READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, August 7th

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Farm Futures Releases 2020 Producer Crop Forecast

Large U.S. ending corn stocks could swell even larger this fall, and not just because of increased yields. A bumper crop combined with diminished demand due to the pandemic could boost new crop ending U.S. stocks to the highest level in 33 years. A new survey by Farm Futures found 2020 corn yield projections to increase 11.5 bushels per acre from 2019 to 178.9. Based on updated acreage estimates from The Department of Agriculture’s June Acreage report, Farm Futures’ 2020 corn yield estimate would raise 2020 corn production to 15.03 billion bushels, 32 million bushels higher than July 2020 World Agriculture Supply and Demand Estimates. Soybean yield prospects are also more favorable than last year. Growers estimated 2020 yields at 51.0 bushels per acre, up 3.6 from 2019. If realized, that would put 2020 soybean production at 4.233 billion bushels, 98 million bushels higher than July 2020 WASDE projections and 19 percent higher than 2019 production.  Farm Futures surveyed 1,044 respondents on July 14-27 via an email questionnaire.

House Ag Lawmakers Seek Aid for Sheep, Lamb Producers

House Agriculture Committee leaders want the Department of Agriculture to assist sheep and lamb producers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. In a letter to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, the lawmakers say the closure of the nation’s second-largest processor, represents an estimated 20 percent of the nation’s processing capacity for sheep producers. The closure, the letter says, “pushes USDA to help lamb and sheep farmers and ranchers find alternate processing and marketing options immediately.” The closure comes at a time when the sheep industry was already forecast to lose more than $350 million due to COVID-19-related market declines. The lawmakers say USDA has the ability to aid sheep producers in finding other options for marketing and processing in a way that keeps products flowing through the supply chain. The letter was signed by Committee Chairman Collin Peterson, a Democrat from Minnesota, and Ranking Member Mike Conaway, a Texas Republican, and other committee members. Conaway states, “it’s critical that we provide support to help them through this difficult period.”

House Ag Member Tests Positive for COVID-19

Rodney Davis, a Republican U.S. Representative from Illinois, has tested positive for COVID-19. In a letter on his website, Davis says, “Other than a higher-than-normal temperature, I am showing no symptoms at this time and feel fine.” Davis tested positive Wednesday morning after discovering a higher than normal temperature. Davis is a member of the House Agriculture Committee and the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and is Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Highways and Transit. He had recently voiced his concerns to Congress that members follow Centers for Disease Control guidelines. Davis says throughout the pandemic, he’s done twice daily temperature checks, “because serving in Congress means I interact with many people, and it’s my duty to protect the health of those I serve.” Having consulted with the Office of the Attending Physician of Congress and local county health officials, his office is contacting constituents Davis met with in-person within the previous 48 hours before his test, per CDC guidelines.

Use of Corn as an Acceptable Feedstock Clarified by Energy Department

In the most recent Funding Opportunity Announcement, the Department of Energy’s Bioenergy Technologies Office clarified that corn grain is an acceptable feedstock. This means starch derived sugars, specifically starches from field and feed corn, were clarified as acceptable. National Corn Growers Association Market Development Director Sarah McKay says, “This is an important evolution in how DOE interprets legislative intent,” adding the clarification will, “lay the groundwork and develop a solid foundation for future markets for corn.” NCGA says the timing of the announcement is important because it means those looking for funding opportunities through the Plastics Innovations Challenge can use corn as a base for recycling technologies in the manufacture of new plastics. The Bioenergy Technologies Office works to develop industrially relevant technologies to enable domestically produced biofuels and bioproducts. An example of a product that could now be developed to use corn grain as a feedstock is single-use plastics such as water bottles and plastic bags.

Environmental Groups: EPA Should not Approve Dicamba Without Further Research

Environmental groups say the Environmental Protection Agency should not renew over-the-top dicamba use without further independent research. A new report from the National Wildlife Federation and others suggest dicamba herbicides “pose serious threats to wild plants and the wildlife that depend upon them.” The report says the EPA should not renew over-the-top product registrations unless and until independent research shows with certainty that dicamba formulations will not cause off-target injury to crops and wild plants, including from vapor drift.  The groups say there is mounting evidence suggests that current dicamba products and uses are causing unreasonable adverse effects on the environment, even when used as specified on the labels. The report advocates for diversifying weed management strategies to improve resilience, including choosing crop varieties that are competitive with weeds, adjusting planting dates and depths of crops to help get ahead of weed growth, and managing nutrients in ways that give crops the competitive edge.

Panera Founder Joins FBN Board

Farmer’s Business Network this week announced that Ron Shaich (shake), founder and former Chairman and long-time CEO of Panera Bread, has invested in the company and will join its Board of Directors as an independent director. Shaich stepped down as CEO of Panera in 2017. Shaich, personally and through his investment, is directing a range of long-term strategic investments in consumer-facing growth companies. He says, “I’m inspired by the FBN mission to improve the profitability of family farmers around the world, especially right now, given that many of them are struggling to survive.” FBN calls Shaich a “groundbreaking entrepreneur and CEO who built one of the most successful public companies in history.” Adding Shaich to the Board follows the announcement Monday that FBN had closed $250 million in Series F funding. Farmers Business Network also recently acquired a similar Australian company. FBN is self-described as the leading direct-to-farm ag tech platform and farmer network.

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.