National Ag News for September 20, 2022

Legislation Would Reduce Regulation on Trucking Industry

Legislation introduced last week would remove burdensome government regulations from the trucking industry, according to Senator Mike Rounds. The South Dakota Republican introduced the Trucking Regulations Unduly Constricting Known Service-providers, or TRUCKS Act. Rounds says the regulations are burdensome to agriculture, school districts and trucking companies. In 2012, then-President Obama signed into law legislation that set in motion a new rule that created a requirement for Entry-Level Driver Training. The final rulemaking went into effect earlier this year. All new drivers who wish to obtain their Commercial Driver’s License must now complete Entry-Level Driver Training, adding a burdensome requirement at a time when the American Trucking Association estimates a nationwide trucker shortage of 80,000 drivers. The bill would allow states to issue a new “Small Business Restricted CDL” so Entry-Level Driver Training requirements would not affect small businesses with nine CDLs or less. The U.S. Custom Harvesters have endorsed the legislation.

Not All Happy with Climate-Smart Practices Funding

The Climate-Smart agriculture partnerships funding announced last week has some environmental groups drawing criticism. While welcomed by many in the food and agriculture sector, environmental group Friends of the Earth says some of the funding recipients are unacceptable. Funding recipients and partners include a range of corporations, universities, NGOs, trade associations, farms, tribal organizations, and state agencies. USDA is expected to soon make another announcement of $700 million for smaller projects under this initiative. Jason Davison, Senior Food and Agriculture Campaigner at Friends of the Earth, says, “Unfortunately, several of them will funnel tens of millions of taxpayer dollars to some of the most egregious climate offenders — Big Ag corporations like JBS, Cargill, and ADM.” Davison adds, “Many of these corporations and trade associations have historically fought climate mitigation measures, refusing to report data on their emissions and other pollution.” Friends of the Earth called on Congress and the Department of Agriculture to ensure transparency and accountability for the projects.

USDA Funds Six International Research Projects on Climate-Smart Agriculture

USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service Monday announced grants for research and educational partnerships focused on climate-smart agriculture in tropical countries. Foreign Agricultural Service Administrator Daniel Whitley announced the $300,000 in funding to six U.S. universities. Whitley says, “We’re confident that they can collaborate on climate solutions that contribute to food security and agricultural sustainability, both locally and globally.” The Foreign Agricultural Service is awarding the funds under the Scientific Cooperation Research Program. FAS is awarding approximately $50,000 each to Tennessee State University, the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Texas State University, the University of Missouri, the University of Nebraska, and Louisiana State University. Whitley noted that this year’s awards support two of USDA’s top priorities under Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Deputy Secretary Jewel Bronaugh: putting agriculture at the center of solutions to the global climate crisis; and advancing racial justice, equity and opportunity in USDA program administration through the involvement of three prominent minority-serving institutions.

Food Insecurity Rates Differ Across States

USDA’s Economic Research Service Monday released data showing the variations of food insecurity across the nation. Food insecurity rates vary across States because of household-level characteristics, State-level characteristics, and State-level policies. The estimated prevalence rates of food insecurity during 2019-21 ranged from 5.4 percent in New Hampshire to 15.3 percent in Mississippi. The estimated national average was 10.4 percent. The prevalence of food insecurity was significantly higher than the national average in nine States and lower than the national average in the District of Columbia and 14 States. In the remaining 27 States, differences from the national average were not statistically significant. USDA monitors the extent of food insecurity in U.S. households at the national and State levels through an annual U.S. Census Bureau survey. State-level estimates are obtained by averaging three years of data. Food-insecure households are those that had difficulty at some time during the year providing enough food for all members of the house due to a lack of resources.

Dickhut Retiring from Farmers National Company

Farmers National Company Monday announced Randy Dickhut (dick-hoot), Senior Vice President of Real Estate Operations, will retire on September 30, 2022. He retires after more than 20 years of work and leadership within the company. Dickhoot began his career with Farmers National Company in 2002 as a Farm Manager in West Central Illinois. In 2006, he moved to Omaha, Nebraska when promoted to the Vice President of Client Relations, and will complete his tenure with the company as the Senior Vice President of Real Estate Operations. Farmers National Company also announced that Paul Schadegg, Western Area Sales Manager, has been promoted to Senior Vice President of Real Estate Operations. Paul brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to his new role with 20+ years of real estate and farm management experience. Farmers National Company, an employee-owned company, is the nation’s leading agricultural landowner services company.

Murky Future for Fuel Prices

Fuel prices fell again last week, but GasBuddy says the near-term future is murky. The decline marks the 14th consecutive week of declines. The nation’s average gas price declined 3.9 cents from a week ago to $3.64 per gallon. The national average is down 25.7 cents from a month ago but 45.9 cents higher than a year ago. The average diesel price declined 7.0 cents last week and stands at $4.93 per gallon. However, this week could change the downward trend, according to GasBuddy’s Patrick De Haan, who says, “With some issues arising in Plains and Great Lakes states as the transition to winter gasoline begins, I think we have the best potential to see the weekly trend of falling prices snapped.” West Coast states also continue to see increases as unexpected refinery issues continue to percolate, preventing a downward move. De Haan adds, “diesel prices should continue to ease after a much-needed jump in inventories last week.”


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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