NATIONAL AG NEWS SPONSORED BY THE AMERICAN FARM BUREAU FEDERATION

National Ag News for July 28, 2022

Next Generation Fuels Act Introduced in House, Senate

Legislation called the Next Generation Fuels Act was introduced this week in both the Senate and House of Representatives. It aims to leverage higher-octane fuels to improve engine efficiency and performance. Allowing the sale of fuels with greater octane levels would increase the amount of ethanol that can get utilized in the fuel supply, which in turn would lower prices at the pump. Iowa Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst introduced it in the Senate, while Illinois Representative Cheri Bustos and the entire Iowa delegation introduced it to the House. “Unstable gas prices have left many families, and especially rural families, with a lot of budget uncertainty,” says Grassley. “This would ramp up the use of homegrown fuel at stations across the country, making Americans less reliant on foreign oil and less vulnerable to OPEC tactics.” Ernst echoed those sentiments, noting that America should be turning to its own abundant domestic fuel production.

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Ag Groups React to the Next Generation Fuels Act

Some of the nation’s largest agricultural organizations applauded the introduction of the Next Generation Fuels Act in both chambers of Congress this week. National Corn Growers Association President Chris Edgington says it’s a step forward for the nation’s consumers. “In recent months, consumers have been reminded that we need choices at the pump, and the Next Generation Fuels Act would diversify our fuel supply.” National Farmers Union President Rob Larew says the legislation supports usage of higher-level blends of ethanol, something NFU has long championed. “Higher level blends of ethanol are good for farmers, good for the planet, and good for American pocketbooks,” Larew says. Geoff Cooper of the Renewable Fuels Association says, “This summer’s geopolitical instability and record-high gas prices underscore the need for an immediate energy solution for American families.” Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor says, “It’s a clear roadmap for delivering cleaner, more affordable options to American drivers.”

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Survey says Consumers are Relying on Chicken Despite Inflation

Research presented at the 2022 Chicken Marketing Summit shows that U.S. consumers are still buying chicken. The survey showed that while consumers average rating for their current financial situation is midway between “poor” and “excellent,” 87 percent are buying the same amount or more of fresh chicken compared to six months ago. Chicken continues to be the healthy choice and best value for the money. During the past six months, 99 percent of those surveyed say they eat meals made with fresh chicken more than once a month while 88 percent do so more than once a week. U.S. consumers plan to buy more chicken than other types of protein in the year ahead. Chicken buyers cite nutrition, value, and versatility as the top reasons for consuming more chicken. Chicken is almost inflation-proof as USDA says Americans, on average, will eat a record 98.3 pounds of chicken per person this year.

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AFT Releases Policy Priorities for 2023 Farm Bill

American Farmland Trust released its 2023 Farm Bill advocacy platform this week. It’s a series of policy recommendations focused on supporting farmers and ranchers in protecting their land from development, combating climate change, and enabling a diverse new generation of farmers to better access land and build businesses. “The farm bill, which is passed once every five years, is the single most influential piece of federal legislation in food and agriculture,” says AFT president and CEO John Piotti (Pee-AHT-tee). “Our policy recommendations, developed with input from producers and experts across the country, will help ensure that the 2023 Farm Bill sets agriculture on a path towards a more resilient, profitable, and equitable future.” AFT research has found that 11 million acres of agricultural land were paved over, fragmented, and converted to uses that jeopardize agriculture between 2011-2016. An additional loss of 18.4 million acres were expected by 2040 without additional policy actions.

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NCBA Backs Food and Energy Security Act

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association announced it supports the Food and Energy Security Act introduced by Senator John Thune of South Dakota. The bill would require federal regulators to disclose how proposed rules would impact food and energy prices. “The Biden administration proposed a massive climate disclosure rule that will create new reporting burdens for every farm, ranch, and small business in the country,” says NCBA Environmental Counsel Mary-Thomas Hart. “NCBA supports this legislation because rules like the emissions disclosure mandate from the Securities and Exchange Commission add a costly burden to cattle producers, rural communities, and consumers across the country.” The bill would also prohibit federal regulators from implementing any rule that would increase food or energy prices if inflation is higher than 4.5 percent. Since the beginning of 2022, inflation has consistently been over seven percent, with the inflation rate hitting a forty-year high of 9.1 percent in June.

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Soybean Checkoff Leaders Approve Investments to Increase Demand

The farmer-leaders of the United Soybean Board recently finished their summer board meeting in Michigan and approved a budget of $123 million for program work beginning in October. They set investments in research, education, and promotion to add value to U.S. soybeans and build resilience, differentiation, and reputation. The eight investment portfolios align with USB’s new vision of delivering sustainable soy solutions to every life, every day. “Our thinking, planning, and work as a board has become a much more deliberate and idea-driven process, challenging our board members to think big,” says USB Chair and New York farmer Ralph Lott. “Each portfolio works together to create demand for U.S. soybeans across the entire global soy value chain.” He also says that USB has shifted from “project takers” to “portfolio makers,” and the result is more strategic thinking. USB says U.S. soybeans are preferred worldwide, and farmers are seeing strong ROI on their dollars.

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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.