National Ag News for March 29, 2023

USDA Seeks Nominees to Advisory Committee on Minority Farmers

The Department of Agriculture seeks nominations for individuals to serve on the Advisory Committee on Minority Farmers. The committee will recommend solutions to challenges faced by minority farmers and ranchers and is part of USDA’s commitment to advance equity for all, especially for farmers and producers in underserved communities. The committee is administered by USDA’s Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement. The committee was established in the Food Conservation and Energy Act of 2008. Advisory Committee members will represent underserved farmers and farming communities and should also reflect the diversity of agriculture in geography, size, scale and type of production. Members will include six or more farmers or ranchers; two or more individuals from minority-serving institutions of higher education; two or more individuals from community-based nonprofit organizations; and two or more individuals with civil rights and equity expertise. All nomination packages received by April 24, 2023, will be considered. Nominations may be submitted electronically to the Advisory Committee’s dedicated email at

CoBank Outlines Three Risks for Ag Retailers

The outlook for agricultural retailers is generally favorable for 2023, following a year of record profits in 2022. However, the sector faces emerging risks that could depress profit margins and challenge traditional business models in the years ahead. Lower levels of industry working capital, higher property insurance costs, and changing grower needs are three of the key issues that ag retailers will need to navigate over the next five years. A new report from CoBank shows that a downturn in the crop cycle, after several years of consecutive high profits, is likely during 2024 or shortly thereafter. Lower levels of farmer working capital during the current upcycle suggests growers will cut back on input purchases more dramatically during the next downturn. Total farming working capital during the 2021/2022 crop cycle peak averaged $138 billion. That’s down from $215 billion during the 2012 peak. Additionally, the rising cost of property insurance is an emerging risk factor that will pressure farm supply cooperatives profitability.

New Report Links National Security and Global Hunger

Global hunger and malnutrition pose significant threats to U.S. national security, according to a new report commissioned by Farm Journal Foundation. The report, authored by researchers from Texas A&M University, examines how global food insecurity is linked to numerous geopolitical risks. Increasing investments in agricultural development and innovation would help mitigate these risks by enabling developing countries to improve their crop yields and better feed themselves. Lead author Dr. Edwin price says, “Investments in improving farm productivity in developing countries would go a long way toward addressing the root causes of many national security risks.” The report makes a series of recommendations for how the U.S. can invest in long-term global agricultural development. This includes increasing investments in global food and nutrition security programs and research and innovation within the government’s Feed the Future initiative. The report also suggests supporting Foundation for Food and Agricultural Research funding in the Farm Bill.

State AGs Seek Right to Repair

A group of state attorneys generals recently asked Congress to pass expansive Right-to-Repair legislation targeted at cars, farm equipment, and digital electronics. In a letter to the House and Senate Commerce Committee, the group says, “The Right-to-Repair is a bipartisan issue that impacts every consumer, household, and farm in a time of increasing inflation.” Manufacturing of cars, digital devices, and agricultural equipment is increasingly becoming more technologically advanced and built with more embedded electronics. OEMs often control access to these electronic parts, creating unfair restraint of trade and a monopoly on repair. This can harm consumers directly by driving up prices and is antithetical to a free market, according to the letter. The letter asks the lawmakers to introduce legislation to address Right to Repair. The letter cites past bills, such as the 2021 SMART Act, the 2022 REPAIR Act, and the 2021 Fair Repair Act, as examples.

USDA-ARS Joins WCR Global Coffee Breeding Network

USDA’s Agricultural Research Service announced it has joined the Global Coffee Breeding Network coordinated by World Coffee Research. The network will offer USDA broader opportunities to develop more climate-resilient coffee varieties with resistance to pests and diseases. Kona coffee, one of Hawaii’s most legendary and valuable agricultural crops, has come under increasing threats from new diseases and pests. A U.S. Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center spokesperson says, “we’ll have a partnership with coffee growing countries around the world that will expand our ability to add pest and disease resistance and greater climate resilience to the coffee crop and supporting U.S. growers.” The network’s goal is to bring together collaborating countries to transform coffee breeding and accelerate the pace of genetic improvement to the crop’s yield, quality, climate resilience, and resistance to pests and diseases. Nine countries have joined the network, including Costa Rica, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Mexico, Peru, Rwanda, Uganda and now ARS in the United States.

BASF Doubles Donation Goal to FFA

BASF Agricultural Solutions exceeded its initial goal of $5,000 and raised $10,000 during Give FFA Day on Thursday, February 23, 2023. Since 2022, BASF has donated more than $550,000. BASF Vice President Neil Bentley says, “This is a huge milestone and shows how passionate BASF employees are for the industry when so many are willing to support organizations committed to leading the next generation to careers in agriculture.” Give FFA Day is part of an annual week-long celebration, National FFA Week, from February 18 – 25. The National FFA Board of Directors designated the weeklong tradition beginning in 1948, spanning the week of George Washington’s birthday, to recognize Washington’s legacy as an agriculturist and farmer. The 2023 national goal for Give FFA Day was $500,000. In total, the 24 hours of support far exceeded that goal, raising $721,506 on February 23 alone – nearly $1 for each member of FFA.


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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