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| Rural Advocate News | Friday August 12, 2022 |


Congressional Research Office Details Ag Provision in Inflation Reduction Act The Congressional Research Service this week published details of the Inflation Reduction Act regarding agriculture. The Senate passed the bill, which is considered a substitute to the House-passed Build Back Better Act, on August 7, and the House will consider the bill Friday (today). The legislation provides $19.5 billion for agricultural conservation. It would add over $18 billion in additional funding for existing farm bill conservation programs. The bill also provides debt relief for distressed farm borrowers and assistance for underserved farmers and ranchers. These provisions would replace similar provisions from the American Rescue Plan Act that were blocked by the courts because the relief was found to be race-based and not narrowly tailored to meet a compelling state interest. The legislation would support renewable energy initiatives, primarily by providing $13.3 billion for farm bill energy title programs, and provide $5 billion in funding for forest management, planning and restoration. *********************************************************************************** U.S. Harvesters and Heavy-Duty Tractors Gain in July, Smaller Units Continue Decline U.S. and Canadian ag tractor monthly unit sales in July 2022 fell, while combine sales grew in the U.S., according to the latest data from the Association of Equipment Manufacturers. U.S. total farm tractor sales fell 21 percent for the month of July compared to 2021, while combine sales for the month grew 9.2 percent to 715 units sold. That’s the second straight month of gains in combine harvesters so far this year. Heavy-duty ag tractors were positive, but total farm tractor sales are down 14.8 percent year-to-date, while combine sales are approaching even, now down only 2.2 percent on the year. In Canada, overall unit sales in tractors were down 10.7 percent, while harvesters are down 22.1 percent, reversing the previous month’s improvement. AEM’s Curt Blades says, “Right now, the trends we’re seeing in farm equipment unit sales tracks with trends we’re seeing in the overall economy.” *********************************************************************************** USDA Awards $74 Million to Improve Rural Health Care The Biden administration Thursday announced a $74 million effort to improve health care facilities in rural communities. The USDA Rural Development grants will help 143 rural health care organizations expand critical services for 3 million people in 37 states, Guam and Puerto Rico. The investments include $32 million for 67 rural health care organizations to help more than one million people living in socially vulnerable communities. The Biden administration made the funds available in the Emergency Rural Health Care Grants Programs through its historic legislative package, the American Rescue Plan Act. The investments will help rural hospitals and health care providers implement telehealth and nutrition assistance programs, increase staffing to administer COVID-19 vaccines and testing, build or renovate facilities, and purchase medical supplies. They also will help regional partnerships, public bodies, nonprofits and Tribes solve regional rural health care problems and build a stronger, more sustainable rural health care system in response to the pandemic. *********************************************************************************** USDA to Invest $15 Million in Innovative Projects for Climate-Smart Agriculture The Department of Agriculture this week announced a $15 million investment for the Conservation Innovation Grants Classic program. Through the program, grantees work to address water quantity, air quality, soil health and wildlife habitat challenges, all while supporting agricultural production. This year's funding priorities are climate-smart agriculture, addressing invasive species and conservation in urban agricultural systems. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service Chief Terry Cosby says, “We’re eager to help our nation’s farmers and ranchers address these challenges and opportunities, and science and innovation will help get us there.” For the fiscal 2022 award process, at least ten percent of the total funds available are set aside for proposals that entirely benefit historically underserved producers. Applications are being accepted now through October 11, 2022. Private entities whose primary business is related to agriculture, nongovernmental organizations with experience working with agricultural producers and non-federal government agencies are eligible to apply. For more information and to apply, visit grants.gov *********************************************************************************** USDA Invests $2.2 Million to Help Underserved Producers, Small Farms The Department of Agriculture Thursday announced a $2.2 million award to 16 organizations to educate historically underserved producers, small-scale farmers and others. The award from USDA's Risk Management Agency funds farm risk management and climate-smart farm practices. USDA says the funding provides the resources for organizations, such as nonprofits and universities, to develop training and resources for producers on risk management options. RMA Administrator Marcia Bunger says, "This funding and these partnerships help us reach communities that have historically lacked access to training and resources." This $2.2 million investment for 2022 builds on a nearly $1 million investment in 2021. RMA advertised available funding in January 2022, and more than 50 organizations applied. Successful applicants provided comprehensive summary of work statements and budgets, and proposals that demonstrated an ability to partner with other entities to deliver training. Organizations receiving funding this year include nonprofits, historically black colleges and universities, and university extensions, among others. ********************************************************************************** National Farmers Union Schedules Washington Fly-in National Farmers Union members will head to Washington, DC, next month for the organization’s Fall Legislative Fly-In Sunday, September 11th through Wednesday, September 14. During the four-day gathering, Farmers Union members from across the country will meet with Members of Congress, of Agriculture officials, and representatives from other federal agencies. Throughout the meetings, Farmers Union members will share their legislative and policy priorities for the final months of 2022. Farmers Union members will highlight the need for Fairness for Farmers policies, which include placing a special investigator for meat and poultry at USDA, strengthening the Packers and Stockyards Act, bringing more openness to the cattle market, re-establishing Country Of Origin Labeling for beef, and ensuring that farmers have the right to repair their own equipment. Discussions will also be held to outline NFU’s priorities for the upcoming 2023 Farm Bill and how the Inflation Reduction Act can best help family farmers and ranchers address the climate crisis.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday August 12, 2022 |


Friday Watch List Markets The University of Michigan's index of U.S. consumer sentiment is set of 9 a.m. CDT Friday, followed by USDA's WASDE and Crop Production reports at 11 a.m. CDT. One hour later, the Farm Service Agency will release its first estimate of prevented plantings in 2022. Traders will keep their usual habits and stay close to the weather forecast. Weather A disturbance moving through the Upper Midwest is bringing scattered showers and thunderstorms to Minnesota and Wisconsin Friday morning and will continue to press a bit eastward throughout the day. Some moderate to heavy rain will be possible in spots. Other scattered showers remain possible across the Southeast as a front continues to slip south through the region. Meanwhile, heat continues to be widespread through the majority of the Plains, stressing filling crops.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday August 11, 2022 |


Consumer Price Index: Inflation Continues for Food Prices The latest Consumer Price Index released Wednesday shows a continued increase in the cost of food in the United States. The food index increased 1.1 percent in July, the seventh consecutive monthly increase of 0.9 percent or more. The food at home index rose 1.3 percent in July as all six major grocery store food group indexes increased. The index for nonalcoholic beverages rose the most, up 2.3 percent, as the index for coffee rose 3.5 percent. The index for other food at home rose 1.8 percent, as did the index for cereals and bakery products. The index for dairy products increased 1.7 percent, and the index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs rose 0.5 percent in July after declining in June. The index for fruits and vegetables also increased 0.5 percent over the month. The overall Consumer Price Index was unchanged in July after rising 1.3 percent in June, and the gasoline index fell 7.7 percent in July. *********************************************************************************** Ukraine Reports 2.66 Million Metric tons of Ag Exports in July Ukraine's Ministry of Agrarian Policy reports the country exported 2.66 million metric tons of grains and oilseeds in July 2022, 22.7 percent more than June. Exports of wheat increased more than three times in July to about 412,000 tons compared to 138,400 tons that were shipped for export in June. At the same time, this is significantly less than the 960,000 tons of wheat exported from Ukraine in July 2021 through the working seaports of the country, but the impact of the new crop is noticeable. Ukraine shipped 183,000 tons of barley, higher than the 26,000 tons of barley exported a month earlier. However, this is less than the 1.1 million tons of barley shipped in July last year. Corn exports increased in July by 84.7 thousand tons compared to June and amounted to 1.1 million tons. For comparison, in July 2021, corn exports were at the level of 960,000 tons, because traditionally, at this time, the Ukrainian corn season was coming to an end. *********************************************************************************** Growth in Number of Farmers Markets Slows New data released Wednesday from USDA’s Economic Research Service shows the growth in the number of farmers markets is slowing. According to USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service, from 1994 to 2019, the number of farmers markets rose from 1,755 to 8,771 in 2019, averaging growth of nearly seven percent per year. Expansion began to slow in 2011 before eventually falling below a one-percent per year increase between 2016 and 2017. Since then, growth in the number of farmers markets has remained modest and stable. A USDA ERS report found that shares of local food sales have increased at intermediate market outlets, such as grocery stores, restaurants, and distributors. Increased availability of local products at these outlets corresponds with a plateau in purchases at direct-to-consumer outlets such as farmers markets and contributes to the observed slower growth relative to the prior two decades. According to the 2019 National Farmers Market Manager Survey, about two-thirds of farmers market vendors reported an increase in overall production. *********************************************************************************** USDA Invests Nearly $8M to Improve Dietary Health and Nutrition Security The Department of Agriculture Wednesday announced the availability of nearly $8 million to support the Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program Produce Prescription Program. The funding is part of USDA’s American Rescue Plan efforts and will be administered by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. GusNIP Produce Prescription projects provide financial and non-financial incentives to income-eligible individuals and families to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables to improve dietary health through increased consumption of fruits and vegetables. By bringing together stakeholders from various parts of the food and health care systems, GusNIP projects foster understanding to improve the health and nutritional status of participating households and use data to identify and improve best practices on a broad scale. The awards fund GusNIP Produce Prescription meritorious applications from fiscal year 2021 that were highly ranked but could not be funded at the time due to budget constraints. Seventeen projects are being funded. *********************************************************************************** Pro Farmer Crop Tour Upcoming Pro Farmer scouts will fan out across the Corn Belt to measure this year's corn and soybean yield potential during the 30th annual Pro Farmer Crop Tour, set for August 22-25. The tour is an August ritual covering seven Midwestern states and capturing the attention of the industry and media. Observations and results will be shared nightly at in-person events throughout the tour routes and live-streamed online. Registration is required to attend nightly meetings and to access live-streamed results each night. Pro Farmer Crop Tour is the most thorough and most followed inspection of yield potential during a critical time in the growing season. Crop industry stakeholders watch results closely for insights around projected grain supplies and the effects on commodity markets. Farmer-scouts and industry experts will cover corn and soybean fields across Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio and South Dakota during Crop Tour. Interested participants can register for the crop tour online at profarmer.com/register. *********************************************************************************** CHS Foundation to award Grants to Teachers for Agriculture Projects For 75 years, the CHS Foundation has helped develop the next generation of ag leaders for lifelong success. In honor of the milestone, the foundation is awarding $75,000 in grants for K-12 teachers to implement a project at their school that will engage students in experiential agricultural education. Funds will be awarded for projects that have a strong tie to agriculture and demonstrate how they will engage students in agricultural topics. Teachers are encouraged to dream big, but ideas include implementing a new ag class or pathway or purchasing agriculture equipment for hands-on learning. Written and video submissions will be accepted until October 1, 2022. First place will be awarded $20,000, second place will receive $15,000, and third place will receive $10,000. An additional 12 finalists will be selected, and each receive $2,500. The initiative is open to any K-12 educators in a CHS trade territory. For more information about the program, visit chsfoundation.org.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday August 11, 2022 |


Thursday Watch List Markets USDA's weekly export sales report is due out at 7:30 a.m. CDT, the same time as the weekly U.S. jobless claims, the Labor Department's producer price index for July and an update of the U.S. Drought Monitor. The Energy Department's report on natural gas storage follows at 9:30 a.m. Traders will continue to stay on top of the latest weather forecasts and watch for any news regarding Ukraine or export sales. Weather It is a tale of two halves across the U.S. on Thursday. Heat continues to build across the West and Plains while milder air is being reinforced by a secondary cold front east of the Mississippi River. Widespread showers continue in the Southeast today and isolated showers will form on the edge of the hot-cold dynamic across the Upper Midwest. Some heavier precipitation will be possible in North Dakota into Minnesota overnight into Friday.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday August 10, 2022 |


Legislation to Protect and Expand Broadband Access Senators Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin and Joni Ernst of Iowa introduced bipartisan legislation to protect and expand access to high-speed internet in rural communities and encourage rural broadband investment. The Access to Capital Creates Economic Strength and Supports Rural America Act would provide regulatory relief to rural telecommunications service providers by allowing them to submit streamlined financial reports to the Securities and Exchange Commission. These small businesses are often the only service providers in their regions and could be put out of business by looming regulatory costs. The ACCESS Rural America Act would save small businesses from costly SEC reporting requirements that were never intended for them. “Reliable high-speed broadband is essential to rural families, students, and farmers,” says Baldwin. “Unfortunately, rural telecom companies are getting hit with costly reporting fees that are intended for much-larger companies, threatening to upend their businesses and halt their service to the communities.” *********************************************************************************** Tyson Foods Reports Sales Slump Amid Lower Demand, Higher Costs Reduced domestic and international demand for pork is hitting Tyson Foods, one of the nation’s top pork producers. The Arkansas-based meatpacker reported this week that the company earned approximately $25 million from its pork business for the three months ending on July 3. That’s about 63 percent lower than the same quarter in 2021. The company reports that China, the biggest consumer of pork in the world, is buying less pork from the United States. Company executives also reported this week that U.S. stores are buying less pork as well. Hog farmers find themselves needing to decrease the number of pigs they’re raising this year because of higher corn prices for feeding the animals and fewer buyers at the grocery store. Domestically, U.S. farms had approximately 72.5 million head of hogs as of June 1, down one percent from the same day in 2021. Tyson expects that the tight live hog supply will continue. *********************************************************************************** USDA Boosts Conservation on Grazing Lands and Support for Farmers, Ranchers The USDA is investing up to $12 million in partnerships that expand access to conservation technical assistance for livestock producers and increase the use of conservation practices on grazing lands. The Natural Resources Conservation Service is accepting proposals through its Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative until September 22. “Privately-owned grazing lands cover nearly 30 percent of our national landscape, which means we have a tremendous opportunity to address climate change and conserve our natural resources through voluntary, private lands conservation,” says NRCS Chief Terry Cosby. Project proposals for GLCI Cooperative agreements will identify and address barriers to accessing grazing assistance for producers. Through GLCI, the NRCS will leverage partnerships to increase the availability of technical assistance for farmers and ranchers engaged in grazing activities and act as a guide for grazers seeking additional resources. The initiative will expand and establish new peer-to-peer networks for grazers and direct financial support to grazing mentors. *********************************************************************************** Shrinking U.S. Cattle Herd Likely Means Higher Beef Prices American shoppers struggling with inflation are looking at higher beef prices continuing in their local meat cases. Because of high feed prices and severe drought, ranchers were forced to reduce their cattle herds. Grain prices have dropped to their lowest levels since Russia invaded Ukraine, but Reuters says that might not mean lower food prices right away at the grocery store. Corn futures have dropped by 26 percent since they hit a 10-year high in April after the Ukraine conflict sparked supply worries. However, those corn prices are still nine percent higher than last year. While the lower prices benefit livestock producers, U.S. government data showed on July 1 that producers had already lowered the nation’s cattle herd by approximately two percent compared to last year. Ground beef prices are already ten percent higher than last year. Because of continuing drought in cattle country, producers will likely still have to liquidate even more cattle. *********************************************************************************** Soybean and Wheat Inspections for Overseas Delivery Rise The USDA says export inspections of soybeans and wheat rose week-to-week while corn assessments dropped during the week ending August 4. Bean inspections during the week jumped to 867,500 metric tons from almost 595,000 a week earlier. That’s also significantly higher than the 115,000 metric tons examined during the same week in 2021. Wheat assessments rose to 604,000 metric tons during the week, up from just over 308,000 during the previous week. That was down from the 654,000 metric tons during the same week last year. Corn inspections dropped to 555,000 metric tons, significantly lower than the 905,000 tons during the prior week. Since the marketing year began on September 1, corn inspections total 52.5 million metric tons, down from the same time last year. Soybean inspections now stand at 54.5 million metric tons, lower than last year. Wheat assessments total 3.5 million metric tons, trailing the 4.45 million tons from last year. *********************************************************************************** New AgView Feature Furthers Protection for U.S. Pork Industry A new feature from AgView, a pig contact-tracing platform, helps further protect the U.S. pork industry from Foreign Animal Diseases. Producers can now continuously share info with state animal health officials thanks to the new feature that allows them to voluntarily opt-in, log info for each site, and share information. The new feature will allow producers to share individual site owners and contact info for each site,, movement data, Secure Pork Supply documentation, and Lab results. With this information always available, state animal health officials can better monitor foreign animal disease concerns, even without a declared FAD event. AgView is funded by the Pork Checkoff and provides herd health and movement data at the state and federal levels to promote business continuity in case of an FAD concern. All pork producers are encouraged to sign up and participate in AgView, and there’s no additional cost for Pork Checkoff-paying producers to take part.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday August 10, 2022 |


Wednesday Watch LIst Markets The Labor Department will release the U.S. consumer price index for July at 7:30 a.m. CDT Wednesday, a number that will factor into Fed policy. The U.S. Energy Department's weekly report of energy inventories is set for 9:30 a.m. and includes ethanol production. At 1 p.m., the Treasury releases federal budget data for July. Traders continue to stay close to the latest weather forecasts and any news regarding Ukraine. Weather A front continues to move southeast through the country with scattered showers from Texas into the Mid-Atlantic and points southward on Wednesday. Meanwhile, heat is building back into the Plains north of the front. A secondary cold front is moving through the Dakotas and Upper Midwest, which will be the focus for showers late Wednesday through Thursday, but will be rather quiet during the day.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday August 9, 2022 |


Senate Passes Inflation Reduction Act, Includes Ag Funding The Inflation Reduction Act passed by the Senate over the weekend includes some $40 billion of agricultural-focused funding. Passed along party lines, with Vice President Kamala Harris casting the tie-breaking vote, the legislation seeks to address prescription drug prices, climate, and reducing the federal deficit. Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow, a Michigan Democrat, says the legislation "gives farmers the resources they need to tackle the climate crisis by reducing carbon pollution and other greenhouse gas emissions." However, the committee's top Republican, Senator John Boozman of Arkansas, alleges Democrats are “passing their far-Left agenda, including reviving parts of the radical Green New Deal, raising taxes on job creators, turbocharging the IRS to harass taxpayers, and expanding the federal government’s reach." The bill includes $4 billion for drought resilience directed to the Bureau of Reclamation, and $3.1 billion in funding for distressed borrowers of USDA loans, according to Politico. The legislation also includes funding for USDA conservation programs and rural development. *********************************************************************************** USDA: Farmland Values up More Than 12% U.S. farmland prices increased 12.4 percent over the last year, according to new data from the Department of Agriculture. USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service released the 2022 Land Values Summary Friday afternoon. The report shows the U.S. farm real estate value, a measurement of the value of all land and buildings on farms, averaged $3,800 per acre for 2022, up $420 per acre from 2021. The U.S. cropland value averaged $5,050 per acre, an increase of $630 per acre, or 14.3 percent, from the previous year. Finally, the U.S. pasture value averaged $1,650 per acre, an increase of $170 per acre, up 11.5 percent from 2021. In the Corn Belt region, cropland values increased 15.3 percent from $6,880 per acre in 2021, to $7,930 per acre in 2022. New Jersey and California have the highest average cropland values, with Ney Jersey at $15,900, up 7.4 percent from 2021, and California at $15,410, up 11.2 percent from last year. *********************************************************************************** Direct-to-Consumer Farm Sales Reach $10.7 Billion in 2020 Information updated Monday by USDA’s Economic Research Service shows in 2020, U.S. farms sold almost $10.7 billion of food commodities directly to consumer outlets and supply chains. This includes restaurants, grocery stores, regional distributors and local institutions. The figure is nearly $2.8 billion, or 35 percent more than sold in 2019. From 2019 to 2020, sales at farmers markets and restaurants and grocery stores increased by 11 and 13 percent, respectively, whereas sales at farm stores, community-supported agriculture, and other direct-to-consumer channels increased by 79 percent. Meanwhile, sales to regional distributors increased by 73 percent. However, sales to local institutions declined by 86 percent in 2020 relative to 2019, likely because of closures or restricted operations related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Overall, in 2020, 73 percent of total direct sales occurred through intermediary supply chains, while the remaining 27 percent were direct-to-consumer outlets. USDA adds that about seven percent of America’s two million farms sold commodities through direct-to-consumer outlets. *********************************************************************************** USDA Investing $14.5 Million for Taxpayer Education, Outreach Efforts for Agriculture The Department of Agriculture announced funding for two outreach and education efforts for farmers and ranchers late last week. USDA's Farm Service Agency is investing $10 million for agriculture-oriented taxpayer education as well as $4.5 million in outreach for the Conservation Reserve Program's Transition Incentives Program. Both efforts help advance equity and access to USDA programs and agriculture. Deputy Undersecretary for Farm Production and Conservation, Gloria Montaño Greene, says, “Running a farm operation is tough, and we are working to help meet gaps where farmers need assistance.” FSA’s $10 million investment funds the new Taxpayer Education and Asset Protection Initiative. The partnership with the University of Arkansas, the National Farm Income Tax Extension Committee and others, establishes hubs for taxpayer education while developing and delivering tax education resources. For the Conservation Reserve Program's Transition Incentives Program, $4.5 million will award stakeholder organizations to conduct outreach and provide technical assistance to promote the program. *********************************************************************************** House Ag Committee to Host Farm Bill Listening Session in Ohio House Agriculture Committee Chair David Scott Monday announced an upcoming Farm Bill listening session in Ohio. The session is the next in a series titled "A 2022 Review of the Farm Bill: Perspectives from the Field." The House Agriculture Committee has conducted several hearings in Washington, D.C., focused on the 2018 Farm Bill and improvements that can be made in the 2023 Farm Bill. The Georgia Democrat, Scott, says the series of listening sessions allows House Agriculture Committee Members to gather input from producers and consumers on the ground across the country. The next session in the series takes place at 12:00 p.m. ET at Terra State Community College in Fremont, Ohio, on Monday, August 22. It will be hosted by Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, an Ohio Democrat, and chaired by House Agriculture Subcommittee Chair Cheri Bustos, an Illinois Democrat. The event is open to the public, and additional dates and locations will be announced in the coming weeks. *********************************************************************************** CFTC Seeks Nominations for Agricultural Advisory Committee The Commodity Futures Trading Commission seeks nominations for the Agricultural Advisory Committee membership and public input on upcoming priorities. In a Federal Register notice, the CFTC made the request, with a deadline of September 7, 2022. Through public meetings, the committee advises the Commission on agricultural derivatives market regulatory issues and priorities important to producers, processors, consumers, and other stakeholders. The committee is authorized to submit reports and recommendations to the Commission. CFTC Chairman Rostin Behnam, sponsor of the Agricultural Advisory Committee, says the committee’s mission “is particularly important in light of recent environmental developments and geopolitical events affecting the agricultural markets." There are five active Advisory Committees overseen by the CFTC. They were created to provide advice and recommendations to the Commission on a variety of regulatory and market issues that affect the integrity and competitiveness of U.S. markets. The Advisory Committees facilitate communication between the Commission, market participants, regulators, and academics.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday August 9, 2022 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets A report on second-quarter U.S. productivity is due out at 7:30 a.m. CDT Tuesday, the only official report on the docket ahead of the Labor Department's consumer price index on Wednesday. Traders will keep an eye on the weather forecasts, notice the ship reports out of Ukraine and watch for to see if there's another export sale announcement from USDA at 8 a.m. CDT. Weather A front is bringing some relieving temperatures to parts of the Plains and Midwest on Tuesday. Along and south of the front it will be much warmer and widespread showers are likely to occur. The rains are falling on some drought areas from Texas to the northern Delta which should help to ease the stress. Meanwhile, heat is building across the West and leaking out into the Northern Plains.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday August 8, 2022 |


Food Prices Post Biggest Drop Since 2008 Global food prices fell by the biggest amount since 2008 due to easing concerns over the supplies of grains and vegetable oils as Ukraine restarted its exports. The United Nations world food cost index dropped almost nine percent in July. Bloomberg says the index is at its lowest level since January before Russia’s attack on Ukraine helped push the cost of food close to record levels. It’s the fourth-straight monthly drop in the U.N index, giving some relief to consumers struggling with a cost-of-living crisis covering everything from energy to transportation. However, food prices are still high, and global hunger is getting worse. Wheat and corn prices eased last month after Russia and Ukraine reached a deal to reopen Ukraine’s ports. While there are still many challenges yet to solve, three more grain ships left the country’s ports on Friday. Corn harvests in Argentina and Brazil are also helping to ease prices. *********************************************************************************** First-Half Beef Exports on a Billion-Dollar Pace America’s beef exports remained on a red-hot pace during June, topping $1 billion for the fifth time this year. Data compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation also shows that pork exports stayed below last year’s totals during June while lamb exports continued trending higher. June’s beef exports reached 130,600 metric tons, down slightly from the record volume posted in May but up 16 percent year-over-year and the fourth-largest on record. June’s export value was $1.05 billion, also down slightly from the May record but 31 percent higher than last year. Beef export value through the first six months reached $6.19 billion. June’s pork exports totaled 219,100 metric tons, eight percent lower than last year, and valued at $649.9 million. First-half pork exports were 18 percent below last year and valued at $3.62 billion, 16 percent lower than 2021. June lamb exports rose 56 percent compared to 2021 at 1,700 metric tons. *********************************************************************************** Drought Now Covers Half the U.S. Over 50 percent of the U.S. was in at least some level of drought for the fourth-straight week. The U.S. Drought Monitor says the combination of extreme heat and low rainfall is pulling moisture from plants and the soil. The Western U.S. and, especially, California remains in a drought that’s lasted several years. While drought is an increasing worry in the Northeast, Midwest, and South, extreme rainfall events are hitting parts of Kentucky and Mississippi. A flash flood warning was issued for St. Louis late last week, thanks to rainfall rates of several inches per hour. Drought also expanded in some parts of the Southern Plains, particularly in Texas, where the consequences are hitting agriculture and cattle ranching. Drought impacts in Texas ranged from crop failure to water supply problems. The only improvement in the monitor came from heavy rains in the Texas Panhandle, Oklahoma, Arkansas, northern Mississippi, and parts of Tennessee. *********************************************************************************** USDA Extends Comment Period on Proposed Poultry Transparency Rules The USDA is extending the public comment period for its proposed rule to promote transparency in poultry grower contracting and tournaments to August 23. USDA is taking these steps to help ensure the integrity of the federal rulemaking process and to ensure all parties have the opportunity to comment fully. “There is fear throughout the meat and poultry industry as we saw earlier in the year at two Congressional hearings where witnesses didn’t testify due to concerns of retaliation,” says Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack. “But it’s critical that we hear the full story, so we are highlighting the option for comments to be provided anonymously.” Information regarding the proposed rule and the commenting process is also now available in a recorded webinar that’s posted on the Agricultural Marketing Service website. The webinar provides information on the proposed rule to protect American poultry growers from abuses and enhance competitiveness in U.S. livestock and poultry markets. *********************************************************************************** Beyond Meat’s Bubble Starting to Burst Beyond Meat, the plant-based meat company is generating a lot of bad news recently. Food Fix says the company’s stock fell late last week on news it was lowering its revenue forecast for the year. That announcement came one day after saying it would lay off four percent of its workforce to burn less money. A MarketWatch article says the company needs to “dramatically cut costs and lower its spending, or it will wind up bankrupt.” The company’s stock price has been cut in half since the start of 2022, and that’s after share prices had already dropped 45 percent in 2021. The company’s highest valuation of $15 billion now stands at $2 billion. Ethan Brown, founder and CEO of Beyond Meat, says the layoffs are a piece of its larger strategy to reduce expenses and support sustainable growth. Beyond Meat is struggling to turn partnerships with companies like McDonald’s into profitable endeavors. *********************************************************************************** POET Ethanol Gets Into Shipping POET, the world’s largest biofuel producer, says it signed a purchase agreement with Savannah Marine Terminal to acquire its rail-to-container transload facility in Savannah, Georgia. The acquisition will include all equipment and real estate to operate the grain transload facility. The Port of Savannah is one of the highest volume container ports in the U.S. It also has closer proximity to several of POET’s key global markets for its animal feed products. A release from POET says the facility will strengthen POET’s shipping process, ensuring greater traceability and transparency for its customers, who already expect the best in food safety and quality. “This acquisition is yet another indicator of our confidence in the future of the bioeconomy,” says POET Founder and CEO Jeff Broin. “We look forward to the opportunities this facility will create to ensure that our growing suite of plant-based bioproducts is available to consumers across the globe.”

| Rural Advocate News | Monday August 8, 2022 |


Monday Watch List Markets Back from the weekend, traders will pore over the latest weather forecasts and watch for further news from Ukraine and Taiwan. USDA's weekly grain export inspections will be out at 10 a.m. CDT, followed by the Crop Progress report at 3 p.m. Weather A front that moved through the Upper Midwest over the weekend with some heavy rain will continue southeast through the Midwest on Monday. Scattered showers and thunderstorms will develop along the front from Kansas to the southern Great Lakes. A few of those showers over southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois are falling where heavy rain developed over the weekend and could cause flooding. Temperatures remain hot south of the front, which continues to produce stress for filling corn, soybeans, and other summer crops.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday August 5, 2022 |


ReConnect Round Four Funding Application Period is Open USDA Rural Development Undersecretary Xochitl (So-CHEEL) Torres Small says the agency will begin accepting applications on September 6 for funding to expand access to high-speed internet in rural America. USDA is making the next round of funding available through the ReConnect Program, which received new funds from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. “High-speed internet connects people and small businesses to new markets and helps people in rural America build brighter futures,” Torres Small says. “For too long, many rural communities have been left out of the digital economy.” The Department will begin accepting applications on up to $150 million in loans, up to $300 million in loan/grant combinations, and up to $700 million in grants. USDA made several improvements to the ReConnect Program in Round Four to increase the availability of funding in rural areas where residents and businesses lack access to affordable, high-speed internet. More information is available at rd.usa.gov. *********************************************************************************** Dakotas Make Up Large Share of Prevent Plant Claims Since 2007, North and South Dakota had a large share of prevent-plant claims. The University of Illinois’ Farm Doc Daily says those states accounted for 35 percent of U.S. corn and soybean prevent plant acres versus nine percent and 12 percent, respectively, of total acres planted to corn and soybeans. Compared with other North Central states, average planting progress on the first date that prevent-plant can be taken is notably slower in these two states. Farm Doc says this finding implies that farmers in North and South Dakota have more of an opportunity to opt for prevent-plant, prompting a significant insurance policy question: “Should prevent-plant first decision day be set so that the normal planting progress rate is the same for all areas when it’s time to make the prevent-plant decision?” Evidence suggests the prevent plant acres would drop in both states if the first decision day occurred later. *********************************************************************************** EPA Requests Partial Rehearing in Glyphosate Litigation Earlier this week, the Environmental Protection Agency submitted a petition to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals requesting a partial rehearing of its glyphosate interim decision. In that ruling, the panel vacated the interim decision’s human health risk assessment and sent back the ecological risk assessment to the agency to complete an Endangered Species Act analysis by October 1. The EPA is seeking a partial rehearing because of the ecological part of the decision. In its request, the EPA says that finalizing an ESA consultation is a multi-year process, for which the panel only granted 106 days. EPA also says it can’t comply with the order because it has to coordinate with other agencies that aren’t part of the lawsuit. The agency requested the court grant the rehearing to consider lifting the October 1 deadline. The American Soybean Association is a party to the litigation and monitoring the case for further developments. *********************************************************************************** Tyson Foods Ignoring Subpoena in Meat Price Gouging Probe New York’s attorney general says Tyson Foods is refusing to comply with a subpoena for a civil probe into possible price gouging during COVID-19. Letitia (Leh-TEE-sha) James asked a state judge in Manhattan to make Tyson turn over materials like contractual terms, prices, and profit margins for its meat sales to New York retailers between December 2019 and April 2022. James says Tyson, one of the largest U.S. meat producers, stopped complying after giving limited information based on the company’s argument that New York’s price gouging law didn’t apply to meat products brought in from outside the state. James called that “novel and unfounded,” pointing out in a recent court filing that it can only be tested by examining the same materials that Tyson now refuses to hand over to her office. Reuters says Tyson declined to comment on the subpoena, saying it raised meat prices to offset soaring labor and feed costs. *********************************************************************************** Ethanol Production Reaches Highest Level in Four Weeks The Energy Information Administration says ethanol output jumped to its highest level in a month while inventories increased slightly. Production of the biofuel rose to an average of 1.043 million barrels a day during the week ending on July 29. That’s up from 1.021 million barrels daily during the previous week and is the highest output since the seven days that ended on July 1. In the Midwest, output averaged 984,000 barrels a day, up from 962,000 the previous week and also the highest point in a month. Production in the Gulf Coast increased to 25,000 barrels a day, on average, from 23,000 barrels. That was all the weekly gains as East Coast output was unchanged at 12,000 barrels a day and Rocky Mountain production remained at 15,000 barrels a day. West Coast output dropped by 7,000 barrels a day. Stockpiles rose modestly to 23.394 million barrels a day during the week. *********************************************************************************** Oil Falls Below $90 a Barrel Oil prices declined to the lowest point in almost six months, caused by weakening gasoline demand and recessionary fears weighing down markets. Bloomberg says West Texas Intermediate fell to $87.78 a barrel, a level last seen during the weeks before Russia invaded Ukraine. The price drop this week was jump-started by government data showing Americans are driving less than they did in the summer of 2020. Fears of a slowing economy have intensified along with the potential impacts on crude demand. One senior market analyst says prices falling under $90 a barrel is “quite remarkable” given how tight the market is and how little relief is in store. Crude oil has now given up all of the gains triggered by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Since it peaked at more than $130 a barrel, the benchmark has dropped due to signs that Moscow is still getting its oil cargoes onto the global market.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday August 5, 2022 |


Friday Watch List Markets The U.S. Labor Department will release its reports of nonfarm payrolls and U.S. unemployment for July at 7:30 a.m. CDT, two factors the Fed will be closely watching. Traders will keep close watch on the latest weather forecasts, any news from Ukraine and any more talk of possible exports to China. A report on U.S. consumer credit in June is set for 2 p.m. Weather Showers will continue along a stalled boundary near the Ohio River on Friday. Those showers will keep temperatures down a few degrees. But elsewhere across much of the Plains and Midwest, temperatures will rise well above normal. The heat is ahead of a cold front that is moving through the Northern Plains. The front will produce some scattered showers and thunderstorms, some of which may be severe. Temperatures behind the front are much cooler, offering a brief break from the summer heat.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday August 4, 2022 |


ISDA Sets November Hemp Inspection Date Despite the significant interest for hemp or hemp-derived products, they are not recognized as legal feed ingredients. In a recent memorandum, the Idaho State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) said that effective Nov. 1, it will be inspecting for hemp and hemp-derived products in commercial animal feeds and animal remedies (i.e., supplements). These products are illegal in Idaho and if found on or after Nov. 1, will be subject to a stop sale and further action from the department. The AFIA supports ISDA’s actions on this issue, as it is one step toward ensuring these products do not end up in adulterated animal feed until found as approved ingredients.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday August 4, 2022 |


Senate Legislation Would Regulate Digital Commodities Senate Ag Chair Debbie Stabenow, Ranking Member John Boozman (BOZE-man), and Senators Cory Booker and John Thune introduced legislation to regulate digital commodities. The Digital Commodities Consumer Protection Act of 2022 would give the Commodity Futures Trading Commission new tools and authority it needs to regulate digital commodities and safeguard customers and markets. “One in five Americans have used or traded digital assets, but these markets lack the transparency and accountability they expect from our financial system,” Stabenow says. “That puts Americans’ hard-earned money at risk.” The senators say digital assets and blockchain technology have already, and will continue to change the way global markets function. They point out that the fast-growing industry is governed largely by a patchwork of state-level regulations. Boozman says that’s not an effective way to make sure the market’s rules work for everyone. “Our bill gives CFTC exclusive jurisdiction over the digital commodities spot market,” he says. *********************************************************************************** Farm Credit System’s Income up 4% in First Half of 2022 The Farm Credit System reported that combined net income increased 3.5 percent to $1.8 billion and 3.6 percent to $3.6 billion for the first three and six months of 2022, respectively. That compares with net incomes of $1.7 billion and $3.4 billion at the same time in 2021. “The System reported another quarter of solid financial performance,” says Tracey McCabe, president and CEO of the Federal Farm Credit Banks Funding Corporation. “Continued loan growth, sound credit quality, and solid capital levels position the System to support U.S. agriculture in the current volatile economic and geopolitical environment.” Net interest income increased $190 million or 7.8% to $2.6 billion for the second quarter of 2022 and $358 million or 7.4% to $5.2 billion for the six months ending June 30, 2022, as compared with the same periods of the prior year. The increase in net interest income primarily resulted from higher levels of average earning assets. *********************************************************************************** Dairy Sales See Double-Digit Growth in June Dairy department sales climbed by double digits in supermarkets across the country. Supermarket News says dairy category sales totaled just under $5.1 billion for the month, 16 percent higher year-over-year. The International Dairy Deli Bakery Association says in its June marketplace update that unit sales did drop 2.4 percent from last year. The IDDBA report says the consistency of the weekly sales levels, all at least $1.2 billion, is encouraging because it means demand is holding strong especially compared to pre-COVID levels. The biggest sales took place in the week leading up to Father’s day, with total sales of $1.3 billion. “Milk was easily the biggest seller in June at $1.3 billion,” the report says. “The next-biggest sellers were natural cheese and eggs, which moved ahead of yogurt with because of high inflation.” The average price per unit for eggs increased to $4.10, over 51 percent higher than in June 2021. *********************************************************************************** Long-Term Drought Continuing in Missouri River Basin While the Missouri River basin runoff improved over the past two months, it’s still not enough to overcome the long-term drought persisting in much of the basin. July runoff in the Missouri River basin above Sioux City, Iowa, was 3.2 million acre-feet, which is 98 percent of the average and 0.7 million acre-feet more than was forecast last month. This led to an annual runoff forecast of 20.6 MAF, which is 80 percent of the yearly average and 0.6 MAF higher than last month’s forecast. “As expected, reservoir inflows in July have been declining due to the warmer and drier conditions in the upper Missouri River Basin,” says John Remus, chief of the Army Corps of Engineers Missouri River Basin Water Management Division. “Per the July 1 System storage check, navigation support was increased slightly to 500 cubic feet per second above minimum-service levels.” Storage peaked July 1 at 52.1 MAF. *********************************************************************************** New Food Supply Threat From Lack of Rice A lack of rice could be the next big strain on the global food supply. Bloomberg says the challenge may come from a lack of rain in parts of India, which is, by far, the biggest rice exporter in the world. The drier weather has caused India’s rice planting area to contract to its smallest level in three years. The threat to India’s rice production comes when countries across the world are struggling with the soaring cost of food and runaway inflation. The world’s total planted area for rice has dropped by 13 percent this season because of a lack of rainfall. Traders fear diminished rice production will hurt India’s battle with inflation and trigger export restrictions. Billions of people around the world depend on rice and India accounts for 40 percent of the world’s rice trade. India’s government has already curbed exports of wheat and sugar to safeguard their food supply. *********************************************************************************** Next USDA Trade Mission heading to East Africa The USDA is accepting applications from U.S. exporters for a trade mission to Nairobi (Ny-ROW-bee), Kenya, and Zanzibar, Tanzania (Tan-zah-NEE-ah), from October 31-November 4. The mission offers U.S. agribusinesses the chance to unlock new opportunities in East and Central Africa, where strong economic growth is driving demand for imported food and farm products. Kenya is the economic, financial, and transportation hub for East and Central Africa. While in Nairobi, trade mission delegates will meet potential customers from across Sub-Saharan Africa. Then, they’ll head to Zanzibar, located in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Tanzania, a historic trading hub with a thriving tourism sector. “The Foreign Agricultural Service team looks forward to introducing U.S. exporters to the many business opportunities that exist in East and Central Africa,” says FAS Administrator Daniel Whitley. “We’ll arrange targeted business meetings, site visits, and other networking opportunities with potential importers, processors, distributors, and local officials.”

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday August 4, 2022 |


Thursday Watch List Markets USDA's weekly export sales report is due out at 7:30 a.m. CDT Thursday, the same time as weekly U.S. jobless claims, the trade deficit for June and an update of the U.S. Drought Monitor. USDA will have more specific export information later Thursday morning and at 9:30 a.m., the Energy Department will report on natural gas in storage. Traders continue to monitor the weather and any news regarding Ukraine. Weather A frontal boundary moving through the Midwest is starting to stall out near the Ohio River. Scattered showers will continue along the front and could cause some flooding in Missouri and southern Illinois. Temperatures will be a little more seasonable in these areas, otherwise, the heat is continuing south of the front and returning to the Northern Plains as an upper-level ridge continues to dominate the overall pattern.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday August 3, 2022 |


Farmer Sentiment Rises in July The Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer farmer sentiment index rose six points in July to a reading of 103. Producers were somewhat more optimistic about both their current and future economic conditions on their farms compared to June. Even though there was a slight increase in optimism, there’s still a lot of uncertainty in the agricultural economy. Key commodity prices, including wheat, corn, and soybeans all weakened during the month, and producers remain concerned over rising input prices and input availability. Forty-two percent of survey respondents said higher input prices were a big concern, 19 percent said lower crop prices, and 17 percent said rising interest rates. The Farm Financial Performance Index, primarily an indicator of income expectations in the year ahead, improved five points to a reading of 88 in June. However, 49 percent of the survey respondents said they expect their farm to be worse off financially a year from now. *********************************************************************************** Registration Open for the Federal Milk Marketing Order Forum The American Farm Bureau Federation is hosting an industry-wide forum on the Federal Milk Marketing Order on October 14-16 in Kansas City, Missouri. The forum was prompted by a call from Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack to get as many people involved in dairy as possible in one room to discuss solutions to the Federal Milk Marketing Order shortfalls. The forum will include panels on various aspects of the Federal Milk Marketing Orders followed by roundtable discussions structured to spur conversation among all parts of the dairy sector but with a clear focus on farmers. “Meaningful changes to the FMMO system are long overdue,” says Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall. “Even before COVID-19 highlighted how volatile milk prices and outdated milk pricing and pooling provisions were harming dairy farmers, it was clear the FMMO system needs modernizing to address consolidation in processing, shifting consumer preferences, and fluctuating trade demands.” Go to fb.org for information. *********************************************************************************** U.S. Rice Growers Want Access to Cuba USA Rice and other industry leaders are pushing for the American government to get rid of trade barriers with Cuba and make it easier for U.S. rice exports to get to the island nation. Rice groups are members of the U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba, a group that supports improving agricultural trade between the U.S. and Canada. “USA Rice wants an administrative and legislative piecemeal approach to help ease the current restrictions on trade, travel, and financing, so that Cuba can grow its economy and become a reliable importer of American rice again,” says USA Rice Vice President of Policy and Government Affairs Peter Bachmann. Cuba is a major rice consumer and once was among the top markets for U.S. rice exports. USA Rice says Cuba has to bring in rice from Asian and South American countries. Cubans are struggling with food shortages and a lack of medicine, energy, and fuel. *********************************************************************************** USDA Undersecretary says Ag Can Be a Hero on Climate Change America’s farmers have an opportunity to be a hero in addressing climate change through improvements in productivity and climate-smart practices. However, Robert Bonnie, USDA Undersecretary for Farm Production and Conservation, says a successful climate program “has to work for agriculture.” Bonnie spoke at the International Sweetener Symposium on Monday. Thanks to strong farm policies, America’s sugarcane and sugarbeet farmers invest in new research, technologies, and techniques to boost their efficiency and protect the planet. Sugar farmers produce 16 percent more sugar today on 11 percent less land than 20 years ago. They’ve also increased yields by 30 percent while using fewer inputs. Bonnie says there’s so much diversity in agriculture that the approach to climate change can’t be one that dictates practices for low and high. “It has to be modern, and it has to be producer-led,” Bonnie says. “Farmers and ranchers should be able to choose what works best for them.” *********************************************************************************** National Chicken Council Reacts to FSIS Move on Salmonella in Frozen Products The National Chicken Council responded to the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service plan to declare salmonella an adulterant in frozen, raw, breaded, stuffed chicken products. Dr. Ashley Peterson, senior vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs, says they recognize the special nature of the products that appear ready to eat but contain raw chicken. “The NCC and our member companies have invested millions of dollars and worked for over ten years to develop and refine the best practices to reduce Salmonella and protect public health,” Peterson says. The NCC points out that it's concerned about the precedent set by this abrupt shift in long-standing policy, which was made without supporting data for a product category associated with one outbreak since 2015. “We believe FSIS already has the ability to ensure the continued safety of these products,” Peterson says. “There’s no magic bullet for food safety, so we employ a multi-stage strategy.” *********************************************************************************** Land Prices Continue to Set New Records The sale prices for good cropland in rural America continue upward, reaching new high points in many states. Farmers National Company says the “record” sale prices continue to capture headlines, but there has generally been continued strength in the land market, with good cropland attracting the most attention from buyers. “The upcoming months will set the trend in land prices,” says Randy Dickhut (DICK-hoot), senior vice president of real estate operations at Farmers National. Recently, good cropland in Iowa sold above $25,000 per acre, $15,000 per acre in South Dakota, and $12,000 an acre in North Dakota. Further east, Illinois had land sales above $21,000 an acre, Indiana at $17,000 an acre, and Ohio has seen $16,000 per acre. Land sales in Nebraska were above $13,500 per acre, $14,500 in Missouri, and more than $8,000 in Kansas. Farmers National will be watching before and after this year’s harvest to gauge the future land market.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday August 3, 2022 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets There is a report of U.S. factory orders due out at 9 a.m. CDT, but it is for the month of June and pales by comparison to the manufacturing indices for July just released on Monday. At 9:30 a.m., the U.S. Energy Department's weekly report of energy inventories is due out and includes ethanol production. Traders will continue to keep a close watch on the weather forecasts and any news of more ships leaving Ukraine. OPEC and other oil producers meet Wednesday to decide output for September. Weather A ridge of high pressure continues to produce heat across much of the country on Wednesday. However, there is a front moving across the Upper Midwest this morning that is producing scattered showers and thunderstorms from Nebraska to Michigan. Those showers and thunderstorms may be severe as the front slides southeast later in the day from Missouri through Michigan. Behind the front, temperatures are not too cold, but are offering some relief from the heat and humidity that is building up ahead of it.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday August 2, 2022 |


Farm Lending and Interest Rates Rise in the Second Quarter Larger loans continued to boost lending activity in the second quarter of 2022 while farm loan interest rates edged higher. The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City says the volume of non-real estate agricultural loans grew steadily alongside an increase in the number and average size of loans. Interest rates remained historically low but continued to increase in recent quarters and on nearly all types of farm loans as benchmark rates continue rising. The average maturity of some types of loans, particularly for real estate, also increased during the quarter and was above recent historic averages. The Kansas City Fed says farm lending activity showed signs of rebounding from the pullback in recent years and could grow further in the coming months as the higher costs of many major inputs continue impacting farmers. Persistent pressure from higher production expenses could squeeze profit margins going forward and drive demand for credit higher. *********************************************************************************** 2021 Farm Production Expenses Surpassed $390 Billion In 2021, USDA says farm production expenses hit $392.9 billion, higher than the $366.2 billion in 2020. That’s a 7.3 percent rise from 2020 to 2021. The four biggest expenditures totaled $189.4 billion, just over 48 percent of all expenses last year. Those four are feed at 16 percent, farm services at 11 percent, livestock, poultry, and related expenses at 10 percent, and labor at 9.4 percent. The total fuel expense was $12.9 billion on 2021. Diesel is the largest sub-component and totaled $8.4 billion in expenditures, accounting for 65 percent of the total fuel outlay. Diesel expenditures were 18 percent higher than in 2020. Gasoline expenses totaled $2.4 billion, 22 percent higher than the previous year. LP gas expenses rose to $1.4 billion in 2021, an 11 percent jump from 2020. Crop farm expenditures were $207.6 billion, up 6.2 percent, and livestock farm expenditures increased to $185.3 billion, up 8.5 percent in 2021. *********************************************************************************** USA Takes Action to Prevent Salmonella in Poultry Products The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service announced it will declare Salmonella as an adulterant in breaded and stuffed raw chicken products. “Food safety is at the heart of everything,” says Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack. “This is an important first step in launching a broader initiative to reduce Salmonella illnesses associated with poultry in the U.S.” By declaring Salmonella an adulterant in these products, FSIS will be able to ensure highly contaminated products that could make people sick aren’t sold to consumers. Since 1988, breaded and stuffed raw chicken products have been associated with up to 14 outbreaks and approximately 200 illnesses. Those products include frozen chicken cordon bleu or chicken Kiev. They appeared to be cooked but were only heat treated to set the batter or breading. The poultry was still raw. These products will be adulterated when exceeding a small contamination threshold and be subject to regulatory action. *********************************************************************************** Sorghum Producers Remind Others to Comment on EPA Atrazine Proposal The National Sorghum Producers says the Environmental Protection Agency is taking “another swing” at atrazine. They say the regulatory agency disregarded sound science, transparency, and the regulatory framework in this proposal. The sorghum producers want farmers from all over the U.S. to join them in submitting comments and stopping the EPA from using regulatory tricks to drastically limit the use of a critical input for farmers. Atrazine is included in more than 90 herbicide products across the country and limiting atrazine will cause problems. Atrazine is used on 75 percent of U.S. sorghum acres, and the proposal would have drastic impacts on a large number of those acres. The proposal would significantly reduce application rates and require additional mitigation measures and reporting procedures. It also prohibits all aerial application and application when rain is in the forecast within 48 hours. USP wants the EPA to stick to the finalized 2020 atrazine registration. *********************************************************************************** Florida Congressman Wants Investigation into Chinese Land Purchases If Republicans take back a Congressional majority in November, Florida Representative Mike Waltz pledged that the House GOP would investigate the flow of Chinese money into the U.S. economy. Waltz tells Daily Mail that the steady encroachment not only poses a military threat but could also have wide-ranging impacts on the American economy. Recent reports have shown that Chinese companies are increasing their hold over key sectors of the U.S. economy by purchasing farmland and expanding their technology into rural areas. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are concerned about a Chinese company buying land in North Dakota for $2.6 million which is only 20 minutes from a key military base. Some of America’s most sensitive drone technology is stored at that base in North Dakota. “There’s the land concern near the base, but I think an even bigger concern is China investing in the U.S. food supply chain,” Waltz says. *********************************************************************************** U.S. Wheat Associated Promote Miller to Director of Programs U.S. Wheat Associates promoted Catherine Miller to Director of Programs. She joined USW in 2018 as the Programming and Planning Coordinator and shifted to Programs Coordinator in 2021. “Catherine has done a great job in managing many of USW’s domestic programs, and she excelled in helping USW transition to virtual programming when COVID-19 began,” says Erica Oakley, USW Vice President of Programs. In this role, Miller will lead program support for coordinating trade teams, short courses, and board teams with USW’s overseas offices and state wheat commissions. Miller also works closely with overseas staff to identify consultant needs and coordinate annual crop quality seminars. Miller will also continue supporting USW’s shift to more virtual programs, including taking an active role in conducting monthly webinars and crop updates. Miller joined the organization after graduating with honors from Auburn University in May 2017, earning a bachelor’s degree in agriculture business and economics.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday August 2, 2022 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets There are no significant reports on Tuesday's docket, but traders continue to keep close watch over the latest U.S. weather forecasts and news from Ukraine. Markets will digest Monday afternoon's new crop ratings from USDA and look forward to the announcement from the next OPEC meeting Wednesday. Weather Hot temperatures are spreading across the Plains, western Midwest and Delta on Tuesday with triple-digit heat being likely in a lot of areas. The heat will reduce soil moisture and stress crops and livestock. Precipitation will be limited across the Upper Midwest and Ohio Valley down into the Southeast.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday August 1, 2022 |


Ag Chair Introduces Livestock Legislation House Ag Committee Chair David Scott introduced the Small Family Farmer and Rancher Relief Act to help small farmers and ranchers in the cattle industry. “As I’ve said before, it’s a crisis in this nation that we’ve lost an average of 17,000 cattle ranchers per year,” Scott says. “The drivers of the loss are complex, and I applaud the efforts my colleagues have taken to try and improve the cattle industry.” He also says other efforts don’t have enough emphasis on direct help for America’s small farmers and ranchers. A key backbone of the bill helps smaller operators with financial assistance by strengthening the safety net. It includes offering an increased premium subsidy for small ranchers insuring a cattle herd of 100 head or less. It offers incentives for insurance agents to better market Livestock Risk Protection policies to smaller producers. The bill also creates opportunities to increase competition and new marketing opportunities. *********************************************************************************** Inflation Reduction Act Should Help Rural America Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says the administration’s Inflation Reduction Act will have a meaningful impact on America’s rural and agriculture communities. “Agriculture is at the forefront of our fight against climate change,” he says. “From climate-smart agriculture to supporting healthy forests and conservation, to tax credits, to biofuels, infrastructure and beyond, this agreement gives USDA significant additional resources.” House Ag Chair Debbie Stabenow says the act contains almost $40 billion to tackle the climate crisis, lower costs, and create good-paying jobs by investing in agriculture, forestry, and rural communities. Over $20 billion is set aside for the tools farmers and ranchers need to help address the climate. Those funds will help incentivize sustainable practices like optimizing fertilizer use and expanding cover crops. $14 billion will help lower costs for families and support good-paying clean energy jobs in rural communities. “It’s critical that Congress act quickly on this legislation,” Vilsack says. *********************************************************************************** New Lamb Market Monthly Report Will Help Producers The American Lamb Board announced the introduction of a new monthly lamb market summary to provide the industry with increased data and analysis. The board engaged the American Sheep Industry Association to prepare the monthly Lamb Market Summary. The report will include sheep and lamb slaughter, lamb imports, sheep and lamb prices, and a market forecast. An economic overview of the consumer market will also be included, which influences the food choices in the U.S. The July summary points out that “consumer prices continued to rise in June, with the Consumer Price Index posting a higher than expected 9.1 percent year-over-year increase. High fuel prices will likely push food costs higher. Consumers appear to be managing food price inflation for now, but expectations continue for more inflation, and an impending economic slowdown will challenge consumer demand. The Lamb Market Weekly Summary, USDA Market Reports, and year-in-review reports can be found at lambresourcecenter.com. *********************************************************************************** Wheat Quality Tour Estimates 49.1 Bushel Yield The Wheat Quality Council’s Tour through fields in North Dakota and Minnesota came up with a yield estimate of 49.1 bushels per acre. The durum estimate after the tour was 39 bushels an acre. Those figures were the highest levels since 2008. The yield estimate for spring wheat is higher than the USDA forecast of 47 bushels an acre that came out on July 12. For durum wheat, the tour result is a bit smaller than the USDA estimate of 40.3 bushels. Almost 50 people took part in the wheat tour, with many coming from the wheat, milling, and baking industries and USDA officials. Last Thursday, scouts stopped at several fields along the North Dakota-Minnesota border and sampled on both sides. The spring wheat weighted average that day, including the Minnesota fields, was 53.1 bushels. Participants assessed a total of 267 spring wheat and 35 durum fields, mostly in North Dakota. *********************************************************************************** Senate Overwhelmingly Passes Water Resources Development Act Last Thursday, the Senate overwhelmingly passed the Water Resources Development Act by a vote of 93-1. The legislation contains a provision pushed for by the American Soybean Association. That provision would permanently adjust the cost-share ratio for Inland Waterways Trust Fund projects from the current 65 percent general revenues-35 percent IWTF funds to 75 percent general revenue-25 percent IWTF. Cost share allocation changes for inland waterways projects often reduce overall project costs and allow projects to be completed faster. That allows communities and industries to realize the economic benefits of a project more quickly. In June, the House passed its version of WRDA by a vote of 384-37. That bill didn’t include the same adjustment to cost-share allocations for IWTF projects. The two chambers will now begin conference negotiations to reconcile the difference between the two bills. The ASA says it will continue to advocate for the Senate version containing the adjustment. *********************************************************************************** Keeping Farm Dog Safe From Heat Stress Dogs aren’t proficient at sweating like humans are, and that makes them much more prone to overheating. Tony Hawkins, Valley Vet Supply Technical Services Veterinarian, says overweight, older, or out-of-shape dogs, or dogs with underlying health conditions, may be at greater risk than healthier dogs. Dogs suffering from heat stress may demonstrate excessive panting, difficulty breathing, vomiting, and diarrhea. At that point, it’s critical that the animal gets veterinary care. Tips to keep dogs safe include never leaving dogs in parked cars that are turned off. In just 25 minutes, a car on a 73-degree day can reach 100 degrees inside. Also, plan those farm activities dogs can tag along for, such as checking fences, during the cooler times of the day. Hawkins says dogs aren’t good at stopping themselves when they get hot and just run themselves until they get overheated. Also, clip those dogs with long hair coats.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday August 1, 2022 |


Monday Watch List Markets Back from the weekend and facing hotter temperatures this week, traders will check the latest forecasts and any new developments from Ukraine. Report of manufacturing activity around the world will come in overnight with ISM's U.S. index for July set for 9 a.m. CDT Monday. USDA's weekly report of grain export inspections is due out at 10 a.m., followed by the Crop Progress report at 3 p.m. Weather A disturbance moving through the eastern Midwest and an old boundary from the weekend will combine to create scattered showers along and east of the Mississippi River on Monday. Some stronger storms will be possible near the Ohio River later in the day. Where showers are not occurring, heat will be increasing, with near triple-digit temperatures up and down the Plains, causing stress to both crops and animals.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday July 29, 2022 |


Administration Announces $401 Million for Rural Internet Access USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack says the agency is investing $401 million to provide access to high-speed internet for 31,000 rural residents and businesses in 11 states. The funds come from the ReConnect Program and an award through the USDA’s Telecommunications Infrastructure Loan and Loan Guarantee Program. “Connectivity is critical to economic success in rural America,” Vilsack says. “The internet is vital to our growth and continues to act as a catalyst for our prosperity.” The secretary also said from the farm to the school, from households to international markets, connectivity drives “positive change.” USDA will support internet investments in Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, North Dakota, and Texas. The Department also says it will make more investments for rural high-speed internet later this summer, including ReConnect Program funding from the bipartisan infrastructure law, which provides $65 billion to expand affordable high-speed internet to all communities across the U.S. *********************************************************************************** Senators Introduce the Farmland Security Act Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin and Chuck Grassley of Iowa introduced the Farmland Security Act to increase scrutiny over foreign investments into America’s agricultural land. The legislation would make sure that Congress can address the impacts of foreign investments on family farms, rural communities, and the domestic food supply. “This bipartisan legislation will provide the tools we need to protect the longevity of American family farm operations for generations to come,” Baldwin says. Current reports show that foreign-owned agricultural acreage has nearly doubled in the past ten years. One of the provisions in the act would require the Ag Secretary to report to Congress on foreign investments in agricultural land, including the impact foreign ownership has on family farms, rural communities, and the domestic food supply. “Foreign buyers, especially those backed by governments like China, purchasing farmland in the U.S. raises serious national security concerns that the people need to know about,” Grassley says. *********************************************************************************** Bunge Loses $59 Million to Ukraine Conflict Bunge profits rose 15 percent during the second quarter of 2022. However, the global farm commodities company didn’t reach Wall Street expectations and the share price dropped five percent as a result. The company raised its full-year profit forecast and talked about plans to spend $3.3 billion on future investments and expenditures during the next few years. Bunge attributed a $59 million net loss for the quarter in its agribusiness segment because of the war in Ukraine. CEO Gregory Heckman says it will be a slow process for shippers to move commodities out of Ukraine and into the global markets. The company’s results come amid backed-up supply chains and strong demand for food and fuel driving inflation to its highest level in decades. Bunge’s rising operating costs offset higher demand and tighter supplies of commodity grain crops. Transportation and ongoing COVID-19 issues continue to drag down the world’s grain sector. *********************************************************************************** NCBA’s Farm Bill Priorities The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association released its priorities for the 2023 Farm Bill. Those priorities were based on producer input at the association’s Summer Business Meeting in Reno, Nevada. “Our annual meetings are the cornerstone of NCBA’s grassroots policy process,” says NCBA President Don Schiefelbein. NCBA Farm Bill priorities include protecting animal health through programs that guard against the spread of foreign animal diseases such as the National Animal Vaccine and Veterinary Countermeasures Clinic. They want the new farm bill to strengthen risk management programs that provide producers with added protection against weather events and price declines. The NCBA wants the bill to promote voluntary conservation programs that provide support to producers when they implement conservation practices free from government mandates. They say the new farm bill should also support disaster recovery programs that help producers return to normal operations following adverse weather, predator attacks, or extreme weather conditions like drought or wildfire. *********************************************************************************** U.S. Grains Council Elects New Chairman The delegates of the U.S. Grains Council elected Josh Miller as Chairman of its Board of Directors during the Board of Delegates Meeting in California. “It’s important to me to learn as much as I possibly can,” Miller said during incoming remarks. Miller is a farmer from Indiana and came to the meeting representing the Indiana Corn Marketing Council. “I also want to learn as much as I can about how what I do affects the whole world and how my efforts create a global ripple that will sustain those who need what I grow the most,” he added. Miller is a fifth-generation farmer from Indiana and produces corn and soybeans, primarily as a 100 percent no-till row crop operation. He was elected to the Council’s officer rotation in 2019. Previously, Miller was a finance officer for Lockheed Martin, a contracting officer for the U.S. government, and a U.S. Marine Corps Staff Sergeant. *********************************************************************************** Protecting Horses Against West Nile Virus Since 1999, more than 25,000 cases of West Nile Virus encephalitis have been reported in horses, according to the American Association of Equine Practitioners. “When you talk about West Nile Virus, you’re talking about the Culex (KOO-lex) mosquito,” says Dr. Justin Talley, Department Head for Entomology and Plant Pathology at Oklahoma State University. “The biggest challenge is that in addition to feeding on horses, they also feed on birds, which is why they’re good at transmitting the virus into horses.” The number of cases is difficult to predict every year and will vary based on bird populations. You will see more mosquitoes in late summer or the fall, so the chances can improve greatly from the summer. Moving air plays a big part in mosquito control. “Get the air moving around horses because mosquitoes are weak fliers,” Talley says. “Don’t forget vaccinations and good barn keeping. Remove standing water and clean a horse’s water trough.”

| Rural Advocate News | Friday July 29, 2022 |


Friday Watch List Markets U.S. personal incomes and spending for June are due out at 7:30 a.m. CDT Friday, along with the employment cost index for the second quarter. At 9 a.m., the University of Michigan's final index of U.S. consumer sentiment for July will be released. Traders will keep close watch on the latest weather forecasts and any news regarding Ukraine. Weather A front is settling across southern areas of the country on Friday, bringing scattered showers from Colorado east to the Carolinas. Flooding may occur in some areas, but drought in the Southern Plains and Delta will find some relief. Temperatures dip a little bit less extreme south of the front for most areas, but heat continues to be very high in the West, especially in the Pacific Northwest.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday July 28, 2022 |


Next Generation Fuels Act Introduced in House, Senate Legislation called the Next Generation Fuels Act was introduced this week in both the Senate and House of Representatives. It aims to leverage higher-octane fuels to improve engine efficiency and performance. Allowing the sale of fuels with greater octane levels would increase the amount of ethanol that can get utilized in the fuel supply, which in turn would lower prices at the pump. Iowa Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst introduced it in the Senate, while Illinois Representative Cheri Bustos and the entire Iowa delegation introduced it to the House. “Unstable gas prices have left many families, and especially rural families, with a lot of budget uncertainty,” says Grassley. “This would ramp up the use of homegrown fuel at stations across the country, making Americans less reliant on foreign oil and less vulnerable to OPEC tactics.” Ernst echoed those sentiments, noting that America should be turning to its own abundant domestic fuel production. *********************************************************************************** Ag Groups React to the Next Generation Fuels Act Some of the nation’s largest agricultural organizations applauded the introduction of the Next Generation Fuels Act in both chambers of Congress this week. National Corn Growers Association President Chris Edgington says it’s a step forward for the nation’s consumers. “In recent months, consumers have been reminded that we need choices at the pump, and the Next Generation Fuels Act would diversify our fuel supply.” National Farmers Union President Rob Larew says the legislation supports usage of higher-level blends of ethanol, something NFU has long championed. “Higher level blends of ethanol are good for farmers, good for the planet, and good for American pocketbooks,” Larew says. Geoff Cooper of the Renewable Fuels Association says, “This summer’s geopolitical instability and record-high gas prices underscore the need for an immediate energy solution for American families.” Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor says, “It’s a clear roadmap for delivering cleaner, more affordable options to American drivers.” *********************************************************************************** Survey says Consumers are Relying on Chicken Despite Inflation Research presented at the 2022 Chicken Marketing Summit shows that U.S. consumers are still buying chicken. The survey showed that while consumers average rating for their current financial situation is midway between “poor” and “excellent,” 87 percent are buying the same amount or more of fresh chicken compared to six months ago. Chicken continues to be the healthy choice and best value for the money. During the past six months, 99 percent of those surveyed say they eat meals made with fresh chicken more than once a month while 88 percent do so more than once a week. U.S. consumers plan to buy more chicken than other types of protein in the year ahead. Chicken buyers cite nutrition, value, and versatility as the top reasons for consuming more chicken. Chicken is almost inflation-proof as USDA says Americans, on average, will eat a record 98.3 pounds of chicken per person this year. *********************************************************************************** AFT Releases Policy Priorities for 2023 Farm Bill American Farmland Trust released its 2023 Farm Bill advocacy platform this week. It’s a series of policy recommendations focused on supporting farmers and ranchers in protecting their land from development, combating climate change, and enabling a diverse new generation of farmers to better access land and build businesses. “The farm bill, which is passed once every five years, is the single most influential piece of federal legislation in food and agriculture,” says AFT president and CEO John Piotti (Pee-AHT-tee). “Our policy recommendations, developed with input from producers and experts across the country, will help ensure that the 2023 Farm Bill sets agriculture on a path towards a more resilient, profitable, and equitable future.” AFT research has found that 11 million acres of agricultural land were paved over, fragmented, and converted to uses that jeopardize agriculture between 2011-2016. An additional loss of 18.4 million acres were expected by 2040 without additional policy actions. *********************************************************************************** NCBA Backs Food and Energy Security Act The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association announced it supports the Food and Energy Security Act introduced by Senator John Thune of South Dakota. The bill would require federal regulators to disclose how proposed rules would impact food and energy prices. “The Biden administration proposed a massive climate disclosure rule that will create new reporting burdens for every farm, ranch, and small business in the country,” says NCBA Environmental Counsel Mary-Thomas Hart. “NCBA supports this legislation because rules like the emissions disclosure mandate from the Securities and Exchange Commission add a costly burden to cattle producers, rural communities, and consumers across the country.” The bill would also prohibit federal regulators from implementing any rule that would increase food or energy prices if inflation is higher than 4.5 percent. Since the beginning of 2022, inflation has consistently been over seven percent, with the inflation rate hitting a forty-year high of 9.1 percent in June. *********************************************************************************** Soybean Checkoff Leaders Approve Investments to Increase Demand The farmer-leaders of the United Soybean Board recently finished their summer board meeting in Michigan and approved a budget of $123 million for program work beginning in October. They set investments in research, education, and promotion to add value to U.S. soybeans and build resilience, differentiation, and reputation. The eight investment portfolios align with USB’s new vision of delivering sustainable soy solutions to every life, every day. “Our thinking, planning, and work as a board has become a much more deliberate and idea-driven process, challenging our board members to think big,” says USB Chair and New York farmer Ralph Lott. “Each portfolio works together to create demand for U.S. soybeans across the entire global soy value chain.” He also says that USB has shifted from “project takers” to “portfolio makers,” and the result is more strategic thinking. USB says U.S. soybeans are preferred worldwide, and farmers are seeing strong ROI on their dollars.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday July 28, 2022 |


Thursday Watch List Markets USDA's weekly export sales report is due out at 7:30 a.m. CDT Thursday, the same time as weekly jobless claims, and updates of second-quarter U.S. GDP and the U.S. Drought Monitor. The Energy Department's weekly report of natural gas storage is due out at 9:30 a.m., given extra attention by this week's news Russia is cutting gas supplies to Europe. Traders will keep an eye on the latest weather forecasts and any news regarding Ukraine. Weather A pair of fronts are combining across the southern Corn Belt on Thursday and producing scattered showers and thunderstorms from Colorado to the Mid-Atlantic throughout the day. Moderate to heavy rain is expected and some areas of flooding will be possible. South of the fronts, temperatures again will be hot in Texas and Oklahoma east to the Mississippi River, though not as extreme as earlier in the week. The Pacific Northwest will be the hottest spot in the country today with temperatures well above normal.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday July 27, 2022 |


Poultry Producers Settle Claims on Unfair Worker Treatment Three of the biggest poultry processors in the U.S. will settle claims by the Justice Department over their alleged efforts to work together to drive down employee compensation. Reuters said Cargill, Sanderson Farms, and Wayne Farms agreed to pay a combined $84 million in restitution to workers harmed by their alleged information sharing in order to settle civil antitrust lawsuits. The Antitrust Division of the DOJ said in a statement that through a “brazen scheme” to exchange wage and benefit information, these producers stifled competition and harmed a generation of plant workers who face demanding and sometimes dangerous conditions to earn a living. The settlement was filed on Monday in a Maryland District Court shortly after the lawsuits got filed. Wayne Farms says the settlement shows the company’s commitment to its workers and farmers. Cargill admitted no wrongdoing but said it settled with the Justice Department to avoid further litigation. *********************************************************************************** USDA Says Rising Food Prices Could Ease in 2023 The all-items Consumer Price Index increased 1.4 percent from May to June and is 9.1 percent higher than in June of last year. USDA once again raised its consumer food price inflation forecast from 8.5 percent to 9.5 percent for 2022. In their first forecast for next year, USDA says inflation will slow to a range between 2.5 percent and 3.5 percent. That’s more in line with the 20-year historical average increase for consumer food prices, which is 2.4 percent per year. The 8.5-9.5 percent rise between 2021 and 2022 is the biggest increase in overall food price inflation since 1979 when prices rose 11 percent. The biggest increase was in the fats and oils category, now forecast to rise 16.5-17.5 percent this year compared to 2021. Poultry, dairy, and cereals-bakery goods are other categories with large price increases. Food at home price is now forecast at 11 percent higher in 2022. *********************************************************************************** Risk Management Programs Critical for Dairy Success The National Milk Producers Federation commended farmers from its member cooperatives who are speaking up for dairy’s needs during farm bill listening sessions held by members of Congress. “From sustainability and trade to providing an adequate safety net to producers of all sizes, dairy farmer voices are critical to crafting federal farm programs that serve the entire nation,” says Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF. “We commend the farmers who own our member cooperatives for sharing their insights.” During a listening session in Minnesota, Steve Schlangen, chair of Associated Milk Producers, Inc., emphasized the value of the Dairy Margin Coverage Program that was created in the 2018 Farm Bill. Schlangen urged the committee to strengthen the program by carrying the Supplemental Dairy Margin Coverage update over into the next farm bill to compensate farmers for modest production increases that have taken place since the program formula was created in 2014. *********************************************************************************** USDA Starts Issuing Payments for Spot Market Hog Pandemic The USDA is increasing the amount of funding available for the Spot Market Hog Pandemic Program and expects to issue approximately $62.8 million in assistance payments to producers this week. SMHPP assists eligible producers who sold hogs through a spot market sale between April 16 and September 1 in 2020. “In order to provide more targeted support to hog producers affected by COVID-19, FSA was able to increase funding for SMHPP to provide full payments instead of applying a payment factor,” says FSA Administrator Zach Ducheneaux. “We’re happy to be able to provide more equitable assistance for hog producers hit hard by the pandemic.” Terry Wolters, president of the National Pork Producers Council, says they appreciate FSA’s commitment assisting those pork producers hit by the economic disruptions. “Producers forced into spot market hog sales are still challenged by those market disruptions, so this will help in the recovery,” he says. *********************************************************************************** Farmfest Offering Livestreamed Forums on Farm Bill, Ag Outlook, and More National farm and ranch leaders will be in Minnesota for Farmfest on August 2-4 at the Gilfillan Estates near Morgan, Minnesota. They’ll be discussing agricultural topics like the farm bill, the agricultural outlook for the year ahead, and many others. The feature forum will be Tuesday, August 2, at 1:15 pm Central Time, when the primary focus will be on the key topics getting considered as Congress develops the 2023 Farm Bill. Wednesday’s forum schedule starts at 8:30 am and will feature grain marketing, weather, ag policy, crop, and livestock experts sharing perspectives on the year ahead. A Women in Agriculture event will conclude with the presentation of the Farmfest Woman Farmer of the Year on Thursday. “In-person attendees and those tuning in on Livestream will benefit from the insights shared by our lineup of presenters,” says Melissa Sanders Carroll of IDEAg (Idea Ag). For a full schedule and to see the Livestream events, go to Farmfest.com. *********************************************************************************** Cattle Industry Business Meeting This Week in Reno, Nevada More than 600 leaders in the cattle industry are at the Summer Business Meeting in Reno, Nevada, this week and providing direction for the industry’s important programs. The event includes meetings of cattlemen and women representing the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board, American National CattleWomen, and the National Cattlemen’s Foundation. “These meetings give us a great opportunity to engage with one another,” says NCBA President Don Schiefelbein (SHEEF-ell-byne). “I appreciate the time and effort producers commit to coming together to strengthen our industry.” Producers will discuss current developments, work on initiatives developed at Convention, and make plans for the upcoming fiscal year. Other highlights include Sam’s Club executives sharing their knowledge of working on the consumer-facing side of the beef industry. The next time cattle producers come together will be at the 2023 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show on February 1-3 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday July 27, 2022 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets At 7:30 a.m. CDT Wednesday, the U.S. Commerce Department will release its report on durable goods orders for June, expected to show a decline on the month. An index of pending U.S. home sales is due out at 9 a.m., followed by the Energy Department's weekly inventory report at 9:30 a.m., including ethanol production. At 1 p.m., the long-awaited announcement from the Federal Reserve will be out with many anticipating a 0.75% hike in the federal funds target rate. Weather A stalled front across the southern Midwest has been active over the last few days, bringing heavy rain and some flooding. This front stays active Wednesday and another front moving through the Midwest will start to combine with the western end of the front in the Central Plains later Wednesday. Widespread scattered showers and thunderstorms are expected near the southern front, with more isolated showers for the northern Midwest. Cooler temperatures are found north of the front but the heat continues across the Southern Plains and Delta. Heat is also present in the Pacific Northwest for the next several days, stressing spring wheat.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday July 26, 2022 |


Growth Energy, EPA Reach Agreement on 2023 Biofuel RVOs Growth Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency announced an agreement on the Renewable Volume Obligations for 2023. Last week, the two groups submitted a consent decree agreement to the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. The agreement requires EPA to propose the 2023 renewable volume fuel requirements no later than November 16, 2022, and then finalize the requirements no later than June 14, 2023. “The agreement is an important milestone in setting the pace for growth as we usher in a new era of the Renewable Fuel Standard,” says Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor. “The agreement avoids the uncertainty of continued litigation and ensures the certainty of the 2023 RFS requirements.” The EPA is required to coordinate with the Energy Department and the USDA to set renewable fuel volume requirements through rulemaking, taking into consideration six statutory factors, including environmental, economic, and energy security. The court is expected to approve the agreement. *********************************************************************************** U.S. Cattle Inventory Down Two Percent The Cattle Report from the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service says U.S. farms contained 98.8 million head of cattle and calves as of July 1. Of the 98.8 million head of inventory, all cows and heifers that have calved total 39.8 million. There were 30.4 million beef cows in the U.S. as of July 1, two percent lower than 2021. The number of U.S. milk cows dropped to 94.5 million. The U.S. calf crop was estimated at 34.6 million head, one percent lower than in 2021. The number of U.S. Cattle on Feed is slightly higher than last year. The cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the U.S. for feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 11.3 million on July 1. That inventory level was slightly higher than July 1, 2021. The inventory included 6.9 million steers and steer calves, down one percent from last year. *********************************************************************************** U.S. Gasoline Prices Continue to Fall The average price of regular gasoline in the U.S. dropped 32 cents during the past two weeks to an average of $4.54 a gallon. Fuel industry analyst Trilby Lundberg of the Lundberg Survey says that the continued decline is coming at the same time crude oil costs continue to fall. Lundberg says, “Further drops at U.S. pumps are likely as the cuts in the wholesale gasoline price continues down to street level.” While the average price at the pump is down 55 cents during the past six weeks, it’s still $1.32 higher than the price a year ago at this time. The Associated Press says the highest average price in the nation for regular-grade gas was in Los Angeles at $5.65 a gallon. The lowest average price at the pump was in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, at $3.90 a gallon. Diesel prices dropped 22 cents in two weeks to $5.55 a gallon. *********************************************************************************** FFA Leaders Gathering at the New Century Farmer Conference Forty-five FFA members from around the country are gathering in Iowa to talk about how agriculture will play a pivotal role in their future during the New Century Farmer conference. The conference is a chance for FFA members intending to remain in production agriculture to work on future plans for success. “This program is important because it helps us continue growing the next generation of leaders who will not only change the world but continue to provide food, fiber, and resources for future generations,” said Allie Ellis, associate director of the National FFA Alumni & Supporters. “We’re excited to offer this opportunity to learn and grow together while expanding their networking pool.” During the week, participants will visit with producers around the state, learn from industry leaders, see innovative agricultural technology, and network with others who also plan to stay in production agriculture. Students from 22 states will make the trip to Iowa. *********************************************************************************** USDA Investing in On-Farm Conservation Trials The USDA says it will invest $25 million this year in the Conservation Innovation Grants On-Farm Innovation Trials Program. Through CIG, partners work to address the nation’s water quality, water quantity, air quality, soil health, and wildlife habitat challenges, all while improving agricultural operations. The on-farm component of the program supports widespread adoption and evaluation of innovative conservation approaches in partnership with agricultural producers. This year’s funding priorities are climate-smart agricultural solutions, irrigation water management, nutrient management, and soil health. “Through science and innovation, we can develop solutions to tackle the climate crisis, conserve water, protect soil, and create opportunities for our producers,” says Terry Cosby, Natural Resources Conservation Chief. Applications for On-Farm Trials are being accepted through September 20, 2022. Private entities whose primary business is related to agriculture, nongovernmental organizations with experience working with agricultural producers, and non-federal government agencies are eligible to apply. More information is available at grants.gov. *********************************************************************************** Dairy Checkoff Hires Sustainability Leader Dairy Management, Inc. hired Lori Captain as the executive vice president of global sustainability strategy, science, and industry affairs. Captain comes to DMI after serving more than 20 years working at Corteva Agriscience and its predecessor DuPont, most recently as chief of staff, external affairs, and counsel to the CEO. She’s also worked at Syngenta and has significant experience in sustainability, corporate communications, media relations, policy, and engagement strategies. She’ll apply that experience with DMI to help advance U.S. dairy’s vision, guiding environmental science while building support for the 2050 Environmental Stewardship Goals. “Lori Captain will be a global industry ambassador representing our sustainability strategy and progress,” says Barbara O’Brien, president and CEO of DMI. “The dairy industry has been a sustainability leader for decades,” says Captain. “I’m honored and excited to join DMI and help farmers improve their sustainability footprint in a way that’s economically viable and helps builds their business.”

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday July 26, 2022 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets At 9 a.m. CDT Tuesday, there will be reports on U.S. new home sales in June and an index of U.S. consumer confidence for July. This is also another busy week of earnings reports and the Federal Reserve will begin its two-day meeting with a rate hike of 0.75% expected on Wednesday. Traders will keep a close watch on weather, Russia's latest moves and anything pertaining to outside markets. Weather A front stalled out from southern Kansas through the Ohio Valley remains active with scattered showers on Tuesday. Some of these showers have already been heavy early this morning from Missouri into southern Indiana. A second front moving through the Northern Plains will bring showers to the Dakotas, Nebraska, and Minnesota, offering some relief to a few drier areas in that region. South of the fronts, heat continues to be significant for the Southern Plains into the Delta and also in the Pacific Northwest.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday July 25, 2022 |


Deal Signed to Export Grain from Ukraine Officials from Russia and Ukraine signed a deal Friday to reopen grain exports from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports. Reuters says the deal should help ease the global food crisis. Officials from the United Nations expect the agreement will be fully operational in a few weeks and restore shipments to pre-war levels of five million tons per month. The deal will allow Ukraine to export the 22 million tons of grain and other agricultural products that have been stuck in the Black Sea ports due to Russia’s invasion. “A deal allowing grain to leave the Black Sea ports is nothing short of lifesaving for people across the world who are struggling to feed their families,” says Red Cross Director-General Robert Mardini. He also notes that prices for food staples have risen 187 percent in Sudan, 86 percent in Syria, 60 percent in Yemen, and 54 percent in Ethiopia over the past six months. *********************************************************************************** NCGA Call-To-Action to Protect Atrazine The National Corn Growers Association launched a call-to-action asking advocates to submit comments to the Environmental Protection Agency in response to the agency’s announcement that they are revising the registration for atrazine. The EPA says it’s amending the registration of this well-studied herbicide that allows farmers to do more with less. The new level of concern for atrazine will vastly reduce the herbicide’s effectiveness and hinder farmers’ ability to utilize a critical tool. “Corn growers know the value of atrazine, and it’s time again to tell the EPA how valuable this product is to our operations,” says NCGA President Chris Edgington. “In 2016, we came together to submit more than 10,000 comments to the agency, and we need that same momentum again.” NCGA points out that since it first came onto the market, atrazine has allowed farmers to increase their conservation tillage practices. Conservation tillage is a key to carbon-smart farming practices. *********************************************************************************** Advocates Claim Deere Right-to-Repair May Violate Clean Air Act Consumer advocates claim that John Deere may be violating the Clean Air Act by limiting repairs on the emission control systems of its machines. Such repairs are only authorized to certified John Deere dealers. Politico says the Clean Air Act requires companies to provide the necessary information, including software, to repair emission control systems in vehicles. Companies are required to confirm they’re providing the information in certification filings with the Environmental Protection Agency every year. The advocates claim that by denying the necessary parts and information for independent repair, the tractor manufacturer is violating the law. However, the company has said they restrict access to the emissions control systems because farmers could delete the software, which Deere says would also be a violation of the Clean Air Act. Deere says when emissions systems break down, farmers might view deletion as an easier option. Deere is named in 17 class-action lawsuits over repairs. *********************************************************************************** USDA Helps Schools and Childcare Providers Deal with Rising Food Costs The USDA announced an increase in funding to help schools continue to serve healthy meals this coming school year and provided financial relief for schools and childcare providers. The reimbursement schools will get for each meal served will increase by 68 cents per free or reduced-price lunch and 32 cents per free or reduced-price breakfast. The increase supports school and childcare providers dealing with rising food costs. “The boost in reimbursements will help provide financial relief for schools so they can continue serving high-quality meals to students amid higher food costs and continuing supply chain challenges,” says Stacy Dean, deputy undersecretary for food, nutrition, and consumer services. “USDA is fully committed to using every resource in its toolbelt to ensure kids get the healthy meals they need to grow, learn, and thrive.” The USDA will provide an additional $2 billion for schools to purchase domestic food for their meal programs. *********************************************************************************** Iowa Lifts HPAI Influenza Quarantine Restrictions The Iowa Department of Agriculture released the last commercial Iowa poultry farm from highly pathogenic avian influenza quarantine restrictions. Those restrictions prohibited moving poultry or poultry products on or off the affected premises and were lifted after the farm cleared all of the testing protocols and quarantine requirements. “This important milestone allows impacted farmers to turn the page from responding to the outbreak to repopulating flocks and returning to turkey and poultry production,” says Iowa Ag Secretary Mike Naig. “Moving forward, we’ll work with our partners to assess this year’s response to ensure that we’re even more prepared for any potential disease challenges in the future.” Gretta Irwin, executive director of the Iowa Turkey Association, says lifting the last commercial site quarantined in Iowa is great news. “In 2022, we had nine HPAI turkey cases instead of the 71 in 2015, which shows how far we’ve come in battling the disease,” she says. *********************************************************************************** June Egg Production Drops Three Percent, Milk Up Slightly The USDA says America’s egg production totaled 8.67 billion during June, a three percent drop from last year. Production included 7:39 billion table eggs and 1.28 billion hatching eggs. Of the hatching eggs, 1.19 billion were broilers and 89.4 million were egg-type. The average number of egg layers totaled 366 million in June, down four percent from last year. June egg production per 100 layers was 2,367 eggs, two percent higher than June 2021. Milk production in the 24 major dairy states during June totaled 18.1 billion pounds, up .3 percent from June 2021. Production per cow in the 24 states averaged 2,031 pounds in June, 20 pounds above the same time last year. The number of milk cows on farms was 8.93 million head, 65,000 less than June 2021, but 4,000 head more than in May 2022. Milk Production between April and June hit 57.9 billion pounds, down .5 percent from 2021.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday July 25, 2022 |


Monday Watch List Markets Back from the weekend, traders are looking close at this week's rain chances and will keep close track of actual rainfall amounts before a drier forecast returns in August. USDA's weekly report of grain export inspections is set for 10 a.m. CDT Monday, followed by the Crop Progress report at 3 p.m. Traders will also be watching outside markets with another rate hike expected from the Fed on Wednesday. Weather Two cold fronts are working through the Corn Belt on Monday. Across the south, widespread moderate to heavy rain is forecast while more scattered showers are moving into the Northern Plains. Rain may be heavy for flooding, even in drought areas across the southern Corn Belt. Temperatures are also much cooler behind the fronts, reducing stress for row crops and wheat. Meanwhile, heat continues south of the fronts in the Southern Plains and Delta, and is building in the Pacific Northwest, where temperatures and dryness will increase stress on spring wheat.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday July 22, 2022 |


Ethanol Production Rises After Six Consecutive Weekly Declines The Energy Information Administration says U.S. ethanol output increased for the first time in six weeks while inventories dropped slightly. During the week ending on July 15, production rose to an average of 1.03 million barrels a day. The EIA report says that’s up from just over one million barrels a day during the previous week, the first gain since June 10. The Midwest produces more ethanol than any other part of the U.S. and saw its output jump to an average of 973,000 barrels a day from 944,000 barrels a week earlier. Gulf Coast output climbed to an average of 26,000 barrels a day, up from 23,000 the prior week. That’s where all of the gains took place as the Rocky Mountain region stayed steady at 15,000 barrels a day, and the West Coast output held at 9,000 barrels a day for the eighth-straight week. Inventories dropped slightly to 23.55 million barrels. *********************************************************************************** House Democrats Introduce Child Nutrition Reauthorization Bill House Democrats introduced a bill that would reauthorize child nutrition programs. Those programs include school meals, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (WIC), and a number of smaller programs. The Hagstrom Report says child nutrition programs haven’t gotten reauthorized since 2010’s Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act. The School Nutrition Association, which represents school foodservice directors and companies that make the food, says it’s expecting a markup on the legislation next week. Prospects for reauthorization are uncertain as Democrats and Republicans have had differences over the nutritional requirements in the 2010 bill. The USDA also made it easier for children to get free school meals and for mothers and infants to use the WIC program. The reauthorization bill would make some of those policies permanent. Republicans are expected to question or even oppose those policies. The Senate Ag Committee, which has jurisdiction over child nutrition in the Senate, hasn’t released its own bill. *********************************************************************************** Farm Service Agency Updates Livestock Indemnity Payments for Smaller Calves The Farm Service Agency made changes to its payment rates under the Livestock Indemnity Program. The agency changed rates for calves under 250 pounds and will now value them at the same level as non-adult cattle weighing between 250 and 399 pounds. FSA also increased payment rates for calves under 400 pounds. The U.S. Cattlemen’s Association had written FSA Administrator Zach Ducheneaux and praised the changes. The Independent Beef Association of North Dakota says the April winter storms that hit North Dakota left cattle producers with extreme losses, most of which were in cattle under 250 pounds. LIP payment rate is set at 75 percent of the fair market value. The payments have gotten updated to use the same price as the 251-399 pound livestock. The rate is now set at $474.38 a head for cattle weighing less than 250 pounds. The previous payment rate for calves under 250 pounds was $175. *********************************************************************************** American Lamb Board Working on Strategic Planning The American Lamb Board last released a strategic plan in 2018. The world has changed since then, so the Board is developing a new strategic plan, noting that it faces dynamics that the industry has previously never faced. “Instability in the economy, the economic viability of sheep production, consumer uncertainty, supply chain issues, and increasing pressure from imports are critical issues,” says ALB Chair Peter Camino (Ka-MEE-no). “We are determined to find ways for the U.S. Lamb Checkoff to help our industry through our role in promotion, research, and producer outreach.” The current plan expires in 2022 and prioritizes increasing the quality and consistency of American Lamb and regaining market share from imports. “We need to give consumers more reasons to desire and ask for U.S. lamb even though we are premium prices,” Camino says. “The past four years show that we’ve made progress in many areas, but we need to push harder and farther.” *********************************************************************************** Biden, Xi Will Talk Soon on Tariffs, Trade, and Taiwan Plans are in place for President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping to meet by the end of the month as tensions increase over trade commitments, tariffs, and Taiwan. The two leaders last spoke on a call four months ago, and the new call would come as the administration considers cutting import duties on Chinese goods to help reduce inflation pressures on American consumers. Reuters says rising inflation has prompted the look at possible tariff relief. That relief may include cutting or dropping the Section 301 tariffs imposed by former President Trump on approximately $370 billion in Chinese imports. Sources told Reuters that the administration is considering whether to pair a removal of at least some of the tariffs with a new investigation into China’s industrial subsidies and its efforts to dominate key economic sectors. The U.S. says high-level engagement is needed to stabilize what’s been a difficult relationship between the countries. *********************************************************************************** Prices for Cereal Products Rose 11 Percent During First Half of 2022 Consumer prices for cereal products as measured by the Consumer Price Index rose about 11 percent from January through June of 2022 compared to the same time last year. It’s the largest year-over-year increase during those six months since 1981. The USDA says the rise in consumer prices for cereal products tracks with a more substantial increase in the price of wheat. The Kansas City Wheat Market most closely reflects the prices that mills pay for wheat, and cash wheat prices were up 63 percent from the same period last year. The heightened volatility follows a historically typical pattern. Price changes in commodity markets tend to be relatively more extreme than the changes in consumer prices. Generally, commodity prices make up a small portion of the value of these cereal products because of the level of transformation and transportation that these products go through while moving through the value chain.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday July 22, 2022 |


Friday Watch List Markets There are no significant reports out Friday morning, but traders will be watching the latest weather forecast and for any news regarding an agreement to allow grain shipments out of Ukraine. At 2 p.m. CDT, USDA will release its semi-annual cattle inventory report, the on-feed report for July and monthly cold storage report. Beef cow numbers in the inventory report will likely get the most attention. Weather A disturbance moving through the Corn Belt will produce some areas of showers and thunderstorms on Friday. Storms will be mostly isolated, but there could be a few patches where storms are stronger or severe. Showers will also occur in the Southeast. Between the two areas, temperatures will be increasing again, with heat and humidity making for some dangerous conditions for both humans and livestock for

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday July 21, 2022 |


NCGA: Federal Crop Insurance Still a Top Priority for Farmers Congress is continuing its review of the implementation of the 2018 Farm Bill as it prepares to debate and reauthorize the farm bill next year. A National Corn Growers Association leader testified before the House Ag Committee that federal crop insurance is essential to farming and has to get protected from harmful budget cuts. Tom Haag of Minnesota is the First Vice President of the NCGA. “Federal crop insurance is a major pillar of risk management for the vast majority of corn growers,” he said during testimony. “Simply put, the public-private partnership of crop insurance works and plays a significant role for agriculture in the wake of natural disasters.” During the development, passage, and implementation of the last farm bill, both the House and Senate Ag Committees defeated attacks on the program and found ways to strengthen the federal crop insurance program. Haag says NCGA will provide farm bill recommendations in the months ahead. *********************************************************************************** NPPC Applauds U.S.-Philippine Swine Fever Project The National Pork Producers Council is applauding a new joint effort to address the challenges of African Swine Fever. The USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service joined with leaders from the Philippine Department of Agriculture and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture to announce the new project. It’s titled “Capacity building in risk assessment to support safe international trade of U.S. pork producers in the Philippines.” NPPC President Terry Wolters of Minnesota says, “Creating international partnerships provides further safeguards to keep American agriculture safe from foreign animal disease. That helps U.S. pork producers to continue providing customers in both countries with safe and affordable pork.” The Philippines has had ongoing ASF outbreaks and is seeking better ways to control the virus and the subsequent food price inflation. NPPC worked with the Philippine embassy in Washington, D.C., to ascertain the needs of the Philippine government and the country’s producers to help them better manage ASF outbreaks. *********************************************************************************** Bipartisan Letter to EPA Asks Agency to Support Advanced Biofuel Production Senators Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, both members of the Senate Ag Committee, wrote a letter with 22 colleagues to the Environmental Protection Agency about biofuels. The letter asks EPA Administrator Michael Regan to support higher amounts of biomass-based biodiesel and other advanced biofuels in the upcoming 2023 and 2024 Renewable Volume Obligations. “Advanced biofuels have a critical role in addressing some of the economic challenges we face today,” Grassley says in the letter. The senators also say that the production and use of advanced biofuels benefit the economy and the environment in many ways. For example, the production process involves utilizing resources that would otherwise be of no use, including surplus vegetable oils, recycled cooking oils, and animal fats. Production of clean-burning, homegrown biofuels supports 13 percent of the value of U.S. soybeans. Laboratory estimates say biodiesel reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 74 percent compared to regular diesel. *********************************************************************************** Gas Prices Down 10 Percent from June Peak The national average price for a gallon of gas is below $4.50 for the first time in two months. The Washington Post says that may offer some relief for Americans struggling to make ends meet due to runaway inflation. Triple A says the national average was $4.495 on Tuesday, a ten percent drop from the June high point of more than $5 a gallon. A gallon of diesel dropped 31 cents over the last month, now at $5.51 on Tuesday. At least 35 states across the country have at least one retailer selling gas for under $4 a gallon. The fuel-tracking app GasBuddy says the lowest price this week was found in Virginia, where at least two stations are selling their gas at $3.25 a gallon. The turnaround in prices has taken industry analysts by surprise. Patrick DeHaan of GasBuddy says, “We see prices drop like this maybe twice a century. “ *********************************************************************************** Sorghum Added to USDA Food Buying Guide The USDA recently added sorghum to its Food Buying Guide for Child Nutrition Programs, the primary resource used by school foodservice directors to build menus that comply with nutrition requirements. The move represents a major step forward for Sorghum, a nutrient-rich, high-protein, gluten-free grain. “The inclusion of sorghum in the Food Buying Guide is a monumental win for sorghum producers as we continue looking for new ways to market our crop,” says Norma Ritz Johnson, executive director for the United Sorghum Checkoff Program. “This move is pivotal in our efforts to increase its visibility and ease of use among foodservice professionals.” She also says the industry is excited to deliver its nutritious whole grain to the plates of American schoolchildren. As of July 1, a new USDA requirement stated that at least 80 percent of the weekly grains in school lunch menus must be whole-grain rich, something sorghum can provide. *********************************************************************************** Ag Groups Support the “Beagle Brigade” The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association joined a coalition of agricultural organizations in calling for passage of the Beagle Brigade Act of 2022. The bill would authorize the National Detector Dog Training Center, which trains canines who are nicknamed the “Beagle Brigade.” Allison Rivera, NCBA Executive Director of Government Affairs, says the Beagle Brigade is crucial for preventing foreign animal diseases, invasive species, and pests from entering the country. “To continue the success of the Beagle Brigade’s program, we’re urging Congress to provide specific authorization for the National Detector Dog Training Center so canine teams can continue to provide robust inspections at U.S. ports of entry,” Rivera says. U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials say over 116 agricultural canine teams provide screenings at border crossings, airports, cruise terminals, cargo warehouses, and mail facilities. Brigade members play a vital role in preventing the introduction of diseases like Foot and Mouth Disease, African Swine Fever, and many others.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday July 21, 2022 |


