NATIONAL AG NEWS SPONSORED BY THE AMERICAN FARM BUREAU FEDERATION

National Ag News for April 8, 2022

Global Beef Demand Continues to Soar

U.S. beef exports turned in another strong performance in February. USDA data compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation says the strong month for beef was led by excellent value growth in key Asian and Latin American markets. Beef exports hit 108,500 metric tons in February, five percent higher than last year. Beef’s export value rose 35 percent to over $904 million. “Broad-based growth has become a recurring theme for U.S. beef exports as international demand has never been higher and global supplies remain tight,” says USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom. Pork exports trended lower as larger shipments to Mexico and Japan didn’t offset a decline in Chinese and Hong Kong demand. February pork exports totaled 198,530 metric tons: 17 percent lower than a year ago. Pork export value fell 14 percent from last year to $541 million. USMEF says logistical challenges were compounded in February by lower-priced pork offered by competitors.

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Senate Ag Leaders Ask Biden to Fill USDA Vacancies

Senators Debbie Stabenow, Chair of the Senate Ag Committee, and Ranking Member John Boozman (BOZE-man) asked President Biden to quickly fill vacancies at USDA. They say filling the open positions can help increase trade opportunities for American agriculture. In a letter sent to the White House, the leaders ask Biden to quickly nominate a candidate to serve as the Chief Agricultural Negotiator in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. They also want a candidate in place to serve as the Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. “Global agricultural markets are highly competitive,” the senators wrote. “Every day, new trade barriers against American agricultural products are being devised to limit our access.” They also point out that the agricultural industry needs strong advocates that understand the needs of American farmers, ranchers, and foresters and who will represent their collective interests on the world stage.

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NCBA Supports the A-PLUS Act

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association supports the A-PLUS ACT, which stands for Amplifying Processing of Livestock in the United States. The bill was introduced in the U.S. House by Missouri Republican Vicky Hartzler and California Democrat Jimmy Panetta. The bill would clarify regulations under the Packers and Stockyards Act to allow livestock market owners to have an ownership stake in small meatpacking entities. Backers say that’s another tool to boost processing capacity and solve some key challenges in cattle marketing. “The need for new packing facilities has become a critical issue for the cattle industry,” says Clint Berry, chair of NCBA’s Livestock Marketing Council. “The A-PLUS Act makes it possible for the marketing segment of the cattle industry to be included as investors in these facilities, helping reduce dependence on major packers and improve the competitiveness of the live cattle market.” NCBA also says the meatpacking sector continues to be a bottleneck in the supply chain.

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CHS Reports Second Quarter Earnings

CHS released its earnings results for the second quarter that ended on February 28. The company reported a second-quarter income of $219 million and revenues of $10.3 billion. That compares to a net loss of $38.2 million and $8.3 billion in revenues for the first quarter of fiscal year 2021. For the first six months of the current fiscal year 2022, the company reported a net income of $671 million and revenues of $21.2 billion. Some highlights in the fiscal year include refining margins in their energy segment, which were higher due to global supply and demand factors, and more favorable pricing for Canadian crude oil, which CHS refines. Robust global demand, coupled with increased market volatility, resulted in higher commodity prices and improved earnings, primarily in the company’s agricultural segment.  “The U.S. agricultural industry continues to experience strong demand for grain and oilseed commodities,” says Jay Debertin (Deh-BEHR-tin), president and CEO of CHS, Inc.

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USDA Forming Subcommittee on Rural Community Economic Development

The USDA says it will establish a Rural Community Economic Development Subcommittee as a part of its recently launched Equity Commission. “This new subcommittee will be crucial to addressing issues of persistent poverty in rural communities,” says Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack. “We are committed to giving each recommendation the Equity Commission makes a full consideration to implement systemic, lasting change.” Deputy Secretary Jewell Bronaugh says,” The work of this subcommittee will be invaluable to the commission as we seek to provide recommendations on how underserved rural communities can obtain equity access to USDA programs. I’m hopeful the work of this commission and subcommittee will  break down barriers and increase the public’s access to, and trust in, USDA’s programs and services.” USDA is asking for nominations for membership on the RCED subcommittee. Nominations are open to the public, and any interested people or organizations may nominate qualified individuals. Learn more at usda.gov.

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Bennet Wants Full Funding, Implementation of Fire Recovery Efforts

Colorado senator Michael Bennet wrote a letter to the USDA and the Forest Service asking the agencies to fully fund and implement fire recovery efforts before spring arrives. Snowmelt runoff and seasonal rains could cause further flooding and damage Colorado watersheds. Bennet says his state faces a funding gap of about $146 million for wildfire recovery. “Two catastrophic Western wildfires burned over 400,000 acres in Colorado,” Bennet wrote in his letter to Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack and Forest Service Chief Randy Moore. The Colorado lawmaker wants the Biden Administration to prioritize deploying fire recovery funds. Colorado, like many other western states, was hit hard by wildfires in recent years. Bennet wants the agencies to not only fully fund recovery efforts immediately, but also develop long-term solutions to support Colorado communities on the frontlines of recent wildfires. “State and local governments shouldn’t carry the burden of post-fire recovery on Federal lands,” he says.

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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.