National Ag News for April 19th, 2022

USDA Announces Changes to WASDE Reports Starting in May

The Department of Agriculture Monday announced changes to the World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report starting next month. The changes impact how USDA presents data for sugar and dairy in the monthly report. The sugar WASDE table will have a separate line listing under “Imports” for High-tier tariff imports. The new line will appear directly below the line for imports from Mexico. Footnote 5, which once referenced imports from Mexico, and high-tier tariff sugar and syrups not otherwise specified, will be eliminated. The U.S. Dairy Supply and Use table will remove CCC Donations as a separate category and include all donations as part of domestic use. As such, stocks, imports, exports, and use will reflect total rather than commercial use, and the headings will be adjusted accordingly. The monthly WASDE report provides annual forecasts for supply and use of U.S. and world wheat, rice, coarse grains, oilseeds, and cotton, and U.S. supply of sugar, meat, poultry eggs and milk.

U.S. Canola Growers Welcome EPA Proposal for Biofuels

Canola growers welcome the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed determination that canola oil-derived renewable diesel and other newer biofuels qualify as advanced biofuels. The EPA last week, as part of the announcement of summertime E15 sales this year, proposed using canola oil-derived fuels under the Renewable Fuel Standard. The U.S. Canola Association says based on its greenhouse gas lifecycle evaluation described in the proposed rulemaking, the EPA finds that renewable diesel, jet fuel, liquified petroleum gas and heating oil produced from canola oil reduce GHG emissions by at least 50 percent compared to petroleum. U.S. Canola Association President Andrew Moore says, “The EPA’s rulemaking would level the playing field between canola and other oilseed crops in the biofuel market.” The organization petitioned the EPA in 2020 to approve canola oil as a feedstock for renewable diesel. Moore adds, “New canola channels would also help farmers diversify and expand their markets.”

Feinstein, Padilla, Booker, Stabenow to Secretary Vilsack: Support California Prop 12

Senate Democrats, including the Senate Ag Committee Chair, urge Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to support California’s Proposition 12 before the Supreme Court. Senators Dianne Feinstein and Alex Padilla of California, along with New Jersey’s Cory Booker and Senate Ag Chair Debbie Stabenow from Michigan, made the request in a letter to Vilsack. In 2018, California voters passed Proposition 12, which set humane standards for farm animal products sold in California. Last month, the Supreme Court agreed to hear National Pork Producers Council v. Ross, a lawsuit challenging Proposition 12. The lawmakers write, “States should not be stripped of their authority to mitigate the harm that inhumane farm animal confinement poses to animals, people, and the environment.” NPPC and the American Farm Bureau Federation call the law unconstitutional, adding Proposition 12 “sets arbitrary animal housing standards that lack any scientific, technical or agricultural basis and that will only inflict economic harm on U.S. hog farmers and consumers.”

Groups to USTR, USDA: Panama Must Fully Implement Trade Pact

Agriculture groups late last week urged the Biden administration to oppose changes to the tariff elimination terms of the U.S.-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement. The National Pork Producers Council and other groups made the request to the Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Trade Representative’s office. The agreement, which went into effect in October 2012, is still in the process of being fully implemented, with gradual annual tariff reductions and increases in tariff rate quotas, or TRQs. Panama’s TRQs for pork, chicken, dairy, corn and several other commodities have been in place for ten years, and several have another ten years to go before free trade with Panama is achieved. Under the agreement, the country can also impose temporary safeguards on certain import-sensitive agricultural products as it transitions to a more open market. In March, the Panamanian government submitted a formal request to revise the agricultural tariff elimination terms of the TPA. The agriculture groups urge the administration to oppose any changes to agricultural tariffs, TRQs or safeguards.

Feeding America Seeks Additional Support from Congress

The Department of Labor last week reported year-over-year inflation of 8.5 percent, levels not seen since 1981. At the same time, the latest Feeding America food bank pulse survey data shows that more food banks report seeing demand for food assistance increase or stay the same for February compared to the previous month. Food banks are purchasing nearly as much food as they did in 2021 but are now paying 40 percent more for those purchases. Feeding America projects that the food bank network will experience a 20 percent decrease in manufacturing donations and a 45 percent decrease in federal commodities in fiscal year 2022. Feeding America says Congress should ensure that food banks have the critical resources and program flexibilities necessary to address the need for food assistance by providing $900 million for The Emergency Food Assistance Program and extending child nutrition waivers. Feeding America also calls on USDA to use the Commodity Credit Corporation to provide funds for food purchases.

Fuel Prices Decline Again, Slide Could Stall

The nation’s average gas price declined for the fourth straight week, falling 3.8 cents from a week ago to $4.06 per gallon. The national average is down 21.1 cents from a month ago and $1.21 per gallon higher than a year ago. The national average price of diesel fell 1.2 cents in the last week and stands at $5.02 per gallon. GasBuddy’s Patrick De Haan calls the decline “a feat we most likely would not have expected ahead of summer and given the continued turns in Russia’s war on Ukraine.” However, he warns the downturn could slow or reverse in the days ahead if the rally in oil prices continues. The price of a barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude oil surged from its week-ago level as the EU signaled it may move forward with sanctions on Russian energy, and China worked to reopen some cities shut down due to COVID. De Haan adds, “The path forward at the pump remains murky, with many possible outcomes.”


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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