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National Ag News for September 13, 2022

USDA Forecasts US Corn, Soybean, and Cotton Production Down from 2021

Corn, soybean, and cotton production is down from 2021, according to Monday’s Crop Production report issued by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Corn production is down eight percent from last year, forecast at 13.9 billion bushels, while soybean growers are expected to decrease their production one percent from 2021, forecast at 4.38 billion bushels. Meanwhile, cotton production is down 21 percent from 2021 at 13.8 million 480-pound bales. Planted corn area is estimated at 88.6 million acres, down one from the previous estimate. Area planted to soybeans is estimated at 87.5 million acres, down one percent from the previous estimate, but cotton planted area is estimated at 13.8 million acres, up 11 percent from the previous estimate. The U.S. season-average soybean price is forecast at $14.35 per bushel, unchanged from last month. Meanwhile, USDA’s World Agricultural Supply and Demand report raised the season-average corn price ten cents to $6.75 per bushel. USDA also lowered the season-average farm price for wheat 25 cents to $9.00 per bushel.

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The Fertilizer Institute urges Congress Act to Avoid a Freight Rail Shutdown

The Fertilizer Institute over the weekend again urged Congress to take action to avoid a freight rail shutdown on September 16. TFI sent a letter to Congressional leaders pushing for intervention to prevent a stoppage from occurring. TFI President and CEO Corey Rosenbusch says, “A stoppage hasn’t yet happened, but we are already feeling the negative effects of non-resolution.” Rail carriers announced Friday evening that shipments of fertilizer products, such as ammonia – a key fertilizer and building block for approximately three-fourths of all fertilizer – will start coming off rail networks this week. Rosenbusch contends the situation will get exponentially worse every day there is no resolution, adding, “if they cannot reach an agreement, Congress must act to avoid an economic catastrophe that will only add to inflation and increase consumer pain.” Congress can prevent rail workers from striking and has done so before, in 1986 when then-President Ronald Reagan intervened in the strike of workers for Maine Central railway.

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Lawmakers Ask USTR To Protect Growers from Unfair Practices by Mexico

Lawmakers led by Florida Senator Marco Rubio recently asked U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai to investigate the flood of surplus agricultural products from Mexico. The request, filed as a petition under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974, says actions by Mexico over the last two decades have burdened and restricted U.S. commerce. The lawmakers say that for more than 20 years, Mexico has leveraged heavy subsidies and low wages in a scheme to conduct a “conquest of external markets” and displace Florida’s seasonal and perishable agricultural industry from the domestic U.S. market. Specifically, the petition names fruits and vegetables grown with subsidized horticultural infrastructure and other forms of Mexican government support as a marketplace burden for U.S. growers, and may allow Mexico the ability to set market prices that harm American consumers. Provisions of the amended Trade Act of 1974 gives USTR authority to investigate and redress unreasonable trade practices that burden and restrict U.S. commerce.

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Food Insecurity in Households with Children Reached Two-decade Low in 2021

USDA’s Economic Research Service reported Monday food insecurity in U.S. households with children reached a two-decade low in 2021. The Economic Research Service monitors the prevalence of food insecurity in U.S. households with children by measuring food insecurity for the household overall, as well as for adults and children separately. The first measure, food insecurity in households with children, indicates that at least one person in the household—whether an adult, a child, or both—was food insecure. The second measure, food insecurity among children, indicates that households were unable at times to provide adequate, nutritious food for their children. Both annual measures improved in 2021. In 2021, 12.5 percent of households with children were food insecure, a significant decrease from 14.8 percent in 2020 and the lowest point in two decades. The prevalence of food insecurity among children in 2021 was 6.2 percent, down from 7.6 percent in 2020. The decline means that in 2021 nearly 2.5 million fewer children lived in households that experienced food insecurity.

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Organic Produce Association Elects Chairman

The Organic Produce Association recently elected Theo Cristantes Jr as chairman. Cristantes is the chief operations officer for Wholesum and has been serving in an acting capacity since the fall of last year. The Organic Produce Association consists of members in the organic produce industry who focus on science-based policymaking and the ability to be innovative while respecting the tradition of organics and the integrity of the USDA Organic Seal. Crisantes, a trained agronomist, has worked for more than 20 years in the organic produce industry, growing certified organic tomatoes, peppers, squash, cucumbers, and eggplants at his family’s third-generation farming operation. Wholesum currently supports over 21.8 million square feet of greenhouses and grows 2,500 acres of in-ground produce. Crisantes says, “I look forward to working with all our OPA members to address key issues with the goal of expanding the production and consumption of organic produce.”

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Fuel Prices Decline Again

The nation’s average gas price declined for the thirteenth consecutive week, down 7.6 cents from a week ago to $3.67 per gallon. The national average is down 26.9 cents from a month ago but 52.3 cents higher than a year ago. The national average diesel price declined 5.5 cents last week and stands at $5.01 per gallon. However, Gas Buddy’s Patrick De Haan says, “we’re seeing drastically different price behaviors from coast to coast, with some areas seeing noticeable increases while others are seeing decreases.” Refinery issues in California are leading to increases in areas supplied by the state’s refineries, including Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, Washington and California. Gasoline supply remains tight for the East Coast with some modest moves up, while prices continue to edge lower in the Plains, South and areas of the Great Lakes. Last week saw an 8.8-million-barrel rise in U.S. oil inventories, while U.S. gasoline demand fell 5.4 percent last week.

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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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