NATIONAL AG NEWS SPONSORED BY THE AMERICAN FARM BUREAU FEDERATION

Study: Ethanol Industry Strongly Rebounded in 2021

In 2021, the U.S. ethanol industry “recovered substantially” from pandemic conditions, with ethanol and gasoline use approaching pre-COVID-19 levels in the second half of the year. A study on the industry by ABF Economics for the Renewable Fuels Association was released this week. With higher demand and value, ethanol’s contribution to U.S. gross domestic product in 2021 was the second-highest ever. In 2021, more than 73,000 U.S. jobs were directly associated with the ethanol industry, which supported an additional 334,200 indirect and induced jobs across all sectors of the economy. The industry created $28.7 billion in household income and contributed just over $52 billion to gross domestic product. Compared to 2020, this represented a 55 percent increase in income generated and a 50 percent increase in the contribution to GDP. The new report also shows that the ethanol industry spent nearly $38 billion on raw materials and goods and services to produce ethanol during 2021, with corn purchases alone accounting for more than $30 billion.

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Growth Energy, EPA Reach Settlement on Deadline for Issuing 2021, 2022 RVO

The Environmental Protection Agency agreed to file a notice in the Federal Register seeking comment on a proposed judicial consent decree that would require EPA to finalize the 2021 and 2022 Renewable Volume Obligations. The RVO’s are the subject of pending rulemaking due no later than June 3, 2022. The announcement is part of settlement discussions with Growth Energy, which filed multiple notices of intent to sue and a complaint in federal district court in response to the agency’s extended delay in issuing the RVOs. Growth Energy contends the delays are a direct violation of the deadlines established by Congress for the Renewable Fuel Standard program. Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor says, “This agreement is a significant milestone for the biofuels industry and reflects Growth Energy’s persistent efforts to hold EPA accountable.” The EPA Federal Register notice scheduled for publication Wednesday (today) provides 30 days for public comment from the date of publication.

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Cattlemen’s Beef Board Releases 2021 Annual Report

The Cattlemen’s Beef Board Tuesday released its 2021 Annual Report. The 2021 report includes information about projects and results within each of the organization’s program areas, including promotion, foreign marketing, consumer information, industry information, research and producer communications. The report also contains a financial statement of assets, liabilities and net assets from September 30, 2020, to September 30, 2021. CBB CEO Greg Hanes says the annual report is “another example of the Checkoff’s ongoing efforts to be more transparent with the producers who invest in our programs.” Highlights in the report include 15 million views of the Beef in the Early Years educational content encouraging parents to consider beef as a first food for their children. The report also shows a 20 percent increase in export value compared to the previous record pace established in 2018. For more information about the Cattlemen’s Beef Board and the Beef Checkoff and to find the report, visit DrivingDemandForBeef.com.

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USDA Finds Avian Influenza in Maine

USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service recently confirmed the presence of highly pathogenic avian influenza, or HPAI, in a non-commercial backyard flock in Maine. Samples from the flock were tested at the Cornell University Animal Health Diagnostic Center, part of the National Animal Health Laboratory Network, and confirmed at the APHIS National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames, Iowa. APHIS is working closely with state animal health officials in Maine on a joint incident response. State officials quarantined the affected premises, and birds on the properties will be depopulated to prevent the spread of the disease. Birds from the flock will not enter the food system. The Maine confirmation is the latest in several confirmed cases of HPAI in the United States. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the recent HPAI detections in birds do not present an immediate public health concern. Additional information on biosecurity for non-commercial backyard flocks can be found at healthybirds.aphis.usda.gov.

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Organic Dairy Farms See Slower Productivity Growth Than Conventional

Organic dairy farm production growth is slower than conventional operations, according to new data from USDA’s Economic Research Service. Productivity is measured as total factor productivity, the ratio of the total amount of goods produced relative to all the inputs—such as labor, fertilizer, and other costs—used to produce those goods. USDA researchers studied the difference in total factor productivity growth between organic and conventional farms using data from organic dairy farms between 2005–16 and from conventional dairy farms between 2000–2016. Total factor productivity grew at an annual rate of 0.66 percent for organic dairy farms compared with 2.51 percent among conventional dairy operations. Both organic and conventional farms saw productivity growth due to technological progress such as advanced equipment and improved genetics. While weather-related feed factors reduced productivity for organic farms, they contributed to a productivity growth for conventional dairy farms. Technical efficiency increased productivity slightly on organic farms, but reduced productivity on conventional farms, while scale-and-mix efficiency reduced productivity for both types of farms.

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Former Ag Secretary Perdue Sole Finalist for University System of Georgia Chancellor

Former Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue is the sole finalist in the search for the next chancellor of the University System of Georgia. The decision follows a national search over the past year to lead the university system. USG’s 26 public colleges and universities enroll more than 340,000 students and employ more than 48,000 faculty and staff to fulfill the system’s teaching, research and service mission across the state. Board Chair Harold Reynolds says, “Perdue stood out for his impressive experience and leadership in public service as well as a vast understanding not only of Georgia and its communities.” Perdue adds, “I consider being named the finalist as the Chancellor of the University System of Georgia to be a wonderful capstone to a career of public service.” The Board began its national search in January 2021 and take action on the Chancellor position at a future board meeting, no sooner than 14 days from naming a finalist.

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By Tucker 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.