READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, September 30th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

Farmers to Families Food Box Program Surpasses 100 Million Boxes Delivered

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced Tuesday that more than 100 million food boxes have been distributed through the Farmers to Families Food Box Program. Perdue stated, “It is incredible to think that in a little more than five months, this food box program has gone from an idea to a reality that has provided more than 100 million boxes of nutritious foods.” Earlier this month, the Department of Agriculture announced it had entered into contracts with 50 entities for the third round of food box deliveries, including contracts to purchase up to $1 billion authorized by President Donald Trump. USDA is purchasing combination boxes in the third round of purchases to ensure all recipient organizations have access to fresh produce, dairy products, fluid milk, and meat products. Coverage in this round of the program allocates food boxes to states based on the state’s internal need to provide coverage to entities in every county in the country.

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Study: COVID-19 Caused $8 Billion Loss for Ethanol Producers

A new study by university economists finds ethanol producers will experience roughly $8 billion in losses this year due to the pandemic’s impact on world fuel markets. The study, conducted by economists from the University of Florida and Arizona State University, was published recently in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Industrial Organization. The estimated economic loss grows to a range of $7.9 to $8.6 billion when unemployment effects are included. The study acknowledges that those estimates likely “understate the cost of COVID-19” to the ethanol industry because the impact of the pandemic on co-product output, demand and prices is not included. Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Geoff Cooper says the new study confirms the findings of an RFA analysis published in July, which found pandemic-related losses could be $7 billion or more in 2020. According to RFA, the study also underscores the importance of ensuring ethanol producers are not again left out of any stimulus package that may move forward in the weeks ahead.

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CME Group to Launch Pork Cutout Futures and Options

CME Group Tuesday announced plans to launch Pork Cutout futures and options. The new contracts are designed to give the U.S. pork industry and export markets tailored risk-management tools on the cutout. Tim Andriesen, CME Group managing director of agricultural products, says, “As the market has evolved, our customers continue to look for new tools to manage the price risk associated with hog and pork production.” Pending regulatory approvals, the Pork Cutout futures and options are slated to launch on November 9, and will be cash-settled to the CME Pork Cutout Index. The contracts will complement CME Lean Hog futures and options. CME Group says hogs are increasingly bought and sold in the physical market based on a formula which uses the cutout. The Pork Cutout reflects the approximate value of a hog calculated using the prices paid for wholesale cuts of pork. The new contracts will be quoted in U.S. cents per pound and will have a contract size of 40,000 pounds.

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FMI Special Midyear report Outlines Increased Grocery Purchases

FMI, the Food Industry Association, recently released a special mid-year report on meat sales in grocery stores. The report takes a fresh look at what was happening in the meat industry from the shopper’s perspective amid the coronavirus pandemic. As the pandemic hit the U.S. in March, shoppers quickly started stocking up on all types of food products. Meat department sales almost doubled in the first week of the pandemic, compared to the same week in 2019. While many were focused on filling their refrigerators and freezers with their purchases, consumers were also cooking more meals as home-prepared meals with meat specifically increased to 4.6 per week from 3.9 last year. The surge in demand and the impact of COVID-19 on meat suppliers resulted in a significant tightening of supply and some resulting meat inflation, as 91 percent of shoppers experienced out-of-stocks. However, FMI reports the meat department has persevered. Most shoppers continue to see meat as a good source of protein and nutrients, and many continue to believe meat belongs in a balanced diet.

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Virtual Format Set For 2021 Beltwide Cotton Conferences

The National Cotton Council will conduct the 2021 Beltwide Cotton Conferences virtually in January due to continued concerns regarding COVID-19’s spread. Planed for January 5 -7, the conferences bring together industry stakeholders. Those planning to participate in the 2021 live-stream event must register at the event website, cotton.org/beltwide/, which will be updated as program information becomes available. Registration will continue after the virtual 2021 event concludes to permit registered participants access to the event’s on-demand content. Registration costs for the 2021 conference have been reduced due to the virtual format, $180 for NCC members, university and USDA researchers, extension personnel, associations and consultants, $500 for non-U.S. research, extension, associations, and consultants, $350 for non-NCC members, and $75 for students. The 2021 event will begin on January 5 with the half-day Cotton Consultants Conference. The 11 cotton technical conferences, which now includes the Cotton Sustainability Conference, will provide updates on research and current and emerging technology.

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USDA Awards $5 Million to Support Wetland Mitigation Banking

The Department of Agriculture will award $5 million for eight new wetland mitigation banking projects through the Wetland Mitigation Banking Program. The program helps conservation partners develop or establish mitigation banks to help agricultural producers maintain eligibility for USDA programs. USDA says the wetlands will provide producers “an affordable mitigation option to remain in compliance for USDA farm bill programs while establishing banks that support wetland functions.” Wetland mitigation banks create credits through the restoration, creation, or enhancement of wetlands to compensate for impacts on wetlands at other locations. Most wetland mitigation banks, however, serve the development community and are not affordable to agricultural producers. Producers seeking benefits through most USDA programs must comply with wetland conservation provisions by affirming they will not impact wetlands on their lands. In situations where avoidance or on-site mitigation is challenging, the farm bill allows producers to mitigate their conversion activities off-site by purchasing mitigation banking credits.

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.