READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, November 12th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

Farm Tractor Sales Stay Positive in the U.S. and Canada

Overall farm tractor unit sales continued to grow across North America in October despite a small pause in the larger unit sales in Canada. The latest data from the Association of Equipment Manufacturers says that total farm tractor sales in the U.S. rose 18 percent in October compared to 2019, while self-propelled combine sales in the U.S. grew almost 15 percent. Four-wheel-drive unit sales in the U.S. grew for the third straight month in October, up almost 23 percent to 635 units, putting year-to-date segment sales in the black for the first time this year at one percent higher. Sales of 100-plus horsepower equipment grew 9.7 percent during October, finally bringing the bigger units just into positive territory at .2 percent higher year-to-date. Total year-to-date farm tractors out the door are up 15 percent in 2020, while combine sales are now up 5.5 percent on the year. “We’re glad to see the aggregate North American tractor and combine sales stay above the five-year trend line,” says Curt Blades, Senior Vice President of Ag Services at AEM. “These latest numbers, combined with the recent bump in commodity prices, point to the potential for a strong finish to equipment sales in 2020.”  

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Farm Equipment Dealers Forecast Growth in 2021

The recent Ag Equipment Intelligence/Farm Equipment 2021 Dealer Business Outlook and Trends survey shows some good news. Dealers not only beat last year’s estimates for profitability in 2020, but they’re now predicting greater revenue growth in 2021 than they did for this year. Farm Equipment magazine says when they examined the results of the survey, it clearly showed that more dealers are shifting away from a negative outlook on new equipment revenue. Over 42 percent of the dealers indicated that they see their new equipment revenue increasing by at least two percent in 2021, slightly more than the 41 percent in 2019 who forecasted increased new equipment revenue for 2020. Dealers forecasting an increase of eight percent or more in the next year came in at 8.7 percent of the respondents. That’s still more than double the 3.4 percent who forecast the same amount of increase in 2020. Those forecasting a two-to-seven percent increase dropped from just over 38 percent in last year’s survey to 33.7 percent this year. The most notable change comes from those forecasting little to no change in new equipment revenue, which came in at 46 percent of the respondents in this year’s survey. That surpasses the levels in both 2018 and 2019.

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Peterson Endorses Scott for House Ag Chairman

Current House Ag Committee Chair Collin Peterson has made a recommendation for his successor. He’s endorsed Georgia Democrat David Scott as the next chairman. In a letter to Scott, Peterson wrote that he’s a supporter of the seniority system. Peterson also says he was happy to follow Kika (KEE-kah) de la Garza of Texas, who was the first Hispanic Chair of the committee. “It will be another important milestone to have the first African-American chair of the committee,” Peterson says in the letter. Scott is second in seniority on the committee after Peterson, who lost in his re-election race. In the meantime, House Democrats will begin the process of choosing committee chairs for the 117th Congress next week, including the House Agriculture Committee’s top spot. However, the Hagstrom Report says the new chairs won’t get confirmed until early January, according to the Rules of the Democratic Caucus and congressional staff. Scott and California Democrat Jim Costa have both said they will run for the job. While Scott is the second-most tenured member of the committee, Costa is right behind him as the third longest-serving member. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer says that both parties will begin their leadership election process next week, while newly elected members take part in orientation.

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European Union puts Tariffs on U.S. Goods, Including Ag Products

The European Union said earlier this week it will impose tariffs on up to four billion dollars’ worth of U.S. goods and services, including some agricultural imports. The move comes out of a dispute over U.S. assistance for Boeing, which is a bitter rival to Europe’s Airbus. News Tribune Dot Com says European trade ministers agreed on the move a few weeks after international arbitrators gave the EU the go-ahead for implementing the tariffs. The World Trade Organization ruled that some of the U.S. support for Boeing was illegal and said the EU could make up for that with a limited amount of duties on U.S. trade. The tariffs are officially in effect on Tuesday. The EU Commission’s Executive Vice President says, “Regrettably, despite our best efforts and due to the lack of progress from the U.S. side, we can confirm that the European Union will exercise our rights and impose the countermeasures.” It was a year ago that the WTO ruled similarly for the United States, allowing it to impose duties on EU goods worth up to $7.5 billion because of European support for Airbus. The EU Trade Commission is calling on the U.S. to agree that both sides will drop their countermeasures immediately so that they can put the issue behind them.

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USDA Announces Updated Conservation Practice Standards

The USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service has published a new list of updates to its National Conservation Practice Standards. The revisions include 58 standards that have been updated or revised since August. The 2018 Farm Bill required NRCS to review all 169 of its national conservation practices to seek opportunities to increase flexibility and incorporate new technologies. “NRCS is committed to efficiently and effectively implementing the Farm Bill and delivering on our promise to America’s farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners,” says Acting NRCS Chief Kevin Norton. “These practices are the building blocks of conservation, and they are science-based and site-specific. We took a hard look at our existing practices on the books, looking for opportunities to improve flexibility and integrate technology.” The National Conservation Practice Standards provide guidelines for planning, designing, installing, operating, and maintaining conservation practices. The 58 revised standards cover a wide range of conservation practices, including irrigation water management, heavy use area protection, and compositing facilities. NRCS is also adding two conservation practices dealing with wastewater treatment and wildlife habitat planning. More information on the National Conservation Practice Standards is available at www.nrcs.usda.gov or your local NRCS office.

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Nebraska Farmer Wins #RootedInAg Contest

Hannah Borg of Wakefield, Nebraska, is the winner of Syngenta’s 2020 #RootedInAg Contest grand prize winner. The 22-year-old was chosen from a large pool of applicants and had to beat two other finalists to win the honor. The annual competition from Syngenta invites growers and other ag industry professionals across the nation to describe in their submission entry the person who most nourished their agricultural roots. In her video entry, Borg pays tribute to the matriarch of their sixth-generation family farm – her 86-year-old grandmother, Lois Borg. “Grandma is the perfect mix of grace and grit,” Hannah says. “I’ve always admired how she lives her life and her role in our family. She always knows what’s happening on the farm and never turns down the opportunity to ride along on any kind of trip.” Borg says her grandmother passed down many stories over the years and that Lois inspires her every day. The 2020 contest saw the largest number of submissions in its seven-year history. Pam Caraway, Syngenta’s marketing communications lead, says that made it their most difficult contest to rank. “Thanks to everybody who shared their stories,” she said. “Each submission was a delight to read or watch.”

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.