READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, August 11th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

Canada Also Receiving Unsolicited Seeds

Canadian Agriculture officials warn residents not to plant unsolicited seeds delivered from China, the same seeds sent to the United States. In a statement last week, The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has received reports from more than 750 residents who have received unsolicited seeds. The seeds are likely part of a brushing scam, where scammers send unsolicited products to residents and then write a fake positive review of the product, the same brushing scam in the United States. The CFIA continues to work with the Canada Border Services Agency and Canada Post and its international partners to identify the seed origins and stop the flow of unsolicited seeds into Canada. The CFIA asks Canadians who receive seeds they did not order to put the seeds in a sealed bag and send them to a regional CFIA office, while also refrain from planting, flushing or composting the seeds to prevent spreading.

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House Ag Committee Seeks Specialty Crop Relief

House Agriculture Committee members seek more Coronavirus Food Assistance Program relief for specialty crop growers. The group recently sent a letter to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue with the request. Led by Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett, A Democrat from the U.S. Virgin Islands, the lawmakers say, “The direct payment program under CFAP has failed to provide equitable relief to the specialty crop sector.” The lawmakers say the funds have been particularly difficult to access for specialty crop farmers who are young, socially disadvantaged, or rely on local markets with diversified production practices. As of August 3, 2020, USDA had provided more than $6.8 billion in direct payments to domestic farmers and ranchers.  Out of that total, only $270 million has been provided to specialty crop producers, representing less than four percent of overall assistance. To remedy the issue, the lawmakers requested, “USDA must do more to assist the specialty crop sector, particularly those farmers who are young, socially disadvantaged, or sell into local markets.”

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Trade Commission Says U.S. Harmed by Cheap Imported Fertilizer

The United States International Trade Commission last week determined cheap fertilizer imports may harm U.S. fertilizer producers. The commission says cheap phosphate fertilizers imported from Morocco and Russia are allegedly subsidized by their governments. As a result, the U.S. Department of Commerce will continue with its countervailing duty investigations. The investigation could lead to import duties on the fertilizers. However, farm-state Senators disagree with the investigation. In a letter to the Department of Commerce last week, a group of Senators stated, “U.S. farmers depend on affordable phosphate fertilizers to produce a variety of crops.” Led by Kansas Republican Senator Jerry Moran (More-ran), the group notes the current economic downturn, saying, “it is especially important during this downturn in the agricultural economy to avoid imposing unnecessary duties that will limit fertilizer supply options and raise the cost of production for farmers.” Senators from Indiana, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Mississippi and Texas joined Moran on the letter.

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USDA Annual Survey Seeks Feedback from Farmers

A new annual survey from the Department of Agriculture seeks feedback from farmers and ranchers. The survey will help USDA understand what it is doing well and where improvements are needed, specifically at the Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service and Risk Management Agency. A selection of 28,000 producers will receive the survey over the next few weeks, but all farmers are encouraged to take the survey at farmers.gov. Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation Bill Northey says, “The more responses we receive, the better we can understand what we need to do to improve our services to America’s farmers, ranchers and private forestland owners.” This survey is part of the President’s Management Agenda. It requires High Impact Service Provider agencies across the federal government, including FSA and NRCS, to conduct annual surveys to measure and respond to areas needing improvement. The survey consists of 20 questions and takes approximately 10 minutes to complete. Responses are confidential, and individual responses will be aggregated.

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Pro Farmer Crop Tour Next Week

Pro Farmer scouts will assess this year’s corn and soybean yield potential next week during the Pro Farmer Crop Tour. The tour is an August ritual covering seven midwestern states and capturing the attention of the industry and national media each year. Due to COVID-19, nightly in-person meetings for this year’s event will be replaced with live-streamed virtual meetings, making the daily recaps more widely accessible. Pro Farmer calls the event the most thorough inspection of yield potential during a critical time in the growing season. Jeff Wilson of Pro Farmer says, “USDA budget cuts last year halted field sampling that would have happened this year in August, so the Pro Farmer Crop Tour will be the first to measure ear populations and pod counts from actual fields at scale.” Pro Farmer’s national crop production estimates will be published Friday, August 22. Free registration is required and is available at profarmer.com.

Editor’s Note: NAFB remote scouts will provide stories daily next week from the crop tour. Look for West leg stories from Dustin Hoffmann and East leg stories from Chad Smith.

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Fuel Prices Decreasing on Limited Demand Recovery

Fuel prices are moving lower as the summer driving season comes to an end. The national average price of gasoline fell 1.1 cents per gallon over the last week to $2.16, according to GasBuddy. The national average price of diesel has decreased one cent and stands at $2.41 per gallon over the same period. Patrick De Haan of GasBuddy says, “as summer begins to fade, demand recovery may be limited,” adding, “demand weakens into the autumn, and as the coronavirus situation keeps more kids home and more parents from work, we may see a drop in gas prices as we progress through fall.” Crude oil prices have remained stable over the last six weeks. Some optimism has been returning to the oil patch in the last week as the number of new coronavirus cases in the world’s largest oil consumer have been slowing down, providing a catalyst as hopes rise for U.S. demand to continue recovery, and crude oil inventories fell 7.4 million barrels.

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.