READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Monday, June 21st

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

Refiners Over One Billion Dollars Short on RINs

U.S. refiners are short on $1.6 billion worth of credits they need to comply with U.S. biofuel laws. Reuters reviewed corporate earnings disclosures to come up with that total. The big liability comes as the Biden Administration considers potential relief for oil refiners from biofuel mandates. Refiners say they need the relief because of soaring credit costs and the economic hardship brought on by COVID-19 that’s hurt the industry. RIN prices are higher since the start of 2021 because of higher feedstock costs and market uncertainty. RINs were trading at the highest price since the program began 13 years ago. Prices have dropped 50 cents since hitting a recent high of $2 a credit. If the Biden administration grants some relief from the mandates, refiners may not need to fulfill all their obligations. Some lawmakers and refining industry representatives have requested help for the industry. The White House hasn’t said what actions President Biden will take to relieve refiners of their obligations under the Renewable Fuel Standard.

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USDA Considering Tougher Organic Livestock Rules

Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says the Biden Administration will reconsider the Trump Administration’s interpretation of the Organic Foods Production Act. The Trump administration said the Act doesn’t authorize USDA to regulate the practices that were the subject under the 2017 Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices final rule. “I have directed the National Organic Program to begin a rulemaking to address this statutory interpretation and to include a proposal to disallow the use of porches as outdoor space in organic poultry production over time,” Vilsack says. “The rulemaking will also include other topics that were the subject of the OLPP final rule.” The secretary also says they anticipate sending the proposed rule to the Office of Management and Budget within six to nine months from the date of the remand. “We look forward to receiving public comments on those topics and, after reviewing those comments, USDA will publish a final rule,” he adds.

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Wheat Growers Applaud Further Resolution in U.S., UK Dispute

U.S. Wheat Associates and the National Association of Wheat Growers welcomed the announcement that the United Kingdom and the U.S. dropped competing tariffs. The two sides agreed to a five-year moratorium on retaliatory tariffs for large civil aircraft subsidies. This break suspends retaliatory tariffs the UK had in place on non-durum U.S. wheat imports. The long-running dispute at the World Trade Organization allowed the UK and the EU the right to impose tariffs on non-durum U.S. wheat imports, which mainly impacted hard red spring and some hard red winter wheat. “The wheat industry is thankful to President Biden and Ambassador Tai’s commitment to prioritize the trade relationships between the United States, European Union, and now the United Kingdom,” says Wheat Growers CEO Chandler Goule. “Each five-year truce with the U.K. and the European Union removes a significant trade barrier on wheat exports and provides long-term certainty for wheat growers in the Upper Midwest.” Wheat Associates President Vince Peterson is hopeful that this agreement provides the basis for an open dialogue on trade that will pre-empt the use of retaliatory tariffs in the still unresolved steel and aluminum dispute between the U.S. and the UK.

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Rural Bankers Say Local Economies are Stronger

For the seventh month in a row, the Creighton University Rural Mainstreet Index stayed above growth neutral. The overall index is still strong at 70, falling almost nine points from May’s record high of 78.8. The index ranges from zero to 100, with 50 being growth neutral. That comes from a monthly survey of bank CEOs in rural areas of a 10-state region that depends on agriculture and energy. Approximately 46 percent of bank CEOs report their local economy expanded between May and June. “Strong grain prices, the Fed’s record-low interest rates, and growing exports have underpinned the rural main street economy,” says Ernie Goss of Creighton University, who oversees the index. He did say that several bankers raised future concerns. Steve Simon, CEO of the South Story Bank in Iowa, says, “Continued dry conditions will start to have an effect on markets and crops soon” For the ninth straight month, the farmland price index advanced significantly above growth neutral. The June farmland index slipped lower but is still strong at 75.9. The June Farm Equipment Sales Index rose to 71.6, the highest level since 2012.

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Lamb Board Hosts Zoom Cooking Class to Showcase Lamb

Almost 150 home cooks attended a recent virtual cooking class put on by the American Lamb Board. Educating consumers on using American lamb in their home kitchens is a big part of the board’s efforts to grow the industry. For the Zoom class, the lamb board teamed up with Homemade, a partner of the nature conservancy that offers weekly cooking classes and an earth-friendly blog. Class participants joined chef Joel Gamoran (GAM-eh-ron), the host of A & E’s hit series “Scraps” in making a Lamb Bahn (Bon) Mi (me) burger, which is a Vietnam take on the classic American burger. The dish uses ground lamb mixed with garlic, ginger, fish sauce, honey, lime, and a side of pickled vegetables. Besides his TV series, Gamoran is a regular on NBC’s Today Show, where he showcases recipes that promote environmental sustainability to a worldwide audience. Participants in the online session received a recipe booklet with outdoor cooking American Lamb recipes and an insulated reusable grocery bag from ALB. The cooking class is also a part of the Lamb Board’s Outdoor Cooking Adventures Campaign, which challenges consumers to showcase their outdoor cooking prowess with American lamb.

**********************************************************************************************    Dairy Checkoff Launches Monthly Podcast

National and local dairy checkoff organizations are working together to get into podcasting. They’ve launched a monthly program called “Your Dairy Checkoff,” which will showcase how checkoff programs across the country are working together to build dairy sales and trust in today’s changing marketplace. Each episode will be hosted by dairy farmers or industry experts. Listeners will hear conversations focusing on local, national, and global dairy promotion, including consumer research, dairy nutrition, as well as science and issues updates. Farmers will have a hand in the selection of topics by providing feedback. “The dairy checkoff is excited to take advantage of increasingly popular podcast programming to share examples of how the dairy promotion organizations are working together to deliver results for us,” says Missouri dairy farmer Alex Peterson, who serves as Chair of the National Dairy Promotion and Research Board. The first episode is called “Reaching Gen Z: Through the World of Gaming,” and it features a conversation about how the checkoff is looking to online video gaming to reach this consumer segment, which is 10 to 23 years old.

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.