NATIONAL AG NEWS SPONSORED BY THE AMERICAN FARM BUREAU FEDERATION

National Ag News for August 03, 2022

Farmer Sentiment Rises in July

The Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer farmer sentiment index rose six points in July to a reading of 103. Producers were somewhat more optimistic about both their current and future economic conditions on their farms compared to June. Even though there was a slight increase in optimism, there’s still a lot of uncertainty in the agricultural economy. Key commodity prices, including wheat, corn, and soybeans all weakened during the month, and producers remain concerned over rising input prices and input availability. Forty-two percent of survey respondents said higher input prices were a big concern, 19 percent said lower crop prices, and 17 percent said rising interest rates. The Farm Financial Performance Index, primarily an indicator of income expectations in the year ahead, improved five points to a reading of 88 in June. However, 49 percent of the survey respondents said they expect their farm to be worse off financially a year from now.

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Registration Open for the Federal Milk Marketing Order Forum

The American Farm Bureau Federation is hosting an industry-wide forum on the Federal Milk Marketing Order on October 14-16 in Kansas City, Missouri. The forum was prompted by a call from Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack to get as many people involved in dairy as possible in one room to discuss solutions to the Federal Milk Marketing Order shortfalls. The forum will include panels on various aspects of the Federal Milk Marketing Orders followed by roundtable discussions structured to spur conversation among all parts of the dairy sector but with a clear focus on farmers. “Meaningful changes to the FMMO system are long overdue,” says Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall. “Even before COVID-19 highlighted how volatile milk prices and outdated milk pricing and pooling provisions were harming dairy farmers, it was clear the FMMO system needs modernizing to address consolidation in processing, shifting consumer preferences, and fluctuating trade demands.” Go to fb.org for information.

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U.S. Rice Growers Want Access to Cuba

USA Rice and other industry leaders are pushing for the American government to get rid of trade barriers with Cuba and make it easier for U.S. rice exports to get to the island nation. Rice groups are members of the U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba, a group that supports improving agricultural trade between the U.S. and Canada. “USA Rice wants an administrative and legislative piecemeal approach to help ease the current restrictions on trade, travel, and financing, so that Cuba can grow its economy and become a reliable importer of American rice again,” says USA Rice Vice President of Policy and Government Affairs Peter Bachmann. Cuba is a major rice consumer and once was among the top markets for U.S. rice exports. USA Rice says Cuba has to bring in rice from Asian and South American countries. Cubans are struggling with food shortages and a lack of medicine, energy, and fuel.

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USDA Undersecretary says Ag Can Be a Hero on Climate Change

America’s farmers have an opportunity to be a hero in addressing climate change through improvements in productivity and climate-smart practices. However, Robert Bonnie, USDA Undersecretary for Farm Production and Conservation, says a successful climate program “has to work for agriculture.” Bonnie spoke at the International Sweetener Symposium on Monday. Thanks to strong farm policies, America’s sugarcane and sugarbeet farmers invest in new research, technologies, and techniques to boost their efficiency and protect the planet. Sugar farmers produce 16 percent more sugar today on 11 percent less land than 20 years ago. They’ve also increased yields by 30 percent while using fewer inputs. Bonnie says there’s so much diversity in agriculture that the approach to climate change can’t be one that dictates practices for low and high. “It has to be modern, and it has to be producer-led,” Bonnie says. “Farmers and ranchers should be able to choose what works best for them.”

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National Chicken Council Reacts to FSIS Move on Salmonella in Frozen Products

The National Chicken Council responded to the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service plan to declare salmonella an adulterant in frozen, raw, breaded, stuffed chicken products. Dr. Ashley Peterson, senior vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs, says they recognize the special nature of the products that appear ready to eat but contain raw chicken. “The NCC and our member companies have invested millions of dollars and worked for over ten years to develop and refine the best practices to reduce Salmonella and protect public health,” Peterson says. The NCC points out that it’s concerned about the precedent set by this abrupt shift in long-standing policy, which was made without supporting data for a product category associated with one outbreak since 2015. “We believe FSIS already has the ability to ensure the continued safety of these products,” Peterson says. “There’s no magic bullet for food safety, so we employ a multi-stage strategy.”

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Land Prices Continue to Set New Records

The sale prices for good cropland in rural America continue upward, reaching new high points in many states. Farmers National Company says the “record” sale prices continue to capture headlines, but there has generally been continued strength in the land market, with good cropland attracting the most attention from buyers. “The upcoming months will set the trend in land prices,” says Randy Dickhut (DICK-hoot), senior vice president of real estate operations at Farmers National. Recently, good cropland in Iowa sold above $25,000 per acre, $15,000 per acre in South Dakota, and $12,000 an acre in North Dakota. Further east, Illinois had land sales above $21,000 an acre, Indiana at $17,000 an acre, and Ohio has seen $16,000 per acre. Land sales in Nebraska were above $13,500 per acre, $14,500 in Missouri, and more than $8,000 in Kansas. Farmers National will be watching before and after this year’s harvest to gauge the future land market.

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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.