NATIONAL AG NEWS SPONSORED BY THE AMERICAN FARM BUREAU FEDERATION

National Ag News for August 05, 2022

ReConnect Round Four Funding Application Period is Open

USDA Rural Development Undersecretary Xochitl (So-CHEEL) Torres Small says the agency will begin accepting applications on September 6 for funding to expand access to high-speed internet in rural America. USDA is making the next round of funding available through the ReConnect Program, which received new funds from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. “High-speed internet connects people and small businesses to new markets and helps people in rural America build brighter futures,” Torres Small says. “For too long, many rural communities have been left out of the digital economy.” The Department will begin accepting applications on up to $150 million in loans, up to $300 million in loan/grant combinations, and up to $700 million in grants. USDA made several improvements to the ReConnect Program in Round Four to increase the availability of funding in rural areas where residents and businesses lack access to affordable, high-speed internet. More information is available at rd.usa.gov.

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Dakotas Make Up Large Share of Prevent Plant Claims

Since 2007, North and South Dakota had a large share of prevent-plant claims. The University of Illinois’ Farm Doc Daily says those states accounted for 35 percent of U.S. corn and soybean prevent plant acres versus nine percent and 12 percent, respectively, of total acres planted to corn and soybeans. Compared with other North Central states, average planting progress on the first date that prevent-plant can be taken is notably slower in these two states. Farm Doc says this finding implies that farmers in North and South Dakota have more of an opportunity to opt for prevent-plant, prompting a significant insurance policy question: “Should prevent-plant first decision day be set so that the normal planting progress rate is the same for all areas when it’s time to make the prevent-plant decision?” Evidence suggests the prevent plant acres would drop in both states if the first decision day occurred later.

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EPA Requests Partial Rehearing in Glyphosate Litigation

Earlier this week, the Environmental Protection Agency submitted a petition to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals requesting a partial rehearing of its glyphosate interim decision. In that ruling, the panel vacated the interim decision’s human health risk assessment and sent back the ecological risk assessment to the agency to complete an Endangered Species Act analysis by October 1. The EPA is seeking a partial rehearing because of the ecological part of the decision. In its request, the EPA says that finalizing an ESA consultation is a multi-year process, for which the panel only granted 106 days. EPA also says it can’t comply with the order because it has to coordinate with other agencies that aren’t part of the lawsuit. The agency requested the court grant the rehearing to consider lifting the October 1 deadline. The American Soybean Association is a party to the litigation and monitoring the case for further developments.

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Tyson Foods Ignoring Subpoena in Meat Price Gouging Probe

New York’s attorney general says Tyson Foods is refusing to comply with a subpoena for a civil probe into possible price gouging during COVID-19. Letitia (Leh-TEE-sha) James asked a state judge in Manhattan to make Tyson turn over materials like contractual terms, prices, and profit margins for its meat sales to New York retailers between December 2019 and April 2022. James says Tyson, one of the largest U.S. meat producers, stopped complying after giving limited information based on the company’s argument that New York’s price gouging law didn’t apply to meat products brought in from outside the state. James called that “novel and unfounded,” pointing out in a recent court filing that it can only be tested by examining the same materials that Tyson now refuses to hand over to her office. Reuters says Tyson declined to comment on the subpoena, saying it raised meat prices to offset soaring labor and feed costs.

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Ethanol Production Reaches Highest Level in Four Weeks

The Energy Information Administration says ethanol output jumped to its highest level in a month while inventories increased slightly. Production of the biofuel rose to an average of 1.043 million barrels a day during the week ending on July 29. That’s up from 1.021 million barrels daily during the previous week and is the highest output since the seven days that ended on July 1. In the Midwest, output averaged 984,000 barrels a day, up from 962,000 the previous week and also the highest point in a month. Production in the Gulf Coast increased to 25,000 barrels a day, on average, from 23,000 barrels. That was all the weekly gains as East Coast output was unchanged at 12,000 barrels a day and Rocky Mountain production remained at 15,000 barrels a day. West Coast output dropped by 7,000 barrels a day. Stockpiles rose modestly to 23.394 million barrels a day during the week.

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Oil Falls Below $90 a Barrel

Oil prices declined to the lowest point in almost six months, caused by weakening gasoline demand and recessionary fears weighing down markets. Bloomberg says West Texas Intermediate fell to $87.78 a barrel, a level last seen during the weeks before Russia invaded Ukraine. The price drop this week was jump-started by government data showing Americans are driving less than they did in the summer of 2020. Fears of a slowing economy have intensified along with the potential impacts on crude demand. One senior market analyst says prices falling under $90 a barrel is “quite remarkable” given how tight the market is and how little relief is in store. Crude oil has now given up all of the gains triggered by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Since it peaked at more than $130 a barrel, the benchmark has dropped due to signs that Moscow is still getting its oil cargoes onto the global 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.