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National Ag News for August 9, 2022

Senate Passes Inflation Reduction Act, Includes Ag Funding

The Inflation Reduction Act passed by the Senate over the weekend includes some $40 billion of agricultural-focused funding. Passed along party lines, with Vice President Kamala Harris casting the tie-breaking vote, the legislation seeks to address prescription drug prices, climate, and reducing the federal deficit. Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow, a Michigan Democrat, says the legislation “gives farmers the resources they need to tackle the climate crisis by reducing carbon pollution and other greenhouse gas emissions.” However, the committee’s top Republican, Senator John Boozman of Arkansas, alleges Democrats are “passing their far-Left agenda, including reviving parts of the radical Green New Deal, raising taxes on job creators, turbocharging the IRS to harass taxpayers, and expanding the federal government’s reach.” The bill includes $4 billion for drought resilience directed to the Bureau of Reclamation, and $3.1 billion in funding for distressed borrowers of USDA loans, according to Politico. The legislation also includes funding for USDA conservation programs and rural development.

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USDA: Farmland Values up More Than 12%

U.S. farmland prices increased 12.4 percent over the last year, according to new data from the Department of Agriculture. USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service released the 2022 Land Values Summary Friday afternoon. The report shows the U.S. farm real estate value, a measurement of the value of all land and buildings on farms, averaged $3,800 per acre for 2022, up $420 per acre from 2021. The U.S. cropland value averaged $5,050 per acre, an increase of $630 per acre, or 14.3 percent, from the previous year. Finally, the U.S. pasture value averaged $1,650 per acre, an increase of $170 per acre, up 11.5 percent from 2021. In the Corn Belt region, cropland values increased 15.3 percent from $6,880 per acre in 2021, to $7,930 per acre in 2022. New Jersey and California have the highest average cropland values, with Ney Jersey at $15,900, up 7.4 percent from 2021, and California at $15,410, up 11.2 percent from last year.

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Direct-to-Consumer Farm Sales Reach $10.7 Billion in 2020

Information updated Monday by USDA’s Economic Research Service shows in 2020, U.S. farms sold almost $10.7 billion of food commodities directly to consumer outlets and supply chains. This includes restaurants, grocery stores, regional distributors and local institutions. The figure is nearly $2.8 billion, or 35 percent more than sold in 2019. From 2019 to 2020, sales at farmers markets and restaurants and grocery stores increased by 11 and 13 percent, respectively, whereas sales at farm stores, community-supported agriculture, and other direct-to-consumer channels increased by 79 percent. Meanwhile, sales to regional distributors increased by 73 percent. However, sales to local institutions declined by 86 percent in 2020 relative to 2019, likely because of closures or restricted operations related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Overall, in 2020, 73 percent of total direct sales occurred through intermediary supply chains, while the remaining 27 percent were direct-to-consumer outlets. USDA adds that about seven percent of America’s two million farms sold commodities through direct-to-consumer outlets.

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USDA Investing $14.5 Million for Taxpayer Education, Outreach Efforts for Agriculture

The Department of Agriculture announced funding for two outreach and education efforts for farmers and ranchers late last week. USDA’s Farm Service Agency is investing $10 million for agriculture-oriented taxpayer education as well as $4.5 million in outreach for the Conservation Reserve Program’s Transition Incentives Program. Both efforts help advance equity and access to USDA programs and agriculture. Deputy Undersecretary for Farm Production and Conservation, Gloria Montaño Greene, says, “Running a farm operation is tough, and we are working to help meet gaps where farmers need assistance.”  FSA’s $10 million investment funds the new Taxpayer Education and Asset Protection Initiative. The partnership with the University of Arkansas, the National Farm Income Tax Extension Committee and others, establishes hubs for taxpayer education while developing and delivering tax education resources. For the Conservation Reserve Program’s Transition Incentives Program, $4.5 million will award stakeholder organizations to conduct outreach and provide technical assistance to promote the program.

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House Ag Committee to Host Farm Bill Listening Session in Ohio

House Agriculture Committee Chair David Scott Monday announced an upcoming Farm Bill listening session in Ohio. The session is the next in a series titled “A 2022 Review of the Farm Bill: Perspectives from the Field.” The House Agriculture Committee has conducted several hearings in Washington, D.C., focused on the 2018 Farm Bill and improvements that can be made in the 2023 Farm Bill. The Georgia Democrat, Scott, says the series of listening sessions allows House Agriculture Committee Members to gather input from producers and consumers on the ground across the country. The next session in the series takes place at 12:00 p.m. ET at Terra State Community College in Fremont, Ohio, on Monday, August 22. It will be hosted by Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, an Ohio Democrat, and chaired by House Agriculture Subcommittee Chair Cheri Bustos, an Illinois Democrat. The event is open to the public, and additional dates and locations will be announced in the coming weeks.

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CFTC Seeks Nominations for Agricultural Advisory Committee

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission seeks nominations for the Agricultural Advisory Committee membership and public input on upcoming priorities. In a Federal Register notice, the CFTC made the request, with a deadline of September 7, 2022. Through public meetings, the committee advises the Commission on agricultural derivatives market regulatory issues and priorities important to producers, processors, consumers, and other stakeholders. The committee is authorized to submit reports and recommendations to the Commission. CFTC Chairman Rostin Behnam, sponsor of the Agricultural Advisory Committee, says the committee’s mission “is particularly important in light of recent environmental developments and geopolitical events affecting the agricultural markets.” There are five active Advisory Committees overseen by the CFTC. They were created to provide advice and recommendations to the Commission on a variety of regulatory and market issues that affect the integrity and competitiveness of U.S. markets. The Advisory Committees facilitate communication between the Commission, market participants, regulators, and academics.

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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.

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