National Ag News for March 3, 2023
USDA Announces First Permanent Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer

The Department of Agriculture Thursday announced L’Tonya Davis as its first Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer. Davis will lead USDA in its ongoing efforts to improve diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility and will oversee the implementation of USDA’s first-ever DEIA Strategic Plan. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says, “Davis has demonstrated a strong commitment to hiring and developing a workforce that reflects the rich and diverse tapestry of America.” Davis will work closely with executive leaders, employees, and staff experts to advance and sustain committed leadership and employee engagement for a high-performing and innovative USDA workforce. Davis joins USDA after serving in the Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Regulatory Affairs. Establishing the first-ever Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer role has been a top priority for Secretary Vilsack and Deputy Secretary Jewel Bronaugh, who is stepping down from the department. Bronaugh was the first Black woman and woman of color to serve as Deputy Secretary at USDA.

Iowa to Request Emergency E15 Waiver for 2023

States seeking year-round E-15 may request an emergency waiver for the 2023 summer driving season. The Environment Protection Agency announced a proposal this week to allow year-round E-15 in states that requested the waiver. However, the proposal delays implementation of the rule until 2024. POET Energy spokesperson Joshua Shields says the proposal left unresolved concerns about access to the renewable fuel blend in 2023. Shields adds, “The lack of near-term certainty underscores the urgent need to ensure E15 sales are not interrupted.” Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds responded, “While long overdue, I am thrilled that the EPA has approved our multi-state bipartisan RVP waiver request that will pave the way for year-round E15 and bring certainty to the industry.” However, regarding the delay, Reynolds, says, “I look forward to requesting another emergency waiver for this year while at the same time asking the courts to require the Administration to grant our request immediately.”

USDA: Mexico a top Market for US Exports

New data from USDA’s Economic Research Service shows that between fiscal years 2018 and 2022, Mexico accounted for nearly 14 percent of all U.S. agricultural exports. With a total value of $28 billion, Mexico is projected to be the United States’ second largest destination for U.S. agricultural exports in fiscal year 2022, and is forecast to reach 15 percent in 2023. On average, Mexico purchased $6.5 billion in U.S. grains and feeds per year from  2018 to 2022, accounting for 18 percent of the largest export commodity group. Demand for grains and feed has been spurred by the expansion of Mexico’s cattle industry and growing consumption of animal products. However, the report does not consider the future impacts of Mexico’s decree banning imports of genetically engineered corn. Meanwhile, between 2018 and 2022, Mexico’s imports of livestock, poultry, and dairy products represented an average of 18 percent of total U.S. exports and accounted for $6.3 billion in sales.

AEM Issues Position Paper on Future Emission Regulations

The Association of Equipment Manufacturers Thursday announced policy recommendations for future rulemakings impacting emissions or future engine technologies. The organization released a position paper entitled “Clean Air and Low Emissions through Next-Gen Nonroad Equipment.” The paper also details the position of AEM and its members that future regulations should support a reasonable transition to cleaner equipment. AEM Vice President of Construction & Utility John Somers says, “The association and its members want to leverage our considerable experience and expertise to inform regulatory efforts happening both now and in the future.” Engine emissions regulations are among the most important and impactful requirements placed on the nonroad equipment sector, affecting everything from performance, research and development, design, safety and cost. The most recent Tier 4 update drove significant equipment changes, including modernized electronic engines and aftertreatment for many power categories. The Position paper and its recommendations are available on the organization’s website,

Restaurant Industry Expects Growth to Continue in 2023

The National Restaurant Association’s 2023 State of the Restaurant Industry report released this week suggests more growth, labor challenges and rising costs for operators. The report predicts the food service industry will reach $997 billion in sales in 2023, driven in part by higher menu prices. Meanwhile, the food service industry workforce is projected to grow by 500,000 jobs, for total industry employment of 15.5 million by the end of 2023. National Restaurant Association CEO Michelle Korsmo says, “Our hiring rate and wage increases are outpacing the overall private sector, and this year our industry will contribute nearly $1 trillion to the economy.” For 70 percent of operators, business conditions have settled into or are on the path to their new version of normal. The report finds 92 percent of operators say the cost of food is a significant issue for their restaurant, and 47 percent of operators expect competition to be more intense than last year.

Rural Media Group Launches the Cowgirl Channel

The Cowgirl Channel made history as the new television network centered around women in western sports officially launched nationwide on DISH Network 269 and Sling TV. Viewers can now watch The Cowgirl Channel 24 hours a day, seven days a week in high definition as part of DISH Network’s “America’s Top 120 Package” and on SLING’s “Heartland Extra Package.” The Cowgirl Channel is the latest television network operated by parent company Rural Media Group, which also owns The Cowboy Channel and RFD-TV. Five years ago, Rural Media Group launched The Cowboy Channel in response to the demand and growth of western sports. Today, The Cowboy Channel is the official network of ProRodeo, home of the National Finals Rodeo, and broadcasts over 600 rodeo performances on the network’s linear feed and streaming app. And now, Rural Media Group has expanded its coverage of western sports even further with the launch of The Cowgirl Channel.


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.