NATIONAL AG NEWS SPONSORED BY THE AMERICAN FARM BUREAU FEDERATION

National Ag News for August 10, 2022

Legislation to Protect and Expand Broadband Access

Senators Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin and Joni Ernst of Iowa introduced bipartisan legislation to protect and expand access to high-speed internet in rural communities and encourage rural broadband investment. The Access to Capital Creates Economic Strength and Supports Rural America Act would provide regulatory relief to rural telecommunications service providers by allowing them to submit streamlined financial reports to the Securities and Exchange Commission. These small businesses are often the only service providers in their regions and could be put out of business by looming regulatory costs. The ACCESS Rural America Act would save small businesses from costly SEC reporting requirements that were never intended for them. “Reliable high-speed broadband is essential to rural families, students, and farmers,” says Baldwin. “Unfortunately, rural telecom companies are getting hit with costly reporting fees that are intended for much-larger companies, threatening to upend their businesses and halt their service to the communities.”

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Tyson Foods Reports Sales Slump Amid Lower Demand, Higher Costs

Reduced domestic and international demand for pork is hitting Tyson Foods, one of the nation’s top pork producers. The Arkansas-based meatpacker reported this week that the company earned approximately $25 million from its pork business for the three months ending on July 3. That’s about 63 percent lower than the same quarter in 2021. The company reports that China, the biggest consumer of pork in the world, is buying less pork from the United States. Company executives also reported this week that U.S. stores are buying less pork as well. Hog farmers find themselves needing to decrease the number of pigs they’re raising this year because of higher corn prices for feeding the animals and fewer buyers at the grocery store. Domestically, U.S. farms had approximately 72.5 million head of hogs as of June 1, down one percent from the same day in 2021. Tyson expects that the tight live hog supply will continue.

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USDA Boosts Conservation on Grazing Lands and Support for Farmers, Ranchers

The USDA is investing up to $12 million in partnerships that expand access to conservation technical assistance for livestock producers and increase the use of conservation practices on grazing lands. The Natural Resources Conservation Service is accepting proposals through its Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative until September 22. “Privately-owned grazing lands cover nearly 30 percent of our national landscape, which means we have a tremendous opportunity to address climate change and conserve our natural resources through voluntary, private lands conservation,” says NRCS Chief Terry Cosby. Project proposals for GLCI Cooperative agreements will identify and address barriers to accessing grazing assistance for producers. Through GLCI, the NRCS will leverage partnerships to increase the availability of technical assistance for farmers and ranchers engaged in grazing activities and act as a guide for grazers seeking additional resources. The initiative will expand and establish new peer-to-peer networks for grazers and direct financial support to grazing mentors.

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Shrinking U.S. Cattle Herd Likely Means Higher Beef Prices

American shoppers struggling with inflation are looking at higher beef prices continuing in their local meat cases. Because of high feed prices and severe drought, ranchers were forced to reduce their cattle herds. Grain prices have dropped to their lowest levels since Russia invaded Ukraine, but Reuters says that might not mean lower food prices right away at the grocery store. Corn futures have dropped by 26 percent since they hit a 10-year high in April after the Ukraine conflict sparked supply worries. However, those corn prices are still nine percent higher than last year. While the lower prices benefit livestock producers, U.S. government data showed on July 1 that producers had already lowered the nation’s cattle herd by approximately two percent compared to last year. Ground beef prices are already ten percent higher than last year. Because of continuing drought in cattle country, producers will likely still have to liquidate even more cattle.

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Soybean and Wheat Inspections for Overseas Delivery Rise

The USDA says export inspections of soybeans and wheat rose week-to-week while corn assessments dropped during the week ending August 4. Bean inspections during the week jumped to 867,500 metric tons from almost 595,000 a week earlier. That’s also significantly higher than the 115,000 metric tons examined during the same week in 2021. Wheat assessments rose to 604,000 metric tons during the week, up from just over 308,000 during the previous week. That was down from the 654,000 metric tons during the same week last year. Corn inspections dropped to 555,000 metric tons, significantly lower than the 905,000 tons during the prior week.  Since the marketing year began on September 1, corn inspections total 52.5 million metric tons, down from the same time last year. Soybean inspections now stand at 54.5 million metric tons, lower than last year. Wheat assessments total 3.5 million metric tons, trailing the 4.45 million tons from last year.

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New AgView Feature Furthers Protection for U.S. Pork Industry

A new feature from AgView, a pig contact-tracing platform, helps further protect the U.S. pork industry from Foreign Animal Diseases. Producers can now continuously share info with state animal health officials thanks to the new feature that allows them to voluntarily opt-in, log info for each site, and share information. The new feature will allow producers to share individual site owners and contact info for each site,, movement data, Secure Pork Supply documentation, and Lab results. With this information always available, state animal health officials can better monitor foreign animal disease concerns, even without a declared FAD event. AgView is funded by the Pork Checkoff and provides herd health and movement data at the state and federal levels to promote business continuity in case of an FAD concern. All pork producers are encouraged to sign up and participate in AgView, and there’s no additional cost for Pork Checkoff-paying producers to take part.

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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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