READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, July 29th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

House Agriculture Hearing Echoes NCBA Push for More Hook Space

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association says a House Agriculture Subcommittee hearing Wednesday echoed the organization’s longstanding call to expand processing capacity. The Livestock and Foreign Agriculture Subcommittee hearing on the State of the Beef Supply Chain, examined shocks in the supply chain. Subcommittee Chairman Jim Costa says the shocks have “impacted millions of people along the entire supply chain.” Members of the committee also noted the need for greater transparency in cattle markets to create conditions that support both a reliable, affordable supply of U.S. beef. NCBA Vice President of Government Affairs Ethan Lane states, “The continued momentum we are seeing on expanding processing capacity, both on Capitol Hill and at USDA, is a positive sign.” Cattle industry concerns have seen increased attention recently from both sides of the aisle as NCBA has advocated for “commonsense solutions” that address the most urgent challenges facing producers, including legislation to help small and independent processors expand capacity.

Toomey, Shaheen Reintroduce Bill to Overhaul U.S. Sugar Program

Lawmakers this week in the House and Senate introduced the Fair Sugar Policy Act of 2021 to reform the federal sugar support program. Republican Senator Pat Toomey and Democrat Jeanne Shaheen introduced the bill in the Senate. In the House, North Carolina Republican Virginia Foxx, and Democrat Danny Davis introduced the bill. The lawmakers say the federal sugar support program currently costs consumers and businesses as much as $4 billion per year. Specifically, the legislation would lift restrictions on the domestic supply of refined sugar. The bill would also reduce taxpayer liability for sugar processor loan forfeitures and ensure that the impact on consumers, manufacturers and farmers is taken into account when the USDA administers the sugar program. Finally, the bill would reduce market distortions caused by sugar import quotas. Toomey states, “It is long past time we reform this corporate welfare program that jacks up food prices while threatening thousands of good-paying jobs.”

USDA Extends Crop Insurance Deadlines

USDA’s Risk Management Agency this week authorized Approved Insurance Providers to extend deadlines for producers. The extension includes premium and administrative fee payments, deferring and waiving the resulting interest accrual and other flexibilities to help farmers and ranchers through widespread drought. Producers now have additional time to pay premium and administrative fees, and interest will be waived for 60 days or the termination date on the policy, whichever comes first. RMA also authorized AIPs to waive interest for an additional 60 days for Written Payment Agreements due between August 1 and September 30, 2021. RMA Acting Administrator Richard Flournoy states, “Farmers and ranchers are weathering tough drought conditions this year, and we want to help ease the burden by extending payment deadlines and deferring interest accrual.” Additionally, RMA updated policy in June to allow producers with crop insurance to hay, graze or chop cover crops at any time and still receive 100 percent of the prevented planting payment.

USB: Consumer Research Unpacks Protein Perceptions

The United Soybean Board Wednesday released new consumer data shedding light on consumer perceptions around protein. More than half of consumers, 56 percent, say it is extremely or very important that plant-based proteins be complete, offering nutrition comparable to animal protein. Soy protein is uniquely positioned to help the food industry capitalize on current trends and consumer interests due to its protein quality, versatility and sustainability benefits, according to USB. The data shows most consumers recognize that protein is important to maintaining a healthy and balanced diet, with 82 percent of consumers ages 50 and under agreeing that it is extremely or very important. General health and wellness was given as the top reason for adding protein, animal- or plant-based, to their diets. The study also found the majority of U.S. consumers at 79 percent eat meat, and that 65 percent of the population is open to eating plant-based “flexitarian-friendly” food, with higher numbers reported among younger generations.

Purdue Survey Shows Indiana Farmland Prices Hit Record High in 2021

The Purdue Farmland Value and Cash Rents Survey shows farmland prices across Indiana reached all-time highs in June of 2021. Statewide, top-quality farmland averaged $9,785 per acre, up 14.1 percent from the same time last year. The high growth rate for top-quality farmland was closely followed by the growth in average and poor-quality farmland prices, which increased by 12.5 percent and 12.1 percent, respectively. Across all land quality classes, 2021 per-acre farmland prices exceeded the previous records set in 2014. Purdue says a unique combination of economic forces, including net farm income, expected income growth, crop and livestock prices, interest rates, exports, inflation, alternative investments, U.S. policy, and farmers’ liquidity, all led to price increase. Cash rental rates also increased in 2021. Average rental rates increased by 3.9 percent for top-quality land, from $259 to $269 per acre. The cash rental rates for average- and poor-quality lands both increased by 4.6 percent to $227 and $183, respectively.

USDA Invests $21 Million To Support Historically Black Colleges and Universities

The Department of Agriculture announced Wednesday an investment of over $21.8 million to 1890 Land-grant Institutions to support research at Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack states, “this investment will strengthen the ability of our Land-grant Institutions to deliver innovative solutions that address emerging agricultural challenges impacting diverse communities.” USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture awarded the funds to 1890 Land-grant Institutions to support 58 projects at Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the nation’s Land-grant University System and organizations as part of its Capacity Building Grants program. The program is designed to build capacity for teaching, research and extension activities at eligible institutions including curriculum design, materials development, faculty development, student recruitment and retention, and extension program development support. USDA says the investment will strengthen the quality and diversity of the higher-education workforce, and equip 1890 Institutions with resources needed to better address emerging challenges and create new opportunities.

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.