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

USDA Begins Issuing New Dairy Program Payments to Farmers

The Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency has started issuing payments to producers who purchased coverage through the Dairy Margin Coverage program. Producers can enroll through September 20, 2019. Enrollment opened last month, and the program coverage is retroactive to January 1, 2019, with applicable payments following soon after enrollment. USDA undersecretary Bill Northey says the program “is already proving to be a good option for a lot of dairy producers across the country.” USDA says the May 2019 income over feed cost margin was $9.00 per hundredweight, triggering the fifth payment for eligible dairy producers who purchase the $9.50 level of coverage. Payments for January, February, March and April also were triggered. The program replaces the Margin Protection Program for Dairy, and offers protection to dairy producers when the difference between the all-milk price and the average feed cost, known as the margin, falls below a certain dollar amount selected by the producer. To date, nearly 10,000 operations have signed up for the new program.

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USDA Notes Potential Planted Acreage Change in WASDE

The Department of Agriculture noted it would resurvey planted acres as questions remain about how much planting was done during the wet spring season. The July World Agriculture Supply and Demand Report released Thursday increased corn production estimates 195 million bushels based on increased planted and harvested areas from the June 28 Acreage report. However, USDA will publish updated acreage estimates in the August Crop Production report, as many believe those intentions were not met. The national average corn yield is unchanged at 166.0 bushels per acre, and the season average price was lowered 10 cents to $3.70 per bushel. Meanwhile, USDA lowered soybean beginning stocks, production, exports, and ending stocks. Soybean production for 2019/20 is projected at 3.8 billion bushels, down 305 million based on lower planted and harvested area in the June 28 Acreage report. The soybean yield is forecast at 48.5 bushels per acre, down one bushel. The season-average price for soybeans is forecast at $8.40 per bushel, up 15 cents from last month.

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Trump: China Letting US down on Lack of Ag Purchases

President Donald Trump says China “is letting us down” by not purchasing U.S. agricultural products. China is not buying U.S. ag products as Trump says its leaders promised as part of an effort to negotiate towards ending the trade war. Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping (Shee Jihn’-ping) at the G-20 Summit last month agreed to move forward with negotiations and hold off on new tariffs. President Trump said at the time that China was “going to buy farm product” from the United States. However, on Twitter this week, Trump made his comments regarding the lack of purchases, adding, “hopefully they will start soon.” White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow earlier this told reporters the U.S. expects China to begin purchases of U.S. soybeans and wheat. China, meanwhile, has denied claims that the nation agreed to purchase U.S. farm products during those discussions. Trade talks between the U.S. and China stalled in May when U.S. officials say China wanted to reconsider previously agreed-to measures in the talks.

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CoBank: Agricultural Cooperatives Continue Consolidation

A new report from CoBank says the farm economy, business efficiency, and even retiring employees are contributing to agricultural cooperative consolidations. Cooperatives are seeking business efficiencies amid tough economic conditions in the farm sector, as CoBank researchers say depressed farm incomes and tight margins can affect cooperative viability and make mergers attractive. Consolidation among farm cooperatives continues to mirror trends throughout production agriculture. Farming operations are growing larger, with average acreage of 444 acres in 2017, up from 418 acres 10 years earlier. In turn, agricultural cooperatives are combining forces to compete and serve larger farmers better. Cooperatives often merge or consolidate to create economies of scale. Co-ops may reduce costs, add capital and acquire assets or more sophisticated technology to better serve their membership. The report says that while co-op numbers continue to shrink, the number of co-op owned facilities and locations seems to be steady or growing. And, the average co-op now employs more than 100 people, a 33 percent increase over the last 20 years.

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U.S. Tractor, Combine Sales Decline in June

Sales of tractors and combines in the United States declined last month, according to a monthly report by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers. The data released this week shows total farm tractor sales were down 3.5 percent last month, when compared to June of 2018, while retail sales of combines fell 23 percent. Sales of two-wheel-drive tractors fell 3.4 percent in June, while sales of four-wheel-drive tractors fell 15.7 percent. Every product category saw a decrease last month, though year-to-date sales for tractors and combines remained solid, according to the association. On the year, tractor sales are up 4.3 percent, while combine sales are up 4.5 percent, when compared to 2018. Canadian retail sales of farm tractors and combines fared no better last month. Total tractor sales dropped 14 percent when compared to last June, while sales of self-propelled combines fell nearly 47 percent. For all of 2019, tractor sales in Canada are down seven percent, while combine sales are down 18 percent, compared to last year.

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NCBA Weighs in on Dietary Guidelines Review

Beef is part of a healthy lifestyle, according to comments to the Dietary Guidelines Advisory committee from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. The committee is tasked with reviewing the latest nutrition research to make science-based recommendations to the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Agriculture on the food and beverages that promote a healthy, balanced diet. NCBA told the committee that an overwhelming body of scientific evidence shows healthy diets including red meat, like beef, support optimal health and well-being. Shalene McNeill, a registered dietitian at NCBA, says beef “is a high-quality protein powerhouse.” Calorie for calorie, NCBA says no other protein food delivers the same package of 10 essential nutrients. Today’s beef is leaner than ever before and Americans’ consumption of calories and fat from beef have declined. The committee held meetings this week to hear from the public. The process will continue through January of 2020. Following the process, HHS and USDA will issue the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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By Brian 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.