NATIONAL AG NEWS SPONSORED BY THE AMERICAN FARM BUREAU FEDERATION

National Ag News for June 2, 2022

USDA Announces Framework for Shoring Up the Food Supply Chain

The Department of Agriculture Wednesday announced the framework to transform the food system and supply chain. The framework seeks to provide more options, increase access, and create new, more, and better markets for small and mid-size producers. The announcement builds on lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic and supply chain disruptions caused by Russia’s war in Ukraine. When the COVID-19 pandemic began, USDA made significant investments through its Pandemic Assistance Program, providing immediate relief. As the pandemic evolved and Russia’s war in Ukraine has caused supply chain disruptions, USDA says it has become clear we “cannot go back to the food system we had before.” USDA plans to build a more resilient food supply chain that provides more and better market options for consumers and producers while reducing carbon pollution. The framework also addresses marketplace dominance by creating new, more and better local market options. Further, USDA seeks to make nutritious food more accessible and affordable for consumers and emphasize equity through the framework.

***********************************************************************************
Drought Resilience Interagency Working Group Releases Summary Report

The Biden Administration Wednesday released the Drought Resilience Interagency Working Group’s Summary Report. The report outlines actions taken to date to improve drought-stricken communities’ longer-term resilience to drought through financial and technical assistance. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says, “collaboration and coordination among federal agencies has increased in an effort to more effectively deploy resources and support during these intense, drought-stricken times.” The Department of Interior and the Department of Agriculture co-chair the working group, which was created under the White House’s National Climate Task Force. The Drought Resilience IWG agencies are working cooperatively in a whole-of-government manner, to address drought issues through existing programs and resources. There are many opportunities provided by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to provide critical funding to address water challenges, which includes drought. The Drought Resilience Interagency Working Group will facilitate coordination to deploy $13 billion in water-related investments, including $12.4 billion at the Department of Interior, and $918 million at USDA.

***********************************************************************************
Lawmakers Request Full Funding for the PILT Program in Fiscal Year 2023 Appropriations Bill

A bipartisan group of 30 Senators Wednesday urged the Senate Appropriations Committee to fully fund the Payments in Lieu of Taxes, or PILT program, for fiscal year 2023. The program provides payments to counties with non-taxable federal land within their borders to offset the lost property tax revenue. Led by Colorado Democrat Michael Bennet and Idaho Republican Mike Crapo, the lawmakers say the payments fund critical services in those counties. The Senators write, “we look forward to working with you to enact a fiscally responsible, long-term solution to fully fund PILT and eliminate the uncertainty that counties face each year.” Throughout the country, PILT provides critical resources to nearly 1,900 counties across 49 states. Counties have used these payments for more than 40 years to fund law enforcement, firefighting, emergency response, and other essential county services. As communities continue to contend with the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, the funding also supports communities’ recovery efforts.

***********************************************************************************
American Drivers Reach 30 Billion Miles on E15

Growth Energy Wednesday announced drivers across the United States have logged 30 billion miles on the road using E15. Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor says, “as we kick off the summer driving season, this is a testament to the rising popularity of E15.” In just the last few months, E15 has been a shield against skyrocketing fuel prices, saving drivers almost $0.60 per gallon in some areas. Growth Energy says ethanol is not only more affordable than imported oil, but it cuts climate emissions by 46 percent. Available at more than 2,600 gas stations across 31 states, E15 is approved for more than 96 percent of light duty vehicles, which account for 98 percent of all vehicle miles traveled in the United States. Even before the recent run-up in oil prices, it was estimated that nationwide access to E15 could save drivers $12.2 billion annually in fuel costs. E15 also offers a lower fuel volatility and smog-forming potential than standard blends.

***********************************************************************************
Registration Now Open for Export Exchange 2022

Registration opened this week for Export Exchange 2022, scheduled for October 12-14, 2022, in Minneapolis. The U.S. Grains Council, Growth Energy and Renewable Fuels Association organize the biennial event. The groups expect to bring together 200 international buyers and end-users of coarse grains and co-products, including distiller’s dried grains with solubles, with approximately 300 U.S. suppliers and agribusiness representatives. In addition to networking opportunities, the event will focus on timely topics related to exports of U.S. corn, sorghum, barley, DDGS and related products. Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor says, “After two years of cancelled Export Exchanges due to the pandemic, we’re excited to welcome U.S. producers and international grain buyers to Minneapolis.” While the 2020 event was interrupted by COVID-19, reported sales associated with Export Exchange 2018 included approximately 1.3 million metric tons of grains and co-products worth $403 million traded either at the conference or immediately before or after. Registration is available online via www.exportexchange.org.

***********************************************************************************
National FFA Organization Named Among the Top Workplaces in Indiana

The National FFA Organization was recently named one of the top workplaces in central Indiana by The Indianapolis Star for the second year in a row. The recognition was based on a survey that employees took between October 2021 and February 2022. More than 500 employers participated in the program – ranging from small, medium and large employer categories. National FFA was one of 107 businesses selected based on the survey results. The anonymous survey asked questions about the work environment, leadership, culture, pay/benefits and more. The survey indicated employees at FFA were enthusiastically engaged enough to make the list of top workplaces. With an employee count of 99 at the time of the survey, the National FFA Organization is listed as a top workplace in the small-size category. Denise Weathersbe, FFA human resources director, says, “As the organization seeks to build the next generation of leaders, we are proud of our staff for continuing to live out those traits every day.” 

***********************************************************************************

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.