READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Mon, Nov 30th

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Ag Credit Conditions Recover in Third Quarter Farm income and loan repayment rates recovered from sharp declines in the second quarter, and demand for credit softened according to Federal Reserve Ag Credit Surveys. Although farm income generally remained low, loan repayment rates stabilized, and farmland real estate markets remained strong. Farm loan demand moderated in all Federal Reserve districts for the first time since 2013 in the third quarter. Funding at agricultural banks was likely supported by higher deposits and an influx of liquidity from Federal Reserve and government programs following the COVID-19 outbreak. The Fed says an influx of government payments and higher prices for agricultural commodities provided greater support for farm finances in the third quarter and seemed to limit demand for financing. Despite some improvements in the agricultural economy, farm income and repayment rates remained low, albeit not as low as in the second quarter. Increased uncertainty related to the pandemic may also have curbed some demand for new loans and could continue to weigh on agricultural lending conditions moving forward. *********************************************************************** Peterson Raises Concerns Regarding Transition Outgoing House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson has concerns regarding President-elect Joe Biden’s transition as it relates to agriculture. In a letter to the General Services Administration, the Minnesota Democrat says, “I write to express my concerns about the impacts to farmers, ranchers and consumers from the lack of a timely Presidential transition process.” While the delayed transition is now underway, the impacts of the delay persist. Specific issues mentioned by Peterson include the Department of Agriculture’s ongoing work with meat and poultry plants amid the COVID-19 pandemic, along with the risk of African swine fever entering the United States. Other issues include outbreaks of High Pathogenic Avian Influenza across Europe and Asia, and a shortage of CO2 production, impacting meatpacking plants. Peterson states, “Dedicated civil service staff in the USDA Office of Homeland Security and throughout the Department are monitoring these and other crucial situations, but it will take high-level leadership and the ability to muster funding to address them.” *********************************************************************** Organic Groups Send Recommendations to Transition Team The Organic Trade Association and the National Organic Coalition recently sent industry recommendations to President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team. In a letter to the transition team, the groups say, “here are several overarching issues that need to be addressed early in your Administration to put organic agriculture back on safe footing after the challenges of the past four years.” Those issues include implementation of the Obama-Biden Organic Animal Welfare Rule. The groups also call for the finalization of Organic Origin of Livestock Regulations, and finalization of the Strengthening Organic Enforcement Rule. Other priorities for the organic industry include restoring the Organic Certification Cost Share Program to the full Reimbursement Rates Mandated by the 2018 Farm Bill, and embracing organic agriculture as a key climate change solution. Additionally, the groups say, “We encourage your Administration to engage the U.S. food and agriculture sector in a dialogue about how we can best use the lessons learned from the pandemic to build our food system back, better than it was before.” *********************************************************************** EPA Seeking Comments on Updated Plant Biostimulants Guidance The Environmental Protection Agency is accepting comments on an updated Draft Guidance for Plant Regulators and Claims, Including Plant Biostimulants. Plant biostimulants are a relatively new but growing category of products, according to the EPA. Their increasing popularity arises from their ability to enhance agricultural productivity through stimulation of natural plant processes using substances and microbes already present in the environment. Plant biostimulants can also reduce the use of synthetic chemical fertilizers, making it an attractive option for sustainable agriculture and integrated pest management programs. An EPA spokesperson says, “When finalized, our Plant Biostimulants Guidance will provide sought-after certainty and transparency for this growing area of the economy.” While many plant biostimulants are not regulated as pesticides, certain mixtures and plant regulators can be pesticides under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act. The public comment period will be open for 30 days at EPA anticipates finalizing the guidance in January 2021. *********************************************************************** Deere Sales Down 9%, Net Income Down 15% Deere & Company reported net income of $757 million for the fourth quarter that ended November 1, 2020, or $2.39 per share, compared with net income of $722 million for the quarter ending November 3, 2019. For fiscal 2020, net income attributable to Deere & Company was $2.751 billion, or $8.69 per share, compared with $3.253 billion, or $10.15 per share, last year. Chairman and CEO John May says the company “delivered another quarter of strong performance and a solid year despite the challenges associated with managing the pandemic.” Net income attributable to Deere & Company for fiscal 2021 is forecast to be in a range of $3.6 billion to $4.0 billion. In the year ahead, Deere expects to benefit from improving conditions in the farm economy and stabilization in construction and forestry markets. According to May, “higher crop prices and improved fundamentals are leading to renewed optimism in the agricultural sector and improving demand for farm equipment.” *********************************************************************** Roberts, Stabenow Announce Hearing on Research and Securing America’s Food Supply Leadership of the Senate Agriculture Committee recently announced a hearing titled “Agricultural Research and Securing the United States Food Supply.” Announced by Committee Chair Pat Roberts, a Kansas Republican, and Top Democrat Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, the hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, December 2, at 2:30 ET. The hearing will feature Amy France, a producer and member of National Sorghum Producers, and Don Glickman, Executive Director of the Aspen Institute. Additional speakers include Stephen Higgs, Director of the Biosecurity Research Institute, and Dr. Steven Rosenzweig, Senior Agricultural Scientist, Agricultural Research, General Mills. The hearing will be one of, if not the last hearing, under current leadership of the Senate Agriculture Committee. Senator Roberts of Kansas will retire at the end of the current Congressional session. While Stabenow seems likely to remain on the committee, the next chairman won’t be known until after a special election runoff in January, which will dictate which party will control the chamber. *********************************************************************** Cattle Producers Congratulate Newhouse On Being Elected Western Caucus Chair The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association applauds Representative Dan Newhouse being unanimously elected as Chairman of the Congressional Western Caucus. Newhouse, a Washington state Republican, will serve as chairman in the upcoming 117th Congress. In a statement, NCBA Vice President of Government Affairs, Ethan Lane, says, “Congressman Newhouse is a strong advocate for cattle producers and has been instrumental in getting critical legislation across the finish line.” Following the announcement, Newhouse called the caucus “the premier organization advocating for rural policy issues throughout the West and beyond.” The Western Caucus serves as a common voice for members of Congress representing western, rural and resource-based communities and fighting for the priorities of the American people in the process. Initially, the Caucus was born in the West, out of concerns of federal interference with rural, agricultural, timber, water, energy and hunting e. Over time, the Caucus has grown beyond the geographic West, allying with Members of Congress throughout the country to join. *********************************************************************** EPA Encourages Americans to Avoid Food Waste Over the Holidays Fresh off the Thanksgiving holiday and fridges stuffed with leftovers, the Environmental Protection Agency wants consumers to consider the environment when it comes to food waste. EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler says more than 70 billion pounds of food waste reach U.S. landfills every year, contributing to methane emissions and wasting food supply chain resources. Wheeler says, “We must all do our part to help people and the environment by preparing only what we need, cutting down our food waste, and sharing or donating what we can to feed others.” EPA estimates that more food reaches landfills than any other material in everyday trash, constituting 24 percent of municipal solid waste. Reducing food waste and redirecting excess food to people, animals, or energy production provide immediate benefits to public health and the environment. Those benefits include reducing methane emissions from landfills, saving money through thoughtful planning, shopping and storage, and supporting your community by donating untouched food that would have otherwise gone to waste.

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.