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| Rural Advocate News | Thursday February 22, 2024 |


USDA: Rural Employment Returns to Pre-COVID Levels USDA’s Economic Research Service is highlighting new data that shows rural employment levels are back to pre-COVID levels. The COVID-19 pandemic affected employment in rural and urban areas differently. Before the pandemic, employment growth was higher, and unemployment rates were slightly lower in urban areas. However, the trends reversed during the pandemic. In the second quarter of 2020, urban employment fell to 88 percent of pre-pandemic employment levels, while rural employment fell to 90 percent of pre-pandemic levels. Unemployment during the pandemic reached a high of 13.3 percent in urban areas and 11.4 percent in rural areas, compared with pre-pandemic rates of 3.8 and 4.2 percent, respectively. Rural and urban employment grew quickly in the third and fourth quarters of 2020 as many sectors of the economy reopened. Rural employment recovered to pre-pandemic levels in the third quarter of 2023, more than one year after urban employment did. Rural unemployment rates in 2023 were at their lowest point since before 1990. *********************************************************************************** Vilsack Announces Rural Infrastructure Funding Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Wednesday announced a more than $772 million investment for rural infrastructure projects. USDA says the new projects will benefit more than one million people living in remote areas of the country by providing reliable high-speed internet access, clean, safe water and a range of support for rural communities. Vilsack commented, "The investments will help us build our economy from the middle out and bottom-up by bringing high-speed internet, clean water, modern infrastructure, and good-paying jobs to communities in rural areas." USDA is investing $51.7 million to expand access to high-speed internet for rural areas through the Reconnect Program and the Broadband Technical Assistance Program, and $42 million in grants through the ReConnect Program. The investments also fund infrastructure projects in underserved communities participating in the Rural Partners Network. And USDA is financing projects through the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program to help build and improve rural wastewater systems. *********************************************************************************** USDA Proposes Changes to Monitoring Child Nutrition Programs USDA's Food and Nutrition Service recently published a proposed rule that the agency says will help ensure the federal child nutrition programs are properly operated. The regulatory updates seek to strengthen and clarify the process for correcting major mismanagement problems, also called serious deficiencies, found in child nutrition programs. The proposed changes will ensure that procedures in Child and Adult Care Food Program and Summer Food Service Program, also known as CACFP and SFSP, align with current requirements under law. The changes include providing operators a fair path to fully correct serious mismanagement problems, clarifying termination and disqualification criteria for SFSP operators, and addressing legal requirements for obtaining records of individuals who are disqualified from the program and sponsoring organizations that operate in multiple states. USDA is also proposing a standard definition of what it means for an operator to be in “good standing,” which currently does not exist. The public is invited to comment on the proposed changes by May 21 at regulations.gov. *********************************************************************************** Growth Energy: California Proposal Leave Biofuels Behind Growth Energy this week submitted comments to the California Air Resources Board regarding the board's proposed changes to California's low-carbon fuel standard. Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor says, “While California has its sights set on the future, the state continues to overlook a significant challenge that it faces right now: decarbonizing the millions of internal combustion engine vehicles in the state that will continue to be on the road for decades. Growth Energy contends the proposal ignores plant-based fuel options, such as ethanol and biodiesel. One issue is the audit processes included in the proposal. Renewable Fuels Association Chief Economist Scott Richman says, “Imposing a third-party verification system for feedstock certification places an extreme audit burden on feedstock suppliers and biofuel producers without any clearly defined benefit.” Richman added that the provision does not define the general term "sustainability" and needs extensive stakeholder engagement and analysis before being considered for inclusion in any amendment to the LCFS program. *********************************************************************************** Senators: Livestock Consolidation a “Bad Deal” For Consumers, Ranchers Senators Chuck Grassley and Jon Tester encourage their Senate colleagues to oppose recent efforts that they say will weaken the Packers and Stockyards Act. The upcoming Fiscal year 2024 Agriculture Appropriations bill includes provisions Grassley and Tester say would "prevent USDA from enforcing the Packers and Stockyards Act to hold multi-national food manufacturers accountable." Grassley, an Iowa Republican, and Tester, a Montanna Democrat, contend, "Congress must reject the latest push by these special interests to attach a rider to the FY 2024 Agriculture Appropriations bill to once again block USDA from implementing the 2008 bipartisan Farm Bill reforms." Enforcement already falls short in leveling the playing field for small-scale producers, and the Senators highlighted that recent efforts by the nation's largest meatpackers to prevent further enforcement would be detrimental to America's family farmers and ranchers. Currently, four companies control over 80 percent of domestic beef processing, 60 percent of domestic hog processing, and 50 percent of domestic poultry processing. *********************************************************************************** Ground Broke on New ARS Research Facility in Georgia USDA’s Agricultural Research Service and the University of Georgia broke ground Wednesday on a new research facility on the UGA Tifton campus. The facility will house the Southeast Watershed Research Laboratory and the Crop Genetics and Breeding Research Unit. USDA says research at the facility will advance climate-smart agricultural research ranging from water resources to insect and pollinator management, and developing resilient and sustainable crop systems for the Southeastern United States. USDA Chief Scientist Dr. Chavonda Jacobs-Young says, "We are grateful for our longstanding partnership with scientists and students at the University of Georgia-Tifton, and we look forward to seeing this state-of-the-art facility foster additional innovation." USDA says the partnership between ARS and UGA highlights the importance of bringing cutting-edge research to the heart of South Georgia agriculture and helps prepare the next generation of agricultural leaders to take the world's stage through student experience and education.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday February 22, 2024 |


Thursday Watch List Markets South American weather will be of concern as well as the EIA's weekly petroleum status report, which will give ethanol production and stocks and is out at 10 a.m. CST. At 7:30 a.m. CST we will get Initial Jobless Claims and at 9 a.m., existing home sales. Weather A weak system moving through the Eastern Corn Belt already has some showers and thunderstorms with it, but it'll be developing more widespread showers by the afternoon across the Ohio and Tennessee Valleys before making its way to the East Coast for Friday. Temperatures behind this system continue to be warm and it will be all rain.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday February 21, 2024 |


Assessment Shows U.S. Soy’s Carbon Footprint Has Considerably Decreased A newly released Life Cycle Assessment found the U.S. soybean industry’s global warming potential profile decreased considerably in 2021 for whole soybeans, soybean meal, and soy oil compared to previously reported findings in 2015 and 2010. Commissioned by the United Soybean Board and the National Oilseed Processors Association, the study assessed the main drivers of the environmental impact, including soybean cultivation and harvesting, transportation, and energy usage in processing. USB CEO Lucas Lentsch says, “This body of research helps farmers better assess and understand soy’s contribution to the environmental impacts throughout the life cycle of the entire soybean value chain.” The study found that the soybean industry’s carbon footprint decreased considerably in 2021 for all U.S. Soy commodities compared to 2015, including a 19 percent decrease for U.S. soybeans, a six percent decrease for U.S. soybean meal, a 22 percent decrease for U.S. crude soy oil and an eight percent decrease for U.S. refined soy oil. *********************************************************************************** Zinke Introduces Legislation to Protect Public Lands Congressman Ryan Zinke this week introduced the Public Lands in Public Hands Act. The Montanna Republican Representative announced the legislation during a roundtable in Bozeman, Montanna. The legislation would ban the sale or transfer of most public lands managed by the Department of the Interior and U.S. Forest Service except under specific conditions and where required under previous laws. The bill also requires Congressional approval for disposals of publicly accessible federal land tracts over 300 acres and public land tracts over five acres if accessible via a public waterway. This provision alone would protect public access to nearly 30 million acres of public lands depended upon by outdoorsmen of all types across Montana. Zinke says, “Public lands must remain public, and the federal government has a responsibility to manage and ensure access to those lands.” Zinke partnered with Democrat Congressman Gabe Vasquez from New Mexico on the legislation. *********************************************************************************** USDA Sets Dates for Peanut Checkoff Continuance Referendum The Department of Agriculture will conduct a referendum April 8-19, 2024, for eligible U.S. producers of peanuts to decide whether to continue their checkoff program. USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service will conduct the referendum by regular mail, express mail and electronic ballot. AMS staff will mail ballots and voting instructions to all known eligible U.S. peanut producers before the voting period. Folks engaged in the production and sale of peanuts at the time of the referendum and during the representative period of January 1 through December 31, 2022, are eligible to vote. The order will continue if a majority of producers voting in the referendum favor it. Completed ballots delivered to AMS via regular mail must be postmarked by April 19, 2024, to be counted. Ballots delivered to AMS via express mail or electronic ballot must show proof of delivery no later than 11:59 p.m. ET April 19, 2024 to be counted. *********************************************************************************** USDA Announces Renewable Energy Application Assistance The Department of Agriculture Tuesday announced a grant program for organizations to provide hands-on assistance to producers applying for the Rural Energy for America Program, or REAP funding. USDA is making $16 million available through the REAP Technical Assistance Grants Program to provide additional support to farmers, ranchers and rural small business owners seeking REAP funds. Eligible recipients for these grants include state, Tribal or local governments; colleges and universities; electric cooperatives and utility companies; and for-profit and nonprofit organizations. USDA expects the effort to help rural agricultural producers and small business owners apply for REAP funding, provide information on how business owners and agricultural producers can improve the energy efficiency of their operations and use renewable energy technologies and resources, among other benefits. Since December 2022, USDA has made up to $1.3 billion available in REAP funding through the Inflation Reduction Act. Applications must be submitted by March 15, as detailed in the Federal Register. *********************************************************************************** CropLife America Appoints Next President and CEO CropLife America Tuesday announced Alexandra (Alex) Dunn as its new president and chief executive officer. Dunn joins CropLife America after serving as a Partner in the Environmental, Safety, and Incident Response group at the international law firm of Baker Botts, L.L.P. While at Baker Botts, Dunn worked on pesticide issues, chemical regulation, water quality, enforcement, litigation, environmental justice, and community engagement. In 2019, with bi-partisan support, she was confirmed with unanimous consent by the U.S. Senate, to serve as Assistant Administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention from 2019 – 2021. CLA Chairman Andy Lee says, “Alex’s experience will provide guidance and leadership in both the policy and regulatory spaces.” Dunn responded, “I cannot think of a better moment than the present to work towards agricultural solutions that benefit the public and the planet.” CropLife America Partnered with executive search firm Kincannon & Reed for the search. *********************************************************************************** Fuel Prices Trending Higher For the fourth straight week, the nation's average price of gasoline has gone up, rising 8.7 cents from a week ago to $3.26 per gallon. The national average is up 16.7 cents from a month ago but 11.6 cents per gallon lower than a year ago. The national average diesel price increased 10 cents last week and stands at $4.09 per gallon—38 cents lower than one year ago. GasBuddy's Patrick De Haan says, "One of the most critical elements to how much gas prices will climb is how quickly and effectively refiners can finish their pre-summer maintenance, start producing EPA-mandated summer gasoline, and build up supply of it before Memorial Day." The price of oil has seen some sideways movement, but overall strength continues, with oil now closing in on $80, its highest level since November. Meanwhile, U.S. retail gasoline demand saw an increase of 0.7 percent for the week ending February 18.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday February 21, 2024 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets Traders continue to watch the weather forecasts, especially for South America, while Brazil's soybeans are being harvested and corn is being planted. News also remains a concern from Ukraine, Israel and the Red Sea. At 1 p.m. CST, the Federal Reserve will release minutes from the January Open Market Committee meeting. Weather A storm system that has been bringing widespread showers to the West the past couple of days will move into the Southern Plains Wednesday night then head east through the Ohio Valley for Thursday. As the system leaves, scattered showers will develop from the Central Plains into the southern Midwest, being light, but becoming heavier in the Ohio Valley for Thursday. It continues to be warm both ahead of and behind this system, making it all rain.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday February 20, 2024 |


New Era of Growth for Clean Fuels Clean Fuels Alliance America welcomed almost 850 attendees from over 20 countries to its Clean Fuels Conference in Fort Worth, Texas. It was a chance to connect with key players in the biodiesel, renewable diesel, and sustainable aviation fuel industries. “The conference offered a setting to unite on the mission and vision that are so critical to our success,” says Clean Fuels CEO Donnell Rehagen. “As our industry continues to evolve, it’ll be even more important to remain together and focused on the issues that move us forward.” Companies including BNSF Railway, Union Pacific, American Airlines, and PepsiCo took the stage to discuss sustainability goals and how clean fuels are moving the needle to reach them. OEM operators took attendees behind the scenes to explain how they are embracing the challenge of decarbonization and securing approvals to ensure liquid fuels continue to play a pivotal role in powering heavy-duty machinery. *********************************************************************************** Rural Mental Health Group Wins Prestigious Award Rural mental health national nonprofit Rural Minds was selected as the 2023 STARR Coalition Advocacy Organization of the Year and won the prestigious STARR Award. “This recognition is given to the advocacy organization that’s demonstrated exceptional dedication to advocating for those living with mental illness, their efforts to fight the mental illness stigma, and who support efforts to expand mental health research,” says Erica Moore of the STARR Coalition. Rural Minds Executive Director Chuck Strand says, “We thank the coalition for the award and recognition of the collaborative work we are doing through Rural Minds to help people in rural communities overcome unique barriers to mental health.” Rural Minds Founder and Chairman Jeff Winton adds that they look forward to the ongoing collaboration with other nonprofits, corporations, and individuals across the country as they confront the growing health issue facing rural America. For more information on the group, go to ruralminds.org. *********************************************************************************** Pork Exports Projected to Surpass Broiler Chicken Exports USDA’s long-term projection data shows the volume of U.S. red meat exports in all major categories is projected to grow through 2033. Rising incomes abroad and a moderately declining real exchange rate of the U.S. dollar against the currencies of major agricultural trading partners lend support to U.S. red meat and poultry exports. By 2028, pork exports are set to exceed exports of broiler chickens for the first time since 1976. Steady growth in U.S. pork production, driven by a combination of increasing slaughter weights, rising pigs per litter, and higher inventories, is projected to support rapid growth in exports. New environmental policies in the European Union are expected to impact pork production and reduce the growth of EU exports, which will enhance U.S. competitiveness. U.S. pork exports are expected to increase by 34 percent from an expected 6.95 billion pounds in 2024 to a projected 9.34 billion pounds by 2033. *********************************************************************************** Prop 12 Will Cause Market Chaos Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack didn’t hold back when asked about the potential economic harm of California’s Prop 12. “If Congress doesn’t act, we’re going to have chaos in the marketplace,” Vilsack said in response to a question from House Ag Committee Chair Glenn Thompson. California’s Prop 12 went into effect on January 1 and placed housing restrictions on farms that ship pork to the state. By setting production standards in other states, California is regulating interstate commerce, which Prop 12 opponents say is an authority reserved for the federal government. “The reality is that when each state has the ability to define for itself and its consumers exactly what farming techniques are appropriate, it creates the possibility of 50 different sets of regulations,” Vilsack says. “That means no certainty for producers.” He also says if the issue isn’t taken seriously, it’ll mean chaos because other states can take the same steps. *********************************************************************************** Land Use Study Shows Interesting Results A new study from the researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Energy Resource Center evaluates the environmental and economic impacts of land use change. The land use change impact is specifically for land that moves in and out of cropland over ten-year time periods. The study aimed to determine land use and soil organic carbon stocks on 1,000 land parcels over a 36-year period. “As part of this study, we conducted a historical analysis going back to 1985 and found that longer time intervals need to be considered when determining the environmental and economic impact of land use changes,” says lead researcher Ken Copenhaver. “Notably, this is not something that current regulations are taking into consideration.” Using advanced satellite imagery and aerial photography, the researchers discovered their findings challenge previous studies that primarily focus on shorter time intervals, often less than ten years when examining land use changes.” *********************************************************************************** Western Land Survey Shows Unity on Concerns A new poll that surveyed at least 400 registered voters in each of the eight western states shows residents putting a top priority on clean air, clean water, conservation, and combating wildfires. The 14th annual Colorado College’s “Conservation in the West” poll found a lot of agreement, in a nation that’s become highly polarized, over the issue of protecting wild places, preserving wildlife migration corridors, and doing more to ensure the availability of a clean water supply. “There may be a lot that divides voters across the country, but in the West, there’s almost universal consensus in favor of conservation,” says Katrina Miller-Stevens, an associate professor at Colorado College. “Not only do voters prefer conservation when asked how water and public lands should be used, but issues involving water, air, land, and wildlife are top of mind when making their voting decisions.” Sixty-six percent of respondents think climate change impacts are significant

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday February 20, 2024 |


Top 5 Things to Watch - Short Market Week, Clipper Weather Systems 1. Presidents Day holiday: Markets are closed on Monday in observance of federal Presidents Day holiday in the United States, although mandatory livestock reports are still released that day. Canadian markets are also closed for Family Day in some provinces or named a different holiday in others. We'll have limited updates, with market coverage and full news coverage resuming Tuesday. 2. Census of Ag details: We'll continue to dig into the trends and surprises from the 2022 Census of Agriculture. 3. More machinery coverage: We'll have additional pieces from our attendance at several of the winter farm equipment shows. 4. Weather changes: Throughout next week, multiple clipper systems will cross the Central U.S., providing areas of rain and isolated snow showers. The Northern and Central Plains may see warmer weather return through the week. In the Midwest, those systems will also bring higher temperatures, which will keep precipitation in the form of rain instead of snow. In South America, a system off the Brazil coast will continue to produce showers in southern and eastern Brazil through early this week. The front that is moving through Argentina this week may produce scattered showers later in the week. 5. Economic reports to Watch: Monday is the Presidents Day holiday, commodity and stock markets are closed and no government reports are out, although mandatory livestock reports are still released that day. Canadian markets are closed for Family Day/another holiday on Monday. China futures markets will reopen. U.S. futures markets open Tuesday morning. Tuesday starts with the U.S. Leading Economic Indicators report at 9 a.m., followed by U.S. Grain Inspections at 10 a.m. The NASS Chicken and Eggs Annual report is out at 2 p.m. Then Thursday starts with Initial Jobless Claims at 7:30 a.m.; at 8:45 a.m. is S & P services and manufacturing PMIs; 9 a.m. is the release of existing home sales, and at 10 a.m. the EIA will release the weekly petroleum status report, including weekly ethanol production and stocks. At 2 p.m. we'll see the livestock and poultry slaughter reports and broiler hatchery and milk production reports. Friday starts with grain export sales at 7:30 a.m. and at 2 p.m. is the Cattle on Feed report. Watch for our Cattle on Feed Preview story prior to the report's release.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday February 20, 2024 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets Traders will again focus on South American weather over the weekend and the coming weeks. At 9 a.m. CST the U.S. Leading Economic Indicators report will be released. At 10 a.m. CST we will get the Grain Inspections report release. Weather Areas east of the Rockies are seeing another quiet day, but a storm system is coming ashore in the West that will cause a system later this week farther east. Temperatures continue to rise and well-above normal readings are returning again.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday February 16, 2024 |


Farmers Can Use Existing Dicamba Stocks An Arizona District Court vacated the 2020 registration of over-the-top dicamba products, so the Environmental Protection Agency issued an Existing Stocks Order. The order allows limited sale and distribution of dicamba products that were already in possession of growers or in trade channels outside of the control of pesticide companies by February 6. The order also prohibits the use of these dicamba products except where the use is consistent with the previously approved labeling, which included measures intended to reduce environmental damage caused by offsite movement of the pesticide. The EPA issued the order after receiving enough evidence that millions of gallons of OTT dicamba had already entered the trade channels before February 6. Plus, growers aren’t able to switch to other options due to the timing of the Arizona court’s decision. The order applies only to dicamba formulations designed to use over the top of dicamba-tolerant soybeans and cotton. *********************************************************************************** Ag Groups Appreciate EPA Existing Stocks Order U.S. agriculture groups expressed appreciation for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Existing Stocks Order on over-the-top dicamba use in 2024. “We’re grateful to EPA for hearing farmers’ and ranchers’ concerns and addressing them quickly to make sure they have the crop protection tools they need,” says Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall. “Without EPA stepping in, farmers and ranchers were facing significant uncertainty and financial risk.” American Soybean Association President Josh Gackle says tens of millions of farmland acres were in limbo. “This ruling potentially affects more than 50 million acres of dicamba-tolerant soybeans and cotton, an area larger than Nebraska.” Ted McKinney, CEO of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, was also pleased with the decision. “As co-regulatory partners with EPA, we commend the agency for issuing the existing stocks order on dicamba,” he says. “The stocks order will prevent severe detrimental impacts to our food, fuel, and fiber availability.” *********************************************************************************** January Tractor Sales Up Slightly in the U.S. Unit sales of four-wheel-drive tractors grew slightly in the U.S. during January. The latest data from the Association of Equipment Manufacturers shows four-wheel-drive tractor sales increased 1.4 percent year-over-year and was the only segment to show growth in January. In Canada, four-wheel-drive tractor sales were unchanged at 409 units in January compared to 2023. “The slight gain in U.S. four-wheel-drive tractors is positive news as 2024 begins,” says AEM Senior Vice President Curt Blades. “While overall sales fell in both the U.S. and Canada compared to January 2023 sales, we remain optimistic about future long-term growth.” Overall unit sales of U.S. tractors dropped 21.2 percent compared to January 2023 sales, while combine sales finished 4.9 percent below last January. Under-40 horsepower tractors were down 26 percent from last year. Canadian tractor sales ended January 30 percent below the 2023 data. Combines were also down 9.5 percent in January compared to last year. *********************************************************************************** Crop Insurance Costs to Jump 29 Percent The federally-subsidized crop insurance program will cost an additional $27.7 billion over the next decade. A Congressional Budget Office report says the government pays roughly 62 cents of each dollar in premiums, and sales of livestock and forage policies are exploding. A Farmdoc report says crop insurance costs should rise by 29 percent to nearly $125 billion for the decade ending in 2033. Despite the increase, USDA spending on crop and livestock subsidies and land stewardship programs should remain stable. While crop insurance costs likely will increase, the Senate Ag Committee says that projected costs for all farm bill-related programs are now $1.46 trillion between 2025 and 2034. That’s down 3.5 percent from the previous ten-year baseline of $1.5 trillion. Livestock insurance programs have grown dramatically since 2018 when Congress increased the premium subsidy rates for coverage. Policies covered $26.4 billion of liabilities in 2023, compared to $512 million in 2018. *********************************************************************************** Eighteen Months From a Bird Flu Vaccine Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says the United States is 18 months away from a vaccine for bird flu. That news comes as more than 81 million U.S. poultry and aquatic birds have been killed by avian flu across 47 states since January 2022, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The U.S. has found bird flu this year in eight commercial flocks and 14 backyard flocks so far, affecting 530,000 poultry. During a Congressional hearing, Vilsack said, “We’re probably 18 months away from being able to identify a vaccine that would be effective for the particular flu we’re dealing with now.” Forth News says the USDA plans to discuss poultry vaccinations with trading partners amid concerns that other countries could restrict imports of vaccinated U.S. poultry. In May, the World Organization for Animal Health said governments should consider flu vaccines in their poultry to prevent the spread of avian influenza. *********************************************************************************** USGC Winter Meeting Underway in Guatemala U.S. Grains Council members and staff gathered in Guatemala this week for the Council’s 21st International Marketing Conference and 64th Annual Membership Meeting. The meeting runs through Friday and will involve discussions of the current state of feed grain and biofuel markets around the world and an update for attendees on the Council’s plans for 2024 and beyond. USGC Chair Brent Boydston opened the event with a welcome and an overview of his tenure thus far. “My theme for this year, Growing the Future, reflects both the opportunities and challenges of the current trade environment,” Boydston says. “We gather to discuss issues facing our industry and explore future demand for feed grains, distiller’s dried grains with solubles, and ethanol around the world.” Chief Agricultural Negotiator Doug McKalip addressed attendees and outlined the importance of his office’s work in Guatemala and Central America. More information is available on social media at #Grains24.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday February 16, 2024 |


Friday Watch List Markets Traders will again focus on South American weather. Government reports out at 7:30 CST are Housing Starts, Building Permits, the Producer Price Index (PPI) and Core Producer Price Index. Weather Another clipper system from the Dakotas has made its way into the Southern Midwest Friday morning and will provide snow showers to the Eastern and Southern Midwest throughout the day. Farther south, temperatures will be milder for rain showers across the Southern Delta and Tennessee Valley.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday February 15, 2024 |


Analysis: Crop Insurance Prices Lower This Year An analysis by the University of Illinois projects crop insurance prices will be much lower than in 2023, resulting in lower per-acre premiums in 2024. That's because of lower corn and soybean futures during the first half of this month. Researchers say premiums are likely to be 16 to 18 percent lower for corn and ten to 12 percent lower for soybean policies based on current estimates for in Champaign and Jefferson Counties in Illinois. Since lower insurance prices also result in lower guarantees per acre, researchers say farmers may wish to increase their coverage levels with the premium savings. The projected insurance prices for corn and soybeans are based on average settlement prices on each crops' harvest contract during the month of February. Through February 9, the December corn contract has averaged $4.74 per bushel. The November soybean contract has averaged $11.73 per bushel or $2.03 below the $13.76 projected price in 2023, a decline of nearly 15 percent. Find the full analysis on the farmdocDAILY website. *********************************************************************************** Industry Responds to Census of Agriculture Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack calls the data in the 2022 Census of Agriculture a "wake-up call" for the industry. In a statement following the release of the Census, Vilsack says, "It's imperative that we continue to deliver agriculture policies that create multiple streams of income and new, more competitive models for small- and mid-sized farms." The Census reports 141,733 fewer farms in 2022 than in 2017. The number of farm acres fell more than 20 million acres from just five years earlier. American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall says, “Increased regulations, rising supply costs, lack of available labor and weather disasters have all squeezed farmers to the point that many of them find it impossible to remain economically sustainable.” Vilsack adds, “We are at a pivotal moment, in which we have the opportunity to hold tight to the status quo and shrink our nation's agriculture sector further, or we can choose a more expansive, newer model that creates more opportunity, for more farmers." *********************************************************************************** Census of Agriculture Highlights Aging Farmer Population The 2022 Census of Agriculture shows the number of farmers over the age of 65 is outpacing younger farmers. Almost 1.3 million farmers are now at or beyond retirement age, while just 300,000 farmers are under the age of 35. The average age of all producers was 58.1, up 0.6 years from 2017. However, this is a smaller increase than average age increases between prior censuses. There were just over one million farmers with ten or fewer years of experience, an increase in the number of beginning farmers from 2017 of 11 percent. Beginning farmers are younger than all farmers, with an average age of 47.1. The number of producers under age 35 was 296,480, comprising nine percent of all producers. In 2022, 1.2 million female producers accounted for 36 percent of all producers. And the data shows that 58 percent of all farms had at least one female decision maker. *********************************************************************************** USDA: Food Prices Increased 5.8% in 2023 In 2023, all food prices increased by 5.8 percent on average compared with 2022. The figure includes both food away from home and food purchased for consumption at home. Food-at-home prices increased by 5.0 percent, while food-away-from-home prices increased by 7.1 percent. Food prices are expected to continue to decelerate in 2024. The all food prices are predicted to increase 1.3 percent, with a prediction interval of -1.4 to 4.2 percent. Food-at-home prices are predicted to decrease 0.4 percent, with a prediction interval of -4.5 to 4.0 percent, and food-away-from-home prices are predicted to increase 4.7 percent, with a prediction interval of 3.1 to 6.2 percent. Meanwhile, the Consumer Price Index earlier this week indicated an increase in January. The food index rose 0.4 percent in January, and the food at home index also increased 0.4 percent over the month. The food at home index rose 1.2 percent over the last 12 months, while the index for food away from home rose 5.1 percent. *********************************************************************************** NFU Leads Letter to Congress: Uphold Packers and Stockyards Act Progress National Farmers Union this week sent a letter to Appropriations Committee leadership opposing restrictions that would undo work to revitalize the Packers and Stockyards Act. The letter, signed by national, regional, and state organizations, points out that "opponents of competitive agricultural markets are seeking to roll back the work USDA has already completed, prevent USDA from making additional progress on these rules, and prevent any similar effort in the future." Damaging provisions were included in an earlier version of the FY24 Appropriations bill, and this same strategy was used by opponents of the Act during previous administrations. NFU President Rob Larew says, "Blocking USDA's work would be a direct hit to fair markets," adding, "Congress should champion family farmers and consumers, not bow to meatpacking monopolies. We urge them to discard this harmful proposal once and for all." Just this week, USDA's first updated Packers and Stockyards Act rule went into effect, with many more important rules to follow. *********************************************************************************** USDA Investment to Help Indigenous Communities Access Climate Markets The Department of Agriculture Wednesday announced a $20 million investment to support indigenous communities in accessing emerging climate markets. The funding, distributed through competitive grants administered by the USDA Forest Service, will help recipients access emerging private markets for forest resilience, climate mitigation, water quality, carbon sequestration and more. Agriculture Deputy Secretary Xochitl Torres Small says, “Tribes and Alaska Native corporations and villages will have broader access to markets that will help address the climate crisis.” Deputy Secretary Torres Small made the announcement during a meeting of the National Congress of American Indians in Washington. The non-profit National Congress is the oldest, largest, and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization serving the interests of Tribal governments and communities. The investments fund work on tribal lands and complement USDA's commitment to advance co-stewardship of national forests and grasslands. Proposals for this new grant opportunity may be submitted through August 21, 2024, at grants.gov.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday February 15, 2024 |


Thursday Watch List Markets Traders will again focus on South American weather and watch for export sales out at 7:30 a.m. CST. The USDA Ag Outlook Forum is also taking place and we will get a look at their new crop balance sheets. Other government reports out include Initial Jobless claims, U.S. Retail Sales, and Industrial Production. Weather A clipper system providing snow to the Great Lakes and rain showers to the Eastern Midwest will exit these regions Thursday. Another clipper from the Northern Rockies will enter the Dakotas and Central Plains later Thursday into the evening, possibly providing a band of six inches of snow across southern South Dakota and northern Nebraska.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday February 14, 2024 |


USDA Releases 2022 Census of Agriculture USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service Tuesday announced the 2022 Census of Agriculture results. The information collected directly from producers shows a continued decline in the total number of U.S. farms. However, the data also show a rise in the number of new and beginning farmers and young producers. New and beginning farmers are defined as those operating ten or fewer years on any farm and young producers are those under the age of 35. NASS Administrator Hubert Hamer says, “Overall, though there are always changes across U.S. agriculture, the data remain largely consistent with the previous ag census.” The data shows there were 1.9 million farms and ranches, down seven percent from 2017, with an average size of 463 acres, up five percent. Family-owned and operated farms accounted for 95 percent of all U.S. farms and operated 84 percent of land in farms. Find the complete data set online at nass.usda.gov/AgCensus. *********************************************************************************** Food Prices Increased in January Grocery prices increased slightly last month, according to the latest Consumer Price Index released Tuesday. The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers increased 0.3 percent in January on a seasonally adjusted basis, after rising 0.2 percent in December. Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 3.1 percent. The food index rose 0.4 percent in January, and the food at home index also increased 0.4 percent over the month. Four of the six major grocery store food group indexes increased over the month. The food away from home index rose 0.5 percent in January. The index for full-service meals rose 0.4 percent and the index for limited service meals increased 0.6 percent over the month. The food at home index rose 1.2 percent over the last 12 months, while the index for food away from home rose 5.1 percent over the last year. *********************************************************************************** Productivity The Major Driver of U.S. Agricultural Growth Technological developments in agriculture have enabled continued output growth without requiring much additional inputs, according to a new USDA Economic Research Service report. Innovations in animal and crop genetics, chemicals, equipment, and farm organization have made it possible for total agricultural output to nearly triple between 1948 and 2021. During that period, the amount of inputs used in farming declined slightly over time, meaning that the growth in agricultural output over the long term has depended on increases in total factor productivity. Total factor productivity measures the amount of agricultural output produced from the combined inputs in farm production. Growth in total factor productivity indicates positive changes in the efficiency with which inputs are transformed into outputs. In the most recent calculation period spanning 2020–21, agricultural output grew, which was due entirely to total factor productivity growth, even as the amount of inputs used in farming fell. *********************************************************************************** USDA Releases North America 2023 Potato Production Data A new report from the Agriculture Departments of the U.S., Mexico, and Canada reveals the 2023 North American Potato harvest data. USDA released the North American Potatoes report this week. The 2023 potato production for the United States and Canada combined is estimated at 570 million per hundredweight, up eight percent from the 2022 estimate. The United States potato production is estimated at 441 million hundredweight, up ten percent from last year. Canada's potato growers harvested 129 million, up four percent from 2022. The 2022 potato production for the United States, Canada, and Mexico combined is 567 million hundredweight, down two percent from the 2021 estimate. The United States 2022 potato production is estimated at 402 million hundredweight, down three percent from 2021. Canada’s potato growers harvested 124 million hundredweight during 2022, up two percent from 2021. Mexico’s potato growers harvested 41.4 million hundredweight during 2022, down four percent from 2021. *********************************************************************************** USDA Ag Outlook Forum Thursday USDA will hold its annual Ag Outlook Forum Thursday. The two-day event is USDA's 100th Annual Agricultural Outlook Forum, themed “Cultivating the Future.” The vent features more than 30 sessions and 120 speakers, and offers a rich and diverse program covering a range of timely topics such as commodity markets, trade, technology, climate change and more. Thursday will feature USDA Chief Economist Seth Meyer’s presentation on the 2024 Agricultural Economic and Foreign Trade Outlook, and a Keynote address by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. Day two on Friday features a plenary session titled, “Fostering Diverse Opportunities for U.S. Agricultural Exports in the Global Marketplace.” Friday\’s schedule included virtual remarks by Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, and remarks from U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai. USDA will hold the event at the Crystal City Gateway Marriott in Arlington, Virginia. For more information about the program and registration, visit the Agricultural Outlook Forum website. *********************************************************************************** Collaboration Seeks Japanese Encephalitis Virus Research A new collaboration seeks to fund research for prevention and preparedness capabilities for Japanese encephalitis virus, a transboundary disease risk for U.S. introduction. The Swine Health Information Center and the Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research have partnered to fund a $1 million research program. Japanese encephalitis is an emerging zoonotic disease identified through global monitoring as a priority for North American prevention and preparedness activities. The virus is transmitted through the bite of infected mosquitoes, and biosecurity practices focused on mosquito control are key to reducing risk. In 2022, an outbreak of the disease spread rapidly across new geographic regions of Australia, affecting breeding swine herds. Individual awards are capped at $250,000, but proposals may exceed the cap if sufficient justification is provided. All projects should strive to be unique, have a high impact, show value to pork producers, and have industry-wide benefit. Additional information can be found at www.swinehealth.org.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday February 14, 2024 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets Traders will again focus on South American weather, and at 10 a.m. CST, the EIA will be out with their Weekly Petroleum report which will detail weekly ethanol production and stocks. There will be no government economic reports following Tuesday's higher than expected Consumer Price Index data. Weather A band of moderate to heavy snow will develop across South Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin Wednesday and parts of west-central Minnesota and east-central South Dakota could see up to eight inches of snow. Cooler temperatures are expected behind this system.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday February 13, 2024 |


