READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Monday, August 16th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

Farmland Values Soar in Chicago Fed District Despite COVID-19

Strong commodity prices and continued government assistance are pushing farmland values up by 14 percent in the Central Midwest and 10 percent in the Central Plains. An Illinois farm banker surveyed by the Chicago Fed says, “Government payments have given a boost to the ag sector.” In its quarterly ag newsletter, the Chicago Fed says farmland values in the Seventh District climbed 14 percent on a year-over-year basis in the second quarter of 2021, their largest gain in eight years. Values are expected to climb even higher during the third quarter of the year because seven of every ten bankers are forecasting higher District farmland values during the July through September period this year, while 30 percent forecast stable values. The values for “good” agricultural land moved three percent higher in the second quarter, according to a survey of 152 bankers in the district. All five district states in the Chicago survey showed double-digit year-over-year gains in their agricultural land values, even though too few Michigan bankers responded to the survey to report a numerical change in farmland value.

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Court Partially Upholds Iowa’s “Ag-Gag” Law

A divided panel of judges partially upheld Iowa’s ‘ag-gag” law first put in place in 2012. The Des Moines Register says that decision came last week at the same time a coalition of animal rights groups filed another lawsuit challenging a follow-up law that passed in 2021. Iowa has now passed four state statutes that target animal rights activists who are working to publish videos and pictures from inside large livestock facilities, often after getting hired there as employees. The laws created criminal offenses for people who “obtain access to an agriculture production facility by false pretenses” or “makes a false statement or representation” in the course of an employment application if the person intends to commit any unauthorized actions like videotaping if they get hired. The 2012 law was the first to pass and was immediately challenged in court by several organizations, including Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement and the Animal Legal Defense Fund. Three more laws passed in Iowa after that, with the most recent one going into effect in April. The new lawsuit filed by many of the same organizations challenging the first three laws seeks to strike down the fourth law too.

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Legislation Designed to Improve Livestock Assistance

North Dakota Republican John Hoeven and Montana Democrat Jon Tester introduced bipartisan legislation in the Senate to improve livestock disaster assistance. The Hagstrom Report says the bill is designed to accomplish several things, including aligning coverage between the Livestock Forage Program (LFP) and Emergency Livestock Assistance Program (ELAP). It will also increase producer assistance under LFP to compensate them more accurately for feed costs, specify transportation costs for feed and water as covered losses under ELAP, and make those program improvements permanent. “Our livestock producers are facing real challenges during this drought,” Hoeven says, “Our bipartisan legislation makes common-sense improvements to the Livestock Forage and Emergency Livestock Assistance Programs to better meet the needs of those with boots on the ground.” Hoeven is the ranking member on the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, and Tester also serves on the Appropriations Subcommittee. They both say that ranchers are “really up against it” and are doing all they can to help them through this severe weather. Tester says, “The devastating drought has touched every corner of Montana and put a real hurt on livestock producers in our state.”

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Sorghum Industry Partners with the University of California to Advance Sorghum

The United Sorghum Checkoff Program is partnering with the University of California and its Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources to advance the sorghum industry. The five-year partnership will promote drought resilience in sorghum and increase demand for the cereal crop in the biofuel and bioproduct markets. While the research will be conducted in California, the results will benefit sorghum producers throughout the country. “We are excited to launch such a unique program aimed at helping address the world’s pressing water issues while at the same time increasing demand for a drought-tolerant crop like sorghum,” says Norma Ritz Johnson, USCP executive director. “The program is in perfect alignment with the Sorghum Checkoff’s goal of increasing producer profitability as drought and water scarcity is a challenge faced by most sorghum producers in the U.S.” In addition, Johnson says with the recent focus on renewable energy production, promoting a versatile crop like sorghum in biofuel and bioproduct markets is a timely endeavor. Key activities will include breeding, gene discovery, phenotyping, and research related to the impacts of roots, soil microbes, photosynthesis, and management on drought resilience.

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Growth Energy Welcomes CHS as New Producer Plant Member

Growth Energy, the world’s biggest ethanol trade association, announced that CHS is its newest producer plant member. The addition brings Growth Energy’s membership to a total of 91 producer plant members and 8.8 billion gallons represented out of the total U.S. annual ethanol production. CHS has been a premier ethanol marketer, trader, and producer of renewable fuels for more than forty years. They produce 260 million gallons of fuel-grade ethanol and market one billion gallons of ethanol every year, making CHS one of the nation’s largest suppliers of ethanol-enhanced gasoline and the largest U.S. retailer of E85 ethanol. Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor says they’re thrilled to welcome CHS to their growing powerhouse list of Growth Energy producer plant members. “As a whole, CHS has already contributed so much to our industry as an associate member of Growth Energy, having just announced the sale of E15 at 19 more Midwest terminals through its refining business,” Skor says. A release from CHS says, “We value working together for shared success, and we look forward to active participation in Growth Energy and its efforts to advance pro-biofuels policies and expand consumer access to higher ethanol blends.”

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Corn Export Sales Jump While Wheat Sales Decline

The USDA says corn sales for the 2020-2021 marketing year that ends on August 31 jumped while wheat sales declined. Sales of corn for offshore delivery totaled 377,600 metric tons in the seven days ending on August 5. That’s up noticeably from the previous week and the prior four-week average. Mexico was the big buyer at 144,500 metric tons, followed by Japan and Venezuela. The total would have been higher, but an unknown country canceled cargoes totaling 76,800 metric tons. Sales for delivery in the next marketing year totaled just shy of 602,000 metric tons. Exports for the week dropped 25 percent to 1.06 million metric tons. Wheat sales for delivery during the marketing year that began on June 1 fell to 293,000 metric tons, five percent lower week-to-week and 32 percent lower than the prior four-week average. An unknown country bought 98,600 metric tons, followed by Japan and Venezuela. Exports for the week hit a marketing-year high of 627,900 tons. Soybean sales in the current marketing year came in at 96,900 metric tons, up from the prior week and the previous four-week average. China was the top buyer at 84,500 metric tons. For the next marketing year, sales totaled 1.12 million metric tons.

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.