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National Ag News for November 4, 2022

Russia Resumes Participation in Black Sea Grain Deal

Russia resumed participating in the Black Sea Grain Export Agreement four days after suspending it due to an alleged Ukraine attack on Russian ships in the Black Sea. Reuters says that brought immediate relief from pressure on food prices and eased worries over a renewed global food shortage. The United Nations, a key sponsor in the deal to help free up Ukrainian grain exports, says Moscow is asking for follow-up on the parts of the deal intended to help Russian food and fertilizer exports. Russian officials want more accomplished to make sure the country can export its enormous food and fertilizer output despite Western sanctions. Russia’s agricultural exports don’t specifically fall under sanctions imposed by the U.S., European Union, and others, but they’re impeded by restrictions on its financial, logistical, and insurance sectors. The initiative was agreed to in July for 120 days. The export deal expires on November 19.

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Biofuel Groups File Motion to Intervene in SRE Lawsuit

Growth Energy, the Renewable Fuels Association, the American Coalition for Ethanol, and National Farmers Union filed a motion to intervene to support the Environmental Protection Agency in the D.C. District Court of Appeals. The groups filed the motion to support the agency’s decision to deny 69 petitions from refineries seeking small refinery exemptions from the Renewable Fuel Standard program for one or more compliance years between 2016 and 2021. The groups say the decision helped to strengthen U.S. energy security, protect the climate, and delivered relief at the pump during record-high gas prices. “Now, certain refiners want to reverse this process and turn back the clock to an era of gross mismanagement and abuse of the SRE provisions of the RFS program,” they say in the motion. “The RFS is back on track and holding refiners accountable to ensure lower prices and cleaner options at the pump for American families.”

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Cow-Calf Operations Vary in Adopting Rotational Grazing

Rotational grazing is a frequently discussed livestock management practice with a wide variety of public and private benefits. Little information has been available on the adoption rate of rotational grazing, so the Economic Research Service at USDA issued a report on the subject. Data shows that 40 percent of cow-calf operations report using rotational grazing. However, just 40 percent of that number use intensive rotational grazing. Operations that retain the majority of their calves through the initial feeder stage for later sale to feedlots are the most likely to adopt intensive rotational grazing. Rotational grazing operations are more likely than continuous grazing operations to participate in the Environmental Quality Incentives Program and Conservation Stewardship Program. ERS says that rotational grazing is more common in the Northern Plains, Western Corn Belt, and Appalachian regions, where about one-half of those operations use the practice. Most grazing systems are simple, with five or fewer paddocks.

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NCBA Accepting Nominations for the Environmental Stewardship Program

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association is accepting applications until March 10 for the 2023 Environmental Stewardship Award. The yearly award recognizes outstanding stewardship practices and conservation achievements of U.S. cattle producers. “Cattle producers are actively working to protect and improve the environment because they know environmental stewardship and good business go together,” says NCBA President Don Schiefelbein (SHEEF-el-byne). Any group, individual, or organization is eligible to nominate one individual or business raising or feeding cattle. Individuals and families may not nominate themselves, although nominees may be involved in preparing the application. Along with a typed application, one nomination letter and three letters of recommendation highlighting the nominee’s leadership in conservation are required. Nominees don’t have to be NCBA members but should support the objectives of their state and national organizations. Regional winners will be announced at the 2024 Cattle Industry Convention. For info or to download a nomination packet, go to environmentalstewardship.org.

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SMART Act Would Double Investments in Ag Export Programs

The Coalition to Promote U.S. Agricultural Exports applauds the introduction of the Supporting Market Access to Reinvigorate Trade Act of 2022. The SMART Act would double funding for USDA’s Market Access Program and Foreign Market Development Program. Both are critical to expanding global market access for U.S.-produced agricultural exports. A recent economic study predicted that doubling funding for these programs would generate an additional $44.4 billion in American agricultural exports from 2024 to 2029. “Reinvestment in export promotion programs is needed now,” says Robbie Minnich, Coalition Chair. “USDA is forecasting an agricultural trade deficit in 2023 for the first time in years because the growth in American farm exports is not keeping pace with imports, signaling a more competitive global landscape.” Geopolitical conflict is making the future of trade more uncertain, so the coalition says the additional investment is an essential piece of policy to reinforce America’s competitive standing overseas.  

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U.S. Cattlemen Applaud Funding to Expand Local Meat Processing

Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack announced $73 million in funding for the first round of the Meat and Poultry Processing Expansion Program. The funds will get used to increase competition across the cattle marketplace and support increased producer opportunities, and the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association appreciates the USDA’s work. “We’re pleased to see the breadth and scope of projects supported through the funding,” says USCA President Brooke Miller. “The importance of this federal investment in our nation’s independent meat producers is evident when looking at individual projects.” As an example, they point to Upper Iowa Beef which received a grant that will expand its processing capacity by over 50 percent while creating new jobs for the community and premium revenue opportunities for independent producers. “These federal dollars can help usher in a new era of U.S. food production,” Miller says. “We’re encouraged by the announcement and look forward to further rounds of funding.”  

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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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