Thursday Watch List Markets USDA's weekly export sales report is due out at 7:30 a.m. CDT Thursday, the same time as weekly U.S. jobless claims and an update of the U.S. Drought Monitor, followed by the Conference Board's index of U.S. leading indicators at 9 a.m. and the Energy Department's weekly report of natural gas storage at 9:30 a.m. Traders will keep close watch on the latest weather forecasts and watch to see if Russia restores gas shipments to Germany. The European Central Bank is expected to raise its interest rate by a half-percent. Weather A frontal boundary continues to push south and east across the country, though it is hard to call it a cold front with temperatures so high in many areas even north of this front. The front will be the focus for thunderstorm development, however, and some severe storms will be possible across the Southeast and up the Eastern Seaboard. To the northwest, temperatures are above-normal for most of the country except up along and across the Canadian border. There could be some pop-up showers at times through the rest of the Plains and Corn Belt, but most areas should stay dry today, increasing stress for drier areas of the country.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday July 20, 2022 |


Ag Land Market Will Be Active During the Fall Early indications are suggesting that land auction activity will be good both before and after the harvest in 2022. Farmers National Company says land sales typically slow during the spring and early summer. However, the rate of late summer and fall auctions getting scheduled with Farmers National Company is picking up rapidly. The overall number of sales and amount of land sold from now through the end of the year likely won’t equal the very active land market at the end of 2021. But sales activity will more than likely exceed what was seen during the slower land market years from 2015 to 2020. FNC says people are moving ahead with sales because of the historically high land prices currently in the market. Another factor is the level of uncertainty in a number of factors that influence land values, including inflation. Sellers worry about how far and how quickly interest rates will rise. *********************************************************************************** Family Farms Still Driving Dairy Industry The U.S. dairy industry says the “decline of the family farm” and the “rise of the corporate farm” are not accurate descriptions of American agriculture. While the number of dairy farms declined, it has not at all diminished the dominance of family-run dairies. Smaller family farms often grow to accommodate additional family members coming into the operation. Of the estimated 39,442 farms of all sizes with dairy cows, USDA data says more than 38,200 were family-operated. That’s a total of 97 percent of dairies, a high number that’s not moving despite any consolidation. For example, the number of farms with dairy cattle was over 48,000 in 2016, but the family-farm percentage that year was 97.3, a remarkably consistent number. The average size of a U.S. dairy farm has grown from 50 cows in 1990 to about 300 today. Even though they’re larger, the family farm is still the bedrock of American dairy farming. *********************************************************************************** AFT Hires Soil and Climate Experts to Increase Impact Capacity American Farmland Trust expanded its national “Farmers Combat Climate Change Initiative” team. New team members include Dr. Bonnie Michelle McGill as Senior Climate and Soil Health Scientist and Dr. Rachel Seman-Varner as Senior Soil Health and Biochar Scientist. Through the work of its climate initiative, AFT commits to making U.S. agriculture climate-neutral or better by promoting the widespread adoption of regenerative farming practices that rebuild soil health, sequester carbon, and reduce emissions. McGill will lead climate solutions related to program modeling, data analysis, and other research efforts advancing climate-smart practice adoption and support advocacy and communications. Seman-Varner will advance the science and implementation of high-level regenerative soil health management systems and provide technical support for policy advocacy. She will also advance AFT’s leadership on how to integrate and improve biochar and other innovative natural climate solutions into soil health management systems. The two new additions say complex problems need multi-faceted solutions. *********************************************************************************** American Fruit Grower’s Survey Shows Serious Labor Concerns The American Fruit Growers held its annual State of the Industry survey. Labor was a big topic in the survey, and one-third of the respondents say it’s not an issue for them, at least not yet. Growing Produce says they typically have a stable team of employees, and in 20 percent of those cases, it includes family members. For the remaining two-thirds of the survey responders, available labor is a huge challenge. A California apple grower told Growing Produce, “In California, we’re limited to a 40-hour workweek. They’re also considering reducing it to four days a week and raising the minimum wage to $15.50 an hour.” A citrus grower from Florida says it’s “virtually impossible” to find excellent farm labor. Just two in 10 survey responders currently use the H-2A program that authorizes lawful admission into the U.S. for temporary, non-immigrant workers to do agricultural labor or provide seasonal services. *********************************************************************************** U.S. Soy Farmers to Help Battle Child Malnutrition Worldwide The U.S. Agency for International Development announced $1.3 billion in additional critical assistance to Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia. Those funds include $200 million for purchasing a product called Ready-to-Use-Therapeutic-Food. RUTF is an energy-dense medical food paste made of soy, peanuts, powdered milk, vegetable oil, sugar, and multivitamins. It’s one of the world’s most effective tools to help severely malnourished children. America is one of the world’s largest and most cost-efficient producers of RUTFs, but U.S. farmers have the capacity to do more. “U.S. soybean growers are proud of the role they play in global food security,” says American Soybean Association President Brad Doyle. “We welcome the opportunity to provide more protein to feed those in need around the world, and we’re thankful for the much-needed investments in RUTFs.” Last spring, the ASA asked Congress for $200 million in appropriations to purchase RUTFs and double the global supply to reach more malnourished children. *********************************************************************************** “Rock the Crop” Sweepstakes Deadline Approaching Firestone Ag is partnering with country music star Dillon Carmichael to celebrate U.S. agriculture with its second annual Rock the Crop Concert Sweepstakes. U.S. farmers and ranchers must enter by July 25 for a chance to win a private, on-farm concert with Dillon Carmichael or tickets to one of his upcoming concerts. Firestone Ag says it’s proud to champion hard-working family farmers, and eligible entrants must live and work in the contiguous U.S. and be at least 21 years old. “I’m thrilled to continue this partnership with Firestone and have such a unique opportunity to personally celebrate America’s farmers,” Carmichael says. “My latest album is all about small-town USA, which is common for country music and a testament to my upbringing and our many fans.” Matt Frank, Firestone’s marketing product manager, says the last few years have been very challenging for agriculture workers, so they’re excited to thank one lucky farmer or rancher.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday July 20, 2022 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets A report on U.S. existing home sales is set for 9 a.m. CDT, followed by the Energy Department's weekly report of energy inventories at 9:30 a.m., a report which includes ethanol production. Traders will continue to keep a close watch on the latest weather forecast and any news regarding Ukraine. Weather A system moving through the Great Lakes is expected to fire off scattered thunderstorms along its cold front from Michigan to Kentucky Wednesday afternoon, some of which may be severe. More limited showers will be possible along the rest of the front from Tennessee back through Oklahoma. Some showers will also be found across the Southeast while most of the rest of the country is dry. Heat continues to be a major factor today, with high heat and humidity ahead of this from across the South into the Northeast.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday July 19, 2022 |


International Trade Commission Rejects Fertilizer Duties in Win for Farmers The U.S. International Trade Commission Monday ruled against imposing tariffs on nitrogen fertilizers imported from Russia and Trinidad and Tobago. The decision comes after CF Industries filed a petition with ITC in late 2021, requesting that the commission place tariffs on urea ammonium nitrate used in liquid fertilizers. Shortages and prices have since increased exponentially. National Corn Growers Association President Chris Edgington says, "This comes as a welcome relief," adding, "We have been sounding the alarms and telling the ITC commissioners that tariffs will drive up input prices to even more unaffordable levels for farmers." American Soybean Association President Brad Doyle says the ruling "will provide much-needed relief from tariffs for U.S. soybean growers and farmers across the country." Few inputs have exhibited more price inflation than UAN, which has experienced a high price increase due largely due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Last month, agriculture groups asked ITC to take into consideration that price pressure experienced by commodity farmers has cascading effects that reverberate through the farm economy. *********************************************************************************** Report: China Largest Global Funder of Agricultural R&D While public agricultural research and development funding in the United States has trended downward in recent decades, several other major trading partners have increased their funding. USDA’s Economic Research Service reported Monday that China leads the world in agricultural research and development funding. The European Union's expenditures have grown since 2000, as have the expenditures in India and Brazil. However, none experienced as rapid an increase as China, which became the largest funder of agricultural R&D after 2011, surpassing the European Union. By 2015, the last year for which the Economic Research Service has full data, China was spending more than $10 billion annually on agricultural R&D. That level of spending was roughly twice the U.S. expenditures in 2015 and nearly quintuple that of China's own R&D spending in 2000. With China as a major importer of U.S. agricultural goods and Brazil a competitor to the U.S. in the global corn and soybean markets, these developments could impact U.S. export competitiveness. *********************************************************************************** FAS Administrator Whitley Kicks Off Philippines Trade Mission Foreign Agricultural Service Administrator Daniel Whitley arrived in Manila Monday to launch a USDA trade mission. The trade mission seeks to foster stronger ties and build economic partnerships between the United States and the Philippines. Whitley is joined by representatives from 29 U.S. agribusinesses and farm organizations and ten state agriculture departments interested in exploring export opportunities in the Philippines. Whitley says, "I'm confident the next few days will produce mutually beneficial results to help expand trade, increase collaboration on key issues impacting agriculture in both our countries, and ultimately strengthen Philippine food security." This week, local staff from the FAS office in Manila will host business meetings between U.S. trade mission delegates and local companies seeking to import American food and farm products. The trade mission itinerary also includes three memoranda of understanding signing ceremonies, including one to launch a USDA-funded program to help combat African Swine Fever in the Philippines. *********************************************************************************** Vilsack to Address Western Governors’ Association Annual Conference Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will travel to Idaho for a series of events next week, including addressing the Western Governors' Association Annual Conference. The events are related to the Biden administration efforts to build climate resilience and recover from the impact of wildfires. USDA says Vilsack will visit a U.S. Forest Service tree nursery in Boise, Idaho, on July 25, and announce USDA efforts on climate mitigation and significant investments in reforestation and wildfire risk reduction funded in part by President Biden's Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. On July 26, Vilsack will deliver a keynote address at the Western Governors' Association Annual Conference. In his address, he will speak about challenges facing western communities and how state and federal governments can partner to address these challenges. Before his keynote, Secretary Vilsack will participate in a press conference with the governors in attendance, where he will discuss Bipartisan Infrastructure Law programs that will help communities reduce risk and build resilience against wildfire. *********************************************************************************** Agriculture, Business Organizations Oppose Tax Increases The National Pork Producers Council last week joined 191 agriculture and business organizations voicing opposition to two key changes to the tax code that may become part of a budget reconciliation bill. Media reports suggest Senate lawmakers want for non-corporate taxpayers to expand the current 3.8 percent Net Investment Income Tax to all non-wage income and expand and extend the “excess business loss limitation.” Both provisions were included in the $1.6 trillion budget reconciliation package of mostly social welfare and environmental spending approved by the House last fall. For pass-through entities such as most pork operations, the increase would directly impact the bottom line, limiting deductions of excess business losses would reduce the ability of farm operations to recover from bad years, according to NPPC. In a letter last month, the groups wrote, “In the face of a possible recession, 40-year high inflation, unprecedented supply-chain challenges, and chronic labor shortages, raising taxes on small, individually, and family-owned businesses is the wrong approach and should be rejected.” *********************************************************************************** Overwhelming Interest in USDA Climate-Smart Commodities Opportunity The Department of Agriculture says the second funding pool through the Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities opportunity received over 600 applications from over 400 groups. While USDA is in the process of calculating the total requested amount for the second funding pool, the overall interest in the opportunity already exceeds more than $18 billion. Undersecretary for Farm Production and Conservation, Robert Bonnie, says, “The results of the second funding pool clearly demonstrate the strong demand in the U.S. agriculture and forestry industry for solutions that expand markets for American producers." The second funding pool, which closed on Friday, June 10, included proposals from $250,000 to $5 million that emphasize the enrollment of small and/or underserved producers, and/or monitoring, reporting and verification activities developed at minority-serving institutions. First-round proposals requested more than $18 billion and offered to match more than $8 billion in nonfederal dollars. The submissions are currently being reviewed, and selections are anticipated later this summer.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday July 19, 2022 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets A report on June U.S. housing starts will be out at 7:30 a.m. CDT and is the only significant report of the day. Traders will continue to keep watch over the latest weather forecasts and be on the lookout for an update on last week's meeting in Turkey regarding the passage of grain shipments out of Ukraine. Weather A system is skirting along the Canadian border Tuesday, bringing scattered showers and thunderstorms near the border and potential for some severe storms in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Stronger winds are developing on the backside of the system in the Northern Plains as well. But heat continues to be the big story of the week with high heat south of the influence of that system across the South. Soil moisture continues to decline in these areas.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday July 18, 2022 |


CoBank Report Details Current and Future Ag Economic Conditions A number of factors are sending up red flags about slowing economic activity and a potential oncoming recession. A CoBank report says inflation is the largest red flag, and the Fed is ready to raise rates until it believes inflation has been controlled. “Warehouse and inventory costs are still rising at near-peak levels, and transportation costs are rising at a much higher rate than before COVID-19,” says Dan Kowalski, vice president of CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange. “Grain rail car availability and prices were at multi-year lows and highs respectively, in the second quarter.” Shifting economic sentiments have brought ag and energy commodity prices down from their peaks. Grain prices in the second quarter remained volatile, but grain and oilseed prices should push higher because of tight global commodity supplies, especially wheat and soybeans. There are challenges ahead because of dry July weather, and Asian-made crop protection chemicals will continue in short supply. *********************************************************************************** NMPF Supports the “Formula Act,” Wants Production Boost The National Milk Producers Federation supports bipartisan House legislation that will encourage additional infant formula supply imports to temporarily ease short-term shortfalls in supplies. However, the organization says boosting longer-term domestic production to ensure safe and secure infant supplies in the future is necessary. The “Formula Act” in the House would waive U.S. tariffs on infant formula imports through the end of this year to ensure that the domestic market has the needed formula supplies. The tariff reduction would help the U.S. domestic market recover from an acute processing capacity crisis that created the national shortage of infant formula. “The U.S. has experienced a highly unusual shortage of infant formula for much of this year,” says Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF. “It’s a crisis that’s dragged on way too long but appears to be improving.” The legislation will address short-term challenges while not creating a permanent dependence on foreign supplies. *********************************************************************************** NCGA Corn Congress Meeting Addresses Crop Input Costs, Availability U.S. farmers are working to help feed the world and fill a void in food production left by the war in Ukraine. Corn grower leaders unanimously passed a measure calling on the White House to maintain grower access to inputs. The measure says the “ability to address the crises facing our world today in a sustainable manner cannot be achieved without fair access to the inputs necessary to raise a crop each year, including pesticides, fertilizer, and biotech seeds.” The unanimous vote comes after the Environmental Protection Agency revised its atrazine registration, a move that could limit access to a critical crop protection tool which has been tested and proven safe for use. The move also comes after the Supreme Court recently refused to hear a case from California regarding glyphosate, which leaves a ruling in place that says glyphosate causes cancer. Farmers worry about a state-by-state patchwork of regulations in the future. *********************************************************************************** “Flash Drought” Emerging in Central, Eastern U.S. While the western U.S. sees water getting scarcer every day, extremely dry conditions are getting worse in central and eastern states. The U.S. Drought Monitor says a “flash drought” has developed in parts of the South and Northeast, including Texas, Oklahoma, and Missouri. CNN says a flash drought is caused by the rapid intensification of a drought due to a combination of unusually high temperatures, sunshine, and wind. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says flash drought can cause extensive damage to agriculture, economies, and ecosystems. Extreme heat has covered the Southern Plains for a couple of weeks, and more is in the forecast. That’s made the ongoing drought much worse. Roughly 94 percent of Texas was in some form of drought last week, the largest area since 2013, and over 21 percent of the state is in exceptional drought. Oklahoma is also experiencing its hottest summer in several years. *********************************************************************************** Removing Barriers to Meet Growing Demand for Food The American Farm Bureau is calling on USDA to take steps to make sure American farmers continue to have access to crucial fertilizer supplies. The organization submitted comments on USDA’s “Request for Information on Access to Fertilizer.” AFBF says many factors are combining to create shortages and drive up fertilizer costs. “America’s farmers are getting called on to feed both America’s families and families overseas as war and shortages take their toll on international neighbors,” says AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “We need long-term solutions.” The organization’s recommendations include assistance for farmers to expand on-site farm fertilizer storage capacity to help them manage costs year-round. They want the EPA to reform its review processes that create barriers to domestic fertilizer production. AFB also wants modernized weight restrictions for trucks to help reduce the number that’s needed to transport goods and to enact rail reforms to help promote competition, fairer rates, and reliable service. *********************************************************************************** Grain Exports Keeping Pace with Prior Marketing Year U.S. grain exports in-all-forms totaled 96 million metric tons during the first nine months of the current marketing year. The exports to 145 countries are just under the total at the same point in the previous marketing year. Increased grain exports to Mexico, Canada, and Colombia helped to offset year-to-date losses in China and Japan. Those five markets account for almost 70 percent of the grains-in-all-forms commodity exports. “These five markets are very important to overall grain-in-all-forms exports,” says U.S. Grains Council Vice President Cary Sifferath. “Strong exports of corn, DDGS, and ethanol mean Canada is now the third-largest market after Mexico and China.” Mexico surpassed China month-over-month to become the top market for U.S. grains-in-all-forms exports totaling 21 million metric tons during the first nine months of the 2022-2023 marketing year. China is the second largest GIAF export market, with exports of 20 million metric tons during the same period.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday July 18, 2022 |


Monday Watch List Markets Back from the weekend, traders will check the latest forecasts and news, including wanting to know if Ukraine and Russia can agree to allow exports out of Ukraine. USDA's weekly report of grain export inspections is due out at 10 a.m. CDT, followed by USDA's monthly Livestock, Dairy and Poultry outlook at 1 p.m. and Crop Progress report at 3 p.m. Weather A disturbance from the weekend continues to produce some showers from the Delta into the Northeast on Monday with some limited heavy rain potential in these areas. A strong disturbance is moving along the U.S.-Canada border as well and is already starting to spark severe thunderstorms in northern Montana. Areas on both sides of the border will see widespread precipitation but also severe weather today into tomorrow. Heavy rain in the Canadian Prairies will help to ease or eliminate drought for the remaining areas of southern Alberta and southwest Saskatchewan. Heat will take over where showers do not, especially in the Plains, sapping soil moisture and causing stress to crops and livestock.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday July 15, 2022 |


U.S.-Kenya Strategic Trade and Investment Partnership Launches U.S. trade Representative Katherine Tai Thursday announced the launch of the United States-Kenya Strategic Trade and Investment Partnership. Tai met virtually with representatives from Kenya, and they identified initial issues where the United States and Kenya will develop an ambitious roadmap for enhanced cooperation. The United States and Kenya will consider measures to facilitate agricultural trade and enhance transparency and understanding of the application of science- and risk-based Sanitary and Phytosanitary measures. The two sides share an interest in fostering sustainable agricultural practices, as well as creating an enabling environment for innovative agricultural technologies that would help achieve food security goals, increase farm productivity, and improve farmer livelihoods, while addressing climate change concerns. Meanwhile, USTR and the European Union held the fifth meeting of the Joint Committee established under the U.S.-EU Agreement on Prudential Measures Regarding Insurance and Reinsurance. Both sides acknowledged progress made toward full implementation of the Agreement. *********************************************************************************** House Ag Chair Announces Bill to Support Small Cattle Farmers House Agriculture Chairman David Scott announced the intention to introduce a bill to help small family farmers and ranchers and address the national crisis in our nation’s beef supply chain. Scott says, “What has been missing from the conversation is help for the very beginning of our food supply chain, which is our nation’s small family farmers and ranchers.” The bill creates a new program that strengthens the federal safety net and makes insurance products work better for small cattle farmers and ranchers, both in terms of coverage and accessibility. The second pillar establishes a grant program at USDA to help small farmers and ranchers and producer-owned cooperatives to undertake innovative business initiatives. By developing more direct-to-consumer and direct-to-institution markets, the legislation will give small farmers and ranchers more control over where they sell their cattle or meat products and provide them with opportunities to add value to their products and increase their profitability, according to Scott. *********************************************************************************** Republican Lawmakers Demand Biden Relax Import Duties on Fertilizer Republican lawmakers demand the Biden administration waive import duties on fertilizer from Morocco and Trinidad and Tobago. The Biden administration has placed duties on fertilizer imports of phosphate fertilizer products from Morocco and is working on new duties on urea ammonium nitrate fertilizer from Trinidad and Tobago. Led by Senator Roger Marshall and Representative Tracey Mann of Kansas, a group of Republicans made the demand in a letter to President Biden. The letter states, “The bottom line is that fertilizer is critical to national security and national defense.” In June, President Biden, using his emergency authority, issued a proclamation titled “Declaration of Emergency and Authorization for Temporary Extensions of Time and Duty-Free Importation of Solar Cells and Modules from Southeast Asia.” The decision waived countervailing duties and anti-dumping duties for solar panels. President Biden’s emergency justifications for this proclamation are also applicable to fertilizer, according to the letter, which directly impacts food prices more than any emergency concerning solar panels. *********************************************************************************** Ag Lawmakers Call on EPA to Cease Politicization of Crop Protection Tools The top Republicans on the House and Senate Agriculture Committees call on the Environmental Protection Agency to "cease politicization of crop protection tools. Representative Glenn "GT" Thompson of Pennsylvania and Senator John Boozman of Arkansas penned a letter to the EPA this week “about the concerning trend of disregarding scientifically-sound, risk-based regulatory processes, and unilaterally denying access to a range of crop protection tools.” Russia’s war in Ukraine has sent shockwaves through the global food system resulting in increased energy prices, fertilizer cost spikes and shortages, and worsening food shortages in developing countries. As the world faces an emerging food crisis due to this conflict, the lawmakers say, “our policies should be focused on supporting American production instead of creating further burden and ambiguity for our farmers and ranchers.” The letter follows a previous effort last year calling on the EPA to rescind its decision to revoke all food tolerances for chlorpyrifos and ensure future actions related to crop protection tools are consistent with the science-based, regulatory process. *********************************************************************************** AEF Announces Agriculture Interoperability Network Project Team The Agricultural Industry Electronics Foundation Thursday announced the formation of a project team to develop the new Agriculture Interoperability Network. The team will be creating guidelines for data formats to simplify data sharing for end users, growers and operators. The project team is made up of approximately 60 participants from various AEF member companies from different corners of the globe. AEF members will be able to use the network to make sure their data flows through this whole network. AEF Vice Chairman Andrew Olliver says, “The ability to manage the farm more effectively revolves around the ease of getting all of the data into the best location for reporting and analysis, and to derive insights for future operations.” The network will be a concerted and non-discriminatory governed network that streamlines peer–to-peer interfaces between platforms. Agricultural Industry Electronics Foundation is scheduled to introduce the network in November 2023. *********************************************************************************** Grassley Receives President’s Award from National Corn Growers Association The National Corn Growers Association awarded Senator Chuck Grassley the organization' President Award for his leadership and commitment to advocating for corn growers and agriculture. The President's Award is the most prestigious recognition by NCGA and was presented to Grassley during NCGA's Corn Congress events in Washington, D.C. The Iowa Republican says, “I am honored and humbled to receive this lifetime achievement award.” Grassley, one of only two farmers in the Senate, is a member of the Iowa Corn Growers Association. NCGA President Chris Edgington of Iowa adds, “we would not have secured the policy successes we have over the years were it not for the contributions of the senior senator from Iowa.” Grassley serves on several committees, including the Senate Agricultural Committee. A lifelong Iowan, Grassley was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1980. NCGA’s President’s Award is given annually to a leader who has worked to advance issues important to corn growers and agriculture.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday July 15, 2022 |


Friday Watch List Markets A report on U.S. retail sales in June is due out at 7:30 a.m. CDT, followed by the Federal Reserve's report on U.S. industrial production at 8:15 a.m. and the University of Michigan's index of U.S. consumer sentiment at 9 a.m. Traders will continue to split attention between the latest weather forecasts and the larger economic news with a view toward the next Fed meeting near the end of this month. Weather A weak disturbance moving through the Midwest is causing showers Friday. The scattered showers are bringing light to moderate amounts, but not everywhere is going to get hit and showers will die out as they move through the eastern sections of the Midwest tonight. Scattered showers will continue in the Southeast again today. Heat will continue where showers do not occur, causing stress for pollinating corn and worsening or expanding drought in the Plains.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday July 14, 2022 |


Thursday Watch List Markets After reporting a 9.1% gain in annual consumer prices in June, the U.S. Labor Department will report on producer prices at 7:30 a.m. CDT, Thursday -- the same time USDA's weekly export sales report, weekly U.S. jobless claims and an update of the U.S. Drought Monitor are all released. The U.S. Energy Department reports on natural gas in storage at 9:30 a.m. Traders will continue to watch split screens, juggling attention between the latest weather forecasts and happenings in outside markets. Weather Heat is spreading from the West into more of the Plains Thursday as a ridge is starting to take over North America. The increased heat will lead to some showers and thunderstorms in the Northern Plains and Canadian Prairies today that could be severe. Old fronts across the Southeast will continue daily showers and thunderstorms in that region as well.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday July 14, 2022 |


Consumer Price Index Increases The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers increased 1.3 percent in June on a seasonally adjusted basis after rising 1.0 percent in May. Over the last 12 months, the all-items index increased 9.1 percent before seasonal adjustment. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the increase was broad-based, with the indexes for gasoline, shelter, and food being the largest contributors. The all-items index increased 9.1 percent for the 12 months ending June, the largest 12-month increase since the period ending November 1981. The food index increased 1.0 percent in June, following a 1.2-percent increase in May. The index for food at home also rose 1.0 percent in June, the sixth consecutive increase of at least 1.0 percent in that index. Five of the six major grocery store food group indexes rose in June. The index for other food at home rose 1.8 percent, with sharp increases in the indexes for butter and for sugar and sweets. *********************************************************************************** USDA Invests $14M to Support Agricultural Workforce Training for Underserved Communities The Department of Agriculture Wednesday announced more than $14 billion in agricultural workforce training for underserved communities. USDA says the funding will increase the resilience of the U.S. meat and poultry processing sector. The investment is part of the American Rescue Plan to strengthen the nation’s food supply chain by promoting fair and competitive agricultural markets. Funding is available through the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Request for Applications process to eligible universities. Eligible applicants include qualified Centers of Excellence at 1890 Land-grant Universities, 1994 Land-grant Tribal Colleges, Hispanic-serving institutions, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian institutions, and participants in the Resident Instruction Grants Program for Institutions of Higher Education in Insular Areas. Dr. Chavonda Jacobs-Young, USDA undersecretary for research, education and economics, who also serves as USDA’s chief scientist, says, “These investments provide critical support to our higher education partners to increase rural prosperity and economic sustainability of food systems in underserved agricultural communities.” *********************************************************************************** FAS Administrator Whitley to Lead Philippines Trade Mission Foreign Agricultural Service Administrator Daniel Whitley will lead a delegation of representatives from 29 U.S. agribusinesses and farm organizations to Manila, Philippines, July 18-21. The delegation is part of a Department of Agriculture-sponsored trade mission. The Philippines is the eighth-largest market for U.S. agricultural exports, averaging $3.1 billion annually during the last five years. Whitley says, “The Philippines is an excellent market for U.S. farm and food products, and we look forward to introducing a diverse group of companies and organizations to new export opportunities there.” Participants will engage directly with potential buyers, receive in-depth market briefs from FAS and industry trade experts, and participate in site visits. Whitley will be joined by Minnesota Department of Agriculture Commissioner Thom Petersen, Nebraska Department of Agriculture Director Steve Wellman, South Dakota Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources Secretary Hunter Roberts and Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Matthew Lohr, among others. *********************************************************************************** DeLauro, Durbin Introduce Food Safety Administration Act Two Democrats Wednesday Introduced the Food Safety Administration Act to establish the Food Safety Administration. The administration would be a single food safety agency responsible for keeping the food safe for market. Connecticut Representative Rosa DeLauro introduced the legislation with Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois. The Food Safety Administration Act would establish the Food Safety Administration under the Department of Health and Human Services by incorporating the existing food programs within the Food and Drug Administration into a separate agency: the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, Center for Veterinary Medicine, and the Office of Regulatory Affairs. Representative DeLauro says, "Look no further than the recent infant formula crisis to understand the need to create a single food safety agency, led by a food policy expert, to ensure the safety of products that go to market." The legislation is endorsed by the Center for Food Safety, Consumer Reports, Environmental Working Group, Friends of the Earth and others. *********************************************************************************** Clean Fuels Highlights Job Creation and Economic Benefits in Letter to President Biden Clean Fuels Alliance America wrote to President Joe Biden Wednesday and other administration officials to highlight the biodiesel and renewable diesel industry’s contribution to job growth. The letter asks the administration to support tax policy that encourages continued investments, capacity expansion, and additional job creation. The letter states, “The clean fuels industry increased production during 2021, making an essential contribution to the nation’s fuel supply,” adding, “Our industry plans to continue increasing production this year.” The recent United States Energy and Employment Report 2022 shows that the clean fuels industry added jobs in 2021 at a rate of 6.7 percent and anticipates continued job growth of 5.8 percent in manufacturing during 2022. Additionally, a recent study from the World Agricultural Economic and Environmental Service showing that U.S. biodiesel and renewable diesel production generated a four percent decrease in the price of diesel fuel in 2021 – a saving of $0.22 a gallon at current fuel prices. *********************************************************************************** U.S. Fruit and Vegetable Import Value Outpaces Volume Growth In fiscal year 2021, the value of U.S. fruit and vegetable imports rose to a record level. That record is projected to rise another nine percent in FY 2022, October–September, to $42.6 billion, according to USDA’s Economic Research Service. Import volumes are also expected to grow three percent in 2022 to 29.4 million metric tons. This would further extend the trend seen from 2000 to 2021, during which the volume of U.S. fruit and vegetable imports increased 124 percent while the inflation-adjusted value of those imports increased 208 percent. The shift indicates that, on a per volume basis, imported fruits and vegetable products are priced higher than they were 20 years ago as growth in the value of these imports has exceeded growth in volume. Steadily increasing unit prices for imported fresh fruits and vegetables, up from $753 per metric ton in 2000 to $1,192 in 2021, have contributed significantly to the observed trend.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday July 13, 2022 |


USDA Expands Crop Insurance for Double Crop Systems The Department of Agriculture Tuesday announced an expansion of crop insurance availability for double-crop practices. To reduce the risk of raising two crops on the same land in one year – a practice known as double cropping - USDA's Risk Management Agency is expanding double-crop insurance opportunities in over 1,500 counties where double cropping is viable. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack joined President Joe Biden at an Illinois farm in May to announce a series of actions to help farmers. Vilsack says, “Today, USDA is making good on one of those commitments and making it easier to plant double crops and sharing some of the financial risk.” For soybeans, double-crop coverage will be expanded to or streamlined in at least 681 counties. For grain sorghum, double-crop coverage will be expanded to or streamlined in at least 870 counties. The coverage expansion was guided by extensive outreach to nearly 70 grower groups covering 28 states. *********************************************************************************** USDA Releases July WASDE Report USDA released the July World Agriculture Supply and Demand report Tuesday. This month’s 2022/23 U.S. corn outlook calls for larger supplies and higher ending stocks. Corn beginning stocks were raised 25 million bushels, based on reduced feed and residual use for 2021/22 as indicated in the June 30 Grain Stocks report. The season-average farm price received by producers was lowered 10 cents to $6.65 per bushel. Oilseed production for 2022/23 is projected at 132.7 million tons, down 3.9 million from last month. Soybean production is projected at 4.5 billion bushels, down 135 million on lower harvested area. Harvested area, forecast at 87.5 million acres in the June 30 Acreage report, is down 2.6 million from last month. The season-average soybean price is forecasted at $14.40 per bushel, down $0.30 from last month. The outlook for 2022/23 U.S. wheat this month forecasts larger supplies, domestic use, exports, and ending stocks. The projected season-average price declined $0.25 per bushel to $10.50. *********************************************************************************** USDA Accepts More than 3.1 Million Acres in Grassland CRP Signup The Department of Agriculture is accepting offers for more than 3.1 million through this year's Conservation Reserve Program Grassland Signup, the highest in history. The program allows producers and landowners to continue grazing and haying practices while protecting grasslands and promoting plant and animal biodiversity and conservation. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says, "This year's record-breaking Grassland CRP signup demonstrates the continued success and value of investments in voluntary, producer-led, working lands conservation programs." Nationwide, this year's Grassland CRP signup surpassed last year's 2.5 million acres by 22 percent. So far this year, producers have enrolled two million acres through the General Signup, and more than 464,000 acres have been submitted through the Continuous CRP Signup. This means about 5.6 million acres are entering CRP in 2023, surpassing the 3.9 million acres expiring this year. Producers can still make an offer to participate in CRP through the Continuous CRP Signup by contacting the FSA at their local USDA Service Center. *********************************************************************************** House Ag Committee Leaders Launch Online Farm Bill Feedback Form Leadership of the House Agriculture Committee this week announced an online form to gather farmer feedback for consideration in the next farm bill. House Agriculture Committee Chairman David Scott and Ranking Member Glenn "GT" Thompson announced the form for farmers and ranchers to submit their feedback and ideas for the 2023 Farm Bill. Chairman Scott says, “This is a chance to hear directly from farmers, ranchers and foresters across the nation.” Ranking Member Thompson adds, “Hearing directly from farm country about what’s working and what’s not is the only way to ensure we craft a bill that meets the needs of rural America.” In addition to the feedback gathered online, the House Agriculture Committee will continue to conduct hearings in Washington, DC and hold listening sessions across the country to gather input as we prepare for the 2023 Farm Bill. The online form is available on the House Ag Committee website. *********************************************************************************** Meat Industry Leaders Strengthen Collaboration on Food Security The North American Meat Institute's Executive Board voted unanimously late Friday to designate food security as a non-competitive issue. Announces Tuesday, the action, according to the organization, strengthens industry-wide efforts to end hunger and ensure families in need have access to nutrient-dense meat. NAMI President and CEO Julie Anna Potts says, "Declaring food security a non-competitive issue will allow the Meat Institute and its members to freely share best practices." Potts says the action is especially important as the industry prepares to support the September 2022 White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health. Through the Protein PACT for the People, Animals and Climate of tomorrow, the Meat Institute has committed to fill the protein gap by 2025. The Meat Institute has also established a Food Security Committee to bring members together to facilitate discussion, information-sharing, and problem-solving related to charitable giving, hunger relief and food security. *********************************************************************************** U.S. Residents Consumed Less Ice Cream in 2020 than in 2000 U.S. residents are scooping less of their favorite frozen treats than two decades ago. USDA’s Economic Research Service Tuesday reported that in 2020, the United States consumed about 21 pounds per person of frozen dairy products—about five pounds per capita less than in 2000. Consumption of regular ice cream in 2020 was estimated at 12.7 pounds per person, a decrease of about 3.4 pounds from 2000. At 6.9 pounds, per capita consumption of low-fat and nonfat ice cream was about the same in 2020 as in 2000. Consumption of other frozen dairy products, which include frozen yogurt, sherbet, and other frozen dairy products, decreased from 3.4 pounds to 1.6 pounds per person in the same period. This trend in frozen dairy products is in line with a decline in consumption of total caloric sweeteners per capita from 149.0 pounds in 2000 to 122.5 pounds per capita in 2020, reflecting shifting preferences among consumers.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday July 13, 2022 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets The U.S. Labor Department will release its consumer price index for June at 7:30 a.m. CDT, a big concern for investors with ramifications for Fed policy. At 9:30 a.m., the Energy Department will have its weekly report of energy inventories, including ethanol production. At 1 p.m., the Fed's Beige Book be scoured for any clues about interest rates, the same time the U.S. Treasury reports on the federal budget for June. Weather A cold front moving into the Southeast will combine with an old one left over from the weekend to produce widespread showers and thunderstorms on Wednesday. Most of the rest of the country will be quiet, though a front will start to move through the Canadian Prairies and Montana later in the day which will be the focus for thunderstorm development as well. Heat in the West and around Texas will continue for another day.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday July 12, 2022 |


May Beef Exports Set New Records, Pork Exports Rise U.S. beef exports set new volume and value records in May, topping $1 billion for the fourth time in 2022. The exports reached just over 135,000 metric tons, up one percent from the previous high in May 2021. Export value climbed 20 percent to $1.09 billion, breaking the March 2022 record. For January through May, beef exports were four percent higher than last year at 613,200 metric tons, valued at $5.14 billion. “Keeping the $1 billion-a-month pace is remarkable, especially given the economic challenges like a stronger dollar and the logistical challenges of the supply chain,” says U.S. Meat Export Federation president and CEO Dan Halstrom. May pork exports were the strongest in volume and value so far during 2022. May pork exports were 224,600 metric tons, down 21 percent from the large total last year. However, that was the highest monthly volume since November. Export value was $665 million, also the highest since November. *********************************************************************************** Gas Prices See Biggest One-Day Drop Since 2008 Gas prices dropped last week by the largest one-day amount in over ten years. Auto club Triple-A says the average prices at U.S. pumps fell 3.1 cents per gallon on Friday, the largest one-time decrease since 2008. Despite the recent drop in gas prices, they’re still roughly $1.60 higher than last year. Ten states still have prices over $5 a gallon, and California is above $6 a gallon. Late last week, Bloomberg said supplies remain tight for fuel. U.S. total gasoline stocks are at their lowest seasonal level in seven years, even though refiners on the Gulf Coast and East Coast have been running at almost maximum capacity. East Coast supplies are particularly vulnerable, and they’re at the lowest seasonal level on record since the government started collecting data in 1993. Gas prices are a major contributor to inflation and will be a significant issue in the upcoming U.S. elections. *********************************************************************************** Farm Family Living Expenses A study by the Kansas Farm Management Association shows that farm family living expenses jumped 14 percent higher last year to an average of $82,000. It’s significantly higher than the previous high of $74,000 in 2014 and the largest yearly change since 2000. Agricultural Economic Insights says tight farm margins starting in 2014 made farmers tighten their belts, and overall, producers benefited from an economy that had extremely low inflation rates through the 2010s. The rising costs in 2021 could be attributed to broad inflation in the economy, as well as profitable conditions in farming. At least some of the 14 percent increase could be seen as a recovery after the three percent contraction in family living expenses in 2020. AEI says the combination of inflationary price pressure and an improved farm economy resulted in significantly higher living expenses for farms, and many farmers will need to update their projections for 2022 and beyond. *********************************************************************************** Poultry Executives Not Guilty of Price-Fixing Five executives in the poultry industry were found not guilty of a price-fixing conspiracy between 2012 and 2019. The Denver Post says the verdict is a defeat for prosecutors and happened after two mistrials. Jurors acquitted the current and former CEOs of Pilgrim’s Pride, a former Pilgrim’s Pride vice president, and the president and vice president of Claxton Poultry. Criminal trials of industry executives are unusual. The three trials happened as rising meat prices added fuel to soaring inflation. The Department of Justice hoped to succeed in the third trial by narrowing the defendants in previous cases from 10 to five in the third attempt. “Although we are disappointed in the verdict, we will continue to vigorously enforce the antitrust laws, especially when it comes to price-fixing schemes affecting food,” the DOJ says in a statement. A lawyer for one of the defendants says the case “should never have been brought.” *********************************************************************************** Safeguarding Midwest Lands That Grow Food Smart growth and investment in Midwest downtowns and main streets have to occur now to secure the land that grows our food. That conclusion is from American Farmland Trust, which released a report called “Farms Under Threat 2040: Choosing an Abundant Future.” The report’s research shows that by 2040, more than three million acres, or nearly 5,000 square miles of farmland, may be lost to urban and low-density conversion across the Midwest. Six Midwestern states made the top ten list of the number of farmland acres getting converted to urban development by 2040. Those states include Illinois, Iowa, Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. The report shows the loss will disproportionately affect smaller farms that often service local markets with fresh products. Many of those smaller farms also tend to bring new farmers into the profession and are instrumental in getting through the supply chain disruptions hitting grocery stores around the nation. *********************************************************************************** USDA Helping Issue Child Food Benefits for Summer The USDA is partnering with states and territories across the country to work with urgency to provide food benefits for the summer months to eligible children. As of July 8, 27 states and territories, including Puerto Rico, are set up to provide these benefits to an estimated 13 million children. “For far too long, millions of families have struggled to keep their kids fed and healthy during the summer while schools are out,” says Cindy Long, administrator of the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service. “Child food benefits can bridge the gap and help families provide the nourishment their children deserve. They can also help American families cope with the rising cost of food.” Children are eligible for this temporary nutrition benefit called P-EBT if they get free or reduced-price meals during the school year. Children six and under are also eligible if they live in a household receiving SNAP benefits.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday July 12, 2022 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets Traders will be watching the latest weather forecasts, but will likely be cautious ahead of USDA's WASDE and Crop Production reports, both due out at 11 a.m. CDT. Outside markets also remain a concern after the September U.S. dollar index hit a new high Monday. Weather A cold front is sagging through the Central Plains and pushing through the East Coast on Tuesday. Some showers and thunderstorms will be possible with that feature. An old front remains active near the Gulf Coast as well with additional showers and thunderstorms there. Both fronts will make for a more active day south of the Ohio River. South of the first front, temperatures will continue to be hot across Texas and the adjoining states.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday July 11, 2022 |


One Hundred Groups Call for Swift Confirmation of New Chief Ag Negotiator A coalition of almost 100 American food and agriculture organizations called for the prompt confirmation of Doug McKalip as the Chief Agriculture Negotiator in the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office. In the letter to the U.S. Senate’s Finance Committee, the groups highlighted McKalip’s deep knowledge of the food and agriculture industry and his institutional, regulatory, and trade experience. The groups also note that McKalip has the experience necessary to tackle some of the most pressing trade policy issues the industry is facing. “Doug McKalip is an excellent nominee for the critical role of Chief Agricultural Negotiator, especially as the U.S. needs to increase global trade and secure greater market access for U.S. products,” says John Bode, President and CEO of the Corn Refiners Association. The group of associations that sent the letter endorsing McKalip includes much of the food and agricultural sector that’s responsible for about one-fifth of the country’s economic activity. *********************************************************************************** World Food Prices Fall in June World food prices fell for a third straight month in June. However, the United Nation’s food agency says those prices are close to record levels set in March. The Food and Agriculture Organization’s food price index tracks the most globally-traded food commodities, and the index averaged 154.2 in June. That’s down from 157.9 in May. Despite the drop, the June index was over 23 percent higher than at the same time last year. The FAO’s Chief Economist says the factors that drove global prices higher in the first place are still in play. In the cereal supply and demand estimates, the FAO raised its global production estimate to 2.79 billion tons, still six percent lower than in 2021. The cereal index dropped 4.1 percent from May but was still almost 28 percent higher than last year. The vegetable oil price index fell 7.6 percent while the meat index rose 1.7 percent. *********************************************************************************** NCBA to Announce Environmental Stewardship Winner on July 26 The 2021 national winner of the Environmental Stewardship Program will be announced during the Cattle Industry Summer Business Meeting in Reno, Nevada, July 25-27. The award was established by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association in 1991. It identifies outstanding land stewards in the cattle industry. Every year, seven families are recognized with regional Environmental Stewardship awards, with one getting honored as the national winner. “Cattle producers across the country work tirelessly to conserve natural resources for future generations,” says NCBA President Don Schiefelbein. “I’m glad we can honor the nation’s top cattle operators for their environmental conservation efforts.” The most recent winner was Beatty Canyon Ranch of Colorado in 2020. The Environmental Stewardship Award Program is sponsored by companies and federal agencies that share the cattle industry’s commitment to caring for the environment and protecting natural resources. Sponsors include Corteva, the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, McDonald’s, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. *********************************************************************************** Dairy Industry Speaks Out at Farm Bill Listening Session Dairy producers from several National Milk Producers Federation cooperatives urged Congress to create greater opportunities as they write the next farm bill. The dairy farmers are looking for opportunities to promote environmental stewardship, promote exports, and want Congress to craft farm bill programs that aid dairy farmers of all sizes in all regions. Melvin Medeiros of Laton, California, and Joey Fernandes of Tulare, California, spoke during a listening session held by California Representative Jim Costa. “From water issues, to trade, to sustainability, to providing an adequate safety net for producers of all sizes, the farmers who own our member cooperatives are critical to conversations that affect all of agriculture in the next farm bill and beyond,” says NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern. “We commend our California dairy farmers for sharing their insights and thank Representative Costa for making sure that dairy’s voice gets heard as the next farm bill begins taking shape.” *********************************************************************************** Smithfield Settles Price-Fixing Lawsuit for $42 Million Smithfield Foods will pay $42 million to settle a lawsuit that accused the meatpacker of conspiring to fix pork prices. CBS News says lawyers began notifying companies like restaurants and caterers of the settlement. Smithfield previously settled with a different group of pork buyers for $83 million. Meatpacker JBS agreed to pay the restaurants and caterers an additional $12.75 million in the same pork lawsuit. Earlier this year, JBS had already agreed to pay $52.5 million to settle a similar price-fixing lawsuit over beef. Neither Smithfield nor JBS admitted to any wrongdoing as part of those settlements, and officials at Smithfield headquarters wouldn’t comment on the settlement. Other price-fixing lawsuits have also been filed against national chicken producers, with almost $200 million in settlements already approved in price-fixing cases to date. Pilgrim’s Pride, one of the country’s biggest chicken producers, was fined $107 million for price fixing in February 2021. *********************************************************************************** U.S. Ag Groups Note Passing of Former Japanese Prime Minister Japan’s longest-serving leader and former prime minister, Shinzo Abe (AH-bay), died after being shot at a political campaign event last week. The U.S. Grains Council commented on his passing as a great loss for the country. “Prime Minister Abe was a leader in many ways, including growing trade between the U.S. and Japan,” says USGC President and CEO Ryan LeGrand. ‘He continued the long, close friendship between the U.S. and Japan that goes back even farther than the first office we opened in Japan in 1961.” U.S. Meat Export Federation President and CEO Dan Halstrom says his organization is deeply saddened by the death of Abe. “In addition to being a strong and reliable ally of the U.S., he was a true champion for free trade,” Halstrom says, “especially his leadership in advancing the U.S.-Japan agreement, which was a major victory for American agriculture.” Halstrom also called Abe “courageous and relentless.”

| Rural Advocate News | Monday July 11, 2022 |


Monday Watch List Markets Back from the weekend, there will be plenty of attention on the latest weather forecasts as more of the corn crop reaches or nears pollination stage. Outside market news also continues to make investors nervous and will be monitored. USDA's weekly report of grain export inspections is due out at 10 a.m. CDT, followed by Crop Progress at 3 p.m. Traders may be a little cautious ahead of Tuesday's WASDE and Crop Production reports. Weather A cold front that went through the Northern Plains over the weekend will continue to push through the northern tier of the country on Monday. The front will produce scattered showers and thunderstorms, some of which may be strong to severe. Heat will continue south of the front in the Plains, putting stress on drier areas but allowing good conditions for winter wheat harvest. The Southeast will continue to see more scattered showers and thunderstorms due to an old front.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday July 8, 2022 |


USDA Highlights Importance of Innovation at G20 Meeting The U.S. Department of Agriculture underscored the importance of agricultural research and development at the G20 Meeting of Agricultural Chief Scientists this week. Research and development is critical in tackling the challenges of global food security and climate change, according to USDA, which called on G20 members to support the Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate. USDA’s Chief Scientist, Dr. Chavonda Jacobs-Young, led the U.S. delegation to the meeting, where agricultural science leaders from around the world convened to discuss global challenges facing agriculture and to align both national and global research and development priorities. Jacobs-Young says, “Ambitious investment in climate-smart agriculture and food systems innovation will help create a surge of solutions.” Jacobs-Young also highlighted the United States’ leadership role in the global Coalition for Sustainable Productivity Growth, as well as the United States continued focus on innovative technologies and approaches to reduce food loss and waste in the agricultural supply chain. *********************************************************************************** Drought Conditions Found in Much of the U.S. The latest Drought Monitor shows much of the U.S. is dealing with dry conditions. All but 16 percent of the West region is in some form of drought, with 28 percent considered D3-D4, the worst drought classifications. Another 16 percent of the South region is drought-free, with 23 percent in D3-D4. Meanwhile, 67 percent of the High Plains region faces drought conditions, along with 50 percent of the Midwest region. Finally, 63 percent of the Southeast region is in drought, along with 36 percent of the Northeast region. Short-term drought continued to rapidly expand across the Ohio, Tennessee, and Middle Mississippi Valleys along with parts of the Corn Belt in the last week. Thunderstorms brought locally heavy rainfall and drought relief to parts of the central to northern Great Plains. However, temperatures averaged above normal throughout the Great Plains. A tropical disturbance in the western Gulf of Mexico and a trough of low pressure resulted in heavy rainfall and improving drought conditions to southeast Texas and southwest Louisiana. *********************************************************************************** US, Canada, Announce Dispute Settlement on Trade in Solar Products The United States and Canada Thursday announced a memorandum of understanding to settle a dispute on trade of solar products under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. The MOU promotes greater North American solar supply integration and reaffirms both countries’ commitment to prohibit imports of solar products produced in whole or in part with forced or compulsory labor, according to the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office. The MOU also contains a mechanism to ensure that solar product imports from Canada do not undermine the existing U.S. safeguard measure on imports of solar products. Ambassador Katherine Tai says, “Reaching this settlement with Canada will promote greater deployment of solar energy in the United States using products from one of our closest allies.” The U.S. imposed the solar safeguard measure during the Trump Administration. This year, a USMCA panel issued its report, finding that the prior Administration’s decision to include imports from Canada in the solar safeguard measure was inconsistent with certain USMCA rules. *********************************************************************************** USDA: Adult Obesity Increased During Pandemic USDA’s Economic Research Service reports behavior changes during the pandemic exacerbated an already existing adult obesity epidemic. As the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded in 2020, studies using limited online surveys found evidence of weight gain among U.S. adults. However, because the pandemic surveys did not represent the overall U.S. adult population, findings derived from them did not fully show how much obesity rates changed for adults during the pandemic. The study found that, compared with a pre-pandemic baseline period, adult obesity prevalence was three percent higher over the period from March 13, 2020, to March 18, 2021, the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Findings also showed statistically significant changes in each of the four obesity-related behaviors during the COVID-19 pandemic. Participation in exercise rose 4.4 percent, and people slept 1.5 percent longer. Meanwhile, the number of days in the period of a month in which alcohol was consumed was 2.7 percent higher, and cigarette smoking dropped by four percent. *********************************************************************************** Farm Bureau Foundation Awards Nearly $9,500 in Ag Literacy Grants The American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture awarded $9,400 in grants to recognize agricultural literacy programs of ten state and county Farm Bureaus. The grants are funded through the White-Reinhardt Fund for Education program, which acknowledges communities that are engaging with students on the fundamental role of agriculture in the everyday lives of all Americans. Daniel Meloy, Foundation Executive Director, says, “Agricultural literacy programs like the ones selected for grants are inspiring students to understand where their food comes from.” State and county Farm Bureaus may apply for $1,000 grants in support of education programs for grades K-12 in order to initiate new ag literacy programs or expand existing programs. Organizations and schools can work with local Farm Bureaus to apply for the grants, which are available on a competitive basis. Grants are awarded twice a year, in the spring and fall. The list of grant winners is available at agfoundation.org. *********************************************************************************** Last Call for Lamb Summit Registration With the American Lamb Summit just a month away, and only a few seats remaining, anyone wanting to attend should register in the next few days. The Lamb Summit begins Monday, August 8, in East Lansing, Michigan. Sessions focus on industry challenges and opportunities, competitor analysis, eating quality of lamb, including a taste panel, carcass quality evaluation and yield cutting demos, and accelerated lambing. August 9 sessions will feature hands-on learning about meat and muscle biology, genetics and meat quality, ultrasounding to determine meat quality, feed composition’s influence on carcass composition, industry environmental sustainability, plus insights into the non-traditional and direct-to-consumer markets. The 2022 American Lamb Summit, sponsored by Premier 1 Supplies and the American Lamb Board, strives to inspire the next level of change and collaboration among all segments of the US Lamb industry to improve competitiveness, product quality and productivity through increased use of the most efficient, progressive management tools. Complete information is available at LambSummit.com.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday July 8, 2022 |


Friday Watch List Markets USDA's weekly export sales report is due out at 7:30 a.m. CDT Friday, the same time the Labor Department will report on nonfarm payrolls and the U.S. unemployment rate for June. Traders will continue to closely watch the latest weather forecasts and any news related to the economy and interest rates. A report on U.S. consumer credit in May is due out at 2 p.m. CDT. Weather Moderate to locally heavy rain with a threat of flooding is in store for the central and eastern Midwest Friday. Northern and central crop areas have received some beneficial moisture in storms during the past week. Meanwhile, the southern Midwest, Delta and southeast Plains will be stressfully hot and dry. Heat index values will exceed 110 Fahrenheit in many locales of the southern U.S.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday July 7, 2022 |


UN Report: Global Hunger Increasing A new report released Tuesday from the United Nations shows the number of people affected by hunger globally rose to nearly 830 million in 2021, providing fresh evidence that the world is moving in reverse. The UN report says the world is moving in the opposite direction from the Sustainable Development Goal of ending hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition in all its forms, by 2030. The report represents an increase of about 46 million since 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic plunged the world’s economy into a downward spiral, and 150 million more since 2019. As many as 828 million people were affected by hunger in 2021, 46 million people more from a year earlier and 150 million more from 2019. After remaining relatively unchanged since 2015, the proportion of people affected by hunger jumped in 2020 and continued to rise in 2021, to 9.8 percent of the world population, according to the report. *********************************************************************************** Americans Increasingly Blame Supply Chain for Inflation Consumers are shifting the blame for inflation from the pandemic to supply chain issues, according to a recent poll by the Consumer Brands Association. The poll also showed that most Americans say inflation is hitting their household budgets and that tackling supply chain problems will positively affect inflation. The poll of 1,000 adults in mid-June found 72 percent of respondents said that increased grocery prices were having a very significant or somewhat significant impact on their household budgets. Only 22 percent said it was having a not very significant impact, and just six percent said it was having no impact. The frustration with higher prices has led to a notable shift in American attitudes about what is to blame for grocery inflation. The increase in supply chain costs and constraints as a source of blame for inflation coincides with an uptick in the interest of tackling supply chain problems as a means to ease inflation. *********************************************************************************** Increased June Runoff Not Enough for Missouri River Basin Drought Despite improved runoff in June, water conservation measures will continue for the second half of the navigation flow support season, based on the July 1 Missouri River Mainstem Reservoir System storage. June runoff in the Missouri River basin above Sioux City, Iowa, was 5.2 million-acre-feet, 94 percent of average. The updated 2022 runoff forecast is 20-million-acre feet, 78 percent of average and 1.7-million-acre-feet higher than last month’s forecast. June runoff into Garrison was 110 percent of average. John Remus of the Army Corps of Engineers says, “Heavy rain in mid-June on the upper Yellowstone River, coincided with mountain snowmelt increasing inflows into Garrison reservoir.” However, due to the ongoing drought and the amount of water stored in the reservoir system, water conservation measures will likely continue through the remainder of 2022 and into 2023. Officials say releases from Gavins Point will likely be at a minimum rate of 12,000 cubic feet per second. *********************************************************************************** Rice Industry Welcomes Consultations Regarding India Trade Distortion The United States and other World Trade Organization Members are initiating consultations with India on their trade-distorting rice subsidies. Current WTO rules allow governments to subsidize up to ten percent of the value of commodity production. However, the Indian government continues to subsidize more than half of the value of production for several commodities, including rice and wheat. India's lack of rule-following has reshaped global agricultural production and trade channels, according to Representative Rick Crawford, an Arkansas Republican. Crawford says, “This announcement is a long overdue step in the right direction in combatting bad actors like India and its rice subsidies to give our nation’s agriculture producers a level playing field.” USA Rice Chair Bobby Hanks says, “India makes up nearly half of global rice trade and much of its exported rice benefits from the government-established floor price, and then exported at low prices, distorting trade.” Australia, Canada, Japan, Paraguay, Thailand and Uruguay joined the U.S. in the effort. *********************************************************************************** Farm Credit Mid-America and Farm Credit Midsouth to Merge Two U.S. Farm Credit organizations recently announced the intent to merge. The Farm Credit Mid-American and Farm Credit Midsouth merger would create Farm Credit Mid-America. Dane Coomer, Farm Credit Midsouth board chairman, says, “We are excited about the possibility of this merger because the two associations share notable similarities and unique strengths.” Andrew Wilson, Farm Credit Mid-America board chairman, echoed his comments. Farm Credit Midsouth is located in the Mississippi River Delta just west of Memphis and headquartered in Jonesboro, Arkansas. Dan Wagner, current president and CEO of Farm Credit Mid-America, will continue to serve in that role with Louisville, Kentucky as the headquarters. Farm Credit Midsouth’s CEO, James McJunkins, previously announced his plan to retire at the end of February 2023. Combining the associations would yield approximately $36 billion in owned and managed assets, with nearly 1,650 team members serving more than 137,000 customers in 391 counties across six states. *********************************************************************************** Farmers Received Smaller Share of Price for Fresh Tomatoes in 2021 The farm share of the retail price of fresh, field-grown tomatoes—the ratio of what farmers received to what consumers paid—fell from 43 percent in 2020 to 36 percent in 2021. While the national, monthly average price of such tomatoes at grocery stores fell 11 cents to $1.85 per pound in 2021, the monthly average price received by farmers simultaneously fell 16 cents to $0.56 per pound. As part of calculating the farm share, USDA’s Economic Research Service assumes that farmers supply a little less than 1.2 pounds of fresh tomatoes for each pound sold at retail, as 15 percent of the fresh tomatoes shipped to grocery stores is lost through spoilage or is otherwise damaged. Farm prices for tomatoes were lower in 2021 as U.S. domestic production of all types of fresh-market tomatoes rose 1.3 percent. This came despite a four percent decline in overall fresh vegetable production caused partly by extreme heat in growing regions.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday July 7, 2022 |


Thursday Watch List Markets The U.S. Labor Department's weekly report of jobless claims is due out at 7:30 a.m. CDT, the same time as the Census Bureau releases the trade deficit for May. USDA will release more specific export data from the Census Bureau later Thursday morning. The U.S. Energy Department releases natural gas storage at 9:30 a.m., followed by energy inventories and ethanol production at 10:00 a.m. USDA's weekly export sales report will be out Friday morning, due to this week's holiday schedule. Weather Thursday brings another day with widespread shower and thunderstorm potential for northern and central crop areas, with locally heavy rain and benefit to crops. Southern areas will be dry and hot, especially in the Southern Plains. Crop and livestock stress continues.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday July 6, 2022 |


Farmer Optimism Remains Weak The Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer continued lower in June, down two points to a reading of 97. The barometer’s Index of Future Expectations also dropped, falling five points to a reading of 95, the lowest level since 2016. Producers were slightly more optimistic about their current conditions. The Index of Current Conditions rose five points to 99, but rising input costs and uncertainty about the future continue to weigh on farmer sentiment. Many producers in the survey said they’re concerned about the ongoing rise in production costs and volatile commodity prices, two factors that could lead to a production cost-income squeeze in 2023. The Farm Financial Performance Index, which deals with income expectations in the current year, rose two points in June to 83. However, that’s still the lowest level for the index during the past two years. Input prices and availability continue to be the top concerns for U.S. producers. *********************************************************************************** Proposed Changes on Using Atrazine The Environmental Protection Agency released proposed changes to the agency’s September 2020 atrazine interim decision. The Scoop says the proposal includes five changes to atrazine labels to lower runoff from farm fields. The agency wants to prohibit application when soils are saturated or above field capacity. The proposal would also prohibit application within 48 hours of a forecasted rain or storm event. The agency also wants to prohibit aerial applications of all formulations. The proposal would restrict annual application rates to two pounds of active ingredient or less per acre per year or less for applications to sorghum, field corn, and sweet corn. An additional “picklist” to labels requires growers to select a combination of application rate reductions and-or runoff control measures when using atrazine in certain watersheds. The EPA says the picklist method is intended to help growers select runoff control practices that are the least burdensome to them. *********************************************************************************** U.S., China Talk Trump Tariffs Senior U.S. and Chinese officials discussed U.S. economic sanctions amid reports that the White House is considering rolling back some of the levies imposed by the previous administration. During a call on Tuesday morning, China’s Vice Premier told U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellin that lifting tariffs and sanctions and the fair treatment of Chinese enterprises are areas of concern for the Southeast Asian nation. Bloomberg says the administration called the talks candid and substantive. However, the secretary mentioned several issues that concerned the U.S., including the impact of Russia’s war against Ukraine on the global economy and China’s unfair, non-market economic practices. The discussion happened as President Biden may roll back some of the American tariffs on Chinese imports worth hundreds of billions of dollars, possibly this week. As inflation increases in America, economic experts expect the administration will ease the taxes to help lower the costs of everyday items. *********************************************************************************** West Coast Port Labor Contract Expires Negotiations will continue on a new labor contract for the more than 22,000 workers at U.S. West Coast ports. Reuters says industry leaders and the White House are watching the high-stakes talks closely. The agreement will include 29 Pacific Coast ports from California up to Washington state, ports that bring in up to 40 percent of America’s imports. The Pacific Maritime Association employer group and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union said in a joint statement that cargo will keep moving at the ports until an agreement can get reached. However, Pete Tirschwell of S&P Global Market Intelligence says, “When the contract expired, so did the ‘no strike’ clause.” More than 150 business groups asked President Biden to push for a swift resolution. Agriculture groups and others business organizations are watching the negotiations with concern after the last West Coast port labor contract negotiations broke down in 2015 after nine months. *********************************************************************************** New Tool Assesses Corn Rootworm Risk The National Corn Growers Association is introducing a new tool for growers looking to find out their risk for Corn Rootworm. The new Corn Rootworm Risk Tool gives farmers the chance to enter historical data and current management data, along with corn rootworm intensity, to determine the potential risk for developing resistance to valuable Bt traits. Using the information that’s submitted by the farmer or technical advisor, the tool gives growers a low-, medium-, or high-risk level and summarizes the appropriate best management practices for each scenario. The predictive tool is a helpful resource that’s not designed to replace conversations with technical advisors on what practices or strategies to employ. The ultimate objective is to suppress corn rootworm populations and assist farmers in maintaining the effectiveness of important tools like Bt corn. For more information or assess the potential risk of resistance, go to btrisk.iwilltakeaction.com. For additional best management practices, go to iwilltakeaction.com/insects. *********************************************************************************** California Company Intends to Build First Sugar Cane Ethanol Plant A California company intends to build the first ethanol plant in America powered by sugar cane. California Ethanol and Power intends to construct a $650 million plant on 160 acres. The plant is part of a $1.1 billion project that includes agreements with local farmers to grow sugar cane for the ethanol plant. The company also will have an agreement in place with a top farming cooperative to market the ethanol. L.A. Business Journal says if the company gets enough financing, the plan is to have the plant running by late 2025, producing about 68 million gallons of ethanol every year. The plant will also generate byproducts like 49 megawatts of electricity and about 740 million gallons of biomethane that can be used to heat businesses and homes. The plant will also produce about 200,000 tons of carbon dioxide gas that the company will capture and sell to other companies needing CO2 emission offsets.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday July 6, 2022 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets Traders keep a close watch on the latest weather forecasts this time of year and will be digesting Tuesday afternoon's Crop Progress report from USDA. At 1 p.m. CDT, Fed watchers will be able to read minutes from the most recent Open Market Committee meeting, likely full of hawkish comments. Many of this week's reports are shifted forward one day, due to the holiday schedule. Weather Showers and thunderstorms continue in the forecast for northern and central crop areas Wednesday. The storms in general will offer beneficial rainfall for crops. Meanwhile, stressful heat remains in effect over southern crop areas, notably in th

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday July 5, 2022 |


EPA Revising Atrazine Registration The National Corn Growers Association is concerned about a move by the Environmental Protection Agency that could restrict access to a critical crop protection tool. The EPA says it’s revising its registration for atrazine, a well-studied herbicide essential to farming. “We’re disappointed by this,” says NCGA President Chris Edgington. “We can feed and fuel the world and fight climate change, but we can’t do these things without modern farming tools, and atrazine is a critical tool for farming.” The new labeling requirements will impose difficult new restrictions and mitigation measures on the herbicide, limiting how much product farmers can use. The latest development marks a step backward in EPA’s commitment to transparency and using the best available science. However, Edgington says that EPA listened to growers’ requests and agreed to additional scientific review. NCGA will continue working with EPA through the entire process, which now enters a 60-day comment period. *********************************************************************************** Applications Open for Young Leader Program Young people passionate about agriculture and ready to become leaders are invited to apply for the next class in the ASA Corteva Agriscience Young Leader Program. The program is sponsored by the American Soybean Association and Corteva. It’s a two-phase educational program for actively farming individuals and couples passionate about agriculture. Phase 1 takes place November 29-December 1 in Johnston, Iowa, while Phase 2 is March 7-11, 2023, at Commodity Classic in Orlando, Florida. “As a member of the Class of 2009, I can tell you that this program is important and has had a real impact on not only the soybean industry but all of agriculture,” says ASA President Brad Doyle. Individual soybean growers and couples are encouraged to apply for the program, which focuses on leadership and communication, agriculture trends and information, and developing a strong and connected network. For more information, growers can go to soygrowers.com. *********************************************************************************** Wheat Growers List 2023 Farm Bill Priorities The National Association of Wheat Growers shared their priorities for the 2023 Farm Bill. As lawmakers continue putting the next farm bill together, wheat growers will be advocating for these priorities on Capitol Hill. The priorities include protecting crop insurance to ensure growers have a strong and reliable safety net assists wheat growers when it’s needed during disasters. They also want to support financial and technical assistance provided through voluntary conservation programs. The wheat growers want an increase in the reference price for wheat in Title 1 to help cover the cost of production more accurately. They also favor enhancing USDA’s market access and development programs to enhance trade. “The farm bill addresses many programs that are critical for wheat growers, and we look forward to actively engaging in the farm bill reauthorization process,” says NAWG President Nicole Berg. “Sharing our priorities is the first step in the reauthorization process.” *********************************************************************************** NMPF: Prioritize Food Access at Hunger Conference The National Milk Producers Federation led eleven national agriculture, anti-hunger, nutrition, and medical groups in a virtual listening session with the White House on food access. The White House is holding its Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health in September, and the groups want officials to place a high priority on accessing affordable, diverse, and nutritious foods. The NMPF organized the session to offer the White House expertise and real-world experience from a wide range of organizations on how important increased access to food and a diverse range of food choices are to fight nutrition insecurity and improve nutrition-related health. The event is part of the broader effort to provide input to the White House as officials put together a new strategy to end hunger and increase healthy eating and physical activity among Americans by 2030. Officials say the White House plans to release its new strategy during the September conference. *********************************************************************************** Nominations Open for Farm Dog of the Year Contest Farmers are invited to submit their nominations for the 2023 Farm Bureau Farm Dog of the Year contest, which is co-sponsored by Purina. It’s the fifth annual contest, which celebrates farm dogs and the many ways they support farmers and ranchers in producing nutritious food for families and their pets across America. The nomination deadline has been extended to July 15. The grand prize winner will get a year’s worth of Purina dog food and $5,000 in prize money. The winner also gets recognized during an award ceremony at the American Farm Bureau Federation Convention in January 2023. Up for four regional runners-up will each win $1,000 in prize money. The 2023 Farm Dog of the Year will also get featured in a professionally-produced video. Farm dog owners must be members of the Farm Bureau to enter their dogs in the competition. For more information, prospective contest entrants can go to fb.org. *********************************************************************************** Bill Would Keep U.S. Ag from Exploitation New York Representative Elise Stefanik and other House Republicans introduced legislation that would prevent adversarial countries from acquiring American companies amid global food shortages. Stefanik says food security is national security, and she’s proud to stand against our foreign adversaries as they attempt to exploit potential vulnerabilities and assert control over America’s agricultural industry. The bill would specifically prevent countries like China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea from being allowed to buy American agricultural companies, citing them as “prohibited.” It also lists biotechnology and agriculture as critical infrastructure. “Adversarial nations like China continue to threaten our homeland, using tactics like buying American agriculture companies and stealing agricultural research to undermine our economy,” Stefanik says. Fox News says the food security issue is a global problem because of the war in Ukraine, which has led to global food shortages. Republicans say Russia is using food manipulation as a weapon in its invasion of Ukraine.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday July 5, 2022 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets Back from the three-day weekend, trading in U.S. grain and livestock futures will resume at 8:30 a.m. CDT Tuesday. Traders will be checking the latest weather forecasts and observable rain amounts from the weekend. A report on May U.S. factory orders is due out at 9:00 a.m. CDT, followed by USDA's weekly export inspections at 10 a.m. CDT. USDA's Crop Progress report is set for 3 p.m. CDT, with attention on the latest good-to-excellent crop ratings. Weather Tuesday features scattered thunderstorms from the Northern Plains to eastern Midwest with some benefit to crops. Meanwhile, stressful hot and dry conditions are in store for the remainder of the Plains, Midwest, Delta and Southeast.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday July 1, 2022 |


USDA Releases Planted Acreage and Grain Stocks Reports The USDA’s Acreage Report shows farmers have planted 89.9 million acres of corn, down four percent from last year. Soybean planted area for 2022 is estimated at 88.3 million acres, one percent higher than last year. The all-wheat planted area is estimated to be 47.1 million acres, one percent higher than last year. If realized, this represents the fifth-lowest all wheat planted area since records began in 1919. The 2022 winter wheat planted area is 34 million acres, one percent higher than 2021. Because of planting delays in Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota, the acreage numbers will be updated in August. Corn stocks, in all positions, totaled 4.35 billion bushels on June 1, up six percent from last year. Soybeans stored in all positions totaled 971 million bushels, up 26 percent from last year. Old crop-all wheat in all positions totaled 660 million bushels, 22 percent lower than 2021. *********************************************************************************** Court of International Trade Looking Into High Fertilizer Prices The Court of International Trade is considering an appeal against the U.S. International Trade Commission’s decision to place duties on phosphorous fertilizers from Morocco and Russia. The National Corn Growers Association says that’s put fertilizer companies under scrutiny this week. “We’ve been sounding the alarm for a long time and telling officials these tariffs are hurting farmers,” says NCGA President Chris Edgington. “We finally have seen results as a judge with the Court of International Trade began asking tough questions about the assertions made by fertilizer companies.” The appeal comes after the Department of Commerce and the International Trade Commission ruled last year in favor of a petition by U.S.-based Mosaic to impose duties on phosphorous fertilizers imported from Russia and Morocco. Mosaic claimed the imports were unfairly subsidized and undercutting prices in the U.S. Decisions from the ITC and the Court of International Trade are expected later this summer. *********************************************************************************** U.S. Biofuel Groups Applaud Canada Clean Fuel Regulations The U.S. Grains Council, Growth Energy, and the Renewable Fuels Association applauded Canada for its finalized Clean Fuel Regulations. Those regulations are an initiative to reduce the lifecycle carbon intensity of fuel and energy used in Canada. That will help Canada achieve more than 20 million tons of annual reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. The Canadian Clean Fuel Regulations will rely heavily on the use of low-carbon biofuels like ethanol. The program will include an average of 15 percent ethanol in gasoline by 2030. The groups issued a release commending Canada as a global leader because of its plan to slash greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector through higher blends of biofuels. The groups say the Clean Fuel Regulations in Canada set the country on a path toward better air quality, energy security, and carbon mitigation by moving to achievable goals like 15 percent ethanol in all gasoline by 2030. *********************************************************************************** Additional Steps to Strengthen Child Nutrition Programs USDA will provide nearly $1 billion in additional funding to help schools purchase American-grown food for their meal programs. The agency also says the recent signing of the Keep Kids Fed Act equips schools, summer meal sites, and childcare programs with extra resources so they can continue serving children through the 2022-2023 school year. Both moves are a response to the significant challenges child nutrition program operators continue to face, such as high food costs and supply chain disruptions. The $943 million boost from the department is getting provided through the USDA’s Commodity Credit Corporation. Funds will be distributed by state agencies to schools across the country to help them buy domestically-grown foods for their meal programs. This assistance builds on the $1 billion in Supply Chain Assistance funds USDA allocated in December 2021, which states can use this year as well as the next to provide schools with funding for commodity purchases. *********************************************************************************** TFI Appreciates Congressional Letter on Rail Service Issues The Fertilizer Institute’s President and CEO, Corey Rosenbusch, praised the bipartisan congressional letter sent this week to the Surface Transportation Board regarding poor railroad service. The letter outlined the negative impact the poor service is having on the fertilizer industry and the overall agricultural sector. “With over half of all fertilizer moving by rail, we are grateful for the 51 lawmakers who brought the issue of inconsistent rail service to the Surface Transportation Board’s attention,” says Rosenbusch. Fertilizer shipments heavily rely on railroads to reach farmers, but imposed restrictions, along with skeleton crews and railroad-led initiatives such as precision-scheduled railroading have forced fertilizer shipping reductions and potential delays. “With the world leaning on U.S. farmers more than ever before to feed the growing population, fertilizer must get to farmers in a timely manner and crops harvests also need to get to their destinations promptly, including the kitchen table,” Rosenbusch adds. *********************************************************************************** U.S. Hog Inventory Down One Percent The U.S. hog herd totaled 72.5 million hogs and pigs on farms across the country, down one percent from June 2021. The Quarterly Hogs and Pigs Report shows that number is down slightly from the March 1 report. Other findings in the report from the National Ag Statistics Service show of the 72.5 million hogs and pigs, 66.4 million were market hogs, and 6.17 million were kept for breeding. Between March and May, 32.9 million hogs were weaned on U.S. farms, a one percent drop from the same time last year. During that same timeframe, producers weaned an average of 11 pigs per litter. Hog producers intend to have 3.02 million sows farrow between June and August and 3.01 million sows between September and November. Iowa has the largest inventory among the states at 23 million head. Minnesota was second at 8.4 million head. North Carolina was third with 8.2 million.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday July 1, 2022 |


Friday Watch List Markets On the first day of July and ahead of a three-day weekend, the Institute of Supply Management's U.S. index of manufacturing is due out at 9 a.m. CDT, the only significant report of the day. Traders will be keenly watching the latest weather forecasts, including developing chances for rain in the Corn Belt. Weather Showers and thunderstorms are in store for portions of the western Plains, Midwest and across the Southeast Friday. Rainfall will combine with seasonal temperatures to favor pollinating corn and flowering soybeans. Stressful heat and dryness will continue to be noted in the southern Plains.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday June 30, 2022 |


AFT: Smarter Land Use Planning is Urgently Needed Smart growth and investment in America's downtowns and main streets must occur now to secure the land that grows our food, according to American Farmland Trust. The organization Wednesday released its new report, Farms Under Threat 2040: Choosing an Abundant Future and the accompanying web mapping tool. AFT research shows Americans are paving over agricultural land at a rapid pace. From 2001-16, the nation lost or compromised 2,000 acres of farmland and ranchland every day. The report shows the U.S. is on track to convert 18 million acres of farmland and ranchland from 2016-40—an area the size of South Carolina. And it could get worse. If rural sprawl accelerates, America could squander one million acres of agricultural land every year and over 24 million by 2040. But if Americans choose a better path—embrace smart growth and minimize sprawl—they can save up to 13.5 million acres of the nation’s farmland. Find the full report at farmland.org. *********************************************************************************** House Lawmakers Introduce American Port Access Privileges Act Two California Democrats Wednesday introduced the American Port Access Privileges Act in the House of Representatives. John Garamendi and Jim Costa say the bill follows up on the Ocean Shipping Reform Act. Representative Costa says, “We need to remove bottlenecks and mitigate congestion at our ports to carry out American exports.” The legislation would ensure fair trade for U.S. businesses and keep hard-won foreign markets accessible to agricultural exporters by codifying the current preferences for military, Jones Act, and other U.S.-flagged vessels in place at many major American ports. Additionally, the legislation would establish a secondary berthing preference for ocean-going commercial vessels servicing multiple ports in the United States, and ensure that the new preferential berthing would never interfere with U.S. Coast Guard orders for commercial vessels, port safety or collective bargaining agreements for port workers. The legislation is endorsed by the Agriculture Transportation Coalition, National Milk Producers Federation, and the California Farm Bureau Federation. *********************************************************************************** Vilsack Announces Bioproduct Pilot Program The Department of Agriculture is accepting applications for a new pilot program to support the development of biobased products. Specifically, USDA is looking for products that have lower carbon footprints and increase the use of renewable agricultural materials, creating new revenue streams for farmers. The $10 million investment is part of the larger Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the program while visiting Iowa. Vilsack says, “This pilot program is a critical part of USDA’s commitment to enhancing the circular economy and providing additional revenue streams for farmers.” The program will help farmers take field residues and waste products and turn them into value-added products that create wealth and drive economic development in rural areas. Under this program, USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture can award up to $10 million divided among the highest-rated applications that include eligible universities and private-sector partners. Program information can be found on the NIFA website. *********************************************************************************** House Ag Member Davis Loses Primary Election A familiar face on the House Agriculture Committee lost in a primary election this week. Illinois Republican Representative Rodney Davis lost his reelection bid to Trump-backed Representative Mary Miller. Davis had represented Illinois' 13th Congressional District since 2013, and Miller had represented the 15th Congressional District since 2021. The districts were merged during a redistricting effort following the 2020 Census results and includes 35 central Illinois counties. The 52-year-old Davis served five terms representing the 13th District. Miller will face Democrat Paul Lange in the November general election. Former President Donald Trump held a campaign rally with Miller last weekend in Quincy, Illinois. In a statement, Davis says, “I’m proud of the work our team has done for our constituents since 2013,” adding, “We have delivered countless conservative policy solutions from historic tax cuts, student loan relief, farm programs, and investing in our transportation system.” Davis was endorsed by the Illinois Farm Bureau. *********************************************************************************** USDA Announces New Features for Market News App The Department of Agriculture Wednesday announced additional commodities and features are available on the free USDA Market News App. The App provides producers and others along the supply chain with instant access to market information about conventional and organic products. Version 2.0 includes access to three additional commodity areas – Cotton and Tobacco, Dairy and Specialty Crops, as well as the ability to filter searches to see reports by Commodity Area and Market Type, the ability to add reports to Favorites and Subscriptions by Commodity Area and Market Type, an improved way to manage subscriptions and a calendar feature that provides access to previously released reports. USDA launched the first version of its free Market News app in February 2022, with access to about 800 livestock, poultry, and grain market reports. The USDA Market News app is available in both iOS and Android versions and may be downloaded through the Apple and Google Play stores. *********************************************************************************** USDA: Cost of a Home-grilled Cheeseburger up 21 Cents From 2021 Home-grilled cheeseburgers, a summer cookout staple, will cost consumers more this Independence Day weekend. USDA’s Economic Research Service says the ingredients for a home-prepared 1/4-pound cheeseburger totaled $2.07 per burger, with ground beef making up the largest cost at $1.20. This represents an increase of 11.3 percent compared to the $1.86 it cost to produce the same cheeseburger in 2021. Ground beef prices increased 16.9 percent and accounted for 17 cents of the increase between 2021 and 2022. Cheddar cheese and bread costs each rose about one cent per burger from 2021 to 2022. Iceberg lettuce prices rose the most, by 23.3 percent, but the relatively small proportion it contributes to the total cost of a burger means it added just two cents to the total. The American Farm Bureau Federation earlier this week also released its summer marketbasket survey, showing the cost of a July 4th cookout is 17 percent higher than a year ago.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday June 30, 2022 |


Thursday Watch List Markets USDA's weekly report of export sales is due out at 7:30 a.m. CDT, along with weekly U.S. jobless claims, reports on U.S. personal incomes and consumer spending and an update of the U.S. Drought Monitor. The U.S. Energy Department's weekly update of natural gas storage is due out at 9:30 a.m., followed by USDA's Acreage and June 1 Grain Stocks reports at 11 a.m. -- two reports that have a history of being market-movers. Weather Two fronts, one north and one south, will produce scattered showers across both regions on Thursday. Areas in the middle of the country will see seasonably warm temperatures and dry conditions, good weather for wheat harvest. Cooler conditions are found across the north and into Canada, where the better conditions for developing crops are found.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday June 29, 2022 |


Survey Reveals Americans Want Clearer Product Labeling of Plant-Based ‘Chicken’ The National Chicken Council Tuesday announced findings from a recent national survey of Americans regarding consumer attitudes about chicken and plant-based ‘chicken’ alternatives. Survey participants included individuals who consume meat and animal products, along with flexitarians, vegetarians and vegans. The results indicate the majority of Americans want clearer product labeling and separate shopping sections for plant-based products. NCC Senior Vice President of Communications, Tom Super, says, “This study shows there is overwhelming support for clearer packaging and separate store placement for imitation ‘chicken,’ and that the term ‘chicken’ should be reserved only for food products made from the actual animals.” One in five Americans reported that they accidentally purchased the plant-based product, believing it to be real chicken. Survey results also indicate that consumers, including those who eat plant-based ‘chicken,’ prefer authentic chicken for taste, affordability and cooking versatility. And, four in five Americans want plant-based options to clearly be labeled. *********************************************************************************** Supreme Court Rejects R-CALF Lawsuit The Supreme Court this week denied R-CALF’s lawsuit against 13 state beef councils and the Beef Checkoff. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association says the ruling effectively ends “yet another R-CALF attack on the Beef Checkoff and prevents the activist attorneys at Public Justice, from further diverting Checkoff and beef industry resources.” NCBA intervened in the lawsuit in its early days to help defend state beef councils from R-CALF, “who falsely attacked state beef councils.” NCBA says multiple court decisions rejected these allegations and reaffirmed the work and direction of the Beef Checkoff and those who guide it. NCBA CEO Colin Woodall says, “The Supreme Court’s rejection of R-CALF’s petition confirms the Beef Checkoff, and its overseers, are adhering to the letter and spirit of the laws that protect and guide producer investments in the program.” In the lawsuit, R-Calf claimed state beef checkoff organizations are private corporations and use half of the beef checkoff collection to fund private speech. *********************************************************************************** Wheat Industry Comments on Conclusion of FDA Study of Drought Tolerant Wheat The Food and Drug Administration recently concluded it has no further questions regarding the safety of drought-tolerant HB4 wheat developed by Bioceres Crop Solutions Corp. In response, U.S. Wheat Associates and the National Association of Wheat Growers issued a joint statement this week. The groups say the finding by the FDA is not an approval for this or any other transgenic wheat to be planted for commercial sale in the United States. To date, the HB4 wheat has been approved for commercial production within a closed system in Argentina only. The trait has been approved for human consumption by regulators in Brazil in the form of flour, and in Australia, New Zealand and now in the United States. Bioceres recently announced it will seek approval to plant HB4 wheat in Australia, but it has not announced plans to commercialize it in the United States. The statement says, "The U.S. wheat industry recognizes the benefits and value that can be created through the prudent application of modern biotechnology." *********************************************************************************** Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative Unveils Milk Pricing Reform Priorities Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative, one of the largest dairy co-ops in the country, stressed flexibility and fairness in announcing its priorities for reforming the federal milk pricing system this week. Edge CEO Tim Trotter says, “Edge is intently focused on strengthening the relationship between farmers and processors in a way that increases transparency, fairness and competition.” Differences across the Federal Milk Marketing Orders require added flexibility to meet their respective needs, and current markets driving milk outside the FMMO system point to a need for a standard set of "contracting principles" to build a more fair and equitable pricing system, according to trotter. Edge has researched, listened to members and engaged with industry leaders and other stakeholders from across the country for more than a year, including coordinating a multistate task force. Under the flexibility priority, Edge’s proposal accounts for differences in product mixes across the country. The cooperative says more regional flexibility would benefit all dairy farmers. *********************************************************************************** Recycling Used Beer Yeast for Environmental Protection Brewer's yeast used to make beer is typically discarded once it's no longer needed. Sometimes, though, the leftover yeast is mixed into livestock feed as a source of protein and vitamins. Now, there may be even more reason to continue this practice, according to findings by a team of scientists with the Agricultural Research Service. Laboratory results suggest that using leftover brewer's yeast as a feed additive may benefit the environment by helping cows belch less methane into the air as a greenhouse gas that contributes to global climate change. Although spent brewer's yeast is sometimes used as a livestock feed additive, further cow feeding trials are necessary to fully assess its potential to reduce methane and ammonia on a farm scale, according to the researchers. Those results should give a better idea of the yeast's potential role as part of a larger, integrated approach to making animal agriculture more environmentally sustainable. *********************************************************************************** Goodyear Announces New Sustainable Soy-Based Tires The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company recently announced that two lines of its commercial tires are now made with a renewable soybean oil compound. The Goodyear Metro Miler G152 and G652 tires for transit buses, along with the popular Endurance WHA waste haul tire, are now made with soybean oil, which replaces a portion of the petroleum-based materials used in their production. Both the Metro Miler tires and the Endurance WHA waste haul tire continue to deliver high-performance benefits. The new soy-biobased tires build on the soy checkoff’s research investment and longstanding partnership with the global tire company. United Soybean Board Chair Ralph Lott says, “These big tires are another exciting way to deliver sustainable soy to more lives, every day.” Goodyear has a long-term goal to fully replace petroleum-derived oils in its products by 2040. This commitment, according to USB, drives additional demand for U.S. soy products, grown sustainably by U.S. soybean farmers.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday June 29, 2022 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets Wednesday's reports start with an update of first-quarter U.S. GDP at 7:30 a.m. CDT. Fed officials will be speaking throughout the day at a banking conference in Europe and may scare investors, at times. At 9:30 a.m., the U.S. Energy Department will issue two weeks of inventory data, including ethanol production after encountering technical problems last week. USDA's quarterly Hogs and Pigs report is due out at 2 p.m. Weather A frontal boundary across the north will see a storm system riding along it on Wednesday, producing scattered showers and thunderstorms, some of which may be severe in the Northern Plains. A brief burst of heat is occurring ahead of the front today in the Northern and Central Plains, but temperatures across the rest of the country are much more seasonable. Meanwhile, a stalled front from the weekend continues to produce scattered showers in the Southeast and along the Gulf Coast. We also continue to watch a disturbance in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico for tropical development. It may become a short-lived tropical system before reaching the Texas coastline on Thursday.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday June 28, 2022 |


Consumers Paying more for Independence Day Cookout U.S. consumers will pay $69.68 for their favorite Independence Day cookout foods, based on a new American Farm Bureau Federation marketbasket survey. The average cost of a summer cookout for ten people breaks down to less than $7 per person. The overall cost for the cookout is up 17 percent or about $10 from last year, due to ongoing supply chain disruptions, inflation and the war in Ukraine. Survey results showed the retail price for two pounds of ground beef at $11.12, up 36 percent from last year, the largest year-to-year price increase in the survey. Several other foods in the survey, including chicken breasts, pork chops, potato salad, fresh-squeezed lemonade, pork and beans, hamburger buns and cookies, also increased in price. One bright spot for consumers is the average retail price for strawberries, which declined by 86 cents compared to a year ago. Sliced cheese and potato chips also dropped in price, 48 cents and 22 cents, respectively. *********************************************************************************** Farm Bureau Names New Executive Vice President The American Farm Bureau Federation announced Joby Young as the organization's next Executive Vice President late last week. Young will take the role in mid-July following the retirement of Dale Moore. Joby will serve in a chief of staff role at AFBF. It's a familiar role for Young, who previously served in the same capacity at USDA and in Congress. AFBF President Zippy Duvall says, “The Farm Bureau family will be well-served by his strong leadership skills.” Young says he looks forward to starting in the new role, adding, "I'm honored to join the talented team at the American Farm Bureau Federation." Young is currently a partner at Horizons Global Solutions LLC, a consulting firm where he advises clients in the food and agriculture sectors. Young previously served as Chief of Staff in various USDA offices and mission areas, before becoming the Chief of Staff to the Deputy Secretary. *********************************************************************************** U.S., Taiwan, Hold First Trade Meeting Trade officials from the U.S. and Taiwan met Monday for the inaugural meeting of the U.S.-Taiwan Initiative on 21st-Century Trade. U.S. Deputy Trade Representative Sarah Bianchi says, "This initiative will unlock market opportunities, promote innovation and create inclusive economic growth for our workers and businesses." The trade officials reaffirmed their shared interest in developing and deepening trade and promoting innovation. They also discussed the development of an ambitious roadmap for negotiations to reach agreements with high-standard commitments and economically meaningful outcomes. The commitments will cover several trade areas, including trade facilitation, regulatory practices, agriculture, anti-corruption, small- and medium-sized enterprises, digital trade, labor, environment, standards, state-owned enterprises, and non-market policies and practices. The trade officials also held roundtable conversations with several groups of U.S. and Taiwan stakeholders. Members of Congress and labor and business leaders also shared their views on ways the United States and Taiwan can jointly advance trade policies. *********************************************************************************** Guide Outlines Steps to Take When Pesticide Drift Occurs The University of Illinois Extension has a pesticide drift guide available for farmers. The new guide helps producers and gardeners know what to do if pesticide drift is suspected. Damage can occur when pesticide drifts from its intended location onto adjacent fields and landscapes. Drift happens when pesticide spray particles and vapors escape from the intended target area. University of Illinois Extension weed science specialist Michelle Wiesbrook says, “The most common type of pesticide misuse is pesticide drift, and when it occurs, emotions can run high while seeking answers." There are two ways pesticides can be carried downwind to non-target areas: vapor drift and particle drift. Both types of drift should be considered when making an application, and steps should be taken to minimize their occurrence. The new free guide provides more information on drift and serves as a navigation tool for those faced with potential drift injury challenges. Read the guide at go.illinois.edu/drift. *********************************************************************************** BASF Donates $50,000 to Bee and Butterfly Habitat Fund Program BASF Agricultural Solutions North America will donate $50,000 to The Bee and Butterfly Habitat Fund's Seed A Legacy pollinator habitat program. The donation is part of BASF's annual Living Acres #MonarchChallenge initiative. The Bee and Butterfly Habitat Fund will use BASF's donation to expand its Seed A Legacy pollinator habitat program with the goal of restoring high-quality pollinator habitat with free or reduced-cost seed to landowners across 12 Midwest states. Since its inception in 2015, the Monarch Challenge has resulted in the planting of 110,000 milkweed seedlings and the creation of more than 67,000 pollinator habitats. The fund works with landowners, conservationists, scientists, and other partners to build healthy and sustainable pollinator habitat with maximum benefits. Through the Seed A Legacy Habitat Program, each project receives free or heavily discounted pollinator seed mixes and the guidance to prepare, establish, and maintain the project for a minimum of five years. *********************************************************************************** Fuel Prices Decline for Second Straight Week The national average gas price declined for the second straight week, down 8.8 cents to $4.48 a gallon Monday. The national average is up 28.3 cents from a month ago and $1.79 per gallon higher than a year ago. The national average diesel price declined 2.7 cents in the last week, to $5.79 per gallon. Gas Buddy's Patrick De Haan says, “gas prices have continued to fall for the second straight week as the price of oil has faltered, ushering in the drop we’re seeing.” De Haan says prices could fall again this week, even ahead of the Independence Day holiday weekend. However, any sudden jolts to supply could quickly cause a turnaround, and the risk remains that when the peak of hurricane season arrives, prices could spike again. According to GasBuddy, U.S. retail gasoline demand rose last week, up 1.6 percent compared to the prior week. U.S. crude inventories remain 14 percent below the five-year average.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday June 28, 2022 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets Traders will continue to keep a close watch on the latest weather forecasts and even though there haven't been any export sale announcements lately, will check at 8 a.m. for possible news from USDA. An index on U.S. consumer confidence is due out at 9 a.m. CDT Tuesday. Grains are mostly higher early Tuesday, but may turn quiet ahead of Thursday's Acreage and Grain Stocks reports. Weather A cold front from the weekend has settled into the far South and Southeast where pop up showers will be likely. Another front is moving south out of Canada into the North-Central U.S. where more showers will be possible for the rest of the week as the front waffles around for the next several days. Showers will unfortunately be somewhat spotty and dryness is popping up in places around the region that could use a good soaking.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday June 27, 2022 |