Growth Rate of World Ag Production Slows USDA says in the last decade, world agricultural output grew at an average annual rate of 1.94 percent per year, far slower than the 2.74 percent growth rate over the prior decade. That’s also below the average annual rate of 2.3 percent over the past six decades from 1961-2021. The slowdown was primarily tied to a slowing rate of growth in agricultural total factor productivity (TFP), which fell 1.4 percent per year in 2011-2021 compared to 1.93 percent per year during the previous decade. TFP measures the amount of agricultural output produced from the aggregated inputs used in the production process, including land, capital, labor, and material resources. There are four major sources for overall growth, including bringing more land into production, extending irrigation to land, intensifying the use of capital, labor, and material inputs per unit of land, and improving TFP, reflecting the rate of technological and efficiency improvements of inputs. *********************************************************************************** Questions Continue About Farm Kids and Financial Aid Iowa Republican Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst are pressing the Department of Education for clarity regarding Question 22 on the new Free Application for Federal Student Aid. They’re especially concerned that the way the agency chooses to ask the question will force students to list the net worth of family farms as assets. Current ambiguities could cut off farm kids from needed financial aid and make it less feasible for them to attend college. “The question fundamentally misunderstands how the family farm operates, as the stream of revenue for crops and livestock varies significantly year-over-year, and assets cannot get cashed out to support a loan in the same capacity as traditional investments,” the senators wrote in a letter to the Education Department. “We reiterate our concern with the nature of this question and the lack of insight on how the adjusted formula will impact students from an agricultural background.” *********************************************************************************** FACA Sees Workforce Development Opportunities The Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance welcomes the launch of a USDA workforce development initiative aimed at building the next generation of conservation delivery providers. The Working Lands Climate Corps is a promising opportunity to provide on-the-ground education and training to develop the skillset needed to address natural resource challenges. Climate Corps fellows, working with state and local organizations, will gain the skills needed to provide conservation technical assistance to agricultural producers who are voluntarily making climate-smart investments in their operations. FACA appreciates USDA’s commitment to building the next generation of boots on the ground but acknowledges the immediate need for more capacity today. “We encourage USDA to continue to prioritize ongoing capacity-building and recruitment efforts,” FACA says. “These two efforts are complementary and necessary to build a robust workforce to scale conservation delivery. FACA members are united in support of climate policies that are voluntary, market-based, and scientifically sound. *********************************************************************************** FMMO Next Steps Begin With the Federal Milk Marketing Order hearing now complete, USDA is now considering the more than 12,000 pages of testimony as it formulates a plan for FMMO modernization. The National Milk Producers Federation is still doing what it can to ensure that the proposal best reflects the interest of dairy farmers and their cooperatives. The organization says the key to a successful modernization is a comprehensive approach that addresses the complexity of federal orders in a way that respects the entire dairy industry while keeping in mind that orders most fundamentally must work for farmers. That’s the bedrock principle behind NMPF proposals on areas ranging from returning to the “higher-of” Class I mover to updating milk composition factors. “You can’t look at the federal order system having not been updated in 20 years and not address all facets of the industry,” says Stephen Cain, NMPF Senior Director for Economic Research and Analysis. *********************************************************************************** Grocery Buying Goes Online In 2022, the Economic Research Service’s Eating and Health Module captured, for the first time, nationally representative data concerning the prevalence and frequency of Americans doing online grocery shopping. The survey data revealed that nearly nine out of ten individuals aged 15 and older (87.2 percent) reported they usually grocery shopped for their household either online or in person. Of these, about two in 10 (19.3 percent) had bought groceries online at least in the past 30 days. However, the frequency of online shopping varied. Among those who had bought groceries online in the past month, 30 percent did once, 25 percent made two online purchases, and 44 percent bought groceries online three or more times. The landscape of online grocery shopping took a big shift in 2020 because of COVID. The Food and Drug Administration says online grocery sales grew 55 percent from 2019’s $62 billion to $96 billion in 2020. *********************************************************************************** Fake Meat Investment Falls The last 12 months have been c challenging for cultivated meat and seafood companies trying to raise capital. For example, AGFunderNews.com says Finless Foods is making cutbacks to conserve cash, New Age Eats running out of funds, and GOOD Meat getting sued by its bioreactor supplier over allegedly unpaid bills. As AgFunder runs the numbers, preliminary data shows that funding for cultivated meat startups peaked at $989 million in 2021, dipped slightly to $807 million in 2022, and then dropped sharply last year, falling 78 percent to $177 million against a backdrop of a 50 percent drop in agrifood tech investing overall in 2023. While the funding rounds were far smaller in 2023 versus 2022, investors placed a sizable bet on Uncommon, a UK-based startup formerly called Higher Steaks. That investment netted $30 million in funding to scale the production of cultivated pork using patent-pending technology by speeding up the cell differentiation process.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday February 13, 2024 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets The U.S. Labor Department's consumer price index for January will be out at 7:30 a.m. CST Tuesday. USDA's 2022 Census of Agriculture is also due out sometime Tuesday. Traders continue to monitor the latest weather forecasts in South America and events in the Middle East. Weather A system that brought heavy rain and some snow to the Southeast Monday continues on the East Coast for Tuesday. A clipper coming down from Canada will be getting into the Northern Plains with some isolated snow showers as well, but most areas are going to be quiet Tuesday.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday February 12, 2024 |


U.S. Pork Exports Set Annual Record Led by a record-shattering performance in Mexico and broad-based growth elsewhere, U.S. pork exports set a value record in 2023. Data shows December pork exports rose 10 percent from the prior year to 268,400 metric tons, the largest since May 2021 and the eighth-largest on record. Export value increased 11 percent to $766 million, also the highest since May 2021 and the third-highest on record. The strong December pushed 2023 export value to a record $8.16 billion, six percent higher than 2022. Export volume reached 2.91 million tons, eight percent higher year-over-year and the third-largest on record. Beef exports closed the year on a higher note, with December totaling 108,497 million tons, down four percent year-over-year but the largest level since August. Export value was also the highest since August, climbing 10 percent over 2022 to $860.8 million. 2023 beef exports hit 1.29 million tons, 12 percent below 2022 levels. *********************************************************************************** Farmers Need Access to Crop Protection Tools American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall sent a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency asking the agency to allow farmers to use existing dicamba stocks for the upcoming season. An Arizona court vacated the registration of three dicamba products critically important for farmers in fighting resistant weeds. “Many farmers have already made planting decisions to use dicamba-tolerant crop systems and have planned to use dicamba products in the near future,” Duvall says. “These farmers invested in substantial sums in the dicamba-resistant seeds in reliance on EPA’s prior approval of dicamba on these crops.” He adds that without those products, not only are the substantial investments at risk, but farmers don’t know how they’ll protect their crops. AFB is asking EPA to issue an existing stock order to ensure dicamba remains available to farmers throughout the growing season. “We are committed to the safe use of all crop protection tools,” Duvall adds. *********************************************************************************** USDA Contributes $270 Million to Bolster Food Supply Chain Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the USDA has awarded over $270 million to date through cooperative agreements with state departments of agriculture to build resilience across the middle of the food supply chain and strengthen local and regional food systems. The funding is awarded through the Resilient Food Systems Infrastructure Program. At the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture’s Winter Policy Conference, Vilsack announced Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Kentucky, Louisiana, Utah, and West Virginia have now opened their Request for Applications for the program, joining 28 states that are already offering grant funding for projects that support supply chain infrastructure. “These unprecedented investments into our nation’s supply chain infrastructure will not only benefit consumers by ensuring they have dependable access to fresh and locally produced food, but the investments will also benefit producers and rural communities by providing more and better markets for small and mid-sized producers,” he says. *********************************************************************************** Part of Massachusetts Pork Law Ruled Unconstitutional A U.S. District Judge ruled that a portion of the recent Massachusetts law that bans the sale of pork if a pig is held in a confined space is unconstitutional. However, Boston media reports say the judge is allowing that part of the law to be severed, and the rest will stay in effect for now. Judge William Young made the ruling following a lawsuit by pork processors and other pig farmers who believed the pork law was unconstitutional. The law, called “The Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act,” was approved by voters in 2016 and banned the sale of eggs, veal, and pork from animals held in conditions deemed cruel. The portion of the law getting argued was an exemption that allowed the sale of pork from federally inspected slaughterhouses in Massachusetts that don’t meet requirements as long as the buyers take possession of the pork while on their premises. *********************************************************************************** EPA Outlines Potential ESA Pesticide Policies The Environmental Protection Agency announced implementation approaches for pesticide policies under the Endangered Species Act. Assistant Administrator Michael Freedhoff talked about the steps during a speech at the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture’s winter policy conference. When registering pesticides under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, EPA must also comply with the Endangered Species Act to ensure the pesticides don’t harm endangered species or their habitats. EPA announced additional plans to address concerns about the challenge of protecting endangered species from exposure and expand its partnership with the USDA. EPA says it won’t implement the Vulnerable Species Pilot Protections for a species until a more refined map of its habitat gets developed. The agency is also working to develop new maps that better reflect where the species actually live and where protections from pesticides are needed most. “These steps will benefit farmers and endangered species,” Freedhoff says. *********************************************************************************** McDonald’s Hits 100 Percent Cage-Free Eggs McDonald’s says it met the goal of sourcing 100 percent cage-free eggs in the U.S. by 2025, two years ahead of its original timeline. The company says it’s continuing to prioritize the health and welfare of the animals in its supply chain. The improvement is in the power of the “McDonald’s System” working together towards a shared goal. As a U.S. system, McDonald’s purchased almost two billion eggs in 2023, close to six times the entire U.S. population. “Our journey to move to sourcing 100 percent cage-free eggs in the U.S. was a huge undertaking that was made uniquely possible by our owner/operators, producers, and our supply chain working together as one team,” says Bob Stewart, SVP and North American Chief Supply Chain Officer for McDonald’s. “I’m incredibly proud of what we achieved together and the positive impact we’ll continue to make on the path toward a more sustainable future.”

| Rural Advocate News | Monday February 12, 2024 |


Top 5 Things to Watch - Big Shows and Big Reports 1. National machinery shows: Two of the big farm shows kick off this week. DTN will have a series of markets, weather and cropping sessions going on during the National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville, Kentucky. Come hear DTN Ag Meteorologist John Baranick and DTN Lead Analyst Todd Hultman -- they'll have daily sessions on our weather and commodity markets outlooks Wednesday (at 2:30 p.m. EST), Thursday (8:30 a.m. EST) and Friday (10 a.m. EST). Our Successful Cover Crop Strategies session, featuring a panel of cover crop and carbon program experts, is Thursday at 10:30 a.m. We'll also have DTN Senior Editor Dan Miller and others reporting from the show floor. DTN Senior Editor Joel Reichberger will be at Tulare, California to report the latest new technologies on display at the World Ag Expo. 2. Census of Ag: On Feb. 13, USDA will release results of the 2022 Census of Agriculture. We'll have insights into some of the key trends in prices, land ownership and other key indicators that have taken shape since the 2017 Ag Census. We'll have continued reporting on census figures through the coming weeks. 3. USDA Outlook Conference. On Feb. 15-16, USDA will hold its annual outlook conference in Washington, D.C. This year's conference is a few weeks earlier than normal, but will feature USDA's official outlook on all the major commodities for 2024. We'll report from the event. 4. Weather cools: The unseasonably warm conditions of the past 10 or so days will taper somewhat, though most of the country will still see temperatures slightly above to above normal for mid-February. Systems could bring more showers to the Southern and Central Plains late in the week. 5. Economic reports to watch: Monday starts with grain inspection reports at 10 a.m. At 1 p.m. the Monthly Federal Budget report is revealed. Tuesday at 7:30 a.m. we will have the Consumer Price Index (CPI), Core CPI and Core CPI year-over-year results. On Wednesday (Happy Valentine's Day!) we'll see the EIA Weekly Petroleum Report, including ethanol production and stocks, at 10 a.m. Then Thursday sees a collection of reports hitting at 7:30 a.m., including weekly grain and oilseed export sales, initial jobless claims, U.S. retail sales and national import and export numbers. Industrial Production numbers are out at 8:15 a.m., with Home Builder Confidence Index at 9 a.m. and the weekly Economic Index Report at 10:30 a.m. (Don't forget to water those flowers you bought your Valentine. Wait, you did get flowers, right?) Friday morning will be busy. We'll see U.S. Housing Starts report at 7:30 a.m., as well as Building Permits and the New Residential Construction report, along with the Producer Price Index (PPI), Core PPI, and PPI Year-Over-Year reports. At 9 a.m. the Consumer Sentiment report will be released. Whew!

| Rural Advocate News | Monday February 12, 2024 |


Monday Watch List Markets Back from the weekend, traders will be paying attention to South American weather and the latest events from the Middle East. Markets in China are closed this week for the Lunar New Year. USDA's weekly export inspections will be out at 10 a.m. CST. The U.S. Treasury Department reports on the federal budget for January at 1 p.m. Weather A system from the weekend continues to move through the Southeast on Monday, with areas of heavy rain and thunderstorms, some of which may be severe. On the northern end of the storm, it will be just cold enough to get some snow to fall from southern Missouri through portions of the Ohio Valley. Despite the snow, it still remains mild by February standards in most places of the country outside of the Southwest.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday February 9, 2024 |


February WASDE Shows Higher Corn, Soybean Ending Stocks The February World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates show the 2023-2024 U.S. corn outlook calling for lower food, seed, and industrial use and larger ending stocks. Lower usage will lead to a 10 million bushel increase in ending stocks compared to last month’s report. The season-average corn price received by producers is unchanged at $4.80 a bushel. This month’s soybean outlook is for lower exports and higher ending stocks. Soybean exports are forecast at 1.72 billion bushels, down 35 million from last month. With crush unchanged, ending stocks are forecast at 315 million bushels, up 35 million from last month. The season-average soybean price is forecast a dime lower to $12.65 per bushel. The wheat outlook is for stable supplies, lower domestic use, unchanged exports, and higher ending stocks. Projected ending stocks are up 10 million bushels to 658 million. The season-average farm price forecast is unchanged at $7.20 a bushel. *********************************************************************************** Ag Retailers Association Unhappy with Dicamba Decision Earlier this week, a federal District Court in Arizona vacated the registration for over-the-top applications of dicamba on dicamba-tolerant soybeans and cotton. While the court decision came from Arizona, the decision is national in scope. The Ag Retailers Association disagrees with the decision, noting the determination should be made by a science-based regulatory agency. The association says, “The timing of the decision will be extremely disruptive to ag retailers, distributors, manufacturers, and farmers planning to use the products in 2024.” The ARA points out that farmers have already made their decisions about what varieties of cotton and soybean seeds they want to plant this year, and retailers are already stocking not only the seeds but also the herbicides the growers need for their systems. “The decision comes after most planning is finished and while we are procuring those products that farmers need,” the ARA adds. “It’s the worst possible time.” *********************************************************************************** CoBank: Lack of Heifers May Limit Milk Production Growth A sharp decline in the number of dairy heifers available to replace older cows exiting the U.S. dairy herd could limit meaningful growth in milk production. The number of dairy replacement heifers has fallen almost 15 percent in the last six years to reach a 20-year low. While the global demand outlook for U.S. dairy products is murky due to export market uncertainties, any potential growth opportunities may get stymied by an inability to expand U.S. milk production. A new report from CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange says the rising cost of rearing dairy heifer calves has far outpaced increases in heifer values over the last several years. That imbalance has prompted dairy farmers to reduce their replacement heifer inventories, doing so, in large part, by breeding more dairy heifers and cows to beef bulls. “Farmers can cut costs associated with heifers and generate additional income from beef,” says Cory Geiger of CoBank. *********************************************************************************** Renewable Diesel to Expand by 30 Percent Annually The Energy Information Administration predicts renewable diesel production to increase by 30 percent annually in both 2024 and 2025. In its latest Short-Term Energy Outlook, the EIA says renewable diesel production will average approximately 230,000 barrels per day in 2024 and expand to 290,000 barrels per day in 2025. In comparison, production averaged approximately 200,000 barrels per day at the end of 2023. Renewable diesel production capacity has expanded significantly in recent years. EIA data shows capacity was at 1.75 billion gallons a year in January 2022 and had reached 3.85 billion gallons a year by November 2023. The EIA also announced it is reducing U.S. crude oil capacity forecast by 120,000 barrels per day beginning in March. That prediction comes after Phillips 66 plans to permanently stop processing crude oil at its Rodeo refinery in California next month. The company is planning to convert the facility to produce renewable diesel. *********************************************************************************** NIAA Adopts New Strategic Plan To ensure the National Institute for Animal Agriculture continues to meet its mission, the board of directors adopted a new strategic plan earlier this year. The board adopted the NIAA 2024 – 2026 Strategic Plan during their January meeting. “Fellow board members and I are looking forward to implementing these new strategic pillars and building on achievements from the past four years,” says Dr. Eric Moore, NIAA Chair. The strategic plan focuses on four pillars. The first is Convening: NIAA is the top forum for convening diverse thought leaders in animal ag. Number two is Leadership Development which empowers leaders to positively affect the future of animal agriculture. Three is Communications and Marketing which disseminates resources to the industry. The fourth is Fostering Innovation in Animal Agriculture, which includes facilitating awareness of innovative technologies and practices that are economically viable and scientifically sound to improve the profitability and sustainability of animal agriculture. *********************************************************************************** Favorite Super Bowl Snacks The Super Bowl is on Sunday and will be watched by approximately 113 million people. Food is a big part of Super Bowl parties, and Frito-Lay’s Super Bowl Snack Index has some interesting food trends. Seventy percent of experienced hosts begin gearing up by planning meals, and 51 percent start preparations at least a week early. Three in five guests admit the promise of top-notch food is the deciding factor in which Super Bowl party they attend. It’s particularly true in 77 percent of the under-40 crowd. Potlucks prevail as the preferred party format at 67 percent, highlighting the popularity of collaborative celebrations over host-provided fare. Salsa (27 percent), French Onion (21 percent), and Queso (20 percent) are the top three dips. While salsa steals the spotlight among Gen Z, Millennials, and Gen X dippers, Baby Boomers prefer French Onion. Thirty-five percent of consumers integrate their favorite snacks into their meals.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday February 9, 2024 |


Friday Watch List Markets There are no significant reports Friday and markets in China are closed until Feb 19 for the Lunar New Year. Traders will sort through Thursday's estimates from USDA and Conab and keep watch over South American weather. Traders will also monitor the latest rise in oil prices and tensions in the Middle East. Weather A system that went across the north on Thursday stalled a cold front from Kansas to Michigan for Friday morning. That front and areas a bit to the south will light up with showers throughout the day while light snow flies across the far north. Despite colder temperatures than earlier this week, temperatures behind the cold front are still higher than normal.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday February 8, 2024 |


USDA Predicts Large Decline in Farm Income USDA’s Economic Research Service forecasts that U.S. net cash farm income will decrease by $42.2 billion, or 25.8 percent, to $121.7 billion in 2024 in inflation-adjusted dollars. This is after net farm cash income decreased in 2023 by a forecast of $50.2 billion to $163.9 billion. Net cash farm income is defined as gross cash income minus cash expenses. Net farm income is forecast to decrease by $43.1 billion to $116.1 billion from 2023 to 2024. Net farm income is a broader measure of farm sector profitability that incorporates noncash items, including changes in inventories, economic depreciation, and gross imputed rental income. Cash receipts for farm commodities are projected to fall by $32.2 billion to $485.5 billion in 2024. Meanwhile, production expenses are expected to increase by $7.2 billion, or 1.6 percent, to $455.1 billion in 2024. Also, total commodity insurance indemnity payments are forecasted to fall by $1.5 billion in 2024, and direct government payments to farmers are projected to fall by $2.2 billion from 2023 levels to $10.2 billion in 2024. *********************************************************************************** Federal Judge Vacates Dicamba Registrations A federal judge this week vacated the 2020 dicamba registrations by the Environmental Protection Agency. The ruling in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona leaves farmers without options to use dicamba in the upcoming growing season. Affected products include Bayer’s XtendiMax, BASF’s Engenia and Syngenta’s Tavium. In response, the North Carolina State University Extension says, "Many will panic in response to this news and scramble to switch technology." The court vacated registrations for over-the-top use of dicamba, ruling that the EPA violated the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act’s public input requirement before its approval. Proponents called the ruling a “vital victory for farmers and the environment.” The Center for Biological Diversity claims, “Endangered butterflies and bee populations will keep tanking if the EPA keeps twisting itself into a pretzel to approve this product just to appease the pesticide industry.” Crop protection companies are assessing the situation to find a path forward for dicamba. *********************************************************************************** House Democrats Draw Lines on Farm Bill Priorities House Agriculture Committee Democrats published a memo Wednesday laying out the principles the next farm bill should include. The principles outline the requests needed to win support of the House Democratic Caucus, however, draw hard lines against proposals from Republicans. The principles are distilled from farm bill priorities submitted by Democratic Members across the Caucus and represent the shared values of House Democrats, including protecting Inflation Reduction Act climate investments and SNAP. Ranking member David Scott of Georgia says, "After months of Republican discord and disorder delaying the passage of the farm bill, the principles document presents an honest assessment of where House Democrats are on farm bill policy." Scott believes the principles offer Republicans an "unambiguous and straightforward path to passing a strong, effective, and bipartisan farm bill." According to the Democratic principles, the farm bill must reduce hunger, strengthen America's farmers, and invest in sustainable agriculture, among other issues. *********************************************************************************** TFI: Tightening of Air Standards will Hamper Fertilizer Production The Fertilizer Institute Wednesday expressed alarm with the Environmental Protection Agency’s lowering of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for fine particulate matter. According to TFI, the change will lead to permitting gridlock across much of the country, negatively impacting economic growth and fertilizer production. TFI President and CEO Corey Rosenbusch says, "At a time when the need to strengthen the domestic fertilizer industry has been made clear by multiple ongoing global crises and echoed by the Biden Administration, now is not the time to hamstring fertilizer production." The standards have significantly curtailed air pollution nationwide, but a major challenge for industries arises as those levels are progressively lowered. Despite ongoing technological improvements, industries reach a threshold where additional air quality improvements become more and more unfeasible under stricter standards, especially as 84 percent of current PM2.5 emissions originate from non-industrial sources. TFI claims PM2.5 emissions have declined nearly 40 percent over the past twenty years and continue to decrease. *********************************************************************************** Corn Farmers Caution Administration over Electric Vehicles A letter signed by more than 3,400 farmers was sent to President Biden Wednesday expressing concern over the administration's focus on electric vehicles. Specifically, the prioritization of electric vehicles over biofuels, such as corn ethanol, as it works to drastically lower the nation's greenhouse gas emissions. The letter says, "If we are going to address climate change and meet our sustainability goals, we are going to have to take a multi-pronged approach, that includes tapping into higher levels of biofuels." The letter, which drew thousands of signatures in less than a week, comes as the Environmental Protection Agency prepares to release its light- and medium-duty vehicle tailpipe emissions standards for 2027-2032. A recent survey, sponsored by the National Corn Growers Association shows Americans have concerns on a range of issues involving electric vehicles. In the letter, the farmers said it could take years before EVs become popular with consumers, which means the administration must expand its focus and efforts to address greenhouse gasses with solutions that are available now. *********************************************************************************** USDA Identifies 2024 McGovern-Dole Priority Countries The Department of Agriculture this week identified priority countries for new McGovern-Dole cooperative agreements. The McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program is the largest global donor to school feeding efforts. The program provides U.S. agricultural commodities, funding, and technical assistance to reduce hunger, support nutrition, and improve literacy and primary education around the world. The McGovern-Dole Program is also an integral part in advancing U.S. diplomatic interests and strengthening alliances. For Fiscal Year 2024, USDA has identified priority countries as Angola, Bangladesh, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Guinea­Bissau, Laos, Malawi, and Rwanda. The priority countries have demonstrated significant need, a national government commitment to school feeding programs, and shared views on global food security, agricultural sustainability, and key international initiatives. Each of the cooperative agreement projects will be approximately five years in duration. When available, the fiscal year 2024 Notice of Funding Opportunity and information on how to apply will be published on Grants.gov.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday February 8, 2024 |


Thursday Watch List Markets USDA's weekly export sales report is due at 7:30 a.m. CST Thursday, the same time as weekly U.S. jobless claims and an update of the U.S. Drought Monitor. Statistics Canada releases December 31 stocks estimates at 8 a.m., followed by the Energy Department's report on natural gas storage at 9:30 a.m. USDA's WASDE report will be out at 11 a.m. with DTN's WASDE webinar at 12:30 p.m. Weather A storm system in the Northern Plains will move into Ontario by Thursday night, dragging a cold front through the Midwest that will produce some showers and thunderstorms. Snow continues on the backside of the low across the Northern Plains and Canadian Prairies. Breezy winds will accompany the system across the Plains and Midwest. Temperatures behind the front are dropping, but are still warm for February.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday February 7, 2024 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets The U.S. Census Bureau will release the U.S. trade deficit for December at 7:30 a.m. CST Wednesday, allowing USDA to have export sales data available later Wednesday morning. The Energy Department's weekly energy inventory report follows at 9:30 a.m. Traders will continue to monitor South American weather and may be cautious ahead of Thursday's WASDE report. Weather A system is moving out of the West and into the Northern Plains on Wednesday and that will be bringing a mix of rain and snow to the Northern Plains, increasing Wednesday evening. Isolated showers and thunderstorms will develop farther south as well as some breezy conditions. Temperatures ahead of the system continue to be very warm and record-breaking in some areas of the Upper Midwest.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday February 7, 2024 |


Market Prices, Input Costs, Pushing Expectations Lower Farmer sentiment took a downturn at the start of 2024 as the January Purdue University-CME Group Ag Economy Barometer Index fell to a reading of 106, eight points below a month earlier. Compared to year-end, producers had a more negative outlook of their farms' current situation along with a weakened outlook for the future. The Current Conditions Index fell nine points, and the Future Expectations Index dropped seven points, both compared to December. Anticipated lower farm income in 2024 significantly influenced the decline across all indices, evident in the Farm Financial Performance Index registering at 85, 12 points lower than a month earlier. The percentage of producers expecting weaker financial performance rose from 20 percent in December to 31 percent in January, while those expecting incomes to be about the same fell from 63 percent to 53 percent. The combination of high input costs and declining commodity prices generated a weaker financial performance outlook for 2024, according to the survey results. *********************************************************************************** Carbon Alliance Welcomes POET Pipeline Partnership The American Carbon Alliance welcomes last week’s partnership announcement between POET and the Summit Carbon pipeline. POET will connect its biofuel plants to the carbon pipeline, creating new agricultural markets and supporting rural communities—to capture the value of the biogenic CO2 from the bioethanol production process. American Carbon Alliance CEO Tom Buis says, “This partnership will move the carbon capture and sequestration process along, creating a positive ripple effect throughout Midwest communities, for farmers and producers, local economies, and the global economy as a whole.” The partnership strategically expands the carbon opportunity across the Midwest by incorporating POET’s 12 facilities in Iowa and five facilities in South Dakota into the Summit project. The addition will facilitate the capture, transportation, and permanent storage of 4.7 million metric tons of CO2 annually from the 17 POET bioprocessing plants. The American Carbon Alliance seeks to strengthen America's agricultural economy, ensure a future marketplace for American-produced liquid fuel, and improve the environment for all. *********************************************************************************** National Grange Voices Snake River Dam Removal Concerns The National Grange recently penned a letter to lawmakers expressing concerns over proposals to remove dams along the Snake River in Washington state. The letter alleges that dam removals would "totally disrupt an entire rural region of our country that depends upon this infrastructure for clean electrical power, agricultural irrigation, transportation, flood control, recreation, and jobs.” The National Grange believes that any plan to remove any dam in the Columbia/Snake River System must include an equitable and robust economic transition plan. The Grange is a social organization that encourages families to band together to promote the economic and political well-being of the community and agriculture, and includes more than 140,000 members. The letter follows legislation introduced last month regarding the issue by Representative Dan Newhouse, a Washington state Republican. The Defending Against Manipulative Negotiators Act would prohibit the use of federal funds from being used in breaching or altering the Lower Snake River Dams and prohibit the implementation of the Columbia Basin Restoration Initiative. *********************************************************************************** NCC Highlights Chicken Industry’s Efforts to Reduce Food Waste The National Chicken Council recently outlined how chicken producers reduce food waste, recycle byproducts and utilize products that would otherwise be destined for landfills. The comments were in response to the Environmental Protection Agency's proposed Draft National Strategy for Reducing Food Loss and Waste and Recycling Organics. In its comments, the council emphasized several important points and areas for enhancing the National Strategy, including the use of byproducts and rendering, along with automation and transportation improvement efforts. Several current and pending regulatory policies either do or would contribute to food waste in the chicken industry, according to the organization. The first is for the FDA to allow surplus hatchery eggs into the breaking egg market, which would reduce waste and decrease costs. The second is a proposed Salmonella Framework, which is being drafted with the goal of improving food safety –– but is not based on scientific data nor is it associated with any known public health outcomes, according to NCC. *********************************************************************************** Restaurant Industry Sales Forecast to Set $1.1 Trillion Record in 2024 Restaurant sales are forecast to exceed $1.1 trillion this year, marking a new milestone for the industry that will employ over 15.7 million people in the United States by the end of 2024. The National Restaurant Association released its 2024 2024 State of the Restaurant Industry Report Tuesday. The report finds restaurant operators are cautiously optimistic about the year ahead, with nearly eight in ten predicting their sales will increase or hold steady from 2023 levels. However, challenges still exist for the sector. Consumers will notice menu changes more frequently, and it's often the result of increased food costs. In the past year, operators report needing to find new suppliers, removing items from their menus, adjusting portion sizes or substituting lower cost items all in response to elevated food prices. The availability of food items also impacted menu composition, with more than three-quarters of operators saying their restaurant experienced supply delays or shortages of key food or beverage items in 2023. *********************************************************************************** Mobile App Restaurant Orders Remain Popular Following Pandemic Mobile app ordering at quick service restaurants remains popular following the COVID-19 pandemic. USDA’s Economic Research Service released data Tuesday showing consumer spending trends on carryout and delivery from quick-service restaurants by mobile application from December 2019–February 2020 through October–December 2022. In June–August 2020, carryout spending at quick-service restaurants via restaurant-specific apps doubled from pre-pandemic levels, and spending on delivery via third-party apps more than tripled. Third-party apps typically offer food from a variety of restaurants, while the restaurant or establishment operates restaurant-specific apps. App spending on carryout and delivery peaked in March–May 2021, reaching a total of $4.4 billion, with third-party app delivery and restaurant-specific app carryout spending each reaching about $1.6 billion. Most recently, total app spending on both carryout and delivery reached roughly $3.9 billion, where restaurant-specific carryout spending and third-party app delivery spending accounted for $1.6 and $1.4 billion, respectively.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday February 6, 2024 |


