NATIONAL AG NEWS SPONSORED BY THE AMERICAN FARM BUREAU FEDERATION

National Ag News for May 17, 2022

USDA to Provide Approximately $6 Billion to Commodity and Specialty Crop Producers

The Department of Agriculture Monday announced that commodity and specialty crop producers impacted by natural disaster events in 2020 and 2021 will soon receive emergency relief payments. The payments totaling approximately $6 billion come from the Farm Service Agency’s new Emergency Relief Program to offset crop yield and value losses. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says, “These emergency relief payments will help offset the significant crop losses due to major weather events in 2020 and 2021 and help ensure farming operations are viable this crop year.” Last September, President Biden signed into law the Extending Government Funding and Delivering Emergency Assistance Act, which includes $10 billion in assistance to farmers impacted by wildfires, droughts, hurricanes, winter storms, and other eligible disasters experienced during calendar years 2020 and 2021. FSA recently made payments to ranchers impacted by drought and wildfire through the first phase of the Emergency Livestock Relief Program. More details, including eligibility, are online at fsa.usda.gov.

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Dairy Groups: Retaliatory Tariffs Required as Canada Refuses its USMCA Obligations

National Milk Producers Federation and the U.S. Dairy Export Council Monday called on the U.S. government to levy retaliatory tariffs on Canada. The call comes after Ottawa made clear that it refuses to meet its signed treaty obligations under the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement concerning dairy market access. In January, a USMCA dispute resolution panel initiated by the U.S. found that Canada’s dairy tariff-rate quotas system violates the terms of USMCA. Canada issued a new TRQ proposal in March, which included only inconsequential changes. Monday’s announcement shows no indication that Canada intends to comply with its USMCA commitments, according to the dairy groups. Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF, says, “Canada made a clear choice to thumb its nose at both the United States government and its international treaty obligations.” In April, the groups filed public comments on the matter with Global Affairs Canada. The comments noted the proposed changes “continue to fall woefully short of full compliance.”

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Farm Groups Welcome USDA Undersecretary for Trade Nominee

The Biden admiration last week announced the nomination of Alexis Taylor as USDA Undersecretary for Trade. Taylor currently serves as the Oregon Director of Agriculture, after previously overseeing the USDA’s Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services during the Obama administration. Taylor is an Iowa native, who moved to Oregon after working 12 years in Washington D.C. U.S. Grains Council President and CEO Ryan LeGrand congratulated Taylor on her appointment, saying she is “a highly qualified candidate to be the USDA Undersecretary for Trade.” National Association of Wheat Growers CEO Chandler Goule says, “I have worked with Alexis for over fifteen years and know the industry appreciates her experience and understanding of the agriculture community and trade issues.” U.S. Meat Export Federation President and CEO Dan Halstrom adds, “USMEF had many opportunities to work with Taylor in her previous roles at USDA and we are confident she will be a strong and effective advocate for U.S. exporters and all of U.S. agriculture.”

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Lawmakers Urge USDA to Address Infant Formula Shortages

A group of Senators urges the Department of Agriculture to address “extremely high levels of corporate concentration” in the infant formula marketplace. The request comes as infant formula shortages are occurring nationwide. Senate Democrats Tammy Duckworth, Cory Booker and Amy Klobuchar say, “The infant formula industry has reached an alarming level of corporate concentration with four companies–Abbott Nutrition, Mead Johnson, Gerber, and Perrigo–controlling nearly 90 percent of the infant formula market.” The lawmakers say the concentration creates a serious risk to infant health if there is any disruption to a major manufacturer’s supply. Meanwhile, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack urged states to adopt flexibilities to support families. Vilsack says, “USDA will continue the work we started in February, working not only within our department, but across the federal government, suppliers and partners to end this infant formula crisis as quickly as possible.” The flexibilities are included in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children.

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R-CALF Launches No Rancher Left Behind Campaign

R-CALF USA last week announced the launch of “No Rancher Left Behind,” a rancher/farmer conversation and awareness campaign. The campaign is a collaboration between R-CALF USA and Coy Young, a Missouri cattle rancher who recently testified before Congress about the stresses he faces as a cow-calf producer. “No Rancher Left Behind” is set to feature informational graphics on social media and a resource webpage with hotline numbers and links to other helpful information, but perhaps most notably, weekly support group style, virtual meetings for ranchers to gather and converse in a safe place. Young came up with the idea for the campaign after struggling with his own market-related financial challenges and recently shared his story with the New York Times. Young adds, “If we can help each other when we’re hurting and in need, that’s the greatest accomplishment that could ever come from this campaign and these meetings.” Learn more at r-calfusa.com.

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National Gas Price Spike Continues

The nation’s average gas price increased for the fourth straight week, rising 15.3 cents from a week ago to $4.46 per gallon. The national average is up 39.1 cents from a month ago and $1.43 per gallon higher than a year ago. The national average price of diesel increased three cents in the last week and stands at $5.55 per gallon. GasBuddy’s Patrick De Haan says, “Prices later this week could be closer to $5 per gallon than $4, as demand continues to edge higher and inventories of both gasoline and diesel continue to decline.” The summer driving season kicks off with Memorial Day, and China announced it would begin to reopen Shanghai, its largest city, after COVID lockdowns and reduced oil demands. De Haan adds, “While the increases may start to slow in the days ahead as pump prices catch up to oil, there isn’t much reason to be optimistic that we’ll see a plunge any time soon.”

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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.