NATIONAL AG NEWS SPONSORED BY THE AMERICAN FARM BUREAU FEDERATION

National Ag News for May 23, 2022

Strong Farm Economy Continues to Support Credit Conditions

Agricultural credit conditions improved in the first quarter of 2022, and farm real estate values continued to increase alongside strength in the American farm economy. Following a year of accelerating increases, the value of non-irrigated cropland across much of the country has soared through March of this year. The sharp growth in land values persisted despite a slight increase in farm loan interest rates. Farm loan repayment rates continued to increase, and credit conditions remained strong. The Kansas City Fed says the outlook for agricultural credit conditions remained optimistic alongside persistently strong commodity prices. However, many district lenders expect conditions to soften in the coming months alongside the pressure on profit margins from higher input costs and harsh drought conditions in large parts of rural America. Farm real estate markets also remain strong, but smaller profit margins or higher interest rates could limit gains in land value in the year ahead.

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Feed Industry Association’s Board Advocates in Washington, D.C.

The American Feed Industry Association’s Board of Directors recently held its annual spring meeting in Arlington, Virginia. As part of the meeting schedule, they spent time advocating for key industry priorities on Capitol Hill and conducted other official business, including approving new Board leadership and members. The 44 Board members met with elected officials in the House and Senate about improving the Food and Drug Administration’s animal food review program. They also talked about resolving ongoing supply chain and export issues that are hindering the industry’s ability to satisfy customers’ orders in a timely and cost-effective way. Board members also highlighted the industry’s work to provide solutions to national climate change priorities. “Our Board leadership impressed upon policymakers how removing key regulatory and trade barriers now will secure our industry’s ability to continue delivering feed, ingredients, and pet food to the marketplace into the future,” says AFIA President and CEO Constance Cullman.

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Smart Farm Technology Open to Attacks by Hackers

Experts say it’s important to realize that modern farm technology is vulnerable to attacks by hackers, which could leave the supply chain exposed to further risk. The University of Cambridge issued a report noting that automatic crop sprayers, drones, and robotic harvesters are susceptible to an attack. BBC says both the United Kingdom’s government and the FBI are warning that the cyber-attack threat is growing. John Deere says it’s working to fix any weak spots in its software. James Johnson, Deere’s chief information security officer, says the company has been working with several ethical hackers to find vulnerabilities. CNH Industrial is also working to improve its security posture. Benjamin Turner, chief operating officer at a British company called Agrimetrics, says, “Hacking into one tractor can upset a single farmer’s profitability. Hacking into a fleet of tractors can suddenly give you the power to affect yields in whole areas of a country.”

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India Considers Allowing More Wheat Shipments

India has a great deal of wheat sitting at ports because of a sudden ban on exports that prevented dealers from loading cargoes. Reuters says trade and government sources say that the Indian government is considering allowing traders to ship out some of that wheat. The Indian government banned wheat exports over a week ago because of a heatwave that hurt the country’s wheat output. The sudden prohibition on shipping wheat left 1.8 million tons of grain at India’s ports with nowhere to go. Last Tuesday, the government gave permission to ship grains awaiting customs clearance before they can get shipped out of the ports. However, traders are putting pressure on the government to further relax its restriction on grain shipments. A New Delhi-based grain dealer says, “Piecemeal relaxations are not going to help, and the government needs to resolve the issue in the next few days to avoid a chain of payment defaults.”

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Hereford Association Researching Sustainable Genetics

The American Hereford Association is partnering with Colorado State University on a research project regarding sustainable genetics. AHA executive vice president Jack Ward says individual cattle producers and the collective beef industry will continue to get asked to do more with less as it relates to environmental and economic sustainability. “That’s why we’re excited to begin this cooperative research agreement with Colorado State University,” Ward says. “It will leverage decades of AHA research and data collected by our members aimed at characterizing genetics associated with production efficiency, which plays a key role in environmental and economic sustainability.” More specifically, the research will enhance understanding of the genetic differences in seedstock relative to methane production and nitrogen excretion. As a genetic trait in cattle, methane emission appears to be moderately inheritable with modest-to-strong correlations to the economically relevant production traits. Direct emissions from the animal ag sector account for 3.8 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.

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Growth Energy, EPA Reach Settlement on 2023 RVO Deadline

Growth Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency reached a settlement on a deadline for issuing the 2023 Renewable Volume Obligations for blending ethanol into the fuel supply. The EPA is expected to file a notice in the Federal Register on Monday seeking comment on a proposed decree that would require the EPA propose the 2023 RVOs by no later than September 16, 2022. The agency would then finalize it no later than April 28, 2023.  EPA’s notice comes after Growth Energy filed a notice of intent to sue and a complaint in federal district court after the EPA failed to set the RVOs by the Congressionally-mandated deadline. “Securing a deadline for the 2023 RVO is a significant victory in our mission to ensure certainty when it comes to biofuel blending says Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor, “especially as we face a new era of the RFS when volumes are set by EPA and not Congress,”

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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.