National Ag News for February 14, 2023

USDA Unveils Investments for Addressing Water Supply Challenges for Producers in the West

The Department of Agriculture Monday announced new investments and strategies to help farmers and ranchers conserve water, address climate change and build drought resilience in the West. The effort is through the Western Water and Working Lands Framework for Conservation Action to address key water and land management challenges across 17 Western States. The framework includes guidelines for identifying vulnerable agricultural landscapes and 13 strategies to help NRCS state leaders, water resource managers, and producers respond to priority challenges. Guided by this new framework, the WaterSMART Initiative will invest $25 million in three new priority areas and 37 existing priority areas, assisting communities and producers in the West. NRCS Chief Terry Cosby says, “USDA is utilizing this framework and all available tools to deliver assistance that the severity of the water supply challenges in the West demand.” From 2020 to 2022, more than $410 million of annual conservation assistance NRCS provided to producers helped address drought in the West.

Biden Administration Announces IRA Funding for Climate-Smart Agriculture

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Monday announced funding for agricultural producers and forest landowners to participate in voluntary conservation programs and adopt climate-smart practices. The Inflation Reduction Act provided an additional $19.5 billion over five years for climate-smart agriculture through several USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service programs. NRCS is making available $850 million in fiscal year 2023 for its oversubscribed conservation programs: the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, Conservation Stewardship Program, Agricultural Conservation Easement Program and Regional Conservation Partnership Program. Secretary Vilsack says, “We know that agriculture plays a critical role in the nation’s effort to address climate change.”  The Inflation Reduction Act funding includes an additional $8.45 billion for EQIP, $4.95 billion for RCPP, $3.25 billion for CSP, and $1.4 billion for ACEP. The increased funding levels begin in fiscal year 2023 and rapidly build over four years. The additional investments are estimated to help hundreds of thousands of farmers and ranchers apply conservation to millions of acres of land.

USDA Accepting Applications for Trade Mission to Japan

USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service is accepting applications from exporters of U.S. farm and food products for a two-city trade mission to Japan, June 5-8. The trade mission offers U.S. agribusinesses the potential to increase or expand their sales to Japan, one of the United States’ top five agricultural export markets. U.S. exports of agricultural products to Japan exceeded $14.6 billion in 2022. FAS Administrator Daniel B. Whitley says, “This trade mission will help many U.S. agribusinesses establish new business connections with their Japanese counterparts and further expand U.S. agricultural exports to this key Asian market.” Trade mission participants will travel to Tokyo and Osaka, connecting with potential customers and learning first-hand from government and industry leaders about local market conditions. Participants will also visit local retail stores and food manufacturers to round out the program. Applications are due by February 27. Those interested in participating in the trade mission should visit USDA’s FAS website,

NCGA: Higher Renewable Fuel Volumes Good Security, Economy and Environment

The National Corn Growers Association says higher renewable fuel volumes over the next three years would go a long way in improving energy security. Additionally, NCGA says higher volumes would help lower gas prices and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, according to recent comments submitted by NCGA to the Environmental Protection Agency. The Renewable Fuel Standard requires that U.S. transportation fuel contain a minimum volume of renewable fuel each year. NCGA’s comments were in response to EPA’s proposed volume requirements for 2023, 2024 and 2025. NCGA President Tom Haag says, “NCGA supports EPA’s proposal of annual increases in volumes, including an implied conventional biofuel volume of 15.25 billion gallons, and recognition that ethanol plays a critical role in cutting GHG emissions and our energy security.” NCGA also noted that renewable fuel adds more than 20 billion gallons to the nation’s fuel supply annually, lowering consumer costs, creating rural jobs and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by more than 1 billion metric tons since the RFS was enacted.

New Report Predicts Crop Pest and Pathogen Risks

Patter Ag Monday released its new Predictive Ag Report. The report can help corn and soybean farmers make better-informed decisions about managing impactful pests and pathogens, according to the company. Specifically, the report provides information about corn rootworm and sudden death syndrome. Pattern Ag operates the world’s largest soil metagenomics database, with more than 200 billion DNA reads. The Predictive Ag Report is an anonymized, aggregated analysis of the Pattern Ag data. Available in print or digital form, the report predicts pest and pathogen risks 12 months in advance with more than 90 percent accuracy. This information can help agronomists and farmers make better-informed pest management decisions when selecting seed varieties or crop protection inputs. Pattern Ag plans to make the Predictive Ag Report available annually to help corn and soybean farmers offset economic losses caused by yield-impacting diseases. Farmers can receive a copy of the report by visiting

Fuel Prices Decline Again, Demand Increases

The nation’s average gas declined for the second straight week, dropping 7.3 cents from a week ago to $3.37 per gallon. The national average is up 10.9 cents from a month ago and 10.2 cents per gallon lower than a year ago. The national average diesel price fell 7.3 cents last week and stands at $4.52 per gallon. GasBuddy’s Patrick De Haan says, “While diesel prices likely have a long way to fall as inventories continue to improve, gasoline prices in some areas have gone up in the last weeks as the transition to summer gasoline is just around the corner.” GasBuddy data shows that gasoline demand has risen for the third straight week, a trend that will likely continue as spring arrives. Also, refinery maintenance season will soon be in full force, likely putting upward pressure on prices. On average, gasoline prices rise between 35 and 85 cents per gallon between March and Memorial Day.


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.