National Ag News for September 8, 2023

Federal Reserve Releases August Beige Book

The Federal Reserve released its August Beige Book update, a summary of commentary on current economic conditions from the Fed. The report includes several observations on the U.S. agricultural economy. Drought was affecting several of the Fed’s districts across the country. In the Tenth District, the Kansas City Fed says the farm economy was strong, but conditions softened alongside lower commodity prices and persistent drought. In the Eleventh District in Dallas, a significant portion of the district entered or re-entered drought during the past six weeks. In the Minneapolis Fed’s Ninth District, prices were retreating to levels that could be below break-even for some producers because of high input costs. In the Eighth District of St. Louis, the percentage of cotton and rice rated fair or better stayed stable despite record-breaking heat and heat-dome-induced thunderstorms. In the Twelfth District of San Francisco, conditions in the agriculture and resource-related sectors remained largely unchanged.

NMPF Reorganizes Leadership

The National Milk Producers Federation announced staff reorganization as it transitions to new leadership. Incoming President and CEO Gregg Doud began working with the organization as the organization’s Chief Operating Officer, a position he will hold until the current President and CEO Jim Mulhern retires in January. “I am excited to announce these changes, which will enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of our structure,” Mulhern says. “They also recognize the contributions of the affected individuals to our overall success.” He also says these changes also position the organization well for even greater success in the future. NMPF named three new Executive Vice Presidents as part of the reorganization, recognizing responsibilities that are expanding across NMPF teams. Paul Bleiberg is the Executive Vice President of Government Relations, Shawna Morris is the Executive VP of Trade Policy and Global Affairs, and Alan Bjerga is the Executive VP of Communications and Industry Relations.

CAB Launches New Direct-to-Consumer Program

Certified Angus Beef launched a brand-new Ranch to Table Program. That means Angus farmers and ranchers now have the option to market their beef directly to consumers as a CAB product. Ranch to Table is a direct partnership program between CAB and cattle operations using Angus genetics that allows ranchers to use the brand’s trusted reputation for increased gain. “This is another way for Angus ranchers to continue taking pride in and having equity in the brand by being able to hang brand standards on those cattle that ultimately qualify,” says Kara Lee, director of producer engagement for CAB. To participate in the program, a producer’s cattle must incorporate registered Angus genetics, which may require American Angus Association active membership or proof of bull registrations. Producers must also be Beef Quality Assurance certified. As with any CAB product, the cattle must meet the brand’s live-animal evaluation with a predominantly solid-black hide.

Another Challenge to GMOs

The Center for Food Safety filed a legal appeal against the USDA in response to its genetically engineered labeling rules. The organization says those rules do not mandate clear on-package food labeling and allow unlabeled hidden GMOs to proliferate in the U.S. food marketplace. The CFS was victorious in a 2022 district court ruling in its original USDA lawsuit, which found it unlawful to use inaccessible digital QR codes on food products instead of clear and accessible labeling. Despite the decision, the court refused to vacate USDA’s decision allowing this practice. “USDA is hiding the presence of the majority of GMO food ingredients from American consumers with its exemption for highly-refined foods despite a law passed by Congress,” says Meredith Stevenson, CFS attorney. “The Court rubber-stamped USDA’s decision to exclude highly refined foods like sodas and oils from labeling and use unfamiliar terminology, keeping consumers in the dark about their food.”

The First Autonomous Tractor Arrived at the University of Missouri

It took more than a year, but University of Missouri researchers welcomed the arrival of one of the nation’s first-of-its-kind electric, autonomous tractors. It’s known as the Monarch MK-V tractor. Researchers called it a “revolutionary piece of technology” that will get studied for its ability to refine agricultural practices and support farmers with disabilities. The University received the tractor as part of a grant awarded by the USDA’s Equipment Grants Program. The new tractor, to be charged with a biofuel generator, will serve as a tool for teaching and research in the agriculture and engineering programs. Researchers will explore the autonomous functions of the tractor, like making use of the sensors and cameras to collect images and then store the data from those images. They also want to understand the tractor’s ability to use artificial intelligence to enhance precision agriculture. Researchers are quite excited about the next generation of technology.

Brazil Breaks Soybean Export Record with Surprise Sales

The University of Illinois Farmdoc Daily says Brazil’s farmers are shipping out a lot of soybeans. Brazil’s farmers harvested almost 160 million tons of soybeans during the previous crop season. That resulted in record exports in the first seven months of 2023. Price competitiveness led to a significant increase in the volume of soybeans shipped to China. Brazil also benefited from sales to a nation that’s not on its regular customers list: Argentina, the third-largest soybean producer behind Brazil and the U.S. Argentina lost almost half its soybean crop because of drought. To meet its crushing industry contracts for soybean oil and meal, Argentina purchased Brazilian soybeans and became the second-leading destination for Brazil’s soybeans after China. Argentina is also losing its top position as soybean meal exporter this season, giving up its spot to neighboring Brazil. Brazil’s soybean exports reached 72.47 million tons during the first seven months of 2023.


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: