NATIONAL AG NEWS SPONSORED BY THE AMERICAN FARM BUREAU FEDERATION

National Ag News for April 28, 2022

Biden Administration Announces Global Food Aid

The Biden Administration Wednesday announced $670 million in food assistance in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The Department of Agriculture and U.S. Agency for International Development will draw down the full balance of the Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust. USAID will use the $282 million from the trust to acquire U.S. food commodities for Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, and Yemen. USDA will provide $388 million in additional funding through the Commodity Credit Corporation to cover transportation, shipping, handling, and other associated costs. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says, “America’s farmers, ranchers and producers are uniquely positioned through their productivity, and through the Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust to help.” The trust is a special authority renamed for Congressman Bill Emerson in 1998, that enables USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance to respond to unanticipated food crises abroad when other resources are not available. This is the first time since 2014 the U.S. government has used the emergency funding authority.

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Vilsack Authorizes Additional CCC Funds for HPAI Response

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Wednesday approved Commodity Credit Corporation funding to assist USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service response to highly pathogenic avian influenza. The virus has been confirmed in 29 states, affecting more than 33 million domestic birds. APHIS is working closely with state animal health officials on joint incident responses in each affected state. To help ensure APHIS can continue to provide critical rapid response activities, Vilsack approved the transfer of nearly $263 million from the CCC to APHIS to directly support the response efforts. The funding allows APHIS to continue its work with state and local partners to quickly identify and address cases of HPAI in the United States. The Secretary is authorized to transfer funding from available resources to address emergency outbreaks of animal and plant pests and diseases. Secretary Vilsack previously approved the use of approximately $130 million in emergency funding in mid-March.

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Strong Soybean Oil Demand Elevating Price

New data from USDA’s Economic Research Service shows demand for soybean oil increased its price in 2021 and so far in 2022. Soybean oil is the most widely used vegetable oil, and soybean oil use has typically accounted for over 50 percent of total domestic disappearance of all vegetable oil used in the United States. Given the versatility of soybean oil and the limited supplies of substitute oils, steady growth in food and industrial demand for soybean oil caused domestic prices to rise. In March 2022, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service reported that average monthly soybean oil prices in Decatur, Illinois, a leading indicator market for soybean oil, had reached 76 cents per pound, more than 40 percent higher than a year earlier. Rising monthly prices have contributed to increases in the 2021/22 U.S. season-average soybean oil price, currently projected at $0.70 per pound, an increase of 23 percent from the prior marketing year.

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TFI Applauds STB Hearing on Freight Rail Service

The Fertilizer Institute President and CEO Corey Rosenbusch thanked the Surface Transportation Board for holding this week’s hearing on “Urgent Issues in Freight Rail Service.” Rosenbusch says, “We appreciate the opportunity to provide testimony on how rail service issues are negatively impacting the cost and timely delivery of fertilizer inputs to farmers.” TFI cited issues such as the implementation of precision scheduled railroading, a lack of competition, and a lack of structural and market-based incentives to be customer-oriented, leading to reduced rail service, high shipping rates, and poor cycle times. The STB also heard testimony from Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Department of Agriculture Deputy Secretary Dr. Jewel Bronaugh (Bro-NAW), both of whom mentioned the importance and challenges facing fertilizer shippers, as well as other agriculture groups such as the American Farm Bureau Federation and the National Grain and Feed Association. Rosenbusch adds, “these issues are felt broadly, are having negative impacts, and must be addressed through modern reforms.”

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CME Group to Launch Canadian Wheat Futures

CME Group Wednesday announced the launch of Canadian Wheat futures on June 13, pending regulatory review. The contract offers market participants a new tool to directly manage exposure to the Canadian wheat market. Tim Andriesen, Managing Director of Agricultural Products at CME Group, says, “Canada is the world’s second largest producer of spring wheat and is one of the world’s top wheat exporters, making it an increasingly important region for our global clients.” Other officials say the contract will bring great price transparency to the market. Canadian Wheat futures will be cash-settled and will closely track the shipment of grains from Vancouver, where the bulk of Canadian western red spring wheat is exported. The Canadian Wheat contract will be based on the Platts Canadian Western Red Spring Wheat for Number 2 CWRS 13.5 percent protein Vancouver daily price assessment. Canadian Wheat futures will be listed by and subject to the rules of the Chicago Board of Trade.

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Former USDA Animal Inspector Pleads Guilty for Accepting Bribes

A 68-year-old Laredo, Texas, man has admitted to accepting bribes while employed by the Department of Agriculture. The U.S. Justice Department this week announced Roberto Adams pleaded guilty to accepting more than $40,000 in bribery payments while working as a USDA lead animal health technician. Adams inspected cattle entering the United States to determine if they met the necessary health requirements to enter the country. Over the course of at least 14 months, Mexican cattle brokers paid Adams to allow cattle into the country without proper quarantine or legitimate inspection.   Adams will be sentenced in August and faces up to 15 years in prison and a possible $250,000 maximum fine. The FBI conducted the investigation with the assistance of the USDA  Office of Inspector General. Assistant U.S. Attorney Heather Winter is prosecuting the case. Data shows that U.S. annual cattle imports from Mexico average more than 1.25 million head per year.

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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.