NCGA Applauds Ruling on Imported Fertilizers The U.S. Department of Commerce made a final determination last week on imported fertilizers and unfair subsidies. The department found that urea ammonium nitrate fertilizer exported to America was subsidized and sold at less than normal value in the U.S. market during its period of investigation. The National Corn Growers Association says it’s an important step in the process, but the ruling won’t on its own lead to the placement of duties on nitrogen fertilizers shipped into the country. The final stage in the process is expected later this summer when the International Trade Commission makes a final ruling. “Placing tariffs on nitrogen fertilizers will land yet another blow to farmers, who are already dealing with a host of challenges,” says Brooke Appleton, NCGA vice president of public policy. “Farmers can’t farm with one hand tied behind their backs, and these actions getting pushed by fertilizer companies will tie their hands.” *********************************************************************************** White House Meets with Refiners on High Pump Prices but No Solutions Yet U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm recently expressed interest in possibly lifting smog-fighting gasoline rules to help fight high gas prices at the nation’s pumps. The secretary also backed off a plan to ban fuel exports during a wide-ranging meeting with refiners. Reuters says tensions are high between President Biden and oil refiners. The two sides departed from the meeting far apart on possible solutions. Industry sources familiar with the meeting say both sides will continue talking. Biden has recently been critical of oil industry CEOs for pulling in huge profits from a supply crunch made worse by Russia invading Ukraine. The White House is unhappy with the refining industry’s move to idle about one million barrels per day of production capacity since 2020. Administration officials say the companies need to use those profits to restart plants and help fill the supply gap. Refiners say investing in reopening plants carries significant financial risks. *********************************************************************************** International Grains Council Boosts Production Outlook The International Grains Council raised its outlook for total global grain production in the 2022-2023 marketing year, while also increasing its forecast for ending stockpiles. Wheat and coarse grain production are now forecast at 2.255 billion metric tons, up from the May prediction of 2.251 billion. Ending stockpiles are forecast at 583 million metric tons. Wheat output is pegged at 769 million metric tons, unchanged from a month ago. Inventories are projected at 273 million tons, up from 271 million in May. Corn production is now expected to be 1.19 billion metric tons, up from the previous prediction of 1.184 billion. The IGC’s inventory forecast rose from 269 million tons last month to 271 million this month. The soybean production outlook rose to 390 million metric tons from 387 million in the last forecast. However, carryover stocks dropped from 58 million tons last month to 56 million in the new forecast. *********************************************************************************** Keep Kids Fed Act Passed in Both Chambers of Congress The House and Senate each passed the Keep Kids Fed Act last week, but the bill had to return to the House because the Senate version was slightly different. The Hagstrom Report says the House passed the Senate’s version of the bill that requires the re-establishment of the reduced price category that Rand Paul of Kentucky insisted on including in the Senate version. The agreement between the leaders of each committee in charge of school meals originally merged the reduced price and free meal categories into one free meal category for the upcoming school year. The legislation also provides $3 billion in additional funding for the school meals program, with offsets coming from rescissions from the Agriculture Department and Small Business Administration programs. Senate Ag Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow says, “Schools and parents can rest easy knowing that help is on the way so kids can continue getting school and summer meals.” *********************************************************************************** Sustainable Oils Facility Opens New Facility for Renewable Diesel Production Sustainable Oils opened a new state-of-the-art facility in Great Falls, Montana, last week. The facility works with over 100 U.S. farmers to grow camelina (cam-eh-LEE-nah), a plant used by their parent company Global Clean Energy to produce ultra-low carbon renewable fuels. Renewable diesel produced from camelina is a drop-in replacement for traditional diesel, but with fewer contaminants and far fewer emissions. The company says camelina has the potential to receive the lowest carbon intensity score of all the available feedstocks on the market today. Sustainable Oils specializes in the breeding, research, and marketing of camelina. They contract directly with farmers in the Northern Plains, High Plains, and Pacific Northwest to grow the camelina that will ultimately get used to create renewable fuel at Global Clean Energy’s refinery in Bakersfield, California. The company looks forward to enhancing economic opportunities for rural communities while producing some of the lowest-carbon renewable fuels in the world. *********************************************************************************** Application Period Open for Conservation Legacy Awards Farmers have a chance to share the story of how conservation is part of their farm operations and get recognized with a Conservation Legacy Award. All U.S. soybean farmers are eligible to win the award, sponsored by the American Soybean Association, the United Soybean Board, the Soybean Checkoff, and several others. The award recognizes farm management practices of soybean farmers that are both environmentally friendly and profitable. The selection process is divided into four regions, including the Midwest, Upper Midwest, Northeast, and South. One farmer from each region will be recognized at the Commodity Classic and one will be the award recipient. Some of the eligible practices include reduced tillage, cover crops, and improving energy efficiency or water quality. Winners get an expense-paid trip for two to the Commodity Classic on March 9-11, 2023, in Orlando, Florida. Winners also get recognition at the ASA Awards Banquet at Commodity Classic. Find out more details at soygrowers.com.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday June 27, 2022 |


Monday Watch List Markets Back from the weekend, a report on U.S. durable goods orders for May is due out at 7:30 a.m. CDT Monday, followed by a May pending home sales index at 9 a.m. USDA's weekly grain export inspections is due out at 10 a.m. with traders interested to see if soybean shipments can pick up. At 3 p.m., USDA's Crop Progress report will be out with updates of the latest crop condition ratings. Weather A cold front that swept through the country over the weekend is slowing down and will stall across the South on Monday. Periods of showers will form along the front through the week. Much more seasonable temperatures have filled in behind the front, eliminating the extreme heat of the last couple of weeks. While scattered showers and cooler temperatures that came with the front will reduce stress in some areas, there are pockets of dryness continuing to build in the heartland of the country.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday June 24, 2022 |


USTR Says Tariffs Give U.S. “Leverage” on China The U.S. has tariffs in place on over $300 billion worth of Chinese imports. U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai says those duties give the U.S. significant leverage on China, making them useful when negotiating with the Asian nation. Bloomberg says a debate is ongoing among members of the Biden administration on whether to keep those tariffs in place for the time being. “The China tariffs, in my view, are a significant piece of leverage, and a trade negotiator never walks away from leverage,” Tai said during Senate testimony. Biden recently said he’s in the process of deciding on whether to remove any of the duties first put in place by President Trump in 2018. Tai also points out that removing the tariffs would have a limited impact on the rapid rise in inflation. Earlier this month, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said that a reduction in duties may help bring down prices. *********************************************************************************** Iowa State University Report Says No Price Gouging on Fertilizer A report from Iowa State University says fertilizer prices are four times higher than they were in 2020. While crop prices have doubled during the same period, higher fertilizer prices are contributing to rising costs in farm country. Iowa’s Attorney General requested the ISU report in February while questioning the justification of higher prices. Yahoo News says the six economists who wrote the report found no conclusive evidence that fertilizer companies are artificially inflating prices. The 58-page report says price increases are tied several factors, like supply chain disruptions, disease outbreaks, and many other factors. “We aren’t saying there’s no market manipulation at all,” says Chad Hart, an ISU economist. “We just can’t tease out if it was one of the components.” The ISU Center for Agricultural and Rural Development says researchers need more data to determine if companies are raising prices far beyond the level needed to offset rising costs. *********************************************************************************** Some G-7 Leaders to Push for Temporary Waivers on Biofuel Mandates Leaders from the G-7 countries will meet on Sunday, and biofuel mandates will be among the discussion topics. Officials from Germany, Britain, and other G-7 members will push for temporary waivers on biofuel mandates to combat rapidly rising food prices. Reuters says the food crisis sparked by the Ukraine war has led to a food versus fuel debate among certain G-7 countries. Some policymakers are asking to ease mandates for blending biofuels into gasoline and diesel to increase the supply of global grain and vegetable oil. A British government official told Reuters, ”We’re quite keen to look at the issue of biofuel mandates to ensure that crops are prioritized for food consumption and not necessarily for use in fuels.” It’s not known ahead of the meeting on Sunday if there is enough support to temporarily waive biofuel mandates among the G-7 members. Talks are said to be in the preliminary stages. *********************************************************************************** North American-Owned Grain Terminals Hit in Ukraine Two grain terminals owned by companies in North America were hit by a Russian attack in Ukraine. The University of Illinois’ farm policy news website says Canadian agribusiness Viterra, and U.S. grain trader Bunge said they had a grain terminal hit on Wednesday. Viterra reported that it had a terminal on fire. While there were no casualties, Viterra did say one employee was injured at the plant, which had been closed since Russia’s invasion began. The attack on Wednesday is also the second time Bunge has been targeted. Ukraine’s grain exports have dropped significantly from last year. During the first 22 days of June, exports were down 48 percent from 2021 at 907,000 tons. Russia is preventing shipments from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports, trapping thousands of tons of grain in the country. Experts say setting up alternative export routes won’t be sufficient enough quantities to keep up with global food demand. *********************************************************************************** Smithfield Foods Ranked on LinkedIn’s List of Top Companies Smithfield Foods was named to LinkedIn’s Top Companies: Industry Edition List. Smithfield is ranked as one of the best workplaces for professionals to grow their careers in nine U.S. industries, including financial services, retail and consumer goods, and several others. “We take pride in being an industry leader at Smithfield and are honored that LinkedIn recognized our ongoing efforts to be an employer of choice,” says Keira Lombardo, chief administrative officer with Smithfield. “Our people are our greatest asset. Supporting our team members and their career growth continues to be a top priority for our company.” The LinkedIn platform’s Top Companies: Industry Edition List is designed to celebrate people and companies with more than 500 employees that are making an impact in the professional world. The platform’s methodology assesses data driving insight into company attributes, like professionals’ ability to advance, skills growth, company stability, external opportunity, company affinity, and others. *********************************************************************************** U.S. Domestic Honey Production Falls and Imports Rise U.S. honey production has dropped by 1.4 percent per year during the past three decades, while honey imports have grown by 7.6 percent every year, so imports have been filling the domestic supply deficit. Imports have exceeded domestic honey production since 2005 and accounted for 74 percent of U.S. honey supplies in 2021. The top three foreign suppliers are India, Vietnam, and Argentina, and together they supply more than 71 percent of the total imports. Honey imports grew as domestic consumption of honey and honey-sweetened products increased. The expansion reached an all-time high last year when domestic production was at its lowest volume since 1991. During 2021, production in all three of the major honey-producing states, including North Dakota, South Dakota, and California, were 25 percent below 1991 levels, while production in the rest of the U.S. declined by almost half during the same period. Shrinking market production was mainly due to decreased honey production per colony.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday June 24, 2022 |


Friday Watch List Markets USDA's weekly export sales report is due out at 7:30 a.m. CDT, followed by the University of Michigan's final estimate of U.S. consumer sentiment in June. At 2 p.m. CDT, USDA releases its June 1 estimate of cattle on feed with Dow Jones analysts looking for a 1.5% increase from a year ago. As usual, weather and outside markets will also get their fair share of attention. Weather Temperatures are increasing across much of the eastern half of the country Friday ahead of a storm system building in the Canadian Prairies and Northern Plains. That system will produce widespread showers and thunderstorms across the North-Central U.S. and Canada Friday into Saturday with the front continuing to track southeast through the rest of the weekend and early next week. While heat builds ahead of the front, it will fall off significantly behind it with temperatures below normal for a couple of days. Rainfall amounts will be spotty but could be heavy in localized areas.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday June 23, 2022 |


Biden Proposes Federal Gas Tax Holiday President Joe Biden Wednesday called on Congress and states to provide direct relief to consumers facing increased gas and diesel prices. The price of gas is up dramatically around the world, and by almost $2 per gallon in America, the White House says, “since Putin began amassing troops on the border of Ukraine.” The federal government charges an 18-cent tax per gallon of gasoline and a 24-cent tax per gallon of diesel. Those taxes fund highways and public transportation, through the Highway Trust Fund. But with gas prices near $5 a gallon on average across the country, President Biden is calling on Congress to suspend the gas tax for three months – until the end of September – to give Americans a little extra breathing room as they “deal with the effects of Putin’s war in Ukraine.” The President is also calling on Congress to ensure that a gas tax holiday has no negative effect on the Highway Trust Fund. *********************************************************************************** Senate Ag Committee Passes Meat Packing Special Investigator Act The Senate Agriculture Committee Wednesday passed the bipartisan Meat Packing Special Investigator Act. The legislation will address anticompetitive practices in the meat and poultry industries. Senator Chuck Grassley says, “With the passage of this bill, my years-long beef with Big Cattle is one step closer to being settled.” The legislation would create the Office of the Special Investigator for Competition Matters within USDA’s Packers and Stockyards Division. The special investigator will have a team of investigators, with subpoena power, dedicated to preventing and addressing anticompetitive practices in the meat and poultry industries and enforcing antitrust laws. The committee also passed the Cattle Price Discovery and Transparency Act. National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Vice President of Government Affairs Ethan Lane responded, “creating a duplicative, bureaucratic new special investigator role is the wrong approach.” National Farmers Union President Rob Larew says the committee action “is a welcome move towards boosting enforcement of competition laws that get to the bottom of abusive market practices.” *********************************************************************************** Dairy Farmer Calls for FMMO Update During Farm Bill Hearing A dairy farmer told lawmakers this week the next farm bill needs milk pricing improvements. Seventh-generation Pennsylvania dairy farmer Lolly Lesher, a member of Dairy Farmers of America, testified on behalf of the cooperative and the National Milk Producers Federation during a congressional review of dairy provisions in the Farm Bill. Lesher highlighted the need for improvements to the Federal Milk Marketing Order system, as evidenced by the heavy revenue losses incurred by dairy farmers nationwide from a milk pricing change made in the previous farm bill. She says, “The change made to the Class I mover combined with the government’s heavy cheese purchases cost dairy farmers over $750 million in revenue in the last six months of 2020 alone.” The dairy industry is seeking consensus on a range of FMMO improvements, including the Class I mover, that can be taken to USDA for consideration in a federal order hearing. *********************************************************************************** NPPC Welcomes Biden Administration Siding with Farmers on Prop 12 The National Pork Producers Council welcomed a Supreme Court brief filed by the Biden administration in favor of ag groups regarding California’s Proposition 12. The state law seeks to ban the sale of pork from pigs that do not meet the state’s arbitrary production standards, including pork from pigs raised on farms outside of California. NPPC assistant vice president and general counsel Michael Formica says, “We commend the Biden administration for taking action to stop ill-considered ballot initiatives like California’s Proposition 12.” In a joint brief to the Supreme Court filed earlier this month, NPPC and the American Farm Bureau Federation argued Proposition 12 violates the U.S. Constitution’s commerce clause, which restricts states from regulating commerce outside their borders. The brief states that Proposition 12 “will require massive and costly changes across the entire $26-billion-a-year hog farming industry. And it inescapably projects California’s policy choices into every other state, a number of which expressly permit their farmers to house sows in ways inconsistent with Proposition 12.” *********************************************************************************** Clean Fuels Outlines Industry’s Beneficial Impact on Fuel Prices Clean Fuels Alliance America Wednesday touted the benefits of biodiesel when it comes to the price at the pump to President Joe Biden and leaders in Congress. In a letter to the president and lawmakers, the organization says U.S. biodiesel and renewable diesel producers are working to extend fuel supplies and provide relief at the pump to American families. The letter expresses appreciation for the administration’s recent actions to grow Renewable Fuel Standard volumes for advanced biofuels and biomass-based diesel and provide additional infrastructure grants to improve consumer access to biodiesel. The letter states, “Our partners in the agriculture industry are investing more than $4 billion to expand the supply of renewable oils for both food and clean fuels.” The letter further highlights a recent study from the World Agricultural Economic and Environmental Service showing that U.S. biodiesel and renewable diesel production generates a four percent decrease in the price of diesel fuel. *********************************************************************************** Honey Imports Continue to Rise, Offsetting Declining U.S. Production U.S. imports of honey continue to rise as U.S. production declines. New data from USDA Economic Research Service shows imports have exceeded domestic honey production since 2005 and accounted for 74 percent of total U.S. honey supplies in 2021. Over the last 30 years, U.S. honey production has declined by around 1.4 percent per year, while honey imports have grown by 7.6 percent per year, filling the domestic supply deficit. The top three foreign suppliers—India, Vietnam, and Argentina—supply more than 71 percent of imported honey. Honey imports have expanded with rising domestic consumption of honey and honey-sweetened products. This expansion reached an all-time high in 2021, when domestic production was at the lowest volume since 1991. In 2021, production in all three major honey-producing States—North Dakota, South Dakota, and California—were 25 percent lower than their 1991 levels, while production in the rest of the states declined by almost half during the same period.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday June 23, 2022 |


Thursday Watch List Markets The U.S. Labor Department reports on weekly jobless claims at 7:30 a.m. CDT, the same time the U.S. Drought Monitor will be updated. At 9:30 a.m., the Energy Department's weekly inventory report, including ethanol production will be out, followed by USDA's monthly cold storage report at 2 p.m. CDT. Grain traders continue to inspect the latest weather forecasts and will keep an eye on outside markets and further Fed comments. Weather A section of an old front remains around Kansas that will be active with showers and thunderstorms on Thursday. Heat is advancing northward through the Plains and may bring some isolated showers to the Northern Plains. The heat comes ahead of the next system that is building in the Canadian Prairies. The far south remains hot with heat advisories and warnings still in place.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday June 22, 2022 |


Number of U.S. Farms Continues Slow Decline New data released Tuesday from USDA’s Economic Research Service shows the number of U.S. farms continues to decline slowly. After peaking at 6.8 million farms in 1935, the number of U.S. farms and ranches fell sharply through the early 1970s. Rapidly falling farm numbers in the mid-20th century reflected the growing productivity of agriculture and increased nonfarm employment opportunities. Since then, the number of U.S. farms has continued to decline, but much more slowly. In 2021, there were 2.01 million U.S. farms, down from 2.20 million in 2007. With 895 million acres of farmland nationwide in 2021, the average farm size was 445 acres, only slightly greater than the 440 acres recorded in the early 1970s. Meanwhile, technological developments in agriculture have influenced changes in the farm sector. Innovations have enabled continuing output growth without adding much to inputs. As a result, total farm output nearly tripled between 1948 and 2019. *********************************************************************************** Growers Disappointed Supreme Court Decides Not to Hear Glyphosate Case Agriculture groups expressed disappointment regarding a Supreme Court decision denying consideration of the case Monsanto v. Hardeman, which pertains to state glyphosate health warnings. A coalition of groups issued a joint statement regarding the decision Tuesday, including the American Farm Bureau Federation, American Soybean Association, National Corn Growers Association, National Association of Wheat Growers, and National Cotton Council. The joint statement claims, “We are disappointed the Supreme Court has decided not to hear this case, which has significant implications for our global food supply and science-based regulation.” On May 23, the groups sent a letter signed by 54 agricultural groups to President Biden urging him to withdraw a Solicitor General’s brief submitted to the Supreme Court advising against taking up the case. The Solicitor General’s brief argues federal pesticide registration and labeling requirements do not preclude states from imposing additional labeling requirements, even if those requirements run counter to federal findings. *********************************************************************************** Rural Bankers Expecting Recession Rural bankers say they anticipate a U.S. recession, according to the latest Creighton University Rural Mainstreet Index. The region's overall reading for June slumped to 49.8, its lowest level since September 2020, and down from May's 57.7. The index ranges between 0 and 100, with a reading of 50.0 representing growth neutral. Approximately 92.9 percent of rural bankers surveyed rate the likelihood of a U.S. recession above 50 percent. Only 7.1 percent rated a recession probability below 50 percent. However, on average, bank CEOs expect net farm income for grain farmers to be 12.6 percent above 2021 levels. The region's farmland price index for June advanced to 76.8 from May's 72.0, marking the 21st straight month that the index has moved above growth neutral. The June farm equipment-sales index climbed to 71.4 from May's healthy 66.9. This was the 19th straight month that the index has advanced above growth neutral. *********************************************************************************** USDA Trade Mission Underway in London U.S. Department of Agriculture Deputy Secretary Dr. Jewel Bronaugh (Bro-NAW) arrived Tuesday in London to launch a USDA agribusiness trade mission to the United Kingdom. Bronaugh is joined by a delegation of representatives from U.S. agribusinesses, farm organizations and state departments of agriculture, who are interested in exploring export opportunities in the United Kingdom. Bronaugh says, “The United Kingdom is a valued trading partner whose consumers demand the best quality products at a competitive price,” adding, “I’m excited for mission participants to engage with potential customers for their world-class agricultural products.” In 2021, the United Kingdom imported $1.9 billion of U.S. agricultural products, according to USDA. Trade mission participants engage directly with potential customers, receive in-depth market briefings, and participate in site visits. The USDA-sponsored trade mission to the United Kingdom is one of four international trade missions Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced in March. The United Kingdom trade mission concludes later this week. *********************************************************************************** USDA Announces Awards for Dairy Innovation Initiatives The Department of Agriculture this week announced $80 million in awards under the Dairy Business Innovation Initiatives. The awards support processing capacity expansion, on-farm improvements, and technical assistance services to producers. The funds are being awarded non-competitively to the four current Dairy Business Innovation Initiatives at the California State University Fresno, the University of Tennessee, Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets, and the University of Wisconsin. Additionally, USDA announced $22.9 million through a Request for Applications for funding provided by fiscal year 2022 appropriations to support the same Initiatives. The awards were made possible by supplemental funds from the American Rescue Plan Act. Jenny Lester Moffitt, USDA Undersecretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs, says, "The Dairy Business Innovation Initiatives have proven to be an invaluable resource for dairy farmers and businesses because of their ability to provide targeted resources and funding through sub-awards at the local and regional level, maximizing impact." *********************************************************************************** Canada Cattlemen Oppose Warning Labels on Ground Beef Canadian Cattle producers are raising concerns with Health Canada’s proposed regulations to put a front-of-package warning label on ground beef. The proposal from Health Canada is part of several changes to Canada's Food and Drug Regulations. The changes would require the usage of warning labels for foods high in sodium, sugar or saturated fat. If Health Canada moves forward with the proposed regulation, Canada will be the only country in the world to put a warning label on ground beef. This move would likely impact consumer confidence and be damaging to Quebec and other beef producers across the country. Approximately 90 percent of Canadians eat ground beef weekly, and adding a warning label on ground beef would send the wrong signal to Canadian consumers, according to the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association. Philippe Alain, CCA board member from Quebec, says, “The proposed policy change by Health Canada is misguided and will mislead consumers.”

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday June 22, 2022 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets Traders will continue to watch the latest weather forecasts, check for any export sales, while keeping an eye on Ukraine and outside markets. There are no significant reports out Wednesday and the Energy Department's weekly energy inventories will be out Thursday morning, due to this week's holiday schedule. Weather A cold front continues to move eastward across the Midwest on Wednesday with scattered showers from Kansas eastward through the Ohio Valley. Storms farther east could be strong to severe. Heavy rain also continues in the southern Rockies for the next few days, sometimes leaking into the High Plains as well, but overall showers are light. Heat continues south of the front for another day with heat advisories posted in spots from the Southern Plains to the Southeast and even ahead of the front in the Ohio Valley.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday June 21, 2022 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets Back from a three-day weekend, traders will catch up on the latest weather forecasts, news from Ukraine and anything affecting outside markets. A report on U.S. existing home sales for May is due out at 9 a.m. CDT Tuesday, followed by USDA's weekly grain export inspections at 10 a.m. At 3 p.m., USDA's Crop Progress report will give an update on crop conditions and winter wheat harvest progress. Weather Heat that has built back into much of the country over the long holiday weekend continues across the South and eastern Midwest on Tuesday. A cold front pushing through the Midwest and into the Central Plains will bring temperatures down a few degrees. While it will have a few showers, they will be more limited today than what occurred in the Northern Plains on Monday.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday June 20, 2022 |


Red Meat Exports Add Value to Corn and Soybean Producers Record-level red meat exports of 18.7 billion dollars in 2021 had a major impact on the corn and soybean industries. An independent study by the Juday Group quantified the returns that red meat exports brought to corn and soybean producers in 2021 nationally and at state levels. Key findings from the 2021 export data showed that beef and pork exports accounted for 537 million bushels of corn usage, equating to 2.94 billion dollars. Pork exports accounted for 99.3 million bushels of soybean usage nationwide or the equivalent of 2.36 million metric tons of soybean meal worth 1.3 billion dollars. Beef and pork exports accounted for 3.4 million tons of DDGS usage, equating to 716 million dollars. “Beef and pork exports drive value directly back to the farm, and this study helps confirm the return on investment for all corn and soybean producers,” says U.S. Meat Export Federation Chair-elect and Iowa producer Dean Meyer. *********************************************************************************** Growers Frustrated with EPA Regarding Pesticide Impacts American farmers are again at odds with the Environmental Protection Agency over the Endangered Species Act. The final EPA biological evaluations of neonicotinoids (Nee-oh-ni-KOH-ti-noids) and their impacts on endangered species are overly conservative and don’t use all available data. Grower groups like the American Soybean Association and the American Farm Bureau Federation are concerned the evaluations drastically overstate the impact of the pesticides on endangered species and their habitats. The groups say the evaluations for several neonicotinoid pesticides don’t incorporate scientific and commercial data that could have provided a more realistic picture of the potential impacts of the chemistries on different species. The groups pointed out the shortcomings during the public comment period, but EPA doubled down on the final evaluations. “Growers have, time-and-again, pointed EPA to real-world data to improve their endangered species assessments,” says American Soybean Association President Brad Doyle. “The agency has again chosen to disregard the data.” *********************************************************************************** Ag Groups Support the Ocean Shipping Reform Act Ag groups positively reacted to President Biden signing the Ocean Shipping Reform Act, which will address the supply chain and shipping port issues hampering U.S. exports. “Exports add significantly to the bottom line of each producer,” says National Pork Producers Council President-Elect Scott Hayes. “More assurances that exports get safely to their destination is a big win for agriculture.” American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall personally spoke to President Biden last week about the legislation. “Addressing congestion at our ports and creating greater accountability for shipping companies is a positive step,” Duvall says. The National Milk Producers Federation and the U.S. Dairy Export Council both applauded the bill getting signed into law. “We’re asking the Federal Maritime Commission to implement these rules quickly and begin to conduct the new oversight to end the unfair practices that have impeded American dairy products from efficiently getting to their overseas customers,” says NMPF President Jim Mulhern. *********************************************************************************** USDA Receives Overwhelming Interest in Climate-Smart Commodities The USDA says the second funding pool through the Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities opportunity received over 600 applications from more than 400 groups. While USDA is calculating the final numbers, the overall interest in the opportunity already exceeds more than $18 billion. “The results of the second funding pool clearly demonstrate the strong demand in the U.S. agriculture and forestry industry for solutions that expand markets for American producers and forest landowners, particularly those that are small or historically underserved,” says USDA Undersecretary for Farm Production and Conservation Robert Bonnie. “The second round of funding received significantly more applications than the first, and we’re looking forward to going through the large pool of applications.” The second funding pool was designed to support proposals between $250,000 and $5 million that emphasize the enrollment of small and-or underserved producers. The proposals could also include monitoring, reporting, and verifying activities developed at minority-serving institutions. *********************************************************************************** U.S. Dairy Industry Signs MOU to Continue Sustainability Commitment The USDA and the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy signed a Memorandum of Understanding to continue working toward the dairy industry’s 2050 environmental stewardship goals. The MOU also addresses growing consumer demand for food produced in a way that’s good for the planet. The MOU extends and builds upon a pact originally signed in 2008. “In renewing this agreement with the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, USDA is recommitting to our vital work with dairy farmers to reduce methane emissions and improve the sustainability of their operations,” says USDA Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Jewell Bronaugh (bro-NAW). “We’ve seen tremendous interest in the production of climate-smart commodities, and the dairy industry is on the leading edge of that effort. The MOU builds on that effort” The Innovation Center’s 2050 environmental stewardship goals include achieving GHG neutrality, optimizing water use while maximizing recycling, and improving water quality by optimizing utilization of manure and nutrients. *********************************************************************************** Cattle Industry Fighting SEC Climate Rule The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association filed comments on the Securities and Exchange Commission’s controversial greenhouse gas disclosure rule. The rule would require publicly-traded companies to disclose their direct, energy-electricity consumption, and supply chain emissions, creating a burden on cattle producers who supply beef to publicly-traded processors, restaurants, and retailers. “With cattle producers facing record inflation, rising input costs, and labor shortages, another bureaucratic rule is a burden we cannot afford,” says NCBA President Don Schiefelbein. “Policymakers should be focused on lowering costs and solving real problems facing agriculture, not creating more complex rules that require a team of lawyers to understand.” While the proposal is aimed at public companies, it would place a burden on cattle producers who supply beef to public entities. The federal government has also acknowledged that accurately calculating emissions on the farm or ranch level is impossible. EPA and USDA metrics are already calculated and should satisfy federal regulators.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday June 17, 2022 |


Mixed Reaction to House Passage of Special Investigator Bill The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association expressed strong disappointment after the House of Representatives passed the Lower Food and Fuel Costs Act. Their disappointment is because the bill incorporates the Meat and Poultry Special Investigator Act. NCBA VP of Government Affairs Ethan Lane says Congress is focused on political posturing through the Special Investigator Bill. NCBA says the investigator position will duplicate the work already being done by other federal agencies. House Ag Chair David Scott says the bill will ensure fair competition in the meat and poultry sectors, increase options at the pump, and provide support to America’s ag sector and food supply chain. The bill will permanently lift barriers to year-round sales of E15, something Growth Energy says would enable more access to a lower-cost, lower-emission option for hardworking families. “We’ve recently seen E15 deliver savings approaching 60 cents per gallon in some parts of the country,” says CEO Emily Skor. *********************************************************************************** House GOP Bill Targets Biden Ag Policies House Ag Committee Ranking Member Glenn Thompson of Pennsylvania introduced a bill this week that Fox News says would “strike back” at several of the administration’s agricultural policies. It would also strike down a recently-proposed rule from the Securities and Exchange Commission that could potentially harm small farms. Thompson is introducing the bill with more than 20 cosponsors during a time when America is dealing with significant inflation, especially in food prices. The bill has several provisions that Thompson says would help in many ways, including rescinding the SEC Scope Three reporting rule. The rule requires public companies to report information like it’s carbon emissions but also from sources up and down their supply chains. Thompson’s bill also includes several provisions relating to fertilizer, including reinstating the National Environmental Policy Act of 2020, which would streamline mineral extraction for fertilizer production. The bill also reinstates the Trump-era Waters of the U.S. rule. *********************************************************************************** Eggs Costing $12 Per Dozen is “Unrealistic” There’s no question a highly-contagious bird flu outbreak is reducing the size of the U.S. chicken flock and driving up the cost of eggs nationwide. Some social media claims say USDA predicts eggs will be $12 per dozen by this fall. Jennifer Smits, director of communications for the USDA’s Economic Research Service, says that USDA isn’t predicting eggs will be $12 per dozen later this year. Smith points out in USA Today that while the ERS does predict and follow agriculture and food trends, they don’t forecast specific retail egg prices. As of June 10, Federal Reserve economic data says the average price of a dozen Grade A large eggs in the U.S. was $2.86, and prices are predicted to dip to $1.70 per dozen in the fourth quarter of 2022. The inconsistent supply of eggs is driving up the cost this year, while overall food prices are 9.4 percent higher than 2021. *********************************************************************************** Arkansas Signs Major Pact with Israel Israel, which has recently become a world leader in agricultural technology, signed a major economic pact with Arkansas. The two will share their research and technology, especially for agriculture, and that will broaden a trade relationship that’s already worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Trade between them last year reached more than $100 million dollars. Both sides have also benefited from agricultural and scientific research grants worth more than $400,000 since their partnership started in 2017. The Washington Free Beacon says a 2019 review of one agricultural grant between the two sides shows an economic partnership during the past four decades that’s added billions to the U.S. economy. Though much of Israel is desert and lacks water, the country has learned to grow some of the highest-yielding agricultural products, including tomatoes and cow’s milk. Agriculture is Arkansas’s largest industry, adding approximately $16 billion to the state’s economy every year. *********************************************************************************** Brazil Expecting Large Second-Corn Crop Despite Weather Concerns Brazil’s second corn crop, called the safrina crop, is predicted to produce 3.4 billion bushels during the 2021-2022 crop season. Farmdoc from the University of Illinois says that’s 45 percent higher than the 2.4 billion harvested last year when drought hit Brazil. A harvest of 3.4 billion bushels this year would set a record. Data from Conab says the country may produce a historic crop even though April and May were drier than normal. The overall harvest of the second-corn crop is less than 10 percent complete. This year’s second-corn harvest began in Mato Grosso (MAH-toe GRAHS-so), the largest corn producer in Brazil, which accounts for almost half of the country’s production. Approximately 16 percent of the corn harvest in Mato Grosso is complete as of June 10, and yields are expected to be around 97.5 bushels an acre. Parana, the second-largest corn producer, currently has 80 percent of its fields in good condition. *********************************************************************************** FSA Accepting Nominations for County Committees The USDA’s Farm Service Agency is now accepting nominations for local county committee members. County committee members make important decisions about how federal farm programs get administered on a local level. All of the nomination forms for the 2022 election must be postmarked or received in the local FSA office by August 1. “it’s a priority for USDA to integrate equity into its decision-making and policymaking,” says FSA Administrator Zach Ducheneaux. “That starts with our local county committees.” He also says they’re looking for enthusiastic, diverse leaders willing to serve other agricultural producers. Ag producers who participate or cooperate in a USDA program and reside in the Local Administrative Area that’s up for election can be nominated for candidacy. A cooperating producer is someone who has provided information about their farming or ranching operations to FSA, even if they haven’t applied for or received program benefits. Nationwide, 7,000 people serve on various county committees.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday June 17, 2022 |


Friday Watch List Markets The Federal Reserve's report on industrial production in May is due out at 8:15 a.m. CDT Friday, followed by the Conference Board's U.S. index of leading indicators at 9 a.m. Traders will remain attuned to the latest weather forecasts, any news of an export sale, updates from Ukraine and the stock market. U.S. futures markets close at their normal times Friday and open next at 7 p.m. CDT Monday, allowing for a new national holiday, Juneteenth. Weather A frontal boundary became active over Missouri and Illinois Thursday night. Thunderstorm clusters are strong early Friday morning and pushing southeast into the Tennessee Valley. We will likely see that continuing through to the Southeast throughout the day and may remain strong. Cool temperatures are building north of this cluster and front across the eastern Midwest. But heat is starting to build back across the Northern Plains, becoming very hot over the weekend.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday June 16, 2022 |


Other Food Sectors Welcome Ocean Shipping Reform Act Agriculture groups responded positively to the passing of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act, along with industry representatives from the food and restaurant sectors. President Joe Biden was slated to sign the legislation into law Thursday (this) afternoon. The legislation should help address long-standing and systemic port disruptions impacting costs throughout the supply chain. Sean Kennedy of the National Restaurant Association says, “After months of advocating with our supply chain partners for these changes, we hope modernization of the Ocean Shipping Act will help reduce shipping costs and improve supply chain challenges.” Tom Madrecki with the Consumer Brands Association adds, “Decisive policy action is critical to combatting supply chain challenges as the consumer packaged goods industry continues to grapple with unprecedented production and shipping costs.” The association contends that the pandemic and subsequent disruptions highlighted the fragility of the complex supply chain system, the need to modernize decades-old ocean regulations, and unfair practices that hurt American manufacturers, farmers and consumers. *********************************************************************************** Farmers Union Urges Congressional Support Lower Food and Fuel Costs Act In a letter to Congress Wednesday, National Farmers Union expressed support for the Lower Food and Fuel Costs Act and urged Members to support the bill. The legislation, NFU says, will provide fairness to farmers, lower prices for consumers, and fight back against decades of consolidation in agriculture. House lawmakers are considering the legislative package Thursday (today). National Farmers Union President Rob Larew says, “Farmers Union members are in strong support of bolstering USDA’s ability to investigate consolidation in the livestock industry.” The legislation would create a special investigator’s office at the Department of Agriculture to explore the issue. However, that issue has House Republicans and Democrats divided on the legislation. National Farmers Union also supports the provisions to expand processing capacity that will offer ranchers more opportunities to get their products to their communities. Another provision of the bill would make year-round E-15 sales permanent, also supported by NFU. *********************************************************************************** APHIS Announces New Resources Aimed at Preventing ASF Spread USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Wednesday announced new efforts to prevent the introduction and spread of African swine fever in the United States. Through a campaign called Protect Our Pigs, APHIS will support pork producers, veterinarians, and pig owners with information and resources to help safeguard the swine population and the pork industry. APHIS is deploying a variety of outreach efforts to support these critical stakeholders. The new Protect Our Pigs page on the APHIS website will house materials such as downloadable fact sheets and posters, instructional videos, shareable social media graphics, a new interactive biosecurity guide, and offer the latest disease updates. Dr. Jack Shere, Associate Administrator at APHIS, says, “USDA is working every day to stop this disease from breaching our borders and the Protect Our Pigs campaign is just one of many ways we are doing that.” African swine fever is estimated to cost the U.S. $50 billion over ten years, if detected. *********************************************************************************** Vilsack Traveling to New Hampshire Friday Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will visit New Hampshire Friday to tout work by the Biden Administration to transform the nation’s food system. Vilsack will join Senator Maggie Hassan, a New Hampshire Democrat, at Brookdale Fruit Farm, a local family-owned and operated farm. The farm is one of the state's largest retail, pick-your-own, and wholesale growers of fruits and vegetables. USDA says the event will underscore its commitment to increase competition, bolster access to healthy, affordable food, ensure growers and workers receive a greater share of the food dollar, and advance equity as well as climate resilience and mitigation. In addition, Vilsack will make an announcement to help reduce costs for farmers and support local economies by providing funding to cut regulatory costs and increase market opportunities for farmers. That action, USDA says, will help build fair and transparent food systems rooted in local and regional production and create jobs. *********************************************************************************** Bronaugh to Lead United Kingdom Trade Mission Representatives from 37 U.S. agribusinesses and farm organizations will join Department of Agriculture Deputy Secretary Dr. Jewel Bronaugh for an agribusiness trade mission to London, June 22-24. Participants will engage directly with foreign buyers, receive in-depth market briefs from the Foreign Agricultural Service and industry trade experts, and participate in site visits. Bronaugh says, “I’m very excited to lead a delegation to the United Kingdom, one of our top trading partners,” adding, “The United Kingdom presents strong marketing opportunities for many U.S. consumer-oriented products.” U.S. agricultural exports to the United Kingdom totaled $1.9 billion in 2021. In addition to representatives from the following companies and organizations, Bronaugh will be joined by officials from the Georgia, Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin departments of agriculture. The USDA-sponsored trade mission to the U.K. is one of four international trade missions Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced in March. *********************************************************************************** Argentina Not Likely to Increase Wheat Exports It appears Argentina won’t be able to capitalize on the interruption of wheat supplies from the Black Sea, according to AgriCensus, a London-based Price Reporting Agency. The agency says weather, inflation and political uncertainty all combine to be detrimental to wheat exports for the nation. Argentine farmers face dry conditions with the second consecutive La Nina and worries of a third consecutive event. Initial estimates have the 2022/23 crop size at 20.5 million metric tons, down from the previous crop year’s record high of 22.4 million metric tons, with further cuts possible. Argentine farmers are reportedly cutting wheat acres in favor of barley, which is cheaper to grow. Input costs are another factor, as one analyst tells the agency, "This year there are going to be less hectares planted with wheat and less use in fertilizers this season." And the Argentine government has imposed a series of protective measures to tackle ever-rising domestic inflation levels in the country.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday June 16, 2022 |


Thursday Watch List Markets USDA's weekly export sales report is set for Thursday at 7:30 a.m. CDT, the same time as weekly U.S. jobless claims, U.S. housing starts in May and an update of the U.S. Drought Monitor. At 9:30 a.m., the U.S. Energy Department releases its weekly report of natural gas storage and at 2 p.m., USDA's monthly Livestock, Dairy and Poultry report will be released. Weather A front that has been working across the northern tier of the country over the past few days will continue to shift through the eastern Midwest on Thursday. The tail end of it has stalled across Nebraska and Kansas. Both sections of the front will be active today, with potential for severe storms. The front marks the difference between a mild north and hot south for Thursday. Strong winds that flowed across the Northern Plains on Wednesday continue across the northern Midwest on Thursday, though not quite as strong.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday June 15, 2022 |


Farm Groups Welcome Passage of Ocean Shipping Reform Act The House of Representatives Monday sent the Ocean Shipping Reform Act to President Biden for signature. Agriculture groups responded positively, heralding the legislation that improves the oversight of ocean shipping. The bill will address many maritime disruptions obstructing the import and export of U.S. products at American ports over the past several years. American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall says, “I was pleased to team up with President Biden to urge passage and look forward to him quickly signing the Ocean Shipping Reform Act.” U.S. Meat Export Federation President and CEO Dan Halstrom welcomed the passage, saying, “This legislation takes important steps forward in improving the shipping services available to U.S. exporters.” American Feed Industry Association CEO Constance Cullman adds, “passage of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act signals a course correction that will enable our industry to continue providing these essential goods to the global marketplace in a timely, cost-efficient way.” *********************************************************************************** USDA Extends Comment Period on Fertilizer Supply Chain Issues The Department of Agriculture Tuesday extended the comment deadline regarding its “Access to Fertilizer: Competition and Supply Chain Concerns” Federal Register notice. Published in the Federal Register in March, the previous deadlines for comments were May 16, and June 15, 2022. USDA extended the comment deadline another month to July 15, 2022. Andy Green, USDA's Senior Advisor for Fair and Competitive Markets, says the new deadline allows "commenters to provide additional feedback regarding the role of capacity expansion and related strategies to directly enhance competition in the fertilizer market." Through the effort, USDA is seeking information on what obstacles exist to financing and developing new fertilizer capacity, expanding fertilizer manufacturing, and what other threats the fertilizer sector faces. In March, USDA announced plans for a $250 million investment in grants to support additional fertilizer production for farmers to address rising costs and spur competition. Fertilizer prices have more than doubled since last year. *********************************************************************************** Rep. Sharice Davids Assigned to House Ag Committee The House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee recommended Representative Sharice Davids to join the House Agriculture Committee this week. The Kansas Democrat says, “I’m honored to have the opportunity to serve Kansans on the Agriculture Committee, especially as we gear up to consider the next Farm Bill.” Kansas Farm Bureau President Rich Felts says, “I know Representative Davids will be a strong voice on the committee for her constituents and Kansas agriculture” for the remainder of the current session of Congress. House Agriculture Committee Chairman David Scott says, “I am pleased to welcome her voice to our Committee.” Davids continues to serve as Vice-Chair of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and on the Small Business Committee, chairing the Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Tax, and Capital Access. The recommendation now goes to the full Democratic Caucus for approval. If approved, Davids will join Kansas Republican Representative Tracey Mann on the Committee. *********************************************************************************** Federal Government Primary Funder of US Ag Research The Federal Government provides 64 percent of public agricultural research and development funding in the United States. USDA’s Economic Research Service released new data on ag research Tuesday. The data shows state governments and non-governmental sources, including funds generated by universities, account for the other 36 percent of funds for public agricultural R&D. Federal funds are delivered via external grants to universities and other cooperating institutions, and through appropriations to USDA agencies. Most of the federal funding for agricultural research performed by non-Federal institutions is managed by USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture. NIFA allocates the funds through grants to land grant and minority-serving institutions and through competitive grants open to all universities. Of the $1.6 billion in agricultural research by USDA research agencies, about $165 million was allocated to cooperative research agreements with universities. The National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, and other federal agencies are also important funders of agricultural research and development. *********************************************************************************** USDA Strengthens Partnerships with 1890s Universities Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Dr. Paul Jones, Chair of the 1890s Presidents Council, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to reaffirm and strengthen their ongoing relationship. The 1890s Presidents Council is an organization comprised of presidents and chancellors of historically Black colleges and universities. The MOU also establishes a new 1890 Task Force that will inject energy into USDA's efforts to collaborate with 1890s institutions in the food, agriculture and forestry sectors. The MOU signing followed discussions between USDA leadership and the 1890s Presidents Council as part of continued engagement and discussions with higher education associations to enhance USDA partnerships and investments with Minority-Serving Institutions. Secretary Vilsack states, "This signing reinforces USDA's commitment to our partners at the 1890s institutions." The 1890 Land-Grant institutions were established under the Second Morrill Act of 1890. USDA has a long history of investing in and supporting the nation's 1890 Land-Grant Institutions, which have been leaders in scientific innovation. *********************************************************************************** ASTA Releases Cover Crop, Conservation Resource The American Seed Trade Association released an updated tool for farmers and landowners this week. ASTA updated a guide that helps farmers easily locate and contact professional seed suppliers for quality environmental, conservation, and cover crop seed. The interactive Conservation, Environmental, and Cover Crop Seed Resource Guide allows buyers to find lists of specific seed types by geographic location to support production and sustainability goals. ASTA President & CEO Andy LaVigne says, “Professionally produced and processed seed is designed to help farmers achieve success through managing the use of the right seed, at the right place, at the right time.” Professionally produced seeds are selected, harvested, cleaned, analyzed, processed, packaged for performance, and tested for purity and germination. Those steps, LaVigne says, “helps ensure you get the best quality seed to meet your production and sustainability goals.” You can find the resource on the ASTA website, betterseed.org.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday June 15, 2022 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets A report on U.S. retail sales in May is set for Wednesday at 7:30 a.m. CDT. The U.S. Energy Department releases its weekly report of energy inventories, including ethanol production at 9:30 a.m. The latest weather forecasts remain important to traders and everyone is leery of outside market influences with the Federal Reserve's announcement and expected rate hike due out at 1 p.m. CDT Wednesday. Weather A front moving across the North-Central U.S. continues to produce areas of showers and thunderstorms. On Wednesday, storms will be concentrated in the Upper Midwest and may be strong to severe from Iowa into Wisconsin and adjacent areas of Minnesota and Illinois. All hazards will be possible and some significant damage may be possible. Additional thunderstorms will pop up in the Southeast later today with a threat for severe weather as well. Heat continues south and east of the front, hastening crop growth. Behind the front, temperatures are much cooler but winds are picking up and will be breezy across the Northern Plains.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday June 14, 2022 |


AFBF and NPPC Tell Supreme Court Proposition 12 is Unconstitutional The American Farm Bureau Federation and National Pork Producers Council filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court challenging the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 12. The state law seeks to ban the sale of pork from hogs that don’t meet the state’s arbitrary production standards, even if the pork was raised on farms outside of California. AFBF and NPPC argue Proposition 12 violates the constitution’s Commerce Clause, which restricts states from regulating commerce outside their borders. The brief states Proposition 12 “will require massive and costly changes across the entire $26-billion-a-year industry. And it inescapably projects California’s policy choices into every other State, a number of which expressly permit their farmers to house sows in ways inconsistent with Proposition 12.” NPPC and AFBF assert Proposition 12 unconstitutionally regulates commerce outside of California, governs activity outside of California’s borders and beyond its police powers, and imposes substantial burdens on out-of-state farmers and their customers. *********************************************************************************** Consumers Spend More on Food Away From Home in 2021 Consumers in the United States returned to pre-pandemic trends, purchasing more food away from home than food purchases intended for consumption at home. USDA’s Economic Research Service released the data Monday, which shows food away from home spending increased 21.1 percent in 2021 from the previous year. Food at home spending also increased, up four percent in 2021. In 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, real total food expenditures fell 6.6 percent from 2019. U.S. consumers’ food-spending patterns changed as efforts were made to limit the spread of COVID-19, which included stay-at-home orders. Food away from home spending decreased by 15.8 percent in 2020, while food at home spending increased by 3.9 percent. In 2021, real total food expenditures increased 12.2 percent from 2020. USDA describes food at home as food intended for off-premise consumption from retailers, and food away from home as food consumed at outlets such as restaurants or cafeterias. *********************************************************************************** Clean Fuels Applauds Chevron on Completion Acquiring Renewable Energy Group Clean Fuels Alliance America CEO Donnell Rehagen welcomed news Monday that Chevron finalized its acquisition of Renewable Energy Group, a longtime Clean Fuels Alliance America member. As the acquisition is finalized, Chad Stone of Renewable Energy Group will continue to lead the Clean Fuels Governing Board as chair. Rehagen says, “This is a meaningful acquisition for our industry and for Clean Fuels for many reasons.” The company was one of the first to build a biodiesel plant in the United States. With 11 biorefineries in the U.S. and Europe and more than half a billion gallons of production of biodiesel and renewable diesel, Renewable Energy Group is also one of Clean Fuels’ largest members in terms of fuel production. California-based Chevron has steadily grown its clean fuels business, actively marketing its Renewable Diesel Blend at the pump in California. Renewable Energy Group will remain headquartered in Ames, Iowa, and will focus on growing Chevron's portfolio of lower-carbon fuels. *********************************************************************************** U.S. Ag Tractor, Combine Sales Fall Below Five-Year Average in May 2022 U.S. tractor and combine monthly unit sales in May 2022 fell below the five-year average for the first time since March 2020, while Canadian sales remained above the line. The Association of Equipment Manufacturers released the monthly data last week, which shows U.S. total farm tractor sales fell 14.5 percent for the month of May compared to 2021, and U.S. combine sales for the month declined 12.7 percent to 315 units sold. Total farm tractor sales and combine sales are both down 14.2 percent year-to-date. In Canada, unit sales fell 11.3 percent, and combine sales fell 28.4 percent. Year-to-date farm tractor unit sales are down 8.6 percent in Canada, while harvesters are down 28.1 percent. AEM’s Curt Blades says, “Supply chain remains the primary issue in the ag equipment market right now.” Blades points out another thing to keep in mind, especially when comparing numbers year-over-year, is 2021 sales were significantly above historic trends. *********************************************************************************** FFA Members Prepare for Careers in Plant Systems Pathways This summer, 45 FFA members from across the country will arrive in St. Louis, Missouri, to explore careers in the plant industry. It’s all part of the Next Gen Conference offered by the National FFA Organization. The conference, which began in 2020, focuses on pathways from animal systems to biotechnology systems members might be interested in. The inaugural conference was held in February 2020 and put on hold for the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. During the event, members will access new ideas, trends and opportunities that will connect them directly with industry leaders during the conference. The conference is designed specifically to give FFA members hands-on, industry-relevant experience. Members will also explore diverse plant operations around St. Louis and learn how to plan for their future careers. An FFA spokesperson says, “This year’s conference will help us cultivate future leaders in the plant systems pathway through a week of experiential learning, relevant education and networking.” *********************************************************************************** Gas Prices Surge Take National Average Above $5/Gallon The nation's average gas price climbed for the eighth straight week, jumping 15.7 cents from a week ago to $5.01 per gallon. The national average is up 57.1 cents from a month ago and $1.94 per gallon higher than a year ago. The national average diesel price increased 13.8 cents in the last week and stands at $5.77 per gallon. Last week saw the national average reaching the $5 per gallon mark, with the most common gas price at $4.99 per gallon, up 50 cents from last week. GasBuddy's Patrick De Haan says, “For now, the upward momentum may slow down, but we are still just one potential jolt to supply away from heading even higher.” De Haan adds, “Should the rise in price finally start to slow demand’s rise, we could see some breathing room, but for now, it seems like Americans are proving resilient to record highs.”

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday June 14, 2022 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets The U.S. Labor Department will report on producer prices for May at 7:30 a.m. CDT Tuesday, one day before the Federal Reserve is expected to raise the federal funds target by a half-percent or possibly more. Traders will continue to keep close watch on the latest weather forecasts and any news regarding Ukraine with winter wheat harvest season approaching. Weather Heat has built in across a large area of the country east of the Rockies, but a cold front that is moving through the Northern Plains will bring temperatures down across northern areas through the week. On Tuesday, that front moves through Nebraska and the Upper Midwest. Thunderstorms have been active since last night across the Dakotas and continue this morning, getting into northwest Minnesota as well. More thunderstorms are expected to develop this evening and overnight along the front in Nebraska, Iowa, and southern Minnesota and could be severe with strong winds and large hail.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday June 13, 2022 |


Smithfield Foods Closing Plant in California Smithfield Foods says it will stop all harvest and processing operations in Vernon, California, in early 2023 due to the rising cost of doing business in the state. At the same time, the company will align its hog production system by reducing its sow herd in the western region. The company will shrink the size of its sow herd in Utah and is looking at options to exit its farms in Arizona and California. Smithfield harvests only company-owned hogs in Vernon. “We are grateful to our team members in the Western region for their dedication and invaluable contributions to our mission,” says Smithfield Chief Operating Officer Brady Stewart. “We are committed to providing financial and other transition assistance to employees impacted by this difficult decision.” The transition options for employees include relocation options to other company facilities and farms and retention incentives to ensure the business stays in operation until next year. *********************************************************************************** Dairy Leader Wants More Congressional Focus on Trade Sheryl Meshke (MESH-key), CEO of Associated Milk Producers Incorporated, told a Senate subcommittee that the government must pursue expanded trade opportunities. The U.S. dairy industry is asking Congress to pursue additional market access opportunities and address export supply-chain delays so that the U.S. dairy industry can keep up with its global competitors. Meshke serves on the board of directors for the National Milk Producers Federation and the U.S. Dairy Export Council. “In pursuing exports, the U.S dairy industry faces experienced and well-established competitors who’ve been very active with free trade agreements,” Meshke said in testimony before the Subcommittee on Commodities, Risk Management, and Trade. She says the global playing field is slowly tilting against the U.S. due to competitors’ trade agreements with key dairy import markets. U.S. trade negotiators should also look for more access to priority markets like Southeast Asia, Japan, China, the Middle East, and the United Kingdom. *********************************************************************************** Corn Yield Unchanged in June WASDE Report The June World Ag Supply and Demand Estimate report is calling for a U.S. corn planted area and yield forecast unchanged from May. This month’s 2022-2023 corn outlook is for larger beginning stocks, slightly higher use, and increased ending stocks. USDA will release its survey-based Acreage report on June 30. Corn’s season-average farm price is unchanged at $6.75 a bushel. The soybean supply and use projections include lower beginning and ending stocks and higher prices. Soybean export projections are raised 30 million bushels to 2.17 billion, reflecting strong export sales and reduced Brazilian exports. Soybean ending stocks are projected to be 280 million bushels, down 30 million from last month. The soybean season-average price is forecast at $14.70 a bushel, 30 cents higher than last month. The wheat outlook is for increased supplies, unchanged domestic use and exports, and higher stocks. All-wheat production is forecast at 1.7 billion bushels, with the season-average price unchanged at $10.75 a bushel. *********************************************************************************** Growth Energy Testifies on Advanced Clean Cars Regulation Growth Energy Senior Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Chris Bliley (BLY-lee) testified last week before the California Air Resources Board. He spoke to the board in response to its proposed Advanced Clean Cars II Regulation. The proposal set a goal of 100 percent zero-emission vehicle sales by 2035. During his testimony, Bliley encouraged CARB to develop clear policies reflecting the reality that liquid fuels will continue to play an important role in the transportation sector for decades. “In the existing light-duty fleet, higher bioethanol blends like E15 and E85 can get immediately deployed to achieve immediate GHG reductions, reduce harmful air toxics, and reduce consumer costs at the pump,” says Bliley. “Additionally, greater use of E85 will promote even further reductions in GHG and toxic emissions, as well as lower consumer costs because it sells for nearly $2 less per gallon than gasoline.” Consumers are facing record-high gas prices at the pump. *********************************************************************************** NCGA Celebrates June Dairy Month June is National Dairy Month, and the National Corn Growers Association is celebrating the occasion by focusing on the relationship between the corn and dairy industries. Dairy cattle consume 30 percent of the dried distiller’s grains with solubles that are a co-product of producing ethanol. In 2021, DDGs used 1.05 billion bushels of corn. The NCGA engages with the dairy industry through the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, which recently hosted the 2022 Dairy Sustainability Alliance Spring Meeting in Illinois. NCGA’s Market Development Manager Michael Granche (GRAHN-chay) attended the conference and says it was great to take part in the high-energy conversations. “I enjoyed talking about sustainability in the dairy industry,” Granche says. “Now that it’s National Dairy Month, it’s a great time to celebrate all the hard work that goes into producing all the delicious dairy products we enjoy.” NCGA also says there are currently 93 million dairy cows in the U.S. *********************************************************************************** 2022 “Rock the Crop” Concert Sweepstakes Underway Firestone Ag kicked off the 2022 Rock the Crop Concert Sweepstakes with Nashville-based country music artist Dillon Carmichael. The sweepstakes event is billed as a celebration of U.S. agriculture. Building on a successful giveaway of a private concert last year, the farm tire manufacturer and the musician are collaborating again to unite music and agriculture in honor of America’s hard-working farmers and ranchers. “The past couple of years have been especially challenging for agriculture workers, so we’re excited to have Dillon Carmichael back on board to join us in thanking one lucky farmer or rancher with a private concert,” says Matt Frank, Firestone marketing product manager. Indiana farmer Carey Garwood won the inaugural concert in 2021. This year’s winner will host that private concert with Carmichael on their farm or ranch. “I’m thrilled to continue this partnership with Firestone and to have such a unique opportunity to personally celebrate America’s farmers,” Carmichael says.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday June 13, 2022 |


Monday Watch List Markets Back from the weekend, traders will be examining the latest weather forecasts, especially as the outlook turned hotter late last week. Friday's WASDE estimates may still have some influence on trading and at 10 a.m. CDT, USDA's weekly report of grain export inspections will get attention, especially for soybeans where shipments have been lacking. At 3 p.m., USDA's Crop Progress report will include soybean and spring wheat crop conditions for the first time this season. Weather Heat advisories and warnings cover much of the country east of the Rockies over the next couple of days ahead of a storm system building in the Northern Plains and Canadian Prairies. This storm is bringing a warm front north through the North-Central U.S. with scattered showers and thunderstorms Monday morning. A cluster of these storms around southern Minnesota may last through the morning and become a line of severe storms across Iowa and Wisconsin and points southeast through Ohio later in the day. There is a significant risk of wind damage from these storms.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday June 10, 2022 |


Biden Nominates McKalip to Ag Trade Post President Biden will nominate Doug McKalip as the U.S. Trade Representative’s next chief agricultural negotiator. McKalip is a longtime USDA advisor and expert in agriculture and trade. The nominee has served as the senior advisor to Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack on trade, national security, and animal and plant health regulations since March 2021. Reuters says U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai calls McKalip a highly-qualified nominee with decades of experience in public service. “His institutional knowledge of USDA spans multiple administrations, from leading different offices to serving as a trusted adviser to Secretary Vilsack,” Tai says, “and he will help us continue the close collaboration between our agencies that’s enabled a lot of success.” The chief ag negotiator directs USTR’s negotiations aimed at boosting U.S. farm exports, such as the recent agreement allowing more American beef exports to flow into Japan. McKalip is in year 28 of working with the USDA. *********************************************************************************** Groups, Officials React Positively to McKalip Nomination Many of agriculture’s leading groups and officials are reacting positively to the expected nomination of Doug McKalip to be the chief agricultural negotiator with the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office. McKalip has been a key agriculture policy official for three decades, and Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says that makes him a great choice for the post. The U.S. Grains Council says McKalip will be able to use his strong background in farm and trade policy and his knowledge of biotechnology to advance U.S. global trade priorities. American Soybean Association CEO Stephen Censky says, “Doug understands the challenges facing agriculture, and we’re glad to have his expertise added to the USTR team.” Brian Kuehl of Farmers for Free Trade says McKalip is “well prepared for fighting for the needs of our nation’s farm and food interests.” The National Corn Growers Association is also pleased to see this nomination in place, as is the National Milk Producers Federation. *********************************************************************************** Commodity Classic Names New Show Director Commodity Classic announced that Maureen Feck is the new Show Director and begins her new position on July 1. She comes to Commodity Classic from the True Value Company, where she was the Senior Director of Meetings and Events. In her prior role, Feck worked in the hardware and tools industry and grew attendance in bi-annual, city-wide conventions by 18 percent over two years. She developed events that are strategically focused on creating positive experiences for the people in attendance. Feck brings more than 15 years of hands-on event, communications, and management experience. She’ll play an integral role in the continued growth and innovation of agriculture’s premier trade and educational show. Her educational background includes a bachelor’s degree in communications from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. Her first Commodity Classic in the new role is scheduled for March 9-11, 2023, in Orlando, Florida. For more information on the event, go to commodityclassic.com. *********************************************************************************** Another Billion-Dollar Month for Beef Exports The U.S. Meat Export Federation says U.S. beef exports maintained a remarkable pace in April, surpassing $1 billion for the third time in 2022. Beef exports totaled just over 124,400 metric tons in April, three percent higher than last year and the fifth-largest total on record, Export values soared 33 percent higher than last year to $1.05 billion. That trails only the record $1.07 billion total from March. “Global demand for U.S. beef continues to overcome enormous obstacles like inflationary pressures, logistical challenges, and recent lockdowns in China,” says USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom. April pork exports totaled 212,800 metric tons, 21 percent less than the large volume reported last year. Pork export value dropped 20 percent from a year ago to just over $600 million. Exports to top destination Mexico continue to run strong while a sharp decline in Chinese demand weighs on the market. April lamb exports increased 37 percent from 2021. *********************************************************************************** USDA Releases Poultry Tournament Rule The USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service released its long-awaited proposed changes to regulations under the Packers and Stockyards Act regarding the U.S. poultry industry. The changes include a list of disclosures and information live poultry dealers must furnish to poultry growers and sellers with whom the dealers make poultry-growing arrangements. “The proposal would establish additional disclosure requirements in connection with the use of poultry grower ranking systems to live poultry dealers to determine settlement payments for poultry growers,” says AMS. “The proposals are intended to promote transparency in poultry production contracting and give poultry growers and prospective poultry growers relevant information to help them make business decisions.” The Hagstrom Report says comments on the rule and other information collection aspects of it must get received by August 8. A National Chicken Council spokesman says the group is still evaluating the rule and its potential impact on the industry, but they will comment on the proposal. *********************************************************************************** Minnesota Farm is New U.S. Wheat Associates Chair Rhonda Larson of East Grand Forks, Minnesota, started her term as Chair of the U.S. Wheat Associates Board of Directors on June 8 at the group’s annual meeting in Bend, Oregon. Michael Peters of Oklahoma is the new Vice-Chair, Clark Hamilton is the Secretary-Treasurer, and Darren Padget will serve for one year as the Past Chair. USW is the market development organization for the U.S. wheat industry. “I want to thank the entire wheat family for their support,” Larson said to the board of directors. “We heard a lot here about the challenges we face, but with your help, I look forward to representing wheat farmers in overseas markets.” She will represent growers at the World Trade Organization’s 12th Ministerial Meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, June 12-15. Larson has been a board member of the Minnesota Wheat Research & Promotion Council for 17 years, serving as chair from 2010 to 2012.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday June 10, 2022 |


Friday Watch List Markets The U.S. Labor Department's consumer price index for May is due out at 7:30 a.m. CDT Friday and could shake up outside markets, followed by the University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index at 9 a.m. USDA's June WASDE and Crop Production reports at 11 a.m. don't normally shake prices up much but will add to the conversation of trying to get a handle on the bullish demand prices have been hinting at. Traders will also be watching the latest weather forecasts with talk of hotter U.S. temperatures on the way. Weather A cluster of thunderstorms that built across Oklahoma Thursday night will continue to trek east-southeast through the Delta on Friday. Risks for damaging wind gusts are rather high with the cluster and could bring some damage to the region. Lighter showers and thunderstorms will work across the Midwest throughout the day while it dries out in the Central and Southern Plains after a week of high activity.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday June 9, 2022 |


NPPC Sets a Pathway for Change The National Pork Producers Council announced the culmination of a strategic planning and repositioning effort that will help shape the future of the next generation of pork producers. Under the direction of new leadership, NPPC unveiled a new brand identity to symbolize the organization’s transformation and focus on driving growth in the U.S. pork industry. With the food-production landscape changing and increasing complexity of issues facing U.S. pork producers, a task force of industry leaders developed a five-year strategic plan to ensure focus on the top priorities of NPPC stakeholders. “It’s never been more important to plan for our future,” says NPPC CEO Bryan Humphries. “The task force identified trade, foreign animal disease, labor, and preserving producers’ freedom to operate as priority advocacy issues for NPPC.” The new logo reinforces NPPC’s mission as the unified global voice for the U.S. pork industry in Washington, D.C., across the country, and in the global marketplace. *********************************************************************************** Crop Insurance Options for Producers Considering Double-Cropping The USDA wants to remind producers that options are available for them to insure double-crop soybeans, grain sorghum, and other crops where the practice isn’t allowed. Producers in counties where the Following Another Crop practice isn’t allowed may be able to request coverage through their insurance agent under a couple of conditions: If they plant soybeans and other crops after wheat or other small grains, or if producers in some areas work soybeans into wheat using a relay-cropping practice. It’s important to remember that requests have to get submitted to crop insurance agents by July 15. In addition to these 2022 crop year options, the Risk Management Agency is actively working with stakeholders to identify areas to expand double-cropping coverage for the 2023 crop year. This initiative may include expanding where the FAC practice is allowed permanently or considering other flexibilities and expanding where written agreements are allowed. *********************************************************************************** Senate Confirms Jacobs-Young as USDA Undersecretary The Senate confirmed Chavonda Jacobs-Young as the USDA’s new Undersecretary for Research, Education, and Economics. The vote was 95-4. In a floor statement before the vote, Senate Ag Chair Debbie Stabenow called Jacobs-Young extremely qualified and says she’ll be the first woman of color to serve in the USDA’s highest scientific post. The Hagstrom Report says Stabenow also thanked Ranking Member John Boozman (BOZE-man) for his help in advancing the nomination. Jacobs-Young has served as administrator of the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service since February 2014. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association congratulated Jacobs-Young after the confirmation vote took place. “The research, economics, and education arm of USDA provides data and analysis that’s crucial to cattle producers around the country as they make business decisions and monitor new scientific developments,” says Ethan Lane, NCBA’s Vice President for Government Affairs. “We look forward to working closely with Dr. Jacobs-Young and her team.” *********************************************************************************** Barchart Cuts U.S. Production and Yield Forecasts for Corn and Soybeans Barchart announced its initial 2022 yield and production forecasts for America’s 2022 corn and soybean crops. The numbers are lower than USDA’s projected figures from the May WASDE report. The organization says it’s thrilled to provide commodity professionals with their estimates for U.S. corn and soybeans. The initial Barchart end-of-season forecast shows U.S. corn production at 14.2 billion bushels with a yield of 174 bushels an acre. That compares to USDA’s prediction of 14.5 billion bushels and a yield of 177 bushels an acre. The end-of-season soybean production is forecast at 4.4 billion bushels with a yield of 49.5 bushels per acre. This compares to a USDA forecast of 4.6 billion bushels and a 51.5 bushel per acre yield. “This has been somewhat of an unprecedented year for the commodity markets,” says Barchart CEO Mark Haraburda (Har-ah-BURR-dah). “We provide producers with as much information as possible for their marketing decisions.” *********************************************************************************** Pork Board Elects New Officers The National Pork Board elected new officers to lead the 15 producer-directors representing 60,000 American pig farmers who pay into the National Pork Checkoff. The checkoff is a program that funds research, promotion, and education efforts for the benefit of the whole pork industry. Indiana pork producer Heather Hill was elected to serve as president of the National Pork Board for the 2022-2023 term. “Real Pork is about real farmers leading efforts to ensure the public understands our product is Real Nutritious and Real Sustainable,” says Hill. The new president owns a 600-sow farrow-to-finish operation in Indiana with her husband and his parents. The family farm also grows corn, soybeans, and wheat. “We will deliver real results to help protect producer freedom to operate and promote continuity of business should a foreign animal disease like African Swine Fever threaten the U.S. herd,” Hill adds. Bob Ruth of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, is the new Vice-President. *********************************************************************************** Fields of Corn Photo Contest is Open The National Corn Growers Association’s “Fields-of-Corn” photo contest is now open and accepting entries for the 2022 event. The contest began in 2014 and has seen almost 3,000 pictures submitted across various categories. The NCGA added a new category this year called Farm Babies. “Our winners in last year’s contest knocked it out of the park,” says NCGA Graphic Communications Manager Beth Musgrove. “I can’t wait to see what gets entered this year. Other popular categories include growing field corn and the farm family lifestyle, just to name a few.” A total of 26 cash prizes will get awarded. The photo with the most Facebook likes will win a $500 grand prize and first, second, and third-place awards will be given in each of eight categories. A panel of judges will select a Grand Prize winner who will get $500. For more information or to submit photos, go to fields-of-corn.com.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday June 9, 2022 |


Thursday Watch List Markets USDA's weekly export sales are due out at 7:30 a.m. CDT Thursday, the same time as weekly U.S. jobless claims and an update of the U.S. Drought Monitor. The U.S. Energy Department releases its weekly report on natural gas storage at 9:30 a.m. Traders continue to keep a close watch on the latest weather forecasts and any news regarding Ukraine. Weather In the non-stop active pattern that has been moving across the country since the weekend, another disturbance will move into the Central Plains Thursday, producing scattered showers and thunderstorms. Severe weather looks likely from Nebraska to Oklahoma and the Texas Panhandle, areas that have already had bouts of severe weather this week. The rain that comes with the storms will be important though, as the region will start to become less active this weekend.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday June 8, 2022 |


Farmer Sentiment Plummets as Production Costs Skyrocket The Purdue University-CME Group Ag Economy Barometer plummeted in May to a reading of just 99, the weakest reading since April 2020. The May 2022 barometer reading marked just the ninth time since data collection began in fall 2015 that the overall measure of farmer sentiment fell below 100. Agricultural producers’ perceptions regarding current conditions on their farms, as well as their future expectations, both weakened this month. The Index of Current Conditions fell 26 points to a reading of 94, while the Index of Future Expectations declined 21 points to 101 in May. Notably, this month saw a rise in the percentage of respondents who feel their farm is worse off financially now than a year earlier, an indication that escalating production costs are troubling producers. The Purdue University-CME Group Ag Economy Barometer sentiment index is calculated each month from 400 U.S. agricultural producers’ responses to a telephone survey. This month’s survey was conducted from May 16-20, 2022. *********************************************************************************** EIA Expects Continued High Energy Prices Through 2023 The U.S. Energy Information Administration forecasts that a variety of U.S. energy prices will remain historically high through 2023. The outlook includes oil, natural gas, coal, and electricity, as seen in EIA’s June 2022 Short-Term Energy Outlook Tuesday. EIA Administrator Joe DeCarolis says, "Although we expect the current upward pressure on energy prices to lessen, high energy prices will likely remain prevalent in the United States this year and next." EIA forecasts that high natural gas and coal prices will result in an increased share of renewables in U.S. generation, largely offset by a decline in coal's share. The natural gas share is forecast to decline over the next two years, although at a slower rate than coal. EIA says the Brent crude oil price will average $108 per barrel during the second half of 2022, as tight global inventories and significant geopolitical uncertainties continue to put upward pressure on crude oil prices despite an increase in production to pre-pandemic levels. *********************************************************************************** Farmers National Company: Land Prices up 20% The stronger land prices of late 2021 continued higher through the first half of 2022. After a calm period at the start of the year with prices steady, prices took another jump up as a result of the outbreak of war in Ukraine and ongoing inflation fears. Farmers saw higher commodity prices, and investors wanted a low-risk inflation hedging investment, which together propelled the competition for good cropland. Prices for good quality cropland are up 20 percent in some areas since the first of the year. Randy Dickhut of Farmers National Company says, “Good land that was selling for around $16,000 last fall sold for $19,000 to $21,500 per acre at company auctions in March.” The question of the moment is, will land prices go even higher? Dickhut adds, “With current land prices at heightened levels, most of the supporting factors remain in place at this time to keep values steady to firmer for the next six months.” *********************************************************************************** Cattle Producers Share WOTUS Perspective at EPA Roundtable Cattle producers voiced their concerns with the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers' ongoing Waters of the U.S. rulemaking this week. The Kansas Livestock Association hosted one of ten roundtable events for the EPA and Army Corps Monday. NCBA Environmental Counsel Mary-Thomas Hart says, “To be successful in their operations, cattle producers need a clear, limited WOTUS definition that finally provides much-needed certainty after years of shifting rules.” In July 2021, the EPA announced that rather than facilitate public engagement—the typical course of action for major rulemakings—the agency would instead ask private organizations to entirely plan and propose a roundtable with stakeholders. In addition to the roundtables, NCBA has engaged on WOTUS by submitting technical comments on the proposed phase one WOTUS rule and filing an amicus brief in the case Sackett v. EPA, a challenge to the EPA’s authority under the Clean Water Act. NCBA has called for the EPA to pause WOTUS rulemaking until the case is decided. *********************************************************************************** General Mills Invests $3 Million to Scale Eco-Harvest by ESMC General Mills and Ecosystem Services Market Consortium Tuesday announced a multi-year roadmap to scale Eco-Harvest. The market program by ESMC recognizes and rewards farmers for beneficial environmental outcomes from regenerative agriculture. The roadmap focuses on priority regions in the U.S. and Canada where General Mills sources its key ingredients, like wheat, oat, corn, and dairy. The initial $3 million investment from General Mills includes an ESMC grant to support the launch and development of Eco-Harvest and funds to scale regional programs. Eco-Harvest is a voluntary market program that generates and sells credits for increased soil carbon, reduced greenhouse gases, and improved water quality. The credits represent verified environmental benefits created within agricultural value chains resulting from approved farm practice changes. Eco-Harvest supports General Mills’ commitments to advance regenerative agriculture on one million acres by 2030, reduce absolute greenhouse gas emissions across its value chain by 30 percent by 2030, and ultimately achieve net zero emissions by 2050. *********************************************************************************** USDA: School Foods Offer Richest Source of Dairy in Children’s Diets USDA’s Economic Research Service Tuesday released new data showing schools are the richest source of dairy in children’s diets. The data comes from 2017-2018, for children between two and 19 years old. These foods provided an average of 1.99 cups of dairy products per 1,000 calories consumed each day. Food sources are comprised of foods prepared at home and foods prepared away from home, including foods from restaurants, fast food establishments, and schools. The dairy foods group, as defined by USDA dietary guidance, is a major source of calcium and includes milk, cheese, yogurt, lactose-free milk, and fortified soy milk. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020–25, recommend individuals two years and older should consume two or three cups of dairy per day, depending on age and calorie level of dietary pattern. Although no age group meets this recommendation, children come the closest, with school foods making an important contribution.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday June 8, 2022 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets Traders continue to keep an eye on the latest weather forecasts, will pause at 8 a.m. to see if USDA has an export sales announcement and right or wrong, may pay attention to talk from Russia's meeting with Turkey Wednesday, regarding Russia's proposal to escort ships out of Ukrainian ports. At 9:30 a.m. CDT, the U.S. Energy Department will release its weekly inventory report, including ethanol production. Weather Continuing the pattern of active weather this week, more widespread showers and thunderstorms are expected on Wednesday. The heavier hit areas should be in the Midwest, Southern Plains, and Delta. Mostly dry weather sets up for a day in the Northern Plains, which will help the Red River Valley dry out even more. Texas will remain dry as well with continued hot temperatures where storms do not occur across the north and west. As has been the case all week, the active weather should lead to areas of severe weather.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday June 7, 2022 |


Thompson, Boozman Call on White House to Withdraw Brief in Roundup Case Republican lawmakers want the Biden Administration to withdraw its brief before the Supreme Court in a case involving the Environmental Protection Agency's federal registration authority of Roundup. John Boozman of Arkansas, the top Republican on the Senate Ag Committee, and Glenn GT Thompson, the top Republican on the House Ag Committee, penned the request in a letter Monday. The Republican leaders question the White House's rationale for filing the brief based on a "change in administration" and seek answers as to why the Solicitor General modified its long-standing position that EPA maintains federal preemption authority on all crop protection tools without consulting the relevant agency subject matter experts. The lawmakers write, “Such a reversal coupled with the lack of consultation with subject matter experts is incredibly concerning.” If the Ninth Circuit's decision is left in place, the lawmakers say growers will lose a critical tool from their toolbox, and EPA’s registration process would evolve into a state-by-state patchwork. *********************************************************************************** Poll Finds Majority of Voters Support U.S. Aquaculture Industry Stronger America Through Seafood announced Monday that a majority of voters support establishing a U.S. aquaculture industry to increase sustainable seafood production. A survey by the organization found that two-thirds of voters would feel more favorable towards a member of Congress who established pathways for offshore aquaculture. Among voters, 84 percent support establishing a clear, predictable pathway for U.S. aquaculture when learning many American companies build aquaculture operations abroad, and 86 percent believe it’s important to expand U.S. aquaculture when learning the U.S. imports most of its seafood. In response, Sarah Brenholt of the organization says, “Now is the time for Congress to act and put in place federal policies that would establish an aquaculture industry in U.S. federal waters.” Stronger America Through Seafood supports the Advancing the Quality and Understanding of American Aquaculture Act. The bill would direct the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to harmonize the permitting system for offshore aquaculture for farms in federal waters. *********************************************************************************** Genetically Modified Corn Does Not Damage Non-Target Organisms A new major meta-analysis has found that Bt corn does not damage non-target organisms. The results published Monday by USDA's Agricultural Research Service found genetically modified Bt corn has little impact on non-target insects and other organisms, especially compared to growing conventional corn. Bt corn is corn that has been genetically modified so that it produces proteins to control corn borers, corn rootworms and other major pests of corn. The first Bt corn was approved in 1996, and critics have been suggesting that it also can destroy beneficial insects or other non-targeted organisms. The study gathered hundreds of individual studies published between 1997 to 2020 that have looked at whether growing Bt corn changed the environmental abundance of non-target animals. Bt corn represents a highly selective pest control technology with relatively few negative consequences for non-target invertebrates, especially when compared with the use of broad-spectrum insecticides for managing Bt-targeted pests, according to the scientists. *********************************************************************************** USDA Announces Urban Agriculture Investments The Department of Agriculture last week announced $43 million in grants and cooperative agreements to help deliver key USDA programs to urban producers. Specifically, USDA is investing $10.2 million in new cooperative agreements to expand compost and food waste reduction efforts and $14.2 million in new grants to support the development of urban agriculture and innovative production projects. Additionally, $18.7 million will fund 75 grant proposals from the 2021 application cycle, which was oversubscribed. Natural Resources Conservation Service Chief Terry Cosby says, “These projects will help for urban farmers create new, more affordable, and better local market options.” USDA’s Farm Service Agency is also standing up six more urban county committees, which help deliver farm loans, disaster assistance, safety net and conservation programs. FSA Administrator Zach Ducheneaux adds, “These new urban county committees will work to encourage and promote urban agriculture and address areas such as food and program access, community engagement and food security.” *********************************************************************************** FFA Members Head to Washington, D.C. to Develop Leadership Skills For more than fifty years, FFA members from across the country converge in Washington, D.C., in the summer. After a two-year delay, the Washington Leadership Conference is back. The annual conference begins June 7(today). More than 2,000 students are registered for the 2022 Washington Leadership Conference, the second-largest student experience the National FFA Organization hosts each year. FFA members can attend the conference during one of seven weeks through July 30. They will spend the week under the guidance of professionals, counselors and FFA staff. In workshops, seminars and small groups, members will focus on identifying and developing their personal strengths and goals while undergoing comprehensive leadership training that will help them guide their local FFA chapters. The capstone of the event will be a civic engagement activity where participants apply what they have learned to a hands-on activity. Members will also analyze the needs of their communities and develop wide-ranging and high-impact community service initiatives. *********************************************************************************** Gas Prices Spike on Tighter Supplies The nation's average gas price increased for the seventh straight week, surging 26.0 cents from a week ago to $4.85 per gallon. The national average is up 56.0 cents from a month ago and $1.81 per gallon higher than a year ago. The national average diesel price increased 11.5 cents in the last week and stands at $5.62 per gallon. GasBuddy's Patrick De Haan says, “It now appears not if, but when, we’ll hit that psychologically critical $5 national average.” Gasoline inventories continue to decline even with demand softening due to high prices, a culmination of less refining capacity and strong consumption. Nine states have average gas prices above the $5 per gallon mark, with more set to join in the days and weeks ahead. Diesel prices also stand at a record high, which pushes prices of most goods higher. With China’s economy now largely fully reopen, oil demand is likely to rise further.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday June 7, 2022 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets At 7:30 a.m. CDT Tuesday, the U.S. Census Bureau releases the trade deficit for April and also supplies export details that USDA will publish later Tuesday morning. A report on U.S. consumer credit for April is set for release at 2 p.m. Traders will keep watch on the latest weather forecasts and any news of an export sale or updates from Ukraine. Weather A few disturbances are moving through the country this week, leading to widespread areas of showers that continue Tuesday. Some severe weather will be possible as well, particularly in the Central Plains. Not everywhere will get the showers. The Red River Valley in the Northern Plains will continue to see favorable dry conditions to perhaps allow for more planting. Texas will be mostly hot and dry for the next several days, though some showers may get into the northern Panhandle.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday June 6, 2022 |


EPA Issues Final RVOs for 2020-2022 The Environmental Protection Agency issued the final Renewable Volume Obligations for 2020, 2021, and 2022 last week. The agency lowered conventional ethanol volumes to 12.5 billion gallons for 2020, advance biofuel to 4.63 billion, and cellulosic to 510 million. The rule also sets conventional ethanol at 13.79 billion gallons in 2021 and 15 billion in 2022. In a move sure to please the ethanol industry, the rule adds a supplemental 250 million gallons that was illegally waived in the 2016 RVO and denies 72 pending small refinery exemption requests. The EPA announcement also provides important guidance to limit the abuse of small refinery exemptions in the future. Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor says the 15 billion gallons in 2022 is a move that sets a baseline for strong future biofuel blending levels. “These moves will set the direction of total and advanced renewable fuel volumes for 2023 and beyond,” Skor says. *********************************************************************************** World Food Prices Drop in May World food prices dropped in May, the second-straight monthly decrease after hitting a record high in March. The U.N.’s Food and Agricultural Organization says while overall prices dipped, the cost of cereals and meat both rose during May. The Food Price Index tracks the most globally-traded food commodities and averaged 157.4 points last month after hitting 158.3 in April. While the average did drop month-to-month, the May index was still 22 percent higher than in 2021. In the cereal supply and demand estimates, the FAO says it expects global cereal production would drop in the 2022-2023 season for the first time in four years after record production last year. The cereal price index climbed 2.2 percent, with wheat posting a 5.6 percent month-on-month gain. The dairy, sugar, and vegetable oil price indices all fell in May, but the meat index edged up to an all-time high level. Vegetable oil dropped 3.5 percent from April. *********************************************************************************** Farm Real Estate Debt Builds in First Quarter Farm real estate debt at commercial banks grew modestly in the first quarter, while production loans remained steady. The Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank says alongside soaring farmland values, real estate loan balances increased at the fastest pace in four years and drove an increase in the overall amount of agricultural lending. Following a sharp pullback over the last two years, non-real estate lending was stable from a year ago. Farm loan performance also continued to improve, but performance at agricultural banks remained limited by compressed net interest margins and a glut of liquidity. The farm economy remained strong alongside decade-high commodity prices that continued to support farm finances. Many producers have benefited immensely from strong cash balances, but credit needs may rise as higher input costs weigh on profit margins. Farm lending accelerated in recent months alongside an increase in the size of operating loans. Many bankers expect loan demand to continue climbing. *********************************************************************************** NCBA Commends U.S.-Japan Beef Export Agreement The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association lauded the signing of an agreement between the U.S. and Japan to increase the Beef Safeguard Trigger level under a trade agreement between the two countries. Kent Bacus, NCBA senior director of international trade and market access, says the agreement underscores the importance of a mutually-beneficial relationship between U.S. cattle producers and Japanese consumers. “We are hopeful that the improved safeguard will provide greater certainty for all segments of the supply chain,” Bacus says. “We thank Ambassador Tai for her continued efforts to reduce trade barriers and expand export opportunities for American cattle producers.” In March 2021, Japan and the U.S. entered negotiations after record-setting beef exports triggered the safeguard provision in the U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement. The increase in the Beef Safeguard Trigger will allow American producers to continue exporting high-quality beef to meet Japanese consumer demand. U.S. beef exports to Japan hit $2.3 billion in 2021. *********************************************************************************** NASCAR Reaches 20 Million Miles on Renewable Fuel NASCAR and official partner Growth Energy say a significant milestone got surpassed this weekend at the World-Wide Technology Raceway. NASCAR drivers have passed 20 million miles driven on Sunoco (Suh-KNOW-co) Green E15, a fuel blended with 15 percent ethanol. Growth Energy, the world’s largest trade association representing America’s biofuel producers and supporters, has been a partner with NASCAR since 2011. NASCAR’s reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent across its three national touring series while also increasing horsepower on the track. “We’re fortunate to have great partners like Growth Energy and Get Bioethanol who are dedicated to NASCAR and helping us minimize our impact on the environment,” says Michelle Byron, NASCAR’s vice president of partnership marketing. Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor says, “Twenty million NASCAR miles driven on Sunoco Green E15 is a significant milestone for our environment and NASCAR’s sustainability platform initiative. Cars have cut carbon emissions while boosting octane on the track.” *********************************************************************************** Cotton Trust Protocol Launches Streamline Enrollment The U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol announced a new streamlined three-year grower enrollment for the 2022 through 2024 crops. The new process is designed to be quick, easy, and efficient, which allows a grower-member’s cotton to enter the supply chain sooner. Dr. Gary Adams, president of the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol, says they understand the high demands on a grower’s time and listened to producer feedback. “We implemented a more streamlined and efficient enrollment process,” Adams says. “We thank the growers who helped double participation in 2021.” As supply chain membership continues to increase, Adams says they need to collectively ensure there is enough participation in the program to meet demand and that the U.S. continues to be a leader in producing sustainable cotton for markets around the world. Under the new process, Adams says growers should be able to complete all the requirements in one sitting. Data in the program remains secure and confidential.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday June 6, 2022 |


Monday Watch List Markets Back from the weekend, traders will check the latest weather developments and forecasts for the week ahead. Any news of an export sale or updates from Ukraine will also be watched. At 10 a.m. CDT, USDA will have its weekly export inspections report, followed by Crop Progress at 3 p.m. Monday's Crop Progress report will have the first crop rating for corn and assessment of winter wheat harvest progress for the new seasons. Weather An area of heavier thunderstorms was moving through the Ozarks early Monday morning with more scattered activity in the Northern and Central Plains through the Midwest. This is all part of an active weather week as several small disturbances will move through the country, bringing scattered showers and thunderstorms and bouts of severe weather. The greatest severe threat on Monday is from western Kansas up through the Black Hills, though storms could also become stronger across the northern Delta and Mid-South if they can hold together through the morning.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday June 3, 2022 |


Wheat Growers: Consult USDA on Glyphosate Case Review The U.S. Supreme Court is preparing to decide whether to review a case that threatens federal preemption in the regulation of crop protection technologies. The National Association of Wheat Growers is again asking the Biden administration to consult with the USDA on the policy changes and the far-reaching agriculture implications of the case. In May, the U.S. Solicitor General issued a brief urging the Court to deny review of a case involving glyphosate labeling, arguing that federal regulations don’t preclude states from making additional labeling requirements, even if those state requirements run counter to federal findings. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack confirmed USDA wasn’t consulted on the brief. “We believe it would be useful if the administration consults with USDA on the ramifications of a patchwork approach to crop protection products,” says NAWG President Nicole Berg. Farmers would face decreased access to much-needed tools to produce food, fiber, and fuel safely and sustainably. *********************************************************************************** Census of Agriculture Sign-Up Deadline Approaching Ag producers have until June 30 to sign up to receive the 2022 Census of Agriculture. The National Agricultural Statistics Service will mail ag census survey codes for responding securely online to every known U.S. producer in November. Hard copy questions will be mailed in December. The ag census has been conducted for more than 180 years and remains the only source of comprehensive and impartial agricultural data for every state and county in the nation. It includes operations of all sizes and in all locations. “The Census of Agriculture is a collective voice that tells the story and value of American agriculture,” says Barbara Rater, NASS Census and Survey Division Director. “The data influences actions and informs policy and program decisions that directly impact producers, their operations, and everyone they touch, which is all of us.” That’s why NASS wants every producer to participate in the census. For more information, producers can go nass.usda.gov/AgCensus. *********************************************************************************** Groups Respond to USDA Plan for Transforming Food System American Farmland Trust responded positively to USDA’s plan for transforming the U.S. food system. “American Farmland Trust has been a strong advocate for increased business technical assistance to farm and food businesses and organized an effort last year with the Agricultural Viability Alliance to encourage USDA to do more in this space,” says AFT President and CEO John Piotti (Pee-OT-tee). “We are pleased that USDA heeded the call from 50 members of Congress and over 110 organizations asking for this kind of assistance.” National Farmers Union President Rob Larew was in attendance when Ag Secretary Vilsack announced the plan, and Larew says it’s a great step towards a more secure food supply chain and a fair agricultural economy. “Today’s announcement about how the USDA will work to transform the food system is a great step towards those ends,” Larew says. “NFU will work together with USDA to help move this transformative process ahead.” *********************************************************************************** Philippine Government Temporarily Lowers Import Tariff on Corn The Philippines recently announced a decision to lower restrictive corn import tariffs on corn from outside Southeast Asian countries from 35 percent to five percent. The U.S. Grains Council says that’s potentially good news for U.S. corn exporters. “The U.S. and Philippines agricultural industries have enjoyed a strong relationship for a very long time,” says USGC President and CEO Ryan LeGrand. “The Council is standing by and ready to help their government and industry fill in any raw material supply shortage the country is facing.” The Philippines’ feed industry relies heavily on feed wheat imports due to its history of high import tariffs on corn from outside the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The recent global wheat supply chain disruptions have had a disproportionately negative impact on Philippine input prices. “U.S. farmers have an abundant and sustainable corn crop ready to deploy when needed,” LeGrand adds. “We’ll be there to help in every way possible.” *********************************************************************************** National Sorghum Producers join RIPE Non-Profit Coalition Rural Investment to Protect our Environment, also known as RIPE, is a producer-led nonprofit coalition advancing a bipartisan climate policy plan that works for producers and the public. RIPE is proud to announce that the National Sorghum Producers have joined its steering committee. “For the RIPE100 policy proposal to become a reality, it needs the support of as many producers as possible,” says RIPE VP of Engagement and Government Relations Martin Barbre. “With National Sorghum Producers on board, we continue to diversify perspectives and bring new viewpoints to the conversation on how to best build a producer-led climate policy that will benefit farmers, ranchers, and the public.” Through payments of $100 per acre or animal unit, the RIPE100 plan would reward producers for the total public value of their conservation practices, including no-till, cover crops, nutrient management, and more. “We are excited to collaborate with RIPE,” says NSP Vice Chair Craig Meeker. *********************************************************************************** Administration Likely to Raise Ethanol Blending Volumes for 2021 Two sources close to the discussions told Reuters that the Biden administration is likely to raise ethanol blending mandates for 2021 above the figure it proposed last December. The Environmental Protection Agency proposed that refiners blend 13.32 billion gallons of ethanol into the fuel pool. The December proposal angered Farm Belt lawmakers and biofuel producers, who said the number was too low. The mandates are getting set for 2020-2022 retroactively because of disruptions from COVID-19. The sources also say that the administration isn’t looking at dramatic changes for 2020 or 2022. White House officials met to discuss the mandates and the political implications of the decision. The move could impact fuel and food prices in the middle of a 40-year peak in inflation rates. The rule is a long-time bone of contention between the oil and corn lobbies in Washington, D.C. Refiners claim the mandate requirements are costly and threaten their businesses.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday June 3, 2022 |


Friday Watch List Markets USDA's weekly export sales report is due out at 7:30 a.m. CDT Friday, the same time the Labor Department will release nonfarm payrolls and the unemployment rate for May. Traders remain interested in the latest weather forecasts, any news of an export sale and the latest reports from Ukraine. Weather A trough off the West Coast is sending pieces of energy into the Pacific Northwest and the Plains for Friday. Areas of showers and thunderstorms are expected to develop throughout the day, which may turn out to be severe in some cases for the High Plains. West Texas has the best chance for that later Friday though some moderate rain is moving through already Friday morning. The Atlantic Basin is likely to get its first tropical storm of the season as a low pressure center off the Yucatan Peninsula is nearing the criteria needed to call it one. Regardless, heavy rain is starting to move into Florida, which should see rounds of it through Saturday regardless of tropical classification.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday June 2, 2022 |


USDA Announces Framework for Shoring Up the Food Supply Chain The Department of Agriculture Wednesday announced the framework to transform the food system and supply chain. The framework seeks to provide more options, increase access, and create new, more, and better markets for small and mid-size producers. The announcement builds on lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic and supply chain disruptions caused by Russia's war in Ukraine. When the COVID-19 pandemic began, USDA made significant investments through its Pandemic Assistance Program, providing immediate relief. As the pandemic evolved and Russia's war in Ukraine has caused supply chain disruptions, USDA says it has become clear we “cannot go back to the food system we had before.” USDA plans to build a more resilient food supply chain that provides more and better market options for consumers and producers while reducing carbon pollution. The framework also addresses marketplace dominance by creating new, more and better local market options. Further, USDA seeks to make nutritious food more accessible and affordable for consumers and emphasize equity through the framework. *********************************************************************************** Drought Resilience Interagency Working Group Releases Summary Report The Biden Administration Wednesday released the Drought Resilience Interagency Working Group’s Summary Report. The report outlines actions taken to date to improve drought-stricken communities' longer-term resilience to drought through financial and technical assistance. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says, “collaboration and coordination among federal agencies has increased in an effort to more effectively deploy resources and support during these intense, drought-stricken times.” The Department of Interior and the Department of Agriculture co-chair the working group, which was created under the White House’s National Climate Task Force. The Drought Resilience IWG agencies are working cooperatively in a whole-of-government manner, to address drought issues through existing programs and resources. There are many opportunities provided by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to provide critical funding to address water challenges, which includes drought. The Drought Resilience Interagency Working Group will facilitate coordination to deploy $13 billion in water-related investments, including $12.4 billion at the Department of Interior, and $918 million at USDA. *********************************************************************************** Lawmakers Request Full Funding for the PILT Program in Fiscal Year 2023 Appropriations Bill A bipartisan group of 30 Senators Wednesday urged the Senate Appropriations Committee to fully fund the Payments in Lieu of Taxes, or PILT program, for fiscal year 2023. The program provides payments to counties with non-taxable federal land within their borders to offset the lost property tax revenue. Led by Colorado Democrat Michael Bennet and Idaho Republican Mike Crapo, the lawmakers say the payments fund critical services in those counties. The Senators write, “we look forward to working with you to enact a fiscally responsible, long-term solution to fully fund PILT and eliminate the uncertainty that counties face each year.” Throughout the country, PILT provides critical resources to nearly 1,900 counties across 49 states. Counties have used these payments for more than 40 years to fund law enforcement, firefighting, emergency response, and other essential county services. As communities continue to contend with the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, the funding also supports communities’ recovery efforts. *********************************************************************************** American Drivers Reach 30 Billion Miles on E15 Growth Energy Wednesday announced drivers across the United States have logged 30 billion miles on the road using E15. Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor says, "as we kick off the summer driving season, this is a testament to the rising popularity of E15." In just the last few months, E15 has been a shield against skyrocketing fuel prices, saving drivers almost $0.60 per gallon in some areas. Growth Energy says ethanol is not only more affordable than imported oil, but it cuts climate emissions by 46 percent. Available at more than 2,600 gas stations across 31 states, E15 is approved for more than 96 percent of light duty vehicles, which account for 98 percent of all vehicle miles traveled in the United States. Even before the recent run-up in oil prices, it was estimated that nationwide access to E15 could save drivers $12.2 billion annually in fuel costs. E15 also offers a lower fuel volatility and smog-forming potential than standard blends. *********************************************************************************** Registration Now Open for Export Exchange 2022 Registration opened this week for Export Exchange 2022, scheduled for October 12-14, 2022, in Minneapolis. The U.S. Grains Council, Growth Energy and Renewable Fuels Association organize the biennial event. The groups expect to bring together 200 international buyers and end-users of coarse grains and co-products, including distiller’s dried grains with solubles, with approximately 300 U.S. suppliers and agribusiness representatives. In addition to networking opportunities, the event will focus on timely topics related to exports of U.S. corn, sorghum, barley, DDGS and related products. Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor says, “After two years of cancelled Export Exchanges due to the pandemic, we’re excited to welcome U.S. producers and international grain buyers to Minneapolis.” While the 2020 event was interrupted by COVID-19, reported sales associated with Export Exchange 2018 included approximately 1.3 million metric tons of grains and co-products worth $403 million traded either at the conference or immediately before or after. Registration is available online via www.exportexchange.org. *********************************************************************************** National FFA Organization Named Among the Top Workplaces in Indiana The National FFA Organization was recently named one of the top workplaces in central Indiana by The Indianapolis Star for the second year in a row. The recognition was based on a survey that employees took between October 2021 and February 2022. More than 500 employers participated in the program – ranging from small, medium and large employer categories. National FFA was one of 107 businesses selected based on the survey results. The anonymous survey asked questions about the work environment, leadership, culture, pay/benefits and more. The survey indicated employees at FFA were enthusiastically engaged enough to make the list of top workplaces. With an employee count of 99 at the time of the survey, the National FFA Organization is listed as a top workplace in the small-size category. Denise Weathersbe, FFA human resources director, says, “As the organization seeks to build the next generation of leaders, we are proud of our staff for continuing to live out those traits every day.”

