Biden Releases 2023 Budget: USDA Highlights

The Biden-Harris Administration Monday submitted to Congress the President’s budget for fiscal year 2023. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says the budget “provides USDA with the tools needed to support a vibrant, revitalized, and prosperous rural America.” The budget proposes $1.1 billion in funding to address climate change across private, working agricultural land. Biden also proposes $1 billion to support agricultural producers and landowners to undertake conservation and climate-smart practices. The budget builds on the $618 million investment to protect and restore watersheds made in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law by proposing an additional $135 million for these efforts. The budget proposes $111 billion for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and invests $935 million in rural America. It builds on the $65 billion investment made by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to make high-speed internet available to all Americans. The budget includes an additional $133 million over 2022 levels for Reconnect to provide rural residents broadband. Biden’s budget also provides more than $10 million for oversight and enforcement of the Packers and Stockyards Act.

***********************************************************************************
Supreme Court to Hear NPPC Case Against Prop. 12

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case brought by the National Pork Producers Council and the American Farm Bureau Federation against California’s Proposition 12. The law bans the sale of pork from hogs born to sows that weren’t raised according to the state’s “arbitrary” production standards. NPPC President Terry Wolters says, “We are extremely pleased that the Supreme Court will consider the constitutionality of Proposition 12.” NPPC has waged a legal battle against the ballot initiative since it was approved in November 2018, arguing at the U.S. district and appellate court levels that Prop. 12 violates the Constitution’s Commerce Clause, which grants Congress the power to regulate trade among the states and limits the ability of states to regulate commerce outside their borders. The high court is taking up the case on appeal from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, which in July upheld a lower court ruling against the NPPC-AFBF lawsuit.

***********************************************************************************
U.S. Plant-Based Protein Sales Reach $7.4 Billion

New data released by the Plant Based Foods Association and others shows U.S. retail sales of plant-based foods grew 6.2 percent in 2021 over a record year of growth in 2020. The total plant-based market value reached an all-time high of $7.4 billion. Overall, the Plant Based Foods Association says plant-based food retail sales grew three times faster than total food retail sales, with most plant-based categories outpacing their conventional counterparts. Plant-based milk imitation product dollar sales grew four percent and 33 percent in the past three years to reach $2.6 billion. After record growth in years prior, 2021 plant-based meat imitation product dollar sales remain strong, delivering a repeat year of $1.4 billion in sales, and growing 74 percent in the past three years. Plant-based burgers continue to lead the plant-based meat category as the top-selling product type. The fastest-growing plant-based meat product types in 2021 were plant-based meatballs, chicken nuggets, tenders, and cutlets, and deli slices.

***********************************************************************************
Restaurant transactions fell 47 percent in April 2020,

New data from USDA’s Economic Research Service shows restaurant transactions fell 47 percent in 2020, compared to 2019. In March of 2020, the federal government declared a national emergency in response to the Coronavirus pandemic. In response, many state and local governments implemented social distancing measures, stay-at-home orders, and the mandatory closure of businesses in high-risk industries. Restaurants were often included in these mandates, which forced many to close their dining rooms, if not the entire business, sharply reducing restaurant visits across the country. During the first full week after the national emergency declaration, there were 37 percent fewer restaurant transactions than the same week in 2019. The largest year-to-year changes occurred three weeks later, with the 47 percent decline. By the end of the year, weekly transactions remained 11 percent lower than they had been in 2019. USDA’s Economic Research Service released the new data Monday as part of its COVID-19 Working Paper, examining food away from home spending.

***********************************************************************************
USDA, Weed Science Society, Presenting Weed Science Webinar Series

USDA’s Agricultural Research Service and Weed Science Society of America Monday announced the launch of a free webinar series focusing on current research and advancements in managing weeds and invasive plants. By collaborating with WSSA, ARS scientists aim to highlight the important research that has contributed to the development of sustainable practices to control weeds and invasive plants. Stanley Culpepper, WSSA president, says the organization is “excited to host a series of webinars to highlight the contribution of ARS scientists to our discipline.” They have scheduled ten webinars from April through June with three themes: tactics, mechanisms and impacts. Presentations will be given by USDA-ARS weed science research experts starting April 5. The webinars will occur every Tuesday from 2-3p.m. ET and include an interactive Q&A session. To attend the webinar, please register in advance. The webinar is open to the public, and WSSA membership is not required. You can register and learn more on the WSSA website, wssa.memberclicks.net.

***********************************************************************************
Fuel Prices Stabilize as Oil Prices Show Extreme Volatility

After a storm of surging prices followed by a week of decline, the national average is virtually unchanged from a week ago, declining just tenths of a penny to $4.23 per gallon. The national average is up 62.4 cents from a month ago and $1.38 per gallon higher than a year ago. The national average price of diesel has risen 8.2 cents in the last week and stands at $5.12 per gallon. GasBuddy’s Patrick De Hann says, “The decline we’ve seen in average gas prices has been slowing down, as oil prices have held above $100 after declining under that level as recently as a few weeks ago.” De Haan adds, “there’s no telling what’s around the corner, at least for now, as the volatility in oil prices persists.” With an OPEC+ meeting later this week, hopes are high that the group will again boost oil production by the same 400,000-barrel number they’ve agreed to every month since last July.

***********************************************************************************

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.