READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, October 6th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

Stimulus Talks Remain Hopeful

Hopes a COVID-19 stimulus package can be completed before the November election are increasing. With President Donald Trump and many staffers in the White House testing positive for the virus over the last week, Trump has indicated support for a new stimulus package. Trump stated via Twitter over the weekend, the nation “wants and needs” stimulus, directing lawmakers to “work together and get it done.” Meanwhile, speaking to CBS’s Face The Nation over the weekend, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi indicated, “we are making progress.” Asked if an agreement could come this week, Pelosi says, “that just depends on if they understand what we have to do to crush the virus,” referring to Republicans. The House passed another version of its HEROES Act last week, a $2.2 trillion coronavirus aid package. The legislation includes aid to ethanol plants, livestock producers who had to euthanize animals because of no slaughterhouse capacity, as well as a 15 percent increase in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits.

************************************************************************************
USTR Initiates Vietnam Section 301 Investigation

The Trump administration Friday announced a trade investigation over two issues related to Vietnam. At the direction of President Donald Trump, the U.S. Trade Representative’s will investigate Vietnam’s acts, policies, and practices related to the import and use of timber that is illegally harvested or traded USTR will also investigate Vietnam’s acts, policies, and practices that may contribute to the undervaluation of its currency and the resultant harm caused to U.S. commerce. As part of its investigation on currency undervaluation, USTR will consult with the Department of the Treasury as to issues of currency valuation and exchange rate policy. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer stated, “Using illegal timber in wood products exported to the U.S. market harms the environment and is unfair to U.S. workers and businesses who follow the rules by using legally harvested timber.” USTR will issue two separate Federal Register notices this week that will provide details of the investigation.

************************************************************************************
Oil Prices Fall amid COVID-19 Concerns

Oil prices lost significant ground last week over concerns about rising COVID-19 cases, including President Donald Trump testing positive for the virus. A barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude oil closed last week at nearly $37 per barrel, a drop from $40.36 last Monday. GasBuddy reports the national average price of gasoline has fallen in the last week, posting a decline of 0.7 cents per gallon over the last week to $2.17. Meanwhile, the national average price of diesel is unchanged from a week ago and stands at $2.38 per gallon. However, Patrick De Hann of GasBuddy says, “Friday saw the highest gasoline demand since Labor Day,” suggesting, “we may see an end to the possibility of future declines.” Government data released last week showed a small decline in oil inventories of two million barrels for the prior week, while remaining about 13 percent above the five-year average for this time of year. Inventories now stand some 70 million barrels, or 16.5 percent, above their year-ago level.

************************************************************************************
AFBF Announces Ag Innovation Challenge Semi-Finalist

The American Farm Bureau Federation and Farm Credit recently announced the ten semi-finalist teams in the 2021 Farm Bureau Ag Innovation Challenge. The ten semi-finalist teams were awarded $7,500 each and will compete at the AFBF Convention in January, to advance to the final round. The four finalist teams will receive an additional $7,500 for a total of $15,000. The final four teams will compete live to win the Farm Bureau Entrepreneur of the Year award, for a total of $50,000, and the People’s Choice Award for $20,000. AFBF President Zippy Duvall says the semi-finalists are “providing solutions for some of the biggest challenges facing agriculture,” adding, “This includes supporting farms, ranches and rural economies affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.” The top ten semi-finalist teams will participate in pitch training and mentorship from Cornell University’s SC Johnson College of Business faculty, and network with representatives from the Agriculture Department’s Rural Business Investment Companies. To learn more about the Challenge and the ten semi-finalists, visit fb.org/challenge.

************************************************************************************
Farmers National Company: Land for Sale Near a Record

Despite what has been a slower agricultural land market the past few years, the dollar amount of land that Farmers National Company is selling for its clients is near record levels. As of October 1, the company and its agents report actively marketing and selling land worth $300 million. Land being marketed includes good quality tillable cropland of all sizes, recreational land, ranches, pastureland, timberland, rural homes and acreages, and transitional land near urban areas. The amount of land for sale varies by region and by brokerage. Some areas continue to have less for sale than normal, and others are seeing a slight uptick in the amount of land listed for sale. Landowners have been and continue to be making decisions whether to sell now, in early 2021, or to hold onto their land. There has also been a reported increase in farmland interest by investment firms, seeking long-term and stable investment options.

************************************************************************************
NCGA Launches New Women and Mentors Program

The National Corn Growers Association Monday announced a new women and mentors program. The first inaugural Women and Mentors Retreat will kick off virtually on October 15. Tara Smith, executive vice president at Michael Torrey and Associates and Kellie Bray, chief of staff at CropLife America, will open the event with a panel delving into mentorship relationships, including how these vital connections lead to career and personal growth. In January, NCGA will host a second virtual session and an in-person meeting in June 2021. The Women and Mentors program provides an opportunity for women looking to find the next steps in their leadership journey to partner with a mentor who has traveled that path, according to the organization. Mentors, who can be of any gender, both foster tomorrow’s leaders and learn how to share the wealth of knowledge and understanding accumulated through years of service. NCGA is still accepting applications at NCGA.com.

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.