NATIONAL AG NEWS SPONSORED BY THE AMERICAN FARM BUREAU FEDERATION

National Ag News for April 20, 2022

NCBA: Biden NEPA Framework Compromises Environmental, Economic Goals

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the Public Lands Council Tuesday expressed concern over the Biden administration’s National Environmental Policy Act, or NEPA rule. NCBA and PLC say the rule undermines progress made over the last several years when efficient regulatory processes are critical to environmental and economic sustainability. PLC Executive Director Kaitlynn Glover says, “When it comes to federal regulations, ranchers are often caught in the middle of political whiplash, and this process is no exception.” In addition to their role in water, transportation, and conservation projects nationwide, NEPA regulations play a role in all activities on federal lands. NCBA and PLC say that NEPA processes have become inefficient over the past several decades and the source of an immense amount of regulatory red tape and uncertainty as producers renew grazing permits, improve rangeland, and participate in USDA conservation programs. NCBA and PLC, along with the American Sheep Industry Association, previously advocated for a NEPA process that is targeted, concise, and timely.

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SHIP IT Act Addresses Supply Chain Backlog

A pair of House lawmakers this week introduced the SHIP IT Act, seeking to address the supply chain backlog in the freight network at U.S. ports. Introduced by Republican Representatives Michelle Fischbach of Minnesota and Byron Donalds of Florida, the legislation builds on the STOP the GRINCH Act introduced last fall. The STOP the GRINCH Act, a Christmas-themed bill, was introduced in November 2021 to ease supply-chain and inflation pressures by streamlining or suspending certain federal regulations on ports, ships, and trucks. Notable items included in the SHIP IT Act would temporarily suspend the hours-of-service requirements for truckers transporting goods directly to ports, allow 18-year-olds to drive commercial trucks to U.S. ports, and identify federal lands that can be used for temporary storage of freight. Fischbach says, “Congress should seize any opportunity to ease supply-chain tensions,” adding, “The SHIP IT Act would do this by targeting specific needs in ports, shipping, and trucking.”

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Farmland Prices up 20% in 2022

The stronger land prices of late 2021 continued in the first months of 2022. Farmers National Company reports sale prices took another jump higher because of the war in Ukraine and ongoing inflation fears. Farmers saw higher commodity prices, and investors wanted a low-risk inflation hedging investment, which propelled the competition for good cropland. Farmland values are roughly 20 percent higher than a year ago. Recent Farmers National Company auction sales demonstrate the strength in the land market so far in 2022. In February, Farmers National Company sold six tracts of Western Indiana land comprising 550 acres for $16,600 per acre. In early March, four tracts of Eastern Illinois land totaling 320 acres sold between $19,100 to $19,700 per acre. At the end of March, a company auction saw three tracts of Central Illinois land sell for $20,500 to $21,500 per acre. In the fall of 2021, prime Illinois farmland was selling in the range of $16,000 plus per acre.

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Ag Aviation Group Cautions Drone Operators on Ag Operations

The National Agricultural Aviation Association is asking drone operators to be mindful of low altitude manned agricultural aircraft operations. With the growing season getting underway, those operations will increase across the nation. Agricultural aviators treat 127 million acres of cropland in the United States each year and perform a variety of services that help farmers increase productivity and protect their crops. NAAA CEO Andrew Moore says agricultural aviators’ “work cannot be delayed because of an unmanned aircraft not yielding to them, as is required by law.” Agricultural aviators fly as low as ten feet off the ground, meaning they share airspace with drones that are restricted to flying no more than 400 feet above ground level. The organization urges drone operators to do everything they can to avoid ag aircraft doing low-altitude work. Small drones can be virtually invisible-and potentially lethal-to agricultural aviators, air ambulance helicopters, law enforcement and other low-flying manned aircraft operating in the same airspace.

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NPB Seeks Applicants for Inaugural Pork Innovation Challenge

The National Pork Board is launching the first-ever Pork Industry Innovation Challenge to encourage individuals and companies to help solve some of the biggest challenges facing the U.S. pork industry. NPB is accepting submissions for the inaugural Challenge through July 31. The focus of the challenge is pig mortality disposal. Producers and innovators are challenged to think of new methods of carcass disposal beyond the existing methods of burial, incineration, composting and landfills. These methods could be used on farms if there were a foreign animal disease outbreak, such as African swine fever. The challenge is open to all U.S. companies, students and residents, including producers. NPB encourages folks to submit an overview of how their idea works in about 500 words or less by July 31 for a chance to win up to $46,000. Multiple awards will be granted if more than one project is successful. Find more details and learn how to submit your application online at porkcheckoff.org.

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USDA Farmers Market Reopens for 25th Market Season

The USDA Farmers Market returns next month for its 25th market season. The annual Friday market will reopen on Friday, May 6, 2022, and run through October. Deputy Agriculture Secretary Jewel Bronaugh (Bro-NAW), says the reopening “is an opportunity to celebrate the important role that farmers markets continue to play in meeting the growing demand for local fresh and healthy food.” Located outside the USDA Headquarters in Washington, DC, the market serves as USDA’s own “living laboratory” for farmers market operations across the country. The market supports the local economy, increases marketing opportunities for farmers and small businesses, provides access to an assortment of local and regional sourced products, and increases access to healthy, affordable fresh food. The USDA Farmers Market promotes the incorporation of healthy fresh produce in consumers food choices through its unique educational style program, VegU. The commodity-centered education program partners with USDA to market and promote the consumption of commodities through short educational sessions and in-market recipe demonstrations.

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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.