NATIONAL AG NEWS SPONSORED BY THE AMERICAN FARM BUREAU FEDERATION

National Ag News for May 25, 2022

USDA Invests $770 Million to Expand Market Opportunities for Rural Businesses

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Tuesday announced $770 million to help create better market opportunities for rural businesses. The investments include $640 million for 122 projects to help people living in socially vulnerable communities. Vilsack says the investments “demonstrate how USDA remains committed to helping people in rural America create new and better market opportunities. USDA is making a total of 154 investments through three programs specifically designed to create economic opportunities for people and businesses in rural areas. The funding will help rural America keep resources and wealth right at home through job training, business expansion and technical assistance. It will help companies hire more workers and reach new customers. It will open the door to new economic opportunities for communities and people who historically have lacked access to critical resources and financing. It will also help entrepreneurs and business cooperatives create jobs, grow businesses, and find new and better markets for their products.

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Lawmakers Press Surface Transportation Board on Rail Disruptions

A bipartisan group of Senators urges the Surface Transportation Board to ensure reliable, consistent rail service for American industries and shippers. Republicans Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Kevin Cramer of North Dakota, along with Democrat Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, made the request in a letter with 19 other colleagues. The lawmakers say, “We are very concerned over the significant rail service disruptions occurring throughout the U.S. freight rail network.” Further, the group says, “We urge the STB to examine all constructive options towards ensuring reliable, consistent rail service is available to shippers across the U.S.” The letter also outlines concerns and issues raised by customers and labor organizations during an STB hearing last month. Farmers and grain shippers report they are unable to get empty railcars, leading to significant delays in delivering commodities to energy producers forced to curtail production. The letter is supported by the National Grain and Feed Association, National Mining Association, American Chemistry Council and Growth Energy.

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Dairy Sustainability Alliance Meeting Addresses Marketplace Opportunities

Navigating social, environmental and economic issues facing dairy businesses in a world shifting from COVID-19 restrictions took center stage at the 2022 Dairy Sustainability Alliance Spring Meeting. The Dairy Sustainability Alliance is a multi-stakeholder initiative of the checkoff-founded Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy and includes more than 165 companies and organizations. More than 270 representatives of the dairy value chain organizations, including 25 dairy farmers, attended in person or virtually, last week. Many of the organizations have adopted the U.S. Dairy Stewardship Commitment signaling support for farmers, cooperatives and processors who voluntarily advance sustainability leadership and transparently report progress. Dairy Management Inc. and Innovation Center CEO Barbara O’Brien says, “never has it been more urgent as we work to meet the growing demands and expectations of both customers and consumers around personal wellness, environmental sustainability and food security.” The event showcased many topics in dairy sustainability, highlighting the work of the alliance.

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Bronaugh to Host Roundtable on Farmers’ Mental Health

Agriculture Deputy Secretary Jewel Bronaugh (Bruh-NAW) travels to Wisconsin Friday to host a Roundtable on Farmers’ Mental Health. The event is part of the Department of Agriculture’s efforts in recognizing May as Mental Health Awareness Month. The Deputy Secretary will host the roundtable discussion with Senator Tammy Baldwin in Arlington, Wisconsin. From volatile market demand for their products to bad weather, farmers often face numerous challenges that can create or exacerbate stress, anxiety and trauma. USDA has worked to ensure that farmers and families in rural communities have access to the resources they need to address mental health challenges. In October, USDA announced an investment of nearly $25 million for 50 grants supporting Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network State Department of Agriculture projects, which connect farmers, ranchers, and others in agriculture-related jobs to stress assistance programs, which provide vital support, ranging from mental health and legal issues to family and youth stress.

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Farm Bureau to Host ‘Farmers Saving Lives’ Virtual Event for Mental Health Month

In recognition of May as Mental Health Month, the American Farm Bureau Federation will host a free virtual event, Farmers Saving Lives, on Tuesday, May 31, at 2:00 p.m. Eastern. The live event will feature compelling stories from three Farm Bureau members who believe that advocating for mental health wellness is a way to save lives in rural and farming communities. Farmers, ranchers and their families are encouraged to attend via telephone, smartphone or tablet from planters, harvesters, greenhouses, dairy barns, farm trucks, classrooms and carpool lines. AFBF President Zippy Duvall says, “We’re holding this virtual event on the last day of Mental Health Month to remind everyone that our work does not stop on June 1 – it continues throughout the year.” According to AFBF national research polls, a strong majority of farmers and farmworkers say financial issues, farm or business problems and fear of losing the farm impact farmers’ mental health. You can register for the event online, and learn more at fb.org.

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U.S. Wine Imports Reach Nearly $7.5 Billion in 2021

Growing consumption of wine in the U.S. has contributed to an increase in wine imports, from 127 million gallons in fiscal year 2000 to 456 million gallons in 2021, reaching nearly $7.5 billion in value. USDA’s Economic Research Service reports most wine imports come from the European Union, accounting for 75 percent of the total value and 50 percent of the volume. Specifically, the top two countries of origin, Italy and France, each supplied about $2.5 billion in wine imports in 2021, although the volume from Italy was more than twice that of France because of its lower average price. In 2020, imports from the EU temporarily decreased in response to a 25-percent U.S. tariff placed in late 2019 on French, German, Spanish, and English wine that was lifted in early 2021. While the United States is a net importer of wine, it exported $1.5 billion in 2021 to destinations including Canada, the United Kingdom, and Japan.

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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.