READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, January 22nd

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Perdue Confirms Third Round of Trade Assistance for Farmers

Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue confirmed that U.S. farmers will receive a third round of trade assistance this year to help producers with their 2019 losses. President Trump had hinted at additional aid during his address on Sunday at the American Farm Bureau national convention. However, Perdue says, “No maybe about it.” Looking ahead to 2020, the secretary doesn’t see a similar program new year because of the Phase One Trade Agreement with China, as well as other trade deals in place. “Now, let’s grow stuff, let’s produce things, and let’s sell stuff,” he told the farmers in attendance. While speaking, Perdue did acknowledge the various challenges 2019 had on U.S. agriculture but thinks there are brighter days ahead this year. “We’re talking about doubling the number of ag imports to China, way more than they’ve ever purchased from us before,” Perdue says. “And, those purchases are going to come throughout the whole United States’ ag sector.”  The president said farmers told him they don’t want anything but a level playing field. Because of the trade deals he’s signed, Trump says farmers “now have what they want,” and better days are ahead.


Perdue Open to Changing Crop Data Collection

Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue talked over the weekend about his willingness to make changes in National Ag Statistics Service methods of crop data collection. A Farm Journal article says during 2019 and it’s many challenges, many farmers were openly questioning the crop projections that were coming from NASS throughout the year. Perdue admits that he had some concerns about their crop reports and the survey methods NASS uses. “In fact, it was kind of paranoia in light of all the prevented planting and other kinds of things that were falling on us,” he recalled. “We got a little conspiratorial too, thinking NASS was also out to get us.” He thinks the NASS numbers that took the market by surprise last June might have been more correct than the market ultimately was in its reaction. However, that doesn’t mean Perdue thinks the methodology for estimating crop size couldn’t be improved. “We’re going to get better,” Perdue says. “If you’ve got an idea about how we can better use electronics, or maybe an app for better surveys, we’d love to hear about it. We’re open to the kind of ideas of using modern technology to get you the best data that you can use to make plans for your farm.”


Poll Shows Farmers still in Trump’s Corner

A new poll shows farmers are still supporting President Trump. A Market Watch Dot Com article shows survey results that say 83 percent of people in the agriculture business approve of his job performance. That’s the highest level of support Trump has received from the respondents in that poll from Farm Journal. The survey of almost 1,300 people took place before President Trump spoke over the weekend at the American Farm Bureau convention. 64 percent of the respondents strongly approve of his job performance. Another 19 percent said they somewhat approve of the job the president has done. Just 13 percent of the survey respondents strongly disapprove of his job performance. The affirmation came after the U.S. and China signed a phase one trade deal and the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement made it through both chambers of Congress and to the president’s desk. The agreement with China calls for the Asian nation to purchase $36 billion in U.S. agricultural products in 2020 and more than $43 billion in 2021. The Dow Jones, Nasdaq, and the S &P 500 all jumped to record highs on the news, but the grain markets were a little slower to react last week.


Minnesota Loses Over 800 Dairy Farms in Three Years

The number of licensed dairy farms in Minnesota continues to drop at a steady pace. New data out from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture says 315 dairy farms left the business between January first of 2019 and New Year’s Day of 2020. That’s the second year in a row the state has lost more than 300 dairies. Further back on January first of 2017, Minnesota had 3,258 licensed dairy farms. As of January first of 2020, that number is down to 2,448 licensed dairy farms. That’s a three-year total of 810 dairy operations that are out of business. Margaret Hart, communications director for the MDA, says, “The number of farms going out of business over the last five years has been higher than normal, due in large part to a drop in prices.” It’s worth mentioning that at least some of those businesses have ceased their operations temporarily, which is referred to as “dried off.” For example, 47 dairies that stopped operation between December first, 2019, and January of 2020, are dried off. That means they intend to resume milking within 60 days.


National Biodiesel Board CEO Shares Future Vision Statement for the Industry

The National Biodiesel Conference and Expo started off Tuesday with a state-of-the-industry address from National Biodiesel Board CEO Donnell (Duh-NELL) Rehagen (REE-hagen). The CEO outlined a new public vision statement during his address to industry stakeholders. The new industry statement says, “Biodiesel, renewable diesel, and renewable jet fuel will be recognized as mainstream low-carbon fuel options with superior performance and emission characteristics. In on-road, off-road, air transportation, electricity generation, and home heating applications, use will exceed six billion gallons by 2030, eliminating over 35 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent greenhouse gas emissions annually. With advancements in our feedstock, use will reach 15 billion gallons by 2050.” Rehagen says without a clear vision for the future of the industry, including where they want to be and how they’ll get there, the industry won’t have a chance to be more than it is today. “As carbon policies around the country really begin to take hold, we see low-carbon fuels like biodiesel, renewable diesel, and renewable jet fuel with tremendous opportunities for growth,” Rehagen says.


USDA Continues to Invest in Rural Broadband Expansion

Counties in Arkansas and West Virginia are the latest to benefit from USDA funds invested to improve their access to rural broadband. USDA West Virginia State Director Kris Werner announced the agency invested $18.7 million in a high-speed broadband infrastructure project that will create or improve rural e-Connectivity for more than 6,300 rural households and almost 400 farms in several West Virginia counties. Werner says, “This will have a positive economic impact for the farms, small businesses, and families that live in these communities.” In Arkansas, USDA Rural Development State Director David Branscum announced that USDA invested another $7.1 million in two high-speed broadband infrastructure projects that will help create or improve connectivity for 1,250 rural households in north-central Arkansas. “Through the USDA’s ReConnect Program, more than 1,250 people will get access to the latest broadband technology, which will help connect them to opportunities in education, health care, and economic development,” says Branscum. “USDA has made deploying critical infrastructure across rural America a top priority because when rural America thrives, all of America thrives.”

SOURCE: NAFB News Service


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.