National Ag News for February 23, 2023

FACA Announces 2023 Farm Bill Priorities

The Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance Wednesday released policy recommendations for the 2023 farm bill. Further reducing emissions throughout agricultural and forestry supply chains will require a comprehensive effort involving financial and technical assistance, research investments, proactive response to innovation, public-private partnerships and a commitment to equitable opportunities for all producers. FACA’s recommendations, developed by the 23-member steering committee, are divided into six categories: Conservation, risk management and credit, energy, food waste, forestry, livestock and dairy, and research, extension and innovation. FACA’s past recommendations have provided guidance to members of Congress and administration officials and have been credited with shaping federal laws and programs. President of the American Farm Bureau Federation, Zippy Duvall, says, “We look forward to working with Congress to strengthen Title I programs, improve risk management tools, and utilize these FACA recommendations to advance our sustainability mission in a manner that respects farmers and ranchers as partners.”

FDA Announces Draft Guidance for Plant-Based Dairy Imitators

The Food and Drug Administration Wednesday announced draft recommendations on the naming of plant-based foods that are marketed and sold as alternatives to milk. The guidance recommends that an alternative milk product that includes the term milk and has a nutrient composition different than milk, include a voluntary nutrient statement that conveys how the product compares with milk. Jim Mulhern, President and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation, says the announcement “is a step toward labeling integrity for consumers of dairy products.” Though Mulhern says the guidance “falls short of ending the decades-old problem of misleading plant-based labeling using dairy terminology.” Senate Democrat Tammy Baldwin and Idaho Republican Jim Risch, in a joint statement, say, “This misguided rule will hurt America’s dairy farmers and our rural communities.” Baldwin and Risch announced their intention to reintroduce the DAIRY PRIDE Act, which would require the FDA to issue guidance for nationwide enforcement of mislabeled plant-based products within 90 of implementation.

NCGA Announces Caskey as CEO

The National Corn Growers Association Wednesday announced Neil Caskey as its new CEO. Caskey, who serves as NCGA’s vice president of communications, will begin the role of CEO Monday, February 27. NCGA President Tom Haag says, “Neil’s experience in agriculture is extensive, and he is well known as someone who gets the job done well.” Caskey has served as NCGA’s vice president of communications and industry relations for over four years and spent over a decade promoting agricultural issues as executive vice president at OBP Agency. His professional background also includes work for the American Soybean Association and as a legislative aide for a U.S. member of Congress. Caskey says, “It is quite an honor to lead an organization that I care so much about.” Caskey holds a B.A. in political science from the University of Missouri-Columbia and an MBA from Webster University. Former CEO, Jon Doggett, left NCGA at the end of last year.

Consumers Expect to Pay More for Groceries

A new survey finds consumers expect to pay more for groceries this year. Progressive Grocer reports the 2023 KPMG Winter Consumer Pulse Survey shows consumers anticipate increased prices, but are looking for ways to save money. The Survey shows consumers expect a 15 percent increase in grocery spending this year. Meanwhile, 56 percent of consumers plan to spend more on groceries this year, while nine percent plan to spend less. Consumers cite inflation, an increased tendency to eat at home, larger household sizes and dietary changes as reasons for spending changes. KMPG research also finds 38 percent of consumers plan to pay more for restaurant meals this year, a two percent increase from last year. However, 35 percent of consumers say they plan to spend less on purchases made online this year, yet nearly half of the respondents reported an average increase in household income of 15 percent.

USDA Announces $59 Million Investment in Meat Processing Capacity

The Department of Agriculture this week announced a $59 million investment to increase independent meat and poultry processing capacity. The funding also seeks to expand market opportunities for farmers and create jobs in rural areas. The investment is part of the Biden administration’s Action Plan for a Fairer, More Competitive, and More Resilient Meat and Poultry Supply Chain. The action plan dedicates resources to expand independent processing capacity. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says, “USDA will continue to work tirelessly to give farmers and ranchers a fair chance to compete in the marketplace, which in turn helps lower food costs for the American people.” USDA is providing the $59 million in grants to five independent processors under the Meat and Poultry Processing Expansion Program. The funding will help build new processing plants, create hundreds of jobs, give local producers and entrepreneurs more options and business opportunities, and give consumers more options at the grocery store.

AFA Acquires Magnetic Ag Digital Newsletter

Agriculture Future of America has acquired Magnetic Ag – an agriculture-focused digital newsletter distributed through email twice weekly – from Magnetic Ag founder and AFA alumnus, Travis Martin. Since its inception in 2020, Magnetic has grown to serve more than 12,000 active subscribers including agricultural business, technology and policy professionals, alongside agriculture educators, students and farmers. Magnetic is aimed at making agriculture industry news digestible by consolidating news from a variety of industry media into each newsletter edition, making the newsletter a hub for the latest agriculture news. With a casual and catchy writing style, Magnetic shares agricultural business, policy, technology and market news. AFA President and CEO Mark Stewart says, “Adding Magnetic to AFA’s offerings helps us further serve the industry by developing transformational leaders who find themselves at various stages of their careers.” AFA aims to double readership in the coming year by making the newsletter more accessible to its partners and students.


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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