NATIONAL AG NEWS SPONSORED BY THE AMERICAN FARM BUREAU FEDERATION

National Ag News for August 29, 2022

Ag Credit Conditions Stay Strong As Risks Grow

The Kansas City Fed says agricultural credit conditions remained strong in the second quarter, but slower improvement is expected during the months ahead. Those bankers who responded to the Federal Reserve Survey of Agricultural Credit Conditions say farm income continued to increase. However, the pace of increase slowed in recent quarters, and further softening is expected going forward. Farm loan repayment rates continued to strengthen, but the pace of improvement also slowed. Following almost two years of acceleration, farmland values also showed signs of moderating as interest rates continued to increase. Strength in farm finances continued to support a positive outlook for agricultural credit conditions through the remainder of 2022, but risks to the farm economy are more noticeable. With a substantial increase in production costs over the past two years, profit margins for many producers could be squeezed by a sizeable decline in commodity prices. Balance sheets likely remain strong for 2022.

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NCGA: New California Vehicle Requirements a Missed Opportunity

Last week, the California Air Resources Board approved standards for vehicles made in the model year 2026 and later. In response to the announcement, the National Corn Growers Association says California regulators “missed an opportunity” to allow for more innovation and broaden low- and zero-emission solutions, in addition to the proposed electric vehicles, to maximize emission reductions while improving equity for consumers. “As NCGA told regulators during the rule-making process, constraining the vision of a zero-emission future prevents the state from tapping into the immediate and affordable environmental solutions that come from replacing more gasoline with low-carbon and low-cost ethanol in both current and new vehicles, including the electric plug-in hybrids, ” the organization says in a release. “Ethanol is on a path to net zero emissions, and NCGA will continue to work with and urge California to use all the tools in its toolbox as it addresses climate change and cuts harmful tailpipe emissions.”

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Whole Foods Sued Over Deception in Antibiotic-Free Meat

The nonprofit group Farm Forward joined a consumer class-action lawsuit against Whole Foods alleging that the retail giant is deceiving shoppers about beef products in its stores. Since 1981, Whole Foods has claimed that all of the animals within its supply chain are raised without antibiotics. However, an independent laboratory found antibiotic residue in “antibiotic-free” meat bought from a Whole Foods store in California. Antibiotic-free meat can cost as much as 20 percent or more than conventional meat, and surveys show 75 percent of consumers are willing to pay more for it. In April, Farm Forward released results of a program that tested Whole Foods meat for antibiotic residues. Among the findings, Farm Forward found residue of an antibiotic that can be used to promote growth in cattle in a meat product labeled “organic” and “antibiotic free.” Farm Forward says it has proof of deceptive marketing practices by Whole Foods.

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Technical Difficulties for Weekly Export Sales Reporting

Last week, the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service launched a new Export Sales Reporting and Maintenance System. This is a system through which U.S. exporters are required by law to report any sales transactions with buyers outside the U.S. for many key commodities. The information collected through the system is aggregated and reported to the public each week by the FAS. During the launch, FAS encountered challenges that affected the physical dissemination of the data as well as the data quality. As a result, the agency took the system offline and retracted the weekly export sales information that was passed out last week. Data integrity, credibility, and transparency are top priorities for FAS, and the timely and accurate reporting of agricultural export sales data is vital to effectively-functioning markets. FAS recognized the disruption and took steps immediately to rectify the situation. FAS intends to resolve the problems as soon as possible.

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Chinese Government Tells Farmers to Replant or Switch Crops After Drought

China’s record heatwave is beginning to disappear, and farmers are assessing the damage caused by the lengthy dry spell. Reuters says the Chinese government is urging its producers to replant or switch crops where they can. Over 70 days of extreme temperatures and low rainfall have hit the country’s crops hard. Rain is in the forecast over the next ten days, but farmers worry the heat has already done too much damage. In an emergency notice, the ag ministry called on the country’s farmers to harvest and store rice and take action to strengthen potential grain growth in the weeks ahead. In parts of the country where drought has already done damage, the government is asking its farmers to switch to late-fall crops like sweet potatoes. However, experts say that won’t be an easy task because nearby wells have been severely depleted of water, and some ponds have disappeared.

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Glufosinate-Resistant Palmer Amaranth Found in Missouri

University of Missouri Extension researchers have confirmed the state’s first case of glufosinate-resistant Palmer Amaranth in the Bootheel Region of Missouri. Palmer Amaranth spreads and adapts quickly to herbicides. Each weed produces up to one million seeds, which heightens the spread of resistance. The confirmation of Glufosinate resistance is a big concern for the state’s farmers because that resistance seems to be evolving at a quicker pace. Extension researcher Jim Heiser says, “Every mode of action that Palmer becomes resistant to seems to come at a quicker pace than the previous one.” He also warns farmers not to solely rely on herbicides to control weeds. He says to consider cultural practices for weed control, such as narrow row spacing for crops, the use of cover crops, and harvest weed seed management techniques. Palmer’s spread likely comes from used farm equipment like combines, custom harvesting crews, and feed and seed from other regions of the country.

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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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