National Ag News for February 16, 2023

Biden to Nominate Xochitl Torres Small as USDA Deputy Secretary

President Joe Biden Wednesday announced his intent to nominate Xochitl Torres Small to serve as Deputy Secretary of Agriculture at the Department of Agriculture. The Senate confirmed Torres Small to serve as the Under Secretary for Rural Development on October 7, 2021. Before serving as Undersecretary, Torres Small was a Representative for New Mexico’s second congressional district, the fifth largest district in the country. As a United States Representative, Torres Small served as a member of the House Agriculture Committee. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says of the announcement, “Her expertise will further USDA’s mission to advance equity and opportunity in and for rural America,” adding, “I am fully confident in Under Secretary Torres Small’s ability to excel in this essential role at the Department.” Upon the conclusion of Deputy Secretary Jewel Bronaugh’s service with USDA, Kevin Shea, APHIS Administrator and a career public servant with more than 40 years at USDA, will serve as Acting Deputy Secretary. 

Still time to respond to the 2022 Census of Agriculture

Farmers and ranchers still have time to be counted in the 2022 Census of Agriculture, according to USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Although the deadline for submitting the ag census just passed, NASS will continue to accept completed census questionnaires through the spring to ensure all farmers and ranchers take advantage of the opportunity to be represented in the widely used data. NASS Administrator Hubert Hamer says, “We want all producers to use their voices to help shape the future of American agriculture.” NASS will continue to follow up with producers through the spring with mailings, phone calls, and personal visits. Farmers and ranchers are encouraged to complete their ag census online at or by mail as soon as possible. Federal law mandates that everyone who received the 2022 Census of Agriculture questionnaire complete and return it. The same law requires NASS to keep all submissions confidential. NASS will release the results of the ag census in early 2024.

Wheat Product Inflation Outpaced Food Price Inflation in 2022

Consumer prices for wheat-based products were up substantially in 2022 compared to 2021, as indicated by the Consumer Price Index. USDA’s Economic Research Service reports that the prices of various wheat products were up more than ten percent from 2021. The increase outpaced the inflation rate in the broader “all food” category, which was up 9.9 percent, more than double the average increase of the previous decade. The average price level across the cereals and bakery products category was up 13 percent in 2022, well above the previous year’s increase of 2.3 percent and more than three times as large as any year in the past decade. Flour prices and prepared flour mixes were nearly 19 percent higher in 2022, far exceeding the average from the previous decade. Commodity prices for wheat were elevated in 2021 and 2022, but the increase in prices for wheat-based consumer products did not fully appear until 2022.

USGC Launches Corn Sustainability Assurance Protocol

The U.S. Grains Council formally launched its Corn Sustainability Assurance Protocol and Sustainable Corn Exports web platform Wednesday. The launch is part of the 20th International Marketing Conference and 63rd Annual Membership Meeting in Savannah, Georgia. The CSAP is a way for U.S. corn producers to provide insights into their sustainable farming practices, continuing to strengthen global sales by highlighting their alignment with increasingly climate-focused markets. The Sustainable Corn Exports web platform complements the CSAP by making it operational. Through the SCE, U.S. corn buyers can issue shipment-specific “Records of Sustainability” to allow overseas corn importers to easily determine and document the compliance of U.S. corn shipments with local sustainability requirements. USGC President and CEO Ryan LeGrand says, “The CSAP is a recognition of farmers’ extraordinary socioeconomic importance, and a way to further improve the appeal of their products with end-users around the world.”

Pork Checkoff Reports 2022 Exports

Exports of pork and pork products surpassed $7.6 billion and 2.6 million metric tons last year. Those exports added $61.26 to the value of each hog marketed and represented 27.5 percent of production, according to the Pork Checkoff. Pork exports finished 2022 on a decidedly upward trajectory as December shipments reached 244,718 metric tons, up 13 percent year-over-year and the second largest of 2022, slightly below November. The year-end export data was a decrease compared to 2021, which was a record year, of 8.5 percent in volume and five percent in value. December exports also trended higher year-over-year to China/Hong Kong, the Dominican Republic, the Philippines and Australia, and set a value record in Central America. The Mexican market is the shining star and leading volume and value destination for U.S. Pork in 2022, with a volume increase of ten percent at 959.7 metric tons and a value increase of 21 percent at $2,034 billion.

John Deere Continues 80-year FFA Partnership with $1 Million Donation

Building on 80 years of partnership, John Deere announced a donation of $1 million to the National FFA Organization. The donation will support the growth of future leaders, feed agriculture’s talent pipeline, and honor the organization’s community service efforts. John Deere is the longest-running sponsor of the National FFA Organization and continues to advocate for FFA, its members, and advisors. National FFA Foundation President Molly Ball says, “For more than  80 years, they’ve been unwavering in their support and continue to see the potential leaders in each one of our members and our advisors.” In addition to supporting the organization financially, John Deere also has many employees who are former FFA members or supporters of the organization. As a result, they have one of the country’s largest FFA Alumni & Supporters chapters. The chapter will be involved during FFA Week, offering members opportunities to participate in activities promoting FFA and supporting local chapters.


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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