READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, May 28th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

USDA Forecasts Record Farm Exports in FY 2021

The Department of Agriculture projects U.S. farm exports for 2021 at $164 billion, the highest on record. USDA announced its quarterly agricultural trade forecast this week. The results represent an increase of $28 billion, or 21 percent, from last fiscal year’s total, and a $7-billion increase from USDA’s previous 2021 forecast published in February. The annual export record of $152.3 billion was set in 2014. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says the estimate “shows that our agricultural trading partners are responding to a return to certainty and reliability from the United States.” Key drivers of the surge in exports include a record outlook for China, record export volumes and values for several products, sharply higher commodity prices, and reduced foreign competition. China is poised to be back on top as the United States’ number one customer, with U.S. exports forecast at $35 billion, eclipsing the previous record of $29.6 billion set in 2014.

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Stabenow Urges USDA to Implement Food and Ag Supply Chain Provisions

Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow urges the Department of Agriculture to implement American Rescue Plan provisions to protect food and farm workers. In a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Stabenow states the American Rescue Plan “included resources so that the people who power our food and ag supply chain are protected and have the resources they need to stay safe and keep the shelves stocked.” In the letter, Stabenow highlights supply chain provisions of the legislation, as well as programs in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, including measures to increase purchases of food for donation, supply chain infrastructure investments and others. Additionally, Chairwoman Stabenow highlighted the capacity of some existing programs at USDA to help make the supply chain more resilient and flexible in the face of large-scale disruptions. Stabenow writes, “This is also an opportunity to better prepare the food supply chain in the event of a future disruptive event.”

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USDA Not Appealing Court Decision on Pork Slaughter Line Speeds

The Department of Agriculture will not appeal a federal district court ruling on faster line speeds in slaughterhouses. USDA told the Hagstrom Report that only the Justice Department can make a decision about the appeal. The comments came less than a day after the National Pork Producers Council urged USDA to intervene in the matter before the ruling takes effect at the end of next month. NPPC cites an analysis by an Iowa State University economist that shows the ruling will result in a 2.5 percent loss in pork packing plant capacity nationwide and more than $80 million in reduced income for small U.S. hog farmers. However, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union praised the response from USDA. The union represents over 250,000 meatpacking and food processing workers. UFCW International President Marc Perrone says, “UFCW is calling on CEOs across the pork industry to work with the USDA to slow their line speeds.”

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Perdue Documents Ag Confined Space Injuries

Purdue University’s Agricultural Safety and Health Program recently released the annual 2020 Summary of U.S. Agricultural Confined Space-Related Injuries and Fatalities report. The program reported 64 fatal and nonfatal cases involving agricultural confined spaces, including 35 grain entrapments, seven falls into or from grain storage structures, four asphyxiations and 12 equipment entanglements. The total number of cases represents a 4.5 percent decrease from the number documented in 2019, exceeds the five-year average and the number of reported mining-related fatalities in 2020. The report says, “there is a direct correlation between out-of-condition grain and an increased likelihood of worker exposure to entrapment situations.” Further, the report reminds farmers to never enter a grain bin with evidence of crusting on the surface or within the grain mass. If the grain is crusted or the floor outlets are plugged, contact a professional grain salvage service that has the equipment and experience to remove out-of-condition grain.

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ASA Announced Wool Assurance Website

The American Sheep Industry Association launched the American Wool Assurance website last week at AmericanWoolAssurance.org. The website allows American sheep producers to take a crucial step in certifying their wool through a voluntary, American industry-driven certification process. The American Sheep Industry Association worked with Colorado State University the past two years to develop the voluntary program and standards that will allow manufacturers to purchase American wool with confidence that the animals producing that wool have been raised with a high level of care. Industry input from producers, shearers, buyers, extension, animal welfare experts and processors was critical in the development of program standards. ASI Deputy Director Rita Samuelson states, “This is something that consumers and brands are asking for increasingly, and so it has become important to retailers, processors and wool buyers in recent years.” ASA says Sheep producers interested in earning certification should go to AmericanWoolAssurance.org and sign up as soon as possible.

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NCBA to Honor Cattle Feeder Hall of Fame Inductees in August

Cattle Feeders Hall of Fame inductees and award winners will be honored in August. The event, August 9, will precede the 2021 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show, to be held in Nashville, Tennessee. The Cattle Feeders Hall of Fame was established in 2009 to honor the exceptional visionary men and women who have made lasting contributions to the cattle-feeding industry. Inductees for 2021 are Johnny Trotter, president and CEO of Bar-G Feedyard in Hereford, Texas, and Steve Gabel, founder of Magnum Feedyard in Wiggins, Colorado. Dr. Gary C. Smith, visiting professor in the Department of Animal Science at Texas A&M University, will receive the Industry Leadership Award. George Eckert with Green Plains Cattle Company in Garden City, Kansas, and Gaspar Martinez with Harris Feeding Company in Coalinga, California, will receive the Arturo Armendariz Distinguished Service Award. Information on the 2021 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show, including tickets to the 2021 Cattle Feeders Hall of Fame banquet, can be found at convention.ncba.org.

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.