National Ag News for December 9, 2022

Vilsack to Announce Second Round of Climate-Smart Commodities Investments

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack travels to Alabama Monday to announce the second round of investments of the Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities funding. Projects from the second funding pool will emphasize the enrollment of small farming and ranching operations, including underserved producers, as well as measurement, monitoring, reporting and verification activities developed at minority-serving institutions. The investment in projects nationwide will expand markets for climate-smart commodities, leverage the greenhouse gas benefits of climate-smart commodity production and provide direct, meaningful benefits to production agriculture, according to USDA. In September, Vilsack announced USDA is investing up to $2.8 billion in 70 selected projects under the first pool of the Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities funding opportunity. USDA first announced details of the Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities opportunity in February 2022. The 70 projects announced in September are from the first funding pool, which included proposals seeking funds ranging from $5 million to $100 million.

AFBF: Labor Challenges Increase Farm Economy Pressures

Labor demands continue to tax the bottom lines of farmers and ranchers, with rising wage rates and record usage of the H-2A visa program. The American Farm Bureau Federation says meaningful reforms to the federal government’s guest worker program must be a priority for Congress by the end of the year. AFBF and more than 350 other food and farm organizations that are part of the Ag Workforce Coalition sent a letter urging the Senate to pass legislation to address the nation’s agricultural workforce challenges this year. The House of Representatives passed a farm labor reform bill, but the legislation needs improvements according to the coalition. The letter states, “The country cannot afford for the Senate to miss this opportunity to provide stability to both farmers and farmworkers.” Recent analysis from AFBF economists indicates that costs associated with farm labor will add to the ever-expanding list of factors straining the farm economy in 2023.

October Pork Exports Largest in 16 Months; Beef Exports Already Top $10 Billion

October exports of U.S. pork were the largest in more than a year, and beef export volume also increased from a year ago, according to the U.S. Meat Export Federation. U.S. beef exports are on a record pace in 2022 and have already exceeded $10 billion. Pork exports reached 238,190 metric tons in October, up five percent from a year ago and the largest since June 2021. Pork export value increased 13 percent to $697.3 million, the highest since May 2021. For January through October, pork exports were 12 percent below last year at 2.18 million metric tons, valued at $6.26 billion. October beef exports totaled 125,466 metric tons, up eight percent from a year ago. Export value was $929.8 million, down three percent from the large total reported in October 2021. In the first ten months of 2022, beef export value increased 18 percent from last year’s record pace to reach $10.05 billion.

Lawmakers Introduce Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act of 2022

The prospect of permanent, nationwide availability of the E15 ethanol blend moves closer with new House legislation, according to the Renewable Fuels Association. Representatives Angie Craig, a Minnesota Democrat, and Adrian Smith, a Nebraska Republican, this week introduced the Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act of 2022. RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper says the legislation will “finally remove a burdensome and nonsensical barrier to the broader deployment of cleaner, more affordable fuels.” Specifically, the legislation would harmonize fuel volatility regulations for ethanol-blended fuels across the country, allowing for the year-round sale of E15 in conventional gasoline markets. It also would supersede an effort by Midwest state governors to make regulatory changes that would assure the availability of E15 sales year-round in their states. In November, RFA and the American Petroleum Institute led a broad coalition that called on Congress to quickly adopt legislation to permanently resolve inconsistent fuel volatility regulations.

Caloric Sweetener Availability Dropped 17% Last Two Decades

In 2021, the number of caloric sweeteners available for consumption in the United States was 17 percent less than in 1999, falling to 127.3 pounds per person from 153.6 pounds. According to the USDA Economic Research Service’s Food Availability Data System, a reduction in the availability of total corn sweeteners contributed to the drop. The availability of corn sweeteners fell from a peak of 85.7 pounds per person in 1999 to 55.3 pounds in 2021. Shifting preferences among consumers and food manufacturers, high corn prices, and competition with refined cane and beet sugars and other caloric sweeteners contributed to the decline. The availability of refined cane and beet sugars fell from 102.3 pounds per person in 1972 to 60.0 pounds in 1986 and remained relatively flat for the next two and a half decades. Refined sugar availability began to rise in 2010, surpassing corn sweeteners in 2011 and reaching 69.7 pounds per person in 2021.

National No-Tillage Conference Returns to St. Louis

For the ninth time in its 31-year history, the annual National No-Tillage Conference is returning to St. Louis. Hosted by No-Till Farmer, the event will be held January 10-13 at the Hyatt Regency St. Louis Arch Hotel in St. Louis, Missouri. The content covers myriad topics in no-till, including equipment, cover crops, intercropping, economic analyses, soil analysis, fertilizing methods and more. Among the experts presenting are the highest-yielding farmers on the planet, including legendary no-tillers Russell Hedrick of North Carolina, David Hula of Virginia, Randy Dowdy of Georgia, Ray Archuleta of Missouri, and more. The program includes 14 general sessions, 45 roundtables and 23 classroom sessions. The National No-Tillage Conference provides practical tips, and information farmers need to run a more successful and profitable no-till operation. You can learn more about the event and register online at Organizers say the event delivers insightful learning and unlimited networking with the best of the no-till community.


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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