NATIONAL AG NEWS SPONSORED BY THE AMERICAN FARM BUREAU FEDERATION

National Ag News for May 24, 2022

Farm Groups Welcome Indo-Pacific Economic Framework

The Biden Administration Monday announced the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework. The White House says the plan is a 21st century economic arrangement designed to tackle 21st-century economic challenges. Those challenges include the digital economy, ensuring secure and resilient supply chains, and major investments in clean energy. The plan will engage partners that facilitate agricultural trade through science-based decision-making and the adoption of sound, transparent regulatory practices. Agriculture groups welcomed the launch of the framework. U.S. Grains Council President and CEO Ryan LeGrand says the framework “is a new approach to trade negotiations that will hopefully still create the same positive, high-standard outcomes for U.S. farmers.” American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall says the framework “will help reduce barriers, improve the adoption of science-based standards and grow American agricultural exports.” Krysta Harden, U.S. Dairy Export Council President and CEO, adds the framework “offers a chance for the United States to have a positive impact on the trading environment in a vital area of the world.”

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Ag Groups Call For Withdrawal of Solicitor General’s Supreme Court Brief on Glyphosate

In a letter to President Biden, 54 agricultural groups expressed concern with a recent amicus brief submitted by the U.S. Solicitor General to the Supreme Court. The brief advises the court against taking up a case regarding pesticide labels. The groups, including the American Farm Bureau Federation and major U.S. commodity organizations, called on the president to swiftly withdraw the brief. They warned the new policy would set a dangerous precedent that threatens the science-based regulatory process. The groups are worried the new policy, along with having environmental impacts, could ultimately hinder the ability of U.S. farmers to help meet growing global food needs intensified by the invasion of Ukraine. At question is whether California can require a cancer warning label for the popular herbicide glyphosate when thousands of studies, decades of scientific consensus, and numerous global regulatory bodies—including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency—agree the herbicide is not a carcinogen.

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Lack of Grain Exports Driving Global Hunger

A global food crisis, already impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change, is being driven to famine levels worldwide by the war in Ukraine and the resulting lack of grain exports. The United Nations Security Council last week heard from experts on the war’s impact on global food security. David Beasley, Executive Director of the World Food Program, stated, “When a nation that is the breadbasket of the world becomes a nation with the longest bread line of the world, we know we have a problem.” Even before the Ukraine crisis, the world was already facing an unprecedented, perfect storm because of conflict, climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic. And, price increases in major food crops have made an additional 400 million people food insecure over the last five months. Some experts warn the world only has ten weeks of wheat supply left. Ukraine and the Russian Federation together export 30 percent of global cereals and 67 percent of sunflower oil.

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Retail Food Price Inflation Varies by Location

New data from USDA’s Economic Research Service shows retail food price inflation varies by locality. From 2012 to 2021, increases in retail food prices ranged from an average of 2.4 percent a year in Honolulu, Hawaii, to 0.9 percent in the Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, area. Retail food includes food bought in grocery stores as opposed to restaurants. Differences in transportation costs and retail overhead expenses, such as labor and rent, can explain some of the variation among cities because retailers often pass local cost increases on to consumers in the form of higher prices. Differences in consumer preferences among cities for specific foods may help explain variation in inflation rates, as well. For example, a city whose residents strongly prefer foods with less price inflation, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, might experience lower food-at-home price inflation than a city whose residents buy more beef and veal. Across the United States, prices increased by an average of 1.4 percent a year over the ten-year period.

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Lawmakers Raise Concerns about FDA Guidance for Plant-Based Beverages

A group of lawmakers tell the White House there’s “no reason” to start allowing regulation regarding plant-based beverages labeled as animal products. Senator Cory Booker, a Colorado Democrat, and Mike Lee, a Utah Republican, led the effort in a letter to the White House Office of Management and Budget. The lawmakers say, “for decades, the FDA has declined to clarify standards for plant-based milks, even as other federal agencies have increasingly adopted plant-based milks and names into programs.” The letter highlighted a recent legal ruling that “found that the use of qualifying terms such as soy, almond or oat next to the term ‘milk’ mitigates against confusion regarding nutritional equivalency.” The letter also outlined that the “FDA has not previously asked producers to disclose other wide variations in nutritional components” – including among milks derived from different animals. However, label clarity has long-been a priority for U.S. dairy groups. The National Milk Producers Federation points out that the FDA’s own standards define milk as an animal product.

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Gas Prices Jump, Diesel Declines

The national gas price increased for the fifth straight week, while diesel declined slightly. GasBuddy reports the average national gas price increased 11 cents last week to $4.57 per gallon, while diesel fell 1.7 cents to an average of $5.53 per gallon. GasBuddy’s Patrick De Haan says, “Gasoline prices surged over the last week to new record highs, but have finally started to slow their rise with diesel also finally cooling off.” Still, with more Americans planning to hit the road for Memorial Day this year compared to last, prices will be over $1.50 per gallon higher than last year. Oil has seen slight upward moves as China lockdowns have eased, boosting demand for petroleum, while the start of the U.S. summer driving season is just days away, and could prevent oil from seeing any significant downturns. U.S. crude oil inventories fell 3.4 million barrels last week. U.S. retail gasoline demand saw a slight fall last week, down .6 percent from the prior week.

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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.