Industry Leader Northey Passes Bill Northey, a long-time agriculture industry figure, and former USDA official in the Trump administration, has died. The 64- year-old was serving as the CEO of the Agribusiness Association of Iowa. Northey grew up on an Iowa family farm. He has served as President of the National Corn Growers Association, three terms as the Iowa Agriculture Secretary, and as USDA Farm Production and Conservation undersecretary during the Trump administration. Senator Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican, commented, “Today the Iowa farm community lost a giant. Bill Northey was a dear friend and fierce advocate for the family farmer.” Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds added, “Bill understood well our responsibility to be good stewards of the land and exemplified that calling throughout his career.” Reynolds has ordered all flags in Iowa to be lowered to half-staff immediately and remain at half-staff until sunset on the day of Northey’s funeral and interment. *********************************************************************************** USDA Celebrates 10 Years of Climate Hubs This week marks ten years since the Department of Agriculture created regional Climate Hubs. The hubs were established to help agricultural producers and rural communities make climate-informed decisions. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says, "Today, as those risks are increasingly prevalent across the nation and the globe, the need for science-based climate information and assistance is more important than ever." The Climate Hubs are an important piece of USDA's agenda to address climate change, complementing investments of $19.5 billion through the Inflation Reduction Act, the largest-ever climate investment, to help producers adopt climate-smart practices. Originally, ten regional locations were established across the United States. In May 2023, an International Climate Hub was added to share best practices, collaborate with international partners and improve the world's ability to mitigate and adapt to climate. Today, the Climate Hubs form a network of more than 120 climate researchers and communicators who work across the USDA and with partners to support climate-informed decisions. *********************************************************************************** FWS Rejects Call to List Wolves in Rocky Mountain States under ESA The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently denied a request to list wolves under the Endangered Species Act in Rocky Mountain states. After an extensive assessment, the Service announced a not warranted finding for two petitions to list gray wolves under the ESA in the Northern Rocky Mountains and the Western United States. Gray wolves are listed under the ESA as endangered in 44 states, threatened in Minnesota, and under state jurisdiction in Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and portions of eastern Oregon and Washington. Based on the latest data as of the end of 2022, there were approximately 2,797 wolves distributed across at least 286 packs in seven states in the Western United States. This population size and widespread distribution contribute to the resiliency and redundancy of wolves in this region. Environmental groups are weighing options for what may be next. Erik Molvar of the Western Watersheds Project says, "It is obvious that wolves don’t have adequate regulatory mechanisms to protect them in Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming, where they are being targeted for extermination by state governments.” *********************************************************************************** Missouri River Runoff Below Normal The updated 2024 calendar year runoff forecast for the Missouri River Basin above Sioux City, Iowa, continues to be below average. January runoff in the Missouri River Basin above Sioux City was 0.4 million acre-feet, 56 percent of average. Runoff was well-below-average due to much-below-normal temperatures over the whole Missouri River Basin and below-normal precipitation over most of the upper basin. John Remus of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says, "The runoff into the reservoir system was well-below average for January," adding, "This fact in conjunction with the below-average plains and mountain snowpack indicates a below-normal runoff year for the basin.” The 2024 calendar year runoff forecast above Sioux City is 18.8-million-acre feet, 73 percent of average. To conserve water in the system, releases from Gavins Point Dam are scheduled to be 13,000 cubic feet per second this winter while still serving the needs of the municipal, industrial and powerplant water intakes along the lower river. *********************************************************************************** Digital Agriculture Research and Extension Center Launched The University of Missouri Monday announced the launch of the Digital Agriculture Research and Extension Center. The center aims to help farmers move toward a future of sustainable agriculture by leveraging digital technologies and artificial intelligence for increased productivity, sustainability and profitability. A spokesperson for the effort says, “This is the future of farming in Missouri and elsewhere, and people are looking to us as a proven academic leader in this space.” The effort was formed by a partnership between the University’s College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, the MU Extension service, and the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service. The center will explore key areas in agriculture, such as crop production, soil health, precision livestock farming, and engineering innovations through research by faculty and students and collaboration with industry partners and agencies. Adoption of any new technology takes time, and the center hopes to build trust and confidence in farmers and other stakeholders by being proactive in its education and outreach efforts. *********************************************************************************** Checkoff Partnership Introduces Hot Chocolate Milk Program in Schools A dairy checkoff partnership is putting hot chocolate milk into the hands of students during a pilot with a leading school foodservice company. National Dairy Council and Chartwells K12, which serves more than two million meals daily at 700 U.S. school districts, have launched the Hot Chocolate Milk program in 58 schools. The pilot, which will run through the end of the school year, features chocolate milk – with toppings such as cinnamon and peppermint – served hot during breakfast and lunch. Lisa Hatch, vice president of business development for NDC's school channel, said the smoothie program's success led to a "what's the next big thing?" discussion between the partners. They focused on hot chocolate, a global market valued at $3.8 billion in 2022 and expected to grow to $5.77 billion by 2030. Schools participating in the pilot program received a Hot Chocolate Milk kit. The kit includes a transport cart with branded panels, an insulated beverage dispenser, a digital thermometer and more.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday February 6, 2024 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets Traders will keep an eye on South America's weather forecasts and any updates of soybean harvest or corn planting progress. There are no significant reports scheduled for Tuesday and grain traders may be a bit cautious ahead of Thursday's WASDE report. U.S. earnings season and military actions in the Middle East are two topics also getting traders' attention. Weather A major storm system continues to build in the Southwest on Tuesday, after dumping huge amounts of precipitation over California the last couple of days. East of the Rockies, it is quiet and very warm in anticipation of the coming storm that will move through with several impulses starting Wednesday.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday February 5, 2024 |


CattleFax Forecasts Profitability, Herd Expansion Ahead The CattleFax Outlook Seminar at the 2024 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show in Florida shared expert market and weather analytics last week. The smallest beef cow inventory in the last 50 years, coupled with historically strong demand, led to the highest average fed cattle and calf prices in 2023. As reduced cattle numbers and beef production continue over the next three years, leverage and profitability will continue to favor cattle producers. Despite record prices, an expansion will likely be delayed once again. Lingering drought, high input costs, limited labor availability, high interest rates, and market uncertainty all serve as headwinds against growing the cow herd. Cow and bull slaughter is forecast to be 6.5 million head in 2024, down around 800,000 head from 2023. “Though cattle inventories may stay elevated for a few months, they are expected to decline significantly through the second half of 2024,” says Kevin Good of CattleFax. *********************************************************************************** USDA Rule Amends Certain FMMOs The USDA published a final rule that amends the transportation credit balancing fund provisions in the Appalachian and Southeast Federal Milk Marketing Orders. It also establishes distributing plant delivery credits in the Appalachian, Florida, and Southeast FMMOs. The final rule is a result of a hearing held February 28-March 2, 2023, in Tennessee. The hearing highlighted a long-standing milk deficit problem in the three southeastern orders and its impact on producers, cooperatives, and handlers serving the markets. The final rule implements a number of proposals to address this chronic issue and makes minor clarifying changes to the provisions based on public comments received. Among some of the changes, the rule updates the components of the mileage rate calculation and increases the maximum assessment rates on Class I Milk. The amendments will be effective for milk marketed on or after March 1, 2024. The final rule was published on February 1, 2024. *********************************************************************************** Soy Exports Add Billions to the U.S. Economy America’s soy complex exports added $39.8 billion to the U.S. economy in marketing year 2022-2023 on a volume of 67.6 million metric tons. The shining star was U.S. soybean meal exports broke records for both volume and value at 13.2 million metric tons and $6.91 billion, respectively. “America’s soy exports in marketing year 2022-2023 were nothing short of extraordinary,” says United Soybean Board Chair Steven Reinhard. “A standout achievement was the record-breaking performance of soybean meal exports, reaching unprecedented volume and value levels.” Increased demand from both Colombia and Ecuador boosted U.S. soybean meal exports by 15 percent and 36 percent, respectively, above their five-year averages. Meanwhile, increased volume and higher prices saw U.S. soybean meal exports increase in value by 39 percent over the last five years. Despite persistent global challenges to international businesses, U.S. whole soybean exports hit 54.2 MMT and kept pace with the previous five-year average. *********************************************************************************** Soybean Crush Rises But Short of Predictions USDA data shows the U.S. soybean crush rose month-to-month but missed expectations. Processors crushed 204 million bushels of soybeans in December, up from 200 million a month earlier. The agency’s report says that’s up from the 187 million bushels processed in December 2022 but is still down from the 206 million forecast before the report went public. Crude oil produced from the crush rose to 2.38 billion pounds, up two percent from November and eight percent from the same month a year earlier. Iowa was by far the biggest crusher of soybeans at approximately 49.3 million bushels, with Illinois second at 25.4 million bushels. The states combined for 37 percent of the soybeans crushed in the U.S. during December. About 51.4 million bushels were crushed in the north and east region, which includes Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. Processors in the north-central region crushed 37 million bushels of soybeans. *********************************************************************************** America’s Biggest Landowners The Land Report Research Team issued a report detailing who are America’s largest landowners. The “Land Report 100” shows that as of 2021, America’s largest landowner is named Red Emmerson. He and his family own just over 2.4 million acres in California, Oregon, and Washington through their timber products company, Sierra Pacific Industries. They surpassed Liberty Media Chairman John Malone’s 2.2 million acres. CNN founder Ted Turner is America’s third biggest landowner with two million acres in the Southeast, Great Plains, and across the West. The Lane Report 100 research team analyzes transactions and scours records to determine who are America’s leading landowners. That’s how they broke the news in 2020 that Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates was America’s largest farmland owner with more than 260,000 acres. They used the same methodology to identify the founder of the Shanda Investment Group as the owner of almost 200,000 acres of Oregon timberland this year. *********************************************************************************** Lamb Lovers Month is Back The American Lamb Board kicked off Lamb Lover’s Month in February with an exciting campaign titled “Show Us Your Chops.” It invites consumers to enjoy savory lamb chops at their favorite restaurants or cook their favorite recipes at home. The promotion features rack and loin chop recipes to help consumers create a romantic date night or a special dinner with friends or family featuring delicious American lamb. Consumers are invited to share their photos of their lamb chops at a restaurant or at home on the ALB consumer website or social media with the hashtag #showusyourchops. The contest will be promoted through social media advertising and sponsored blogger content throughout February. “While Lamb Lovers Month has become a tradition for ALB, it’s also a very effective promotion for reaching new consumers with recipes and information about American lamb to expand usage beyond the traditional holidays,” says Jeff Ebert, ALB chairman.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday February 5, 2024 |


Top 5 Things to Watch - WASDE, NASDA and Other Acronyms 1. WASDE Thursday: USDA's World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates and Crop Production reports are due out at 11 a.m. Our preview of the report will hit Tuesday or Wednesday, depending on the release of analyst estimates. On Thursday we will have WASDE numbers immediately after the reports are released, followed by updates with commentary and market reactions throughout the morning 2. Warmth hangs in: The unseasonably warm weather will continue to eat away at the snowpack in the Midwest through this week. Temperatures will be well-above normal east of the Rockies and cooler in the West through next weekend. Another storm will move out of the West and into the Plains during the middle of the week with another loading up in the Southwest for late week and weekend. Models differ on the development and impact of these two storms, so stay tuned through the week. Y 3. State ag conversations: We'll cover the annual meeting of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, happening in Washington, D.C. This meeting has become the place where potential ag policies come to gather steam. The farm bill, labor and immigration issues and food safety are all on the agenda. 4. Eyes on South America: It's become a bit repetitive, but with grains markets softening we continue to watch how the South American crops are developing. Updates on that will possibly supersede the WASDE numbers in terms of market influence. 5. Economic reports to watch: Monday, the S & P Services PMI report is at 8:45 a.m. Weekly grain inspections are out at 10 a.m.; at 2 p.m. the Dairy Products report hits. On Wednesday we'll watch for U.S. trade deficit numbers at 7:30 a.m., while at 10 a.m. the EAI's weekly petroleum reports are out, including ethanol and gasoline statistics. At 2 p.m. both the Consumer Credit report and broiler hatchery reports are released. On Thursday, both the U.S. export sales report and Initial Jobless Claims will be out at 7:30 a.m. Wholesale Inventories reports are at 9 a.m., the weekly Economic Index will be out at 10:30 a.m., and of course the February WASDE hits at 11 a.m. Friday sees with the CPI seasonal factor revisions report out at 7:30 a.m.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday February 5, 2024 |


Monday Watch List Markets Back from the weekend, traders will pay close attention to South American weather and news from the Middle East. USDA's weekly export inspections is set for 10 a.m. CST Monday. Traders will also look forward to USDA's next WASDE report, due out Thursday at 11 a.m. Weather A storm system from the weekend continues to spin around Florida, but areas east of the Rockies will be quiet on Monday. All the action is out in the West where another storm system is pushing through the region. Eventually, that storm will move through the country this week with multiple rounds of precipitation. It continues to be very warm ahead of these storms.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday February 2, 2024 |


New Poll Suggests Ag Economic Downturn A new poll of agricultural economists by Farm Journal shows most expect lower commodity prices, along with the outlook for higher costs, to weigh on the agriculture industry in 2024. Farm Journal has partnered with the University of Missouri to create the Ag Economists' Monthly Monitor. University of Missouri agricultural economist Scott Brown says, “If we continue down the path that we started with the January estimates, perhaps we're telling 2024 to be a less positive story than we would have just a few months ago.” Ag economists' forecast for prices of all crops and livestock shifted lower compared to the December survey, signaling net farm income could also fall more than originally anticipated. The January survey found economists' views on net farm income also took a turn, with the survey average falling to $135 billion for 2024. However, ag economists think relatively strong balance sheets and working capital could provide a cushion for 2024 with no major concerns about immediate farm solvency issues. *********************************************************************************** USDA Report Shows Cattle Inventory Declines USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service this week released the Cattle report showing a two percent decline in U.S. cattle inventory. The report shows 87.2 million head of cattle and calves on U.S. farms as of January 1, 2024. Of the 87.2 million head inventory, all cows and heifers that have calved totaled 37.6 million. There are 28.2 million beef cows in the United States, down two percent from last year. The number of milk cows in the United States decreased slightly to 9.36 million. The U.S. calf crop was estimated at 33.6 million head, down two percent from 2022. All cattle on feed were at 14.4 million head, up two percent from 2023. To obtain an accurate measurement of the current state of the U.S. cattle industry, NASS surveyed approximately 36,300 operators across the nation during the first half of January. Surveyed producers were asked to report their cattle inventories as of January 1, 2024, and calf crop for the entire year of 2023. *********************************************************************************** January 1 Sheep and Lambs Inventory Down 2% USDA’s Sheep and Goat’s report released this week shows all sheep and lambs inventory in the United States on January 1, 2024 totaled 5.03 million head, down two percent from last year. Breeding sheep inventory at 3.67 million head on January 1, 2024, decreased two percent from 3.74 million head in 2023. Ewes one-year-old and older, at 2.87 million head, were two percent below last year. Market sheep and lambs totaled 1.36 million head, down two percent, and market lambs comprised 94 percent of the total market inventory. Market sheep comprised the remaining six percent of the total market inventory. The 2023 lamb crop of 3.03 million head was down two percent from 2022, and the 2023 lambing rate was 103 lambs per 100 ewes one-year-old and older on January 1, 2023, down two percent from 2022. All goats and kids inventory in the United States on January 1, 2024, totaled 2.47 million head, down two percent from 2023. *********************************************************************************** USDA Resource to Help Poultry Contracting and Tournaments Compliance USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service has posted a set of Frequently Asked Questions on its website to provide a resource to assist stakeholders in complying with the Transparency in Poultry Grower Contracting and Tournaments Final Rule by February 12, 2024. The FAQ is posted on the Transparency in Poultry Grower Contracting and Tournaments webpage. USDA published the final rule in the Federal Register November 28, 2023. The final rule, published under the Packers & Stockyards Act, requires Live Poultry Dealers – typically large processing companies – to provide poultry growers with whom they contract to raise birds key information about terms of their agreements. The final rule also requires additional disclosures by those engaged in the production of broilers who use poultry grower ranking systems to determine settlement payments for broiler growers. More information about the final rule is available on the Transparency in Poultry Grower Contracting and Tournaments webpage. *********************************************************************************** AVMA Plans Annual Legislative Fly-in Veterinarians will visit Capitol Hill next Tuesday to discuss legislative priorities with lawmakers. As part of the American Veterinary Medical Association's annual legislative fly-in, advocates will urge congressional offices to support and cosponsor the Rural Veterinary Workforce Act. AVMA President Dr. Rena Carlson says, "We need to do more to attract and retain veterinarians in rural and underserved areas, and the Rural Veterinary Workforce Act will go a long way to address those needs," The AVMA-endorsed Rural Veterinary Workforce Act would end federal taxation on the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program. This action would enable more veterinarians to participate in a program that offers up to $25,000 a year for student loan repayment in exchange for service in Department of Agriculture-designated Veterinarian Shortage Situations. AVMA is also seeking support for the Healthy Dog Importation Act within the next Farm Bill, which the group says would decrease the chances of future disease outbreaks from imported dogs. *********************************************************************************** TSCRA Launches Foundation to Support Land and Livestock Stewards Texas & Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association, the oldest and largest livestock association in the Southwest, Thursday announced the TSCRA Leadership Development Foundation. The foundation is a new 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization to develop future land and livestock stewards and leaders. The TSCRA Leadership Development Foundation will support high school and college programs, internships, young professional development opportunities and grant programs. TSCRA President and Foundation Chairman Arthur Uhl says, “Developing and supporting future land and livestock stewards and leaders is critical to our nation’s future.” Uhl adds, “We must develop and equip a diverse base of future leaders to address modern challenges within the industry and ensure ranching, wildlife management, and land stewardship thrives and continues to benefit and provide for our communities.” Anyone wishing to support the TSCRA Leadership Development Foundation is encouraged to visit tscra.org/ to make a tax-deductible donation. TSCRA has more than 28,000 individuals and businesses as members that contribute to beef production and stewardship of natural resources throughout the Southwest.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday February 2, 2024 |


Friday Watch List Markets U.S. nonfarm payrolls and the unemployment rate for January will be released at 7:30 a.m. CST Friday. U.S. factory orders for December and the University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index for January follow at 9 a.m. Traders will continue to keep watch over South American weather and events in the Middle East as the U.S. is expected to retaliate against pro-Iranian targets. Weather Warm temperatures continue to be in place across most of the country and clouds in western Pennsylvania mean an end to winter from our favorite rodent meteorologist. Still, a strong storm in the West will move into the Southern Plains later Friday, producing areas of showers and thunderstorms. The precipitation from this storm will spread through much of the country outside of the Midwest.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday February 1, 2024 |


NCBA Releases 2024 Policy Priorities The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s Executive Committee approved the organization’s policy priorities at the 2024 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show. This year’s priorities focus on advocating for the reauthorization of the Farm Bill, protecting cattle producers from federal regulatory overreach, and defending the U.S. cattle industry against external attacks. NCBA President-Elect Mark Eisele says, "NCBA will continue pushing for passage of a Farm Bill that includes key animal health and voluntary conservation provisions, as well as hold the line against all federal policies that could damage the livelihoods of U.S. cattle producers." Other priorities include the fight against misguided Endangered Species Act rules and any expansion of bureaucratic red tape under the National Environmental Policy Act. Additionally, NCBA wants to preserve family farms and ranches for future generations by advocating for essential tax relief for cattle producers. Learn more and find the full list of 2024 policy priorities at ncba.org. *********************************************************************************** Trade Caucus Presents Opportunities for Agriculture Lawmakers in the House of Representative’s Wednesday launched a new Agricultural Trade Caucus. The effort seeks to advance and promote policies vital to U.S. agriculture, including boosting agricultural exports, facilitating food and agriculture trade, and knocking down unnecessary trade barriers. The caucus includes Republicans Adrain Smith of Nebraska, Dusty Johnson of South Dakota, and California Democrats Jim Costa and Jimmy Pennetta. In the announcement, Penetta says, “Congress needs to be more active in promoting trade agreements that will keep American producers competitive and empower them to feed the world.” The new caucus will work to solidify support for trade policies that benefit farmers, ranchers, producers, rural communities, and all those along our food and agricultural supply chains. American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall responded, “AFBF appreciates House lawmakers for coming together in a bipartisan manner to form an agriculture trade caucus,” adding, “We have a real opportunity to showcase American agriculture on the global stage.” *********************************************************************************** USDA Releases 2022 Pesticide Data Program Annual Summary The Department of Agriculture this week published the 2022 Pesticide Data Program Annual Summary. The summary shows that over 99 percent of the samples tested had pesticide residues below benchmark levels established by the Environmental Protection Agency. The tests were conducted on 10,665 samples from 23 commodities, including fresh and processed fruits and vegetables, dairy, nuts, and grains. The summary is a national pesticide residue monitoring program that tests various domestic and imported foods, with a strong focus on foods consumed by infants and children. USDA and EPA work together each year to identify foods to be tested on a rotating basis, and USDA partners with cooperating state agencies to collect and analyze pesticide residue levels on the selected food commodities. EPA relies on the data to conduct dietary risk assessments and to ensure that any pesticide residues in foods remain at or below levels that EPA has set. *********************************************************************************** LFP Payments Concentrated in Western and Central US A new analysis from USDA’s Economic Research Service shows Livestock Forage Disaster Program are concentrated in the Western and Central United States. USDA found that between 2008 and 2022, the program disbursed more than $12 billion of payments to livestock producers. Counties with the largest aggregate payments per 1,000 head of livestock are concentrated primarily in the Western, Southern, and Central United States, where drought conditions are generally more severe and common. About 20 percent of counties in the continental United States received no LFP payments between 2008 and 2022. These counties are primarily located in urban regions and the relatively more humid Eastern United States. USDA provides payments to livestock producers whose pastures and rangeland are impacted by drought through the Livestock Forage Disaster Program. The program was established by the 2008 Farm Bill and uses eligibility criteria based on county-level drought conditions reported by the U.S. Drought Monitor. *********************************************************************************** Foremost Farms Joins Vanguard Renewables Strategic Alliance Vanguard Renewables announced the addition of Foremost Farms USA to the Farm Powered Strategic Alliance this week. The strategic partnership marks a significant milestone in pursuing sustainable organic waste reduction and renewable energy generation within the dairy industry, according to Vanguard Renewables CEO Neil Smith. Speaking of Foremost Farms, Smith says, "Their members' commitment to sustainable farming practices is helping to create a more sustainable future for the dairy industry, and their desire to work with and learn from like-minded organizations to explore solutions for food waste aligns with our mission." By joining the alliance, Foremost Farms aims to further strengthen its dedication to sustainable practices and support generational dairy farmers across America. The Farm Powered Strategic Alliance is described as a collaborative initiative focused on driving systemic change, dedicated to promoting sustainable organic waste reduction. Vanguard Renewables partners with food and beverage manufacturers to recycle their inedible food waste via Farm Powered anaerobic digestion, which converts organic waste into renewable natural gas. *********************************************************************************** Americans to Eat 1.45 Billion Chicken Wings for the Big Game With the second biggest eating day of the year after Thanksgiving upon us, there’s no hotter time for chicken wings. According to the National Chicken Council’s 2024 Wing Report, Americans will devour 1.45 billion wings while watching Kansas City and San Francisco battle for the championship trophy. National Chicken Council spokesperson Tom Super says, “Sure, you can have your chips, your guacamole, your pizza. But when it comes to menus next Sunday, wings rule the roost.” This year’s projection is flat compared to 2023, with USDA reporting chicken production levels are slightly down from last year and wing stocks in cold storage down 13 percent in November compared to the year prior. This could explain the higher demand and, thus, the higher wholesale prices we see on wings. At the retail level, fresh chicken wing prices are down approximately five percent, and frozen wing prices are down 11 percent compared to January 2023.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday February 1, 2024 |


Thursday Watch List Markets USDA's weekly export sales report is due at 7:30 a.m. CST, the same time as weekly U.S. jobless claims, U.S. fourth-quarter productivity and an update of the U.S. Drought Monitor. The ISM index of U.S. manufacturing is at 9 a.m., followed by the Energy Department's report on natural gas storage at 9:30 a.m. NASS's Fats and Oils report is set for 2 p.m. Weather A major winter storm continues to push into California and spread through the western states on Thursday, a significant feature to watch as it moves into the Plains for Friday. But areas east of the Rockies continue to be overall warm and quiet ahead of the storm.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday January 31, 2024 |


POET and Summit Announce Partnership POET Ethanol and Summit Carbon Solutions announced a partnership connecting the world’s largest biofuel producer with the world’s largest carbon capture and storage project. The collaboration will capture the value of biogenic CO2 from the bioethanol production process. The partnership strategically expands the carbon opportunity across the Midwest by incorporating POET’s 12 Iowa facilities and five South Dakota facilities into the Summit project. “As the world seeks low-carbon energy solutions, carbon capture ensures that ag-based biofuels will remain competitive for decades,” says POET CEO Jeff Broin. “This is a tremendous opportunity to bring value to farmers, bioethanol producers, and rural communities in participating states.” Broin also believes this collaboration will unleash even more opportunities for ag and bioprocessing in the future. “This initiative is aimed at enhancing the financial profitability of our farmers and ensuring a more prosperous future for rural communities,” says Lee Blank, CEO of Summit Carbon Solutions. *********************************************************************************** New California Biofuels Plant Impacts Soybean Market The increasing use of biofuels should generate bullish vibes for agricultural commodities in the future. E-T-F Trends says plans for a biofuel plant in California could spur more investors to take a closer look at agricultural commodities. California has one of the more ambitious plans when it comes to reducing carbon emissions. Given this, the use of a biofuel plant could spur other states to follow suit. In turn, that would increase demand for agricultural commodities like soybeans and corn. A Bloomberg report confirmed that soybean oil prices in Chicago rose amid speculation that the new biofuels plant in California got the green light to begin operations in a few weeks. The plant is a former crude oil refinery that will use waste oils, fats, greases, and vegetable oils to produce an initial 800 million gallons of renewable fuels a year, including renewable diesel, renewable gasoline, and sustainable aviation fuel. *********************************************************************************** 100 Billion Miles on E15 Growth Energy released data showing American drivers recently surpassed the massive milestone of 100 billion miles driven on affordable, homegrown E15 fuel. The 15 percent biofuel blend saves drivers an average of 15 cents a gallon at the pump. In some states, amid higher fuel costs last summer, drivers saw E15 savings climb as high as 60 cents per gallon. “At Growth Energy, we’re proud to lead the charge on American-made, plant-based fuels,” says CEO Emily Skor. “Homegrown biofuels deliver value for consumers at the pump, value for American agriculture and rural communities, and value for our nation’s climate goals.” She also says they’re proud of the 100 billion miles driven on E15 and excited that consumers have access to an affordable, Earth-friendly option to fuel their travels. “There aren’t many products on the market today that allow consumers to save money and lower carbon emissions like E15,” Skor adds. *********************************************************************************** Producers Can Make USDA Loan Payments Online The USDA says most farm loan borrowers will be able to make loan payments online through the Pay My Loan feature on farmers.gov in early February. Pay My Loan is part of a broader effort by the Farm Service Agency to streamline its processes, especially for producers who may have limited time during the planting or harvest seasons to visit a local FSA office. “Farmers and ranchers have responded to some difficult challenges over the last few years, and their time is a precious commodity,” says USDA Deputy Undersecretary Xochitl (so-CHEEL) Torres Small. “Having the option to conduct business online is essential, and the Pay My Loan feature allows customers to take care of business seamlessly.” On average, local USDA centers process more than 225,000 farm loan payments each year. Pay My Loan gives most borrowers an online repayment option and relieves them from traveling to a local Service Center. *********************************************************************************** December Soy Crush Continues Streak The U.S. soybean crush likely hit 6.185 million short tons in December 2023, or 296.1 million bushels, the most for any month in recorded history. Analysts surveyed ahead of the monthly USDA report noted it would be the third straight month that the national soybean crush topped 200 million bushels as the expanding U.S. soy processing industry has been crushing larger and larger numbers of beans to meet the rising demand for vegetable oil from biofuel makers. If that December estimate gets realized, it would be up from the 200.1 million bushels crushed in November and up 10 percent from the December 2022 crush of 187.4 million bushels. But Successful Farming says last month’s estimated average daily crush rate of 6.649 million bushels would be down from a record daily pace of 6.669 million set in November, which has one less day. Crush estimates range from 203.8 million to 207 million bushels. *********************************************************************************** Soybeans and Wheat Export Inspections Decline Soybean and wheat inspections for exports declined in the week ending on January 25, while the corn total improved. USDA data says soybean inspections last week reached 889,717 metric tons, down from 1.18 million a week earlier. That’s also down from the 1.93 million tons examined during the same week last year. Wheat assessments came in at 264,666 tons, down from 315,186 tons the prior week, and well below the 446,000 tons inspected during the same period last year. Corn inspections rose to almost 902,000 tons from 746,900 the week before and 545,000 tons at the same time in 2023. Since the start of the marketing year, USDA has inspected 15.6 million metric tons of corn for export, up from 12.1 million last year. Soybean inspections now stand at 27.7 million tons, down from 36.2 million last year. Wheat inspections are at 11 million tons, down from 13.2 million last year.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday January 31, 2024 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets The Labor Department's employment cost index for the fourth quarter is set for 8:30 a.m. CST. The Energy Department's weekly energy inventory report is at 9:30 a.m. The Federal Reserve's rate announcement is at 1 p.m. and is expected to keep rates unchanged, but traders will be listening to any Fed comments. USDA's report of U.S. January 1 cattle inventory at 2 p.m. will get more attention than usual with a chance inventory will fall below the 2014 low of 88.5 million head, possibly the lowest number of U.S. cattle since 1952. Weather A large trough and atmospheric river event is starting to move onto the West Coast Wednesday morning. The event will be a big one that causes a storm system for Friday through the weekend farther east. Until then, it continues to be quiet and warm for much of the country with some places breaking record highs.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday January 30, 2024 |


Strengthening U.S. Specialty Crops Through Investments Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack announced USDA investments designed to support the U.S. specialty crops industry. The launch of the Assisting Specialty Crop Exports Initiative will provide $65 million for projects that will help the specialty crop sector increase global exports and expand access to new markets. USDA also announced $72.9 million in grant funding available to support the specialty crops industry through the Specialty Crop Grant Program. The program will fund innovative projects designed to bolster the competitiveness of the expanding specialty crops sector. Specialty crop exports totaled $24.6 billion in fiscal year 2023 and represented 13.8 percent of total U.S. agricultural exports. “Specialty crop producers feed our nation and the world with nutritious fruits, nuts, and vegetables, and they supply our communities with horticulture products,” Vilsack says. “Yet they have unique challenges and opportunities to competing in the domestic market and several barriers preventing their products from entering foreign markets.” *********************************************************************************** Hawaii Producers Hit Hard by Wildfires and High Winds The USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service estimates that Hawaiian producers incurred $23.1 million in economic loss and damages from wildfires and high winds in August 2023. Those losses include the reduction of agricultural sales due to damages to markets or reduced customers, reduced agritourism income between August and December, livestock deaths, damaged or destroyed crops, and property damages. Producers estimate they lost $5.2 million in sales revenue, lost $3.9 million in agritourism revenue, lost $75,000 worth of livestock, suffered $5.4 million in crop damages, and $8.5 million in property damage. Producers reported that 7,850 acres of pasture were damaged by the wildfires and high winds. Livestock deaths included cattle, sheep, goats, poultry, honeybee colonies, horses, and alpacas. Producers reported damage to floriculture and vegetable crops, some bananas, coffee, and other fruit crops. The $8.5 million in property damage included buildings, vehicles, irrigation equipment, farm machinery, fences, and other structures like water tanks. *********************************************************************************** Farm Bureau Backs American Sugar Producers As part of the policy resolutions set during their recent national convention, the American Farm Bureau continued support for a no-cost sugar policy. “We appreciate Farm Bureau’s continued support of our no-cost policy,” says Cassie Bladow (BLAY-dough), chairwoman of the American Sugar Alliance. “We appreciate having AFBF as a strong partner as we advocate for America’s sugar producers in the next farm bill.” Farm Bureau’s policy resolution advocates for a program that safeguards the interests of domestic sugar producers and supports critical pillars in the sugar policy, including a program to protect the interests of domestic sugar producers. They’re also in favor of legislation that includes provisions that ensure a strong and economically viable domestic sugar policy. They also support a program that meets our trade commitments and ensures a fair playing field for American producers. As the largest farm group, AFBF has consistently supported sugar policy in the farm bill. *********************************************************************************** Biomass Diesel Production Grew 25 Percent Last Year Clean Fuels Alliance welcomed the Environmental Protection Agency’s release of public data for the Renewable Fuel Standard. That data shows U.S. production of biomass-based diesel - including biodiesel, renewable diesel, sustainable aviation fuel, and heating oil – reached four billion gallons in 2023. Both domestic production and use of advanced biomass-based diesel grew by one billion gallons in 2023 compared to the prior year. “The clean fuels industry achieved what EPA said couldn’t be done by contributing to the growth of advanced biodiesel, renewable diesel, SAF, and heating oil from sustainably sourced feedstocks,” says Kurt Kovarik, vice president of federal affairs for Clean Fuels. “Our industry, including producers, oilseed processors, fuel distributors, and marketers, has made significant investments to make clean fuels available to more consumers and rapidly decarbonize heavy-duty transportation fuels, including for aviation and marine markets.” He also says that EPA’s data demonstrates the projected sustainable growth is being achieved. *********************************************************************************** Growing Future Leaders on GIVE FFA Day Interested people are invited to support the FFA and agricultural education through Give FFA Day on Thursday, February 22. For the eighth straight year, funds raised support programs on local, state, and national levels. During the 24 hours of giving, supporters can donate to the National FFA and the state FFA associations of their choice. In February, the organization will celebrate FFA, advisors, and members as part of National FFA Week, which includes giving back during Give FFA Day. For over 90 years, the National FFA Organization has strived to make a difference in students’ lives. Donations help FFA grow the next generation of leaders. Through FFA, members can find their path to success. With almost a million members, there is a need for sustained funding to provide valuable programs, events, skills training, and more. “FFA has been instrumental in growing my skills,” says Lauren Thornhill, an Ohio state FFA officer. *********************************************************************************** Don’t Fumble Your Super Bowl Party Safely serving friends and family during the big game is a win. The USDA says don’t fumble Super Bowl Sunday on February 11. As football fans gather to watch the big game, they’ll enjoy many of their favorite foods. Whether you order delivery or are preparing and serving food to guests, the Food Safety and Inspection Service has some gameday plans to keep your Super Bowl celebration from getting intercepted by foodborne illness. Among their many food safety tips, FSIS says if you order takeout before the game, make sure someone is there to get to the food in a timely manner. Make sure to get any uneaten food into the refrigerator as quickly as possible. Perishable foods that have been sitting out at room temperature must be eaten within two hours of being cooked. “Food safety must remain a top priority,” says USDA Undersecretary for Food Safety Dr. Emilio Esteban.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday January 30, 2024 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets Traders remain interested in South American weather with hot temperatures expected to stress Argentina's corn and soybean crops this week. A report on U.S. consumer confidence will be out at 9 a.m. and a two-day Federal Reserve meeting begins. The federal funds rate target is expected to remain unchanged at Wednesday's 1 p.m. announcement. Weather A small clipper system is moving through the eastern half of the Midwest with a band of mixed rain and snow on Tuesday that will get into the Southeast Tuesday night into Wednesday. Mostly light accumulations are expected outside of the higher elevations. It continues to be quite warm as the country awaits the arrival of a large trough in the West by Wednesday.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday January 29, 2024 |


Food Price Inflation Subsided in 2023 USDA’s Economic Research Service says food-at-home prices increased by five percent in 2023, much lower than the growth rate in 2022 of 11 percent. However, that was still double the historical annual average growth rate from 2003 to 2022, which was 2.5 percent. All product categories grew more slowly in 2023 than they did compared to 2022. Food price growth slowed last year as economy-wide inflationary pressures, supply chain issues, and wholesale food prices eased from 2022. In 2023, prices for fats and oils grew the fastest at nine percent. Sugars and sweets are 8.7 percent, and cereals and bakery products rose 8.4 percent. Pork prices dropped 1.2 percent in 2023l. Prices for several categories grew more slowly than their historical averages, including beef and veal at 3.6 percent, eggs 1.4 percent, fresh vegetables at less than one percent. Fresh fruits and seafood grew 0.7 percent and 0.3 percent, respectively. ********************************************************************************** Shielding Agriculture from Cyber Attacks Two senators introduced legislation intended to boost the agricultural industry’s resilience against cyber attacks. The bipartisan measure from Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) is backed by a number of agricultural groups. If passed, the bill would shield America’s supply chain from technological attacks. “America’s adversaries are looking for any advantage they can use against us, including targeting critical industries like agriculture,” Cotton says. The bill would require the USDA to conduct a twice-yearly study on cybersecurity threats to the agriculture industry. Courthouse News Service says the review would include analyzing existing threats, the potential impacts of a cyberattack on the safety and availability of food products, and the government’s ability to respond to an attack. USDA would also have to conduct an interagency “cross-sector crisis simulation exercise that mocks up a food-related national emergency. These exercises would help identify gaps in the government’s readiness to respond to such emergencies. *********************************************************************************** USDA Deputy Secretary Touring Land-Grant Universities USDA’s Deputy Secretary Xochitl (so-CHEEL) Torres Small is continuing a multi-week tour throughout the country’s land-grant universities. During her tour, the Deputy is visiting campuses in at least seven states to highlight how the agency is working with those universities to advance rural prosperity, climate-smart practices, competition, and sustainability. USDA is investing new funding for education and training, advancing cutting edge research, and bolstering economic development to build a food and agriculture food system that’s climate-smart, sustainable, and equitable. “Investments in the next generation of agriculture will benefit people in every sector of ag, food, and forestry,” says Torres Small. “At USDA, we’re committed to the future of our students and delivering real-life, applicable solutions to decades old problems like bringing broadband internet to communities around the country.” USDA’s National Institute for Food and Agriculture has provided more than $5 billion in support of land-grant university campuses since fiscal year 2021. *********************************************************************************** Britain Pauses Trade Talks Over Agriculture Britain has halted negotiations on a potential free trade deal with Canada because of dissatisfaction by both sides over a lack of access to each other’s agricultural markets. Reuters says the talks first launched in March 2022. Canadian negotiators say they’re disappointed that the UK put a pause on the negotiations, noting that Britain’s decision to keep barriers up for Canada’s agricultural market access is what’s stalling the negotiations. Canada’s farmers are complaining that they’ve been all but shut out of Britain’s beef market because of regulations banning the use of artificial hormones. A UK spokesperson posted on Twitter (X) that they reserve the right to call a pause on negotiations with any country if we don’t think progress is getting made. Before Britain made its exit from the European Union trading sphere at the end of 2020, Canada rolled over existing trade arrangements to ensure that free trade could continue. *********************************************************************************** CA Ranchers Watching Wolves Attack Cattle Herds Ranchers in California who see wolves attacking their cattle can only watch, unlike other states where wolves can be shot for it. Meantime, a California state fund set aside to compensate ranchers for their losses is quickly running out of money. “Not only can you not kill a wolf for attacking and killing one of your calves, but you also can’t injure it in any way,” says Kirk Wilbur, vice president of government affairs for the California Cattlemen’s Association. Cowboy State Daily says that’s the opposite of the policy in Wyoming, where wolves can be shot at any time. Ten years ago, Wolves began making their way from Oregon into California, and the northern part of the state now has over 40 established wolf packs. California put a $3 million compensation package in place during 2021, but it’s now running low on money. The current 102 applications will deplete the remaining funds. *********************************************************************************** Lamb Board Releases 2023 Annual Report The American Lamb Board released its fiscal year 2023 Annual Report to share programs and success stories with mandatory lamb checkoff stakeholders over the last year. The American lamb industry saw many successes during 2023, including an overall increase in demand for lamb nationwide. However, it comes at a critical point when U.S. flock numbers are declining. Many ALB programs focus on increasing demand for American lamb, but industry education and research are also at the forefront of the board’s work. Among the 2023 highlights in the report is a Sustainability Spotlight, where growers can find information about the Climate Smart Grant, a new Sustainability Director, a landmark environmental footprint study, and much more. There are promotional highlights featuring a growing food blogger network, cooking classes, events, and retail promotions. Looking ahead to the rest of 2024, the board is working on new industry workshops, promotions, educational opportunities, and research projects.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday January 29, 2024 |


Top 5 Things to Watch - Cattle Chats and Flooded Flats 1. Cattle convenings: This week marks the 2024 cattle industry CattleCon in Orlando. Watch for event news from DTN Senior Livestock Editor Jennifer Carrico. If you're in town and see her, buy her a cup of coffee for us. She's earning it. 2. From freeze to flood: Weather is expected to continue to warm up across the country this week. That sets up flooding conditions in areas where heavy snow melt occurs where creeks and rivers are still ice covered. There are already weekend flood warnings in areas of Illinois, others may be added into the week. 3. Immigration breakdown: Attend any ag-related meeting and the subject of farm labor shortages and immigration issues are likely on the agenda. With late-week rumblings of presidential politics throwing roadblocks in pending immigration legislation, we'll watch through the week to see if any significant policies bust through. 4. Market happenings: In the grains, attention will be on rains in Argentina and parts of Brazil, as solid yield potential in the Southern Hemisphere pulls down on soybean futures charts. 5. Economic reports to watch: First ag-related report of the week is Monday's 10 a.m. release of U.S. Grain Inspections. Tuesday starts with the 8 a.m. filing of the Case and Shiller Home Price Index. At 9 a.m. the lates Job Openings and Consumer Confidence Index numbers hit. Wednesday, ADP releases its latest employment figures at 7:15 a.m.; at 1 p.m. we'll get the Federal Reserve Interest rate decision. At 2 p.m. there are several releases, including the Broiler Hatchery report and the Bi-Annual Cattle Report, which will show inventory and value of cattle and calves. Also included are statistics on cattle on feed and grazing on small grain pasture, as well as calf crop data. Thursday starts with a 7:30 a.m. release of Initial Jobless Claims and the U.S. Grain Weekly Export Sales report. At 8:45 a.m. the U.S. Manufacturing PMI will be released. The week closes with Friday's 7:30 a.m. release of U.S. Nonfarm payroll data, U.S. Unemployment Rate and U.S. Hourly Wages. At 9 a.m. Factory Orders reports will be released.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday January 29, 2024 |


Monday Watch List Markets Back from the weekend, traders continue to monitor the latest weather forecasts in South America and events in the Middle East. USDA's weekly report of export inspections at 10 a.m. is the only significant report of the day. Weather It's a rather quiet day Monday as a ridge dominates the majority of the continent. Some showers will drop down into the Great Lakes areas tonight into Tuesday with a small disturbance. The ridge will also mean warm temperatures again, with the highest anomalies across the far north into Canada.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday January 26, 2024 |


Cold Blast Drops Ethanol Production to Three-Year Low A blast of cold weather in the Corn Belt sent ethanol production down 22 percent last week to its lowest point in three years. Bloomberg says America’s output of the corn-based biofuel missed all its survey estimates while stockpiles hit the highest level since March. The Energy Information Administration says the rise in stockpiles was the eighth straight week of increases. Ethanol production dropped to 18,000 barrels a day during the week ending on January 19, down from 1.054 million barrels during the previous week and the lowest level since the seven days ending on February 19, 2021. The Midwest, which produces the most ethanol in the country, had production fall to 766,000 barrels a day, a significant drop from 1.001 million a week earlier. The EIA says Rocky Mountain production declined, East Coast production was unchanged, and Gulf Coast production rose by 21,000 barrels a day. Inventories reached 25.815 million barrels. *********************************************************************************** Animal ID That Works for All Producers The U.S. Cattlemen’s Association reiterates its call to strengthen and establish a national animal identification system that works for and is accountable to all producers. There should be no private control of data or access to the data without the prior approval of the listed owner of the cattle at the time of application for the ID tags. All official USDA tag information should be held in state animal health databases and shared with federal health officials only as needed. USCA also insists that under no circumstances should a national cattlemen’s association coordinate or control producer data. Producers should also never be responsible for more than the cost of the tags. “USCA supports a voluntary national animal identification program and opposes establishing a national mandate,” says USCA President Justin Tupper. “Our members believe that each individual producer knows what’s best for their herd as it relates to animal husbandry practices.” *********************************************************************************** Ongoing Preparations for the 57th World Ag Expo The “Best Farm Show on Dirt” is coming up quickly. The International Agri-Center is preparing to host the 57th annual World Ag Expo in Tulare, California, February 13-15. The World Ag Expo welcomes attendees and exhibitors from around the world and provides a platform for networking, education, and business. Last year, the show saw more than 108,000 attendees from 49 states and 56 countries. Over 1,200 exhibitors shared 2.6 million square feet of exhibit space in 2023. Show officials note that 97 percent of exhibit spaces were sold as of January 19 and domestic and international ticket sales are trending at record levels. “There is so much innovation to see on the show grounds,” says Stan Creelman, 2024 World Ag Expo Show Chair, “from large manufacturers to small innovators and every solution in between.” Organizers predict 2024 may be a record year for the show. For more information, go to worldagexpo.org. *********************************************************************************** New Rule Will Increase Efficiency in Rail Systems The Surface Transportation Board announced it has adopted a final rule to amend its emergency service regulations to provide immediate relief for shippers in certain situations. The rule says the Board may act on its own to direct emergency rail service and establish an accelerated process for acute service emergencies. The Board has heard from a broad range of stakeholders about inconsistent and unreliable rail service and issued two orders mandating service in urgent situations. Stakeholder concerns have included railroad crew shortages and inability to move trains, tight car supplies and unfilled orders, delays in transportation for carload and bulk traffic, and ineffective customer assistance. “This approach to managing service emergencies is a long-needed reform that will help level the playing field for shippers where rail service failures have caused an acute threat to their business, or when emergency relief is necessary to protect the public, says Board Chair Martin Oberman. *********************************************************************************** Deadline for NCGA Scholarship Applications Approaching The National Corn Growers Association is committed to the future of agriculture. To support the next generation of leaders in American agriculture, NCGA has partnered with BASF to offer scholarships to students enrolled in qualifying institutions. NCGA is proud to offer and support three scholarship programs for three distinct audiences. The Technical School/Community College Scholarship offers $1,000 scholarships to five students pursuing a degree at one of these institutions. The William Berg Academic Excellence Scholarship Program will offer five $1,500 scholarships to undergraduate students pursuing degrees in any field. The Graduate Student Scholarship Program offers two $2,500 scholarships to graduate students whose area of study will benefit the corn industry. “Empowering future leaders in ag is vital for fostering a resilient rural economy in the coming years,” says NCGA Membership and Consumer Engagement Action Team Chair Dan Nerud. “NCGA remains committed to providing opportunities for students driven to serve farm families.” *********************************************************************************** December Milk Production Drops Slightly The 24 states that produce the most milk totaled 18.1 billion pounds in December, down 0.1 percent from December 2022. November’s revised production, at 17.3 billion pounds, was 0.6 percent below November 2022. The November revision represented a decrease of 14 million pounds or less than 0.1 percent from November’s preliminary production estimate. The USDA says production per cow in those states averaged 2,030 pounds for December, one pound above December 2022. The number of milk cows on farms in the 24 states was 8.9 million head, 17,000 head below December 2022 but unchanged from November 2023. U.S. milk production during the October-December quarter totaled 55.6 billion pounds, down 0.6 percent from the same quarter in 2023. The average number of milk cows in the U.S. during the quarter was 9.36 million head, 16,000 head less than the July-September quarter, and 44,000 head less than the same time during the prior year.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday January 26, 2024 |


Friday Watch List Markets Traders will be watching the weather for South America, and any new flash export sales at 8 a.m. CST. At 7:30 a.m. CST, Personal Spending and Personal Income data will be released, and at 9 a.m. we'll see Pending Home Sales. Weather Another system has entered the Southern Plains early Friday and will continue to provide scattered rain showers to the region throughout the day. More scattered showers will also develop across the Southern Delta and Southeast while precipitation exits the Eastern Midwest.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday January 25, 2024 |


American Farm Bureau Establishes 2024 Policies The American Farm Bureau Federation concluded its 2024 Annual Convention setting policy direction for the organization this year. Passing a farm bill this year is the top priority for Farm Bureau members, followed by labor and artificial intelligence data privacy. Delegates voted to create new policy to address the growth of artificial intelligence in agriculture, which has the potential to enhance farming practices and conserve resources, but AFBF says privacy rights must be respected. Delegates also voted to stabilize wage rates for guest workers and revise H-2A and H-2B programs. They reaffirmed their support for increasing reference prices in the farm bill and maintaining a strong crop insurance program, including expanding eligibility to ensure more commodities are covered. Additionally, Farm Bureau delegates agreed to say in the Rural Communications section of the policy book, "We support vehicle manufacturers continuing to include AM radio in vehicles.” Beyond policy changes, AFBF President Zippy Duvall and Vice President Scott VanderWal were unanimously re-elected for another two-year term. *********************************************************************************** First Sustainable Aviation Fuel Plant Represents Opportunity Sustainable aviation fuel could grow into the largest new market ever seen for U.S. farm commodities thanks to the start of production at LanzaJet Freedom Pines Fuels. However, groups in Midwestern states say they could miss out on the opportunity without low-carbon ethanol, which requires carbon capture and sequestration. Iowa Renewable Fuels Association executive director Monte Shaw says, "Today and every day going forward, American farmers and ethanol producers are losing demand until we get carbon capture and sequestration online." Iowa Corn Usage and Production Committee Chair Dan Keitzer adds, “LanzaJet Freedom Pines Fuels will use a variety of low carbon sustainable ethanol, making this an eye-opening experience to what Iowa corn farmers could expect to be a part of." No Iowa ethanol plant currently has a carbon intensity score low enough to qualify as an SAF feedstock. Only one plant in the U.S., using CCS, is currently producing SAF-friendly ethanol. *********************************************************************************** Emergency Relief Program Payments Concentrated in North Dakota, Texas New data from USDA’s Economic Research Services shows Emergency Relief Program payments are largely concentrated in North Dakota and Texas. In 2020 and 2021, the United States experienced 42 disaster events, each resulting in damages of at least $1 billion, including hurricanes, drought, and wildfires. The Emergency Relief Program provides funds to assist commodity growers who suffered losses from natural disasters in those years. As of January 2023, cumulative payments made through the ERP totaled $7.3 billion. USDA disbursed a large portion of this total, $1.16 billion, to North Dakota producers of corn, soybeans, and wheat, who experienced flooding in 2020 and drought in 2021. Texas producers also received a sizable portion of payments, with cotton farmers receiving $510 million of the $909 million disbursed in that State. Producers in North Dakota and Texas received most ERP payments for revenue, quality, or production losses because of moisture and drought that occurred during the 2020 and 2021 crop years. *********************************************************************************** USDA: December Egg Production Up 3% USDA’s monthly Chicken and Eggs report released this week shows December egg production increased three percent. United States egg production totaled 9.45 billion during December 2023. Production included 8.14 billion table eggs, and 1.31 billion hatching eggs, of which 1.21 billion were broiler-type and 97.0 million were egg-type. The total number of layers during December 2023 averaged 384 million, up two percent from last year. December egg production per 100 layers was 2,462 eggs, up one percent from December 2022. All layers in the United States on January 1, 2024, totaled 379 million, up one percent from last year. The 379 million layers consisted of 312 million layers producing table or market type eggs, 63.6 million layers producing broiler-type hatching eggs, and 3.83 million layers producing egg-type hatching eggs. Rate of lay per day on January 1, 2024, averaged 79.3 eggs per 100 layers, up two percent from January 1, 2023. *********************************************************************************** McCain Global Reports Sustainability Progress In its Global Sustainability Report, McCain Foods announced progress towards its sustainability commitments this week. The company aims to implement regenerative agriculture practices across 100 percent of the global acreage that grows potatoes for McCain products by the end of the decade. The Global Sustainable Report shows 51 percent of McCain's global potato acreage onboarded within McCain's Regenerative Agriculture Framework, and 28 percent moving up the framework towards more comprehensive adoption of regenerative practices. McCain is accelerating the adoption of regenerative agriculture practices through its direct relationships with farmers— a network of 3,500 partners around the world — by providing technical and educational assistance and developing innovative financing solutions to offset costs associated with making changes in farming practices and adopting new technologies. McCain Foods Limited is a family-owned business founded in 1957 in Florenceville, New Brunswick, Canada. Today, the company is the world’s largest manufacturer of frozen potato products. *********************************************************************************** Organic Valley Announces First Agreements, Payments to Farmers Organic Valley, the largest cooperative of organic farmers in the nation, announced the first agreements and payments to initial organic farmers participating in Organic Valley's Carbon Insetting Program this week. Building off the University of Wisconsin-Madison published research in the Journal for Cleaner Production, which showed Organic Valley's average on-farm milk emissions were some of the lowest in the nation, the cooperative is taking the next step to improve the carbon footprint of its milk. As a recipient of the USDA Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities grant, the co-op is offering additional support for practices implemented on eligible Organic Valley member-owner farms, including selecting and scoping region-specific projects, verification of those projects, and then helping to fund the practice installation. The co-op offers technical assistance to help farmers plan and design carbon-reducing projects, sources grant implementation funds and ensures monitoring and verification of those projects. The projects include renewable energy installations at farmsteads, upgraded manure management technology, and enteric-reducing feed supplements.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday January 25, 2024 |


Thursday Watch List Markets Traders will be awaiting U.S. export sales for last week, along with watching for any changes in South American weather. Also, at 7:30 a.m. CST, we will get Fourth Quarter GDP, Initial Jobless Claims, and Durable Goods Orders. At 9 a.m. CST, New Home Sales will be released. Weather A low pressure system along a stalled frontal boundary will provide scattered showers across the Midwest, Tennessee Valley, and Southeast Thursday. Along with the risk for heavy rainfall across the Southeast, a few strong to severe thunderstorms may also form across the region. Farther west, drier conditions return to the Central and Southern Plains throughout Thursday.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday January 24, 2024 |


Some Republican Lawmakers Against Raising Reference Prices Following calls by some groups to increase reference prices in the upcoming Farm Bill, Republican lawmakers stand in "strong opposition" to any potential increases. Republican Representatives Alex Mooney of West Virginia, along with Tennessee's Andy Ogles, Brian Mast of Florida, and others, say any increase would further drive inflation higher. The letter states, "At a time when Congress must be taking steps to reduce federal spending, we must resist costly attempts to expand the scope of government intervention in the free market." The lawmakers argue that "higher price guarantees" would mostly benefit fewer than 6,000 farms. Increasing price guarantees for major crops would mostly benefit peanut, cotton, and rice farmers in Southern states, not corn and soybean farmers, according to the letter. Since payments are linked to production, the largest producers get the lion's share of the funding. In 2021, just ten percent of farmers received more than 80 percent of all Price Loss Coverage payments, the lawmakers claim. *********************************************************************************** Small Family Farms at Highest Financial Risk Small family farms were more likely to have greater financial vulnerability than other farms, according to data from USDA’s Economic Research Service. Researchers calculated the operating profit margin by taking the ratio of profit to gross farm income to find that in 2022, between 52 and 79 percent of small family farms, depending on the farm type, were at the high-risk level. If the operating profit margin is less than ten percent, the operation is considered at high financial risk. When the measure is between 10 and 25 percent, the operation is considered at medium financial risk, and if above 25 percent, the operation is at low financial risk. A majority of small-scale family farms, which have a gross cash farm income of up to $350,000, earn most of their income from off-farm sources. For these farms, farm profitability is not necessarily essential to the survival of the household. Small family farms make up 88 percent of all farms but account for only 19 percent of the total value of production. *********************************************************************************** ADM Investigating Chief Financial Officer This week, ADM appointed an interim chief financial officer while the current CFO, Vikram Luthar, was placed on administrative leave. Luthar's leave is pending an ongoing investigation conducted by outside counsel for ADM and the Board's Audit Committee regarding certain accounting practices and procedures concerning ADM's Nutrition segment, including certain intersegment transactions. ADM's investigation was initiated in response to a voluntary document request by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. ADM Lead Director Terry Crews says, "Pending the outcome of the investigation, the Board determined that it was advisable to place Luthar on administrative leave. The Board will continue working closely with ADM's advisors to identify the best path forward and ensure ADM's processes align with financial governance best practices.” ADM will make further announcements regarding the matter when the Board of Directors see fit. *********************************************************************************** Iowa Senate Bill Would Support Small Grocers A bill introduced last week in the Iowa Senate seeks to provide resources to small grocery store owners fighting to keep their stores open amidst economic and workforce challenges and competition from big box retailers. The legislation would create the Grocer Reinvestment Fund and establish a grant and loan program to help locally-owned grocery stores selling perishable foods invest in their businesses. Cynthia Farmer, policy associate with the Center for Rural Affairs, says, "The Grocer Reinvestment Fund and Program would provide financial support to grocers for cost-saving efforts and business efficiency to ensure long-term sustainability." The Iowa Economic Development Authority will oversee the grant and loan program if the bill passes. Funding will be available to grocery stores that sell canned and frozen food; fresh fruits and vegetables; and fresh meat, fish, and poultry. The business must employ 25 or fewer individuals and plan to create new jobs or increase compensation for existing employees. *********************************************************************************** FFA Members Explore Agriculture in Australia More than 70 current and past state FFA officers started the new year by exploring Australia and the various types of agriculture the country offers. It was part of the International Leadership Seminar for State Officers, supported by FFA corporate donors Bungee and John Deere. While in Australia, the students explored Sydney. Then they traveled to Canberra, where they visited with the counselor for agricultural affairs, agricultural specialists and agricultural marketing specialists based at the U.S. Embassy, a representative from the National Farmers' Federation, and a representative from the Australian Rural Leadership Program. They visited perennial pastures, Angus cattle farms, and more. While visiting the Darlington Point District, they explored one of Australia’s most productive farmland, where rice and other cereal crops, fruits and vegetables, grapes, and citrus are grown. Students also visited Australia's only independent agricultural college. They wrapped up their journey in Melbourne, exploring the city and visiting a wildlife sanctuary. *********************************************************************************** NCBA Provides Internship Opportunities in Denver and D.C. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association is providing multiple internship opportunities for students to learn about different aspects of the cattle industry. Internships are offered in NCBA’s offices in Denver, Colorado and Washington, D.C. New this year, NCBA is launching a Producer Education and Sustainability Internship focused on implementing the cattle industry's sustainability goals, supporting the Beef Checkoff-funded Beef Quality Assurance program, and providing educational resources to cattle producers to improve land management, animal health, and profitability. The internship will occur in the summer of 2024. NCBA and the Public Lands Council are also now accepting applications for the summer 2024 Public Policy Internship in Washington, D.C., from May 20 – August 23, 2024. The internship allows students to work jointly with NCBA and PLC to advance policies important to the beef and sheep industries. The full description and qualifications for both internship opportunities are available on the careers page of ncba.org. Applications are due by February 23, 2024.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday January 24, 2024 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets Traders continue to monitor changes in South American weather and will soon be picking up more soybean harvest reports from Brazil. The Energy Department's weekly energy inventory report will be out at 9:30 a.m. CST and USDA's monthly cold storage report will follow at 2 p.m. Weather More rounds of rain showers will plague the central U.S. Wednesday as rain showers are expected to continue from the southeast Plains into the Ohio Valley. A few strong to severe storms are possible in southeastern Texas, southern Louisiana, and southern Mississippi as well. Heavy rain could also lead to areas of flooding across the Southern Delta and Tennessee Valley.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday January 23, 2024 |


USDA Investing $207 Million in Clean Energy and Domestic Fertilizer Projects Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Monday announced USDA is investing $207 million in renewable energy and domestic fertilizer projects. Vilsack made the announcement at the 105th annual American Farm Bureau Federation convention in Salt Lake City, Utah. Vilsack says, “The investments announced will expand access to renewable energy infrastructure and increase domestic fertilizer production, all while creating good-paying jobs and saving people money on their energy costs that they can then invest back into their businesses and communities.” USDA is investing in projects in 42 states, funded through the Rural Energy for America Program and the Fertilizer Production Expansion Program. The Rural Energy for America Program awards total $157 million for 675 projects in 42 states. Projects financed through the Fertilizer Production Expansion Program will help U.S. farmers increase independent, domestic fertilizer production. The investments include $50 million in seven projects in seven states. Funding supports long-term investments that will strengthen supply chains, create new economic opportunities for American businesses, and support climate-smart innovation. *********************************************************************************** AFBF Makes Call for Farm Bill Passage American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall encouraged AFBF members to press Congress to pass a new Farm Bill. Speaking at the AFBF annual convention in Salt Lake City, Utah, which kicked off Sunday, Duvall told members of AFBF, “I’m asking you to send a resounding message to Congress to deliver a new farm bill for our farms and our country.” Duvall continued, “The road to a new farm bill has become longer than any of us would have liked, but together we can see it through.” Many believe Congress needs to act in the first half of the year to complete a farm bill and avoid the thick of election season this fall. Representative Blake Moore, a Republican from Utah, told the audience making a personal connection with lawmakers works best. He says, “Most members of Congress, whether they have a ‘D’ or an ‘R’ in front of their name, they do believe there is a need for strong agriculture.” *********************************************************************************** Farm Groups Launch Mental Health Initiative Farm Family Wellness Alliance launched Togetherall over the weekend, launching free, anonymous, online mental health and wellbeing services for farm families. Announced at the American Farm Bureau Federation annual convention in Salt Lake City, Utah, the effort offers a safe, clinically moderated peer-to-peer community, where members around the world are there to listen, support and give members' mental wellbeing a boost. AFBF President Zippy Duvall says, “It’s OK not to be OK, but it’s not OK not to reach out when you’re hurting.” Togetherall also offers a range of wellbeing tools, such as self-assessments and access to additional support services through a partnership with Personal Assistance Services. Topics covered include anxiety, depression, financial health, improving sleep and more. Farm Foundation started the Farm Family Wellness Alliance in 2020 following the Iowa derecho. The announcement this weekend expands the program nationwide. To learn more, visit farmfoundation.org. *********************************************************************************** Food-at-home Spending Drops Close to pre-COVID Levels Following shifts in U.S. food spending during the COVID-19 pandemic, food-at-home spending was only 2.7 percent higher in November 2023 compared with November 2019. Food-away-from-home spending remained elevated at 14.6 percent higher, according to new data from USDA’s Economic Research Service. After an initial jump in inflation-adjusted food-at-home spending in March through May 2020, the spending leveled off, averaging just 2.8 percent higher in December 2020 compared with 2019. Even as prices increased throughout 2021 and 2022, inflation-adjusted food-at-home spending also increased, with monthly spending in these years averaging 7.2 percent higher than the corresponding months in 2019. Food at home spending has trended back toward pre-pandemic levels since the peak difference of 9.5 percent in March 2022. By contrast, food away-from-home spending initially fell during the pandemic but reversed quickly and outpaced 2019 spending starting in June 2021. Food at home spending peaked at 14.8 percent higher in March 2023 compared with March 2019. *********************************************************************************** Alltech 2023 U.S. Harvest Analysis Reveals Variable Mycotoxin Risk U.S. farmers and producers have experienced droughts, high rainfall, and other weather events affecting the 2023 corn harvest, making it more critical than ever to analyze mycotoxin. The Alltech 2023 U.S. Harvest Analysis has collected and assessed almost 450 new-crop samples from across the U.S., and the results show regional variation in mycotoxin risk. Samples showed lower risk in the upper Midwest and higher risk in the East. A combination of drought and untimely rains led to much of the risk. Mycotoxins are produced by certain species of molds and are a concern for livestock producers, as they can influence feed quality and subsequent animal health and performance. Mycotoxin levels continue to be higher in the East and Midwest United States. Earlier harvest conditions and drier conditions in the West helped to create lower-risk conditions. The Alltech 2023 U.S. Harvest Analysis demonstrates that mycotoxins are an ongoing, dynamic issue that livestock producers need to manage. For more information about Alltech Mycotoxin Management solutions, visit knowmycotoxins.com. *********************************************************************************** Vilsack Traveling to Georgia to Tout SAF, School Meals Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is in Georgia promoting USDA's school meals and sustainable aviation fuel this week. Vilsack Tuesday (today) is visiting a high school in East Point, Georgia, participating in a roundtable with child nutrition efforts. The discussion focuses on efforts to expand access to healthy meals for more students and improve the nutritional quality of those meals. Wednesday, Vilsack will provide Keynote remarks at the grand opening of LanzaJet Freedom Pines Fuels in Soperton, Georgia. The facility is the world’s first facility dedicated to the production of sustainable aviation fuel from ethanol. The visit comes as the Environmental Protection Agency released Public Data for the Renewable Fuel Standard, including final production volumes for 2023. EPA’s data shows that U.S. production of biomass-based diesel – including biodiesel, renewable diesel, sustainable aviation fuel, and heating oil – reached four billion gallons in 2023. Both domestic production and use of advanced biomass-based diesel grew by one billion gallons in 2023, compared to 2022.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday January 23, 2024 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets Traders continue to pay attention to the weather in South America plus rising hostility from Iran and the latest threat from Russia. There are no significant market reports due out Tuesday. Weather While areas of freezing rain, snow, and a mix of rain and snow will continue across the Eastern Midwest and Great Lakes Tuesday, areas of heavy rainfall will remain possible across the Southern Plains and Southern Delta. A few strong to severe storms are also possible across southeast Texas and eastern Louisiana.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday January 22, 2024 |


