National Ag News for December 16, 2022

USDA Invests in Infrastructure to Combat Climate Change in Rural America

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Thursday announced USDA is investing $285 million in critical infrastructure. The investment seeks to lower energy costs, expand access to clean energy for people across rural America, and combat climate change. USDA is also making an additional $300 million available under the Rural Energy for America Program, including $250 million through the Inflation Reduction Act, to spur further investment. Vilsack says, “People in rural America are on the front lines of climate change, and our communities deserve investments that will strengthen our Country’s resilience.” USDA is making 844 investments through the Rural Energy for America Program. The program helps farmers purchase and install renewable energy systems and make energy efficiency improvements. USDA also announced that it will make $300 million available under the Rural Energy for America Program to expand renewable energy and support energy-efficiency projects. The deadline to apply for grants is March 31, 2023. Applications for technical assistance grants are due January 31, 2023. Applications for loan guarantees are accepted year-round.

Bennet, Newhouse, Introduce Last Minute Farm Labor Bill

In a last-minute effort to get H-2A reform finished before Congress adjourns, lawmakers have introduced a new bill. Senator Michael Bennet, a Democrat from Colorado and Representative Dan Newhouse, a Washington state Republican, introduced the Affordable and Secure Food Act Thursday. The legislation will reform the H-2A Temporary Agricultural Worker program by expanding H-2A visas to year-round jobs for the first time, modernizing the application process, creating more wage certainty, and ensuring critical protections for farm workers. Senator Bennet says, “This plan is broadly supported by farmers, by labor, by immigration advocates, and business,” adding, “There is no reason that we shouldn’t get this done.” Representative Newhouse says, “let’s stop waiting, and start acting,” and “reform our broken immigration laws.” The legislation reflects years of close input from farmers and ranchers, agricultural workers, and labor organizations, and would establish a program for agriculture workers, along with their spouses and minor children, to earn legal status.

USDA Releases 2021 Organics Data

USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service Thursday released the results of the 2021 Organic Survey. The survey shows total sales of $11.2 billion in organic products, an increase of $1.28 billion, or 13 percent, from 2019. There were 17,445 certified organic farms, a five percent increase from 2019. California continued to lead the nation in certified organic sales with $3.55 billion, which is 32 percent of the U.S. total. It also led all states with more than 3,000 certified farms and 813,700 certified acres. Washington, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Oregon, round out the top five states for value of organic sales. Marketing practices in the certified organic farming sector showed that $2.02 billion in organic products were sold directly to retail markets, institutions, and local/regional food hubs. Another $310 million in organic products were sold directly to consumers. The value of processed or value-added products such as jam, wine, cheese, and meat, accounted for $707 million.

McKinsey & Company Release Global Farmer Survey Results

Despite economic disturbances, high crop prices are giving farmers around the world cause for cautious optimism, according to a new survey. Global consultancy McKinsey & Company this week released the results of its global survey of 5,500 farmers from nine countries. Seventy percent of farmers expect profits to remain stable or increase – the result of higher crop prices driving profitability in the next two years. Consequently, farmers are being inspired to invest in new products that are focused on yield increase and crop protection. Despite an uncertain future with supply chains impacted by geopolitical conflicts, farmers are facing the changes head on, innovating in new areas and adopting new strategies. Vasanth Ganesan, Partner at McKinsey, says, “Products and services should be tailored and personalized for growers, to stimulate uptake and provide farmers access to yield-driving technologies and greater cost-efficiencies. McKinsey & Company is a global management consulting firm in more than 130 cities and 65 countries.

CHS Releases 2022 Sustainability Report

CHS recently released the 2022 CHS Sustainability Report, describing the company’s approach to sustainability and highlighting some of its sustainability initiatives. The actions taken by CHS will help the company reduce its impact on the planet, respond to opportunities related to enhanced sustainability and continue to build a better future for the farmers and ranchers who own the cooperative system. In 2022, CHS added Megan Rock as vice president, sustainability and innovation and chief sustainability officer. CHS will place an emphasis on helping owners, and other stakeholders understand the company’s approach to environmental, social, and corporate governance reporting, including providing definitions and interpretations in the 2022 CHS Sustainability Report. The company is also exploring technologies that impact supply chain automation, real-time soil sensing and traceability in row crops as part of its sustainability efforts. For an in-depth look into the 2022 CHS Sustainability Report, visit

“Yellowstone” Creator to Speak at Annual Cattle Industry Convention

Taylor Sheridan will speak during the Opening General Session of the 2023 Cattle Industry Convention & NCBA Trade Show in New Orleans on February 1. Sheridan will join NCBA President Don Schiefelbein, a Minnesota cattle producer, for a conversation about ranch life. Sheridan says, “My passion for the ranching lifestyle has inspired me to write stories that are rich in history, led by complex characters, and focus on family dynamics.” Sheridan is an Academy Award®-nominated writer and actor as well as a member of the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame. A Texas native himself, Sheridan excels in the Western horse performance industry as an avid supporter and competitor in reining and cutting. He also owns and operates two Texas ranches, including the legendary 6666 or Four Sixes Ranch, a 2015 Environmental Stewardship Award Program regional winner, and Bosque Ranch. Sheridan recently launched Four Sixes® Ranch Brand Beef which retails beef sourced from 6666 and a network of ranches.


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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