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National Ag News for April 22, 2022

FBI Warns Ag Cooperatives About Possible Cyberattacks

The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s cyber division is warning agricultural cooperatives across the country to be wary of possible cyberattacks. The division wants cooperatives to take all possible precautions to keep their operations safe. The FBI says ransomware attacks typically happen on ag cooperatives during the critical planting and harvest seasons. The attackers hope to disrupt operations, cause financial loss, and damage the food supply chain. 2021 saw several attacks on ag cooperatives during the harvest. So far, DTN says two ag cooperatives have been hit by cyberattacks this year, one in February, and the other in March. One company is a feed mill, and the other is a multi-state grain company providing seed, fertilizer, and logistical services. The FBI didn’t share the name of either company or any additional information. Cyberattacks have recently hit 14 of 16 critical infrastructure sectors in the U.S., including food and agriculture, the defense industry, and others.

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IGC Prediction Calls for Lower Global Corn and Wheat Production

The International Grains Council is forecasting global corn production will drop by 13 million tons in the 2022-2023 season. Reuters says the council’s prediction is 1.197 billion tons because of smaller crops in Ukraine and the United States. The first full assessment forecasts Ukraine’s corn crop to drop from 41.9 million tons last season to 18.6 billion. The IGC says the Black Sea region’s conflict makes its current forecast “especially tentative.” The United States, the world’s leading corn producer, will harvest 376.6 million tons, down from last year’s 383.9 million. The council also forecasts a decline of one million tons in global wheat production. The 2022-2023 total will be 780 million tons, due in large part to a smaller crop in Ukraine, which will be 19.4 million tons compared to 33 million last year. The drop will be mostly offset by larger crops in other countries, including Russia and Canada.

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Environmental Group Wants Changes to Crop Insurance Program

The Natural Resources Defense Council released a report that calls for changing the Federal Crop Insurance Program. They’re particularly interested in finding ways to incentivize practices that reduce risk and lower the cost of taxpayer-subsidized payouts. As a first step, the report says the crop insurance program should include good stewardship or performance-based discounts that reward farmers who use good soil health practices with a higher premium subsidy or an adjusted insurance premium rate. Rate adjustments could increase the adoption of regenerative practices that improve soil health and mitigate damage to crops, which would lower the cost of crop insurance over time. They recommend that Congress authorize long-term funding for a crop insurance savings program for soil health practices that are modeled on the Pandemic Cover Crop Program. They also want the Risk Management Agency to adopt insurance premium formulas that account for risk mitigation of soil health management practices.

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USDA Investing $420 Million in Infrastructure Projects

The USDA announced it will invest $420 million in 132 infrastructure projects in 31 states. The funds will get used for projects like rehabilitating dams, flood prevention, and watershed restoration projects. The investments are funded through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and build on an earlier $166 billion investment earlier this year. “The infrastructure law is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to rebuild our infrastructure, create good-paying jobs, and build new economic opportunity,” says Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack. “Our watershed programs help communities rebuild after natural disasters and prepare for future events.” He also says that includes typically underserved communities. The administration intends to grow the economy from the bottom up and middle out, and it will occur in partnership with rural communities. The funding comes from the Watershed and Flood Prevention Operations Program, which provides technical financial assistance for new watershed infrastructure, and the Watershed Rehabilitation Program, which upgrades existing NRCS dams.

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What to Know About U.S. Dairy on Earth Day

Earth Day is Friday, April 22, and the U.S. dairy industry always has reasons to celebrate the event. The National Milk Producers Federation says it’s an opportunity to refocus on its environmental and climate leadership within agriculture in the U.S. and around the world. Due to innovative farming and feed practices, a gallon of milk in 2017 required 30 percent less water, 21 percent less land, and a 19 percent smaller carbon footprint than in 2007. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization says North America was the only region in the world to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions since 2005 even as it increased milk production. That means the greenhouse gas intensity for dairy products is the lowest in the world. Dairy farms help guard against food waste by taking byproducts from other industries, such as almond hulls and brewer’s grains, and using them as feed. U.S. dairy intends to be GHG-neutral by 2050.

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Ethanol Output Nears Seven-Month Low

The Energy Information Administration says ethanol output plunged to its lowest level in almost seven months during the week ending on April 15. Ethanol inventories also dropped to multi-month lows. Ethanol production fell to an average of 947,000 barrels a day during the week. The EIA report says that’s down significantly from the 995,000 barrels a day produced during the previous week. It’s also the lowest production level since the seven days ending on September 24. In the Midwest, the biggest-producing region of the country, output hit 889,000 barrels a day, down from 935,000 barrels a week earlier and the lowest level since late September. Gulf Coast and West Coast production levels dropped by 1,000 barrels a day, while output on the East Coast and in the Rocky Mountain region stayed steady with the previous week. Ethanol inventories fell to 24.34 million barrels, the lowest level since the week ending on January 14.

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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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