NATIONAL AG NEWS SPONSORED BY THE AMERICAN FARM BUREAU FEDERATION

National Ag News for May 31, 2022

Deadline for USDA’s Climate-Smart Commodities Approaching

The deadline for the USDA’s second round of funding for Climate-Smart Commodities is Friday, June 10. This funding pool is for partners proposing projects between $250,000 and $5 million. The proposals should emphasize the enrollment of small and-or underserved producers, and-or monitoring, reporting, and verification activities developed at minority-serving institutions. “We’re excited to see the many innovative projects designed to build new opportunities for these producers,” says USDA Undersecretary for Farm Production and Conservation Robert Bonnie. “The sheer number of applications we’ve already received is a testament to the high interest in this opportunity.” The undersecretary also says, from the very beginning, they’ve ensured that this effort is inclusive across a broad cross-section of agriculture. “In this funding pool, we’re especially looking for innovative approaches that expand markets for small and historically underserved producers,” Bonnie adds. Information on how to apply, frequently asked questions, and additional information and resources are available at usda.gov.

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Ag Groups Respond to New USDA’s Proposed Poultry Rules

Ag groups responded to USDA’s proposed poultry marketing disclosure requirements and the advanced notice of proposed rulemaking under the Packers and Stockyards Act. American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall says his organization appreciates USDA working to create more transparency in the poultry industry. “Farmers deserve to know what they are getting into and understand how they are getting paid,” he says. “Making sure farmers have access to important information about their poultry company, inputs, stocking densities, and feed disruptions is good for everyone in the food value chain.” He says there are no easy answers and that AFB will review these proposals in detail. National Farmers Union President Rob Larew says poultry growers have endured an unfair contracting system for far too long. “All livestock producers continue facing heavily concentrated markets with insufficient protections from anti-competitive practices,” Larew says. “We’re happy with the first in a series of three rules that are being introduced.”

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Japan Commits to Double Its Ethanol Demand

President Biden made a trip to Japan recently, and during discussions with the Japanese prime minister, Japan committed to reducing its dependence on imported petroleum by 2030. That means they’re doubling their demand for ethanol, including sustainable aviation fuel and on-road fuel, possibly representing more export opportunities for the U.S. The U.S. Grains Council says America’s Ambassador Rahm Emanuel continually supported expanding ethanol use in Japan. “Expanding bioethanol use in Japan is a strategic goal of the Council,” says USGC Vice President Cary Sifferath. “Ambassador Emanuel and his team have been an essential partner for USGC to discuss the benefits of increased biofuels use to the Japanese consumer and a way for Japan to meet its carbon emissions goals.” USGC President and CEO Ryan LeGrand and Sifferath recently traveled to Tokyo, where ethanol was a major topic of discussion. Japan currently ranks as the fourth-largest market for U.S. ethanol during the 2021-2022 marketing year.

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West Nile Virus Still a Threat to Horses Despite Drought

While much of the western U.S. endures widespread drought, people may think mosquito season won’t be as intense. However, just because there’s no rain doesn’t mean there are no mosquitoes. “Some of the most significant West Nile outbreaks have happened without significant rainfall,” says Dr. Justin Talley, Head of Entomology and Plant Pathology at Oklahoma State University. “Just because you don’t see water doesn’t mean there are no breeding areas around.” He shared four tips for protecting horses from West Nile Virus. The first is to vaccinate your horses. Number two is hanging high-powered livestock fans. Third, get rid of as much standing water as possible and clean the horses’ water sources once a week. The last is to minimize a horse’s exposure during mosquito feeding times at dusk and dawn. The disease can attack and inflame a horse’s nervous system and is spread by mosquitoes after feeding on infected birds and rodents.

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Bill Would Prohibit China From Purchasing Ag Land in the U.S.

Washington Representative Dan Newhouse recently introduced a bill aimed at preventing the Chinese government from purchasing public or private land in the U.S. The bill is called the Prohibition of Agricultural Land for the People’s Republic of China Act. The bill would also prevent the purchase of land by foreign nationals associated with the Government of China. Additionally, the legislation would prohibit the same associations from participating in any USDA programs except food safety inspections. “We hail from the greatest country in the world, and there is simply no reason we should be reliant on a communist country like China for our food supply,” Newhouse says. “If we cede responsibility of our food supply over to an adversarial nation, we could be forced into exporting food grown within our borders and meant for our own use.” China’s American agricultural land holdings have risen during the last decade to $2 billion worth of land.  

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Arkansas to Host Next Farm Bill Field Hearing

Senate Ag Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow and Ranking Member John Boozman (BOZE-man) say the committee will hold a field hearing in Arkansas on Friday, June 17. The hearing is designed to get input from agricultural producers and stakeholders as the process of writing the next farm bill gets underway. “Our last farm bill passed with the most bipartisan support of all time,” Stabenow says. “At our first hearing in Michigan, we heard from farmers and others about how we can improve and strengthen this important legislation, grow our economy, and meet serious new challenges facing the country.” Arkansas Senator Boozman also says his state’s agricultural producers are proud to help feed and clothe the world. “It’s important to seek the input of our farmers and ranchers to strengthen and improve the policies affecting their operations,” Boozman says. Witnesses at the hearing will include agricultural producers, industry stakeholders, and rural community supporters.

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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.