Fed’s January 2024 Beige Book on Ag Economy The Federal Reserve Board released its January 2024 Beige Book, a summary of its commentary on the current economic conditions in each Federal Reserve District. In the sixth district around Atlanta, Low cattle supply led to higher cattle prices, but consumers are substituting less expensive proteins and preventing full pass-through of prices. In the eighth district near St. Louis, ongoing drought continues to affect livestock and crop conditions. The ninth district of Minneapolis shows conditions unchanged, while most say farm incomes dropped substantially from last year. In Kansas City’s tenth district, profits narrowed during the past year as commodity prices moderated, particularly in areas hit by drought. Drought conditions continue to recede in the eleventh district of Dallas as soil moisture improves and crop production prospects look better in 2024. Conditions in San Francisco’s 12th district were solid in agriculture and resource-related sectors, with robust yields and inventories of various products. *********************************************************************************** GAO Pushes FDA on Food Safety Although the U.S. food supply is one of the safest, foodborne illness is a public health concern. The Food and Drug Administration has a new rule requiring detailed records for certain foods as they move through the supply chain, which can help trace the source of a potential outbreak. FDA has taken steps like issuing guidance to help implement the rule. The Government Accountability Office has recommended that the FDA finalize its plans for implementing the rule to help industry and regulators prepare for compliance by January 30, 2026. In November 2022, the FDA promulgated a final rule on food traceability to help identify the source of outbreaks of foodborne illness. When developing the new rule, FDA established a list of certain foods for which enhanced recordkeeping is required. Entities handling an item on the list must maintain records, including a traceability plan for specific points in the supply chain. *********************************************************************************** Stabenow Releases Letter on the Farm Bill Senate Ag Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow wrote a letter to her colleagues on their work to write a new farm bill. She outlined several proposals for strengthening the farm safety net in the new bill. While calling the 2018 Farm Bill a “strong foundation” for American farmers, she also says, “The 2024 Farm Bill is an opportunity for the Committee to make improvements, modernize dated elements, and address emerging challenges American farmers face.” Her vision for modernizing the safety net centers around principles like programs being targeted to active farmers, providing farmers choice and flexibility, and sending them timely assistance. She also says officials need to expand the reach of programs to help more farmers and address the emerging risks farmers face. “Crop insurance is a key tool to meaningfully advance each of those goals,” she said in the letter. “Farmers want better affordability and a more straightforward and streamlined process.” *********************************************************************************** USDA Launches Pilot Beef-Grading Program Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack announced a pilot program to allow more cattle producers and meat processors to access better markets through USDA’s official beef quality grading and certification. The Remote Grading Pilot for Beef, developed by the AMS, matches simple technology with robust data management and program oversight to allow a USDA grader to assess beef carcass characteristics and assign the official quality grade from a remote location, reducing costs and location as barriers to participation in the voluntary grading service. “On average, a beef carcass that grades as USDA Prime is valued at hundreds of dollars more than an ungraded one,” Vilsack says. “But the costs for this voluntary USDA service often prevent smaller scale processors and the farmers and ranchers they serve from using this valuable marketing tool.” Consumers and buyers and sellers of beef rely on USDA quality grades, including Prime, Choice, and Select, to indicate quality. *********************************************************************************** NCGA Unhappy with ITC Decision on Tariffs The National Corn Growers Association is deeply disappointed in a decision from the International Trade Commission. The ITC upheld an earlier opinion finding material injury to U.S. fertilizer companies during a time of rising on-farm fertilizer prices that went on to reach record highs. The decision came after the U.S. Court of International Trade asked the Commerce Department and ITC to reconsider decisions they issued on the matter. “The idea that major fertilizer conglomerates were materially injured even as they were posting substantially higher profits during the time in question sounds dubious to me,” says NCGA President Harold Wolle. “The decision ignores the request from the Court of International Trade and the negative impacts these tariffs continue to have on America’s farmers, who are facing higher prices for the fertilizers critical to the success of their crops. We will continue to make a vigorous case for eliminating or lowering these tariffs.” *********************************************************************************** Groups Press for Miscellaneous Tariff Bill Crop Life America and several other groups joined together on Capitol Hill to urge immediate action by lawmakers to renew the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill. “A passage of the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill that’s fully retroactive would help farmers’ access to the essential pesticide products they need to grow food for the U.S. and the World,” CropLife America said in a statement. “A renewed MTB would mean lower input prices resulting in decreased price pressures for U.S. farmers, ranchers, and consumers.” The American Chemistry Council was another of the groups pushing for renewal of the MTB. “The bill would support advanced manufacturing in the United States and domestic chemical production used to make products in key agriculture, food production, and industrial sectors, including information technology, renewable energy, and automotive goods,” said the ACC. The previous MTB expired in December 2020, and since then, businesses continued to pay $1.3 million per day in tariffs.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday January 22, 2024 |


Top 5 Things to Watch - Weather Warms, Winter Meetings Start 1. Farm Bureau reports: DTN Senior Ag Policy Editor Chris Clayton is covering the American Farm Bureau Federation annual meeting in Salt Lake City, Utah, Jan 19-24. Farm Bill legislation, trade and other issues will all be part of speeches and sessions there. 2. Weather warmup: While this weekend includes a last burst of really cold air into South Dakota, Iowa and Nebraska, a warmup is on tap for the week ahead. That will bring increasing precipitation across eastern Texas and up into the Midwest in several waves. We could see heavy snow in the Great Lakes region, and some ice potential in the Ohio and Mid-Mississippi valleys, depending on temperatures. 3. Market happenings: Soybean markets are watching for the start of Brazilian harvest as well as the ongoing reports of China's potential economic slowdown. DTN Lead Analyst Todd Hultman will speak at the Sioux Falls, South Dakota farm show from Wednesday through Friday. It's a great place to hear the latest market thoughts and ask your marketing questions. 4. Stewart returns: DTN Livestock Analyst ShayLe Stewart returns Monday; watch for her market commentary throughout the week. 5. Economic reports to watch: Monday we'll report grain inspections at 10 a.m. Then, Tuesday sees U.S. bioenergy statistics at 2 p.m. On Wednesday, we'll see the S & P PMI numbers released at 8:45 a.m. A busy Thursday starts with a number of reports released at 7:30 a.m., including 4th quarter GDP, initial jobless claims, durable goods orders, U.S. trade balance, U.S. retail and wholesale inventories, and U.S. export sales. Friday we'll watch for personal Income, personal spending and the PCE Index at 7:30 a.m. At 9 a.m. the pending home sales index will be released.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday January 22, 2024 |


Monday Watch List Markets Back from the weekend, traders will keep catch up on South American weather forecasts and notice any news over the weekend, especially concerning Middle East tensions and Red Sea traffic. The U.S. index of leading indicators for December is set for 9 a.m., followed by USDA's weekly export inspections at 10 a.m. Weather A large system will bring widespread precipitation from Texas into Illinois Monday, with pockets of heavy freezing rain likely in parts of Arkansas and Missouri. Up to 0.10-0.25 inch of ice is possible in northern Arkansas and southern Missouri. Meanwhile, parts of eastern Texas could see 1-3 inches of rain.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday January 19, 2024 |


Farm Lending Activity Remains Muted New non-real estate farm lending activity at commercial banks continued to decline in the fourth quarter of 2023. The volume of new non-real estate farm loans in the final months of 2023 was about 15 percent less than the previous year. The number of new loans did increase from the previous year, but the average loan sizes were considerably lower. The sharp climb in farm loan interest rates abated during the quarter as average rates increased modestly for some types of loans and dropped slightly for others. Despite a reduction in new loans compared to late 2022, 2023’s outstanding farm debt balances reported by commercial banks grew steadily through the third quarter of 2023. Elevated production costs, higher interest expenses, and lower commodity prices increased the financing needs of many producers. The Kansas City Fed says strong liquidity in recent years likely supplemented the borrowing needs of some operations throughout 2023. *********************************************************************************** Taylor to Lead Trade Mission to India Alexis Taylor, USDA’s Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs, will lead an agribusiness trade mission to India from April 22-25. USDA is reminding interested parties that applications are open for exporters who want to take part. “There is no larger untapped market in the world for U.S. agriculture than India and its 1.4 billion consumers,” Taylor says. “We achieved notable tariff reductions this year on chickpeas, lentils, almonds, walnuts, apples, and frozen turkey, among other products that will open market opportunities for American farmers in the world’s most populous country.” She also says FAS is excited to support food and agricultural exporters as the two countries have entered a new chapter in trade relations. While in India, U.S. agribusinesses will participate in business-to-business meetings with potential importers from India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. “Total U.S. ag exports to India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka exceeded $2.5 billion in 2022,” she adds. *********************************************************************************** NCBA Keeps Pushing for Death Tax Relief The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association strongly supports the Death Tax Repeal Act introduced in both the House and Senate. NCBA says it’s unconscionable for cattle producers to face a tax that forces them to sell all or part of their family’s farm or ranch due to the death of a family member. “With the cost of farmland rising rapidly, the Death Tax presents a significant threat to the future of family farms and ranches,” says NCBA President Todd Wilkinson of South Dakota. “Most cattle producers have significant assets but are cash-poor and operate on thin margins, leaving them with few options when they are saddled with an unexpected tax liability.” The NCBA says some producers get forced to sell off assets, including land, livestock, farm equipment, and even their home. Current death tax relief expires at the end of 2025, and it’s vital that Congress acts soon to provide permanent relief. *********************************************************************************** Illinois Tops U.S. Soybean Production in 2023 The National Agricultural Statistics Service estimates Illinois soybean farmers raised a U.S.-leading 648.9 million bushels on 10.3 million acres. Compared to the previous year, total acreage and yield estimates were both four percent lower in Illinois. Average soybean yields remained the same in 2023 at 63 bushels an acre. “I’d like to congratulate my fellow farmers on another successful growing season,” says Ron Kindred, Illinois Soybean Association Chair. “Illinois farmers made smart management decisions to maintain average soybean yields statewide.” Kindred also says part of the success can be attributed to the efforts of the Illinois Soybean Association. “For 60 years and counting, ISA has invested in production research, education, advocacy, and market development efforts to afford all Illinois soybean farmers success even in the face of many challenges,” he says. As the Illinois Soybean Association turns 60, Kindred says communicating the checkoff’s benefits is key to staying ahead of challenges. *********************************************************************************** Record Support for AM Radio in the House The radio industry hit an important milestone as the number of lawmakers in the House who back efforts to make AM radio mandatory in vehicles has reached 200. The list has grown even as the proposed AM Radio in Every Vehicle Act has yet to make much legislative progress in the House. Insider Radio says the growth in support could be critical if bill sponsors try to attach the measure to a piece of must-pass legislation like a spending bill. National Association of Broadcasters spokesman Alex Siciliano credits grassroots support for helping broadcasters to gain so many cosponsors of the Act during the past year. “AM radio is continuing to reach a vast audience of 82 million listeners each month, and they’ve been very engaged in telling Congress how important this medium is to them in light of the threat by vehicle makers to remove AM from vehicles,” he says. *********************************************************************************** Growth Energy Outlines 2024 Policy Priorities Growth Energy, the nation’s largest biofuels trade association, published its 2024 federal policy priorities. “These are policy decisions that will shape the next era of growth in plant-based energy and climate solutions,” says Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor. “We hope these priorities serve as a roadmap for elected officials seeking to support biomanufacturing facilities at the heart of America’s bioeconomy.” The policy priorities focus on ensuring drivers can use more lower-carbon, lower-cost bioethanol at the pump at home and abroad. The group wants to restore permanent, unrestricted access to E15 year-round nationwide. Growth Energy also wants to use bioethanol to expeditiously advance the national transportation carbon reduction goals. They want to make sure the Department of Energy incorporates the best science and makes limited changes to the GREET model as it relates to the 408 Sustainable Aviation Fuel Tax Credit. They want to ensure changes are finished by March 1, 2024.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday January 19, 2024 |


Friday Watch List Markets USDA's weekly export sales report will be out at 7:30 a.m. CST Friday. At 9 a.m., the University of Michigan's report of consumer sentiment in January and a report on U.S. existing home sales in December will both be released. USDA's cattle on-feed report for January 1 will be out at 2 p.m., the same time as USDA's Livestock, Dairy and Poultry outlook for January. Weather A clipper system continues to bring a band of snow across the eastern Midwest and into the Mid-Atlantic on Friday and is pulling the last of an arctic blast from the polar vortex behind it from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico yet again that will last for a couple of days.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday January 18, 2024 |


Lawmakers Seek 2024 DMC Enrollment Period A group of lawmakers is asking the Department of Agriculture to swiftly open the 2024 Dairy Margin Coverage program sign-up period. The program is the nation's risk management tool for dairy producers that helps farmers manage changes between milk prices and feed costs. The lawmakers, including Iowa Republican Representative Randy Feenstra, write, “Now, as we are nearly halfway through January, there continues to be no indication given to producers of when they will be eligible to select their DMC coverage level for 2024.” The delay, the lawmakers say, coupled with the unpredictable nature of the industry is “concerning for the farm economy and the constituents we represent.” Throughout 2023, dairy producers faced numerous challenges – high input costs, continued inflation, and unpredictable weather conditions – meaning that programs like DMC, which provide certainty during unstable economic conditions, are vital to producers and rural communities, the letter says. The lawmakers urged USDA to quickly open the sign-up period to provide dairy producers certainty in 2024. *********************************************************************************** USDA: Large Family Farms Account for Bulk of Commodity Production Large-scale family farms accounted for a majority of the value of commodity production in 2022, according to a new report from USDA’s Economic Research Service. Specifically, these farms accounted for 51 percent of cash grains and soybeans, 56 percent of hog production, 65 percent of cotton along with 65 percent of specialty crops, and 76 percent of dairy products. On the other hand, small family farms accounted for three percent of the value of production for dairy, four percent for cotton, seven percent for specialty crops, and 26 percent for beef, but they produced the majority of hay—53 percent—and 45 percent of poultry and eggs. The value of production by nonfamily farms ranged from five percent for both hay production and poultry and eggs production to 19 percent for specialty crop production. Large scale family farms are those with a Gross Cash Farm Income of more than $1 million. *********************************************************************************** Global Soybean Stocks Raised on Higher Production The marketing year 2023/24 global soybean production forecast has increased by 0.1 million metric tons this month to 399.0 million metric tons. USDA’s Monthly Oil Crops Outlook shows higher production in Argentina, the United States, Paraguay, Russia, China, and Bolivia more than offset lower production in Brazil. Global soybean trade for 2023/24 is forecasted to be up from last month and stands at 170.9 million metric tons due to higher exports from Paraguay and Russia. The global soybean crush is nearly unchanged this month, as higher crush in Argentina, India, Egypt, and Thailand offsets the reduced crush volume in Brazil. Global soybean ending stocks are forecast at 114.6 million metric tons, up 0.4 million metric tons from last month's forecast and 12.7 million metric tons above last year's level. In the latest Crop Production report by USDA, U.S. soybean production was raised by 35.2 million bushels on higher yields. The harvested acreage is reduced this month 0.4 million acres on lower harvested area. *********************************************************************************** United Soybean Board Releases 2024 Sustainability Overview The United Soybean Board Wednesday released the 2023 Soy Sustainability Overview. The report outlines the partnerships formed through checkoff investment to drive innovation in sustainability. The advances include efforts to enhance sustainability in production agriculture and ongoing development of new soy-based products that provide cleaner alternatives for everything from rubbers and plastics to adhesives and lubricants. Iowa farmer April Hemmes, chair of the Demand Action Team at USB, says, "U.S. Soy farmers are proud of the important and growing role they play in maximizing sustainability not only in farming but throughout industries and around the globe." The report covers sustainable food practices, renewable energy such as biodiesel, and other sustainability practices. The report also provides updates on checkoff-funded research projects that hold significant promise in advancing sustainability, both on the farm and through groundbreaking new uses for soy. For more information and to view the report, visit unitedsoybean.org. *********************************************************************************** Lawmakers Introduce Bill to Promote Domestic Hardwood Products Representatives Tom Tiffany and Congresswoman Ann Kuster introduced bipartisan legislation this week to support domestic hardwood products. The Hardwood Products Access and Development Program Act, permits the Agriculture Secretary to authorize grants that bolster domestic industry efforts and research that directly supports end-user information on the benefits of hardwood products. The grants will allow various nonprofits, universities, and other eligible applicants to research the low carbon footprint and sustainability of domestically produced hardwood products to educate the public on the benefits of these products. Representative Tiffany, a Wisconsin Republican, says, "This important legislation will inform consumers on the sustainability of domestically produced hardwood products." Representative Kuster, a New Hampshire Democrat adds, "American-grown hardwood offers an incredible opportunity to create more sustainable, durable products in countless industries right here at home." The U.S. hardwood industry is a multi-billion-dollar industry supporting over 1.8 million jobs, mostly in rural, underserved areas. *********************************************************************************** USDA Appoints New Members to Minority Farmers Advisory Committee The Department of Agriculture Wednesday announced the appointment of 15 new members to the Advisory Committee on Minority Farmers. The newly appointed members serve terms of up to two years. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says, "This committee is part of USDA's commitment to ensure that all farmers have equal access to USDA programs and services, especially minority farmers and producers in underserved communities." Committee members represent socially disadvantaged farmers, nonprofit organizations, civil rights organizations or professions, and higher education institutions. Congress established the Advisory Committee for Minority Farmers in the Food Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 to ensure that underserved farmers have equal access to USDA programs. Committee members advise the Secretary of Agriculture on the administration of the Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers Competitive Grant Program. They also make recommendations to the Secretary on how to increase minority participation in USDA programs. Find more information, including a list of new members, on the committee website.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday January 18, 2024 |


Thursday Watch List Markets Weekly U.S. jobless claims, U.S. housing starts for December and an update of the U.S. Drought Monitor are due out at 7:30 a.m. CST Thursday. The Energy Department's report on natural gas storage will be out at 9:30 a.m., followed by the weekly energy inventory report at 10 a.m. Traders continue to monitor South American weather and news from the Middle East. Weather A clipper system is moving through South Dakota early this morning, bringing a band of light to moderate snow through the Northern Plains. The system will continue southeast through Iowa Thursday and into the eastern Midwest overnight into Friday. An arctic blast of cold will follow behind the clipper for a couple of days, though temperatures out ahead of it are closer to normal in a reprieve from yesterday.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday January 17, 2024 |


Pork Producers Concerned About FDA Antibiotics Proposal The National Pork Producers Council submitted comments critical of the Food and Drug Administration’s draft guidance on the duration of use of certain antibiotics in food animals. NPPC says the proposal would “deny the ability for a veterinarian to prescribe antimicrobials appropriately, burden pharmaceutical companies, and may jeopardize antibiotic access.” For 30 years, the U.S. pork industry has implemented measures, including FDA directives, for responsible antibiotic use. In the comments, NPPC emphasized that veterinarians are responsible for deciding what antimicrobials to prescribe, when products should be used and administered, which animals to medicate, and for how long. The organization says the draft guidance interferes with the veterinarian’s decision-making process by mandating a duration of use. The comments urge the FDA to work closely with drug manufacturers to provide a simple process to include duration of use to continue the availability of products and allow veterinarians to maintain their role in the decision-making process. *********************************************************************************** Collaboration Will Expand Rural Connectivity John Deere announced it entered into an agreement with SpaceX to provide cutting-edge satellite communications service to farmers. Utilizing the Starlink network will allow farmers facing rural connectivity issues to fully leverage precision agriculture technologies. The partnership will enable John Deere customers to be more productive, profitable, and sustainable in their operations as they continue to provide food, fuel, and fiber to their communities and a growing global population. “The value of connectivity to farmers is broader than any single task or action,” says Aaron Wetzel, vice president of production and precision ag systems at John Deere. “Connectivity unlocks vast opportunities that were previously limited or unavailable.” The new solution will connect both new and existing machines through satellite internet service and satellite terminals. This will fully enable technologies such as autonomy, real-time data sharing, remote diagnostics, enhanced self-repair solutions, and machine-to-machine communication to help farmers work more efficiently. *********************************************************************************** Rural Residents Among Country’s Unhappiest People Rural residents join Republicans, renters, women, and single people in feeling they’re in a funk financially. That’s according to the Axios Vibe survey by The Harris Poll. Inflation has dipped in recent months, but the subject remains top of mind for many Americans. Six in 10 survey respondents say they’re now “triggered” by trips to the grocery store. Grocery purchases are the top way Americans say they feel inflation every day, followed by gas prices. Thirty-seven percent of Americans rate their financial situation as poor. That rises to 57 percent for renters, 47 percent for singles, and 46 percent for rural residents. Forty-one percent of Americans say their finances are worse today than they’d have predicted if they’d been asked, pre-COVID, to imagine the future. That percentage rises to 53 percent for rural residents and 51 percent for renters. The poll finds many Americans, including rural residents, calling the economy weak. *********************************************************************************** Actor Joining Clean Fuels Alliance to Promote Bioheat Donnie Wahlberg of the TV show “Bluebloods” has joined Clean Fuels Alliance America in a campaign to raise awareness about Bioheat Fuel, an environmentally responsible and sustainable energy solution It’s an eco-friendly and sustainable home heating solution derived from plants, including soybeans. Wahlberg, a Boston native, is excited about promoting a cleaner future, especially in the Northeast. Bioheat fuel is a renewable energy source that blends traditional heating oil with biodiesel, significantly reducing carbon emissions and environmental impact. Wahlberg’s partnership with Clean Fuels is driven by a shared commitment to promoting sustainable energy solutions and fostering environmental responsibility. “Donnie’s involvement adds a powerful voice to our campaign, bringing attention to the positive impact of Bioheat fuel on a local and global scale,” says Clean Fuels CEO Donnell Rehagen. “We believe that together, we can inspire positive change and encourage individuals to make the switch to cleaner, more sustainable heating options.” *********************************************************************************** Promoting Agroforestry on Farms Propagate and the Rodale Institute announced a new partnership to promote agroforestry. The collaboration’s goal is to increase the adoption of agroforestry and tree-cropping systems in North America. They say planting new agroforestry systems on farms is a win for farmers and the planet. Agroforestry systems introduce additional streams of income for farmers and boost the resilience of their operations. Increasing the number of farms across the country is also crucial to the health of the food system and climate stability. Regenerative practices like agroforestry promote overall soil health, store carbon in soils, accumulate woody biomass, improve water quality, promote biodiversity, and support pollinators. “Agroforestry is a critical tool for farmers and ranchers to improve both agricultural land and the environment,” says Rodale Institute CEO Jeff Tkach (catch). “Rodale and Propagate will further develop innovative research and expand producers’ access to actionable data that enables their adoption of regenerative practices.” *********************************************************************************** Nominations Open for 4R Program The Fertilizer Institute says nominations are open for the 2024 4R Advocates. These distinguished farmers and retailers are committed to implementing advanced fertilizer best management practices that incorporate the principles of 4R Nutrient Stewardship while demonstrating remarkable economic and environmental benefits. “Embracing the principles of 4R Nutrient Stewardship isn’t just a commitment for the fertilizer industry, but it’s a meaningful step towards helping countless American farmers enhance both their profitability and the health of the land,” says TFI President and CEO Corey Rosenbusch. “We take pride in the dedication of our industry’s retailers, who work hand-in-hand with farmers to put these practices into action in the field.” The 4R Advocates actively engage in TFI’s outreach efforts to promote responsible fertilizer management practices throughout the year. They do so by hosting farm field days, participating in conference panels, and sharing their insights and experiences with fellow farmers. More information is at tfi.org.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday January 17, 2024 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets Traders remain attentive to South American weather forecasts and events in the Middle East. U.S. retail sales for December are due out at 7:30 a.m. CST, followed by the Federal Reserve's report on U.S. industrial production at 8:15 a.m. The Fed's Beige Book will be released at 1 p.m. Due to Monday's holiday, the Energy Department's weekly inventory report will be out Thursday. Weather While the polar vortex remains in control over much of North America, there is some moderation from the drastically cold temperatures of the last few days across the north. Southern areas dove deeper into the cold with below-freezing temperatures through the Gulf of Mexico. A system in the Pacific Northwest continues to drop significant snow there that will bleed into the northwestern Plains as well, especially for Thursday.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday January 16, 2024 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets Back from a three-day weekend, traders will catch up on the latest weather forecasts for South America and news of attacks from the Red Sea. USDA's weekly report of export inspections is set for 10 a.m. CST. The National Oilseeds Processors Association will estimate members' soybean crush in December later Tuesday morning. Weather The polar vortex is firmly planted over the middle of North America on Tuesday and while the harshest temperatures have passed on from the Canadian Prairies and Northern Plains, it remains very cold across much of the country between the Rockies and Appalachians. A storm system is moving east and out of the country while the cold, arctic air settles.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday January 15, 2024 |


Final 2023 Crop Report Shows Jump in Corn Production USDA released its final 2023 Crop Production Report showing a rise in corn production and a drop in soybean production. 2023 corn production hit a record 15.3 billion bushels, 12 percent above 2022. The average yield was a record-high 177.3 bushels per acre, 3.9 bushels above 2022. Soybean production in 2023 reached 4.16 billion bushels, two percent lower than in 2022. The average yield was 50.6 bushels per acre, one bushel above 2022, but the production drop was due to four percent fewer harvested acres than the previous year. Meanwhile, the December WASDE Report calls for greater corn production, larger domestic use, and higher ending stocks. The season-average price is down five cents at $4.80 per bushel. In soybeans, supplies rose 31 million bushels over November’s prediction. Projected soybean ending stocks totaled 280 million bushels, up 35 million. The season-average soybean price is $12.75 a bushel, 15 cents below November. *********************************************************************************** USDA Reopening Signup for Continuous CRP The USDA will begin accepting applications for the Continuous Conservation Reserve Program signup on January 12. The Farm Service Agency encourages agricultural producers and landowners interested in conservation opportunities for their land in exchange for yearly rental payments to consider the enrollment options available through Continuous CRP. It also includes the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program offered by FSA partners. Additionally, producers participating in CRP can apply to re-enroll beginning January 12 if their contracts expire this year. “Continuous CRP is one of the best conservation tools we can provide producers and landowners,” says FSA Administrator Zach Ducheneaux. “Whether a producer wants to focus on water quality benefits or work with one of our partners to address natural resource concerns in their area, the program offers many options to help meet those resource conservation goals.” To submit an offer, producers and landowners should contact their local FSA office by July 31. *********************************************************************************** USDA Releases Grain Stocks, Winter Wheat Seeding Reports USDA released its December 2023 Grain Stocks report that showed higher corn and wheat stocks in all positions, while soybean stocks dropped from 2022. Corn in all positions totaled 12.2 billion bushels, 13 percent above December 2022. Soybeans were estimated at three billion bushels, one percent lower than a year ago. All wheat on December 1, 2023, totaled 1.41 billion bushels, eight percent above 2022. The winter wheat area planted for 2024 harvest is estimated at 34.4 million acres, six percent below 2023 but three percent higher than in 2022. Kansas and Texas, the two states with the largest acreages, are expected to be down seven and eight percent, respectively. Michigan and Utah were expected to plant a record-low number of acres. Hard Red Winter Wheat seeded area is expected to be 24 million acres, five percent below 2023. The largest drop in planted acres is in Kansas and Texas. *********************************************************************************** Radio Hand-In-Hand With the Future The Consumer Electronics show in Las Vegas, Nevada, had plenty to offer in the way of future technology, including self-driving cars and Artificial Intelligence. Radio Ink says broadcasters should be encouraged that radio continues to show up at a high-tech event like CES. Radio’s largest presence was in the car, just like in everyday life. One company showed off the DTS AutoStage technology in a BMW. It offered a visual way to enjoy AM-FM and in-car games like Jeopardy. As electric vehicles continue to grow, companies are looking for ways to help drivers and passengers pass the time while their EVs charge. The same company showed off adding HD radio to Harley Davidson motorcycles. John Deere showed off its future farmer-focused technology, which included radio still playing a big part of the in-cab entertainment system. That became more important when looking at agriculture’s push to preserve the AM band in rural America. *********************************************************************************** Farmland Market is “Resilient” The Farmers National Company says the farmland market seems to be moving into the new year maintaining the value increases it’s built during the last three years. That stability is in place despite increasing pressure from declining commodity markets, rising interest rates, and inflation. The sharp increase in land values last year which was driven primarily by strong commodity markets has slowed, but the value is holding steady. Buyer demand remains strong for good quality cropland in the Midwest, while the supply of available land remains limited. “These factors further play into the dynamics of the supply-demand scenario and remain a large factor in supporting current values in early 2024,” says Paul Schadegg, senior vice president of real estate operations for Farmers National. Local farmers/operators continue to be the principal buyers in almost 80 percent of Farmland’s sales transactions. “Available cash plays a role in buyer’s aggressiveness when bidding on land.” *********************************************************************************** Growth Energy Applauds Court Ruling The U.S. Court of Appeals in the 11th Circuit dismissed a case involving the Hunt Refining Company and the Environmental Protection Agency. The court ruled that the Small Refinery Exemption challenge brought by Hunt under the Renewable Fuels Standard couldn’t be heard by the court and should be heard instead by the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor says the 11th Circuit Court validated what’s already known. “EPA’s denials of these SRE petitions were ‘nationally applicable’ and have nationwide effect, and challenges to the denials have only been brought to the D.C. Circuit Court,” Skor says. “Every time refiners seek to take RFS gallons out of the marketplace, that potentially impacts the entire renewable fuels market, no matter where those gallons get blended.” She also says the 11th Circuit rightly removed itself from the challenges and avoided contributing to a potential patchwork of inconsistent standards.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday January 12, 2024 |


November Pork Export Value Highest in Over Two Years Fueled by record performances in Mexico, Central America, and Colombia, November pork exports reached their highest value since November 2021. USDA data compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation says November pork exports reached 258,600 metric tons, up five percent from last year and the highest in six months. Export value rose two percent to $737.4 million, the highest since May 2021 and seventh-highest on record. From January through November, pork exports reached 2.64 million metric tons, eight percent higher than the previous year. “The momentum for U.S. pork is remarkable and very broad-based,” says USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom. Beef exports totaled just over 99,000 metric tons during November, 14 percent below the prior year and the second lowest in 2023. Value fell seven percent to $786 million. For the first 11 months of the year, beef exports were 13 percent lower than the record pace of 2022. *********************************************************************************** USDA Kicking Off the National Ag Classification Survey As the agency already prepares for the 2027 Census of Agriculture, USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service will conduct the National Agricultural Classification Survey on January 24. The survey, an important step in determining who should receive a 2027 Census of Agriculture questionnaire, will go to approximately 250,000 recipients to ask if they conduct agricultural activity. The results of the survey will ensure that every U.S. producer, no matter how large or small their operation, has a voice and is counted in the highly anticipated and influential agricultural census data. “This survey helps illustrate the breadth of American agriculture and enables USDA to get a complete count of all farmers and ranchers,” says NASS Administrator Hubert Hamer. “Every response matters. Even if a respondent doesn’t think the survey applies to their farm, we’d ask that they respond to the few screening questions.” NASS encourages recipients to respond securely online at agcounts.usda.gov. *********************************************************************************** USDA Investing in Biofuels The USDA is awarding grants worth $19 million to American businesses to increase the availability of biofuels in 22 states and give Americans cleaner and more affordable options at gas station pumps. Blending ethanol into gasoline has helped reduce fuel costs by approximately 25 percent, contributing to falling gas prices across the country. Gas prices are now under $2.99 in more than half of U.S. states and save the average driver more than $100 per month relative to peak prices. The agency is making the awards through the Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program. “By increasing the supply of biofuels made here in the U.S., we are strengthening our energy independence, lowering costs for American families, creating new streams of income for agricultural producers, and bringing good-paying jobs to people in rural communities,” says Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack. The investments will help business owners install and upgrade biofuels infrastructure, including pumps. *********************************************************************************** Bipartisan Bill Would Support Organic Dairy Farmers Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-ME), a longtime organic farmer and House Ag Committee member, and Marc Molinaro (R-NY) introduced legislation to support organic dairy farmers. The Organic Dairy Data Collection Act would enhance data collection at USDA to better understand the costs associated with producing organic milk. “International trade challenges, adverse weather, and skyrocketing organic feed costs have created a dire economic situation for organic dairy farmers across the U.S.,” Pingree says. “These unique challenges require tailored solutions.” The bipartisan bill will help USDA better understand and address the challenges organic dairy farmers face. The bill directs USDA to collect and publish cost-of-production data for organic milk. It directs NASS to gather and report monthly data about the amounts that organic dairy farmers are being paid for organic milk. It also orders USDA, NASS, and the Economic Research Service to publish reports on the cost of production data by state and region. *********************************************************************************** Farm Bureau Awards Distinguished Service Honors Frank Lucas (R-OK) and former Iowa Farm Bureau President Craig Hill received the American Farm Bureau’s 2023 Distinguished Service Award and Farm Bureau Founders Award, respectively. The awards are the highest honors presented by AFBF. Lucas and Hill will be recognized during the 2024 American Farm Bureau Convention January 17-24 in Salt Lake City, Utah. AFB established the Distinguished Service Award in 1928 to honor individuals who have devoted their careers to serving the national interest in American agriculture. First presented in January 2017, the AFBF Founder’s Award for exemplary leadership, service, or contributions to Farm Bureau is presented in recognition of outstanding achievements and work in the interest of Farm Bureau. Lucas is a fifth-generation Oklahoma farmer and Congressman who’s been a defender of agriculture for over 40 years. Hill was the longest-serving member of the Iowa Farm Bureau Board of Directors before retiring as president in December 2021. *********************************************************************************** Combines See Solid Sales Gains Late in 2023 Combine harvester sales closed out the year ahead of 2022 levels, while almost all tractor segments saw declines in both the U.S. and Canada. The latest data from the Association of Equipment Manufacturers says total U.S. farm tractor sales fell 5.1 percent in December compared to 2022, while year-to-date sales came in 8.7 percent lower than the previous year. However, 100+ horsepower tractors grew 5.2 percent for the year and 3.6 percent in December. Combine harvesters finished 2023 with sales up 1.7 percent last month. The sub-40 horsepower segment led the yearly losses, falling 11 percent in 2023 on the heels of a 5.8 percent drop in December. For Canada, four-wheel drive farm tractor sales jumped 65 percent in December and finished the year up 44 percent overall. Overall unit tractor sales finished 2023 down 14 percent for December and 10.7 percent overall. AEM is still confident about long-term sales growth.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday January 12, 2024 |


Friday Watch List Markets The U.S. Labor Department's producer price index for December will be out at 7:30 a.m. Friday, one day after consumer prices were said to be up 3.4% from a year ago. USDA's WASDE, December 1 Grain Stocks and Winter Wheat Seedings reports are set for release at 11 a.m. CST. U.S. grain and livestock futures close at their normal times Friday and are closed Monday for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Grain futures will trade next at 7 p.m. CST on Monday. Weather The second big storm of the week is moving into the Midwest Friday morning and will quickly deepen. It has already started to produce heavy snow from eastern Nebraska to Lake Michigan early morning and will expand from there. The deepening low-pressure system will create strong winds and blizzard conditions in the snow. To the south, heavy rain and thunderstorms have developed in the Mississippi Valley and will move east throughout the day. The rain will help to ease drought, but thunderstorms may be severe with strong winds the primary threat. Very cold, arctic air continues to spread through the Plains behind the system.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday January 11, 2024 |


