National Ag News for June 8, 2023

Whole Milk for Healthy Kids Act Moves Out of Committee

The Committee on Education and the Workforce this week voted to advance a bill restoring whole milk in schools. The Whole Milk for Healthy Kids Act of 2023 highlights milk’s health benefits and nutrients to young Americans, including better bone health, lower blood pressure, and reduced risk of cardiovascular disease or Type 2 diabetes. According to the most recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans, milk is a source of three out of four under-consumed nutrients – calcium, potassium, and vitamin D.  The bill would allow for unflavored and flavored whole milk to be offered in school cafeterias. Representative Glenn “GT” Thompson, a Pennsylvania Republican and Chair of the House Agriculture Committee, says, “For too long, milk has been demonized, depriving a generation of students of 13 essential nutrients that are key to their overall health and academic success.”

NPPC Speaks Up on Policy Priorities at World Pork Expo

The National Pork Producers Council hosted a policy panel this week at the 2023 World Pork Expo. NPPC board officers and experts discussed the pork industry’s current priorities vital to protecting producers’ livelihoods and ensuring pork production remains a pillar of the U.S. economy. NPPC President Scott Hays says, “Advocating for reasonable public policy, expanding exports, protecting our animals from foreign animal diseases and defending efforts to restrict what we do all help keep our farms successful.” Preparing for and preventing foreign animal diseases, addressing the agricultural labor shortage, and increasing pork exports are some of the top public-policy issues for pork producers. NPPC CEO Bryan Humphreys commented that recent policy successes and disappointments will impact producers for years to come. With the Supreme Court’s decision upholding California Proposition 12, another NPPC priority is working with the California Department of Food and Agriculture to ensure a smooth transition for farmers and consumers who want to continue buying pork at California grocery stores and restaurants.

Office of Small Farms Establishment Act Introduced in House and Senate 

New legislation introduced this week would increase support for farmers, ranchers, and foresters with small-acreage operations across the country. The Office of Small Farms Establishment Act would create a new office within USDA. The office would ensure that small-acreage operations have equitable access to the critical federal programs that provide farm loans, conservation funding, and crop insurance. New Jersey Democrat Cory Booker introduced the bill in the Senate, and Democrat Representatives Marilyn Strickland of Washington, Alma Adams of North Caroline and Jim McGovern introduced the bill in the House. Small farms are essential to local and regional food supply chains, bolstering rural economic vitality, food security, and community resilience, according to the lawmakers. Although they only cover eight percent of agricultural land, they are responsible for 20 percent of all agricultural sales. American Farmland Trust supports the legislation, as a spokesperson for the organization says, “This bill is really about ensuring equitable access to the full range of essential support” for farmers.

Avian Flu Losses in 2022 Impact on Consumer Prices

USDA’s Economic Research Service reports frozen wholesale turkey breast prices climbed abruptly in response to the 2022 avian flu outbreak. Before the outbreak started in February 2022, both frozen whole bird and wholesale turkey breast prices had been increasing gradually. Cumulative losses because of avian flu surpassed seven million turkeys, and breast prices peaked at $2.98 per pound in the week ending October 7, 2022. Prices remained elevated for the remainder of the year. Once reports of new outbreaks slowed in mid-December 2022, whole turkey hen prices leveled off. At the same time, breast prices declined, averaging $2.34 per pound in the week ending April 28, 2023. This is $0.32 higher than a similar week in 2022, but down $0.64 from the peak price last year. Divergence in prices between frozen turkey breast meat and whole bird prices is, in part, explained by seasonality. Demand for whole birds is much more seasonal than wholesale demand for turkey breast meat.

NMPF Board of Directors Names Gregg Doud New President and CEO

The National Milk Producers Federation’s Board of Directors unanimously voted to name Gregg Doud as its next president and CEO. Doud will follow Jim Mulhern, who announced his retirement at the end of the year earlier this week. NMPF board chairman Randy Mooney says, “Dairy farmers across the nation are pleased to endorse a true champion of agriculture, someone who both understands the hard work we do and the opportunities and challenges we face both here and abroad.” Doud has served in numerous leadership roles in trade associations and government work in his more than 30-year career in agricultural policy and economics, most recently at Aimpoint Research. From 2018 to 2021, he served as Chief Agricultural Negotiator for the U.S. Office of the Trade Representative. Doud will begin official work at NMPF in September as its chief operating officer before assuming the role of president and CEO upon Mulhern’s retirement.

Teachers Share FFA and Agricultural Opportunities

Teachers around the country are sharing the word about agriculture and agricultural education. More than 70 agricultural education teachers are sharing the message of agriculture as part of the National Teacher Ambassadors for FFA program. The program began in 2016 and provides teachers with the tools to share information about FFA and agricultural education with their communities. Teachers selected for the program receive intensive training in June and July to learn and collaborate on educational resources. Similar to last year, this year’s training will be virtual. Throughout the year, the ambassadors will present workshops and work with teachers nationwide to brainstorm and share ideas. The ambassadors will also serve as a voice of the organization to teachers. FFA senior educational consultant Sarah Dickinson says, “Through this program, we equip teachers with the tools they need to be successful in not only developing future leaders but also in telling their stories.”


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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