NATIONAL AG NEWS SPONSORED BY THE AMERICAN FARM BUREAU FEDERATION

National Ag News for September 28, 2022

White House Hunger Conference Today (Wednesday)

The long-awaited White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health convenes today (Wednesday). The goal of the conference is to end hunger and increase healthy eating and physical activity by 2030. The White House Tuesday released its national strategy with actions the federal government will take to drive hunger solutions. Pillars of the strategy include improving food access and affordability, integrating nutrition and health, empowering consumers to make healthy choices, supporting physical activity and enhancing nutrition and food security research. President Joe Biden says, “This important conference and the commitment to a national strategy on ending hunger and healthier eating will build on the research and knowledge we now have to make America truly a stronger, healthier nation.” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack added, “The Strategy lays out big goals, and we need everyone – local, state, and tribal governments, Congress, private companies, nonprofit organizations, and everyday citizens – to work together to achieve them.”

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USDA Funding Seeks More US Fertilizer Production

A new federal grant program announced Tuesday seeks to increase American-made fertilizer production. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the $500 million in grants, intended to spur competition in the fertilizer sector and combat price hikes on U.S. farmers. The Fertilizer Production Expansion Program is part of a government-wide effort to promote competition in agricultural markets. The Commodity Credit Corporation grants will support independent, innovative and sustainable American fertilizer production to supply American farmers. Funds also will expand the manufacturing and processing of fertilizer and nutrient alternatives in the U.S. and its territories. USDA plans for a 45-day application window for applicants to receive priority for projects that increase the availability of fertilizer and nutrient alternatives for farmers to use in crop years 2023 or 2024. USDA will also offer an extended application window for financial assistance to significantly increase American-made fertilizer production to spur competition and combat price hikes.

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Ongoing Western Drought Most Intense in 20 Years

USDA’s Economic Research Service Tuesday reported the ongoing Western drought is the most extreme drought in the region since 2000. As of September 19, 2022, the U.S. Drought Monitor classified more than 18 percent of land in the Western States as experiencing extreme or exceptional drought. In July of this year, more than 32 percent of land was in those categories. Drought conditions in the Western States gradually subsided in the latter months of 2021 but began intensifying again during the first half of 2022. The U.S. Drought Monitor categorizes drought in a region according to soil moisture, streamflow, and precipitation levels. Regional designations are primarily based on historical weather patterns. For agriculture, drought can mean diminished crop and livestock outputs, as well as reduced farm profitability. Drought also reduces the quantity of snowpack and streamflow available for diversions to irrigated agricultural land. These impacts can reverberate throughout the local, regional, and national economies.

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Funds Available for On-farm Storage Damaged by Recent Natural Disasters

The Department of Agriculture this week announced funding to help farmers rebuild on-farm storage systems impacted by recent natural disasters. USDA will make $20 million available to farmers in Kentucky, Minnesota, South Dakota and surrounding areas to rebuild damaged storage facilities damaged in 2021 and 2022 by natural disaster events. The assistance will help producers who were hard-hit by disasters and are currently struggling with a lack of available grain storage have the resources they need as they head into the 2022 crop harvest. The assistance from USDA’s Farm Service Agency will help producers affected by the December 2021 tornadoes that passed through eleven counties in Kentucky, as well as producers in Minnesota and South Dakota affected by derechos in May 2022 and July 2022. Similar to other USDA cost-share programs, USDA anticipates that the funds will cover 75 percent of the eligible expenses associated with grain storage capacity costs with building grain storage capacity or purchasing equipment.

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AFT Announces Solar Energy Development Partnership

American Farmland Trust Tuesday announced a partnership with Edelen Renewables and Arcadia. The Farmers Powering Communities seeks to combat climate change through solar energy development while protecting America’s farmland and ranchland. The partnership provides more farmers with the opportunity for a new revenue stream and brings renewable energy to communities where it has not yet been available. Farmers Powering Communities will advance community solar projects of 25 to 50 acres to provide green energy to those who do not have access to rooftop solar – connecting them with local solar farms and bringing resiliency to more Americans. Community solar projects bridge the gap, connecting people to shared solar facilities. The partnership will identify the best land for new solar farms, establish installations and link them to local energy providers who will provide the power to residents at costs lower than the market average. Development will begin in 2023 across a number of states that have active community solar programs.

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USDA NASS, NASDA, Celebrate 50 Year Partnership

USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service and the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture celebrate 50 years of working together. The partnership provides timely, accurate and useful statistics in service to U.S. agriculture. NASS and NASDA are celebrating the anniversary during the NASDA annual meeting this week in Saratoga Springs, New York. NASS Administrator Hubert Hamer says, “NASDA enumerators do an incredible service for NASS, the producers, our nation, and the world.” NASS works closely with state departments of agriculture to support their agricultural statistics needs and reduce duplication with federal programs. NASDA provides vital, grassroots support for the NASS mission by employing thousands of part-time enumerators who assist farmers and ranchers with ag census and survey responses through telephone and in-person interviews. The partnership allows NASDA staff to focus on data collection, which is essential for accurate data reports, while NASS staff concentrate on survey integrity and data analysis.

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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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