READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, July 16th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

Trade Representative Tai Travels to Wisconsin

U.S. Trade Representative Kathrine Tai traveled to Wisconsin Thursday to discuss how trade can help farmers in the state. Joined by Representative Ron Kind, a Wisconsin Democrat, the pair toured Hamburg Hills Farm and hosted a roundtable with farmers. The roundtable focused on how trade policy can better help the farming and agriculture industry and its workers. The visit followed a top Ag lawmaker’s visit. Earlier this week, Ranking Member of the House Agriculture Committee, Glenn GT Thompson, also visited Wisconsin. Meeting with Wisconsin Farm Bureau, topics included processing capabilities and commodity prices, trade, retaliatory tariffs, rural broadband, labor and regulations for hemp. Thomson also toured various Wisconsin farms and held a dairy roundtable discussion with farmers. Topics during the roundtable conversation covered milk pricing and the need for transparency, updates to the Federal Milk Marketing Orders, dairy export opportunities, labor shortages, access to whole milk in schools and milk labeling enforcement by FDA.

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USDA Awards $12 Million in Farm to School Grants

The Department of Agriculture is investing $12 million in Farm to School Grants this year, announcing awards to 176 grantees, the most projects funded since the program began in 2013. The department is also releasing new data demonstrating the recent growth of farm-to-school efforts nationwide. Nearly two-thirds of school districts and/or local entities responsible for school meals participated in farm-to-school activities during school year 2018-2019, more than half of which began within the past three years. In school year 2018-2019, school districts purchased nearly $1.3 billion in local fruits, vegetables, and other foods, totaling approximately 20 percent of all school food purchases. This year’s Farm to School Grants will help expand the access to fresh, local foods and hands-on agricultural learning for children across 45 states and the District of Columbia. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack states, “Not only will this give children more nutritious food options in school, it supports local agriculture economies.”

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Program Increases Beef Quality and Consumer Confidence

As the Beef Checkoff celebrates its 35th anniversary, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association highlights the successful promotion and research programs that drive the demand for beef. The Beef Quality Assurance program has improved beef quality and increased consumer confidence for more than 30 years. Managed by NCBA, the Checkoff-funded voluntary BQA program ensures U.S. beef is produced under stringent animal care standards to provide safe, high-quality meat. The BQA program trains farmers and ranchers on best practices and cattle management techniques to ensure their animals and the environment are cared for within a standard set of guidelines across the U.S. beef industry. With more than 85 percent of the beef supply in the U.S. today coming from a BQA certified farmer or rancher, consumers should have the utmost confidence in the beef they purchase, according to NCBA. BQA programs have evolved to include best practices around record keeping and protecting herd health, which can result in more profits for producers.

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Soy Checkoff Investments Work to Increase Profitability for U.S. Soybean Farmers

The 78 farmer-leaders of the United Soybean Board approved new projects designed to drive innovation, increase value and create additional demand for U.S. soybeans. The goal ultimately is to increase profitability for U.S. soybean farmers. During the organization’s summer board meeting this week, leaders approved 181 new checkoff-funded projects with a total budget allocation of $78 million, for the 2022 fiscal year, starting October 1, 2021. Projects are considered and reviewed based on alignment with the checkoff’s overall objectives for supply, marketplace and demand across the target areas of soybean meal, oil and sustainability. USB CEO Polly Ruhland states, “U.S. soybean farmers remain steadfast and resilient in their pursuit to produce sustainable, high-quality soybeans that are preferred by customers.” Specific projects focus on supply oil, recouping lost demand in the edible soy oil market and expanding to markets elsewhere by supplying high oleic soybean oil. Other top priorities include marketplace sustainability and soybean meal demand.

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USDA Announces Southeast Alaska Sustainability Strategy

The Department of Agriculture Thursday announced a new Southeast Alaska Sustainability Strategy. The strategy seeks to support a diverse economy, enhance community resilience, and conserve natural resources. Through this strategy, USDA will consult with Tribes and Alaska Native corporations, and engage partners and communities in a collaborative process. USDA will invest approximately $25 million in financial and technical resources in sustainable opportunities for economic growth and community well-being and identify priorities for future investments. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has directed leaders of multiple USDA agencies, including the Forest Service, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Rural Development, to consult with Tribes and work together to identify priorities for investment. Vilsack says, “This approach will help us chart the path to long-term economic opportunities that are sustainable,” for the region. USDA’s actions are intended to support local economies and preserve Alaska’s expansive old growth temperate rainforest, a resource that is increasingly rare globally.

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America’s Conservation Ag Movement Supports Indiana Conservation Event

Indiana farmers are invited to participate in a free farm machinery and conservation ag event later this month.  “Conservation Tillage and Technology – At the Intersection,” is set for Thursday, July 29, at a farm near Flora, Indiana. America’s Conservation Ag Movement, one of America’s largest public-private partnerships committed to conservation agriculture and sustainability, is working on the local level to bring this event to producers in the Wabash watershed area. Producers are encouraged to attend live in-field demonstrations and conversations on topics, including farmer-led conservation partnerships, strip-tillage demonstrations, planter setups for no-till and green planting, and an update from Purdue Agronomy. The event is free and hosted by Oyler’s Farm. Support for the event comes from the foundational partners of America’s Conservation Ag Movement, The Nature Conservancy, Carroll County Soil & Water Conservation District, Farm Journal Foundation, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation. To learn more or to register for the event, visit farmjournal.swoogo.com/Wabash.

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.