READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, April 14th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

Ag Coalition Calls Infrastructure Proposal a Good Start

The Rebuild Rural Coalition calls President Joe Biden’s Infrastructure plan a good starting point for discussions with Congress. The group of more than 260 organizations representing rural communities and agriculture says in a statement, “We strongly encourage a bipartisan approach that considers the unique needs of rural infrastructure – and sets aside specific funding for rural communities.” In a January letter, the coalition outlined the needs of rural America, while highlighting U.S. agriculture’s ability to produce and efficiently transport products across the globe, adding, “Our deteriorating infrastructure threatens that leadership position.” Beyond transportation, the coalition says other needs of rural America include locks and dams, railroads, electrical and water systems, agriculture research, broadband and healthcare and housing. The coalition says, “We hope Congress will work together to find bipartisan solutions that benefit all of America, including our rural communities.” The coalition is comprised of national agriculture and rural business groups and state Farm Bureau’s, commodity organizations, among others.

Growth Energy, RFA, and NCGA Defend Year-Round E15 in Court

Corn and biofuels groups made their arguments Tuesday in a court case for year-round E15. Growth Energy, the Renewable Fuels Association and the National Corn Growers gave oral arguments in American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers vs. EPA to the D.C. Circuit Court. Oil refiners are challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2019 rulemaking that paved the way for the year-round sale of E15. In a joint statement, Growth Energy, RFA, and NCGA said, “Oil refiners are simply trying to reclaim more market share by blocking American drivers from year-round access” to E15. In June 2019, EPA issued its final rule extending the Reid Vapor Pressure volatility waiver to E15, and found that E15 is substantially similar to E10 certification fuel, allowing its introduction into commerce by fuel manufacturers without the need for a separate E15 waiver. The action allowed for the sale of E15 fuels year-round. Oil refiners are now challenging the rulemaking in an attempt to “undermine the expansion of biofuels in our nation’s fuel supply.”

Fertilizer Costs Shape Crop Production Expenses

The Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service reports production costs for corn and other major commodities are shaped by fertilizer cost. From 2010 to 2019, fertilizer was a major expense in U.S. corn production, accounting for 33 to 44 percent of operating costs-a category that includes other variable expenses like seed, chemicals, fuel, and repairs. Fertilizer also comprised 16 to 24 percent of the average corn producer’s total costs, which include overhead charges like land costs, machinery depreciation and farm taxes. Most U.S. corn acres are planted in April and May, and growers often purchase their inputs months in advance. Prices for fertilizer have risen since August 2020, with an even more pronounced surge starting in January 2021. USDA says farmers who made fertilizer purchases for the 2021 corn crop before this uptick may incur similar fertilizer costs to the 2019 and 2020 crops, while those who have waited may pay significantly higher costs.

March Farm Tractor Sales Show Broad Growth, Close Positive First Quarter

U.S. farm tractor unit sales extended their growth streak to eleven straight months. Canada also extended its own streak with a strong month of March, according to the latest data from the Association of Equipment Manufacturers. U.S. total farm tractor sales rose 84.1 percent in March compared to 2020. Meanwhile, U.S. combine sales grew 6.7 percent. For Canada, March monthly tractor and combine sales were positive across all segments. Total farm tractor sales were up 84.3 percent for March 2021. Combine sales in Canada were reported flat at 95 units sold. Curt Blades AEM, Senior Vice President of Ag Services, says, “It’s not just the length of time of this growth streak, but the size of growth that makes me feel optimistic this will continue past the 12-month mark.” A recent survey by AEM found increased customer demand has manufacturers optimistic sales will increase or remain stable, despite COVID-19 and workforce challenges in 2021.

Farmers National Company Reports Booming Land Sales

The dollar volume of land sales listed and sold by Farmers National Company during the first six months of its fiscal year ending March 31 was up 56 percent over the same period last year. Farmers National Company reports sales are up 67 percent over the average of the past three years. Total acres sold to date are up 59 percent compared to last year and 26 percent over two years ago. The number of sales transactions handled saw an increase of ten percent over last year. The increase in land sales activity at Farmers National Company contrasts with what has generally been described as a slower land market that has had a steady to somewhat less amount of land for sale in most areas. While the number of auctions held by Farmers National Company during the past six months was only down two from last year, the number of private treaty land sales was up 48 percent.

FCC Looks to Consumers to Find Broadband Gaps

The Federal Communications Commission wants consumers to test broadband speeds to help find broadband gaps. As part of the Commission’s Broadband Data Collection effort, the FCC is encouraging the public to download the FCC’s Speed Test app, which is currently used to collect speed test data as part of the FCC’s Measuring Broadband America program. The app provides a way for consumers to test the performance of their mobile and in-home broadband networks. In addition to showing network performance test results to the user, the app provides the test results to the FCC while protecting the privacy and confidentiality of program volunteers. The network coverage and performance information gathered from the Speed Test data will help inform the FCC’s efforts to collect more accurate and granular broadband deployment data. More information about the app is available on the FCC website. The FCC Speed Test App is available in the Google Play Store for Android devices, and in the Apple App Store for iOS devices. 

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.