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National Ag News for May 11, 2022

USDA: Strong Interests in Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities

The Department of Agriculture says the first round of funding through the Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities received more than 450 proposals ranging from $5 million to $100 million each. The deadline for the proposals closed on Friday. The applications USDA received came from more than 350 groups across various sectors. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says the “funding opportunity has created tremendous interest from a diverse cross-section of groups from across the country.” Proposals in the first funding pool include large-scale pilot projects that emphasize the greenhouse gas benefits of climate-smart commodity production and include direct, meaningful benefits to a representative cross-section of production agriculture. Over the next few months, USDA will evaluate the applications and rank them based on the technical criteria provided in the funding opportunity. Awards for the first round of funding are anticipated later this summer. The deadline for the second round of funding is Friday, June 10, 2022.

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SEC Extends Comment Period on Climate-Reporting Rule

The American Farm Bureau Federation and National Pork Producers Council welcomed the Securities and Exchange Commission’s comment period extension for a proposed rule. The groups say they need more time to evaluate “The Enhancement and Standardization of Climate Related Disclosures for Investors” rule. The proposal would require public companies to report on Scope 3 emissions, which result from activities from assets not owned or controlled by a publicly-traded company but contribute to its value chain. While farmers and ranchers would not be required to report directly to the SEC, they provide almost every raw product that goes into the food supply chain. Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall says, “America’s farmers and ranchers need time to fully understand the consequences of this 510-page proposal.” NPPC Chief Executive Officer Bryan Humphreys adds, “The additional time provided by the SEC allows farmers to provide more valuable information to the Commission as it continues to work on developing its disclosure rule.”

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Grassley, Klobuchar Lead Push for Avian Influenza Outbreak Funding

Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley and Minnesota Democrat Amy Klobuchar led an effort this week for more funding to help address the highly pathogenic avian influenza outbreak. The Senators told the Senate Appropriations Committee leaders, “Although the virus poses minimal risk to human health, it has serious implications for U.S. poultry producers, rural communities, and our agricultural economy.” HPAI has been detected in 32 states across the country and has killed over 36 million birds, to date. The lawmakers say, “Given the recent outbreak, the ongoing increase in confirmed HPAI cases, and the likelihood of further spread, we urge the Subcommittee to make funding for the APHIS avian health program a high priority.” The funds, they say, are critical to continue HPAI response measures by USDA. As of Friday, the HPAI outbreak has impacted around 19 sites across Iowa alone, affecting 13 million birds – more than any other state.

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ESMC, Sorghum Checkoff, Launch Project to Create Ecosystem Services Credits

Ecosystem Services Market Consortium and the United Sorghum Checkoff Program Tuesday announced the launch of a carbon pilot project in Western Kansas for sorghum farmers. The program seeks to generate high-quality carbon, greenhouse gas, water quality and biodiversity credits in ESMC’s market program. The project will test ESMC’s streamlined programming to create environmental credits from sorghum farmers’ fields. Many of the farmers are new to private voluntary ecosystem markets linked to conservation practice adoption, so the project will also develop knowledge, capacity and repeatability to continue expanding support for sorghum growers in the region. The research project covers about 5,000 acres in Western Kansas and is working with sorghum farmers interested in implementing conservation practices such as nutrient management and edge of field practices. Sorghum farmers can earn credits from increased soil carbon, reduced or avoided greenhouse gases, improved water quality, and preserved habitat at field edges that increase plant, bird and insect biodiversity and populations.

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NFU Supports White House Affordability Connectivity Program

National Farmers Union welcomed this week’s Affordability Connectivity Program announced by the White House. The program seeks to close the U.S. digital divide by making reliable, high-speed internet affordable to many families in rural and urban communities. The program will provide an estimated 48 million qualifying families with a $30/month benefit to apply towards a high-speed plan and get it at zero cost. NFU President Rob Larew says, “Reliable and affordable high-speed internet is a necessity in today’s world whether you are a farmer or rancher accessing markets and precision agriculture or you and your family are connecting to your schools and jobs.” The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law included $65 billion to make sure we expand access to broadband internet in every region of the country. President Joe Biden, announcing the Program Monday, said broadband, among other things, allows “farmers to use precision agriculture technology to improve their yields.” Participating providers include AT&T, Verizon, Cox, Comcast, and other providers who serve rural communities.

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USDA: High Fiber Diets Associated with Less Antibiotic Resistance

USDA’s Agricultural Resource Service says healthy adults who eat a diverse diet with at least 8-10 grams of soluble fiber a day have fewer antibiotic-resistant microbes in their guts. A new study from ARS scientists shows microbes that have resistance to various commonly used antibiotics are a significant source of risk for people worldwide, with the widely held expectation that the problem of antimicrobial resistance is likely to worsen throughout the coming decades. The researchers found that regularly eating a diet with higher levels of fiber and lower protein levels, especially from beef and pork, was significantly correlated with lower levels of antimicrobial resistance genes among their gut microbes. Healthy adults eating a diverse diet with at least 8-10 grams of soluble fiber a day have fewer antibiotic-resistant microbes in their guts. Soluble fiber is found in foods such as grains, beans, lentils, nuts, and some fruits and vegetables.

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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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