NATIONAL AG NEWS SPONSORED BY THE AMERICAN FARM BUREAU FEDERATION

National Ag News for August 12, 2022

Congressional Research Office Details Ag Provision in Inflation Reduction Act

The Congressional Research Service this week published details of the Inflation Reduction Act regarding agriculture. The Senate passed the bill, which is considered a substitute to the House-passed Build Back Better Act, on August 7, and the House will consider the bill Friday (today). The legislation provides $19.5 billion for agricultural conservation. It would add over $18 billion in additional funding for existing farm bill conservation programs. The bill also provides debt relief for distressed farm borrowers and assistance for underserved farmers and ranchers. These provisions would replace similar provisions from the American Rescue Plan Act that were blocked by the courts because the relief was found to be race-based and not narrowly tailored to meet a compelling state interest. The legislation would support renewable energy initiatives, primarily by providing $13.3 billion for farm bill energy title programs, and provide $5 billion in funding for forest management, planning and restoration.

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U.S. Harvesters and Heavy-Duty Tractors Gain in July, Smaller Units Continue Decline

U.S. and Canadian ag tractor monthly unit sales in July 2022 fell, while combine sales grew in the U.S., according to the latest data from the Association of Equipment Manufacturers. U.S. total farm tractor sales fell 21 percent for the month of July compared to 2021, while combine sales for the month grew 9.2 percent to 715 units sold. That’s the second straight month of gains in combine harvesters so far this year. Heavy-duty ag tractors were positive, but total farm tractor sales are down 14.8 percent year-to-date, while combine sales are approaching even, now down only 2.2 percent on the year. In Canada, overall unit sales in tractors were down 10.7 percent, while harvesters are down 22.1 percent, reversing the previous month’s improvement. AEM’s Curt Blades says, “Right now, the trends we’re seeing in farm equipment unit sales tracks with trends we’re seeing in the overall economy.”

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USDA Awards $74 Million to Improve Rural Health Care

The Biden administration Thursday announced a $74 million effort to improve health care facilities in rural communities. The USDA Rural Development grants will help 143 rural health care organizations expand critical services for 3 million people in 37 states, Guam and Puerto Rico. The investments include $32 million for 67 rural health care organizations to help more than one million people living in socially vulnerable communities. The Biden administration made the funds available in the Emergency Rural Health Care Grants Programs through its historic legislative package, the American Rescue Plan Act. The investments will help rural hospitals and health care providers implement telehealth and nutrition assistance programs, increase staffing to administer COVID-19 vaccines and testing, build or renovate facilities, and purchase medical supplies. They also will help regional partnerships, public bodies, nonprofits and Tribes solve regional rural health care problems and build a stronger, more sustainable rural health care system in response to the pandemic.

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USDA to Invest $15 Million in Innovative Projects for Climate-Smart Agriculture

The Department of Agriculture this week announced a $15 million investment for the Conservation Innovation Grants Classic program. Through the program, grantees work to address water quantity, air quality, soil health and wildlife habitat challenges, all while supporting agricultural production. This year’s funding priorities are climate-smart agriculture, addressing invasive species and conservation in urban agricultural systems. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service Chief Terry Cosby says, “We’re eager to help our nation’s farmers and ranchers address these challenges and opportunities, and science and innovation will help get us there.” For the fiscal 2022 award process, at least ten percent of the total funds available are set aside for proposals that entirely benefit historically underserved producers. Applications are being accepted now through October 11, 2022. Private entities whose primary business is related to agriculture, nongovernmental organizations with experience working with agricultural producers and non-federal government agencies are eligible to apply. For more information and to apply, visit grants.gov

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USDA Invests $2.2 Million to Help Underserved Producers, Small Farms

The Department of Agriculture Thursday announced a $2.2 million award to 16 organizations to educate historically underserved producers, small-scale farmers and others. The award from USDA’s Risk Management Agency funds farm risk management and climate-smart farm practices. USDA says the funding provides the resources for organizations, such as nonprofits and universities, to develop training and resources for producers on risk management options. RMA Administrator Marcia Bunger says, “This funding and these partnerships help us reach communities that have historically lacked access to training and resources.” This $2.2 million investment for 2022 builds on a nearly $1 million investment in 2021. RMA advertised available funding in January 2022, and more than 50 organizations applied. Successful applicants provided comprehensive summary of work statements and budgets, and proposals that demonstrated an ability to partner with other entities to deliver training. Organizations receiving funding this year include nonprofits, historically black colleges and universities, and university extensions, among others. 

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National Farmers Union Schedules Washington Fly-in

National Farmers Union members will head to Washington, DC, next month for the organization’s Fall Legislative Fly-In Sunday, September 11th through Wednesday, September 14. During the four-day gathering, Farmers Union members from across the country will meet with Members of Congress, of Agriculture officials, and representatives from other federal agencies. Throughout the meetings, Farmers Union members will share their legislative and policy priorities for the final months of 2022.  Farmers Union members will highlight the need for Fairness for Farmers policies, which include placing a special investigator for meat and poultry at USDA, strengthening the Packers and Stockyards Act, bringing more openness to the cattle market, re-establishing Country Of Origin Labeling for beef, and ensuring that farmers have the right to repair their own equipment. Discussions will also be held to outline NFU’s priorities for the upcoming 2023 Farm Bill and how the Inflation Reduction Act can best help family farmers and ranchers address the climate crisis.

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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.