NATIONAL AG NEWS SPONSORED BY THE AMERICAN FARM BUREAU FEDERATION

National Ag News for May 2, 2022

EPA Sending Biofuel Blending Mandates to White House This Week

The Environmental Protection Agency is expected to send the long-awaited 2020-2022 biofuel blending mandates to the White House early this week. Two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters the White House would then be working through a final review of the numbers. The EPA released a proposed rule in December, but it’s not known whether the mandates sent this week will be identical to December’s proposal. In that rule, the EPA would retroactively set total renewable fuel volumes at 17.13 billion gallons for 2020. That was down from a previously finalized rule for the year of 20.09 billion gallons, set before COVID-19. It also set volumes at 18.52 billion gallons for 2021 and 20.77 billion for 2022. Both the 2020 and 2021 figures are lower than in 2019 when the EPA required refiners to blend 19.92 billion gallons of biofuels, but the 2022 proposal is higher. Both the oil and biofuel industries eagerly await the final numbers.

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American Farmers are Dropping Greenhouse Gas Emissions

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, American agriculture’s greenhouse gas emissions fell over four percent from 2019 to 2020. The recent Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks shows ag represents only 10 percent of total U.S. emissions, much lower than other economic sectors. Farm Bureau economists analyzed the EPA data and found that total agricultural emissions in 2020 fell at least 4.3 percent, or 28.8 million metric tons, compared to 2019. Emissions from agricultural soil management like fertilizer application and tillage practices were reduced by 8.4 percent. AFBF President Zippy Duvall says America’s farmers are committed to improvements in sustainability. “Farmers are also dedicated to doing even better through market-based, voluntary incentives allowing them to capture more greenhouse gasses while meeting the growing demand for food both here and abroad,” he says. Compared to 70 years ago, farmers and ranchers get almost three times more out of production than they put in.

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USDA Releases Data on Local Food Marketing Practices

More than 147,000 American farms produced and sold food locally through direct marketing practices, resulting in $9 billion in revenue during 2020. The Local Food Marketing Practices data released by the National Agricultural Statistics Service covers both fresh and value-added foods, such as meat and cheese. More than 40,000 farms sold food directly to institutions and intermediaries and brought in the most revenue at $4.1 billion. Farms with direct-to-consumer sales like on-farm stores and farmers’ markets earned $2.9 billion in revenue. Direct-to-retail sales earned $1.9 billion for more than 24,000 farms nationwide. California led the states in total direct food sales at $1.4 billion, followed by Pennsylvania, New York, Michigan, and Maine in the top five. Texas led the U.S. in the number of farms selling directly to consumers with almost 8,000. California was the top state in direct-to-consumer sales’ earnings at $284 million. Most direct-to-consumer sales took place at outlets like on-farm stores.

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American Lamb Board Nominations Now Open

The USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service is seeking nominations for the American Lamb Board. Four of the current members’ terms expire in February 2023. Positions to fill include one producer with 100 or fewer lambs, one with more than 500 lambs, one feeder-at-large, and one first handler. The deadline for nominations is June 9, 2022. “Serving on the ALB is an excellent way to represent the sheep industry,” says ALM Chair Peter Camino. “The next round of board appointees will shape the next several years of building demand for American lamb, especially as we work towards updating our long-range plan.” Any U.S. producer, feeder, or first handler who owns or purchases lambs may get considered for nomination to the 13-member American Lamb Board. Members will serve three-year terms beginning in February of next year and are allowed to serve two consecutive three-year terms. More information and application forms are available at ams.usda.gov.

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Governors Want to Increase Sales of Higher-Blend Ethanol

Governors from eight Midwestern states want the Biden administration to apply rules that would allow them to sell gasoline with higher blends of ethanol year-round in their states. US News Dot Com says while the administration will allow summertime sales of E15 this year, biofuel advocates want a more permanent action to allow year-round E15 sales to stimulate demand. The Clean Air Act allows governors to ask the EPA to put the specifications for the volatility of E15 and E10 on the same footing. The Midwest governors told EPA last week that they’re pursuing this route to enable year-round E15 sales. “These states are guiding the way ahead on E15,” says Renewable Fuels Association President Geoff Cooper. “We’re calling on other states to follow their lead so E15 can benefit drivers across the country year-round.” The states involved in the move include 57 percent of the nation’s 2,512 stations currently selling E15.

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Farmers Union Donates to Help Ukraine Crisis

The National Farmers Union is donating $125,000 to help with the humanitarian and agricultural crisis in Ukraine. The contribution went through the World Food Program USA. That organization has been on the frontlines of the world’s worst hunger crises since 1962. WFP is also on-the-ground providing critical food assistance to those impacted by the war. “The war in Ukraine is devastating hundreds of thousands of families, driving them from their homes and into hunger,” says NFU President Rob Larew. “America’s family farmers and ranchers want to help in the best way they know how: to provide food and humanitarian aid to those around the world who need it.” The group also says reserves and food programs will get stretched thin as the full effects of the Ukraine invasion get felt throughout the global food system. “Our concern for community stretches to farmers in a major agricultural country like Ukraine,” Larew adds.

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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.