National Ag News for March 28, 2023

Biden Asked to Intervene in West Coast Port Labor Talks

A large coalition of agriculture and business groups asked President Joe Biden to intervene in the west coast port labor negotiations. In a letter signed by the groups, including the American Farm Bureau Federation, they say, “It is imperative that the administration work with the parties to quickly reach a new agreement and ensure there is no disruption to port operations.” The coalition previously voiced concerns when the labor contract expired in July last year. Negotiations have been ongoing for over ten months, with little to no progress towards a new long-term agreement, according to the letter. The letter further states, “the only way to resolve these issues is for the parties to remain at the bargaining table and actually negotiate.” The effort is to encourage the administration to provide any and all support to the parties in their negotiations to reach a final agreement between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association.

NCBA Calls for Continued Ban on Paraguayan Beef Imports

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association is calling on Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to continue blocking Paraguay from importing beef to the United States. The effort is in response to the Department of Agriculture releasing a proposed rule that would grant access to Paraguayan beef imports. NCBA Executive Director of Government Affairs Kent Bacus says, “Paraguay has a history of outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease, and we cannot jeopardize the safety of U.S. consumers and the health of our U.S. cattle herd.” NCBA says the data used to inform the proposal by USDA is nine years old from site visits that occurred in 2008 and 2014. Bacus says the United States has the highest animal health and food safety standards in the world “because we rely on the most up-to-date information and the highest science-based standards.” NCBA adds USDA should not proceed with the application until a thorough review can be conducted with current information that demonstrates Paraguay’s equivalence in animal health.

2022/23 U.S. Sorghum Crop: Highest Quality

The U.S. Grains Council’s 2022/23 Sorghum Quality Report for the fourth year in a row, found U.S. sorghum was, on average, graded above the necessary requirements for U.S. No. 1 certification. Released last week, the report provides international customers and other interested parties accurate, unbiased information about the 2022/23 U.S. sorghum crop. USGC Chairman Josh Miller says, “We hope this year’s report helps give our valued trade partners even more confidence in the continued reliability and quality of U.S. sorghum.” A total of 97 samples were collected from 15 participating elevators and one participating farmer in the central and southern regions of the United States. Total sorghum damage came in at 0.0 percent in the aggregate, and broken kernel and foreign material was only 1.4 percent, lower than last year’s results, highlighting the grain’s hardness and how well it survives handling and storage. Additionally, tannins were absent from the sorghum samples for the fourth year in a row and protein content averaged 11 percent.

Most Row Crop Acreage Now Managed Using Auto-steer and Guidance

Auto-steer and guidance system adoption on U.S. farms increased sharply in the past 20 years, according to USDA’s Economic Research Service. Farmers indicate they use the technology on more than 50 percent of the acreage planted to corn, soybeans, winter wheat, and cotton as of 2019. Adoption rates were 58.4 percent of acres planted to corn in 2016, 55.9 percent of winter wheat acres in 2017, 54.5 percent of soybean acres in 2018, and 64.5 percent of cotton acres in 2019. Economic Research Service researchers examined producer responses from various Agricultural Resource Management Surveys to better understand how auto-steer and guidance systems use has evolved. Using GPS, these technologies visualize and track the position of tractors, harvesters, and sprayers in the field in real time. Autonomous steering permits automatically guided fertilizing, harvesting, and other tasks in the field with minimal involvement from the farmer, increasing field efficiency, reducing operator fatigue, and freeing up operator time in the equipment’s cab.

USDA Research: Increasing Vegetable Consumption May Better Mental Health

New research finds that increasing vegetable consumption has a positive effect on how happy a person feels. USDA’s Agricultural Research Service says that holds true for adults who consume the daily amount of vegetable servings recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Researchers at the Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center conducted the eight-week study. The study divided healthy men and women between 18 and 65 years old into two groups. The first group of participants received daily servings of the recommended number and variety of vegetables based on their energy needs during the course of the study. The second group of participants received the same number of interactions and attention from the researchers while maintaining a diet without adding vegetables. All participants completed a questionnaire called the Subjective Happiness Scale, or SHS. Researcher Shanon Casperson says, “Results suggest that increasing the amount of vegetables you eat every day may benefit your mental health.”

Fuel Prices Decline Again, GasBuddy Warns of Increase Soon

Gas and diesel prices fell again last week. The nation’s average gas price declined three cents to $3.40 per gallon, which is 7.8 cents high than a month ago, but 83 cents lower than a year ago. The national average diesel price dropped 5.9 cents to $4.19 per gallon, 92.7 cents lower than a year ago. However, GasBuddy’s Patrick De Haan warns prices should start moving higher again. De Haan says, “any downward trends are still likely to be temporary and not necessarily long lasting.” GasBuddy cites the start of the upcoming summer driving season as a potential to increase demand and prices, along with the ongoing switch to more expensive summer blends of gasoline. Meanwhile, concerns over the recent banking collapse are fading and oil prices are seeing some strength as Chinese consumption rebounds. However, U.S. retail gasoline demand saw a rise of 0.14 percent last week, which on the surface was much more tame than expected.


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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