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday June 2, 2022 |


Thursday Watch List Markets USDA's weekly export sales will be released Friday, due to this week's holiday schedule, but weekly U.S. jobless claims and an update of the U.S. Drought Monitor are still on track for 7:30 a.m. CDT releases Thursday, along with a report on first-quarter U.S. productivity. At 9:30 a.m., the Energy Department's weekly report of natural gas storage is out, followed by weekly energy inventories at 11 a.m. Traders will stay up on the latest weather forecasts and watch for a possible export sales announcement at 8 a.m. Weather A front will continue to slowly move southeast through the country on Thursday. It will also be active with areas of showers and thunderstorms occurring from Texas to the Mid-Atlantic. Some of this rain will be heavy and could produce some flooding. Areas north of the front will remain dry, with drainage promoted in the wet areas around North Dakota and northwest Minnesota for another day.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday June 1, 2022 |


Both Sides Leave Table Amid Strike at CNH Industrial Both CNH Industrial and the United Auto Workers put out competing statements regarding their contract negotiations after reports said both sides left the bargaining table. In an email statement, CNH says, “After several meetings, the company presented the union with all all-encompassing, comprehensive document addressing the outstanding issues. Unfortunately, the union declined to meet or allow the company to explain its position and proposal.” The company also says the union wouldn’t allow its members to even view the proposal. The union statement says CNH Industrial entered the negotiations with what it called “principles of fear and intimidation,” and hoped to “starve out UAW members.” The UAW email says, “The company’s latest proposal falls short of our member’s bargaining agenda. Our bargainers are meeting with our members and communicating the areas of concern that remain unresolved.” The union says it’s proud of its members for displaying solidarity and support for the negotiating team throughout the process. *********************************************************************************** Ag Exports Supporting Over One Million Jobs The benefits of U.S. ag exports to the American economy far exceed the value of shipments alone. The production, processing, storage, transportation, and marketing of farm and food products headed for the export market support a large number of jobs throughout the U.S. The USDA’s Economic Research Service says in 2020, U.S. agricultural exports supported the equivalent of more than 1.13 million jobs on and off the farm. With U.S. ag exports valued at more than $150 billion in 2020, every $1 billion in exports creates 7,550 jobs. Farm activities generated by U.S. exports – mainly crop and livestock production – supported a total of 439,500 jobs. Those jobs included labor provided by farm operators and their family members, hired farmworkers, and contract workers. Off the farm, exports supported 423,900 total jobs in the services, trade, and transportation industries. Food processing activities created 162,000 jobs, while other manufacturing activities like canning, packaging, and bottling provided 107,000 jobs. *********************************************************************************** Billion-Dollar Livestock Facility Planned for Western South Dakota Plans are in development to construct a $1.1 Billion next-generation livestock processing facility in western South Dakota. The one-million-square-foot facility will process beef and include a specialty bison line. Kingsbury and Associates and Sirius Realty of Rapid City, South Dakota, are currently in the research and development phase of the project. “We aim to restore competition in American meant processing,” says Megan Kingsbury. “I’m a fifth-generation producer and know how difficult it is right now for us to be profitable. We want to fix that.” Cattle Business Weekly says they want to compete with the Big Four meatpacking giants and be that all-important second bidder in the cash market. The proposed facility will focus on bringing in and developing new technologies in robotics and artificial intelligence to make processing easier, safer, and more efficient. “We will focus on procuring American cattle and feeding American citizens affordable, high-quality protein,” Kingsbury adds. *********************************************************************************** Angus Foundation Raises Over $55,000 The Angus Foundation held its second annual Angus Day of Giving on May 17. The day resulted in over $55,000 to further its mission of supporting Angus youth, education, and research efforts. The event celebrates the day George Grant brought the first Angus bulls to Victoria, Kansas, in 1873. “We were amazed by the overwhelming generosity we saw from the Angus family for our second annual Angus Day of Giving,” says Jaclyn Upperman, the foundation’s executive director. “Our donors made it a day to celebrate the legacy of our breed, but also write the next chapter of the Angus story.” Gifts given on Angus Day support the Angus Fund, which helps support youth leadership through programs like the National Junior Angus Board, Leaders Engaged in Angus Development (LEAD) Conference, and the Raising the Bar Conference. Supporters also celebrated the momentous day in the breed’s history by sharing stories using #AngusDay on social media. *********************************************************************************** Soy Industry Buyers and Sellers Coming to U.S. Soy Connext The U.S. Soybean Export Council will bring buyers and sellers across the soybean industry together at the Soy Connext event on August 22-24 in San Diego, California. Soy Connext is formerly known as the U.S. Soy Global Trade Exchange & Specialty Grains Conference. It’s poised to give international buyers and users of soy opportunities a chance to meet with American soy sellers, visit farms, and hear from the world’s foremost experts on trends shaping the global soy complex. “The unprecedented times we live in remind us of our responsibility to feed and nourish the world sustainably,” says USSEC CEO Jim Sutter. “Soy Connext helps international customers and U.S. soy farmers and industry make the right connections, hear and exchange perspectives on the latest trends, research, and data.” It also gives industry stakeholders the chance to ask the experts tough questions to help evolve their business strategy to deliver sustainable growth. *********************************************************************************** IndyCar Series Switching to 100 Percent Ethanol in 2023 The IndyCar racing series will switch to an entirely renewable fuel next year. IndyCar says that beginning in 2023, the race cars will be powered by a second-generation renewable ethanol racing fuel developed by Shell. “The fuel and lubricant and energy solutions developed through our strategic relationship with IndyCar and the Penske Corporation can ultimately help accelerate reduced carbon emissions from transport in many sectors of the economy,” says Carlos Maurer, an executive vice president with Shell. “Our motorsports technical alliances around the world provide a testing ground for fuel and lubricant technologies and products in demanding road conditions.” The manufacturing process for IndyCar’s ethanol will be less exotic than the low-carbon fuel Formula 1 is considering for 2026. The company says it will use sugarcane waste and other renewable feedstocks in its biofuel manufacturing process. The switch will enable at least 60 percent less carbon dioxide emissions when compared to fossil fuel gasoline.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday June 1, 2022 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets The Institute of Supply Management's U.S. index of manufacturing for May is due out at 9 a.m. CDT Wednesday, along with a report on U.S. construction spending for April. The Federal Reserve's Beige Book is scheduled for 1 p.m. Traders will stay up with the latest weather forecasts, watch for any export sales announcement and keep an eye on outside markets like crude oil and U.S. stocks. Weather A frontal boundary from West Texas to Lake Michigan is alight with showers and thunderstorms Wednesday morning. The front will slowly sag southward through the day and periods of showers developing along the front will draw in moisture from the Gulf of Mexico. The slow movement of the front and ample moisture will combine to create some heavy rainfall and potential flooding from West Texas through the southern Midwest. The Northern Plains get another dry day to allow for some drying.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday May 31, 2022 |


Deadline for USDA’s Climate-Smart Commodities Approaching The deadline for the USDA’s second round of funding for Climate-Smart Commodities is Friday, June 10. This funding pool is for partners proposing projects between $250,000 and $5 million. The proposals should emphasize the enrollment of small and-or underserved producers, and-or monitoring, reporting, and verification activities developed at minority-serving institutions. “We’re excited to see the many innovative projects designed to build new opportunities for these producers,” says USDA Undersecretary for Farm Production and Conservation Robert Bonnie. “The sheer number of applications we’ve already received is a testament to the high interest in this opportunity.” The undersecretary also says, from the very beginning, they’ve ensured that this effort is inclusive across a broad cross-section of agriculture. “In this funding pool, we’re especially looking for innovative approaches that expand markets for small and historically underserved producers,” Bonnie adds. Information on how to apply, frequently asked questions, and additional information and resources are available at usda.gov. *********************************************************************************** Ag Groups Respond to New USDA’s Proposed Poultry Rules Ag groups responded to USDA’s proposed poultry marketing disclosure requirements and the advanced notice of proposed rulemaking under the Packers and Stockyards Act. American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall says his organization appreciates USDA working to create more transparency in the poultry industry. “Farmers deserve to know what they are getting into and understand how they are getting paid,” he says. “Making sure farmers have access to important information about their poultry company, inputs, stocking densities, and feed disruptions is good for everyone in the food value chain.” He says there are no easy answers and that AFB will review these proposals in detail. National Farmers Union President Rob Larew says poultry growers have endured an unfair contracting system for far too long. “All livestock producers continue facing heavily concentrated markets with insufficient protections from anti-competitive practices,” Larew says. “We’re happy with the first in a series of three rules that are being introduced.” *********************************************************************************** Japan Commits to Double Its Ethanol Demand President Biden made a trip to Japan recently, and during discussions with the Japanese prime minister, Japan committed to reducing its dependence on imported petroleum by 2030. That means they’re doubling their demand for ethanol, including sustainable aviation fuel and on-road fuel, possibly representing more export opportunities for the U.S. The U.S. Grains Council says America’s Ambassador Rahm Emanuel continually supported expanding ethanol use in Japan. “Expanding bioethanol use in Japan is a strategic goal of the Council,” says USGC Vice President Cary Sifferath. “Ambassador Emanuel and his team have been an essential partner for USGC to discuss the benefits of increased biofuels use to the Japanese consumer and a way for Japan to meet its carbon emissions goals.” USGC President and CEO Ryan LeGrand and Sifferath recently traveled to Tokyo, where ethanol was a major topic of discussion. Japan currently ranks as the fourth-largest market for U.S. ethanol during the 2021-2022 marketing year. *********************************************************************************** West Nile Virus Still a Threat to Horses Despite Drought While much of the western U.S. endures widespread drought, people may think mosquito season won’t be as intense. However, just because there’s no rain doesn’t mean there are no mosquitoes. “Some of the most significant West Nile outbreaks have happened without significant rainfall,” says Dr. Justin Talley, Head of Entomology and Plant Pathology at Oklahoma State University. “Just because you don’t see water doesn’t mean there are no breeding areas around.” He shared four tips for protecting horses from West Nile Virus. The first is to vaccinate your horses. Number two is hanging high-powered livestock fans. Third, get rid of as much standing water as possible and clean the horses’ water sources once a week. The last is to minimize a horse’s exposure during mosquito feeding times at dusk and dawn. The disease can attack and inflame a horse’s nervous system and is spread by mosquitoes after feeding on infected birds and rodents. *********************************************************************************** Bill Would Prohibit China From Purchasing Ag Land in the U.S. Washington Representative Dan Newhouse recently introduced a bill aimed at preventing the Chinese government from purchasing public or private land in the U.S. The bill is called the Prohibition of Agricultural Land for the People’s Republic of China Act. The bill would also prevent the purchase of land by foreign nationals associated with the Government of China. Additionally, the legislation would prohibit the same associations from participating in any USDA programs except food safety inspections. “We hail from the greatest country in the world, and there is simply no reason we should be reliant on a communist country like China for our food supply,” Newhouse says. “If we cede responsibility of our food supply over to an adversarial nation, we could be forced into exporting food grown within our borders and meant for our own use.” China’s American agricultural land holdings have risen during the last decade to $2 billion worth of land. *********************************************************************************** Arkansas to Host Next Farm Bill Field Hearing Senate Ag Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow and Ranking Member John Boozman (BOZE-man) say the committee will hold a field hearing in Arkansas on Friday, June 17. The hearing is designed to get input from agricultural producers and stakeholders as the process of writing the next farm bill gets underway. “Our last farm bill passed with the most bipartisan support of all time,” Stabenow says. “At our first hearing in Michigan, we heard from farmers and others about how we can improve and strengthen this important legislation, grow our economy, and meet serious new challenges facing the country.” Arkansas Senator Boozman also says his state’s agricultural producers are proud to help feed and clothe the world. “It’s important to seek the input of our farmers and ranchers to strengthen and improve the policies affecting their operations,” Boozman says. Witnesses at the hearing will include agricultural producers, industry stakeholders, and rural community supporters.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday May 31, 2022 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets Back from the three-day weekend, traders will catch up on the latest weather happenings and any news, especially any updates from Ukraine. After an 8 a.m. CDT pause to see if USDA has an export sale announcement, there will be a report on U.S. consumer confidence for May at 9 a.m. and USDA's weekly report of grain export inspections at 10 a.m. Much attention will be given to planting progress updates in USDA's Crop Progress report at 3 p.m. Weather A system or series of disturbances that had moved through the Northern Plains over the Memorial Day weekend culminated in a stronger storm system Monday. That system pushed a cold front from the Southern Plains into the Midwest. Showers and thunderstorms continue along that front Tuesday morning and there may be some severe storms from the Texas Panhandle into Michigan throughout the day.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday May 27, 2022 |


Administration Steps to Strengthen Food Supply Chains Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack announced more support, resources, and new rules designed to strengthen the American food supply chains. The new actions will promote fair and competitive agricultural markets, prevent abuse of farmers by poultry processors, and make prices fairer for farmers and American consumers. One of those actions is a proposed rule under the Packers and Stockyards Act intended to protect poultry growers from unfair and deceptive practices in the meat and poultry industry. “Growers say the ‘tournament system’ of payment is ripe for abuse,” Vilsack says. USDA will also make $200 million available to provide financing to independent meat and poultry processors to start up or expand operations. Vilsack also announced another $25 million in investments for workforce training designed to create and expand upon good-paying jobs that can strengthen the meatpacking industry by attracting and retaining employees. USDA is also planning a complete review of its programs to ensure they promote competition. *********************************************************************************** New Chicken Regulations Are a “Solution Searching for a Problem” The USDA announced new regulations for the poultry industry that the National Chicken Council isn’t supporting. “This is a solution looking for a problem,” says Mike Brown, NCC President. “The last thing the administration should be doing is pushing increased regulations, red tape, and costs onto businesses at a time of record inflation and input costs.” The organization says this will do nothing to lower food prices, increase competition, or reduce inflation. “This will raise grocery bills for Americans and increase food insecurity,” Brown adds. The NCC says raising chickens under contract is one of the most reliable sources of income to help keep families on the farm. The contract provides income and insulation from market risks like feed costs, floods, and droughts. “It’s ironic that these regulations are getting proposed under the guise of promoting competition,” Brown says. “The performance-based structure of raising chickens is literally the definition of competition.” *********************************************************************************** Producers Can Request Voluntary CRP Termination The USDA will allow participants in the Conservation Reserve Program to request voluntary termination if they are in the final year of a CRP contract. They can make that request following the end of the primary nesting season for the fiscal year 2022. Participants approved for this one-time, voluntary termination don’t have to repay rental payments. It’s flexibility implemented this year to help mitigate the global food supply challenges caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and other factors. “We’ve heard from many producers who want to better understand their options to help respond to global food needs,” says FSA Administrator Zach Ducheneaux. Producers will be able to hay, graze, begin land-preparation activities, and plant a fall-seeded crop before October 1, 2022. In colder climates, this flexibility may allow for better establishing a winter wheat crop or better prepare the land for spring planting. FSA will mail letters explaining options to producers with expiring contracts. *********************************************************************************** Over 40 Groups Ask USTR for Tariff Relief A diverse group of more than 40 American food and agriculture leaders sent a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai on tariffs. The groups are asking for the suspension, reduction, or elimination of tariffs to ease the burden of retaliatory tariffs on rural America. The letter was led by Farmers for Free Trade and came as the administration is working on a mandatory review of recently increased tariffs. Tariff changes are under review as part of the White House’s efforts to address inflation. “Tariff relief could not come at a more important time,” the letter says. “Rural America and small businesses are facing significant challenges due to the lingering impacts of COVID-19, logistical and supply chain disruptions, record inflation, and the increasing impact of the war in Ukraine.” The groups say removing tariffs on food and agriculture inputs and subsequent removal of burdensome retaliatory tariffs would provide immediate relief to U.S. food producers. *********************************************************************************** Strong Global Demand for Beef Facing Inflation Pressures The U.S. Meat Export Federation began its spring conference this week in San Antonio, Texas. USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom gave attendees a report on first-quarter red meat exports, which were impressive despite mounting economic and logistical challenges. He’s optimistic that 2022 results will be strong but cautioned that inflation pressures around the world are constricting consumer spending power. “To date, demand for U.S. red meat has been as strong as I’ve ever seen in all my years in the meat business and remarkably resilient,” Halstrom says. “But the question is at what point do these inflationary pressures start to constrict disposable income for the global consumer, and we see a crack in demand?” Red meat exports could potentially approach the $20 billion milestone this year. He also highlighted foodservice and retail trends that exploded during COVID-19 and are likely here to stay, such as grocery sales through e-commerce platforms. *********************************************************************************** Diary Industry Supports USDA Container Program for Ag Exports The National Milk Producers Federation and the U.S. Dairy Export Council welcome the USDA plan to offer additional support to agricultural exporters through the Commodity Container Assistance Program. The initiative will provide funding from the Farm Service Agency to exporters to reduce the costs of sourcing containers at the Oakland and Seattle-Tacoma “pop-up” port locations. “We’ve been asking for relief from these ocean shipping challenges for two years,” says NMPF president and CEO Jim Mulhern. “While we continue to seek solutions from carriers and Congress, these steps demonstrate USDA understands the challenges. This should offer immediate relief for exporters.” The pop-up sites are intended to offer off-terminal locations for empty container storage, increase access for agricultural shippers to use them, and free up port terminal space for freight operations. The FSA payments will help cover the costs of moving the containers between ports and pop-up yards, as well as storage at the pop-up sites.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday May 27, 2022 |


Friday Watch List Markets At 7:30 a.m. CDT Friday, the Census Bureau will release personal income and consumer spending data for April. Traders will be watching the latest weather forecasts, checking for any updates of Russia's offer to allow food and grain out of Ukraine and will also watch for any news of an export sale. Trading volume could be lower heading into the Memorial Day weekend, possibly opening the door to strange happenings. Weather A system that has brought moderate to heavy rain throughout the week continues to slowly push eastward on Friday. Showers continue over the eastern Midwest through the East Coast. A system in the Pacific Northwest will push into the Northern Plains and Canadian Prairies later today, bringing scattered showers and shutting the door on the good drying conditions for North Dakota and eastern Prairies. Waves of showers will continue through the weekend into early next week.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday May 26, 2022 |


U.S. Dairy Supports U.S. Pursuit of Full Canadian USMCA Compliance The National Milk Producers Federation and U.S. Dairy Export Council Wednesday applauded the Biden administration for its initiation of a second U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement dispute panel. The dispute panel focuses on Canada’s ongoing refusal to meet its USMCA dairy trade obligations. The first USMCA dispute panel launched by the U.S. government determined in January that Canada violated the agreement's dairy tariff-rate quota provisions. On May 16, Canada published its final revised USMCA dairy TRQ approach, which failed to fix its USMCA-violating practices. To address the additional problems Canada’s revised approach has raised and to defend the integrity of the agreement, the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office has brought an additional case. NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern says, “Canada continues to flout these trade commitments and plays games rather than meet its signed treaty commitments.” The dairy groups say Canada’s updated TRQ system continues to block key stakeholders in the Canadian food and agriculture sector from accessing the TRQs. *********************************************************************************** UK’s Kendamil in Talks to Export Infant Formula to U.S. Kendamil is in advanced discussions with the Food and Drug Administration to become the first international manufacturer to export significant quantities of infant formula to the United States. Kendamil is a brand of Kendal Nutricare, and is the only British-made infant formula. Kendamil offers organic and conventional cow formulas, along with goat formula, which would be a first in the U.S., where, unlike in Europe, no goat milk is today certified for sale to infants under one year old. Kendamil has been in discussions with the FDA for several weeks since news first broke of the formula shortages and the measures announced from the Biden Administration to bring international brands into the United States. Ross McMahon, CEO of Kendal Nutricare commented, "We have received the call for assistance from the FDA and Kendamil stands ready to act.” Kendal Nutricare expects to meet the needs of at least 150,000 U.S. households during the import period. *********************************************************************************** Soybean Farmers Share 2023 Farm Bill Priorities The American Soybean Association Wednesday shared the organization’s 2023 Farm Bill priorities. ASA President Brad Doyle, who grows soybeans in Arkansas, says, “Getting to this point has involved a thoughtful information-gathering process that began back in September 2021.” Priorities for ASA include improving the Title I farm safety net for soybeans, continuing the voluntary, incentive-based, flexible approach to conservation programs, investing into promotion of U.S. commodities globally, building biobased and biofuels opportunities, and ensuring broadband coverage is accessible throughout rural America. As the House and Senate Agriculture Committees lay the foundation for the 2023 Farm Bill, ASA hopes its initial priorities list will provide insight and assure soy growers' interests are considered as the farm bill process continues with hearings this year and legislative development next year. Doyle adds, “We wanted to assure as many farmer voices and soy states as possible were involved to make this a comprehensive list tailored to their needs.” *********************************************************************************** Study Examines Competitiveness of U.S. Inland Waterways The National Waterways Foundation released a study this week focused on the current state of the U.S. inland waterways system. The study found that the ability for the United States to maintain a position of strength depends on a regular assessment of infrastructure needs and multimodal development strategies. Two factors, in particular, the aging infrastructure and competition from other countries' inland waterway networks, pose a risk to the economic and national security advantage of the United States. Increased investment levels from the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act offer an opportunity to greatly enhance the reliability and usefulness of the U.S. inland waterways system. Clearing the backlog of U.S. projects is needed to bring some facilities into more modern practice. Waterways Foundation Chairman Matt Woodruff adds, “We must be alert to the investments being made in the waterways of other nations that can erode our advantage and, where necessary, invest to increase the efficiency of our system to stay ahead.” *********************************************************************************** More Farmers Adding Fall Cover Crops to Fields Cover crops are an increasingly popular management practice farmers use to provide seasonal living cover between their primary commodity cash crops. Farmers often plant cover crops in the fall to provide winter cover for soil that otherwise would be bare. Over the past decade, USDA’s Economic Research Service says fall cover crop adoption has grown in the United States. On fields growing corn for grain, 0.6 percent of the acreage used a fall cover crop before the 2010 crop. By 2016, 5.5 percent of corn-for-grain acreage had a fall cover, and by 2021, 7.9 percent of corn-for-grain acreage followed a fall cover crop. This represents a 44-percent increase in fall cover crop adoption on corn-for-grain fields between 2016 and 2021. The growth in adoption of cover crops on cotton fields is similar, with a 46-percent increase between 2015 and 2019. The average growth in cover crop adoption was similar for each target crop, as evident in the average year-over-year changes. *********************************************************************************** Co-ops Can Lead the Way for On-Farm Private Broadband As American agriculture grapples with scarce labor and increasing costs, one solution could lie in precision agriculture applications that can maximize output while reducing costs. Crop and livestock producers can supercharge operational efficiency with advanced precision technologies such as data analytics, connected equipment, robotics and automation. The lack of affordable, reliable broadband access in rural America, however, has hindered widespread adoption of precision ag technologies. That may be changing with the increasing availability of private wireless networks. CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange reports agricultural cooperatives are in an ideal position to work with communication companies to deliver carrier-grade, high-speed private wireless networks to their farmer members at costs that were unthinkable just a few years ago. CoBanks Kenneth Scott Zuckerberg says, “Offering these network solutions could be a new, reliable revenue source for U.S. farm supply cooperatives.” On the farm, private networks can help facilitate the collection, transmission, storage and computation of large amounts of data in real-time.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday May 26, 2022 |


Thursday Watch List Markets USDA's weekly export sales report is due out at 7:30 a.m. CDT, the same time as weekly U.S. jobless claims and updates of first quarter GDP and the U.S. Drought Monitor. A 9 a.m., there is a report on pending U.S. home sales for April, followed by the Energy Department's weekly natural gas storage report at 9:30 a.m. Traders will continue to examine the latest weather forecasts, news regarding Ukraine and any news of an export sale. Weather A system continues to slowly make its way eastward on Thursday. Areas of scattered showers and thunderstorms continue to press on east of the Mississippi River, with additional showers over Missouri as well. Areas of heavy rain and some severe weather will be possible. The Northern Plains has another dry day to allow for drainage and potentially additional planting in and around North Dakota before showers move back in Friday evening.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday May 25, 2022 |


USDA Invests $770 Million to Expand Market Opportunities for Rural Businesses Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Tuesday announced $770 million to help create better market opportunities for rural businesses. The investments include $640 million for 122 projects to help people living in socially vulnerable communities. Vilsack says the investments “demonstrate how USDA remains committed to helping people in rural America create new and better market opportunities. USDA is making a total of 154 investments through three programs specifically designed to create economic opportunities for people and businesses in rural areas. The funding will help rural America keep resources and wealth right at home through job training, business expansion and technical assistance. It will help companies hire more workers and reach new customers. It will open the door to new economic opportunities for communities and people who historically have lacked access to critical resources and financing. It will also help entrepreneurs and business cooperatives create jobs, grow businesses, and find new and better markets for their products. *********************************************************************************** Lawmakers Press Surface Transportation Board on Rail Disruptions A bipartisan group of Senators urges the Surface Transportation Board to ensure reliable, consistent rail service for American industries and shippers. Republicans Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Kevin Cramer of North Dakota, along with Democrat Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, made the request in a letter with 19 other colleagues. The lawmakers say, “We are very concerned over the significant rail service disruptions occurring throughout the U.S. freight rail network.” Further, the group says, “We urge the STB to examine all constructive options towards ensuring reliable, consistent rail service is available to shippers across the U.S.” The letter also outlines concerns and issues raised by customers and labor organizations during an STB hearing last month. Farmers and grain shippers report they are unable to get empty railcars, leading to significant delays in delivering commodities to energy producers forced to curtail production. The letter is supported by the National Grain and Feed Association, National Mining Association, American Chemistry Council and Growth Energy. *********************************************************************************** Dairy Sustainability Alliance Meeting Addresses Marketplace Opportunities Navigating social, environmental and economic issues facing dairy businesses in a world shifting from COVID-19 restrictions took center stage at the 2022 Dairy Sustainability Alliance Spring Meeting. The Dairy Sustainability Alliance is a multi-stakeholder initiative of the checkoff-founded Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy and includes more than 165 companies and organizations. More than 270 representatives of the dairy value chain organizations, including 25 dairy farmers, attended in person or virtually, last week. Many of the organizations have adopted the U.S. Dairy Stewardship Commitment signaling support for farmers, cooperatives and processors who voluntarily advance sustainability leadership and transparently report progress. Dairy Management Inc. and Innovation Center CEO Barbara O’Brien says, “never has it been more urgent as we work to meet the growing demands and expectations of both customers and consumers around personal wellness, environmental sustainability and food security.” The event showcased many topics in dairy sustainability, highlighting the work of the alliance. *********************************************************************************** Bronaugh to Host Roundtable on Farmers’ Mental Health Agriculture Deputy Secretary Jewel Bronaugh (Bruh-NAW) travels to Wisconsin Friday to host a Roundtable on Farmers’ Mental Health. The event is part of the Department of Agriculture’s efforts in recognizing May as Mental Health Awareness Month. The Deputy Secretary will host the roundtable discussion with Senator Tammy Baldwin in Arlington, Wisconsin. From volatile market demand for their products to bad weather, farmers often face numerous challenges that can create or exacerbate stress, anxiety and trauma. USDA has worked to ensure that farmers and families in rural communities have access to the resources they need to address mental health challenges. In October, USDA announced an investment of nearly $25 million for 50 grants supporting Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network State Department of Agriculture projects, which connect farmers, ranchers, and others in agriculture-related jobs to stress assistance programs, which provide vital support, ranging from mental health and legal issues to family and youth stress. *********************************************************************************** Farm Bureau to Host ‘Farmers Saving Lives’ Virtual Event for Mental Health Month In recognition of May as Mental Health Month, the American Farm Bureau Federation will host a free virtual event, Farmers Saving Lives, on Tuesday, May 31, at 2:00 p.m. Eastern. The live event will feature compelling stories from three Farm Bureau members who believe that advocating for mental health wellness is a way to save lives in rural and farming communities. Farmers, ranchers and their families are encouraged to attend via telephone, smartphone or tablet from planters, harvesters, greenhouses, dairy barns, farm trucks, classrooms and carpool lines. AFBF President Zippy Duvall says, “We’re holding this virtual event on the last day of Mental Health Month to remind everyone that our work does not stop on June 1 – it continues throughout the year.” According to AFBF national research polls, a strong majority of farmers and farmworkers say financial issues, farm or business problems and fear of losing the farm impact farmers’ mental health. You can register for the event online, and learn more at fb.org. *********************************************************************************** U.S. Wine Imports Reach Nearly $7.5 Billion in 2021 Growing consumption of wine in the U.S. has contributed to an increase in wine imports, from 127 million gallons in fiscal year 2000 to 456 million gallons in 2021, reaching nearly $7.5 billion in value. USDA’s Economic Research Service reports most wine imports come from the European Union, accounting for 75 percent of the total value and 50 percent of the volume. Specifically, the top two countries of origin, Italy and France, each supplied about $2.5 billion in wine imports in 2021, although the volume from Italy was more than twice that of France because of its lower average price. In 2020, imports from the EU temporarily decreased in response to a 25-percent U.S. tariff placed in late 2019 on French, German, Spanish, and English wine that was lifted in early 2021. While the United States is a net importer of wine, it exported $1.5 billion in 2021 to destinations including Canada, the United Kingdom, and Japan.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday May 25, 2022 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets At 7:30 a.m. CDT Wednesday, traders will catch the April report of U.S. durable goods orders and then pause at 8 a.m. to see if USDA has an export sale. The Energy Department's weekly report of energy inventories, including ethanol production is set for 9:30 a.m., followed by a recap of the minutes of the latest Federal Reserve meeting at 1 p.m. The latest weather forecasts remain important and the more hopeful among us await word of Russia's surrender. Weather A storm system that has brought moderate to heavy rainfall across the Central and Southern Plains earlier this week is spreading those showers eastward across the Mississippi River on Wednesday. More areas of moderate to heavy rain are expected and may cause some localized flooding and planting delays. Dryness in the Northern Plains will promote drying of soils and planting progress for the next couple of days.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday May 24, 2022 |


Farm Groups Welcome Indo-Pacific Economic Framework The Biden Administration Monday announced the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework. The White House says the plan is a 21st century economic arrangement designed to tackle 21st-century economic challenges. Those challenges include the digital economy, ensuring secure and resilient supply chains, and major investments in clean energy. The plan will engage partners that facilitate agricultural trade through science-based decision-making and the adoption of sound, transparent regulatory practices. Agriculture groups welcomed the launch of the framework. U.S. Grains Council President and CEO Ryan LeGrand says the framework “is a new approach to trade negotiations that will hopefully still create the same positive, high-standard outcomes for U.S. farmers." American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall says the framework "will help reduce barriers, improve the adoption of science-based standards and grow American agricultural exports." Krysta Harden, U.S. Dairy Export Council President and CEO, adds the framework “offers a chance for the United States to have a positive impact on the trading environment in a vital area of the world.” *********************************************************************************** Ag Groups Call For Withdrawal of Solicitor General’s Supreme Court Brief on Glyphosate In a letter to President Biden, 54 agricultural groups expressed concern with a recent amicus brief submitted by the U.S. Solicitor General to the Supreme Court. The brief advises the court against taking up a case regarding pesticide labels. The groups, including the American Farm Bureau Federation and major U.S. commodity organizations, called on the president to swiftly withdraw the brief. They warned the new policy would set a dangerous precedent that threatens the science-based regulatory process. The groups are worried the new policy, along with having environmental impacts, could ultimately hinder the ability of U.S. farmers to help meet growing global food needs intensified by the invasion of Ukraine. At question is whether California can require a cancer warning label for the popular herbicide glyphosate when thousands of studies, decades of scientific consensus, and numerous global regulatory bodies—including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency—agree the herbicide is not a carcinogen. *********************************************************************************** Lack of Grain Exports Driving Global Hunger A global food crisis, already impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change, is being driven to famine levels worldwide by the war in Ukraine and the resulting lack of grain exports. The United Nations Security Council last week heard from experts on the war's impact on global food security. David Beasley, Executive Director of the World Food Program, stated, "When a nation that is the breadbasket of the world becomes a nation with the longest bread line of the world, we know we have a problem." Even before the Ukraine crisis, the world was already facing an unprecedented, perfect storm because of conflict, climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic. And, price increases in major food crops have made an additional 400 million people food insecure over the last five months. Some experts warn the world only has ten weeks of wheat supply left. Ukraine and the Russian Federation together export 30 percent of global cereals and 67 percent of sunflower oil. *********************************************************************************** Retail Food Price Inflation Varies by Location New data from USDA’s Economic Research Service shows retail food price inflation varies by locality. From 2012 to 2021, increases in retail food prices ranged from an average of 2.4 percent a year in Honolulu, Hawaii, to 0.9 percent in the Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, area. Retail food includes food bought in grocery stores as opposed to restaurants. Differences in transportation costs and retail overhead expenses, such as labor and rent, can explain some of the variation among cities because retailers often pass local cost increases on to consumers in the form of higher prices. Differences in consumer preferences among cities for specific foods may help explain variation in inflation rates, as well. For example, a city whose residents strongly prefer foods with less price inflation, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, might experience lower food-at-home price inflation than a city whose residents buy more beef and veal. Across the United States, prices increased by an average of 1.4 percent a year over the ten-year period. *********************************************************************************** Lawmakers Raise Concerns about FDA Guidance for Plant-Based Beverages A group of lawmakers tell the White House there's "no reason" to start allowing regulation regarding plant-based beverages labeled as animal products. Senator Cory Booker, a Colorado Democrat, and Mike Lee, a Utah Republican, led the effort in a letter to the White House Office of Management and Budget. The lawmakers say, “for decades, the FDA has declined to clarify standards for plant-based milks, even as other federal agencies have increasingly adopted plant-based milks and names into programs.” The letter highlighted a recent legal ruling that “found that the use of qualifying terms such as soy, almond or oat next to the term ‘milk’ mitigates against confusion regarding nutritional equivalency.” The letter also outlined that the “FDA has not previously asked producers to disclose other wide variations in nutritional components” - including among milks derived from different animals. However, label clarity has long-been a priority for U.S. dairy groups. The National Milk Producers Federation points out that the FDA's own standards define milk as an animal product. *********************************************************************************** Gas Prices Jump, Diesel Declines The national gas price increased for the fifth straight week, while diesel declined slightly. GasBuddy reports the average national gas price increased 11 cents last week to $4.57 per gallon, while diesel fell 1.7 cents to an average of $5.53 per gallon. GasBuddy's Patrick De Haan says, “Gasoline prices surged over the last week to new record highs, but have finally started to slow their rise with diesel also finally cooling off.” Still, with more Americans planning to hit the road for Memorial Day this year compared to last, prices will be over $1.50 per gallon higher than last year. Oil has seen slight upward moves as China lockdowns have eased, boosting demand for petroleum, while the start of the U.S. summer driving season is just days away, and could prevent oil from seeing any significant downturns. U.S. crude oil inventories fell 3.4 million barrels last week. U.S. retail gasoline demand saw a slight fall last week, down .6 percent from the prior week.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday May 24, 2022 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets Traders will pause at 8 a.m. CDT Tuesday to see if USDA has an export sales announcement and then notice the 9 a.m. report of April new home sales. The latest weather forecasts continue to get widespread attention as well as any news regarding Ukraine. Weather A storm system in the Southern Plains will bring areas of moderate to heavy rainfall on Tuesday, with additional showers to the southwestern Midwest, Delta, and Southeast as well. Heavy rain in parts of Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas could cause some localized flooding. Dryness in the Northern Plains could lead to some better planting progress where areas have been too wet.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday May 23, 2022 |


Strong Farm Economy Continues to Support Credit Conditions Agricultural credit conditions improved in the first quarter of 2022, and farm real estate values continued to increase alongside strength in the American farm economy. Following a year of accelerating increases, the value of non-irrigated cropland across much of the country has soared through March of this year. The sharp growth in land values persisted despite a slight increase in farm loan interest rates. Farm loan repayment rates continued to increase, and credit conditions remained strong. The Kansas City Fed says the outlook for agricultural credit conditions remained optimistic alongside persistently strong commodity prices. However, many district lenders expect conditions to soften in the coming months alongside the pressure on profit margins from higher input costs and harsh drought conditions in large parts of rural America. Farm real estate markets also remain strong, but smaller profit margins or higher interest rates could limit gains in land value in the year ahead. *********************************************************************************** Feed Industry Association’s Board Advocates in Washington, D.C. The American Feed Industry Association’s Board of Directors recently held its annual spring meeting in Arlington, Virginia. As part of the meeting schedule, they spent time advocating for key industry priorities on Capitol Hill and conducted other official business, including approving new Board leadership and members. The 44 Board members met with elected officials in the House and Senate about improving the Food and Drug Administration’s animal food review program. They also talked about resolving ongoing supply chain and export issues that are hindering the industry’s ability to satisfy customers’ orders in a timely and cost-effective way. Board members also highlighted the industry’s work to provide solutions to national climate change priorities. “Our Board leadership impressed upon policymakers how removing key regulatory and trade barriers now will secure our industry’s ability to continue delivering feed, ingredients, and pet food to the marketplace into the future,” says AFIA President and CEO Constance Cullman. *********************************************************************************** Smart Farm Technology Open to Attacks by Hackers Experts say it’s important to realize that modern farm technology is vulnerable to attacks by hackers, which could leave the supply chain exposed to further risk. The University of Cambridge issued a report noting that automatic crop sprayers, drones, and robotic harvesters are susceptible to an attack. BBC says both the United Kingdom’s government and the FBI are warning that the cyber-attack threat is growing. John Deere says it’s working to fix any weak spots in its software. James Johnson, Deere’s chief information security officer, says the company has been working with several ethical hackers to find vulnerabilities. CNH Industrial is also working to improve its security posture. Benjamin Turner, chief operating officer at a British company called Agrimetrics, says, “Hacking into one tractor can upset a single farmer’s profitability. Hacking into a fleet of tractors can suddenly give you the power to affect yields in whole areas of a country.” *********************************************************************************** India Considers Allowing More Wheat Shipments India has a great deal of wheat sitting at ports because of a sudden ban on exports that prevented dealers from loading cargoes. Reuters says trade and government sources say that the Indian government is considering allowing traders to ship out some of that wheat. The Indian government banned wheat exports over a week ago because of a heatwave that hurt the country’s wheat output. The sudden prohibition on shipping wheat left 1.8 million tons of grain at India’s ports with nowhere to go. Last Tuesday, the government gave permission to ship grains awaiting customs clearance before they can get shipped out of the ports. However, traders are putting pressure on the government to further relax its restriction on grain shipments. A New Delhi-based grain dealer says, “Piecemeal relaxations are not going to help, and the government needs to resolve the issue in the next few days to avoid a chain of payment defaults.” *********************************************************************************** Hereford Association Researching Sustainable Genetics The American Hereford Association is partnering with Colorado State University on a research project regarding sustainable genetics. AHA executive vice president Jack Ward says individual cattle producers and the collective beef industry will continue to get asked to do more with less as it relates to environmental and economic sustainability. “That’s why we’re excited to begin this cooperative research agreement with Colorado State University,” Ward says. “It will leverage decades of AHA research and data collected by our members aimed at characterizing genetics associated with production efficiency, which plays a key role in environmental and economic sustainability.” More specifically, the research will enhance understanding of the genetic differences in seedstock relative to methane production and nitrogen excretion. As a genetic trait in cattle, methane emission appears to be moderately inheritable with modest-to-strong correlations to the economically relevant production traits. Direct emissions from the animal ag sector account for 3.8 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. *********************************************************************************** Growth Energy, EPA Reach Settlement on 2023 RVO Deadline Growth Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency reached a settlement on a deadline for issuing the 2023 Renewable Volume Obligations for blending ethanol into the fuel supply. The EPA is expected to file a notice in the Federal Register on Monday seeking comment on a proposed decree that would require the EPA propose the 2023 RVOs by no later than September 16, 2022. The agency would then finalize it no later than April 28, 2023. EPA’s notice comes after Growth Energy filed a notice of intent to sue and a complaint in federal district court after the EPA failed to set the RVOs by the Congressionally-mandated deadline. “Securing a deadline for the 2023 RVO is a significant victory in our mission to ensure certainty when it comes to biofuel blending says Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor, “especially as we face a new era of the RFS when volumes are set by EPA and not Congress,”

| Rural Advocate News | Monday May 23, 2022 |


Monday Watch List Markets Back from the weekend, traders will be checking the latest weather forecasts, news from Ukraine and pause at 8 a.m. CDT to see if USDA announces an export sale. The stock market will also get plenty of attention after major indices toyed with new one-year lows last week. USDA's weekly report of grain export inspections is due out at 10 a.m. CDT, followed by the Crop Progress report at 3 p.m. Canadian markets are closed Monday for Victoria Day. Weather A disturbance in the Southeast and a storm system developing in the Plains will make for some pretty wet conditions for a lot of the country on Monday. Both of these features slowly move east this week, keeping many areas wet and causing some planting delays. Moderate to heavy rainfall potential exists in the drought areas in the southwestern Plains. It is likely too late to help out wheat, but could benefit summer crops, especially corn and soybeans.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday May 20, 2022 |


Senate Legislation to Address Baby Formula Shortage Senate Ag Chair Debbie Stabenow and Ranking Member John Boozman (BOZE-man) led a bipartisan group of senators who introduced legislation to address baby formula shortages. The bill is aimed at helping families who rely on the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). The Access to Baby Formula Act has a companion bill in the House. It would give USDA more flexibility during a crisis like the shortages currently facing the country. The flexibility would ensure that the brand or type of formula families can buy isn’t restricted by program rules, allowing families to purchase whatever is available in the store. Formula manufacturers would be required to have a plan in place to respond to shortages. “This is an extremely stressful time for parents who are looking high and low for baby formula,” Stabenow says. “Almost half of all babies born in the U.S. rely on the WIC program.” *********************************************************************************** Nutrien to Build World’s Largest Clean Ammonia Plant in Louisiana Nutrien says it is evaluating a site in Louisiana as the place to build the world’s biggest clean ammonia facility. The new plant would leverage low-cost natural gas, tidewater access to world markets, and high-quality carbon capture and sequestration infrastructure at its existing facility in Geismar, Louisiana. The goal would be to serve the growing demand in agriculture, industrial, and emerging energy markets. “Our commitment to developing and using both low-carbon and clean ammonia is prominent in our strategy to provide solutions that will help meet the world’s decarbonization goals while sustainably addressing global food insecurity,” says Ken Seitz, Nutrien’s Interim President and CEO. The plant will have an annual production capacity of 1.2 million metric tons of clean ammonia and capture at least 90 percent of its carbon emissions. That means the new facility will be able to permanently sequester more than 1.8 million metric tons of carbon in dedicated geological storage every year. *********************************************************************************** Kansas/Oklahoma Winter Wheat Tour Finding Lower Yields On Wednesday, scouts on the Wheat Quality Council’s 2022 winter wheat tour traveled from Colby to Wichita, Kansas, stopping in wheat fields along six different routes. The scouts surveyed 254 wheat fields throughout western, central, and southern Kansas and northern counties in Oklahoma. The wheat in Southwest Kansas looks rough because of drought, and South Central Kansas is struggling because of dryness. Wheat following corn generally had poor yields, while wheat on fallow had some of the higher yields. The calculated yield was 37 bushels per acre in Kansas. Chris Kirby from the Oklahoma Wheat Commission reported that the state’s production is estimated at 60 million bushels this year, down from 115 million last year. Wheat harvest on the southern border of Oklahoma began this week, and with temperatures expected well above 100 degrees, the harvest will move much faster. USDA estimates that Oklahoma will likely yield 25 bushels an acre, down from 39 last year. *********************************************************************************** U.N. Wants Ukraine’s Ports Opened for Grain Shipments The United Nations is talking with Russia about the possibility of opening up Ukraine’s Black Sea ports for grain shipments to get exported. Ukraine is one of the largest grain producers in the world and usually exports goods through its seaports. However, Russia controls the Black Sea ports, which has forced Ukraine to export by train or through its smaller ports along the Danube River. Reuters says that Russia responded to the U.N. appeal by saying that sanctions on Russia would have to get reviewed if it were to allow the ports to reopen. U.N. Food Chief David Beasley appealed directly to Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying, “If you have any heart at all, please open these ports.” Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister says the sanctions imposed on Russia by the U.S. and EU are interfering with normal free trade, including food products like wheat, fertilizers, and many other goods. *********************************************************************************** NAMI Responds to “Special Investigator” Legislation The House Agriculture Committee voted to approve the Meat and Poultry Special Investigator Act, and the North American Meat Institute called it “redundant, wasteful, and costly.” Julianna Potts is CEO of NAMI, and she says, “The committee voted to approve the bill despite our opposition, along with the opposition from the country’s largest livestock producer organizations.” She also says USDA and the Justice Department already have the authorities the bill would grant, making this expansion of government bureaucracy with its required staff and offices “duplicative.” Her organization points out that the special investigator this bill would establish would feel emboldened and obligated to bring as many new cases as possible, warranted or not, to test the legal limits of the new rules. “The resulting legal uncertainty and market chaos will accelerate unpredictable changes in livestock and poultry marketing that will add costs to both producers and consumers during a time of high inflation,” Potts says. *********************************************************************************** More Cotton Growers Take Part in Cotton Trust Protocol During Year Two The U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol is designed to bring quantifiable and verifiable goals and measurements to the key sustainability metrics of U.S. cotton production. The good news is more growers took part during the 2021-2022 crop year than did during the program’s pilot. The initiative’s new vision is to set a new standard in sustainable cotton production where full transparency is the reality and continuous improvement in reducing the environmental footprint is the central goal. “During our second year, we doubled the number of U.S. cotton growers in the program with an estimated 1.1 million cotton acres enrolled,” says Dr. Gary Adams, president of the Cotton Trust Protocol. Virtually all of the top 100 global brands created lists of sustainable raw materials and publicly stated their sourcing will come from these lists over the next 5-10 years. The Trust Protocol was designed to meet and exceed the rigorous criteria for the lists.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday May 20, 2022 |


Friday Market Watch Markets USDA's cattle on-feed report for May 1 is the only significant report on Friday's docket and will be out at 2 p.m. CDT, well after the market close. Traders may be a little gun shy after Wednesday, keeping part of their attention on happenings in the stock market and other parts on the latest weather forecasts, any export sales news and events in Ukraine. Weather A strong cold front across the Upper Midwest and Central Plains will push southeast on Friday. Scattered showers and thunderstorms will follow the front and a few severe storms will be possible. Some heavier rain in spots will lead to some more planting delays. Cold air funneling in behind the front will lead to a mix of rain and snow in the Northern Plains and some accumulating snow in the Colorado foothills later today into Saturday. Frosts are expected across a wide area of the Plains overnight.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday May 19, 2022 |


Study: Agricultural Export Programs Offer Excellent Returns A recent economic study indicates public-private U.S. agricultural export market development programs remain highly effective and generate a substantial return on investment. The study, welcomed by the Coalition to Promote U.S. Agricultura Exports, was conducted by IHS Markit and Texas A&M University. The researchers say MAP and FMD have accounted for 13.7 percent, or almost $648 billion, of all the revenue generated by U.S. agricultural exports between 1977 and 2019. In letters sent last month, members of the Coalition and additional organizations asked U.S. House and Senate agricultural appropriations subcommittee leadership to maintain funding of at least $200 million for the Market Access Program and $34.5 million for the Foreign Market Development program in fiscal year 2023. Citing strong competition for growing global food demand, the organizations said, “these modest investments are invaluable as we race to reclaim global export markets shut off during the pandemic and diversify markets amid war and geopolitical unrest.” *********************************************************************************** NCBA Condemns Meat and Poultry Special Investigator Act The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Wednesday condemned the Meat and Poultry Special Investigator Act of 2022, approved by the House Agriculture Committee. NCBA Vice President of Government Affairs Ethan Lane says the legislation was rushed through the legislative process “without consideration of the confusing bureaucratic mess it would create.” The special investigator bill would create a new position in the Department of Agriculture with prosecutorial and subpoena power. The North American Meat Institute agrees in a statement, adding, “USDA and the Department of Justice already have the authorities this bill would grant making this expansion of government bureaucracy.” However, National Farmers Union says the bill would increase enforcement of competition laws and boost USDA’s resources to investigate abusive market practices. NFU President Rob Larew says, “Greater enforcement of competition laws by USDA will better ensure America’s independent family farmers and ranchers have a chance to succeed in today's marketplace, now dominated by monopolies.” *********************************************************************************** Spanberger, Gonzalez, Introduce American Food Supply Chain Resiliency Act House lawmakers Abigail Spanberger, a Virginia Democrat, and Anthony Gonzalez, An Ohio Republican, introduced the American Food Supply Chain Resiliency Act this week. The bipartisan legislation seeks to strengthen supply chains across the agriculture industry and lower food costs for consumers. The bill would establish Supply Chain Regional Resource Centers through cooperative agreements with the Department of Agriculture. The centers would offer locally tailored coordination, technical assistance, and grants — leading to more resilient, diverse, and connected supply chains. USDA recently announced its intention through the Agricultural Marketing Service to create Regional Food Business Centers. The Spanberger-Gonzalez legislation would codify the centers, renaming them Supply Chain Regional Resource Centers. Under their legislation, these Centers would support supply chain coordination in their region, fund technical assistance providers to offer guidance to food businesses and farms, and provide small grants to entities looking to expand or start their operations in a certain region. *********************************************************************************** Food Away From Home Spending Dropped During Pandemic The first year of the COVID-19 pandemic saw the temporary closures of restaurants in the United States, prompting a decline in Food Away From Home Spending. Spending decreased at each of the nine types of food-away-from-home outlets measured in the USDA Economic Research Service’s Food Expenditure Series from 2019 to 2020. Although existing infrastructure, such as drive-through services, enabled limited-service restaurants to comply with pandemic safety measures, these establishments still saw a 6.7-percent decline in annual spending. Full-service restaurants, which accounted for more Food Away From Home spending than all other outlets from 1997 to 2019, experienced a decrease in spending of 31.7 percent in 2020. This was partly due to pandemic-related closures during some of the year. Hotels and motels, recreational places, and drinking establishments also experienced closures and capacity restrictions throughout much of 2020. Food spending fell 42.9 percent at hotels and motels, 37.7 percent at recreational places, and 40.7 percent at drinking places. *********************************************************************************** Wholesale Prices Show Another Big Increase The Consumer Brands Association cautioned that rising costs on manufacturers have not slowed and show no signs of doing so. Citing data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics last week, The April Producer Price Index showed an 11 percent year-over-year rise. For food specifically, wholesale prices rose 14.5 percent, showing the outsized impact consumer packaged goods companies are feeling. Consumer Brands President and CEO Geoff Freeman says, “This is the 14th straight month that we’ve seen wholesale prices push above the historical trend line.” Freeman adds, “The percentages may fluctuate month-to-month, but the story has remained the same — the cost to make and ship goods is out of control.” Since the pre-pandemic era, wholesale costs for the industry have increased 35 percent. The spike significantly impacts industry operations, as approximately 70 percent of CPG companies’ costs come from ingredients and energy. Further, key commodities showed sharp increases over last April, along with freight and fuel. *********************************************************************************** Proposed Fertilizer Policies Could Protect Farmer Profits, Environment A new University of Illinois study explores potential policy solutions to reduce nitrogen loss while still protecting farmers’ bottom lines. Federal and state governments have shied away from regulating nitrogen fertilizer use, but voluntary and incentives-based programs have not been particularly successful, according to the researchers. University of Illinois assistant professor Nicolas Martin says, “We want to generate discussions on such policies, rather than provide definitive answers on which policy will be the best.” The first policy would modify price ratios, imposing a tax on nitrogen at a set ratio relative to the corn price. The second policy would charge farmers a fee for excess nitrogen leaching from fields above baseline levels. The third would subtract nitrogen removed in grain at harvest from nitrogen applied as fertilizer and would charge a fee for the balance. The final policy reflected a voluntary nitrogen reduction program like current programs in the Midwest. Among the four policies, the nitrogen leaching fee showed the best outcome.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday May 19, 2022 |


Thursday Watch List Markets USDA's weekly export sales report is due out at 7:30 a.m. CDT Thursday along with U.S. weekly jobless claims and an update of the U.S. Drought Monitor. There are reports on U.S. existing home sales in April and the Conference Board's U.S. index of leading indicators at 9 a.m., followed by the Energy Department's weekly natural gas storage report at 9:30 a.m. Weather forecasts and any export sales news also remains important to traders. Weather A system moving through the North-Central U.S. and a small disturbance moving from the Southern Plains eastward will be the focus for scattered showers and thunderstorms throughout the day Thursday. Some areas of severe weather will be possible along with heavy rainfall that will make for more difficult planting conditions. Heat will be a concern across the Southern Plains as temperatures move back into the triple digits. Cold air will filter into the Northern Plains later today as the system spreads southeast across the North-Central U.S. That may lead to some snow mixing in tonight across the Northern Plains.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday May 18, 2022 |


Stabenow Calls on USDA to Address Effects of Baby Formula Shortage for WIC Families Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow called on the Department of Agriculture Tuesday to address the infant formula shortage for those relying on the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children program. The Michigan Democrat says, "Millions of Americans rely on the WIC program to get baby formula for their children, so the current shortages are extremely concerning for parents across our country." USDA is providing WIC families with the flexibility to use their benefits to buy different types of formula products. Senator Stabenow requested more information from USDA on its use of these and other flexibilities and opportunities for additional action to support WIC families. Meanwhile, Abbott, the company whose infant formula plant is shut down, has agreed to enter a consent decree with the Food and Drug Administration. The decree is an agreement between FDA and Abbott on the steps necessary to resume production and maintain the facility. *********************************************************************************** USDA Extends Deadline for Public to Comment on Input Competition Challenges The agriculture sector has more time to comment on the impacts of concentration and competition challenges in seed, fertilizer, other agricultural inputs, and retail markets. The Department of Agriculture this week announced a 30-day extension to the public comment period. The new deadline is June 15, 2022. Three requests for information were published in the Federal Register on March 17, 2022, each with a 60-day comment period ending May 16, 2022. USDA seeks information about competition matters related to fertilizer, seed and agricultural inputs, particularly related to the intellectual property system, and food retail, including access to retail for agricultural producers and small and medium-sized food processors through wholesale and distribution markets. To enhance fair and competitive markets, the initiative supports additional fertilizer production for farmers and spurs competition to address rising costs, including price hikes from the war in Ukraine, and recent supply chain disruptions. All written comments should be posted online at www.regulations.gov. *********************************************************************************** USDA Accepting Applications to Help Cover Costs of Organic, Transitioning Producers The Department of Agriculture is accepting applications for the Organic and Transitional Education and Certification Program and Organic Certification Cost Share Program. The programs help producers and handlers cover the cost of organic certification, along with other related expenses. Farm Service Agency Administrator Zach Ducheneaux (DOO-shah-know) says, “By helping with organic certification costs – long identified as a barrier to certification – USDA has helped producers participate in new markets while investing in the long-term health of their operations.” To apply, producers and handlers should contact the FSA at their local USDA Service Center. As part of completing the applications, organic producers and handlers will need to provide documentation of their organic certification and eligible expenses. Organic producers and handlers may also apply for the Organic Certification Cost Share Program through participating State agencies. The Organic Certification Cost Share Program covers 50 percent or up to $500 per category of certification costs in 2022. *********************************************************************************** Rural Land Market Outlook Remains Strong Following record sales in 2021, the rural land market continues to surge this year. This offers opportunities for both sellers and buyers of farm, recreational and other rural land, according to Whitetail Properties Real Estate. Low property inventories resulting from last year's strong market point to land values remaining high for sellers. Meanwhile, rising interest rates this year could suggest reduced demand, but that is only one factor. Alex Gyllstrom, the company's marketing director, says, “It can be projected that rural land values will stay at the higher end of the market because of current inflation.” While these factors create a sense of urgency for those looking to sell land, they also present an upside for buyers. Whitetail Properties Real Estate offers advice for sellers to provide curb appeal, document farm value, and get leases in writing. For buyers, the company suggests they work with a rural lender, think long-term, and consider a partnership agreement. *********************************************************************************** Iowa Governor Signs Biofuels Legislation into Law Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds Tuesday signed into law some of the most comprehensive state biofuels legislation in the nation. The legislation is expected to boost the sale of higher blends of biodiesel through an incentive-based approach. Among other things, the bill increases a Biodiesel Production Tax Credit from two to four cents per gallon while updating the state’s Renewable Fuel Infrastructure Program to increase access to higher blends of biofuels. Clean Fuels CEO Donnell Rehagen says, “Iowa joins the ranks of Illinois, Minnesota and others with some of the most forwarding-thinking legislation that values the production and use of biodiesel.” The legislation also would provide access to E15 statewide by 2026 and update the E15 promotion tax credit to $0.09 per gallon year-round through 2025. Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor applauded the bill’s passage, saying the bill “offers drivers across Iowa the opportunity to not only save money at the pump but to make a simple change for the environment.” *********************************************************************************** Cargill Announces Plans to Build new Soybean Plant in Southeast Missouri Cargill Tuesday announced plans to build a new soybean processing facility in Southeast Missouri. The facility will have an annual production capacity of 62 million bushels of soybeans. Cargill anticipates breaking ground on the project early next year with plans to be operational in 2026. The new facility will add approximately 45 full-time positions to the region when complete. With its location on the Mississippi River, the facility will operate year-round and provide farmers opportunity to take advantage of increased domestic demand versus relying solely on seasonal exports. Missouri Soybeans CEO and Executive Director Gary Wheeler says, “Missouri Soybeans is very pleased with the new build of a soybean crush facility in Pemiscot County and the direct impact it will bring to our farmers in Southeast Missouri.” Cargill has had a presence in Missouri since 1936 and currently operates across 11 locations in the state and employs nearly 1,200 people.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday May 18, 2022 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets Wednesday morning's reports start with April housing starts at 7:30 a.m. CDT, followed by the Energy Department's weekly energy inventories, including ethanol production at 9:30 a.m. Traders will check the latest weather forecasts, pause at 8 a.m. for a possible export sale announcement and stay tuned to events in Ukraine. Weather A disturbance moving through the Midwest is and will continue to create scattered showers across mainly the Midwest throughout the day. This could lead to some areas of planting delays. A few showers and thunderstorms will also be possible in the southwestern Plains, but be very spotty and unhelpful to the current drought situation. Heat will exacerbate the drought as well.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday May 17, 2022 |


USDA to Provide Approximately $6 Billion to Commodity and Specialty Crop Producers The Department of Agriculture Monday announced that commodity and specialty crop producers impacted by natural disaster events in 2020 and 2021 will soon receive emergency relief payments. The payments totaling approximately $6 billion come from the Farm Service Agency's new Emergency Relief Program to offset crop yield and value losses. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says, "These emergency relief payments will help offset the significant crop losses due to major weather events in 2020 and 2021 and help ensure farming operations are viable this crop year." Last September, President Biden signed into law the Extending Government Funding and Delivering Emergency Assistance Act, which includes $10 billion in assistance to farmers impacted by wildfires, droughts, hurricanes, winter storms, and other eligible disasters experienced during calendar years 2020 and 2021. FSA recently made payments to ranchers impacted by drought and wildfire through the first phase of the Emergency Livestock Relief Program. More details, including eligibility, are online at fsa.usda.gov. *********************************************************************************** Dairy Groups: Retaliatory Tariffs Required as Canada Refuses its USMCA Obligations National Milk Producers Federation and the U.S. Dairy Export Council Monday called on the U.S. government to levy retaliatory tariffs on Canada. The call comes after Ottawa made clear that it refuses to meet its signed treaty obligations under the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement concerning dairy market access. In January, a USMCA dispute resolution panel initiated by the U.S. found that Canada’s dairy tariff-rate quotas system violates the terms of USMCA. Canada issued a new TRQ proposal in March, which included only inconsequential changes. Monday's announcement shows no indication that Canada intends to comply with its USMCA commitments, according to the dairy groups. Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF, says, “Canada made a clear choice to thumb its nose at both the United States government and its international treaty obligations.” In April, the groups filed public comments on the matter with Global Affairs Canada. The comments noted the proposed changes “continue to fall woefully short of full compliance.” *********************************************************************************** Farm Groups Welcome USDA Undersecretary for Trade Nominee The Biden admiration last week announced the nomination of Alexis Taylor as USDA Undersecretary for Trade. Taylor currently serves as the Oregon Director of Agriculture, after previously overseeing the USDA’s Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services during the Obama administration. Taylor is an Iowa native, who moved to Oregon after working 12 years in Washington D.C. U.S. Grains Council President and CEO Ryan LeGrand congratulated Taylor on her appointment, saying she is “a highly qualified candidate to be the USDA Undersecretary for Trade.” National Association of Wheat Growers CEO Chandler Goule says, “I have worked with Alexis for over fifteen years and know the industry appreciates her experience and understanding of the agriculture community and trade issues.” U.S. Meat Export Federation President and CEO Dan Halstrom adds, “USMEF had many opportunities to work with Taylor in her previous roles at USDA and we are confident she will be a strong and effective advocate for U.S. exporters and all of U.S. agriculture.” *********************************************************************************** Lawmakers Urge USDA to Address Infant Formula Shortages A group of Senators urges the Department of Agriculture to address "extremely high levels of corporate concentration" in the infant formula marketplace. The request comes as infant formula shortages are occurring nationwide. Senate Democrats Tammy Duckworth, Cory Booker and Amy Klobuchar say, “The infant formula industry has reached an alarming level of corporate concentration with four companies–Abbott Nutrition, Mead Johnson, Gerber, and Perrigo–controlling nearly 90 percent of the infant formula market.” The lawmakers say the concentration creates a serious risk to infant health if there is any disruption to a major manufacturer’s supply. Meanwhile, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack urged states to adopt flexibilities to support families. Vilsack says, “USDA will continue the work we started in February, working not only within our department, but across the federal government, suppliers and partners to end this infant formula crisis as quickly as possible.” The flexibilities are included in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children. *********************************************************************************** R-CALF Launches No Rancher Left Behind Campaign R-CALF USA last week announced the launch of “No Rancher Left Behind,” a rancher/farmer conversation and awareness campaign. The campaign is a collaboration between R-CALF USA and Coy Young, a Missouri cattle rancher who recently testified before Congress about the stresses he faces as a cow-calf producer. “No Rancher Left Behind” is set to feature informational graphics on social media and a resource webpage with hotline numbers and links to other helpful information, but perhaps most notably, weekly support group style, virtual meetings for ranchers to gather and converse in a safe place. Young came up with the idea for the campaign after struggling with his own market-related financial challenges and recently shared his story with the New York Times. Young adds, “If we can help each other when we’re hurting and in need, that’s the greatest accomplishment that could ever come from this campaign and these meetings.” Learn more at r-calfusa.com. *********************************************************************************** National Gas Price Spike Continues The nation's average gas price increased for the fourth straight week, rising 15.3 cents from a week ago to $4.46 per gallon. The national average is up 39.1 cents from a month ago and $1.43 per gallon higher than a year ago. The national average price of diesel increased three cents in the last week and stands at $5.55 per gallon. GasBuddy's Patrick De Haan says, "Prices later this week could be closer to $5 per gallon than $4, as demand continues to edge higher and inventories of both gasoline and diesel continue to decline." The summer driving season kicks off with Memorial Day, and China announced it would begin to reopen Shanghai, its largest city, after COVID lockdowns and reduced oil demands. De Haan adds, “While the increases may start to slow in the days ahead as pump prices catch up to oil, there isn’t much reason to be optimistic that we’ll see a plunge any time soon.”

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday May 17, 2022 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets A report on U.S. retail sales for April is due out at 7:30 a.m. CDT Tuesday, followed by the Federal Reserve's report on industrial production in April at 8:15 a.m. Traders will keep an eye on the latest weather forecasts and watch for any news of an export sale. Weather A disturbance exiting the Rockies into the Plains will be the cause of some areas of showers and thunderstorms on Tuesday across the North-Central U.S. Some storms could be severe with a greater wind and hail threat in Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, and southwest Iowa. The showers will delay planting progress where they hit, but other areas will be able to see fieldwork completed.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday May 16, 2022 |


Inflation will Burden U.S. Economy for Several Years Overall consumer prices during April were 8.3 percent higher than last year, and America’s families can expect inflation to continue pressuring their wallets for the next few years. That conclusion is from American Farm Bureau’s economists who analyzed the inflation numbers in their latest Market Intel report. They expect inflation to stay above five or six percent for the foreseeable future. The report says too much money was created by the Federal Reserve Bank, mostly in 2020, and it’s inevitably turning into inflation. “Thankfully, the Fed has begun steps to address this, but it will likely take a few years to approach their long-term target of two percent per year,” the report says. It also says the Fed injected $6.4 trillion into the economy between March 2020 and the end of 2021, a 42 percent increase in the money supply in 22 months, which is too much money to be absorbed by economic growth. *********************************************************************************** Ag Credit Conditions Stay Strong While Outlook Softens Farmland values continue to increase at a rapid pace through the end of 2021. Alongside sustained strength in farm income and credit conditions, the Kansas City Fed says the value of all types of farmland was over 20 percent higher than last year. The recent strength in agricultural real estate markets has been supported by strong demand, historically-low interest rates, and vastly-improved conditions in the farm economy. Lenders say the outlook is mostly-favorable for agriculture in the Tenth District, but rising input costs are a risk to the sector. The possibility of weaker ag income and higher interest rates in the economy remain risks for farmland markets. Even with the uncertainty around input costs, lenders expect favorable conditions in the economy to support farm finances and lead to more gains in farmland values during 2022. Despite risks, the Fed says ag appears to be well-positioned in the year ahead. *********************************************************************************** NAMI: House Report Distorts Meatpacker Efforts to Fight COVID The North American Meat Institute says the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis’ recent report distorts the truth about the meat and poultry industry’s efforts to protect workers from COVID. The report says meatpackers worked with the Trump administration to make sure they could stay open during the pandemic. Julie Anna Potts is president and CEO of the North American Meat Institute, the national trade association for the meat and poultry packers and processors. “The Meat Institute and its member companies voluntarily provided hundreds of thousands of pages to the Committee,” she says. “The report ignores the rigorous and comprehensive measures companies enacted to protect employees and support their critical infrastructure workers.” She also says the meat industry spent billions of dollars to reverse COVID-19’s trajectory. “The committee uses 20-20 hindsight and cherry-picks data to support a narrative that doesn’t tell the whole story of the early days of a national emergency,” Potts adds. *********************************************************************************** Purdue Report Shows Gaps in Urban-Rural Food Satisfaction A Purdue University report says people living in urban and rural areas share many of the same concerns about food prices and availability, including the impact of recent bird flu outbreaks. However, the monthly Consumer Food Insights Report says differences remain in food insecurity and diet satisfaction. Some of the key results from this month’s survey report showed that 60 percent of consumers are concerned about the impact of bird flu on food prices. Food spending is nine percent higher than in January, but food demand remains price insensitive. Fourteen percent of all households and 23 percent of rural households are facing food insecurity. Seventy-one percent of people in urban areas and 61 percent of rural residents are facing food insecurity. Jayson Lusk, Agricultural Economics Professor at Purdue, says, “Rural Americans struggle more often than urban Americans to buy the food they want. Current economic conditions appear to have further disadvantaged rural Americans.” *********************************************************************************** Zoetis Supports Families of America’s Military Representatives from Zoetis presented the company’s first donation to Folds of Honor to help support their work honoring America’s military heroes. Based in Oklahoma, Folds of Honor provides academic scholarships to the families of men and women who have fallen or been disabled while serving in the U.S. armed forces. Jared Shriver, senior vice president of U.S. Cattle and Pork at Zoetis, presented a donation totaling $122,000 to Folds of Honor on May 11. “Zoetis is grateful for the opportunity to help fund scholarship programs for the families of the heroes that help protect our rights and freedoms as Americans,” Shriver says. Folds of Honor was founded in 2007 by Lt. Colonel Dan Rooney, a fighter pilot who served three combat tours in Iraq. Folds of Honor has awarded nearly 35,000 scholarships in all 50 states. “The support from Zoetis helps us continue to provide opportunities,” says Ben Leslie, VP at Folds of Honor. *********************************************************************************** Export Sales Hit Marketing-Year Lows USDA says sales of corn, beans, and wheat to overseas buyers plunged to marketing-year low points during the week ending on May 5. Agency data says corn sales during the week dropped to 192,700 metric tons, down 75 percent from the previous week and 80 percent from the prior four-week average. It’s also the lowest total since the marketing year began on September 1, 2021. Japan was the top corn buyer at 132,600 metric tons. Soybean sales during the week hit 143,700 metric tons, 80 percent lower than the previous week and 74 percent year-over-year. Indonesia was the top buyer with 66,200 metric tons. Wheat sales dipped to 14,100 metric tons, the lowest since the grain marketing year began on June 1 of last year. That total was 88 percent lower than the previous week and 79 percent from the average. Colombia was the top buyer with 40,000 metric tons.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday May 16, 2022 |


Monday Watch List Markets Back from the weekend, traders will be checking the latest weather forecasts, outside market news and may even still be pondering USDA's estimates from Thursday. USDA's weekly report of export inspections will be out at 10 a.m. CDT, followed by Crop Progress at 3 p.m. Special attention will be given to corn and soybean planting progress, both likely showing big gains in the latest week. Weather A system from the weekend will continue to push showers through the eastern U.S. on Monday, including some severe weather potential. The front to the system is hung up back across West Texas where additional showers and thunderstorms will develop later in the day. Those, too, may be severe. The spotty nature to the showers will not help out many of those in drought, however.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday May 13, 2022 |


USDA Accepting Applications for Philippines Trade Mission U.S. exporters are invited to submit applications to the USDA for an agricultural trade mission to the Philippines, July 18-21. The mission to Manila will allow U.S. growers, producers, and exporters explore a thriving market that’s expected to emerge from COVID-19 with one of the strongest growth forecasts in Asia. The Philippines is the eighth-largest export market for American agricultural and food exports, averaging $3.1 billion annually during the last five years. USDA says the country offers tremendous export potential thanks to its young and fast-growing population, strong consumer preference for American foods and beverages, and robust service-based economy. “The Philippines sets itself apart from the rest of the world with a U.S. partnership that spans decades and has a bright trade future,” says Daniel Whitley, administrator of the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. Some of the strongest export opportunities in the Philippine market include beef, pork, poultry, cheese, vegetables, and many more. *********************************************************************************** European Union to Help Ukraine Export Grain The European Commission says it will work with the EU governments to help Ukraine export millions of tons of grain currently stuck in the country. As part of the Russian invasion, Russia’s navy has blocked Ukraine’s Black Sea ports. Ukraine was the fourth-largest grain exporter during the 2020-2021 season, selling 44.7 million tons abroad, mainly to China, Africa, and Europe. The closed seaports are causing problems getting grain out of Ukraine and threatening the world’s food supply, especially in poorer regions like Africa. Reuters says getting Ukraine’s products out quickly by train is challenging too because the country’s rail system has different widths of track from Europe. That means the grain has to get transferred at the border to different trains. To make things even worse, there aren’t a lot of transfer facilities on the border. The Commission will take several steps to prioritize Ukraine’s grain shipments at their terminals. *********************************************************************************** First 2022 Winter Wheat Production Calls for Lower Yield U.S. farmers are expected to produce 1.17 billion bushels of winter wheat this year. It’s the first winter wheat production forecast for 2022 issued by the National Agricultural Statistics Service. The forecast calls for an eight percent drop from 2021. As of May 1, the U.S. yield is expected to average 47.9 bushels per acre, down 2.3 bushels from last year’s average of 50.2 bushels. Hard Red Winter Wheat production is forecast at 590 million bushels, down 21 percent from last year. Soft Red Winter Wheat is predicted to be 354 million bushels, expected to be a two percent drop from 2021. White Winter Wheat, at 230 million bushels, is up 38 percent from last year. Of the White Winter Wheat production, 15.7 million bushels are Hard White, and 214 million bushels are Soft White. NASS surveyed roughly 9,300 producers from across the country in preparation for this production report. *********************************************************************************** May WASDE Report Shows Lower Corn, Higher Soybean Production The May World Ag Supply and Demand Estimates call for lower corn and higher soybean production in 2022-2023. The corn outlook calls for lower domestic use, exports, ending stocks, and higher prices. The corn crop is projected at 14.5 billion bushels, 4.3 percent less than the USDA trend from February. Total corn supplies will decline 2.7 percent to 15.9 billion bushels. The season-average corn price is projected at $6.75 a bushel. The soybean outlook is for higher supplies, crush, exports, and ending stocks this year. The soybean crop will be 4.64 billion bushels, five percent higher than last year. Soybean supplies will be 4.89 billion bushels, up four percent from last year. The season-average soybean price will be $14.40 a bushel, up $1.15 from last year. U.S. all-wheat production is projected at 1.72 billion bushels, 83 million higher than last year. The all-wheat yield will be 46.6 bushels an acre, with the price at a record $10.75 a bushel. *********************************************************************************** Ethanol Production Rises to Highest Point in a Month The Energy Information Administration says ethanol output rose to the highest level in a month during the week ending on May 6. Ethanol inventories increased for the first time in six weeks. Ethanol production rose to an average of 991,000 barrels a day, up from 969,000 barrels during the prior week. It was also the highest level since April 8. In the Midwest, which produces the most of any region in the country, production rose to 941,000 barrels a day, up from 915,000 the week before. It's also the highest level in the Midwest since April 8. The Midwest was the only region that saw an increase. Gulf Coast and West Coast production levels remained the same at 24,000 and 9,000 barrels a day, respectively. Rocky Mountain output dropped to 12,000 barrels a day, the lowest output since December. Ethanol inventories increased to 24.14 million barrels during the week, the highest since April 15. *********************************************************************************** CFTC Will Hold Meeting on Voluntary Carbon Markets The Commodity Futures Trading Commission will hold its inaugural Voluntary Carbon Markets Convening on June 2. Participants will discuss issues related to the supply and demand for high-quality offsets, including the product standardization and data necessary to support the integrity of carbon offsets’ greenhouse gas emissions avoidance and reduction claims. They’ll also discuss issues that relate to the market structure for trading carbon offsets and carbon derivatives as well as what potential challenges and opportunities in these markets may look like. “As companies increasingly turn to derivatives markets to manage risk and keep pace with global efforts to decarbonize, I look forward to CFTC facilitating these discussions,” says CFTC Chair Rostin Benham. He also says the goal is to foster innovation in crafting solutions to the climate crisis while ensuring integrity and customer protection. “We’ll also be gathering information from a variety of market participants in the voluntary carbon markets,” Benham adds.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday May 13, 2022 |


Friday Watch List Markets The University of Michigan's early index of consumer sentiment for May is due out at 9 a.m. CDT, the only significant report on Friday's docket. Traders will still be digesting Thursday's new estimates from USDA and we'll see how the market responds to Thursday's limit-up close in September Minneapolis wheat. The latest weather forecasts continue to get widespread attention as does any news regarding Ukraine or planting progress here in the U.S. Weather A low pressure system in the Northern Plains will continue to move northward through the Canadian Prairies through Saturday, bringing scattered showers and thunderstorms and locally heavy rainfall to keep planting pace slow in these areas. The front to the system continues to move through the central Midwest and southeastern Plains on Friday with more showers and thunderstorms. Areas that have seen really good planting weather all week will have to deal with showers.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday May 12, 2022 |


Biden Announces Action for Farmers on Issues Stemming from Russia War President Joe Biden visited an Illinois farm Wednesday to announce action for U.S. farmers in the wake of the Russia/Ukraine war. The measures include increasing the number of counties eligible for double cropping insurance. The Biden administration is seeking to expand insurance for double cropping to as many as 681 additional counties, bringing the total number of counties where this practice qualifies for crop insurance to as many as 1,935, so more American farmers have the financial security to start or expand double cropping. Another measure would cut costs for farmers by increasing technical assistance for technology-driven precision agriculture and other nutrient management tools. The third measure would double funding for domestic fertilizer production. President Biden is doubling his initial $250 million investment in domestic fertilizer production to $500 million to lower costs and boost availability for farmers, so they can obtain the inputs they need at prices they can afford to maximize yields. *********************************************************************************** Senators Claim USTR Office Lacks Transparency Senate lawmakers call on the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office to dramatically improve transparency and consultation with Congress on pending trade negotiations. Led by Republican Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, members of the Senate Finance Committee cited negotiations to waive intellectual property rules at the World Trade Organization, where details became public before Congress was briefed or shown the agreement, as a recent example. A joint statement from the lawmakers says, “We want to ensure that this failure to consult properly with Congress will not be replicated in other areas.” Congress has primary authority to regulate tariffs and commerce with foreign nations under Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution. It delegates authority to the executive branch, with the requirement that it be consulted about trade policies. Grassley has frequently raised concerns about operations at the USTR. Last August, he called on President Biden to immediately appoint qualified individuals to the position of Chief Agricultural Negotiator at the USTR. *********************************************************************************** AEM Releases April 2022 Equipment Sales Numbers Tractor and combine sales declined in April for the second month in a row, according to the Association of Equipment Manufacturers. U.S. total farm tractor sales fell 22.3 percent in April compared to 2021, while U.S. combine sales for the month declined 5.6 percent. Total farm tractor sales are now down 13.7 percent year-to-date, while combines are down 14.5 percent. In Canada, unit sales fell in all segments again for a 19 percent decline in total farm tractor sales, while combine sales were down as well, falling 14.1 percent. Year-to-date farm tractor unit sales are down a 7.7 percent in Canada, while harvesters are down 28 percent. Curt Blades of AEM says, “Supply chain remains the number one difficulty our member manufacturers are facing,” adding, “At the same time, we’re comparing to record numbers from 2021, and while these numbers may look disappointing, they remain above the 5-year average.” *********************************************************************************** Labor Force Participation Decreased Less in Rural Areas During Pandemic From 2007 to 2019, labor force participation rates decreased 2.6 percentage points for people aged 25 to 64 in the rural United States and 0.7 percentage points for the same age group in urban areas. The labor participation rate is the percentage of the population that is working or actively looking for work. USDA's Economic Research Service released data Wednesday that shows the larger decrease in rural participation reflects a slower recovery in those areas after the Great Recession, which lasted from December 2007 to June 2009. Labor force participation rates for people aged 25 to 64 decreased again from 2019 to 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic but decreased less in rural counties than in urban counties. Rates declined the most from 2019 to 2020 for people aged 16 to 24 and fell the most in that age group in urban counties. In 2021, labor force participation rates for each age group remained below pre-pandemic levels in rural and urban counties. *********************************************************************************** FFAR and Kroger Foundation Fund Food Waste Research The Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research, in collaboration with The Kroger Co. Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation, announced the Food Waste Challenge Wednesday. The challenge aims to develop an original, innovative methodology for quantitative measurement for food waste generated in U.S. households. Objective, quantitative measurements would provide an accurate picture of the sources of food waste and benefit efforts to reduce this waste across the food system. U.S. household food waste is likely underestimated. Traditionally, multiple methods have been used to track household food waste, including surveys or specialized applications. However, the methods are inconsistent and use different understandings of food waste. Additional research is critical to reducing food waste and supporting interventions, requiring original approaches to gathering accurate and standardized measurements. Applications are due July 13, 2022. Each grantee may receive up to $1 million. The Food Waste Challenge webpage includes more information about this funding opportunity and instructions on how to apply. *********************************************************************************** USDA, EDA, Launch Resource Guide for Rural Economic Development The Department of Agriculture and the Economic Development Administration Wednesday unveiled a joint resource guide. The guide seeks to help community organizations access USDA and EDA resources to build strategies to boost economic development in rural America. USDA Rural Development Under Secretary Xochitl (So-CHEEL) Torres Small says, “The guide we are unveiling today will better equip people with the tools they need to make their communities more attractive, economically viable and safe places to live and work.” The resource guide outlines programs and services that can be used to advance community and economic development in rural communities through four key focus areas: Planning and technical assistance, Infrastructure and broadband expansion, Entrepreneurship and business assistance, and workforce development and livability. The guide also features information and links to USDA Rural Development and U.S. Economic Development Administration key priorities and resources. The resource guide is available online at https://www.rd.usda.gov.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday May 12, 2022 |


Thursday Watch List Markets USDA's weekly report of export sales is due out at 7:30 a.m. CDT, the same time as weekly U.S. jobless claims, the U.S. producer price index for April and an update of the U.S. Drought Monitor. The Energy Department's weekly report of natural gas storage is set for 9:30 a.m. Traders remain close to the latest weather forecasts and will be ready for USDA's WASDE and Crop Production reports, both due out at 11 a.m. CDT. You can still join DTN's WASDE webinar at 12:30 p.m. or register at DTN.com and listen later at your convenience. Weather A system that produced severe storms across the Upper Midwest on Wednesday will continue to produce strong thunderstorms Thursday. Early morning thunderstorms across the Dakotas and Minnesota will give way to a broken line of strong to severe storms from the eastern Dakotas to central Kansas this afternoon that will push into the Upper Midwest in the evening and overnight hours. All modes of severe weather will be possible. Additional showers and thunderstorms will develop farther west across Montana and Wyoming as the main low pressure center deepens in the area. Elsewhere, hot and dry conditions will continue to favor spring planting, though some isolated showers will be possible in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast this afternoon.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday May 11, 2022 |


USDA: Strong Interests in Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities The Department of Agriculture says the first round of funding through the Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities received more than 450 proposals ranging from $5 million to $100 million each. The deadline for the proposals closed on Friday. The applications USDA received came from more than 350 groups across various sectors. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says the “funding opportunity has created tremendous interest from a diverse cross-section of groups from across the country.” Proposals in the first funding pool include large-scale pilot projects that emphasize the greenhouse gas benefits of climate-smart commodity production and include direct, meaningful benefits to a representative cross-section of production agriculture. Over the next few months, USDA will evaluate the applications and rank them based on the technical criteria provided in the funding opportunity. Awards for the first round of funding are anticipated later this summer. The deadline for the second round of funding is Friday, June 10, 2022. *********************************************************************************** SEC Extends Comment Period on Climate-Reporting Rule The American Farm Bureau Federation and National Pork Producers Council welcomed the Securities and Exchange Commission's comment period extension for a proposed rule. The groups say they need more time to evaluate “The Enhancement and Standardization of Climate Related Disclosures for Investors” rule. The proposal would require public companies to report on Scope 3 emissions, which result from activities from assets not owned or controlled by a publicly-traded company but contribute to its value chain. While farmers and ranchers would not be required to report directly to the SEC, they provide almost every raw product that goes into the food supply chain. Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall says, “America’s farmers and ranchers need time to fully understand the consequences of this 510-page proposal.” NPPC Chief Executive Officer Bryan Humphreys adds, “The additional time provided by the SEC allows farmers to provide more valuable information to the Commission as it continues to work on developing its disclosure rule.” *********************************************************************************** Grassley, Klobuchar Lead Push for Avian Influenza Outbreak Funding Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley and Minnesota Democrat Amy Klobuchar led an effort this week for more funding to help address the highly pathogenic avian influenza outbreak. The Senators told the Senate Appropriations Committee leaders, “Although the virus poses minimal risk to human health, it has serious implications for U.S. poultry producers, rural communities, and our agricultural economy.” HPAI has been detected in 32 states across the country and has killed over 36 million birds, to date. The lawmakers say, “Given the recent outbreak, the ongoing increase in confirmed HPAI cases, and the likelihood of further spread, we urge the Subcommittee to make funding for the APHIS avian health program a high priority.” The funds, they say, are critical to continue HPAI response measures by USDA. As of Friday, the HPAI outbreak has impacted around 19 sites across Iowa alone, affecting 13 million birds – more than any other state. *********************************************************************************** ESMC, Sorghum Checkoff, Launch Project to Create Ecosystem Services Credits Ecosystem Services Market Consortium and the United Sorghum Checkoff Program Tuesday announced the launch of a carbon pilot project in Western Kansas for sorghum farmers. The program seeks to generate high-quality carbon, greenhouse gas, water quality and biodiversity credits in ESMC’s market program. The project will test ESMC’s streamlined programming to create environmental credits from sorghum farmers’ fields. Many of the farmers are new to private voluntary ecosystem markets linked to conservation practice adoption, so the project will also develop knowledge, capacity and repeatability to continue expanding support for sorghum growers in the region. The research project covers about 5,000 acres in Western Kansas and is working with sorghum farmers interested in implementing conservation practices such as nutrient management and edge of field practices. Sorghum farmers can earn credits from increased soil carbon, reduced or avoided greenhouse gases, improved water quality, and preserved habitat at field edges that increase plant, bird and insect biodiversity and populations. *********************************************************************************** NFU Supports White House Affordability Connectivity Program National Farmers Union welcomed this week’s Affordability Connectivity Program announced by the White House. The program seeks to close the U.S. digital divide by making reliable, high-speed internet affordable to many families in rural and urban communities. The program will provide an estimated 48 million qualifying families with a $30/month benefit to apply towards a high-speed plan and get it at zero cost. NFU President Rob Larew says, “Reliable and affordable high-speed internet is a necessity in today’s world whether you are a farmer or rancher accessing markets and precision agriculture or you and your family are connecting to your schools and jobs.” The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law included $65 billion to make sure we expand access to broadband internet in every region of the country. President Joe Biden, announcing the Program Monday, said broadband, among other things, allows “farmers to use precision agriculture technology to improve their yields.” Participating providers include AT&T, Verizon, Cox, Comcast, and other providers who serve rural communities. *********************************************************************************** USDA: High Fiber Diets Associated with Less Antibiotic Resistance USDA's Agricultural Resource Service says healthy adults who eat a diverse diet with at least 8-10 grams of soluble fiber a day have fewer antibiotic-resistant microbes in their guts. A new study from ARS scientists shows microbes that have resistance to various commonly used antibiotics are a significant source of risk for people worldwide, with the widely held expectation that the problem of antimicrobial resistance is likely to worsen throughout the coming decades. The researchers found that regularly eating a diet with higher levels of fiber and lower protein levels, especially from beef and pork, was significantly correlated with lower levels of antimicrobial resistance genes among their gut microbes. Healthy adults eating a diverse diet with at least 8-10 grams of soluble fiber a day have fewer antibiotic-resistant microbes in their guts. Soluble fiber is found in foods such as grains, beans, lentils, nuts, and some fruits and vegetables.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday May 11, 2022 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets At 7:30 a.m. CDT Wednesday, the U.S. Labor Department will issue its consumer price index for April and no relief from high prices is expected. At 9:30 a.m., the Energy Department releases its weekly inventory report, including an update on ethanol production. As usual, traders remain focused on the latest weather forecasts and any news regarding Ukraine, but have not seen a daily export sale announced since April 28. The U.S. Treasury reports on the federal budget for April at 1 p.m. Weather After a day's break in the North-Central U.S., scattered showers and thunderstorms return to the region on Wednesday, making planting more difficult. A zone of showers and thunderstorms will also develop across the Plains from Nebraska to the southwestern Plains as well, expanding from where they occurred on Tuesday. Severe weather will be a high possibility in both regions, but especially around northwest Iowa and southwest Minnesota this afternoon and early evening. Eastern areas of the country will continue to enjoy good planting weather.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday May 10, 2022 |


New Study Demonstrates Lower Consumer Costs at the Pump Clean Fuels Alliance America Monday released a new study, "The Offsetting Impact of Expanded Biomass Based Diesel Production on Diesel Prices.” The study shows that U.S. production of biodiesel and renewable diesel consistently reduces distillate fuel prices by increasing the supply. As the production and availability of cleaner, better fuels grew over the last decade, the price impact increased to a four percent benefit in 2020 and 2021. Kurt Kovarik, vice president of federal affairs for Clean Fuels, adds, "At today's national average price for diesel fuel, the savings is equal to about 22 cents per gallon.” Biodiesel and renewable diesel meet more than six percent of the nation's need for diesel fuel, according to the study. The study notes that even small changes in the supply of diesel fuel will result in relatively larger changes in the diesel fuel price. The study is available on cleanfuels.org. *********************************************************************************** Farmland Partners: ‘Short and Distort’ Class Action Lawsuit Concluded Farmland Partners Inc. Monday announced the deadline to appeal has passed with no appeal filed by the plaintiff from the U.S. District Court's April 6, 2022, ruling dismissing the class-action lawsuit against the company and certain of its executives. The class-action suit has been pending since July 2018, when FPI, its management, and its shareholders were targeted by short-sellers who knowingly printed false information about the company to manipulate its stock price. The author of those attacks has since admitted the falseness of numerous allegations, which were at the core of the class action case. The company expects the plaintiff’s decision to forego an appeal of the district court’s order will result in the dismissal of two shareholder derivative lawsuits associated with the underlying class action lawsuit. FPI Chairman and CEO Paul Pittman says, “Today, we can finally close this chapter and move on to doing what we do best – investing in high-quality farmland across the country and delivering for our shareholders.” *********************************************************************************** Lawmakers Seek $1 billion for Farm Bill Conservation Programs in 2023 Budget A group of Senate Democrats last week requested the 2023 budget include funding for Farm Bill conservation programs. Senators Michael Bennet of Colorado, Debbie Stabenow of Michigan and Chris Coons of Delaware led the effort in a letter to the Senate Appropriations Agriculture Subcommittee. The senators also ask for $1 billion to continue to increase USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service Conservation Operations to help ensure farmers, ranchers, and foresters can be part of the climate solution. The letter states, “We need strong investments in USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service staff and resources to support farmers, ranchers and foresters to help mitigate and adapt to climate change.” In the recent FY22 omnibus spending bill, the Senate passed $904 million for NRCS Conservation Operations. NRCS staff help implement several Farm Bill conservation programs that are critical to helping farmers conserve land and water, protect water quality, and improve soil health. The lawmakers say strong investments in these programs are necessary to help agriculture community combat climate change. *********************************************************************************** NPPC to Weigh in on EPA Formaldehyde Risk Assessment The National Pork Producers Council will soon submit comments on the Environmental Protection Agency’s toxicological review of formaldehyde. NPPC says formaldehyde is used in pork production for, among other things, preventing Salmonella infections in pigs and as a disinfectant. Pork industry-funded research has demonstrated formaldehyde's potential as a mitigant for contamination of feeds with viruses such as African swine fever. EPA in mid-April released a draft risk assessment on formaldehyde for public comment in advance of an external peer review that will be conducted by the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. NPPC and other agricultural groups met last week with senior EPA leadership on the assessment and requested an extension of the comment period, which runs through June 13. EPA research claims long-term formaldehyde exposure in small amounts increases risks for rare head and neck tumors, and leukemia, among other health issues. *********************************************************************************** AFBF Issues Support for Climate-Smart Commodity Proposals The American Farm Bureau Federation last week announced support for climate-smart commodity proposals. Farm Bureau sent letters of support to five organizations that have submitted proposals for the USDA Climate-Smart Commodities program. USDA is investing $1 billion in pilot projects that create market opportunities for U.S. agricultural and forestry products that use climate-smart practices and include innovative, cost-effective ways to measure and verify greenhouse gas benefits. An AFBF review committee placed a high priority on projects that reflect objectives laid out by AFBF and state Farm Bureaus during USDA’s request for information process. While other projects may meet those goals, the review committee decided to focus on projects developed or supported by state Farm Bureaus. AFBF President Zippy Duvall says, “The voluntary, market-driven proposals we support will help farmers and ranchers reach their conservation goals while ensuring they keep dinner on the table for families across the country.” *********************************************************************************** Busch Light and John Deere Team Up to Support American Farmers Busch Light and John Deere Monday announced a “For the Farmers” collaboration featuring limited-edition beer cans to support Farm Rescue. Available May 16 through July 3, consumers can purchase 24- or 30-pack cases of 12-ounce Busch Light cans with farming graphics that feature the John Deere logo and equipment. For each case sold during its limited run, Busch Light will donate $1 to Farm Rescue, up to a maximum of $100,000, with John Deere matching Busch Light’s donation. Farm Rescue is a non-profit that provides critical material aid to family farms. Kristyn Stowe of Anheuser-Busch says, “The “For the Farmers” cans mark a legendary union of two iconic brands with a shared passion for supporting farmers and the great Heartlands of America.” Further, on Saturday, May 21, Busch Light and John Deere will host Cornfield Cornhole, a free, one-day fan experience in Big Bend, Wisconsin. At Cornfield Cornhole, a John Deere tractor and ground-posted slingshot will catapult hay bales wrapped in ‘For the Farmers’ graphics across the cornfield to reach an oversized cornhole board.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday May 10, 2022 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets There are no significant reports on Tuesday's docket, but traders will keep an eye on the latest weather forecasts, any news of an export sale and any news related to Ukraine. Anecdotes of more planting progress will also be circulating this week. Weather A trough in the West will continue to bring scattered showers to the Pacific Northwest and Canadian Prairies on Tuesday. A front across the North-Central will also produce some showers. But chances for some isolated showers are expected in West Texas for the next few days starting Tuesday. They will come with risks of severe weather, but the moisture will be important to those that are hit. Otherwise, hot and dry conditions will continue to stress wheat in the southwestern Plains while other areas around the country see better planting conditions.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday May 9, 2022 |


