NATIONAL AG NEWS SPONSORED BY THE AMERICAN FARM BUREAU FEDERATION

National Ag News for April 12, 2022

Biden Announces Rural Playbook, Infrastructure Tour

The White House released its Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Rural Playbook. It will help local, state, tribal, and territorial governments in rural areas unlock the benefits of investments in the national infrastructure. The president and other senior administration officials will also launch an infrastructure tour to directly-engage rural communities across the country. The Rural Playbook provides rural communities with information on the “what, when, where, and how to apply” for funding under the law, so no lobbying is necessary to access it. The Playbook also identifies over 100 programs funded under the law with federal cost-share flexibilities and matching requirement waivers. “Building a better America requires that these funds reach rural areas that have been left behind for way too long,” says Mitch Landrieu (LAN-drew), Senior Advisor and Infrastructure Implementation Coordinator. “We see you, and major investments are on the way.” The goal is to make sure all Americans benefit from the historic investments.

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Investigators Solve a $40 Million Crop Insurance Fraud Case

A crop insurance fraud case totaling 40 million dollars led to 23 people getting charged with a crime and 17 other people paying civil fines or penalties. DTN says the case began in 2014 at the USDA’s Inspector General Office when it received a phone tip about alleged fraud at Clay’s Tobacco Warehouse in Mount Sterling, Kentucky. The defendants are accused of cheating the crop insurance program out of anywhere from under $10,000 to many millions of dollars. The most common scheme centered around farmers that raised a good tobacco crop. But, they worked together with insurance agents and adjusters to claim the crop got damaged by storms or pests. After the farmer filed an insurance claim and received payment, the insurance agents and adjusters got kickback payments. FBI investigators say farmers had help from several employees at Clay’s Tobacco House, including one employee who was also a crop insurance agent.

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U.S. Cattlemen Applaud Bill Updating the Packers and Stockyards Act

The bipartisan Amplifying Processing of Livestock in the United States Act, or A-PLUS Act, got introduced into the House last week. The U.S. Cattlemen’s Association says it’s a long-overdue idea that will help spur more processing capacity in the U.S. if it gets enacted. It would allow livestock auction markets to hold an ownership interest in, finance, or participate in the management or operation of a packing facility with a slaughter capacity of fewer than 1,000 animals per day or 250,000 a year. “The Packers and Stockyards Act is over 100 years old, and it’s time to modernize parts of this historic legislation that no longer make sense in the modern world,” says USCA President Brooke Miller. “If a family-owned and regionally-based livestock auction wants to invest in a local processing facility to increase processing capacity for producers in their area, there shouldn’t be an outdated regulation holding them back from doing so.”

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Growth Energy Asks STB to Address Rail Supply Chain Disruptions

Last week, Growth Energy sent a letter to the Surface Transportation Board to talk about their concerns over significant delays in rail service. Those delays impacting the biofuel industry include empty car arrivals and extreme delays in the manifest and unit train traffic across the rail supply chain.. Growth Energy’s members ship nearly 70 percent of ethanol by rail through many key distribution points throughout North America. The organization says this disruption affects not only businesses but American drivers as it can ultimately mean less biofuel is available for blending. “While we certainly understand that a variety of factors have contributed to the rail disruptions, the nation’s railroads must do everything they can to ensure that critical fuel supplies reach markets as quickly as possible,” says Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor. “It’s essential that ethanol reach its destination to benefit American drivers facing high gas prices.”

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Applications Open for Lamb Feeders Leadership School

The National Lamb Feeders Association is accepting applications for the Howard Wyman Sheep Industry Leadership School, which is from June 19-22 in Colorado. The school starts on Sunday, June 19, with a meet-and-greet at the hotel in Greely before the busy week kicks off. Monday, the students will travel to Brush, Colorado, to tour the Colorado Lamb Processors facility, followed by multiple feedlot tours. The day ends with a tour of the Eldon Mars Dairy and a lamb dinner at the Eaton Country Club. Tuesday will be more in the classroom, with presentations on marketing options for lambs, American Sheep Industry Association programs, and plenty of time for group discussion on issues and challenges of marketing options. The school finishes up on Wednesday morning and offers a time to ask questions to sheep industry leaders and school presenters. The deadline to apply is April 29, and for more information, go to lambfeedersusa.org.

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World Crop Acres Grow by 73 million in Two Years

The total number of global crop acres rose by 73 million during the last two years. Agricultural Economic Insights first observed an uptick in global acreage in 2020. The number of acres had trended sideways because of sluggish commodity prices and profitability from 2014 through 2019. After acres began increasing in 2020, another increase was observed and a record 2.43 billion acres got harvested in 2021. From 2019 to 2021, the total number of acres grew by 3.7 percent, or 73 million acres. As far as which crops contributed the most to the recent expansion, AEI says look no farther than oilseeds. From 2016 to 2021, soybean production grew by 25 million acres, which accounted for 40 percent of the total acreage increase. By way of comparison, corn acreage expanded by only 15 million acres. AEI says profitability was behind the surge in planted acres. When profits are strong, producers always find ways to bring more acres online.

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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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