National Ag News for September 30, 2022

Biodiesel to Turbo Charge American Biofuel Growth

A new report from CoBank says the recent investment surge in U.S. renewable diesel production capacity is likely to ignite a period of growth and transition for the biofuels industry. “The outlook for biofuels is good as the U.S. and other developed countries embrace renewable liquid transportation fuels as a solution to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” says Ken Zuckerberg, lead grain and farm supply economist for CoBank. “Renewable diesel offers the most intriguing opportunity in the biofuels space because the growth potential is extraordinary.” Several industry stakeholders are planning to build new soybean crush and refineries during the next two years, which would increase U.S. renewable diesel production capacity to 6.5 billion gallons by 2030. Soybean oil is the most common feedstock for producing renewable diesel. CoBank says U.S. soybean acreage would need to grow by 17.9 million acres to fill the supply gap created by the additional crush and refinery projects.

USDA Expands PACE Coverage

USDA says it has expanded its Post-Application Coverage Endorsement (PACE) insurance option for corn farmers who “split-apply” nitrogen on their crops. The coverage now includes most counties in Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, where non-irrigate corn is insurable. USDA rolled out PACE earlier this year to support stewardship of fertilizer and will continue to offer it in select counties of Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio, and the Dakotas. “PACE provides an additional risk management tool for corn growers,” says NCGA President Chris Edgington. PACE provides coverage for the projected yield lost when producers are unable to apply the post-nitrogen application due to field conditions created by the weather during the V3 through V10 stages. “We’re always working to offer risk management options and opportunities in the best interest of producers and their operations, and that also support and encourage environmental and climate-smart practices,” says Risk Management Agency Administrator Marcia Bunger.

Smithfield to Pay $75 Million to Settle Price-Fixing Suit

Smithfield Foods agreed to pay $75 million to settle a price-fixing lawsuit. Reuters says consumers accused the meat producer and several competitors of conspiring to inflate prices in the U.S. pork market by limiting supply. Smithfield spokesman Jim Monroe says the company denied liability in settling, and that the accord reduces the distraction, risk, and cost of protracted litigation. “The agreement also limits a substantial portion of Smithfield’s remaining liability in the nationwide case,” he says. In other litigation, Smithfield previously reached settlements worth $83 million with direct purchasers and $42 million with commercial purchasers, including restaurants. Some of the other defendants include Hormel Foods, Tyson Foods, and data provider Agri Stats, Inc. Smithfield agreed to provide cooperation that the plaintiffs’ lawyers say will strengthen their cases against the remaining defendants. Smithfield is based in Virginia and owned by Hong Kong-listed WH Group, which calls itself the world’s largest pork company.

Ag Groups React to White House Conference on Hunger

Several U.S. ag groups and stakeholders took part in the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health. Jim Mulhern president and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation, thanked the White House for inviting him to the conference. “We know from decades of working in this area that dairy products and the nutrients they provide will be vital to reaching the conference goals,” he says. Colin Woodall, CEO of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, also attending the conference. “We will continue to highlight beef’s role as an excellent source of protein for all ages, especially those Americans lacking iron and other essential beef nutrients,” Woodall says. National Farmers Union President Rob Larew says they’re standing together to end hunger in the United States. “Access to safe and nutritious food is a basic human right, so we’re advocating for strong federal nutrition programs that emphasize fresh and locally-produced food,” Larew says.

NCGA Selects Eight for Research Ambassador Program

The National Corn Growers Association announced it has picked eight new research ambassadors for the 2022-2023 academic year. They are all secondary students from some of the nation’s top universities, including the University of Minnesota, Purdue University, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and others. It’s the second year of the program which NCGA is building momentum. The program was developed and funded by the NCGA Sustainable Ag Research Action team. The objective is to build a network of future leaders in the ag sector. Ambassadors must show academic excellence, leadership potential, and be involved in research relevant to corn production. “We’re continuing to build bridges between the research lab and the farm field,” says Sustainable Ag Research Action Team Chair Jason Lewis. Ambassadors receive a financial reward of $2,500, as well as up to $750 for registration and travel reimbursement to participate in research conferences, and fully-funded travel to NCGA events.

Beef Campaign Takes Fine Dining to New Places

Colorado Angus rancher Ty Walter recently rock climbed a 100-foot high ledge to enjoy fine dining with a celebrity. In a cliff-side setting, Walter joined actor, comedian, and host Joel McHale to talk about cattle production and what makes Certified Angus Beef® brand products consistently superior, all while enjoying a four-course meal at an elevation of 8,500 feet. After a two-mile hike, the pair rock climbed up the ledge to help promote the Certified Angus Beef brand. There, Walter and McHale enjoyed the four-course meal prepared by CAB Executive Chef Ashley Brennemen. “Every meal doesn’t have to be this extreme, but we wanted to showcase Certified Angus Beef products in a way that would inspire people to create their own flavor adventure,” Brenneman says. Walter adds that, “The thing I was most nervous about was dropping my fork.” The adventure is available on the Certified Angus Beef Brand Test Kitchen YouTube Channel.


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.