Agri-Pulse Poll Shows Farmers Support Donald Trump A new poll from Agri-Pulse and Stratovation Group finds farmers and ranchers support electing Donald Trump to another term as president. The effort shows 39 percent of surveyed farmers say they would most likely vote for Trump, while 19 percent indicated they would vote for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. Just eight percent of surveyed farmers say they would vote for President Joe Biden. Of the 605 farmers that participated in the survey, 61 percent identified as Republicans, with 45 percent of that group favoring Trump. Ten percent of the survey participants identified as Democrats with 62 percent of those farmers supporting Biden. Another 18 percent of farmers identified as independents. Stratovation Group conducted the study between December 14-22, 20243, including farmers and ranchers from the Midwest, South and California. The first presidential primary vote comes Monday as Republicans hold the Iowa Caucus. *********************************************************************************** U.S. Wheat Imports Reach 6-year High U.S. wheat imports are forecasted to be at their highest in six years for the 2023/24 marketing year, according to USDA's Economic Research Service. Consecutive years of drought in key U.S. growing regions of hard red winter wheat have tapered U.S. output, elevating domestic prices. Millers have sought less expensive sources, including competitively priced wheat from the European Union. U.S. imports of hard red winter wheat, mostly from the EU, for 2023/24 are at 25 million bushels, a record high, and up from five million bushels from 2022/23. This trade flow is atypical as U.S. wheat imports are normally driven by hard red spring and durum wheat from neighboring Canada. In 2017/18, imports from Canada of both classes of wheat were elevated because of drought-related supply issues in the United States. While U.S. imports of hard red winter wheat are elevated in 2023/24, imports of soft red winter and white wheat are relatively close to normal levels. *********************************************************************************** Without More Funding, FCC Winding Down Broadband Program The Federal Communications Commission plans to start winding down the Affordable Connectivity Program as funding for the effort dries up. The FCC has emphasized the need for additional funding for program, and the White House recently made an additional funding request to Congress for $6 billion to keep the program going. With less than four months before the projected program end date and without any immediate additional funding, this week, the Commission expects to begin taking steps to start winding down the program to give households, providers, and other stakeholders sufficient time to prepare. FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel says in a letter to lawmakers, “If Congress does not provide additional funding for the ACP in the near future, millions of households will lose the ACP benefit that they use to afford internet service.” While Congress initially appropriated $14.2 billion for the ACP, more funding is needed to keep the program in place. The FCC expects funding to last through April 2024, running out completely in May. *********************************************************************************** Losses Projected for Lower Rio Grande Valley Due to Water Shortages A recent report by Texas A&M estimates a potential 2024 total loss in economic output of over $993.2 million due to the absence of irrigation water for crop production in the Lower Rio Grande Valley. The report examines the total economic impact on the region's agricultural production, which consists of row crops (and specialty crops absent irrigation water. In terms of employment, it would result in an estimated loss of over 8,000 jobs. The lack of irrigation water is in large part due to Mexico's failure to deliver water to the U.S. per the 1944 Water Treaty. According to the report, the current Mexican water deficit is the second-largest deficit in the last three decades. The Treaty obligates Mexico to deliver a minimum of 350,000 acre-feet annually, as an average, on a five-year cycle. Now in year four of the current five-year cycle, Mexico owes over 736,000 acre-feet of water. Because of the lack of water, the Texas International Produce Association reports vegetable and fruit plantings are down 25 – 100 percent, depending on the corp. *********************************************************************************** CHS Reports First Quarter Fiscal Year 2024 Earnings CHS Inc., the nation's leading agribusiness cooperative, released results for its first quarter this week, which ended November 30, 2023. The company reported quarterly net income of $522.9 million compared to $782.6 million in the first quarter of fiscal year 2023. Earnings were strong across all segments, although down from record first quarter earnings in fiscal year 2023. Revenues were $11.4 billion, compared to $12.8 billion in the first quarter of fiscal year 2023. In the Ag segment, continued robust meal and oil demand drove strong earnings in our oilseed processing business that were offset by weak U.S. export demand for grains and oilseeds. CHS President and CEO Jay Debertin says, "We continue to see the benefits of our diversified agriculture and energy portfolio, our strategic footprint, and investments in our supply chain." CHS reported pretax earnings of $169.7 million for agriculture, representing a $117.6 million decrease compared to the prior year period. *********************************************************************************** Nearly 21 Million Children Expected to Receive New Grocery Benefit This Summer The Department of Agriculture this week announced that 35 states, all five U.S. territories, and four tribes plan to be the first to launch the new, permanent summer grocery benefits program for children. Known as Summer Electronic Benefit Transfer, the program in 2024 will serve close to 21 million children, providing nearly $2.5 billion in grocery benefits. This is around 70 percent of the total population of children eligible for Summer EBT. Through the program, states will provide families with $120 per eligible child for the summer to buy food at grocery stores, farmers markets or other authorized retailers – similar to how SNAP benefits are used. Participating tribes will provide a benefit of the same amount that can be used to buy food at WIC-authorized retailers. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says, “Together we’re making progress in closing the summer hunger gap and ensuring children are nourished and healthy year-round.” USDA expects additional states and tribes will provide Summer EBT in 2025.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday January 11, 2024 |


Thursday Watch List Markets USDA's weekly export sales report will be out at 7:30 a.m. CST Thursday, the same time as weekly U.S. jobless claims, the consumer price index for December and an update of the U.S. Drought Monitor. The Energy Department's report on natural gas storage will be out at 9:30 a.m., followed by the Treasury Department's federal budget statement at 2 p.m. Weather A strong storm will develop in the Southern Plains on Thursday, on the leading edge of the cold air of the polar vortex. The storm system will deepen over the Midwest on Friday and bring a swath of heavy snow from around Nebraska through Michigan. Strong winds developing with the system will create blizzard conditions in the heavy snow. Meanwhile, strong thunderstorms are possible again across the South-Central states Thursday and the Southeast on Friday. Arctic air has already started to leak into the Northern Plains and will spread out across the country behind this system.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday January 10, 2024 |


Consumers to Focus on Labels in 2024 The International Food Information Council’s annual food trends forecast predicts consumers will focus more on label claims this year. The report suggests the industry should expect a heightened emphasis on transparent food labeling, empowering shoppers to make informed decisions about the foods and beverages they consume. Labels such as clean, cold-pressed, and fermented, which consumers associate with healthfulness, will continue to be at the forefront. Actions by the Food and Drug Administration are bringing Americans closer to an updated definition of a “healthy” food. As far as consumers are concerned, the most common attributes they believe define a healthy food are fresh, low in sugar and good source of protein. IFIC’s Kris Sollid says, “Front-of-Package nutrition labeling will be a major focus in 2024 as U.S. food regulators roll out a new labeling proposal to help shoppers make easier, quicker, and healthier food decisions.” The proposal will spur a national conversation about the importance of reading food labels and the factors beyond labeling that influence personal food choices. *********************************************************************************** USDA Reminds Producers of Upcoming Discrimination Financial Assistance Deadline The Department of Agriculture this week reminded farmers, ranchers and forest landowners that January 13, 2024, is the deadline to apply for the Discrimination Financial Assistance Program. The program is made possible by the Inflation Reduction Act, which provided $2.2 billion in funding. Farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners who experienced discrimination by USDA in its farm loan programs before January 1, 2021, and/or are currently debtors with assigned or assumed USDA farm loan debt that was the subject of USDA discrimination that occurred before January 1, 2021, are eligible for the program. Applications may be submitted online through the program website at 22007apply.gov, in person at a DFAP local office, or by mail. The full list of offices and their operating hours can be found on the application website. After receiving feedback from potential applicants in September, USDA extended the deadline to January 13, 2024. This provided potential applicants six months to prepare applications. The previous deadline was October 31, 2023. *********************************************************************************** Court Upholds Iowa Agriculture Trespass Laws The 8th Circuit Court unanimously overruled a District Court and upheld Iowa’s 2019 and 2021 agriculture trespass laws as constitutional this week. After several organizations challenged the new law, the district court concluded that the intent requirement renders the law “viewpoint-based” and unconstitutional under the First Amendment. In the ruling, the 8th Circuit Court said, “We respectfully disagree, and therefore reverse.” The lawsuit was filed by groups including the Animal Legal Defense Fund and the Center for Food Safety, among others. Iowa Agriculture Secretary Mike Naig responded, “The Legislature and Gov. Reynolds enacted these laws to safeguard our ag community and protect our food security. It is welcome news that Iowa producers can now be protected from trespassers and it sends a clear message to those who maliciously target our livestock farms.” Critics described the laws as “ag-gag” laws, seeking to criminalize efforts to access and secretly record alleged animal abuse on farms. *********************************************************************************** Leaked Snake River Memo Springs Irrigation Concerns A leaked memo outlining mediation options for Lower Snake River dams has agriculture sounding alarm bells, especially those who rely on the river to irrigate. The solutions seek to improve fish population and reverse effects of hydroelectric power generation. However, Irrigation Today reports the solutions would decrease the energy availability and the water resource infrastructure dependent on the system's current framework. Nathan Bowen of the Irrigation Association says, "The proposed changes to the river system, particularly the breaching of dams, would have a dramatic impact on irrigated agriculture in the region." A letter from Pacific Northwest lawmakers regarding the leaked memo states, “Due to the document’s use of vague and imprecise language, it appears susceptible to misinterpretation.” The lawmakers expressed concerns with the outlined solutions in the memo, which includes language from the federal government stating that the solutions outlined in the memo must “be the path forward.” The concerns are not new, with legal battles pertaining to the system spanning decades. *********************************************************************************** U.S. Apricot Production Trends Lower Data from USDA's Economic Research Service shows U.S. apricot production is declining significantly. Their production has been decreasing since the 1990s in response to falling U.S. consumption, especially for processed apricots. Commercial production is concentrated on the West Coast, with California representing 90 percent of apricot production in 2023. The U.S. apricot industry has experienced a long-term downward trend in bearing acreage, falling 62 percent over the past 20 years. Growing competition from imports of processed apricot products and a general increase in consumption for all fresh fruit have encouraged growers to divert more of their acreage to higher valued commodities, resulting in fewer bearing acres of apricots and shifts in use. The downward trend in production has coincided with a decrease in the share of apricots used in the processing market. During the first three seasons of this decade, processed utilization has averaged 45 percent—down from 63 percent during the early 2010s and 89 percent in the early 1980s. *********************************************************************************** Grains Council Launches Website Highlighting Sustainability The U.S. Grains Council just released four new web pages focused on the organization's sustainability efforts. The web pages provide information and resources on the practices and technologies that contribute to the sustainability of U.S. farms and agribusinesses. The pages showcase USGC’s commitment to global climate efforts and how it is working with its members and international stakeholders to address sustainability challenges in the food, feed, fuel and fiber international supply chains in which the products it represents participate. Carlos Suarez, USGC manager of sustainability, policy and innovation, says, “The Council is in a unique position to help barley, corn and sorghum farmers showcase their journey in adopting sustainable production practices and align with international supply chain requirements.” The Council's goal is to increase the volumes of sustainably-produced U.S. grains that reach international markets to support global food security and climate-smart international supply chains. Find the pages at grains.org.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday January 10, 2024 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets Brazil's crop agency, Conab, will have new crop estimates out Wednesday, typically early morning. The U.S. Energy Department's weekly inventory report is set for 9:30 a.m. CST. Traders remain attentive to South American weather forecasts and the world's events. Weather The first major winter storm of 2024 is exiting to the northeast on Wednesday, but it will not stay quiet long. The polar vortex is building over the western half of North America, pulling down arctic air into western Canada that will spill southeast behind an initially weak system across the Northern Plains on Wednesday into Thursday. The storm will become much stronger for Thursday and Friday, following a similar track to the one from early in the week.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday January 9, 2024 |


USDA Announces Market Development Program Investments for Fiscal Year 2024 The USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service is awarding more than $200 million to nearly 70 agricultural organizations to help expand export markets for U.S. food and agricultural products. The expansion efforts will happen through the Market Access Program and the Foreign Market Development Program. “Over the year, we’ve seen the tremendous impact both MAP and FMD have on expanding U.S. exports to markets around the world,” says FAS Administrator Daniel Whitley. “For each dollar invested in export market development, U.S. agricultural exports have increased by more than $24.” He calls these programs a “significant boost to the agricultural industry,” which, in turn, helps strengthen the economies of communities across the entire United States. Through MAP, FAS will provide $174.3 million for fiscal year 2024 to 68 nonprofit organizations and cooperatives. Under FMD, FAS will allocate $27 million to 20 trade organizations that represent American agricultural producers. To learn more, visit fas.usda.gov. *********************************************************************************** Philippines Extends Lower Tariff Rates on Pork Through 2024 The Philippines extended reduced tariff rates on imported pork for the third consecutive year. The in-quota duty remains 15 percent, while the out-of-quota rate is 25 percent. Under the lower tariffs and higher access volume, U.S. pork exports to the Philippines increased to a record $205 million in 2021, a 79 percent hike. But after the increased quota amount expired on January 31, 2022, exports fell that year to about $135 million, and for 2023 they will likely be around $120 million. The National Pork Producers Council says the Philippines is an important Asian market for America’s pork industry. With more than 109 million people and a cultural preference for pork, the island nation is a top ten market for U.S. pork exports. In May 2021, in response to a pork shortage caused by African Swine Fever, the Philippines first lowered the import duties and increased the minimum access volume. *********************************************************************************** Dietary Guidelines Committee to Meet The next meeting of the 2025 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee is on January 19, starting at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time. It’s convened jointly by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. During the event, the committee will hear updates from each subcommittee and discuss progress made since the third public meeting. Some of the topics include protocol development, evidence review and synthesis, draft conclusion statements, and plans for future committee work. HHS and USDA invite the public to participate in this important event by registering in advance to view the livestream. A recorded version of the livestream will be posted on DietaryGuidelines.gov after the meeting. Since the first edition in 1980, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans provided science-based advice on what to eat and drink to promote health, reduce the risk of chronic disease, and meet nutrient needs. For more information, go to usda.gov. *********************************************************************************** USDA: Chronic Disease Linked to Food Security Adults in U.S. households that are less food secure are significantly more likely to have one or more chronic diseases, and the likelihood increases as food insecurity worsens. Researchers with the Economic Research Service looked at the rate of five chronic diseases across four levels of household food security, ranging from high food security to very low food security. High food security households have no problems or anxiety about consistently obtaining adequate food. Very low food-secure households feature eating patterns of one or more household members that got disrupted and reduced their food intake. From 2019-2022, the predicted illness prevalence among the five chronic diseases examined was 3.6 to 9.5 percentage points higher for adults in very low food-secure households compared to those with high food-secure households. For example, hypertension was found in 36 percent of very low food secure households, showing that food security status and health are closely linked. *********************************************************************************** Fuel Prices Continue New Year Declines For the second straight week, GasBuddy says the nation’s average price of gasoline has declined, falling 3.8 cents from a week ago to $3.03 per gallon. “Sluggish gasoline demand has led to the national average easing again and brings back the potential for the national average to drift under $3 per gallon for the first time since 2021,” says Patrick DeHaan of GasBuddy. “With a record rise in gasoline inventories last week as demand was anemic during the holidays, motorists have provided the catalyst for falling prices.” He also says if demand remains weak, it’s possible gasoline prices could fall further. In addition, refinery issues in California have also eased, which will soon cause prices to decline in California, Nevada, and Arizona, possibly providing momentum for a $2.99 national average. However, the better it gets now, the sharper the rise could be ahead of spring, as prices could start rising by mid-February. *********************************************************************************** Taylor Leading Trade Mission to India USDA’s Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Alexis Taylor will lead an agribusiness trade mission to India from April 22-25. USDA is now accepting applications from U.S. exporters who wish to join the trade delegation. “There is no larger untapped market in the world for U.S. agriculture than India and its 1.4 billion consumers,” Taylor says. “We achieved notable tariff reductions this year on chickpeas, lentils, almonds, walnuts, apples, frozen turkey, and many other products that will open market opportunities for U.S. farmers in the world’s most populous country.” Total U.S. agricultural and related product exports to India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka exceeded $2.5 billion in 2022. January through October 2023 exports reached more than $1.7 billion. India leads the region as one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. The deadline to apply for the India trade mission is Monday, January 22. For information and to apply, go to fas.usda.gov.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday January 9, 2024 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets While a winter storm works eastward across the U.S., traders remain attentive to the latest forecasts for South America. The U.S. Commerce Department's trade deficit for November is set for 7:30 a.m. CST, the source of ag export data USDA will make available later Tuesday morning. The Energy Department's Short-term Energy Outlook is due out Tuesday. Weather A major winter storm continues to build across the middle of the country but is pushing east for Tuesday, which is spreading heavy snow across the Midwest and heavy rain for the East Coast. With strong winds circling the low-pressure center, blowing and drifting snow along with near-blizzard conditions will continue in the Plains and Midwest and create other hazards for those in the South and East. Heavy showers and thunderstorms may be severe in the Southeast. Another large winter storm is going through the Pacific Northwest with widespread heavy snow and wind, but will be weaker as it crosses the Rockies into the Northern Plains and Prairies later today

| Rural Advocate News | Monday January 8, 2024 |


Food Price Index Drops in December The U.N.’s Food and Agricultural Organization says world food prices dropped in December. The Food Price Index, which tracks monthly changes in the prices of globally traded commodities, averaged 188.5 points in December, down 1.5 percent from November and 10 percent lower than December 2022. For 2023, the index was 13.7 percent lower than the average value of 2022, with only the international sugar price index higher during the period. The Cereal Price Index rose 1.5 percent from November, but the yearly index was 15 percent below 2022. The Vegetable Oil Price Index dropped 1.4 percent from November, and for the year was 33 percent below 2022. The Sugar Price Index dropped 17 percent from November, but still finished 15 percent higher than December 2022. The Meat Price Index dropped one percent from November, hitting a level of two percent below December 2022. The Dairy Index rose 1.6 percent from November. *********************************************************************************** U.S. Wheat Associates Launch Stewardship Video Series The time and effort American farmers put into caring for the land makes for a story that isn’t shared often enough. A new video series from U.S. Wheat Associates aims to change that for overseas wheat buyers by focusing on how producers help feed the world while also acting as stewards of soil, water, and the environment. USW’s “Stories of Stewardship” project goes right to the source. Five wheat farmers in five different states appear on camera from their farms to talk about their work and to assure economic security for the next generation of farmers by leaving their land in better shape than it was when they started farming it. “Consumers around the world want to know how their food is grown, and U.S. wheat is definitely a food ingredient,” says USW Vice President of Communications Steve Mercer. Stories of Stewardship can be seen on the USW website and Facebook page. *********************************************************************************** USGC Touts U.S. Corn Quality in China The U.S. Grains Council’s office in Beijing, China, recently hit the road to present the 2023-2024 Corn Harvest Quality Report, discuss sorghum opportunities, and protect market share for U.S. coarse grains. The Council conducted a corn quality roadshow and seminar in two of China’s most populated provinces. “More than 60 traders and end-users from all over China attended our seminar to learn about the harvest quality of our 2023-2024 U.S. corn crop and other critical topics affecting the global coarse-grain market,” says Manuel Sanchez, USGC Director in China. “As one of the primary destinations for American corn and sorghum, it’s vital that the Council engage with customers in China to share the latest market information.” In addition to reviewing the report, the seminars welcomed speakers who discussed the challenges and opportunities for corn globally, the current drought hitting the Panama Canal, and a 2023 U.S. sorghum harvest and market outlook. *********************************************************************************** Midwest Weather Staying Warmer and Drier Than Normal The Midwest Climate Hub says warm and dry was the theme during December in the North Central U.S. There have been exceptions, including a Christmas system that dropped multiple inches of precipitation in certain areas. The region saw both one and two-class improvements and degradations in drought status, and concerns are starting to weigh heavily on whether soil moisture will be recharged this winter. The next three to five months are expected to follow a typical El Niño weather pattern overall. That means temperatures will lean warmer for the region, and conditions will be drier for the northern and eastern states in the Midwest. It’s about the 180th week of D1 drought in parts of Iowa, which is the longest stretch since the 1950s. Exceptional drought continues in southeast Nebraska, with some places in exceptional drought for the past five months. Temps have been above normal for the last 30 days. *********************************************************************************** ALB Holding Targeted Grazing Workshops Paid grazing contracts present a tremendous opportunity for the growth of the U.S. sheep flock and improving the availability and price competitiveness of American lamb. It’s also an opportunity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through green energy production and biological vegetation management. Training is needed to ensure sheep producers are prepared to take advantage of these grazing contract opportunities. “Improving the sustainability of the U.S. sheep industry through profitable growth is a top priority of the American Lamb Board,” says ALB Chair Peter Camino (kah-MEE-know). “ALB is committed to ensuring new and experienced shepherds receive education and resources to become successful contract grazers.” ALB’s grazing workshops will outline new and existing opportunities through targeted grazing across the U.S., including fire suppression, vineyards, and solar grazing. From animal performance to contracts and business setup, the workshops will cover the information they need to be successful service providers. For more information, go to americanlambboard.com. *********************************************************************************** Millions of Birds Die During Two Years of Bird Flu One-fourth of America’s bird flu losses during outbreaks beginning in early 2022 were recorded during the final quarter of 2023. USDA data says that’s when the disease staged a resurgence. Approximately 20.9 million birds were culled in infected domestic flocks from October through December to prevent the spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza. Successful Farming says bird flu hit egg farmers so hard that prices in 2022 soared 32 percent above the average in 2021. That’s the largest increase for any food categories USDA tracked during a year of high food inflation. As flocks got rebuilt, egg prices rose marginally in 2023 and are expected to fall 12 percent this year. A total of 79.7 million domestic birds, mostly egg-laying hens and turkeys being raised for human consumption, died in HPAI outbreaks or eradication efforts since February 2022. Since then, the disease has been confirmed in 1,059 flocks in 47 states.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday January 8, 2024 |


Top 5 Things to Watch - Winter Storm, WASDE and More 1. WASDE Friday: This week marks the release of several important USDA reports, including the "final" corn and soybean yield and production numbers of the 2023 U.S. crop season. The January World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report hits the wires at 11:00 a.m. We will post those numbers shortly after 11, with updates and analysis throughout the morning. Our preview expectations for the report will be available mid-week. 2. Big storm coming: A broad winter storm rolls into the upper Plains early in the week. As DTN Ag Meteorologist John Baranick noted in his latest Ag Weather Forum blog, this is really the first concentrated monster storm of the season. Livestock health is one of the chief concerns, as this storm will be for some areas the first bitter taste of winter some animals will get. 3. Speaking of weather: Grain traders continue to watch how South American crop conditions are shaping up, as that part of the world continues to be the market trend maker. We'll have updates in a number of spots, from the Ag Weather Forum blog to our daily market commentary. DTN customers should know that the latest global market conditions lead to us finishing up marketing of the 2023 corn crop this past week, while we continue to recommend holding a bit of soybean harvest. T 4. Cattle looking for news: A New Year uptick in cattle futures prices that started this past week ran out of gas by week's end. We'll watch for potential weather-driven trade disruption, though the general call is for steady prices in live trade and limited sales activity. 5. Economic reports to watch: On Monday, weekly grain inspections will be released at 10 a.m. The latest Consumer Credit report is out at 2 p.m. On Tuesday, the latest trade deficit numbers are at 7:30 a.m. Final field crop estimates will be released at 2 p.m. Wholesale inventories are out Wednesday at 9 a.m., with the weekly petroleum report at 10 a.m. That report includes ethanol production and inventory. On Thursday, economic attention turns to the Initial Jobless Claims report, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and Core CPI numbers, all due at 8:30 a.m. U.S. grain export sales will be released at 7:30 a.m., with Hogs and Pigs Final Estimates out at 2 p.m. Finally, Friday kicks off with the Producer Price Index (PPI) and Core PPI out at 7:30 a.m. At 11 a.m. is WASDE, January Crop Production, the Dec. 1 Grain Stocks numbers and winter wheat seedings.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday January 8, 2024 |


Monday Watch List Markets Back from the weekend, traders will continue to monitor South American weather and Middle East tensions. USDA's weekly report of export inspections will be out at 10 a.m. CST, the only significant report on Monday. Weather A storm system has been building from Sunday night into early Monday across the Central and Southern Plains, bringing a mix of rain and snow to the region. The storm will turn into a monster by midday and shift to the Mississippi Valley overnight. Widespread impacts including severe weather across the Gulf Coast, heavy snow and blizzard conditions from the southwestern Plains to the Midwest with strong winds elsewhere, and flooding rain will create a host of issues for travel and anyone or anything that is outdoors.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday January 5, 2024 |


Over 1,250 Producers Qualify Under Prop 12 The California Department of Food and Agriculture says there are more than 1,250 agricultural producers and distributors in compliance with Proposition 12. After multiple delays brought on by court challenges and the need for a Supreme Court ruling, Prop 12 is now in effect. The CDFA says the more than 1,250 producers are prepared the meet the state’s demand for cage-free eggs and crate-free pork after the measure took full effect on January 1. California voters initially approved Prop 12 in November 2018, with the provisions originally intended to be in place by January 2022. “Final implementation of Prop 12 not only provides the prospect of dramatically better living conditions for pigs in U.S. agriculture, but it also all provides a critical market for thousands of pig farmers who don’t rely on immobilizing crates as a routine animal-housing practice,” says Wayne Pacelle, a Prop 12 architect and president of Animal Wellness Action. *********************************************************************************** Missouri Bans Foreign Ownership of Some Farmland Missouri Governor Mike Parson announced a ban on agricultural land purchases by citizens and businesses from six nations if the property is within ten miles of critical military facilities. Parson says he had countries like “China and other adversarial nations” in mind when issuing an executive order on the topic. The order puts the state Ag Department in charge of reviewing all proposed purchases of farmland by foreigners The Ag Department is to deny all proposed purchases within ten miles of military facilities by entities from China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, Cuba, and Venezuela. Missouri is the latest state to restrict foreign ownership of U.S. farmland amid rising international tensions. Arkansas recently ordered Syngenta, owned by ChemChina, to sell a 160-acre research farm. Foreign investors own 43.4 million acres, or 3.4 percent of privately-held agricultural land, which includes 474,000 acres in Missouri. The executive order doesn’t affect existing farmland ownership. *********************************************************************************** Weather Mixed in Winter Wheat Country A USDA report says December weather was a mixed bag for winter wheat producers. Timely precipitation in major wheat-growing states like Kansas, Colorado, Oklahoma, and Arkansas boosted the crop. In Kansas, the top-producing state, about 43 percent of the hard-red crop was in good or excellent condition in December. Thirty-six percent was in fair condition, with the rest poor to very poor. An average of 2.7 inches of rain fell in Oklahoma last month, with more than three inches in west central counties. While no condition report was available, 22 percent of the state was suffering from drought, down from 47 percent three months earlier and 90 percent a year ago. In Colorado, 61 percent of the winter wheat crop was in good or excellent condition, up from 50 percent last year. In Arkansas, where soft-red winter wheat is grown, topsoil moisture was 69 percent surplus and 26 percent was adequate. *********************************************************************************** USDA Investments in Risk-Management Training The USDA’s Risk Management Agency announced that $3 million is available for cooperative growth agreements to educate underserved, small-scale, and organic producers on risk management. The educational opportunities can also include climate-smart practices. RMA’s Risk Management Education Partnerships provide funding for organizations like non-profits and land grant universities to develop training and resources for producers about risk management options like crop insurance. “This funding is integral to our outreach efforts in communities that historically have not had access to training about risk management options,” says RMA Administrator Marcia Bunger. “As a farmer, I know first-hand that agriculture is a risky business.” Bunger also says they want to work directly with growers and livestock producers to provide them with training and resources about risk management options and applying them to the farming business. A broad range of risk management activities are eligible for funding consideration, including training on crop insurance options and others. *********************************************************************************** Registration is Open for the Animal Agriculture Alliance Summit Registration is now open for the 2024 Animal Agriculture Alliance Stakeholders Summit. The event features dozens of speakers, hundreds of perspectives, and countless ideas. That’s just the starting line of the Animal Agriculture Alliance’s Summit. The group says, “It’s going to take a team to drive our future forward. It takes everyone running alongside their fellow stakeholders from across the food chain who know that putting in the work is the only way to transform today’s challenges into tomorrow’s solutions.” The annual Stakeholders Summit is a one-of-a-kind conference attended by a very diverse group. Stakeholders in attendance include representatives from farms, ranches, allied industries, food processors, restaurants, grocery stores, legislatures, universities, government agencies, and media members. The AAA is also excited to announce that Amanda Lucey, CEO of The Partnership, a marketing and brand communications agency, will serve as this year’s moderator for the event. For information, go to animalagalliance.org. *********************************************************************************** Women in Ag Tech Meeting This Month Women in Ag Tech announced its second in-person meeting on January 21-22 will take place during The VISION Conference at the Glendale Hotel in Phoenix, Arizona. Women in Ag Tech (WAT) continues to champion opportunities for women in agricultural technology and foster a vibrant community through mentorship, idea exchanges, and collaboration. The event promises an enriching experience for attendees, featuring a keynote address, panel discussions, and interactive sessions led by industry professionals. Lara Sowinski of CropLife Media Group will lead the meeting. An FBI Special Agent will deliver the keynote called “Cultivating Resistance: A Women in Ag Tech’s Insights on Food Safety, Cybersecurity, and Leadership in STEM.” The Women in Ag Tech meetings aren’t about only sitting and listening. “Here, we come together as women to actively learn, engage, and support one another,” Sowinski says. “It’s a fresh and dynamic approach, setting it apart from the usual conference experience.”

| Rural Advocate News | Friday January 5, 2024 |


Friday Watch List Markets USDA's weekly export sales report will be out at 7:30 a.m. CST Friday, the same time as the Labor Department's nonfarm payrolls and unemployment rate for December. A report on U.S. factory orders for November follows at 9 a.m. Traders will remain attentive to South American weather and tensions in the Middle East. Weather A storm system that developed in the Central and Southern Plains on Thursday has brought areas of rain and snow into early Friday. That storm system will continue eastward for Friday, getting into the Southeast for Saturday. The storm may clip the southern end of the Midwest and some lighter snow will be possible farther north in the Northern Plains and Upper Midwest.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday January 4, 2024 |


Analysis: Corn Futures Fall More Than 30% in 2023 Grain futures ended 2023 significantly in the red, with corn futures suffering their biggest yearly drop in a decade, according to a new analysis by the University of Illinois' Farm Policy website. Wheat and soybeans also posted steep declines in 2024 following bumper harvests in Brazil and resilient Black Sea trade. The most active corn contract was down 31 percent in 2023, while wheat was down 21 percent, and soybeans were down 15 percent. Mike Zuzolo, president of Global Commodity Analytics, adds, "In 2024, producers are going to be a lot more concerned about their input costs, and that is where beans play a much better role for them." The Department of Agriculture also expects soybean acres to increase in 2024, with the November World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report predicting that U.S. farmers will plant 87 million acres of soybeans in 2024, an increase of 3.4 million acres. Corn acres are expected to be 91 million acres, a decrease of 3.9 million acres, according to the USDA. *********************************************************************************** USDA and USTR Seek New Trade Advisory Committee Members The. Department of Agriculture and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative are accepting applications for new members to serve on agricultural trade advisory committees. Members of the committee provide advice to the administration on the implementation and enforcement of existing U.S. trade agreements, negotiation of new agreements, and other trade policy matters. Members of the six Agricultural Technical Advisory Committees, or ATACs, provide technical advice and recommendations on international trade issues that affect specific agricultural commodity sectors. The ATACs focus on trade in Animals and animal products, fruits and vegetables, grains, feed, oilseeds, planting seeds, processed foods, Sweeteners and sweetener products, tobacco, cotton, peanuts, and hemp. Applicants must have U.S. agriculture expertise and international trade experience to be considered for committee membership. Committee members serve four-year terms and represent a cross-section of U.S. food and agricultural stakeholders. Application instructions are available on USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service website. Applications must be received by 5 p.m. ET on January 31, 2024. *********************************************************************************** SNAP Participation Varied Across States in Fiscal Year 2022 New data released by USDA's Economic Research Service shows that in fiscal year 2022, USDA's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program served an average of 41.1 million people per month in the 50 states and Washington, DC. SNAP is the largest domestic nutrition assistance program, accounting for about two-thirds of USDA spending on food and nutrition assistance in recent years. The SNAP participation rate increased nationwide during the COVID-19 pandemic to a high of 12.5 percent of the resident population of the 50 States and DC in fiscal year 2021. The fiscal year 2022 rate fell slightly to 12.3 percent. SNAP participation varies across states because of differences in program administration and economic conditions. In fiscal year 2022, the share of residents receiving SNAP benefits in each state ranged from as high as 24.5 percent in New Mexico to as low as 4.6 percent in Utah. In 35 States, the share was somewhere between eight and 16 percent. *********************************************************************************** U.S. Demand for Organic Cotton Growing Demand for organic cotton in the U.S. is growing, but imports continue to pick up the slack of inadequate domestic production. A new project led by Texas A&M AgriLife Research aims to turn the situation around by identifying the challenges and opportunities for U.S. organic cotton growers. The study, Fostering Sustainable Organic Cotton Production in the U.S. Through Research and Outreach on Organic Regenerative Practices, is funded by a $3.5 million U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture grant. Researchers expect the study to help U.S. organic cotton producers determine how to improve yields, productivity, and sustainability in their existing fields and transition more acreage into organic production. Organizers say, "We want to understand what their production challenges are, how they are managing them, what works and what doesn't, and how their practices are impacting the soil and output long-term." With no synthetic herbicides allowed, the project will identify other methods that might minimize the tillage needed for weed control. *********************************************************************************** Workshop Series for Veterans Focuses on Agritourism Military veterans interested in agriculture are invited to attend a series of on-farm and virtual workshops highlighting farm stores, onsite and off. The course is free for active military service members and military veterans. Hosted by the Center for Rural Affairs, the 11-session series, “Agritourism through Farm Stores,” starts February 19 and runs through August. The workshops will rotate between online classroom sessions and on-farm sessions with an online option. Kirstin Bailey, senior project associate for the Center, says, "During the on-farm sessions, experienced farmers will go through the ins and outs of on- and off-site farm stores, how they set up their on-farm buying experiences, and challenges they have faced." Session topics include obtaining proper equipment, maintaining adequate facilities, setting up purchasing systems, and more. Farmer-leaders with experience in various types of agriculture and agritourism, such as poultry, pork, beef, and beekeeping, will be available to assist participants throughout the course's online platform. Find a detailed schedule, including dates and times of sessions, online. *********************************************************************************** Minnesota Farm Bureau to Host Urban Ag Conference State Farm Bureau officials in Minnesota are focusing on urban agriculture with an upcoming conference next week. The Minnesota Farm Bureau will host an Urban Agriculture Conference on the St. Paul campus of the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities on Saturday, January 13. The free event will focus on issues related to urban agriculture, including land access, water access and funding. The event features speakers from USDA, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, the Minnesota Farm Bureau, state educational faculty, and elected officials from the state. Other topics include roof-top solar arrays, hydroponics, urban planning and urban food systems. Another session will focus on technical assistance on how to apply for grants and other funding. Organizers say they may hold similar events in places like Duluth, St. Cloud and other parts of the state to expand their outreach to urban farmers. Registration for the event is available on the Minnesota Farm Bureau website.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday January 4, 2024 |


