READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Monday, July 12th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

Biden Signs Economic Competition Executive Order

President Joe Biden signed an executive order Friday directing the Department of Agriculture to engage in rulemaking on several issues. The executive order, focused on promoting competition in the U.S. economy, includes provisions on livestock markets and right to repair. The order directs USDA to consider new rules under the Packers and Stockyards Act, to allow producers to bring and win claims under the Act more easily. President Biden also directed USDA to consider new rules defining the Product of USA label. Further, the order calls on USDA to develop a plan to increase market opportunities for farmers and ranchers. Finally, the order encouraged the Federal Trade Commission to limit equipment manufacturers from restricting access to farmers wishing to repair their own machinery, known as right to repair. American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall says the action comes ”at a time when many in the farm supply chain are frustrated.” Duvall adds that more opportunities for farmers and ranchers to sell their products will ensure they are paid fairly while providing more options for America’s families.

Shipping Costs Adding to Food Inflation

The rally in crop prices over the last 12 months, combined with increased shipping costs, is fueling inflation of food prices. Costs of shipping bulk grains from production regions in the U.S. to global users have roughly doubled from last year, according to Reuters. Shippers cite rising fuel costs, tighter supplies of shipping vessels and longer port turnaround times. An economist at the National Australia Bank tells Reuters, “For years, buyers enjoyed low grain and freight prices. I see no immediate end to high freight costs.” Moving grain from Australia to Asia now cost $30 per metric ton, compared to $15 last year. Shipping from the U.S. Pacific Northwest to Asia now costs $55 per metric ton, compared to $25 last year. Global food prices fell in June, the first decline in a year, according to data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. However, prices reached ten-years highs before the decline posted last month.

GOA: Broadband Benchmark Speeds May be too Slow

A new report from the Government Accountability Office encourages the Federal Communications Commission to evaluate benchmark broadband speeds. The report states, “We recommended that the FCC determine whether its current definition of broadband really meets the needs of small businesses.” Currently, the benchmark speeds for broadband are 25 megabits per second download, and three megabits per second upload. However, recent surveys suggest small businesses may need a download speed of 50 megabits per second. The GAO referenced a 2019 USDA report on rural broadband and agriculture that shows as technology advances, volumes of data needed to manage agriculture production grow. The USDA report says speeds in excess of 25/3 megabits per second with more equal download and upload speeds will likely be necessary. Further, GAO says small businesses will likely benefit from federal funding provided by the FCC and USDA to expand broadband deployment. Roughly eight percent of small businesses in the U.S. currently lack access to broadband.

New USDA Grading Dashboard Expands Access to Data

The Department of Agriculture Friday announced a new Grading Dashboard, capturing current and historical quality grade and volume information for beef, lamb and veal. The Dashboard includes data published through the weekly USDA National Steer and Heifer Estimated Grading Percent Report and expands the information to include veal and lamb grades and volumes. Mae Wu (May-wooh), USDA Deputy Under Secretary of Marketing and Regulatory Programs, states, “This new dashboard offers farmers, ranchers and others in the supply chain the latest grading performance information in an easy to use format.” USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service applies quality grades to a variety of agricultural commodities for companies on a fee for service basis. The interactive tool provides another level of service to the beef, lamb and veal industries that rely on these data to make informed business, marketing and production decisions. Producers can find the new grading dashboard on the USDA AMS website,

Senate Ag Committee Plans Moffitt Nomination Hearing

The Senate Agriculture Consider will consider the nomination of Jennifer Moffitt to a Department of Agriculture post Thursday. President Joe Biden nominated Moffit as undersecretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs at USDA. Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow and Ranking Member John Boozman announced the hearing, set for Thursday morning. President Biden nominated Moffitt for the position in April. She currently serves as Undersecretary at the California Department of Food and Agriculture and previously served as Deputy Secretary for the agency. At the time of her nomination, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack stated Moffitt will “join a mission area that is focused on facilitating the domestic and international marketing of U.S. agricultural products.” Before her time with CDFA, Moffitt spent ten years as Managing Director at Dixon Ridge Farms, her family’s organic walnut farm and processing operation in California. Vilsack added that Moffitt “will be a welcomed addition to a growing USDA team.”

FFA Seeks Convention Newsroom Internship Applications

The National FFA Organization announced Friday internships are available for the FFA Newsroom Crew during the 94th National FFA Convention and Expo this fall. The organization seeks college students or recent college graduates pursuing degrees in journalism, agricultural communications, public relations, telecommunications, or a closely related field. FFA Newsroom Crew interns are expected to arrive in Indianapolis Monday, October 25, and work through Saturday, October 30. Newsroom interns receive a small stipend, access to the event, coaching on how to become a better communicator, and experiences to help them in the future. The FFA Newsroom Crew internship may be eligible for college credit, and applicants are asked to talk with their school’s advisor for additional credit information. The National FFA Convention and Expo takes place October 27-30 this fall. The internship application deadline is August 2, 2021. Interested students can learn more and apply online by visiting the link below.

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.