READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, October 27th…

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USDA: More than $7 Billion Paid in Second Round of CFAP

The Department of Agriculture has paid more than $7 billion in assistance to farmers as part of round two of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program.  Known as CFAP 2, the program provides farmers with financial aid to help absorb some of the increased marketing costs associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says, “the funding builds upon the over $10 billion disbursed under the first round.” Since CFAP 2 enrollment began in September, the Farm Service Agency has approved more than 443,000 applications. The top five states for payments are Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota, Illinois and Kansas. Through CFAP 2, USDA is making available up to $14 billion for farmers and ranchers. CFAP 2 is a separate program from the first round of funding. Farmers and ranchers who participated in the original program are not automatically enrolled and must complete a new application for the second round of funding. FSA will accept applications through December 11, 2020.

China Has Purchased 71 Percent of Its Phase One Target

The Department of Agriculture late last week announced China has followed through on 71 percent of its Phase One Economic and trade Agreement commitments. USDA and the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office says that China has purchased over $23 billion in agricultural products to date. Outstanding sales of U.S. corn to China are at an all-time high of 8.7 million tons, and U.S. soybeans sales for marketing year 2021 are off to the strongest start in history. U.S. exports of sorghum to China from January to August 2020 totaled $617 million, up from $561 million for the same period in 2017. U.S. pork exports to China hit a record in just the first five months of 2020, and beef exports to China through August are already more than triple the total for 2017. USDA expects 2020 sales to China to hit record or near-record levels for many U.S. agricultural products, including pet food, alfalfa hay, pecans, peanuts, and prepared foods.

Organic Fresh Produce Sales Continue Double-Digit Growth

Organic fresh produce in the third quarter of 2020 saw a continuation of trends established in March of this year, with elevated sales across the entire category. A report by the Organic Produce Network shows fresh produce sales topped $2.2 billion for the quarter and accounted for 12 percent of all produce sales, compared to a dollar share of 9.8 percent in the second quarter. Organic Produce Network CEO Matt Seeley says, “sales of organic fresh produce show no signs of slowing and continue to be a major growth opportunity for retailers across the country.” Packaged salads, strawberries and herbs generated the highest growth in organic dollars in the third quarter. Bananas continued to be the volume leader of organic produce offerings, generating 18 percent of total volume and increasing by 8.3 percent from the previous year. For the first half of 2020, organic fresh produce sales were up 11 percent in dollar growth and 13 percent in volume compared to last year.

USDA Releases Cattle On Feed Report

The latest Cattle on Feed report shows higher cattle inventories as of October 1, 2020. The Department of Agriculture released the monthly report Friday. USDA reported cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the United States for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 11.7 million head. The inventory was four percent above October 1, 2019. This is the highest October 1 inventory since the series began in 1996. Placements in feedlots during September totaled 2.23 million head, six percent above 2019. In an analysis of the report, American Farm Bureau Federation economist Michael Nepveux says, “After strong impacts from the pandemic in April and May, the number of cattle on feed has largely followed seasonal patterns.” However, the impacts of the pandemic are still contributing to market uncertainty. Nepveux adds, “It will be interesting to see how the recession eventually impacts beef demand, as recessions tend to not be kind to this particular animal protein.”

Farmers National Company Reports Higher Land Prices this Fall

Farmers National Company reports buyers are willing to bid up for good quality cropland in the heart of the Midwest this fall, citing two recent sales. In central Iowa, two separate 120-acre tracts brought $13,700 and $13,400 per tillable acre. Meanwhile, a quarter section in central Illinois sold for $13,500 per tillable acre. Randy Dickhut of Farmers National Company says, “these are definitely strong sales with prices up from where they have been the past few years.” He says farmers continue to be active bidders for the good cropland that comes up for sale in their areas as they add to their operations. Local investors who are either diversifying their asset portfolio or doing a 1031 tax-deferred exchange are also active bidders in many land sales. Dickhut adds the lack of safe, alternative investments that return more than farmland, such as Treasury bonds, is also another factor in the demand for land.

Lawsuit Claims EPA Approved “Dangerous” Fungicide

The Center for Food Safety and the Center for Biological Diversity are challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s approval of a new fungicide. The EPA approved the new fungicide, inpyrfluxam (in-PEER-flux-um), in August. The two groups in a lawsuit claim the approval came “despite compelling research showing it to be very highly toxic to fish, including endangered salmon and steelhead.” Additionally, the lawsuit claims the fungicide poses substantial risks to large birds, including whooping cranes. The EPA approved the fungicide for use on some of the most widely grown U.S. crops, including corn, soy, grains, beans, sugar beets, apples and peanuts. The fungicide was approved for foliar and seed treatment uses to protect against Rhizoctonia species causing seed decay, seedling damping‐off, and root rot. The Center for Biological Diversity says, “The EPA broke the law when it failed to make sure this highly toxic fungicide won’t drive endangered species closer to extinction, and we’re going to hold the agency accountable.”

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.