READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Monday, January 11th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

Biofuels Coalition Rejects EPA Excuses Regarding 2017 Order

A coalition of the nation’s largest biofuels and agricultural trade groups filed a reply supporting its motion in the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. The motion was filed on November 23, 2020, and asks the court to enforce its 2017 decision requiring the Environmental Protection Agency to address its improper waiver of 500 million gallons of biofuel demand in the 2016 renewable volume obligation (RVO). The coalition includes Growth Energy, Renewable Fuels Association, National Biodiesel Board, American Coalition for Ethanol, and many more. “The EPA should not be allowed to hide behind claims that restoring 500 million improperly-waived gallons is an administrative burden that would inconvenience oil industry interests,” the groups said in their motion. “What’s at stake is the proper implementation of the RFS and the rural communities that rely on its success for their livelihood.” The groups point out that they’ve made it clear that the EPA has the ability and the authority to do the right thing and remedy those lost gallons immediately and on a definite schedule. “The EPA’s delay and disregard for the court’s directive for more than three years is inexcusable,” they added.

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Wheat Export Pace Remains Strong

Seven months into the 2020-2021 marketing year, USDA forecasts total wheat exports will reach 26.8 million metric tons which, if realized, would be two percent higher than the previous year. U.S. Wheat Dot Org says that number would also be seven percent higher than the five-year average. As of December 24, U.S wheat commercial sales were nine percent ahead of last year’s pace at 20.6 million metric tons, led by hard red winter wheat, hard red spring wheat, and white wheat (soft and hard). Total hard red winter wheat sales of 7.1 million metric tons are three percent ahead of last year and seven percent above the five-year average. Significantly increased exports to Nigeria and China offset reduced sales to Mexico, typically the largest market for hard red winter wheat. Total hard red spring wheat sales of 5.78 MMT are nine percent ahead of last year and four percent ahead of the five-year average. HRS sales to the Philippines and Japan are up five and six percent, respectively. Total white wheat sales, represented mainly by soft white wheat, are 47 percent ahead of the previous year’s pace at 5.52 MMT and 49 percent of the five-year average.

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Ag Land Sales Prices Surge Higher

Farmers National Company says what started with better-than-expected sales prices at land auctions before last fall’s harvest extended into continued higher prices in October and November. “Farmers National Company had auction sales in several states during this time where land sold near levels last seen in 2012,” says Randy Dickhut, senior vice president of real estate operations. “In specific instances, prices for good quality cropland in the heart of the Midwest are up hundreds to thousands of dollars per acre more than anticipated.” Ag land prices have been fairly stable in recent years despite the up-and-down agricultural economy. The demand for land is the driver of the current land price surge. “Values for good cropland are strong right now, with more farmers stepping up to buy as well as a growing number of individual investors,” Dickhut says. “Buying interest from farmers has increased as they anticipate a better income year in 2020 than once thought.” Demand for all types of land has also seen an increase. As a result of COVID-19, a growing number of individuals have become interested in land as an investment. The overall supply of good cropland for sale is on the low side and is similar to the past few years.

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Preliminary E.U.-MERCOSUR Trade Agreement Not Good News for the U.S.

On June 28, 2019, the European Union because the first major partner to strike a trade deal with the Southern Common Market countries known as MERCOSUR (MEHR-coh-soor). They include Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay. Although the agreement isn’t complete yet, the preliminary analysis by the USDA says U.S. agricultural products that compete with MERCOSUR and E.U. products will be at a significant disadvantage. The agreement eliminates 93 percent of the tariffs on MERCOSUR exports to the EU while offering preferential treatment to the other seven percent. Although a final tariff schedule hasn’t been released, preliminary analysis shows that U.S. agricultural products will be at a significant disadvantage in both markets. U.S. agricultural and related exports to the E.U. averaged 15.4 billion dollars yearly from 2015-2019, and four billion dollars of those exports compete directly with MERCOSUR products, which puts them at particularly high risk. Likewise, preferential status for E.U. products in MERCOSUR will hurt the competitiveness of U.S. products to those South American countries. Ratification of the agreement by the European Union Commission and European Parliament is not a slam dunk given its overwhelming environmental concerns. The E.U. previously rejected the deal last October because of its concerns regarding the Brazilian government’s environmental policies.

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Tyson Adds Alt-Meat Sandwiches to Jimmy Dean Line

Tyson Foods is adding breakfast sandwiches with soy-protein patties to its Jimmy Dean product line. The plant-based sandwiches are the latest offerings from the largest meat company in America and cater to the fast-growing alternative protein segment. They’re also the first alt-meat product under the Jimmy Dean sausage line. The Arkansas-based company says it’s selling an egg and cheese croissant sandwich with a plant-based patty at Sam’s Club locations in the U.S. A frittata sandwich with a soy patty, black beans, brown rice, quinoa (KEEN-wah), and egg whites is coming out this spring. The company’s first run into alternative meats was in 2019 with faux chicken nuggets and their blended meat and pea protein burger that was discontinued. “Plant-based foods are revolutionizing the way people eat, including at breakfast,” says Scott Glenn, Tyson’s senior director of marketing. “Expanding our portfolio to provide people with an alternative was critical.” The new items are coming out in the middle of an increasingly competitive protein market.

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Missouri River Reservoir System Ready for 2021 Runoff

The full flood control capacity of the Missouri River Mainstream Reservoir System is available for the 2021 runoff season. “All 2020 flood water stored in the annual flood control zone has been evacuated as of December 21,” says John Remus, chief of the Army Corps of Engineers’ Missouri River Water Management Division. “The entire flood control capacity of the Mainstem System is available to capture and manage 2021 runoff, reducing flood risk while providing support to the other authorized project purposes.” December 2020 runoff in the Missouri River Basin above Sioux City, Iowa, was 1.2-million-acre feet, 148 percent above average. The 2020 calendar year runoff above Sioux City was 31.1 MAF, 121 percent above average. The average annual runoff is 25.8-million-acre feet. The 2021 calendar year runoff forecast for the upper Missouri Basin above Sioux City is 23.1 MAF, 90 percent of the average runoff. The runoff forecast is based on significantly drier-than-normal soil moisture conditions, low plains snowpack, and below-average mountain snowpack. “Runoff forecasts are developed using the best information as it exists today,” Remus adds. “As mountain snowpack continues to accumulate, our forecasts will be updated to reflect those changes.”

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.