National Ag News for March 20, 2023

Organizations Want Congress to Pass TPA

America’s top food and ag organizations representing thousands of farmers, ranchers, producers, and workers sent a letter to Congress urging action to improve ag exports. More than 50 of the most influential food and ag groups urged Congress to pass Trade Promotion Authority. TPA is regularly passed by Congress to give the administration objectives and guidance in pursuing tariff-cutting trade agreements. The letter notes when it comes to trade agreements with tariff reduction, the U.S. is falling behind global economic competitors like China and the European Union. “Regrettably, America is falling badly behind,” the letter says. “Between 2010 and 2020, China and the E.U. enjoyed over twice as much advantage from trade agreement tariff reductions as the U.S.” They also say the situation has gotten much worse this decade. “The United States has not implemented a comprehensive trade agreement that opens new markets in more than a decade,” the groups add.

USDA Awards Funding to Protect U.S. Cattle From FMD

The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service awarded the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association with $445,400 in funding to advance the Secure Beef Supply Plan. The plan would go into effect in the event of a foot-and-mouth disease outbreak in the U.S. “NCBA is grateful for this critical funding to help continue defending the U.S. cattle herd from the threat of foot-and-mouth disease,” says Allison Rivera, NCBA executive director of government affairs. “The Secure Beef Supply Plan combined with USDA’s national vaccine bank provides a strong safety net for cattle producers and multiple tools to mitigate the risk of a potential outbreak.” This funding was made available through the 2018 Farm Bill and shows why continued support and further funding for animal disease preparation measures like the Secure Beef Supply Plan and the National Animal Vaccine and Veterinary Countermeasures Bank are so important as Congress works on the 2023 Farm Bill.

African Swine Fever Surging Again in China

African Swine Fever is making a resurgence in China and will potentially push prices higher for the most popular protein in the country. Bloomberg says multiple outbreaks have shown up in different parts of the country throughout the winter. Rabobank expects the most recent wave of ASF to significantly lower production capacity and push prices higher during the second quarter of 2023. The outbreak was most severe in the northern regions of the country, and multiple areas are still struggling with the disease. Rabobank estimates say the latest wave has hit 10 percent of the nation’s sow herd, which controls hog production. An outbreak in 2018-2019 decimated China’s pig herd, at the time, the largest herd in the world. The spike fueled inflation as pork is a key element in the Chinese consumer price index. Official estimates say 8-15 percent of total production could be lost in the current outbreak.  

TFI Happy with Biostimulant Legislation

The Fertilizer Institute President and CEO Corey Rosenbusch is pleased with the introduction of the Plant Biostimulant Act. The act, introduced in both the House and Senate, will support the adoption of biostimulants by farmers and provide clarity to the emerging marketplace. Biostimulants have the potential to enhance the existing environmental stewardship of growers and complement their 4R practices. “Biostimulants support environmental stewardship by improving the efficiencies of fertilizer application and soil health while also increasing crop yields,” Rosenbusch says. “With a growing population, demand for agricultural production continues to increase.” He also says biostimulants are a relatively new innovation in agriculture and that there’s great potential in these products. However, there are hurdles to overcome, including the lack of a uniform framework to regulate them as plant nutrition products. “We need the guardrails this act provides to help foster innovation, research, testing, and a path to market these products,” Rosenbusch says.

USDA Accepting Applications for 2024 Export Programs

The USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service is accepting applications from eligible organizations for fiscal year 2024 funding for five export market development programs. FAS recently published the FY 2024 Notices of Funding Opportunity for the Market Access Program, Foreign Market Development Program, Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops Program, the Quality Samples Program, and the Emerging Markets Program. Under the Market Access Program, USDA provides cost-share assistance to U.S. exporters and agricultural, fish, and forest product trade organizations for international marketing and promotion of U.S. commodities and products. Under the Foreign Market Development Program, USDA partners with nonprofit agricultural and forest product trade associations to build longer-term international demand for U.S. commodities. The Emerging Markets Program supports technical assistance activities for developing emerging markets for U.S. agricultural, fish, and forest products. The application deadline for the five programs is May 19. For more information on the rest of the programs, go to

Drought Relief in the Western U.S.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says spring flooding is an ongoing problem in the western U.S., especially in California. The abnormally wet winter will further improve drought across much of the western U.S. as a historically-high snowpack melts in the months ahead. Winter precipitation combined with recent storms has eliminated exceptional and extreme drought in California for the first time since 2020 and is expected to further improve drought conditions this spring. Moisture in the spring is expected to improve drought conditions across parts of the Northern and Central Plains. Drought conditions are expected to improve or disappear over the next three months in Florida. Areas of extreme to exceptional drought across parts of the Southern High Plains are likely to persist through the spring season. Drought is also expected to develop in parts of New Mexico. In the Northwest U.S. and northern Rockies, drought conditions are expected to continue. 


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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