National Ag News for May 3, 2023

Farm Bill Hearing: Farmers Need a Stronger Safety Net

During a Senate Agriculture Subcommittee hearing Tuesday, a sorghum farmer told lawmakers farmers need a stronger farm safety net. National Sorghum Producers’ Past Chairman, Kody Carson of Texas told lawmakers, “Right now, the farm safety net is not adequate.” Carson also reaffirmed support for crop insurance, adding, “the tool has been absolutely critical in helping us manage the ongoing drought conditions decimating the Sorghum Belt.” Meanwhile, American Soybean Association Secretary Caleb Ragland of Kentucky called crop insurance the most effective and important component of farm policy for soybean farmers. Ragland says that without crop insurance, “the risk would be more than many farmers and lenders could stand—it certainly would be for me,” while calling for improvements to the Title I farm safety net for soybeans. And National Corn Growers Association First Vice President Harold Wolle told the committee NCGA supports increasing the affordability of crop insurance coverage. Wolle adds, “The individual costs of purchasing coverage can discourage higher levels of coverage.”

Ag Economy Barometer: Farmer Sentiment Improves

Farmer sentiment improved modestly in April as the Purdue University-CME Group Ag Economy Barometer reversed a two-month decline, up six points to 123. The Current Conditions Index rose three points to 129, while the Index of Future Expectations rose seven points to 120. More producers expect prime interest rates to either hold steady or possibly decline during the next 12 months than felt that way earlier in the year. Perspectives on farmland values shifted somewhat in April, with fewer producers expecting values to decline in the upcoming year and more producers looking for values to rise. When asked about the possibility of a new Farm Bill being passed by Congress in 2023, responses were mixed, with 40 percent of producers saying that passage was at least somewhat likely, while nearly 30 percent of respondents think that passage is at least somewhat unlikely. Meanwhile, 40 percent of respondents considered crop insurance the most important Farm Bill title, followed by commodity programs and conservation.

Renderers Support Protein PACT Legislation

The North American Renderers Association Tuesday endorsed The Protein PACT: For the People, Animals and Climate of Tomorrow. The legislation is the largest effort to strengthen animal protein’s contributions to healthy people, animals, communities, and a healthy environment. NARA endorsed the Protein PACT because the association “recognizes the importance of continuous improvement in the animal agriculture industry and see the benefit that the Protein PACT’s accomplishments will have on our organization, our members, and global consumers.” The organization says The Protein PACT uses transparent, data-based reporting to verify progress and keep the industry accountable for achieving its global goals. The Protein PACT Sustainability Framework encompasses more than 100 metrics developed through extensive collaboration with sustainability experts and supply chain partners. The association joins dozens of other food and Agriculture organizations in endorsing the Protein PACT’s vision to place Animal Agriculture at the center of global solutions.

NMPF Submits Milk-Pricing Plan to USDA

The National Milk Producers Federation this week submitted to USDA its comprehensive proposal for modernizing the Federal Milk Marketing Order system. The proposal follows two years of examination and more than 150 meetings to build consensus behind updates to a program that last saw significant changes in 2000. The NMPF proposal calls for updating the so-called “make allowance,” returning to the “higher of” Class I mover, and updating the Class I differential price system, among other updates. Upon acceptance, USDA will have 30 days to review the plan and decide whether and how to move forward with a federal order hearing to review the plan. NMPF will pursue two other components of its Federal Order proposal outside the federal order hearing process. Those include extending the current 30-day reporting limit to 45 days on forward-priced sales on nonfat dry milk and dry whey, and developing legislative language for the farm bill to ensure the make allowance is regularly reviewed.

USDA Providing $130 Million to Farmers Facing Financial Risk

The Department of Agriculture this week announced nearly $130 million in additional, automatic financial assistance for qualifying farm loan program borrowers facing financial risk. The announcement is part of the $3.1 billion to help distressed farm loan borrowers provided through the Inflation Reduction Act. Borrowers who received the automatic payments include Farm Service Agency direct loan borrowers whose interest exceeded principle owed on outstanding debts, borrowers who had a balance up to 60 days past due as of September 30, 2022, and borrowers with a recent restructure between February 28, 2020, through March 27, 2023, or who had accepted an offer to restructure on or before March 27, 2023, but had not yet closed that restructure. FSA is accepting distressed borrower assistance requests from direct loan borrowers who missed a recent installment or cannot make their next scheduled installment. USDA will continue to update borrowers and the public about new eligibility criteria.

Nutrient Intakes by Consumers Differ from Federal Recommendations

U.S. consumers’ intakes of several key nutrients differ from Federal recommendations, and those differences are associated with where they obtain food. Researchers from USDA’s Economic Research Service examined diet patterns based on density—amounts of nutrients consumed per 1,000 calories—using the latest available national food consumption survey data collected in 2017–18. They compared average consumption densities of six nutrients with what would be needed to match Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommendations. On average, dietary fiber and iron intake densities were more than 20 percent below the recommended level. Meanwhile, calcium densities were closer to the recommended level but still fell short of recommendations. Total fat intake was within 20 percent of the highest recommended percent of calories from total fats, which is 35 percent. The density of saturated fats for food away from home and densities of sodium from all sources were more than 20 percent above the recommended limit.


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.