READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, December 30th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

Grain Prices Should Improve in 2021

Global grain stocks will likely be about 1.5 percent higher than last year, reversing the downward trend over the prior few years. Despite the rise in global supplies, USDA forecasts higher corn, wheat, and barley prices than in the 2019-2020 marketing year. The average corn price is projected at four dollars a bushel, compared to $3.85 the prior year. The average wheat price is forecast at $4.80 a bushel, up from $4.60 in the previous marketing year. The average barley price is projected to be $4.75 a bushel, up five cents a bushel from last year. Feed, food, and export markets for corn are all promising for 2021. U.S. corn exports were up 49 percent in 2020 to 67.3 million metric tons, a huge boon to marketers and growers. On the corn import side, demand by the top seven importers was up nine percent this year, compared to a decline in 2019. Imports of corn jumped by 71 percent, which the Capital Press article says, “Definitely tells the story.” China also played a big role in wheat markets, with their imports up 48.7 percent. Demand for wheat by the five biggest importers was up five percent this year, compared to a two percent increase in 2019.

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Court Rejects Prop 12 Challenge in California

The North American Meat Institute’s challenge to California’s Prop 12 is unsuccessful once again. The U.S. Court of Appeals in the Ninth Circuit rejected the institute’s challenge to the California 2018 ballot initiative that imposes new standards for animal housing. The court decision confirms an initial judgment in October. California voters approved the Prevention of Cruelty to Farm Animals Act with 63 percent of the vote. The law creates minimum requirements to provide more space for veal calves, breeding pigs, and egg-laying hens. By 2020, the law requires farmers to give hens at least one foot of floor space and says farmers have to eliminate cages by 2022. Farmers must now give veal calves at least 43 square feet, and sows get 24 feet of room. Court challenges by the Meat Institute and other groups have centered around the fact that the law applies to out-of-state producers of meat and eggs who want to sell products in California. Both the federal Department of Justice and 20 states joined the Meat Institute’s challenge, arguing that the law will contribute to higher food prices for consumers.

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New Five-Year Dietary Guidelines Released

The USDA and the Health and Human Service Department released the 2020 edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The Hagstrom Report says the guidelines will be in place for five years. Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue says, “The theme of the guidelines is ‘Make Every Bite Count.’” In a news release, the two agencies say they didn’t deal with the most controversial recommendations from the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, which was a specific limit on alcoholic beverages for men and added sugar intake. The release says, “Steeped in scientific evidence, the key recommendations look similar to those of the past and address two topics that garnered much attention throughout the development of the guidelines – added sugars and alcoholic beverages.” Tom Stenzel, CEO of United Fresh, says, “Today’s reality of facing the COVID-19 pandemic brings greater urgency than ever before. No longer are we just thinking about poor diets leading to long-term chronic disease; now, we see clearly that healthy eating is a critical defense against communicable diseases such as coronavirus.” He says the Dietary Guidelines mostly repeat what we already know about healthy eating.

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Corn Export Inspections Rise While Soybeans and Wheat Drop

Inspections of corn for export improved week-to-week, while soybeans and wheat assessments declined. The USDA says the government inspected 993,710 metric tons of corn for overseas delivery in the week ending on December 24. That’s up from the 770,000 metric tons assessed during the previous week and the 408,947 tons examined during the same week in 2019. Soybean inspections dropped to 1.45 million metric tons compared to 2.81 million tons the prior week. That’s better than the 991,801 tons inspected during the same week in 2019. Wheat inspections for offshore delivery also dropped, falling to 303,809 metric tons compared to more than 392,000 tons the prior week. It’s also below the 312,316 metric tons inspected last year at the same time. Since the start of the marketing year on September 1, the government inspected 13.7 million metric tons of corn for export. That’s well above the 8.05 million tons assessed during the same time in 2019. Soybean inspections since the first of September totaled 36.5 million metric tons, up from the 20.8 million tons examined during the same week last year.

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Cattle Documentary Series Begins in January

A five-part mini-documentary series on raising cattle in America begins on Sunday, January third, and a new episode will debut every Sunday night in January. The series is called “A Rare Breed: Legacies of Excellence,” and it will launch on the Certified Angus Beef Brand Cattlemen Connection YouTube channel. The new segments premiere at 6 p.m. central time on Sunday nights. Interested people can follow along as the short videos introduce registered cattle breeders, commercial cattlemen, and cattle feeders from Oregon to Texas. It’s a chance to glimpse a little of their family life and cattle philosophy, as well as get new ideas for your operations. “As we visit with some good cattlemen and women across the country, we often think ‘I wish everyone could see this or hear that,’” says Miranda Reiman, director of producer communications for the Brand. “We get to know their history, their cattle, and their drive, and we hope others will find them to be as entertaining and inspiring as we did.” To watch the series, people can follow the CAB Cattlemen Connection channels on Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube, or go to www.CABcattle.com. Families from Kansas, Idaho, Texas, Nebraska, and Oregon make up the January lineup.

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Brazil Crop Regions Remaining Dry into Early January

Southern Brazil saw some moisture over the Christmas weekend, but drier weather is returning to the region as 2020 winds down. An Agriculture Dot Com article says the drier-than-normal conditions will stretch into Uruguay and eastern Argentina through January 3. Expected weather concerns will likely continue to put upward pressure on corn and soybean prices. A strong La Nina will remain in place and will continue in the Southern Hemisphere through next summer. During those La Nina events, the Brazilian monsoon season tends to be delayed, which can lead to suboptimal soil moisture for the country’s more important crop-growing regions. The wetter weather appears to be delayed so far. However, the influence of La Nina often decreases during the month of January as smaller-scale atmospheric processes increase their influence over the precipitation patterns in Brazil. That could lead to an increase in moisture heading into the late stages of January.

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.