National Ag News for February 17, 2023

Partnership to Protect the U.S. from African Swine Fever

A new partnership was put in place at the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture Winter Policy Conference. NASDA, the USDA, the National Pork Board, and the National Pork Producers Council are working together to enhance coordination and preparedness to prevent and protect the United States from African swine fever. “When you bring together state, federal, and industry groups with different strengths to take on challenges, you see a united force of resilience on all fronts,” says NASDA CEO Ted McKinney. “This collaboration will lead to better response to outbreaks and better animal health and welfare across the country.” African swine fever hasn’t currently crossed into the U.S. but being prepared to respond and coordinate prevention methods at all levels better ensures the protection of America’s swine herds. “We all play an important role in keeping American agriculture safe and working together enhances our efforts,” says NPPC President Terry Wolters.

Positive Reaction to Torres Small Nomination

Senate Ag Chair Debbie Stabenow is pleased with the nomination of Xochitl (so-CHEEL) Torres Small to be the new Deputy Secretary of Agriculture at USDA. “As Undersecretary of Rural Development, she gave a voice to the 60 million people who call rural America their home,” she says. “I’ve been impressed with her commitment to addressing challenges in our food supply chain, fighting the climate crisis, and creating good paying jobs in rural America.” The American Farm Bureau Federation also congratulated Torres Small on her nomination. “Her experience with rural America and her time on the House Agriculture Committee give her important perspectives to address the issues facing America’s farmers and ranchers,” says AFB President Zippy Duvall. He also says the organization and its members look forward to working with her to ensure USDA continues to support America’s farmers and their mission to grow safe, affordable food for families across the nation.

U.S. Farm Exports to Drop by 12 Percent Over Three Years

The USDA projected America’s food and agricultural exports will drop by 12 percent through fiscal year 2026. The erosion will be caused by a global economic slowdown, inflation, higher interest rates, and the strong U.S. dollar. Overall economic conditions are projected to slow U.S. exports quicker than imports, leading to a trade deficit. USDA projections show that exports will drop across the board, but grains and soybeans will get hit the hardest. Reduced export volumes will also mean lower commodity prices. But 2027 is expected to show a rebound in exports. Farm exports were forecast at $190 billion this year, dropping to $166.3 billion in 2026, and then rising to $182.2 billion by 2032, the last year of the ten-year baseline. Imports will also slow down but are expected to recover by 2032. Food and ag imports were forecast at $199.1 billion this year and grow to $200 billion by 2032.  

USDA Invests $63 Million in High-Speed Internet for Rural Americans

Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says USDA is investing $63 million to bring high-speed internet access to people living and working in rural areas of Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan, and Mississippi. “Investing in high-speed internet is a fundamental part of our partnership with rural communities,” he says. “Connecting rural Americans with reliable internet brings new and innovative ideas to the rest of our country.” The $63 million in grants comes from the third round of funding under the ReConnect Program, in which USDA has invested a total of $1.7 billion. Since the program’s beginning, the agency has invested $3.2 billion to bring high-speed internet access to people in rural communities. The funds will be used for one project in each of the four states. To be eligible for ReConnect Program funding, an applicant must serve an area that lacks access to service speeds of 100 megabits per second downloads and 20 Mbps for uploads.

House Ag Chair Comments on CBO Baseline Projections

The House Agriculture Committee completed an analysis of the Congressional Budget Office’s farm bill baseline spending estimates. The analysis shows that compared to anticipated mandatory spending under the 2018 Farm Bill, commodity support program support is expected to decrease by 12 percent, while spending on conservation, nutrition, and federal crop insurance are projected to increase by 19 percent, 82 percent, and 26 percent, respectively. Following the projections, House Ag Chair Glenn “GT” Thompson said the CBO baseline underscores what he’s been consistently hearing from producers around the country. “In light of the record-high input costs and volatile markets and weather, improvements to farm policy are necessary and warranted,” he says. “Additionally, the roughly 80 percent increase to the baseline for nutrition programs since the last farm bill was enacted, namely due to the Biden Administration’s careless update to the Thrifty Food Plan, furthers the Committee’s obligation to oversight and accountability.”

John Deere Continues 80-Year Partnership with FFA

John Deere announced a donation of $1 million to the National FFA Organization. The donation will get used to support the growth of future leaders, feed agriculture’s talent pipeline, and honor the organization’s community service efforts. It also builds on the 80-year partnership between John Deere and National FFA. “We are thrilled to continue our partnership with John Deere,” says Molly Ball, president of the National FFA Foundation. “They’ve been unwavering in their support for more than 80 years and continue to see the potential leaders in each one of our members and advisors.” FFA will also be raising funds during Give FFA Day on Thursday, February 23. A donation of any amount from the public will support FFA and agricultural education. It’s a chance to open doors for members to explore their interests and discover fulfilling careers. To get involved or to donate, go to on February 23.


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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