National Ag News for September 15, 2023

State Ag Departments Set Policy Priorities

The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture set policy priorities for the upcoming year during its annual meeting. NASDA will advocate to give the USDA more authority to be flexible in serving farmers and ranchers who often face challenges in seeking disaster assistance. NASDA members also want existing gaps in insurance coverage and federal disaster relief programs closed to protect farmers from an increasing number of natural disasters. Members will also advocate for standards that ensure clear and consistent labeling for cell-based meat products, also referred to as cultured meat. During the meeting, NASDA also adopted a new policy of supporting laws that protect farmers’ right to farm. The new policy advocates for protecting agricultural and forestry operations from nuisance lawsuits. NASDA members also amended the organization’s policy to support increased investment in apprenticeships and educational programming because of a tremendous need for workers with training specializing in agricultural fields.

NASDA Elects News Leadership at Annual Meeting

The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture finished its annual meeting by electing new leadership for 2023-2024. Blayne Arthur, Oklahoma Secretary of Agriculture, will serve as NASDA’s 2023-2024 President and host the 2024 NASDA Annual Meeting on September 22-25, 2024. “The opportunity to serve as NASDA President is incredibly humbling and certainly an honor, and I appreciate the support of my fellow Ag Commissioners in this new role,” Arthur says. “Agriculture looks different all across the U.S., but I look forward to working together to cultivate common ground as we help producers feed, fuel, and clothe the world.” She also says NASDA members will remain steadfast in their commitment to strengthen and promote agriculture in this country and she’s excited to continue this work. Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture Wes Ward is the new Vice President, Amanda Beal of Maine is Second VP, and Washington’s Derek Sandison is the Secretary-Treasurer.

September is National Chicken Month

September is National Chicken Month, celebrating the most-consumed meat in the U.S. Two-thirds of all chickens in America are raised in Alabama, Georgia, Arkansas, North Carolina, Mississippi, and Texas. Chicken is also one of the top agricultural exports for the U.S. Foreign markets are increasingly important, accounting for $4.4 billion and 16 percent of world production in 2022. The U.S. is the second-largest exporter in the world as more than 145 countries imported U.S. frozen chicken leg quarters, legs, and thighs last year. While American consumers prefer chicken breast meat, dark meat is more widely desired and consumed internationally. Most U.S. chicken meat exports are often destined for low and middle-income countries that value safe, affordable, and tasty high-protein options. In 2022, almost all of the U.S. broiler meat exports went to developing economies. Fourteen percent of shipments were exported to some of the least developed countries in the world.

EPA Resolves Long-Standing ESA Litigation

The U.S. Justice Department, on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency, resolved long-standing litigation covering over 1,000 pesticide products. The resolution allows EPA to fulfill its obligations to protect endangered species while conducting reviews and approvals of pesticides in a safe and protective manner. In 2011, a lawsuit was filed against EPA alleging it violated the Endangered Species Act when it registered or reevaluated the registration of 382 pesticide active ingredients. A settlement entered in a federal court resolves all outstanding claims. “The agreement is a win-win to protect endangered species, ensure the availability of pesticides needed to grow food across America, and save considerable time and taxpayer expenses further required to litigate this case,” says Michael Freedhoff of the EPA. “This settlement allows EPA time to fulfill its obligations under the ESA and adopt key elements from the Agency’s 2022 ESA work plan, which has a wide range of stakeholders’ support.”  

USDA Invests $6.5 Million in Risk Management Education

The USDA is awarding approximately $6.5 million to 22 organizations to educate underserved, small-scale, and organic producers on-farm risk management and climate-smart farm practices. The funding from the Risk Management Agency provides assistance through its Risk Management Education partnerships for organizations like non-profits and land grant universities. “This funding and these partnerships are integral to our outreach efforts in communities that historically have not had access to training about risk management options,” says RMA Administrator Marcia Bunger. “As a farmer, I know first-hand that agriculture is a risky business.” She also says because of that risk, the agency is determined to work with growers and livestock producers to provide them with training and resources about risk management options and how to apply them to their farming businesses. RMA first advertised the available funds in January, and this year’s recipients include nonprofits, historically black colleges, and university extensions, among others.

Farmers Show High Interest in Harvest Autonomy

Farmers in the U.S. and Canada appear to be embracing autonomous technology to optimize their operations and boost productivity. A survey conducted by Forward Group revealed that 65 percent of the operators surveyed expressed enthusiasm for adopting autonomy solutions, while 29 percent showed high levels of enthusiasm. The survey findings emphasize the positive impact of autonomous solutions on farming efficiency, profitability, and sustainability. Sixty-seven percent of the farmers intend to adopt autonomy technology by 2027, with 47 percent planning integration into their operations by 2025, provided the technology proves effective for the tasks. The survey also shows that 59 percent of farmers believe the autonomy will bring significant value to their carting operations. A substantial 51 percent of respondents expressed trust in autonomy technology for their harvesting. The driving factors behind the growing interest include 42 percent of the farmers interested in the technology wanting the autonomy to increase their productivity.


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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