READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, October 1st

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

USDA Releases Grain Stocks Report

The Quarterly Grain Stocks report shows old crop corn stocks on hand as of September 1, 2020, totaled 2.0 billion bushels, down ten percent from a year ago. Old crop soybeans stored in all positions were down 42 percent, and all wheat stocks were down eight percent from a year earlier. Released by the Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, the report found that of the total corn stocks, 751 million bushels were stored on farms, down eight percent from a year earlier. Off-farm stocks, at 1.24 billion bushels, were down 12 percent from a year ago. Old crop soybeans stored in all positions totaled 523 million bushels. Soybean stocks stored on farms totaled 141 million bushels, down 47 percent, and off-farm stocks, at 382 million bushels, were down 41 percent. All wheat stored in all positions totaled 2.16 billion bushels. On-farm stocks were estimated at 705 million bushels, down four percent, and off-farm stocks were down ten percent at 1.45 billion bushels.

NASS also released the Small Grains Annual Summary report. The report found All wheat production totaled 1.83 billion bushels in 2020, down five percent from the revised 2019 total of 1.93 billion bushels. Area harvested for grain totaled 36.7 million acres, down two percent from 2019, and The United States yield was estimated at 49.7 bushels per acre, down 2.0 bushels from 2019.

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NFU: Pandemic Revealed Need for Reform in the Food and Farm System

Pandemic-related disruptions have exposed underlying weaknesses in the food and farm system, according to the National Farmers Union. NFU President Rob Larew told the House Small Business Committee Wednesday during a hearing the need for significant structural reforms to protect farmers and consumers from similar disruptions in the future. One of the primary contributors to supply chain delays and food shortages has been widespread corporation consolidation, particularly in the meat processing industry, Larew told the lawmakers. As a solution, Larew proposed policies that would stem the tide of consolidation and build out regional food infrastructure. NFU says another major problem is chronic oversupply. In recent months, restaurant closures and shifting demand has made matters worse, as Larew noted in his testimony. Though pandemic aid has helped farmers withstand persistently low prices, “policy changes are needed to address the causes – rather than simply the symptoms – of a broken farm economy.” NFU proposes a supply management system that would balance farm production with consumer demand.

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Cattle Producers Welcome Sen. Fischer’s HAULS Act

Livestock groups this week applauded the introduction of legislation that would provide livestock haulers flexibility and critical relief from hours-of-service rules. Senator Deb Fischer, a Nebraska Republican, introduced the Haulers of Agriculture and Livestock Safety, or HAULS Act. The legislation would add a 150 air-mile exemption to hours of service regulations to the backend of hauls for those transporting livestock or agricultural commodities. The bill also eliminates the seasonal harvest requirements for the agriculture hours-of-service exemption, making the exemption available year-round in all states. Jon Samson, Executive Director of the Agricultural and Food Transporters Conference, says, “this language provides the ag community with continued flexibility during the busiest times of the year, while expanding uniformity and clarity for the transportation of our nation’s ag products.” American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duval stated, “The HAULS Act modernizes trucking regulations to meet the needs of our members,” adding, “I applaud Senator Fischer for her leadership on this important issue.”

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USDA grants American Farmland Trust $2.6 million to improve soil health practice adoption

A $2.6-million grant from the Department of Agriculture will help American Farmland Trust fund its Conquering Cover Crop Challenges Coast to Coast project. USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service supplied the funding through its On-Farm Conservation Innovation Trials. Through 20 on-farm trials and a comprehensive soil, economic, and social evaluation system, American Farmland trust will test innovative solutions and generate five years of results that will help overcome regional and crop-specific barriers to cover crop adoption. Specifically, the project will address cover crop establishment challenges in water-limited, dryland wheat systems, and challenges unique to high value, high-input specialty crops, among other goals. American Farmland Trust will partner with 13 local conservation districts, university extension departments and the private sector across seven states. The project will begin in January 2021 and run through the end of 2025. Every year, American Farmland trust will publish summary reports on the changes in the soil in response to the adopted soil health practices.

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Consumer Expectations Change as the Pandemic Enters a New Season

The Consumer Brands Association’s latest COVID-19 poll asked more than 1,300 American adults about their opinions on the coronavirus and its effect on the country. The data shows a country normalized by a persistent threat and contending with growing anxiety over what’s ahead. When the pandemic began, 36 percent of Americans described themselves as “very concerned” in mid-March, which jumped up to a majority quickly after and has yet to dip below 50 percent since. While most Americans, 72 percent, are still optimistic about the next six months, that optimism has dipped slightly since June, from 76 percent. The perennial lengthening of the timetable for returning to normal and the whiplash changes in the news about the virus, whether driven by politics or new information, has pushed optimism lower. While the supply chain has largely solved for shortages of high-demand products like toilet paper, meat and cleaning supplies brought on by panic-buying early in the pandemic, Americans’ fears over access to those products have not. 

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United Fresh Releases Fresh Facts on Retail Report

A new report covers the increasing popularity of e-commerce and the unprecedented rise of in-home consumption triggered by COVID-19, including the continued growth of fresh fruit and vegetable sales. United Fresh Produce Association released its Q2 2020 issue of FreshFacts on Retail this week. The report measures retail price and sales trends for the top 10 fruit and vegetable commodities and other value-added produce categories. The report says growth continues in fruit and vegetables as sales surge across categories driven by consumers seeking versatile cooking and salad staples for home meal preparation, and healthy home snack options. Meanwhile, packaged salads are a top-selling organic produce commodity, followed by apples and strawberries. Consumer response to value-added fruit remains muted, while value-added vegetable sales grew. Products typically consumed in group settings declined, while products that are more challenging for consumers to handle and prepare at home drove consumer interest.

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.