NATIONAL AG NEWS SPONSORED BY THE AMERICAN FARM BUREAU FEDERATION

National Ag News for June 21, 2022

Red Meat Exports Add Value to Corn and Soybean Producers

Record-level red meat exports of 18.7 billion dollars in 2021 had a major impact on the corn and soybean industries. An independent study by the Juday Group quantified the returns that red meat exports brought to corn and soybean producers in 2021 nationally and at state levels. Key findings from the 2021 export data showed that beef and pork exports accounted for 537 million bushels of corn usage, equating to 2.94 billion dollars. Pork exports accounted for 99.3 million bushels of soybean usage nationwide or the equivalent of 2.36 million metric tons of soybean meal worth 1.3 billion dollars. Beef and pork exports accounted for 3.4 million tons of DDGS usage, equating to 716 million dollars. “Beef and pork exports drive value directly back to the farm, and this study helps confirm the return on investment for all corn and soybean producers,” says U.S. Meat Export Federation Chair-elect and Iowa producer Dean Meyer.

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Growers Frustrated with EPA Regarding Pesticide Impacts

American farmers are again at odds with the Environmental Protection Agency over the Endangered Species Act. The final EPA biological evaluations of neonicotinoids (Nee-oh-ni-KOH-ti-noids) and their impacts on endangered species are overly conservative and don’t use all available data. Grower groups like the American Soybean Association and the American Farm Bureau Federation are concerned the evaluations drastically overstate the impact of the pesticides on endangered species and their habitats. The groups say the evaluations for several neonicotinoid pesticides don’t incorporate scientific and commercial data that could have provided a more realistic picture of the potential impacts of the chemistries on different species. The groups pointed out the shortcomings during the public comment period, but EPA doubled down on the final evaluations. “Growers have, time-and-again, pointed EPA to real-world data to improve their endangered species assessments,” says American Soybean Association President Brad Doyle. “The agency has again chosen to disregard the data.”

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Ag Groups Support the Ocean Shipping Reform Act

Ag groups positively reacted to President Biden signing the Ocean Shipping Reform Act, which will address the supply chain and shipping port issues hampering U.S. exports. “Exports add significantly to the bottom line of each producer,” says National Pork Producers Council President-Elect Scott Hayes. “More assurances that exports get safely to their destination is a big win for agriculture.” American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall personally spoke to President Biden last week about the legislation. “Addressing congestion at our ports and creating greater accountability for shipping companies is a positive step,” Duvall says. The National Milk Producers Federation and the U.S. Dairy Export Council both applauded the bill getting signed into law. “We’re asking the Federal Maritime Commission to implement these rules quickly and begin to conduct the new oversight to end the unfair practices that have impeded American dairy products from efficiently getting to their overseas customers,” says NMPF President Jim Mulhern.

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USDA Receives Overwhelming Interest in Climate-Smart Commodities

The USDA says the second funding pool through the Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities opportunity received over 600 applications from more than 400 groups. While USDA is calculating the final numbers, the overall interest in the opportunity already exceeds more than $18 billion. “The results of the second funding pool clearly demonstrate the strong demand in the U.S. agriculture and forestry industry for solutions that expand markets for American producers and forest landowners, particularly those that are small or historically underserved,” says USDA Undersecretary for Farm Production and Conservation Robert Bonnie. “The second round of funding received significantly more applications than the first, and we’re looking forward to going through the large pool of applications.” The second funding pool was designed to support proposals between $250,000 and $5 million that emphasize the enrollment of small and-or underserved producers. The proposals could also include monitoring, reporting, and verifying activities developed at minority-serving institutions.  

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U.S. Dairy Industry Signs MOU to Continue Sustainability Commitment

The USDA and the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy signed a Memorandum of Understanding to continue working toward the dairy industry’s 2050 environmental stewardship goals. The MOU also addresses growing consumer demand for food produced in a way that’s good for the planet. The MOU extends and builds upon a pact originally signed in 2008. “In renewing this agreement with the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, USDA is recommitting to our vital work with dairy farmers to reduce methane emissions and improve the sustainability of their operations,” says USDA Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Jewell Bronaugh (bro-NAW). “We’ve seen tremendous interest in the production of climate-smart commodities, and the dairy industry is on the leading edge of that effort. The MOU builds on that effort” The Innovation Center’s 2050 environmental stewardship goals include achieving GHG neutrality, optimizing water use while maximizing recycling, and improving water quality by optimizing utilization of manure and nutrients.

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Cattle Industry Fighting SEC Climate Rule

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association filed comments on the Securities and Exchange Commission’s controversial greenhouse gas disclosure rule. The rule would require publicly-traded companies to disclose their direct, energy-electricity consumption, and supply chain emissions, creating a burden on cattle producers who supply beef to publicly-traded processors, restaurants, and retailers. “With cattle producers facing record inflation, rising input costs, and labor shortages, another bureaucratic rule is a burden we cannot afford,” says NCBA President Don Schiefelbein. “Policymakers should be focused on lowering costs and solving real problems facing agriculture, not creating more complex rules that require a team of lawyers to understand.” While the proposal is aimed at public companies, it would place a burden on cattle producers who supply beef to public entities. The federal government has also acknowledged that accurately calculating emissions on the farm or ranch level is impossible. EPA and USDA metrics are already calculated and should satisfy federal regulators.

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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.

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