READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Thursday, August 12th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

CattleFax Forecasts Record Beef Demand; Prospects for Tighter Supplies

The beef cattle industry is bouncing back from the pandemic, and continued progress is expected in 2022. Beef prices are near record high, and consumer and wholesale beef demand are both at 30-year highs as the U.S. and global economy recover. While drought remains a significant concern, strong demand, combined with higher cattle prices, signal an optimistic future for the beef industry, according to CattleFax. The popular CattleFax Outlook Seminar, held as part of the 2021 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show in Nashville, shared expert market and weather analysis Wednesday. According to CattleFax CEO Randy Blach, the cattle market is still dealing with a burdensome supply of market-ready fed cattle. The influence of that supply will diminish as three years of herd liquidation will reduce feedyard placements. As this occurs, the value of calves, feeder cattle and fed cattle will increase several hundred dollars per head over the next few years.

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Senate Confirms Moffitt for USDA Post

The U.S. Senate Wednesday confirmed the nomination of Jenny Moffitt as Agriculture Department undersecretary for marketing and regulatory programs. Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow of Michigan says, “Moffitt brings a wealth of experience and a unique perspective as both a farmer and a policy maker.” The Senate Agriculture Committee held a hearing on Moffitt’s nomination on July 15, 2021, and voted to advance her out of the committee with bipartisan support. President Biden nominated Moffitt for the position in April. She most recently served as undersecretary at the California Department of Food and Agriculture and previously served as deputy secretary for the agency. Ranking Senate Ag member John Boozman of Arkansas adds he believes Moffitt “will work in good faith to carry out the regulatory authorities for which she will be responsible in a manner that is consistent with congressional intent.” Moffitt will oversee USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service Agency and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Agency.

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USDA Invests $167 Million in High-Speed Broadband in 12 States

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Wednesday announced the Department of Agriculture is investing $167 million in 12 states to deploy broadband infrastructure. The investment focuses on rural areas without sufficient access to high-speed internet. Secretary Vilsack says broadband “is necessary for Americans to do their jobs, to participate equally in school learning and health care, and to stay connected.” The investments will benefit rural people in Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Virginia. As part of the investment, Central Virginia Services Inc. will use a $14.1 million grant to deploy a fiber network in rural Virginia, and the Altamaha Electric Membership Corporation in Lyons, Georgia, will use a $10.6 million loan and a $10.6 million grant to deploy a fiber network in rural Georgia. USDA’s ReConnect Program provides the loans and grants to construct, improve or acquire facilities and equipment needed to provide broadband service in eligible rural areas.

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U.S. Ag Tractor Sales Hold Steady in July, Gain in Canada

Gains in larger and four-wheel-drive tractors offset smaller declines in the sub-40 horsepower range in the U.S., while Canadian farm tractor sales were positive in July. The Association of Equipment Manufacturers says U.S. total farm tractor sales fell 0.8 percent in July compared to 2020, while U.S. combine sales jumped 19.2 percent. The articulated four-wheel drive segment led the way for the third straight month by climbing 79.4 percent. Year-to-date farm tractor sales remain up 13.7 percent and combines up 12.6 percent. AEM’s Curt Blades states, “The story of these row-crop and articulated four-wheel-drive sales is a reflection of farmer optimism,” adding “farmers don’t make these sorts of investments without serious consideration of future market conditions.” For Canada, July monthly tractor and combine sales were positive across all segments, with the biggest growth in four-wheel-drive units nearly doubling, up 93.8 percent, while total farm tractor sales were up 14.8 percent and combines up 59.8 percent.

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Lawmakers Introduce Ocean Shipping Reform Act

House lawmakers this week Introduced the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2021. The bipartisan legislation is the first major update of federal regulations for the global ocean shipping industry since 1998. The legislation would support American exports by establishing reciprocal trade opportunities to help reduce the United States’ longstanding trade imbalance with China and other countries. South Dakota Republican Dusty Johnson and California Democrat John Garamendi introduced the legislation. The Congressmen serve together on the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and announced their intention to pursue the legislation during a Subcommittee hearing on June 15, 2021. The bill seeks to establish reciprocal trade to promote U.S. exports as part of the Federal Maritime Commission’s mission and require ocean carriers to adhere to minimum service standards that meet the public interest, reflecting best practices in the global shipping industry, among other measures. The bill has large agriculture and transportation industry support.

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Canadian Pacific Submits New Bid for Kansas City Southern

Canadian Pacific Railway this week re-upped its offer to acquire Kansas City Southern in a stock and cash trade worth approximately $31 billion. The move comes as KCS shareholders are voting to approve a merger/transaction with Canadian National. Canadian Pacific claims their new offer is an alternate transaction recognizing the premium value of KCS while providing more regulatory certainty. The proposed transaction values KCS at $300 per share. Following the closing into a voting trust, common shareholders of KCS will receive 2.8 CP common shares and $90 in cash for each share of KCS common stock held. Canadian National, however, maintains its agreement is superior, under which KCS shareholders will receive $325 per common share, which implies a total enterprise value of $33.6 billion. However, there are many concerns regulators will not approve the KCS-CN agreement. Canadian Pacific says the two offers are substantially similar but claims their proposal offers significantly higher regulatory certainty.

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.