National Ag News for March 17, 2023

Allendale Predicts Corn and Soybean Planted Acres

A farmer survey by commodity brokerage firm Allendale says America’s farmers are expected to plant 90.41 million acres of corn and 87.76 million acres of soybeans this year. Those projected corn planting acres would be below the USDA’s Outlook Forum forecast of 91 million acres but above the 88.57 million acres planted in 2022. Projected soybean plantings would top the USDA forecast of 87.5 million acres and exceed the 87.45 million acres planted to soy in 2022. Allendale predicts the all-wheat plantings at 48.7 million acres, below the USDA prediction of 49.5 million but higher than the 2022 planted area of 45.73 million acres. Allendale projected U.S. farmers’ winter wheat seedings to be 36.52 million acres, below the USDA’s January estimate of 36.95 million acres but up from the 33.71 million acres seeded during 2022. The brokerage and analysis firm projects “other spring wheat” acreage for 2023 at 10.6 million acres.

National Wheat Organizations Disappointed in Railroad Merger

U.S. Wheat Associates and the National Association of Wheat Growers are disappointed that the Surface Transportation Board approved the merger of the Canadian Pacific Railway and Kansas City Southern Railroad. They believe the STB has given a green light to rail consolidation without regard for the consequences on agricultural shippers from a lack of competition in the U.S. rail sector. “U.S. rail consolidation has led to poorer, not improved, service for agricultural shippers,” says USW President Vince Peterson. “In addition, we see extreme disparity in rates for wheat shippers.” Higher shipping rates make U.S. wheat less competitive in the global market at a time when higher prices already hurt the competitiveness of American wheat. “With 50 percent of wheat getting exported, wheat is heavily reliant on rail transportation to move across the U.S.,” says NAWG CEO Chandler Goule. They say the STB must conduct more rigorous oversight of rail rates and service issues.

New SD Law Gives More Protection to Ag Operations

A new law in South Dakota makes it harder to file nuisance complaints or lawsuits against an agricultural operation. South Dakota Searchlight says it will also limit the amount of monetary awards. After legislators approved the bill earlier this winter, Governor Kristi Noem signed it at a Mitchell, South Dakota, implement dealership this week. She says agriculture is the state’s “number one industry,” and the law protects farmers from frivolous lawsuits. Provisions in the law say only the owner or lessee of an affected property can file a nuisance action and only if the affected property is within a mile of the operation. Groups like Dakota Rural Action and the Izaak Walton League say the law is unnecessary and goes too far. Additional provisions say the plaintiff must present “clear and convincing evidence” the operation violated local, state, or federal laws. The new law goes into effect on July 1.

New AI Platform Will Predict Ag Supply Chain Disruptions

Helios (HE-lee-ohs) Artificial Intelligence, Inc. launched the open beta of its platform that will identify agricultural supply chain disruptions ahead of time. The company’s founder and CEO says they’ve created a one-stop platform for agricultural importers to understand the risks to their supply chain and get ahead of their competitors. The AI platform will eventually predict supply availability ahead of a company’s competitors and find alternative suppliers before they do. It identifies climate and economic risks to yields and works with supply chain partners to mitigate them before it’s too late. The AI will also provide actionable input into the negotiation process with insights and access to billions of data points. Existing customers are seeing good results so far. William Hovis, who used to be with Coca-Cola, says when suppliers missed deliveries, the company was missing sales. “Helios provides companies with actionable insights to help them get ahead of competitors.”

Bill to Support Cutting-Edge Agricultural Research

Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) introduced the Advancing Cutting Edge Agriculture Act to support high-risk, high-reward agricultural research and development at USDA. The sponsors say the act will help “secure America’s food supply” and give farmers and ranchers the tools to meet the challenges of the 21st century. “Now more than ever, Americans have seen how vulnerable the nation’s food system can be,” Marshall says. “Targeting the many risks our food system faces through research will ensure that the U.S. continues to provide a safe, secure food supply for a growing world population.” Bennet also notes that family farmers and ranchers face persistent drought, higher costs, extreme weather, and increased global competition, saying, “That makes it more important than ever to invest in cutting-edge research to spur agricultural breakthroughs, including practices to conserve water and cut greenhouse gas emissions.” Companion legislation will be introduced into the House.

2023 Power of Meat Research Released at Annual Meat Conference

Last week at the Annual Meat Conference, research from the latest Power of Meat Study showed consumers’ meat usage, attitudes, and trends. The report says 2022 meat sales rose 5.7 percent versus 2021, and almost 87 percent of all home-prepared dinners featured meat or poultry. Also, more than 98 percent of shoppers make meat purchases. Inflation is becoming an issue for the entire meat industry. Consumers spent at least 25 percent more on food in 2022 than in 2019. Economic conditions are prompting 76 percent of Americans to change what groceries they purchase. The POM report says 50 percent of meat eaters purchase meat and poultry for use over the next few days after the sale. Price plays a much more important role among younger meat eaters, while Boomers emphasize quality and appearance. The total package price rose in importance during prior years, but shoppers emphasize value as quality going hand-in-hand with the price.


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.