READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Monday, October 26th…

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

KC Fed: Fewer Loans Issued to Farmers Limits Overall Lending Activity

The Kansas City Federal Reserve says a slower pace of farm financing activity continued in the third quarter of 2020. The total volume of non-real estate farm loans remained subdued amid ongoing weakness in the ag sector, thanks in part to developments regarding COVID-19. The National Survey of Terms of Lending to Farmers says despite growing 15 percent from the previous year, total non-real-estate loan volumes in the third quarter of 2020 were below the 20-year trend for that period. Loans for operating expenses increased from last year but were still less than the previous three years. Loans to finance feeder livestock and farm machinery followed a similar trend, while the volume of loans for other livestock remained steady. All other loans declined for the second straight year, further weighing down the overall loan volumes. The number of new loans originated to farmers also declined for nearly all loan types. The total quantity of loans issued to farmers decreased, driven by a 12 percent decline in the number of operating loans. Similar to the prior quarter, government payments and lending programs may have offset both declines in farm revenues and financing needs of some farm borrowers in the third quarter.

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Stabenow Leads Opposition Against USDA Decision on Dairy Aid

Senate Ag Committee Member Debbie Stabenow is leading a group of 15 senators asking Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue to reverse a decision that excluded dairy farmers from getting coronavirus aid for losses from meat produced from breeding animals. The Hagstrom Report says the senators point out that losses from meat produced from breeding animals were included in the first Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, but not in the second, which is known as CFAP 2. “This change will affect the livestock industry and will be particularly harmful to dairy farmers, who often operate at extremely tight margins,” the senators wrote in the letter. “The decision is even more troubling considering that USDA clearly has sufficient resources to cover these losses.” Additionally, they say the move would avoid confusing farmers. “It will be less complicated for both USDA and livestock farmers to cover all livestock and avoid confusion about what animals are covered or excluded,” they add. The senators say dairy farmers were struggling with prolonged market uncertainty, unfair trade practices, and the Administration’s “chaotic trade policies” long before COVID-19 hit. Considering the industry’s tight margins, the decision to exclude dairy farm losses related to meat production will be a significant blow.

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Farm Journal Report Shows Farmers Expect Stable to Higher Land Prices

Like a lot of other aspects of the economy, 2020 has put downward pressure on farmland values, thanks in part to events like trade disputes and an economic downturn. At the same time, COVID-19 restrictions and uncertainty have left the market with much less available land. Farm Journal recently took a “Pulse Poll” of farmers on what they expect land values to do over the next year. The results show farmers seem to be looking for steady land values during the year ahead, but market analysts see the potential for strength in land prices. 28-percent of the survey respondents expect higher land prices, while 60 percent say prices will be stable. Just 12 percent of responses expect lower land prices. Doug Hensley, President of Real Estate Services for Hertz Farm Management, tells Farm Journal that four factors that may lead to a stronger farmland market. They include a limited inventory of farms for sale, rising commodity prices, higher government support for farmers, and interest rates that are staying low. While local markets can sometimes vary wildly, Hensley sees the overall market as back to where it was during early 2020: “Stable, with an overall bias to stronger,” he says.

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“Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner,” Returning for the Holidays

The holidays may look a little different in 2020. However, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the Beef Checkoff want one thing to remain the same, and that’s beef. “Beef. It’s What’s for Holiday Dinner.” For the first time since 2003, the iconic “Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner” brand will be on television. It will air a limited number of ads during the Hallmark Channel’s Countdown to Christmas movies. The campaign released a successful video last year called the “Drool Log.” It’s a two-hour video of a Beef Prime Rib slowly cooking over an open flame, and viewers saw it more than. NCBA shortened the video to 15 seconds in the ads that will appear in late November and through December on the Hallmark Channel. In addition to bringing the brand back to television, the “Beef, It’s What’s for Dinner” brand will help consumers learn how to make the perfect holiday meal through fully integrated digital and social media work. Whether families are having a smaller family gathering or working with a tighter budget, there’s a beef option for everyone, and experts will be available through an updated landing page on www.BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com as a one-stop-shop for all cooking needs.

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Farmland Transfer Program Secures New Funding to Help a New Generation of Ag

American Farmland Trust is a national leader in protecting agricultural land, as well as promoting environmentally-sound farming practices and keeping farmers on their farmland. AFT has just received an award from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture under the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program to fund the “Transitioning Land to a New Generation: Preparing Trainers to Help Facilitate Transfer” program. The funding amount of $750,000 will go to develop a skills-based curriculum to support a new generation of producers and agricultural landowners as they confront the complex financial, legal, and interpersonal issues related to their agricultural land and business transfer. “More than 40 percent of American farmland is owned by people 65 and older,” says Julia Freedgood, AFT Director of Farms for a New Generation. “Given they are at retirement age, the land is likely to change hands in the foreseeable future.” At the same time, she says it’s difficult for a new generation of farmers and ranchers to acquire affordable land with appropriate housing and infrastructure due to farm consolidation, appreciation of land values, conversion of farmland to development, and a tight supply of available land. “American Farmland Trust will be working with a national cohort of service providers to help bridge the gap,” Freedgood says.

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USDA Announces Fourth Round of Farmers to Families Food Box Program

The USDA says it has authorized $500 million for the fourth round of purchases for the USDA Farmers to Families Food Box Program. As in the third round, states in the program have been allocated a certain number of boxes based on the internal needs of each state. The program will continue the purchase of combination boxes to include fresh produce, dairy products, fluid milk, and meat products. The program will continue to require that proposals illustrate how coverage would be provided to areas identified as opportunity zones. “I’m gratified by the overwhelmingly positive response to the Farms to Families Food Box Program from families, distributors, food banks, faith-based organizations, and non-profits across the country,” says Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue. “We recently surpassed 110 million boxes delivered, and millions more are headed to Americans in need. I’m very happy that we can extend this program and continue our relief efforts for American farmers and families.” The agency will award contracts for the fourth round by October 30, while deliveries of food boxes will run from November 1 through December 31.

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.