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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, October 1st

USDA Releases September Grain Stocks Report

The Grain Stocks Report Monday sent grain futures higher as estimates from the Department of Agriculture were lower than markets expected. Old crop corn stocks totaled  2.11 billion bushels, down one percent from September 1, 2018. USDA reports 753 million bushels are stored on farms, up 22 percent from a year earlier, but 331 million bushes below the last estimate by USDA. Meanwhile, old crop soybeans stored totaled 913 million bushels, up 108 percent from last year. Soybean stocks stored on farms totaled 265 million bushels, up 162 percent from a year ago. All wheat stored totaled 2.38 billion bushels, down slightly from a year ago. Barley stocks totaled 192 million bushels, up ten percent from September 2018. Oats stored totaled 61.2 million bushels, 18 percent below last year. Finally, old crop grain sorghum stored totaled 63.7 million bushels, up 83 percent from a year ago. Meanwhile, USDA announced it would resurvey producers for the Small Grains Summary, as many crops were not harvested at the time of survey earlier this year.

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United Fresh Responds to Gillibrand Produce Price Inquiry

A Democrat on the Senate Agriculture Committee is calling on the federal government to investigate fruit and vegetable prices received by farmers. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand wants the Department Agriculture to investigate if fruit and vegetable farmers across the country are receiving fair prices for their produce, While the prices of fruits and vegetables have increased for both consumers at the grocery store and for wholesale buyers. Gillibrand says the prices that farmers receive for these same products has not kept up with the increases, and even gone down in some cases. United Fresh Monday responded to the inquiry, saying, “Transparency in any supply chain is a good thing, and we always welcome USDA’s analysis of our markets.” However, the group representing the U.S. produce industry cautions that “It’s important for each sector in our supply chain not to lose sight of our goal to grow fresh produce consumption, while fighting with one another over whose share of a dwindling pie is bigger.”

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Stabenow Seeks USDA Relocation Details

Senator Debbie Stabenow wants the Trump Administration to explain its plans to fill jobs for Department of Agriculture agencies moving to the Kansas City metro area. Last week, Stabenow sent a letter to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue seeking more information on how the move will delay operations at the Economic Research Service and National Institute for Food and Agriculture. Stabenow, the top Democrat on the Senate Agriculture Committee, points out that more than 75 percent of reassigned employees opted not to relocate, on top of already high vacancy rates, adding the relocation “has left these agencies with little ability to do their important work.” Stabenow says, “It is clear that the lack of capacity is affecting Farm Bill implementation.” Stabenow raised several questions about the impact of staffing shortages and requested a thorough explanation of how the department plans to fill its job capacity for both NIFA and ERS. Stabenow requested the information be delivered to her by October 11, 2019.

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Iowa State Releases Entry Level Ag Salaries Report

Iowa State University recently released its annual entry-level salary summary for jobs in agriculture. The report includes data from 19 universities collected by career services offices at participating universities from December 2018 and May 2019 undergraduates. The report found entry-level jobs in agricultural economics and business have average salaries of $49,300. Entry-level jobs in agriculture education and communication averaged $43,300. Agronomy and crop sciences salaries averaged $46,400, while animal and dairy science salaries averaged $38,200. The average salary for jobs in biological sciences was reported at $35,100. Environmental sciences, fisheries and forestry and wildlife biology jobs offer an average salary of $35,700. Meanwhile, food science and human nutrition jobs averaged $47,300. The average salary for horticulture is $37,800, and technical engineering and industrial technology salaries average $59,100. Additionally, data compiled by USA Today shows agriculture sector jobs consistently rank among sectors with the lowest unemployment rates. The unemployment rate for agricultural economics ranked at .75 percent, 1.4 percent in soil sciences, and 1.5 percent in animal sciences.

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Boehringer-Ingelheim Developing World’s Largest Vaccine Production Facility

Boehringer Ingelheim is developing a biotechnology production site for veterinary vaccines in Europe. A groundbreaking ceremony last month marked the start of construction on the site that may become the largest vaccine production facility in the world. The 200-million-euro investment will significantly increase production capacities for antigens and vaccines against highly contagious diseases, providing the means to fight animal epidemics that often have dramatic health and financial consequences, such as foot-and-mouth disease and bluetongue disease, according to the company. The high-security facility will begin operating in France during the third quarter of 2022. Its five floors will be home to 35 cell and virus culture tanks, a purification area, a decontamination station and a strategic active ingredient reserve. The antigen bank will enable the company to “quickly and efficiently respond” to government orders in case of an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease or bluetongue disease. Boehringer Ingelheim is the second largest animal health business in the world.

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McDonald’s Testing Plant-Based Burger in Canada

McDonald’s announced last week the fast-food restaurant chain is testing a new plant-based burger in Canada. The P.L.T., a plant, lettuce, tomato burger, launched Monday as part of a 12-week test in Canada. The P.L.T. is made with a Beyond Meat plant-based patty. A McDonald’s spokesperson says, “We’ve been working on our recipe and now we’re ready to hear feedback from our customers.” The plant-based burger is available in 28 restaurants in Southwestern Ontario. McDonald’s says the test allows the company “to learn more about real-world implications of serving the P.L.T.,” including customer demand and impact on restaurant operations. Through the effort, McDonald’s joins other restaurant chains in testing or rolling out a plant-based alternative. In August, KFC announced a beyond fried chicken product test in Atlanta, Georgia. HelloFresh, a U.S.-based meal delivery service, added beyond meat products to its offerings in September. And, Burger King and Carl’s Jr. both have permanent beyond meat menu items available, launched earlier this year.

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.