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National Ag News for January 25, 2023

NCBA Sues Biden Administration to Overturn Lesser Prairie Chicken Listing

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association recently filed a Notice of Intent to sue the Department of the Interior and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. NCBA is planning the lawsuit over the listing of the lesser prairie chicken under the Endangered Species Act. NCBA Associate Director of Government Affairs Sigrid Johannes says, “The lesser prairie chicken only survives today because of the voluntary conservation efforts of ranchers,” adding, “There are numerous places where this listing goes seriously wrong and we are defending cattle producers against this overreaching, unscientific rule.” The listing was previously set to take effect at the end of January, but thanks to pressure on the Biden administration from NCBA and our allies in Congress, the rule was delayed by 60 days. The listing will now take effect on March 27, 2023, and the states included in the species’ range are Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Colorado.

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Corn Growers Praise Biden Officials for Stance on Biotech Corn

The National Corn Growers Association praised the Biden administration for issuing an official rejection of a recent proposed compromise from Mexico on biotech corn imports into the country. The development came during a meeting between Mexican officials and U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Secretary of Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Alexis Taylor and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative’s chief ag negotiator Doug McKalip. In a statement that came after the meeting, USTR and USDA said the changes offered by Mexico “are not sufficient and Mexico’s proposed approach, which is not grounded in science, still threatens to disrupt billions of dollars in bilateral agricultural trade, cause serious economic harm to U.S. farmers and Mexican livestock producers, and stifle important innovations needed to help producers respond to pressing climate and food security challenges.” NCGA President Tom Haag responded, “This is significant development and good news for corn growers.” Mexico announced in late 2020 a decree banning biotech corn into the country, beginning in early 2024.

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Biden Again Nominates Dean and Schlanger to USDA

President Joe Biden again nominated Margo Schlanger and Stacy Dean to politically appointed positions at the Department of Agriculture. Biden nominated Schlanger to serve as Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights and Dean as Undersecretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services. Both were nominated by the President to USDA during the last Congress but were not confirmed by the Senate. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says Dean’s commitment during her time at USDA and throughout her career “makes her the ideal person to serve as Under Secretary for FNCS.” Throughout her life and career, Schlanger has devoted herself to civil rights and to public service. At the Department of Homeland Security. Vilsack says, “Schlanger would be able to continue her commitment to public service and civil rights as we at USDA continually seek to fairly and equitably serve our employees and customers.” The nominations of Schlanger and Dean were part of a slate of political appointees announced this week by the White House.

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Cattle Accounted for Largest Portion of US Animal Receipts in 2021

U.S. farm cash receipts from animals and animal products totaled $195.8 billion in 2021, led by receipts for cattle and calves at $72.9 billion, or 37 percent. USDA’s Economic Research Service reports that poultry and egg products made up the next largest share of 2021 cash receipts at $46.1 billion, or 24 percent, followed by dairy at $41.8 billion, or 21 percent, hogs at $28.0 billion or 14 percent, and other animals and animal products at $7.0 billion, at four percent. As part of its Farm Income and Wealth Statistics data product, in late August or early September each year, the Economic Research Service releases estimates of the prior year’s farm sector cash receipts from agricultural commodity sales. The data provided includes cash receipt estimates by type of commodity, which can help in understanding the U.S. farm sector. The estimates may be revised as new information becomes available.

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IFEEDER Releases Materials to Support Industry Sustainability Progress

The Institute for Feed Education and Research Tuesday released its Animal Food Industry Sustainability Toolkit. The toolkit is intended to drive continuous improvement in the full feed value chain. The Institute also shared its definition for “sustainability,” grounding the public charity’s next steps on its multifaceted Sustainability Road Map project. IFEEDER defined “sustainability” for the U.S. animal food industry as “defined and managed by each individual organization to deliver measurable, continuous improvements on the impacts related to people, planet and governance that are most important to them and their stakeholders.” Lara Moody, IFEEDER executive director, says, “We have provided an ‘on ramp’ for the industry to help achieve leadership buy-in and employee engagement so that sustainability becomes part of their corporate cultures and shapes future business decisions.” The toolkit materials, which are supported by 18 months of research and development, are grouped into three stages: people, planet and governance. The toolkit is free for AFIA members and IFEEDER donors at ifeeder.org.

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New Guide Helps Farms, Rural Small Businesses Go Solar

Solar United Neighbors Tuesday released a new guide to help farmers and rural small business owners apply for a key federal grant and loan. The guide will make it easier for rural Americans to install solar energy at their property. The comprehensive guide takes applicants step-by-step through the Rural Energy for America Program, or REAP, application process. The REAP program has been so popular that funding for the grants has not been able to meet the demand. The Inflation Reduction Act, passed last year, quadrupled REAP funding over the next ten years. Farmers and rural small business owners can receive loan guarantees of up to 75 percent of total eligible project costs through REAP. They can receive grants for up to 40 percent of the total project cost. Solar United Neighbors is hosting a free webinar February 2 to educate attendees about the REAP program and what steps they need to take to apply. Learn more at solarunitedneighbors.org.

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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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