READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, July 9th

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Global Food Prices Declined in June

Global food prices fell in June for the first time in 12 months, according to the United Nation’s Food Price Index. Released Thursday, the June index averaged 124.6 points, down 3.2 points, or 2.5 percent, from May. However, the index is 33.9 percent higher than this time last year. The drop in June reflected declines in the prices of vegetable oils, cereals and, to a lesser degree, dairy prices, which more than offset generally higher meat and sugar quotations. The Cereal Price Index averaged 129.4 points in June, down 3.5 points, or 2.6 percent, from May. After reaching their highest level in May since January 2013, international corn prices dropped five percent in June, still 72 percent higher than 2020. The Vegetable Oil Index fell 9.9 percent, and dairy prices were down one percent. However, meat prices were up 2.1 percent from May, continuing the ninth consecutive month of increases, up 25 percent from June of last year.


School Nutrition Survey: Challenges Persists into New School Year

A new survey of 1,300 school meal program directors reveals serious financial and operational challenges for the upcoming school year. The School Nutrition Association’s Back to School 2021 Survey also revealed grave concerns regarding the impact of future sodium regulations. SNA President Reggie Ross says, “School meal programs, which are critical to the health and success of millions of America’s students, face an uncertain future following the pandemic.” The survey found 97 percent of meal program directors are concerned about continued pandemic supply chain disruptions, and 90 percent worry about staff shortages. Meanwhile, 82 percent are concerned about low meal participation, and 86 percent revealed financial concerns. A majority of school nutrition directors also expressed concerns about future sodium regulations. Schools significantly reduced the sodium in school meals to meet Target 1 limits and are working toward Target 2 limits. However, only 11 percent anticipate meeting the Final Target, scheduled to take effect in July 2022. 


Drought Monitor Reports Another Week of Hot, Dry Weather

The latest U.S. Drought Monitor released Thursday shows 58 percent of the nation experiencing drought, with 38 percent in a severe or worse drought classification. Hot and dry weather continued across the West in the last week, expanding drought conditions. The excess heat increased evaporative demand, drying out soils and vegetation, and straining water resources. As commodity markets swing wildly based on weather, the Midwest and much of the Corn Belt will see more rain in the week ahead. Rainfall maps show relief coming for Iowa, North and South Dakota and Nebraska. A daily newsletter from Bower Trading suggests permanent losses have already occurred in some of the drier areas in the northwest and a full restoration of yield potential is not possible, but the better weather conditions expected during the next week should allow for a boost in yields in many areas. Rainfall is also expected in many areas of the Corn Belt not in drought conditions. 


USACE Implements Drought Conservation Measures for Missouri River

Water conservation measures were enacted for the second half of the Missouri River navigation flow support season. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Thursday said very dry conditions continue to impact the upper Missouri River basin above Sioux City, Iowa, despite recent heavy rainfall in the lower basin, with more rainfall in the forecast south of Sioux City. As a result of the low precipitation and widespread drought conditions in the upper basin, June runoff in the upper basin was 52 percent of average. The updated 2021 upper basin runoff forecast is 15.6 million acre-feet, 60 percent of average, the tenth driest year in the upper basin since 1898. USACE reduced the service level to support navigation by 1,500 cubic feet per second at Gavins Point dam. USACE Missouri River Chief John Remus says the reduction “is a necessary water conservation measure to ensure authorized purposes will be served in the short and long term.”


Lawmakers Seek Reimbursement for Dairy Farmers

A group of lawmakers calls on the Biden administration to reimburse dairy producers for losses stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic and market-related losses. In a letter to President Joe Biden, the 24 lawmakers say, “We strongly urge you to ensure our producers are reimbursed for as much of the roughly $725 million in foregone Class I skim milk revenue as possible.” The lawmakers, led by New York Democrat, Representative Antonio Delgado, cite economic forces, market disruptions, and the COVID-19 pandemic, which created Class I mover-related losses. Representative Delgado states, “Our dairy farmers, especially small and mid-sized producers in the Northeast region, have been seriously impacted by these losses throughout the pandemic.” Jim Mulhern, National Milk Producers Federation President and CEO, says, “We commend Congressman Antonio Delgado for leading a coalition of his colleagues to ensure dairy producers in New York and across the country are reimbursed for as much of these losses as possible.”


USDA Announces $307 Million for Rural Water Projects

The Department of Agriculture this week announced $307 million for rural water and wastewater infrastructure improvements. The funding goes to projects in 34 states and Puerto Rico to modernize rural drinking water and wastewater infrastructure. USDA is financing the projects through the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program. The program provides funding for clean and reliable drinking water systems, sanitary sewage disposal, sanitary solid waste disposal, and stormwater drainage. The investments will help eliminate outdated pipes and service lines to safeguard public health and safety in rural communities. They will improve rural infrastructure for 250,000 residents and businesses. The funding follows President Biden’s announcement last week of a Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework that will make the largest investment in clean drinking water in American history. The Framework will replace all of the nation’s lead pipes and service lines, helping address barriers faced by communities of color, Tribal communities, and people who live in rural America. 

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.