NATIONAL AG NEWS SPONSORED BY THE AMERICAN FARM BUREAU FEDERATION

Farm Real Estate Values Continue to Climb

Agricultural real estate values continued to increase at a rapid pace across farm country through the end of last year. The increase in the value of farmland has accelerated in recent quarters alongside elevated commodity prices that have boosted profit opportunities and supported broad strength in the U.S. farm economy. The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City says farm finances and credit conditions have improved dramatically in recent years and interest rates on farm loans remained near historic lows. That’s added support to agricultural real estate markets. Looking at the year ahead, the outlook for agricultural credit conditions remains strong. Elevated commodity prices and robust support from government aid programs due to COVID-19 supported rapid improvement in farm income and credit conditions. Despite concerns about higher input costs and intensifying drought in some regions, markets for most major commodities remained strong, and producers are looking at sound profit opportunities in 2022.

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Vilsack says Ag Outlook is “Strong”

Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack gave the keynote address last week at the USDA’s annual Agricultural Outlook Forum. The Hagstrom Report says that the secretary called the outlook for U.S. agriculture “bright, strong, and positive” despite the problems around the world. When asked about the impact of the battle in Ukraine, Vilsack said it’s too early to make projections about what impacts the war will have on fertilizer and food prices in the U.S. He also says the administration will be supportive of state attorneys general analyzing the history of fertilizer pricing. His biggest concern is that companies may be taking advantage of farmers. The secretary made his remarks after returning from a trade mission to Dubai, the first mission in two years. Vilsack says ag exports set a record last year, and exports will be even higher this year. He said the Dubai trip is part of an agency effort to diversify exports beyond China.

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First Tariff-Free Load of Wheat Arrives in Vietnam

After productive talks with the U.S. in 2021, the Vietnamese government eliminated a three percent U.S. wheat import tariff on December 30. Earlier this month, the first shipment of U.S. wheat purchased without a tariff arrived at a Vietnam port. The shipment contained more than 68,300 metric tons of soft white and hard red spring wheat grown in the Pacific Northwest and Northern Plains. “With the import tariff reduced to zero, the Vietnamese buyer saved almost one million dollars on this vessel load of U.S. wheat,” says Robert Hanson, Agricultural Counselor with the Foreign Ag Service in Hanoi. Vince Peterson, President of U.S. Wheat Associates, says, “The Foreign Agricultural Service worked hard to cut this barrier and level the playing field for American wheat in Vietnam.” Vietnam imports an average of about four million metric tons of wheat every year. Peterson says the demand for U.S. wheat in Vietnam will keep growing in the future.

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Grain Buyers Look for Alternative Grain Supplies

International grain buyers are looking for different places to buy wheat and corn as a Russian invasion cut off Ukrainian supplies. Reuters says European Union producers like Romania and France are being used to cover some nearby shipments. The conflict is rattling international grain markets. European wheat futures hit record highs last week as stalled shipments from Ukraine and Russia are likely. Those two countries and current adversaries account for nearly a third of world wheat exports and almost a fifth of global corn exports. The assault from Moscow led Ukraine to close its ports last week. Romania is a major grain supplier that exports through the Black Sea but outside the conflict zone, so buyers are looking there for backup purchases. Ukraine is a key wheat exporter to Middle Eastern and Mediterranean locations like Egypt, Turkey, Italy, and African countries. Ukraine’s corn customers include China, Spain, Iran, and South Korea.

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NCGA Wins Ethanol Award from the Renewable Fuels Association

The Renewable Fuels Association presented its 2022 Ethanol Industry Award to the National Corn Growers Association. The award was given in recognition of the group’s dedicated and sustained efforts on behalf of the ethanol industry over the past four decades. The award is the RFA’s highest recognition and was presented during the recent National Ethanol Conference in New Orleans. “RFA and NCGA have worked together for decades on policy, market development, research, and promotional efforts aimed at growing our nation’s ethanol industry,” says RFA boss Geoff Cooper. “NCGA CEO Jon Doggett was personally involved in the very early negotiations with RFA, the oil industry, and other Ag groups in an effort that ultimately led to the passage of the Energy Policy Act of 2005.” He also said that NCGA has worked together with RFA on countless research and ethanol promotion efforts, such as technical work, market development, exports, and many other initiatives.  

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Consumers Want Food Made from American Crops

The United Soybean Board released results of a new survey highlighting consumer perceptions of U.S. soybeans, soybean farmers, and the American food supply chain. The survey shows consumer support of domestic agriculture continues to grow stronger, with 78 percent of consumers saying it’s important to buy U.S.-grown food, including soybeans. The 78 percent is an eight-percent increase from the last survey in December 2020. Other highlights from the study include U.S. farmers being the most trusted source when it comes to food safety, with 83 percent of consumers ranking them number one among members of the supply chain. The vast majority of consumers have a very/somewhat positive view of U.S. farmers who grow crops, including soybeans. Soy is seen as healthy by more than half of consumers, with 60 percent saying that soy-based food is somewhat/very healthy. 72 percent of respondents are more positive about soy because of its sustainability.  

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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.