they’ll be selling what’s called the “Impossible Whopper,” a plant-based version of the company’s most famous sandwich. A Drovers’ Report says Burger King will start selling the new offering at 59 restaurants throughout the St. Louis area. If the pilot project in St. Louis is successful and sales justify it, the plant-based burger could make its way into the more than 7,000 locations around the country. Burger King is the latest fast-food chain to start selling a plant-based meat alternative. However, they aren’t the only restaurant chain that’s been looking into the possibility. In recent years, other restaurants have partnered with companies like Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat. Carl’s Jr. is currently the largest restaurant to sell a plant-based burger after it started selling a Beyond Meat product called the Beyond Famous Star in more than 1,100 locations. TGI Friday’s started selling plant-based Beyond Meat Burgers in January of last year.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service


By Tucker Allmer - The BARN

Tucker 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.

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