NATIONAL AG NEWS SPONSORED BY THE AMERICAN FARM BUREAU FEDERATION

National Ag News for October 4, 2022

NCBA Urges EPA to Pause WOTUS Rulemaking

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association called on the Environmental Protection Agency to pause their Waters of the United States rulemaking. The action follows Monday’s Supreme Court oral arguments in the case Sackett v. EPA, a case that will determine the EPA’s authority to regulate bodies of water under the Clean Water Act. NCBA’s Kaitlynn Glover says, “we call on the EPA to suspend their rulemaking until the outcome of the case is clear.” In April, NCBA filed an amicus brief before the Supreme Court, calling for a new test for determining whether a water feature fell under the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act. NCBA’s argument would allow the government to protect substantial bodies of water while preventing overreach on small isolated agricultural water features. NCBA also commented on the Biden administration’s proposed “Waters of the U.S.” rule. NCBA calls for this rulemaking to halt until the Supreme Court issues a ruling in the Sackett v. EPA case.

***********************************************************************************
Hurricane Ian Devastates Southwest Florida Agriculture

The Florida Farm Bureau says farmers and ranchers are facing widespread destruction of crops, buildings and fencing from Hurricane Ian last week. Florida Farm Bureau is working with its members to assess the damage. The organization says significant fruit has been dropped from the trees in areas of the citrus belt. Fall vegetables once rooted are now lost. Not only has there been loss of human life, but livestock and dairy farms have been devastated by the wrath of Hurricane Ian. Farmers and ranchers are repairing greenhouses, structures, irrigation systems and other machinery and equipment throughout the region. Many farm families are still cutting their way through down trees and power lines and battling flooded roads and blown-out culverts to evaluate the damage. One thing is for certain, the organization says, is that “Florida farmers and ranchers remain unwavering in their commitment to produce the food and fiber that millions of Americans depend on.”

***********************************************************************************
NPPC Comments on Swine Inspection Program Federal Ruling

The National Pork Producers Council late last week welcomed a federal ruling upholding the Department of Agriculture’s New Swine Inspection System. A federal judge in California upheld the program, which NPPC says incentivizes investment in new technologies while ensuring a safe supply of wholesome American pork. In a statement, the organization says, “Pork producers use science-based approaches to continuously improve and modernize their practices to ensure product quality and consistency and their workforce’s health and safety.” However, opponents who filed the lawsuit argue the rule greatly undermines the ability of federal inspectors to protect consumers from foodborne illnesses by fully inspecting hog carcasses, and instead allows plant employees with little training to take over several steps. The lawsuit was filed by Food & Water Watch, Center for Food Safety and the Humane Farming Association. Center for Food Safety senior attorney Amy van Saun says, “we can only hope we don’t see more foodborne illness” because of the ruling.

***********************************************************************************
USDA: H-2A Seasonal Worker Program Expanded Over Time

USDA’s Economic Research Service Monday reported data that shows the H-2A season worker program has expanded over time. U.S. agricultural employers who anticipate a shortage of U.S. domestic workers can fill seasonal farm jobs with temporary foreign workers through the H-2A visa program. The Department of Labor certified around 317,000 temporary jobs in fiscal year 2021 under the H-2A visa program, more than six times the number certified in 2005. Only about 80 percent of the certified jobs in 2021 resulted in the issuance of a visa. The program has grown partly in response to current U.S. domestic workers finding jobs outside of U.S. agriculture and a drop in newly arrived immigrants who seek U.S. farm jobs. The H-2A program continued to expand in FY 2020 despite the jump in U.S. unemployment caused by lockdowns associated with the Coronavirus pandemic. Nationally, the average H-2A contract in FY 2020 offered 24 weeks of employment and an average hourly wage of $13.

***********************************************************************************
Registration Open for 2023 American Farm Bureau Convention

The American Farm Bureau Federation announced the opening of general registration Monday for the 2023 American Farm Bureau Convention. The convention will be held in-person January 6-11, 2023, in San Juan, Puerto Rico. AFBF assessed the status of San Juan and the convention facilities following Hurricane Fiona and determined that all are fully operational. AFBF President Zippy Duvall says, “This is your opportunity to gain insights about the future of agriculture, sharpen your skills and help define the agenda in Washington.” Workshop topics include the 2023 farm bill, policy updates, market outlooks, trade, the latest ag education resources and strategies for coping with farm stress. An exciting aspect of the convention is the opportunity for farmers and ranchers from the 50 states to see and learn about crops and agricultural practices unique to Puerto Rico. You can view the high-level convention agenda and register online to attend at annualconvention.fb.org.

***********************************************************************************
Weekly Gas Prices up, Diesel Down

For the second straight week, gas prices climbed higher, with the nation’s average gas price posting a rise of 11.1 cents from a week ago to $3.78 per gallon. The national average is up 0.4 cents from a month ago and 59.8 cents higher than a year ago. However, the national average price of diesel declined 2.9 cents in the last week and stands at $4.86 per gallon. GasBuddy’s Patrick De Haan says despite the higher gas prices, “areas of the Northeast and Gulf Coast have continued to see declines as the nation experiences sharp differences in trends between regions.” Prices continued to surge on the West Coast and Great Lakes last week. De Haan is hopeful prices will fall, but does caution that OPEC could decide to cut oil production by a million barrels as the global economy slows down. Meanwhile, U.S. retail gasoline demand fell 1.8 percent last week, according to GasBuddy.

***********************************************************************************

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.

%d bloggers like this: