NATIONAL AG NEWS SPONSORED BY THE AMERICAN FARM BUREAU FEDERATION

National Ag News for September 23, 2022

USDA Providing Over $500 Million to Expand Rural Broadband

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that his agency is awarding $502 million in loans and grants to help provide high-speed internet in rural America. The funds will be available for rural residents and businesses in 20 states. USDA is making these investments through the third funding round of the ReConnect Program. “High-speed internet will improve the rural economy,” says Vilsack. “It will help rural businesses grow and get access to new markets, as well as help rural residents get access to more and better health care and educational opportunities.” The secretary also calls rural America the country’s “backbone.”  To be eligible for the funding, an applicant must serve in an area where high-speed internet service speeds are lower than 100 megabits per second for downloads and 20 Mbps for uploads. The agency will have more investment announcements in the coming weeks. For more information about investment in rural areas, go to rd.usda.gov.

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Court Ruling Reinstates Modernized Endangered Species Rules

Modernized Endangered Species Act regulations will be reinstated after the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a district court improperly vacated 2019 revisions. The appeals court found that the district court erred by reversing the regulations without determining whether they were actually unlawful. American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall says they appreciate the ruling by the Court of Appeals. “The revisions to the Endangered Species Act protected at-risk animals while ensuring that farmers could continue feeding America’s families,” he says. “This ruling doesn’t end the debate about modernizing the ESA, but it sends an important message to the lower courts that their job is to rule based on law.” This is the second appellate court ruling to favor the Farm Bureau in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in the past month. In August, the Court overturned a lower court’s ruling that prohibited AFBF from defending the delisting of the gray wolf.

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NCGA Hosts Next Generation of Ag Leaders for Policy Institute

The National Corn Growers Association hosted a group of student delegates from the Agriculture Future of America during the AFA’s Policy Institute in Washington, D.C. The NCGA staff provided a tour and overview of the work the organization does and led discussions around how the national and state associations work collaboratively across the country to increase opportunities for America’s corn farmers. “AFA does incredible work, helping equip the next generation of agriculturalists with the tools and networking experience they’ll need to have successful careers and impact positive change,” says NCGA Market Development Manager Michael Granche’ (GRAHN-chay). “AFA doesn’t just refine their skills but gives them the confidence to walk up to a stranger and tell their ag story.” NCGA was able to engage with the student delegates through different workshops and roundtable opportunities. The Corn Growers will also be a sponsor of AFA’s Leaders Conference held in November in Kansas City.

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September Wheat Production Forecast Unchanged

The USDA’s 2022-2023 September wheat production forecast is unchanged from August at 1.783 billion bushels. 2022-2023 wheat exports are also unchanged from the previous month at 825 million bushels, and there are no by-class changes. U.S. wheat exports for June and July 2022 reached a total of 117 million bushels, down 23 percent from the same time last year. September U.S. wheat imports are unchanged at 110 million bushels, up from 95 million in 2021-2022. America’s wheat imports for June and July totaled 23 million bushels, up 50 percent from the same period in 2021. The 2022-2023 season-average farm price is projected at $9 a bushel, down 25 cents from the previous month. However, it would still be a record. Wheat futures markets remain volatile on a daily basis, underscored by uncertainty regarding the continuity of shipments from the Black Sea region. Recent data says prices may be lower in the coming months.

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China Food Security Policy May Mean Lower Soybean Demand

A Bloomberg article has a large number of soybean farmers around the world worried about the future of Chinese soybean demand. The Chinese government is attempting to boost the country’s food security by trying to lower the number of soybeans turned into animal feed. The farm ministry says feed grains are the biggest problem when it comes to China’s food supply. Ministry officials are asking the feed sector to learn from some of the country’s top producers who have successfully cut down on the amount of soybean meal used in their livestock rations as their main source of protein. China is by far the biggest importer of soybeans in the world, and the import bill last year totaled more than $50 billion. Bloomberg says, “Even modest shifts in soy consumption would help control both import costs and inflation and represent a worry for ‘legions’ of overseas farmers that rely on Chinese demand.”

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NCGA Asks Senate to Confirm USDA Nominees

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association is urging the Senate Ag Committee to confirm key nominees for Undersecretary for Food Safety and Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs in the USDA. “Cattle producers need strong, stable leadership in top positions at USDA, and we ask the Senate to move quickly on confirming these highly qualified nominees,” says Ethan Lane, vice president of government affairs for NCBA. Dr. Jose Emilio Esteban, who currently serves in USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, is the nominee for Undersecretary for Food Safety. Alexis Taylor, the current director of the Oregon Department of Agriculture, is the nominee for Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs. NCBA has worked closely with Dr. Esteban, who they say is an extremely qualified candidate for the position of undersecretary. They also have worked closely with Taylor in previous roles at USDA and on Capitol Hill, calling her a “proven advocate for farmers and ranchers.”

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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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