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National Ag News for April 13, 2022

Biden Announces Summertime E15 Sales

President Joe Biden Tuesday announced the Environmental Protection Agency is taking steps to allow for summertime E15 sales. Biden made the announcement during a visit to a POET ethanol facility in Iowa. To make E15 available in the summer, EPA is planning to issue a national emergency waiver. Without a waiver, E15 cannot be used in most of the country from June 1 to September 15, and the EPA plans to take final action to issue the emergency waiver closer to June 1. The White House says the EPA is also considering additional action to facilitate the use of E15 year-round. The EPA also Tuesday announced efforts to expand supply and choices for other forms of fuel, such as diesel and jet fuel. The EPA is proposing a new approval for canola oil that will add new pathways for fuels to participate in the Renewable Fuel Standard program to provide renewable diesel, jet fuel and other fuels.

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Consumer Price Index Rises Again

The Consumer Price Index increased 1.2 percent in March, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 8.5 percent before seasonal adjustment. Increases in the indexes for gasoline, shelter, and food were the largest contributors to the seasonally adjusted all items increase. The food index increased one percent in March as the food at home index increased 1.5 percent over the month. All six major grocery store food group indexes increased in March. The largest increase was for other food at home, which increased two percent over the month. The index for fruits and vegetables rose 1.5 percent following a 2.3 percent increase in February. The index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs increased one percent in March, while the index for cereals and bakery products rose 1.5 percent, and the index for nonalcoholic beverages increased 1.2 percent over the month. The dairy and related products index also increased 1.2 percent in March.

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NCBA Renews Call for Suspension of Brazilian Beef Imports

Following a USDA report highlighting an increase in Brazilian beef imports, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association renewed its call to immediately suspend fresh beef imports from Brazil. NCBA has repeatedly called for a thorough audit of Brazil’s animal health and food safety system, to ensure the safety of the U.S. cattle herd. In 2021, Brazilian exports to the United States increased by 131 percent. In the first three months of 2022, Brazil has already shipped more than 50,000 metric tons of fresh beef to the United States. The surge of imports triggered a temporary tariff safeguard of 26.4 percent that will apply to Brazilian beef imports for the rest of 2022. While a temporary tariff increase may discourage further imports, NCBA says it does not address the underlying concern over Brazil’s repeated failure to adhere to international animal health and food safety standards. NCBA believes restricting Brazilian imports is essential until Brazil proves it can adhere to U.S. standards.

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Argentina and Brazil Could Expand Wheat Production

The war in Ukraine is expected to expand wheat production in Argentina and Brazil, the primary wheat-producing nations in South America. Agriculture and consumer economics experts from the University of Illinois say both nations will likely already increase wheat planting this season, which begins in May 2022. The high price of wheat after a significant shock to agricultural commodity markets caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine is an incentive for increased planting of wheat in Argentina and Brazil, as well in the United States. Argentina is the primary South American producer and exporter of wheat, accounting for about seven percent of the global exports. Brazil, in contrast, is a prominent importer, mainly from Argentina. The ongoing conflict in Ukraine has caused wheat supply and food security concerns for many major wheat importers that depend on Black Sea supplies. In this case, the University of Illinois experts say South American producers may increase supply to African countries.

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Tractor and Combine Sales Make First Decline Since July 2021

Ag tractor and combine sales posted their first decline in March since July 2021, according to the Association of Equipment Manufacturers. U.S. total farm tractor sales fell 21.1 percent for the month of March compared to 2021. U.S. combine sales for the month dropped 10.2 percent to 343 units sold. Total farm tractor sales are now down 7.9 percent year-to-date, while combines sales are down 19.2 percent. In Canada, sales fell in all segments for a 5.1 percent decline in total farm tractor sales. Combine sales were down as well in Canada, falling 36.8 percent to 60 units sold. Year-to-date farm tractor unit sales are down a slight 0.7 percent in Canada, while harvesters are down 36.2 percent. AEM’s Curt Blades says they expected the declines, adding, “Inventory levels are down more than ten percent in both the U.S. and Canada, and this is the result of supply chain difficulties catching up with this segment of the manufacturing industry.”

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Fall Seasonal Effects Connected to E. coli Outbreaks in Bagged Romaine

USDA Agricultural Research Service scientists are researching an underlying pattern of seasonal E. coli outbreaks linked to bagged romaine lettuce. Although contamination of lettuce products is rare, between 1998 and 2019, 36 outbreaks that traced back to lettuce were recorded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Most of the outbreaks involved romaine lettuce harvested in the fall on the California Central Coast and late winter in Southern California and Arizona. One of the most significant findings of the study is that E. coli survived on average 5.6 times better in cold-stored packaged romaine harvested in the fall than on the same varieties harvested in late spring. The research also found the bacterial community present on bagged romaine differed by season, lettuce deterioration state, and whether survival of E. coli on the lettuce was high or low. An ARS Researcher says, “Our observations definitely open an entire new branch of inquiry about outbreak seasonality.”

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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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