National Ag News for August 22, 2022

USDA Announces Another Phase of Disaster Assistance

The USDA announced another phase of assistance will be forthcoming to commodity and specialty crop producers impacted by natural disasters in 2020 and 2021. Over 18,000 producers will soon be mailed new or updated pre-filled disaster applications to offset eligible crop losses. About $6.4 billion has already reached 165,000 producers through the Farm Service Agency’s Emergency Relief Program. “We knew when we announced ERP in May that we would have additional applications to send near the end of the summer as we received new information and found producers left out of the first data set we used,” says USDA Undersecretary for Farm Production and Conservation Robert Bonnie. FSA will mail those pre-filled applications in late August to producers who have potentially eligible losses. Bonnie says he’s proud of his team’s continued efforts to help over 18,000 producers who need the assistance. Contact your local FSA office for additional information on eligibility requirements.

Drought Conditions Improve Slightly in the Western Corn Belt

The U.S. Drought Monitor says the amount of land facing drought eased a little in the western Corn Belt but was largely unchanged in the Midwest. In a six-state region, including Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota, approximately 51 percent of the land suffered under drought conditions. That’s down from 53 percent during the previous week and 72 percent only three months ago. In the eastern part of the Midwest, including Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky, about 14.5 percent of the area was in drought. That’s down slightly from 15 percent the prior week but up from less than one percent three months ago. Iowa, the nation’s biggest corn producer, has 39 percent of its land in a drought, up 6.9 percent from May. Illinois, the second-largest producer of corn and soybeans, only has five percent of its area in a drought.

Ethanol Industry May Get Help From Climate Law

President Biden’s new climate law offers a major expansion in tax credits for companies that capture and store carbon emissions. Reuters says that could give the ethanol industry a significant boost toward achieving its climate goals. The ethanol industry intends to use carbon capture and storage technology to reach its goal of net-zero emissions by 2050. A group of projects that could benefit from the expanded credits is a series of pipeline proposals in the Midwest that could capture and transport ethanol plant emissions. Three companies intend to put up over 3,600 miles of pipelines from ethanol plants in six states to underground carbon storage sites. The three companies say the projects have the potential of capturing up to 39 million tons of carbon every year. That could potentially mean more than $3.3 billion in tax credits for the businesses. The pipelines are currently in the permitting stages in each state.

There is Still Time to Apply for ASA Conservation Legacy Awards

There is still time for farmers to share how conservation is a part of their operation and maybe win a Conservation Legacy Award. The award recognizes farm management practices of U.S. soybean farmers that are both environmentally friendly and profitable. Reduced tillage, cover crops, and improving water quality are just a few of the conservation practices that are eligible for the reward. Different regions of the country have their unique challenges and ways to approach conservation and sustainability. All U.S. soybean farmers are eligible for a Conservation Legacy Award. Entries are judged on soil management, water management, input management, conservation, environmental management, and sustainability. The selection process for the awards is divided into four regions, which are the Midwest, Upper Midwest, Northeast, and South. One farmer from each region will get recognized at the 2023 Commodity Classic in Orlando, Florida, and one will be the overall winner. The registration deadline is September 1.

Improving Photosynthesis Means a 20 Percent Boost in Soybean Yields

For the first time, researchers have proven that multigene bioengineering of photosynthesis increases major food crop yields in field trials. A collaborative team led by the University of Illinois has worked on this project for more than ten years. Project researchers have transgenically altered soybean plants to increase the efficiency of photosynthesis, resulting in greater yields without a loss of quality. These results come at an important time. A recent United Nations report shows that nearly 10 percent of the world’s population was hungry in 2021. By 2030, UNICEF says more than 660 million people will likely face food scarcity and malnutrition. Photosynthesis is the natural process all plants use to convert sunlight into energy and yield. Project researchers say the 100-plus step photosynthesis process is surprisingly inefficient, so they’ve been working to improve it. The lead scientist says data shows the food supply level needs to grow significantly to meet the demand.

USDA Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry Outlook for August

U.S. export numbers of eggs, turkey, and pork in the first half of 2022 were all down compared to the first half of last year, but exports of broiler meat and beef were higher. Egg and turkey exports, down 38 and 20 percent, respectively, were hurt by the outbreak of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza. Egg exports to Canada were flat, but there were significant decreases in major markets like Mexico, Japan, and Hong Kong. Exports of turkey to Mexico, one of the top destinations, were down 18 percent year over year. Pork exports were down 18 percent year over year due to weaker demand in the Asian markets. Broiler exports were up three percent, with exports to Taiwan increasing over 64 percent from last year. That helped to offset decreases in major markets like Mexico and Cuba. U.S. animal products may continue facing headwinds like a strong U.S. dollar making American exports more expensive.


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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