NATIONAL AG NEWS SPONSORED BY THE AMERICAN FARM BUREAU FEDERATION

National Ag News for April 7, 2022

Pork Producers Press Politicians on Public Policies

Pork producers are in Washington, D.C., as part of the National Pork Producers Council’s Capitol Hill fly-in. This week, the organization is highlighting top public policy issues facing the industry. NPPC says the top priorities include preparing for and preventing foreign animal diseases, addressing an agricultural labor shortage, and increasing pork exports. Nearly 100 farmers from across the country are participating in person for the first time in two years. NPPC President Terry Wolters says, “Challenges facing our industry continue to evolve, and we hope our efforts this week help lawmakers understand why these issues are so important.” Producers urge lawmakers to support additional funding for foreign animal disease prevention and preparedness efforts, particularly around African swine fever. Last July, ASF was detected in the Western Hemisphere for the first time in more than 40 years. And, to address an ongoing labor shortage, producers want lawmakers to expand the H-2A visa program to year-round agricultural workers.

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USDA Takes Action to Strengthen Pollinator Research Support

The Department of Agriculture Wednesday announced a strengthened commitment to advancing research and priorities that support pollinator health. USDA is soliciting nominations for members to serve on its newly formed USDA National Pollinator Subcommittee. The subcommittee is part of the National Agricultural Research, Extension, Education, and Economics Advisory Board. The board provides feedback to the Agriculture Secretary, USDA’s science agencies and university collaborators on research, education, extension and economics priorities and policies. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says, “We are keenly interested in understanding the stressors that impact pollinators, including climate change, pests, pathogens and reduced forage.” The Pollinator Subcommittee will provide input on annual USDA pollinator priorities and goals and will make pollinator health-related recommendations to strengthen USDA research efforts. USDA seeks nominations for subcommittee members from individuals with diverse expertise in pollinator health, and expects to appoint seven new subcommittee members. The application deadline is May 31, 2022, and applications should be sent to nareee@usda.gov.

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USDA: Irrigation Organizations Drought Plans Specify Water Restrictions

Guidelines for implementing drought-induced water restrictions on water deliveries and pumping are the most common component in the formal drought plans of irrigation organizations. In the 2019 Survey of Irrigation Organizations, USDA asked groundwater organizations and water delivery organizations, such as irrigation districts and ditch companies, questions about their formal drought planning. USDA’s Economic Research Service updated the data from the 2019 survey Wednesday. USDA found that around one-fifth of all organizations had a formal, written drought plan. Between 69 percent and 73 percent of water delivery organization plans and 80 percent of groundwater organization plans included details about drought-induced water restrictions as a component of their plans. Land fallowing provisions and off-year water storage strategies typically occurred in fewer than 20 percent of plans for most organizations. About one-third of large delivery organization plans included provisions for price increases and water supply augmentation during drought by purchasing additional water.

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Environmental Groups, Fishing Industry Urge Biden to Rollback Trump Executive Order

More than 175 fishing, food advocacy and environmental groups call on the Biden administration to revoke the Trump Administration’s executive order, Promoting Seafood Competitiveness and Economic Growth. The groups say the executive order shortcuts the regulatory process for developing industrial offshore finfish aquaculture facilities in federal waters without Congressional oversight. Offshore finfish aquaculture is a type of finfish farming using massive net pens to raise fish. In a letter to President Biden, the groups say, “Industrial offshore fish farms would contaminate our marine waters with drugs, chemicals, and untreated wastes, while creating a breeding ground for pests and diseases.” Organizers of the letter with Don’t Cage Our Oceans estimate that the organizations in total represent at least nine million individual members across the country and 250,000 businesses, including 5,000 fishing businesses. The open letter calls for new measures, like the Keep Finfish Free Act, to conserve ocean resources and invest in sustainable fishing methods and small-scale aquaculture systems.

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USDA Announces Food Insecurity Grants for Alaska, Hawaii, U.S. Territories

USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service this week announced $5 million in funding available to Alaska, Hawaii, and certain U.S. territories to support small-scale gardening, herding, and livestock operations. The Micro-Grants for Food Security Program is authorized by the 2018 Farm Bill and awards grants to eligible states and territories through a non-competitive application process. USDA Undersecretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs, Jenny Lester Moffitt, says, “These Micro-Grants will help eligible states and territories increase the quantity and quality of locally grown food.” The funding supports small-scale gardening, herding and livestock operations. States and territories that receive funding will then competitively grant subawards. Eligible applicants include agricultural agencies or departments in Alaska, American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, Micronesia, Guam, Hawaii, the Marshall Islands, the Republic of Palau, and the United States Virgin Islands. AMS encourages applications for initiatives that benefit smaller farms and ranches, new and beginning farmers and ranchers, underserved producers, veteran producers, and underserved communities.

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Case IH and Lee Brice Honor Farmers in Upcoming Summer Tour

Country music singer and songwriter, farmer and Case IH brand ambassador Lee Brice will celebrate producers this summer throughout his ‘Label Me Proud Tour’ with his song “Farmer.” The song was written as part of Case IH’s Built by Farmers initiative. The campaign connects the company’s employees, dealers and their families rooted in agriculture with the farmers who use Case IH equipment and technology. Born and raised in South Carolina, Brice pays homage to North America’s dedicated producers and ranchers through his lyrics. The song debuted at the 2021 Farm Progress Show Concert in Decatur, Illinois. Brice says, “I wrote ‘Farmer’ to honor the families and individuals who are up before sunrise, doing the backbreaking work it takes to provide food and resources for homes all across America.” The cross-country Label Me Proud tour will span 23 cities, and select stops throughout the tour will feature “Farmer” in the concert setlist.

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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.

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