NATIONAL AG NEWS SPONSORED BY THE AMERICAN FARM BUREAU FEDERATION

National Ag News for April 6, 2022

March Ag Economy Barometer Lower

The Purdue University-CME Group Ag Economy Barometer dipped to a reading of 113 in March, the weakest farmer sentiment reading since May 2020, which was in the early days of the pandemic. The March reading was 12 points lower than a month earlier and 36 percent lower than in March 2021. Compared to a year earlier, producers’ appraisal of current conditions was down 44 percent, while their expectations for the future fell 31 percent. Producers continue to say that they expect their farm’s financial performance to decline in 2022 compared to 2021. The biggest concern among producers for their farming operation this year continues to be higher input costs. The war in Ukraine exacerbated producers’ worries about production costs, with nearly two-thirds of farmers expecting the biggest impact on U.S. agriculture from the war to be on input prices. Each month, the barometer is calculated from 400 U.S. agricultural producers’ responses to a telephone survey.

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U.S., Mexican Agriculture Secretaries Meet to Address Shared Priorities

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack met with his counterpart in Mexico Tuesday and announced the opening of Mexico to U.S. potato exports by May 15. A Department of Agriculture statement says they met to continue cooperation on shared priorities, including open trade, science-based policy-making, and sustainable and climate-smart agricultural production. Following the meeting, Vilsack announced that the United States and Mexico have concluded all necessary plant health protocols and agreed to a final visit by Mexican officials in April that finalizes expanded access to the entire Mexican market for all U.S. table stock and chipping potatoes. The leaders also discussed enhancing plant and animal health cooperation to meet emerging threats and to promote food security. Two-way trade in food and agricultural products between the United States and Mexico reached a record $63 billion in 2021, and the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement has further enhanced the strong relationship between the North American neighbors.

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USDA to Host Data Users’ Meeting

USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service will hold its biannual Data Users’ Meeting later this month. USDA is hosting the meeting to share recent and pending statistical program changes with the public, and to solicit input on programs important to agriculture. The event is organized by NASS in cooperation with USDA’s World Agricultural Outlook Board, Farm Service Agency, Economic Research Service, Agricultural Marketing Service, Foreign Agricultural Service and the U.S. Census Bureau. Joe Parsons, chair of USDA’s Agricultural Statistics Board, says, “This cooperative venue helps to drive change in our agricultural statistics programs to ensure we are meeting the needs of all stakeholders.” The meeting will be Tuesday, April 19, 2022, from 1–4:30 p.m. CT. The event will be held at the University of Chicago’s Gleacher Center. A virtual attendance option will also be available. The meeting is free and open to the public, but registration is required. Find registration information at nass.usda.gov.

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Report Examines Impact of Increased Use of Non-GM Feed

New research shows that greenhouse gas emissions on farms could rise if more U.S. food companies require feed for their livestock and poultry be free from genetically modified ingredients. The report says grain elevator and feed mill product handling and production requirements would be greater, and the price of meat, milk and eggs for consumers could increase. The Institute for Feed Education and Research released the report Tuesday. The study examined the environmental and economic implications should U.S. animal food manufacturers need to boost the production of non-GM feed. Partnering with Dairy Management Inc., MFA, the National Corn Growers Association, the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association and others, the research seeks to inform companies throughout the food value chain of the complexities involved with producing GM and non-GM feed lines. Lara Moody, IFEEDER executive director, says the report “shows that when you limit the use of safe, proven technologies, like GM crops, the costs for both the environment and consumers can increase.”

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Thune, Klobuchar Urge EPA to Update Biofuel Emissions Modeling

Two Senate Ag Committee members recently urged the Environmental Protection Agency to update its greenhouse gas modeling for biofuels. Senators John Thune, a South Dakota Republican, and Amy Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat, asked the EPA to adopt the Argonne National Lab’s Greenhouse Gases, Regulated Emissions, and Energy Use in Transportation, or GREET model. The lawmakers say these long-overdue updates would permit consistent comparison between petroleum-based fuels, natural gas systems, electric generation, and renewable fuels. In a joint statement, the Senators say, “The GREET Model has been among the most widely utilized sources of GHG data, underpinning research that finds corn ethanol can currently achieve 46 percent lower lifecycle carbon intensity than gasoline.” They made the request in a letter to the EPA, also signed by seven other Midwest farm-state Senators. Thune and Klobuchar previously introduced the Adopt GREET Act, legislation that would require the EPA to update its greenhouse gas modeling for ethanol and biodiesel.

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Upper Missouri River Basin Forecast Runoff Well Below Normal

Reservoir inflows in the Missouri River basin above Sioux City, Iowa, were well-below average in March. The March runoff of 1.5 million acre-feet was 48 percent of average for the month. The updated 2022 upper Basin runoff forecast is 17.8 million acre-feet, 69 percent of average, approximately 2.6 million acre-feet less than the March 1 forecast. John Remus of the U.S. Army corps of Engineers says, “Due to the lack of plains snowpack in 2022, below-average mountain snowpack, and dry upper Basin conditions, we expect upper Missouri River Basin runoff to be below average.” The runoff forecast is based on soil moisture conditions, plains snowpack, mountain snowpack, and long-term precipitation and temperature outlooks. System storage is currently 48.4 million acre-feet, which is 7.7 million acre-feet below the top of the carryover multiple use zone. Conservation measures, such as minimum winter releases and reduced flow support for navigation, are implemented as the amount of water in the reservoir system declines.

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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.