READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, February 12th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

Ag Credit Survey: Farm Economy Rebounds Sharply

The agriculture economy rebounded in the fourth quarter of 2020, according to the latest Ag Credit Survey from the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank. The average price of grains increased more than 20 percent from the previous quarter and reached six-year highs in December. Livestock prices, while still less than a year ago, also improved from lows reached earlier in the year. Government payments provided broad support through the year, and, together with recent price increases, the near-term outlook for the farm sector improved dramatically. The survey represents conditions in the Federal Reserve’s Tenth District, including Colorado, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Wyoming. A majority of bankers in the District indicated that farm income was higher than a year ago for the first time in eight years, boosting liquidity and loan repayment capacity and providing renewed support for farm real estate. Overall, agricultural conditions in the first quarter of 2021 in the Kansas City Fed region were poised to remain strong for the first time since 2013.

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AFBF Provides Analysis on First Year of Phase One Agreement

Another analysis of the Phase One Agreement shows China is behind on its commitments to U.S. agriculture. A Market Intel analysis by the American Farm Bureau Federation finds total exports of agricultural products covered under the agreement reached approximately $27.2 billion in 2020, an increase of $6.5 billion over 2017 levels. However, the export target of $33.4 billion was missed by over $6 billion. Despite missing the target for the 60 percent increase over 2017 levels, some specific products had banner years, including pork, poultry, beef, corn and soybeans. Farm Bureau economists say the missed target in 2020 also has implications for 2021, given that the Phase One Agreement is a two-year commitment. With 2020 exports of $27.2 billion to reach the two-year, $73 billion commitment, U.S. agricultural exports to China in 2021 will need to reach about $45.8 billion. This would be equivalent to a nearly 69 percent increase in exports over 2020 levels and a 120 percent increase over 2017.

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Governor’s Biofuels Coalition Asks President Biden to Support Biofuels Sector

The Governors’ Biofuels Coalition is calling on President Joe Biden to ensure the future of the biofuels sector.  The coalition includes governors from 22 states throughout the U.S., including Minnesota Governor Tim Walz, who led this week’s action in a letter to President Biden. Walz states, “the once flourishing industry is now in jeopardy, threatened by trade wars, a litigious petroleum industry, and shrinking demand caused by the pandemic.” The letter noted that technological advances will significantly benefit the nation overall, but could have a devastating impact on the ethanol industry. The governor proposed two administrative actions to ease that transition, including an executive order banning the use of aromatics in gasoline, and adopting new Renewable Fuel Standard regulations. The letter says banning aromatics use would allow for the substitution of cleaner octane additives for aromatics, expanding the market for ethanol. Regarding the RFS, Walz cautioned that its regulations, particularly the waiver provision, have been manipulated and distorted “to keep the RFS from meeting its full potential.”

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RFA Releases 2020 Reports on Ethanol, Distillers Grains Exports

The Renewable Fuels Association this week released two reports summarizing 2020 U.S. ethanol and distillers grains export and import data. The reports show exports continue to be a major demand driver, as they approached $5 billion in 2020. The export/import trade summary provides data on U.S. ethanol exports, highlighting the fact that more than 1.3 billion gallons, ten percent of the ethanol produced in the U.S., were exported in 2020. While this is nine percent lower than 2019, it remains the fourth largest export volume in history. This ethanol, valued at $2.3 billion, was shipped to 90 countries on six continents. Canada was the top export destination, taking in nearly a quarter of U.S. ethanol exports, followed by Brazil and India. The second report covers U.S. exports of distillers grains, which totaled 10.9 million metric tons in 2020, a slight improvement on 2019 and the seventh straight year exceeding ten million metric tons. U.S. distillers grains exports had an aggregate value of $2.33 billion in 2020, the fifth-highest on record.

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AEM Releases January Sales Report

Farm tractor and combine unit sales start the year continuing growth in both the U.S. and Canada, according to the latest data from the Association of Equipment Manufacturers. AEM reports U.S. total farm tractor sales rose 24.7 percent in January compared to 2020, while U.S. combine sales grew a significant 76.8 percent. U.S. unit sales grew across all segments, with the biggest gains continuing in the small sub-40 horsepower segment, gaining 32.9 percent. Sales of 100-plus horsepower tractors were up 1.2 percent in January. For Canada, January monthly tractor sales also grew across all segments, with four-wheel-drive units leading the way for the second month in a row, up 118.2 percent. Total farm tractor sales up, as a result, 39 percent for January 2021 while combines delivered 52.2 percent more units. AEM’s Curt Blades commented, “While smaller units continue to lead the way, improved commodity prices and market conditions are leading to further gains in harvesters and bigger row crop units.”

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COVID-19 Found in a Cougar at a Wild Animal Exhibitor in Texas

The Department of Agriculture this week confirmed COVID-19 in a cougar at a wild animal exhibit in Texas. A tiger from the same facility was also confirmed positive for COVID-19. USDA says samples from several animals at the facility were taken after showing clinical signs, including coughing and wheezing. The animals are expected to fully recover. USDA suspects that the large cats acquired the infection from a person working as a team member or volunteer who was positive for COVID-19. Infections have been reported in a small number of animals worldwide, mostly in animals that had close contact with a person with COVID-19. USDA states, “We are still learning about SARS-CoV-2 in animals, but there is currently no evidence that animals play a significant role in spreading the virus to people.” However, it is important for people with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 to avoid contact with pets and other animals to protect them from possible infection.

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.