National Ag News for September 21, 2023

New Crop Insurance for Tropical Storms Benefits Producers Impacted by Idalia

USDA’s recent hurricane crop insurance policy expansion to cover tropical storms this year has already provided farmers $85.4 million to help them recover from Hurricane Idalia. USDA’s Risk Management Agency rolled out the new Tropical Storm Option for its Hurricane Insurance Protection-Wind Index Endorsement earlier this year after working with farmers to improve coverage. Additionally, producers have received $84.8 million in indemnities for hurricane-related losses for a total of over $170 million in crop insurance payments that will directly help farmers and rural communities recover from Hurricane Idalia. This coverage was unavailable this time last year. RMA Administrator Marcia Bunger says, “I commend farmers and their organizations for reaching out to RMA to discuss new coverage, and our staff for promptly working on creative solutions to make this coverage a reality.” Farmers do not need to file a claim to receive payment. If a county is triggered, then the Approved Insurance Provider will issue a payment in the coming weeks.

Stratovation to Launch Collaborative Specialty Crop Biologicals Study

Stratovation Group is engineering a new study on how specialty-crop growers perceive agricultural biologicals for vegetable, leafy greens and fruit and nut crops. The new study, “Biologicals: Specialty Crop Growers’ Perceptions, Values and Potential,” will be conducted in collaboration with Western Growers, the Agricultural Retailers Association, DC Legislative and Regulatory Services, and The Fertilizer Institute. TFI President and CEO Corey Rosenbusch says, “This effort provides a unique opportunity to gather insights directly from growers, enabling our members to support their input needs effectively and drive sustainable innovation deeper into agriculture.” The specialty crop effort will be a comprehensive market research effort focused on understanding farmer/grower opinions on the current use, issues and potential for biologicals, but specifically for vegetable, leafy greens and fruit and nut production at the farm level. The 2023 study will set benchmarks around the use of biologicals by specialty crop growers and provide a roadmap to companies seeking to grow and develop the market category.

Russian Wheat Exports Remain Biggest Risk to U.S. Elevators

A modest rebound in U.S. wheat production and supplies is improving the outlook for profitability among grain elevators that store wheat. Futures market carries have improved for all three major classes of wheat, and the buy basis is widening following a bigger harvest. The larger harvest follows two years of poor production and a historic run of inverted futures markets that sapped profitability for storing wheat. However, according to CoBank, the major risk to elevators in the year ahead is a sharp rally in wheat prices. Wheat stocks among major exporters are historically tight, and any disruption to the flow of Russian exports through the Black Sea could trigger a sharp price run-up. CoBank economist Tanne Ehmke says, “The flood of cheap Russian wheat into the global market may have created a false sense of security in the world wheat market.” Russia is currently harvesting a near-record wheat crop with substantial carryover inventories from last year’s record-sized harvest.

Oilseed Groups Urge Use of GREET Model for SAF Tax Incentives

Oilseed groups delivered a letter this week to the Biden administration seeking support for investments made by U.S. companies and farmers who are ramping up production of sustainable aviation fuel. Using the GREET model will support investments by farmers, oilseed processors and domestic producers to meet the sustainable aviation fuel challenge, according to the groups. Clean Fuels Alliance America, the American Soybean Association, the National Oilseed Processors Association, and the U.S. Canola Association came together to make the request. The letter states, “Without this, our combined members and others in the industry may not be able to follow through on investments in sustainable aviation fuel production.” GREET is the Argonne National Laboratory’s Greenhouse Gases, Regulated Emissions, and Energy Use in Transportation model. The letter asks the administration to consider the billions of dollars that members of the associations have made to build new or optimize existing production facilities and expand availability of sustainable, homegrown, low-carbon feedstocks like soybean oil and canola.

USDA Expands Efforts to Prevent and Reduce Food Waste

The Department of Agriculture Wednesday announced an additional $25 million investment to expand efforts to prevent and reduce food loss and waste. The investment, funded under the American Rescue Plan Act, is part of a joint agency initiative between USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture and USDA’s Office of the Chief Economist. More than one-third of all available food goes uneaten through loss or waste. When food is tossed aside, so too are opportunities for improved food security, economic growth and environmental prosperity. The funding will support the Community Food Projects, Competitive Grants Program to reduce food loss and waste, get surplus wholesome food to individuals, and develop linkages between food producers, providers and food recovery organizations. Since 2017, NIFA has committed $123.5 million across 527 projects relating to food loss and waste. This latest investment will expand several of NIFA’s core programs by $25 million, and has awarded $4.3 million in fiscal year 2023.

Majority of U.S. Apples Used in Juices

Apples are a fall staple, showing up in lunch boxes, pies, cobblers, crisps, and cider. However, new data from USDA’s Economic Research Service shows a majority of apples are used in juices. In 2021, 45.9 pounds of apples per person were available for domestic consumption, according to USDA’s Food Availability data product. Fifty-two percent of the available apples for U.S. domestic use, 23.7 pounds per person, was in the form of juice or cider, or about two gallons per person. Fresh apples accounted for 34 percent, 15.8 pounds per person. Canned, frozen, dried, and other forms made up the remaining 14 percent of apple availability in 2021. Over the last ten years, per-person apple availability reached a high of 49.2 pounds per person in 2016. Much of the decrease since 2016 was because of declining availability of fresh apples. In 2016, fresh apple availability was 19.3 pounds per person.


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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