National Ag News for April 6, 2023

Farmers Seek Comprehensive Reform to Federal Milk Pricing

The American Farm Bureau Federation told Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Wednesday that requests to increase make allowances fall short of fairly supporting dairy farmers. Make allowances are used in part to calculate how much a processor pays for milk. Dairy farmers, on average, lose $6.72 per hundredweight of milk produced, according to USDA data. The loss for dairy farms with less than 50 cows was even greater at $21.58 per hundredweight. Two dairy processor associations requested a federal milk marketing order hearing to increase make allowances. While AFBF is not opposed to updating make allowances, the proposals to USDA do not address the wider need for changes to milk pricing regulations, according to AFBF President Zippy Duvall. In a letter to Vilsack, Duvall says, “The petitions we oppose here threaten to undercut trust between farmers who produce the milk and the processors who turn it into the dairy products we all know and love.”

Boozman, Thune Lead Effort to Permanently Repeal Death Tax

Republican Senators John Boozman, John Thune and Mitch McConnell are leading an effort to permanently repeal the death tax. The Death Tax Repeal Act would permanently repeal the federal estate tax, more commonly known as the death tax. Senator Boozman says, “The Death Tax hangs over too many family agriculture operations and small businesses as a potential destroyer of generations worth of work and investment.” Senator Thune adds, “I will continue to do everything in my power to remove these roadblocks for family businesses and repeal the death tax once and for all.” The legislation also has backing from a majority of Senate Republicans and is supported by more than 150 members of the Family Business Coalition and 111 members of the Family Business Estate Tax Coalition, which includes the American Farm Bureau Federation. Senate Majority Leader McConnell concludes, “Washington Democrats need to recognize the economic damage they’ve inflicted and join Republicans in ending this harmful tax.”

RFA Calls on Biden Administration to Allow E15 This Summer

The Renewable Fuels Association kicked off an advertising campaign this week urging for quick action by the White House to allow summer availability of E15. The campaign comes as the summer driving season is less than two months away, and fuel prices are again rising. The campaign targets ethanol supporters across the Midwest, as well as policymakers and insiders in Washington, D.C. RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper says, “Our message to the Biden administration is simple: Unless the White House acts quickly, American drivers will lose access to the lowest-cost, lowest-carbon fuel at the pump on June 1.” Cooper pointed out that a Morning Consult poll conducted late last month found strong voter support for year-round E15 sales. 70 percent of poll respondents support increasing the availability of E15 to help lower fuel prices and support energy independence, while 62 percent support recently introduced bipartisan legislation allowing the lower-carbon E15 blend to be sold year-round nationwide.

Application Rates of Manure as a Nutrient Source Vary by Crop

Data from USDA’s Economic Research Service shows the use of manure as a nutrient varies by type of crop. Between 2013 and 2019, producers of seven major crops in the U.S. who used manure were asked how much manure they applied per acre, allowing ERS to estimate crop nutrient application rates. Corn received the highest application rate of nitrogen from a manure source—92 pounds per acre—followed by cotton, wheat, barley, oats, soybeans, and peanuts. Cotton led phosphorus application at 37 pounds per acre, and corn led potassium application at 59 pounds per acre. Soybeans and peanuts require less nitrogen fertilization, and they were applied with the lowest manure nitrogen application rates. Manure applied to soybeans and peanuts is valued primarily for its phosphorus and potassium. In 2020, manure was applied to about eight percent of the 240.9 million acres planted to seven major U.S. field crops.

Bayer Investing $65 Million in Ukraine Seed Production Site

Bayer announced a $65 million investment in its corn seed production facility in Ukraine, as part of its commitment to Ukraine. The investment includes a new seed dryer, state-of-the-art agricultural field equipment, storage facilities and the construction of two bomb shelters to ensure safety. Matthias Berninger of Bayer says, “Bayer has been active in Ukraine for many years and is committed to the country, its people and farming communities.” Before the war, the company made a significant investment to establish corn seed production through a network of skilled Ukrainian farmers and the greenfield seed processing site. The plant was inaugurated in 2018 and operates with around 100 on-site employees and about 250 to 300 seasonal workers. Bayer, with its plant, is one of the biggest investors in the region. This included the donation of more than 40,000 bags of corn and vegetable seeds as well as healthcare product donations.

USDA Funding to Support Food Security in Alaska, Hawaii, US Territories

The Department of Agriculture Wednesday announced $7.6 million in funding to improve food security in Alaska, Hawaii and U.S. Territories. The funding seeks to increase the quantity and quality of locally grown food through small-scale gardening, herding, and livestock operations in food-insecure communities. USDA announced the funding as part of its Micro-Grants for Food Security Program. This year, the program received an additional $3 million through the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023. The program is authorized by the 2018 Farm Bill and awards grants to eligible states and territories through a non-competitive application process. USDA’s Jenny Lester Moffitt says, “Micro-Grants provide funding to ensure communities in these areas have sustained access to quality, locally grown food.” States and territories that receive funding will grant competitive subawards to individuals, Tribal nations, nonprofit organizations engaged in increasing food security, federally funded educational facilities, or local governments.


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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