National Ag News for September 8, 2022

$400 Million Available to Create Regional Food Business Centers

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Wednesday announced the availability of approximately $400 million to create USDA Regional Food Business Centers. The centers will provide local and regional food systems coordination, technical assistance, and capacity-building services. Vilsack says, “Regional Food Business Centers will serve as USDA’s cornerstone in the development of the local and regional supply chains.” USDA will fund at least six regional centers, including a national tribal center and at least one center serving each of three targeted areas. The targeted areas include counties on the U.S./Mexico border, persistent poverty communities in the Delta and the Southeast, high-need areas of Appalachia, and centers in other regions. USDA Marketing and Regulatory Programs Undersecretary Jenny Lester Moffitt says the new centers “will decrease barriers and improve supply chain linkages.” The effort seeks to help farmers and businesses access new markets and navigate federal, state and local resources.

NCBA Supports Livestock Regulatory Protection Act

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association voiced support to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee regarding the Livestock Regulatory Protection Act Wednesday. During a committee hearing, NCBA Chief Counsel Mary-Thomas Hart told lawmakers, “NCBA strongly supports the Livestock Regulatory Protection Act, which protects farmers and ranchers from onerous regulation.” The legislation aims to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from issuing Clean Air Act Title V (5) permits for emissions like carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide, water vapor, or methane that result from livestock production. NCBA says the emissions are naturally occurring due to cattle’s biological functions and cattle producers continue to employ innovative practices to mitigate the impact of these emissions on the environment. NCBA adds methane emissions from cattle account for just two percent of total U.S. emissions. American Farm Bureau Federation Vice President Scott VanderWal also voiced support for the legislation during the hearing.

U.S. Household Food Insecurity in 2021 Unchanged From 2020

Data from USDA’s Economic Research Service released Wednesday shows in 2021, 89.8 percent of U.S. households were food secure throughout the entire year. Food secure means they had access to food at all times for all household members during the year. The remaining 10.2 percent of households were food insecure at least some time during the year, including 3.8 percent that experienced very low food security. In households reporting very low food security, the food intake of one or more household members was reduced, and their eating patterns were disrupted at times because the household lacked money and other resources for obtaining food. The 2021 prevalence of food insecurity, at 10.2 percent, was statistically unchanged from 2020. Very low food security was not significantly different from its 3.9 percent rate in 2020. The Economic Research Service monitors the food security status of households in the United States through an annual nationwide survey.

Lawmakers Seek Additional Wildfire Fighting Resources

A group of western lawmakers this week asked the Department of Agriculture and Interior Department for additional wildfire fighting resources. The 25 lawmakers asked the federal government to assist in continuing to fight fires aggressively, communicate clearly and take administrative steps now to prepare additional personnel for when they are needed. In a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, the lawmakers say, “As you are well aware, wildfires do not respect jurisdictional boundaries, so constant communication between public and private entities is crucial.” The letter points out that recent reports suggest the United States Forest Service faces a significant wildfire staffing shortfall despite the recent pay increase included in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. USDA and DOI can surge additional personnel to help when the firefighting season is underway. The lawmakers say, “we ask you do everything you can to start that process now.”

Gavins Point Winter Releases Will be at Minimum Rates

Drought conditions along the Missouri River Basin mean winter releases from Gavins Point Dam will be at a minimum 12,000 cubic feet per second this winter. While July brought much-needed moisture to the Missouri River Basin, August returned to the warm and dry conditions seen over the last two seasons. August runoff was 0.9-million-acre-feet, 62 percent of average above Sioux City, and 0.6 million-acre-feet, or 49 percent of average above Gavins Point Dam. The 2022 calendar year forecast for the upper basin, updated on September 1, is 20.2 million acre-feet million-acre feet, 78 percent of average. The average annual runoff for the upper basin is 25.8-million-acre-feet. According to the National Drought Mitigation Center, drought conditions in the basin have worsened over the past month. Seventy-four percent of the basin is experiencing abnormally dry or drought conditions, with seven percent of that being extreme or exceptional drought.

Farm Bureau Foundation Partnering with Grow with Google

The American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture has partnered with Grow with Google to train 2,000 teachers on digital skills. The effort seeks to reach 200,000 students in rural communities by the end of the 2023 school year. The Foundation is bolstering agricultural education curriculum through the Farm Bureau Foundation Fellows Program, a fellowship that will allow educators in agricultural regions to teach students where their food comes from. Throughout the eight-month program, fellows will develop place-based curriculum that incorporates agriculture, technology and key digital skills into an Applied Digital Skills lessons. The lessons will be available, for free, to all educators interested in teaching students about food, fuel and fiber. Foundation executive director Daniel Meloy says, “We hope this program empowers teachers to introduce their students to the exciting world of agriculture, while also teaching them an array of technical skills.” To learn more and apply, visit


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.

%d bloggers like this: