READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, January 5th

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Dairy Groups Welcome New Dietary Guidelines, Outline Needed Improvements

Newly released federal dietary guidelines will benefit dairy, even as work remains to be done, according to the National Milk Producers Federation. Miquela Hanselman, NMPF’s regulatory affairs manager, says, “Dairy is in a good place.” The latest update to the dietary guidelines includes a recommendation of three dairy servings in the Healthy U.S. Eating pattern, in keeping with past guidelines. The guidelines also recognize that Americans aren’t consuming enough dairy to meet their nutritional needs. The guidelines also recommend milk, yogurt, and cheese in the first-ever healthy eating patterns geared toward infants and toddlers ages birth to 24 months. Meanwhile, Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative, one of the largest dairy co-ops in the country, urged Congress to help broaden the milk options children have in school. Cooperative President Brody Stapel states, “the agencies and scientific review committee missed an opportunity to address and include the newer, available science on the nutritional benefits from fuller-fat dairy and a wider array of products.”

USDA Extends Crop Insurance Flexibilities Amid Continuing Pandemic

USDA’s Risk Management Agency is extending crop insurance flexibilities for producers amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, relief provided for electronic notifications and signatures is extended through July 15, 2021. Organic certification, replant self-certification and assignment of indemnity are extended through June 30, 2021. RMA is also allowing Approved Insurance Providers further flexibilities for production reporting, submitting written agreement requests and obtaining producer signatures for written agreement offers. Producer signatures for written agreement offers, issued by RMA on or before June 30, with an expiration date on or before July 30, 2021, will allow producer signatures to be accepted after the expiration date with proper self-certification or documentation. However, all documentation and signatures for these offers must be completed no later than August 2, 2021. Insurance providers also have 30 business days to submit written agreement requests and applicable documentation for requests with submission deadlines before July 1, 2021. Similar flexibilities were announced in March of 2020, to help producers meet deadlines during the COVID-19 pandemic.

TFI and Biostimulant Coalition Unite

The Fertilizer Institute Monday announced that it and the Biostimulant Coalition have reached a formal agreement to form a Biostimulant Council. The two organizations will work together to advance policy and regulatory frameworks that increase biostimulant market access and encourage research and innovation through the council. The Biostimulant Coalition is a non-profit group working to proactively address regulatory and legislative issues involving biological or naturally-derived additives. The group was formed in 2011. Biostimulant Coalition Executive Director David Beaudreau, Jr says, “The partnership with TFI will provide the Biostimulant Coalition with all the tools we need to continue serving the membership we have.” TFI President and CEO Corey Rosenbusch stated the organization will work to “ensure the industry has a workable biostimulant definition,” among other goals. Rosenbusch says the number one issue facing the biostimulant industry is the lack of a regulatory approval process that allows biostimulants to be marketed to or utilized by farmers.

AgFunder: 2020 Investors Sought Ecommerce, Tech

The COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 caused many challenges for the food supply chain, but also many opportunities. AgFunder, a venture capital firm investing in agriculture, analyzed the 2020 startup and tech funding trends. Last year, COVID-19 increased the online grocery category as consumers were forced in many cases to turn to online shopping to fulfill their everyday grocery needs. Two of the year’s largest deals went to an eGrocer: China’s Missfresh, which banked $495 million in July from investors, followed by a $306 million injection from Chinese state-linked funds. Other big eGrocery funding deals include Instacart, BigBasket in India, and other online grocery startups. Likewise, online meal delivery apps also attracted major funding during the year. U.S.-based DoorDash raised $400 million during the first half of 2020, before going public in a blockbuster $71 billion IPO. Another effect of the pandemic and lockdowns is an increased interest in technologies that takes human out of the process, whether it be farming, manufacturing, or logistics.

University of Missouri Announces Center for Regenerative Agriculture

The University of Missouri College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources plans to dive deeper into regenerative agriculture. CAFNR (calf-ner), as it’s known, announced the formation of the new Center for Regenerative Agriculture Monday. While there is no single definition for regenerative agriculture, some key elements of the practice include increasing soil health and biodiversity, conservation practices, and contributing to overall sustainability and profitability. An initial startup grant to help the center get established and help hire a program manager comes from the Missouri Department of Conservation. Complimentary funding on cover crops and soil health that supports work related to the center comes from USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, the Walton Family Foundation, and the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research. Rob Myers, an adjunct associate professor in the Division of Plant Sciences, will serve as the center’s faculty director. Myers is a former National Program Leader for Sustainable Agriculture with the Department of Agriculture.

Sorghum Checkoff Names Norma Ritz Johnson as Executive Director

The United Sorghum Checkoff Program Monday announced Norma Ritz Johnson as the organization’s third executive director. Johnson most recently served as Executive Vice President for the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce, where she led initiatives and staff communications with an emphasis on transportation, agriculture and health care. As a leader, her teams implemented programs that were awarded the national Chamber of the Year twice in the last 11 years.  Sorghum Checkoff CEO Tim Lust says Johnson “brings strong organizational management with a background in agriculture and sorghum.” She also served as Communications Director for National Sorghum Producers in the early 2000s. Johnson says, “I’m eager to roll my sleeves up and get to work helping to bring value to the organization and sorghum producers.” Johnson replaces Florentino Lopez, who has served as the organization’s executive director since 2011. Lopez will continue to serve the sorghum industry in a new capacity consulting on international market development.

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.