NATIONAL AG NEWS SPONSORED BY THE AMERICAN FARM BUREAU FEDERATION

National Ag News for November 28, 2022

Farmer Share of Thanksgiving Food Dollar Stays Low in 2022

National Farmers Union President Rob Larew says the farmers’ share of the Thanksgiving food dollar continues to stay low. “Corporate profits and consumer food costs continue to go up and up, but the farmers’ share of the food dollar is still low,” Larew says. “Thanksgiving is a time of family and community, but thanks to price gouging by corporate monopolies in the food system, the holiday meal is getting increasingly difficult to afford.” The NFU says the retail price of turkey averages $1.99 a pound, and the farmers’ share is six cents per pound. Two pounds of boneless ham retails for $12.98, with the farmers’ share at one dollar. Even though consumers are paying more for food this year, almost none of that increase is getting passed on to America’s family farmers and ranchers. Mega-consolidation in the food sector has made supply chains uncompetitive and resulted in farmers being underpaid.

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Groups Express Support for Year-Round E15

A broad coalition of energy and agriculture organizations wrote a letter to Congress asking them to adopt legislation that would resolve inconsistent fuel volatility regulations. Specifically, the groups expressed support for legislation that would result in equal regulatory treatment for all gasoline blends containing ten percent ethanol or more, including gasoline with a 15 percent blend of ethanol. Such legislation would permanently remove the regulatory barrier that has historically made it extremely difficult for retailers to offer E15 in the summer. “Our groups have come together for the first time in history to support legislation that will permanently resolve the issue,” the letter says. “By ensuring uniformity across the nation’s fuel supply chain, that will provide more flexibility and result in more consistent outcomes than a state-by-state regulatory landscape.” Without the fix, the groups see gasoline marketplace uncertainty and political disputes over E15 that will continue to resurface every summer.

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Farm Loan Interest Rates Rise Sharply

Farm loan interest rates increased sharply during the third quarter. The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City says despite the high borrowing costs, farm real estate values continued higher. However, the rate of increase slowed in the quarter. Following consistently higher increases earlier in 2022, the value of farmland in most Districts grew at a slightly slower pace during the third quarter. Farm income and credit conditions also remained strong, but the improvement was more limited. With higher production expenses, broad inflation, and higher financing cost, growth in household spending by farm borrowers began to outpace capital spending more noticeably. Strong farm finances continued to support a generally positive outlook for agricultural credit conditions through the rest of this year. However, some pressures have continued to intensify. Despite more measured improvements in recent quarters, farm finances remained solid following especially-strong incomes across the sector during the past two years.

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Japanese Government Approves Amended Beef Safeguard Mechanism

The Upper House of Japan’s government, called the Diet, approved the Protocol Amending the U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement regarding the beef safeguard mechanism. The U.S. Trade Representative’s Office says that completes the Diet’s process of finalizing the agreement. The new three-trigger safeguard mechanism will allow U.S. exporters to meet Japan’s growing demand for high-quality beef and reduce the probability that Japan will impose higher tariffs in the future. “The protocol will ensure our farmers and ranchers continue to have access to one of the world’s most dynamic markets,” says USTR Katherine Tai. “We are excited that Japanese consumers can enjoy high-quality U.S. beef that’s a staple of our agricultural industry.” In 2021, the U.S. was the top beef exporting country in the world, with global sales of beef products valued at more than $10 billion. U.S. beef exports to Japan totaled almost $2.4 billion in 2021, making Japan the second-largest export market.

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USDA Wants Nomination for the Advisory Committee on Ag Statistics

The USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service is seeking nominations for the Advisory Committee on Agricultural Statistics. Members of this committee advise the Ag Secretary on the scope, timing, and content of periodic agricultural censuses, surveys of agriculture, and other related industries. The committee also makes recommendations on the content of agriculture reports and represents the views and data needs of suppliers and users of ag statistics. “The Advisory Committee has long played an important role within our agency,” says NASS Administrator Hubert Hamer. “The valuable insights and recommendations from the committee have helped shape NASS programs and ensure we continue to meet the needs of data and statistics.” The committee, appointed by the Ag Secretary, consists of 22 members representing multiple disciplines and interests, including ag producers, national farm organizations, ag economists, and many others. Nominations are due by December 7, and for more details, go to the NASS Advisory Committee website.

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First Census of Agriculture to Collect Information on Hemp Farming

For the first time, the USDA will collect data on farmers growing hemp and using precision technology in the 2022 Census of Agriculture. The agency began regulating hemp production in 2021, and this will be the first census to publish data on those producers, who grow the crop for fabric, food products, and CBD. The agency says it will also identify farmers who use “precision agriculture” data-collection technology that guides planting decisions. About 70 percent of the nation’s 2.2 million farms responded to the 2017 census. Response rates in recent years have trended downward. Farmers are required by law to fill out the survey, but NASS has no enforcement mechanism. Donald Buysse, (BYSE-see) chief of the census planning branch with NASS, says, “The incentive is the idea you’re providing data as a useful tool for your community.” USDA will collect responses until February 6 and publish the data in February 2024.

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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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