NATIONAL AG NEWS SPONSORED BY THE AMERICAN FARM BUREAU FEDERATION

National Ag News for November 23, 2022

USDA Invites Producers to Respond Online to the 2022 Census of Agriculture

The USDA mailed survey codes to all known U.S. ag producers with the invitation to respond online to the 2022 Census of Agriculture at agcounts.usda.gov. The ag census is the nation’s only comprehensive and impartial agriculture data for every state, county, and territory. By completing the survey, producers across the nation can tell their stories and help generate impactful policies to better serve them and future ag producers. Farmers of all sizes, urban and rural, that produced and sold $1,000 or more of products, or normally would have in 2022, are included in the Census. The Census will get mailed in phases, with paper questionnaires following in December. Producers only have to respond once, either online or by mail. Responses are due on February 6, 2023. “The Census of Agriculture is a powerful voice for American agriculture,” says USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. “The information is an important influence on future ag policy.”

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Comment Period Extended on Packers and Stockyards Act Rulemaking

The USDA says it’s extending the comment period on the proposed rule titled “Inclusive Competition and Market Integrity Under the Packers and Stockyards Act” by 45 days. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association welcomed the extension while urging USDA to proceed in a deliberate manner. “While we appreciate the additional time to submit thorough comments, overall, USDA should slow down on this rulemaking effort,” says NCBA senior director of government affairs Tanner Beymer. “It’s a significant undertaking rooted in decades of history, and stockholders must get the chance to thoroughly evaluate the effects of this rule and those the Department says are coming soon.” NCBA and other industry partners requested an extension of the comment period last month in a letter to USDA. The proposed Packers and Stockyards Act rule spans 180 pages, poses 44 specific questions, and covers 14 years of regulatory history, so the initial 60-day period was too short.

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Railroad Conductors Union Rejects Settlement Proposal

The union representing railroad conductors rejected a White House-brokered deal and a strike could start as soon as December 9. The latest rejection comes from the union representing 28,000 conductors, brakemen, and yardmen. NPR says the total number of unions rejecting the agreement is four with a combined membership of close to 60,000 workers. Eight other unions ratified the deal but could get pulled back into the dispute. NPR says that’s because if one union decides to strike, all of the unions will honor the picket lines. The National Grain and Feed Association, the Soy Transportation Coalition, the National Milk Producers Federation, and many other agricultural groups are asking Congress to step in and prevent a shutdown, which would be catastrophic for the U.S. economy. The USDA says railroads carry 29 percent of the nation’s soybeans, 33 percent of the corn, and 60 percent of U.S. wheat to export terminals. 

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Sustainable Agriculture Coalition Releases Farm Bill Priorities

The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition’s 2023 Farm Bill campaign will advance programs and priorities that build resilience and equity across the American agricultural sector. Other platform goals include restoring competition, investing in science, and renewing the environment for current and future generations of Americans. One of the group’s biggest goals is strengthening resilient local and regional food systems. “A lack of technical assistance continues to make it difficult for many farmers and producers to update their businesses to take advantage of market opportunities,” the group says. “Federal farm and food programs must support all producers who want to take advantage of the opportunities.” The coalition also wants to fix a “flawed farm safety net and restore fair competition to the ag sector.” The group says, “Right now, the farm safety net serves as an open-ended entitlement subsidy that encourages high land prices, soil-depleting farming practices and systems, farm consolidation, and declining opportunities.”

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NSP Applauds Expanded RMA Coverage for Grain Sorghum

National Sorghum Producers applauds the USDA’s Risk Management Agency’s enhancing coverage for irrigated grain sorghum producers. The new coverage will be effective November 30 for the upcoming year. “This expanded coverage for irrigated sorghum producers is the culmination of ten years’ work between NSP, Congress, and RMA,” says NSP CEO Tim Lust. “We thank them for continuing to work with us to improve coverage options for sorghum producers.” He also says the improved rates and yields for sorghum producers will offer a greater level of aid and new opportunities for the 2023 growing season. RMA developed improved crop insurance options for irrigated grain sorghum producers in select counties in Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. “The existing rates for irrigated corn will be used for irrigated grain sorghum and 80 percent of the irrigated corn yield will be used to determine the guarantee,” says RMA, “with no change to the grain sorghum price.”

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USDA’s Trade Mission to Spain Seeks to Boost Opportunities

More than 30 agribusinesses and farm organizations will visit Madrid, Spain, from November 29 through December 2 during an upcoming USDA trade mission. Delegation members will engage directly with potential buyers from Spain and Portugal and receive in-depth market briefs from USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service and industry trade experts and participate in site visits. Spain is the third-largest EU destination for U.S. agricultural products and Portugal is number 11. “One of the key goals of this USDA trade mission is to highlight both our commonalities and what truly sets U.S. foods and ingredients apart from our competitors in the region,” says FAS Associate Administrator Clay Hamilton. “America’s farmers, ranchers, and producers have a compelling story to tell about the quality and sustainability of their agricultural production, and we are confident that story will resonate with buyers, result in many sales, and provide a boost to the agriculture industry back home.”  

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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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