READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, March 4th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

Ag Bankers Signal Strong Recovery in Farm Finance

Farm income and agricultural credit conditions improved significantly according to agricultural lenders across major portions of the U.S. in the fourth quarter. Despite turbulent conditions related to the ongoing pandemic, prices of several agricultural commodities increased sharply in the final months of the year. Dramatic improvements in crop prices drove the sharpest turnaround in agricultural lending conditions in more than a decade, according to the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank. On average, farm loan repayments increased for the first time since 2013. The rate of loan repayment increased from a year ago in all participating Federal Reserve Districts except Dallas, with the fastest pace of increase reported in the Minneapolis and Chicago Districts. Other financial indicators also shifted quickly in the fourth quarter as borrowers experienced relief from previous years of financial stresses. On average, loan demand contracted at the fastest pace since 2013 and fund availability increased at the fastest pace since 2013, according to agricultural bankers.

Farm Groups Welcome Cattle Market Transparency Act

Farm and livestock groups this week welcomed introduced of the Cattle Market Transparency Act. Senators Deb Fischer, a Nebraska Republican and Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, introduced the legislation. The bill establishes regional mandatory minimum thresholds of negotiated cash and negotiated grid trades to enable price discovery in cattle marketing regions. The legislation would also require USDA to create and maintain a publicly available library of marketing contracts between packers and producers in a manner that ensures confidentiality. Finally, the bill mandates that packers report to USDA the number of cattle scheduled to be delivered for slaughter each day for the next 14 days and require USDA to report this information daily. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, U.S. Cattlemen’s Association and American Farm Bureau all responded favorably to the bill. NCBA welcomed a discussion on market transparency, stating, “We have worked and will continue to work alongside our affiliates, Congress, and USDA toward regionally robust negotiated trade.”

Vilsack: Hungry Americans Need the American Rescue Plan Now

An editorial by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack supports passage of the American Rescue Plan. The legislation, passed by the House and up for consideration in the Senate, is President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion economic relief package to help the nation recover from the coronavirus pandemic. Specifically, Vilsack says the plan is “one of the strongest pieces of legislation in recent memory dedicated to addressing hunger and food insecurity.” Vilsack says hunger has increased throughout the pandemic, with as many as 30 million adults and 14 million children living in a household where they may not always get enough to eat. Further, the pandemic has exacerbated longstanding disparities in food insecurity. The American Rescue Plan provides funding to USDA to expand federal nutrition assistance programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, and a complimentary program that helps mothers and children under five and other emergency benefits to children, seniors, and the disabled.

Senate Ag Plans Climate Hearing

The Senate Agriculture Committee will hold a hearing on Climate Change next week. Committee leadership announced the hearing, titled, Farmers and Foresters: Opportunities to Lead in Tackling Climate Change. The hearing, planned for Thursday, March 11, follows a similar hearing held by the House Agriculture Committee. Last week’s House Agriculture Committee hearing on climate change focused on how farmers and ranchers can help lessen the burden. The hearing included comments from American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall, who pointed out carbon sequestration, achieved through land management, contributes to greenhouse gas removals equivalent to 12 percent of total U.S. emissions. Duval says, “with increased investment in agricultural research, we can develop the new frontier technologies to capture even more carbon in our croplands, our forests and our grasslands.” Addressing climate change is a priority of the Biden administration. The House and Senate Agriculture Committees are expected to discover ways farmers and ranchers can be part of the solution.

NPPC Elects New Officers, Board Members

The National Pork Producers Council Wednesday elected new officers and members to its board of directors at the National Pork Industry Forum. Jen Sorenson was introduced as the 2021-2022 NPPC president. For the past decade, Sorenson has been with Iowa Select Farms, an Iowa farming business that markets more than five million hogs per year.  Sorenson takes over from Howard “AV” Roth, a hog farmer from Wisconsin, who becomes NPPC’s immediate past president and chairman of the council’s trade and nominating committees. Terry Wolters of Minnesota was elevated to president-elect. Scott Hays of Missouri was elected to serve as NPPC vice president, and Rob Brenneman of Iowa and Jeb Stevens of Indiana were elected as new members of the board. Additionally, delegates passed two resolutions, including one supporting CME Group’s Pork Cutout contract, which was introduced in November 2020.  Delegates also passed a resolution to delay an increase to the contribution rate of NPPC’s strategic investment program until July 2022.

Bayer Offering Free XtendiMax Application Training

Bayer Crop Science has free training available to farmers and applicators using the XtendiMax herbicide with VaporGrip Technology and the new XtendFlex soybeans. A company spokesperson says, “we will continue to support our customers to help with proper stewardship so they can achieve great weed control and strong harvests.” Bayer offers a variety of free training options – including live webinars every Wednesday at 9 a.m. Central through the end of March 2021, self-guided online modules, and limited in-person workshops for customers unable to connect online. Bayer will continue offering training up until the application cutoff dates this summer. Applicators can sign up for training at XtendiMax herbicide remains a restricted use pesticide, and all certified applicators must undergo annual training to use the technology. The Bayer-led trainings explain the new label requirements in a clear and easy-to-understand way. Bayer has also updated the webpage, which details the application requirements.

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.