National Ag News for August 02, 2022

Farm Lending and Interest Rates Rise in the Second Quarter

Larger loans continued to boost lending activity in the second quarter of 2022 while farm loan interest rates edged higher. The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City says the volume of non-real estate agricultural loans grew steadily alongside an increase in the number and average size of loans. Interest rates remained historically low but continued to increase in recent quarters and on nearly all types of farm loans as benchmark rates continue rising. The average maturity of some types of loans, particularly for real estate, also increased during the quarter and was above recent historic averages. The Kansas City Fed says farm lending activity showed signs of rebounding from the pullback in recent years and could grow further in the coming months as the higher costs of many major inputs continue impacting farmers. Persistent pressure from higher production expenses could squeeze profit margins going forward and drive demand for credit higher.

2021 Farm Production Expenses Surpassed $390 Billion

In 2021, USDA says farm production expenses hit $392.9 billion, higher than the $366.2 billion in 2020. That’s a 7.3 percent rise from 2020 to 2021. The four biggest expenditures totaled $189.4 billion, just over 48 percent of all expenses last year. Those four are feed at 16 percent, farm services at 11 percent, livestock, poultry, and related expenses at 10 percent, and labor at 9.4 percent. The total fuel expense was $12.9 billion on 2021. Diesel is the largest sub-component and totaled $8.4 billion in expenditures, accounting for 65 percent of the total fuel outlay. Diesel expenditures were 18 percent higher than in 2020. Gasoline expenses totaled $2.4 billion, 22 percent higher than the previous year. LP gas expenses rose to $1.4 billion in 2021, an 11 percent jump from 2020. Crop farm expenditures were $207.6 billion, up 6.2 percent, and livestock farm expenditures increased to $185.3 billion, up 8.5 percent in 2021.

USA Takes Action to Prevent Salmonella in Poultry Products

The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service announced it will declare Salmonella as an adulterant in breaded and stuffed raw chicken products. “Food safety is at the heart of everything,” says Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack. “This is an important first step in launching a broader initiative to reduce Salmonella illnesses associated with poultry in the U.S.” By declaring Salmonella an adulterant in these products, FSIS will be able to ensure highly contaminated products that could make people sick aren’t sold to consumers. Since 1988, breaded and stuffed raw chicken products have been associated with up to 14 outbreaks and approximately 200 illnesses. Those products include frozen chicken cordon bleu or chicken Kiev. They appeared to be cooked but were only heat treated to set the batter or breading. The poultry was still raw. These products will be adulterated when exceeding a small contamination threshold and be subject to regulatory action.

Sorghum Producers Remind Others to Comment on EPA Atrazine Proposal

The National Sorghum Producers says the Environmental Protection Agency is taking “another swing” at atrazine. They say the regulatory agency disregarded sound science, transparency, and the regulatory framework in this proposal. The sorghum producers want farmers from all over the U.S. to join them in submitting comments and stopping the EPA from using regulatory tricks to drastically limit the use of a critical input for farmers. Atrazine is included in more than 90 herbicide products across the country and limiting atrazine will cause problems. Atrazine is used on 75 percent of U.S. sorghum acres, and the proposal would have drastic impacts on a large number of those acres. The proposal would significantly reduce application rates and require additional mitigation measures and reporting procedures. It also prohibits all aerial application and application when rain is in the forecast within 48 hours. USP wants the EPA to stick to the finalized 2020 atrazine registration.

Florida Congressman Wants Investigation into Chinese Land Purchases

If Republicans take back a Congressional majority in November, Florida Representative Mike Waltz pledged that the House GOP would investigate the flow of Chinese money into the U.S. economy. Waltz tells Daily Mail that the steady encroachment not only poses a military threat but could also have wide-ranging impacts on the American economy. Recent reports have shown that Chinese companies are increasing their hold over key sectors of the U.S. economy by purchasing farmland and expanding their technology into rural areas. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are concerned about a Chinese company buying land in North Dakota for $2.6 million which is only 20 minutes from a key military base. Some of America’s most sensitive drone technology is stored at that base in North Dakota. “There’s the land concern near the base, but I think an even bigger concern is China investing in the U.S. food supply chain,” Waltz says.

U.S. Wheat Associated Promote Miller to Director of Programs

U.S. Wheat Associates promoted Catherine Miller to Director of Programs. She joined USW in 2018 as the Programming and Planning Coordinator and shifted to Programs Coordinator in 2021. “Catherine has done a great job in managing many of USW’s domestic programs, and she excelled in helping USW transition to virtual programming when COVID-19 began,” says Erica Oakley, USW Vice President of Programs. In this role, Miller will lead program support for coordinating trade teams, short courses, and board teams with USW’s overseas offices and state wheat commissions. Miller also works closely with overseas staff to identify consultant needs and coordinate annual crop quality seminars. Miller will also continue supporting USW’s shift to more virtual programs, including taking an active role in conducting monthly webinars and crop updates. Miller joined the organization after graduating with honors from Auburn University in May 2017, earning a bachelor’s degree in agriculture business and economics.


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.