National Ag News for March 14, 2023

Canada Seeks Conversation With Mexico Regarding Biotech Crops

Canada requested talks with Mexico regarding its decree banning biotech corn imports. The request came under the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, just like the request from the United States. The U.S. formally requested technical consultations last week with Mexico regarding the issue, the first step towards a dispute resolution panel under USMCA. Canada is not a major exporter of corn to Mexico, but is concerned about Mexico putting prohibitions on agriculture biotech products, according to Bloomberg. Canada also raised concerns regarding Mexico’s lack of respect for trade regulations agreed to within USMCA. The updated decree by Mexico limits the import and use of biotech corn, including banning white corn exports immediately. Mexico’s economy ministry claims it will “demonstrate with data and evidence that there has not been an effect on trade” and that it has acted in accordance with the USMCA. The United States counters that the decree is not based on scientific evidence that biotech corn is safe.

AEM: Combine Sales Growth Continues

Tractor unit sales in both the U.S. and Canada stay near their five-year average while combine harvesters in both countries continue triple-digit growth. The latest data from the Association of Equipment Manufacturers released Monday shows that overall U.S. ag tractor unit sales fell for the month of February, despite gains in the 100-plus horsepower and four-wheel-drive segments. Combine sales, however, put up another strong month, rising 165 percent year-over-year. Total farm tractor sales in the U.S. for the month fell 19.4 percent versus February 2022 and are down 17.2 percent year-to-date. In Canada, combine sales were hot again, growing 246.7 percent in February. Overall unit sales in tractors finished the month down 8.1 percent Year to date, tractors in Canada are down 0.5 percent, while combines are up 205.1 percent. AEM’s Curt Blades says, “On the tractor side, most of those losses are the result of overly hot sales of small units during the pandemic.”

Meat Plants employed Nearly 31% of US Food Workers in 2021

The latest federal data shows that in 2021, the U.S. food and beverage manufacturing sector employed 1.7 million people, or more than 1.1 percent of all U.S. nonfarm employment. Within the U.S. manufacturing sector, food and beverage manufacturing employees accounted for the largest share of employees, 15.4 percent. USDA’s Economic Research Service Monday announced the data, noting that these employees help to transform raw agricultural materials into food products for intermediate use or final consumption in thousands of food and beverage manufacturing plants located throughout the country. Manufacturing jobs include processing, inspecting, packing, janitorial and guard services, product development, and recordkeeping, as well as nonproduction duties such as sales, delivery, advertising, and clerical and routine office functions. In 2021, meat and poultry plants employed the largest share of food and beverage manufacturing workers at 30.6 percent, followed by bakeries at 14.7 percent, and beverage plants at 12.4 percent.

American Farmland Trust Awards Over $1 Million in Microgrants to Farmers

For the first time, American Farmland Trust awarded more than $1 million in grants in a single year to 190 farmers across the country. The grants were from AFT’s Brighter Future Fund and the New England Farmer Microgrants Program. Both microgrants programs seek to improve farm viability, facilitate farm transfer and succession, help farmers access farmland, and work to permanently protect farmland for future generations. AFT makes grants to farmers and ranchers to advance AFT’s mission to protect farmland, promote sound farming practices and keep farmers on the land. The grants help drive new solutions for resolving key challenges facing society by increasing the resilience of farms to climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. AFT’s Ashley Brucker says, “we are helping farmers do things like convert a school bus to a mobile farmers market, access legal support for legacy planning and purchase firefighting equipment to cope with wildfires in a drought-stricken area.”

FFA Members Prepare for Careers in Animal Systems Pathways

FFA members from across the country this spring traveled to Denver, Colorado, to explore careers in the animal systems industry. The 73 FFA members attended the Next Gen Conference, which began in 2020 and focuses on specific pathways, from animal systems to biotechnology systems. Through the event, members access new ideas, trends and opportunities that connect them directly with industry leaders to explore future career paths. The conference is designed specifically to give FFA members hands-on, industry-relevant experience. Members explored diverse animal operations around Denver and learned how to plan for their future careers. In addition, they learned about marketing, new technologies and unique opportunities in animal systems. An FFA spokesperson says the conference helps “cultivate future leaders in the animal systems pathway through a week of experiential learning, relevant education and networking.” The National FFA Organization is a school-based national youth leadership development organization of more than 850,000 student members.

Gas Prices Move Higher, Diesel Lower

For the second straight week, the nation’s average price of gasoline increased, up eight cents from a week ago to $3.44 per gallon. The national average is up 7.1 cents from a month ago but 87.7 cents per gallon lower than a year ago. The national average diesel price fell 4.1 cents in the last week and stands at $4.30 per gallon, 82.1 cents lower than one year ago. GasBuddy’s Patrick De Haan says the diesel price “continues to slowly decline as we see consumption for diesel lighten up.” Wholesale gasoline prices continue to increase at a rate typical for this time of year, with the transition to more expensive summer gasoline underway. The most common U.S. gas price encountered by motorists stood at $3.29 per gallon, up 30 cents from last week, while the most common U.S. diesel price stood at $3.99 per gallon, unchanged from last week.


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.