NATIONAL AG NEWS SPONSORED BY THE AMERICAN FARM BUREAU FEDERATION

National Ag News for April 29, 2022

Biden Administration Proposes to Spend $500 Million on Food Production

The Biden administration is calling on Congress for $33 billion in additional support for the people of Ukraine, who are still struggling under the Russian attack. Included in that proposal is $500 million in domestic food production assistance. The funds will support the increased production of U.S. food crops that are experiencing a global shortage due to the war in Ukraine, including wheat and soybeans. In a release from the White House, the administration says, “Through higher loan rates and crop insurance incentives, the request provides greater access to credit and lowers the risk for farmers growing these food commodities while lowering the cost for consumers.” Additional funding will also allow the use of the Defense Production Act to expand domestic production of critical minerals and materials disrupted by the war in Ukraine. The administration says these proposals help address economic disruptions and reduce price pressures at home and around the world.

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Meatpacker CEOs Testify at House Hearing

CEOs of the four largest meatpacking companies in the U.S. appeared at a hearing held by the House Agriculture Committee. The Hagstrom Report says the committee called the hearing because of rancher complaints that meat industry consolidation and anti-competitive practices are making it hard to earn their living. They also say the concentration has led to a decline in the number of ranches across rural America. The four CEOs all say that market forces and circumstances in the overall economy are responsible for the ups and downs across the cattle markets. House Ag Committee Chair David Scott asked all four if they’ve ever worked together on supply or price issues, and each one said “no.” While Scott went back and forth with each CEO, he also said that the only way to resolve the challenges in the meat sector is to get a solution that works for both the ranchers and the meatpackers.

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Proposed SEC Rule Could Hurt Every U.S. Farmer and Rancher

The American Farm Bureau and 119 other ag organizations sent a joint letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission regarding a proposed rule that may impact every American farmer and rancher. The groups want more time to comment on the proposed rule called “The Enhancement and Standardization of Climate-Related Disclosures for Investors.” The SEC now wants to require public companies to report data on their entire supply chain. Almost every farmer’s and rancher’s products go through a publicly-traded company. That means farmers and ranchers could get forced to report personal information and business-related data. The new reporting requirements would create a heavy burden even for smaller farms having few or no employees. “Farmers and ranchers are already heavily regulated by multiple agencies at the local, state, and federal level,” says AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “The new requirements would make an already complicated patchwork of regulations even more cumbersome.”

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CoBank: Rising Meat Prices Will Test Consumer Demand

U.S. consumer demand for meat at the retail level remains exceptionally strong despite rising prices caused by increased production costs and supply chain challenges. A new CoBank report says that may change soon. Once the full effect of increased costs of producer price inflation shows up in the retail meat case, demand will get tested. “Retail meat prices will remain high throughout 2022,” says Brian Earnest, lead animal protein economist with CoBank. “The sharply higher costs for feed, energy, and labor haven’t fully impacted wholesale and retail meat prices, but that will soon change.” He also says as consumers notice their dollar isn’t going as far as it once did, they may trade down at the meat case. Chicken could be the primary beneficiary. The combined cutout values of beef, pork, and chicken have climbed 22 percent year-over-year in the first quarter of this year, so consumers will see higher meat prices.

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Purdue Study Shows Economic Impact of the RFS

A Purdue University study found that the Renewable Fuel Standard played a critical role in the economic health of rural America. The Purdue ag economist who led the study says this is the first comprehensive examination of market factors and policies affecting biofuels. The RFS played a critical role in reducing uncertainties in commodity markets, and its most significant impact was helping farmers use resources more efficiently. While producing more corn and soybeans as the years went by, U.S. farmers were able to bring fallow land that was previously unused back into production. U.S. annual farm incomes increased by $8.3 billion between 2004 and 2011, with an additional annual income of $2.3 billion between 2011 and 2016. The Purdue study looked at both short- and long-term price impacts of policies and other market forces on the expansion of the biofuels industry and accurately measured the impact of each market driver.

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Climate-Smart Commodities Funding Deadline Approaching

The deadline for partners to apply for the first round of funding through the new Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities is Friday, May 6. USDA is committed to supporting a diverse set of farmers, ranchers, and forest owners through climate solutions that increase resilience, expand market opportunities, and strengthen rural America. This round of funding includes large-scale proposals from $5 million to $100 million that emphasize the greenhouse gas benefits of climate-smart commodity production. The proposals should also include direct, meaningful benefits to a representative cross-section of production agriculture, including small and/or historically underserved producers. “Don’t miss out on this opportunity,” says Robert Bonnie, USDA Undersecretary for Farm Production and Conservation. “We want a broad array of agriculture and forestry producers and landowners to see themselves in this effort.” A climate-smart commodity is defined as a commodity produced using agricultural practices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions or sequester carbon. More information is available at usda.gov.

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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.