READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, April 1st – NO FOOLIN’

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USDA Releases Prospective Planting, Grain Stocks Reports

Producers intend to plant an estimated 91.1 million acres of corn in 2021, up less than one percent from last year, according to the Prospective Plantings report released by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Planted acreage intentions for corn are up or unchanged in 24 of the 48 estimating states. Soybean growers intend to plant 87.6 million acres in 2021, up five percent from last year. If realized, this will be the third-highest planted acreage on record. Compared with last year, planted acreage is expected to be up or unchanged in 23 of the 29 states estimated. NASS also released the quarterly Grain Stocks report. Corn stocks totaled 7.70 billion bushels, down three percent from the same time last year. On-farm corn stocks were down nine percent from a year ago, but off-farm stocks were up five percent. Soybeans stored totaled 1.56 billion bushels, down 31 percent from March 1, 2020. On-farm soybean stocks were down 41 percent from a year ago, while off-farm stocks were down 22 percent.

Growth Energy: To Decarbonize Transportation, America Must Turn to Biofuels 

Following President Joe Biden’s announcement of a nationwide infrastructure package, Growth Energy says the plan overlooks the need to expand low carbon biofuels, like ethanol. The American Jobs Plan seeks to improve highways, bridges, ports, airports and transit systems. The plan also seeks to improve drinking water, the electric grid, and broadband. In total, the plan will invest about $2 trillion this decade. Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor says, “it’s disappointing” the American Jobs Plan doesn’t expand biofuels. Earlier this year, a new report from the Rhodium Group, found that biofuels are an essential element of the path to a net-zero future by 2050. However, the plan does call for $35 billion in research priorities, including offshore wind, biofuels and electric vehicles. And Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says the plan “will help us rebuild our economy and rural communities.” Vilsack adds that the Department of Agriculture is central to President Joe Biden’s strategy to build a strong economy.

Biofuels Coalition Welcomes Amicus Briefs in Supreme Court RFS Case

A coalition of farm and biofuels groups welcome a Supreme Court brief filed by U.S. states supporting the coalition’s arguments in a case regarding small refinery waivers. The Renewable Fuels Association, National Corn Growers Association, National Farmers Union, and American Coalition for Ethanol offered thanks to Iowa, Nebraska, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Oregon, South Dakota, and Virginia for filing the brief. HollyFrontier and other refiners are asking the Supreme Court to overturn the January 2020 appeals court ruling in which the court found EPA exceeded its authority in granting certain small refinery waivers. The brief from the states concludes that “the judgment of the court of appeals should be affirmed.” The coalition says, “As the filings make clear, the exemptions have had a devastating effect on rural economies and on the demand for all types of renewable fuels.” The coalition adds, “we are very grateful that these states and other renewable fuel and agriculture interests have stepped up to endorse the decision as well.”

Lawmakers Introduce ACRE Act

A group of House lawmakers Thursday introduced the Agriculture Civil Rights and Equality Act, or ACRE Act. The legislation would prohibit officials at the Department of Agriculture from discriminating or providing preferential treatment to any person on the basis of race, color, national origin or sex. The prohibitions would apply to USDA hiring, contracting, and programming, including programs administered by states, territories and universities using USDA funds. The bill comes just weeks after President Joe Biden signed a massive, partisan $1.9 trillion spending package into law that includes a $5 billion agriculture debt relief program earmarked exclusively for non-white farmers. Wisconsin Republican, Representative Tom Tiffany, says, “it is fundamentally unfair for the government to treat farmers differently based on immutable characteristics.” Utah Democrat, Representative Burgess Owens, adds, “I’m deeply concerned that Congress feels emboldened to perpetuate a modern-day form of racial segregation rather than provide relief to those who need it most.”

AFBF Opposes Elimination of Stepped-Up Basis and New Capital Gains Taxes at Death

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall says the organization objects to a proposal by several lawmakers to tax unrealized capital gains at death and roll back the stepped-up basis on those capital gains. Duvall says, “Taxing capital gains when a loved one passes away would have a devastating impact on farm and ranch families.” Even more so, Duvall says, if the stepped-up basis tool is taken out of the toolbox. Stepped-up basis encourages families to grow their businesses and pass them on to another generation, and elimination could force those families to sell their farms just to pay the taxes. The value of many farms is tied up in land and equipment. AFBF says cash flow on most farms is much too small to pay large capital gains taxes. Farm Bureau says these taxes would cause further consolidation in agriculture, with small farms more likely to be forced out of business by the tax liability.

PMA, United Fresh, Announce Agreement to Form Combined Trade Group

Leaders of the Produce Marketing Association and United Fresh Produce Association have reached an agreement to create a new global trade association. The agreement will combine the two groups. The two associations will continue to operate as independent organizations through 2021, with the new association to be launched January 1, 2022. A United Fresh spokesperson says, ”This agreement reflects the ongoing commitment of both associations to deliver the highest level of value to members.” Over the past several months, PMA CEO Cathy Burns and United Fresh CEO Tom Stenzel have worked with a group of Board leaders from each association to develop the strategic commitments for the new association. The new association will be led jointly by Burns and Stenzel as Co-CEOs throughout 2022. After that time, Burns will become the sole CEO.  Over the coming months, Burns and Stenzel will work with their staff teams and Board leaders to build out the new organization.

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.