NATIONAL AG NEWS SPONSORED BY THE AMERICAN FARM BUREAU FEDERATION

National Ag News for September 22, 2022

Biden Administration Invests $178 Million in International Food for Progress Projects

The Department of Agriculture will invest $178 million in seven international development projects on four continents to support U.S. government priorities. The projects include promoting climate-smart agriculture, facilitating trade and addressing the root causes of migration in Central America. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the funding Wednesday and says, “By partnering with private-sector organizations, local governments, and local producers and businesses, we are helping to build more equitable and resilient food systems.” Through Food for Progress, USDA donates U.S. agricultural commodities to eligible entities such as private voluntary organizations and foreign governments, which then sell the commodities on the local market and use the proceeds to support agricultural, economic or infrastructure development programs. USDA will donate 240,000 metric tons of commodities this year, valued at $129.6 million. The seven new Food for Progress projects funded by USDA in 2022 are in addition to 41 projects currently underway in 38 countries.

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USDA Funding International School Feeding Projects

The Department of Agriculture will invest $220 million in eight new school feeding projects. The projects are expected to benefit more than a million children across 2,200 schools in food-insecure countries in Africa and East Asia. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the funding Wednesday, awarded through the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program. This year’s awards are part of the $2 billion investment to strengthen global food security, announced by President Joe Biden at the United Nations General Assembly. USDA’s 2022 commitment includes direct financial support for the projects and funding for purchasing and transporting 41,350 metric tons of U.S.-grown commodities to be donated to the projects for use in school meals. The awards also include $23.7 million for purchasing nearly 13,000 tons of locally or regionally produced commodities, supporting producers and supply chains in the target countries, and improving the nutritional diversity of school meals.

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2022/23 Rice Imports Projected at an All-time High

U.S. rice imports for the 2022/23 marketing year, August–July, are projected to rise 16 percent from a year earlier and to reach the highest volume on record at 44 million hundredweight. USDA’s Economic Research Service reports imported rice is also projected to account for almost 32 percent of domestic use of rice in 2022/23, the highest share on record. Imports of long-grain and the combined classes of short- and medium-grain rice are projected at all-time highs. For long-grain rice, growing consumer preference for Asian aromatic rice, such as jasmine rice from Thailand, has increased import purchases. In addition, the United States has been importing a much smaller volume of regular milled long-grain rice from South American suppliers. Increasing imports are spurred by reduced production in California, where a second consecutive year of drought has reduced the size of the rice harvest. The California rice crop is forecast down 38 percent from a year earlier and is expected to be the smallest crop since 1977/78.

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Report: Gen Z Prefers Quick Service Restaurants

Older Gen Zs, ages 18-24, in the U.S. are discerning when choosing restaurants, according to new data by the NPD Group. Although price matters to this group, their taste preferences and definition of value dictate the type of restaurants they visit. As a result, Gen Zs skew towards quick service restaurants, particularly fast casual, that balance value and focused menu. In the 12 months ending July 2022, Gen Zs made five billion restaurant visits, 4.3 billion visits were to quick-service restaurants, and 736 million were to full-service restaurants. Overall quick service traffic was flat compared to a year ago, while Gen Zs fast-casual visits were up four percent in the period compared to a year ago. Gen Zs favor major fast-casual chains that provide the menu items they want, value for the money, and messaging that reflects their interests, like organics and sustainability, according to NPD’s recently released Winning Gen Z Consumers study.

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Pork Board Receives $155 Million in Climate-Smart Funds

The National Pork Board received three grants totaling $155 million as part of the USDA Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities funding. The three grants are part of the $2.8 billion awarded to 70 selected projects in the first round of funding for the program. The first grant, valued at $20 million, will incentivize soil health and manure management practice adoption and support on-farm sustainability reports for pork operations. The second grant, totaling $95 million, will support a program to advance the adoption of cover crops and conservation tillage in 20 states. The third grant, worth $40 million, will support testing and evaluating climate-smart data in all segments of agriculture in ways that add increased value and support to producers. National Pork Board Sustainability Vice President Ashley McDonald says, “Pork producers stand out as leaders in sustainability with the data aggregation tools they have invested their dollars into already, continually driving to position U.S. pork as the protein of choice here.”

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Clean Fuels Hires Fuel Economist Jonathan Martin

Clean Fuels Alliance America Wednesday announced the appointment of Jonathan Martin as its first Director of Economic and Market Analytics. Martin, most recently an economist with Marathon Petroleum Co., brings ten years of experience in oil and gas corporate economics to this newly created role. He will be based in Ohio. Well-versed in synthesizing and analyzing data, Martin is strategically positioned to support Clean Fuels in economic analysis of planning and policy decisions. Martin has a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Terre Haute, Indiana. Clean Fuels CEO Donnell Rehagen says, “As the diversity of clean fuels grows, we are dedicating additional resources to better predict market trends for our organization and our members.” Martin adds, “I hope to apply my background in energy economics and analytics to help our members and the industry stay abreast of shifting market trends and potential growth opportunities.”

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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.