National Ag News for March 24, 2022

Midwest Farmers Planting More Corn and Wheat

Midwestern farmers are planning to plant more corn and wheat this spring. An Ag Access survey says farmers will add 27 percent more acres to corn and 32 percent more to wheat. A smaller percentage, at 17 percent, says they’ll increase their soybean acres. The survey results match up with USDA projections at its recent Ag Outlook Forum. The agency forecasts corn plantings at 91 million acres, up from 88.6 million in 2022. Wheat plantings will be 49.5 million acres, up from 45.7 million in 2022. Soybean acres will total 87.5 million acres, unchanged from last year. USDA Chief Economist Seth Meyers says the increase in wheat acres is in response to tight supplies and high global prices brought on in part by the war in Ukraine. The Ag Access survey also asked farmers about their top concerns for 2023. Ninety-three percent said their top answer was high input costs.

Farmers Face Extreme Variation in the Price of Inputs

Farmers Business Network released its 2023 Ag Chemical Price Transparency Report which highlights the extreme price variation facing farmers. The report collected information from 37 states and accounts for over 800 insecticides, fungicides, and herbicides. “The last two years have seen extreme fluctuations in chemical pricing for farmers,” says Kevin McNew, chief economist and VP of FBN Research. “Providing more transparency enables producers to make more informed buying decisions to drive ROI from every input dollar.” Across 236 different chemical products, there was a 15 percent variance, on average, between the average list price of a product and the price farmers actually paid for it. For example, the average list price for Roundup PowerMAX 3 in June 2022 was $60 per gallon, but farmers paid between $45-$73 during that time. FBN says extreme farmer-to-farmer variability suggests that chemical markets make it challenging for farmers to get uniform costs for ag chemicals.  

Next Generation Fuels Act Reintroduced in the Senate

The Next Generation Fuels Act was reintroduced in the Senate, a move that drew praise from the National Corn Growers Association. The legislation, one of NCGA’s top agricultural advocacy priorities, would lower fuel prices, reduce carbon emissions, and help keep America’s energy secure. The Act would clean up the nation’s fuel supply and transition new vehicles to use cleaner, more efficient fuels that also lower costs for drivers. It would establish a clean, high-octane standard for fuel and require that sources of additional octane result in at least 40 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions. That would allow automakers to significantly improve vehicle fuel efficiency through advanced engines. The legislation builds on the nation’s clean energy progress by advancing higher ethanol blends and new vehicles that work together to deliver greater emissions reductions, cost savings, and consumer choice. The Act would also permanently remove barriers that prohibit access to year-round ethanol.

Bankers Report an 8.1 Percent increase in Farm Bank Lending

Despite numerous headwinds in 2022, agricultural lending by U.S. farm banks increased by 8.1 percent in 2022 to $103.1 billion. The American Bankers Association’s annual Farm Bank Performance Report says the change is due to a 9.7 percent increase in outstanding loans secured by farmland and a 5.9 percent increase in agricultural and production loans. The report also says farmland continues to provide a strong equity base for producers to tap as land values saw strong growth in 2022 after staying flat for several years. The bankers say the ag sector will face continued challenges in 2023 due to monetary policy actions targeting persistent inflation in the U.S. and continuing geopolitical uncertainty. The report also shows farm banks are a major source of credit to America’s small farmers. Banks held more than $43.8 billion in small farm loans, including $9.3 billion in micro farm loans at the end of 2022.

Ethanol Output Drops Below One Million Barrels a Day

The Energy Information Administration says ethanol production dropped below an average of a million barrels a day during the week ending on March 17. That’s the first time production dropped below that mark in over two months. Output totaled 997,000 barrels a day, on average. That’s down from 1.04 million barrels a day during the prior week and the lowest since the seven days ending on January 6. The country’s largest-producing region is the Midwest, which saw production drop to 954,000 barrels a day from 966,000 the previous week. That’s also the lowest since early January. Gulf Coast production dropped an average of 8,000 barrels to 24,000 barrels per day. East Coast and West Coast production totals were the only ones higher than the prior week, with each rising about 1,000 barrels to an average of 11,000 and 5,000 barrels a day, respectively. Stockpiles averaged about 26.188 million barrels a day.

Nomination Open for American Lamb Board Members

Nominations for new members of the American Lamb Board must be submitted by certified nominating organizations and are due to the USDA’s Ag Marketing Service by May 5. The Secretary of Agriculture appoints the board members from the nominations. USDA is looking for a producer with 100 or fewer lambs, a producer with more than 500 lambs, a feeder with 500 or fewer lambs, a first handler, and a seedstock producer. One of the producer representatives must be from Region One, east of the Mississippi River. The board positions for feeder, first handler, and seedstock representatives are not limited to geographic location. Board members who have completed two consecutive three-year terms are not eligible for reappointment to the ALB. Each vacant position needs a minimum of two nominations. The 13-member board maintains and expands markets for sheep and lamb products. Board members come from both east and west of the Mississippi River.


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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