National Ag News for November 3, 2022

Vilsack Announces Funding to Increase Meat Processing Capacity

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Wednesday announced a $73 million investment through the first round of the Meat and Poultry Processing Expansion Program. The funding supports 21 grant projects to expand meat and poultry processing capacity, increasing competition, supporting producer income, and strengthening the food supply chain to lower costs, according to USDA. Vilsack says, “These investments create more opportunities for farmers and ranchers to get a fair price, while strengthening supply chains.” In addition, the Administration is investing $75 million for eight projects through the Meat and Poultry Intermediary Lending Program and more than $75 million for four meat and poultry-related projects through the Food Supply Chain Guaranteed Loan program. The program was designed to support capacity expansion projects in concert with other private and public finance tools. Additional announcements are expected in the coming weeks. USDA will also soon begin taking applications for a new phase to deploy an additional $225 million investment.

Regionality of Avian Flu Outbreak Limits Losses in Broiler Production

USDA’s Economic Research Service reports highly pathogenic avian influenza in 2022 has major regionality differences. The outbreak has had relatively little impact on the broiler industry based on the volume of broiler meat produced in the United States. HPAI was detected in Indiana in February 2022 for the first time nationally since 2015 and was soon confirmed at multiple commercial poultry operations. Flocks at operations with detected infections were depopulated to prevent further spread of HPAI. Because of the limited overlap of the 2022 HPAI outbreak with broiler-producing regions, commercial flocks in the top four broiler-producing States – North Carolina, Georgia, Arkansas, and Alabama – have largely avoided HPAI. Of the 43.8 million commercial birds depopulated as of October 7, 2022, 2.3 million were meat-producing broilers. This represents less than a tenth of one percent of typical annual broiler slaughter. The effect on broiler production during the 2015 outbreak was also relatively small.

CoBank: Higher-Priced Turkeys on the Holiday Menu

A new analysis from CoBank suggests consumers will see smaller and higher-priced turkeys this Thanksgiving season. After grappling with staff shortages, plant closures, and supply issues, the turkey industry has been hit by yet another problem in 2022: the worst Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza outbreak in U.S. history. HPAI leads to the depopulation of birds, but is also impacting turkey size. The average slaughter weight is below the three-year average. However, there will be a sufficient number of birds. Turkeys will be available, but they will be more expensive and probably a bit smaller than what home chefs are used to. Seasonal cold storage whole bird inventory volumes are at their lowest level since 2006. Wholesale, frozen turkeys are currently selling in the $1.70 per pound range, about 30 percent higher than last year. Fresh, boneless breast meat is trading at $6.50 per pound, a 350 percent increase versus last fall.

USDA Opens 2023 Ag Outlook Forum Registration

The Department of Agriculture recently opened registration for the 99th Agricultural Outlook Forum. The 2023 event is back in-person, held February 23-24, at the Crystal City Gateway Marriott in Arlington, Virginia. Additionally, all sessions will be live-streamed, and participants can attend the event in person or virtually. Registration is required for both virtual and in-person attendance, however, there is no cost to attending the Forum virtually. The 2023 event will feature comments from USDA Chief Economist Seth Meyer as he unveils USDA’s initial forecast for the agricultural economy, commodity markets, and trade in 2023. Additionally, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will deliver the event’s keynote address. More than 100 subject matter experts, executives and academics will discuss the largest issues impacting agriculture today and potential solutions, including supply chain challenges, climate-smart agriculture and more. Interested participants can register to attend, in-person or virtually, on the USDA website. More than 4,500 people attended the 2022 virtual Forum.

National Turkey Federation Executive to lead Fisheries Institute

The National Fisheries Institute this week named Lisa Wallenda Picard as incoming President and CEO of the association. Picard joins NFI from the National Turkey Federation, where she is the Senior Vice President for Policy, Trade and Regulatory Affairs. In January of this year, NFI’s President and CEO John Connelly announced plans to retire in early 2023, prompting a nationwide search. NFI leadership calls Picard a “dynamic leader with expertise in food safety and trade relations.” Picard joined the National Turkey Federation in 2011 and previously was the Chief of Staff for USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service. Before joining FSIS in 2002, Picard served as National Director of Public Relations for Ringling Bros and Barnum and Bailey Circus. She also spent several years lobbying on animal welfare and agriculture issues and will join NFI in mid-December. Incorporated in 1945, the National Fisheries Institute is the largest seafood trade association in the United States.

Culver’s Launches Farmer Appreciation Contest

Culver’s this week launched “To farmers With Love,” a farmer appreciation contest. The contest is an opportunity for individuals to nominate a farmer in their life to win a generous prize package as part of Culver’s Thank You Farmers Project. Fifteen winning farmers will receive a $500 cash prize, Culver’s gift cards and swag. Additionally, to demonstrate Culver’s dedication to supporting the future of agriculture, the winning farmers will also receive a $575 donation to their local FFA chapters in their names. Culver’s marketing and public relations manager, Alison Demmer, says, “We’re thrilled to be able to express our appreciation for these deserving farmers in such a personalized way.” Through the Thank You Farmers Project, Culver’s has donated over $3.5 million to agricultural education since 2013. Those interested in nominating a farmer can visit to learn more and complete the nomination form. The contest runs from now through November 15.


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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