National Ag News for May 31, 2023

USDA Extends Deadline for Revenue Loss Programs

USDA is extending deadlines for the Emergency Relief Program Phase Two and the Pandemic Assistance Revenue Program to July 14. The goal is to give producers more time to apply for the assistance. Also, USDA’s Farm Service Agency is partnering with nine organizations to provide educational and technical assistance to agricultural producers and provide assistance in completing an ERP Phase Two application. “Farm Service Agency recognizes that there is a learning curve for producers applying for the new revenue-based programs, and we want to make sure producers have the time they need to apply for assistance,” says FSA Administrator Zach Ducheneaux. “Partnering with these organizations through cooperative agreements provides additional assistance to producers who need help with ERP Phase Two.” The groups include Farmers Legal Action Group, Inc., the North South Institute, Rural Coalition, and others. For more information on the nine organizations and their contact information, go to

Next USDA Trade Mission Heading to Japan

USDA Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Alexis Taylor will lead an upcoming trade mission to Japan on June 5-8. The delegation will include a large representation of American agriculture, including businesses, state agriculture departments, and commodity groups. “As one of the world’s leading economies, Japan is an important market for U.S. food and agricultural exports,” Taylor says. “It’s an honor to lead this delegation as we work to expand our bilateral trade relationship even further.” Japan is the fourth-largest market for U.S. food and agricultural exports. In 2022, American exports matched the previous record of $14.6 billion. Exports of specific products like soybeans, dairy, and others reached new highs. The United States is vital to ensuring food security in Japan, with almost a quarter of Japan’s food and ag imports coming from American exporters. Trips like this are important for engaging directly with potential buyers and Japanese industry experts.

Talks Continue on Merging U.S. and Canadian Ag Giants

Glencore, a global commodities trader, is in talks to merge its agricultural division. The Globe and Mail says the company wants to merge Viterra, Ltd, a large Canadian company acquired in 2012, with Bunge Ltd. If the merger takes place, it will create a large North American-based company. Viterra operates a large number of grain elevators, specialty crop facilities, processing plants, and port terminals through most of Canada and parts of the U.S. Glencore wants to merge it with Bunge, based out of St. Louis, one of the world’s dominant ag companies with a market value of $14 billion. Glencore first proposed a merger idea with Bunge in 2017 but was turned down. A source close to the discussions says a deal seems much more likely this time than six years ago, but the sides haven’t agreed on a final price. Glencore originally bought Viterra for $6 billion in 2012.

Safety From too Much Sun

People working in production agriculture spend a lot of time out in the sun, and their risks are high for skin cancer. While the warm sun often feels good on the skin, it’s important to take steps to protect yourself from overexposure and reduce skin-related risks. The Upper Midwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center says appropriate sun protection includes covering the whole body with clothing, wearing a hat with a full brim, having adequate sunscreen coverage, and sunglasses. As a part of its safety checklist, they remind farmers to wear long-sleeved shirts and pants when out in the sun. Hats should be wide-brimmed and all the way around the head. An appropriate sunscreen should be anywhere between SPF 30-50 and should be reapplied every two hours or more frequently with heavy sweating. Wear sunglasses to protect the eyes. Check your skin regularly and talk to a doctor about any changes you see.

Congressional Leaders, White House Reach Debt Ceiling Agreement

Congressional leaders and the White House reached an agreement on extending the debt limit. The new agreement is expected to reach the House floor for debate by Wednesday. The two sides reached an agreement including compromises on work requirements in the SNAP program. Chris Gibbs, Board President of Rural Voices USA, says now that the agreement has been reached, it’s time for Congress to get it passed. “Rural America would be hammered by default and its cascading impacts on retirement savings, farm credit, access to capital, benefits, and more,” he says. “In addition to avoiding this politically-manufactured crisis, Congress needs to get back to the legislating business.” Gibbs also says it’s time to invest in rural America through healthcare and education, expanding new markets for American agricultural products, and protecting every American’s right to vote. With SNAP work requirements settled, it should provide a somewhat smoother path toward the next farm bill.

Drought Area Spreading in Parts of Rural America

USDA Meteorologist Brad Rippey is looking back at May and notes some farmers are still concerned about drought. “It’s been dry over much of the Midwest during the last one to three months, depending on where you’re at,” Rippey says. The American Meteorological Society says a 4-12 week period of dryness fits the definition of a flash drought. A flash drought is an “unusually rapid onset drought characterized by a multi-week timeframe of accelerated intensification that impacts one or more sectors of the U.S., including agriculture. Rippey also says the area around Chicago is going through a flash drought. Data shows the Chicago area is headed for its second-driest May in history. The likely rainfall total for the Chicago area is just .42 of an inch. Rippey says 26 percent of corn acres, 36 percent of cotton, 20 percent of soybeans, and 47 percent of wheat are in some level of drought.


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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