National Ag News for April 14, 2023

Colorado Passes First Right to Repair Legislation

Colorado farmers will get the first opportunity to fix their own equipment next year, thanks to newly-approved right-to-repair legislation. Manufacturers will now be required to provide their customers with diagnostic software manuals and other aids. Colorado is the first U.S. state to approve this kind of law. The “Consumer Right to Repair Agriculture Equipment Act” passed the Colorado Senate 46-14 this week, while the state House passed the bill in February. The bill had bipartisan support as farmers’ profits were squeezed by expensive repairs and rapidly rising input prices. The legislation mandates that farm machinery manufacturers like Deere and CNH Industrial furnish their customers with diagnostic tools, software documents, and repair manuals beginning on January 1, 2024. Manufacturers must also provide those resources to independent technicians. A Deere spokesman told Reuters that the company supports farmers’ right to repair but believes this bill wasn’t necessary and will carry unintended consequences.

Ag Groups Respond Positively to Court Halting WOTUS Rule

A court ruling out of North Dakota halted implementation of the 2023 Waters of the United States Rule in 24 states, and ag groups responded positively. American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall says his group proudly stood with the 24 states involved and more than a dozen organizations in this challenge. “Two District Courts have acknowledged the new rule oversteps EPA’s authority under the Clean Water Act,” Duvall says. “With the rule on hold in more than half the country, EPA and the U.S. Army Corps should do the right thing, listen to our legitimate concerns, and rewrite the rule.” The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association also applauded the court’s decision. “Cattle producers in a total of 26 states now have some additional certainty while this rule is being litigated, and we’re optimistic the Supreme Court will provide nationwide clarity on the federal government’s water jurisdiction,” says NCBA President Todd Wilkinson.  

Sorghum Foundation Opens 2023-2024 Scholarship Applications

The National Sorghum Foundation opened three scholarship applications for college students studying agriculture in the upcoming 2023-2024 academic year. The application deadline is June 1, 2023. In the 22 years that the National Sorghum Foundation has been in operation, more than 50 scholarships have been awarded to deserving agricultural students who excel in academics, leadership, and service. “The Foundation is excited to announce that three scholarships will be offered during the spring 2023 semester,” says National Sorghum Foundation Chair Jeff Dahlberg. “These scholarships are named in memory of three giants of the sorghum industry who served for many decades.” Each scholarship includes an award of $1,500 to be applied to one semester of tuition expenses, and one scholarship also includes an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C., with the National Sorghum Producers. More information about each scholarship’s criteria and application forms for each scholarship can be found online at

USDA: Most Improved Award Winner in Best Place to Work Rankings

The USDA announced that it’s received recognition for being the “Most Improved” for large federal agencies in the Partnership for Public Service’s 2022 Best Places to Work Rankings. The department now ranks 12th among very large agencies in the Best Places to Work Rankings, up from a 16th place ranking in 2020. “At USDA, we are committed to reaching new heights by cultivating a workplace environment that is collaborative, service-oriented, mission-centered, healthy, and inclusive,” says Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack. “I’m pleased to see these results as we strive to live up to the moniker of ‘the People’s Department,’ and we will continue to move forward with a strong commitment to making improvements on behalf of all employees, attracting talent that represents the diversity of America, and putting people at the center of everything we do.” He says they’re working together to create an engaging environment and cultivate an exceptional workforce.

U.S. Potato Exports Hi $2.1 Billion in 2022

Potato exports reached a record $2.1 billion in sales in 2022. Compared to 2021, volume sales dropped 4.2 percent but were higher than in 2018 and 2020. The value of U.S. potato exports rose across all potato types, resulting in an 11 percent increase over the previous year. Global price hikes and inflation can be attributed to this growth. Demand for U.S. potatoes remained strong in 2022, showing that the slight drop in export volume resulted from tight supply. Over the year, the top export markets for U.S. potatoes were Mexico, Canada, Japan, South Korea, and the Philippines, in descending order. The value of U.S. frozen potato exports rose almost 14 percent, reaching $1.34 billion. However, volume dropped 2.5 percent compared to 2021. The top destinations for U.S. frozen potatoes were Japan, Mexico, South Korea, and the Philippines. Potatoes USA says despite inflation-driven price increases of U.S. products, global potato demand remained strong.

Iowa House Passes Bill Restricting Drone Surveillance of Livestock Facilities

The Iowa House of Representatives passed a bill that restricts drone surveillance of livestock facilities without permission from the property owner.  If House File 572 becomes law, remotely piloted aircraft couldn’t fly within 400 feet of homesteads or other areas where animals are kept. People caught in violation would face a simple misdemeanor for intruding on farm airspace. If the device happens to record images, sounds, or other data, that increases the penalty to a serious misdemeanor charge. Agriculture Dot Com says the bill comes in response to animal welfare organizations documenting the conditions and treatment of animals at Iowa’s livestock and dog-breeding facilities. Iowa’s legislators have repeatedly passed “ag-gag” laws to attempt to criminally penalize activists who record and publish images and videos of livestock facilities. Judges have ruled in the past that those laws are unconstitutional. Rep Derek Wulf says the bill “provides privacy rights for our farmers and ranchers.”


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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