National Ag News for April 24, 2023

Natural Gas May Get More Expensive in the Future

Natural gas is an important source of energy for U.S. farms. While U.S. natural gas futures prices have fallen sharply recently, CoBank says higher prices and increased volatility could be on the long-term horizon as the energy transition accelerates and European markets respond to recent supply constraints. Rising U.S. exports of liquefied natural gas, fewer opportunities for fuel switching between coal and gas, and supply chain bottlenecks may contribute to higher domestic energy costs in the future. “Over the past 100 years, the U.S. has been a natural gas island with domestic supply sufficient to meet the nation’s requirements,” says a CoBank report. “From a pricing perspective, domestic consumers benefited from their proximity to natural gas reserves and experienced only brief periods of high prices.” However, as natural gas production expanded, it became necessary for exports to grow, increasing potential price volatility as the U.S. and EU markets became more connected.

Consumers Save 25 Cents a Gallon With E15

A new analysis from the Renewable Fuels Association shows American drivers saved an average of more than 25 cents per gallon since the beginning of 2022 with E15. RFA analyzed more than 3,000 actual pump prices for E15 and E10 submitted by drivers to The average of 1,520 prices reported for E10 was $3.69 per gallon, while the average for corresponding E15 prices was $3.41 per gallon. Thus, the average discount for E15 was 27 cents per gallon or 7.4 percent. “The review of prices submitted by drivers shows lower-carbon E15 is providing real savings for American families,” says RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “At a time when U.S. drivers were facing record high gas prices, this report confirms that E15 delivered relief at the pump.” As a result, Cooper’s group is urging the administration to carefully review data as it considers allowing the sale of E15 this summer.

FDA Extends Comment Period on Plant-Based “Milk” Labeling

The U.S. dairy industry is concerned about plant-based milks in grocery stores carrying the label “milk.” The Food and Drug Administration announced it is reopening the public comment period on draft guidance for labeling plant-based products. “The FDA is reopening the comment period in response to requests from industry stakeholders for more time for interested people to develop and submit comments,” the agency says. Food Safety News says the draft recommendations were initially published in February and are for industry comments on naming plant-based beverages that are marketed and sold as alternatives to milk. The draft guidance also recommends voluntary nutrient statements for labeling some of the plant-based milk alternatives. Products made from plant materials like tree nuts and legumes are often labeled “milk.” The FDA’s draft guidance from February doesn’t apply to other plant-based dairy alternatives like plant-based cheese or yogurt alternatives. Interested parties can submit their comments at

China Aims for More Self-Sufficiency in Food Production

China is one of the biggest trading partners for the U.S. However, the South China Morning Post says the Southeast Asian nation may be attempting to change that. The country aims to increase soybean production this year in an attempt to become more self-sufficient and import less food. Escalating geopolitical tensions are one of the big reasons for the change. China will try to increase its national soybean yield by 11 pounds per mu, which is a Chinese unit of land measurement equal to approximately 0.165 acres. China imports more than 80 percent of the soybeans used to feed its people and livestock, and shipments come mainly from Brazil and the U.S. That heavy reliance on imported commodities has raised significant governmental concerns about its food security. However, Chinese farmers appear less motivated to grow beans than last year because of the low market price of soybeans and their low benefits.

Lamb Board Releases Final Video in Lamb Quality Series

The American Lamb Board released the final video in its five-part series emphasizing lamb quality. The final video’s title is “Retail Meat Yield.” The overall goal of the video series is to help the U.S. lamb industry provide a consistently high-quality product for Americans’ dinner plates. “By emphasizing lean meat growth in U.S. sheep, we can make lambs with more muscle and less fat and improved yield and value,” says Peter Camino, ALB Chair. “That increases our commercial lamb industry competitiveness with imported lamb and other animal protein sources.” He also says it’s in the best interest of progressive sheep producers to produce a protein product that consistently meets consumers’ expectations and delights their taste buds.” Trim, muscular lambs harvested at the appropriate time return more value for the entire U.S. sheep and lamb industry. “Retail Meat Yield” is available at or on the American Lamb Board’s YouTube channel.

Corn, Soybean Export Sales Drop

Data from USDA shows that corn and soybean sales to overseas buyers declined in the seven days ending on April 13. Exporters sold 312,400 metric tons of corn for offshore delivery for 2022-2023, down 41 percent from the prior week and 79 percent from the four-week average. The top three buyers were China, Saudi Arabia, and Colombia. Exports rose 42 percent to 1.3 million metric tons. USDA says soybean sales were down 73 percent week-over-week to 100,100 metric tons for 2022-2023. The top three buyers were the Netherlands, Mexico, and China. The USDA report says exports dropped 15 percent week-over-week to 582,800 metric tons. Wheat sales improved 91 percent from the prior week and 93 percent from the four-week average, coming in at 259,000 metric tons. South Korea was the top wheat buyer, followed by Taiwan and the Philippines. Overall exports for the week dropped 28 percent to 202,800 metric tons.


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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