Food Prices Slightly Lower in April World food prices took a small step down in April after reaching a record high in March. Reuters says global food security is still a big concern because of challenging conditions in world markets. The Food and Agriculture Organization’s food price index, which tracks the most globally-traded food commodities, averaged 158.5 points in April compared to 159.7 in March. FAO’s chief economist Maximo Cullen says the small decrease in the index is a welcome relief. “However, food prices are still close to their recent highs,” Cullen says. After dropping from the March high point, the April index is still almost 20 percent higher than last year. The cereal price index fell 0.7 percent in April after jumping 17 percent higher in March. The vegetable oil index dropped 5.7 percent in April because of demand rationing. Sugar prices increased three percent, meat rose two percent, and the dairy index was up 0.9 percent. *********************************************************************************** Senate Committee Passes WRDA 2022 Last week Last week, the Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee unanimously passed its Water Resources Development Act of 2022. WRDA provides improvements for the nation’s ports, inland waterways, locks, dams, flood protection, ecosystem restoration, and other water resources infrastructure. It’s good news for farmers who transport their crops through the infrastructure system and will allow them to remain competitive in the global market. A proposal within the bill would permanently adjust the inland waterways cost-share to 75 percent general revenue and 25 percent Inland Waterways Trust Fund. It would also eliminate the sunset provisions to preserve these changes in perpetuity. The American Soybean Association says it supports the cost-share proposal and continues to advocate for investments to fund lock and dam construction and rehabilitation. They say upgrading the aging lock-and-dam systems along the inland waterways is critical to increasing barge capacity for shipping bigger loads of soybeans to international customers. *********************************************************************************** Beef Export Value Sets Another Record, Pork Exports Improve U.S. beef exports soared to another new value record during March. The U.S. Meat Export Federation says March pork exports were the largest so far this year but well below the record-large totals in March 2021. Beef exports totaled almost 126,300 metric tons in March, one percent higher than last year and the third-largest on record. The value climbed 33 percent higher to a record $1.07 billion. First-quarter exports were six percent higher than last year. USMEF CEO Dan Halstrom says rising inflation and less disposable income may represent a potential demand headwind in the April and May export data. March pork exports hit 222,600 metric tons, their highest total since November 2021. That’s still almost 25 percent below the record volume of last year. The pork export value hit $615.3 million, also the highest since November but still 23 percent lower year-over-year. First-quarter pork exports were 20 percent lower than last year’s total. *********************************************************************************** 2022 World Food Prize Winner is a NASA Climate Scientist Dr. Cynthia Rosenzweig is a climatologist, agronomist, and former farmer. She’s also the 2022 World Food Prize Award winner for her work in modeling the impact of climate change on world food production. Rosenzweig was recognized as the leader of the global scientific collaboration that produced the methodology and data used by decision-makers around the world. She wins $250,000 as the founder of the Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project, or the AgMIP, a global network of climate and food system modelers. The AgMIP is dedicated to advancing methods for improving predictions of the future performance of agricultural and food systems in the face of climate change. Her leadership has directly helped decision-makers in more than 90 countries enhance their resilience to climate change. “I’m proud to announce Dr. Rosenzweig as the winner, given her tremendous contributions over the last four decades,” says Barbara Stinson, president of the World Food Prize Foundation. *********************************************************************************** Nutrien Announces Higher Earnings, Increased Potash Production Nutrien says its first-quarter earnings in 2022 totaled $1.4 billion. The first-quarter net earnings per share were $2.70. Nutrien says global agriculture and crop input markets are being impacted by many unprecedented supply disruptions that have contributed to higher commodity prices and heightened concerns about global food security. “The situation proves the need for long-term solutions that support a sustainable increase in global crop production,” says Ken Seitz, interim president and CEO of Nutrien. “We are responding by safely increasing potash production and utilizing our global supply chain to provide customers with the crop inputs and services they need for this critical growing season. He also says the company expects higher earnings and cash flows this year, which provides them an opportunity to accelerate strategic initiatives that Nutrien believes will advance sustainable agriculture practices. It includes the potential to expand their low-cost fertilizer production capacity and enhance their global distribution network. *********************************************************************************** Overseas Corn Sales Lower, Wheat and Soybean Sales Rise U.S. corn export sales were lower during the week ending on April 28 while wheat and soybean sales climbed. China bought the most corn at 466,000 metric tons, but the total overseas sales were reported at 782,500 metric tons, 10 percent lower than the previous week. It’s also 19 percent lower than the prior four-week average. Sales for the 2022-2023 marketing year that starts on September 1 came in at 737,900 metric tons, and exports rose 22 percent to a marketing-year high of 1.9 million metric tons. Wheat sales rose to 118,000 metric tons, a sizeable gain from the prior week and 53 percent above the average for this time of year. Mexico was the top buyer at 88,400 metric tons. Soybean sales hit 734,600 metric tons, 53 percent higher than the previous week and 28 percent above the four-week average. Sales for delivery in the next marketing year dropped 21 percent week-to-week.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday May 9, 2022 |


Monday Watch List Markets Back from Mother's Day weekend, traders won't be any better behaved, but they will be checking the latest changes in the weather forecast, any news regarding Ukraine and will also be alert for any export sales announcements. USDA's weekly export inspections report is due out at 10 a.m. CDT, followed by the Crop Progress report at 3 p.m. Weather A strong system will move through the North-Central U.S. on Monday. It is already bringing scattered showers and thunderstorms to the Northern Plains early Monday morning, which will spread into Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin throughout the day. Any thunderstorms could be severe, especially later today and tonight across Minnesota and Iowa into Wisconsin. Breezy winds are accompanying the system across the north, but also down through the Plains. The wind, combined with some impressive May heat, increases the risks of wildfires in drought areas.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday May 6, 2022 |


USDA Updates Livestock Insurance Options The USDA has updated three key crop insurance options for livestock producers to offer better protection and flexibility. The options are Dairy Revenue Protection, Livestock Gross Margin, and Livestock Risk Protection. The Risk Management Agency revised the insurance options to reach more producers and better meet the needs of America’s swine, dairy, and cattle operations. The updates recently got published for the 2023 crop year, which begins on July 1, 2022. “Great and sound customer service is the most important thing we can provide our nation’s producers, making sure the products we offer give them the most useful tools for covering their risks,” says RMA Administrator Marcia Bunger. “Agriculture is not a static industry, and these updates reflect the importance we place on always knowing the evolving needs of producers and offering the most people the best risk-management tools we can.” For more information on livestock insurance policies, go to rma.usda.gov. *********************************************************************************** NCGA Call-to-Action on Fair Fertilizer Markets The National Corn Growers Association responded to the recent USDA public comment period on its report titled “Access to Fertilizer: Competition and Supply Chain Concerns” by launching a call-to-action. The call got made to aid corn growers in raising a collective voice on this important and timely issue. “We need a unified message if we’re going to effectively reach Washington decision-makers on this important issue,” says NCGA Vice President of Public Policy, Brook Appleton. “That’s why it’s critical that corn growers take this opportunity to submit comments to USDA, including detailed information on how rising input costs are impacting their operation.” The call-to-action encourages corn growers to comment specifically on fertilizer accessibility, price volatility, and market competition. The public comment period will close on May 16. “This is an opportunity to grab a seat at the table during an important discussion,” Appleton adds. For more information on how to submit comments, go to ncga.com. *********************************************************************************** Union Expects CNH Strike to Last Up to Six Months On May 2, approximately 1,200 CNH Industrial workers represented by UAW walked out of manufacturing plants in Iowa and Wisconsin. During a recent interview with Ag Equipment Intelligence, the local president of the UAW says members should expect to be out of work for three-to-six months. “I think what’s going to get CNH back to the table is when they start losing money,” says Local 807 President Nick Guernsey. “They’ll probably start feeling that at four weeks.” The strike began after the sides failed to reach an agreement on a new labor contract. Guernsey says, “The company had replacement workers in town a week before the contract expired, so this was a premeditated strategy.” He says there were several issues at play when negotiations hit an impasse last weekend, including CNHI union jobs paying less than the non-union factory jobs. “At the end of the day, nobody wins in a strike,” he adds. *********************************************************************************** Drought Conditions Persist in the Missouri River Basin April’s dry conditions resulted in well-below average runoff in the upper Missouri River Basin. Monthly runoff in April totaled 1.5 million acre-feet which is 51 percent of the average. The updated 2022 upper Basin runoff forecast is now 17.8 million acre-feet which is 69 percent of the average. If that number gets reached, it will rank as the 23rd-lowest calendar year runoff volume. “Despite recent snow and rainfall events, 84 percent of the upper Basin continues to experience abnormally dry conditions," says John Remus, chief of the Army Corps of Engineers Missouri River Basin Water Management Division. “Current drought conditions, dry soils, and below-normal mountain snowpack resulted in the below-average 2022 calendar year runoff forecast.” The NOAA Climate Prediction Center indicates increased chances for cooler and wetter-than-normal conditions for most of the Basin during May, potentially providing much-needed moisture to the area. However, June, July, and August forecasts indicate warmer and drier-than-normal conditions. *********************************************************************************** Full Schedule of Educational Seminars at Work Pork Expo Pork industry professionals will get the latest in production and management education through many topical seminars during this year’s World Pork Expo, presented by the National Pork Producers Council. The World Pork Expo takes place June 8-10 at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines. This year’s lineup of Business Seminars and Pork Academy sessions gives producers a great opportunity to learn about critical topics like sustainability, data, industry collaborations, nutrition, and more. “These seminars provide opportunities for pork professionals to stay on top of the latest challenges, topics, trends, and innovations in our industry,” says NPPC President Terry Wolters. “The World Pork Expo is an excellent place to learn how to improve operations and outcomes with the newest strategies.” Attendees can participate in business seminars, Pork Academy sessions, and several networking opportunities. There is still time to register and join thousands of pork industry professionals at the event. More information is at worldpork.org. *********************************************************************************** USDA Providing Assistance to Cotton and Wool Clothing Manufacturers USDA says it will commit $50 million to assist eligible apparel makers of wool suits, sport coats, pants, or Pima (PEE-mah) cotton dress shirts. The new Cotton and Wool Apparel Program is part of USDA’s Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative and the department’s efforts to help the food, agriculture, and forestry sectors get back on track. “The transition toward remote work at the start of COVID-19 led to a dramatic decrease in consumer demand for dress clothing, which has continued to affect the entire supply chain of cotton and wool,” says Farm Service Administrator Zach Ducheneaux. “While many manufacturers switched to making personal protective equipment, the industry is still struggling to recover from a persistent and significant decline in sales.” In the announcement, FSA also says the relief will help keep these manufacturers in business, which will ultimately support American workers and the domestic cotton growers and wool producers who rely on this industry.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday May 6, 2022 |


Friday Watch List Markets At 7:30 a.m. CDT Friday, the U.S. Labor Department will release its reports of nonfarm payrolls and the unemployment rate, both for April. Traders will watch closely the latest weather forecasts and any news regarding Ukraine. Traders will also watch at 8 a.m. to see if USDA has its first export sale announcement of the week. A report on U.S. consumer credit is due out at 2 p.m. Weather Moderate rain will cover the eastern Midwest Friday, disrupting fieldwork and planting. We'll also see light showers in the northern states hinder activity. Other crop areas will be dry. Highs: 50s/60s E Midwest; 60s/70s Canadian Prairies, N Plains, W Midwest; 70s/80s S Plains, S Midwest, Delta, Deep South.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday May 5, 2022 |


#SoyHelp to Manage Farm Stress The American Soybean Association, the United Soybean Board, and soybean states want to help farmers who might need help managing the stress of life on the farm. This May is Mental Health Month. The soy community will continue its proactive communications campaign to combat farm stress by offering #SoyHelp. The groups have researched an updated range of options that can be found on the soygrowers.com website year-round. Those options include national mental health resources like crisis centers and suicide hotlines. There are ag-specific resources for farmers and farm families, both national and by soy states. “We want these resources to resonate regardless of age, location, race, gender, or the circumstances that have led to needing a hand,” says Brad Doyle, president of the American Soybean Association. The resources include links to self-assessments, professional services, local health care facilities, hotlines for urgent needs, and chat and text lines for instant access. *********************************************************************************** Ukraine Facing Grain Storage Crunch A sharp fall in exports resulting from the Russian invasion is causing a significant shortage of storage facilities in Ukraine for the 2022-2023 season. Analyst APK-Inform says that Ukraine is getting forced to export grain by train over its western border or from smaller ports along the Danube River. APK-Inform says that Ukraine’s exports may total just 45.5 million tons of the 2021 record-harvest total of 86 million tons. Reuters says grain and oilseed stocks at the end of the current season may reach an all-time high of 21.3 million tons. That volume is 4.2 times higher than in the previous season and won’t allow Ukraine to release a significant share of its storage capacity for any new harvest that comes in. Ukraine is typically a major grain and oilseed grower for the world, but exports have dropped sharply. Ukraine exported 763,000 tons in April compared to 2.8 million tons at the same time last year. *********************************************************************************** Winter Wheat Resiliency Getting Tested by Drought, High Winds The major winter wheat-growing regions in the U.S. face the significant possibility of below-average yields. DTN says that’s because drought intensified through the Plains this spring, and summer forecasts don’t show much relief ahead. A dry fall, winter, and spring combined with winds over 60 mph have pushed the winter wheat to the limit. DTN Meteorologist John Baranick (Ba-RA-nick) says overall conditions are poor from Nebraska through western Kansas and into West Texas. The region’s lower precipitation trend dates back to late in the summer of 2021. Precipitation stayed low through the fall and winter, while spring storm systems stayed to the north. Persistent high winds have only made things harder for the wheat crop. As active spring storms swung north across the western U.S., they sent strong, dry winds into the Plains. Baranick says, “Strong winds combined with the dryness have caused lots of blowing dust and buried some of the wheat.” *********************************************************************************** Milk Producers Look Forward to White House Nutrition Conference The National Milk Producers Federation says it’s looking forward to the first White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health in over 50 years. The conference goals are to end hunger, increase healthy eating and physical activity, and decrease the prevalence of diet-related diseases in the country. “Dairy products, and the 13 essential nutrients they provide, are a key ingredient in this effort,” says NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern. “Diets that include dairy help to lower risk for cardiovascular diseases, obesity, and type 2 diabetes.” Dairy is also a critical source of calcium, potassium, and vitamin D, three of the four nutrients the public doesn’t get enough of because dairy is under-consumed across all age groups. “We look forward to working with the White House and public and private partners toward advancing these incredibly important goals,” Mulhern adds. The White House and USDA say the conference will take place this fall. *********************************************************************************** NACD Applauds CRP Announcement The National Association of Conservation Districts was pleased to hear that USDA accepted offers of more than two million acres in Conservation Reserve Program enrollment. “We applaud USDA and commend them for their leadership in continuing to administer this critical program,” says NACD President Michael Crowder. “CRP is a voluntary program and a significant component to conservation that, over the years, has played a key role in restoring the environment and ensuring the sustainability of our agricultural lands.” The organization says CRP is a critical tool in USDA’s conservation program efforts. “NACD is pleased that more than two million acres have been accepted through CRP and looks forward to USDA continuing its excellent stewardship of this program,” says NACD CEO Jeremy Peters. “CRP plays a key component to conservation, and we are excited to see enrollment options become available to as many eligible producers as possible, particularly those that manage vulnerable lands.” *********************************************************************************** NCGA BeSure! Campaign Promotes BMPs As the planting season is underway, the National Corn Growers Association launched its fourth-annual BeSure! Initiative. The national campaign is designed to promote best management practices when applying insecticides. Ag stakeholders appreciate how seed treatments and other products increase yields and boost revenue, but they also are committed to protecting bees and other wildlife. Some of the BMPs for growers include following directions on the label for appropriate storage, use, and disposal practices. When planting treated seed, use advanced seed flow lubricants that minimize dust. Some of the applicator practices include complying with all regulations when using registered pesticide products and ensuring proper employee training prior before application. Applicators should properly dispose of any unused product, rinse water, or seed treatment by following the label disposal instructions to minimize any potential environmental impact. For more information on best management practices to protect crops and wildlife while handling insecticides, go to growingmatters.org.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday May 5, 2022 |


Thursday Watch List Markets USDA's weekly export sales report is due out at 7:30 a.m. CDT, the same time as weekly U.S. job claims, reports in first quarter U.S. productivity and labor costs and an update of the U.S. Drought Monitor. At 9:30 a.m., the Energy Department releases its weekly report of natural gas storage. Traders continue to monitor the latest weather forecasts and watch for any news regarding Ukraine. Weather Moderate to heavy rain will cover the southeastern Plains and southern Midwest Thursday. Fieldwork disruption will occur along with a threat of flooding. Other primary crop areas will be dry. Forecast models suggest a warmer and drier pattern during the next seven days, which would be favorable for row crop planting progress.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday May 4, 2022 |


Producer Sentiment Improves Despite Inflation Worries The Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer improved in April, rising eight points to a reading of 121. However, that remains 32 percent below its level from the same time last year. Producer perspectives on current conditions and future expectations saw an uptick over the past month. The Index of Current Conditions improved seven points to a reading of 120, and the Index of Future Expectations rose nine points to a reading of 122. Rising commodity prices, especially for corn and soybeans, appear to be the reasons behind producers’ improved financial outlook. Even with improved prices, producers say rising input costs are the top concern for their farming operation. In April, 42 percent of producers surveyed chose higher input costs as their biggest concern, which was more than twice as many who chose government policies or lower output prices. Sixty percent of respondents expect input prices to rise by 30 percent over the next year. *********************************************************************************** USDA Accepts Two Million Acres Into CRP General Signup Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the USDA is accepting more than two million acres in offers from agricultural producers and landowners through the Conservation Reserve Program’s general signup. It’s the first of the program’s multiple signups occurring this year. With about 3.4 million acres expiring this year, Vilsack encourages producers and landowners to consider the Grassland and Continuous signups, both of which are currently open. “Our conservation programs are voluntary, and at the end of the day, producers are making market-based decisions as the program was designed to allow and encourage,” Vilsack says. Producers submitted re-enrollment offers for just over half of expiring acres, similar to the rate in 2021. Offers for new land into General CRP were considerably lower than last year’s numbers, with fewer than 400,000 acres being offered versus more than 700,000 acres last year. Producers with accepted acres still need to develop a conservation plan before enrolling on October 1. *********************************************************************************** Hands-On Practice Responding to FAD Outbreak The National Pork Board recently organized a foreign animal disease exercise to practice and troubleshoot a simulated response to a mock disease outbreak. Over 40 people from academia, production, the USDA, the veterinarian community, and the Iowa Pork Producers Association teamed up during the all-day event. The staff at the Swine Medicine Education Center at Iowa State University hosted the event. “The value of this exercise is the continuous practice as regulation, technology, and stakeholder awareness evolve,” says Dr. Tyler Bauman, a herd veterinarian for The Maschhoffs, LLC. “The more we prepare, the quicker we can respond to an actual incident.” Participants practiced every procedure in the coordinated response plan based on location and the outbreak’s status to identify, understand, and address their knowledge gaps. “There were real-time insights from the High Path Avian Influenza outbreak that state veterinarians could share,” Bauman adds. “Each stakeholder at the drill shared a wealth of knowledge in their roles.” *********************************************************************************** EPA Delivers Final RFS RVO Rule to the White House The Environmental Protection Agency delivered its final rule setting the 2021 and 2022 Renewable Fuel Standard renewable volume obligations to the White House Office of Management and Budget. The rule, delivered on April 29, may also revise the existing RVO for 2020. The OMB review is the final step before the rulemaking is published. In December 2021, the EPA released a proposed rule that included RVOs for 2021 and 2022. The rule also intended to revise the already finalized 2020 RVO, something the U.S. biofuel industry emphatically doesn’t support. Biodiesel Magazine says with the final rule now under OMB review, it looks like the EPA will be able to finalize the RVO rulemaking by June 3. That would keep EPA in compliance with a consent decree related to a legal challenge by Growth Energy which sought an injunction requiring the EPA to promptly issue the RVOs for 2021 and 2022. *********************************************************************************** CNH Workers Announce a Strike in Wisconsin and Iowa CNH Industrial, the company behind Case IH and New Holland equipment, saw workers in Racine (Ray-SEEN), Wisconsin, and Burlington, Iowa, go on strike as of Monday. In a statement, the company says, “We are disappointed that the parties were unable to reach an agreement and that the United Auto Workers has decided to call a strike. We are working to resolve the issues and will continue to negotiate in good faith, trusting the union to do the same.” UAW workers say they called for a strike after the company failed to present an agreement that met member demands and needs. “Our members at CNHi strike for the ability to earn a decent living, retire with dignity, and to establish fair work rules,” says Chuck Browning, vice president and director of the UAW’s Agricultural Improvement Department. Over 1,000 UAW members have now set up pickets in the Racine and Burlington locations. *********************************************************************************** Brazil’s Commodity Exports to Arab Nations Rising Quickly Reuters says Brazilian exports to the 22 countries in the League of Arab Nations rose in the first quarter amid a spike in agricultural commodities and a drive to stock up on food. Brazil’s total exports hit $3.86 billion during the period, 33 percent higher than the same time last year. Iron ore typically accounts for most of Brazil’s sales to Arab nations. That hit $690.29 million in the first quarter, a drop of 12.5 percent year-on-year. But strong food demand worked in favor of the country’s exporters, who made a windfall. Brazil’s chicken meat sales rose by over 10 percent to $591 million, while sugar sales jumped over 19 percent to almost $589 million in the first three months of this year. Soy product sales were 122 percent higher than the same time last year, coming in at $318 million. Wheat exports jumped more than 438 percent to almost $286 million.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday May 4, 2022 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets At 7:30 a.m. CDT Wednesday, the U.S. Census Bureau will report on the international trade deficit for March, a source of more specific export data USDA will provide later Wednesday morning. The U.S. Energy Department's weekly inventory report is out at 9:30 a.m. Traders continue to monitor weather and any news from Ukraine. At 1 p.m., the Federal Reserve concludes its meeting and is expected to announce a half-percent increase in the federal funds rate target. Weather Light rain will move across the central and Southern Plains Wednesday, offering some benefit for drought-affected winter wheat. Other crop areas will be dry with some scattered fieldwork possible. Rain will then set up in the Midwest Thursday and Friday, causing more planting delays

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday May 3, 2022 |


Russia Accused of Stealing Tons of Grain from Ukraine Russia stands accused of stealing several hundred thousand tons of grain from the parts of Ukraine it currently controls. Business Insider says Ukraine’s deputy agriculture minister made the accusation over the weekend. Another 1.5 million tons of grain are in territory Russia controls and are available to be stolen too. The Ukraine Foreign Ministry made the claim last week on Twitter, saying, “We demand that Russia stop illicit grain stealing, unblock Ukrainian ports, and allow ships to pass.” The humanitarian crisis caused by the Russian invasion is only growing worse. The United Nations says over 1.7 billion people are at risk of poverty and famine due to disruption in Ukraine’s food production system. Ukraine’s ag minister says they’ve personally heard from many silo owners in the occupied territory about Russian forces stealing grain. The Kremlin denied the accusations that its forces are stealing grain, saying it was unaware of the source of that information. *********************************************************************************** First Farm Bill Hearing Takes Place in Michigan The Senate Ag Committee traveled to Michigan State University late last week to hold its first field hearing on the new farm bill. The Hagstrom Report says one thing Ag Chair Debbie Stabenow and Ranking Member John Boozman (BOZE-man) stressed is the importance of bipartisanship in developing the next farm bill. “We heard from farmers and others impacted by the farm bill about how we can strengthen this important legislation, grow the economy, and meet serious new challenges facing the country,” says Stabenow. Boozman, the ranking Republican, says, “There’s no substitute for getting out of Washington and hearing directly from those impacted by our decisions. I look forward to convening our next hearing in my home state of Arkansas.” Both say the tradition of starting field hearings in the home states of the chair and ranking member sets the tone for putting stakeholders first as they begin discussions on the upcoming farm bill. *********************************************************************************** FAPRI Updates 2022 Ag Market Snapshot Events of the last three months have had large impacts on agricultural markets. The war in Ukraine, drought in South America, and other developments have resulted in sharp commodity price increases. The Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute at the University of Missouri says that resulted in higher farm receipts and costs and higher food prices. The April snapshot says those factors are all higher than what got reported during the 2022 baseline outlook in January. Projected harvest prices are much higher, with corn prices over $6 a bushel, wheat over $8 a bushel, and soybeans above $14 a bushel. Livestock sector prices will get boosted by lower 2022 production than previously expected and strong demand. Avian Influenza will reduce the number of laying hens and egg production. Higher production expenses than previously projected now show a $55 billion increase in production costs. The projected net farm income is almost the same as in 2021. *********************************************************************************** Smithfield Foods Voted Most Trusted Pork Company Smithfield Foods is the pork brand Americans trust the most. That’s according to a recent consumer survey conducted for Newsweek Magazine. Smithfield was honored for trust, which consumers measure through product pricing, quality, and transparency, and as a winner of the 2022 BrandSpark Most Trusted Award. “Smithfield Foods prides itself on providing consumers with wholesome, safe, and affordable food,” says Tim Zimmer, executive vice president of marketing for Smithfield Foods. “Being recognized as the most trusted pork brand is a testament to the dedication and commitment of our more than 60,000 team members worldwide to provide ‘Good Food. Responsibly®.’” Newsweek works with BrandSpark International, a leading market research and consulting firm, to give out the awards. More than 14,700 American shoppers determined the award winners through their top-of-mind unaided responses for categories in which they’re shopping. The results are ranked based on the greatest volume of mentions as the most trusted brand in each category. *********************************************************************************** Growers Invited to Take Part in the National Corn Yield Contest Corn farmers who’d like to join a few thousand other farmers from across the country in a friendly competition are invited to enter the National Corn Yield Contest. The National Corn Growers Association says it’s a tradition that dates back more than 50 years and is a chance to grow knowledge and skills and have fun while doing it. “The farmers who enter the contest build a brighter farm future for America’s farm families,” says Lowell Neitzel, chair of the NCGA’s Member and Consumer Action Team. “Together, entrants generate a pool of collective knowledge and spark innovation.” He also says it’s a way to contribute to the advances of American farming. Farmers who enter by June 30 save with a special early-entry rate of $75. The contest remains open for entries through August 17. All forms are due by November 30, and the contest winners get announced on December 14. *********************************************************************************** Ag Innovation Challenge Deadline Extended The American Farm Bureau Federation and Farm Credit are looking for entrepreneurs to apply online for the 2023 American Farm Bureau Ag Innovation Challenge. This national business competition, now in its ninth year, showcases U.S. startup companies developing innovative solutions to challenges faced by America’s farmers, ranchers, and rural communities. Farm Bureau is offering $165,000 in startup funds throughout the competition. The deadline is extended until May 13. The ten semifinalist teams get announced on September 13. Each semifinalist team gets $10,000 and a chance to compete to advance to the final round. The final four teams compete to win the Farm Bureau Ag Innovation Challenge Award, worth a total of $50,000, the Ag Innovation Challenge Runner-up Award for a total of $20,000, and all of the ten semifinalists compete for the People’s Choice Award. Examples of past challenge winners as well as eligibility guidelines and the competition timeline are at fb.org/challenge.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday May 3, 2022 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets U.S. weather is gaining more interest among traders with corn planting set to pick up speed in May and parts of the southwestern Plains getting much-needed rain. A report on March U.S. factory orders is due out at 9 a.m. CDT Tuesday, the only significant report of the day. Wednesday will be busier with the Federal Reserve set to raise the federal funds rate Wednesday afternoon. Weather Showers and thunderstorms are in store for the Midwest, Delta and southeast Plains Tuesday. The rain will further disrupt spring fieldwork. Other primary crop areas will be dry. Some wheat in the southwestern Plains may be damaged by freezing conditions early Tuesday. Western Plains livestock is stressed from effects of early-week unseasonable cold and snow. Northern crop activity remains stalled by recent wet and cool conditions.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday May 2, 2022 |


EPA Sending Biofuel Blending Mandates to White House This Week The Environmental Protection Agency is expected to send the long-awaited 2020-2022 biofuel blending mandates to the White House early this week. Two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters the White House would then be working through a final review of the numbers. The EPA released a proposed rule in December, but it’s not known whether the mandates sent this week will be identical to December’s proposal. In that rule, the EPA would retroactively set total renewable fuel volumes at 17.13 billion gallons for 2020. That was down from a previously finalized rule for the year of 20.09 billion gallons, set before COVID-19. It also set volumes at 18.52 billion gallons for 2021 and 20.77 billion for 2022. Both the 2020 and 2021 figures are lower than in 2019 when the EPA required refiners to blend 19.92 billion gallons of biofuels, but the 2022 proposal is higher. Both the oil and biofuel industries eagerly await the final numbers. *********************************************************************************** American Farmers are Dropping Greenhouse Gas Emissions According to the Environmental Protection Agency, American agriculture’s greenhouse gas emissions fell over four percent from 2019 to 2020. The recent Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks shows ag represents only 10 percent of total U.S. emissions, much lower than other economic sectors. Farm Bureau economists analyzed the EPA data and found that total agricultural emissions in 2020 fell at least 4.3 percent, or 28.8 million metric tons, compared to 2019. Emissions from agricultural soil management like fertilizer application and tillage practices were reduced by 8.4 percent. AFBF President Zippy Duvall says America’s farmers are committed to improvements in sustainability. “Farmers are also dedicated to doing even better through market-based, voluntary incentives allowing them to capture more greenhouse gasses while meeting the growing demand for food both here and abroad,” he says. Compared to 70 years ago, farmers and ranchers get almost three times more out of production than they put in. *********************************************************************************** USDA Releases Data on Local Food Marketing Practices More than 147,000 American farms produced and sold food locally through direct marketing practices, resulting in $9 billion in revenue during 2020. The Local Food Marketing Practices data released by the National Agricultural Statistics Service covers both fresh and value-added foods, such as meat and cheese. More than 40,000 farms sold food directly to institutions and intermediaries and brought in the most revenue at $4.1 billion. Farms with direct-to-consumer sales like on-farm stores and farmers’ markets earned $2.9 billion in revenue. Direct-to-retail sales earned $1.9 billion for more than 24,000 farms nationwide. California led the states in total direct food sales at $1.4 billion, followed by Pennsylvania, New York, Michigan, and Maine in the top five. Texas led the U.S. in the number of farms selling directly to consumers with almost 8,000. California was the top state in direct-to-consumer sales’ earnings at $284 million. Most direct-to-consumer sales took place at outlets like on-farm stores. *********************************************************************************** American Lamb Board Nominations Now Open The USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service is seeking nominations for the American Lamb Board. Four of the current members’ terms expire in February 2023. Positions to fill include one producer with 100 or fewer lambs, one with more than 500 lambs, one feeder-at-large, and one first handler. The deadline for nominations is June 9, 2022. “Serving on the ALB is an excellent way to represent the sheep industry,” says ALM Chair Peter Camino. “The next round of board appointees will shape the next several years of building demand for American lamb, especially as we work towards updating our long-range plan.” Any U.S. producer, feeder, or first handler who owns or purchases lambs may get considered for nomination to the 13-member American Lamb Board. Members will serve three-year terms beginning in February of next year and are allowed to serve two consecutive three-year terms. More information and application forms are available at ams.usda.gov. *********************************************************************************** Governors Want to Increase Sales of Higher-Blend Ethanol Governors from eight Midwestern states want the Biden administration to apply rules that would allow them to sell gasoline with higher blends of ethanol year-round in their states. US News Dot Com says while the administration will allow summertime sales of E15 this year, biofuel advocates want a more permanent action to allow year-round E15 sales to stimulate demand. The Clean Air Act allows governors to ask the EPA to put the specifications for the volatility of E15 and E10 on the same footing. The Midwest governors told EPA last week that they’re pursuing this route to enable year-round E15 sales. “These states are guiding the way ahead on E15,” says Renewable Fuels Association President Geoff Cooper. “We’re calling on other states to follow their lead so E15 can benefit drivers across the country year-round.” The states involved in the move include 57 percent of the nation’s 2,512 stations currently selling E15. *********************************************************************************** Farmers Union Donates to Help Ukraine Crisis The National Farmers Union is donating $125,000 to help with the humanitarian and agricultural crisis in Ukraine. The contribution went through the World Food Program USA. That organization has been on the frontlines of the world’s worst hunger crises since 1962. WFP is also on-the-ground providing critical food assistance to those impacted by the war. “The war in Ukraine is devastating hundreds of thousands of families, driving them from their homes and into hunger,” says NFU President Rob Larew. “America’s family farmers and ranchers want to help in the best way they know how: to provide food and humanitarian aid to those around the world who need it.” The group also says reserves and food programs will get stretched thin as the full effects of the Ukraine invasion get felt throughout the global food system. “Our concern for community stretches to farmers in a major agricultural country like Ukraine,” Larew adds.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday May 2, 2022 |


Monday Watch List Markets Back from the weekend, traders will check the latest rain totals and weather forecasts as well as any news regarding Ukraine. Traders will pause at 8 a.m. CDT Monday to see if USDA has an export sale announcement, note the ISM's index of U.S. manufacturing at 9 a.m. and USDA's weekly report of export inspections at 10 a.m. USDA's Crop Progress report at 3 p.m. will be watched for corn and soybean planting progress and the latest crop ratings for winter wheat. Weather A system moving through the Central and Southern Plains on Monday is part of an active pattern for all but the Northern Plains this week. Widespread showers and thunderstorms, occasionally severe, will move with the first system through the Midwest on Tuesday, then another system lines up for a similar path Wednesday through Saturday. Severe storms are expected every day this week. When combined with the scattered thunderstorms that occurred on Sunday, the southwestern Plains drought areas have their best chances for precipitation in weeks.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday April 29, 2022 |


Biden Administration Proposes to Spend $500 Million on Food Production The Biden administration is calling on Congress for $33 billion in additional support for the people of Ukraine, who are still struggling under the Russian attack. Included in that proposal is $500 million in domestic food production assistance. The funds will support the increased production of U.S. food crops that are experiencing a global shortage due to the war in Ukraine, including wheat and soybeans. In a release from the White House, the administration says, “Through higher loan rates and crop insurance incentives, the request provides greater access to credit and lowers the risk for farmers growing these food commodities while lowering the cost for consumers.” Additional funding will also allow the use of the Defense Production Act to expand domestic production of critical minerals and materials disrupted by the war in Ukraine. The administration says these proposals help address economic disruptions and reduce price pressures at home and around the world. *********************************************************************************** Meatpacker CEOs Testify at House Hearing CEOs of the four largest meatpacking companies in the U.S. appeared at a hearing held by the House Agriculture Committee. The Hagstrom Report says the committee called the hearing because of rancher complaints that meat industry consolidation and anti-competitive practices are making it hard to earn their living. They also say the concentration has led to a decline in the number of ranches across rural America. The four CEOs all say that market forces and circumstances in the overall economy are responsible for the ups and downs across the cattle markets. House Ag Committee Chair David Scott asked all four if they’ve ever worked together on supply or price issues, and each one said “no.” While Scott went back and forth with each CEO, he also said that the only way to resolve the challenges in the meat sector is to get a solution that works for both the ranchers and the meatpackers. *********************************************************************************** Proposed SEC Rule Could Hurt Every U.S. Farmer and Rancher The American Farm Bureau and 119 other ag organizations sent a joint letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission regarding a proposed rule that may impact every American farmer and rancher. The groups want more time to comment on the proposed rule called “The Enhancement and Standardization of Climate-Related Disclosures for Investors.” The SEC now wants to require public companies to report data on their entire supply chain. Almost every farmer’s and rancher’s products go through a publicly-traded company. That means farmers and ranchers could get forced to report personal information and business-related data. The new reporting requirements would create a heavy burden even for smaller farms having few or no employees. “Farmers and ranchers are already heavily regulated by multiple agencies at the local, state, and federal level,” says AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “The new requirements would make an already complicated patchwork of regulations even more cumbersome.” *********************************************************************************** CoBank: Rising Meat Prices Will Test Consumer Demand U.S. consumer demand for meat at the retail level remains exceptionally strong despite rising prices caused by increased production costs and supply chain challenges. A new CoBank report says that may change soon. Once the full effect of increased costs of producer price inflation shows up in the retail meat case, demand will get tested. “Retail meat prices will remain high throughout 2022,” says Brian Earnest, lead animal protein economist with CoBank. “The sharply higher costs for feed, energy, and labor haven’t fully impacted wholesale and retail meat prices, but that will soon change.” He also says as consumers notice their dollar isn’t going as far as it once did, they may trade down at the meat case. Chicken could be the primary beneficiary. The combined cutout values of beef, pork, and chicken have climbed 22 percent year-over-year in the first quarter of this year, so consumers will see higher meat prices. *********************************************************************************** Purdue Study Shows Economic Impact of the RFS A Purdue University study found that the Renewable Fuel Standard played a critical role in the economic health of rural America. The Purdue ag economist who led the study says this is the first comprehensive examination of market factors and policies affecting biofuels. The RFS played a critical role in reducing uncertainties in commodity markets, and its most significant impact was helping farmers use resources more efficiently. While producing more corn and soybeans as the years went by, U.S. farmers were able to bring fallow land that was previously unused back into production. U.S. annual farm incomes increased by $8.3 billion between 2004 and 2011, with an additional annual income of $2.3 billion between 2011 and 2016. The Purdue study looked at both short- and long-term price impacts of policies and other market forces on the expansion of the biofuels industry and accurately measured the impact of each market driver. *********************************************************************************** Climate-Smart Commodities Funding Deadline Approaching The deadline for partners to apply for the first round of funding through the new Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities is Friday, May 6. USDA is committed to supporting a diverse set of farmers, ranchers, and forest owners through climate solutions that increase resilience, expand market opportunities, and strengthen rural America. This round of funding includes large-scale proposals from $5 million to $100 million that emphasize the greenhouse gas benefits of climate-smart commodity production. The proposals should also include direct, meaningful benefits to a representative cross-section of production agriculture, including small and/or historically underserved producers. “Don’t miss out on this opportunity,” says Robert Bonnie, USDA Undersecretary for Farm Production and Conservation. “We want a broad array of agriculture and forestry producers and landowners to see themselves in this effort.” A climate-smart commodity is defined as a commodity produced using agricultural practices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions or sequester carbon. More information is available at usda.gov.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday April 29, 2022 |


Friday Watch List Markets At 7:30 a.m. CDT Friday, the U.S. Labor Department will release its employment cost index for the first quarter and the Commerce Department will publish personal income and spending statistics for March. The University of Michigan's index of consumer sentiment is out at 9 a.m. The Energy Department's monthly update of biodiesel plant capacity is also due out Friday. Weather A storm system emerging into the Plains will produce widespread showers for the North-Central U.S. on Friday. Showers will spread through a good portion of the country over the weekend. Bouts of severe weather will be possible with the system. Strong winds in the Plains will be yet another feature, bringing increased wildfire risks to areas that are very dry. The flood risk returns to the Red River Valley of the North with the increased precipitation amounts as well.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday April 28, 2022 |


Biden Administration Announces Global Food Aid The Biden Administration Wednesday announced $670 million in food assistance in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The Department of Agriculture and U.S. Agency for International Development will draw down the full balance of the Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust. USAID will use the $282 million from the trust to acquire U.S. food commodities for Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, and Yemen. USDA will provide $388 million in additional funding through the Commodity Credit Corporation to cover transportation, shipping, handling, and other associated costs. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says, "America's farmers, ranchers and producers are uniquely positioned through their productivity, and through the Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust to help.” The trust is a special authority renamed for Congressman Bill Emerson in 1998, that enables USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance to respond to unanticipated food crises abroad when other resources are not available. This is the first time since 2014 the U.S. government has used the emergency funding authority. *********************************************************************************** Vilsack Authorizes Additional CCC Funds for HPAI Response Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Wednesday approved Commodity Credit Corporation funding to assist USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service response to highly pathogenic avian influenza. The virus has been confirmed in 29 states, affecting more than 33 million domestic birds. APHIS is working closely with state animal health officials on joint incident responses in each affected state. To help ensure APHIS can continue to provide critical rapid response activities, Vilsack approved the transfer of nearly $263 million from the CCC to APHIS to directly support the response efforts. The funding allows APHIS to continue its work with state and local partners to quickly identify and address cases of HPAI in the United States. The Secretary is authorized to transfer funding from available resources to address emergency outbreaks of animal and plant pests and diseases. Secretary Vilsack previously approved the use of approximately $130 million in emergency funding in mid-March. *********************************************************************************** Strong Soybean Oil Demand Elevating Price New data from USDA’s Economic Research Service shows demand for soybean oil increased its price in 2021 and so far in 2022. Soybean oil is the most widely used vegetable oil, and soybean oil use has typically accounted for over 50 percent of total domestic disappearance of all vegetable oil used in the United States. Given the versatility of soybean oil and the limited supplies of substitute oils, steady growth in food and industrial demand for soybean oil caused domestic prices to rise. In March 2022, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service reported that average monthly soybean oil prices in Decatur, Illinois, a leading indicator market for soybean oil, had reached 76 cents per pound, more than 40 percent higher than a year earlier. Rising monthly prices have contributed to increases in the 2021/22 U.S. season-average soybean oil price, currently projected at $0.70 per pound, an increase of 23 percent from the prior marketing year. *********************************************************************************** TFI Applauds STB Hearing on Freight Rail Service The Fertilizer Institute President and CEO Corey Rosenbusch thanked the Surface Transportation Board for holding this week’s hearing on “Urgent Issues in Freight Rail Service.” Rosenbusch says, “We appreciate the opportunity to provide testimony on how rail service issues are negatively impacting the cost and timely delivery of fertilizer inputs to farmers.” TFI cited issues such as the implementation of precision scheduled railroading, a lack of competition, and a lack of structural and market-based incentives to be customer-oriented, leading to reduced rail service, high shipping rates, and poor cycle times. The STB also heard testimony from Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Department of Agriculture Deputy Secretary Dr. Jewel Bronaugh (Bro-NAW), both of whom mentioned the importance and challenges facing fertilizer shippers, as well as other agriculture groups such as the American Farm Bureau Federation and the National Grain and Feed Association. Rosenbusch adds, “these issues are felt broadly, are having negative impacts, and must be addressed through modern reforms.” *********************************************************************************** CME Group to Launch Canadian Wheat Futures CME Group Wednesday announced the launch of Canadian Wheat futures on June 13, pending regulatory review. The contract offers market participants a new tool to directly manage exposure to the Canadian wheat market. Tim Andriesen, Managing Director of Agricultural Products at CME Group, says, “Canada is the world's second largest producer of spring wheat and is one of the world's top wheat exporters, making it an increasingly important region for our global clients.” Other officials say the contract will bring great price transparency to the market. Canadian Wheat futures will be cash-settled and will closely track the shipment of grains from Vancouver, where the bulk of Canadian western red spring wheat is exported. The Canadian Wheat contract will be based on the Platts Canadian Western Red Spring Wheat for Number 2 CWRS 13.5 percent protein Vancouver daily price assessment. Canadian Wheat futures will be listed by and subject to the rules of the Chicago Board of Trade. *********************************************************************************** Former USDA Animal Inspector Pleads Guilty for Accepting Bribes A 68-year-old Laredo, Texas, man has admitted to accepting bribes while employed by the Department of Agriculture. The U.S. Justice Department this week announced Roberto Adams pleaded guilty to accepting more than $40,000 in bribery payments while working as a USDA lead animal health technician. Adams inspected cattle entering the United States to determine if they met the necessary health requirements to enter the country. Over the course of at least 14 months, Mexican cattle brokers paid Adams to allow cattle into the country without proper quarantine or legitimate inspection. Adams will be sentenced in August and faces up to 15 years in prison and a possible $250,000 maximum fine. The FBI conducted the investigation with the assistance of the USDA Office of Inspector General. Assistant U.S. Attorney Heather Winter is prosecuting the case. Data shows that U.S. annual cattle imports from Mexico average more than 1.25 million head per year.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday April 28, 2022 |


Thursday Watch List Markets USDA's weekly report of export sales is due out at 7:30 a.m. CDT Thursday, the same time as weekly U.S. jobless claims, first quarter U.S. GDP and an update of the U.S. Drought Monitor. The Energy Department's weekly report of natural gas storage is set for 9:30 a.m. Russia continues to keep traders on edge and the latest weather forecasts also remain important. Weather A weak disturbance will produce some scattered showers across the midsection of the country on Thursday. Some pockets of moderate to heavy rain will be possible but will be isolated in that regard. Another system moving into the Pacific Northwest will set up a stronger system for Friday and the weekend. Temperatures will remain cool across the north but are rising across the Central and Southern Plains.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday April 27, 2022 |


NCBA: Opposition to Government Mandate Amplified Through Senate Hearing Senate Agriculture Committee members heard from the beef industry Tuesday regarding the Cattle Price Discovery and Transparency Act. The hearing, proceeded by months of debate over the need for increased transparency in cattle marketing, highlighted the vehement opposition to government mandates by a majority of U.S. cattle producers. Ethan Lane, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Vice President of Government Affairs, says, “What is being proposed right now concentrates on what works for one region, it simply doesn’t work for the rest of the country.” NCBA opposes a government mandate as it could potentially result in fewer marketing opportunities and less incentive for producers to invest in genetics and innovative production techniques that lead to higher-quality beef. NCBA “stands committed to turning the focus to solutions with broad industry support,” such as a cattle contract library, 14-day delivery, expedited carcass weight reporting, daily formula base price reporting, and incentives for expanding regional processing capacity. *********************************************************************************** Ranch Group Urges FTC, DOJ to Investigate Vertical Integration of Cattle Feedlots As the beef sector focused on a congressional hearing Tuesday, one group urged the Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice to investigate vertical integration in feedlots. R-CALF this week announced formal comments submitted to the federal government on the issue. The organization says that while beef packer concentration has plateaued since 2009 at the four-firm level of between 83 percent and 86 percent, it is now evident that major concentration and vertical integration efforts are underway in the feedlot sector of the live cattle industry. The group says the structure of the beef packing industry is now being pushed upstream into the live cattle supply chain. In its comments, the group urged the agencies to investigate to determine the degree of buyer power the concentrated beef packers exercise over those feedlots – in particular, the 77 largest feedlots. The agencies asked for public comments to help them improve enforcement of U.S. antitrust laws regarding both horizontal and vertical mergers. *********************************************************************************** USTR Tai Holds Trade Dialogue with United Kingdom U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai met with her counterpart in the United Kingdom this week as part of the second U.S.-UK trade dialogue. While not official trade negotiations, the dialogues focus on the future of trade between the two countries. Ambassador Tai and UK Secretary of State Anne-Marie Trevelyan (trev-el-lynn) hosted a series of roundtable discussions with a group of stakeholders from the U.S. and UK business community. The trade officials agreed to build resilience in supply chains, address the global trade impacts of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and promote environmental protection, among other topics. Drawing on the stakeholder discussions and bilateral talks, the duo directed their teams to work at pace over the next several weeks to develop an ambitious roadmap with economically meaningful outcomes in these areas. Other focus areas include labor and environmental standards, promoting innovation, and economic growth. Tai and Trevelyan previously held a similar trade dialogue in March. *********************************************************************************** Vilsack Highlights Investment in Watershed Infrastructure in North Carolina Visiting North Carolina this week, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack highlighted USDA’s investment of more than $39 million in six watershed infrastructure projects in the state. The six projects include rehabilitating dams, flood prevention, and watershed restoration projects, and are funded by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Making the stop Tuesday with Environmental Protection Agency Administer Michael Regan, Vilsack says, “These projects illustrate this administration’s commitment to investing in rural America.” Vilsack and Regan visited Franklin County, North Carolina, where they visited Franklin County Public Utilities as part of the Building A Better America Rural Infrastructure Tour to highlight infrastructure investments. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service is assisting with projects in North Carolina. In total, NRCS received $918 million of funding to allocate through its watershed programs, which the agency began implementing earlier this year. A full list of projects is available on NRCS’ Bipartisan Infrastructure Law webpage. *********************************************************************************** USA Rice Raises Rail Shipping Concerns USA Rice recently submitted comments to the Surface Transportation Board outlining several rail shipping issues impacting the industry. The comments urged STB to take lasting actions to resolve and prevent the issues from reoccurring. The comments highlighted the rice industry's predicament of low rice prices and ever-increasing input costs, record-high inflation, and lower production forecast for 2022. The rice industry has made a push over the last several years for customers to use rail over other methods of transportation, given its efficiency. However, ongoing issues, including rail congestion, labor shortages, marginal equipment, and the lack of box and hopper cars to ship rice is hampering the industry's ability to do so and causing shippers to resort to other, less efficient, and costly methods of transportation. The issues have resulted in crushing losses to not only rice shippers, but also rice end-users that have been forced to shut down production due to rice shortages. *********************************************************************************** USDA Opens Grants Application to Improve SNAP Customer Service USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service Tuesday announced $5 million in competitive grants are available to enhance efficiency and access in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The SNAP Process and Technology Improvement multi-year grants seek to improve the experience of SNAP participants by enabling grantees to update inefficient or ineffective processes or use technology to streamline operations. The application process also requires grant applicants to demonstrate how their initiatives will affect SNAP with respect to equity and inclusion. Stacy Dean, USDA’s deputy undersecretary for food, says, “FNS is deeply committed to improving SNAP so that all Americans can get the healthy food they need,” Previous grantees have used funding for SNAP improvements such as making mobile applications easier to use, implementing live call centers, or creating automated text messaging notifications to remind households of key actions required to maintain benefits. The application process is open now, and the three-year grants will be announced this fall.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday April 27, 2022 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets A report on March U.S. pending home sales is due out at 9 a.m. CDT, followed by the Energy Department's weekly inventory report, including ethanol production at 9:30 a.m. Traders continue to monitor the latest weather forecasts, events in Ukraine and any export sales announcements. Weather A system moving through the Northern Rockies and western Canadian Prairies will produce some isolated to scattered showers on Wednesday. Another piece of that system will emerge into the Plains late on Wednesday night with some isolated showers and thunderstorms. A few may happen upon the drier southwestern Plains, but amounts will likely be trivial or absent for most areas. Eastern areas will see quieter and colder conditions. Morning frosts may cause some limited damage to advanced wheat.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday April 26, 2022 |


African Swine Fever Vaccine Passes Tests Required for Regulatory Approval Scientists with USDA’s Agriculture Research Service Monday announced that a vaccine candidate for African swine fever passed an important safety test required for regulatory approval. The successful safety test moves the vaccine one step closer to commercial availability. The new results show that USDA's vaccine candidate does not revert to its normal virulence, after being injected into swine. This "reversion to virulence" test is required to ensure that the vaccine's weakened form of the ASF virus does not revert to its original state. The safety studies are necessary to gain approval for use in Vietnam and eventually in other countries around the world. However, future commercial use will depend on approval from the department of animal health within each requesting country. Further development will continue once the vaccine candidate receives regulatory approval from Vietnam. Although the virus is causing profound economic losses to the swine industry, there have not been any outbreaks in the United States. *********************************************************************************** CoBank: Ukraine/Russia War Upending Grain and Energy markets The Ukraine-Russia war has reignited speculation that globalization is coming to an end, and markets should prepare to turn inward to deal with disrupted supply lines and geopolitical challenges. The war will undoubtedly have long-lasting implications. However, according to a new Quarterly report from CoBank's Knowledge Exchange, an unwinding of global supply chains and world markets is unlikely to be one of them. Still, Russia's invasion of Ukraine agitated global grain trade and contributed to unprecedented price volatility in wheat, corn and soybeans. Grain markets could remain volatile for two or more years due to disruptions in planting, harvesting, input application and transportation. Prices for major fertilizers increased between eight percent and 13 percent during the first quarter of 2022, with the biggest spikes coming after Russia invaded Ukraine. While most U.S. ag retailers have adequate nutrient supplies this spring, the report says that may not be the case this fall and in spring 2023. *********************************************************************************** Growth Energy Holds EPA to RVO Deadline of June 3 A U.S. District Court Monday approved a consent decree agreement between Growth Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency that requires EPA to finalize its 2020-2022 Renewable Volume Obligations no later than June 3. The consent decree follows Growth Energy’s multiple notices of intent to sue and a complaint in federal district court in response to the agency’s extended delay in issuing the RVOs. Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor says, “We are encouraged by EPA’s commitment to this deadline, as it gives more credence to the agency’s stated intention to get the RFS back on track.” In December, Growth Energy submitted a notice of intent to sue regarding EPA’s failure to timely fulfill the agency’s statutory obligation under the RFS to issue the 2022 RVO and, in turn, the potentially multi-year "set" rulemaking process for renewable fuel volumes for 2023 and beyond. The RVOs for 2022 were due by November 30, 2021, an annual deadline set by Congress. *********************************************************************************** USDA Lets More Packing Plants Return to Faster Line Speeds USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service last week announced it approved the Clemens Food Group pork packing plant in Coldwater, Michigan, to run faster line speeds under a one-year trial program. The agency now has let four plants operate with faster harvesting line speeds, which could increase packing capacity and alleviate supply issues in the face of strong pork demand. FSIS established the line speeds program last November, after a provision in USDA’s 2019 New Swine Inspection System was struck down by a U.S. District Court in March 2021. Nine pork packing plants that had adopted the program, six of which were operating with faster line speeds, were allowed to apply for the program, under which they need to collect data on the effects of the faster speeds on workers and share it with USDA. The National Pork Producers Council says the information could be used to formulate a new regulation for allowing plants to run faster line speeds. *********************************************************************************** Anuvia Secures $65.5 Million to Scale U.S. Production of Sustainable Fertilizer Anuvia Plant Nutrients Monday announced it has raised $65.5 million in Series D funding to increase production capacity at its U.S.-based eco-friendly manufacturing facility. The funding will also expand commercialization of its line of field-ready bio-based fertilizers for large-scale agriculture. The funding announcement comes at a time when the Department of Agriculture has pledged $250 million to support "innovative American-made fertilizers," underscoring the need to reduce dependence on traditional fertilizers sourced internationally. Anuvia CEO Amy Yoder says, “Anuvia's production is entirely U.S. based, ensuring supply-chain security for North American growers." Recently, Anuvia completed the expansion of its facility in Plant City, Florida. The facility has the capacity to expand to 1.2 million tons per year, enough to service over 20 million acres. According to an environmental audit, for every million acres of crops that use Anuvia's products, the reduction of greenhouse gases is the equivalent of removing up to 30,000 cars from the roads. *********************************************************************************** Weekly Fuel Prices Increase Fuel prices increased last week for the first time in more than a month. The price of gas climbed 4.4 cents from a week ago to a national average of $4.11 per gallon. The national average is down 13.3 cents from a month ago and $1.24 per gallon higher than a year ago. Meanwhile, the national average price of diesel increased 4.6 cents in the last week and stands at $5.07 per gallon. GasBuddy’s Patrick De Haan warns prices could be headed higher in the short term. De Haan says that “with the French election now behind us, there is risk that the EU could pursue harsher sanctions on Russia’s energy, which could cause oil prices to rise if it happens.” In addition, U.S. oil inventories continue to decline, putting additional pressure on prices. U.S. retail gasoline demand saw a slight dip last week. Nationally, weekly gasoline demand fell 0.7 percent from the prior week.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday April 26, 2022 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets A report on March U.S. durable goods orders is set for 7:30 a.m. CDT Tuesday, followed by March U.S. new home sales and an index of U.S. consumer confidence for April at 9 a.m. As usual, traders will keep up on the latest weather forecasts and pause at 8 a.m. CDT, in case USDA has an export sale announcement. Weather A frontal boundary continues to slide eastward with scattered showers on the East Coast for Tuesday. Additional showers will move through the Pacific Northwest and western Canadian Prairies throughout the day as well. The rest of the country will be mostly dry. Northern areas continue to be colder while the southwestern Plains will start to see temperatures rising. Cold morning temperatures in portions of the Plains may lead to some frost damage in limited areas Tuesday morning as well.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday April 25, 2022 |


Farm Lending Activity Accelerates in Early 2022 The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City says farm lending activity at commercial banks increased during the first quarter of 2022 due to a significant increase in the size of operating loans. With some input costs surging in recent months, the volume of operating loans increased sharply from a year ago, and non-real estate lending increased on a rolling four-quarter basis for the first time since mid-2019. While the outlook for the U.S. ag economy in 2022 remains strong alongside higher commodity prices, rising input costs are raising concerns about future profitability. The escalation of the conflict in Ukraine and associated market disruptions are pushing commodity prices even higher. The turmoil is also causing rapid increases in the price of major inputs like fuel and fertilizer sourced from Russia and Ukraine. Concerns about the cost and availability of agricultural inputs intensified, and higher feed prices could also put pressure on profit margins for livestock producers. *********************************************************************************** Dairy Industry Seeking Additional Export Supply Chain Help The U.S. Dairy Export Council and the National Milk Producers Federation sent a letter to the White House regarding specific recommendations to help solve supply chain issues. The top recommendation calls for USDA’s Agriculture Marketing Service to restart its Ocean Shipping Container Availability Report. “Shipping containers for U.S. dairy exports continue to be in short supply at coastal ports and even more so at inland locations,” says Jim Mulhern, President and CEO of NMPF. “These essential links in the global supply chain must be available to exporters.” Other recommendations include setting up pop-up terminal yards in inland locations like Minneapolis and Chicago. That would make it easier to secure shipping containers. They also want to see trucking “fast lanes” dedicated to delivering perishable agricultural goods as quickly as possible at port terminals. Krysta Harden, president and CEO of USDEC, says supply chain issues have cost dairy exporters over $1.5 billion last year alone. *********************************************************************************** Veterinarians Heading to Capitol Hill On April 27, 200 veterinarians will head to Capitol Hill to meet with senators and representatives to talk about legislation that will increase access to veterinary services in rural areas. They also want to talk about legislation to help in reducing the spread of diseases that pose a threat to animal and public health. The American Veterinary Medical Association’s annual fly-in will feature attendees from 48 states and 20 veterinary schools. They’ll talk to officials about passing the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program and the Healthy Dog Importation Act. The AVMA says it’s united in asking Congress for help alleviating a shortage of veterinarians by assisting with the significant obstacle of student debt. The group also says strengthening dog importation standards will decrease the chances of future disease outbreaks from the 1.2 million dogs imported every year into the U.S. The goal is to maintain vibrant rural communities while keeping animals and people safe. *********************************************************************************** USDA Announces $800 Million Investment on Earth Day In honor of Earth Day, Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the USDA is investing nearly $800 million in climate-smart infrastructure in 20 states and Puerto Rico. These investments are designed to strengthen the health and livelihoods of people across rural America. They include funding for 165 projects for expanding access to safe water and clean energy for people living in disadvantaged communities. “People in rural America are experiencing the increasing impacts of climate change in many ways,” says Vilsack. “This includes more severe droughts, more frequent wildfires, and more destructive and life-threatening storms.” He also says investing in infrastructure in rural communities is investing in the planet and the peace of mind that children will drink clean and safe water in their homes. The agency will take steps to improve clean energy infrastructure, energy-efficiency improvements, improve infrastructure in communities hit by severe weather, and advance equity in rural communities. *********************************************************************************** Corn, Ethanol Groups Celebrate Earth Day Ag groups like the National Corn Growers Association celebrated Earth Day last week by reminding its members to commit to improving the environment. “Leaving the world in better shape than we found it” is a part of policy upheld by U.S. corn farmers. The group encouraged corn farmers to review their best-management practices, consider planting a pollinator habitat, fill their gas tanks with cleaner-burning ethanol blends, and maximize their nutrient applications. Growth Energy says Earth Day is especially important given the administration lifted the restrictions on summertime E15 sales. “We can’t get to net-zero emissions without biofuels,” says Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor. “Biofuels like ethanol reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 46 percent compared to gasoline. They’re an accessible, plant-based fuel source that can immediately help improve air quality alongside other clean energy solutions.” The group says a nationwide E15 standard could reduce carbon emissions by more than 17.6 million tons. *********************************************************************************** Nebraska Legislature Passes E15 Sales Credit One week after the Biden administration decided to allow for the summertime sale of E15, Nebraska’s lawmakers passed a bill that will provide incentives for retailers who sell the biofuel. KNSB in Nebraska says LB596 allows for a credit of five cents on each gallon of E15 retailers sell and eight cents per gallon of E25 or higher blends sold. The goal is to make ethanol more affordable for retailers who are helping keep fuel prices down for consumers. “At the retail level, E15 is a better fuel, and it costs less,” says Randy Gard, Nebraska Ethanol Board Secretary. “We are excited the bill got passed and to see what it can do for customers.” Gard also says Nebraska retailers have nothing standing in their way to making the transition from E10 and joining the conversion to E15. “The incentives are there, consumer demand is there, and it’s a win for everyone,” Gard adds.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday April 25, 2022 |


Monday Watch List Markets Back from the weekend, traders will check the latest weather forecasts assess snow cover in the northern Plains, monitor events out of Ukraine and watch for a possible export sales announcement at 8 a.m. CDT. At 10 a.m. CDT, USDA will release its weekly export inspections report, followed by Crop Progress at 3 p.m. Weather A storm over the weekend brought more heavy precipitation to the Plains and Midwest along with falling temperatures. The front to the system is situated from the Southern Plains to the eastern Midwest and will push southeast throughout the day. Scattered showers will follow the front, which may be heavy at times. Cold air settling behind the front is not ideal for planting, especially when combined with wetter soils across a good portion of the Corn Belt. Drought continues to have negative impacts in the southwestern Plains.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday April 22, 2022 |


FBI Warns Ag Cooperatives About Possible Cyberattacks The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s cyber division is warning agricultural cooperatives across the country to be wary of possible cyberattacks. The division wants cooperatives to take all possible precautions to keep their operations safe. The FBI says ransomware attacks typically happen on ag cooperatives during the critical planting and harvest seasons. The attackers hope to disrupt operations, cause financial loss, and damage the food supply chain. 2021 saw several attacks on ag cooperatives during the harvest. So far, DTN says two ag cooperatives have been hit by cyberattacks this year, one in February, and the other in March. One company is a feed mill, and the other is a multi-state grain company providing seed, fertilizer, and logistical services. The FBI didn’t share the name of either company or any additional information. Cyberattacks have recently hit 14 of 16 critical infrastructure sectors in the U.S., including food and agriculture, the defense industry, and others. *********************************************************************************** IGC Prediction Calls for Lower Global Corn and Wheat Production The International Grains Council is forecasting global corn production will drop by 13 million tons in the 2022-2023 season. Reuters says the council’s prediction is 1.197 billion tons because of smaller crops in Ukraine and the United States. The first full assessment forecasts Ukraine’s corn crop to drop from 41.9 million tons last season to 18.6 billion. The IGC says the Black Sea region’s conflict makes its current forecast “especially tentative.” The United States, the world’s leading corn producer, will harvest 376.6 million tons, down from last year’s 383.9 million. The council also forecasts a decline of one million tons in global wheat production. The 2022-2023 total will be 780 million tons, due in large part to a smaller crop in Ukraine, which will be 19.4 million tons compared to 33 million last year. The drop will be mostly offset by larger crops in other countries, including Russia and Canada. *********************************************************************************** Environmental Group Wants Changes to Crop Insurance Program The Natural Resources Defense Council released a report that calls for changing the Federal Crop Insurance Program. They’re particularly interested in finding ways to incentivize practices that reduce risk and lower the cost of taxpayer-subsidized payouts. As a first step, the report says the crop insurance program should include good stewardship or performance-based discounts that reward farmers who use good soil health practices with a higher premium subsidy or an adjusted insurance premium rate. Rate adjustments could increase the adoption of regenerative practices that improve soil health and mitigate damage to crops, which would lower the cost of crop insurance over time. They recommend that Congress authorize long-term funding for a crop insurance savings program for soil health practices that are modeled on the Pandemic Cover Crop Program. They also want the Risk Management Agency to adopt insurance premium formulas that account for risk mitigation of soil health management practices. *********************************************************************************** USDA Investing $420 Million in Infrastructure Projects The USDA announced it will invest $420 million in 132 infrastructure projects in 31 states. The funds will get used for projects like rehabilitating dams, flood prevention, and watershed restoration projects. The investments are funded through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and build on an earlier $166 billion investment earlier this year. “The infrastructure law is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to rebuild our infrastructure, create good-paying jobs, and build new economic opportunity,” says Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack. “Our watershed programs help communities rebuild after natural disasters and prepare for future events.” He also says that includes typically underserved communities. The administration intends to grow the economy from the bottom up and middle out, and it will occur in partnership with rural communities. The funding comes from the Watershed and Flood Prevention Operations Program, which provides technical financial assistance for new watershed infrastructure, and the Watershed Rehabilitation Program, which upgrades existing NRCS dams. *********************************************************************************** What to Know About U.S. Dairy on Earth Day Earth Day is Friday, April 22, and the U.S. dairy industry always has reasons to celebrate the event. The National Milk Producers Federation says it’s an opportunity to refocus on its environmental and climate leadership within agriculture in the U.S. and around the world. Due to innovative farming and feed practices, a gallon of milk in 2017 required 30 percent less water, 21 percent less land, and a 19 percent smaller carbon footprint than in 2007. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization says North America was the only region in the world to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions since 2005 even as it increased milk production. That means the greenhouse gas intensity for dairy products is the lowest in the world. Dairy farms help guard against food waste by taking byproducts from other industries, such as almond hulls and brewer’s grains, and using them as feed. U.S. dairy intends to be GHG-neutral by 2050. *********************************************************************************** Ethanol Output Nears Seven-Month Low The Energy Information Administration says ethanol output plunged to its lowest level in almost seven months during the week ending on April 15. Ethanol inventories also dropped to multi-month lows. Ethanol production fell to an average of 947,000 barrels a day during the week. The EIA report says that’s down significantly from the 995,000 barrels a day produced during the previous week. It’s also the lowest production level since the seven days ending on September 24. In the Midwest, the biggest-producing region of the country, output hit 889,000 barrels a day, down from 935,000 barrels a week earlier and the lowest level since late September. Gulf Coast and West Coast production levels dropped by 1,000 barrels a day, while output on the East Coast and in the Rocky Mountain region stayed steady with the previous week. Ethanol inventories fell to 24.34 million barrels, the lowest level since the week ending on January 14.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday April 22, 2022 |


Friday Watch List Markets Friday is a quiet day as far as reports are concerned, but USDA's Cattle On-Feed report for April 1 will be released at 2 p.m. CDT. Traders will watch for a possible export sale announcement at 8 a.m. CDT, check the latest weather forecasts and keep an eye out for any news regarding Ukraine. Weather A storm system in the Rockies will eventually move out into the Plains late on Friday. Ahead of its arrival, showers moving across the Upper Midwest will spread northeast while additional strong to severe storms will be possible this afternoon and evening across the western Plains. That includes the driest areas of wheat country, but showers should be spotty until they get into the eastern Plains overnight. Winds are also increasing and will be quite strong in the Plains, reducing soil moisture further. Temperatures are also on the increase in these areas, which will only increase soil moisture losses.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday April 21, 2022 |


Biden Administration Launches Rural Partners Network The Department of Agriculture Wednesday announced the launch of the Biden administration's Rural Partners Network. Led by USDA, the network will help rural communities access government resources and funding to create jobs, build infrastructure and support long-term economic stability. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says, "The Rural Partners Network will help communities get funding for investments that create long-lasting benefits for their communities, especially those that have been overlooked in the past." The Rural Partners Network is a first-of-its-kind collaboration between federal agencies and local leaders and residents. The network is focused on improving social and economic well-being bolstered by existing local partnerships and assets, according to USDA. The network will launch in selected communities in Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, New Mexico, as well as certain Tribes within Arizona. Community networks within these states will receive individualized support with the expertise to navigate federal programs, build relationships and identify additional resources to promote community-driven solutions. *********************************************************************************** Lawmakers Urging Supreme Court to Adopt Limited WOTUS Rule A group of lawmakers jointly filed an amicus brief supporting the petitioners in the pending U.S. Supreme Court case Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency. The decision in the case will clarify what waterways are considered "waters of the United States," or WOTUS, which will determine the scope of the federal government’s authority in regulating private citizens and businesses under the Clean Water Act. Specifically, the brief argues that the Supreme Court should adopt a longstanding, limited-scope definition of WOTUS proposed by Justice Antonin Scalia in a 2006 case. Senate Republican Chuck Grassley of Iowa helped lead the effort. Grassley and the lawmakers say, “we support policies that protect the environment while also ensuring that States retain their traditional role as the primary regulators of land and water resources.” Grassley adds, “This case presents an opportunity for the Court to finally put the genie back in the bottle.” More than 100 U.S. Representatives also signed the brief. *********************************************************************************** AFBF: NEPA Changes Signal Return to Outdated, Cumbersome Regulations American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall commented Wednesday on the final phase 1 revisions to the National Environmental Policy Act, known as NEPA. Duvall says, “AFBF is disappointed that the Biden administration has decided to reverse commonsense reforms to the National Environmental Policy Act.” AFBF says farmers and ranchers share the goal of caring for the natural resources they’ve been entrusted with and were pleased that the updated 2020 regulations allowed them to protect the environment while meeting the demands of a growing nation. However, continued challenges from the pandemic, supply chain issues and the drought in the West are impacting farmers and the American public with increased food and fuel prices. Duvall says, “The situation will now be made worse by the return to a slow and cumbersome NEPA review process that, in many cases, takes years to complete.” The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and Public Lands Council expressed similar disappointment over the action earlier this week. *********************************************************************************** FFAR & NPB Focus on Continuous Air Quality Improvement Efforts The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, partnering with the National Pork Board, announced the Improving Swine Production Air Quality Program Wednesday. The program dedicates $1 million in grant funding to develop objective measures for key air quality components and concentrations in and within 500 meters of swine production facilities. Using objective methods and metrics assessing air quality is critical for understanding the source of swine production particulates and developing continuous improvement efforts. However, existing air quality measurements are subject to bias, preventing the development of effective strategies to improve air quality. Swine production air quality studies reveal that researchers unintentionally introduce bias in a variety of ways, clouding efforts to understand the challenges and opportunities. This new research program aims to develop a scientifically valid assessment of particulate levels inside and immediately outside of swine facilities. NPB’s Heather Fowler says, “Projects such as this will allow us to continue to measure where we are today and look for areas of continuous improvement in the future.” *********************************************************************************** USGC Releases 2021/2022 Corn Export Cargo Quality Report The U.S. Grains Council Wednesday released its 2021/2022 Corn Export Cargo Quality Report. The report shows the average aggregate quality of U.S. corn samples tested was better than or equal to U.S. No. 2 on all grade factors. The report is based on 430 export cargo samples collected from corn shipments undergoing federal inspection and grading processes at export terminals. It also provides information on grading, handling and how U.S. corn is moved and controlled through export channels. Average test weight found by the analysis was higher than in 2020/2021 and the five-year average, with nearly 99.8 percent of samples at or above the minimum requirements for U.S. No. 1 grade corn, indicating overall good quality. Chemical composition indicated protein concentration higher than 2020/2021 and the five-year average with lower starch and higher oil concentrations than the previous year. All but two export samples tested below the U.S. Food and Drug Administration action level for aflatoxins. *********************************************************************************** Illinois Governor Signs Biodiesel Use Bill into Law Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker this week signed into law a bill that incentivizes increasing blends of biodiesel. The bill extends the current B10 sales tax exemption until 2023 and then increases the biodiesel blend level subject to the tax exemption to B13 in 2024, B15 in 2025 and B19 in 2026 in the state. Clean Fuels CEO Donnell Rehagen applauded the effort, saying the legislation "will expand that demand and solidify Illinois as a leading source and user of better, cleaner biodiesel." Illinois is currently fourth among all states in biodiesel production and third in consumption, with 160 million gallons consumed annually. The legislation was spearheaded and guided through the legislative process by the Illinois Soybean Association with support from Clean Fuels Alliance America and several of its member companies, including REG and ADM. The organizations cite a recent study that found in Chicago, switching to B100 would decrease diesel particular matter-related cancer risks by up to nearly 1,600 cases.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday April 21, 2022 |


Thursday Watch List Markets USDA's weekly export sales report is due out at 7:30 a.m. CDT Thursday, along with weekly U.S. jobless claims and an update of the U.S. Drought Monitor. At 9:30 a.m., the Department of Energy will release its weekly report of natural gas storage. The latest weather forecasts and any news from the war in Ukraine will continue to be closely watched. Weather A system continues to push showers through the Eastern Corn Belt and Northeast on Thursday. Its cold front remains draped across the middle of the country and more showers and thunderstorms are expected to develop later today, especially over Kansas and Missouri before heading north overnight. Some of those storms could be severe with a large hail threat. A system moving through the West will produce widespread showers before moving into the Plains on Friday.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday April 20, 2022 |


NCBA: Biden NEPA Framework Compromises Environmental, Economic Goals The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the Public Lands Council Tuesday expressed concern over the Biden administration’s National Environmental Policy Act, or NEPA rule. NCBA and PLC say the rule undermines progress made over the last several years when efficient regulatory processes are critical to environmental and economic sustainability. PLC Executive Director Kaitlynn Glover says, “When it comes to federal regulations, ranchers are often caught in the middle of political whiplash, and this process is no exception.” In addition to their role in water, transportation, and conservation projects nationwide, NEPA regulations play a role in all activities on federal lands. NCBA and PLC say that NEPA processes have become inefficient over the past several decades and the source of an immense amount of regulatory red tape and uncertainty as producers renew grazing permits, improve rangeland, and participate in USDA conservation programs. NCBA and PLC, along with the American Sheep Industry Association, previously advocated for a NEPA process that is targeted, concise, and timely. *********************************************************************************** SHIP IT Act Addresses Supply Chain Backlog A pair of House lawmakers this week introduced the SHIP IT Act, seeking to address the supply chain backlog in the freight network at U.S. ports. Introduced by Republican Representatives Michelle Fischbach of Minnesota and Byron Donalds of Florida, the legislation builds on the STOP the GRINCH Act introduced last fall. The STOP the GRINCH Act, a Christmas-themed bill, was introduced in November 2021 to ease supply-chain and inflation pressures by streamlining or suspending certain federal regulations on ports, ships, and trucks. Notable items included in the SHIP IT Act would temporarily suspend the hours-of-service requirements for truckers transporting goods directly to ports, allow 18-year-olds to drive commercial trucks to U.S. ports, and identify federal lands that can be used for temporary storage of freight. Fischbach says, “Congress should seize any opportunity to ease supply-chain tensions,” adding, “The SHIP IT Act would do this by targeting specific needs in ports, shipping, and trucking.” *********************************************************************************** Farmland Prices up 20% in 2022 The stronger land prices of late 2021 continued in the first months of 2022. Farmers National Company reports sale prices took another jump higher because of the war in Ukraine and ongoing inflation fears. Farmers saw higher commodity prices, and investors wanted a low-risk inflation hedging investment, which propelled the competition for good cropland. Farmland values are roughly 20 percent higher than a year ago. Recent Farmers National Company auction sales demonstrate the strength in the land market so far in 2022. In February, Farmers National Company sold six tracts of Western Indiana land comprising 550 acres for $16,600 per acre. In early March, four tracts of Eastern Illinois land totaling 320 acres sold between $19,100 to $19,700 per acre. At the end of March, a company auction saw three tracts of Central Illinois land sell for $20,500 to $21,500 per acre. In the fall of 2021, prime Illinois farmland was selling in the range of $16,000 plus per acre. *********************************************************************************** Ag Aviation Group Cautions Drone Operators on Ag Operations The National Agricultural Aviation Association is asking drone operators to be mindful of low altitude manned agricultural aircraft operations. With the growing season getting underway, those operations will increase across the nation. Agricultural aviators treat 127 million acres of cropland in the United States each year and perform a variety of services that help farmers increase productivity and protect their crops. NAAA CEO Andrew Moore says agricultural aviators' "work cannot be delayed because of an unmanned aircraft not yielding to them, as is required by law." Agricultural aviators fly as low as ten feet off the ground, meaning they share airspace with drones that are restricted to flying no more than 400 feet above ground level. The organization urges drone operators to do everything they can to avoid ag aircraft doing low-altitude work. Small drones can be virtually invisible-and potentially lethal-to agricultural aviators, air ambulance helicopters, law enforcement and other low-flying manned aircraft operating in the same airspace. *********************************************************************************** NPB Seeks Applicants for Inaugural Pork Innovation Challenge The National Pork Board is launching the first-ever Pork Industry Innovation Challenge to encourage individuals and companies to help solve some of the biggest challenges facing the U.S. pork industry. NPB is accepting submissions for the inaugural Challenge through July 31. The focus of the challenge is pig mortality disposal. Producers and innovators are challenged to think of new methods of carcass disposal beyond the existing methods of burial, incineration, composting and landfills. These methods could be used on farms if there were a foreign animal disease outbreak, such as African swine fever. The challenge is open to all U.S. companies, students and residents, including producers. NPB encourages folks to submit an overview of how their idea works in about 500 words or less by July 31 for a chance to win up to $46,000. Multiple awards will be granted if more than one project is successful. Find more details and learn how to submit your application online at porkcheckoff.org. *********************************************************************************** USDA Farmers Market Reopens for 25th Market Season The USDA Farmers Market returns next month for its 25th market season. The annual Friday market will reopen on Friday, May 6, 2022, and run through October. Deputy Agriculture Secretary Jewel Bronaugh (Bro-NAW), says the reopening “is an opportunity to celebrate the important role that farmers markets continue to play in meeting the growing demand for local fresh and healthy food.” Located outside the USDA Headquarters in Washington, DC, the market serves as USDA’s own “living laboratory” for farmers market operations across the country. The market supports the local economy, increases marketing opportunities for farmers and small businesses, provides access to an assortment of local and regional sourced products, and increases access to healthy, affordable fresh food. The USDA Farmers Market promotes the incorporation of healthy fresh produce in consumers food choices through its unique educational style program, VegU. The commodity-centered education program partners with USDA to market and promote the consumption of commodities through short educational sessions and in-market recipe demonstrations.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday April 20, 2022 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets A report on U.S. existing home sales in March is set for 9 a.m. CDT Wednesday, followed by the Energy Department's weekly inventory report, including ethanol production at 9:30 a.m. Traders will continue to monitor the latest weather forecasts and any news regarding the war in Ukraine. Weather A system moving across the northern tier of the country will bring lines and clusters of showers through the Corn Belt and Delta on Wednesday. The country continues to be on a warming trend through the rest of the week, but the warmth is temporary. Heat and dryness in the Southern Plains continues to be unfavorable for all crops.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday April 19, 2022 |


USDA Announces Changes to WASDE Reports Starting in May The Department of Agriculture Monday announced changes to the World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report starting next month. The changes impact how USDA presents data for sugar and dairy in the monthly report. The sugar WASDE table will have a separate line listing under "Imports" for High-tier tariff imports. The new line will appear directly below the line for imports from Mexico. Footnote 5, which once referenced imports from Mexico, and high-tier tariff sugar and syrups not otherwise specified, will be eliminated. The U.S. Dairy Supply and Use table will remove CCC Donations as a separate category and include all donations as part of domestic use. As such, stocks, imports, exports, and use will reflect total rather than commercial use, and the headings will be adjusted accordingly. The monthly WASDE report provides annual forecasts for supply and use of U.S. and world wheat, rice, coarse grains, oilseeds, and cotton, and U.S. supply of sugar, meat, poultry eggs and milk. *********************************************************************************** U.S. Canola Growers Welcome EPA Proposal for Biofuels Canola growers welcome the Environmental Protection Agency's proposed determination that canola oil-derived renewable diesel and other newer biofuels qualify as advanced biofuels. The EPA last week, as part of the announcement of summertime E15 sales this year, proposed using canola oil-derived fuels under the Renewable Fuel Standard. The U.S. Canola Association says based on its greenhouse gas lifecycle evaluation described in the proposed rulemaking, the EPA finds that renewable diesel, jet fuel, liquified petroleum gas and heating oil produced from canola oil reduce GHG emissions by at least 50 percent compared to petroleum. U.S. Canola Association President Andrew Moore says, "The EPA's rulemaking would level the playing field between canola and other oilseed crops in the biofuel market." The organization petitioned the EPA in 2020 to approve canola oil as a feedstock for renewable diesel. Moore adds, "New canola channels would also help farmers diversify and expand their markets." *********************************************************************************** Feinstein, Padilla, Booker, Stabenow to Secretary Vilsack: Support California Prop 12 Senate Democrats, including the Senate Ag Committee Chair, urge Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to support California's Proposition 12 before the Supreme Court. Senators Dianne Feinstein and Alex Padilla of California, along with New Jersey's Cory Booker and Senate Ag Chair Debbie Stabenow from Michigan, made the request in a letter to Vilsack. In 2018, California voters passed Proposition 12, which set humane standards for farm animal products sold in California. Last month, the Supreme Court agreed to hear National Pork Producers Council v. Ross, a lawsuit challenging Proposition 12. The lawmakers write, "States should not be stripped of their authority to mitigate the harm that inhumane farm animal confinement poses to animals, people, and the environment.” NPPC and the American Farm Bureau Federation call the law unconstitutional, adding Proposition 12 “sets arbitrary animal housing standards that lack any scientific, technical or agricultural basis and that will only inflict economic harm on U.S. hog farmers and consumers.” *********************************************************************************** Groups to USTR, USDA: Panama Must Fully Implement Trade Pact Agriculture groups late last week urged the Biden administration to oppose changes to the tariff elimination terms of the U.S.-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement. The National Pork Producers Council and other groups made the request to the Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Trade Representative’s office. The agreement, which went into effect in October 2012, is still in the process of being fully implemented, with gradual annual tariff reductions and increases in tariff rate quotas, or TRQs. Panama’s TRQs for pork, chicken, dairy, corn and several other commodities have been in place for ten years, and several have another ten years to go before free trade with Panama is achieved. Under the agreement, the country can also impose temporary safeguards on certain import-sensitive agricultural products as it transitions to a more open market. In March, the Panamanian government submitted a formal request to revise the agricultural tariff elimination terms of the TPA. The agriculture groups urge the administration to oppose any changes to agricultural tariffs, TRQs or safeguards. *********************************************************************************** Feeding America Seeks Additional Support from Congress The Department of Labor last week reported year-over-year inflation of 8.5 percent, levels not seen since 1981. At the same time, the latest Feeding America food bank pulse survey data shows that more food banks report seeing demand for food assistance increase or stay the same for February compared to the previous month. Food banks are purchasing nearly as much food as they did in 2021 but are now paying 40 percent more for those purchases. Feeding America projects that the food bank network will experience a 20 percent decrease in manufacturing donations and a 45 percent decrease in federal commodities in fiscal year 2022. Feeding America says Congress should ensure that food banks have the critical resources and program flexibilities necessary to address the need for food assistance by providing $900 million for The Emergency Food Assistance Program and extending child nutrition waivers. Feeding America also calls on USDA to use the Commodity Credit Corporation to provide funds for food purchases. *********************************************************************************** Fuel Prices Decline Again, Slide Could Stall The nation's average gas price declined for the fourth straight week, falling 3.8 cents from a week ago to $4.06 per gallon. The national average is down 21.1 cents from a month ago and $1.21 per gallon higher than a year ago. The national average price of diesel fell 1.2 cents in the last week and stands at $5.02 per gallon. GasBuddy's Patrick De Haan calls the decline "a feat we most likely would not have expected ahead of summer and given the continued turns in Russia's war on Ukraine." However, he warns the downturn could slow or reverse in the days ahead if the rally in oil prices continues. The price of a barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude oil surged from its week-ago level as the EU signaled it may move forward with sanctions on Russian energy, and China worked to reopen some cities shut down due to COVID. De Haan adds, “The path forward at the pump remains murky, with many possible outcomes.”

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday April 19, 2022 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets A report on March housing starts is due out at 7:30 a.m. CDT and is the only official report on Tuesday's docket. Traders will continue to monitor the latest weather forecasts and any news regarding Ukraine. Weather A system is still leaving the Northeast and some wrap-around showers will continue in the eastern Midwest on Tuesday. But the larger story is the system crossing the West. Ahead of it, winds will increase in the Plains and may cause more wildfire threats. But there may be some showers developing from west-central Texas into the southern Midwest later in the day and tonight. Showers are likely to be spotty, but would be the first showers in a while for some areas of Texas and Oklahoma.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday April 18, 2022 |


Bird Flu Driving Egg Processing Costs Higher Processed eggs go into items ranging from salad dressings to cake mix. Bloomberg says the prices for those eggs intended for processing are soaring to record highs because of the avian influenza outbreak. The rapid spread of influenza could make this one of the biggest outbreaks in history. Twenty million birds have been culled from the nation’s flocks, which is hitting the market for breaker eggs hard. These eggs, many of which come from Iowa, are processed into liquid or powder form, and then go into manufactured foods. The high price for those breaker eggs is driving production costs higher for food makers, which, in turn, will push inflation higher. Many food manufacturers have shut down plants for sterilization and can’t fill orders. The price of eggs that get cracked and sold in liquid form hit a record high of $2.37 a pound last week. Dried eggs and powdered egg products are also at their highest-ever prices. *********************************************************************************** Four Meatpacker CEOs To Testify at Congressional Hearing The four CEOs of Cargill, Tyson Foods, JBS, and National Beef Packing have agreed to testify before Congress. Reuters says the meatpacker bosses will discuss cattle markets and price increases for consumers. House Ag Committee Chair David Scott says it’s important to find out why prices have dropped for ranchers and risen for consumers. “In addition to the CEO panel, we’ll also bring together a panel of ranchers to hear what industry consolidation has done to their bottom lines and viability,” Scott says. Rising prices and profits for meatpacking companies are likely to draw more scrutiny from lawmakers in Washington, D.C. The Biden administration announced a plan in January for new rules that will increase competition in the industry and stop “exploitation” within the sector. The concern is that a small group of meatpackers can dictate beef, pork, and poultry prices, which will add to inflation pressure caused by rising production costs. *********************************************************************************** First 2023 Farm Bill Hearing Scheduled for Michigan Michigan’s Debbie Stabenow, Chair of the Senate Ag Committee, and Ranking Member John Boozman (BOZE-man) of Arkansas announced the first 2023 Farm Bill listening session. The hearing will include input from a diverse range of agricultural producers and stakeholders about the next bill. The first hearing will be on Friday, April 29, at Michigan State University. Stabenow says the farm bill’s tradition of bipartisanship will continue with the next version. “We’ll be hearing from farmers and others impacted by the farm bill,” Stabenow says. “We’ll talk about how we can strengthen this important legislation, grow the economy, and strengthen the supply chain.” Boozman also says that crafting a farm bill that can become law is a delicate balance. “The needs of each region and each commodity must be balanced, which is why we must hear directly from stakeholders from across the country,” he says. Stream it live at ag.senate.gov. *********************************************************************************** Study Shows What Consumers Want in a New Farm Bill As the House Agriculture Committee plans for the next farm bill, consumers shared their opinions on food and agriculture policy in a new survey from Purdue University. The third Consumer Food Insights report offers a significant look into the popularity of specific policies and how opinions differ depending on a consumer’s income. One of the most popular policy choices was increased funding for research to create crops more resistant to heat, drought, and flooding. Another popular policy choice is paying farmers and ranchers to adopt climate-smart practices. Over 80 percent of consumer respondents supported those policies. Food safety and inspection ranked as the most important USDA budget category. The survey-based report comes from Purdue’s Center for Food Demand Analysis and Sustainability assesses food security and spending, consumer satisfaction and values, support for agriculture and food policies, and trust in information sources. Other supported policies include regulating environmental claims and expanding SNAP benefits. *********************************************************************************** Ethanol Production, Inventories Drop The Energy Information Administration says ethanol output declined week to week, and inventories dropped during the week ending April 8. The EIA report shows biofuel production fell to an average of 995,000 barrels a day, down from just over one million barrels a day during the prior week. In the Midwest, far and away, the largest-producing area in the country, output dropped to an average of 935,000 barrels a day, down from 946,000 one week earlier. Gulf Coast production rose to 24,000 barrels a day, on average, from 23,000 barrels the previous week. West Coast output also rose to an average of 9,000 barrels a day, up 2,000 barrels a day from the prior week. Rocky Mountain output stayed steady at 15,000 barrels a day, while East Coast production was also steady compared to the previous week at 12,000 barrels a day. Stockpiles dropped to 24.8 million barrels during the week ending on April 8. *********************************************************************************** USDA Releases Equity Action Plan The USDA made its Equity Action Plan available last week. The plan outlines actions the agency will take to advance equity among its programs to improve access to the programs and services for underserved stakeholders and communities. In its announcement, the USDA says past USDA programs and services were designed to benefit those with land, experience, money, or education while leaving behind those without the means and resources of one kind or another. Over several decades, congressional reports, internal data, civil rights investigations, court actions, and stakeholder testimony have documented the history of inequity and discrimination. “We are acknowledging USDA’s storied history and charting a new path forward,” says Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack. “Today’s USDA is committed to rooting out systemic racism and advancing justice, equity, and opportunity for all.” He also says the agency has to be responsive to the unique needs of underserved communities. For more information, go to usda.gov/equity.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday April 18, 2022 |


Monday Watch List Markets Back from a three-day weekend, traders will pore over the latest weather maps and any news regarding Ukraine. USDA's weekly grain export inspections will be released at 10 a.m. CDT Monday, followed by a new Crop Progress update at 3 p.m. Weather A system continues to bring scattered showers from the weekend through eastern areas of the country on Monday. A mix of rain and snow is found over the Midwest into the Northeast while scattered thunderstorms develop across the Southeast. Some breezy winds will continue on the backside of the system across the Upper Midwest while colder air is a feature for many areas, especially over the heavy snowpack in the Northern Plains.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday April 14, 2022 |


Avian Influenza Cases Outpacing 2014/2015 Outbreak The number of highly pathogenic avian influenza cases in the United States are outpacing the 2014/2015 outbreak. However, the American Farm Bureau Federation says the higher numbers might be attributed to improvements in detection and reporting protocols. Farm Bureau economists found as of April 7, there have been more than 600 detections of HPAI in wild birds across 31 states, and 158 detections in commercial and backyard flocks across 25 states. The 2014/2015 outbreak prompted revisions to the National HPAI Surveillance Plan, which has led to heightened annual surveillance plans, providing poultry producers earlier notice to increase their biosecurity measures. AFBF economists analyzed HPAI detections in commercial flocks and found the Mississippi flyway is the most impacted, with 49 percent of detections. While HPAI has affected the laying hen population, inventory of eggs is actually 38 percent higher in 2022 than during the same time in 2015. Eggs should be found easily in the grocery store for Easter and Passover celebrations, but prices will be higher. *********************************************************************************** National Sorghum Producers Calls on USAID to Consider Grain Sorghum Offers National Sorghum Producers requests the U.S. Agency for International Development, USAID, to consider sorghum for aid programs. The organization sent a letter to USAID this week encouraging the department to proactively tender grain offers to provide crucial aid to the world’s hungry. The letter is in response to a worsening situation from the war in Ukraine and its impact on global food prices. NSP CEO Tim Lust says, “In Sub-Saharan Africa in particular, where sorghum is a staple food in many countries, the situation is exacerbated by severe drought and conflict.” The NSP letter encourages USAID, in coordination with the Department of Agriculture, to consider grain sorghum offers for food aid as action plans are formulated to address the worsening situation. Lust adds urgency is needed as grain traders are emptying stocks from the 2021 crop year. Sorghum is the fifth most important cereal crop in the world and ranks second, closely behind wheat, in total food aid purchases. *********************************************************************************** EPA Announces Plan to Protect Endangered Species and Support Sustainable Agriculture The Environmental Protection Agency this week released its first-ever comprehensive workplan to address the challenge of protecting endangered species from pesticides. The plan establishes four overall strategies and dozens of actions to adopt protections while providing farmers, public health authorities, and others with access to pesticides. EPA has an opportunity and an obligation to improve how it meets its duties under the Endangered Species Act when it registers pesticides under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act. For most of EPA's history, the agency has met these duties for less than five percent of its FIFRA decisions. This has resulted in over 20 ESA lawsuits against the agency, which have increased in frequency in recent years, creating uncertainty for farmers. Through the workplan, EPA is describing its future directions in the hope of collaborating on implementation. Over the coming months, EPA will engage with a wide range of stakeholders to identify opportunities for collaboration and will continue seeking input on more effective and efficient ways to meet its ESA obligations. *********************************************************************************** Quick-Service Restaurants Recovered Faster Than Full-Service Following 2020 New data from USDA’s Economic Research Service shows quick-service restaurants recovered faster than full-service restaurants from the initial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Consumer spending at both full-service and quick-service restaurants initially fell following the onset of the Coronavirus, with noteworthy differences between the two. Before the pandemic, consumer spending at both quick-service and full-service restaurants was near or slightly above previous year levels. As of March–May 2020, spending at quick-service restaurants had dropped to about $20.1 billion, 15.4 percent lower than average spending a year earlier. Full-service restaurants experienced a more severe drop during this period, likely related to the mandates limiting in-person dining across much of the country. Spending fell to $7 billion, 51.7 percent lower than the year before. Quick-service restaurants recovered faster than full-service restaurants, with spending surpassing previous year levels for the last four months of 2020. In contrast, by the end of 2020, full-service restaurants retained a 24.8 percent drop in year-to-year spending. *********************************************************************************** ADM to Increase Alternative Protein Production ADM announced this week it will invest approximately $300 million to significantly expand its Decatur, Illinois, alternative protein production. ADM also plans to open a new, state-of-the-art Protein Innovation Center, also in Decatur. An ADM spokesperson says, “The global trends of food security and sustainability are driving structural changes in the food industry, including strong growth in alternative proteins.” Alternative meat and dairy sales alone expected to grow by 14 percent a year and reach $125 billion in 2030. The production increase represents a significant expansion of ADM's alternative protein capabilities. The project, expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2025, will significantly strengthen ADM's ability to meet growing global demand by increasing soy protein concentrate capacity and nearly doubling extrusion capacity at ADM's Decatur complex. The Protein Innovation Center will further expand ADM's Decatur-based innovation complex. The new Decatur Innovation Center will bring together labs, test kitchens, and pilot-scale production capabilities to power innovation. *********************************************************************************** New Veterinary Debt Solutions Program Launches Farm Journal Foundation is partnering with the Zoetis Foundation to launch a new program to find solutions for relieving student debt in the veterinary industry. The effort’s long-term goal seeks to address shortages of veterinarians to work with farmers in rural areas. The new Veterinary Debt Solutions Program will convene leaders from across the livestock, academic, nonprofit, and veterinary sectors to address barriers that veterinarians face in building long-term careers in rural areas. High levels of student debt, combined with comparatively lower rural salaries and demanding workloads, discourage many young and diverse professionals from specializing in large animal veterinary science and entering the workforce, particularly in underserved rural areas. The veterinary profession is currently experiencing an urban-rural divide, with only about ten percent of final-year veterinary students expressing an interest in working with livestock after graduation, according to survey data from the American Veterinary Medical Association. As a result, about 500 counties across the U.S. now face shortages of veterinarians.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday April 14, 2022 |


Thursday Watch List Markets USDA's weekly export sales report is due out at 7:30 a.m. CDT, the same time as weekly U.S. jobless claims, U.S. retail sales in March and an update of the U.S. Drought Monitor. The University of Michigan's index of consumer sentiment is set for 9 a.m., followed by the Energy Department's weekly report on natural gas storage at 9:30 a.m. At 2 p.m., USDA releases its monthly Livestock, Dairy and Poultry outlook. Weather The system that has dumped significant snowfall in the Northern Plains this week continues to wrap up on Thursday before pushing north into Canada. Some snow showers will remain across northern locations while the cold front pushes showers off the East Coast later in the day. Winds continue to be strong, especially across the north where blizzard conditions continue in North Dakota and wind gusts of 50 to 60 mph will be felt from the Dakotas through the northern half of the Midwest. Cold weather flowing into the Plains and Midwest are causing some late frosts as far south as Oklahoma and Arkansas Thursday morning.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday April 13, 2022 |


Biden Announces Summertime E15 Sales President Joe Biden Tuesday announced the Environmental Protection Agency is taking steps to allow for summertime E15 sales. Biden made the announcement during a visit to a POET ethanol facility in Iowa. To make E15 available in the summer, EPA is planning to issue a national emergency waiver. Without a waiver, E15 cannot be used in most of the country from June 1 to September 15, and the EPA plans to take final action to issue the emergency waiver closer to June 1. The White House says the EPA is also considering additional action to facilitate the use of E15 year-round. The EPA also Tuesday announced efforts to expand supply and choices for other forms of fuel, such as diesel and jet fuel. The EPA is proposing a new approval for canola oil that will add new pathways for fuels to participate in the Renewable Fuel Standard program to provide renewable diesel, jet fuel and other fuels. *********************************************************************************** Consumer Price Index Rises Again The Consumer Price Index increased 1.2 percent in March, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 8.5 percent before seasonal adjustment. Increases in the indexes for gasoline, shelter, and food were the largest contributors to the seasonally adjusted all items increase. The food index increased one percent in March as the food at home index increased 1.5 percent over the month. All six major grocery store food group indexes increased in March. The largest increase was for other food at home, which increased two percent over the month. The index for fruits and vegetables rose 1.5 percent following a 2.3 percent increase in February. The index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs increased one percent in March, while the index for cereals and bakery products rose 1.5 percent, and the index for nonalcoholic beverages increased 1.2 percent over the month. The dairy and related products index also increased 1.2 percent in March. *********************************************************************************** NCBA Renews Call for Suspension of Brazilian Beef Imports Following a USDA report highlighting an increase in Brazilian beef imports, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association renewed its call to immediately suspend fresh beef imports from Brazil. NCBA has repeatedly called for a thorough audit of Brazil's animal health and food safety system, to ensure the safety of the U.S. cattle herd. In 2021, Brazilian exports to the United States increased by 131 percent. In the first three months of 2022, Brazil has already shipped more than 50,000 metric tons of fresh beef to the United States. The surge of imports triggered a temporary tariff safeguard of 26.4 percent that will apply to Brazilian beef imports for the rest of 2022. While a temporary tariff increase may discourage further imports, NCBA says it does not address the underlying concern over Brazil's repeated failure to adhere to international animal health and food safety standards. NCBA believes restricting Brazilian imports is essential until Brazil proves it can adhere to U.S. standards. *********************************************************************************** Argentina and Brazil Could Expand Wheat Production The war in Ukraine is expected to expand wheat production in Argentina and Brazil, the primary wheat-producing nations in South America. Agriculture and consumer economics experts from the University of Illinois say both nations will likely already increase wheat planting this season, which begins in May 2022. The high price of wheat after a significant shock to agricultural commodity markets caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine is an incentive for increased planting of wheat in Argentina and Brazil, as well in the United States. Argentina is the primary South American producer and exporter of wheat, accounting for about seven percent of the global exports. Brazil, in contrast, is a prominent importer, mainly from Argentina. The ongoing conflict in Ukraine has caused wheat supply and food security concerns for many major wheat importers that depend on Black Sea supplies. In this case, the University of Illinois experts say South American producers may increase supply to African countries. *********************************************************************************** Tractor and Combine Sales Make First Decline Since July 2021 Ag tractor and combine sales posted their first decline in March since July 2021, according to the Association of Equipment Manufacturers. U.S. total farm tractor sales fell 21.1 percent for the month of March compared to 2021. U.S. combine sales for the month dropped 10.2 percent to 343 units sold. Total farm tractor sales are now down 7.9 percent year-to-date, while combines sales are down 19.2 percent. In Canada, sales fell in all segments for a 5.1 percent decline in total farm tractor sales. Combine sales were down as well in Canada, falling 36.8 percent to 60 units sold. Year-to-date farm tractor unit sales are down a slight 0.7 percent in Canada, while harvesters are down 36.2 percent. AEM’s Curt Blades says they expected the declines, adding, “Inventory levels are down more than ten percent in both the U.S. and Canada, and this is the result of supply chain difficulties catching up with this segment of the manufacturing industry.” *********************************************************************************** Fall Seasonal Effects Connected to E. coli Outbreaks in Bagged Romaine USDA Agricultural Research Service scientists are researching an underlying pattern of seasonal E. coli outbreaks linked to bagged romaine lettuce. Although contamination of lettuce products is rare, between 1998 and 2019, 36 outbreaks that traced back to lettuce were recorded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Most of the outbreaks involved romaine lettuce harvested in the fall on the California Central Coast and late winter in Southern California and Arizona. One of the most significant findings of the study is that E. coli survived on average 5.6 times better in cold-stored packaged romaine harvested in the fall than on the same varieties harvested in late spring. The research also found the bacterial community present on bagged romaine differed by season, lettuce deterioration state, and whether survival of E. coli on the lettuce was high or low. An ARS Researcher says, “Our observations definitely open an entire new branch of inquiry about outbreak seasonality.”

