National Ag News for March 8, 2023

Farmer Sentiment Drops in February

The Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer dropped five points to 125 in February. Farmers’ perspectives regarding both current conditions on their farms and their expectations for the future also weakened during the month. The Index of Current Conditions dipped two points to 134, and the Index of Future Expectations declined six points to 121. Several factors are weighing on producers’ minds, including the risk of falling commodity prices, rising interest rates, and uncertainty over the future growth of agricultural exports. The Farm Financial Performance Index dropped seven points to a reading of 86. Despite strong farm income, the February reading of the Farm Capital Investment Index didn’t change much, rising one point to a reading of 43. This month, 72 percent of producers said it’s a bad time to make large investments in their farming operation, while just 15 percent said it’s the right time to make those investments.

USDA’s Simplified Direction Loan Application Now Available

A new, simplified direct loan application is now available for all producers seeking a direct farm loan from the Farm Service Agency. The new application went from 29 to 13 pages to provide an improved customer experience for producers applying for loans and enables them to complete a more streamlined application. Producers also have the option to complete an electronic fillable form or prepare a traditional paper application for submission to their local FSA farm loan office. Coupled with the Loan Assistance Tool released in October 2022, the simplified application will provide all loan applicants access to information regarding the application process and assist them with gathering the correct documents before they begin the process. This will help farmers and ranchers submit complete applications and reduce the number of incomplete, rejected, or withdrawn applications. Producers can explore all available options on all FSA loans at or contact their local Service Center.

CropLife America Applauds USTR Actions

CropLife America applauds the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office for requesting formal technical consultations with the Mexican government under the U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement. The goal of the consultation is to address a long-standing agricultural technology trade issue. This announcement enforces Mexico’s trade commitments made in the USMCA and addresses concerns voiced by many in the U.S. ag community, including CLA, regarding the decree’s impact on biotechnology traits and pesticides in Mexico. The organization has maintained that Mexico’s regulatory actions regarding biotechnology ignore science- and risk-based regulations and the scientific weight of evidence from regulatory bodies around the world. CLA shares USTR’s concerns and is encouraged by the USTR’s focus on the need for a science-based regulatory approach. “We support the administration’s enforcement of a rules-based trading system for agricultural innovation and encourage USTR to also address regulatory delays and barriers that are impacting pesticide registrations in Mexico,” CLA said in a release.

Upper Missouri River Basin Runoff Forecast Below Average

The updated 2023 calendar year runoff forecast for the Missouri River Basin above Sioux City, Iowa, continues to be below average. “Despite some improvements in overall basin conditions, we expect 2023 runoff to remain below average,” says John Remus, chief of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Missouri River Basin Water Management Division. “Soil moisture has improved slightly in some areas, but drought conditions still exist across most of the basin.” The 2023 calendar year runoff forecast above Sioux City is 21.5 million acre-feet, 84 percent of the average. The runoff forecast is based on current soil moisture conditions, plains snowpack, mountain snowpack, and long-term precipitation and temperature outlooks. February runoff in the Missouri River Basin above Sioux City was one million acre-feet, 86 percent of a typical year. System storage is currently 46 million acre-feet, 10.1 million below the top of the carryover multiple-use zone.

Undersecretary to Lead Trade Mission to Panama

USDA Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Alexis Taylor will lead a delegation of 26 agribusinesses and farm organizations to Panama City, Panama, March 19-23. The mission highlights opportunities in Panama and throughout the Central America and Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) region. Exports of agricultural products to Panama and CAFTA-DR countries reached a record of $8.8 billion in 2022, up 57 percent from 2018. “I’m excited that my first USDA trade mission is targeting Panama and our CAFTA-DR partners,” Taylor says. “The region provides great potential to the U.S. agriculture sector as consumers across the area clamor for the world-class agricultural and food products grown here in America.” In Panama City, trade mission participants will engage directly with potential buyers, receive in-depth marketing briefings from the Foreign Agricultural Service and industry trade experts, and participate in site visits. “I look forward to connecting buyers and sellers,” Taylor says.

NAMI says USDA Label Proposal  Will Raise Prices for Consumers

The North American Meat Institute says the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service’s latest attempt at proposed rules for a “Product of the USA” label for meat products will not succeed. The organization says labeling meat products will result in trade retaliation from Canada and Mexico, costing American consumers and businesses billions of dollars. “USDA should have considered more than public sentiment on an issue that impacts international trade,” says NAMI President and CEO Julie Anna Potts. “Our members make considerable investments to produce beef, pork, lamb, veal, and poultry products in American facilities and employ hundreds of thousands of U.S. workers.” That means NAMI products should labeled as a “Product of the USA.” At issue is a proposed rule from the Food Safety and Inspection Service that would limit “Product of the USA” claims to just products made from livestock born, raised, harvested, and processed in the continental U.S.


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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