National Ag News for May 23, 2023

USDA to Bring Jobs and Improved Infrastructure to Rural Partners Network

The Department of Agriculture Monday announced an effort to help rural communities to address some of their immediate needs and foster long-term economic growth. USDA is providing loans and grants to help people living in rural and Tribal communities in the Rural Partners Network access good-paying jobs, improved infrastructure, affordable housing and quality health care. The funding will support 52 projects in Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, West Virginia and Puerto Rico. In the West, the funding will help Tribal communities improve water and wastewater services and bring solar power and other forms of renewable energy to Tribal lands and farms. For people in Southern communities, projects will increase access to fresh foods in high-poverty areas and allow electric cooperatives to connect thousands of people to power with smart-grid technologies. The announcement includes $394 million in awards from USDA that will benefit communities and support their long-term visions for strong, local economies.

New Right to Repair MOUs Bring Industry Coverage to 70%

The American Farm Bureau Federation signed two more memoranda of understanding with two agricultural equipment manufacturers. The new MOUs were signed by AGCO and Kubota, providing farmers and ranchers the right to repair their own farm equipment. The MOUs, negotiated independently with each manufacturer, follow similar agreements AFBF entered into with John Deere and CNH Industrial Brands earlier this year. The four MOUs cover roughly 70 percent of the agricultural machinery sold in the United States. AFBF President Zippy Duvall says, “These agreements represent ongoing efforts to ensure farmers have access to the tools necessary to keep their equipment running.” The MOUs set a framework for farmers and independent repair facilities in all 50 U.S. states and Puerto Rico to access AGCO and Kubota manuals, tools, product guides and information to self-diagnose and self-repair machines, as well as support from the manufacturers to directly purchase or lease diagnostic tools and order products and parts.

Atypical BSE Case Detected in South Carolina

USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service last week announced the finding of an atypical case of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (in-sef-o-lop-athy). The approximately five-year-old or older beef cow tested positive following routine surveillance protocols at a slaughterhouse in South Carolina. The animal possessed a radio frequency identification tag associated with a herd in Tennessee. USDA APHIS and state animal health officials will conduct a thorough investigation of the case. Atypical BSE cases occur rarely and spontaneously, often in older cattle. This is only the nation’s 7th case of atypical BSE, following a previous incident in 2018. This is the nation’s 7th detection of BSE. Of the six previous U.S. cases, the first, in 2003, was a case of classical BSE in a cow imported from Canada; the rest have been atypical. U.S. Cattlemen’s Association president Justin Tupper responded, “This animal never entered slaughter channels and at no time entered the food supply chain due to the effectiveness of the surveillance team.”

Data Shows Few Farm Estates Must File Estate Tax Return

New data from USDA’s Economic Research Service shows that less than one percent of farm estates created in 2022 must file an estate tax return. Created in 1916, the federal estate tax is a tax on the transfer of property to a person’s heirs upon death. In 2022, the Federal estate tax exemption amount was $12.06 million per person, and the federal estate tax rate was 40 percent. Under the present law, the estate of a person who owns assets above the exemption amount at death must file a federal estate tax return. However, only returns with an estate above the exemption after deductions for expenses, debts, and bequests will pay federal estate tax. Researchers estimate that in 2022, 39,500 estates were created from principal operator deaths. Of those estates, ERS forecasts that 305, or 0.77 percent, will be required to file an estate tax return, and a further 87, or 0.22 percent, will likely owe Federal estate tax.

USDA Offers Assistance to Help Organic Dairy Producers

The Department of Agriculture recently announced assistance for dairy producers with the new Organic Dairy Marketing Assistance Program/ The program helps dairy producers mitigate market volatility, higher input and transportation costs, and unstable feed supply and prices that have created unique hardships in the organic dairy industry. USDA’s Farm Service Agency is offering $104 million in grants to dairy operations to assist with projected marketing costs in 2023, calculated using their marketing costs in 2022. Organic dairy producers have faced significant and unique increases in their marketing costs, compounded by increases in feed and transportation costs and the limited availability of organic grain and forage commodities. FSA Administrator Zach Ducheneaux says, “Without assistance, many organic dairies, particularly small organic dairies, will cease production.” FSA will begin accepting applications for the program on May 24, 2023. Eligible producers include certified organic dairy operations that produce milk from cows, goats and sheep.

Gas Prices Steady Heading into Holiday Weekend

As Americans gear up for the start of the summer driving season with Memorial Day weekend, the nation’s average price of gasoline is unchanged from a week ago at $3.51 per gallon. The national average diesel price fell 3.2 cents last week and stands at $3.94 per gallon. GasBuddy’s Patrick De Haan says, “We’ve seen more states see prices climb than fall, which has been driven by oil’s volatility as debt ceiling discussions are ongoing.” De Haan expects prices to rise slightly this week, especially if there are positive developments in the debt ceiling discussions. With continued discussions about reaching a bipartisan agreement to raise the nation’s debt limit, the price of oil has remained somewhat volatile, given the economic repercussions that come with the situation. U.S. retail gasoline demand saw a rise of 1.1 percent last week, and the most common U.S. gas price was 3.39 per gallon, up ten cents from last week.


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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