READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, March 13th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

ARC, PLC Deadline Monday

Farmers who have not yet completed their 2019 crop year elections for enrollment in the Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage programs must schedule an appointment to do so with their local USDA Farm Service Agency by Monday, March 16. FSA Administrator Richard Fordyce says.” If you’ve not completed your elections or enrollment, the clock is ticking, and your program eligibility is at stake, so please call FSA today and request an appointment.” To date, more than 1.4 million contracts have been signed for the 2019 crop year. This represents 89 percent of expected enrollment. Producers who do not contact FSA for an appointment by close of business local time on Monday, March 16 will not be enrolled in ARC or PLC for the 2019 crop year and will be ineligible to receive payment should one trigger for an eligible crop. ARC and PLC provide income support to farmers from substantial drops in crop prices or revenues and are vital economic safety nets for most American farms.

EU Trade Official Cancels Trip to U.S., Canada

European Union Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan canceled plans to travel to the U.S. and Canada next week due to the coronavirus. An EU spokesperson told Politico, “The trip has been canceled and will be rescheduled as soon as possible,” adding, “If necessary, contacts will continue through other means.” Hogan was scheduled to visit the United States while the U.S. and EU are working on a mini trade deal, one that U.S. agriculture interests hope will successfully include agriculture provisions. However, his visit next week was for a U.S. Chamber of Commerce event. Hogan also canceled his planned trip next week to Canada to discuss World Trade Organization reforms. Both events are postponed or canceled. Earlier this week, President Donald Trump announced U.S./EU travel restrictions for 30 days, requiring foreign nationals to test for COVID-19 before flying. Last week, Hogan reported the U.S. and the EU were “taking slow, small steps” toward a mini trade deal. 

CME Closes Pit Trading Due to Coronavirus

The CME Group physical trading floor will close due to the coronavirus. Much of today’s trade is done electronically. Trade on the floor will end at the close of Friday’s trading session, and all trading will take place on the GME Globex. CME Group says the action is “a precaution to reduce large gatherings that can contribute to the spread of coronavirus in line with the advice of medical professionals.” No coronavirus cases have been reported on the trading floor or in the Chicago Board of Trade building. The reopening of the trading floor will be evaluated as more medical guidance on the coronavirus becomes available. The company’s headquarters will remain open. Meanwhile, following many other events, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission postponed this year’s Agricultural Commodity Futures Conference scheduled for April 1-2 in Overland Park, Kansas. And, the CFTC will relocate its open meeting scheduled for March 31 at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City to CFTC headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Trump Administration Seeks Endangered Species Act Changes

The Environmental Protection Agency Thursday announced a new method for conducting biological evaluations under the Endangered Species Act. The change seeks to assure that pesticide registration review actions under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act do not jeopardize endangered species. EPA says the updated method ensures that, when available, the agency will use high-quality historical data that reflects where and how certain pesticides are used. EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler says the new methodology will, “better protect and promote the recovery of endangered species while ensuring pesticide registration review decisions are conducted in a timely, transparent manner and are based on the best available science.” Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says the Trump administration is “cutting the red tape to unleash the full potential of American agriculture.” The final Revised Method incorporates pesticide usage data into the agency’s biological evaluation process for the first time and was informed by input from a wide range of stakeholders, including states, tribes, environmental NGOs, and agricultural stakeholders.

Gains in Large Tractor Sales Highlight of AEM February Sales Data

February 2020 saw mixed results in overall U.S. sales of tractors and self-propelled combines. The bright spot was four-wheel-drive and 100-plus horsepower tractors, which showed healthy gains year over year. However, overall tractor and combine sales fell for February, according to the latest data from the Association of Equipment Manufacturers. U.S. total farm tractor sales decreased 7.5 percent in February compared to last year while U.S. February self-propelled combine sales fell 21.1 percent. However, within those numbers, dealers saw a 6.2 percent gain in tractors above 100 horsepower, and a 7.3 percent rise in four-wheel-drive units. Total U.S. sales of two-wheel-drive tractors fell in February a total of 7.5 percent year over year. For Canada, four-wheel-drive tractor sales gained 43.5 percent and self-propelled combine sales fell 46.3 percent. Curt Blades of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers, says uncertainty in global markets is being reflected in agricultural markets, which is reflected in the capital expenditure decisions, like major equipment purchases by farmers.

Fake Chicken Imitator Receives Investment

A $200 million investment allows the LIVEKINDLY co. to expand its plant-based foods operations. The company claims its “leading a movement to build a sustainable future” with the investment from founders, entrepreneurs and global leaders. Brands under its portfolio offer consumers non-GMO, plant-based chicken alternatives and include the Fry Family Food Co. and LikeMeat, as well as the plant-based digital media platform, LIVEKINDLY Media-from which the new company’s name derives and means “embracing a sustainable and compassionate lifestyle.”  With these investments and others, the company is the only company in the plant-based food sector to own and operate the entire value chain of production. The plant-based protein market could reach nine percent of the estimated $2.7 trillion global meat market by 2040. The founders’ round of funding will be used for further acquisitions, scaling the current plant-based food portfolio of brands and investments to rapidly increase the plant-based food industry capacity.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service


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.