READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, May 12th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

12 States Launch Farm Stress Resource Center

Midwestern farmers, ranchers, and agricultural workers have direct access to a new tool to help them manage stress, anxiety, depression, or substance issues. A new website, www.FarmStress.org, is designed to help provide the agricultural community with resources and support provided through the North Central Farm and Ranch Assistance Center. “May is Mental Health Awareness Month, so it’s an opportune time to unveil this website that will serve as a clearinghouse for stress and mental health resources for anyone experiencing stress related to the many challenges of farming,” says Josie Rudolphi (Roo-DOLL-fee) of the University of Illinois. The North Central Farm and Ranch Assistance Center is a 12-state collaborative based at the University of Illinois and works to expand access to and knowledge of mental health resources. The website shares available resources and research in a convenient, easy to access location. It also has resources by state and topic, including crisis numbers, telephone hotlines, and training resources. Rudolphi wants to encourage people in the agricultural community to bookmark the site for future reference on the many challenges that they, their families, employees, and clients face in agriculture.

**********************************************************************************************  

Agriculture Linked to U.S. Air Pollution Deaths

Air pollution is the largest environmental mortality risk in the U.S. The National Academy of Sciences says air pollution is responsible for 100,000 premature deaths every year, and one-fifth of those deaths are linked to agriculture. Scientists from five universities noted in the study that air quality is largely ignored in discussions on the health and environmental impacts of food. “Agricultural production in the U.S. results in 17,900 annual air quality-related deaths, 15,900 of which are from food production,” the researchers say. “Of those, 80 percent are attributable to animal-based foods, both directly from animal production and indirectly from growing animal feed.” The study authors also say that dietary shifts toward more plant-based foods that maintain protein content and other nutritional needs could reduce agricultural air quality-related mortality by 68 percent to 83 percent. Agriculture groups like the National Pork Producers Council and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association told the Washington Post that they consider the report’s data and methodology flawed.

**********************************************************************************************  

Growth Energy on the Colonial Pipeline Incident

Growth Energy sent a letter to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan and Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm on the cyberattack against the Colonial Pipeline. The letter calls for the officials to immediately reduce restrictions on higher ethanol-blended fuels as relief for resulting supply disruptions and rising gas prices. “E15 is now sold at nearly 2,400 locations across the country, including several hundred locations in the Southeast, where the impact of the Colonial is most felt,” says Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor. “By immediately removing remaining regulatory hurdles and providing greater access to E15, you can help keep fuel prices in check for American consumers and ease concerns about the fuel supply.” The organization asked the officials to make E15 broadly available at all fuel terminals in areas impacted by related fuel shortages. They also want the EPA to finalize the proposed rule that would broaden the availability of existing infrastructure for use with E15 and related labeling concerns. “We also urge you to remove unnecessary misfuelling requirements, including the restrictions on the use of E15 in shared fueling hoses with 10 percent blended fuel and related fuel sampling requirements,” Skor adds. “Finally, we strongly encourage the government to strengthen its use of higher ethanol blends such as E85 in its current flex-fuel fleet.”

**********************************************************************************************

ADM Building First Soy Processing Plant in North Dakota

ADM says it will build the first-ever dedicated soybean crushing plant and refinery in North Dakota. The goal of the new facility is to meet the fast-growing demand from food, feed, industrial, and biofuel customers, including renewable diesel producers. It will be in Spiritwood, North Dakota, with the approximately $350 million crush and refining complex to feature state-of-the-art automation technology and have the capacity to process 150,000 bushels of soybeans a day. The company is putting the facility in the middle of a major soybean-producing area, which means ADM’s logistics network will enable the facility to access both domestic and global markets for soybean oil. The new plant will be completed before the 2023 harvest. “This project allows us to partner with North Dakota farmers to further advance the role of ag in addressing climate change through the production of low carbon feedstocks for products like renewable diesel,” says Greg Morris, ADM’s President of Ag Services and Oilseeds Business. North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum says, “This plant is a gamechanger for North Dakota farmers, adding value and expanding the market for this important crop closer to home while also supporting the production of products like renewable green diesel right here in the state.”

**********************************************************************************************  

Drought Emergency Declared in 41 California Counties

California Governor Gavin Newsom issued an expanded “drought emergency proclamation” for 41 of the state’s 58 counties. Reuters says he cited above-average temperatures and dry conditions in April and May. Newsom directed the state water board to consider modifying the requirements for reservoir releases and other conservation measures. In addition, the declaration gives California officials flexibility in regulatory requirements to mitigate drought impacts, which Newsom attributed in part to climate change. “We’re working with local officials and other partners to protect public health and safety and the environment and call on all residents to help meet the challenge by stepping up efforts to save water,” Newsom says. The move was criticized by a wildlife protection group called Save California Salmon, which accuses Newsom of favoring big agricultural interests. A statement from the groups says, “California’s antiquated water rights system leaves cities and the environment high and dry while almonds get clean water. Poor water management during the last drought led to 90 percent of salmon dying, and toxic algae bloom in cities’ water supplies.”

***********************************************************************************************

Global Pork Production Slowed by Herd Health and Supply Issues

Rabobank says hog prices are sharply higher in many markets worldwide as processors are scrambling to find adequate supplies. Higher disease losses in key growing regions, along with the lagging impact of industry liquidation brought on by COVID-19, have limited available hog supplies. “African Swine Fever has proven harder to manage than initially expected in some regions, slowing herd rebuilding efforts in Asia and shifting trade expectations for the rest of the world,” says Christine McCracken, Senior Analyst for Animal Protein at Rabobank. Higher disease-related losses in parts of North America are also contributing to the supply shortfall in the U.S. and Mexico. The re-emergence of Classical Swine Fever in Japan and Brazil is currently expected to have a limited impact on production but still brings new risk to the markets. “We expect a gradual recovery in the herd, yet higher costs of raising animals and demand uncertainty are expected to moderate the pace of growth,” McCracken says. Higher costs in raising hogs are contributing to production slowdowns in certain regions, as the price of feed is up 35 percent year over year. Lower production expectations have left the market short of pork, just as demand is getting stronger.

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.