NATIONAL AG NEWS SPONSORED BY THE AMERICAN FARM BUREAU FEDERATION

National Ag News for July 20, 2022

Ag Land Market Will Be Active During the Fall

Early indications are suggesting that land auction activity will be good both before and after the harvest in 2022. Farmers National Company says land sales typically slow during the spring and early summer. However, the rate of late summer and fall auctions getting scheduled with Farmers National Company is picking up rapidly. The overall number of sales and amount of land sold from now through the end of the year likely won’t equal the very active land market at the end of 2021. But sales activity will more than likely exceed what was seen during the slower land market years from 2015 to 2020. FNC says people are moving ahead with sales because of the historically high land prices currently in the market.  Another factor is the level of uncertainty in a number of factors that influence land values, including inflation. Sellers worry about how far and how quickly interest rates will rise.

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Family Farms Still Driving Dairy Industry

The U.S. dairy industry says the “decline of the family farm” and the “rise of the corporate farm” are not accurate descriptions of American agriculture. While the number of dairy farms declined, it has not at all diminished the dominance of family-run dairies. Smaller family farms often grow to accommodate additional family members coming into the operation. Of the estimated 39,442 farms of all sizes with dairy cows, USDA data says more than 38,200 were family-operated. That’s a total of 97 percent of dairies, a high number that’s not moving despite any consolidation. For example, the number of farms with dairy cattle was over 48,000 in 2016, but the family-farm percentage that year was 97.3, a remarkably consistent number. The average size of a U.S. dairy farm has grown from 50 cows in 1990 to about 300 today. Even though they’re larger, the family farm is still the bedrock of American dairy farming.

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AFT Hires Soil and Climate Experts to Increase Impact Capacity

American Farmland Trust expanded its national “Farmers Combat Climate Change Initiative” team. New team members include Dr. Bonnie Michelle McGill as Senior Climate and Soil Health Scientist and Dr. Rachel Seman-Varner as Senior Soil Health and Biochar Scientist. Through the work of its climate initiative, AFT commits to making U.S. agriculture climate-neutral or better by promoting the widespread adoption of regenerative farming practices that rebuild soil health, sequester carbon, and reduce emissions. McGill will lead climate solutions related to program modeling, data analysis, and other research efforts advancing climate-smart practice adoption and support advocacy and communications. Seman-Varner will advance the science and implementation of high-level regenerative soil health management systems and provide technical support for policy advocacy. She will also advance AFT’s leadership on how to integrate and improve biochar and other innovative natural climate solutions into soil health management systems. The two new additions say complex problems need multi-faceted solutions.

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American Fruit Grower’s Survey Shows Serious Labor Concerns

The American Fruit Growers held its annual State of the Industry survey. Labor was a big topic in the survey, and one-third of the respondents say it’s not an issue for them, at least not yet. Growing Produce says they typically have a stable team of employees, and in 20 percent of those cases, it includes family members. For the remaining two-thirds of the survey responders, available labor is a huge challenge. A California apple grower told Growing Produce, “In California, we’re limited to a 40-hour workweek. They’re also considering reducing it to four days a week and raising the minimum wage to $15.50 an hour.” A citrus grower from Florida says it’s “virtually impossible” to find excellent farm labor. Just two in 10 survey responders currently use the H-2A program that authorizes lawful admission into the U.S. for temporary, non-immigrant workers to do agricultural labor or provide seasonal services.

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U.S. Soy Farmers to Help Battle Child Malnutrition Worldwide

The U.S. Agency for International Development announced $1.3 billion in additional critical assistance to Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia. Those funds include $200 million for purchasing a product called Ready-to-Use-Therapeutic-Food. RUTF is an energy-dense medical food paste made of soy, peanuts, powdered milk, vegetable oil, sugar, and multivitamins. It’s one of the world’s most effective tools to help severely malnourished children. America is one of the world’s largest and most cost-efficient producers of RUTFs, but U.S. farmers have the capacity to do more. “U.S. soybean growers are proud of the role they play in global food security,” says American Soybean Association President Brad Doyle. “We welcome the opportunity to provide more protein to feed those in need around the world, and we’re thankful for the much-needed investments in RUTFs.” Last spring, the ASA asked Congress for $200 million in appropriations to purchase RUTFs and double the global supply to reach more malnourished children.

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“Rock the Crop” Sweepstakes Deadline Approaching

Firestone Ag is partnering with country music star Dillon Carmichael to celebrate U.S. agriculture with its second annual Rock the Crop Concert Sweepstakes. U.S. farmers and ranchers must enter by July 25 for a chance to win a private, on-farm concert with Dillon Carmichael or tickets to one of his upcoming concerts. Firestone Ag says it’s proud to champion hard-working family farmers, and eligible entrants must live and work in the contiguous U.S. and be at least 21 years old. “I’m thrilled to continue this partnership with Firestone and have such a unique opportunity to personally celebrate America’s farmers,” Carmichael says. “My latest album is all about small-town USA, which is common for country music and a testament to my upbringing and our many fans.” Matt Frank, Firestone’s marketing product manager, says the last few years have been very challenging for agriculture workers, so they’re excited to thank one lucky farmer or rancher.

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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.