National Ag News for March 31, 2023

Senate Passes Resolution Overturning Biden Administration’s WOTUS Rule

The Senate passed the Congressional Review Act joint resolution of disapproval that overturns the Biden Administration’s Waters of the United States Rule by a 53-43 vote. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (CAP-ih-toe) (R-W.VA.), ranking member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, introduced the resolution in February. The administration introduced a new rule in December 2022 that repealed the Navigable Waters Protection Rule and changed the definition of WOTUS in a way that will significantly expand regulatory authority. “By voting to overturn the president’s waters rule, we are sending a clear, bipartisan message that Congress, even a divided one, will defend working Americans in the face of executive overreach,” Capito says. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association commended the Senate for passing the resolution. “The president now has a choice: sign the resolution and pull back the rule or turn his back on rural America,” says NCBA President Todd Wilkinson of South Dakota.

Poll Shows Voters Want Year-Round E15

A new poll shows overwhelming support among voters for year-round access to E15 across the country. With retail gas prices still high, almost 70 percent of poll respondents support increasing the availability of E15 to help lower fuel prices and support energy independence. Only 13 percent of those surveyed said they didn’t support expanded E15 availability. Meanwhile, 62 percent support recently introduced bipartisan legislation that would allow the lower-carbon E15 blend to be sold year-round nationwide. “We’re pleased but not surprised,” says Geoff Cooper, President and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association. “Drivers continue to embrace an American-made fuel that’s more affordable and lower in carbon emissions.” Last summer, E15 sold for 20 to 30 cents a gallon cheaper than regular gasoline. Those savings will disappear on June 1 unless Washington takes action. “They need to act quickly to make sure lower-cost E15 is available through the summer driving season,” Cooper adds.  

Groups Want Tighter Checkoff Rules

Over 130 agricultural and food groups are asking the House and Senate Ag Committees for stricter rules that govern checkoff programs. The organizations wrote committee leaders in both chambers to support the Opportunities for Fairness in Farming Act. The groups say the legislation would restore what they call a “minimum level” of oversight. “Several of the mandatory checkoff programs and associated boards have well-documented histories of waste, conflicts of interest, misuse of funding, anti-competitive behavior, and other issues,” the letter says. “For these reasons, many farmers and ranchers across the country have grown disillusioned with the effectiveness of many of these checkoff programs as they operate today.” The legislation would prohibit checkoff programs from contracting with any organization that lobbies on agricultural policy, prohibit employees and agents of the checkoff boards from engaging in activities that may involve a conflict of interest, require publishing of checkoff financial information, and make other changes.

Iowa State Releases the 2023 Custom Farming Rates Report

Many farmers in rural America hire some custom machine work in their farm business or perform custom work for others. Others may rent machinery or perform other services. To help producers and custom operators examine the current market, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach publishes the Iowa Farm Custom Rate Survey. Most custom farming rates saw an increase of 10-15 percent. Custom planting ranges from $12.50 to $45 per acre, depending on the type of planter and setup. Combining corn showed an average of $41.30 per acre, and combining soybeans averaged $39.90 an acre, an increase of 12.4 percent and 10.7 percent, respectively. ISU Extension says the information in the survey is meant to be a starting point for farmers and agribusinesses to engage in conversations and negotiations. It’s not meant to set the rate for a particular practice or operator. The survey assumed diesel prices would be around $3.39 a gallon.

Train Carrying Ethanol Derails in Minnesota

A freight train carrying ethanol and corn syrup derailed in a fiery crash near a small Minnesota town in the early hours of Thursday morning. The incident was reported to law enforcement and emergency responders at 1 a.m. and forced residents to evacuate the area. A BNSF Railway train had multiple tankers derail and catch fire on the western edge of Raymond, a small southwestern Minnesota town of fewer than 800 people. The local county sheriff’s office says the train was carrying a “form of ethanol” and a “corn syrup liquid.” BNSF, one of the largest freight railroad networks in North America, is investigating the cause of the incident, and so far, there are no reported casualties, according to ABC News. “The main track is blocked in that area, and an estimated time for reopening the line isn’t available yet,” says spokesperson Lena Kent. “We’re working closely with local first responders.”

Sorghum Checkoff Partners with Google to Grow Awareness, Demand

The United Sorghum Checkoff Program has announced a strategic partnership with Google to increase sorghum consumer awareness through innovative marketing strategies. USCP is a producer-funded national organization dedicated to improving the sorghum industry and representing sorghum farmers across the U.S. The program will leverage Google’s expertise in digital marketing to create consumer awareness campaigns that promote the sustainability and health benefits of sorghum and its versatility as a food ingredient. USCP recently developed and launched a new campaign for this partnership titled “Sorghum. Food’s Best Kept Secret” to showcase and offer a new whole-grain option for consumers. The campaign’s ads can be viewed on the Sorghum Checkoff’s YouTube channel, “Sorghum. Nature’s Super Grain,” and are powered by Google Ads, leveraging Google’s expertise in digital marketing. “Our partnership with Google will allow us to take our sorghum consumer awareness campaigns to the next level,” says USCP Director of Communications Clint White.


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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