READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Fri Dec 4th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

Dairy Margin Coverage Program Signup Numbers are Low Despite Benefits

The signup deadline for the Dairy Margin Coverage Program is coming up on December 11th, and the American Farm Bureau says the number of dairy operations signed up is lower than expected. So far, 7,846 operations have enrolled in the program, covering about 64 billion pounds of milk. Those numbers account for just under one-third of the total number of U.S. operations and the total volume of milk. Approximately 68 percent of the country’s licensed operations with established production histories have not signed up for the program. Next year’s 7,846 operations enrolled is more than 23,000 fewer operations than signed up in 2019, when 13,468 dairy farms enrolled in the program. The drop in 2020’s dairy enrollments was due in part to somewhat positive expectations for the dairy industry going into 2020. The low level of signups just days before the deadline is surprising, given the benefits of enrolling for 2021. A rally in commodity prices may be helpful to many farmers, but it does make feed costs higher for dairy producers. The rising price of feed will squeeze the margins of dairy farmers, and that should make programs like the DMC more attractive to producers. Coverage is available from as low as $4 per hundredweight to as much as $9.50 per hundredweight.

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Grain Standards Reauthorization Heads to White House

Outgoing Senate Ag Committee Chair Pat Roberts and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow applauded the House of Representatives passage of the U.S. Grain Standards Reauthorization Act of 2020. The legislation is ready to be signed into law. The U.S. Grain Standards Reauthorization Act of 2020 passed out of the Senate Ag Committee in June and the full Senate in November. “I’m pleased the 2020 Grain Standards Reauthorization Act has quickly moved through both chambers of Congress to deliver certainty and predictability to the federal grain inspection system,” says Roberts. “I’m hopeful President Trump swiftly signs this legislation into law to ensure America can uphold its reputation as a dependable exporter of quality grain.” Stabenow also says the legislation provides much-needed stability. “Now, more than ever, we must provide certainty for farmers,” she says. “We are one step closer to enacting this bipartisan legislation and protecting our credibility as a reliable producer of high-quality crops.” The Grain Standards Reauthorization Act of 2020 has broad agricultural industry support from both national and state agriculture groups. Outgoing House Ag Chair Collin Peterson says, “American grain farmers participate in a competitive world, and foreign grain buyers should be confident in our inspection process.”

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Biden: Democrats Forgot Rural America

President-elect Joe Biden told the New York Times this week that Democrats “forgot” about rural America. However, in the same interview, he says that residents of rural America will “not be left behind.” Biden talked about the future efforts of Democrats to win the support of rural American residents and the 74 million people who voted for Trump in the election. “You know, it really does go to the issue of dignity, how you treat people,” Biden says. “I think those people feel forgotten. I think we forgot them.” While Democrats claimed the cities and suburbs to capture the Oval Office, the party fell even further behind in large parts of northern battleground states. Dems lost House seats in the Midwest, while Democrats once considered serious challengers to Republican incumbents in Iowa, Kansas, Montana, and North Carolina Senate races all lost. Fox News says continued losses in the country are putting pressure on Biden to reverse the trend, especially as failure to accomplish that will make it harder to meet his goals of curbing climate change.

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2020 Farm Income Higher Due to Government Payments

Net farm income, which is a broad measure of profits, is forecast to increase 36 billion dollars to $119.6 billion in 2020. Those numbers come from the USDA’s Economic Research Service. In inflation-adjusted 2020 dollars, net farm income is forecast to increase by 35 billion, the fourth-straight year the income numbers have gone up. If the prediction comes true, net farm income in 2020 in inflation-adjusted terms would be at its highest level since 2013 and 32 percent above the 2000-2019 average of $90.6 billion. However, cash receipts for all commodities are forecast to decrease by 3.2 billion dollars to $366.5 billion. Direct government farm payments are forecast at 46.5 billion dollars, an increase of $24 billion in nominal terms. Total production expenses, including operator dwelling costs, are forecast to decrease by 5.2 billion dollars to $343.6 billion in 2020. Interest expenses, livestock/poultry expenses, and oils/fuels costs are all expected to decline, but fertilizer costs and net rent to landlords are both expected to increase. The Economic Research Service says the predicted increase is due to the supplemental and ad hoc disaster assistance for COVID-19 relief.

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Pennsylvania’s Thompson to Succeed Conaway as House Ag Ranking Member

The Hagstrom Report says the full House Republican Conference ratified committee ranking members for the upcoming 117th Congress. Pennsylvania Representative Glenn “G.T.” Thompson is now the ranking member on the House Agriculture Committee. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy says, “Congressman Thompson is ready to lead his colleagues on an issue he knows best. He comes from a family of dairy farmers, and has lived in rural Pennsylvania his whole life, so he understands what needs to get done to take American agriculture to the next level.” Thompson, who replaces the retiring Michael Conaway, says, “The challenges ahead of us are considerable, but we will continue to put farm families first.” The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s Vice President of Government Affairs Ethan Lane issued a statement praising the vote by the Republican Steering Committee. “Cattle producers in Pennsylvania and across the country are well represented by Congressman Thompson,” Lane says. “From his long-standing track record of bipartisan legislative victories to his work mentoring the next generation of agriculture leaders, ‘GT’ does it all.” Lane also says that the Pennsylvania Republican is an “exemplary choice” to guide the committee for years to come, and they are excited to work with him and his team in the next Congress.

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USDA Makes Improvements to Prevented Planting Coverage

The USDA’s Risk Management Agency made improvements to its prevented planting coverage and to the beginning and veteran farmer and ranchers’ program that officially took effect on November 30th for the crop year 2021. These improvements were made to the Common Crop Insurance Policy Basic Provisions. “These improvements are the result of feedback from producer groups and other stakeholders,” says RMA Administrator Martin Barbre. “These changes will improve prevented planting coverage and the beginning and veteran farmer and ranchers’ programs for years to come.” Improvements include expanding the “1 in 4” coverage requirement nationwide, which requires producers to plant, insure, and harvest acreage in at least one of the four most recent crop years. RMA is also making modifications to ensure that producers’ prevented planting payments adequately reflect the crops the producer intended to plant. The improvement to the beginning and veteran farmer and rancher program will allow participants with farming experience to use the Actual Production History of the previous producer, with permission, on newly acquired land. RMA is also authorizing additional flexibilities due to COVID-19 while continuing to support producers. More information is available at farmers.gov/coronavirus.

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.