READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Wednesday, August 11th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

Ag Reacts to Senate Passage of Infrastructure Bill

The U.S. Senate passed the bipartisan infrastructure package that contains several important investments for agriculture. Several U.S. agricultural groups reacted positively to the news. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime investment in America’s infrastructure, and we are extremely pleased that it includes funding for priorities that are important to farmers and rural America,” says John Linder, President of the National Corn Growers Association. American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall says, “We appreciate the Senate for working together to pass the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The pressing infrastructure issues facing our nation are too important to ignore, particularly in rural communities where modernization is desperately needed.” Farm Credit Council President and CEO Todd Van Hoose says the investments in rural broadband will connect more communities. “The agriculture transport network will benefit from improved rural roadways and bridges, freight rail, inland waterways, and port facilities,” Van Hoose says. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association says the package is “a step in the right direction.” Among the key items in the bill are $17.3 billion for the nation’s ports and inland waterways. The legislation earmarks $65 billion for broadband internet access, including $2 billion specifically set aside for rural broadband.

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IA, MN Senators Push for Pandemic Relief for Swine Producers

Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst, both Iowa Republicans, and Minnesota Democrat Amy Klobuchar sent a letter to Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack regarding assistance for swine producers. They want the USDA to make sure that swine producers and contract swine growers are eligible for the assistance Congress secured for them. The bipartisan push comes after the Biden administration didn’t mention assistance for pork producers during the Pandemic Assistance for Producers June or July announcements regarding the Pandemic Livestock Indemnity Program. “We’re concerned that USDA’s announcement on June 15 that described its intent to finalize this program within 60 days only focused on poultry growers and made no mention of providing assistance to contract swine growers,” the senators said in their letter. “Additionally, many pork producers have been waiting for USDA to roll out the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program swine top-up payments that were announced in January of this year.” Late last year, Congress passed a bipartisan COVID relief package that included assistance to contract livestock and poultry producers, as well as to agricultural producers, growers, processors, specialty crops, non-specialty crops, dairy, livestock, and poultry. On January 15, USDA announced Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 1 top-up payments for swine producers with approved CFAP 1 applications.

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Cattle Industry Convention Underway in Nashville This Week

The biggest annual beef industry gathering began on Tuesday in Nashville, Tennessee, where more than 6,000 people got together for the 2021 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show. Those in attendance include cattle producers, industry partners, and other industry stakeholders. “I’m pleased that cattlemen and women can come together in person once again,” says National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President Jerry Bohn. “Producers from across the country and their families look forward to the convention every year, but I think it means more following the disruptions brought on by COVID-19.” Convention participants will gain insights on market trends during the CattleFax Outlook Seminar, hear a “state of the industry” update from NCBA, learn about the cattle industry’s role in sustainability, and walk through the NCBA Trade Show that contains more than 350 exhibitors on seven acres. The NCBA, Cattlemen’s Beef Board, American National Cattlewomen, CattleFax, and the National Cattlemen’s Foundation will all hold annual meetings. Two general sessions will include a panel discussion on sustainability and a speech from former NFL player Jason Brown, who left football for a career in agriculture.

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GROWMARK and Indigo Combine to Expand Access to Carbon Markets

GROWMARK, a farmer-owned cooperative, and Indigo Ag have announced a joint effort to spur participation in the growing market for agricultural carbon. The companies say because of this collaboration, GROWMARK SYSTEM’s network of retailers will help farmers navigate an increasingly complex soil carbon market and confidently get started on carbon farming through the only high-quality, third-party verified credit program in operation, called “Carbon by Indigo.” GROWMARK and Indigo will provide farmer-owners with the end-to-end support necessary to succeed in the agricultural carbon opportunity. Participating retailers will help farmers evaluate and enroll in “Carbon by Indigo” and implement beneficial farming practices proven to sequester carbon and abate greenhouse gas emissions. Indigo will leverage its capabilities for measuring and verifying on-farm environmental impact at scale to translate the effects of farmers’ efforts into a new source of revenue in the form of carbon credits. “The opportunity for farmers to benefit from public demand for high-quality carbon credits is tremendous,” says Mark Orr, Vice President of Agronomy with GROWMARK. “We’re proud to work with Indigo to provide our farmer partners with a simple and informed path to generate maximum revenue for their efforts.”

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Grassley Wants Review of Cargill/Continental Grain Acquisition of Sanderson Farms

Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley sent a letter to the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division regarding the acquisition of Sanderson Farms by Cargill and Continental Grain Company. Grassley, the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, is asking the Justice Department to thoroughly examine the proposed acquisition and to consult with the USDA on its effect on the poultry industry. “At the closing of the transaction, Cargill and Continental Grain will combine Sanderson Farms, the third-largest poultry producer in the U.S., with Wayne Farms, currently a subsidiary of Continental Grain, to form a new poultry business,” Grassley says in the letter addressed to Richard Powers, Acting Assistant Attorney General. “According to industry analysts, a combined Cargill-Continental Grain-Sanderson Farms would control approximately 15 percent of the U.S. chicken market.” Grassley also says he’s concerned that continued mergers and acquisitions in an already concentrated poultry industry will increase consolidation, frustrate competition, reduce marketing options, and ultimately raise consumer prices. “I urge the Antitrust Division to thoroughly examine this proposed acquisition to preserve a competitive market in the U.S. poultry industry,” Grassley says. “I also urge the division to seek input from the USDA in its analysis of the proposed transaction and its impact on the poultry market.”

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NBB Celebrates RFS Anniversary

Last weekend marked the 16th anniversary of the Renewable Fuel Standard, a policy that’s played a big role in decarbonizing America’s diesel fuel supply. On the heels of the anniversary, National Biodiesel Board CEO Donnell (Duh-NELL) Rehagen noted the sustainable growth of the biodiesel industry under the RFS and urged policymakers to continue supporting future growth. “The RFS has been crucial to growing the advanced biofuel industry, and it will remain essential for future decarbonization efforts around the country,” Rehagen says. “The RFS supported the sustainable growth of a three-billion-gallon market for biodiesel and renewable diesel that has cut 143.8 million metric tons of carbon emissions over the past decade. We can’t afford to lose ground now.” He also says the policy should support the continued growth of advanced biofuels as the industry strives to reach six billion gallons by 2030. The RFS drives the development of advanced biofuels that reduce carbon emissions from some of the hardest economic sectors to decarbonize.

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.