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday April 13, 2022 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets At 7:30 a.m. CDT Wednesday, the U.S. Labor Department will release its producer price index for March with big increases, similar to Tuesday's consumer price index expected. At 9:30 a.m. CDT, the Energy Department will release its weekly energy inventories, including ethanol production. Traders will continue to keep an eye on this week's storms and news regarding Ukraine. Weather A system continues to spin up across the Upper Midwest on Wednesday. Heavy snow that has been falling since Tuesday in North Dakota continues Wednesday. The cold front to the system will move through the Mississippi Valley this afternoon, sparking widespread showers and thunderstorms, which are expected to be severe with all hazards being possible. The storms will push toward the Appalachians overnight and weaken. Colder air settling in across northern zones is significantly below normal and will lead to slower planting progress for the coming week.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday April 12, 2022 |


Biden Announces Rural Playbook, Infrastructure Tour The White House released its Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Rural Playbook. It will help local, state, tribal, and territorial governments in rural areas unlock the benefits of investments in the national infrastructure. The president and other senior administration officials will also launch an infrastructure tour to directly-engage rural communities across the country. The Rural Playbook provides rural communities with information on the “what, when, where, and how to apply” for funding under the law, so no lobbying is necessary to access it. The Playbook also identifies over 100 programs funded under the law with federal cost-share flexibilities and matching requirement waivers. “Building a better America requires that these funds reach rural areas that have been left behind for way too long,” says Mitch Landrieu (LAN-drew), Senior Advisor and Infrastructure Implementation Coordinator. “We see you, and major investments are on the way.” The goal is to make sure all Americans benefit from the historic investments. *********************************************************************************** Investigators Solve a $40 Million Crop Insurance Fraud Case A crop insurance fraud case totaling 40 million dollars led to 23 people getting charged with a crime and 17 other people paying civil fines or penalties. DTN says the case began in 2014 at the USDA’s Inspector General Office when it received a phone tip about alleged fraud at Clay’s Tobacco Warehouse in Mount Sterling, Kentucky. The defendants are accused of cheating the crop insurance program out of anywhere from under $10,000 to many millions of dollars. The most common scheme centered around farmers that raised a good tobacco crop. But, they worked together with insurance agents and adjusters to claim the crop got damaged by storms or pests. After the farmer filed an insurance claim and received payment, the insurance agents and adjusters got kickback payments. FBI investigators say farmers had help from several employees at Clay’s Tobacco House, including one employee who was also a crop insurance agent. *********************************************************************************** U.S. Cattlemen Applaud Bill Updating the Packers and Stockyards Act The bipartisan Amplifying Processing of Livestock in the United States Act, or A-PLUS Act, got introduced into the House last week. The U.S. Cattlemen’s Association says it’s a long-overdue idea that will help spur more processing capacity in the U.S. if it gets enacted. It would allow livestock auction markets to hold an ownership interest in, finance, or participate in the management or operation of a packing facility with a slaughter capacity of fewer than 1,000 animals per day or 250,000 a year. “The Packers and Stockyards Act is over 100 years old, and it’s time to modernize parts of this historic legislation that no longer make sense in the modern world,” says USCA President Brooke Miller. “If a family-owned and regionally-based livestock auction wants to invest in a local processing facility to increase processing capacity for producers in their area, there shouldn’t be an outdated regulation holding them back from doing so.” *********************************************************************************** Growth Energy Asks STB to Address Rail Supply Chain Disruptions Last week, Growth Energy sent a letter to the Surface Transportation Board to talk about their concerns over significant delays in rail service. Those delays impacting the biofuel industry include empty car arrivals and extreme delays in the manifest and unit train traffic across the rail supply chain.. Growth Energy’s members ship nearly 70 percent of ethanol by rail through many key distribution points throughout North America. The organization says this disruption affects not only businesses but American drivers as it can ultimately mean less biofuel is available for blending. “While we certainly understand that a variety of factors have contributed to the rail disruptions, the nation's railroads must do everything they can to ensure that critical fuel supplies reach markets as quickly as possible,” says Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor. “It’s essential that ethanol reach its destination to benefit American drivers facing high gas prices.” *********************************************************************************** Applications Open for Lamb Feeders Leadership School The National Lamb Feeders Association is accepting applications for the Howard Wyman Sheep Industry Leadership School, which is from June 19-22 in Colorado. The school starts on Sunday, June 19, with a meet-and-greet at the hotel in Greely before the busy week kicks off. Monday, the students will travel to Brush, Colorado, to tour the Colorado Lamb Processors facility, followed by multiple feedlot tours. The day ends with a tour of the Eldon Mars Dairy and a lamb dinner at the Eaton Country Club. Tuesday will be more in the classroom, with presentations on marketing options for lambs, American Sheep Industry Association programs, and plenty of time for group discussion on issues and challenges of marketing options. The school finishes up on Wednesday morning and offers a time to ask questions to sheep industry leaders and school presenters. The deadline to apply is April 29, and for more information, go to lambfeedersusa.org. *********************************************************************************** World Crop Acres Grow by 73 million in Two Years The total number of global crop acres rose by 73 million during the last two years. Agricultural Economic Insights first observed an uptick in global acreage in 2020. The number of acres had trended sideways because of sluggish commodity prices and profitability from 2014 through 2019. After acres began increasing in 2020, another increase was observed and a record 2.43 billion acres got harvested in 2021. From 2019 to 2021, the total number of acres grew by 3.7 percent, or 73 million acres. As far as which crops contributed the most to the recent expansion, AEI says look no farther than oilseeds. From 2016 to 2021, soybean production grew by 25 million acres, which accounted for 40 percent of the total acreage increase. By way of comparison, corn acreage expanded by only 15 million acres. AEI says profitability was behind the surge in planted acres. When profits are strong, producers always find ways to bring more acres online.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday April 12, 2022 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets The U.S. Labor Department will release the consumer price index for March at 7:30 a.m. CDT Tuesday. Traders will examine the weather forecasts and watch for the latest news regarding Ukraine. A Treasury report on the federal budget is set for 1 p.m. Weather Though scattered showers and thunderstorms linger in the Tennessee Valley on Tuesday, the focus is farther west. A large storm system is moving into the Plains. Heavy snow is beginning to form in Montana and North Dakota. Strong winds picking up throughout the day will create blizzard conditions for these areas. Strong to severe storms are expected to develop later this afternoon and evening across the eastern Plains, moving toward the Mississippi River overnight. Stronger winds in the rest of the Plains could cause an increased risk for wildfires as well.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday April 11, 2022 |


Food Prices Set a Record During March The United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization says its Food Price Index set a record in March. The index averaged 159.3 points, up almost 18 points from February. The 12 percent jump in the index during March sent it to the highest level since the index began in 1990. The latest increase reflects all-time highs for vegetable oils, cereals, and meat sub-indices, while sugar and dairy products also rose significantly. The Cereal Price Index averaged 170 points in March, up 25 points from February. The 17 percent increase reflected a surge in world wheat and coarse grain prices, largely caused by export disruptions from Ukraine. The Vegetable Oil Price Index averaged 248 points in March, up 47 points from February. The Dairy Price Index averaged 145.2 points in March, up almost four points and the seventh-consecutive monthly increase. The Meat Price Index rose by 5.5 points and the Sugar Price Index was 7.4 points higher. *********************************************************************************** EPA Denies Biofuel Waivers, Offers Alternative Relief The Environmental Protection Agency denied 36 petitions from oil refiners seeking exemptions from the national biofuel blending laws for the compliance year 2018. However, the agency said last week that it will provide 31 of the refineries with another avenue to get relief. A 2020 court decision narrowed the criteria for exemptions under the Renewable Fuel Standard’s blending quotas, and the EPA says the denial follows the law and recent court decisions. The agency added that the alternative relief it plans to grant to 31 of the refineries will allow them to meet their 2018 compliance requirements without having to purchase blending credits. The EPA says that decision comes from the “extenuating circumstances,” including the fact that the plants had already been granted waivers. Reuters says the agency is taking this approach because the amount of renewable fuel used in 2018 will be unchanged regardless of any action refiners take now. *********************************************************************************** Biofuel, Ag Groups Respond To EPA Refinery Exemption Decisions Top farm and biofuel groups reacted to the Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to reverse 31 controversial small refinery exemptions granted in August 2019. They’re disappointed that the agency is allowing the refineries with previously-granted SREs to not have to take additional steps to meet obligations under the RFS. Groups like Growth Energy, the Renewable Fuels Association, National Corn Growers Association, and others say the denial is an important step in reversing past refinery exemption abuses. “However, the decision fails to remedy the economic harms that the improperly granted 2018 SREs have already caused,” the groups say in their statement. “The agency’s readiness to excuse individual refineries from their obligations to comply with the 2018 blending requirements comes at the expense of our biofuel producers, farmers, and American consumers.” The groups say that low-carbon biofuels are the single best tool to deliver immediate relief at the pump, strengthen U.S. energy security, and protect the climate. *********************************************************************************** USDA Releases April WASDE Report The USDA’s April World Ag Supply and Demand Estimates report says the Russian military action in Ukraine significantly increased the uncertainty of global supply and demand conditions. The corn outlook is for offsetting changes to feed and residual use and corn used for ethanol production. Corn ending stocks are unchanged at 1.44 billion bushels, and the season-average farm price rose 15 cents to $5.80 a bushel. U.S. soybean supply and use changes for 2021-2022 include increased exports and seed use and lower ending stocks. Soybean ending stocks are projected at 260 million bushels, down 25 million due to a corresponding 25 million bushel increase in exports. The season-average soybean price is unchanged at $13.25 per bushel. The wheat outlook calls for stable supplies, lower domestic use, reduced exports, and higher ending stocks. Exports were lowered by 15 million bushels to the lowest export numbers since 2015-2016. The season-average farm price rose 10 cents to $7.60 a bushel. *********************************************************************************** Surface Transportation Board to Deal with Rail Issues The Surface Transportation Board says it will hold public hearings on April 26 and 27 on recent rail service problems and recovery efforts involving several Class One carriers. The Board plans to direct several executive-level officials from many major railways to appear during the hearing. Rail network reliability is essential to the nation’s economy and is a big priority of the Board. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack and other stakeholders have filed reports about the serious impact of the service trends on rail users, especially those who ship agricultural and energy products. “During my time on the Board, I’ve been concerned about the priority that Class One railroads have placed on cutting costs and satisfying shareholders even at the cost of consumers,” says Board Chair Martin Oberman. “That strategy has led to collectively reducing their workforce by 29 percent.” He also says the Board will ask the executives what they’ll do to fix the issues. *********************************************************************************** Chinese National Sentenced in Agricultural Espionage Conspiracy A Chinese national formerly residing in Missouri was sentenced to 29 months in prison and a $150,000 fine for conspiring to commit economic espionage. Xiang (she-AHNG) Haitao pled guilty to the charge in January. Court documents say Xiang conspired to steal a trade secret from the Climate Corporation, a subsidiary of Monsanto, to benefit a foreign government. “Xiang conspired to steal an important trade secret to gain an unfair advantage for himself and the Chinese government,” says Assistant Attorney General Matthew Olson of the Justice Department’s National Security Division. “The victim companies invested significant time and resources to develop this intellectual property.” Olsen also says espionage is a serious offense that can threaten U.S. companies’ competitive advantage. After leaving Monsanto, Xiang attempted to take Monsanto’s computer algorithm called the Nutrient Optimizer on an electronic device back to China. He was arrested and returned to the U.S. in November 2019.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday April 11, 2022 |


Monday Watch List Markets Traders will return from the weekend, checking the latest weather forecasts and any news regarding Ukraine or Russia. At 10 a.m. CDT, USDA weekly grain export inspections will be released, followed by the second Crop Progress report of 2022 at 3 p.m. At 2 p.m., USDA's Historical Track Records of Crop Production will be available, an annual reference source. Weather Scattered showers and thunderstorms are developing along a weak system moving through the Midwest and Delta Monday. Some of these thunderstorms could be strong to severe from northeast Texas into the northern Delta. But the main story for the week is the storm system moving through the West that will bring blizzard conditions to the Northern Plains and multiple rounds of severe weather elsewhere, along with heavy rains. However, the southwestern Plains hard red winter wheat areas are looking to be bypassed yet again as soils continue to be very dry. Cold air following the system will slow down agricultural progress.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday April 8, 2022 |


Global Beef Demand Continues to Soar U.S. beef exports turned in another strong performance in February. USDA data compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation says the strong month for beef was led by excellent value growth in key Asian and Latin American markets. Beef exports hit 108,500 metric tons in February, five percent higher than last year. Beef’s export value rose 35 percent to over $904 million. “Broad-based growth has become a recurring theme for U.S. beef exports as international demand has never been higher and global supplies remain tight,” says USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom. Pork exports trended lower as larger shipments to Mexico and Japan didn’t offset a decline in Chinese and Hong Kong demand. February pork exports totaled 198,530 metric tons: 17 percent lower than a year ago. Pork export value fell 14 percent from last year to $541 million. USMEF says logistical challenges were compounded in February by lower-priced pork offered by competitors. *********************************************************************************** Senate Ag Leaders Ask Biden to Fill USDA Vacancies Senators Debbie Stabenow, Chair of the Senate Ag Committee, and Ranking Member John Boozman (BOZE-man) asked President Biden to quickly fill vacancies at USDA. They say filling the open positions can help increase trade opportunities for American agriculture. In a letter sent to the White House, the leaders ask Biden to quickly nominate a candidate to serve as the Chief Agricultural Negotiator in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. They also want a candidate in place to serve as the Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. “Global agricultural markets are highly competitive,” the senators wrote. “Every day, new trade barriers against American agricultural products are being devised to limit our access.” They also point out that the agricultural industry needs strong advocates that understand the needs of American farmers, ranchers, and foresters and who will represent their collective interests on the world stage. *********************************************************************************** NCBA Supports the A-PLUS Act The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association supports the A-PLUS ACT, which stands for Amplifying Processing of Livestock in the United States. The bill was introduced in the U.S. House by Missouri Republican Vicky Hartzler and California Democrat Jimmy Panetta. The bill would clarify regulations under the Packers and Stockyards Act to allow livestock market owners to have an ownership stake in small meatpacking entities. Backers say that’s another tool to boost processing capacity and solve some key challenges in cattle marketing. “The need for new packing facilities has become a critical issue for the cattle industry,” says Clint Berry, chair of NCBA’s Livestock Marketing Council. “The A-PLUS Act makes it possible for the marketing segment of the cattle industry to be included as investors in these facilities, helping reduce dependence on major packers and improve the competitiveness of the live cattle market.” NCBA also says the meatpacking sector continues to be a bottleneck in the supply chain. *********************************************************************************** CHS Reports Second Quarter Earnings CHS released its earnings results for the second quarter that ended on February 28. The company reported a second-quarter income of $219 million and revenues of $10.3 billion. That compares to a net loss of $38.2 million and $8.3 billion in revenues for the first quarter of fiscal year 2021. For the first six months of the current fiscal year 2022, the company reported a net income of $671 million and revenues of $21.2 billion. Some highlights in the fiscal year include refining margins in their energy segment, which were higher due to global supply and demand factors, and more favorable pricing for Canadian crude oil, which CHS refines. Robust global demand, coupled with increased market volatility, resulted in higher commodity prices and improved earnings, primarily in the company’s agricultural segment. “The U.S. agricultural industry continues to experience strong demand for grain and oilseed commodities,” says Jay Debertin (Deh-BEHR-tin), president and CEO of CHS, Inc. *********************************************************************************** USDA Forming Subcommittee on Rural Community Economic Development The USDA says it will establish a Rural Community Economic Development Subcommittee as a part of its recently launched Equity Commission. “This new subcommittee will be crucial to addressing issues of persistent poverty in rural communities,” says Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack. “We are committed to giving each recommendation the Equity Commission makes a full consideration to implement systemic, lasting change.” Deputy Secretary Jewell Bronaugh says,” The work of this subcommittee will be invaluable to the commission as we seek to provide recommendations on how underserved rural communities can obtain equity access to USDA programs. I’m hopeful the work of this commission and subcommittee will break down barriers and increase the public’s access to, and trust in, USDA’s programs and services.” USDA is asking for nominations for membership on the RCED subcommittee. Nominations are open to the public, and any interested people or organizations may nominate qualified individuals. Learn more at usda.gov. *********************************************************************************** Bennet Wants Full Funding, Implementation of Fire Recovery Efforts Colorado senator Michael Bennet wrote a letter to the USDA and the Forest Service asking the agencies to fully fund and implement fire recovery efforts before spring arrives. Snowmelt runoff and seasonal rains could cause further flooding and damage Colorado watersheds. Bennet says his state faces a funding gap of about $146 million for wildfire recovery. “Two catastrophic Western wildfires burned over 400,000 acres in Colorado,” Bennet wrote in his letter to Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack and Forest Service Chief Randy Moore. The Colorado lawmaker wants the Biden Administration to prioritize deploying fire recovery funds. Colorado, like many other western states, was hit hard by wildfires in recent years. Bennet wants the agencies to not only fully fund recovery efforts immediately, but also develop long-term solutions to support Colorado communities on the frontlines of recent wildfires. “State and local governments shouldn’t carry the burden of post-fire recovery on Federal lands,” he says.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday April 8, 2022 |


Friday Watch List Markets Traders continue to keep an eye on the latest weather forecasts and any news regarding Russia or Ukraine. At 11 a.m. CDT, USDA will release its World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates for April, including the latest crop estimates from South America. Weather A system continues to spin across the Great Lakes on Friday, bringing spotty showers throughout the Midwest. Winds have calmed down significantly across the Plains but may still be breezy in spots. Cold air has filled in across much of the country east of the Rockies, with potential frosts and freezes from the Midwest to the Mid-South through Sunday morning. Damage to wheat is unlikely but temperatures will slow the warming of soils prior to planting row crops.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday April 7, 2022 |


Pork Producers Press Politicians on Public Policies Pork producers are in Washington, D.C., as part of the National Pork Producers Council's Capitol Hill fly-in. This week, the organization is highlighting top public policy issues facing the industry. NPPC says the top priorities include preparing for and preventing foreign animal diseases, addressing an agricultural labor shortage, and increasing pork exports. Nearly 100 farmers from across the country are participating in person for the first time in two years. NPPC President Terry Wolters says, “Challenges facing our industry continue to evolve, and we hope our efforts this week help lawmakers understand why these issues are so important.” Producers urge lawmakers to support additional funding for foreign animal disease prevention and preparedness efforts, particularly around African swine fever. Last July, ASF was detected in the Western Hemisphere for the first time in more than 40 years. And, to address an ongoing labor shortage, producers want lawmakers to expand the H-2A visa program to year-round agricultural workers. *********************************************************************************** USDA Takes Action to Strengthen Pollinator Research Support The Department of Agriculture Wednesday announced a strengthened commitment to advancing research and priorities that support pollinator health. USDA is soliciting nominations for members to serve on its newly formed USDA National Pollinator Subcommittee. The subcommittee is part of the National Agricultural Research, Extension, Education, and Economics Advisory Board. The board provides feedback to the Agriculture Secretary, USDA’s science agencies and university collaborators on research, education, extension and economics priorities and policies. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says, "We are keenly interested in understanding the stressors that impact pollinators, including climate change, pests, pathogens and reduced forage." The Pollinator Subcommittee will provide input on annual USDA pollinator priorities and goals and will make pollinator health-related recommendations to strengthen USDA research efforts. USDA seeks nominations for subcommittee members from individuals with diverse expertise in pollinator health, and expects to appoint seven new subcommittee members. The application deadline is May 31, 2022, and applications should be sent to nareee@usda.gov. *********************************************************************************** USDA: Irrigation Organizations Drought Plans Specify Water Restrictions Guidelines for implementing drought-induced water restrictions on water deliveries and pumping are the most common component in the formal drought plans of irrigation organizations. In the 2019 Survey of Irrigation Organizations, USDA asked groundwater organizations and water delivery organizations, such as irrigation districts and ditch companies, questions about their formal drought planning. USDA’s Economic Research Service updated the data from the 2019 survey Wednesday. USDA found that around one-fifth of all organizations had a formal, written drought plan. Between 69 percent and 73 percent of water delivery organization plans and 80 percent of groundwater organization plans included details about drought-induced water restrictions as a component of their plans. Land fallowing provisions and off-year water storage strategies typically occurred in fewer than 20 percent of plans for most organizations. About one-third of large delivery organization plans included provisions for price increases and water supply augmentation during drought by purchasing additional water. *********************************************************************************** Environmental Groups, Fishing Industry Urge Biden to Rollback Trump Executive Order More than 175 fishing, food advocacy and environmental groups call on the Biden administration to revoke the Trump Administration's executive order, Promoting Seafood Competitiveness and Economic Growth. The groups say the executive order shortcuts the regulatory process for developing industrial offshore finfish aquaculture facilities in federal waters without Congressional oversight. Offshore finfish aquaculture is a type of finfish farming using massive net pens to raise fish. In a letter to President Biden, the groups say, “Industrial offshore fish farms would contaminate our marine waters with drugs, chemicals, and untreated wastes, while creating a breeding ground for pests and diseases.” Organizers of the letter with Don’t Cage Our Oceans estimate that the organizations in total represent at least nine million individual members across the country and 250,000 businesses, including 5,000 fishing businesses. The open letter calls for new measures, like the Keep Finfish Free Act, to conserve ocean resources and invest in sustainable fishing methods and small-scale aquaculture systems. *********************************************************************************** USDA Announces Food Insecurity Grants for Alaska, Hawaii, U.S. Territories USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service this week announced $5 million in funding available to Alaska, Hawaii, and certain U.S. territories to support small-scale gardening, herding, and livestock operations. The Micro-Grants for Food Security Program is authorized by the 2018 Farm Bill and awards grants to eligible states and territories through a non-competitive application process. USDA Undersecretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs, Jenny Lester Moffitt, says, “These Micro-Grants will help eligible states and territories increase the quantity and quality of locally grown food.” The funding supports small-scale gardening, herding and livestock operations. States and territories that receive funding will then competitively grant subawards. Eligible applicants include agricultural agencies or departments in Alaska, American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, Micronesia, Guam, Hawaii, the Marshall Islands, the Republic of Palau, and the United States Virgin Islands. AMS encourages applications for initiatives that benefit smaller farms and ranches, new and beginning farmers and ranchers, underserved producers, veteran producers, and underserved communities. *********************************************************************************** Case IH and Lee Brice Honor Farmers in Upcoming Summer Tour Country music singer and songwriter, farmer and Case IH brand ambassador Lee Brice will celebrate producers this summer throughout his ‘Label Me Proud Tour’ with his song “Farmer.” The song was written as part of Case IH’s Built by Farmers initiative. The campaign connects the company’s employees, dealers and their families rooted in agriculture with the farmers who use Case IH equipment and technology. Born and raised in South Carolina, Brice pays homage to North America’s dedicated producers and ranchers through his lyrics. The song debuted at the 2021 Farm Progress Show Concert in Decatur, Illinois. Brice says, “I wrote ‘Farmer’ to honor the families and individuals who are up before sunrise, doing the backbreaking work it takes to provide food and resources for homes all across America.” The cross-country Label Me Proud tour will span 23 cities, and select stops throughout the tour will feature “Farmer” in the concert setlist.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday April 7, 2022 |


Thursday Watch List Markets USDA's weekly report of export sales is due out at 7:30 a.m. CDT, the same time as weekly U.S. jobless claims and an update of the U.S. Drought Monitor. The Energy Department's report of natural gas storage is due out at 9:30 a.m. Traders continue to monitor events in Ukraine and the latest weather developments. Weather Another day of strong winds is on tap for the Plains Thursday, causing increased wildfire risks and drying out soils. Some occasional showers will continue across the Upper Midwest and eastern Dakotas while any heavier showers will be found along the East Coast, again with a severe weather threat.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday April 6, 2022 |


March Ag Economy Barometer Lower The Purdue University-CME Group Ag Economy Barometer dipped to a reading of 113 in March, the weakest farmer sentiment reading since May 2020, which was in the early days of the pandemic. The March reading was 12 points lower than a month earlier and 36 percent lower than in March 2021. Compared to a year earlier, producers' appraisal of current conditions was down 44 percent, while their expectations for the future fell 31 percent. Producers continue to say that they expect their farm's financial performance to decline in 2022 compared to 2021. The biggest concern among producers for their farming operation this year continues to be higher input costs. The war in Ukraine exacerbated producers' worries about production costs, with nearly two-thirds of farmers expecting the biggest impact on U.S. agriculture from the war to be on input prices. Each month, the barometer is calculated from 400 U.S. agricultural producers' responses to a telephone survey. *********************************************************************************** U.S., Mexican Agriculture Secretaries Meet to Address Shared Priorities Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack met with his counterpart in Mexico Tuesday and announced the opening of Mexico to U.S. potato exports by May 15. A Department of Agriculture statement says they met to continue cooperation on shared priorities, including open trade, science-based policy-making, and sustainable and climate-smart agricultural production. Following the meeting, Vilsack announced that the United States and Mexico have concluded all necessary plant health protocols and agreed to a final visit by Mexican officials in April that finalizes expanded access to the entire Mexican market for all U.S. table stock and chipping potatoes. The leaders also discussed enhancing plant and animal health cooperation to meet emerging threats and to promote food security. Two-way trade in food and agricultural products between the United States and Mexico reached a record $63 billion in 2021, and the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement has further enhanced the strong relationship between the North American neighbors. *********************************************************************************** USDA to Host Data Users’ Meeting USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service will hold its biannual Data Users’ Meeting later this month. USDA is hosting the meeting to share recent and pending statistical program changes with the public, and to solicit input on programs important to agriculture. The event is organized by NASS in cooperation with USDA’s World Agricultural Outlook Board, Farm Service Agency, Economic Research Service, Agricultural Marketing Service, Foreign Agricultural Service and the U.S. Census Bureau. Joe Parsons, chair of USDA’s Agricultural Statistics Board, says, “This cooperative venue helps to drive change in our agricultural statistics programs to ensure we are meeting the needs of all stakeholders.” The meeting will be Tuesday, April 19, 2022, from 1–4:30 p.m. CT. The event will be held at the University of Chicago’s Gleacher Center. A virtual attendance option will also be available. The meeting is free and open to the public, but registration is required. Find registration information at nass.usda.gov. *********************************************************************************** Report Examines Impact of Increased Use of Non-GM Feed New research shows that greenhouse gas emissions on farms could rise if more U.S. food companies require feed for their livestock and poultry be free from genetically modified ingredients. The report says grain elevator and feed mill product handling and production requirements would be greater, and the price of meat, milk and eggs for consumers could increase. The Institute for Feed Education and Research released the report Tuesday. The study examined the environmental and economic implications should U.S. animal food manufacturers need to boost the production of non-GM feed. Partnering with Dairy Management Inc., MFA, the National Corn Growers Association, the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association and others, the research seeks to inform companies throughout the food value chain of the complexities involved with producing GM and non-GM feed lines. Lara Moody, IFEEDER executive director, says the report “shows that when you limit the use of safe, proven technologies, like GM crops, the costs for both the environment and consumers can increase.” *********************************************************************************** Thune, Klobuchar Urge EPA to Update Biofuel Emissions Modeling Two Senate Ag Committee members recently urged the Environmental Protection Agency to update its greenhouse gas modeling for biofuels. Senators John Thune, a South Dakota Republican, and Amy Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat, asked the EPA to adopt the Argonne National Lab's Greenhouse Gases, Regulated Emissions, and Energy Use in Transportation, or GREET model. The lawmakers say these long-overdue updates would permit consistent comparison between petroleum-based fuels, natural gas systems, electric generation, and renewable fuels. In a joint statement, the Senators say, "The GREET Model has been among the most widely utilized sources of GHG data, underpinning research that finds corn ethanol can currently achieve 46 percent lower lifecycle carbon intensity than gasoline." They made the request in a letter to the EPA, also signed by seven other Midwest farm-state Senators. Thune and Klobuchar previously introduced the Adopt GREET Act, legislation that would require the EPA to update its greenhouse gas modeling for ethanol and biodiesel. *********************************************************************************** Upper Missouri River Basin Forecast Runoff Well Below Normal Reservoir inflows in the Missouri River basin above Sioux City, Iowa, were well-below average in March. The March runoff of 1.5 million acre-feet was 48 percent of average for the month. The updated 2022 upper Basin runoff forecast is 17.8 million acre-feet, 69 percent of average, approximately 2.6 million acre-feet less than the March 1 forecast. John Remus of the U.S. Army corps of Engineers says, "Due to the lack of plains snowpack in 2022, below-average mountain snowpack, and dry upper Basin conditions, we expect upper Missouri River Basin runoff to be below average." The runoff forecast is based on soil moisture conditions, plains snowpack, mountain snowpack, and long-term precipitation and temperature outlooks. System storage is currently 48.4 million acre-feet, which is 7.7 million acre-feet below the top of the carryover multiple use zone. Conservation measures, such as minimum winter releases and reduced flow support for navigation, are implemented as the amount of water in the reservoir system declines.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday April 6, 2022 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets The U.S. Energy Department's weekly inventory report is due out at 9:30 a.m. CDT, including ethanol production. Traders continue to monitor the latest weather forecasts and watch for any news from Ukraine. Weather After an active severe weather day Tuesday, the Southeast will have another day of severe storms on Wednesday. A system pinwheeling in the Midwest will send its cold front farther east throughout the day with a line of showers and thunderstorms. Storms are likely to develop in the warm and humid air ahead of it in the Southeast. Meanwhile, colder and windy conditions continue to flow into the Plains and Midwest behind the system.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday April 5, 2022 |


USDA Doesn’t Intend to Release CRP Acres for Crop Production A letter obtained by Politico indicates the Department of Agriculture will not open Conservation Reserve Program acres for crop production. In a letter to the National Grain and Feed Association, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says, “Quickly converting this land to crop production is clearly unfeasible.” Vilsack notes that most acres enrolled in CRP are largely non-prime farmland, according to Politico. The letter comes as some lawmakers want to open CRP acres to offset global food worries stemming from the Russia-Ukraine war. On Friday, Senator Macro Rubio, a Florida Republican, and Cynthia Lummis, a Wyoming Republican, penned their own letter to Vilsack requesting the action. They urged Vilsack to allow flexibilities for prime agricultural lands under the Conservation Reserve Program. The Senators write, “Allowing crop production on CRP lands is a critical step for stabilizing food prices that have skyrocketed in recent months.” However, Vilsack says only 1.3 percent of CRP acres are considered prime farmland. *********************************************************************************** House Lawmakers Introduce Bill to Establish Tax Credit for Truck Drivers A pair of U.S. House lawmakers recently introduced legislation to help address the current truck driver shortage in the United States. In 2021, American trucking companies experienced a record deficit of approximately 80,000 drivers due to hiring and retention challenges. The bipartisan Strengthening Supply Chains Through Truck Driver Incentives Act would create a two-year refundable tax credit of up to $7,500 for truck drivers holding a valid Class A commercial driver’s license who drive at least 1,900 hours in the year. The legislation would also create a refundable tax credit of up to $10,000 for new truck drivers or individuals enrolled in a registered trucking apprenticeship. Virginia Democrat Abigail Spanberger and Wisconsin Republican Mike Gallagher introduced the legislation Friday. Spanberger says the legislation would "encourage more young people to hop in the driver's seat, reduce headaches for trucking businesses, and make sure experienced drivers are rewarded for their hard work." *********************************************************************************** USDA APHIS Celebrates 50 Years USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is celebrating a major milestone – 50 years of serving the public as a federal agency. USDA created APHIS on April 2, 1972, to consolidate animal health, plant health, and inspection duties under one roof. The new agency focused on protecting American agriculture and natural resources, along with ensuring the humane care of certain animals. While both APHIS and the world have changed a lot over the past 50 years, the agency’s key mission remains the same today. APHIS Administrator Kevin Shea says, “The keys to APHIS’ long-term success are our dedicated, skilled employees and the strong partnerships we develop with our many stakeholders.” Some of APHIS’ key accomplishments over the past 50 years include eradicating plant pests like European grapevine moth and plum pox from the country, while reducing the impact of other plant diseases, including boll weevil and Mediterranean and Mexican fruit flies. *********************************************************************************** NPPC Announces New Staff Members The National Pork Producers Council Monday announced two new staff members. Annemarie Pender is NPPC’s new assistant vice president for marketing and communications. A native of Florida, Pender received a bachelor's degree in history from Christopher Newport University, and a master's in public communications from American University, where she taught strategic communications for several years. Before joining NPPC, Pender was vice president of communications for Autos Drive America, where she played a key role in launching the newly created association and led the transformation of its brand. NPPC also recently hired Chase Adams as manager of congressional relations. Prior to joining NPPC, Adams was senior policy and information director for the American Sheep Industry Association and from October 2012 to November 2016 was director of communications for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. He began his career in agriculture as farm director for radio station KBHB in Sturgis, South Dakota, and also practiced law for several years. *********************************************************************************** AFT Awards over $1 million from the Brighter Future Fund to Farmers American Farmland Trust Monday announced that over 200 farmers would be receiving grants of up to $5,000 each through the Brighter Future Fund, and its regional subsidiaries. The grants will be used to help improve farm viability, enable farmers to access, transfer or permanently protect farmland or adopt regenerative agricultural practices. In total, over $1 million will be awarded to farmers located across 44 states and the territory of Puerto Rico. Ashley Brucker of American Farmland Trust says, "These grants are going to improve the lives of farmers across America." Since 2020, AFT has provided, in total, approximately $3.5 million in grants directly to more than 2,000 farmers across the nation for pandemic relief, increased resilience, land access and enhanced viability. The Brighter Future Fund helps farmers launch, grow and sustain farms in the face of forces impacting the food and agricultural system, including the COVID-19 pandemic, changing markets, severe weather and climate change. *********************************************************************************** Weekly Fuel Prices Decline Again Fuel prices declined again last week as COVID cases surged in China, and President Biden announced that the U.S. would release 180 million barrels from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. The nation’s average gas price fell 5.4 cents to $4.17 per gallon, according to GasBuddy, while diesel prices fell 3.7 cents to $5.08 per gallon. Still, the national average gas price is up 25.5 cents from a month ago and $1.31 per gallon higher than a year ago. GasBuddy’s Patrick De Haan says, “So long as oil prices remain under $100 per barrel and there’s no escalations in Russia’s war on Ukraine, we may be poised to see gas prices decline again this week.” With President Biden’s announcement that the nation would release 180 million barrels of crude oil last week, the price of oil fell under $100 in the second half of the week. In addition, a jump in Covid cases in China sparked renewed concerns about demand destruction.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday April 5, 2022 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets The U.S. Census Bureau will release the international trade deficit for February at 7:30 a.m. CDT, supplying data on ag exports which USDA will post on its FAS web site later Tuesday morning. Traders will continue to monitor the latest weather forecasts and any news regarding Ukraine. Weather A system that formed in Oklahoma and Texas on Monday will race across the Southeast Tuesday. The system is likely to bring moderate to heavy rainfall along with chances for severe weather. A second system is moving into the Plains with scattered showers for the Central and Northern Plains into the Midwest. Some stronger thunderstorms may be possible in Missouri later in the day while precipitation will be a mix of rain and snow across the north. Strong winds up and down the Plains due to the system could be extreme in some cases, causing widespread risks for fires.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday April 4, 2022 |


Senate Passes Ocean Shipping Reform Bill The Senate passed the Ocean Shipping Reform Act last week. The reform bill would make it more difficult for ocean carriers to refuse to load American goods that are ready to get shipped from U.S. ports. The legislation is a federal response to congested ports. Some shipping lines find it more profitable to haul empty shipping containers back to Asia than carry loaded containers, which makes it difficult for exporters to ship U.S. commodities to overseas customers. The Senate bill would require carriers to prove they’re being reasonable when they levy late fees for cargo. It would also prohibit those carriers from unreasonably refusing to load cargo at U.S. ports. The Federal Maritime Commission will also get the authority needed to launch an investigation into a carrier’s potentially questionable business practices. “Passing this bill means we’re one step closer to leveling the playing field for U.S. manufacturers and consumers,” says Minnesota’s Amy Klobuchar. *********************************************************************************** Biden Releasing Petroleum From Reserve, Ethanol Not Happy Farm and renewable fuel supporters weren’t happy that the Biden administration is allowing the release of petroleum from the strategic oil reserve. The Hagstrom Report says the White House is making the move in response to high gasoline prices. Ken Colombini, President and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association, says it’s baffling to his organization that the president continues to bypass ethanol. “it’s the most readily-available, lowest-cost, and lowest-carbon option for extending the nation’s fuel supply,” Colombini says. “Rather than draining the strategic reserve and scolding oil producers for not increasing production, it’s a better idea to empower farmers and ethanol producers.” The RFA also points out that ethanol is selling for one dollar per gallon less than gasoline, and the country is sitting on record ethanol inventories and spare capacity. “Simple administrative actions would immediately reduce pump prices without harming our environment’s health,” Colombini adds. “Let us help address the crisis.” *********************************************************************************** National Sorghum Producers Accepting Director Applications The National Sorghum Producers are now accepting applications for five positions on the 2022 board of directors. “We need strong producer leadership to help move forward the sorghum industry and our legislative and regulatory policies that are important to sorghum farmers,” says NSP CEO Tim Lust. “Our farmer-led board of directors bring the commitment and dedication needed to ensure NSP maintains first-rate representation in Washington, D.C., not only for U.S. sorghum farmers but the industry as a whole.” NSP board members lead efforts to create positive change for sorghum farmers through effective policy and relationships and hold a vision to promote, advocate for, and defend the sorghum industry. Qualified candidates must be a current NSP member and have a passion for representing sorghum farmers. No previous board experience is necessary, just a desire to improve the sorghum industry. The deadline is April 4, and for more information, go to SorghumGrowers.com/leadership. *********************************************************************************** USDA Providing Help to Livestock Producers Hit by Drought, Wildfire The USDA says ranchers who have approved applications through the 2021 Livestock Forage Disaster Program for forage losses due to severe drought or wildfire in 2021 will now get additional assistance. Those producers will soon begin to receive emergency relief payments from an additional $670 million offsetting increases in supplemental feed costs in 2021 through the Farm Service Agency’s new Emergency Livestock Relief Aid Program. “Producers of grazing livestock experienced catastrophic losses of available forage as well as higher costs for supplemental feed in 2021,” says Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack. “In order to deliver much-needed assistance as efficiently as possible, phase one of the ELRP will use certain data from the Livestock Forage Disaster Program, allowing USDA to distribute payments within days to livestock producers.” National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s Executive Director of Government Affairs Allison Rivera says her group appreciates how the Farm Service Agency listened to producers suffering through years of drought and skyrocketing input costs. *********************************************************************************** Market Report Shows Lamb Holding Ground with U.S. Consumers The U.S. Quarterly Lamb Retail Sales Report for the fourth quarter of 2021 shows lamb performed better last year than it did in 2020. Lamb has seen tremendous retail sales growth during the past two years. Lamb and exotics were the only meat categories to grow volume last year compared to 2020. Compared to 2019, a more typical year before COVID-19 rather than 2020, volume sales of lamb grew 19 percent in 2021. Dollar sales increased 9.6 percent in 2021. While inflation had an impact, retailers still sold more lamb with volume sales increasing by 1.4 percent compared to 2020. The average price per pound for lamb rose by 8.2 percent, from $8.25 a pound to $8.92 a pound in last year. Sales were exceptionally strong during the traditional peak time of year for lamb, which is Easter and Christmas. Ribeye cuts took over the top spot in sales, surpassing loins by $1 million last year. *********************************************************************************** CoBank: Easter Egg Supplies Likely Short Recent outbreaks of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza are adding strain to the egg supply chains across the country, which still haven’t fully recovered from COVID-19. While egg production stabilized in recent months, it’s still well below pre-COVID levels. CoBank says that means egg availability could be limited leading into Easter. “U.S. egg producers have been hard-pressed to align supplies with market demand over the last couple of years,” says Brian Earnest, lead animal protein economist with CoBank. “The layer flock typically expands ahead of the surge in demand for Easter and contracts during the summer months.” However, recent HPAI losses have combined with high feed cost and other challenges to severely flock sizes. CoBank says at least 11 million layers have been lost in recent weeks. The USDA estimates about five days of U.S. egg inventory is currently on hand, which is tight but not alarmingly tight supplies. Egg prices will likely rise around Easter.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday April 4, 2022 |


Monday Watch List Markets Traders will return from the weekend checking the latest weather forecasts and any news regarding Ukraine. At 9 a.m. CDT there is a report on U.S. factory orders from February, followed by USDA weekly export inspections at 10 a.m. USDA's first Crop Progress report of 2022 will be released Monday at 3 p.m. and will show a national update of winter wheat crop ratings. Weather A weak frontal boundary has moved into the Southern Plains with scattered showers from the Midwest to Oklahoma early Monday. A low pressure center will develop along the front near Texas late in the day, with strong thunderstorms developing there and pushing eastward overnight. Thunderstorms could be strong to severe as this system continues eastward through Tuesday.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday April 1, 2022 |


Prospective Planting Report Shows Less Corn, More Soybeans The USDA released its Prospective Plantings and Grain Stocks Reports. The agency says farmers intend to plant 89.5 million acres, down four percent or 3.87 million acres from last year. Soybean planted area is estimated at a record 91 million acres, four percent higher than in 2021. The all-wheat planted area this year will be 47.4 million acres, one percent higher than last year. If realized, this would be the fifth-lowest all-wheat planted area since records began in 1919. The all-cotton planted area will be 12.2 million acres, up nine percent from last year. Corn stocks in all positions on March 1 totaled 7.875 billion bushels, two percent higher than March 1, 2021. Soybeans in all positions on March 1 totaled 1.93 billion bushels, 24 percent higher than the same time last year. All wheat in stored positions totaled 1.02 billion bushels, down 22 percent from last year. *********************************************************************************** U.S. Considering More Ethanol in Gasoline Reuters says the White House is considering the possibility of removing restrictions on summer sales of higher ethanol blends as a way to help lower the cost of fuel for American drivers. Three sources close to the discussion told Reuters that President Biden is looking at ways to bring down the soaring cost of gasoline, which recently hit record highs. Adding more ethanol to gasoline blends could potentially bring down prices at the nation’s pumps because ethanol is currently cheaper than regular gasoline blends. The Environmental Protection Agency says it won’t comment on the possibility of the move but did say it was considering a range of options. A bipartisan group of farm-state lawmakers recently pushed the White House to lift the summertime ban. Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Dick Durbin from Illinois, two of the biggest corn-producing states, recently sent a letter to Biden asking him to allow the summertime sale of E15. *********************************************************************************** Drought Monitor Shows Improvement in Midwest, South Heavy rains fell across parts of the Midwest and South, leading to broad areas of drought improvement in those regions. Above-normal precipitation combined with below-normal temperatures to make improvements across much of the Midwest, which hadn’t gotten enough moisture recently to improve on deficits that were building since last spring. Virtually all short-term Midwest drought has been eliminated. Drought worsened in the South, including western and southern Texas and the Oklahoma Panhandle. Above-normal temps, below-normal precipitation, and high winds made things worse in places like southern Louisiana. Improvements were made in east Texas, Southern Arkansas, northern Louisiana, and Mississippi. Much of the High Plains stayed dry last week, resulting in deteriorating drought conditions across parts of the Dakotas and Nebraska. Soil moisture is very low, stream flows are dropping, and state reports show that stock ponds in the High Plains are drying up. Rains in the Western U.S. weren’t enough to relieve drought conditions. *********************************************************************************** New Product May Help Mitigate High Cost of Fertilizer Biotechnology company Symborg says Corteva Agriscience is the exclusive distributor of a new nitrogen-fixation product for specialty crop growers and row crop farmers. Corteva will distribute Symborg’s unique endophytic bacterium under the names BlueN® and Utrisha® N nutrient-efficiency optimizer. By fixing nitrogen from the air and converting it for plants, the technology provides a sustainable, alternative source of nitrogen that reduces dependency on nitrogen uptake from the soil and ensures the plant has access to nitrogen all season long. The new nitrogen management solution helps farmers and growers maximize yield potential for a broad range of crops like fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, field and row crops, sugarcane, and many others. Corteva says the nitrogen nutrient efficiency optimizer emphasizes the company’s commitment to providing farmers with sustainable solutions that complement their traditional crop protection solutions. It’s also an innovative resource for farmers to help mitigate high fertilizer costs and market availability. *********************************************************************************** Alltech Finding Mycotoxin in 2021 Forages Alltech’s 2021 U.S. Harvest Analysis shows that the mycotoxin risk for forage harvested in 2021 was much higher than the previous year. As dairy producers break open their forage bunks and take 2021 corn out of their silos, the mycotoxin risk is amplified in the volume of total mixed rations (TMR) getting tested in Alltech laboratories. Of the almost 140 TMR samples that Alltech has tested since the start of January, 100 percent contain mycotoxins. The average number of mycotoxins in each sample is 7.5. Alltech team members are working with dairy producers on-farm and seeing mycotoxins impact factors such as dry matter intake, milk production, digestion, reproduction, gut health, and immune response. “High levels of multiple mycotoxins are causing significant issues with health and performance on-farm,” says Dr. Max Hawkins, a technical expert with Alltech’s Mycotoxin Management team. “Unfortunately, it’s not a problem that’s likely to disappear anytime soon.” *********************************************************************************** Trade Agenda Must Include Indo-Pacific Agreement The American Farm Bureau is calling on the Biden administration to use the proposed Indo-Pacific Economic Framework to grow American agriculture exports to the region. The organization says America’s farmers and ranchers rely on export markets for more than 20 percent of agricultural production. While the IPEF is a strong start toward improving relationships and reaching new agreements with the region’s countries, it should also include a strategy of creating binding commitments and improving market access through reduced tariffs. “Trade is critically important to the current prosperity of U.S. farmers and ranchers,” says AFB President Zippy Duvall. “We need a continuing focus by the administration on removing trade barriers to our agricultural products and expanding market access for American goods throughout the world, including the Indo-Pacific region.” He also says that American agriculture depends on growing and stable export markets for the success of their businesses. Expanding trade opportunities is critical to continued success.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday April 1, 2022 |


Friday Watch List Markets The U.S. Labor Department will release nonfarm payrolls and the unemployment rate for March at 7:30 a.m. CDT Friday. The Institute of Supply Management's U.S. index of manufacturing is due out at 9 a.m. CDT. Traders will continue to keep an eye on the latest weather forecasts and any news regarding Ukraine. Weather A weak system will move out of the Rockies and through the Plains on Friday with some splotchy areas of light to moderate showers. Additional light showers will spin out of the eastern Midwest this morning. Cold temperatures behind the departing system off the East Coast is leading to some frosty conditions this morning in the Delta and Saturday morning in the Tennessee Valley, but is unlikely to have any significant impact on developing wheat.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday March 31, 2022 |


United States Hog Inventory Down 2% As of March 1, there were 72.2 million hogs and pigs on U.S. farms, down two percent from March 2021 and down three percent from December 2021, according to the Quarterly Hogs and Pigs report. USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service released the report Wednesday. The report found that of the 72.2 million hogs and pigs, 66.1 million were market hogs, while 6.1 million were kept for breeding. Between December 2021 and February 2022, 31.7 million pigs were weaned on U.S. farms, down one percent from the same period one year earlier. For the quarter, U.S. hog and pig producers weaned an average of 10.95 pigs per litter. U.S. hog producers intend to have 2.99 million sows farrow between March and May 2022, and 3.03 million sows farrow between June and August 2022. Iowa hog producers accounted for the largest inventory among the states at 23.0 million head, and Minnesota had the second-largest inventory at 8.60 million head. *********************************************************************************** Lawmakers: New Legislation to Hold China Accountable, Level Playing Field Farm state lawmakers Wednesday introduced the China Trade Cheating Restitution Act. Senate Democrat Jon Tester joined Republican Bill Cassidy, Chuck Grassley and John Thune to introduce the bill they say would level the playing field for U.S. farmers. The bill would ensure that the agricultural sectors most affected by China’s evasion on anti-dumping duties receive an estimated $38.5 million in accrued delinquency interest on duties wrongfully withheld by Customs and Border Patrol from 2000-2014. For nearly two decades, Chinese producers have exported honey, fresh garlic, crawfish, and mushrooms to the U.S. at a price below the cost of production to purposefully increase their market share– a practice called "dumping." The United States placed anti-dumping duties on Chinese producers in 2001 to protect domestic producers and condemn China's unfair actions. The bill would require CBP to distribute an estimated $38.5 million in accrued delinquency interest on the anti-dumping duties that CBP collected and wrongfully withheld. *********************************************************************************** EPA Expands Use of Enlist Products The Environmental Protection Agency this week approved the use of Enlist One and Enlist Duo in 134 additional counties. Enlist One and Enlist Duo is approved in all counties of Arkansas, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, and South Dakota, and six counties in Texas. A coalition of farm and commodity groups welcomed the EPA action. American Soybean Association President Brad Doyle says, “We appreciate EPA hearing our concerns and working to quickly restore access in many counties where science and data support doing so.” In January, EPA issued new seven-year registrations for over-the-top use of herbicides Enlist and Enlist Duo on herbicide-tolerant corn, cotton, and soybeans. While the new registrations were welcome and worked for many growers across the country, producers in 217 counties were impacted by county-level bans. Grower groups have urged EPA to review additional data that may allow for lifting county-level bans and view the announcement this week as a significant step toward that outcome. *********************************************************************************** Soy Checkoff Releases 2021 Sustainability Overview Report The soy checkoff released its inaugural U.S. Soy Sustainability Overview which outlines key environmental achievements made by soybean farmers. Developed by the soy checkoff, the report details the modern practices and advanced technologies deployed by farmers in recent years to conserve land, water, energy and other natural resources. The report shows that Between 1980 and 2020, conservation efforts by U.S. soybean farmers have improved land use efficiency by 48 percent per bushel, irrigation water use efficiency by 60 percent per bushel, and energy use efficiency by 46 percent per bushel. Growers also improvised greenhouse gas emissions efficiency by 43 percent per bushel, soil conservation by 34 percent per acre and soy production by 130 percent, using roughly the same amount of land. USB CEO Polly Ruhland says, “Our soybean farmers are committed to sharing the progress we have made and how we’re looking ahead to contribute in solving some of society’s biggest challenges, such as food security and sustainable energy.” *********************************************************************************** Large Dairy Operations Grow Faster than Small Operations New data from USDA’s Economic Research Service shows the U.S. dairy sector has experienced a gradual shift in milk production toward larger dairy operations. The research indicates that the shift in production from small dairy herd-size farms to large dairy herd-size farms mirrors total factor productivity growth across the dairy sector. Total factor productivity, or TFP, is a broad measure of agricultural productivity that compares the total output to the total land, labor, capital, and material inputs used in farm production. Between 2000 and 2016, the largest dairy operations, those with more than 1,000 milk cows, experienced a TFP growth rate of 2.993 percent per year. Meanwhile, TFP growth for the smallest operations, those with fewer than 100 milk cows, increased at an annual rate of 0.639 percent. TFP growth across all operations was primarily driven by technological progress—growth associated with innovations in systems, processes, and techniques that convert inputs into milk output—and environmental effects that positively impacted feed availability. *********************************************************************************** USA Rice Members Deliver to Ukraine Last week, several USA Rice members worked together to deliver a shipment of U.S.-grown rice to help feed the people of Ukraine. The effort came together as the industry saw the urgent need facing Ukrainian people, who are experiencing unprecedented food insecurity as a result of the Russian invasion that began on February 24. Taking advantage of rice already on the European continent, three USA Rice members – Sun Valley Rice, Farmers' Rice Cooperative, and Kennedy Rice Mill –gifted 20 metric tons of U.S. Calrose rice. That rice is now on its way to help feed the Ukrainian people. In a joint statement, the three company leaders say, "We could not in good conscience watch as innocent people were being killed, starved, and driven from their homes.” The U.S. rice companies had rice in position, but destined for other customers. The statement continues, “though it was destined for other customers, we agreed it was urgently needed in Ukraine.”

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday March 31, 2022 |


Thursday Watch List Markets USDA's weekly export sales report is due out at 7:30 a.m. CDT, the same time as weekly U.S. jobless claims, U.S. personal income and an update of the U.S. Drought Monitor. The U.S. Energy Department's weekly report on natural gas storage is set for 9:30 a.m. At 11 a.m., USDA will release its Prospective Plantings survey and quarterly report of March 1 Grain Stocks. Weather A storm system that has brought heavy precipitation and severe weather this week will push its cold front through the East Coast on Thursday. Severe weather will remain a possibility for the East Coast while showers in the Midwest will wind down throughout the day. Colder air settling in behind the system could lead to some localized frost issues in some areas, though winter wheat is likely not advanced enough to be hurt too badly by the cold.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday March 30, 2022 |


Rabo AgriFinance: High Prices Don’t Mean Big Profits High prices for U.S. corn, soybeans and wheat are not expected to be a short-term shock, according to a new RaboResearch report, "The Grain Drain After Ukraine." While the sudden shutdown of trade in the Black Sea region has sent corn and wheat prices to their highest in a decade, the ten-year outlook for all major crops has shifted up to a new price level. The report cites transformative geopolitical changes, continued increases in demand and limited acreage availability as the shift's drivers. RaboResearch expects the U.S. to increase its exports to help fill the demand gap. For the 2022/23 crop marketing year, RaboResearch estimates the average on-farm price, which takes local basis into account, to be $5.77 for corn and $10.50 for wheat when their export sales increase by 200 million bushels. Higher prices, however, do not spell bigger profits. Costs for farm inputs such as seed, fertilizer and land will likely also rise, squeezing farmers' margins over the next decade. *********************************************************************************** USDA Publishes Origin of Livestock Final Rule for Organic Dairy The Department of Agriculture Tuesday published the Origin of Livestock final rule for organic dairy. USDA says the change to the USDA organic regulations will promote a fairer and more competitive market for all organic dairy producers. The rule ensures that certified USDA organic dairy products are produced to the same consistent standard. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says, "The Origin of Livestock final rule provides clear and uniform standards about how and when livestock may be transitioned to organic dairy production, and how transitioned animals are managed within the organic dairy system." USDA's National Organic Program will oversee the new rule, which in general allows a dairy livestock operation transitioning to organic, or starting a new organic farm, to transition non-organic animals one time. The rule prohibits organic dairies from sourcing any transitioned animals. Once a dairy is certified organic, animals must be managed as organic from the last third of gestation. Small businesses may request variances for specific scenarios. *********************************************************************************** Grassley, Colleagues Unveil Updated Cattle Market Reform Bill Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley this week introduced an updated version of the Cattle Price Discovery and Transparency Act. First introduced in November, Senators Deb Fischer, a Nebraska Republican, Jon Tester, and Montana Democrat, and Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, joined Grassley to introduce the update. The updated legislation allows for more regions, five to seven, encompassing the entire continental U.S. and then establishes minimum levels of fed cattle purchases made through approved pricing mechanisms. The update retains the cash trade mandates included in the previous version of the bill. U.S. Cattlemen’s Association President Brooke Miller says, “USCA stands with county, state, and national producer associations across the U.S. in supporting mandatory cash trade minimums.” National Farmers Union President Rob Larew says the legislation "would shed light on the market and bring about greater fairness.” The updated bill also Increases penalties for violations by packers, and requires that livestock mandatory reporting data be made consistently available. *********************************************************************************** Organic Trade Association Announces New CEO & Executive Director The Organic Trade Association Tuesday announced the selection of its next CEO and Executive Director, Tom Chapman. The announcement was made during OTA’s 2022 Organic Week, which Chapman attended. Chapman’s hiring concludes a year-long planned succession process that began in 2021. Chapman will formally assume the position at the association on April 18. Outgoing OTA Executive Director and CEO Laura Batcha says, “I couldn’t imagine a better, more experienced person for this role than Tom.” Chapman is a proactive leader with a deep background in organic that spans the value chain. Over his many years in the industry, Chapman has helped to advance certification and compliance, successfully managed global supply chains and managed multi-million-dollar contracts, and worked closely with diverse brands, growers, and other organic stakeholders. Most recently, Chapman served as Senior Director, Supply Chain at Kinder’s Sauce and Seasoning. Before that, he worked with OTA members Clif Bar and Quality Assurance International. *********************************************************************************** Robb Fraley Joins Harpe Bioherbicide Solutions Board of Directors Harpe Bioherbicide Solutions, Inc. Tuesday announced the appointment of Dr. Robb Fraley to its board of directors. Harpe is a pre-commercial stage agricultural technology company focused on providing natural and sustainable herbicide solutions. Fraley, who, for nearly 40 years, served as Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer at Monsanto Company, will help guide Harpe Bioherbicide Solutions as it further develops and strengthens its intellectual property portfolio. In addition to joining the board, Fraley has personally invested in the company. Fraley is widely recognized as a key contributor to the worldwide science and agriculture communities – most notably, for developing the first genetically modified crops as a solution for farmers battling pests and weeds that threatened yields and food production. Through wide spectrum control of broadleaf and grass seeds or weeds, the platform of Harpe products will deliver new opportunities for organic agriculture through a series of all-natural herbicide formulations for pre, post and desiccation use patterns. *********************************************************************************** Ag Groups Release Guide on Virtual Engagement for Women An updated guide offers tips and tools for effective engagement for online education, including hybrid settings for farm and ranch women. American Farmland Trust and Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education announced "Reaching Women in Agriculture: A Guide to Virtual Engagement," Tuesday. The guide was originally developed through a partnership with AFT and the University of Vermont Extension and has recently been updated, enhanced and published by SARE earlier in 2022. The goal is to create a safe space for women to learn from each other and gain confidence, rather than excluding men. The guidance in Reaching Women is born out of AFT’s Women for the Land initiative and the Learning Circle model. Reaching Women incorporates the characteristics of high-quality programs for women in agriculture and the emerging best practices for adapting farmer education and networking events to virtual platforms. Find and print a free copy of the guide online at sare.org.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday March 30, 2022 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets The U.S. Commerce Department will update its estimate of U.S. GDP for the fourth quarter of 2021 at 7:30 a.m. CDT. At 9:30 a.m., the U.S. Energy Department will release its weekly inventory report, including ethanol production. At 2 p.m., USDA quarterly Hogs and Pigs report will be issued. Traders will continue to monitor the latest weather forecasts and watch for any news pertaining to Ukraine. Weather A line of thunderstorms developed Tuesday evening across Texas and Oklahoma. The line will continue to move eastward Wednesday, likely strengthening and causing severe wind gusts and embedded tornadoes as it treks eastward. Outside of this thunderstorm risk, background winds will be strong across the South and Plains while a mix of ice and snow falls across the northern Midwest.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday March 29, 2022 |


Biden Releases 2023 Budget: USDA Highlights The Biden-Harris Administration Monday submitted to Congress the President’s budget for fiscal year 2023. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says the budget "provides USDA with the tools needed to support a vibrant, revitalized, and prosperous rural America." The budget proposes $1.1 billion in funding to address climate change across private, working agricultural land. Biden also proposes $1 billion to support agricultural producers and landowners to undertake conservation and climate-smart practices. The budget builds on the $618 million investment to protect and restore watersheds made in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law by proposing an additional $135 million for these efforts. The budget proposes $111 billion for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and invests $935 million in rural America. It builds on the $65 billion investment made by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to make high-speed internet available to all Americans. The budget includes an additional $133 million over 2022 levels for Reconnect to provide rural residents broadband. Biden's budget also provides more than $10 million for oversight and enforcement of the Packers and Stockyards Act. *********************************************************************************** Supreme Court to Hear NPPC Case Against Prop. 12 The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case brought by the National Pork Producers Council and the American Farm Bureau Federation against California’s Proposition 12. The law bans the sale of pork from hogs born to sows that weren’t raised according to the state’s “arbitrary” production standards. NPPC President Terry Wolters says, “We are extremely pleased that the Supreme Court will consider the constitutionality of Proposition 12.” NPPC has waged a legal battle against the ballot initiative since it was approved in November 2018, arguing at the U.S. district and appellate court levels that Prop. 12 violates the Constitution's Commerce Clause, which grants Congress the power to regulate trade among the states and limits the ability of states to regulate commerce outside their borders. The high court is taking up the case on appeal from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, which in July upheld a lower court ruling against the NPPC-AFBF lawsuit. *********************************************************************************** U.S. Plant-Based Protein Sales Reach $7.4 Billion New data released by the Plant Based Foods Association and others shows U.S. retail sales of plant-based foods grew 6.2 percent in 2021 over a record year of growth in 2020. The total plant-based market value reached an all-time high of $7.4 billion. Overall, the Plant Based Foods Association says plant-based food retail sales grew three times faster than total food retail sales, with most plant-based categories outpacing their conventional counterparts. Plant-based milk imitation product dollar sales grew four percent and 33 percent in the past three years to reach $2.6 billion. After record growth in years prior, 2021 plant-based meat imitation product dollar sales remain strong, delivering a repeat year of $1.4 billion in sales, and growing 74 percent in the past three years. Plant-based burgers continue to lead the plant-based meat category as the top-selling product type. The fastest-growing plant-based meat product types in 2021 were plant-based meatballs, chicken nuggets, tenders, and cutlets, and deli slices. *********************************************************************************** Restaurant transactions fell 47 percent in April 2020, New data from USDA's Economic Research Service shows restaurant transactions fell 47 percent in 2020, compared to 2019. In March of 2020, the federal government declared a national emergency in response to the Coronavirus pandemic. In response, many state and local governments implemented social distancing measures, stay-at-home orders, and the mandatory closure of businesses in high-risk industries. Restaurants were often included in these mandates, which forced many to close their dining rooms, if not the entire business, sharply reducing restaurant visits across the country. During the first full week after the national emergency declaration, there were 37 percent fewer restaurant transactions than the same week in 2019. The largest year-to-year changes occurred three weeks later, with the 47 percent decline. By the end of the year, weekly transactions remained 11 percent lower than they had been in 2019. USDA’s Economic Research Service released the new data Monday as part of its COVID-19 Working Paper, examining food away from home spending. *********************************************************************************** USDA, Weed Science Society, Presenting Weed Science Webinar Series USDA's Agricultural Research Service and Weed Science Society of America Monday announced the launch of a free webinar series focusing on current research and advancements in managing weeds and invasive plants. By collaborating with WSSA, ARS scientists aim to highlight the important research that has contributed to the development of sustainable practices to control weeds and invasive plants. Stanley Culpepper, WSSA president, says the organization is “excited to host a series of webinars to highlight the contribution of ARS scientists to our discipline." They have scheduled ten webinars from April through June with three themes: tactics, mechanisms and impacts. Presentations will be given by USDA-ARS weed science research experts starting April 5. The webinars will occur every Tuesday from 2-3p.m. ET and include an interactive Q&A session. To attend the webinar, please register in advance. The webinar is open to the public, and WSSA membership is not required. You can register and learn more on the WSSA website, wssa.memberclicks.net. *********************************************************************************** Fuel Prices Stabilize as Oil Prices Show Extreme Volatility After a storm of surging prices followed by a week of decline, the national average is virtually unchanged from a week ago, declining just tenths of a penny to $4.23 per gallon. The national average is up 62.4 cents from a month ago and $1.38 per gallon higher than a year ago. The national average price of diesel has risen 8.2 cents in the last week and stands at $5.12 per gallon. GasBuddy’s Patrick De Hann says, “The decline we’ve seen in average gas prices has been slowing down, as oil prices have held above $100 after declining under that level as recently as a few weeks ago.” De Haan adds, “there’s no telling what’s around the corner, at least for now, as the volatility in oil prices persists.” With an OPEC+ meeting later this week, hopes are high that the group will again boost oil production by the same 400,000-barrel number they’ve agreed to every month since last July.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday March 29, 2022 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets The U.S. consumer confidence index is set for Tuesday morning at 9 a.m. CDT. Traders will keep an eye on the latest weather forecasts and any news out of Ukraine or out of China where new cases of COVID-19 are on the rise. Weather A storm system will move out of the Rockies and into the Plains on Tuesday. Scattered showers in the west will spread through the Plains and Midwest throughout the day. Severe storms will be possible from Texas to Iowa with a mix of rain, snow, and potential for a little freezing rain for the Northern Plains and northern Midwest. Winds with the system will also be strong in spots but especially in the drought-stricken west Texas area where heat and winds will combine to further dry soils.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday March 28, 2022 |


U.S., UK Reach New Section 232 Agreement The U.S. and United Kingdom reached a new Section 232 agreement last week regarding steel and aluminum imports from the UK. That’s good news for America’s farmers because the 25 percent retaliatory tariff on U.S. corn was zeroed out, allowing U.S. corn farmers to renew their trading relationship with Britain. “This agreement will provide opportunities to expand free and fair trade and strengthen our relationship with a great ally,” says U.S. Grains Council President and CEO Ryan LeGrand. “This agreement lifts the retaliatory tariffs on more than $500 million of U.S. products, including corn.” USGC also says this is a great opportunity because the UK is the fifth-largest economy but produces less than 60 percent of its food needs. That makes it a potentially lucrative market for U.S. agriculture and feed grains in particular. “This is vital for global economic development and the profitability of U.S. agriculture,” LeGrand adds. The agreement is effective June 1. *********************************************************************************** Canada to Resume Exporting Potatoes into the U.S. The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service says Canada will soon resume exporting table stock potatoes from Prince Edward Island into the contiguous United States. The Hagstrom Report says the National Potato Council is unhappy with the news and worried about potato wart disease spreading from the island into the U.S., where it currently doesn’t exist. An APHIS news release says the agency determined PEI potatoes for consumption only may once again be exported to the U.S. under specified conditions that will pose little risk of introducing potato wart disease into the country. The potato council says, “We are dismayed to learn that USDA is allowing PEI potato shipments into the U.S. to resume before finishing soil tests for the destructive disease.” Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says the decision is based on sound science, and the agency will put safeguards in place to protect the U.S. potato industry. There is no cure for potato wart disease. *********************************************************************************** Ukraine Farmers Have Planted Over 300,000 Acres of Crops Farmers in Ukraine, a major exporter of grains, have planted the first 150,000 hectares (371,000 acres) of spring crops despite the Russian invasion that will likely cut down on the country’s available sowing area. The country’s deputy ag minister says farmers have planted corn, soybeans, sunflowers, millet, buckwheat, oats, and sugar beets. Reuters says Ukraine’s previous ag minister, who resigned for health reasons, noted that the 2022 spring crop area would likely drop by more than half the levels of 2021. Ukraine expected to plant 15 million hectares before the Russian invasion. The country has already suspended exports of multiple commodities, including rye, oats, buckwheat, millet, sugar, salt, meat, and livestock since the invasion began. Ukraine also implemented export licenses for wheat, corn, and sunflower oil. Officials noted that the Ukraine government is considering canceling export limits for corn and sunflower oil as it has high stocks of both commodities. *********************************************************************************** USDA Releasing More Help to Expand Processing Capacity USDA launched the Meat and Poultry Processing Capacity Technical Assistance Program to assist meat and poultry grant applications and projects funded by grants. Processors and applicants involved with the Meat and Poultry Inspection Readiness Grant Program and the Meat and Poultry Processing Expansion Program can now access the technical assistance. “This is a true partnership to help meat and poultry processors and grant applicants diversify processing ownership throughout the country,” says Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack. “We’re trying to build capacity and increase economic opportunities for small and mid-sized meat and poultry processors and producers around the country.” USDA encourages grant applications that focus on improving meat and poultry slaughter and processing capacity and efficiency. Applications can also focus on developing new and existing markets, increasing capacity and better meeting consumer and producer demand, and help maintain strong inspection and food safety standards. For more information on the assistance and application deadlines, go to grants.gov. *********************************************************************************** Corn Growers Ask Administration for More Homegrown Fuels Corn grower leaders from 19 states combined to send a letter to President Biden asking him to use existing emergency authorities to tap more homegrown fuels like ethanol. The goal is to help stabilize energy markets and lower the price of fuel for consumers. The letter asks the president to prevent consumers from losing the choice of E15, a higher ethanol blend that costs less at the pump and reduces emissions. A 2021 court decision resulting from oil industry efforts to limit the growth of higher ethanol blends ended year-round market access for E15. That ban will begin this summer without action from the administration or Congress. “We urge your administration to act to prevent consumers from losing access to a lower-cost fuel option on June 1,” the letter says. The Corn Growers say increasing the use of lower-cost and lower-emission E15 could easily replace oil imports from Russia. *********************************************************************************** Improving Child Nutrition Through Dairy The National Milk Producers Federation and the International Dairy Foods Associated submitted comments to the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service regarding dairy. The groups want the agency to improve nutrition security by updating school meal nutrition standards to encourage increased dairy consumption. That move would keep nutrition in line with the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans report and with the leading health organizations. In 2020, the federal Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee report found that more than three-quarters of nine-to-13-year-olds are not meeting the recommended intake of dairy foods. School milk consumption has declined in recent years, particularly after whole milk and low-fat flavored milk options got removed from school meals ten years ago. “USDA can begin to reverse the trend through providing certainty for schools offering flavored milks, which provide the same micronutrients as white milk but with a flavor that many children prefer,” the groups say in their comments.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday March 28, 2022 |


Monday Watch List Markets Back from the weekend, traders will look over the latest weather forecasts and check the news out of Ukraine. At 10 a.m. CDT, USDA will release its weekly report of grain export inspections. Weather Cool and dry weather continues across the Midwest Monday, but very warm temperatures continue in the Southern Plains ahead of the next system that is moving into the West. Heat and the development of breezy winds on Tuesday will continue to dry out soils where rains missed last week and create fire risks, especially in west Texas. Scattered showers will spread throughout the western states which are still in deep drought and will spread through the rest of the country later this week.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday March 25, 2022 |


U.S., Japan Reach Agreement on American Beef Import Targets U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai and Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the U.S. and Japan reached an agreement that will help keep more American beef flowing into Japan. The two countries agreed to increase the beef safeguard trigger level under the U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement. The Hagstrom Report says it’s now less likely that U.S. exports will reach the levels that trigger the safeguard provision allowing Japan to raise its tariffs. “This is a win-win for American ranchers and Japanese consumers,” says U.S. Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel. “It ensures stability for U.S. exports in the years ahead and that American beef can compete and win anywhere, anytime.” The agreement includes a new three-trigger mechanism, and all three must get hit for Japan put the safeguard in place and raise the beef tariff. It’s unknown when the agreement goes into effect because the text must get published, and Japan’s parliament must approve the agreement. *********************************************************************************** Cattle Groups Applaud U.S.-Japan Agreement on Beef Imports U.S. cattle groups applauded the announcement of an agreement between the U.S. and Japan on American beef imports. Both countries entered consultations after the beef tariff safeguard got triggered in March 2021. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association strongly supports efforts to improve the beef tariff safeguard that benefits both Japanese consumers and American cattle producers. "NCBA is encouraged by the announcement," says Kent Bacus, NCBA Senior Director of International Trade and Market Access. "We continue taking necessary steps to secure long-term solutions that enable American cattle producers to continue providing Japanese consumers high-quality beef at competitive prices." If the Japanese parliament approves the agreement, it will add additional triggers before a tariff can get raised on beef. “Reducing tariffs and trade disruptions will further strengthen demand for U.S. beef and generate long-term benefit for cattle producers despite recent challenges,” says Hughes Abell, President of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association. *********************************************************************************** Agribusiness Association of Iowa Picks Northey as CEO Bill Northey, a one-time Secretary of Agriculture for Iowa, is the new CEO of the Agribusiness Association of Iowa. Northey is well-known in state and federal agriculture. His involvement in the Iowa Corn Growers Association and the National Corn Growers Association culminated in his role as president of NCGA. He was elected three times as Iowa Secretary of Agriculture in 2006, 2010, and 2014. Most recently, Northey was Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation at the USDA, and his term ended in January of 2021. “I’m excited to get asked to serve AAI as its CEO,” Northey says. “AAI is made up of the leading agricultural companies in Iowa working to promote Iowa’s agricultural opportunities and to support Iowa farmer and agribusiness leadership on improving Iowa’s environment.” Kevin Drury, Chair of AAI’s Board of Directors, says Northey’s passion for agriculture and extensive breadth of experience in agriculture are unparalleled. Northey will replace the retiring Joel Brinkmeyer. *********************************************************************************** Farm Groups Pressure Washington to Open CRP for Planting Several farm groups are pressuring the USDA to allow farmers to plant on Conservation Reserve Program acres. The groups say the move would help to fill the likely lack of corn, wheat, and sunflower oil coming from Ukraine because of the Russian invasion. Yahoo News says seven agriculture lobbying organizations fired off a letter to Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack this week asking the USDA for flexibility for farmers to plant crops on more than four million acres of “prime farmland” that’s currently enrolled in the Farm Service Agency’s CRP without penalty. “It remains to be seen if Ukraine’s farmers will be able to safely plant crops,” the letter says. “Time is of the essence. The planting window in the United States is already open.” The letter was signed by the American Farm Bureau, the National Grain and Feed Association, and several other groups. If the acres get planted, they could yield another 18.7 million tons of grain. *********************************************************************************** Europe Farms can Till Fallow Land The European Commission approved a $550 million package for its farmers, who can now grow food and feed crops on fallowed land without losing they’re “greening payments.” Successful Farming says the move comes in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. EU’s Ag Commissioner says the EU is an “agricultural superpower” that will ensure its farmers have the commission’s full support to respond to the world’s need for food. No immediate estimates were available on how much land would get put into crops under the new European initiative. EU members can use the $550 million (500 million Euros) in agricultural aid to help farmers boost global food security efforts. They can also use the funds to offset potential impacts of higher production costs or trade restrictions EU commodities may face overseas. The EU says Russia is intentionally targeting Ukraine’s food supply “to create hunger and use this as a method of aggression.” *********************************************************************************** Administration Continues Some Tariff Exclusions with China The U.S.-China Business Council applauded the Biden administration for renewing tariff exclusions on 352 categories of Chinese imports. However, the group is disappointed that the administration didn’t approve the exclusions on the full list of 549 categories requested. The council says no reason was given for not approving them all. American companies have submitted 53,000 requests for tariff exclusions but fewer than 7,000 were granted. “We know that the tariffs are a tax on U.S. businesses and consumers, that they haven’t influenced China’s behavior, which was the justification for making the move, and they likely contribute to domestic inflation,” says Craig Allen, president of the USCBC. “They negatively affect U.S. companies of all sizes, especially many of the smaller ones still struggling to survive.” The council points out that then-presidential candidate Joe Biden was correct in calling former President Trump’s tariffs “disastrous,” acknowledging the trade war with China hurt U.S. farmers and families.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday March 25, 2022 |


Friday Watch List Markets The University of Michigan's index of U.S. consumer sentiment is due out at 9 a.m. CDT Friday, the only significant report on the schedule until USDA's cattle on-feed report at 2 p.m. Traders continue to monitor the latest weather forecasts and events in Ukraine. Weather A strong cold front moving into the Upper Midwest will continue southeastward on Friday. Showers are very isolated with the system, but much colder air will fill in behind it later in the day and over the weekend. Breezy winds are accompanying the front.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday March 24, 2022 |


University of Missouri Releases U.S. Agricultural Market Outlook The University of Missouri Food and Agricultural Policy Institute Wednesday released its Agricultural Markets Outlook. In recent years, unexpected events have caused great uncertainty and volatility in agricultural markets. Trade disputes, the COVID-19 pandemic and now the war in Ukraine have added to the natural uncertainty caused by weather and other factors. The report summarizes baseline projections for agricultural and biofuel markets prepared using market information available in January 2022. Major crop prices have been pushed higher by the global economic recovery, increased demand from China, some weather-induced reductions in crop supplies, and the war in Ukraine. Based on information available in January 2022, the projection was for lower prices for most crops in the 2022/23 marketing year. A weather-reduced soybean crop in South America and the war in Ukraine have both pushed oilseed and grain prices higher, at least in the near term. Projected cattle and milk prices increase sharply in 2022, and prices for hogs and poultry remain well above the 2020 pandemic levels. *********************************************************************************** Canadian Pacific Railway and Union Reach Agreement, Return to Work Canadian Pacific Railway this week announced an agreement with the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference - Train and Engine Negotiating Committee to enter into a binding arbitration. The move ended a work stoppage. The work stoppage began Saturday and ended Tuesday afternoon. In the announcement, Canadian Pacific said it will immediately begin working with customers to resume normal train operations across Canada as soon as possible. The union represents approximately 3,000 locomotive engineers, conductors, train and yard workers across Canada. The Western Grain Elevator Association in Canada had called on the two sides to reach an agreement and end the work stoppage quickly. Rail service is essential to get grain off the Prairies to customers and ports across North America and globally. The association says serious challenges with rail service have already resulted in irreparable damage to Canada's reputation with its customers, and are adding to inflationary pressures on food prices abroad. *********************************************************************************** Brazil’s Suspension of Ethanol Tariff Welcomed as Opportunity Brazil has temporarily lifted its 18 percent tariff on all U.S. ethanol as of Wednesday, March 23 and running through the end of the year to decrease inflationary pressures. Ryan LeGrand, President and CEO of the U.S. Grains Council; Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy; and Geoff Cooper, President and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association, released a joint statement regarding the tariff. The leaders say, “We are pleased to see the temporary elimination of the 18 percent tariff, which should improve access for Brazil’s ethanol consumers as well as help meet its own decarbonization goals.” Brazil sources an estimated 60 percent of its ethanol imports from the United States. World-Grain reports most cars in the country are flex-fuel, which means they can either use gasoline or hydrated ethanol. Brazil also has a mandatory blend of 25 percent to 27 percent anhydrous ethanol in gasoline. *********************************************************************************** Growth Energy Ad Campaign Presses E15 Fix to Deliver Relief at the Pump Growth Energy Wednesday launched a new ad campaign calling on President Biden to direct his administration to lift restrictions on the year-round sale of E15. Growth Energy says the action would boost energy security and combat the surge in fuel costs accelerated by the conflict in Ukraine. The campaign will air on FOX, MSNBC, and CNN in the Washington, D.C. area. It will run until June 1, when many retailers will be forced to pull E15 from the market due to oil companies’ successful challenge in court to eliminate this fuel choice. Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor says, “The White House says all options are on the table to ease surging gas prices, and E15 is a common-sense solution that can deliver immediate relief at the pump.” In some markets, E15 is already saving drivers 50 to 60 cents per gallon, but that option could vanish on June 1 unless the Biden EPA takes swift action, according to Growth Energy. *********************************************************************************** NMPF, USDEC Commend Congressional Progress on Ocean Shipping Reform Act The National Milk Producers Federation and the U.S. Dairy Export Council lauded passage by the Senate Commerce Committee of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act. The approval Tuesday establishes Senate committee support for action to address shipping supply chain challenges as Congress prepares to begin conference procedures on the Senate-passed U.S. Innovation & Competition Act and the House-passed America Creating Opportunities for Manufacturing, Pre-Eminence in Technology, and Economic Strength Act in the coming weeks. Jim Mulhern, President and CEO of NMPF, says, “Export supply chain issues continue to pose immense challenges to dairy exporters, which is why this legislation remains so critical as part of a broad-based approach to tackling those problems.” In the House, Representative Dusty Johnson, a South Dakota Republican, says, “Getting this bill across the finish line and signed by the President is crucial to begin easing the costly problems created by foreign carriers’ unfair shipping practices. *********************************************************************************** Value of U.S. Dairy Exports to Canada Grew by Nearly 50% Over a Decade New Data from USDA’s Economic Research Service shows total dairy exports from the United States to Canada, adjusted for inflation, rose 48 percent from $466.4 million in 2010 to $691.5 million in 2021. Canada is an important market for U.S. dairy products, second only to Mexico. Canada’s proximity to the United States favors imports such as fluid milk, cheese, and infant formula, among others. Supplemental imports of fluid milk, butter, and butterfat in addition to cheese and cream from the United States often meet the shortfall in Canada’s production. By value, infant formula has been the top U.S. dairy product exported to Canada, accounting for $151.3 million in 2021 and representing 22 percent of the total. Coming in second, the combined export value of fluid milk, cream, and milk-based drinks reached $128.5 million in 2021—an inflation-adjusted increase of $85.2 million from 2010. U.S. exports of cheese to Canada have grown by 12 percent to $68.1 million in 2021.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday March 24, 2022 |


Thursday Watch List Markets USDA's weekly report of export sales is set for 7:30 a.m. CDT, the same time as weekly jobless claims, U.S. durable goods orders for February and an update of the U.S. Drought Monitor. At 9:30 a.m., the Energy Department reports on natural gas storage. Grain prices remain potentially volatile and are sensitive to news out of Ukraine. Weather A system that has been affecting the country over the last several days will slowly depart the country on Thursday. Behind it, a cold front will move through the Northern Plains later today and tonight, bringing in some colder air. Areas along and east of the Mississippi River continue to deal with flooding and wet soils, which will hamper fieldwork.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday March 23, 2022 |


Farm Groups Release Feeding the Economy Report U.S. food and agriculture groups Tuesday released the sixth annual Feeding the Economy report. The report's findings show that seven percent of the nation's economy and 29 percent of American jobs are linked to the food and agriculture sectors, either directly or indirectly. Amidst the global supply chain and inflation crises, these sectors also exported $182.91 billion worth of goods, helping the U.S. maintain its position as a leading player in global agriculture. In 2021 these sectors contributed a total of $3 trillion to the U.S. economy. The report shows the total food and industry economic impact at $7.43 trillion. John Bode, President & CEO of the Corn Refiners Association, says the report "highlights how food and agriculture overcame pandemic disruptions to continue to serve as a bedrock of the U.S. economy." Other groups involved in the effort include the American Farm Bureau Federation, The Food Industry Association, and the National Restaurant Association. *********************************************************************************** Farm share of U.S. food dollar rose one cent in 2020 The farm share of the food dollar increased one cent in 2020, according to new data from USDA's Economic Research Service. On average, U.S. farmers received 16.0 cents for farm commodity sales from each consumer dollar spent on domestically produced food in 2020, up from a revised 15 cents in 2019. Known as the farm share, the one-cent rise is the largest increase in nearly a decade. On the other hand, the marketing share goes to food-supply-chain industries that move domestically produced food from farms to points of purchase, including costs related to packaging, transporting, processing, and selling to consumers at grocery stores and eating-out places. In the first year of the Coronavirus pandemic, households redirected a substantial amount of their eating-out dollars, or food-away-from-home spending, toward food-at-home markets such as grocery stores. Generally, farmers receive a smaller share from eating-out dollars because a larger portion is spent on preparing and serving meals at restaurants, cafeterias, and other food-service establishments. *********************************************************************************** Ecosystem Services Market Consortium Announces Partnership with SustainCERT Ecosystem Services Market Consortium and SustainCERT announced a new partnership this week. The effort seeks to accelerate the deployment of a digital solution for corporate reporting on the carbon intensity of agriculture commodities. ESMC says the result will unlock scalability and credibility for climate action in agriculture supply chains, such as carbon markets. ESMC and SustainCERT have partnered to accelerate the deployment of SustainCERT’s Scope 3 software and digital verification capabilities for agriculture. ESMC will help pilot test and improve the solution, allowing for better alignment with user needs and civil society quality requirements, including the Greenhouse Gas Protocol. Ecosystem Services Market Consortium is a non-profit collective action program dedicated to scaling quantified and verified sustainable ecosystem services from agriculture. It is a public-private partnership of the agricultural supply chain and value chain – including agricultural producer groups and co-ops, major corporate food and beverage companies, agribusiness, conservation NGO's, ag-tech companies, land grant universities, and others. *********************************************************************************** Deere Expands Access to Self-Repair Resources John Deere announced this week it will enhance the capabilities of existing diagnostic tools and expand their availability. In 2023, the company will roll out an enhanced customer solution that includes a mobile device interface, and the ability to download secure software updates directly to embedded controllers on select John Deere equipment with 4G connections. Luke Gakstatter of Deere says, "We recognize our customers' desire for more autonomy in managing their equipment." In addition, John Deere announced that coming this May it will expand its offerings by giving customers and independent repair shops in the U.S. the ability to purchase Customer Service ADVISOR directly through JohnDeereStore.com. However, the United States Public Interest Research Group, which has criticized equipment manufacturers for restricting customer access to resources to repair their machines, called for more. A U.S. PIRG Spokesperson says, "Farmers don’t have time to wait for another half-step, only to learn several years down the line that they are still not allowed to perform critical repairs on their equipment.” *********************************************************************************** Cover Crops Goal to Benefit Pig Farm Sustainability A new partnership between USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service and Farmers for Soil Health was awarded a $1 million grant to advance adoption of soil conservation practices on farms. FSH is a farmer-led, farmer-funded initiative that will help producers plant cover crops on 30 million acres of soybeans and corn by 2030 to improve overall soil health. FSH is a joint effort of National Pork Board, National Corn Growers Association and the United Soybean Board. Pork producers can measure their cover crop adoption by using On-Farm Sustainability Reports, which are available at no additional cost to them to help document and improve on-farm sustainability efforts. Steve Rommereim, past president of NPB, says, “Nearly one-half of pork’s environmental footprint comes from the corn and soybeans that are fed to pigs.” Rommereim adds sustainable pork production begins with sustainably grown feed. NPB says the initiative will support the environmental stewardship on row-crop acres, ultimately helping pork producers meet their sustainability goals. *********************************************************************************** Benefits of Early Calving Are Increasing Due to Late Winter Warming A study from USDA's Agricultural Research Service finds on rangelands of the Western U.S., calving in late winter instead of spring maximizes calf growth. The study finds that late winter calving instead of spring supplies high-quality forage when it's most needed. There is high value in utilizing rangelands to lower the cost of beef production. Selecting the right calving time, when calves are born, is one factor ranchers can adjust to affect the efficiency of beef production. However, with climate conditions shifting, the costs and benefits of calving at different times are changing. The research team observed that calves born early March, late winter, averaged about 13 percent heavier at 180 days of age than those born early May, spring. This is because calves born in March are older and larger and can therefore better utilize the high-quality forage that is available in summer, whereas May calves reach 180 days of age in early November, long after forage quality has typically declined.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday March 23, 2022 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets A report on February U.S. new home sales is due out at 9 a.m. CDT Wednesday. The Energy Department's weekly energy inventory report follows at 9:30 a.m. and includes ethanol production. Traders will continue to monitor the latest weather forecasts and keep track of events in Ukraine. Weather A storm system has moved into the Midwest on Wednesday. While it has become much weaker than over the last two days, scattered showers will continue in the Midwest with a line of slow-moving thunderstorms working across the Southeast. Those storms could still be severe with a couple of tornadoes and damaging wind gusts. Farther north, there is some potential for severe storms in the eastern Midwest as well as the low pressure center has another burst this afternoon and evening. Hail is the main threat with these storms but a tornado or damaging wind gust cannot be ruled out either.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday March 22, 2022 |


