NATIONAL AG NEWS SPONSORED BY THE AMERICAN FARM BUREAU FEDERATION

National Ag News for July 27, 2022

Poultry Producers Settle Claims on Unfair Worker Treatment

Three of the biggest poultry processors in the U.S. will settle claims by the Justice Department over their alleged efforts to work together to drive down employee compensation. Reuters said Cargill, Sanderson Farms, and Wayne Farms agreed to pay a combined $84 million in restitution to workers harmed by their alleged information sharing in order to settle civil antitrust lawsuits. The Antitrust Division of the DOJ said in a statement that through a “brazen scheme” to exchange wage and benefit information, these producers stifled competition and harmed a generation of plant workers who face demanding and sometimes dangerous conditions to earn a living. The settlement was filed on Monday in a Maryland District Court shortly after the lawsuits got filed. Wayne Farms says the settlement shows the company’s commitment to its workers and farmers. Cargill admitted no wrongdoing but said it settled with the Justice Department to avoid further litigation.

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USDA Says Rising Food Prices Could Ease in 2023

The all-items Consumer Price Index increased 1.4 percent from May to June and is 9.1 percent higher than in June of last year. USDA once again raised its consumer food price inflation forecast from 8.5 percent to 9.5 percent for 2022. In their first forecast for next year, USDA says inflation will slow to a range between 2.5 percent and 3.5 percent. That’s more in line with the 20-year historical average increase for consumer food prices, which is 2.4 percent per year. The 8.5-9.5 percent rise between 2021 and 2022 is the biggest increase in overall food price inflation since 1979 when prices rose 11 percent. The biggest increase was in the fats and oils category, now forecast to rise 16.5-17.5 percent this year compared to 2021. Poultry, dairy, and cereals-bakery goods are other categories with large price increases. Food at home price is now forecast at 11 percent higher in 2022.

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Risk Management Programs Critical for Dairy Success

The National Milk Producers Federation commended farmers from its member cooperatives who are speaking up for dairy’s needs during farm bill listening sessions held by members of Congress. “From sustainability and trade to providing an adequate safety net to producers of all sizes, dairy farmer voices are critical to crafting federal farm programs that serve the entire nation,” says Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF. “We commend the farmers who own our member cooperatives for sharing their insights.” During a listening session in Minnesota, Steve Schlangen, chair of Associated Milk Producers, Inc., emphasized the value of the Dairy Margin Coverage Program that was created in the 2018 Farm Bill. Schlangen urged the committee to strengthen the program by carrying the Supplemental Dairy Margin Coverage update over into the next farm bill to compensate farmers for modest production increases that have taken place since the program formula was created in 2014.

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USDA Starts Issuing Payments for Spot Market Hog Pandemic

The USDA is increasing the amount of funding available for the Spot Market Hog Pandemic Program and expects to issue approximately $62.8 million in assistance payments to producers this week. SMHPP assists eligible producers who sold hogs through a spot market sale between April 16 and September 1 in 2020. “In order to provide more targeted support to hog producers affected by COVID-19, FSA was able to increase funding for SMHPP to provide full payments instead of applying a payment factor,” says FSA Administrator Zach Ducheneaux. “We’re happy to be able to provide more equitable assistance for hog producers hit hard by the pandemic.” Terry Wolters, president of the National Pork Producers Council, says they appreciate FSA’s commitment assisting those pork producers hit by the economic disruptions. “Producers forced into spot market hog sales are still challenged by those market disruptions, so this will help in the recovery,” he says.

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Farmfest Offering Livestreamed Forums on Farm Bill, Ag Outlook, and More

National farm and ranch leaders will be in Minnesota for Farmfest on August 2-4 at the Gilfillan Estates near Morgan, Minnesota. They’ll be discussing agricultural topics like the farm bill, the agricultural outlook for the year ahead, and many others. The feature forum will be Tuesday, August 2, at 1:15 pm Central Time, when the primary focus will be on the key topics getting considered as Congress develops the 2023 Farm Bill. Wednesday’s forum schedule starts at 8:30 am and will feature grain marketing, weather, ag policy, crop, and livestock experts sharing perspectives on the year ahead. A Women in Agriculture event will conclude with the presentation of the Farmfest Woman Farmer of the Year on Thursday. “In-person attendees and those tuning in on Livestream will benefit from the insights shared by our lineup of presenters,” says Melissa Sanders Carroll of IDEAg (Idea Ag). For a full schedule and to see the Livestream events, go to Farmfest.com.

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Cattle Industry Business Meeting This Week in Reno, Nevada

More than 600 leaders in the cattle industry are at the Summer Business Meeting in Reno, Nevada, this week and providing direction for the industry’s important programs. The event includes meetings of cattlemen and women representing the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board, American National CattleWomen, and the National Cattlemen’s Foundation. “These meetings give us a great opportunity to engage with one another,” says NCBA President Don Schiefelbein (SHEEF-ell-byne). “I appreciate the time and effort producers commit to coming together to strengthen our industry.” Producers will discuss current developments, work on initiatives developed at Convention, and make plans for the upcoming fiscal year. Other highlights include Sam’s Club executives sharing their knowledge of working on the consumer-facing side of the beef industry. The next time cattle producers come together will be at the 2023 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show on February 1-3 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

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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.