National Ag News for March 22, 2023

NASDA Releases Feeding the Economy Report

As part of the National Ag Day Celebration Tuesday, the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture released its annual Feeding the Economy Report. The data shows food and agriculture industries and their suppliers contribute over $8.6 trillion to the U.S. economy. NASDA CEO Ted McKinney says the report “proves our industry’s continued strength across the states and around the globe.” This year’s report shows the U.S. food and agriculture sector directly supports nearly 23 million jobs, provides $927 billion in wages, and is particularly vital to rural communities across America. Notably, the 2023 report reveals that manufacturing agricultural products accounts for nearly one-fifth of total manufacturing jobs in the United States. Overall, more than 46 million jobs are supported across the food and agriculture supply chain, increasing nearly two percent since the 2019 report despite the economic challenges and disruptions associated with the global pandemic. Find the report at

Biden Creates new National Monuments to Conserve Land and Waters

President Biden Tuesday announced two new actions to conserve and restore lands and waters across the nation. The effort includes establishing the Avi Kwa Ame (Avak-yuh-ah-may) National Monument in Nevada and Castner Range National Monument in Texas. The Avi Kwa Ame National Monument in Nevada will honor Tribal Nations and Indigenous peoples while conserving public lands and growing America’s outdoor recreation economy, according to the White House. The Castner Range National Monument will expand access to the outdoors for the El Paso community while honoring veterans and servicemembers. Together, these new national monuments protect nearly 514,000 acres of public lands. The President also directed the Secretary of Commerce to consider initiating a new National Marine Sanctuary designation within 30 days to protect all U.S. waters around the Pacific Remote Islands. If completed, the new sanctuary would ensure the U.S. will reach the President’s goal of conserving at least 30% of ocean waters under American jurisdiction by 2030.

New Coalition Calls for Robust Farm Bill Agriculture and Nutrition Funding

Feeding America this week announced the launch of Farmers Feed America. The organization says the broad coalition shows that farmers and food banks are united in calling for a strong 2023 Farm Bill that meets the needs of America’s farmers and protects federal nutrition programs. The new nonpartisan coalition comprises farmers, food companies, food retailers, and hunger-relief organizations, including Feeding America and the American Farm Bureau Association. This year’s farm bill reauthorization process is an opportunity to reflect on the innovations that worked during the pandemic and apply those learnings to future food and nutrition policy, according to the organization. The Farmers Feed America coalition has come together to establish shared principles for the next farm bill that help meet the continued needs of communities facing hunger, bolster the nation’s food resilience, and enhance markets for farmers and ranchers. The coalition urges members of Congress to adopt these principles as they write the 2023 Farm Bill.

USDA Announces Wildfire Prevention Investments

The Department of Agriculture this week announced the first investment of a $1 billion effort to mitigate wildfire risks as the nation faces an ongoing wildfire crisis. USDA announced a $197 million investment for 100 projects that benefits 22 states as part of the Community Wildfire Defense Grant program. USDA’s Forest Service worked with states and tribes through an interagency workgroup to develop the Community Wildfire Defense Grant program, originally announced in June 2022. Grant proposals underwent a competitive selection process, including review panels of state forestry agencies and tribal representatives. The agency used the three priorities outlined in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to narrow down the communities in greatest need. These priorities included communities impacted by severe disasters, those with high or very high wildfire hazard potential or classified as low income. The initial round of investments will assist communities in developing Community Wildfire Protection Plans, key roadmaps for addressing wildfire risks locally.

Food Retail Concentration Increases as Geographic Area Shrinks

New data from USDA’s Economic Research Service shows food retail concentration increases as geographic area shrinks. The food retail market comprises individual firms, such as grocery stores and supercenters, that sell food products to consumers. The concentration of these retailers’ shares of the market increased over the last three decades at the national, State, Metropolitan Statistical Area, and county levels in the United States. USDA uses the HHI index to calculate concentrations. HHI values range from 0 to 10,000, with higher values reflecting higher levels of market concentration, fewer firms, or increasing disparity between the size of the firms in the market. On average, food retail concentration is higher at the Metropolitan Statistical Area level than at the national level, and concentration is even higher once the market is defined at the county level. As the geographic market area shrinks, the market concentration in 2019 increased from 593 nationally to 1,300 at the state level, 1,800 at the Metropolitan Statistical Area, and 3,700 at the county level.

Sorghum Ups Investment Game with Venture Capital Platform Launch

The Collaborative Sorghum Marketing Transformation Program Tuesday announced the launch of a venture capital platform. The platform is dedicated exclusively to attracting capital for companies, projects and innovations that create opportunities for sorghum farmers. Board Director JB Stewart of Oklahoma says, “The number of opportunities to add value to sorghum farmers by attracting capital to our industry is truly unprecedented.” The program matches private capital with funding to support startups and established companies investing in sorghum and facilitates a network of private investors seeking opportunities for competitive returns in agriculture. Fueled by relationships across the sorghum industry and the supply chain, the program leverages knowledge and financial flexibility to support startups, existing companies and investors bringing innovation to the sorghum industry. Known as cSmart, the program is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that comes alongside private investors by providing funding to startups and established businesses seeking to add new value to sorghum farmers.


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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