READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tue Dec 8th

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Ag Banks Trim Farm Lending

Farm loans outstanding at commercial banks declined in the third quarter and non-performing loans edged slightly higher. The Kansas City Federal Reserve says reduced lending at agricultural banks contributed most significantly to the further decline in outstanding loan balances. Alongside lower farm debt levels, delinquency rates on agricultural loans continued to trend higher at a gradual pace. Most of the recent decrease was driven by non-real estate loans, which were nearly five percent less than the previous year, the largest drop in more than 15 years. Farmland loans also decreased for the second consecutive quarter and at a faster pace than the previous quarter. The combined pullback in both loan types led to the largest decline in overall farm debt in any quarter since the late 1980s. Although the overall rate of non-performing farm loans increased, loan quality remained higher at agricultural banks. Difficulties related to the COVID-19 pandemic continued to weigh on farm lending and loan performance, but government programs also may have offset some borrowing needs and supported financial conditions for farmers.

E15 Poised to Fast-Track Climate Progress   

Growth Energy Monday released a new report examining the potential climate benefits of a nationwide transition from the standard ten-percent ethanol blended fuel to a 15-percent ethanol blend. The report was authored by Air Improvement Resource, Inc., a leading research firm in the area of mobile source emissions modeling and technology, at the request of Growth Energy. Based on the analysis, Growth Energy estimates that if the United States transitioned from E10 to E15 in the nation for 2001 and later model year vehicles, GHG emissions would decline 17.62 million tons per year, which is the equivalent of removing approximately 3.85 million vehicles from the road. Marketed to consumers as Unleaded 88, E15 is approved by the EPA for all light-duty vehicles model year 2001 and later, which is 95 percent of the vehicle fleet on the road today. Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor says, “the evidence is clear that higher biofuel blends will play a vital role in America’s clean energy future.”

NMPF Urges USDA to Extend DMC Signup Deadline

The National Milk Producers Federation urges the Department of Agriculture to extend signup for the 2021 Dairy Margin Coverage to January 30, 2021. The extension, NMPF says, allows dairy farmers to make better-informed choices while giving both milk producers and USDA staff strained by coronavirus-related challenges additional time to communicate. The current signup deadline of this Friday, December 11, remains in place while USDA considers the request. NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern says extending the DMC deadline to the end of next month “will allow farmers to better focus on the turbulent marketing environment we now expect to see in 2021, once we are through the upcoming holiday season.” DMC, the main federal risk-protection tool for dairy farmers, is projected to support producers enrolled at the maximum $9.50 per hundredweight coverage level through at least the first half of 2021, as volatile market conditions are expected to persist well into next year.

AFBF Stands-Up for Farmers in Predatory Shakedown

The American Farm Bureau Federation is standing-up for hundreds of dairy farmers being targeted by predatory lawyers representing the estate of Dean Foods. The organization says Dean Foods, currently undergoing bankruptcy proceedings, has sent letters to nearly 500 dairy farmers who once sold milk to Dean Foods threatening legal action unless they refund money earned before the bankruptcy filing. American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall says, “Shame on these predatory lawyers for bullying dairy farmers at a time when many are struggling to keep their farms running.” AFBF sent a letter to the law firm managing the Dean Foods estate calling for an immediate reversal of their so-called “predatory shakedown” and threatening potential legal action if the firm fails to withdraw the letters sent to farmers. In the letter, AFBF says the letters sent to farmers “are deceptive and constitute an abuse of process that attempts to extract funds that Dean Foods is not entitled to under the threat of a lawsuit.”

RJ Karney Named head of NASDA Public Policy

The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture recently announced RJ Karney as its Senior Director of Public Policy. Karney comes from the American Farm Bureau Federation, most recently serving as a Congressional Relations Director. Karney will serve as the strategic leader of NASDA’s public policy team during what the organization calls a period of significant growth and change for NASDA, the U.S. government, and American agriculture. NASDA CEO Dr. Barb Glenn says, “RJ’s highly reputable talent and experience in government relations will bring needed leadership to NASDA as we tackle our new strategic plan.” Karney says, “NASDA will be at the table for farmers and ranchers as we create relationships with a new Administration and new Congress.” Karney holds a Master of Public Policy from George Mason University and a bachelor’s degree in history from the Catholic University of America. NASDA is a nonpartisan, nonprofit association representing the elected and appointed commissioners, secretaries, and directors of the departments of agriculture in all fifty states and four U.S. territories.

Missouri Farm Bureau Elects Youngest State Farm Bureau President

Missouri Farm Bureau Federation members elected Garrett Hawkins as its next President, taking the reins from long-time outgoing president Blake Hurst. As noted by Agri-Pulse, Hawkins becomes the youngest state farm bureau president at 40. Over the weekend, the organization elected Hawkins over Vice President Todd Hays and USDA Farm Service Agency Administrator Richard Fordyce. Hawkins has deep roots within Missouri Farm Bureau. He served as a Youth Ambassador and was active in Collegiate Farm Bureau at Missouri State University. He also served as a summer legislative intern for the organization before leading its national lobbying efforts and policy development process for nearly 15 years as the director of national legislative programs. From 2017 to 2019, Hawkins served as deputy director of the Missouri Department of Agriculture. Hawkins says, “Our family made this decision together and we intend to serve together, adding, “We believe strongly in the grassroots mission of this organization and look forward to serving its members over the next two years.”

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.