READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, April 6th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

USDA Reopens CFAP2 Enrollment

The Department of Agriculture Monday reopened the signup window for the CFAP 2, the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. CFAP 2 provides financial assistance that gives producers the ability to absorb increased marketing costs associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. The initial CFAP 2 signup ended in December, but USDA has reopened the signup period for CFAP 2 for at least 60 days. Producers have multiple options to apply for CFAP 2, including through an online application portal and working directly with the FSA office at their local USDA Service Center. USDA will also finalize routine decisions and minor formula adjustments on applications and begin processing payments for certain applications filed as part of the CFAP Additional Assistance. Additionally, USDA announced $2 million to establish partnerships with organizations to provide outreach and technical assistance to socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. A USDA spokesperson says, “This funding will support grassroots organizations and public institutions as we support their producers.”

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Consumers Grocery Store Visits Down

A new report from Placer.ai shows consumers are not heading to the grocery store as much in 2021, compared to 2020. Pandemic-driven shopping sprees last year had consumers cleaning grocery store shelves. The analytics firm reports a 28 percent drop in store visits the week of March 8, 2021. One researcher says, “2021 is going to be mired in the unique challenge of trying to make sense of certain sectors in a world where year-over-year data could be heavily misleading.” Visits to leading grocers like Albertsons or Publix during the week of March 8 were down 34.6 percent and 20.3 percent, respectively. Yet, when looking at the same brands compared to the equivalent week in 2019, the picture shifts dramatically, with Albertsons down just 0.3 percent and Publix up 0.8 percent. While COVID’s health effects seem to be dissipating, the economic consequences will last far longer, as researchers say grocery stores still provide a cost-conscious alternative to eating out.

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U.S. Hemp Seed Production Increasing

Hemp cultivated for seed and grain comprised approximately ten percent of 2020 total U.S. acreage, approximately 14,000 acres, according to data provided by Hemp Benchmarks. By comparison, Canadian cultivators grew more than five times that acreage, beyond 75,000 acres, the vast majority of which were exported to the United States. Exports to the U.S. have exceeded $300 million since 2010, and the U.S. is quickly closing the gap as the artificial protectionism provided by prohibition evaporates. Growth in U.S. acreage is being fueled largely by increased consumer demand for plant-based proteins, as well as optimism that hemp legalization will broaden potential markets for grain. Hemp grain production in the United States is most concentrated in three states – Indiana, Montana, and North Dakota. New Frontier Data projects that 2020 retail sales for hemp food products will account for $67.1 million, and grow to $144.1 million by 2025. The fastest-growing product category of hemp seed products is protein powder, which rang up $4.7 million in total sales in 2020.

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USDA Seeks Public Input to Create a New Rural Renewable Energy Pilot Program

The Department of Agriculture seeks public input to help create a new Rural Renewable Energy Pilot Program. USDA is seeking written comments and will host a public listening session on April 22, 2021. USDA’s Justin Maxson says, “we must put rural communities at the heart of climate action and climate-smart solutions, and that begins with getting feedback.” The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 provided $10 million to USDA to develop a pilot program that provides financial assistance to rural communities to further develop renewable energy. The request for information and the stakeholder listening session seek input to help develop options for the Rural Renewable Energy Pilot Program. The new program will aim to support the nation’s critical energy needs, and combat climate change while advancing environmental justice, racial equity, and economic opportunity using distributed energy technologies, innovations, and/or solutions. Written comments are encouraged and must be submitted online by April 29, 2021, via the Federal eRulemaking Portal at regulations.gov.

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Chicken Marketing Summit 2021 Registration Opens

Registration is now open for the 2021 Chicken Marketing Summit. The annual executive conference, hosted by WATT Global Media, is scheduled for July 18-20, 2021, at the Omni Amelia Island Resort in Fernandina Beach, Florida. This year’s Chicken Marketing Summit will focus on what consumers will be looking for from protein suppliers and what strategies will be most effective for chicken marketers going forward. Organizers say the Summit begins with a look at the future of food and a high-level look at the impacts of African Swine Fever and COVID-19 on world supply, demand and trade of meat. The talks progress from there to explore foodservice and retail strategies that succeeded in the pandemic and ones that are poised to soar post-pandemic. The Summit wraps up with discussions on strategies for connecting with consumers and creating effective messaging in the post-pandemic era. The conference includes eight general sessions focusing on the forward-looking theme “Charting post-pandemic success. For more information, visit www.chickenmarketingsummit.com.

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Fuel Prices Stabilize as OPEC Increases May Oil Production

For the third consecutive week, the national average price of gasoline dropped, declining 0.4 cents to $2.86 per gallon, according to GasBuddy. The national average stands 9.9 cents higher than a month ago and nearly 96 cents higher than a year ago. The national average price of diesel fell 0.2 cents in the last week and stands at $3.08 per gallon. GasBuddy’s Patrick De Haan says, “last week was a mixed bag for consumers at the pump as gas prices in half of states rose, while the other half saw declines.” De Haan says gasoline prices may see a second run to reach a national average of $3 per gallon in the months ahead. Data from the Energy Information Administration last week printed a decline in U.S. oil inventories, which now stand about six percent above the average range for this time of year. Meanwhile, U.S. gasoline demand continued to rise for the week ending March 27, as Americans continued to get outside amidst better conditions and fewer travel restrictions.

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.