Thursday Watch List Markets Weekly U.S. jobless claims and an update of the U.S. Drought Monitor will be out at 7:30 a.m. CST Thursday. The Energy Department's report on natural gas storage is set for 9:30 a.m., followed by the Energy Department's weekly inventory report at 10 a.m. Traders will keep an eye on South American weather and events in the Middle East. Weather A storm system will move out of the Southwest and into the Central and Southern Plains on Thursday, bringing a mix of rain and snow to the region. Other areas of the country will be rather quiet outside of the West, where showers will continue.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday January 3, 2024 |


U.S. Farmer Sentiment Stable As Inflation Expectations Subside Farmer sentiment changed very little in December compared to the preceding month. The Purdue University-CME Group Ag Economy Barometer recorded a reading of 114, just one point lower than a month earlier. Both sub-indices of the barometer, the Index of Current Conditions and the Index of Future Expectations, also fell one point below their respective November readings. The Current Conditions Index for December was 112, while the Future Expectations Index was 115. All three indices were weaker than in December 2022, with the barometer falling ten percent below a year earlier. Farmers still pointed to input costs at year-end as their top concern for the year ahead, but the percentage of farmers choosing the risk of lower crop and/or livestock prices rose from just 16 percent in January to 26 percent in December. Inflation expectations among farmers moderated during 2023. Compared to a year earlier, far fewer producers expect inflation to exceed six percent in the new year, and a large majority look for inflation to average less than four percent in 2024. *********************************************************************************** USDA to Reconvene FMMO Hearings The Department of Agriculture (USDA) will reconvene the national public hearing to consider proposals seeking to amend the uniform pricing formulas applicable in all 11 Federal milk marketing orders. The process will restart January 16, lasting through January 19th, and reconvene again on the 29th, if needed. The hearing began August 23, 2023, and is being held in Carmel, Indiana. Copies of the notice to reconvene, guidelines for participating, and exhibits entered during the hearing are available on the National Federal Milk Marketing Order Pricing Formula Hearing webpage. Proponents contend that the uniform FMMO pricing formulas should be amended, as significant changes in the dairy industry and milk marketing have occurred since their adoption in the early 2000s. Forty proposals were submitted by stakeholders for consideration. Of those, 21 directly impact the uniform pricing formulas and are being considered at the hearing. Dairy producers may testify in person at any time during the hearing. *********************************************************************************** National Agricultural Law Center Recaps Top 2023 Issues The Waters of the U.S. rule rewrite topped the list of agricultural issues for the National Agricultural Law Center in 2023. While WOTUS was the top issue for 2024, California’s Proposition 12 came in second, with the one-year Farm Bill extension third. The organization listed EPA’s rollout of the Endangered Species Protection Program and the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act fourth. Other top issues include the Arkansas foreign ownership of land restrictions, competition in the livestock sector and water use from the Colorado River. Right to repair gained traction as farmers continued to advocate for the right to access manufacturer-controlled tools and information. The list rounds out with growth in the industrial hemp sector and civil litigation over pesticides, such as glyphosate exposure. The organization expects corporate transparency rules requiring disclosure of ownership interests in companies, proposed H-2A changes and a myriad of issues before the Supreme Court as ones to watch for 2024. *********************************************************************************** GE Crops Dominate U.S. Soybean, Cotton, and Corn Acres New data from USDA's Economic Research Service shows Genetically engineered crops dominate the U.S. agriculture sector. Genetically engineered seeds were commercially introduced in the United States for major field crops in 1996, with adoption rates increasing rapidly in the following years. The two main GE trait types are herbicide-tolerant and insect-resistant. USDA reports information on GE crops in the data product Adoption of Genetically Engineered Crops in the United States. The data shows that by 2008, more than 50 percent of corn, cotton, and soybean acres were planted with at least one GE seed trait. Today, more than 90 percent of those acres are planted using at least one GE trait. Other traits have been developed, including resistance to viruses, fungi, and drought or enhanced protein, oil, or vitamin content. While herbicide-tolerant seeds are also widely used in alfalfa, canola, and sugar beet production, most GE acres are occupied by three major field crops: corn, cotton, and soybeans. *********************************************************************************** Programs offer U.S. Dairy Farmers Carbon-Asset Payments Three carbon projects initiated in 2021 and 2022 issued nearly $3 million in carbon-asset payments to U.S. dairy farmers who used Agolin® Ruminant to create verified emissions reductions. A verified emissions reduction is a carbon asset that can be used as an offset or within a value chain. It represents one metric ton of greenhouse gas emissions equivalent that is either avoided or removed from the atmosphere through an intervention that has been independently verified as part of a carbon reduction project. Agolin Ruminant is a proprietary blend of essential oils that improves milk production and feed efficiency in beef and dairy cattle. Concord Agriculture Partners has chosen Agolin Ruminant to create a new carbon inset project, which guarantees that participating dairy producers will receive an industry-leading 85 percent of the gross value of the carbon asset. Alltech, a global leader in agriculture, acquired a majority interest in Agolin SA in May 2023. *********************************************************************************** Fuel Prices Start 2024 With Decline Fuel prices began the new year declining after a late-year increase during the holiday season. GasBuddy reports the nation's average gasoline price reverted, falling 1.6 cents from a week ago to $3.06 per gallon. The national average is down 17.3 cents from a month ago and 12.6 cents per gallon lower than a year ago. The national average diesel price fell 4.5 cents last week and stands at $3.96 per gallon—71 cents lower than one year ago. GasBuddy's Patrick De Haan says, "The good news continues for average diesel prices, which slipped below $4 per gallon again and stand at their lowest level since the summer." Crude oil prices were up sharply in the first trading session of 2024, as the U.S. waged an attack on Houthi (who-thee) militants, downing three Houthi ships from a U.S. military helicopter. Forecasts projecting a rise in Chinese demand for its February Lunar New Year may have been boosting optimism and oil prices in early trade as well.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday January 3, 2024 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets After Tuesday's bearish closes, traders will remain fixated on anything weather-related for South America will continue to watch for private estimates of Brazil's soybean production, ahead of next week's updates from Conab and USDA. International indices of manufacturing will roll in overnight from various countries, followed by a manufacturing index for the U.S. at 9 a.m. The Energy Department's weekly inventory report will be out Thursday, due to this week's holiday schedule. Weather A small disturbance moving along the Gulf Coast will make for some significant showers for Wednesday, easing drought in the southern Delta a little bit. A larger storm system is moving through the Western U.S. that will create a bigger storm for the southern tier of the country starting on Thursday. Light snow will also move through the Great Lakes.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday January 2, 2024 |


K-State Researchers Make Gluten Breakthrough Kansas State University researchers report a breakthrough in developing wheat-based foods that contain lower amounts of gluten. It’s a discovery that could lessen the adverse effects of celiac (SEE-lee-ak) and other autoimmune diseases. Scientists from Kansas State, the Agricultural Research Service, and in partnership with Kansas Wheat successfully used the gene-editing technique called CRISPR (crisper) to reduce the presence of two types of gluten-coding genes. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. When people with celiac disease eat gluten, their body mounts an immune response that attacks the small intestine and the small fingerlike projections that help the body absorb nutrients. Researchers admitted they were surprised that once the genes got edited, it reduced the immunotoxicity. However, gluten won’t be completely removed from wheat as it’s important for bread making. While the reduced gluten level achieved so far won’t make wheat safe for use, it’s an important step forward. *********************************************************************************** Farm Equipment Dealers Expect a Tough 2024 The ag equipment market began a downward trend a year ago. Dealers say that 2024 might be their roughest year since COVID in 2020. The “Dealer Business Outlook and Trends Report” shows a combination of recovering inventories, high interest rates, and a general economic downturn that has dealers preparing to weather a storm in 2024. The new survey showed a significant drop in optimism in dealers’ new and used whole goods revenue forecasts, while parts and service revenue forecasts hit record highs. The dealers aren’t facing the kind of equipment shortages that dampened their optimism in the previous report, but price increases remain a factor despite falling from 2022 peaks. There is some degree of optimism remaining based on healthy farm financials and solid commodity prices. However, the question of how much cash farmers will bring into the new year remains in question. Revenue projections are negative as demand declines. *********************************************************************************** POET Reports a Successful 2023 POET, the world’s biggest ethanol producer, celebrated several milestones in 2023. That included multiple victories on the policy front, the grand reopening of its 34th facility, and completing the first-ever bioproducts innovation center. “In 2023, our POET team worked hard to lead the charge toward the bioeconomy of the future,” says Jeff Broin, Founder and CEO of POET. Early in 2023, the company announced that it will be growing its bioCO2 capabilities with expansions at two of its bioprocessing locations. They say it’s a testament to the company’s commitment to providing a renewable CO2 solution for its customers and creating more value from every bushel of grain. POET’s government relations efforts also played a role in securing several policy-related victories during the year. Also, Nebraska passed an E15 mandate, which unlocks access to E15 at Nebraska fueling stations and provides qualifying retailers with a tax credit for every gallon sold. *********************************************************************************** SD Pipeline Dividing Ethanol Proponents Iowa-based Summit Carbon Solutions wants to build a pipeline in South Dakota to transport carbon dioxide from Midwest ethanol plants to underground storage in North Dakota. The company wants to gather emissions from 32 ethanol plants, including some in South Dakota. The project would be eligible for federal tax credits incentivizing greenhouse gas sequestration. Summit says no pipeline would break the Midwest ethanol industry and calls pipeline opponents “anti-ethanol.” The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission denied a building permit for Summit last year, citing county setback law violations. Corn farmers who have long supported ethanol were alarmed by the company’s use of eminent domain to acquire private land for the pipeline from roughly 160 farmers. South Dakota Farmers Union President Doug Sombke (SOMB-kee) says members feel betrayed. They supported a growing ethanol industry before facing an infringement on their property rights. Sombke says he’s furious at farmers being called anti-ethanol. *********************************************************************************** Drought-Stricken Areas Getting Winter Precipitation Dry conditions continued across parts of the South while heavy precipitation fell across Oklahoma and parts of central and eastern Texas. Large parts of Texas and Oklahoma received between two and five inches of rainfall, which is 300 to 600 percent above normal. Average temperatures in the Midwest were well above normal, as many as ten to 25 degrees higher than typical temps. Much of the region also received above-normal precipitation, especially along the western parts of the region where the heaviest amounts reached two to four inches of rainfall, anywhere from one to three inches above normal The above-normal precipitation helped alleviate longer-term precipitation deficits in the region. Heavy precipitation fell over much of the eastern High Plains, where rainfall totals were greater than 600 percent of normal. Exceptional drought was improved in eastern Nebraska. Precipitation fell in most of the Southeast while the western U.S. remained status quo. *********************************************************************************** Ethanol Production Hits Two-Year High The Energy Information Administration says ethanol output surged to a two-year high, and inventories hit their highest points since April during the week ending on December 22. Ethanol production rose to an average of 1.107 million barrels per day, up from 1.071 during the prior week and the highest level since October 2021. The Midwest, which produces the most U.S. ethanol, increased its output to an average of 1.047 million barrels a day, up from 1.009 million a week earlier. That was all the gains during the week as East Coast production was unchanged at 12,000 barrels a day, and Rocky Mountain output held steady at 14,000 barrels. West Coast production remained at 10,000 barrels per day for the second straight week. Gulf Coast output dipped to 24,000 barrels from 26,000 the prior week. Ethanol inventories jumped to 23.517 million barrels during the week, the highest level since April 21.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday January 2, 2024 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets Back from the three-day weekend and starting a new year, traders will catch up on South American weather forecasts and any news that may have popped up over the New Year weekend. USDA's weekly report of export inspections will be out at 10 a.m. CST Tuesday, followed by the NASS report of Fats and Oils at 2 p.m. Weather Much of the country will be quiet on Tuesday, though a weak system will develop over Texas with some showers and more will move into the West as well. Temperatures continue to be quite mild as we start the new year.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday December 29, 2023 |


December Rural Mainstreet Index Sank Creighton University’s Rural Mainstreet Index sank below growth neutral for a fourth-straight month in December. Based on a survey of bank CEOs in a ten-state region, the index rose to 41.7 from November’s 40.4. That’s still lower than October’s 44.4. The index ranges from 0 to 100, with 50 being growth neutral. Creighton University Economics Professor Ernie Goss says much of the rural economy is still getting pinched by higher interest rates. “Farming in the region is doing reasonably well,” Goss says. “However, agriculture sales abroad for the region are 14 percent lower.” Despite the fact that the Federal Reserve predicted possible rate cuts next year, bankers throughout the region still had somewhat of a pessimistic outlook for their region’s economy. “A little over 50 percent of the ag bankers say their area is in a recession right now or would be in the first half of 2024,” he adds. *********************************************************************************** U.S., Brazil Competitive Balance in Soybeans The U.S. and Brazil are major competitors when it comes to exporting soybeans around the world. USDA’s Economic Research Service did a comparison study to figure out how changes in factors underlying production, marketing costs, and infrastructure might affect export competitiveness. Among some of the key findings, the costs of production differed between the two, partially because Brazil relies on more custom services to provide equipment and labor in the field. U.S. farms tend to own their machinery. Average per-acre costs of producing soybeans per acre in Brazil were 19 percent below the U.S. in the marketing year 2021-2022 because of lower land and capital costs. Brazil’s producers had a higher national average return per bushel over total costs than the U.S. in 2021-2022 at $4.05 compared with $2.13. The U.S. Heartland was the lowest-cost exporter of soybeans. Parana in Brazil was the second-lowest shipper as it’s close to a port. *********************************************************************************** Minnesota Loses Almost 150 Dairies in 2023 Minnesota’s already-shrinking dairy sector lost another 58 dairy farm permits in November. That brings a total of 146 fewer dairy farmer permits at Christmas than the state had at the beginning of the year. While October, November, and December typically see dairy farms shut down, Minnesota Milk Producers Executive Director Lucas Sjostrom (SO-strom) says he hasn’t seen more than 50 in a single month for a long time. The numbers show just how razor-thin financial margins are under a crushing load of economic pressures. High input costs and low commodity values are squeezing margins only a year after the dairy industry was in the midst of higher prices for milk, cheese, and butter in the aftermath of COVID-19. Overall, Minnesota had a total of 1,825 permits as of December 1. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture says the state had more than 4,000 dairy farms as recently as ten years ago. *********************************************************************************** USDA Lists 2023 Successes USDA looked back at 2023 and said it’s been able to help tens of thousands of farmers continue their operations and increase their revenue. The agency also connected rural communities with internet access, advanced efforts to mitigate climate change, made investments to help small businesses get a leg up, and lowered energy and other costs for consumers. As of December 1, USDA has helped more than 30,000 farmers and ranchers who were in financial distress stay on their farms and keep farming. Since the Inflation Reduction Act was signed into law, the Farm Service Agency has provided nearly $1.7 billion and counting in immediate assistance to farmers in financial distress. At the same time, USDA greatly improved its loan application process to better serve farmers. In 2023, the Risk Management Agency helped provide the largest farm safety net in history at a total of $207 billion in protection for American agriculture. *********************************************************************************** Mormon Church Buys 370,000 Acres of Ranch Land The Mormon church has sparked some backlash from local farmers after snapping up about 370,000 acres of prime ranch land in Nebraska. The Utah-based religious organization now owns at least $2 billion worth of agricultural terrain across the country. It now owns an estimated $134 million worth of agricultural land in Nebraska and is on track to surpass CNN founder Ted Turner as the single largest landowner in the country. Nebraska Farmers Union President John Hansen told news outlets that the land grab was artificially driving up land prices and forcing out local farmers. “It’s not fair competition when folks bring in that much outside money and bid against local farmers and ranchers,” Hansen says. “They’ll become the number one landowner in the state if they continue this buying spree at the current rate.” The church is likely the largest landowner in Florida after buying almost 383,000 acres of timberland. *********************************************************************************** Slower Moving Markets to End the Year There hasn’t been much of a post-harvest rally to work with in the commodity markets. Successful Farming says fund traders are especially short in the corn market and slightly long in soybeans. December corn went off the board at nearly $4.60, and March is the new front month, which has been trading recently at the low end of its range at $4.70. There hasn’t been a lot of demand recently. On-again, off-again concerns over Brazil’s weather aren’t helping send the markets in a higher direction. Corn traders estimate a two-billion-bushel carryout, which should be more than enough supply. That’s kept any technical rallies in check. Soybean demand is improving, but traders remain more focused on Brazil’s weather, which looks to be improving early in 2024. While many forecasters have lowered Brazil’s harvest projections, they’re only down by 20 percent. The perception is that there will be enough soybeans to meet demand.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday December 29, 2023 |


Friday Watch List Markets There is a dearth of reports on Friday, with only the Chicago Business Barometer to be released. Traders will be watching South American weather closely, along with the delayed U.S. grain export sales to be released at 7:30 central time. Weather An area of scattered rain and snow showers in the Eastern Midwest will move into the Tennessee Valley Friday. High pressure will keep conditions mostly dry across the Plains and Western Midwest.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday December 28, 2023 |


Ag Economists’ 2024 Expectations Geopolitical factors, elections, and many other surprises await the agricultural economy in 2024. Farm Journal and Purdue University’s December Economists’ Monthly Monitor shows views slightly more optimistic than they were a month ago. The economists talked about what unexpected news headlines they wouldn’t be surprised to see in 2024. The responses include China falling into a big recession. They wouldn’t be surprised to see a second farm bill extension, corn prices that test four dollars again, and inflation will support managed money returning to the commodities. Record beef imports wouldn’t be a surprise, as well as a national corn yield bigger than 190 bushels per acre. There are also reasons for optimism like demand opportunities through domestic soybean crushing, renewable fuel, and sustainable aviation fuel. They’re looking for robust domestic consumption and an opportunity for competitive pricing for U.S. commodities in overseas markets. Many producers should still have strong balance sheets. *********************************************************************************** Bayer Wins Roundup Lawsuit in California Bayer was victorious in a California trial initiated by a man who claimed he had developed cancer from long-term exposure to the company’s Roundup weed killer. Reuters says that ended what had been a five-trial losing streak for the company in trials over similar claims. Bayer said the verdict was handed down by a jury in a California Superior Court late last week. In a statement, the company says the verdict was “consistent with the evidence in this case that Roundup does not cause cancer and is not responsible for the plaintiff’s illness.” Lawyers for plaintiff Bruce Jones didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. Like most plaintiffs in other Roundup lawsuits, Jones claimed the product caused him to develop a form of cancer called Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. Around 165,000 claims have been made against the company for personal injuries allegedly caused by Roundup, which Bayer acquired by purchasing Monsanto in 2018. *********************************************************************************** New Year’s Ag Innovation Trends As agriculture looks to 2024, AgriThority, a Kansas City company, put together its top ten trends for the new year. The company is seeing some consistency from prior years but some emerging trends as well. The first is a push for more biologicals and biostimulants, comparing them to what seed treatments were in the 1990s. The biostimulant market should reach $6.8 billion by 2028. They say climate-smart farming will get smarter as measurements behind the carbon market continue maturing. AgriThority says precision ag will continue evolving with the onset of AI. They do note that regulations are not evolving at the same rate as innovation in agriculture. The company’s top ten also says sustainability isn’t going away, plus soil health will continue evolving. Artificial intelligence will likely be more present in agriculture next year. They call 2024 a “shakeout year” as companies will make moves for the future as competition increases. *********************************************************************************** Food Spending Hit Record High in 2022 Whether real or inflation-adjusted, yearly food spending in the United States increased steadily from 1997 to 2022, except in 2008 and 2009 during the Great Recession and COVID in 2020. Food spending includes food at home, described as food intended for off-premises consumption from retailers like grocery stores. Spending also includes food away from home, described as food bought at outlets like restaurants or cafeterias. Total food spending increased 70 percent from 1997 to 2022. Food spending totaled $1.81 trillion during 2020. Between 1997 and 2022, food at home spending increased at a slower rate, 53 percent, than food away from home at 89 percent. Total food spending increased on a yearly basis by 7.2 percent in 2021 and 4.5 percent in 2022. Food away from home spending drove the overall increases in food spending. Food at home spending rose four percent in 2021 before falling two percent in 2022. *********************************************************************************** Grain Inspections Rise USDA data shows inspections of corn and wheat for offshore delivery increased week-to-week while soybean assessments dropped during the week ending on December 21. Corn inspections during those seven days rose to 1.98 million metric tons. That’s up from the previous week of almost 960,000 tons and the 922,000 inspected during the same week in 2022. Wheat assessments reached 428,700 tons, a sharp jump up from 285,000 tons the previous week. Soybean inspections fell to 1.07 million tons from 1.43 million during the prior week. That’s also down from the 1.79 million tons inspected during the same week last year. Since the start of the marketing year, USDA has inspected 11.2 million metric tons of corn, well ahead of last year. Soybean assessments are now at 22.3 million tons, down from 27.3 million last year. Wheat inspections now stand at 9.33 million tons, down from 11.8 million during last year. *********************************************************************************** USDA Continues Strengthening U.S. Food Supply Chains USDA’s Ag Marketing Service announced a cooperative agreement with Oklahoma under the Resilient Food Systems Infrastructure Program. Through the agreement, USDA and Oklahoma are working to offer over $6.3 million in competitive grant funding for projects designed to build resilience across the middle of the supply chain. In May 2023, USDA announced the availability of up to $420 million through the RFSI program to strengthen local and regional food systems. “This partnership between USDA and Oklahoma is allowing critical funding to reach areas of the supply chain that need it most,” says Jenny Moffitt, USDA Undersecretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs. Funded projects in Oklahoma will increase cold storage, expand distribution channels for food producers, and increase the number of co-packing options. “These projects will create new opportunities for the region’s small and midsize producers to thrive, expand access to nutritious food options, and increase supply chain resiliency,” Moffitt adds.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday December 28, 2023 |


Thursday Watch List Markets Thursday morning's reports start with weekly U.S. jobless claims and an update of the U.S. Drought Monitor at 7:30 a.m. CST, followed by pending U.S. homes sales at 9 a.m. The Energy Department's report on natural gas storage is set for 9:30 a.m., followed by the Energy Department's weekly inventory report at 10 a.m., including ethanol production. Weather Dry conditions will return across the Central and Southern Plains throughout the day while widespread rain and snow showers will build across the eastern Midwest and are expected to continue through Thursday night. Up to two inches of snow is likely across southern Wisconsin, eastern Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, and eastern Indiana; however, isolated higher amounts up to 3-4 inches are possible.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday December 27, 2023 |


Ag Groups Pleased with Rail Re-Opening The U.S. Customs and Border Protection has reopened the Eagle Pass and El Paso rail crossings into Mexico. Ag groups like the National Corn Growers Association were happy with the move but cautioned the agency against making similar decisions in the future. “This is certainly a welcome relief,” says NCGA President Harold Wolle. “We hope this serves as a cautionary tale against rail shutdowns in the future.” He also says rail is a key mode of transportation for U.S. ag exports into Mexico. U.S. Wheat Associates and the National Association of Wheat Growers were also relieved the shutdown ended. “These rail corridors are essential gateways to many loyal flour millers and food customers in Mexico who rely on the interconnected U.S. and Mexican rail system for a reliable source of high-quality U.S. wheat,” they said in a statement. “We trust CBP will take the steps needed to avoid future rail closures.” *********************************************************************************** U.S. Hog Inventory Slightly Higher As of December 1, there were 75 million hogs and pigs on U.S. farms, up slightly from December 2022 and down slightly from September 1, 2023. That’s according to the Quarterly Hogs and Pigs Report from the National Agricultural Statistics Service. Of those 75 million hogs and pigs, 69 million were market hogs while six million were kept for breeding. Between September and November 2023, 34.6 million pigs were weaned on U.S. farms. From September through November 2023, U.S. hog and pig producers weaned an average of 11.66 pigs per litter. Hog producers intend to have 2.9 million sows farrow between December 2023 and February 2024, and 2.91 million sows farrow between March and May 2024. Iowa hog producers accounted for the largest inventory among the states with 24.9 million head. Minnesota had the second-largest inventory at 9.1 million head. North Carolina was third with a total of 7.8 million head. *********************************************************************************** USDA Ranks the World’s Largest Meat Customers China has been the world’s largest meat importer since 2019. Despite recent reductions in imported meat volumes, the country remains in the top spot. In 2022, China imported 43 percent more than Japan, the second-largest meat importer in the world. Mexico was third, followed by South Korea in fourth place. Issues such as disease, tougher laws addressing environmental issues, and an exodus of small-scale farmers have constrained China’s meat supply, boosting domestic prices and incentives to import. As China’s most consumed meat, pork tends to dominate Chinese meat supply and demand. China surpassed Japan to become the top meat importer after the African Swine Fever virus sharply reduced the country’s pork supply in 2019. China’s meat consumption appeared to peak in 2014, but statistical model projections say that meat consumption will continue to grow through 2031 based on trends like dietary change and moderate growth in Chinese income and prices. *********************************************************************************** USDA Accepting Applications for Climate Fellows The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced it is hiring 40 Climate Change Fellows to help with the record number of applications seeking funding for clean energy projects. Farmers, ranchers, and rural small businesses are looking for the funds under the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). These positions are part of the USDA Climate Change Fellows Program, which hires new staff with a range of skills to carry out USDA’s activities to address climate change and find solutions to agricultural challenges, enhance economic growth, and create new income streams for farmers, ranchers, and producers. The program brings expertise and fresh perspectives to the federal workforce and expands the climate consciousness of state offices across the country. The agency says the investments in future agricultural leaders will help USDA attract the best and brightest to face the growing challenges to the agricultural economy. For more information or to apply, go to usda.gov. *********************************************************************************** Italy Bans Sale of Lab-Grown Meat Italy is the first country to ban cultivated meat, the kind grown in laboratory bioreactors from stem cells. Under a new law put into effect last month, lab-grown meat cannot be produced or marketed in Italy. The country’s agricultural minister says Italy was proud to impose a ban like this one. Which country might be second on the list isn’t set in stone. Many other countries are allowing and even encouraging the technology to be developed. Singapore is the only country where its people are currently eating cell-based meat. The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration have approved two kinds of cell-based chicken for human consumption. For regulators in most countries, the BBC says the top issue is food safety. Italy's ban grows out of concerns that may be of more interest to America’s farmers. The country is unashamedly trying to protect its food traditions and farmers. *********************************************************************************** Nebraska Governor Condemns UN Food Strategy Nebraska Governor Jim Pillen commended Nebraska Representative Mike Flood for introducing a resolution condemning the UN Food Strategy that was released at COP28. He says the strategy is bad for Nebraska and other agricultural states. “The UN’s radical attack on agriculture undermines the livelihoods of Nebraska farmers and ranchers as well as those in other states where agriculture is an economic driver,” Pillen says. “Anti-agriculture activism damages the world’s food system, and it hurts the hungry.” He also says farmers in and out of Nebraska raise their products using sustainable methods designed to protect the land and resources on which they rely. The COP28 report called for countries to revamp their farm subsidies to encourage healthier eating, prevent overgrazing of livestock, and eliminate food waste. The report also backed sugar taxes, which would apply to high-fructose corn syrup. It also calls for the promotion of plant-based alternatives to red meat.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday December 27, 2023 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets Traders will continue to look for clues regarding the status of Brazil's soybean production, but trading is apt to be subdued this week, ahead of Monday's New Year holiday. There are no significant reports on Wednesday's docket and the Energy Department's weekly inventory report will be out at 10 a.m. CST Thursday. Weather A weakening low pressure system in the Central U.S. will continue to provide isolated to scattered rain and snow showers for the Northern and Central Plains as well as the Upper Midwest and Mid-Mississippi Valley Wednesday. Well-above normal temperatures will also persist in northern parts of the Midwest, with temperatures reaching up to 12-18 degrees Fahrenheit above normal.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday December 26, 2023 |


Top 5 Things to Watch - Holiday Schedule Mixes Up Markets 1. Holiday market hours: Grain and livestock futures close normally on Dec. 22 and CFTC data is out that day as normal. There also are cattle on-feed, cold storage and hog inventory reports due at 2 p.m. on Dec. 22. Grain and livestock futures markets are closed Christmas Day. They open at 8:30 a.m. Dec. 26. The markets repeat that schedule for the New Year's holiday, open normally on Dec. 29, closed on New Year's Day and trading opens at 8:30 a.m. Jan. 2. In Canadian markets, there is no canola trade at the ICE on Dec. 26, Boxing Day. 2. Weather brings Christmas surprise: And the surprise is? Like any true present, it'll be unknown until the package is open, or in this case until the sun comes up. Weather models continue to be all over the board, some predicting snow and cold, some balmy sunshine. 3. Top 2023 ag stories: We'll continue our countdown of the 10 most critical stories in agriculture. As such things tend to be, many of them are still an issue as the year comes to a close. 4. Tax law updates: There are some new tweaks on depreciation and other tax-related rules for the 2024 season. Watch for our latest take on that. 5. Economic reports to watch: Monday markets are closed, so no USDA export inspections. Tuesday sees the U.S. consumer confidence report for December due out at 9 a.m., followed by USDA's weekly report of export inspections at 10 a.m. Then Thursday sees U.S. weekly jobless claims and U.S. Drought Monitor update at 7:30 a.m., followed by pending U.S. homes sales at 9 a.m. The Energy Department's report on natural gas storage is set for 9:30 a.m., followed by the Energy Department's weekly inventory report at 10 a.m. On Friday, the USDA weekly export sales report is out at 7:30 a.m.; that's the only significant report of the final trading day of 2023.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday December 26, 2023 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets Back from the three-day Christmas weekend, traders will catch up on South American weather and any other pertinent news before trading in grains and livestock futures resume at 8:30 a.m. CST Tuesday. A report on U.S. consumer confidence in December will be out at 9 a.m., followed by USDA's weekly report of export inspections at 10 a.m. Canola futures on the ICE exchange are closed for Boxing Day. Weather A strong low pressure system in the central U.S. will continue to provide blizzard conditions across portions of the Northern and Central Plains today with freezing rain likely across the eastern Dakotas. Periods of rain will also continue across the Upper Midwest.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday December 22, 2023 |


