READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, July 7th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

AG Economy Barometer Falls Again

For the second month in a row, the Ag Economy Barometer declined sharply. Released Tuesday, the most recent survey fell to 137, 21 points below a month earlier, and the weakest sentiment reading since July 2020. Producers in June were less optimistic about both current conditions on their farming operations as well as their expectations for the future. Weakening perceptions of current conditions on their farms was the biggest driver of the barometer’s decline as the Index of Current Conditions declined 29 points to 149, the lowest reading since September 2020. Producers were also less optimistic about the future as the Index of Future Expectations declined 17 points to 132, the lowest Future Expectations Index reading since July 2020. Since peaking in April, producers’ perception of their farms’ financial performance has fallen sharply. Farmers also expect their input costs to rise much more rapidly in the year ahead than they have over the last decade.

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Barchart Increases U.S. Crop Production Forecast

Barchart Tuesday raised their July 2021 Yield and Production forecasts for U.S. corn and soybeans. Released on the first Tuesday of each month during the growing season, the forecasts offer users insights to help their crop marketing and business decisions ahead of when traditional government reports are released. U.S. Corn Production is projected at 14.6 billion bushels with a yield of 176.5 bushels an acre, compared to USDA projection of 15 billion bushels and yield of 179.5. For soybeans, Barchart expects production at 4.3 billion bushes with a 50 bushel per acre yield. USDA forecasts 4.4-billion-bushel production of soybeans this year with yield at 50.8 bushels. The market data company also released their initial Yield and Production forecasts for Canadian spring wheat and soybeans. Canadian spring wheat production is forecasted at 881 million bushels, with yield at 55.1 an acre. Barchart’s Canadian soybean production forecast calls for 228.1 million bushels with an average yield of 43 bushels an acre.

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USDA Changes Cover Crop Grazing Policy

Farmers with crop insurance can now hay, graze or chop cover crops for silage, haylage or baleage at any time and still receive 100 percent of the prevented planting payment. The Department of Agriculture announced the change Tuesday. Previously, cover crops could only be hayed, grazed or chopped after November 1, otherwise the prevented planting payment was reduced by 65 percent. USDA Acting RMA Administrator Richard Flournoy states, “We are dedicated to responding to the needs of producers, and this flexibility is good for agriculture and promotes climate smart agricultural practices.” RMA added the flexibility as part of a broader effort to encourage producers to use cover crops, an important conservation and good farming practice.  The decision to allow flexibility for the 2021 crop year and to make the change permanent for future years builds on the advanced research and identified benefits cover crops have supporting healthy soils and cropland sustainability efforts. 

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Share of Income Spent on Food Dropped 10% In 2020, A Historic Low

The share of U.S. consumers’ disposable income spent on food decreased 10.1 percent during the COVID-19 pandemic last year. The share declined to 8.6 percent, the lowest share in the past 60 years, according to the Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service. The share of disposable income spent on food in the United States was relatively steady over the last 20 years, decreasing from 9.95 percent in 2000 to 9.58 percent in 2019. Consumers spent 1.4 percent more of their incomes for food at home from 2019 to 2020, while they spent 22.2 percent less of their incomes on food at restaurants. Changes in the shares of income spent on food in 2020 resulted, in part, from pandemic-related closures and restrictions at food-away-from-home establishments, as well as from the largest annual disposable income increase in 20 years. The increase was driven by additional Government assistance to individuals in 2020, including stimulus payments to households and increased unemployment insurance benefits.

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NCGA Women and Mentors Program Holds First-Ever Conference

The National Corn Growers Association recently hosted the first-ever in-person meeting of the Women and Mentors program. The 15 attendees learned skills through the retreat to help them make an impact on not only the agricultural industry but also in their other endeavors. Sponsored by Bayer and Syngenta, the retreat allowed attendees to network and be supported by other female industry leaders to inspire and empower them. The conference also helped the attendees, who met virtually for three sessions prior to last week, gain a network of individuals invested in seeing more women in leadership roles within agriculture, and to become a mentor or a mentee at the conclusion of the conference. The group will continue the program with quarterly virtual calls on leadership topics, and plan to continue with an in-person session annually, increasing the size of this network as we encourage up-and-coming female leaders to take the next steps in their leadership journeys.

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American Royal Begins Strategic Leadership Search

The American Royal Association is beginning a strategic planning process that includes a search for a new chief executive officer, following the departure of Glen Alan Phillips later this month. Phillips will take a new role in his home state of Texas as chief operating officer with Rodeo Austin. The move opens an opportunity for the American Royal Association “to build upon momentum and define the next version of the American Royal” at its new home in Kansas City, Kansas. Shortly before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the American Royal announced it was one step closer to its future home, after acquiring 115 acres. The Association’s vision is to be the national destination for the food and agriculture industry and the “Epicenter of Agriculture.” A Kansas City tradition since 1899, the American Royal provides opportunities for youth and adults from around the world to compete in a variety of agriculture events.

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.