READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, December 24th – Christmas Eve

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Trump May Not Sign the Stimulus Bill

Tuesday night, President Trump asked Congress to make some changes to the newly passed $900 billion stimulus bill passed by Congress on Monday. The Washington Post says he describes it as “a disgrace” and suggested he wouldn’t immediately sign off on it without some changes. In a Twitter video, the president calls on Congress to increase the “ridiculously-low” $600 stimulus checks to $2,000. He also outlines a list of provisions in the overall package that he calls “wasteful spending and much more.” He’s asking Congress to “send me a suitable bill, or else the next administration will have to deliver a COVID relief package, and maybe that administration will be me.” If he doesn’t sign the bill, the government shuts down on December 29, the aid money is frozen, and even the two Senate seats up for grabs in Georgia could be upended. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says that Democrats will move quickly to advance the $2,000 stimulus checks. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer says he supports the idea of larger stimulus checks and blamed Senate Republicans for preventing them from being included in the bill.


Poultry Industry Facing a Tough Year in 2021

Like many sectors of agriculture in 2020, COVID-19 caused a big disruption to the poultry industry. Unfortunately, RaboResearch says the global poultry industry will face even more challenges in 2021, especially in the first half of the year. That’s according to new data in the RaboResearch 2021 Poultry Quarterly. COVID-19 will place continuing pressure on foodservice and trade, and the consequent slow economic growth will lead to more price-driven market conditions. As those market fundamentals appear challenging for 2021, a RaboResearch report says the poultry industry should prepare for a tough year. “Looking forward, we see four main challenges for the global poultry industry,” says Nan-Dirk Mulder, senior animal protein analyst with Rabobank and the lead author of the report. “The challenges include ongoing impacts of COVID-19 on the markets, high and volatile feed prices, China’s African Swine Fever recovery, and the northern hemisphere avian influenza crisis.” Falling demand in China and Vietnam will push traders to find other markets and depress global markets during the first half of 2021. Better control of COVID-19 should lead to a gradual recovery of foodservice markets later next year.


Grassley Wants Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Permanent

December 22 was the third anniversary of President Trump signing the Tax Cuts and Job Act. Senate Finance Committee Chair Chuck Grassley is asking President-elect Joe Biden to commit to making permanent many of those tax provisions that helped create the strongest economy in generations and are helping to rebuild the economy while Americans get back to work after COVID-19. “President-elect Biden ran on rebuilding the nation’s economy that’s been devastated by COVID-19,” he says. “Families, small businesses, and the American economy can’t recover, rehire, or grow to their full potential with higher taxes on the horizon. It’s now Biden’s responsibility to make sure it doesn’t happen on his watch.” Grassley wants to see the lower, more affordable temporary tax rates become permanent in 2021. He says Congress just made permanent several temporary tax policies and provided certainty for businesses to grow and hire. “Many of the temporary provisions expire during the next administration,” Grassley adds. “Higher taxes would only make things worse. U.S. businesses of all sizes, including farms, should know they won’t face a historic tax hike, so they’ll have the certainty they need to rehire and reinvest in their workforce.”


Commodity Classic is Coming Straight to the Farm in March

Like a lot of other agricultural events, the Commodity Classic will be going virtual in 2021. Due to the restrictions brought on by COVID-19, America’s largest farmer-led, farmer-focused agricultural and educational experience will be coming right to farms across the country in a digital format March 2-5, 2021. Commodity Classic organizers say, “While we’re all disappointed that we won’t be together in San Antonio this year, the 2021 Special Edition will continue to provide the education and experiences you’ve come to expect from the Commodity Classic.” Those events include educational sessions, the top thought leaders in agriculture, new technology and innovations, online networking opportunities with fellow farmers, and much more. Interested people can keep up with updates regarding registration, the schedule, speakers, and educational sessions by signing up for email updates at The Commodity Classic, established in 1996, is a joint presentation of the American Soybean Association, the National Corn Growers Association, National Sorghum Growers, and the Association of Equipment Manufacturers. The 2022 edition will move to New Orleans, Louisiana, March 10-12.


IBM to Help USDA Modernize Conservation Program

IBM says it’s one of the five businesses selected by the USDA’s Farm Production and Conservation Mission Area to provide support for USDA’s digital modernization efforts. Four other businesses were also selected to receive large business awards, with the combined worth of those five awards at $620 million paid out for work that’ll be completed over the next five years. More than 30 vendors competed for the five awards. IBM will help work with the Mission Area to help modernize legacy applications that support the conservation programs administered by the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Farm Service Agency. “Technology has incredible potential to transform the way governments serve citizens and accomplish critical missions,” says Jay Bellissimo, General Manager of IBM’s U.S. Public Sector and Federal Market. “Our team is ready to modernize applications to help FPAC deliver modernized systems that assist the conservationists in helping farmers and ranchers reduce soil erosion, enhance water supplies, improve water quality, increase wildlife habitat, and reduce damage caused by natural disasters.” The award is a part of the more than 90-year working history between IBM and USDA. The two have worked on other projects with FPAC, as well as the forest service, the Food Safety and Inspection Service, and the Agricultural Marketing Service.


John Deere, FFA Partner to Build Next Generation of Leadership

For 77 years, John Deere and the National FFA Organization have worked to find the next generation of leaders and strengthen the agriculture industry. 2020 is a year that’s come with many challenges, but John Deere says its commitment to both FFA and agricultural education is stronger than ever. Building on a legacy of support, John Deere says it will donate one million dollars in 2021 to help support the National FFA Organization’s mission to make a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for leadership, personal growth, and career success through agricultural education. “Throughout the years, John Deere has shown their continuing commitment to FFA and our goal of building the next generation of leaders,” says Molly Ball, President of the National FFA Foundation and the chief marketing officer for National FFA. “In today’s climate, every dollar is being stretched. The fact that they find value in our members and our commitment to students and educators speaks volumes.” Aaron Wetzel, John Deere’s Vice President of Production Systems, says, “We believe FFA is as important to the future of agriculture as any cutting-edge machine, technology, or service that we will deliver.”

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.