READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, January 13th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

USDA WASDE Report Sends Grain Markets Higher

The Latest World Agriculture Supply and Demand report sent grain markets higher Tuesday. The Department of Agriculture monthly corn outlook called for lower production, reduced corn used for ethanol, smaller feed and residual use and exports, and decreased ending stocks. Corn production is estimated at 14.1 billion bushels, down 324 million on a lower yield and slight reduction in harvested area. USDA raised the season-average corn price to $4.20 per bushel. Soybean production is estimated at 4.1 billion bushels, down 35 million. Harvested area is estimated at 82.3 million acres, up slightly from the previous report. Yield is estimated at 50.2 bushels per acre, down 0.5 bushels. With higher imports and slightly higher beginning stocks, soybean supplies are down 14 million bushels from last month. The U.S. season-average soybean price for 2020/21 is projected at $11.15 per bushel, up 60 cents as cash prices in Central Illinois reach six-year highs. Meanwhile, the outlook for U.S. wheat this month is for stable supplies, higher domestic use, unchanged exports, and lower ending stocks.

USDA Releases Agriculture Innovation Research Strategy Summary and Dashboard

The Department of Agriculture Tuesday released its U.S. Agriculture Innovation Strategy Directional Vision for Research summary and dashboard. The summary, USDA says, will help to guide future research decisions within the department. The strategy synthesizes the information USDA collected as part of a public announcement earlier this year engaging the public on research priorities under the Agriculture Innovation Agenda. The report summarizes the stakeholder input and defines discovery goals to help inform research to best address the Agriculture Innovation Agenda for the next ten to 30 years. USDA deputy undersecretary Scott Hutchins says the information will “spark imagination to convey the positive role innovation will play to help solve challenges that face our nation.” The Agriculture Innovation Agenda is a Department-wide effort to align USDA’s resources, programs, and research to provide farmers with the tools they need. The next steps include aligning existing USDA research programs against these goals, while linking existing research activities to the objectives to inform the broader innovation community of progress and enlist their engagement.

Growth Energy Supports Senate Letter to President-Elect Biden on Biofuels Priorities

Tuesday, Senator Tammy Duckworth led a coalition of senators in sending a letter to President-elect Joe Biden requesting strong support of farmers and the biofuels industry. The Illinois Democrat and her colleagues called on the Biden Administration to direct the Environmental Protection Agency to reject pending Small Refinery Exemptions by applying the 10th Circuit Court’s decision nationwide. The lawmakers also call for the administration to quickly publish the Renewable Volume Obligations. Growth Energy supports the action, as CEO Emily Skor says, “this letter outlines the actions the Biden Administration needs to take to fulfill its campaign promises to rural America.” The letter comes as Reuters reports the Trump administration is considering last-minute action to approve three small refinery waivers. The approvals would be one of the Trump administration’s final efforts and could be announced yet this week. If granted, the waivers would apply to some exemptions for the 2019 compliance year.

Stabenow Leads Advocates in Urging USDA to Prioritize Protections for Food Workers

Senator Debbie Stabenow, the incoming Senate Agriculture Committee chair, this week urged the Department of Agriculture to implement the bipartisan worker protection provisions in the COVID-19 assistance package. The Michigan Democrat says, “In order to repair our food supply and feed families in need, USDA must prioritize safety in addition to food purchases.” In the recently passed COVID-19 assistance package, Congress provided no less than $1.5 billion to fund food purchases for distribution to those in need, provide worker protection measures, and retooling support for farmers, farmers markets, and food processors. The provision was inspired by Stabenow’s bipartisan Food Supply Protection Act to help protect the food supply after the COVID-19 crisis put an unprecedented strain on farmers, workers and food banks. USDA recently announced funding for food purchases through the Farmers to Families Food Box program, but has yet to commit additional funds to protect workers and ensure the continuity of the food supply chain.

Interior Department Proposal Seeks Greater Broadband Access, Reduced Wildfire Hazards

The Department of Interior this week announced three new actions to aggressively increase broadband internet access in rural communities and reduce wildfire risks. The Bureau of Land Management issued a proposed rule that would make it easier for industry to co-locate infrastructure, manage trees to enhance electric reliability and avoid fire hazards. The proposal also seeks to update the Bureau’s cost recovery fee schedule for right-of-way activities. The proposed regulatory amendments complement ongoing efforts to reduce the vulnerability of public lands to wildfires and make it easier for firefighters to access and contain wildfires. A U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed rule will streamline its regulations for permitting of rights-of-way. And, the National Park Service has amended Telecommunication Sites of Management Policies to allow the Service to accept applications for communications sites from additional applicants. Publication in the Federal Register will open a 60-day comment period for each rule, and the respective notice will include information on how to comment.

Farm Tractor Sales Finish 2020 Higher

Farm tractor and combine sales finish the year with solid growth across the U.S., while sales in most sectors in Canada were also positive. The Association of Equipment Manufacturers reports U.S. total farm tractor sales rose 26.8 percent in December compared to 2019 while U.S. combine sales fell 1.9 percent. U.S. four-wheel-drive units fell slightly in December, down 3.7 percent, with year-to-date sales finishing up 3.7 percent. 100+hp posted healthy growth in December, up 21.8 percent, finishing the year up 3.2 percent. Total yea to date farm tractors out the door are up 17.9 percent in 2020, while combines finished 2020 up 5.5 percent. AEM’s Curt Blades says, “despite uncertainty in the overall economy, the ag equipment market has been pretty strong.” For Canada, total farm tractor sales were up 10.6 percent for 2020, while combine sales fell 30 percent on the month, and 13.9 percent for the year.

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.