National Ag News for July 21, 2022

NCGA: Federal Crop Insurance Still a Top Priority for Farmers

Congress is continuing its review of the implementation of the 2018 Farm Bill as it prepares to debate and reauthorize the farm bill next year. A National Corn Growers Association leader testified before the House Ag Committee that federal crop insurance is essential to farming and has to get protected from harmful budget cuts. Tom Haag of Minnesota is the First Vice President of the NCGA. “Federal crop insurance is a major pillar of risk management for the vast majority of corn growers,” he said during testimony. “Simply put, the public-private partnership of crop insurance works and plays a significant role for agriculture in the wake of natural disasters.” During the development, passage, and implementation of the last farm bill, both the House and Senate Ag Committees defeated attacks on the program and found ways to strengthen the federal crop insurance program. Haag says NCGA will provide farm bill recommendations in the months ahead.

NPPC Applauds U.S.-Philippine Swine Fever Project

The National Pork Producers Council is applauding a new joint effort to address the challenges of African Swine Fever. The USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service joined with leaders from the Philippine Department of Agriculture and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture to announce the new project. It’s titled “Capacity building in risk assessment to support safe international trade of U.S. pork producers in the Philippines.” NPPC President Terry Wolters of Minnesota says, “Creating international partnerships provides further safeguards to keep American agriculture safe from foreign animal disease. That helps U.S. pork producers to continue providing customers in both countries with safe and affordable pork.” The Philippines has had ongoing ASF outbreaks and is seeking better ways to control the virus and the subsequent food price inflation. NPPC worked with the Philippine embassy in Washington, D.C., to ascertain the needs of the Philippine government and the country’s producers to help them better manage ASF outbreaks.

Bipartisan Letter to EPA Asks Agency to Support Advanced Biofuel Production

Senators Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, both members of the Senate Ag Committee, wrote a letter with 22 colleagues to the Environmental Protection Agency about biofuels. The letter asks EPA Administrator Michael Regan to support higher amounts of biomass-based biodiesel and other advanced biofuels in the upcoming 2023 and 2024 Renewable Volume Obligations. “Advanced biofuels have a critical role in addressing some of the economic challenges we face today,” Grassley says in the letter. The senators also say that the production and use of advanced biofuels benefit the economy and the environment in many ways. For example, the production process involves utilizing resources that would otherwise be of no use, including surplus vegetable oils, recycled cooking oils, and animal fats. Production of clean-burning, homegrown biofuels supports 13 percent of the value of U.S. soybeans. Laboratory estimates say biodiesel reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 74 percent compared to regular diesel.

Gas Prices Down 10 Percent from June Peak

The national average price for a gallon of gas is below $4.50 for the first time in two months. The Washington Post says that may offer some relief for Americans struggling to make ends meet due to runaway inflation. Triple A says the national average was $4.495 on Tuesday, a ten percent drop from the June high point of more than $5 a gallon. A gallon of diesel dropped 31 cents over the last month, now at $5.51 on Tuesday. At least 35 states across the country have at least one retailer selling gas for under $4 a gallon. The fuel-tracking app GasBuddy says the lowest price this week was found in Virginia, where at least two stations are selling their gas at $3.25 a gallon. The turnaround in prices has taken industry analysts by surprise. Patrick DeHaan of GasBuddy says, “We see prices drop like this maybe twice a century. “

Sorghum Added to USDA Food Buying Guide

The USDA recently added sorghum to its Food Buying Guide for Child Nutrition Programs, the primary resource used by school foodservice directors to build menus that comply with nutrition requirements. The move represents a major step forward for Sorghum,  a nutrient-rich, high-protein, gluten-free grain. “The inclusion of sorghum in the Food Buying Guide is a monumental win for sorghum producers as we continue looking for new ways to market our crop,” says Norma Ritz Johnson, executive director for the United Sorghum Checkoff Program. “This move is pivotal in our efforts to increase its visibility and ease of use among foodservice professionals.” She also says the industry is excited to deliver its nutritious whole grain to the plates of American schoolchildren. As of July 1, a new USDA requirement stated that at least 80 percent of the weekly grains in school lunch menus must be whole-grain rich, something sorghum can provide.

Ag Groups Support the “Beagle Brigade”

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association joined a coalition of agricultural organizations in calling for passage of the Beagle Brigade Act of 2022. The bill would authorize the National Detector Dog Training Center, which trains canines who are nicknamed the “Beagle Brigade.” Allison Rivera, NCBA Executive Director of Government Affairs, says the Beagle Brigade is crucial for preventing foreign animal diseases, invasive species, and pests from entering the country. “To continue the success of the Beagle Brigade’s program, we’re urging Congress to provide specific authorization for the National Detector Dog Training Center so canine teams can continue to provide robust inspections at U.S. ports of entry,” Rivera says. U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials say over 116 agricultural canine teams provide screenings at border crossings, airports, cruise terminals, cargo warehouses, and mail facilities.  Brigade members play a vital role in preventing the introduction of diseases like Foot and Mouth Disease, African Swine Fever, and many others.


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.