READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Monday, May 24th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

JBS Exits NCBA

JBS has left the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association as the group is taking a closer look at market consolidation. NCBA, along with other livestock and general farm organizations, met recently to discuss livestock market concerns. And lawmakers have requested the Department of Justice continue, and provide an update on, its cattle market investigation. Politico reports JBS suspended its membership to NCBA last year as part of an internal review. Now, JBS is no longer a member of NCBA, but company officials say they expect to remain involved with the group. In response to the lawmaker’s effort, NCBA’s Ethan Lane stated last week, “We have a high supply of cattle at one end of this equation and a high demand for U.S. beef at the other, but the middle is being absolutely choked by the lack of processing capacity.” Known as the big four, Tyson, JBS, Cargill and National Beef process more than 80 percent of U.S. beef.

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Bill Would Give USDA Authority over Rural Broadband

House lawmakers last week introduced the Broadband for Rural America Act. The legislation would put the Department of Agriculture in the driver’s seat for rural broadband rather than the Federal Communications Commission. Georgia Republican Representative Austin Scott mentioned last week, “The FCC’s had their chance, and they haven’t gotten it done.” The bill is one of several infrastructure proposals from House Republicans. Scott says the legislation will provide new investments for USDA connectivity programs to bring high-speed internet infrastructure to rural communities. Specially, the bill would authorize $3.7 billion per year for rural broadband programs, including the ReConnect Rural Broadband Program, the Middle Mile Broadband Program, and the Innovative Broadband Advancement Program. The legislation would also target assistance focused on the most rural and least-connected residents, which are often the most expensive to connect. Finally, the bill aims to promote borrower accountability and protect taxpayers with new tools to ensure promised services are delivered to rural communities.

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Organic Valley Announces Low Carbon Footprint Dairy on Path to Carbon Neutrality

Phase one of Organic Valley’s dairy life cycle assessment evaluated on-farm greenhouse gas emissions from dairy farms using different management practices. The results are in, and farming practices of Organic Valley farmers have a measurable benefit for the planet, reinforcing the cooperative’s commitment to bringing ethically made organic food to families. University of Wisconsin-Madison’s assessment reveals that, on average, the dairy farms of Organic Valley’s members have a smaller carbon footprint than average U.S. conventional and organic dairy overall. The most significant difference in calculations of the carbon footprint of Organic Valley milk is in the inclusion of carbon sequestration from pasture as well as from forage and crop production. Including carbon sequestration in the LCA reduced the net farm emissions of the cooperative’s dairy farms by an average of 15 percent. In addition, on average, Organic Valley farmers report engaging in 50 percent more pasture grazing than that required by the National Organic Program.

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Real Organic Project Meets with Secretary Vilsack

Farmers of the Real Organic Project met with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack last week, discussing what the group calls the “organic problem.” The meeting followed a letter sent to Vilsack last month signed by 43 former members of the National Organic Standards board. The farmers told Vilsack, “the National Organic Program is in serious trouble because of the failure of the USDA to uphold the integrity of the Organic Standards.” The standards board is intended to represent a broad spectrum of interest groups. However, the group alleges, “The choices by the USDA are often skewed, with mid-level Agribiz managers oftentimes taking a farmer position.” In the last eleven years, the program has failed to successfully bring a number of key recommendations to rulemaking. The group’s April letter states, “This failure has led to real damage to trust in and the integrity of the organic program, as the NOP has failed to respond to serious challenges to the meaning of organic from industry.”

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AEM Offers Insights on High Machinery Sales

The Association of Equipment Manufacturers says there are several factors driving the current machinery sales trends. In the first quarter of 2021, total farm tractor unit sales are up more than 50 percent in the U.S., and nearly 60 percent in Canada. AEM’s Curt Blades says, “We’re operating in a very interesting market right now.” Over the last 12 months, there’s been a rise in under 40 horsepower, or small tractor sales. Blades says, “This is due largely to a lot of the industries that have done very well during the pandemic.” Small tractors fall into that category as well as sales are spiking largely in suburbs with larger lots to help homeowners with improving the property. However, starting later in 2020, larger row-crop and articulated 4WD tractors have also enjoyed increasing sales success. Blades adds, “Tractor sales are strong, commodity sales are particularly good, and optimism is at an all-time high in the farming community.”

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USA Rice: USDA Acreage Forecast Higher than Actual Acres Planted

USA Rice says the Department of Agriculture’s acreage forecast for rice is higher than the actual acres planted. The USA Rice World Market Price Subcommittee met last week, to discuss supply and demand, rice stocks, and projected plantings.  Subcommittee members from all six rice states reported expectations that actual plantings for 2021 will be significantly lower than those estimated by USDA in the March projected plantings, with a total projected difference of 15 percent less acreage, due to a range of weather issues. Following the Subcommittee meeting, Chair Keith Glover and USA Rice staff met with teams from the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service, Economic Research Service, and World Agricultural Outlook Board departments.  Glover provided feedback from Subcommittee members regarding NASS statistics, and reviewed the areas where members thought changes could be made. Glover states, “As always we were happy to meet with USDA to pass on input from our World Market Price Subcommittee.”

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.