READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, August 5th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

August Ag Economy Barometer Results

Farmer sentiment in July was virtually unchanged from a month earlier, according to the Purdue University-CME Group Ag Economy Barometer. The index rose just one point to a reading of 118. The small change in the barometer left it 30 percent below its February 2020 peak and 23 percent below its level a year ago. Although there was little change in the barometer this month, there was a shift in producers’ perspective on current vs. future conditions. The Index of Current Conditions rose 12 points to 111 while the Index of Future Expectations fell to a reading of 121, five points lower than in June. The Ag Economy Barometer is calculated each month from 400 U.S. agricultural producers’ responses to a telephone survey. This month’s survey was conducted from July 20-24, 2020. Organizers of the index say Producers were somewhat less concerned about the impact of coronavirus on their farm’s profitability. However, two-thirds of respondents still said they feel Congress needs to pass another bill to provide economic support to farmers.

Barchart Releases August U.S. Yield Forecasts for Corn and Soybeans

Barchart, a commodity data and technology service provider, updated its cmdty (commodity) Yield Forecast this week. The August end of season yield prediction sits at 174.8 bushels per acre for corn and 49.2 for soybeans. This represents an increase in forecasted yield relative to the July report, which predicted end of season yield for corn 173.8 and 48.8 for soybeans. Barchart’s Head of Strategy, Keith Petersen, says, “Growing conditions throughout the country remain strong, and this year’s forecasted crop has been more heavily impacted by changing expectations around acres planted than by weather.” Peterson says the national forecast remains steady this year, but adds there is some yield variance at the state level which can impact local basis conditions heading into the fall. Released on the first Tuesday of each month during the growing season, the forecast allows users to get insights to guide their business decisions ahead of USDA’s World Agriculture Supply and Demand report.

Trump Signs Rural Telemedicine Executive Order

President Donald Trump signed an executive order earlier this week that his administration says will provide millions of citizens with healthcare services during a global pandemic. The executive order seeks to expand access to telehealth services during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially in rural communities. The White House says the expansion of telehealth services offers benefits to Americans living in rural communities, who might otherwise not have access to these services. The order requires the Department of Health and Human Services to announce a new payment model testing innovations that empower rural hospitals to transform healthcare in their communities on a broader scale. To improve connectivity, the president’s order also directs the federal government to launch a joint initiative in 30 days to improve the healthcare communication infrastructure and expand rural healthcare services. The White House says these telehealth expansions build on the work the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has done during the public health emergency to more than double allowable telehealth services.

Trump Signs Great American Outdoor Act

President Donald Trump signed the Great American Outdoors Act Tuesday. In a signing ceremony, Trump says the legislation “builds on my administration’s unwavering commitment to conserving, and the grander, the splendor, of god’s creation.” The bill establishes a National Park and Public Lands Restoration Fund to provide up to $9 billion to fix backlogged maintenance at national parks and other federal lands. The bill also guarantees $900 million per year for the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The fund helps fund the main federal land programs in the United States. The National Wildlife Federation says the bill will “protect public lands and expand opportunities for outdoor recreation.” However, the legislation may be problematic for ranchers who use public grazing lands. The Public Lands Council calls the bill a “land grab.” PLC says the bill gives federal agencies free rein to spend a minimum of $360 million per year solely to acquire new private land without any oversight from Congress.

American Dairy Coalition Calls for Whole Milk to Return to Schools

The American Dairy Coalition wants to bring whole milk back to U.S. school lunchrooms. According to the proposed Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025, whole milk will continue to be banned from schools across the nation. The U.S. Dietary Guidelines are only updated and published every five years. The coalition says, “the time is now to ensure whole milk can once again be offered as a choice in school nutrition programs.” In 2017, Congress authorized $1 million of taxpayer money for a third-party review, conducted by the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. It was the first-ever outside peer review of the Dietary Guidelines process. The coalition says the report showed how only 20 percent of the government’s nutrition recommendations are based on “strong” science, according to the government’s own standards. The coalition says the report “was vastly ignored,” adding “Continuing the ban on whole milk based on out-of-date science and a clearly unbalanced, one-sided subcommittee on saturated fats is appalling.”

ASTA Promotes Safe Handling of Treated Seed During Harvest

As harvest begins across the country, the American Seed Trade Association is reminding farmers about the importance of taking precautions to ensure treated seed does not enter the grain supply. An ASTA says proper management of treated seeds includes removing all treated seed left in containers and equipment used to handle harvested grain, and disposing of it properly. ASTA and other stakeholder groups have developed recommendations to assist those involved in the process of treating, handling, transporting, or planting treated seeds. These recommendations are available at Recommendations include following label directions, minimizing dust, eliminating weeds, “BeeAware” of nearby bee colonies, and cleaning and removing treated seeds from equipment and bins. ASTA says the use of seed treatment technologies, including neonicotinoid insecticide treatments, is an effective tool to provide the necessary protection of seeds for a strong, healthy start. However, it is “essential” to manage them properly to minimize the risk of pesticide exposure to non-target organisms.

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.