National Ag News for May 19, 2023

Black Sea Grain Deal Extended Two Months

The Black Sea grain deal has been extended for another two months, something the United Nations calls “good news for the world.” The news came one day before Russia could have quit the deal because of obstacles to its grain and fertilizer exports. Reuters says Turkey’s president made the announcement, later confirmed by Russia, Ukraine, and the U.N. Moscow was unwilling to extend the deal unless some demands regarding its own ag exports were met. While Russia’s ag exports of food and fertilizer aren’t directly affected by Western sanctions, restrictions on payments, logistics, and insurance are a barrier to shipments. Russia’s ambassador to the U.N. says the deal was extended because they haven’t lost hope that the problems raised by Russia will be resolved. The U.N. also says it hopes that exports of food and fertilizers, including ammonia, from Russia and Ukraine will get to global supply chains safely and predictably.

Opposition to House Ag Appropriations Bill

The House Agriculture Committee’s Ag Appropriations Subcommittee passed its fiscal year 2024 agriculture funding bill. The National Farmers Union says the legislation includes harmful provisions that would prevent USDA from completing a long-awaited Packers and Stockyards Act rule to protect family farmers and ranchers from abuses of market power by the meat industry. “Our markets are heavily consolidated and ripe for manipulation,” says NFU President Rob Larew. Chris Gibbs, president of Rural Voices USA, a leading rural advocacy group, says it’s hard to watch lawmakers who largely represent rural communities gut funding that goes directly to those same rural communities. “By slashing USDA funding by one-third, the House GOP is showing how backward their priorities are,” Gibbs says. “Instead of allowing rural communities to play a meaningful role in industries of the future, this proposal will leave rural communities behind.” Both groups say rural communities cannot stay silent on proposals like this.

NPPC Outlines Industry Priorities During House Hearing

Scott Hays, president of the National Pork Producers Council, testified before the House Ag Committee’s Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry and talked about pork priorities. Hays presented policy priorities ranging from funding that supports programs to safeguard the nation’s food supply against the threat of foreign animal diseases to initiatives that expand foreign market access for U.S. agricultural products. Hays outlined the economic challenges facing pig farmers as hog prices have moderated significantly since 2022. Production costs have risen drastically, the industry faced trade retaliation, supply chain issues, labor shortages, and the unfavorable Supreme Court decision on Prop 12. “This is putting a pinch on the pork industry and could drive consolidation at the farm level as producers may be forced to exit the industry,” Hays says. Other priorities include a one-year extension of Livestock Mandatory Price Reporting, opposition to proposed changes to the Packers and Stockyards Act, and others.

Biofuels Must Be a Part of Climate Solutions

Biofuels like ethanol must not be ignored as a climate solution. That was part of the testimony by Kansas Corn Growers CEO Josh Roe in front of a House Oversight Subcommittee hearing. The discussion centered on vehicle emissions rules and the electric vehicle transition. “Unfortunately, current and proposed EPA rules prevent us from being part of the solution,” says Roe. “While we believe electric vehicles will play a vital role in achieving climate goals, other complementary alternatives like biofuels have a key role to play but are being pushed aside.” Roe also questioned the EPA proposal that considers electric vehicles as zero emission. “They aren’t truly zero-emission vehicles,” he says. “While they don’t have a tailpipe, you still need to account for the emissions that come from the power grid.” The U.S. power grid is 60 percent powered by coal and natural gas, and EPA rules don’t account for upstream emissions.

NCBA Endorses Legislation Protecting Animal Health

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association announced its support the Foreign Animal Disease Prevention, Surveillance, and Rapid Response Act of 2023. The bipartisan legislation would continue making critical investments in foreign animal disease response programs currently overseen by USDA. “The threat of a foreign animal disease outbreak in the U.S. represents an existential threat to every cattle producer,” says NCBA President Todd Wilkinson. “As a cattle producer, it is reassuring to see bipartisan support for legislation like this, which will help our industry prepare for, and ultimately prevent a national crisis.” The Act will provide additional funding for three important animal health programs established through the 2018 Farm Bill, including the National Animal Vaccine and Veterinary Countermeasures Bank, the National Animal Disease Preparedness and Response Program, and the National Animal Health Laboratory Network. “Together, these three form a three-legged stool that represents our strategy for protecting the cattle and beef industries,” Wilkinson adds.

First Quarter Solid for Some Animal Product Exports

A USDA report says a comparison between first-quarter 2023 exports of seven animal products with the exports from the same time last year shows some improvement. Four of the categories were year-over-year higher and three were lower so far during this year. In the first quarter of 2023, lamb and mutton exports were up 31 percent, pork was up eight percent, broilers 2.5 percent higher, and dairy product exports were six percent higher than in 2022. USDA says the increases were due mostly to favorable prices and the depreciating value of the dollar. Beef and veal exports were eight percent lower than last year because of lower U.S. production in cattle-producing areas hit by extended drought. Egg and egg-product shipments were 22 percent lower than last year, and turkey exports were 21 percent lower. Fewer egg and turkey shipments were caused by export restrictions related to high pathogenic avian influenza.


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.

%d bloggers like this: