READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Monday, April 12th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

February Red Meat Exports Trail 2020; Outlook Still Strong in 2021

U.S. beef and pork exports in February remained behind the rapid pace set in early 2020. However, USDA data compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation shows exports were consistent with USMEF’s February projections. The federation still expects 2021 beef exports to increase substantially year-over-year, while pork exports are projected should narrowly surpass the 2020 record. Beef exports totaled 103,493 metric tons in February, down eight percent from a year ago and valued at $669.5 million. Through February, beef exports trailed last year’s pace by five percent at 208,540 metric tons. Beef exports to South Korea are off to a strong start in 2021, and demand for U.S. beef continues to grow in China. February pork exports were down 12 percent compared to last year at 239,240 metric tons, valued at $629.4 million. Through February, pork exports were 11 percent lower than last year’s pace. Pork exports set new records in the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Costa Rica. February exports of U.S. lamb, helped by larger variety meat shipments to Mexico, Canada, and Hong Kong, increased 142 percent from last year to 1,152 metric tons, with the value up 19 percent to $1.6 million.

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International Trade Commission Hears Testimony on Cucumbers, Squash

The U.S. International Trade Commission hosted an all-day virtual hearing last week on its investigation into unfair trade practices by foreign exporters on cucumber and squash imports. The Packer Dot Com says the ITC expects to send the results of its investigation to the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office no later than December 7 of this year. Florida Ag Commissioner Nikki Fried (Freed) testified at the hearing and talked about the injury to Florida’s $90.9 million cucumber and $35.4 million squash industries caused by imports. Since 2015, Fried says a surge in imports of fresh and chilled cucumbers and squash, predominantly from Mexico, has caused an estimated loss of 2,721 jobs, lost cash receipts worth $944 million, and $1.85 billion in a negative impact on Florida’s domestic produce growers. “I hope that you will employ all the tools at your disposal to provide equity and fairness for American farmers,” Fried says. Lace Jungmeier, President of the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas, says labor shortages, rather than damage from imports, are what’s hurting U.S. growers. He also says Mexico isn’t to blame because of severe weather that’s caused damage to Florida producers.

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Biden Budget Proposals Invest Money in Rural Communities

The Biden Administration submitted the president’s budget priorities for discretionary spending during the fiscal year 2022. The funding request advances key USDA priorities like economic development and growth in rural America, supporting American agriculture, aiding in the approach to mitigating climate change, and supporting a strong safety net to address hunger and food insecurity. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says, “The President’s budget provides the resources to build back better, stronger, and more resilient and equitably than ever before.” The president’s discretionary request provides an increase of $65 million over the 2021 enacted level for the Rural e-Connectivity Program “Reconnect,” which provides grants and loans to deploy broadband in underserved areas. Biden’s request also provides $4 billion above the 2021 enacted level for USDA’s research, education, and outreach programs. The request also asks for almost $1.7 billion for high-priority hazardous fuels and forest resilience projects to combat the growing threat of wildfires. The 2022 discretionary request also provides $6.7 billion for critical nutrition programs like the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, And Children, or WIC (wick).

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April WASDE Shows Lower Corn and Higher Wheat Ending Stocks

The April World Ag Supply and Demand Estimate report from USDA calls for lower corn and higher wheat stocks in the U.S. at the end of the marketing year. The outlook for wheat calls for lower supplies, reduced domestic use, unchanged exports, and higher ending stocks. Wheat supplies are lowered to 110 million bushels because of lower-than-expected imports, while feed and residual use were lowered by 25 million bushels. Projected ending stocks were raised to 852 million bushels but are still 17 percent lower than last year. The season-average farm price is unchanged at $5 per bushel. The corn outlook calls for greater feed and residual use, increased corn use for ethanol, larger exports, and lower ending stocks. Exports increased by 75 million bushels, based on the March export inspection data that hit the highest total set since November of 1989. The season-average farm price is unchanged at $4.30 a bushel. Supply and use changes for soybeans include higher exports, lower crush, residual use, and seed use. Soybean ending stocks are predicted to be 120 million bushels, unchanged from the previous forecast. The season-average soybean price is up 10 cents to $11.25 per bushel.

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Export Sales of Wheat, Soybeans Hit Marketing-Year Low Points

The USDA says export sales of soybeans and wheat dropped to marketing-year lows in the seven days ending on April 1, while corn sales were down slightly during the same period. Soybean sales to overseas buyers in the 2020-2021 marketing year that ends on August 31 registered a net loss of 92,500 metric tons after a large cancellation occurred. Egypt was the biggest buyer at 66,200 metric tons, while Japan took in just shy of 41,000. China canceled shipments totaling more than 216,000 metric tons, resulting in a net loss for the week. Soybean sales for delivery in the next marketing year that starts on September 1 totaled 338,600 tons as China bought 264,000 tons from U.S. inventories. Wheat sales finished the week at 82,000 metric tons, also the lowest point of the marketing year. That’s 67 percent lower than the previous week and down 75 percent from the four-week average. Corn sales last week hit 757,000 metric tons, a five percent drop from the previous week and 54 percent lower than the prior four-week average. Japan was the top corn buyer by bringing in 285,300 metric tons.

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Consumers Feel Agriculture Can Positively Impact Climate Change

American consumers feel agriculture can be part of the solution to climate change rather than the problem. A new Cargill Feed4Thought Survey says those who indicated climate change is important to them also rate livestock and agriculture lowest in negative impact compared to the other industries regarded as significant contributors. Over one-third of the respondents expressed confidence in the industry’s ability to limit its contributions to climate change. “Farmers are critical to feeding the world sustainably and responsibly,” says Ruth Kimmelshue, chief of Cargill’s animal nutrition and health business. “With a growing population and rising consumer interest in climate change, they are also part of the solution to address some of the toughest environmental challenges.” Survey responses came from consumers in the U.S., France, South Korea, and Brazil. Participants say transportation and deforestation were ranked as the greatest contributors to climate change. Fifty-nine percent of respondents say that federal and national governments bear the highest responsibility for addressing climate change. Fifty-seven percent said companies involved in beef production, and 50 percent say cattle farmers are responsible for reducing the impact of livestock. “Sustainability in our food systems starts with the dedication of farmers,” Cargill says in a news release.

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.