America Celebrates National Ag Day Today (Tuesday) is National Ag Day, celebrating American agriculture. In his proclamation of National Ag Day, President Joe Biden writes, "I call upon all Americans to join me in recognizing and reaffirming our commitment to and appreciation” of American agriculture. The Association of Equipment Manufacturers is highlighting the technology and innovation in agriculture on the National Mall, with a half-mile of farm equipment and booths to educate the public and lawmakers. Also, student leaders from FFA, 4-H, Agriculture Future of America, and Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences are sharing information on the critical role agriculture plays in our culture and economy. A National FFA spokesperson says, “National Ag Day gives students from agriculture youth organizations the chance to work together and share the importance of agriculture and agricultural education with our national government leaders.” This year marks the 49th anniversary of National Ag Day, celebrated in classrooms and communities across the country. *********************************************************************************** USDA Urges Communities, Farmers, Ranchers to be Prepared for Severe Weather The Department of Agriculture Monday urged those in the path of the severe weather forecast for the Southeast this week to take steps now to keep their food safe, and for farmers and ranchers to take proactive steps to protect their livestock. The weather system is forecast to bring severe storms, including damaging winds, severe rain, potential flooding, hail and even tornadoes to parts of the Southern Plains and Gulf Coast. Meanwhile, USDA offers several risk management and disaster assistance options to help producers recover after disasters. Farmers who suffer losses and whose crops are covered for the 2021 crop year by the Federal Crop Insurance Program, or the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program are asked to report crop damage to their crop insurance agent or local FSA office. Livestock and perennial crop producers often have more limited risk management options available, so there are several disaster programs for them. USDA encourages farmers to look for disaster tools, such as the Disaster Assistance Discovery Tool, on farmers.gov. *********************************************************************************** Growth Energy Applauds U.S. House Action to Expand E15 Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor Monday applauded members of the House of Representatives for introducing the Home Front Energy Independence Act. In response to rising gas prices and the global energy crisis due to the war in Ukraine, the legislation would make the sale of E15 year-round permanent, create a tax credit for higher biofuel blends, streamline E15 labeling, provide funding for E15 infrastructure, extend the biodiesel tax credit for three more years, and ban imports of Russian petroleum products. Skor says, “The Home Front Energy Independence Act would boost U.S. energy security by increasing the supply of lower-cost, homegrown biofuels available to drivers.” Iowa Republican Representatives Randy Feenstra and Ashley Hinson were joined by Democrats Cheri Bustos of Illinois and Angie Craig of Minnesota to introduce the bill. The House bill is companion legislation to a Senate bill introduced by Iowa Republican Senator Joni Ernst and Senate Democrat Amy Klobuchar. *********************************************************************************** Smithfield Foods Contributes $2 Million to Ukraine Crisis Relief Efforts Smithfield Foods Monday announced cash and in-kind donations totaling $2 million to crisis relief efforts aiding the citizens of Ukraine and those seeking refuge in surrounding areas. Smithfield will expand ongoing refugee relocation and aid assistance underway through its operations in Central Europe with $250,000 donations to each the Global Red Cross Network, Mercy Chefs, Save the Children and World Central Kitchen. Smithfield President and CEO Shane Smith says, "We are deeply proud of the decisive action our Smithfield Family has taken near the border and are committed to supporting and amplifying their good work." Smithfield's global footprint is comprised of operations in seven countries around the world, including the United States, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, the U.K. and Mexico. Since the outset of violence in late February, Smithfield Europe operations have provided dedicated support for Ukrainian team members and refugees. Additionally, Smithfield Europe has engaged in regular donations of shelf-stable and other protein to food banks and temporary shelters across the region. *********************************************************************************** Former U.S. President to Headline Texas & Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association George W. Bush, 43rd President of the United States, is set to headline the 2022 Cattle Raisers Convention & Expo, hosted annually by the Texas & Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association. The event takes place at the Fort Worth Convention Center in downtown Fort Worth on March 25-27. President Bush will be joined by legendary singer/songwriter/actor Red Steagall, who will sit down with him for a special conversation about his time in the White House, the challenges facing our nation in the 21st century, and his current work at the George W. Bush Presidential Center. TSCRA CEO Jason Skaggs says, “He’s spoken all over the world, but on March 26, the 43rd President of the United States will address a group of cattle raisers in Fort Worth, and we couldn’t be more honored.” The event is the largest cattle and ranching industry event in the Southwest, with more than 4,000 attendees expected. Open-to-the-public, more information can be found at cattleraisersconvention.com. *********************************************************************************** Fuel Prices Fall for First Time in 12 Weeks For the first time in twelve weeks, the national average price of gasoline declined, down nine cents from a week ago. The national average gas price Monday was $4.24 a gallon, and the average diesel price fell 10 cents to $5.03 per gallon. The national average gas price is up 71.5 cents from a month ago and $1.37 per gallon higher than a year ago. GasBuddy’s Patrick De Haan says, “While the decline is still subject to changes in global supply and demand, COVID and Russia’s war on Ukraine, we are poised to see additional downdrafts at the pump this week.” However, not everyone will see the relief, as West Coast gas prices keep rising. Oil markets have seen a dramatic rise in volatility due to lower liquidity prompted by exchanges raising margin requirements to ensure liquidity as oil prices trade wildly. U.S. retail gasoline demand saw a rise last week as national weekly gasoline demand rose 2.9 percent from the prior week.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday March 22, 2022 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets Traders will check the latest weather forecasts and any news out of Ukraine, pausing at 8 a.m. CDT to see if USDA announces an export sale. There are no official reports lined up for Tuesday. Weather A system will continue to bring moderate to heavy rain from eastern Texas northeast into the Ohio Valley on Tuesday. That will include very good chances for severe weather toward the Gulf of Mexico. A band of more moderate rain mixed with snow continues from west-central Kansas up into the Upper Midwest as well. Along with the precipitation, winds remain elevated in the Plains while temperatures drop below normal.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday March 21, 2022 |


Drought Will Continue in the Western U.S. A severe drought has gripped western parts of the U.S. since the middle of 2020. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says drought will likely persist or worsen in the spring due to above-normal temperatures and below-normal precipitation. NOAA’s spring outlook says dry conditions will likely heighten the risk of wildfires across the Southwest and Southern Plains and will stress farms across California. The National Drought Mitigation Center says over 60 percent of the continental U.S. is under a minor drought or worse, the widest drought coverage since 2013. NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center says, “Prolonged, persistent drought will continue to impact much of the West, and drought will develop during April through June in the Southwest and the Central and Southern Plains.” Water levels in many western lakes are at record-low levels. But drought conditions are expected to lessen or end in the Upper Midwest and the coastal areas of the Southwest. *********************************************************************************** USDA Announces Partnership with Northwest Seaport Alliance Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack announced plans for improving shipping in the Seattle area. The agency will preposition containers of agricultural goods near port terminals to help improve service for shippers that carry U.S.-grown agricultural commodities. The USDA is partnering with Northwest Seaport Alliance to enhance access to a 49-acre pop-up site to accept either dry agricultural or refrigerated containers for temporary storage at NWSA in Seattle. The goal is to reduce operational hurdles and costs, making it so they can be loaded more quickly onto ships at the export terminals. The alliance includes the marine cargo operations of the ports of Seattle and Tacoma, Washington, which is the fourth-largest container gateway in the U.S. The Northwest Seaport Alliance saw a nearly 30 percent decline in exporting agricultural commodities in the last six months of 2021. The ratio of loaded versus empty container exports shifted to predominantly empty containers since May of last year. *********************************************************************************** Production Costs Outpacing Commodity Prices The cost of growing crops could outpace revenue for many farmers this year, making it more difficult to break even despite rising commodity prices and increasing domestic and global demand. An American Farm Bureau Market Intel Report says that farm production costs are likely to rise six percent in 2022, which follows a 12 percent rise in 2021. This continues a trend stretching back several years, as farmers have seen almost all production expenses rise since 2013. Production cost increases include rising fertilizer, seed, and chemical prices that now make up 17.5 percent of on-farm expenditures; rising fuel and energy prices that are made worse by the Russia-Ukraine conflict; increasing costs of labor for both farmers and agribusinesses; COVID-19 disruptions of labor markets and production. “Right now, there are serious concerns about whether farmers will be able to access the supplies they need to put a crop in the ground,” says AFBF President Zippy Duvall. *********************************************************************************** U.N. Says Ukraine War Impacting World’s Food Security The United Nations says the war in Ukraine is already resulting in higher food prices and a shortage of staple crops in central Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa. The Russian invasion of Ukraine has severely cut down on shipments from the two countries, which combine to ship 25 percent of the world’s wheat exports and 16 percent of global corn exports. Reuters says the surging grain prices are starting to pressure retail food prices in some of the world’s poorest countries. The U.N.’s International Fund for Agricultural Development says, “The conflict in Ukraine is already a tragedy for the world’s poorest people living in rural areas, where we are already seeing price hikes.” Those price hikes are going to drive up the number of hungry people living in poverty, and that could have dire implications for global stability. Wheat prices are close to the levels seen during the last food crisis in 2007 and 2008. *********************************************************************************** USDA Tackling Nutrition Insecurity The U.S. Department of Agriculture is taking specific actions to improve America’s nutrition security. The USDA’s nutrition security efforts build on the work the agency and its partners are doing to improve food security by increasing the Department’s focus on diet-related chronic diseases. Studies show that diet-related diseases are a leading cause of death in the country. “COVID-19 brought food insecurity to the forefront of the national conversation and shined a new light on the devastating toll of chronic disease,” Vilsack says. “As many as two-thirds of COVID hospitalizations in the country are related to diet-related diseases.” The strategies for improving nutrition security include providing nutrition support through all life stages, connecting all Americans with healthy and affordable food sources, developing and enacting nutrition science through partnerships, and prioritizing equity every step of the way. Poor diet increases the risks of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and more. Modernizing the WIC program is among the agency’s first objectives. *********************************************************************************** Chlorpyrifos Ban Will Stand Agriculture groups had two requests for a stay of the Environmental Protection Agency’s ban on chlorpyrifos turned down by a federal court. DTN says the court will allow the groups’ latest suit against the agency to go forward. Farmers still can’t use the insecticide on food or feed crops because its food residue tolerances got revoked. The leading groups of the ag coalition include the American Soybean Association, American Farm Bureau Federation, American Sugarbeet Growers Association, and the Cherry Marketing Institute. Together with 16 other groups, they say the EPA’s decision to revoke the food tolerances for the insecticide causes major harm to their industries, which use it to control pests like aphids, stink bugs, and more. A coalition statement says, “We are disappointed with the court’s decision to deny the motion to stay the rule while the case is heard and are discussing what will be our next steps in the process.”

| Rural Advocate News | Monday March 21, 2022 |


Monday Watch List Markets Traders will return from the weekend, checking weather forecasts and the latest reports from Ukraine. USDA's weekly report of grain inspections at 10 a.m. CDT is the only official report on Monday's docket. Weather A system will move out of the Rockies and into the Southern Plains Monday. Widespread showers are anticipated for the Central and Southern Plains moving into the Midwest and Delta overnight. This system will bring scattered thunderstorms to the southeastern Plains which could end up being severe, but moderate showers in drought areas of the Plains will provide at least some soil moisture for winter wheat that is coming out of dormancy in drought. The system will not eliminate the drought, however.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday March 18, 2022 |


U.S., Britain to Start Trade Talks Next Week The United States will begin trade talks with the United Kingdom next week in Baltimore, Maryland. Reuters says cementing a trade deal with the U.S. was one of the main goals of the push to get Britain out of the European Union. The two sides say the negotiations will be on March 21 and 22, followed by another meeting in Britain later in the spring. U.S. Trade Rep Katherine Tai says the talks “will explore how the United States and the United Kingdom can collaborate to advance mutual international trade priorities rooted in our shared values while also promoting innovation and inclusive economic growth for workers and businesses on both sides of the Atlantic.” The countries will discuss collaborating on easing supply-chain congestion, decarbonizing their economies, promoting digital trade, and supporting each other’s domestic workforces and labor rights. The UK government says it looks forward to deepening the already-thriving $153 billion relationship. *********************************************************************************** CP Railroad to Lock Out Workers on Sunday Canadian Pacific, one of the largest railroad companies in Canada, will bring operations to a halt this weekend after the company didn’t reach a labor deal with its workers. The company issued a notice to the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference that it will lock out employees early Sunday if the two sides can’t agree to a settlement or binding arbitration. Bloomberg says the two sides are discussing a new agreement but “remain far apart.” A disruption would create even more uncertainty in fertilizer markets just as farmers need nutrients for spring planting. Canada is one of the world’s biggest suppliers of potash that’s used in crop nutrients. Sanctions on Belarus and Russia after the Ukraine invasion have already caused a shortage in supplies and a rapid rise in prices. CP is the primary rail transportation provider for delivering potash mined in Saskatchewan to overseas markets, according to the provincial government. *********************************************************************************** U.S. Ethanol Stocks Hit Pandemic High Numbers America’s inventories of ethanol are at their highest level since the early days of the pandemic. The U.S. hasn’t had this much ethanol on hand since April 2020. In its latest report, the Energy Information Administration says ethanol inventories totaled 25.95 million barrels during the week ending on March 11. Market Watch says that’s up from 25.27 million barrels reported during the prior week. The EIA says inventories of more than 26 million barrels back in April of 2020 were the previous high-water mark. The stockpiles are well above the forecasts of industry analysts surveyed by the Dow Jones during the week. Their forecasts predicted stocks would be between 25.25 to 25.5 million barrels. Meanwhile, daily production only dropped off slightly, averaging 1.026 million barrels a day, down from 1.028 million a day during the prior week. The Midwest, which produces the most barrels of any region in the country, dropped output to 971,000 barrels a day. *********************************************************************************** Prohibited Pork, Poultry Seized at Border Over 120 pounds of prohibited pork and poultry meat were found in a minivan trying to cross the border from Mexico into Texas. The Kansas City Star says federal officials and agricultural specialists at the border seized the prohibited meat at the Laredo (Lah-RAY-dough) Port of Entry. A news release from U.S. Customs and Border Protection says pork and pork products are always banned from entering the U.S. through Mexico, and other meats are either prohibited or restricted. The regulations are in place to make sure that harmful pests or diseases don’t make it into the country through imported food products. Authorities say the driver didn’t declare having any meats when arriving at the border. “This significant seizure shows the importance of CBP’s agricultural mission to prevent the spread of potential animal diseases that could risk public safety and inflict harm on the nation’s agricultural economy,” says Alberto Flores, Director of the Laredo Port. *********************************************************************************** USDA Updates Eligibility for Spot Market Hog Pandemic Program The USDA clarified the definition of a spot market sale and hog eligibility under the Spot Market Hog Pandemic Program. SMHPP is designed to help producers who sold hogs through a spot market sale from April 16, 2020, through September 1, 2020. Hog producers will also now be required to submit documentation to support information provided on their application, including the number of hogs sold through a spot market sale and how the price was determined. The only direct to packer sales eligible for the program are those moved through a negotiated sale. The payments will get calculated by multiplying the number of eligible hogs, not to exceed 10,000 head, by the payment rate of $54. USDA will distribute payments after the application period to help ensure the funding is distributed equitably to all eligible producers. Producers can go to farmers.gov/smhpp for examples of supporting documentation, information on applicant eligibility, and more information on how to apply. *********************************************************************************** Clean Water Act Not Strong Enough A new report from the Environmental Integrity Project calls for eliminating agricultural exemptions for the Clean Water Act. They want the Act fixed because it’s missed the original goal of getting 100 percent of American waters fishable and swimmable by 1983. DTN says farmers and ranchers have had many of their practices exempted from the CWA, basically assessing ag runoff as non-point sources of pollution. “Congress should strengthen the Clean Water Act by closing its loophole for agricultural runoff and other non-point sources of pollution,” the EIP report says, “which are by far the largest sources of impairments in U.S. waterways." The report also says “factory-style animal production” should get regulated like other industries because of its “massive waste disposal problem,” and that government agencies should get more power to enforce total maximum daily loads or TMDLs. The Biden administration is currently rewriting the definitions of the “Waters of the U.S. Rule.”

| Rural Advocate News | Friday March 18, 2022 |


Friday Watch List Markets A report on U.S. existing home sales for February is set for 9 a.m. CDT Friday, the same time as the Conference Board's U.S. index of leading indicators. Traders will check the latest weather forecasts and continue to monitor news from Ukraine. Weather A storm system will continue to move northeastward from the Ozarks up the Ohio River Valley on Friday. A batch of thunderstorms across Mississippi and Alabama will eventually outrun its forcing this afternoon, but another band or isolated showers may form behind this initial band later in the day, bringing risks of severe weather from the Ohio River to the Gulf Coast. Moderate showers will fall north of the severe threat from the Ozarks through the Midwest. Snow will mix in on the northern side of the band with some light accumulations from northeast Kansas through northern Michigan.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday March 17, 2022 |


FACA Discusses USDA’s Role in Climate Initiatives at House Ag Hearing As the process to write the 2023 farm bill begins, the agriculture committees should address climate policy in a producer-focused way, according to the Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance. Chuck Conner of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives is co-chair of the alliance. Conner told Congress Wednesday, “We believe that policies should be voluntary, and market- and incentive-based.” The comments were part of the House Agriculture Committee hearing to review the Department of Agriculture program’s role in addressing climate change. Conner noted that FACA released a comprehensive list of recommendations related to agriculture and climate in November 2020. Several of these, he said, should be considered during the farm bill process. Conner also noted that FACA is beginning a process to develop an expanded set of more farm bill focused recommendations in the coming months. FACA represents a diverse group of farm and environmental groups, including the American Farm Bureau Federation and the Environmental Defense Fund. *********************************************************************************** USDA NASS to Livestream Agricultural Data Briefings On March 30, USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service will livestream the Secretary of Agriculture’s data report briefing for the first time. This and future Secretary data briefings will stream on NASS’s YouTube channel five minutes after NASS reports are released to the public. The Hogs and Pigs briefing will be live at 3:05 p.m. ET. The next livestream, on March 31, is the Prospective Plantings and Grain Stocks briefing at 12:05 p.m. ET. In April, NASS will livestream the Crop Production briefing. Crop Production briefings will also include presentations of data from the World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report released by the Office of the Chief Economist’s World Agricultural Outlook Board. NASS recently recorded several Secretary briefings to give data users an idea of what to expect from livestreams, they are available on YouTube. Joe Parsons, chair of the Agricultural Statistics Board, says, “by livestreaming our briefings when major reports are released, we can provide information to a wider and more diverse audience than ever before.” *********************************************************************************** Trevino Withdraws from USTR Chief Ag Negotiator Nomination Elaine Trevino, the Biden Administration nominee to serve as Chief Ag Negotiator, will take a non-political appointment in the administration. As a result, the White House withdrew her nomination to the trade post at the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office. Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, says, “I’m glad to see Ms. Trevino will be serving the American people,” adding, “I urge the White House to quickly announce a new nominee.” Farm groups welcomed her nomination last year, noting the work needed in agriculture trade. At the time, American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said, “Opportunities to create new trade agreements with the European Union and Great Britain as well as expanding the China Phase 1 agreement make filling this position with the most qualified person extremely important.” Trevino recently served as President of the Almond Alliance of California, and previously served as Deputy Secretary at the California Department of Food and Agriculture. *********************************************************************************** Report: Organic Grower Challenges and Seed Needs Loom Large The organic industry’s State of Organic Seeds report shows no meaningful improvement in organic producers using more organic seed compared to five years ago. The report, announced this week along with the National Organic Research Agenda, concludes the lack of progress puts at risk the viability of the organic seed industry and the integrity of the organic label. Released by the Organic Farming Research Foundation and Organic Seed Alliance, the reports are published every five years to examine organic farming challenges across the United States. In 2019, the organizations were jointly awarded funding from the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture's Organic Research and Extension Initiative for the research projects. The organic food market experienced incredible growth in 2020, with sales surpassing $56 billion, a 12 percent increase from 2019. The organic seed market has also grown in recent years due to demand for organic food, as well as a dramatic rise in gardening during the COVID-19 pandemic. *********************************************************************************** EPA Further Restricts Over-the-top Dicamba use in Minnesota and Iowa The Environmental Protection Agency this week announced further label restrictions on over-the-top use of Dicamba in Minnesota and Iowa. The changes, requested by pesticide registrants in consultation with those states, are intended to reduce risks from the use of over-the-top dicamba, an herbicide used to control certain types of broadleaf weeds. The revised labeling prohibits over-the-top dicamba application on dicamba-tolerant crops after June 20 in Iowa, and on dicamba-tolerant crops south of Interstate 94 after June 12 in Minnesota. The cut-off date for land north of Interstate 94 remains June 30. The revisions also prohibit the practice when the air temperature is over 85 degrees at the time of application or if the forecasted high temperature of the nearest available location exceeds 85 degrees in Minnesota. These restrictions are intended to reduce the likelihood of volatility and offsite movement of over-the-top dicamba by avoiding application on days with high temperatures, according to the EPA. *********************************************************************************** Equipment Dealer Groups Agree to Merger The joint membership of four equipment dealer associations voted overwhelmingly in favor of moving forward with a merger to create the new North American Equipment Dealers Association. The organizations include the Midwest-SouthEastern Equipment Dealers Association, the United Equipment Dealers Association, the Western Equipment Dealers Association and the Equipment Dealers Association. The member vote was the final step in the merger process to create the new association of equipment dealers. A spokesperson for the working group overseeing the vote states, “A major reason for proceeding with this merger is our members will benefit from a larger, financially strong association that will provide more services.” The newly formed North American Equipment Dealers Association will continue to represent dealers on a national basis with manufacturer relations and in federal government affairs in Ottawa and Washington, D.C. The organization will also continue to represent dealers in their 24 U.S. state capitals and nine Canadian provinces.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday March 17, 2022 |


Thursday Watch List Markets Top of the morning, USDA's weekly export sales report will be released Thursday at 7:30 a.m. CDT, along with weekly U.S. jobless claims, February U.S. housing starts and an update of the U.S. Drought Monitor. The Federal Reserve's report on industrial production in February is out at 8:15 a.m., followed by the Energy Department's weekly report of natural gas storage at 9:30 a.m. Traders will be watching for anything new out of Ukraine and will be wearing various shades of green. Weather A system moving out of the Rockies and into the Southern Plains has started to develop some moderate to heavy snow in eastern Colorado on Thursday. Additional showers will develop across the eastern half of the Southern Plains throughout the day. Showers on the northern edge of the system will turn into snow in Kansas while severe weather will be possible across eastern Texas and Oklahoma into Louisiana this evening. West Texas will be mostly bypassed by this system while drought continues in this area and only slight reductions are likely elsewhere.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday March 16, 2022 |


Lawmakers Seek Biden Action on Fertilizer Prices Lawmakers are raising their concern to President Joe Biden regarding record increases in fertilizer prices approaching the spring planting season. Senator Bill Hagerty, a Tennessee Republican joined by 18 senate colleagues, penned a letter to President Biden urging the administration to “immediately take all necessary steps to curtail the rising costs impacting American farmers and consumers.” Fertilizer is a primary input and major expense for farmers, and price increases will significantly affect farm profitability and the prices of food and consumer products, the senators wrote. Considering Russia's role as a key producer of fertilizer and necessary inputs of fertilizer, its invasion of Ukraine and sanctions imposed on the country are likely to cause shortages and price increases of fertilizer. The potential disruptions, coupled with skyrocketing energy prices, will harm American farmers, according to the lawmakers. The letter states, "We are therefore urging your administration to review all available options to lower the cost of fertilizer." *********************************************************************************** Study Highlights Benefits of Contract Nature of Chicken Industry The National Chicken Council Tuesday released a study that presents the results of a recent broiler industry survey designed to capture key live chicken production statistics. In addition, the study summarizes several key trends in broiler production efficiency, returns and loan quality data. According to the most recent USDA data available, the $68,455 median income for chicken farmers was significantly higher than both all farm households and all U.S. households. Sixty percent of chicken farmers earned household incomes that exceeded the U.S.-wide median. The top 20 percent of contract chicken farmers earn on average $142,000, significantly higher than the top 20 percent of all farm households. In terms of broiler farm loan performance, data show significantly lower charge off and deficiency percentages for chicken farmers compared to all agricultural loans. In 2021, only six percent of respondent’s farmers left their company, including retirements. Of those, only 0.7 percent of farmers left due to contract termination. *********************************************************************************** Growth Energy Calls on DOE to Set the Record Straight on Anti-Ethanol Study Growth Energy is urging the Department of Energy to address a recent “inaccurate and misleading” study about ethanol that claims to be partially funded by the department. Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor made the request in a letter to DOE Secretary Jennifer Granholm. Growth Energy says the study directly contradicts conclusions from the Department of Energy’s own Greenhouse Gases, Regulated Emissions, and Energy Use in Technologies model, which has been tracking the impacts of corn-ethanol's lifecycle emissions since 1996. The study by University of Wisconsin–Madison researcher Tyler Lark claims carbon emissions from using land to grow corn can negate or even reverse any climate advantages of corn ethanol relative to gasoline. Skor of Growth Energy says, “Failing to address this research’s inconsistencies and departure from mainstream science could have negative consequences in our nation’s quest to decarbonize the transportation sector—both on the ground and in the air.” *********************************************************************************** 2021/22 Sorghum Quality Report Released by U.S. Grains Council The U.S. Grains Council just published its 2021/2022 Sorghum Quality Report. For the third year in a row, U.S. sorghum was, on average, graded above necessary requirements for U.S. No. 1, according to the report. Protein content in sorghum was up eight percent year over year, at 11.3 percent, up slightly from last year’s crop. Paige Stevenson, USGC manager of global trade, says, “In a market environment where protein demand is high, every percentage point counts in animal diets.” The report, funded through the Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service Agricultural Trade Promotion program, provides international customers and others accurate, unbiased information about the 2021 U.S. sorghum crop. To generate the report’s findings, a total of 97 samples were collected from 13 participating elevators located in Texas, Kansas, Nebraska and South Dakota between September 20, 2021, and February 16, 2022. The samples were analyzed by the Amarillo Grain Exchange and the Cereal Quality Lab at Texas A&M University. *********************************************************************************** Bayer Issues Statement on Operations in Ukraine In a statement this week, Bayer says it is supporting colleagues impacted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The company is prioritizing the safety of 700 colleagues in Ukraine and will continue to provide them and their families with financial aid, shelter, and evacuation assistance. Bayer is stopping all non-essential business in Russia and Belarus, while ensuring continued access to health and agriculture products. This includes suspending all advertising and other promotional activities, halting capital investment projects indefinitely, and not pursuing any new business opportunities. However, for essential health and agriculture products, Bayer says, “As a Life Science company, we have an ethical obligation - in every country we operate in.” Withholding essential health and agriculture products from the civilian populations - like cancer or cardiovascular treatments, health products for pregnant women and children, as well as seeds to grow food - would only multiply the war's ongoing toll on human life, according to Bayer. *********************************************************************************** Organic Valley Cooperative Launches Carbon Program Organic Valley cooperative recently announced admissions of reaching carbon neutrality through a new carbon insetting program. The cooperative of small, organic family farms plans to work towards a carbon-neutral food system through a carbon insetting program. The program will incentivize and assist Organic Valley farmers with implementing regenerative, climate-smart farming practices. The CCIP, or CROPP Carbon Insetting Program, is designed to help Organic Valley reach carbon neutrality through real-world, deep emission reductions and carbon sequestration on member farms. This program will help Organic Valley become the first major dairy brand to reduce farm emissions without reliance on carbon offsets. Practices being considered for the 2022 CCIP pilot include tree plantings, improved manure management, renewable energy, energy efficiency, and enhanced grazing and cropland practices. Carbon insetting continues to gain traction among companies seeking an earth-centered approach to supply chains and carbon impact. Organic Valley aims to become the first major dairy brand to achieve carbon-neutral farm emissions without relying on carbon offsets.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday March 16, 2022 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets At 7:30 a.m. CDT Wednesday, a report on U.S. retail sales for February will be released, followed by the Energy Department's weekly inventory report at 9:30 a.m. The Federal Reserve will conclude its two-day meeting and is expected to announce an increase in the federal funds target at 1 p.m., followed by a news conference with Chairman Powell. Traders continue to watch for the latest news from Ukraine. Weather An upper-level system will continue to bring scattered showers to the Southeast on Wednesday. Additional showers will continue to fall in the Pacific Northwest as well. But most areas will be mild and dry for the day. Hard red winter wheat continues to wake out of dormancy, but is finding dry soils in the Southern Plains. There is some hope for showers there on Thursday. Wetter soils along and east of the Mississippi River are making it difficult for some producers to get into their fields.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday March 15, 2022 |


Strong Momentum Continues for U.S. Beef Exports; Pork Exports Trend Lower Coming off a record-breaking performance in 2021, U.S. beef exports remained red-hot in January, according to the U.S. Meat Export Federation. Pork exports continued to trend lower in January, despite another outstanding month for exports to leading market Mexico. Beef exports totaled 119,066 metric tons, up 13 percent from a year ago, while value soared 57 percent to $1.03 billion. This was the third-highest value total on record – trailing only August and November of last year – and export value per head of fed slaughter set a new record, exceeding $500 for the first time. January pork exports totaled 208,808 metric tons, down 16 percent from a year ago, while export value fell 14 percent to $555.6 million. Exports to Mexico were up 36 percent from a year ago to more than 87,000 metric tons. January exports of U.S. lamb totaled 1,533 mt, up 49 percent from a year ago, while export value climbed 59 percent to $1.9 million. *********************************************************************************** NPB Adjusts Pork Checkoff Rate National Pork Board delegates approved a change in the mandatory Pork Checkoff rate during the Pork Industry Forum last week. The current rate of $0.40 per $100 value per live animal will change to $0.35 per $100 effective January 1, 2023. The change represents a 12.5 percent reduction in the checkoff rate. The resolution – offered initially by Minnesota, Indiana and Ohio, but joined in support by Iowa, Nebraska, Illinois, Montana and South Dakota – passed the delegate body with 94 percent of shares voting in favor. The resolution reflects a recommendation of the Pork Industry Vision Task Force – a group of 19 industry leaders from the National Pork Board, the National Pork Producers Council and various states that reviewed the current structure and resource needs of the U.S. pork industry. The Task Force offered several recommendations to the Pork Act Delegate Body, which came before and were approved by delegates last week. *********************************************************************************** Bill Seeks to Coordinate Federal Programs for Rural Communities Iowa’s Senators, Republicans Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst, are promoting a bill to streamline federal resources available to rural communities. The legislation would create an Office of Rural Prosperity in the White House to coordinate the federal government’s programs supporting rural communities. Currently, there are more than 400 federal programs dedicated to helping rural communities. 13 different federal agencies have jurisdiction over the various programs, which includes over 50 offices and sub-agencies. The Rural Prosperity Act also requires the office to produce an annual comprehensive strategy for rural economic development, a Rural Prosperity Action Plan. Senator Grassley says, “I frequently hear from Iowans in rural communities who are having trouble navigating federal bureaucracy, making it more difficult to receive the assistance they need,” citing a need for the legislation. Ernst adds the legislation will “make sure we always have a voice and a seat at the decision-making table in our nation’s capital.” *********************************************************************************** Fischbach Introduces Landowner Easement Rights Act Representative Michelle Fischbach recently introduced the Landowner Easement Act. The legislation by the Minnesota Republican would prohibit the Department of the Interior from entering into a conservation easement with a term of more than 50 years. The bill would also give owners of existing easements the option to renegotiate, renew, or buy out the easement. Fischbach says, "This legislation would stop permanent landgrabs while providing a mechanism for landowners to resolve easement disputes." North Dakota Republican Representative Kelly Armstrong joined Fischbach to introduce the legislation. Armstrong adds, "Our legislation will put power back into the hands of farmers and landowners, giving them the ability to renegotiate or buy out U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service easements created before 1977." The Minnesota Corn Growers Association welcomed the legislation, saying the bill protects private property rights by ensuring that government easements are transparent, even-handed, and temporary. *********************************************************************************** Register Open for 2022 Stockmanship & Stewardship Events Registration is open for three Stockmanship & Stewardship regional events from the National Cattlemen's Beef Association. During each event, producers can become BQA certified, network with fellow ranchers, participate in hands-on demonstrations, and learn cutting-edge operation techniques. The first event is planned for May 20-21 at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia, the second June 16-18 in Leavenworth, Kansas, and the third August 12-13 at Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama. Stockmanship & Stewardship is a unique experience for cattle producers featuring low-stress cattle handling demonstrations, Beef Quality Assurance educational sessions, facility design sessions and industry updates. The program is sponsored by NCBA, Merck Animal Health, and the Beef Checkoff-funded National Beef Quality Assurance program. For more information about the events and to register, visit StockmanshipAndStewardship.org. Cattle producers attending a Stockmanship & Stewardship event are eligible for reimbursement through the Rancher Resilience Grant. To apply for a grant to cover registration costs and two nights hotel, visit ncba.org. *********************************************************************************** Apply by April 29 for Farm Bureau Ag Innovation Challenge The American Farm Bureau Federation, in partnership with Farm Credit, is seeking entrepreneurs to apply online for the 2023 Farm Bureau Ag Innovation Challenge. Now in its ninth year, the national business competition showcases U.S. startup companies developing innovative solutions to challenges faced by America’s farmers, ranchers and rural communities. Farm Bureau is offering $165,000 in startup funds throughout the course of the competition, which will culminate in the top ten semi-finalists competing in a live pitch competition in front of Farm Bureau members, investors and industry representatives at the AFBF Convention in January 2023 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. AFBF President Zippy Duvall says, “The Ag Innovation Challenge is an outstanding avenue for identifying and supporting startup businesses striving to solve the problems facing rural America.” Applications remain open through April 29, and the ten semi-finalist teams will be announced on September 13. Eligibility guidelines and the competition timeline can be found at fb.org/challenge.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday March 15, 2022 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets In addition to checking the latest weather forecasts, traders will watch for any sign of progress for a peace deal between Russia and Ukraine. At 7:30 a.m. CDT, the U.S. Labor Department will release its producer price index for February. The National Oilseeds Processors Association will have its soybean crush estimate for February later Tuesday morning and NASS is set to release its monthly Livestock, Dairy and Poultry outlook at 2 p.m. Weather An upper-level disturbance continues to create showers and thunderstorms near the Gulf Coast Tuesday morning. Moderate to heavy rain and some severe weather will be possible out of this system as it continues to spread eastward throughout the day. Rains will continue to improve conditions for drought scattered about the area. Warmer air will continue to spread across the rest of the country.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday March 14, 2022 |


U.N. Food Agency Says Prices Could Rise 20 Percent The United Nations Food Agency says international food and feed prices could jump by as much as 20 percent because of the war in Ukraine. The Food and Agriculture Organization says that would trigger a jump in global malnourishment. The agency says it’s not a sure thing that Ukraine will be able to harvest any crops if the war drags on, which would also impact the prospects for Russian exports this year. Russia and Ukraine combine to provide 19 percent of the world’s barley supply, 14 percent of the wheat, and four percent of the maize, which Reuters says makes up more than one-third of the global cereal exports. Russia is also a world leader in fertilizer exports. FAO’s Director-General says, “The likely disruptions to agricultural activities of these two major exporters of staple commodities could seriously escalate food insecurity globally.” The food price index already hit a record high in February. *********************************************************************************** More International Trade Missions in 2022 As part of USDA’s commitment to expanding and diversifying global market opportunities for U.S. agriculture, the agency will sponsor an additional four overseas trade missions this year. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack announced it at Commodity Classic in New Orleans. He recently returned from a trade mission to Saudi Arabia, the agency’s first overseas trip since the start of COVID-19. “Each year, the Foreign Agriculture Service’s international team of marketing and trade experts pinpoint new and growing global markets that offer top-notch prospects for U.S. exports,” Vilsack says. While the final dates are yet to be confirmed, the trade missions will be in London, Manilla, the Philippines, Nairobi, Kenya, and Madrid, Spain. “The events of the last few years have certainly underscored the importance of diversifying our agricultural export markets,” Vilsack adds. Ag exports hit an all-time high in 2021, topping $177 billion. 28 markets around the globe each brought in $1 billion in U.S. exports. *********************************************************************************** USDA Investing in American-Made Fertilizer The USDA announced it will support developing additional fertilizer production in the U.S. to address rising costs and spur competition. The agency will make $250 million available this summer through a new grant program to support independent, innovative, and sustainable American fertilizer production to help supply American farmers. To address growing concerns about competition in the agricultural supply chain, USDA will also launch a public inquiry seeking information regarding seeds and agricultural inputs, fertilizer, and retail markets. “Recent supply chain disruptions from COVID-19 to the war in Ukraine have shown us how important it is to invest in this crucial link in the agricultural supply chain here at home,” says Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack. Fertilizer prices have more than doubled since last year due to many factors. The top producers of the major components in fertilizer include China, Russia, Canada, and Morocco. Belarus also provides a significant share of the world’s potash exports. *********************************************************************************** Cattle Producers Welcome Contract Library Pilot Program The recently-passed Fiscal Year 2022 Omnibus Appropriations Package funds several programs important to cattle producers. It also maintains key provisions that the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association has advocated for, including the Electronic Logging Device Exemption for livestock haulers, important EPA regulatory relief, and an extension of the Livestock Mandatory Reporting Program. The Cattle Contract Library Pilot Program is a critical tool as NCBA works to increase market transparency for cattle producers. NCBA says the pilot program marks a “win” for the U.S. cattle industry as it equips producers with the market data they need to make informed business decisions and capture more value for producing the highest-quality beef in the world. “The program allows USDA to work on the model for a contract library that works for everyone in the supply chain while Congress and industry continue to work on the details of a permanent library,” says NBCA VP of Government Affairs Ethan Lane. *********************************************************************************** Commodity Partnership Sets a Big Goal for Cover Crops More and more customers of American agriculture want to source environmentally sustainable food and ingredients. That means manufacturers have to reevaluate their supply chains. Sustainability and continuous improvement on today’s farms form the foundation for meeting those needs. To make that happen at the farm level, the United Soybean Board, National Corn Growers Association, and the National Pork Board signed a partnership agreement with the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. That agreement led to a $1 million grant to the new Farmers for Soil Health Initiative. “As front-line environmental stewards, this effort will only increase sustainability advancements that farmers have implemented for generations while increasing carbon storage in soils sequestered by cover crops,” says Ralph Lott, USB Chair. The soil health initiative will use the grant to support farmers as they increase the use of cover crops and other conservation practices in a sustainable energy and protein system that meets the needs of customers. *********************************************************************************** U.S. Ag Tractor Sales Positive Across the Board U.S. ag tractor and combine unit sales returned to positive numbers across all segments. Canada’s harvesters and four-wheel-drive units fell according to the latest data from the Association of Equipment Manufacturers. America’s total farm tractor sales grew 9.2 percent in February compared to 2021, while U.S. self-propelled combine sales for the month inched up 3.1 percent to 200 units sold. The 100+ horsepower two-wheel-drive segment once again led all of the segments with a 27.9 percent jump, followed by the sub-40 horsepower 2WD segment up 8.1 percent. Mid-range tractors between 40 and 100 horsepower climbed 7.1 percent, reversing the previous month’s decline. “This is another positive month for ag tractor and combine sales, up overall in both North American markets,” says Curt Blades, senior vice president of industry sectors and product leadership with AEM. “Strength in the commodity markets is continuing to drive a lot of the sales growth we are seeing.”

| Rural Advocate News | Monday March 14, 2022 |


Monday Watch List Markets Back from the weekend with clocks correctly adjusted, traders will check the latest weather forecasts and any new developments from Ukraine before pausing at 8 a.m. CDT to see if USDA has an export sale announcement. USDA's weekly report of grain export inspections will be released at 10 a.m. Monday is also the final day of trading for March U.S. grain futures. Weather Coming off a very cold weekend, temperatures are quickly flipping to mild and the country will find these milder temperatures through the week as most places will feel like spring has finally arrived and it's here to stay. There will be some showers, however. A weak system will move out of the Rockies and into the Southern Plains on Monday, bringing scattered showers to eastern Oklahoma and Texas into the southern Delta, which may include some severe storms.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday March 11, 2022 |


Lawmakers Ask for Year-Round E15 Sales Senators John Thune of South Dakota, Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Dick Durbin of Illinois, and several colleagues sent a letter to the administration asking them to approve year-round E15 sales. The goal would be to restore American Energy independence. Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor applauded the letter to President Biden. “The message from both sides of the aisle in Congress is clear,” Skor says. “We need more homegrown, low-carbon solutions to address rising gas prices and shield American drivers from the continued volatility in the global oil market.” The lawmakers and Growth Energy both say biofuels are a ready solution to help provide consumers with lower costs at the pump. Renewable Fuels Association CEO Geoff Cooper says American families are experiencing unprecedented pain at the pump. “Ethanol is one dollar per gallon cheaper than gasoline today, meaning higher blends like E15 can immediately help put a lid on surging gas prices,” Cooper says. *********************************************************************************** Clean Fuels Alliance Asks Administration to Support RFS Clean Fuels Alliance sent a letter to President Biden to tell the administration the group is ready to help maintain homegrown fuel supplies, mitigate pain at the pump, and support a clean energy future. The letter asks the administration to get the Renewable Fuel Standard back on track as a key driver of America’s energy independence. “America’s biodiesel, renewable diesel, and sustainable aviation fuel producers are working hard to provide better, cleaner fuels that provide consumers value and extend the diesel fuel supply,” the letter says. The letter requests that the administration quickly finalize the proposed RFS volumes for 2021 and 2022 and drop the proposal to “reset” previously established 2020 volumes. “Since homegrown biodiesel and renewable diesel are direct replacements for foreign oil, a strong RFS is more important today than ever for America’s national security,” says Kurt Kovarik, Vice President of Federal Affairs. “The RFS is a cornerstone of America’s energy independence.” *********************************************************************************** Bill Would Provide Relief on Fertilizer Tariffs Senator Roger Marshall and Representative Tracy Mann introduced the Emergency Relief from Duties Act today. The bill would create emergency waivers for duties levied on fertilizers by the U.S. International Trade Commission. “Fertilizers and other inputs have been at an all-time high, and the war in Ukraine promises to drive up the price of products even more,” says Chris Edgington, President of the National Corn Growers Association. “Fertilizers have become increasingly hard to secure and pay for because of tariffs or the threat of tariffs on imports. That’s why passage of this legislation would come as a welcome relief to farmers across the country.” The bill comes as the U.S. International Trade Commission levied tariffs against imports of phosphate fertilizer at the behest of a U.S. fertilizer company. The bill would make it possible to establish a waiver of countervailing duties or anti-dumping duties for a year if there is an emergency situation. *********************************************************************************** Dierks Inducted Into Pork Industry Hall of Fame Neil Dierks served the U.S. pork industry for 40 years, spending 20 of those years as CEO of the National Pork Producers Council. For his dedication and countless contributions to the industry, Neil Dierks was inducted into the National Pork Industry Hall of Fame at the NPPC’s annual business meeting – National Pork Industry Forum - in Louisville, Kentucky. Dierks retired in December after a total of 31 years with the NPPC. He helped develop the organization that was born after a separation agreement created the National Pork Board. Dierks then became the first CEO of the reconstituted NPPC. After taking over as CEO, he guided NPC’s steady growth for the next two decades, expanding sources of revenue and establishing it as a highly effective and influential national advocacy organization critical to the profitable growth of U.S. pork producers. NPPC President Jen Sorenson says, “Neil is a giant within the U.S. pork industry.” *********************************************************************************** NRCS Says On-Farm Conservation Use Continues Rising A new USDA report shows that farmers are using more no-till practices, crop rotations, more efficient irrigation methods, and advanced technologies over the last decade. The report from the Natural Resources Conservation Service says farmers are making a lot of progress in their voluntary conservation efforts. “The latest report shows that farmers have done an outstanding job over the years of using innovative conservation strategies that help mitigate climate change,” says NRCS chief Terry Cosby. “But we have more work to do.” Among the important findings, farmers are increasingly adopting advanced technology, including enhanced-efficiency fertilizers and variable rate fertilization, to improve efficiency, assist agricultural economies, and benefit the environment. Farmers are increasingly using more efficient conservation tillage systems, especially no-till, which has become the dominant form of tillage in rural America. That helps improve soil health and reduces fuel usage. “Reports like this will help us improve future conservation efforts,” Cosby says. *********************************************************************************** Sheep Industry Report Assesses 2021 The sheep and lamb industry saw prices reach historic levels in 2021. The year of outstanding domestic demand for lamb is summarized in the 2021 Sheep Industry Review. The report is funded by the lamb checkoff and put together by the American Sheep Industry Association. “The pandemic continued to bring uncertainty during 2021, which drove shifts in consumer food consumption and buying patterns,” says ALB Chair Peter Camino. “Per-capita lamb consumption was 1.36 pounds per person last year, the highest level since the early 1990s.” The report notes that gains in lamb consumption have been linked to the year-round availability of more lamb cuts in supermarkets and direct sales as a result of COVID-19. There was price uncertainty in 2021 from price inflation and consumer response to higher prices for meat and other goods. However, feeder and slaughter lamb prices gained more than 40 percent. The wholesale lamb market saw record-high prices.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday March 11, 2022 |


Friday Watch List Markets Traders will be checking the latest forecasts ahead of the weekend, any news about Ukraine and will pause at 8 a.m. CST to see if USDA has an export sale announcement. At 9 a.m., the University of Michigan's index of consumer sentiment will have an early outlook for March, the only report on Friday's docket. Weather An arctic cold front continues its trek southeast through the country on Friday and will make more progress. A band of light snow is falling from West Texas into Michigan, which will move east with the front today. Moist air from the Gulf will be drawn northward and increase precipitation along the front later in the day across the Southeast, which could lead to a round of severe thunderstorms. Cold, arctic air continues to move in behind the front and could cause some frost damage to unprotected wheat.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday March 10, 2022 |


Senator Asks for Delay in the CRP Sign-Up Deadline The Senate Agriculture Committee’s Ranking Member, John Boozman (BOZE-man) of Arkansas, wrote a letter to Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack asking for a delay in the deadline for farmers to sign up for CRP. With inflation at a 40-year high and global food prices reaching a new record last month, Boozman wants the administration and USDA to look at ways of increasing food production. “To that end, I request that you delay the sign-up deadline for the Conservation Reserve Program until farmers have a better understanding of supply disruptions associated with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,” Boozman says. “A delay will allow farmers to evaluate whether it’s better to raise and insure a crop or enroll the land in CRP.” Boozman also points out that should the conditions in Ukraine continue to deteriorate, giving livestock producers continued opportunities to graze livestock on CRP ground without penalty should get consideration. The general CRP sign-up deadline is March 11. *********************************************************************************** Time to Unleash Biofuels Gas prices are hitting all-time highs, so Iowa senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst are asking the president to “unleash biofuels” immediately. They want Biden’s support on their bipartisan plan to replace Russian oil with clean-burning, American-made renewable fuels that are available right now. The new bill is called the Home Front Energy Independence Act and would put the ban on Russian oil into law. At the same time, the legislation would open up America’s heartland to more biofuel production. The current excess ethanol capacity domestically is nearly the same as the amount of Russian gas the U.S. had been importing, roughly 83 million barrels versus 87 million barrels. “Ethanol has been selling at around a $1.20 discount to base gasoline,” Grassley says. “Homegrown biofuels is a quick and clean solution for lowering prices at the pump.” The senators say that bolstering production would help the U.S. become energy independent once again. *********************************************************************************** March WASDE Assess Short-Term Impacts of Russia-Ukraine War The March World Ag Supply and Demand Estimates 2021-2022 U.S. wheat supply and demand outlook calls for lower supplies, unchanged domestic use, reduced exports, and higher ending stocks. Wheat exports dropped 10 million bushels, while imports dropped five million bushels from last month, all in Hard Red Winter Wheat. The season-average farm price rose 20 cents a bushel to $7.50. The corn supply and demand outlook is for increased food, seed, and industrial use, larger exports, and smaller stocks. Export projections rose 75 million bushels to 2.5 billion, which reflects an expectation of sharply lower exports from Ukraine. Corn for ethanol use is up 25 million bushels to 5.35 billion. The projected season-average price rose 20 cents to $5.65. Soybeans are looking at higher exports and lower ending stocks compared to last month. Exports rose by 40 million bushels while ending stocks dropped by 40 million bushels to a projected 285 million. The season-average price rose 25 cents to $13.25. *********************************************************************************** Farm Bureau Vice President Retires American Farm Bureau Federation Executive Vice President Dale Moore announced that he plans to retire this year. That brings a career of four decades as an agricultural leader in Washington, D.C., and elsewhere to a close. “Dale has been a tireless advocate on behalf of farmers and ranchers throughout his career,” says Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall. “He has certainly contributed to the American Farm Bureau’s strength over the last four years as a trusted advisor to me and many state farm bureau presidents and staff.” Moore spent more than 40 years of his professional life championing agriculture through working on Capitol Hill, at USDA, and in the private sector. “He deserves to step back and enjoy time with his family,” Duvall says, “but he will be deeply missed.” Moore agreed to assist Farm Bureau in selecting his successor. “I look forward to his help in positioning Farm Bureau for continued success,” Duvall adds. *********************************************************************************** Federal Committee on Urban Agriculture to Meet The USDA will host the first public meeting of the inaugural Federal Advisory Committee for Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production March 23-25. The Zoom meeting is open to the public, and urban producers are encouraged to attend. “I look forward to working with this new urban agriculture federal advisory committee,” says Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack. “The committee’s valuable insights and expertise will provide critical guidance to help us better serve urban agricultural producers, strengthen local food systems, and increase equity and access to healthy food.” The new federal advisory committee is part of USDA’s efforts to support urban agriculture, creating a network for feedback. Members announced last month include agricultural producers, and representatives from the areas of higher education or extension programs, non-profits, business and economic development, supply chains, and financing. The meeting is on March 23 and 24 from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Eastern Time. For more information or to register, go to farmers.gov/urban. *********************************************************************************** Ag Stakeholder Responds to Rail Workers’ Strike Vote Roughly 3,000 workers voted overwhelmingly in favor of going on strike over a new collective bargaining agreement. Almost 97 percent of the Canadian Pacific Teamsters voted to strike on March 16. Ag stakeholders like Nutrien are beginning to respond to the threat. “Nutrien relies on rail and a CP Teamsters strike could impact our ability to move potash, nitrogen, and crop inputs to our retail locations across Canada ahead of the upcoming spring application season,” the company says in a statement. “That could potentially reduce crop yields later in the year when the food supply is already stretched and cannot afford further negative impacts at this time.” The company is currently asking Canada’s government to intervene before this event can become another transportation crisis. The Fertilizer Institute mirrored those comments in a letter to the U.S. administration, asking officials to work with Canada on reverting the strike and eliminating the cross-border COVID vaccine requirements.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday March 10, 2022 |


Thursday Watch List Markets USDA's weekly export sales report is set for 7:30 a.m. CST Thursday, along with weekly U.S. jobless claims, the Labor Department's consumer price index for February and an update of the U.S. Drought Monitor. The Energy Department's weekly report of natural gas storage is due out at 9:30 a.m. The U.S. Treasury Department reports on the federal budget for February at 1 p.m. Weather A strong arctic front continues to trek through the country on Thursday with cold air filtering in behind it. A band of snow from northern Kansas into northwest Missouri will diminish as it moves eastward through the day. Some additional light snow will develop along the front across from northeast New Mexico through southern Michigan tonight.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday March 9, 2022 |


U.S./UK Ban Imports of Russian Oil President Joe Biden announced on Tuesday a U.S. ban on Russian oil and other energy imports. The goal of the move is to increase pressure on Moscow in retaliation for the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Reuters says the U.S. made the move despite being the world’s biggest oil consumer. However, the U.S. wasn’t the only nation to make a move on oil from Russia. Britain says it will end all imports of all Russian oil and oil products by the end of this year. UK’s Business Minister is asking businesses to use the time between now and December 31 as a transition period to make the change as smooth as possible. Also, on Tuesday, the European Commission published plans to cut the EU’s dependency on Russian gas by as much as two-thirds this year. The commission also intends to completely end any reliance on Russian supplies of fuel well before 2030. *********************************************************************************** Farm Bureau Asks for Increased Domestic Energy Production American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall sent a letter to the Biden Administration asking them to take the necessary steps to address the high energy costs impacting all Americans. Over the past 15 months, oil prices have increased by 130 percent to more than $120 per barrel. Duvall says, “As Russia’s harmful actions in Ukraine continue and further sanctions get imposed against Russia, oil prices will likely continue to rise, creating even higher consumer costs and threatening U.S. energy and economic security.” The organization is asking the administration to remove barriers to domestic energy production and to increase the production of biofuels that have reduced America’s dependence on foreign crude oil while creating jobs in rural America. “By displacing imported petroleum, increased biofuel use, and domestic energy production will enhance U.S. security and independence while supporting America’s farmers and rural economies,” Duvall adds. Energy independence continues to be a high priority for the Farm Bureau. *********************************************************************************** Iowa Lawmakers Want EPA to Ramp Up Biofuel Production The Iowa congressional delegation is asking Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan to prioritize America’s energy independence. Specifically, the group that represents the top ethanol-producing state in the country is pushing the administration to promote and incorporate ethanol and other biofuels into the American energy strategy. The goal would be to significantly reduce U.S. reliance on foreign oil and gas imports. Russia is the world’s third-largest producer of fuel at an average of 10.5 million barrels per day last year. “The U.S. and our allies are now looking to decrease our reliance on Russian oil,” the lawmakers said in a statement. “As Russia’s war with Ukraine continues, we urge the Biden administration to expand the production and potential export of domestic ethanol and biodiesel to meet global energy needs.” They also say that bolstering America’s domestic energy production through policies prioritizing biofuels will ensure a reliable and stable energy source for years to come. *********************************************************************************** FDA Approves Food Products from Gene-Edited Animals The Food and Drug Administration announced that it made a low-risk determination for the marketing of products, including food, from two genome-edited beef cattle and their offspring. The IGA results in the equivalent genotype, or genetic make-up, and the short-hair coat trait seen in some conventionally-bred cattle, known as a “slick coat.” The agency says the decision underscores its commitment to using a risk and science-based, data-driven process that focuses on the safety of the animals containing the IGA and the safety of the people who eat food produced by these animals. To date, the FDA has made low-risk determinations for many other IGAs in animals for non-food uses and also has approved applications for five IGAs in groups of goat, chicken, salmon, rabbit, and, most recently, in a line of pigs. A gene alteration can be passed on to offspring through conventional breeding. Products could be on the market within two years. *********************************************************************************** Ag Transportation Groups Want Help with Canadian Supply Challenges The Agriculture Transportation Working Group, which is made up of 19 agricultural groups, asked President Biden to work with the Canadian government on a variety of transportation challenges. They’re asking the White House to help the Canadian government avert a major railway labor strike and to get rid of the cross-border vaccine mandate for workers who are moving essential goods. “If the U.S. and Canadian governments allow the following supply chain disruptions to persist into the spring fertilizer season, the impacts to our industry and North American farmers could be devastating,” the group says. The Hagstrom Report says the letter refers to a potential upcoming labor disruption at Canadian Pacific Railway. Workers voted in favor of a strike action that could happen as soon as March 16. “The impact would be significant for grain movements on both sides of the border for livestock feeding and processing operations served by the CP,” the group adds. *********************************************************************************** NPPC Focuses on Readiness for Possible Foreign Animal Diseases The National Pork Producers Council hired Dr. Anna Forseth for the newly created position of Director of Animal Health. She will focus on foreign animal disease prevention and preparedness, as well as antibiotic use and resistance issues. “She has a wealth of knowledge about hogs and swine diseases and a great background in swine research,” says NPPC CEO Bryan Humphreys. “She’s going to be a great resource and asset for the U.S. pork industry.” The Montana native grew up on her family’s farrow-to-finish operation. She got her bachelor’s degree in animal science at Montana State University, her DVM at Colorado State University, and a master’s in veterinary preventive medicine from Iowa State University. Before joining NPPC, Forseth was a program veterinarian for the Montana Department of Livestock. “We’ll look to Dr. Forseth to be our lead as we work to strengthen our defenses against foreign animal diseases, especially African Swine Fever,” Humphreys adds.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday March 9, 2022 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets At 9:30 a.m. CST Wednesday, the Energy Department's weekly inventory will be released, a hot topic of attention after the U.S. announced a ban on Russian oil and gas Tuesday. Trading in grains on Wednesday morning may be quieter than it has been lately with USDA's March WASDE report due out at 11 a.m. CST. Traders will also pay attention to the latest weather forecasts and any news out of Ukraine. Weather A system continues to move from the Southeast to the Northeast on Wednesday with scattered showers across eastern areas, including the potential for some severe weather in the Southeast. A strong cold front continues to advance through the country but is hanging up temporarily in the Central Plains. That hang up is producing a band of light snow around Nebraska that will intensify later in the day and overnight along the Nebraska-Kansas border and expand a bit farther east into southern Iowa and northern Missouri as well with light to moderate snowfall amounts.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday March 8, 2022 |


More Lethal Avian Influenza in South Dakota, Maryland The USDA reported outbreaks of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in South Dakota and Maryland over the weekend, adding concerns that wild birds are still spreading the disease across the U.S. Farmers have to kill their flocks after the disease gets detected, and Mexico, China, and Korea have imposed state-specific import restrictions in response. The losses come at the same time that food prices are skyrocketing. Reuters says this is the worst outbreak of bird flu since 2015 when almost 50 million birds were killed. Most were turkeys and egg-laying chickens in the Midwest. The U.S. is the world’s largest producer and second-largest exporter of poultry meat. The disease is already spread around Europe and is affecting birds in Africa, Asia, and Canada. Other outbreaks have already been reported in Missouri, Iowa, Delaware, Kentucky, the Carolinas, and Indiana. USDA says the H5N1 strain can be passed on to humans, though the risk to people is low. *********************************************************************************** Possible Ban on Russian Oil Imports Gaining Momentum The price of oil has increased more than six-fold since the low point early in the pandemic. The Washington Post says oil prices haven’t been this high since the financial crisis of 2008. Prices continued higher on Monday as fears the United States and its allies in Europe are considering possible bans on imports of Russian crude. The White House said last Friday that it’s weighing a ban on imports of Russian oil. The possibility is officially before Congress as West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin and Alaska Republican Lisa Murkowski introduced a bill that would ban American imports of Russian oil. U.S. lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are pressuring the White House to hit Russian President Vladimir Putin where it hurts the most by imposing sanctions on Russia’s massive energy sector. “I’m all for that,” said Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi during a recent press conference. “Ban it.” *********************************************************************************** China Scooping Up U.S. Corn and Soybeans The world’s biggest importer of commodities is feeling the pinch of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. China is buying large numbers of U.S. corn and soybeans to help offset potential shortages in world commodity supplies because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and slower harvests in South America. Bloomberg says Chinese buyers booked 20 cargoes of American soybeans and 10 shipments of corn. The purchases show the high demand in China as the country worries about the long-term availability of grains on the world market. The buying is taking place after the Phase One Trade Deal between China and the U.S. expired without targets getting met. While both countries are talking about extending the deal, China will likely keep buying more American commodities to get what it needs. As shipments from Russia and Ukraine drastically slow, China has been a major buyer of Ukraine’s corn and barley, as well as sunflower oil from both Ukraine and Russia. *********************************************************************************** USDA Deadline for Cover Crop Program is March 15 The USDA wants to remind producers that the deadline for the Pandemic Cover Crop Program is March 15. The program provides farmers who plant cover crops and have coverage under most crop insurance policies are eligible for a premium benefit from the USDA. All cover crops reportable for the Farm Service Agency are eligible. The premium support is $5 per acre, but no more than the full premium amount owed. Last year, producers received $59.5 million in PCCP premium subsidies. The goal of the PCCP is to promote eco-friendly farming that will also improve producer profitability. Farmers typically plant cover crops during the fall, such as cereal rye, to help improve soil health. Producers must file a Report of Acreage form for cover crops at their local Farm Service Agency office by March 15. Farmers can quickly find out if the program can help their operation by taking the new PCCP eligibility quiz at farmers.gov. *********************************************************************************** Growth Energy Debunks Anti-Ethanol Study Growth Energy submitted supplemental comments to the Environmental Protection Agency responding to inaccurate claims from other groups about ethanol. In the supplemental submissions, Growth Energy rebuts claims based on a recently published anti-ethanol study with conclusions about the greenhouse gas emission impacts of ethanol that are wildly out of step with the established scientific consensus. Environmental experts and leading government agencies agree that ethanol reduces GHG emissions when compared to gasoline, which helps to put our nation on a path toward net-zero emissions. “EPA is expected to use the best available science when making important decisions under the RFS and other environmental laws,” says Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor. “The recent comments submitted to EPA very obviously don’t meet this standard and should be rejected outright.” The organization points out that the Department of Energy, the Department of Agriculture, the California Air Resources Board, and the EPA have all agreed that biofuels reduce carbon emissions. *********************************************************************************** AEM issues the Ag and Construction Equipment Market Outlook While the global economy remains on track for expansion, several challenges are likely ahead and will serve as obstacles for the agriculture and construction equipment manufacturing industries. The latest data from the Association of Equipment Manufacturers says the global economy expanded by a robust 5.1 percent in 2021. While 2022 growth is projected at 3.9 percent, slower growth seems like a foregone conclusion. Short-term issues like ongoing supply chain problems and persistent labor shortages, as well as long-term factors like inflation have emerged to cut down on the enthusiasm of what’s been a strong worldwide economic resurgence. In a statement, AEM says, “this economic disruption has impacted all of us a great deal, and we’re still dealing with the aftereffects today, including labor shortages, supply chain problems, and higher interest rates.” Even with the questions ahead, AEM says the stock market is still up 30 percent from two years ago.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday March 8, 2022 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets At 7:30 a.m. CST Tuesday, the U.S. Commerce Department will report on the trade deficit for January. Later Tuesday, USDA will publish U.S. Census Bureau export data for various ag products in January, including ethanol and biodiesel. Traders will note the latest weather forecasts and watch for the latest news regarding Ukraine. Weather A frontal boundary left over from the weekend system will produce scattered showers in the Southeast Tuesday. But the bigger weather concern will be the arctic front moving through the Plains and Upper Midwest. Snow showers are limited for today, but temperatures behind the front are plunging well below normal which will spread through the rest of the country this week.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday March 7, 2022 |


ARC/PLC Signup Deadline is March 15 Farmers who haven’t signed up for the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) or Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs for 2022 have until March 15 to sign their contracts. The two safety-net programs provide income support for farmers who experience significant drops in crop prices or revenues. “The ARC and PLC programs give important financial protections to many American farmers,” says Farm Service Agency Administrator Zach Ducheneaux. Producers have completed 54 percent of the more than 1.8 million expected contracts. If producers don’t submit an election by the deadline, the contract remains the same as the 2021 election for crops on the farm. The Hagstrom Report says farm owners can’t enroll in either program unless they have a direct share interest in the crops. “As producers work through a pandemic and climate-induced disasters, these programs are even more important than ever,” Ducheneaux adds. “Producers should reach out to their local offices to learn more about their options.” *********************************************************************************** Russian Ministry Recommends Halting Fertilizer Exports Russia’s ministry on trade and industry is recommending the country’s fertilizer producers temporarily halt exports. Reuters says it’s a sign that sanctions imposed after Russia invaded Ukraine might impact other countries. Many major international shipping companies suspended virtually all cargo shipments to and from Russia to comply with sanctions. The Russian ministry says, “We have recommended Russian producers temporarily suspend export shipments of Russian fertilizers until carriers resume their work and provide guarantees that Russian fertilizer exports will get fully completed.” Russia produces 50 million tons of fertilizers every year, 13 percent of the world’s total. The country is a major exporter of potash, phosphate, and nitrogen-containing fertilizers, all of which are major crop and soil nutrients. “Vessels are not coming here,” a source in the Russian fertilizer industry told Reuters. “And there are no containers at all.” Russia has been considering retaliating against Western sanctions but hasn’t officially announced any steps so far. *********************************************************************************** Ag Groups Reject Canada’s Dairy Proposal The National Milk Producers Federation and the U.S. Dairy Council rejected a proposal from Canada regarding U.S. access to its dairy markets. The organizations say Global Affairs Canada outlined changes last week to their current scheme for allocating U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement dairy tariff-rate-quotas. In January, the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office announced it had won USMCA’s first-ever dispute settlement panel with Canada regarding dairy market access for U.S. farmers. “Enough is enough,” says Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF. “U.S. dairy producers are sick and tired of Canada’s game playing on dairy market access.” As the first case decided under USMCA, the U.S.-Canada dairy TRQ panel is a test case for whether the USMCA dispute settlement process can provide effective enforcement and deliver genuine compliance with the agreement. “Canada is trying to see how little will get demanded from them, so it’s essential that the U.S. insist on real reforms,” says Krysta Harden, president and CEO of USDEC. *********************************************************************************** Banks’ Farm Lending Stabilizes Farm debt at commercial banks showed signs of stabilizing at the end of 2021. Driven by a higher balance of real estate and non-real estate loans, agricultural debt increased for the first time since 2019. The Kansas City Federal Reserve says while the pullback in lending abated, agricultural loan balances remained below the recent historic average. Farm real estate loans also increased slightly at agricultural banks, but production loans continued to decline and led to a further reduction in the concentration of debt among those lenders. The low interest rate environment continued to pressure margins for lenders, and sharp asset growth pushed capital ratios lower, but stronger earnings performance held overall returns for agricultural banks above the recent historic average. A relatively strong outlook for the farm economy in 2022 appears likely to continue supporting improvements in agricultural credit conditions. Farm loan delinquency rates improved further through the end of 2021, as did bank liquidity. *********************************************************************************** Groups File Complaint with FTC Over Right to Repair Groups like the National Farmers Union and other right-to-repair advocates filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission against John Deere over the right to repair its equipment. The complaint alleges that the tractor manufacturer makes its product difficult or impossible to repair unless taken to a Deere dealer. The groups say it’s a monopoly that violates Sherman antitrust laws. “Deere usually outcompetes rivals to win farmers’ and ranchers’ business but has recently begun to leverage its monopoly power in the market to dominate the repair market for its equipment,” the complaint says. “The company has made it impossible for farmers to make important repairs themselves or go to an independent repair shop.” Vice Dot Com says this is an issue impacting a lot of farmers as Deere makes more than 50 percent of tractor sales in the U.S. The complaint says farmers have no real choice about where to get repairs. *********************************************************************************** China Buys a Large Supply of U.S. New Crop Soybeans Soybean and grain sales for overseas delivery dropped in the seven days ending on February 24. However, USDA says soybean sales for delivery in the 2022-2023 marketing year beginning on September 1 totaled 1.39 million metric tons, with China buying 1.26 million. For the week ending on February 24, soybean sales totaled 857,000 metric tons, a 31 percent drop from the previous week and 34 percent lower than the prior four-week average. Exports for the week reached 751,000 metric tons, a 40 percent drop week-to-week. Corn sales dropped to 485,000 metric tons during the week, down 53 percent from the week before and 47 percent from the four-week average. Corn exports during the week hit 1.55 million metric tons, down 18 percent week-to-week. Wheat sales dipped 42 percent from the prior week to 300,000 metric tons. That was a 54 percent rise compared to the prior four-week average. Wheat exports dropped 33 percent to 365,000 tons.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday March 7, 2022 |


Monday Watch List Markets On Sunday evening and Monday, traders will catch up to the latest weather forecasts and news out of Ukraine. USDA's weekly report of grain export inspections is due out at 10 a.m. CST, followed by a report on U.S. consumer credit at 2 p.m. Weather A system moving up the Ohio River continues to produce scattered showers and thunderstorms from the southeastern Plains into the Northeast on Monday. Moderate amounts are expected near the Ohio River. Some severe reports will be possible within a hundred miles of the Appalachians where wind gusts are the main threat.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday March 4, 2022 |


Groups Ask for Year-Round Access to Biofuels The top biofuel and farm advocate groups in the U.S. called on the administration to swiftly expand access to plentiful, lower-cost biofuels as fuel prices get closer to record levels. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is sparking fuel prices higher, and the Environmental Protection Agency will soon finalize biofuel blending requirements for 2021 and 2022. The agency will also address a controversial bid to retroactively alter volumes set for 2020. “American-made biofuels are the only alternative to oil that can immediately extend the domestic supply of liquid fuels,” the groups said in a statement. “Experts continually warn us that Russia and OPEC will not protect American drivers from the inflated costs of fuel.” Groups like Growth Energy, The American Farm Bureau, the National Farmers Union, the Renewable Fuels Association, and many others say the time is now to expand clean energy production, reduce emissions, and protect the economy from volatile oil prices. *********************************************************************************** Rabobank: Wheat Buyers Considering Other Sources Wheat prices continue to climb as the Russian invasion of Ukraine is ongoing. A Rabobank analyst says the world’s biggest wheat buyers may need to reconsider whether they’ll continue buying grain from the Black Sea regions. “Russia and Ukraine have moved a lot of wheat into the market already, so things should be pretty good for this year,” says Stephen Nicholson of Rabobank. “However, the bigger problem is we don’t have enough world stocks to make up for the loss of Russia and Ukraine because they are such big producers.” Buyers will have to reconsider business in the Black Sea region because of doubts about getting vessels out of the region safely. The Hagstrom Report says buyers may turn to other suppliers like the U.S., Argentina, and Europe. With the ongoing acreage battle between corn and soybeans in the U.S., Nicholson says we’ll see what the war does to the number of U.S. wheat acres. *********************************************************************************** Economist: Open up CRP to Crops in 2022 University of Illinois Agricultural Economist Scott Irwin says it may be time for the Biden Administration to open the Conservation Reserve Program for cropping in 2022. In a series of Twitter posts, Irwin says, “Emergency situations sometimes require extraordinary responses.” He also says the longer the war goes on in Ukraine and sanctions against Russia continue, the bigger the supply shock will be to global grain markets. “I truly hope I’m wrong, but there are potentially tens of millions of acres of grain production at stake right now,” Irwin says. “This leads me to conclude that the world desperately needs additional acres for grain production in 2022.” Nothing can get done in the short-term except to run up the price of grain high enough to ration demand, but he says that could take a wildly high price. “The only policy move right now is opening up CRP for cropping on a one-year basis,” he says. *********************************************************************************** Ag Safety Awareness Week: “Prepare. Prevent. Protect.” The Agricultural Safety Awareness Program Week is March 7-11. U.S. Agricultural Safety and Health Centers will join with the American Farm Bureau in promoting ag safety through the week with the theme “Prepare. Prevent. Protect.” Each day of the week will deal with a different safety topic, including livestock safety, the cost and finances of safety, disaster preparedness, youth safety, and equipment safety. “The safety of everyone is our top priority,” says American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall. “We encourage farmers and ranchers to take advantage of all the resources available during Agricultural Safety Awareness Program Week and make safety a priority year-round.” The Agricultural Safety Awareness Program is a part of the Farm Bureau Health and Safety Network of professionals who share an interest in identifying and decreasing safety and health risks. The Ag Centers’ YouTube channel contains new content and fresh ideas about how to stay safe while working in agriculture, forestry, and fishing. *********************************************************************************** NIFA Investing Over $15 Million in Ag Economics and Rural Communities The National Institute of Food and Agriculture announced an investment of more than $15 million to support building new and better markets for American ag and rural communities. “These critical research investments support the economic, social, and environmental sustainability of agriculture and rural communities,” says NIFA Director Carrie Castille. “Outcomes of this research will help with decision making, policy design, and implementation to enhance agricultural production systems and promote economic development and prosperity.” The investment is through NIFA’s Agricultural Economics and Rural Communities program. The AERC addresses challenges facing the evolving agricultural sector within rural communities, including implications for food production and consumption and natural resources management to protect the environment in the face of increasing global demands for food production. The AERC program also builds on the fundamental and applied knowledge foundation in food and agricultural sciences that’s critical for solving real-world problems. The funding will support 27 different projects at secondary education institutions. *********************************************************************************** New Farmer-Leaders Appointed to the United Soybean Board The USDA appointed nine new U.S. soybean farmers to serve on the United Soybean Board and reappointed eight directors for another term. “With different uses of soy continuing to grow, this is an exciting time to be USB farmer-leaders,” says Ralph Lott, USB Chair and a New York farmer. “I look forward to working with these passionate individuals who will bring additional perspectives and insights, expanding our group of creative and innovative thinkers.” U.S. soybean farmers receive an estimated $12.34 in value for every dollar they invest in the checkoff. Those investments continue to fund programs that build preference for American soybeans across the country and around the world. The checkoff is composed of 78 members representing 29 states. “The group of farmer-leaders represent a variety of operations and unique points of view across the many growing regions of the country,” says Megan Kaiser, USB Vice-Chair and Missouri farmer. USB farmer-leaders serve three-year terms.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday March 4, 2022 |


Friday Watch List Markets At 7:30 a.m. CST, the U.S. Labor Department will release nonfarm payrolls and the unemployment rate for February. Traders will continue to watch the latest forecasts and events in Ukraine. Late Friday afternoon, CFTC will release its Commitments of Traders report and we'll get an update of how many specs were still short in the market on March 1. Weather A pair of storm systems moving through the West will emerge into the Plains but not until late tonight. Scattered showers will continue across western states while most areas east of the Rockies will remain dry until late tonight or Saturday. The weather will then change drastically as two systems move through the country with moderate to heavy mixed precipitation and colder temperatures. The systems will skip over drought areas in the southwestern Plains as concerns continue for hard red winter wheat.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday March 3, 2022 |


USDA Announces Additional $80 Million for Long-Term Resilience in the Dairy Industry The Department of Agriculture Wednesday announced an additional investment of $80 million in the Dairy Business Innovation Initiatives. In November 2021, the program awarded $18.4 million to three current initiatives at the University of Tennessee, Vermont Agency for Food and Marketing and University of Wisconsin, and $1.8 million to a new initiative at California State University Fresno. Under the existing program, which was previously announced through a FY21 Request for Applications, each initiative can submit additional proposals for up to $20 million in American Rescue Plan funding. The funds can further support processing capacity expansion, on-farm improvements, and technical assistance to producers. Since its inception in 2019, the initiatives have provided valuable technical assistance and sub-grants to dairy farmers and businesses across their regions, assisting them with business plan development, marketing and branding, and increasing access to innovative production and processing techniques supporting the development of value-added products. *********************************************************************************** FSIS Removes Mask Mandate for Meat Processing Facilities USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service this week removed mandatory mask requirements at federally inspected meat processing facilities. As of March 1, 2022, FSIS Notice 34-21 requiring masks was rescinded. FSIS-regulated establishments are no longer subject to suspension or withdrawal of inspection services for failure to require their employees to wear masks when FSIS inspection program personnel are present. The action follows Centers for Disease Control guidance changes recommending wearing a well-fitting mask indoors, regardless of vaccination status, only in areas experiencing a high level of COVID-19 and severe disease. However, FSIS employees must continue to wear masks at this time as set out in the USDA workplace safety plan. U.S. Cattlemen’s Association Beef Processing Committee Chairman Patrick Robinette welcomed the FSIS action. Robinette says the updated guidance “will put back into operation several regional processing facilities that were forced to go offline due to the previous guidance.” *********************************************************************************** NFU Concludes 120th Anniversary Convention National Farmers Union members adopted the organization’s 2022 policy book during its 120th Anniversary convention this week. More than 450 members and guests convened in Denver, Colorado, to set policy positions and priorities for NFU. Five special order priorities include fairness for farmers, supply chains, agricultural workforce and food processing reform, climate change and dairy policy reform. NFU says a fair, open, and competitive marketplace is central to the health and wellbeing of the American economy and democracy. NFU President Rob Larew says, “After hearing from a remarkable slate of speakers and a robust policy setting process, we leave Denver with a newfound energy.” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack headlined the general session. Other speakers included Colorado Governor Jared Polis, Colorado Agriculture Commissioner Kate Greenberg and Senate Democrat Jon Tester of Montana. NFU also presented Senator Tester with the Fairness for Farmers Champion Award. Additionally, delegates re-elected Larew as president and elected Jeff Kippley as the organization’s vice president. *********************************************************************************** Iowa Confirms Avian Flu in Poultry Flock The Iowa Department of Agriculture and USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service this week confirmed a positive case of highly pathogenic avian influenza. The virus was found in a non-commercial, backyard poultry flock in Southwest Iowa. The state’s Agriculture Secretary Mike Naig says, “We are working with USDA and other partners to implement our plans and protect the health of poultry flocks in Iowa." Whether commercial producers or backyard flock owners, all bird owners should practice good biosecurity, which USDA says is the best way to keep livestock healthy. HPAI is a highly contagious, viral disease affecting bird populations and can travel in wild birds without those birds appearing sick, but is often fatal to domestic bird populations. Signs of HPAI include a sudden increase in bird deaths, lack of energy or appetite, and decreased egg production. If producers suspect signs of HPAI in their flocks, they should contact their veterinarian immediately. *********************************************************************************** Purdue Professor Receives Grant for ASF Rapid Test A grant from the National Animal Health Laboratory Network and the National Animal Disease Preparedness and Response Program will help develop rapid testing for African swine fever. Quick identification and containment are key to stopping its spread, and a team of Purdue University researchers is developing a rapid, pen-side test for the disease. Purdue University professor Mohit Verma (mo-heet Verm-uh) received the $1 million grant, funded by the 2018 Farm Bill. Verma says, "A rapid test that can be done in the field is needed for surveillance and diagnosis of African swine fever." Verma is collaborating with Purdue scientists to create a portable paper-strip test for the disease. The project follows in the footsteps of Verma's success developing similar tests for COVID-19 and Bovine Respiratory Disease. A saliva or blood sample will be used for the test. The sample is mixed with primers and reagents developed by the team within a cartridge and gently heated. The included paper strip then changes colors if ASF DNA is present. *********************************************************************************** Use of Irrigation Systems Vary by Crop New data from USDA’s Economic Research Service shows irrigation methods vary by crop because of differences in production practices, crop value, water source, and soil characteristics. Irrigation application methods can be broadly categorized as either gravity or pressurized systems. Pressurized irrigation systems apply water under pressure through pipes or other tubing, while gravity irrigation systems use field slope to advance water across the field surface. Rice has the largest share of acres irrigated by gravity systems, which is related to the flooding requirements of most rice production systems in the United States. Peanuts have the largest proportion of acres irrigated by pressurized systems. Pressurized systems are also prevalent among high-value specialty crops, such as vegetables and orchards. Pressurized irrigation systems, particularly low-flow micro-irrigation systems, are generally more expensive than gravity irrigation systems, precluding their use among lower value crops. Pressurized systems are also more prominent among crops concentrated in regions more reliant on groundwater.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday March 3, 2022 |


Thursday Watch List Markets USDA's weekly export sales report is out at 7:30 a.m. CST Thursday, the same time as weekly U.S. jobless claims, an update of fourth-quarter productivity and an update of the U.S. Drought Monitor. U.S. factory orders for January are set for 9 a.m., followed by the Energy Department's natural gas storage report at 9:30 a.m. Federal Reserve Chairman Powell also testifies before the U.S. Senate on Thursday, while traders keep a close eye on events in Ukraine and the latest weather forecasts. Weather Another day of mild and dry conditions continues across most of the country on Thursday. A frontal boundary across the north will keep temperatures cooler toward Canada and there may be some isolated showers on the northern side of this boundary today as well, but more areas than not will see above normal temperatures. Showers will still occur in the Pacific Northwest and a system moving into California with showers will have significant consequences to the rest of the country this weekend.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday March 2, 2022 |


Biden Delivers State of the Union Address President Joe Biden’s State of the Union transcript included two mentions of the word farm. Biden said, “When corporations don’t have to compete, their profits go up, your prices go up, and small businesses and family farmers and ranchers go under,” announcing a crackdown on companies overcharging American businesses and consumers. The second, Biden stated a goal to “provide a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers, those on temporary status, farm workers, and essential workers.” The speech included no mention of biofuel, ethanol or agriculture. Biofuel is a hot topic for agriculture as the price of gas and oil continue to increase and worries of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine are intensifying that. Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds delivered the Republican response to the speech. While Republicans are not in the White House, she said “We’re doing what we can,” including “fighting to restore America’s energy independence, including biofuels.” *********************************************************************************** Farmer Sentiment Rises During Commodity Price Rally The Purdue University-CME Group Ag Economy Barometer rose six points in February to 125, matching the sentiment reading from December. A more optimistic view of future conditions pushed the sentiment measure higher as the Index of Future Expectations rose ten points in February to 122, the most positive reading regarding the future by farmers since last August. The Index of Current Conditions was virtually unchanged at 132, just one point below a month earlier. This month’s survey was conducted from February 14-18, before Russia invaded Ukraine. The survey found producers remain concerned about the spike in production costs leading them to expect weaker farm financial performance in 2022 than in 2021. Supply chain issues continue to hold back farmers’ plans for investments in farm machinery as well as buildings and grain bins. Also, one-third of corn producers in this month's survey said they plan to reduce their nitrogen application rate compared to the rate they used in 2021. *********************************************************************************** Prolonged Fertilizer Disruptions Possible Nutrien, the world’s largest fertilizer producer, says Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could result in prolonged disruptions of fertilizer supplies. In a report from Reuters, Interim Chief Executive Ken Seitz said Nutrien will boost potash production if it sees sustained supply problems in Russia and Belarus, the world's second-and third-largest potash producing countries after Canada. The comments come as farmers are already dealing with high fertilizer costs stemming from supply chain disruptions and natural gas prices. However, state corn organizations allege the price of fertilizer closely follows the price of corn, not natural gas. Speaking at the BMO Capital Markets investor conference, Seitz said, “We're going to run our plants, run them flat out,” adding,” Could we see interruptions in exports out of Russia? Yes. Can we see plant closures? We could." Nutrien expects to sell up to 14.3 million metric tons of potash this year, its most ever, and is considering further expansion, according to Reuters. *********************************************************************************** USTR Releases 2022 President’s Trade Policy Agenda The Biden administration Tuesday released its 2022 Trade Policy Agenda and 2021 Annual Report. In 2022, the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office will continue to implement Biden’s trade priorities as the United States recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. That work includes soon releasing additional details on the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework. Key elements in 2022 include supporting workers’ rights, accelerating decarbonization, and supporting U.S. agriculture. The Biden Administration is also focused on creating new opportunities for agriculture, including using existing Free Trade Agreements and Trade and Investment Framework Agreements. Additionally, the strategy includes bolstering supply chains and re-aligning the U.S.-China trade relationship. The report also highlights accomplishments from 2021, including work to promote sustainable environmental practices in trade policy, enforce existing agreements and improve the resilience of global supply chains. It also details how USTR and the Biden Administration have re-aligned the United States-China bilateral trade relationship to defend the rights of American workers, farmers, producers, and businesses. *********************************************************************************** Growth Energy Calls on Biofuels to Address Global Energy Crisis Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor says the uncertainty of the situation in Ukraine underscores the need for more homegrown biofuels to reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil and improve energy security. In an open letter Tuesday ahead of President Biden’s State of the Union Address, Skor highlighted the potential of biofuels to help lessen the impact of high oil and gas prices. This week, oil prices spiked to more than $100 a barrel, and gas prices are also increasing. In the letter, Skor says, "Increasing access to higher blends of ethanol through E15 year-round can help keep prices down at the pump." Growth Energy says moving E15 nationwide would generate $12.2 billion in savings for U.S. consumers at the pump each year, and bolster the domestic market supply, driving prices downward. Skor says homegrown and low-carbon solutions like biofuels can shield American drivers from the continued volatility in the OPEC-controlled, global oil market. *********************************************************************************** USDA Announces Supplemental American Rescue Plan Funding The Department of Agriculture Tuesday announced supplemental American Rescue Plan Act funding for the Local Agriculture Market Program. The program will receive a total of $130 million in supplemental funding from American Rescue Plan Act. The funding seeks to promote competition and create more and better markets for local and regional food producers by expanding and strengthening opportunities to sell to institutions, such as universities, hospitals, and others. The supplemental funding is divided into $65 million for fiscal years 2022 and 2023 each. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says, “Through these grant programs we are able to maximize opportunities for economic growth and ingenuity in the local and regional food system.” In fiscal year 2022, the Local Agriculture Market Program will receive a total of $97 million in competitive grant funding to help local and regional food entities develop, coordinate and expand producer-to-consumer marketing, local and regional food markets and local food enterprises. *********************************************************************************** Top Producer Names Women in Agriculture Trailblazer Award Winner Susan Weaver Ford of Kenly, North Carolina, was recognized as the 2022 Executive Women in Agriculture Trailblazer Award winner at Farm Journal’s Top Producer Summit in Nashville. Sponsored by Pioneer, the Executive Women in Agriculture Trailblazer Award honors female producers who are a shining example for their peers. The winner is an advocate for agriculture and represents an innovative farming operation. Entrants were judged on agricultural advocacy, farm business innovation and industry or community leadership. Applications are received from producers across the country and judged by a panel of industry experts. Ford and her father, Ray Weaver, grow tobacco, corn, soybeans, wheat, oats and cotton across 2,000 acres, 420 of which are family-owned. Top Producer magazine's Sara Schafer says, “She is fine-tuning budgets, marketing grain, negotiating contracts and doing high-level risk management.” Last year she was selected as one of 10 Americans to be a Nuffield International Farming Scholar.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday March 2, 2022 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets As has been the routine lately, traders will be watching the latest weather forecasts and any news regarding Ukraine Wednesday. The U.S. Energy Department issues its weekly inventory report at 9:30 a.m. CST, including ethanol production. OPEC and other major oil producers meet Wednesday and are expected to stick to the plan of increasing oil production by 400,000 barrels per day. At 1 p.m., the Federal Reserve's Beige Book will be released. Weather A frontal boundary across the northern tier of the country will bring some isolated showers to some areas on Wednesday and showers will continue in the Pacific Northwest. But most of the country will be mild and dry for another day.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday March 1, 2022 |


USDA to Gather New Data on Certified Organic Agriculture Production USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service is conducting the 2021 Organic Survey to gather new data on certified organic crops and livestock commodities in the United States. USDA says the effort is critical to help determine the economic impact of certified organic agriculture production on the nation. NASS is mailing the survey to all known certified organic farms and ranches within the 50 states. The questionnaire asks producers to provide information on acreage, production, and sales, as well as production and marketing practices. A USDA NASS spokesperson says, "We continue to receive requests for updated data on organic farms, especially to measure growth in the production sector of the organic industry." According to the 2019 survey, U.S. certified organic producers sold a total of $9.93 billion in products, up 31 percent over 2016. Participants should respond by April 4. Producers can return their questionnaires by mail or complete them online at www.agcounts.usda.gov using the new Respondent Portal. *********************************************************************************** EPA Takes Next Step to Keep Chlorpyrifos Out of Food The Environmental Protection Agency Monday announced the next step to discontinue use of chlorpyrifos (Klohr-PEER-uh-fohs) on food by denying objections to EPA’s rule revoking all chlorpyrifos tolerances. An EPA spokesperson says, “EPA is taking the next step towards the cancellation of the use of chlorpyrifos on food.” In August 2021, EPA issued a final rule revoking all tolerances — which establish an amount of a pesticide that is allowed on food — for chlorpyrifos. Previously, chlorpyrifos was used for a large variety of agricultural uses, including soybeans, fruit and nut trees, broccoli, cauliflower, and other row crops. EPA says it has been found to inhibit an enzyme, which leads to neurotoxicity, and has also been associated with potential neurodevelopmental effects in children. Under Monday’s action, EPA is denying all objections, hearing requests, and requests to stay the final rule filed during the period for submitting responses to the final rule. *********************************************************************************** Chevron Acquiring Renewable Energy Group Chevron Corporation and Renewable Energy Group, Inc. announced Monday a definitive agreement under which Chevron will acquire the outstanding shares of Renewable Energy Group. The all-cash transaction is valued at $3.15 billion, or $61.50 per share. Company leadership says the acquisition combines Renewable Energy Group growing renewable fuels production and leading feedstock capabilities with Chevron's large manufacturing, distribution and commercial marketing position. Chevron Chairman and CEO Mike Wirth says, "Together, we can grow more quickly and efficiently than either could on its own." The transaction is expected to accelerate progress toward Chevron's goal to grow renewable fuels production capacity to 100,000 barrels per day by 2030 and brings additional feedstock supplies and pre-treatment facilities. After closing the acquisition, Chevron's renewable fuels business, Renewable Fuels - REG, will be headquartered in Ames, Iowa. Renewable Energy Group operates 12 biorefineries and a feedstock processing facility and is the largest U.S. producer of biomass-based diesel. *********************************************************************************** Producer-Led RIPE Expands Steering Committee Rural Investment to Protect our Environment, or RIPE, announced Monday the National Black Growers Council recently joined its steering committee. RIPE Executive Director Aliza Drewes says, “The council’s mission of advocating for Black farmers with a focus on sustainability aligns with RIPE’s focus of creating a strong climate policy that works for all farmers and ranchers.” RIPE is self-described as a producer-led nonprofit advancing a groundbreaking, bipartisan climate policy plan that works for producers and the public. Through payments of $100 per acre or animal unit, the RIPE100 plan would reward producers for the total public value of their conservation practices, including no-till and cover crops. In addition to carbon sequestration, the voluntary federal program would pay for improved soil health, cleaner water, biodiversity and other environmental services. Payments would also help farmers and ranchers manage rising input costs, such as fertilizer, due to climate policy while giving them a reasonable return. *********************************************************************************** Food Insecurity Rates Vary Across States USDA Economic Research Service data released Monday shows food insecurity rates vary across U.S. states. The estimated prevalence of food insecurity during 2018–20 ranged from 5.7 percent in New Hampshire to 15.3 percent in Mississippi. The estimated national average was 10.7 percent. The prevalence of food insecurity was significantly higher than the national average in nine states, including Alabama, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia. Food-insecure households are defined as those that had difficulty at some time during the year providing enough food for all their members because of a lack of resources. USDA monitors the extent of food insecurity in U.S. households at the national and state levels through an annual U.S. Census Bureau survey. State-level estimates are then obtained by averaging three years of data to generate more reliable statistics. State food insecurity rates vary because of state-level characteristics such as population, policies, and economic conditions. *********************************************************************************** Invasion Sparks Increasing Fuel, Oil Prices The Russian invasion of Ukraine boosted fuel prices last week. For the ninth straight week, U.S. fuel prices increased, with gas claiming 7.5 cents to an average of $3.59 per gallon, according to GasBuddy. The national average is up 23.2 cents from a month ago and 87.6 cents per gallon higher than a year ago. The national average price of diesel increased 5.5 cents in the last week and stands at $3.98 per gallon, the highest since March 23, 2014. GasBuddy’s Patrick De Haan says, “The Russian invasion of Ukraine has sparked high level concern that oil production could eventually be stifled, or even sanctioned, from the world’s second largest oil producer, leading to less supply as demand grows.” That comes at a time of year when seasonality issues push gasoline prices up by anywhere from 25 to 75 cents by Memorial Day. De Haan says, “it’s looking like a perfect storm,” adding, there is “little to no relief anytime soon.”

