NATIONAL AG NEWS SPONSORED BY THE AMERICAN FARM BUREAU FEDERATION

National Ag News for December 19, 2022

Group Supports Modernizing H-2A Visa Program

The American Business Coalition Immigration Action group applauded the Senate introduction of the Affordable and Safe Food Act. The legislation would modernize the nation’s farm guest worker H-2A visa program by opening it up to more farmers. “ABIC Action fully endorses this bill and is so grateful for the leadership of Senator Michael Bennet in introducing the legislation,” says ABIC executive director Rebecca Shi (she). The bill would make visas available for year-round work in the dairy industry and other agricultural sectors, put a down payment on border security with mandatory e-verify, stabilize wages for farmers, and create legal protections and a pathway to citizenship for undocumented decade-plus farm workers. Senator Bennet says the cost of farm labor has gone up almost 50 percent over the past decade, much higher than wage costs in other sectors of the economy. The bill would save farmers $23 billion over the next 12 years.

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EPA: New Biofuel Mandates Will Boost GHG in Short Term

The Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed changes to the nation’s biofuel blending mandates through 2025 will cause a short-term increase in greenhouse gas emissions. However, agency documents also say the changes will yield long-term reductions. The new proposal will add to greenhouse gas emissions over the next three years by between 81 million and 266 million tons. A Reuters review of the documents says the rise will come from new tiling for corn, soy, and other plantings that release carbon from the soil. EPA’s GHG calculator says that’s the climate equivalent of driving 17 million and 57 million vehicles for one year. However, EPA also projects those emissions will be more than offset in the long term due to reduced tailpipe emissions and other factors. Those figures are assuming biofuel volume mandates don’t change after 2025. EPA says the proposal would reduce GHGs by between 128 million and 1.6 billion metric tons.

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Groups Argue in Court to Preserve Chlorpyrifos

A total of 20 agricultural groups argued before the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., about chlorpyrifos. Specifically, they asked the court to reinstate chlorpyrifos tolerances that the Environmental Protection Agency has found safe. EPA revoked those safe tolerances, which effectively ended agriculture’s chance to use an important pesticide. The decision has inflicted enormous costs on thousands of American farmers and undermined their ability to protect their crops from potentially devastating insect pests. The groups say EPA revoked the safety tolerances despite finding on multiple occasions that at least 11 high-benefit crop uses could be safely maintained. American Soybean Association President Daryl Cates says, “Farmers rely on regulators following the law. Congress wrote the pesticide laws that way to provide growers access to the tools they need to be successful and ensure those tools can be used safely.” The groups are hopeful for a ruling in the coming months.

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NASDA Receives Large USDA Grant From FAS Emerging Markets Program

The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture was awarded a USDA grant worth $925,000 through the Foreign Agricultural Services’ Emerging Markets Program. The EMP helps organizations promote exports of agricultural products to developing countries with strong growth potential. “We are excited for NASDA members to engage in critical discussions to support global market development and strengthen bilateral trade relationships,” says NASDA CEO Ted McKinney. The group will use the funding to conduct market research in emerging markets in Southeast Asia and Africa. NASDA will also organize outbound trade missions for state department of agriculture leaders to learn about the markets and engage in discussions with relevant parties in each country. “Our members understand how important it is to spread the message about the value and quality of U.S. products and the benefits of innovation around the world,” McKinney says. “The first step in earning trading partners is establishing open communication.”

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Iowa Farmland Prices Jump Again

Iowa State University’s annual Land Value Survey shows farmland values are averaging $11,411 an acre in 2022, a 17 percent rise from last year. ISU says farmers have a lot more cash on hand, and supply chain issues led to a shortage of equipment, so the money typically spent on equipment is now getting used to buy land. The survey included responses from land appraisers, farm managers, and lenders. Seventy percent of the people surveyed said land values were “too high” or “way too high.” However, 48 percent of the participants also expect prices to be higher a year from now. About 28 percent expect lower land values next year, and 24 percent expect prices to hold steady. The survey began in 1941, and the 2022 farmland value of $11,411 per acre is the highest in history. When adjusted for inflation, this year’s value comes in at $8,716 an acre.

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Commodity Sales to Overseas Buyers Surge

USDA says sales of grains and soybeans climbed week-to-week during the week ending on December 8. Soybean sales took a healthy jump to 2.94 million metric tons, up from 1.72 million the week before. Sales surged as China bought 1.25 million metric tons, and another unnamed country purchased 1.03 million metric tons. However, exports for the week fell to 1.85 million metric tons, down from 2.25 million tons the week before. Corn sales totaled 958,900 metric tons, a sharp jump from 692,000 during the previous week. Guatemala was the top buyer at 196,400 metric tons, and Mexico bought almost 171,000 metric tons. Export sales for the week hit 591,000 metric tons, down from a little over 900,000 tons the previous week. Wheat sales rose to 469,000 metric tons, a sharp rise from 190,000 during the previous week. Exports were reported at 255,900 metric tons, down slightly from the previous week.

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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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