READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, May 14th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

Agrisafe Launches Agristress Network

AgriSafe Network this week announced the launch of the AgriStress Response Network. The launch coincides with May as mental health awareness month. The network includes agriculture professionals committed to sharing non-proprietary information, ensuring that resources and training are widely disseminated to reduce farmer and rancher stress. The effort seeks to eliminate the stigma of seeking support for mental health, including depression, anxiety and farmer suicide. AgriSafe says research shows 20 percent of any population has mental health complications, including farmers and ranchers. Stigma and privacy concerns associated with mental health issues may mean that many people do not seek out available behavioral health services. Many of the factors that affect agricultural production are largely beyond the control of the producer.  For example, isolation, variability in weather, lack of access to health services, and low commodity prices, could have a direct impact on the rise in mental health issues. Learn more about the network at agrisafe.org.

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Farm Credit Conditions Show Additional Strength

Agricultural credit conditions in the Tenth District of the Federal Reserve continued to strengthen in the first quarter of 2021. After a sharp rebound at the end of 2020, conditions in the broad agricultural economy continued to improve alongside additional increases in crop prices. Stronger profit potential for farm borrowers supported a second consecutive quarter of significant increases in farm income, loan repayment rates and farmland values, according to the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank. Overall, farm borrowers in the district were in a better financial position than at the beginning of 2020, but the pace of improvement was notably slower for livestock producers and for producers in areas affected by severe drought. Cattle prices remained below pre-pandemic levels in the first quarter, and the scope and severity of drought was a major concern in western states. The Tenth District includes portions of Missouri and New Mexico, along with Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Wyoming.

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Lawmakers Introduce Bill to Restore Forests and Grasslands

A group of Senators Thursday announced the Joint Chiefs Landscape Restoration Partnership Act of 2021. The legislation would formally authorize the Department of Agriculture’s Joint Chiefs’ Landscape Restoration Partnership Initiative to better support forest and grassland restoration projects across public and private land. The lawmakers say the bill supports voluntary restoration projects across ownership boundaries, so that treatments can occur across a landscape. Since USDA launched Joint Chiefs in 2014, the initiative has supported 93 projects, treated 300,000 acres of hazardous fuels, restored 29,000 acres in watersheds, and enhanced 200,000 acres of wildlife habitat. The legislation would formally establish the program at USDA, double its funding to help meet demand, and improve outreach and accountability. Senators Micheal Bennet, a Colorado Democrat, and John Hoeven, A North Dakota Republican, introduced the bill in the Senate. House Democrats Abigail Spanberger of Virginia and Joe Neguse, along with Republican Kelly Armstrong of North Dakota, introduced the bill in the House.

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United Fresh and PMA Members Approve of New Organization

The Produce Marketing Association and United Fresh Produce Association held a member vote this week to seek approval to move forward in creating a single new organization. The new organization, announced earlier, this year will represent the global produce and floral communities. Each organization solicited votes from their members, and both reported full confidence in the initiative. The member vote was the final step in approval to dissolve each organization at end of year to incorporate a new association launching January 1, 2022. PMA and United Fresh have indicated that the next priority will be to create the organization’s new structure focused on best serving the industry’s needs and goals. Members can expect an update on the staff team, volunteer leadership structure, and business plans for 2022 in the coming months. Based on the member vote, both associations will now honor the membership status of the other organization when registering for events and programs.

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USDA Purchasing Oversupplied Commodities for Food Assistance Programs

The Department of Agriculture will purchase up to $159.4 million in domestically produced seafood, fruits, legumes, and nuts for distribution to a variety of domestic food assistance programs. The purchases, announced Thursday, are being made with funds under the authority of Section 32 of the Agricultural Adjustment Act. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says, “These healthy, nutritious food purchases will benefit food banks and non-profits helping those struggling with food hardship.” The inventories of the included commodities are in high oversupply due to a decrease in demand because of the COVID-19 pandemic and disruption in the supply chain, as restaurants and other outlets closed during the pandemic. Within a few days of approval, USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service will offer these commodities to their networks. Orders should be received during the first week of June with solicitations being issued mid-June and awards occurring near the end of the month. Deliveries should start to occur by mid-August.

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Memphis Meats Rebrands as UPSIDE Foods, Plans Cultured Chicken Production

Cultured meat company Memphis Meats announced this week a rebranding to UPSIDE Foods. The move comes as the company prepares to produce its first consumer product, cultured chicken. Uma Valeti, CEO and founder of UPSIDE Foods, says, “the evolution to UPSIDE Foods communicates our passion and potential to make our favorite foods healthier for the planet.” The company released the world’s first cultured meatball in February 2016 and the world’s first cultured poultry in March 2017. Cultured chicken products will be available to consumers later this year, pending regulatory review. Grown from animal cells, the UPSIDE chicken cultivated without the need to raise an animal, and is not a plant-based meat alternative. To create the products at scale, UPSIDE Foods has broken ground on a pilot plant in the San Francisco Bay Area. The first custom-built for meat cultivation, the end-to-end facility will produce, package and ship cultured meat all under one roof.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

By Brian Allmer - The BARN

Tucker 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.