National Ag News for March 15, 2023

Consumer Price Index Increases Again

The Consumer Price Index rose 0.4 percent in February on a seasonally adjusted basis, after increasing 0.5 percent in January. Over the last 12 months, the all-items index increased 6.0 percent before seasonal adjustment. The food index increased 0.4 percent in February, and the food at home index rose 0.3 percent over the month. The index for nonalcoholic beverages increased 1.0 percent in February, after a 0.4-percent increase the previous month. The indexes for other food at home and for cereals and bakery products each rose 0.3 percent over the month. The index for fruits and vegetables increased 0.2 percent in February, and the index for dairy and related products rose 0.1 percent. In contrast, the meats, poultry, fish, and eggs index fell 0.1 percent over the month, the first decrease in that index since December 2021. The index for eggs fell 6.7 percent in February following sharp increases in recent months.

EPA Proposes PFAS Standards for Drinking Water

The Environmental Protection Agency Tuesday proposed the first-ever national drinking water standard for PFAS chemicals. As part of EPA’s PFAS Strategic Roadmap, the agency proposed to establish legally enforceable levels for six PFAS known to occur in drinking water. The proposal also initiates the distribution of $10 billion in funding to address emerging contaminants under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. EPA Administrator Michael Regan says the proposal “would help provide states with the guidance they need to make decisions that best protect their communities.” If finalized, the proposed regulation will require public water systems to monitor for these chemicals. Senator Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, says, “Many farmers, producers and growers, at no fault of their own, have found alarmingly high levels of PFAS in their food products.” Last month, Manchin encouraged the Biden administration to provide funding to help farmers when they are forced to remove their products from the commercial market.

More Than 400 Organizations Voice Support for Existing Pesticide Law

More than 400 organizations affirmed the support of the pesticide regulatory system under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act, or FIFRA, in a letter to lawmakers this week. The letter is in response to recently introduced legislation that would undermine the science-based standards contained within our nation’s pesticide law. This is the third time these organizations have contacted Congress to voice concern over similar proposed legislation. Crop Life America president and CEO Chris Novak says, “Any legislation seeking to ban individual chemistries and politicize the regulatory process undermines EPA’s work and the long-standing laws that serve our nation well.” Novak says the proposed legislation would jeopardize the continued availability and innovation of pesticide products by imposing an unscientific and unbalanced process. The proposal could unnecessarily remove pest control options from those who need them to safely grow crops, adopt conservation practices such as conservation tillage and resource-saving crop rotations.

USA Rice: India Violating WTO Commitments

Data from the Department of Agriculture shows India will continue to dominate the world rice trade in the 2022/23 marketing year. USDA projects India will break its own world record with 22.5 million metric tons of rice exports. In May 2022, the U.S. government along with nine other governments initiated technical consultations with India regarding its trade-distorting rice subsidies. However, to date, the U.S. government has not taken formal action to address India’s alleged World Trade Organization violations. Now, the USA Rice Federation is calling for a WTO trade dispute action. “India’s policies not only violate their WTO commitments, but also impact the livelihoods of those that produce or consume rice across five other continents,” according to Bobby Hanks, USA Rice International Trade Policy Committee chair. Hanks added, “We encourage the U.S. Trade Representative to initiate a dispute settlement action to help American farmers and our counterparts compete on a level playing field.”

Researchers Aim to Reduce Pesticide Drift in the Lower Mississippi Delta

Researchers with USDA’s Agricultural Research Service in Mississippi are investigating the best ways of using hooded sprayers to combat drift. Pesticide drift occurs when droplets move through the air to another place other than the target area during or after pesticide application. The research finds using a hooded sprayer can reduce pesticide drift of pre-emergent herbicide applications by 63 percent, in comparison to a nonhooded sprayer. Hooded or shielded sprayers effectively minimized the exposure of herbicide spray to wind and led to fewer off-target depositions. While hooded sprayers have advantages, the presence of a physical shield can pose challenges during road transport or repairing nozzles when compared to conventional sprayers. If a farmer does not have access to a hooded sprayer or prefers to use a conventional sprayer, mitigating pesticide drift is still possible by avoiding high wind speed and high temperature during spraying. Researchers also found reduced drifting with a longer sprayer boom length during pre-emergent herbicide applications.

USMEF Announces Spring Conference Details

The U.S. Meat Export Federation Tuesday announced the speaker lineup and registration details for its 2023 Spring Conference, set for May 24-26 in Minneapolis. The opening general session will feature USMEF’s senior staff from the Asia Pacific region, who will discuss emerging issues in key Asian markets, including how the removal of many COVID restrictions could provide momentum for the region’s foodservice sector. The following day, USMEF will examine the state of U.S.-Mexico trade relations. At the closing session, former House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson – who oversaw development of four farm bills during his 30 years in Congress – will discuss the challenges lawmakers face as they work to craft an effective, pro-trade farm bill over the coming year. In addition to the general sessions, the Beef, Pork, Exporter and Feedgrain/Oilseed breakouts will provide in-depth discussions on topics relevant to each sector. More information, including registration details, are available on the USMEF website,


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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