READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, April 7th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

Ag Economy Barometer up 12 Points

The Ag Economy Barometer rose in March to 177, the highest reading for the barometer since the record high reading of 184 in October. Organizers say this month’s 12-point rise in the barometer was attributable almost entirely to ag producers’ more optimistic view of the future. The Index of Future Expectations climbed to 164, 16 points above February’s index. Although the Index of Current Conditions, at 202, changed little from a month earlier when it stood at 200, it did mark a return to the index’s record high, first reached in December. Strong ag commodity prices and improved farm financial conditions continue to support the Ag Economy Barometer readings as heading into planting season. The improvement in future expectations occurred even though producers are becoming increasingly pessimistic that the trade dispute with China will be resolved in a way that’s beneficial to U.S. agriculture. Producers continue to be relatively optimistic about making capital investments and became more optimistic about farmland values.

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USDA Weekly Crop Progress Reports Begin

Planting season is underway as the Department of Agriculture released the first weekly Crop Progress report for 2021 Monday. USDA says planting has begun for barley, corn, cotton, oats, rice, sorghum, spring wheat, and sugarbeets. By this time last year, two percent of the corn crop had been planted, and two percent has been planted so far in 2021. Six percent of the cotton crop is in the ground, one percentage point behind the same time last year. Meanwhile, 14 percent of the sorghum crop is planted, one percentage point behind a year ago. Barley, oats, rice, spring wheat and sugarbeet plantings are similar to 2020 progress. Crop Progress reports are released the first workday of the week during the growing season from April through November. The reports list planting, developmental, and harvesting progress, and overall condition of selected crops in major producing states. Crops featured in the report include corn, soybeans, wheat, rice, sorghum, cotton, oats, barley, peanuts, sugarbeets, and sunflowers.

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Droughts Longer, Rainfall More Erratic in the West

Dry periods between rainstorms have become longer, and annual rainfall has become more erratic across most of the western United States during the past 50 years. A study published by The Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service finds rain has been falling in fewer and sometimes larger storms, with longer dry intervals between. Total yearly rainfall has decreased by an average of four inches over the last half century, while the longest dry period in each year increased from 20 to 32 days across the West. Extreme droughts are also occurring more often in the majority of the West, according to historical weather data, as there has been an increase in the year-to-year variation of both total rainfall amounts and the duration of dry periods. Notable exceptions to these drought patterns were seen in Washington, Oregon and Idaho and the Northern Plains region of Montana, Wyoming, and the most western parts of North and South Dakota.

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Growth Energy Calls on Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb to Veto Anti E15 Bill

Growth Energy Tuesday urged Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb to veto state legislation the biofuels group claims is intended to destroy demand for E15, a fuel blend with 15 percent ethanol. In a letter to Governor Holcomb, Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor states, “SB 303 was designed to stall new competition at the fuel pump and prevent more consumers from saving three to ten cents per gallon on a lower-carbon, higher-octane fuel blend.” According to the letter, SB 303 seeks to limit sales of E15 by mandating warning labels on E15 fuel dispensers that serve “only to confuse consumers and add completely unnecessary redundancy” to already burdensome federal labeling requirements. The fuel already has similar federal label requirements. The bill establishes new maximum vapor pressure limits for gasoline and for ethanol blended fuels in the state. Additionally, fuel dispensers of E15 must have a statement “Attention: E15. Check owner’s manual for compatibility and warranty requirements.”

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Missouri River 2021 Runoff Forecast Below Average

Reservoir inflows in the Missouri River basin above Sioux City, Iowa were well-below average in March, contributing to a below-average forecast for 2021. John Remus, chief of the Missouri River Basin Water Management Division for the Army Corps of Engineers, says, “Due to the lack of plains snowpack in 2021, below-average mountain snowpack, and dry upper basin conditions, we expect upper basin runoff to be below average.” The updated 2021 upper basin runoff forecast is 21.3 million acre-feet, 83 percent of average. The upper basin runoff forecast is based on soil moisture conditions, plains snowpack, mountain snowpack, and long-term precipitation and temperature outlooks. System storage is currently 56.1 million-acre-feet, at the base of the annual flood control zone. The Army Corps of Engineers says the system is positioned to serve all Congressionally authorized purposes during 2021, including flood control, navigation, and water supply. Gavins Point Dam releases were increased near the end of March to begin flow support for Missouri River navigation. 

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World Dairy Expo 2021 To Remain in Madison, Wisconsin

World Dairy Expo will remain in Madison, Wisconsin, in 2021. Event organizers last week announced the 54th edition of the event is scheduled September 28 – October 2, 2021 at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison. The announcement follows contingency planning and consideration of alternative venues. Bill Hageman, WDE Board President, says, “The clarity that Expo’s leaders sought from Dane County officials regarding the path forward for responsibly and safely hosting World Dairy Expo 2021 at the Alliant Energy Center has come to fruition.” Also, Dane County, Wisconsin, Home of World Dairy Expo, offered the event a ten-year contract extension to keep it in Madison. Discussions regarding the contract extension proposed concerning World Dairy Expo’s use of the Alliant Energy Center, a county-owned facility, will take place over the coming months. In a traditional year, World Dairy Expo welcomes upwards of 70,000 attendees and provides anan economic impact of more than $45 million each 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.