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday March 1, 2022 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets Traders remain attentive to the latest weather forecasts and are eagerly following events in Ukraine. The Institute of Supply Management's index of U.S. manufacturing will be out at 9 a.m. CST. The monthly report of U.S. soybean crush in January will be revealed in the Fats and Oils report from NASS at 2 p.m. CST. Weather On the first day of meteorological spring, it will feel like it for most areas of the country. A stationary boundary continues to sit near the northern border and may remain active with some light and spotty showers, and waves of precipitation continue in the Pacific Northwest. But the rest of the country will be dry and mild with above normal temperatures.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday February 28, 2022 |


Farm Real Estate Values Continue to Climb Agricultural real estate values continued to increase at a rapid pace across farm country through the end of last year. The increase in the value of farmland has accelerated in recent quarters alongside elevated commodity prices that have boosted profit opportunities and supported broad strength in the U.S. farm economy. The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City says farm finances and credit conditions have improved dramatically in recent years and interest rates on farm loans remained near historic lows. That’s added support to agricultural real estate markets. Looking at the year ahead, the outlook for agricultural credit conditions remains strong. Elevated commodity prices and robust support from government aid programs due to COVID-19 supported rapid improvement in farm income and credit conditions. Despite concerns about higher input costs and intensifying drought in some regions, markets for most major commodities remained strong, and producers are looking at sound profit opportunities in 2022. *********************************************************************************** Vilsack says Ag Outlook is “Strong” Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack gave the keynote address last week at the USDA’s annual Agricultural Outlook Forum. The Hagstrom Report says that the secretary called the outlook for U.S. agriculture “bright, strong, and positive” despite the problems around the world. When asked about the impact of the battle in Ukraine, Vilsack said it’s too early to make projections about what impacts the war will have on fertilizer and food prices in the U.S. He also says the administration will be supportive of state attorneys general analyzing the history of fertilizer pricing. His biggest concern is that companies may be taking advantage of farmers. The secretary made his remarks after returning from a trade mission to Dubai, the first mission in two years. Vilsack says ag exports set a record last year, and exports will be even higher this year. He said the Dubai trip is part of an agency effort to diversify exports beyond China. *********************************************************************************** First Tariff-Free Load of Wheat Arrives in Vietnam After productive talks with the U.S. in 2021, the Vietnamese government eliminated a three percent U.S. wheat import tariff on December 30. Earlier this month, the first shipment of U.S. wheat purchased without a tariff arrived at a Vietnam port. The shipment contained more than 68,300 metric tons of soft white and hard red spring wheat grown in the Pacific Northwest and Northern Plains. “With the import tariff reduced to zero, the Vietnamese buyer saved almost one million dollars on this vessel load of U.S. wheat,” says Robert Hanson, Agricultural Counselor with the Foreign Ag Service in Hanoi. Vince Peterson, President of U.S. Wheat Associates, says, “The Foreign Agricultural Service worked hard to cut this barrier and level the playing field for American wheat in Vietnam.” Vietnam imports an average of about four million metric tons of wheat every year. Peterson says the demand for U.S. wheat in Vietnam will keep growing in the future. *********************************************************************************** Grain Buyers Look for Alternative Grain Supplies International grain buyers are looking for different places to buy wheat and corn as a Russian invasion cut off Ukrainian supplies. Reuters says European Union producers like Romania and France are being used to cover some nearby shipments. The conflict is rattling international grain markets. European wheat futures hit record highs last week as stalled shipments from Ukraine and Russia are likely. Those two countries and current adversaries account for nearly a third of world wheat exports and almost a fifth of global corn exports. The assault from Moscow led Ukraine to close its ports last week. Romania is a major grain supplier that exports through the Black Sea but outside the conflict zone, so buyers are looking there for backup purchases. Ukraine is a key wheat exporter to Middle Eastern and Mediterranean locations like Egypt, Turkey, Italy, and African countries. Ukraine’s corn customers include China, Spain, Iran, and South Korea. *********************************************************************************** NCGA Wins Ethanol Award from the Renewable Fuels Association The Renewable Fuels Association presented its 2022 Ethanol Industry Award to the National Corn Growers Association. The award was given in recognition of the group’s dedicated and sustained efforts on behalf of the ethanol industry over the past four decades. The award is the RFA’s highest recognition and was presented during the recent National Ethanol Conference in New Orleans. “RFA and NCGA have worked together for decades on policy, market development, research, and promotional efforts aimed at growing our nation’s ethanol industry,” says RFA boss Geoff Cooper. “NCGA CEO Jon Doggett was personally involved in the very early negotiations with RFA, the oil industry, and other Ag groups in an effort that ultimately led to the passage of the Energy Policy Act of 2005.” He also said that NCGA has worked together with RFA on countless research and ethanol promotion efforts, such as technical work, market development, exports, and many other initiatives. *********************************************************************************** Consumers Want Food Made from American Crops The United Soybean Board released results of a new survey highlighting consumer perceptions of U.S. soybeans, soybean farmers, and the American food supply chain. The survey shows consumer support of domestic agriculture continues to grow stronger, with 78 percent of consumers saying it’s important to buy U.S.-grown food, including soybeans. The 78 percent is an eight-percent increase from the last survey in December 2020. Other highlights from the study include U.S. farmers being the most trusted source when it comes to food safety, with 83 percent of consumers ranking them number one among members of the supply chain. The vast majority of consumers have a very/somewhat positive view of U.S. farmers who grow crops, including soybeans. Soy is seen as healthy by more than half of consumers, with 60 percent saying that soy-based food is somewhat/very healthy. 72 percent of respondents are more positive about soy because of its sustainability.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday February 28, 2022 |


Monday Watch List Markets After a weekend of fighting in Ukraine, traders will be quick to catch up on events and check the latest weather forecasts. USDA's weekly report of grain export inspections is at 10 a.m. CST and USDA issues its monthly report of ag prices at 2 p.m. Later Monday afternoon, DTN will report on February price averages for crop insurance purposes and what that means for this year's coverage terms. Weather Waves of showers are moving into the Pacific Northwest for the week. While there will be some showers near the U.S.-Canada border and also around Florida, much of the country's growing regions will remain dry on Monday. Warmer air spreading across the bulk of the country will cause snowmelt and increase drought stress for hard red winter wheat areas.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday February 25, 2022 |


USDA Commits $215 Million for Food Supply Chain Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the USDA will make available $215 million in grants and other support to make America’s food supply chain more resilient. The financing will help expand meat and poultry processing options, strengthen the food supply chain, and create jobs and economic opportunities in rural areas. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association appreciates the effort to diversify the nation’s processing capacity. “Investing in packing capacity is critically important for the cattle industry,” says NCBA Director of Government Affairs and Market Regulatory Policy Tanner Beymer. “The expansion of regional processing facilities will bolster resiliency within the beef supply chain and help return marketing leverage to cattle producers.” USDA Rural Development will make $150 million available through the Meat and Poultry Processing Expansion Program. Another $40 million is available from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture for workforce development, and an additional $25 million will go to technical assistance. *********************************************************************************** Ukraine Shuts Down Ports After Russian Attack Ukraine’s military shut down commercial shipping operations at the country’s ports after Russia invaded Ukraine. Reuters said the announcement comes from an adviser to the Ukrainian president’s chief of staff and stoked fears of supply disruptions from one of the world’s top grain and oilseeds exporters. Ukraine is a major exporter of corn, much of which goes to China and the European Union. Ukraine also competes with Russia to ship wheat to major buyers like Turkey and Egypt. “The market is still trying to get a clearer picture of the actual military situation on the ground,” one European grain trader told Reuters. “According to the initial reports from shipping agencies, the ports in the Azov (A-zoff) and Black Seas don’t seem to have sustained much damage.” Egypt’s state grains buyer canceled an international purchase of wheat as the conflict led to reports that no offers of either Russian or Ukrainian wheat had been received. *********************************************************************************** High Input Costs Cut Down U.S. Corn Acres U.S. farmers will cut back on their corn acres this year by 1.5 percent and slightly increase their soybean acres this year because of the high cost of inputs. During the agency’s annual Ag Outlook Forum, USDA projected that high yields would bring in the biggest corn and soybean crops in history, which would likely pull down season-average prices for the two most widely planted crops in America. USDA says corn plantings will total 92 million acres, 1.4 million lower than in 2020. Soybean plantings will rise 88,000 acres to a total of 88 million this year. A corn crop of 181 bushels an acre would yield a record 15.24 billion bushels. Soybeans, with yields of 51.5 bushels per acre, would yield a record 4.49 billion bushels. Projected farm-gate prices were $5 a bushel for this year’s corn crop and $12.75 a bushel for soybeans. Wheat production will be 1.94 billion bushels at $6.80 a bushel. *********************************************************************************** Deadline Extended for Spot Market Hog Pandemic Assistance Pork producers who sold hogs through a spot market sale during COVID-19 now have until April 15 to submit applications for the USDA’s Spot Market Hog Pandemic Program. The original deadline to submit applications was February 25. The program assists pork producers who sold hogs through a spot market sale between April 16 and September 1 of 2020. During those months, producers faced the greatest reduction in market prices due to the pandemic. USDA is offering SMHPP in response to a reduction in packer production and supply chain issues due to COVID-19, which resulted in fewer negotiated hogs getting procured by processors and lower market prices. “In response to stakeholder feedback and our program analysis, we’ll be making adjustments to clarify the definition of a spot market sale and to hog eligibility while including documentation requirements to prevent erroneous payments,” says FSA Administrator Zach Ducheneaux. Visit farmers.gov/smhpp for more information. *********************************************************************************** Dairy Checkoff Collaborating with Mayo Clinic The dairy checkoff announced a five-year collaboration with Mayo Clinic to explore research and consumer outreach efforts to improve public health and advance dairy’s benefits. The memorandum of understanding with Mayo involves Dairy Management Inc., the National Dairy Council, and the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy. “This is a milestone moment for dairy farmers who made this possible through their century-long commitment to research and dairy nutrition,” says DMI CEO Barbara O’Brien. The collaboration will research how dairy foods, particularly whole milk, impact cardiovascular health and metabolism. Other potential research areas include dairy’s impact on sleep, digestive health, and immunity. Content created by the collaboration will help debunk dairy myths and help consumers maintain confidence in dairy foods, farms, and businesses. “This collaboration illustrates the checkoff’s consumer-first focus and our commitment to leading with credible science,” says DMI Chair and Pennsylvania dairy farmer Marilyn Hershey. The collaboration will get incorporated across all four Mayo Clinic campuses. *********************************************************************************** Zoetis Support Program Benefits FFA Zoetis (Zo-EH-tis) recently announced the 2021 results of its Zoetis Industry Support Program, which donated more than $392,000 to more than 1,500 FFA Chapters around the country. Estimates show that approximately 33,000 FFA students benefitted from the contributions. This donation is part of the more than $600,000 the company contributes every year to support FFA. “This year marks the 15th year of the Industry Support Program,” says Jared Shriver, senior vice president of U.S. cattle and pork with Zoetis. “As a company, we are committed to the growth and development of future leaders in agriculture.” Veterinarians and animal health dealers and distributors make the Industry Support Program work by designating a portion of sales from eligible Zoetis Cattle and Equine products to the FFA chapters of their choice. Chapter advisers say the money helps offset the costs of travel and event expenses, classroom equipment and resources, community projects, purchasing blue jackets, scholarships, and SAE funding.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday February 25, 2022 |


Friday Watch List Markets Friday's reports start with January U.S. durable goods orders and U.S. personal incomes at 7:30 a.m. CST, followed by the University of Michigan's final reading of consumer sentiment in February at 9 a.m. USDA's cattle on-feed report for February 1 is due out at 2 p.m. Traders will remain focused on the latest weather forecasts and events in Ukraine. Weather The system that brought mixed precipitation to a good portion of middle America on Thursday continues to head east on Friday. Moderate to heavy mixed precipitation is expected in the Northeast, while the trailing cold front will bring some spotty showers to the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast. Snow is pulling east of Michigan Friday morning but some lake-effect snow may continue through the evening around the Great Lakes. Otherwise, cold and dry conditions continue to build west of the system.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday February 24, 2022 |


Biden Administration Announces Port Infrastructure Funding The Biden Administration Wednesday announced $450 million in grant funding for port-related projects through the Port Infrastructure Development Program. The grants can help ports expand capacity and improve the movement of goods through U.S. supply chains. The Department of Transportation says the effort is the largest investment in the program ever, made possible by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which will invest $17 billion in ports and waterways. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg says, “We’re proud to announce this funding to help ports improve their infrastructure— to get goods moving more efficiently and help keep costs under control for American families.” The grants are awarded on a competitive basis to support projects that will improve the movement of goods to, through and around ports. Additionally, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law calls upon applicants to explore ways to include projects that will improve goods movement while also strengthening resilience, reducing emissions and advancing environmental justice. *********************************************************************************** Food Prices Below Overall Inflation In 2021 Overall, food prices increased by an average of 3.9 percent in 2021 compared to 2020, the highest annual increase since 2008. USDA's Economic Research Service released new data Wednesday that shows food prices grew more slowly than "all items," but more quickly than all other of the "major groups" tracked by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Consumer Price Index for all items rose 4.7 percent in 2021. The food-away-from-home, restaurant purchases, increased 4.5 percent, compared with an increase of 3.5 percent for food-at-home - grocery stores or other purchases from food retailers. The highest price increases in food-at-home categories in 2021 were for beef and veal at 9.3 percent, pork at 8.6 percent, and fresh fruit 5.5 percent. Using the Consumer Price Index data, USDA researchers project overall food prices will increase between two and three percent in 2022. The Consumer Price Index for food increased 0.9 percent in January. *********************************************************************************** HPAI Found in Commercial Poultry Flock in Delaware The Department of Agriculture Wednesday announced another confirmed case of highly pathogenic avian influenza, or HPAI. USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service confirmed the HPAI outbreak in a commercial poultry flock in New Castle County, Delaware. APHIS and state officials have quarantined the flock and will depopulate the birds. The announcement follows the previous confirmation of HPAI in a non-commercial backyard flock in Maine and New York late last week. Other confirmed HPAI outbreaks include sites in Kentucky, Virginia, Indiana, and North and South Carolina. Earlier this month, APHIS expanded wild bird surveillance for avian influenza to include the Mississippi and Central Flyways. USDA says anyone involved with poultry should review their biosecurity plan and enhance their biosecurity practices to ensure the health of their birds. In addition to practicing good biosecurity, all bird owners should prevent contact between their birds and wild birds and report sick birds or unusual bird deaths to state and federal officials. *********************************************************************************** Ag Senators Call on Administration to Strengthen Support for U.S. Biobased Economy Senate Agriculture Chair Debbie Stabenow this week called on the Biden administration to take steps to address the climate crisis by increasing federal investments in biobased products. The Michigan Democrat, joined by Minnesota Democrat Amy Klobuchar, made the request in a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. The lawmakers say President Biden’s commitment to sustainable procurement is an opportunity to strengthen USDA’s BioPreferred program as the industry standard for sustainable procurement in government agencies. Stabenow and Klobuchar say renewable chemicals, biobased plastics, and other biobased products are effective tools in reducing the nation’s dependence on petroleum while creating markets for farmers. The lawmakers wrote,” Growing the biobased economy supports good paying jobs for American workers and positions American companies to continue to lead the world in biobased innovation.” They say growing the biobased economy also positions American companies to continue to lead the world in biobased innovation. *********************************************************************************** ASA Selects Gena Perry as WISHH Executive Director The American Soybean Association Wednesday announced Gena Perry as executive director of ASA’s World Initiative for Soy in Human Health program. Perry, who currently serves as project director-global strategy, will assume the new role February 28. Perry joined WISHH in 2019 as project director of WISHH’s USDA-funded Food for Progress poultry project in Ghana. Before joining WISHH, she lived and worked in West Africa for AgriCorps and 4-H Ghana. She steps into the position following Liz Hare, who was in the role since 2018 and continues to serve as a consultant to WISHH during the transition. Perry says, "I look forward to expanding our activities with U.S. soybean growers and our U.S. and international partners." The 22-year-old WISHH organization is now working in a record 28 countries in Asia, sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America. WISHH has a strong record of implementing programs with the support of state soybean organizations, the United Soybean Board and the Department of Agriculture. *********************************************************************************** MacKenzie Scott Donates $50 Million to National 4-H Council The National 4-H Council this week announced it received a $50 million gift from writer and philanthropist MacKenzie Scott. The gift from Scott, the ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, is the largest single donation ever to the National 4-H Council. Because of 4-H's expansive reach into every U.S. county, the investment will support youth development for millions of kids and families. Krysta Harden, National 4-H Council Board Chair, says, “This extraordinary gift is a rare and special occurrence,” adding, “With such a significant gift comes great responsibility.” Harden says 4-H will engage stakeholders to ensure the resources lift the diverse voices of young people. The gift builds upon the efforts of thousands of local Cooperative Extension 4-H educators, 500,000 volunteers, and millions of 4-H youth, alumni, and donors. The organization says the gift will sustain 4-H's commitment to ensuring all young people are empowered with the skills to lead for a lifetime.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday February 24, 2022 |


Thursday Watch List Markets This week's holiday schedule pushed USDA's weekly export sales report to Friday, but weekly U.S. jobless claims, a report on fourth quarter U.S. GDP and an update of the U.S. Drought Monitor will all be out at 7:30 a.m. CST Thursday. The Energy Department's weekly natural gas storage report is due out at 9:30 a.m., followed by the weekly inventory report and January U.S. new home sales at 10 a.m. CST. Traders continue to put a lot of attention on Ukraine and the latest weather forecasts. Weather Snow, freezing precipitation and very cold conditions are in store for the central U.S. Thursday. Periods of snow will extend from the western Plains east through the Midwest. Meanwhile, a swath of freezing precipitation will produce a glaze of ice from the southeastern Plains to the southern Midwest. Northern areas have another day of harsh wind chill conditions, and the Mid-South is at risk for flooding from locally heavy rain.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday February 23, 2022 |


Study: Ethanol Industry Strongly Rebounded in 2021 In 2021, the U.S. ethanol industry “recovered substantially” from pandemic conditions, with ethanol and gasoline use approaching pre-COVID-19 levels in the second half of the year. A study on the industry by ABF Economics for the Renewable Fuels Association was released this week. With higher demand and value, ethanol’s contribution to U.S. gross domestic product in 2021 was the second-highest ever. In 2021, more than 73,000 U.S. jobs were directly associated with the ethanol industry, which supported an additional 334,200 indirect and induced jobs across all sectors of the economy. The industry created $28.7 billion in household income and contributed just over $52 billion to gross domestic product. Compared to 2020, this represented a 55 percent increase in income generated and a 50 percent increase in the contribution to GDP. The new report also shows that the ethanol industry spent nearly $38 billion on raw materials and goods and services to produce ethanol during 2021, with corn purchases alone accounting for more than $30 billion. *********************************************************************************** Growth Energy, EPA Reach Settlement on Deadline for Issuing 2021, 2022 RVO The Environmental Protection Agency agreed to file a notice in the Federal Register seeking comment on a proposed judicial consent decree that would require EPA to finalize the 2021 and 2022 Renewable Volume Obligations. The RVO’s are the subject of pending rulemaking due no later than June 3, 2022. The announcement is part of settlement discussions with Growth Energy, which filed multiple notices of intent to sue and a complaint in federal district court in response to the agency’s extended delay in issuing the RVOs. Growth Energy contends the delays are a direct violation of the deadlines established by Congress for the Renewable Fuel Standard program. Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor says, “This agreement is a significant milestone for the biofuels industry and reflects Growth Energy’s persistent efforts to hold EPA accountable.” The EPA Federal Register notice scheduled for publication Wednesday (today) provides 30 days for public comment from the date of publication. *********************************************************************************** Cattlemen’s Beef Board Releases 2021 Annual Report The Cattlemen’s Beef Board Tuesday released its 2021 Annual Report. The 2021 report includes information about projects and results within each of the organization's program areas, including promotion, foreign marketing, consumer information, industry information, research and producer communications. The report also contains a financial statement of assets, liabilities and net assets from September 30, 2020, to September 30, 2021. CBB CEO Greg Hanes says the annual report is “another example of the Checkoff’s ongoing efforts to be more transparent with the producers who invest in our programs.” Highlights in the report include 15 million views of the Beef in the Early Years educational content encouraging parents to consider beef as a first food for their children. The report also shows a 20 percent increase in export value compared to the previous record pace established in 2018. For more information about the Cattlemen’s Beef Board and the Beef Checkoff and to find the report, visit DrivingDemandForBeef.com. *********************************************************************************** USDA Finds Avian Influenza in Maine USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service recently confirmed the presence of highly pathogenic avian influenza, or HPAI, in a non-commercial backyard flock in Maine. Samples from the flock were tested at the Cornell University Animal Health Diagnostic Center, part of the National Animal Health Laboratory Network, and confirmed at the APHIS National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames, Iowa. APHIS is working closely with state animal health officials in Maine on a joint incident response. State officials quarantined the affected premises, and birds on the properties will be depopulated to prevent the spread of the disease. Birds from the flock will not enter the food system. The Maine confirmation is the latest in several confirmed cases of HPAI in the United States. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the recent HPAI detections in birds do not present an immediate public health concern. Additional information on biosecurity for non-commercial backyard flocks can be found at healthybirds.aphis.usda.gov. *********************************************************************************** Organic Dairy Farms See Slower Productivity Growth Than Conventional Organic dairy farm production growth is slower than conventional operations, according to new data from USDA’s Economic Research Service. Productivity is measured as total factor productivity, the ratio of the total amount of goods produced relative to all the inputs—such as labor, fertilizer, and other costs—used to produce those goods. USDA researchers studied the difference in total factor productivity growth between organic and conventional farms using data from organic dairy farms between 2005–16 and from conventional dairy farms between 2000–2016. Total factor productivity grew at an annual rate of 0.66 percent for organic dairy farms compared with 2.51 percent among conventional dairy operations. Both organic and conventional farms saw productivity growth due to technological progress such as advanced equipment and improved genetics. While weather-related feed factors reduced productivity for organic farms, they contributed to a productivity growth for conventional dairy farms. Technical efficiency increased productivity slightly on organic farms, but reduced productivity on conventional farms, while scale-and-mix efficiency reduced productivity for both types of farms. *********************************************************************************** Former Ag Secretary Perdue Sole Finalist for University System of Georgia Chancellor Former Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue is the sole finalist in the search for the next chancellor of the University System of Georgia. The decision follows a national search over the past year to lead the university system. USG's 26 public colleges and universities enroll more than 340,000 students and employ more than 48,000 faculty and staff to fulfill the system's teaching, research and service mission across the state. Board Chair Harold Reynolds says, “Perdue stood out for his impressive experience and leadership in public service as well as a vast understanding not only of Georgia and its communities.” Perdue adds, “I consider being named the finalist as the Chancellor of the University System of Georgia to be a wonderful capstone to a career of public service.” The Board began its national search in January 2021 and take action on the Chancellor position at a future board meeting, no sooner than 14 days from naming a finalist.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday February 23, 2022 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets There are no official reports on Wednesday's docket. The Energy Department's weekly inventory report is set for 10 a.m. CST Thursday as part of this week's holiday schedule. Traders will continue to keep a close watch on the latest weather forecasts and events in Ukraine. Weather A strong Arctic cold wave will cover the entire central U.S. Wednesday. We'll also see periods of snow from the southern Rockies east through the southern Plains, northern Delta and the southeastern Midwest with travel and safety hazards. Northern and central crop areas will have additional stress to transportation, safety and livestock conditions due to well below normal temperatures and moderate to strong winds.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday February 22, 2022 |


2021 U.S. Hemp Production Worth $824 Million The USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service released the results of the 2021 Hemp Acreage and Production Survey in the agency’s National Hemp Report. Planted area for industrial hemp grown in the open for all uses in the U.S. totaled 54,150 acres. The area harvested for all utilizations totaled 33,480 acres, and the value of U.S. hemp grown in the open totaled $712 million. The value of hemp production grown under protection was worth $112 million. The area grown under protection totaled 15.6 million square feet. “The data will help guide USDA in supporting domestic hemp production and will help producers make decisions on their operations,” says NASS Administrator Hubert Hamer. “The survey results may also impact policy decisions about the hemp industry.” Floral hemp production was estimated at 19.7 million pounds, with the average yield at 1,235 pounds per acre. Hemp grown for grain totaled 4.37 million pounds, with the average yield coming in at 530 pounds per acre. *********************************************************************************** India Makes Record U.S Soy oil Purchase Traders from India signed contracts to import a record 100,000 tons of soy oil from the U.S. Reuters says India made the buy because of limited supplies from drought-hit South America during a time when the price of rival palm oil is at record-high levels. The increased purchases from the U.S. are expected to support U.S. soy oil prices which are 20 percent higher this year and close to their highest point in ten years. India is the world’s biggest edible oil importer and usually buys from Argentina and Brazil. Lower soybean output in those two countries forced India to turn to the U.S. “Buyers in India have bought U.S. soy oil vessels,” says the head of a global trading firm in India who wished to remain anonymous because of company policy. “Prices were attractive, and there weren’t enough supplies in South America. Buying another two vessels is possible in the short term.” *********************************************************************************** USDA Extends Application Deadline for ReConnect Program USDA’s Rural Development Undersecretary Xochitl (So-CHEEL) Torres Small says the agency is extending the application deadline for funding under the ReConnect Program to March 9. The funds are intended to expand high-speed internet access to millions of people across rural America. “Today’s extension of the ReConnect Program deadline will help ensure that all applicants have the time they need to secure this critical funding,” Torres Small says. “I encourage all eligible parties to apply for this assistance.” USDA is making $200 million available in ReConnect Program loans, $250 million in loan/grant combinations, $350 million in grants with a 25 percent matching requirement, and $350 million in grants with no matching requirements for tribes and projects in socially vulnerable communities. In the coming months, USDA plans to begin making available an additional $2 billion in rural broadband funding allocated to USDA by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. *********************************************************************************** Deere Revenues Up While Net Income Drops in the First Quarter Deere and Company reported a net income of $903 million during the company’s first quarter that ended on January 30, or about $2.92 a share. That compares to a net income of $1.224 billion or $3.87 a share for the same time last year. Worldwide net sales and revenues increased five percent in the first quarter to $9.56 billion. Equipment operations and net sales were $8.53 billion for the quarter, compared with $8.05 billion in 2021. “Deere’s performance in the first quarter was impressive given production issues surrounding the delayed ratification of our UAW contract as well as persistent challenges posed by the supply chain and pandemic,” says Deere Chairman and CEO John C. May. “Those factors led to higher production costs during the quarter.” May also says the company will continue to work closely with key suppliers to manage the situation. Net income for Deere and Company is forecast between $6.7 and $7.1 billion. *********************************************************************************** Bayer Moving Forward on Short-Corn System Bayer recently announced it’s moving ahead on a short-stature corn project which will see test plantings on selected farmer fields in 2023. DTN says short-stature hybrids stand about a third to half the height of standard corn hybrids with an ear that sets about knee-high. The hybrids initially debuted in Mexico, and the company is now advancing the concept through their U.S. pipeline in three separate versions, which are traditional breeding, genetically engineered, and gene-edited. The company is making plans for U.S. farmers to get a look at the product in 2023 as Bayer works with a limited number of farmers. A broad commercial rollout is set for 2024. The idea behind creating the hybrids is plants that ideally use fewer resources and are easier to negotiate when in-crop applications of inputs are necessary. Shrinking the corn plant should improve stability and help it withstand extreme weather like high winds. *********************************************************************************** CDC says Extension Service Helping Rural America Get Vaccinated The Centers for Disease Control is expressing gratitude to the nation’s Cooperative Extension Service for helping address COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy in rural America. Extension educators have worked to raise awareness about the importance of getting vaccinated against COVID-19. “Rural America continues to get hit hard by COVID, and the lives of families and communities continue to feel the impacts,” says Dr. Carrie Castille, director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture. “Because our communities are faced with making important decisions about vaccinations, having a trusted, independent community agent to aid in decision making is essential.” Cooperative Extension agents and educators are well placed to have that discussion and provide objective educational information. Through an interagency agreement with the CDC and NIFA, Cooperative Extension units at land-grant universities across the nation received funding to launch the Cooperative Extension Immunization Teaching and Engagement initiative to address health disparities among rural and underserved communities.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday February 22, 2022 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets Traders will return from the three-day weekend with new attention on the latest weather forecasts and keen to any news related to Ukraine. At 9 a.m. CST Tuesday, there is a report on U.S. consumer confidence in February, followed by USDA's weekly report of grain export inspections at 10 a.m. USDA's monthly cold storage report is set for 2 p.m. Weather A winter storm that started Sunday night across the Northern Plains expanded its scope a bit on Monday and will continue to do so on Tuesday. While the heaviest snows have already fallen, bands of moderate snow continue from the Northern Plains to the northern Midwest and a band of wintry mix will fill in this morning just to its south from northeastern Iowa through Lower Michigan. And farther south than that, widespread heavy rain and thunderstorms which may be severe across the Midsouth and Delta will expand the reach of the system farther. Flash flooding will also be a concern in those saturated soils across the Ohio and Tennessee Valleys.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday February 18, 2022 |


ARC/PLC Signup Deadline is March 15 Producers who have yet to enroll in the Agriculture Risk Management or Price Loss Coverage programs for the 2022 crop year must do so by March 15. The USDA programs provide vital income support to farmers experiencing a substantial decline in crop prices or revenues. “The ARC and PLC programs provide critical financial protections to many American farmers,” says Zach Ducheneaux (DOO-shah-know), administrator of the Farm Service Agency. “As producers continue to weather a pandemic and new climate-induced disasters, these programs are even more important.” Producers can elect coverage and enroll in ARC-County or PLC, which are crop-by-crop, or ARC-individual, which is for the entire farm. Although election changes for 2022 are optional, producers must enroll through a signed contract each year. If producers miss the deadline, the election remains the same as the 2021 election for crops on the farm. Farmers have completed 54 percent of the expected 1.8 million contracts so far. *********************************************************************************** U.S. Biofuel Stresses Biofuel Successes in Testimony U.S. biofuel industry backers told lawmakers that the nation’s renewable fuel mandates are good for farmers, national security, and the environment. The supporters defended the Renewable Fuel Standard as the Biden administration considers changes to the program. The program is good for the nation’s farmers, but the oil industry says the mandates are too expensive. “The RFS remains the nation’s most successful clean energy policy,” said Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor during the congressional hearing. “Let me be clear on this. There is no path to net-zero emissions by 2050 without biofuels.” Reuters says other advocates called the RFS “crucial support” for American farmers and it reduces the need for energy imports. The Environmental Protection Agency is reviewing the RFS and intends to announce potential changes to the program by May. “As much as the Biden administration dreams of all-electric vehicles, the reality is liquid fuels are here to stay,” says Senator Joni Ernst of Iowa. *********************************************************************************** Students Celebrate Agriculture and Leadership During FFA Week More than 735,000 FFA members across the country will share the story of agriculture as part of National FFA Week. The week starts on Saturday, February 19, and culminates on Saturday, February 26. “National FFA Week is an important week for members across the country, as not only do we celebrate the organization, but we share the message of FFA and agriculture,” says National FFA Advisor Dr. James Woodard. “FFA chapters across the country celebrate agriculture while thanking their supporters.” Woodard also says FFA and agricultural education continue to play a key role in not only developing the next generation of leaders but also developing those who will be filling the ever-growing need in the talent pipeline. FFA members will share agriculture with fellow students and their communities while also giving back to their communities through service projects. The six national officers will also connect with chapters around the country. *********************************************************************************** U of Minnesota Building Precision Ag Research Complex The University of Minnesota is planning a $220 million research complex near Austin, Minnesota, to study precision agriculture. The university says the goal is to put the state on the cutting edge of farm and food technology. Plans for the Future of Advanced Agricultural Research Minnesota (FAARM) center includes fields, research and innovation space, and workforce development efforts. “This will expand our vision and scope for the work we already do,” says Brian Buhr, Dean of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resources. Research at the complex will pursue scientific solutions to adapt and delve into artificial intelligence, robotics, and other technologies alongside a focus on “health intersections between people, animals, crops, plants, soil, water, and the environment.” The project already has a $60 million funding commitment from Hormel Foods and will look for a combination of state, public, and private funds to cover the rest of the cost. Development is expected to take five years. *********************************************************************************** Registration Information for the 2022 World Pork Expo The World Pork Expo is back at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, June 8-10. The event’s 34th year is presented by the National Pork Producers Council. The World Pork Expo will draw thousands of producers and industry professionals for three days of networking, education, innovation, and free pork as well. “We’re delighted to welcome everyone back to World Pork Expo,” says NPPC President Jen Sorenson. “This year’s Expo has an exceptional lineup of programming, including educational seminars and luncheons.” People at the World Pork Expo venue will get the chance to explore more than 360,000 square feet of exhibition space. In previous years, over 700 vendor booths presented and displayed products in the trade show space. “We continue to be the world’s largest pork-specific trade show,” says Doug Fricke, Expo director of trade show marketing for NPPC. Registration information will soon be available online for those who plan to attend. *********************************************************************************** USDA Announces Reopening Schedule Senior leadership in the USDA will be back in their offices on February 28. Keith Gray, associate administrator of the Risk Management Agency made the announcement during the Crop Insurance Industry’s Annual Convention. The Hagstrom Report says mid-level staff will be expected to return by March 28, and all staff will be moved in by May 27. “But we aren’t coming back in the traditional sense,” Gray says. “We’re going to be hybrid, largely remote.” How much time RMA employees spend in the office will also depend on local conditions. The office has been 100 percent telework, but Gray says working that way hasn’t slowed them down. “In some cases, remote work has improved our response time,” Gray says. “We are going to hold everyone accountable.” Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says USDA will have a policy of maximum telework, which means they can work remotely eight out of every ten days.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday February 18, 2022 |


Friday Watch List Markets A report on U.S. existing home sales in January is due out at 9 a.m. CST Friday, the same time as the January report of U.S. leading indicators. Traders will keep an eye on the latest weather forecasts and don't be surprised if trading in grains is a little jumpy Friday, ahead of the three-day weekend, while Russia's military remains a threat to Ukraine. Weather With the big winter storm almost out of the country this morning, the focus turns to a clipper system moving across the U.S.-Canada border. Precipitation with it is overall fairly light, but the winds with the system are strong. Even with the lighter snowfall amounts, everything will be blowing around, causing travel hazards and potential blizzard conditions. While most areas of the country have seen temperatures fall from where they were 24 hours ago, the clipper system is bringing along some warmer temperatures to portions of the Northern Plains.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday February 17, 2022 |


USTR Releases Annual Report on China's WTO Compliance China failed to reach the Phase One Agreement commitments to purchase U.S. goods and services, including agricultural commodities. The U.S. Trade Representative's office revealed the data in a more than 70-page report Wednesday. The annual review states, "The reality is that this Agreement did not meaningfully address the more fundamental concerns that the United States has with China's state-led, non-market policies and practices and their harmful impact on the U.S. economy." While the report focused on China's World Trade Organization compliance, it covered agricultural trade. USTR says China's implementation of the agricultural commitments in the Phase One Agreement has been generally positive, however, there has been a notable lack of meaningful action in other areas, including agricultural biotechnology and a required risk assessment for the use of ractopamine in the production of beef and pork. And the report finds China remains a difficult and unpredictable market for U.S. agricultural exporters, largely because of inconsistent enforcement of regulations and selective intervention in the market by China’s regulatory authorities. *********************************************************************************** Dairy Groups: New FDA Commissioner Needs to Address Misuse of dairy Labels Dairy industry organizations urge the new Food and Drug Administration Commissioner to stop the mislabeling of imitation dairy foods. Edge Dairy Cooperative, The International Dairy Foods Association and the National Milk Producers Federation, all congratulated Dr. Robert Califf’s (kay-liff) on his confirmation this week. Califf is a cardiologist who served as the FDA commissioner in the last year of the Obama administration. During his nomination hearing, when asked about plant-based foods using dairy terms, Califf responded, “There is almost nothing more fundamental about safety than people understanding exactly what they're ingesting.” Edge Dairy Cooperative President Brody Stapel says, “The simple fact that the new commissioner has acknowledged that, is a big step in the right direction.” NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern stated, “We look forward to working with Dr. Califf as he resolves this long-standing, and growing, concern.” IDFA President and CEO Michael Dykes added, “IDFA and our member companies are hopeful for a more collaborative relationship with FDA on matters of food safety, food standards, labeling, and nutrition and health.” *********************************************************************************** NASDA Announces Priorities for the 2023 Farm Bill State agriculture officials this week announced their priorities for the upcoming 2023 Farm Bill discussion. The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture will direct its policy advocacy efforts regarding the bill towards ten specific policy areas. At the hybrid 2022 NASDA Winter Policy Conference this week, members laid the foundation for those priorities. NASDA wants to focus its attention on agriculture research, animal disease, conservation and climate resiliency, cyber security and food safety. Other priorities include hemp, invasive species, local food systems, Specialty Crop Block Grants and trade promotion. NASDA CEO Ted McKinney says, “The next Farm Bill must remain unified, securing a commitment to American agriculture and the critical food and nutritional assistance programs for those who need it most.” McKinney adds that NASDA members are often the officials closest to farmers themselves. As co-regulators with the federal government, they are uniquely positioned to lead impact and direct policymaking solutions for the 2023 Farm Bill. *********************************************************************************** USDA: Ag Productivity Increased as Hours Worked Declined Agricultural output in the United States nearly tripled between 1948 and 2017 even as the amount of labor hours-worked declined by more than 80 percent. USDA’s Economic Research Service says the opposing trends resulted in an increase in labor productivity growth in the U.S. farm sector. Labor productivity, calculated as average output per unit of labor input, is a popular measure for understanding economic growth. ERS estimates agricultural output per worker grew by 16 times from 1948 through 2017. At the same time, agricultural output per hour worked grew even faster, by 17 times, implying that average hours worked per worker declined. Labor productivity estimates can vary based on different ways labor is measured. One factor in the increased labor productivity is the quality of labor, measured by attributes such as age, gender, and the highest level of education a worker has reached. ERS researchers estimate that changes to farmworker attributes accounted for about 13 percent of growth in hourly-based annual labor productivity during the time studied. *********************************************************************************** Oceans May Rise One Foot By 2050 Along U.S. Coasts The United States is expected to experience as much sea-level rise by the year 2050 as it witnessed in the previous hundred years. That's according to a NOAA-led report updating sea level increases for the United States. The Sea Level Rise Technical Report provides the most up-to-date projections for all U.S. states and territories by decade for the next 100 years and beyond. The report projects sea levels along the coastline will rise an additional 10-12 inches by 2050, with specific amounts varying regionally. At least two feet of sea-level rise is likely by 2100, but NOAA says reducing emissions now can lower future risk. NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad says, “This is a global wake-up call and gives Americans the information needed to act now to best position ourselves for the future.” The report also finds that the sea level rise expected by 2050 will create a profound increase in the frequency of coastal flooding, even in the absence of storms or heavy rainfall. *********************************************************************************** National FFA and Syngenta partner for inaugural Executive in Residence The National FFA Organization is partnering with Syngenta to lay the foundation for a national equity, diversity and inclusion strategy. The strategy will impact members, staff, leadership and directly influence the organization’s programs, services and events. Recognizing the importance of an Equity, Diversity & Inclusion strategy, National FFA partnered with Syngenta to develop the inaugural Executive in Residence program. Syngenta’s North America Diversity and Inclusion Lead Brandon Bell will serve as the executive in residence for organizational development and culture as a part of the partnership. Bell will help FFA create a framework to implement and measure the organization's ED&I goals. Bell has partnered with leaders to design, deliver, and implement equity, diversity, and inclusion interventions for a decade. National FFA CEO Scott Stump says, “We want to ensure our current and future members feel welcomed, and FFA is indeed a place for all to feel valued and contribute to our mission."

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday February 17, 2022 |


Thursday Watch List Markets USDA's weekly export sales report is due out at 7:30 a.m. CST Thursday, along with weekly jobless claims, January housing starts and an update of the U.S. Drought Monitor. The Energy Department's report on natural gas storage is due out at 9:30 a.m. The latest weather forecasts and any news regarding Ukraine continue to get traders' attention. Weather A strong storm system in the southeastern Plains will move northeast throughout the day on Thursday. Very warm and moist air ahead of the system will feed heavy rainfall rates that could induce flooding near and just north of the Ohio River and colder temperatures will turn the northern edge of that band into a mix of freezing rain, sleet, and snow. To the south of the storm track, conditions will favor potential for severe storms with the greatest threat centered around Mississippi and western Tennessee that includes strong wind gusts and tornadoes.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday February 16, 2022 |


USDA Trade Mission Underway in Dubai Foreign Agricultural Service Administrator Daniel Whitley arrived in Dubai Tuesday to launch the Department of Agriculture’s first trade mission since November 2019. Whitley is kicking off the trade mission for Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who arrives in Dubai on Friday, with a delegation of representatives from U.S. agribusinesses, farm organizations, and state agriculture departments interested in exploring export opportunities across the Middle East. Whitley says, “I am thrilled that USDA trade missions are back, and I am honored to lead such a dynamic group of U.S. agribusinesses and representatives to the UAE.” With annual agricultural exports averaging more than $1.2 billion during the last five years, the United States is the UAE’s fourth-largest supplier of food and farm products and is poised for further export growth. Trade mission participants will engage directly with potential customers, receive in-depth market briefings, and participate in site visits, including Expo Dubai 2020. *********************************************************************************** Grain Dust Explosion Incidents Decreased in 2021 The annual report recording nationwide grain dust bin explosions reported seven incidents in 2021, down from eight in 2020. Kingsly Ambrose, Purdue University associate professor and author of the report, says that despite the decrease in explosions from the previous year, one fatality and five injuries were reported. The ten-year average for explosions stands at 8.0, down from 8.1 in 2020. The explosions occurred in one feed mill, one ethanol plant, one grain mill and four grain elevators. The probable ignition sources were identified as one case of a fire, two incidences of smoldering grain, while four cases were from unknown sources. The dust explosions occurred in six different states, with two occurring in Minnesota, one in Georgia, one in Idaho, one in Indiana, one in Iowa and one in Oregon. Ambrose says keeping good maintenance of equipment to ensure proper working order and properly training workers are measures to help eliminate grain dust explosions. *********************************************************************************** Center for Rural Affairs Applauds Recent Crop Insurance Improvements The Center for Rural Affairs applauds expansions to federal crop insurance recently announced by USDA’s Risk Management Agency. The changes signal encouraging opportunities for farmers practicing conservation on their operations, according to the organization. This month, RMA announced it will be offering the Pandemic Cover Crop Program for a second year. The program offers a $5 per acre discount on a producer’s crop insurance premium if they planted a qualifying cover crop ahead of their 2022 crop. If a cover crop variety is reportable to the Farm Service Agency, it is eligible for the program. To receive the benefit, producers must have a Report of Acreage form filed for their cover crops by March 15, also the crop insurance sales closing date for most spring crops. Kate Hansen with the Center for Rural Affairs says, "Producers across the country are implementing new conservation practices to better steward their land,” adding, “These recent developments from RMA to support these efforts are encouraging.” *********************************************************************************** USDA extends due date for National Agricultural Classification Survey USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service wants recipients of the National Agricultural Classification Survey to know that there is still time to respond. Mailed last December to more than a million potential U.S. agricultural producers, the survey collects data on agricultural activity and basic farm information. The data will be used to build a survey recipient list for the 2022 Census of Agriculture. Response to the survey is required by federal law for all who receive the questionnaire, even if the recipient is not an active farmer or rancher. Questionnaires can be completed securely online at agcounts.usda.gov, by mail or phone. This week, USDA NASS extended the response deadline to March 7. Filling out the NACS is one of the most important steps to determining who should receive the Census of Agriculture questionnaire this fall, according to USDA. All information reported to USDA NASS is kept confidential, protected by federal law. *********************************************************************************** Southwest Megadrought Region’s Driest in at 1,200 The megadrought in the Southwest represents the driest period for the region since at least the year 800. Research from the University of California – Los Angeles finds the current drought has exceeded the severity of a late-1500s megadrought that previously had been identified as the driest such drought in the 1,200 years that the scientists studied. A megadrought is classified as a drought lasting two decades or longer. Climate models have shown that the current drought would have been dry even without climate change, but not to the same extent. Human-caused climate change is responsible for about 42 percent of the soil moisture deficit since 2000, according to UCLA. The research says one of the primary reasons climate change is causing more severe droughts is that warmer temperatures are increasing evaporation, which dries out soil and vegetation. The study was a collaboration among researchers from UCLA, NASA and the Columbia Climate School. *********************************************************************************** Culvers Celebrates National FFA Week with Essay Contest As National FFA Week approaches, Culver’s is celebrating its relationship with the organization of future agriculture leaders by launching its eighth annual FFA Essay Contest. Culver's longstanding relationship with FFA is part of its Thank You Farmers Project, an initiative that aims to celebrate and advocate for the role of farming in creating a more resilient and sustainable world. Three winners will be selected, earning prizes of $7,500, $5,000 and $2,500 for their FFA chapters to pursue additional educational projects and initiatives. Culver's has awarded over $100,000 in prizes to contest finalists since 2015. This year's prompt is: Agriculture impacts the world in so many ways, Share three ways the industry is making a positive difference that you want people to know about. Written essays, 1,000 words or less, and videos, five minutes or less, will be accepted at culvers.com/essaycontest until the deadline of April 11, 2022. National FFA Week begins this Saturday.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday February 16, 2022 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets A report on January U.S. retail sales is due out at 7:30 a.m. CST Wednesday, followed by the Federal Reserve's report on industrial production at 8:15 a.m. At 9:30 a.m., the U.S. Energy Department will update its weekly inventory report, including ethanol production. At 1:30 p.m., the Federal Reserve releases its minutes from the latest FOMC meeting. Traders will continue to watch over the latest weather forecasts and show interest in any news regarding Ukraine. Weather A frontal boundary draped from the Southern Plains into the Midwest is going to become active later on Wednesday with rain showers popping up. Colder air working in behind the front will change the northern edge of the showers to a wintry mix of freezing rain, sleet, and snow. Moderate to heavy rain continues through Thursday and could cause some flooding in spots, mostly across the southern Midwest into the eastern Great Lakes. Bouts of severe weather will also be possible over the next couple of days across the Southern Plains, Midsouth, and Gulf Coast regions

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday February 15, 2022 |


USDA Releases Resource Guide for Rural Entrepreneurs The Department of Agriculture Monday unveiled a resource guide to help rural businesses grow and expand the rural economy. The guide features information on how rural entrepreneurs can use USDA and other federal programs to access financing and other assistance to help start and expand their businesses. Rural Development Undersecretary Xochitl (SOH-cheel) Torres Small says the guide will "enhance American competitiveness around the world to meet the challenges of the 21st century by equipping rural entrepreneurs with the tools they need to succeed." The guide includes tools to help rural businesses expand access to capital, create value-added agriculture products, access high-speed internet and cut energy costs. The guide also includes sources on access to health care resources, workforce development and training opportunities. Finally, the guide features firsthand stories from Rural Development customers on ways USDA programs and services have helped them start or expand businesses. The guide is available on USDA’s Rural Development website, rd.usda.gov. *********************************************************************************** Ag Bankers Optimistic For 2022 Farmland values continued to increase rapidly through the end of 2021. Alongside sustained strength in farm income and credit conditions, the value of all types of farmland in the Tenth Federal Reserve Bank District was more than 20 percent higher than a year ago. Lenders reported a mostly favorable outlook for agriculture in the district but cited the rise in input costs as a risk to the sector. Even with uncertainty around input costs, lenders expect favorable economic conditions to support farm finances and lead to further gains in farmland values in 2022. The possibility of weaker agricultural income and higher interest rates remain risks for farmland markets. Despite the risks, the agricultural sector appears to be well-positioned for the year ahead, supported by strong balance sheets, high commodity prices and sharp gains in farmland values. The Tenth District includes parts of Missouri and New Mexico, and all of Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Wyoming. *********************************************************************************** Survey Suggests U.S. Producers to Plant 12 Million Acres of Cotton in 2022 U.S. cotton producers intend to plant 12 million cotton acres this spring, up 7.3 percent from 2021, according to the National Cotton Council. NCC’s Annual Early Season Planting Intentions Survey shows upland cotton intentions are 11.9 million acres, up 7.1 percent from 2021. Extra-long staple cotton intentions of 158,000 acres represent a 24.8 percent increase. The NCC questionnaire, mailed in mid-December 2021 to producers across the 17-state Cotton Belt, asked producers for the number of acres devoted to cotton and other crops in 2021 and the acres planned for the coming season. Survey responses were collected through mid-January. The detailed survey results were announced during the 2022 National Cotton Council Annual Meeting. Although cotton prices are higher than in recent years, higher input prices and supply chain disruptions have resulted in significant increases in production costs for 2022. As a result, many producers continue to face difficult economic conditions heading into 2022. *********************************************************************************** AEM Releases January 2022 Equipment Sales Numbers Overall ag tractor sales in the U.S. and Canada continued rising into January 2022, while sales of combine harvesters slowed for the month. The Association of Equipment Manufacturers recently released its monthly sales report for farm equipment. The report shows U.S. total farm tractor sales gained 1.5 percent for the month of January compared to 2021, while U.S. combine sales for the month fell 41.4 percent to 205 units sold. In Canada, sales of tractors for the month of January were up 6.3 percent overall. Combine harvesters were also down in Canada, falling 30 percent to 49 units sold. The data continues the sales trend that started in June of 202 and reliably remained above the five-year average since. AEM’s Curt Blades says, “The strength of ag markets and farmers seeing the value in the new technologies on offer is driving demand.” However, Blades adds, lingering effects of the supply chain remain a concern. *********************************************************************************** US Annual Cocoa and Choleate Imports Valued at $5 billion The United States annually imports more than $5 billion worth of cocoa and chocolate products, according to new data from USDA's Economic Research Service. With cocoa beans only grown abroad, trade is critical to meet the U.S. consumer’s fondness for cocoa-based treats. Imported shipments of chocolate and other food preparations containing cocoa were the largest share of imports and were valued at almost $2.8 billion a year between 2017 and 2021. The import value of cocoa beans averaged more than $1.1 billion annually over the five-year period. Cocoa butter shipments, principally supplied by Indonesia and Malaysia, were valued at $576 million annually, while supplies of cocoa paste averaged about $293 million a year. Cocoa beans, the raw seeds from the cacao tree that are processed into derivative products, were imported mostly from the Ivory Coast, Ecuador, and Ghana. The United States also exports chocolate and cocoa products to Canada and Mexico. *********************************************************************************** Russia-Ukraine Issue Driving Fuel Prices Higher For the seventh straight week, the nation's average gas price climbed, up 4.6 cents from a week ago to $3.47 per gallon. The national average is up 16.5 cents from a month ago and 97.2 cents per gallon higher than a year ago. The national average price of diesel increased 8.9 cents in the last week to $3.87 per gallon, the highest since July 2014. The jump in gasoline prices continues as oil prices continue to push higher, reaching $94 per barrel last week on continued concern over the possible imminent threat that Russia may invade Ukraine. GasBuddy’s Patrick De Haan says, “I see no other potentials in the short term but additional price increases unless Russia does an about-face on Ukraine.” Beyond that, seasonal issues will push prices further higher, including the multi-month transition to summer gasoline. U.S. retail gasoline demand rose last week as stations refueled after major winter storms boosted demand.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday February 15, 2022 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets The U.S. Labor Department's January reading of producer prices will be out at 7:30 a.m. CST Tuesday and will probably repeat inflation concerns. The National Oilseeds Processors Association will have its soybean crush report for January later Tuesday morning and another big total is expected. USDA's Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook is also due out Tuesday. Traders will keep an eye on the latest weather forecasts and any news regarding Ukraine. Weather A clipper system will move through Canada Tuesday, bringing its cold front through much of the Plains and into the Midwest while a storm system builds in the Southwest. But before the weather turns nasty on Wednesday, winds will increase across the Plains and portions of the Midwest. The increased winds pose a fire risk for areas that remain rather dry.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday February 14, 2022 |


Ag Groups Disappointed in Gray Wolf Decision The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the Public Lands Council expressed opposition to the U.S. District Court’s ruling to remand and vacate the Endangered Species Act Delisting of the gray wolf. The Trump Administration delisted the gray wolf in 2020. “It’s disappointing that environmental activism carried more weight than science in this case,” says Kaitlynn Glover, Public Lands Council Executive Director. The PLC and NCBA say data clearly shows the gray wolf population has recovered and no longer meets the requirements for listing. American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall says his group is extremely disappointed in the ruling returning the wolf to the endangered species list. “The gray wolf exceeded recovery goals and should be celebrated as an Endangered Species Act success story,” Duvall says. “The ESA is not intended to promote permanent protected status for animals that are now thriving, and this ruling ignored ESA goals and threatens recovery efforts for other animals.” *********************************************************************************** Economist Sees Good Things Ahead for Farm Economy A Wells Fargo economist predicted a rosy future ahead for American commodities during the next several years. Michael Swanson says the only thing that could seriously derail that prediction is the weather. The Hagstrom Report says Swanson spoke at the Crop Insurance and Reinsurance Bureau’s annual meeting. He says, “Life is good now, and the prices should remain high up to 2025.” Swanson did say that fertilizer prices aren’t sustainable at their current highs. The economist also says that farmers have to be disciplined in what they’re paying to rent land and not agree to rents so high that they can’t make a profit. The value of U.S. farmland has risen from $1 trillion in 2020 to $2.7 trillion this year. As far as the overall economy, Swanson says it’s “very, very strong.” If interest rates rise to 3.5 percent and inflation drops, businesses should be able to make adjustments. *********************************************************************************** Ag Groups Sue EPA Over Chlorpyrifos A group of U.S. agricultural organizations had filed a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency over chlorpyrifos (Klor-PEER-ah-fahs). DTN says the 21 groups want the agency’s pending ban on the product to be halted and eventually revoked. The lawsuit was filed as the EPA will finalize its rule revoking the food tolerances for the insecticide on February 28. That will effectively ban U.S. farmers from legally using the product. The rule was issued by the Biden EPA in August 2021. The ag groups filed a series of petitions asking the judge to issue a stay halting the EPA’s pending ban until the lawsuit can be reviewed. The lawsuit itself asks the judge to vacate the EPA’s rule revoking food residue tolerances based on the harm to agriculture and the EPA’s history of re-registering and approving the insecticide. This is the second attempt by ag groups to halt the EPA’s final rule banning chlorpyrifos. *********************************************************************************** Crop Insurance Premium Benefit Available for Cover Crops Producers who have coverage under most crop insurance policies are eligible for a premium benefit from the USDA if they planted cover crops during the 2022 crop year. Producers must report their cover crop acreage by March 15 if they want to receive the benefit from this year’s Pandemic Cover Crop Program. PCCP helps farmers maintain their cover crop systems despite the financial challenges posed by COVID-19. “Cultivating cover crops requires a sustained, long-term investment, and the economic challenges of the pandemic made it financially challenging for many producers to maintain cover crop systems,” says RMA Administrator Marcia Bunger. “Producers use cover crops for a variety of agronomic benefits, and this program will reduce producers’ overall premium bill to help ensure they can continue this climate-smart agricultural practice.” PCCP was first offered in 2021, and producers with crop insurance received $59.5 million in premium subsidies for 12.2 million acres of cover crops. *********************************************************************************** American Lamb Industry Evaluating Carbon Footprint The American Lamb Board is working with Michigan State University to evaluate the environmental footprint of the U.S. sheep industry. The goal is to get accurate and robust data to contribute to this important issue. The initial focus of the study defines a comprehensive model of greenhouse gas emissions for the diverse array of U.S. sheep production systems, including range, farm flock, pasture, intensive, and feedlot. MSU will conduct a partial life cycle analysis of lamb production in these types of operations to quantify GHG emissions. The American lamb industry entered the spotlight when a 2011 Environmental Working Group Study said lamb is one of the largest contributors of GHG emissions. “It is extremely important for our industry to identify and evaluate our role in GHG emissions,” says Lamb Board Chair Peter Comino of Wyoming. “Accurate data is the basis for improvement strategies and providing factual information to consumers and the media.” *********************************************************************************** Wheat and Soybean Export Sales Rise The USDA says export sales of wheat and soybeans rose while corn sales declined during the week ending on February 3. Wheat sales that week totaled 84,800 metric tons, up 48 percent compared to the previous week. That number was still down 75 percent from the prior four-week average. The Philippines was the top buyer at 34,600 metric tons, while Mexico finished second at 33,100 tons. Weekly exports hit almost 381,000 tons, which was one percent lower than the prior week. Soybean sales rose 46 percent to 1.6 million metric tons during the week, a gain of 81 percent from the previous four-week average. Unknown countries bought 804,000 metric tons and China purchased 298,000 tons. Weekly exports dropped one percent to 1.3 million tons. Corn sales dropped to 589,000 metric tons, 50 percent lower than the previous week and 43 percent under the average. Mexico bought 370,000 metric tons and Japan purchased 347,500 tons.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday February 14, 2022 |


Monday Watch List Markets Traders will be watching for any change in the Ukrainian situation over the weekend and early Monday, along with the latest weather forecasts. USDA's weekly grain export inspections report is due out at 10 a.m. CST and is the only official report on Valentine's Day. Weather Areas east of the Rockies will find rather quiet conditions Monday but a storm moving into the Pacific Northwest will make for some big changes throughout the week. Most notably, heavier precipitation will develop across the Southeastern Plains up through the Northeast later this week.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday February 11, 2022 |


2021 Beef Exports Shatter Records American beef exports shattered previous volume and value records in 2021, surpassing $10 billion for the first time. Analysis from the U.S. Meat Export Federation shows pork exports finishing slightly below the record level of 2020 but setting a new value record, surpassing $8 billion for the first time. December beef exports totaled almost 125,000 metric tons, up one percent from last year, while value jumped 33 percent higher to $992 million. These results pushed the 2021 total to 1.44 million metric tons. Beef exports to Korea, Japan, China, and Hong Kong each exceeded $2 billion, setting new volume and value records. December pork exports dropped 17 percent from 2020, finishing at 215,900 metric tons. The value was 12 percent lower at $604 million. For the year, pork export volume hit 2.92 million metric tons, two percent lower than the 2020 record. However, the export value did rise five percent higher to a record $8.11 billion. *********************************************************************************** Administration Considering New Tariffs on China Over Phase One Deal The Biden administration is looking at the possibility of new tariffs on China if they can’t persuade Beijing to live up to its failed commitments under the Phase One trade deal. Reuters says the administration is looking at other possibilities, including a closer working relationship with allies to present a united front against China. Myron Brilliant, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s head of international affairs, says the goal would be to find ways to level the playing field for international firms that deal with China. U.S. trade data shows that China came up well short of its required purchases under the phase one deal, meeting only 60 percent of its total purchasing goals. China’s Commerce Ministry says the U.S. should “cancel tariffs on China to create a favorable environment for trade.” Brilliant says the Chamber supports talks with China but also says there are vehicles the administration can use to take action. *********************************************************************************** Ethanol Production Hits Four-Month Low The Energy Information Administration says ethanol production plunged to its lowest level in four months during the week ending February 4. Production dropped under one million barrels a day, finishing the week with an average of 994,000 barrels. That’s down from 1.041 million barrels a day during the previous week and the lowest level since the week ending on October 1, 2021. The nation’s largest-producing region is the Midwest, where output dropped to an average of 939,000 barrels a day from the 981,000 during the prior week. That’s the lowest production level in the Midwest since last October. Gulf Coast production declined by 20,000 barrels a day, while the Rocky Mountain region stayed steady at 15,000 barrels a day. The East Coast region was the only one to increase, averaging 12,000 barrels a day, up from 11,000 the previous week. Ethanol inventories during the week ending on February 4 declined to 24.79 million barrels. *********************************************************************************** Applications Open for the Voices of the Future Program The American Soybean Association is accepting applications for the Valent Ag Voices of the Future Program. The program is July 11-14 and runs in conjunction with the summer ASA Board Meeting and Soy Issues Forum in Washington, D.C. The Ag Voices of the Future Program is for students interested in improving their understanding of major agricultural policy issues, the importance of advocacy, and careers that can impact agricultural policy. The class size is limited, and students must be at least 18 years old by July 11 to apply. Two students from this year’s program will also have an opportunity for a $1,600 academic scholarship, complimentary registration, including the hotel stay, to the Agriculture Future of America Leadership Conference, and up to $500 reimbursement for travel expenses to the AFA. To apply for the program and be considered for a scholarship to the AFA Leaders Conference, visit the ASA website for information. *********************************************************************************** RIPE Opportunity for Farmers on Climate Change The conversation is growing about American agriculture’s role in mitigating climate change. The nonprofit Rural Investment to Protect our Environment offers producers a way to lead on environmental sustainability while boosting their bottom line. Rather than waiting to see what takes place, farmers and ranchers can take part in developing and advancing the RIPE 100 program. It’s a proposed bipartisan climate policy that would benefit producers and the public. “There’s a lot of talk about how to get farmers and ranchers involved in climate change mitigation,” says RIPE Board President and farmer Curt Mether. “I support RIPE because it offers a voluntary solution with a good incentive for participating.” The research-backed RIPE 100 plan will fairly compensate producers for the environmental value they provide through stewardship practices. RIPE 100 includes $100 per acre or animal unit payments for carbon sequestration and several other environmental practices. More information is at RIPEroadmap.org. *********************************************************************************** Deadline Extended for Dairy Sustainability Awards Nominations For over ten years, the U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards program has celebrated dairy farms, businesses, and partnerships for their dedication to advancing sustainability across the industry. The nominations period for the 2022 U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards has been extended to March 4. The farmer-founded Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy launched the awards to honor exceptional farms, businesses, and partnerships for their socially responsible, economically viable, and environmentally sound practices and technologies that have a broad and positive impact. “The Sustainability Award winners epitomize the best of dairy sustainability and ingenuity, providing useful case studies for the dairy community as it moves forward to meet industrywide commitments,” says Barbara O’Brien, President and CEO of Dairy Management Inc. and the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy. Award submissions can be made at usdairy.com, and there is no fee to enter. All farms, companies, and organizations involved in the dairy industry are eligible to submit nominations.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday February 11, 2022 |


Friday Watch List Markets At 9 a.m. CST Friday, the University of Michigan's early index of consumer sentiment for February will be posted, the only official report of the day. Traders continue to monitor the latest weather forecasts, watch for any news of export sales and keep an eye on events surrounding Ukraine. Weather A clipper system moving along the U.S.-Canada border Friday has its cold front dropping south through the Northern Plains and Upper Midwest Friday morning. The front will continue southeast throughout the day with falling temperatures in the Plains and rest of the Midwest. Showers will remain fairly spotty with the system and a mix of rain and snow. Some breezy winds have developed behind the front as well and continue across the Northern Plains and Upper Midwest through the afternoon.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday February 10, 2022 |


USDA Released February WASDE Report The latest World Agriculture Supply and Demand report largely focused on global market conditions. The Department of Agriculture noted weather concerns in South America with lower soybean harvest projections for Argentina and Brazil. This month’s U.S. soybean outlook projects increased soybean crush and lower ending stocks. Soybean crush is forecast at 2.2 billion bushels, up 25 million from last month on favorable crush margins. The U.S. season-average soybean price for 2021/22 is forecast at $13.00 per bushel, up 40 cents from last month, partly reflecting the impact of drought in South America. This month’s U.S. corn outlook is for higher production, greater food, seed, and industrial use, lower exports, and larger ending stocks. The season-average corn price received by producers was unchanged at $5.45 per bushel. The outlook for U.S. wheat this month is for stable supplies, lower domestic use, reduced exports, and higher ending stocks. The projected season-average farm price increased $0.15 per bushel to $7.30. *********************************************************************************** APHIS Announces Final Strategic Framework for Enhancing Surveillance for SARS-CoV-2 USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Wednesday announced the final Strategic Framework outlining how the Agency will advance surveillance of SARS-CoV-2. USDA says early detection and response to pathogens with zoonotic potential while still in animals is essential in limiting or preventing human outbreaks. Additionally, the Agency has launched a new website to help stakeholders and the public stay up to date on the Agency’s broad array of ongoing One Health initiatives and COVID-19 surveillance projects. These projects are funded by the $300 million provided by the American Rescue Plan Act. In August 2021, APHIS announced its proposed Strategic Framework to guide surveillance for emerging and zoonotic diseases in susceptible animals and build an early warning system to alert public health partners to potential threats. APHIS Administrator Kevin Shea says, “The final Strategic Framework builds on APHIS’ proven expertise preparing for and responding to foreign animal disease outbreaks.” *********************************************************************************** USDA Data Tracks Fertilizer Price Increases Data from USDA’s Economic Research Service details the increase in fertilizer prices. Fertilizer represents an average of 36 percent of a farmer’s operating costs for corn, 35 percent for wheat, and 30 percent for sorghum, according to estimates by USDA. Fertilizer prices declined from 2014 through 2017 before a gradual increase in 2019. In late 2021, prices began to spike alongside rising natural gas prices—a primary input in nitrogen fertilizer production. By December 2021, the average monthly spot prices of natural gas at the Henry Hub distribution hub in Louisiana were 45 percent higher than in December 2020. U.S. farmers use three primary forms of nitrogen fertilizer: anhydrous ammonia, urea, and liquid nitrogen. ERS estimates an annual price increase of 235 percent for anhydrous ammonia, 149 percent for urea, and 192 percent for liquid nitrogen as of December 2021. Researchers expect the spike in fertilizer prices to affect producer decisions going into the 2022/23 marketing year. *********************************************************************************** Farm Bankruptcies Down Dramatically in 2021 A new Market Intel analysis from the American Farm Bureau Federation finds Chapter 12 farm bankruptcy filings were down 50 percent in 2021. The number of Chapter 12 filings in 2021 is the lowest in the last decade, and this is the first time in at least ten years that there were fewer than 300 filings. For 2021, 276 Chapter 12 bankruptcies were filed across the nation. The decrease in bankruptcy filings is a noteworthy shift, according to Farm Bureau, given the significant increases in the number of bankruptcies over the previous three years. However, the analysis notes that returns to farm operators have been incredibly volatile over the last decade, ranging from $58.6 billion to $134.5 billion between 2012 and 2021. USDA projects 2022 returns at $95.2 billion. And, while the last year has brought higher commodity prices for some, it has certainly brought higher input costs for all. *********************************************************************************** Growth Energy to White House: “Maximize Biofuels to Ease the Pain at the Pump” Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor sent a letter to President Biden this week urging him to turn to higher biofuel blends to combat high gas prices. At a February 4th press conference, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that the administration “will continue to look at options that can be done to lower gas prices for the American people.” Skor urged the president to “maximize biofuels to ease the pain at the pump” by working with his administration to restore the year-round sale of E15. Skor writes, “Biofuels like ethanol should be an essential part of our nation’s solution to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.” The Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal from biofuel groups last month to reinstate year-round E-15. Available at more than 2,500 gas stations across 31 states, E15 is approved for more than 96 percent of light-duty vehicles on the road and sells for upwards of $0.10 less per gallon compared to conventional gasoline. *********************************************************************************** EIA Forecast: Brent Crude at $88 per barrel First Half of 2022 The U.S. Energy Information Administration forecasts that the Brent crude oil price will average $90 per barrel in February and nearly $88 per barrel for the first half of this year. In its February Short-Term Energy Outlook, EIA estimates that commercial oil inventories fell to their lowest levels since mid-2014, contributing to current high prices. There are several factors at play. EIA Acting Administrator Steve Nalley says, “Market concerns about oil production disruptions, supply chain vulnerabilities, and uncertainties around how central banks may react to combat inflation all contribute to a highly unpredictable environment for oil and petroleum product prices.” The average price for regular-grade gasoline was $3.31 per gallon in January, nearly a dollar higher than one year ago, largely because of higher oil prices. EIA expects gasoline prices will average $3.24 per gallon in 2022, before dropping below $3.00 per gallon in the last quarter of the year.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday February 10, 2022 |


Thursday Watch List Markets USDA's weekly exports sales report is due out at 7:30 a.m. CST, the same time as weekly jobless claims, the Labor Department's consumer price index for January and an update of the U.S. Drought Monitor. The Energy Department's weekly report of natural gas storage is set for 9:30 a.m., followed by a Treasury report on the federal budget for January at 1 p.m. Traders continue to keep tabs on the latest weather forecasts. Weather A clipper system will bring a band of moderate to heavy snow across the northern stretches of the country Thursday and Thursday night with more isolated to scattered showers to the rest of the Northern Plains and Corn Belt. The cold front to the system will push south through the northern tier of the country overnight, with much colder temperatures setting up in the Midwest over the weekend. Some showers will develop behind this boundary across the High Plains late tonight and Friday, but amounts will be light. Winds will be strong at times across the Northern Plains as well.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday February 9, 2022 |


Agricultural Exports Shattered Records in 2021 U.S. Agriculture posted its highest annual export levels ever recorded in 2021. The final 2021 trade data published by the Department of Commerce Tuesday shows that exports of U.S. farm and food products totaled $177 billion. The total beat the 2020 figure by 18 percent and eclipsed the previous record set in 2014, by 14.6 percent. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says, "These record-breaking trade numbers demonstrate that U.S. agriculture is incredibly resilient." The United States' top ten export markets saw gains in 2021, with six of the ten – China, Mexico, Canada, South Korea, the Philippines and Colombia – setting new records. Worldwide exports of many U.S. products, including soybeans, corn, beef, pork, dairy, distillers grains and pet food, also reached all-time highs. China remained the top export destination, with a record $33 billion in purchases, up 25 percent from 2020, while Mexico inched ahead of Canada to capture the number two position with a record $25.5 billion, up 39 percent from last year. *********************************************************************************** USDA Extends Dairy Margin Coverage Program Deadline The Department of Agriculture Tuesday extended the deadline to enroll in Dairy Margin Coverage and Supplemental Dairy Margin Coverage for 2022. The deadline to apply for coverage is now March 25, 2022. USDA’s Farm Service Agency opened signup in December 2021 to help producers manage economic risk brought on by milk price and feed cost disparities. FSA Administrator Zach Ducheneaux (DOO-shu-know) says, “We are encouraging dairy operations to take advantage of the extended deadline and join the 8,900 operations that have already enrolled for 2022 coverage.” Enrollment for 2022 DMC is currently at 55 percent of the 2021 program year enrollment. Producers who enrolled in DMC for 2021 received margin payments each month, January through November, for a total of $1.2 billion, with an average payment of $60,275 per operation. Supplemental DMC coverage is applicable to calendar years 2021, 2022 and 2023. For more information, dairy producers should contact their local USDA Service Center. *********************************************************************************** Senator Marshall Expresses Concerns Over USDA Climate Initiative Senator Roger Marshall has concerns about the Department of Agriculture’s Climate-Smart Agriculture and Forestry Partnerships Initiative. The Kansas Republican penned a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack following his announcement of the program. While reaffirming his support for conservation efforts in agriculture, Marshall is questioning the use of Commodity Credit Corporation funds for the program. In the letter, Marshall says, “it seems USDA is crafting its own farm bill by using the CCC to create its own programs and priorities that haven’t been established by congress and to fund projects only USDA deems worthy.” Vilsack announced the program Monday that will invest $1 billion to finance pilot projects that create market opportunities for U.S. agricultural and forestry products that use climate-smart practices. Specifically, practices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions or sequester carbon. Marshall requested answers to a list of eight questions, including seeking meeting notes from the most recent CCC board meeting approving funding for the program. *********************************************************************************** Bipartisan Legislation to Increase Access to Rural Broadband A group of agriculture-state lawmakers introduced the Connect Unserved Americans Act this week. The bipartisan legislation seeks to ensure the Department of Agriculture targets funding through the ReConnect Program to areas most in need of reliable broadband services. Additionally, it would enhance the coordination between federal agencies disbursing broadband funding to prevent the overbuilding of existing broadband networks at the taxpayer's expense. South Dakota Republican John Thune, one of the lawmakers who introduced the legislation, says, "Our bipartisan legislation would help bridge the digital divide by ensuring federal broadband funding goes to truly unserved areas." In October 2021, Thune and Minnesota Democrat Tina Smith co-led a bipartisan letter urging Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to continue to grant awards to areas where there is a higher percentage of unserved households. The lawmakers also asked Vilsack to increase USDA's coordination efforts with other agencies administering broadband programs, and give equal treatment to all applicants. *********************************************************************************** USDA Seeks Nominations for Members to Science and Research Advisory Board The Department of Agriculture is soliciting continuous nominations for membership to its National Agricultural Research, Extension, Education, and Economics Advisory Board and its committees. The board is comprised of 15 members representing a specific category of U.S. agricultural stakeholders. The board’s three committees include the Specialty Crop Committee, Citrus Disease Subcommittee and National Genetic Resources Advisory Council. USDA expects to appoint or reappoint approximately 15 new board and committee members in October 2022. A USDA spokesperson says, "We are looking for professionals with diverse perspectives, backgrounds and scientific expertise to ensure research on our nation's food and agricultural systems is fair and equitable and benefits all Americans." The advisory board provides feedback to the Secretary of Agriculture, USDA's research mission area, and land-grant colleges and universities on food and agricultural research, education, extension and economics priorities and policies. Nomination packages may be received continually until September 30, 2022, and should be sent by email to nareee@usda.gov. *********************************************************************************** Nation's Largest Trout Producer to Feed Benson Hill Soybeans Benson Hill recently announced a partnership with Riverence, the largest land-based producer of steelhead and rainbow trout in the U.S., to feed the fish with Benson Hill soy ingredients. Benson Hill says the move will enhance the sustainability of aquaculture supply chains. The company's proprietary soybean varieties expressing Ultra-High Protein and low anti-nutrient levels reduce the need for processing steps to concentrate protein levels. The ingredients derived from Ultra-High Protein varieties demonstrate equivalent performance to a Soy Protein Concentrate-based diet in salmon and trout, as measured by Feed Conversion Ratio. Benson Hill's proprietary ingredients will be incorporated into the aquaculture diets manufactured by Riverence's preferred supplier Rangen, a brand of Wilbur-Ellis Nutrition. Aquaculture provides over half of the seafood for human consumption globally and is the fastest-growing food production sector. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, aquaculture is expected to overtake capture production in 2027 and account for 52 percent of all fish production for all uses by 2030.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday February 9, 2022 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets The U.S. Energy Department's weekly inventory report is due out at 9:30 a.m. CST with attention on ethanol production and an inventory level that has been rising lately. At 11 a.m., USDA releases its February WASDE report and traders will be eager to see new estimates of South American crops. If there are no big surprises, traders will likely go back to watching the latest weather forecasts. Weather A clipper moving through Canada will be close enough to produce some isolated showers across the Midwest on Wednesday. Another disturbance will do the same going through the Northern then Central Plains. Precipitation amounts will be light in both cases while temperatures remain warm for this time of year.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday February 8, 2022 |


USDA to Invest $1 Billion in Climate Smart Commodities The Department of Agriculture Monday announced $1 billion in partnerships to support America’s climate-smart farmers, ranchers and forest landowners. The new Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities opportunity will finance pilot projects that create market opportunities for U.S. agricultural and forestry products that use climate-smart practices and include innovative, cost-effective ways to measure and verify greenhouse gas benefits. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack made the announcement during a stop at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri. Vilsack says, “USDA will provide targeted funding to meet national and global demand and expand market opportunities for climate-smart commodities to increase the competitive advantage of American producers.” Funding will be provided to partners through USDA’s Commodity Credit Corporation for pilot projects to provide incentives. USDA is accepting project applications for fiscal year 2022. A range of public and private entities may apply, and the primary applicant must be an entity, not an individual. More information is available at USDA.gov. *********************************************************************************** FACA Applauds USDA Investment in Climate-Smart Pilot Projects The Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance strongly commends USDA for advancing a voluntary, incentive-based approach to deploy climate-smart practices on working lands through its Partnership for Climate-Smart Commodities. Announced Monday, members of the Alliance welcome USDA’s plan to partner with farmers, ranchers, forest owners and nongovernmental organizations through pilot projects. The alliance stressed in previous comments submitted to USDA the importance of building flexibility into the initiative to acknowledge that agriculture and forestry look very different in different regions, and USDA’s plan appears to welcome a diversity of practices and approaches. The plan also includes other priorities of the alliance, including an effort for engaging and enrolling Black, Indigenous, People of Color and small farmers, ranchers, and forest owners in the project. The alliance says in a news release, “We share Secretary Tom Vilsack’s optimism that this approach will support climate-smart commodities while unlocking new market opportunities.” The Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance is comprised of more than 80 member organizations. *********************************************************************************** NASDA Asks EPA to Suspend Action on WOTUS Rulemaking As many farm and agriculture groups submitted comments on the EPA's proposed changes to the Waters of the U.S. rule, The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture asked the EPA to suspend the rule-making process. The comment period on the proposal by the Environmental Protection Agency closed Monday. In NASDA’s comments sent to EPA, CEO Ted McKinney urged the EPA and the Army Corps to suspend further action until guidance from the Supreme Court is provided. McKinney stated, "Unfortunately, the proposed rule will return us to the ambiguity of past regulation as well as the federal overreach that ignored the role and expertise of state partners.” NASDA calls the change “unacceptable,” and urges the EPA and the Corps to reconsider the clarity and the undeniably appropriate level of protection offered by the Navigable Waters Protection Rule. In addition to the submitted comments, NASDA members, farmers, ranchers and the agriculture industry have repeatedly advocated for clarity and reasonableness in the regulatory definition of WOTUS. *********************************************************************************** Imported Seafood Products have the Most Pathogen/Toxin Violations USDA’s Economic Research Service says about 70 percent of pathogen violations came from two sources over the last 20 years. Food imported into the United States from other countries may contain pathogens such as bacteria or toxins, which are mostly produced by microorganisms. From 2002 to 2019, a total of 22,350 pathogen violations occurred from imported foods, and a majority from fishery and seafood products and the spices industry. Fishery and seafood products had 9,857 pathogen violations over this period, accounting for 44.1 percent of the total refused imports. This category was followed by spices, flavors, and salts, which had 5,886 violations, or 26.3 percent of the total. Cheese and cheese products accounted for 7.1 percent of the total, followed by fruits and fruit products with 6.2 percent, nuts and edible seeds with 5.1 percent, and vegetable products with 4.1 percent. In total, the top six food industries accounted for 93 percent of the total pathogen violations over the period. *********************************************************************************** USDA Announces Four New Members of the National Organic Standards Board The Department of Agriculture last week announced the appointment of four new members to the National Organic Standards Board. The board includes 15 volunteer members representing the organic community. The new members will serve five-year terms, through January 2027. Organic farmer Elizabeth Graznak (Graze-nack) of Missouri joins the board on the environmental protection and resource conservation seat. USDA Appointed Allison Johnson of the Natural Resources Defense Council to a public interest or consumer interest group seat. Meanwhile, Dr. Dilip Nandwana (nand-wand-dee) of Tennessee State University will serve on the scientist seat of the board, and Javier Zamora of California’s JSM Organics takes a seat on the board as an organic farmer. The National Organic Standards Board is a Federal Advisory Board established under the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990. The board assists in developing standards for substances used in organic production and advises the Secretary on aspects of the National Organic Program. *********************************************************************************** Fuel Prices Spike as Oil Surge Continues For the sixth straight week, the nation’s average gas price is up, rising eight cents from a week ago and stands at $3.42 per gallon. The national average is up 12.3 cents from a month ago and 97.5 cents per gallon higher than a year ago. The national average price of diesel increased 8.3 cents in the last week and stands at $3.78 per gallon, the highest since September 2014. Gas prices saw their sharpest rise in months last week as oil surged to $93 per barrel, on continued concerns over Russia invading Ukraine and that there won’t be enough supply to meet demand come this summer. GasBuddy’s Patrick De Haan says, “Motorists should expect even more price increases, with the larger jumps coming later this spring as a confluence of seasonal factors and the potential flare up in geopolitical tensions.” De Haan adds the national average could be pushed to record territory by the start of the summer driving season.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday February 7, 2022 |


Ocean Shipping Reform Act Introduced in Senate Minnesota Democrat Amy Klobuchar and South Dakota Republican John Thune introduced the Ocean Shipping Reform Act into the Senate last week. It’s the Senate’s response to the House version that passed by a wide bipartisan vote in December. Farm groups and other industry stakeholders are complaining that ships coming to the West Coast from Asia are going back to China and its neighbors empty. Those ships are heading back to Asia to bring more goods to get sold in the U.S and not picking up products they would normally take to Asian customers. A trade association executive told the Hagstrom Report that the Senate bill in some instances is stronger than the House bill. However, some aspects are weaker, but if it gets passed, it will help improve the overall supply chain situation. Klobuchar says the bill would “prohibit ocean carriers from unreasonably declining opportunities for U.S. exports, as determined by the Federal Maritime Commission in a new required rulemaking.” *********************************************************************************** Minnesota Cattleman is New NCBA President Don Schiefelbein (SHEEF-el-byne) of Minnesota is the new president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. The central Minnesota native was named to the post during the 2022 Cattle Industry Convention in Houston. Schiefelbein and his family run a seed stock breeding and cattle feeding operation in Kimball, Minnesota. “I’m very fortunate to have been involved in the cattle industry through several avenues and have seen the positive results when people come together,” he says. “As incoming NCBA president, I will continue bringing people together for the benefit of the industry.” As he looks ahead to his year as president, Schiefelbein is serious about helping lead NCBA’s fight for policies and a business climate that supports cattle-producing families and their opportunity to make a living on the land. The 2022 officer team took office at the end of this year’s convention. Todd Wilkinson of South Dakota was named president-elect, and Mark Eisele of Wyoming was elected vice president. *********************************************************************************** USDA, Justice Department Launch Online Anti-Competition Reporting Tool Farmers and ranchers can now anonymously report potentially unfair and anti-competitive practices in the livestock and poultry sectors. The USDA and the Justice Department launched an online tool to make it easier for farmers to file those reports. “This new online tool will help USDA and the Justice Department address anti-competitive actions and create livestock and poultry markets that are fair to our nation’s producers,” says Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack. “I encourage producers who are aware of potential violations of competition laws to submit information to the portal so we can take appropriate actions to create more competitive markets in the agricultural sector.” The online reporting tool is at farmerfairness.gov. Vilsack calls it a “one-stop-shop” to report violations of competition laws that will allow the departments to collaborate early, vigorously enforce the law, and ensure economic opportunities and fairness for everyone. Users can submit information with or without their names and contact information. *********************************************************************************** Missouri River Basin Runoff Forecast Low in 2022 The updated 2022 runoff forecast for the Missouri River basin above Sioux City, Iowa, continues to be below average. “Despite January’s runoff being slightly above average, we expect 2022 runoff to remain below average,” says John Remus, chief of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Missouri River Basin Water Management Division. “Both plains snowpack and mountain snowpack continue to lag behind seasonal averages, and soil moisture continues to be much drier-than-normal.” January runoff in the Missouri River Basin above Sioux City was just under one million acre-feet, 111 percent of average. Runoff was near-average due to warmer-than-normal temperatures in the upper Basin. Precipitation in January was below normal for most of the upper-basin except for North Dakota, which saw above-normal precipitation. “The Corps is aware of the importance of our operations to the water supply,” Remus adds. “There is and will be enough water in the river to serve the water-supply needs.” *********************************************************************************** Alberta Cattle Ranchers Worried About Border Disruptions Groups representing ranchers and feedlot operators in Alberta are concerned that ongoing border disruptions may hurt an agricultural sector already struggling from COVID-19. A days-long demonstration is tied to an ongoing nationwide protest over federal rules for unvaccinated or partially-vaccinated truckers coming into Canada from the U.S. Several trucks have blocked the border crossing into the U.S., although protestors opened one lane going in each direction last week. The CBC says only limited amounts of traffic are getting into Montana. The Alberta Beef Producers, the Alberta Cattle Feeders’ Association, and the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association spoke out last week, calling for a “timely resolution and the restoration of our essential supply chain.” In a joint statement, the groups say, “Every day the industry is unable to move cattle, beef, or access feed, puts the entire supply chain at risk.” Before the protest, the Alberta ag sector had dealt with trucking shortages and limited rail access. *********************************************************************************** USDA Issues Transitional Nutrition Standards for Schools The USDA announced updates to the school nutrition standards that give schools a path forward. The agency says these actions support the dedicated school meal program operators who provide critical nutrition to millions of children every day at school. The new standards begin in the school year 2022-2023 and continue through the following school year. The new requirements allow schools and childcare providers to serve one percent low-fat milk, as well as nonfat flavored milk and nonfat or low-fat unflavored milk. At least 80 percent of the grains served in school lunches and breakfasts each week must be whole-grain rich. The weekly sodium limit for school lunches and breakfasts will remain at the current levels for 2022-2023, and the school lunch limit will drop 10 percent the following year in 2023-2024. All of the other nutrition standards, including fruits and vegetable requirements, will remain the same as the 2012 standards.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday February 7, 2022 |


Monday Watch List Markets Traders will come back from the weekend, checking for any changes in the latest forecasts or situation in Ukraine. USDA's weekly report of export sales is due out at 10 a.m. CST and there is a report on U.S. consumer credit for December at 2 p.m. USDA's next WASDE report is set for Wednesday at 11 a.m. CST. Weather Colder temperatures still reside across the Midwest, but warmth will be spreading through the Plains and points eastward throughout the week. Drier conditions are also expected until a clipper grazes the northern extent of the country Tuesday night and Wednesday.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday February 4, 2022 |


Food Prices Rise in January World food prices rose during January and remained near ten-year highs. The United Nation’s Food and Agricultural Organization vegetable oils pushed prices higher. Reuters says the Food Price Index tracks the most globally-traded food commodities. The index averaged 135.7 points in January, up from 134.1 during December. higher food prices are contributing to a wider surge in inflation as global economies try to bounce back from COVID-19. The FAO says those higher prices are a risk to the poor populations in countries that have to bring in most of their food. The vegetable oils index rose 4.2 percent month-on-month in January to reach a record level. The push higher in vegetable oils came from reduced availability of exports and other supply-side constraints like labor shortages and weather challenges. In a statement, the FAO’s Markets and Trade Division says, “There is a concern that the impacts of these constraints will not ease quickly.” *********************************************************************************** USDA Provides Disaster Assistance Update USDA provided an update on the upcoming disaster assistance at this week’s Cattle Industry Convention. The assistance is for agricultural producers impacted by weather-related disasters in 2020 and 2021. “Over the past two years, as agricultural producers struggled with the ongoing impacts of COVID-19, they’ve also been hit hard by more frequent and intense natural disasters,” says Robert Bonnie, USDA Undersecretary for Farm Production and Conservation. USDA intends to streamline the process for producers, and the agency will distribute at least half the available $750 million by the end of March. The program to to assist crop producers will follow a process similar to that of the livestock assistance with the first phase of implementation this spring. The first phase will use existing Federal Crop Insurance or Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program data as the basis for calculating initial payments. That will help speed up implementation and encourage participation in these programs too. *********************************************************************************** NCBA Unhappy with JBS Court Settlement The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association is upset with a court settlement reached by JBS as part of a class-action lawsuit against the four biggest meatpackers in the U.S. DTN says the court case and the $52.5 million settlement involves price-fixing and the four meatpackers constraining the fed cattle supply. The NCBA wants to find out what happened to the industry’s demands for a federal investigation into beef markets going back to 2019. They’re looking for more transparency from the Justice Department. Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley, a co-author of the Cattle Price Discovery and Transparency Act, says the settlement is a “spit in the ocean” for JBS compared to its record profits during COVID-19. “The settlement confirms what cattle producers have been telling me when they try to get a fair price in the marketplace,” Grassley says. “It’s time to put an end to these price-fixing schemes by the Big Four once and for all.” *********************************************************************************** Optimism for the Future of the Cattle and Beef Industry The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association heard domestic and international leaders who spoke during the Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack, Undersecretary Robert Bonnie, and British Ambassador Dame Karen Pierce expressed optimism about the future of the cattle and beef industries. Vilsack committed to addressing challenges that producers are facing regarding the supply chain, processing capacity, and drought. Bonnie, the Undersecretary for Farm Production and Conservation, recognized the industry’s role in conservation and that cattle producers play a critical role in environmental stewardship goals. Pierce shared her optimism in strengthening the relationship between the United Kingdom and the United States through continuing negotiations to reach a free trade agreement. As the U.K. places high importance on sustainable beef production, Pierce says she’s confident in the sustainability goals set last year by the NCBA. “We see tremendous opportunities between the two countries,” says NCBA Vice President of Government Affairs Ethan Lane. *********************************************************************************** Factors Behind Wheat Market Volatility U.S. Wheat Associates says wheat prices since late December have bounced up and down so far in the new year. The ongoing tension between Russia and Ukraine is a big factor adding uncertainty and volatility to the wheat market. Both countries are major grain exporters, and the market knows that any disruption there could quickly impact supply. Another factor in the significant volatility is commercial futures. The managed money funds take quick profits that pressure the market. However, speculators also appear to be bullish in their wheat outlook primarily because of ongoing weather challenges. Moisture is needed to put the winter wheat crop on a good footing, which means the weather will remain a driver in the wheat market. Railroad performance is another obstacle as, since December, railroad logistics have slowed down. All grain shipments during the week ending January 15 were 11 percent lower than in 2021. Weekly rail traffic was down seven percent compared to last year. *********************************************************************************** Food Safety on Super Bowl Sunday During the Super Bowl on February 13, the USDA wants to remind football fans to be careful with their food. “Anytime friends and families get together for the big game, please remember to keep food safety in mind,” says Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack. Unlike other holidays when meals are consumed rapidly, Super Bowl fans often snack throughout the game. Perishable foods like chicken wings and meatballs can only be left out for two hours before bacteria begin to multiply to illness-causing levels. Safety tips include washing hands for 20 seconds before and after handling raw meat and poultry. Use separate cutting boards, plates, and utensils to avoid cross-contamination. Confirm that foods are cooked at a safe temperature and chill foods that aren’t consumed immediately after cooking. Use a food thermometer to make sure cooked foods hit the appropriate internal temperature. Discard perishable foods if they’re left out longer than two hours.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday February 4, 2022 |


Friday Watch List Markets The U.S. Labor Department will release its reports of nonfarm payrolls and unemployment at 7:30 a.m. CST Friday, both for January. Traders will continue to watch the latest weather forecast and for any news of an export sale or has happened Thursday, news of a sales cancellation. Weather The winter storm system that has been affecting the country through most of this week is finally making a push toward the East Coast and out of the country on Friday. Cold temperatures behind the system will cause dangerous wind chills and black ice formation that will cause travel hazards for areas that have seen significant rain and snow this week.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday February 3, 2022 |


NCBA Releases 2022 Policy Priorities During the 2022 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show, the executive committee of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association approved the organization’s 2022 policy priorities. The priorities include an emphasis on strengthening the economic, environmental and social sustainability of the cattle industry. The policy priorities include improving market leverage and opportunities through increased access to market data and risk management tools for producers, and securing the future of the beef industry by protecting tax provisions, limiting regulatory burdens on farms and ranches, and leveling the playing field for producers. Also included is boosting the resiliency of the beef supply chain by addressing labor shortages, improving processing capacity, expanding technology, strengthening transportation, and achieving key cattle industry priorities in the 2023 Farm Bill. NCBA President-elect Don Schiefelbein says, “We are addressing the long-term needs of the cattle industry and advancing policies that will contribute to business success, economic growth and respect for our way of life.” *********************************************************************************** CattleFax Forecasts Positive Profitability Trends in 2022 Cattle price and profitability trends for producers are pointed in the right direction, even as challenges and uncertainty persist, according to CattleFax. The CattleFax Outlook at the 2022 Cattle Industry Convention provided a market analysis to attendees Wednesday. While issues around labor and packing capacity have lingered, both are expected to improve in the year ahead. Expansions in capacity combined with strong global and domestic consumer beef demand suggest increased profitability across segments, signaling a market that is healthier and more stable in the year ahead, according to CattleFax. Kevin Good of CattleFax reported that U.S. beef cow inventories have fallen more than 700,000 head from last year and are off nearly 1.6 million from cycle highs. This year, the beef cowherd will near 30.1 million head. The feeder cattle and calf supply will be 675,000 head smaller than last year, totaling 25.5 million head. Fed cattle slaughter will decline 400,000 head lower compared to last year, at 25.7 million head. *********************************************************************************** Lawmakers Urging Biden Administration to Prioritize Renewable Fuel Standard Legislators in Washington, D.C., this week urged the Environmental Protection Agency to prioritize the Renewable Fuel Standard by maintaining the blending requirements for 2022. The lawmakers also urged the EPA to deny all pending Small Refinery Exemptions, eliminate proposed retroactive cuts to the renewable volume obligations and set the 2021 RFS volumes at statutory levels. Led by Senators Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican, and Amy Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat, the lawmakers made the request in a letter to the EPA. Following the requests by the lawmakers, the letter says, “the EPA can quickly restore integrity, stability, and growth to the RFS and the U.S. biofuel sector.” Many of the letter co-signers are supporters of the Defend the Blend Act, introduced in the Senate by Grassley and Klobuchar. The legislation would prohibit the EPA from retroactively reducing RVO levels once the annual rule is finalized, also supported by biofuels groups, including Growth Energy. *********************************************************************************** Despite Limits, Mexico Remains Significant Supplier of U.S. Sugar Mexico remains the most significant sugar exporter to the United States, despite trade limits, according to USDA’s Economic Research Service. Before 2008, Mexico provided a negligible share of U.S. sugar imports but has since become the largest supplier. Mexico’s increasing contribution to the U.S. sugar supply comes despite a limit imposed on the country’s exports to the United States under the terms of suspension agreements negotiated with the U.S. Department of Commerce in 2014. In 1994, the North American Free Trade Agreement was implemented, and sugar duties were phased out during a 15-year period. In July 2006, the United States and Mexico negotiated additional import quotas, and in 2008, sugar trade between the two countries became duty and quota-free, an arrangement that remains in place with the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. From 2008 to 2013, with no duties or quotas, Mexico’s share of total U.S. imports grew sharply and peaked at 64 percent in 2013. Mexico currently supplies the U.S. roughly 30 percent of its total sugar imports. *********************************************************************************** USDA Introduces First Market News Mobile App The Department of Agriculture this week announced a new USDA Market News Mobile Application. The app provides producers and everyone else in the supply chain with instant access to current and historical market information. The initial version of the free app includes nearly 800 livestock, poultry, and grain market reports, with additional commodities added throughout the coming year. Producers and other users can search for markets based on their location, by state, or by commodity. They also can add market reports to their favorites for easier access, share reports via text or email, subscribe to reports, and receive real-time notifications when a new report is published. There are both iOS and Android versions available to download through the Apple and Google Play stores. The iOS version is available now, and the Android version will be available later this week. Search for "USDA Market News Mobile Application" to download the app to your phone. *********************************************************************************** Americans Projected to Eat 1.42 Billion Chicken Wings for Super Bowl LVI Americans are anticipated to consume 1.42 billion wings while watching the Cincinnati Bengals and Los Angeles Rams battle for the Lombardi Trophy, according to the National Chicken Council’s 2022 Wing Report. NCC spokesperson Tom Super says, “Like almost anything else you buy right now, wings might be a little more expensive, but they’ll be stocked.” Bengals and Rams fans have not only rallied around their teams, but they’ve also rallied around the chicken wing. Wing sales in Cincinnati have seen a 27.6 percent growth during the NFL playoffs and Los Angeles a 37.3 percent increase compared to the same period last year. Retail wing prices are up about $0.30 per pound on average from the same time last year. Many costs, like the price of chicken wings, have increased because of unusually high demand, record input costs, labor shortages that have reduced the supply of many goods, and government spending programs that have flooded the economy.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday February 3, 2022 |


Thursday Watch List Markets USDA's weekly export sales report is due out at 7:30 a.m. CST, along with weekly jobless claims, a report on fourth-quarter productivity and an update of the U.S. Drought Monitor. U.S. factory orders for December are at 9 a.m., followed by the U.S. Energy Department's weekly report on natural gas storage at 9:30 a.m. Traders remain glued to the latest weather forecasts and any change in Ukraine's situation. Weather A major winter precipitation event continues on Thursday. Widespread moderate to heavy mixed precipitation has been falling from the Central and Southern Plains into the Midwest since late Tuesday along a stalled arctic cold front. The precipitation continues on Thursday but we will see it ending in the Plains and more wintry precipitation moving into the Northeast as the cold front slowly sags south and east. Moderate to heavy rainfall south of the front will cause some flood risks in the Tennessee Valley as well. Arctic cold temperatures continue to fill in behind the front across the rest of the country, with some of the coldest air of the season working down into the Southern Plains.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday February 2, 2022 |


Ag Economy Barometer Declines Farmer sentiment weakened in January as the Purdue University CME Group Ag Economy Barometer declined six points to 119, it's second-lowest reading since July 2020. The Current Conditions Index fell 13 points to 133, while the Future Expectations Index changed little in January, down two points at 112. Rising farm input costs and ongoing supply chain disruptions appear to be contributing to producers' weaker perception of current conditions and expectations of their farm's financial performance in 2022 when compared to last year. More producers expect the size of their operating loan to increase this year than last year or two years ago with the rise in farm input costs. Farmers in January also expressed less confidence that farmland values will continue to rise as farmland value indices fell about ten percent from their respective fall 2021 peak levels. The barometer is calculated each month from 400 U.S. agricultural producers' responses to a telephone survey. *********************************************************************************** Uncertainty Remains in Global Pork Market Outlook Rabobank says the main challenges for the pork industry in 2022 remain as COVID-19 and African swine fever. COVID-19 will continue to challenge pork supply chains and consumers in various ways, affecting both production and demand. The slowing global economy will have more visible consequences in 2022, and price inflation of consumer goods will put extra pressure on consumers. However, pork prices increased marginally in the late part of 2021 but remain below 2021 peak levels. Diseases, particularly African swine fever, are another major uncertainty for pork production, with the impact varying by region. In Europe, ASF has spread to new countries in recent months, challenging 2022 European production. In Asia, ASF continues to spread in China, but the impact is much lower than in 2020. Input costs continue to rise and will stay inflated in 2022, specifically feed and transportation costs. Global pork imports and exports will likely decline from 2021 levels, mainly driven by reductions in China's import demand as local production recovers. *********************************************************************************** Texas A&M Cattle Price Discovery and Transparency Act Analysis Released A new report claims negotiated trade mandates don't provide price discovery and market transparency as part of an analysis of the Cattle Price Discovery and Transparency Act of 2021. Republicans on the Senate Agriculture Committee requested the analysis from the Texas A&M Agriculture and Food Policy Center. The report says mandated negotiated trade levels are expected to negatively affect cattle and calf prices. The researchers say the mandate will result in lower short-term fed cattle prices due to the increase in the costs of the feeder-packer cattle sale transaction. The report concludes that, while more price discovery and market transparency can be achieved, forcing the movement away from alternative marketing arrangements via regional mandatory minimums for negotiated purchases will result in lower cattle prices and higher wholesale and retail beef prices. The report comes as the National Cattlemen's Beef Association hosts its annual convention this week, focusing on what policy position the organization will take on the issue. *********************************************************************************** Bill Allows Farmers to Repair Own Equipment Legislation introduced Tuesday seeks to guarantee farmers the right to repair their own equipment and end current restrictions on the repair market. The Agriculture Right to Repair Act, authored by Montana Democrat Jon Tester, is part of his effort to break up consolidation in the agriculture industry. Tester says farmers “need to be able to repair their own equipment, and this legislation will secure them that right.” The legislation would require manufacturers to make available any documentation, part, software, or tool required to diagnose, maintain, or repair their equipment. The bill would also provide means to disable and re-enable electronic security locks for diagnostic and repair, allow for use of third-party software, and ensure parts are replaceable using commonly available tools without causing damage to the equipment. The bill also seeks to return data ownership to farmers, as Tester claims manufacturers currently collect and sell all the data generated by farmers. *********************************************************************************** USDA Announces Federal Advisory Committee on Urban Agriculture Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Tuesday announced 12 members to serve on the inaugural Secretary’s Advisory Committee for Urban Agriculture. The Department of Agriculture committee will provide input on policy development and help identify barriers to urban agriculture. The new committee is part of USDA’s efforts to support urban agriculture, creating a network for feedback. Urban agriculture plays an important role in producing fresh, healthy food in areas where grocery stores are scarce, and provides jobs and beautifies neighborhoods, according to USDA. Vilsack says, “I look forward to learning how we can better serve urban agricultural producers.” The committee includes agricultural producers and representatives from higher education or extension programs, non-profits, business and economic development, supply chains and financing. USDA and the Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production peer-reviewed more than 300 nominees, and Vilsack made the final selections. Find more information about the committee and its members at farmers.gov/urban. *********************************************************************************** How Winter Storms Get Their Name A winter storm crossing the central and Midwest states has forecasts for anywhere from a dusting to more than a foot of snow. Much