READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, November 4th…

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

Ag Economy Barometer Reaches All-Time High

The Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer rose 27 points to a reading of 183 in October, setting an all-time high for the index. Farmers were more optimistic about both the future and current financial situations on their farms. The Current Conditions Index rose 36 points to a reading of 178, and the Future Expectations Index climbed 23 points to a reading of 186. Since bottoming out this summer, the ag economy has rebounded sharply, and the dramatic improvement in sentiment mirrors the turnaround in the farm income picture. Organizers say the early fall rally in commodity prices combined with government program payments boosted farm income. Corn and soybean prices continued to rally even though U.S. corn yields are expected to set a record high, and USDA projects soybean yields to be the fourth highest on record. Comparing their farm’s financial condition today to one year ago, 25 percent of survey respondents said their farm was better off financially now than at the same time last year.

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Wheeler Waiting on Courts Before Making RFS Decisions

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler is taking a wait and see approach regarding 35 waiver requests under the Renewable Fuel Standard. Administrator Wheeler told Agri-Talk earlier this week, “The refiners appealed that to the Supreme Court; we’re waiting to see if they take it up, and what they do with that.” Earlier this year, an appeals court ruled the EPA could not grant waivers for refiners whose previous wavers have lapsed. The oil industry is appealing the ruling. Wheeler adds, “I think it would be inappropriate for me to either grant or deny them until that litigation has completely run its course.” The EPA is also considering an additional 17 gap-year waiver requests that are expected to be denied. In September, the EPA denied 54 gap year waivers. The Renewable Fuels Association at the time called the requests a “bizarre attempt” by the oil industry to circumvent the appeals court ruling.

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Groups Call for Stronger Approach to Preserving Common Food, Wine Terms

A coalition of agricultural groups is applauding a bipartisan letter sent this week by 111 members of Congress, urging stronger protections for American-made food and wine exports using common terms. The National Milk Producers Federation says the letter is an important message regarding the need for enhanced U.S. efforts to combat the European Union’s attempts to ban U.S. exports of cheese, meat and wine products that are labeled with common terms – such as parmesan or bologna. The letter asks the U.S. Trade Representative and Department of Agriculture to make safeguarding common food and wine terms a core policy objective in all current and future trade negotiations. NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern states, “America’s dairy farmers have been unduly harmed by the EU’s efforts to limit market opportunities for U.S. dairy products.” In July, 61 Senators sent a similar letter requesting that the U.S. government enhance protections for common food and wine terms. 

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USDA Announces First Set of Great American Outdoors Act Projects

The Department of Agriculture this week delivered to Congress its priority list of deferred maintenance projects for Great American Outdoors Act funding in fiscal year 2021. The bill, USDA says, will protect and enhance the economies of numerous gateway communities that surround public lands by restoring and maintaining critical access and infrastructure. Congress passed the bill in July and the President signed it into law in August. USDA says the project list breakdown, now available on the agency’s website, will help the Forest Service reduce its $5.2 billion deferred maintenance backlog. The projects will improve access and visitor experiences by repairing and restoring roads, trails, bridges, recreation sites, and other facilities on national forests and grasslands. However, the Public Lands Council calls the bill a federal land grab. Following Senate passage of the bill this summer, the organization stated the bill “sentenced existing and future lands and waters to the same fate facing current federal assets – billions of dollars in deferred maintenances.”

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NCBA: Industry Feedyard Audit Tool Now Available

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association this week released a comprehensive industry feedyard audit tool. The organization says the Cattle Industry Feedyard Audit will serve as a standardized audit tool based on the science and common sense established in the Beef Quality Assurance, or BQA program. Though the audit tool is owned by NCBA, auditing of feedyards will only be conducted through business-to-business activity within the cattle industry. NCBA will be maintaining the tool with updates as science dictates. To ensure consistency and integrity in auditing, the Cattle Industry Feedyard Audit tool has been certified through the Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization. The Cattle Industry Feedyard Audit was built based on BQA principles and includes key standards of animal care that are directly related to animal health and welfare that contribute to a safe beef supply. Results from the audit can provide information back to the feedyard to drive improvement and measure the effectiveness of the operation’s implementation of BQA standards.

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Trimble to Donate up to $100,000 to She Feeds The World Project

Trimble will match donations up to $100,000 to support global poverty-fighting non-profit organization CARE and their She Feeds the World program this month. Aiming to improve access to food and nutrition for 50 million women and youth, small-scale producers and their families, She Feeds the World supports programs and projects in more than 76 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Through the donation-matching campaign, the agriculture community will have the opportunity to donate to increase the campaign’s overall impact for developing rural communities. Trimble’s Jim Chambers says, “it is greatly important to us that we support programs that connect women with the necessary resources for their farms, families and communities to succeed.” To participate, individuals can donate to CARE through Trimble’s website, ag.trimble.com, during November for each dollar to be matched 1:1. Trimble is also offering farmers the opportunity to enter to win a GFX-750 display and NAV-900 bundle, no donation necessary.

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.