READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, July 21st

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

Hog Farmers Face Near $5 Billion Loss

An analysis by economist Steve Meyer for the National Pork Producers Council shows an estimated two million hogs still backed-up on farms. According to his report, based on lean hog futures prices on March 1 and July 10 and actual hog prices in the interim, potential 2020 revenue from hog sales has been reduced by roughly $4.7 billion. Other losses associated with euthanasia, disposal and donation of pigs with no market outlet and insufficient space to hold them mean U.S. pork producers have lost nearly $5 billion this year. Meyer says it appears those losses will continue into 2021. “This is, by far, the worst financial disaster ever for American hog farmers,” according to Meyer. NPPC President Howard AV Roth says, “Many U.S. hog farmers will not survive this crisis.” NPPC is calling on Congress to pass the RELIEF for Producers Act, which provides compensation for farmers who are forced to euthanize or donate animals that can’t be processed into the food supply as a result of COVID-19, among other provisions.

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USDA Announces Livestock Gross Margin Insurance Program Changes

The Department of Agriculture Monday announced changes to the Livestock Gross Margin insurance program for cattle and swine starting in 2021. Changes include adding premium subsidies to assist producers and moving premium due dates to the end of the endorsement period for cattle. USDA Risk Management Agency Administrator Martin Barbre says the changes “build upon RMA’s continued effort to make livestock policies more affordable and accessible for livestock producers.” Barbre says the agency is working to ensure the changes can be implemented by the July 31 sales period. Before this change, LGM-Cattle and Swine did not have premium subsidies. Now, subsidies have been added and are based on the deductible selected by the producer. The subsidy will range from 18 percent with zero deductible up to 50 percent with a deductible of $70 or greater for LGM-Cattle. For LGM-Swine, the subsidy will range from 18 percent with zero deductible up to 50 percent with a deductible of $12 or greater.

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USDA, USTR, to Hold Hearings with Seasonal Growers Next Month

The Trump administration will hold two hearings next month with seasonal produce growers to discuss foreign trade policies that may be harming farmers. The U.S. Trade Representative’s office, along with the Department of Agriculture, recently announced the hearings planned for August 13 and August 20. At the hearings, officials from the federal agencies will hear from farmers on how the Trump administration can support them and remedy any unfair harm. The hearings, which were originally scheduled to occur in Florida and Georgia in April, will take place virtually. This month, Florida lawmakers called on U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to stop “unfair Mexican trade practices harming seasonal and perishable produce growers in Florida and the Southeast.” U.S. Representative Greg Steube, a Florida Republican, says many growers were forced to plow their crops under as a result of decreased demand from the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, “the Mexican produce industry continued to increase its US market share by 17 percent between January and April 2020.”

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Soy Checkoff Makes Research Accessible to Industry

The United Soybean Board and state soybean boards are bringing research results to farmers. The redesigned Soybean Research & Information Network website, soybeanresearchinfo.com, was launched through a joint effort by the North Central Soybean Research Program and the United Soybean Board. The website gives farmers a virtual resource full of information and toolkits for more efficient soybean production. USB describes the site as a one-stop-shop for all the information the checkoff has discovered through farmer investments regarding key problem areas in production. Each article on the website provides insight and explanation on the research findings and links directly to the study in the overall database for further exploration. Tim Venverloh, USB Vice President of Sustainability Strategy, says the soy checkoff and state organizations “have worked together to find solutions, best practices and data on key issues and have made that available for all farmers to use.” Some of the research projects include battling pests, navigating herbicide-resistant weeds, enhancing seed quality and controlling seed and seedling rots.

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Cargill, NCBA Foundation, Partner to Support Beef Industry

A new partnership between the National Cattlemen’s Foundation and Cargill will provide cattle producers tools to manage their operations. Specifically. The partnership offers cattle producers practical tools to help manage market shifts, reduce costs, manage finite natural resource availability and withstand extreme weather events. The four-year strategic partnership, which was funded by a $3 million contribution from Cargill’s protein business, establishes a professional development scholarship program, and provides educational resources through the U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef, and experiential learning in partnership with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. The Rancher Resilience Grant program, which serves as the program’s professional development scholarship arm, offsets expenses for farmers and ranchers to attend state, regional, national, and global educational events. This includes industry conferences, seminars, and certifications addressing animal health and well-being, profitability, natural resources, sustainability, genetics, and reproduction education. The Rancher Resilience Grant program will launch this fall. The development of educational resources and promotion will begin immediately.

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Elanco Receives Approval for Bayer Animal Health Acquisition

Elanco Animal Health Incorporated has received unanimous approval from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission for its acquisition of Bayer Animal Health, a division of Bayer AG. The FTC decision represents the final antitrust clearance needed to complete the transaction, which continues on track for closing at the beginning of August. Elanco CEO Jeff Simmons says the approval “marks the near-final step in fulfilling our vision of bringing together two dedicated animal health companies.” Elanco continues to expect necessary worldwide divestitures in the previously announced range of $120 million to $140 million of annual revenue to advance regulatory reviews. The FTC’s approval is conditional on three product divestitures, including StandGuard, a pour-on treatment for horn fly and lice control in beef cattle, being sold to Neogen Corporation. In addition to FTC approval, Elanco has received antitrust clearance for the transaction from the European Commission, as well as in ten other countries.

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.