NATIONAL AG NEWS SPONSORED BY THE AMERICAN FARM BUREAU FEDERATION

National Ag News for January 17, 2023

NASDA Conducts Vietnam Trade Mission

National Association of State Departments of Agriculture members and leadership traveled to Vietnam last week. The delegation embarked on the organization’s first trade mission to explore global emerging markets through the Department of Agriculture Emerging Markets Program. NASDA President and Wyoming Department of Agriculture Director Doug Miyamoto, Washington State Department of Agriculture Director Derek Sandison, Delaware Secretary of Agriculture Michael Scuse, Texas Department of Agriculture Assistant Commissioner Dan Hunter and NASDA CEO Ted McKinney participated in the mission. The delegation explored trading opportunities and educated Vietnamese agricultural, government and business leaders on American agriculture and markets. NASDA was recently awarded $925,000 from USDA to promote exports of U.S. agricultural products to developing countries with strong growth potential, including Vietnam. NASDA will also conduct trade missions to Thailand, Indonesia and Kenya in 2023. NASDA is a nonpartisan, nonprofit association that represents the elected and appointed commissioners, secretaries and directors of the departments of agriculture in all 50 states and four U.S. territories.

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Grassley Intends to Reintroduce Farm Credit for Americans Act

Senator Chuck Grassley last week announced he intends to reintroduce the Farm Credit for Americans Act. The legislation bans the federal government from allowing foreign individuals to obtain credit and financial services through the Farm Credit System. The Iowa Republican wrote the legislation with Senator Sherrod Brown, an Ohio Democrat. Specifically, the legislation prevents the Farm Credit Administration from underwriting foreign buyers seeking to purchase U.S. farmland. It would amend the 1971 Farm Credit Act to ensure foreign nationals can’t obtain financing through federal government-backed financial institutions to purchase American farmland. Grassley says, “Young and beginning farmers here at home should not be squeezed out or compete with foreign investors subsidized by the American taxpayer.” According to the USDA, foreign ownership of U.S. farm acres increased 60 percent between 2009 and 2019. Increasingly, young and beginning farmers are competing with institutional investors, such as pension funds, endowments and even professional athletes who are diversifying their financial portfolios with prime farmland.

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RMA to Host Crop Insurance Workshop for Specialty Crops, Organics

Farmers in Iowa can attend a USDA’s Risk Management Agency workshop to learn more about crop insurance options, including those designed for agricultural producers who grow specialty and organic crops. RMA will host the free in-person workshops Tuesday, January 24, in Davenport, Iowa. A morning and afternoon session is scheduled, and both have virtual options for producers outside the state or those who can’t make it to the in-person event. The workshops will cover the ins and outs of the Whole-Farm Revenue Protection and Micro Farm programs, which are great insurance options for specialty crop, organic, urban, and other producers with diverse operations. RMA subject matter experts will provide an in-depth look at these policies. The events will include RMA Administrator Marcia Bunger and other RMA experts. Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions and get answers in real-time. The Risk Management Agency will hold another round of workshops next month in Michigan.

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CHS Inc. and Cargill to expand TEMCO operations to include the Texas Gulf

CHS Inc. and Cargill recently announced the intent to expand the scope of their joint venture, TEMCO LLC, by adding the Cargill-owned export grain terminal in Houston, Texas. The addition of the Houston terminal will expand the joint venture’s export capabilities, providing shipping access for grains, oilseeds and byproducts through the port of Houston. TEMCO currently operates three facilities in the Pacific Northwest. The three facilities distribute grain to global markets, primarily located in the Asia-Pacific region. Through TEMCO, both companies look forward to building on 24 years of successful partnership to expand global grain market access for U.S. farmers to help meet the increasing global need for food. The Houston terminal is located approximately 40 miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico via Galveston Bay. With six million bushels of storage and capacity for 350 rail cars, the facility handles up to 250 million bushels annually. The terminal receives both trucks and railcars with a variety of commodities for global export.

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Smithfield Foods Donates 35,000 Pounds of Food to Support Kentucky

Smithfield Foods, Inc. has donated 35,000 pounds of food, equal to 140,000 servings, to help feed victims of the severe winter weather that recently engulfed Eastern Kentucky. Smithfield delivered the food products to Mercy Chefs, which is currently stationed in Hazel Green, Kentucky, to provide disaster relief for local residents. The Portsmouth, Virginia-based nonprofit travels to disaster zones across the U.S. to serve free chef-prepared, restaurant-quality hot meals to local residents, volunteers and first responders. Smithfield products donated to this relief effort include lunch meat, bacon, fully cooked boneless ham, hickory smoked ham and smoked spiral sliced ham. The extreme winter weather in Eastern Kentucky left many residents with frozen pipes and entire towns without potable water. Mercy Chefs expects to cook 2,000-3,000 hot meals per day for residents in the area. To make a donation or find out how to volunteer locally, visit MercyChefs.com/easternky. 

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Cumberland Introduces Scout Robot

Cumberland, AGCO’s poultry production equipment brand, is introducing Scout, the world’s first ceiling-suspended robot system. The system continuously monitors broiler chickens and their poultry house environments to increase animal welfare as well as farm productivity. Scott Becker, director of North America sales for Cumberland, says, “With Scout, producers can achieve better feed conversion, early disease detection and fine-tuning of climate control, resulting in reduced mortality and less condemnation numbers.” The advanced robot uses a complete set of sensors to map key indicators that impact bird health and performance, including thermal comfort, air quality, light intensity, sound levels and bird distribution. Scout also classifies excrement for early disease detection 24 to 48 hours before producers may become aware of an issue. In addition, the technology identifies dead birds. Monitoring information is available to producers 24/7 from any device, including daily and weekly reports with maps of their entire house.

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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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