NATIONAL AG NEWS SPONSORED BY THE AMERICAN FARM BUREAU FEDERATION

National Ag News for December 21, 2022

Omnibus Includes Growing Climate Solutions Act, SUSTAINS Act

The National Milk Producers Federation commended Congress for including the Growing Climate Solutions Act and the SUSTAINS Act in its final fiscal year 2023 budget package. The measures will help dairy farmers seek additional sustainability opportunities as they work to fulfill the dairy sector’s voluntary, producer-led goal of becoming greenhouse gas neutral or better by 2050. NMPF president and CEO Jim Mulhern says, “Environmental markets and conservation programs have the potential to meaningfully assist dairy producers as they work to meet their 2050 environmental stewardship goals.” The Growing Climate Solutions Act would enable USDA to register technical service providers that help farmers implement stewardship practices that can generate credits on environmental markets. The SUSTAINS Act would allow private sector funds to supplement existing funding for farm bill conservation programs, which are continuously oversubscribed. The Senate will vote on the omnibus appropriations bill this week which also includes $40 billion in disaster funding.

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US Requests New USMCA Dispute Consultations on Canadian Dairy TRQ Policies

United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai Tuesday announced that the United States is requesting new dispute settlement consultations with Canada under the United States – Mexico – Canada Agreement. The request is over Canada’s dairy tariff-rate quota, or TRQ, allocation measures. Since initiating consultations with Canada in May 2022, the United States has identified additional aspects of Canada’s measures that appear to be inconsistent with Canada’s obligations under the USMCA, and U.S. concerns have only increased. With this new request, the United States expands its challenge of Canada’s dairy TRQ allocation measures to include Canada’s use of a market-share approach for determining TRQ allocations. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says, “Canada remains in violation of its commitments under the USMCA by not removing its trade restrictions on American dairy producers.” In January 2022, a USMCA dispute settlement panel found Canada’s dairy TRQ allocation measures to be inconsistent with Canada’s USMCA obligations. 

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USDA and USTR Seek New Trade Advisory Committee Members

The Department of Agriculture and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative are accepting applications for new members to serve on agricultural trade advisory committees. Members of the Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee advise the administration on implementing and enforcing existing U.S. trade agreements, negotiation of new agreements, and other trade policy matters. Members of the six Agricultural Technical Advisory Committees, or ATACs, provide technical advice and guidance on international trade issues that affect specific agricultural commodity sectors. The ATACs focus on trade in animals and animal products, fruits and vegetables, grains, feed, oilseeds, and planting seeds, processed foods, sweeteners and sweetener products, tobacco, cotton, and peanuts. Applicants must have expertise in U.S. agriculture and experience in international trade to be considered for committee membership. Application instructions are available at fas.usda.gov. Applications must be received by 5 p.m. ET on January 31, 2023.

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USDA Invests $9.5M to Develop New Bioproducts from Agricultural Commodities

The Department of Agriculture Tuesday announced an investment of $9.5 million to support the scale-up of sustainable bioproduct manufacturing in the United States. Three successful projects are funded through USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Bioproduct Pilot Program, which funds research and development of value-added products from agricultural commodities. Authorized and funded by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the Bioproduct Pilot Program presents a unique opportunity to spur economic activity in the nation’s rural areas while lowering commercialization risks associated with bringing biobased products to market. The program’s exploration into bioproducts accelerates USDA’s efforts to develop circular bioeconomies, where agricultural resources are harvested, consumed, and regenerated sustainably. This pilot program also supports the objectives outlined in President Biden’s recent Executive Order on Advancing Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing for a Sustainable, Safe, and Secure American Bioeconomy. The three awardees are Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and Soylei Innovations of Ames, Iowa.

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USDA: Vegetable Prices Spike in 2022

Fresh-market vegetable crops in California, Florida, and Mexico were hit with a variety of inclement weather this summer and fall. The adverse weather reduced supplies and contributed to higher shipping-point prices, according to a USDA Economic Research Service report. Shipping-point prices for fresh vegetables are expected to remain above seasonal norms until new or replanted fields are harvested in late December or early January. While retail prices for all food rose at the quickest year-over-year pace since 1979, up about ten percent, retail fresh vegetable prices, as measured by the Consumer Price Index, rose six percent during the first three quarters of 2022. Driven primarily by rising transport costs and higher prices for key items such as potatoes, onions, and lettuce, when complete this year, the Consumer Price Index for fresh vegetables will likely present the largest year-to-year gain since an 11 percent surge in 1998.

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Study Shows Soybean Oil for Biofuels Has Limited Impact on Overall Food Prices

A new study shows U.S.-grown soybeans are well suited for people looking to cook, fuel up or find other sustainable solutions. The United Soybean Board partnered with Purdue University to evaluate whether the increased use of soybean oil in biofuels has contributed to the rising retail prices of food products for consumers. One key element missing from this equation is that only one-fifth of the soybean is oil, most of the soybean is meal used as a high-quality protein in animal diets. This expanded crush for oil to meet biofuel demand creates increased availability for meal, driving down the price of animal protein products. Jayson Lusk of Purdue University says, “What we found, after assessing the impact of rising soybean oil demand on prices at the grocery store, was little change to the Consumer Price Index.” While the increased demand for biofuels pushed up retail prices for oil between 0.16 percent and 4.41 percent, retail animal product prices declined between -0.01 percent and -0.16 percent.

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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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