Ag Groups Respond to Rail Suspension at U.S.-Mexico Border The U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency was forced to suspend rail operations at key points into and out of Mexico. The move is to help alleviate the sharp increase in illegal immigration at the border. These actions affect U.S. corn and barley shipments, two commodities the U.S. Grains Council represents. The CBP is working with the Mexican government to remedy the situation as quickly as possible, but there’s no timeline for returning to normal operations. “The North American trading system relies on interconnectedness, and any disruption affects Mexican and U.S. Commodities,” says USGC Chair Ryan LeGrand. “It’s vital the situation gets resolved in a timely manner.” A letter from the NCGA says, “We are aware of trains sitting at origin in at least six states that are unable to move, and we expect that number to grow. Mexican customers are telling U.S. shippers that they’ll soon consider other suppliers.” *********************************************************************************** CattleCon24 Showcases Sustainability Efforts Caring for animals, conserving natural resources, and maintaining a viable business are critical components of transitioning cattle operations to future generations. Two unique sessions during CattleCon24 in Orlando, Florida, provide opportunities to share ideas and continue conversations about the importance of continuous improvement. A half-day Grazing Management Workshop is scheduled for Tuesday, January 30. A long list of experts will talk about the benefits of pasture and grazing management, assessing pasture conditions, forage growth, and many other topics. “Proper grazing management and a written grazing management plan are essential to the success, longevity, and profitability of forage-based cattle operations,” says Josh White of NCBA. Dr. Myles Allen, a professor at Oxford University, will be the keynote speaker during the Sustainability Forum on Thursday, February 1. Allen will demystify climate impacts from cattle production and equip producers with the knowledge and resources to effectively speak about cattle’s role in the climate conversation. *********************************************************************************** Eleven Percent of Americans are Food Insecure Food-insecure households have difficulty providing enough food for their members because they lack resources. USDA’s Economic Research Service 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 obtained by averaging three years of data to generate a larger sample size in each state. This provides more precise estimates and more ability to detect differences across states. The national three-year average (2020-2022) was 11.2 percent of American households classified as food insecure. Of that 11.2 percent, findings ranged from 6.2 percent in New Hampshire to 16.6 percent in Alaska. Food insecurity was statistically significantly higher than the national average in six states, including Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas. The prevalence of food insecurity was statistically significantly lower in 17 states, including California, Colorado, Iowa, Minnesota, North and South Dakota, Wisconsin, and many others. *********************************************************************************** First Disability-Accessible Tractor Produced in Brazil CNH Industrial launched the world’s first tractor that’s accessible for people with lower limb disabilities. The New Holland TL5 was produced in Brazil and developed in partnership with several inclusive mobility companies. CNH also enlisted farmer and customer Fernando Dalmolin, who uses a wheelchair following an incident that left him without the use of his legs, to help with developing the tractor under the New Holland brand. “This is what people with disabilities like mine need to work independently out in the field,” Dalmolin said in a statement. The tractor has a unique lifting platform and joystick controls allow users to enter and exit the tractor without help. Once they’re inside the tractor, users can operate the tractor with adapted functionality. In the U.S., at least 634,000 farmers and ranchers have a disability, with many reporting physical limitations. Brazil estimates that 7.8 million of its people have lower limb disabilities. *********************************************************************************** USDA’s 2024 Ag Outlook Forum Packed with Information The USDA’s 100th annual Ag Outlook Forum is on February 15-16 in Arlington, Virginia. The event’s theme is “Cultivating the Future,” and features a lot of information farmers and agricultural stakeholders will find useful. USDA’s opening program at the event includes a chance to get valuable insights as USDA’s Chief Economist unveils the agency’s outlook for the domestic agricultural economy in the new year. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack will highlight the history and evolution of agriculture in the U.S. while painting a vision for the future. It’s a chance to find out more about initiatives aimed at preserving farmland, protecting farmers, and creating new revenue streams for small and mid-sized producers. State leaders will share their perspectives on the future of agriculture and the challenges faced by producers. It’s also a chance to discover emerging technologies that are reshaping farming and creating exciting new opportunities today and in the future. *********************************************************************************** NCGA Applauds Nutrient Runoff Reduction The National Corn Growers Association applauds the sustained reductions in nutrient losses reaching the Gulf of Mexico. The reductions are shrinking the average size of the hypoxia zone, as recently documented in a task force report to Congress. NCGA commends all growers for the practical conservation steps and measures they have voluntarily adopted on their farms to reduce nutrient losses and protect water quality. “In the journey of water quality stewardship, we are encouraged by the strides made by growers,” says Bryan Biegler, NCGA Stewardship Action Team Chair. “The commitment to sustainable practices is clear, and despite challenging weather patterns impacting growers, we see definite progress taking form over the course of a five-year rolling average.” According to the report, the 2025 interim target to reduce nitrogen loads by 20 percent has been met. More work is needed to reduce nitrogen and phosphorous by 28 percent to meet the 2035 goal.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday December 22, 2023 |


Friday Watch List Markets Twas the last trading day before Christmas and all through the house… Friday's trading hours will be normal for grain and livestock futures, but we can't promise traders won't stir up mischief on what is traditionally a light-volume session. November reports of U.S. durable goods orders, U.S. personal income, consumer spending and the personal consumption expenditures index will all be released at 7:30 a.m. CST, followed by November U.S. new home sales at 9 a.m. At 2 p.m. USDA will post the December 1 cattle on-feed, monthly cold storage and quarterly hogs and pigs reports. Weather A disturbance is moving out of the Plains and into the Midwest on Friday, bringing scattered rain showers. Two disturbances are moving into the West and will combine to create a big storm in the days surrounding Christmas. But temperatures will be quite warm, and records are likely to be broken in the Upper Midwest ahead of this storm.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday December 21, 2023 |


Movement on Unrestricted E15 Sales The National Corn Growers Association praised an EPA decision that advances the request of several governors to allow their states to sell E15 year-round to the Office of Management and Budget. The move now puts eight Midwestern states closer to year-round access to fuel with a 15 percent ethanol blend. “Allowing consumers to access higher blends of ethanol year-round will play a critical role in helping the country meet its ambitious climate goals,” says NCGA President Harold Wolle. Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor says it’s a welcome step forward for farmers and drivers across the Midwest. “We’re grateful to the governors of Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin for pushing for uninterrupted access to E15,” she says. The request has been in limbo after the oil industry warned the administration that allowing E15 sales in select states would cause supply chain issues and higher gasoline prices. *********************************************************************************** Justice Department, FTC approve 2023 Merger Guidelines Agribusiness mergers have been a concern for agriculture because they cut down on competition and lead to higher prices for things like inputs. The Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission issued the 2023 Merger Guidelines describing the factors and frameworks the agencies utilize when reviewing mergers and acquisitions. The new guidelines were released after a two-year process of public engagement and reflect modern market realities and the experience of participants in the marketplace. “These finalized guidelines provide transparency into how the Justice Department is protecting the American people from ways in which unlawful, anticompetitive practices manifest themselves in the modern economy,” says Attorney General Merrick Garland. The department also says that competitive markets and economic opportunity for all Americans go hand in hand. Garland was grateful to hear from authors, nurses, farmers, and other concerned citizens from across the country. “Merger enforcement will be better as a result,” he said. *********************************************************************************** Growers Appreciate Chlorpyrifos Restoration The Environmental Protection Agency announced it will restore the uses of chlorpyrifos and commit to a science-based review of the pesticide. Alan Meadows, an American Soybean Association director, was happy to hear the news. “We appreciate this announcement brought about by an Eighth Circuit Appeals Court decision,” he says. “EPA’s own science has repeatedly found there are at least 11 high-benefit, safe uses of chlorpyrifos, including for soybeans, a fact we will continue to remind the agency of throughout the process.” The announcement is consistent with a November decision from the Eighth Circuit Court that found EPA disregarded its own scientists’ findings by ending numerous uses of chlorpyrifos they determined were safe. American Sugarbeet Growers Association President Nate Hultgren says growers welcome the return of chlorpyrifos for the upcoming season. “Growers need tools like this to reduce economic harm stemming from pests and diseases and are committed to responsible stewardship,” Hultgren says. *********************************************************************************** MOU on Establishing Climate Corps Work is being done on the steps to advance the American Climate Corps, a landmark initiative announced by the President earlier this year. The initiative will train the next generation of clean energy, conservation, and climate resilience workers while putting them on a path to good-paying union jobs. As part of that commitment, seven federal agencies entered into a Memorandum of Understanding that will serve as a blueprint for the multi-agency program. The MOU lays out the mission, goals, priorities, and the next steps in implementing the American Climate Corps. Beginning in January, senior administration officials will also convene a series of virtual listening sessions to hear directly from prospective American Climate Corps applicants and implementing partners. Those partners can include labor unions, educational institutions, employer partners, and state, local, and tribal governments. Within the first three weeks of launching the Corps, over 40,000 people expressed an interest in joining it. *********************************************************************************** “Raised With Respect” Cattle Care Campaign Underway Respect for animals, land, and for each other is the foundation of a new campaign launched by Sysco, a food service distribution company, and Certified Angus Beef. The campaign called “Raised with Respect” centers on common ground found between cattle producers and beef consumers and focuses on animal welfare and beef sustainability. It was developed as part of a strategic cattle care partnership between Sysco and CAB. The collaboration will focus on supporting producers, equipping them with continuing education to stay current on best management practices, and helping to increase consumer confidence in U.S. beef production. Sysco and CAB are providing Beef Quality Assurance training and certification to farmers and ranchers in nine key beef-producing states. “BQA is a credible and effective way for producers to communicate animal welfare to people on the opposite end of the beef supply chain,” says Bruce Cobb, CAB executive vice president of production. *********************************************************************************** Wolves Reintroduced in Colorado Over Ranching Objections Hundreds of ranchers in Colorado are worried about several wolves that were airlifted into the state and released this week. Wolves were eradicated from Colorado in the 1940s. After three years and dozens of public hearing disagreements, the first handful of wolves were moved from Oregon into Colorado. “Just watching an animal leave the crate and run up the hillside is a majestic site,” says Eric Odell, Colorado Parks and Wildlife Species Conservation Manager. Many ranchers spent a lot of time in the Colorado statehouse fighting the wolf releases and in a federal courtroom last week. Several ranchers who spoke with public broadcasting in the state have gone shopping for the biggest guard dogs they can find. It’s not just farmers and ranchers objecting to the release, either. Tourism directors in several towns are worried and point out it’s another predator to watch out for with children and small animals.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday December 21, 2023 |


Thursday Watch List Markets At 7:30 CST, Initial Jobless Claims will be released along with the third quarter GDP revision at the same time. Traders will be closely watching Brazilian weather for any changes, for U.S. export sales to be released at 7:30 CST, and any new sales reported by the USDA. Weather A cutoff low-pressure center continues to spin off the coast of California but has pushed a small disturbance into the Plains for Thursday, bringing some showers mostly from Kansas to Texas. Warmth continues to be the big story for the middle of the country until the storm in the Southwest moves eastward this weekend.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday December 19, 2023 |


ARC and PLC 2024 Enrollment is Open The USDA says agricultural producers can now enroll in the Farm Service Agency’s Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage programs for the 2024 crop year. Producers can enroll and make election changes for the 2024 crop year beginning on December 18, and the deadline to complete enrollment and any election changes is March 15, 2024. The current farm bill was extended through September 30, 2024, allowing authorized programs like ARC and PLC to continue operating. “It’s business as usual for ARC and PLC implementation for the 2024 crop year,” says Zach Ducheneaux, Farm Service Agency Administrator. “These programs provide critical financial protections against commodity market volatilities for many American farmers so don’t delay enrollment.” He also advises producers to avoid the rush and contact their local FSA Office for an appointment because even with no changes in program elections for next year, farmers still need to sign a contract to enroll. *********************************************************************************** Lawmakers Want More Time on New Rule The Congressional and Senate Chicken Caucuses sent letters to the USDA asking for a 180-day extension to the implementation period for the new Packers and Stockyards Act rule. The rule, titled “Transparency in Poultry Contracting and Tournaments,” included a 75-day compliance period when it was published in the Federal Register on November 28. That put the compliance date for broiler and processing companies on February 12, 2024. “The rule establishes numerous additional disclosure requirements, what provisions must be in contracts, introduces open-ended and novel definitions and terms, requires completely new oversight systems, and injects significant ambiguity regarding compliance,” the House letter says. The lawmakers requested USDA extend the implementation date by no less than 180 days to allow stakeholders and constituents time to thoroughly understand and comply with the rule’s many requirements. They say by providing only 75 days to implement the rule, USDA significantly underestimated the time required for implementation. *********************************************************************************** USDA Launches Risk Management Workshops USDA announced it will host more than a dozen in-person and virtual workshops this winter for producers to learn more about new and expanded livestock risk management products. The “Livestock Roadshow” will be hosted by the Risk Management Agency. It will highlight policy improvements based on feedback from America’s livestock producers as part of the agency’s broader outreach and education efforts. “Listening to farmers and ranchers is a top priority for RMA,” says administrator Marcia Bunger. “The Livestock Roadshow is one of our many efforts to provide outreach and education to America’s agricultural producers.” The roadshow will cover many topics, including annual forage, dairy revenue protection, livestock gross margin, livestock risk protection, and many others. To ensure producers across the country can attend an event, two virtual livestock shows are scheduled for January. Livestock producers can learn more by going to usda.gov or contacting a Risk Management Agency Regional Office. *********************************************************************************** Tighter Margins Ahead in 2024 Despite a drop in key operating costs, Rabobank says contracted margins in 2023 will continue into the new year. Soybean farmers are likely to achieve good margins in the 2024 season, but corn farmers will feel their margins pressured by ample supply. Wheat margins are unlikely to see better margins despite declining costs. Trends are indicating that the markets are at a pivotal point. Rabobank says uncertainty rises from factors like record Brazilian crops, more “adequate” crops in the U.S. and Europe, and expectations of another record crop in Brazil in 2024. Global domestic demand for key crops declined, which points to building stocks and lower prices. Weather challenges and geopolitical instability coupled with economic uncertainty prompt consideration of a risk premium in the market. Rabobank says corn exhibits the least upside potential, with wheat presenting the highest upside potential. Soybeans likely fall somewhere in between. Volatility is likely in 2024. *********************************************************************************** Midwest Crops Conference in January The annual Midwest Crops Conference is scheduled for January 2024 in St. Joseph, Missouri. Formerly the “Certified Crops Advisor Conference,” the two-day event targets people looking for Continuing Education Units, including crop advisors, ag industry professionals, and farmers. “This workshop will provide in-depth discussion on several topics to help agricultural professionals enhance their crop production recommendations to farmers,” says Denice Ferguson, a member of the conference committee. Researchers and experts in crop production from the University of Missouri, University of Nebraska, Kansas State University, and Iowa State University will present up-to-date information from their areas of expertise. “Anyone advising or managing an agricultural operation or serving the ag industry knows that research and technology is driving this sector,” Ferguson says. “Advancements in agronomy, pest management, and crop technologies bring improvements to farmers’ yields, efficiency, and risk management.” The conference will offer 15.5 hours of Continuing Education Units for Certified Crop ‘Advisors. *********************************************************************************** New Members Lead AFB National Committees Farm Bureau farmer and rancher members play an important role in their communities and the organization by serving at the local, state, and national levels. Several newly appointed volunteers will provide leadership beginning in 2024 as members of the AFB’s Young Farmers and Ranchers and Promotion and Education Committees. These newly appointed national committee members will focus on advancing the mission of the American Farm Bureau and working to build trust with consumers and others while sharing agriculture’s story,” says American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall. “Farm Bureau members bring a big level of commitment and care to their communities, and as engaged grassroots leaders, they’ll have a big impact.” The YF and R Committee plans programming that includes coordinating the Young Farmer and Rancher competitive events at the national convention in January. The Promotion and Education Committee develops resources to inspire and equip the Farm Bureau to convey agriculture’s importance.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday December 19, 2023 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets Trading may be quiet on the Tuesday before Christmas as the only significant report on the docket is November U.S. housing starts, set for 7:30 a.m. CST. Traders will keep close watch on the weather forecasts for Brazil. Weather With lake-effect showers moving into the Northeast and a trough situated off the West Coast, it will be quieter across most of the country for Tuesday. A brief burst of cooler air will be replaced by warmth from the west while showers will continue along the West Coast.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday December 18, 2023 |


Good News for the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Industry The U.S. Treasury Department will use a modified version of the GREET model as a measurement to determine reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. The agency will use the model as it allocates tax credits for sustainable aviation fuels under the Inflation Reduction Act. The National Corn Growers Association was pleased to hear the Treasury’s decision. “Given that GREET was created by the government and is widely respected for its ability to measure reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from the farm to the plane, we’re encouraged by this,” says NCGA President Harold Wolle. “We’re eager to help the aviation industry reduce its carbon footprint and look forward to helping ensure the final model helps achieve that goal.” GREET, which stands for the Greenhouse Gasses, Regulated Emissions, and Energy Use in Transportation, was developed by the U.S. Department of Energy to measure greenhouse emissions from the field to the car or plane. *********************************************************************************** Specialty Crop Growers Reminded to Apply for Assistance The USDA reminds specialty crop growers that assistance is available for producers who incur eligible on-farm food safety program expenses. The expenses are part of the process for obtaining or renewing a food safety certification through the Food Safety Certification for Specialty Crops program. “The program is one of the many ways USDA helps support local and regional food systems and opportunities for small-scale producers,” says Farm Service Agency Administrator Zach Ducheneaux. “I’m encouraging all specialty crop growers to discover how this program can help mitigate the costs of on-farm food safety certification, meet regulatory requirements, and apply by the January deadline.” Eligible operations must grow specialty crops, meet the definition of a small business, and have paid eligible expenses related to the 2023 certification. The application for 2023 closes January 31, 2024, and FSA will issue payments after the application period closes. For more information, growers should visit farmers.gov. *********************************************************************************** CoBank Releases 2024 Year Ahead Report Lingering high prices are expected to take a bigger toll on the economy in 2024. CoBank says the biggest problem for farm margins heading into 2024 is the elevated cost of production. While fertilizer prices have fallen, other production costs remain high. However, ag commodities will benefit from more upside price risk than down in 2024. Global grain and oilseed stock inventories are tight by historic measures, and the northern hemisphere will likely have a strong El Niño weather pattern during the growing season for the first time since 2015. The dollar will likely continue its recent decline, and global demand should return to a long-term growth trend. Also, the renewable diesel boom and the smaller U.S. soybean harvest of 2023 will drive an expansion of soybean acreage next year. Profitability for the livestock sector should modestly improve in 2024 as lower feed costs and domestic demand offset weak global exports. *********************************************************************************** State Ag Officials Oppose Beef Imports from Paraguay Ag officials in several of America’s top beef-producing states say federal officials didn’t properly assess the risk of disease when deciding to allow beef imports from Paraguay to resume. USDA recently ended a 25-year prohibition on those imports. The prohibition was the result of Paraguay’s difficulty in ridding itself of foot and mouth disease. A severe outbreak in the U.S. has the potential to cost more than $200 billion. South Dakota Searchlight says beef industry groups and some lawmakers have opposed the move, saying the risk analysis was based on outdated information. Mike Naig, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, and officials from seven other states wrote a letter to Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack to consider pausing the decision until a more reliable risk assessment can be completed based on modern visits to Paraguay. Ag officials from Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, and Wyoming all signed the letter to Vilsack. *********************************************************************************** FCA Board Receives Quarterly Report on Ag Economic Conditions The Farm Credit Administration received a quarterly report on economic issues affecting agriculture and an update on the financial condition and performance of the Farm Credit System. Rising interest rates have negatively impacted many of the finance-heavy sectors, including commercial real estate, banking, and farming. While many agricultural inputs are considerably less costly than last year, profit margins for many farmers are tighter this year. Crop producers continue to see lower commodity prices, especially for corn and wheat, compared to a year ago. Further price risk stems from lower water levels in key waterways used to transport cash grains. Profit margins for some livestock and specialty crop producers are tighter due to weak commodity prices. The System reported solid financial results through the first nine months of 2023. System growth has slowed in 2023 against a backdrop of higher interest rates and tighter margins in a number of agricultural sectors. *********************************************************************************** December 2023 Livestock Outlook The USDA’s December Livestock Outlook says higher cow slaughter and heavier-than-assumed carcass weights will offset lower fed cattle slaughter in the fourth quarter of 2023. That will leave the beef production forecast for 2023 unchanged. Expected heavier carcasses will carry over into early 2024 along with higher cow slaughter. Fourth-quarter pork production was raised 25 million pounds to 7.09 billion pounds, 2.4 percent higher than during the same period last year. Hog prices are expected to average $54 per hundredweight for the quarter, 15 percent lower than the fourth quarter of 2022. First-quarter hog prices are lowered by $1 per hundredweight to $56 as soft consumer pork demand is likely to persist, limiting hog price increases. Lamb and mutton import forecasts are lower in the December report compared to the previous month. In poultry, projected broiler production is adjusted higher for the fourth quarter of 2023 based on strong production in October.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday December 18, 2023 |


Top 5 Things to Watch - Cattle Markets and South American Weather 1. Cattle prices and LRP: The conversation around what's going on in cattle markets continues and our analysts and journalists continue to follow the trail this week, with reports from cattle meetings and conversations with producers, traders and the insurance industry. 2. Big stories in 2023: We'll kick off our annual review of the 10 most influential ag stories in 2023 this week. We'll look at weather events, financial surprises and at the things that didn't happen, but should have. Look for our Top 10 story lines through the end of the year, leading up to the story we think was the most critical. 3. More from yield contests: The big news last week was Virginia farmer David Hula's record-breaking corn yield of 623.8439 bushels per acre. We'll have more tales from this year's yield contests both on the DTN platforms, and in the February issue of Progressive Farmer. I 4. Eyes remain on South America: While corn farmers got an early Christmas present with the guidance decision affecting sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) tax credits, which could be a pivotal moment for the ethanol industry, the markets are still watching crop growth in South America. Weather models continue to show favorable conditions through January for much of Brazil and Argentina. 5. Economic reports to watch: On Monday, USDA's weekly grain export inspections report hits at 10 a.m., just after the latest government home builder confidence index at 8 a.m. Then Tuesday kicks off with the 7:30 a.m. release of housing starts and building permits. Wednesday, the latest EIA petroleum report hits 10 a.m., which includes ethanol production and inventory. The Energy Department's weekly inventory report is at 9:30 a.m. Existing home sales is scheduled to be released at 9 a.m. On Thursday, we see the USDA weekly export sales report at 7:30 a.m., the same time as weekly initial U.S. jobless claims. The third-quarter GDP report is released at 7:30 a.m., with latest leading economic indicators at 9 a.m. Finally, Friday is a busy report day, with durables-goods orders for November followed by personal income and spending data for November, all released at 7:30 a.m. New home sales will be released at 9 a.m. The latest Cattle-on-Feed and a Hogs and Pigs report are released after market close.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday December 18, 2023 |


Monday Watch List Markets Back from the weekend, traders will continue to keep watch over South American weather with rain expected to return to central Brazil this week. USDA's weekly report of grain export inspections is set for 10 a.m. The bulk of this week's reports will fall on Thursday and Friday, ahead of the Christmas holiday. Weather A strong storm system built up across the East Coast over the weekend and is pushing through the Northeast on Monday. Behind it, a quick burst of cooler air is moving through the Midwest and down into the Southeast, where it will be cooler for a few days starting Tuesday. The cooler air will mean lake-effect snow around the Great Lakes for today. Another cutoff low-pressure center will bring showers to the West Coast as well.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday December 15, 2023 |


Whole Milk on School Menus Gets Through House The National Milk Producers Federation applauded the House of Representatives for passing the Whole Milk for Healthy Kids Act. The act expands the variety of healthy milk options schools can choose to serve. “Expanding the milk schools can choose to serve to include Two Percent and Whole Milk is a commonsense solution that will help ensure kids have access to the same healthy options they get at home,” says NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern. The American Farm Bureau was also happy with the news. In a letter to Congress, AFBF told members that nine out of 10 children aren’t consuming enough dairy to meet their nutritional needs. The act will allow kids to get access to protein, calcium, and vitamins at important times in their development. House Ag Chair GT Thompson introduced the bill and said he looks forward to restoring access to these nutritious beverages in schools across the country. *********************************************************************************** Iowa Land Value Study Shows a Four Percent Rise in Prices Farmland values in Iowa rose again but at a slower pace than the two previous years. The annual Iowa State University Land Value Survey found that farmland values increased 3.7 percent, or $424, to $11,835 per acre. That increase follows a larger 17 percent increase in 2022 and a near-record 29 percent in 2021. The study showed several factors behind the surge last year contributed to the rising prices in 2023. The Federal Reserve has used interest rate hikes to help curb inflation rates, and future increases will continue to slow the growth in farmland values, but not immediately. The Iowa State study says it will take a couple of years for interest rates to be reflected in farmland values. The impact of the aggressive rate hikes in 2022 is expected to be felt more strongly in 2024 and beyond. That will mean more modest growth or lower land prices ahead. *********************************************************************************** Purdue Consumer Survey Deals with Food Concerns The Purdue University Consumer Food Insights is a monthly survey conducted by the Center for Food Demand Analysis and Sustainability. The information is used to track trends and changes in consumer food demand and food sustainability behaviors. The November survey dealt with several food safety topics. Among the many findings, most consumers associate “Best if Used By” and “Use-By” food date labels with food safety rather than food quality. The perceived risk of foodborne illnesses is higher in restaurants than in food prepared at home. Consumers are also more likely to believe raw meats pose a higher risk of containing foodborne bacteria than other food times. Risk-averse consumers ate more food cooked at home than risk-loving consumers. Risk-loving consumers reported eating unwashed produce, rare or undercooked meats, and raw dough or batter more frequently than risk-averse or risk-neutral consumers. Food insecurity dropped slightly for the fifth straight month to 12.8 percent. *********************************************************************************** Groups File Action Against Glyphosate New legal action would require the Environmental Protection Agency to immediately suspend and cancel glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup. A petition filed by the Center for Food Safety, Beyond Pesticides, and four farmworker advocacy groups says glyphosate’s registration is illegal. A lawsuit filed by the same groups last year saw a federal appeals court strike down EPA’s human health assessment because the agency wrongfully calculated glyphosate’s cancer risk. The new petition calls for the cancellation and suspension of glyphosate’s registration, contains more than 70 pages and includes more than 200 scientific citations. Glyphosate is the most widely used pesticide in the world, with about 300 million pounds applied every year in the U.S. The groups say EPA has declined to act despite studies, including those sponsored by Monsanto, that show glyphosate has harmful effects on the liver, kidney, and reproductive system. They also say it’s a probable immune system carcinogen. *********************************************************************************** USDA Opens Applications for Discrimination Assistance Farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners who experienced discrimination in USDA farm lending programs before January 2021 may be eligible for Discrimination Financial Assistance. It’s a new program and an important step in delivering on USDA’s commitment to providing financial assistance to those who have faced discrimination in USDA farm lending programs. The deadline to apply is January 13, 2024. Borrowers can apply online or with a paper form. The application process isn’t first come, first served. All applications received or postmarked before the January 13 deadline will be considered. Filing an application is free and doesn’t require a lawyer. On the website, applicants can get information on how to obtain technical assistance in person or virtually and additional resources and details about the program. If you have concerns about working with USDA based on past experiences, USDA partnered with community-based organizations to conduct outreach to underserved groups. For information, go to 22007apply.gov. *********************************************************************************** GHG Mitigation Strategies for the Sheep Industry A new resource outlining best practices for the U.S. Sheep industry to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is now available. The resource summarizes findings in an Environmental Footprint Study from Michigan State University. Many of the practices align with the Lamb Crop Best Practices developed to improve on-farm productivity and profitability. Reducing lamb loss, breeding ewes earlier, and optimal nutrition practices are all areas where producers can maximize productivity while reducing GHG emissions. “It’s encouraging that producers can implement sound practices that have been proven to help with productivity while reducing our environmental footprint,” says American Lamb Board Chair Peter Camino. “Sheep producers have long stewarded their lands, but seeing strategies that make sense for both productivity and sustainability is encouraging.” Other strategies include proper fertilizer use, improved manure management, using renewable resources, and adopting new grazing opportunities. The full report or the summary of the findings can be downloaded at lamboard.com.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday December 15, 2023 |


Friday Watch List Markets On Friday, the Federal Reserve releases its report on U.S industrial production at 8:15 a.m. CST. The National Oilseeds Processors Association releases its estimate of members' soybean crush in November at 11 a.m. and grain traders continue to keep watch over South American weather forecasts. Weather A storm system in the Plains will move east through the middle of the country on Friday with areas of showers. Much of this will be rain, though some snow will be possible across the north from North Dakota through northern Wisconsin. Even with the system moving through, temperatures continue to be warm by December standards.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday December 14, 2023 |


Attempt to Overturn Beef Imports from Paraguay Senators Jon Tester (D-MT) and Mike Rounds (R-SD) will file a Congressional Review Act resolution that would overturn the decision to lift a long-standing ban on beef imports from Paraguay. Both senators say the Biden administration made the wrong decision. “Resuming beef imports from a country with a recent history of foot and mouth disease is bad news for consumers and producers,” Tester says. Rounds says U.S. farmers produce the world’s safest, highest quality, and most affordable beef. USDA’s decision to resume imports relies on an analysis completed in 2018, and American inspectors haven’t been in the country since 2014. In addition to suspending beef imports from Paraguay, the bipartisan bill would also require establishing a working group to evaluate the threat to food safety and animal health posed by Paraguayan beef. The bipartisan legislation is supported by R-CALF USA, the United States Cattlemen’s Association, and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. *********************************************************************************** Ag Groups Concerned About PNTR Repeal A coalition of agricultural organizations representing farmers sent a letter to the U.S. Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party regarding Permanent Normal Trade Relations with China. The committee is considering recommending that Congress repeal China’s PNTR status, and the groups say the impact would have sharply negative consequences. “We respectfully urge the committee not to recommend revoking China’s PNTR status,” the groups say in the letter. “The negative consequences for American farmers, ranchers, and food producers would be profound, and the economic impact on American workers and rural communities would be felt for many years.” They also point out that China is now the largest buyer of U.S. food and agricultural products, purchasing 19 percent of U.S. exports. “These ag exports are critical to America’s farmers and rural communities,” they wrote. Additionally, they say retaliatory tariffs in 2018 and 2019 led to losing billions in states across the U.S. *********************************************************************************** USDA to Start Issuing Pandemic Assistance Payments USDA will begin issuing more than $223 million in Pandemic Assistance Revenue Program payments. These payments will help producers who suffered a decrease in allowable gross revenue due to COVID-19 for the 2020 calendar year. Eligible applicants must have been in the farming business during at least part of the 2020 calendar year and had a 15 percent or greater decrease in allowable gross revenue for the 2020 calendar year as compared to a baseline year. PARP benefits help address gaps in previous assistance, which was targeted at price loss or lack of market access rather than overall revenue losses. “PARP payments mark the delivery of the final suite of assistance programs provided by the Farm Service Agency and are also one of the first times that the agency delivered a program focused on revenue decreases,” says FSA Administrator Zach Ducheneaux. For more information, contact your local USDA Service Center. *********************************************************************************** Collaboration, Momentum at Sustainable Agriculture Summit Barbara O’Brien, president and CEO of Dairy Management Inc., spoke about challenges facing agriculture during the Sustainable Agriculture Summit in Charlotte, North Carolina. With challenges like a growing global population that needs more food, significant geopolitical challenges, and many others, she says, “We need to take a more thoughtful approach to building resilient food systems, and agriculture must be at the forefront.” The Summit was co-hosted by the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy and several other national ag organizations to convene the collective food and agriculture value chain to learn, develop, and advance a shared vision for a sustainable and resilient U.S. food system. One highlight of the Sustainable Ag Summit included producers in different U.S. ag sectors sharing how they approach sustainability on their farms. They talked about the successes and challenges in making sustainability gains and the need to safeguard producer livelihood in the context of environmental stewardship. *********************************************************************************** Global Corn Production Rises Global coarse grain production is projected as higher due to higher production forecasts for Ukraine, Russia, and the EU, which are partly offset by a reduction for Mexico. Barley production in Canada and Australia is also projected higher. Coarse grain exports for the October-September trade year increased by 2.3 million tons. The increased global exports are predominantly due to larger corn export forecasts for the U.S. and Ukraine, and larger forecasts for Australian and Canadian barley. Mexico is expected to take in more corn imports, and China will boost barley imports. The U.S. feed grain forecast is unchanged at 400 million metric tons. Total feed grain supply is 439.4 million metric tons. Strong corn exports and healthy outstanding sales, particularly to Mexico, contribute to a 25 million bushel increase in the 2023-2024 U.S. corn export forecast. The corn and sorghum season-average prices remain unchanged, but barley and oats prices will rise. *********************************************************************************** NCGA Announces Corn Yield Contest Winners The National Corn Growers Association announced the winners of the 2023 National Corn Yield Contest. The group of farmers had impressive yields and proved the ingenuity and resilience of U.S. farmers. In its 59th year, the National Corn Yield Contest saw almost 7,000 entries from farmers in 46 states. Of the 10 production categories, Class J had verified yields averaging 269 bushels an acre. The yields included a national record of 623.8 bushels per acre from David Hula of Virginia, beating the previous record of 619.1 bushels per acre. “Year after year, the National Corn Yield Contest remains the most popular program for NCGA members,” says Harold Wolle, NCGA president. “It’s an opportunity for farmers across the country to put their skills to the test and show the true craftsmanship it takes to grow a successful crop.” A complete list of the 2023 National and State winners is available at ncga.com.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday December 14, 2023 |


Thursday Watch List Markets One day after the Federal Reserve said it expects lower interest rates in 2024, USDA's weekly export sales report will be out at 7:30 a.m. CST Thursday, the same time as reports on weekly U.S. jobless claims, retail sales in November and an update of the U.S. Drought Monitor. The Energy Department's report on natural gas storage follows at 10 a.m. USDA's Livestock, Dairy and Poultry outlook is set for 2 p.m. Weather A small cutoff low in the Four Corners area will continue to produce some waves of showers in the Southwestern Plains for Thursday, being heavy in some areas. That includes snow that could be quite heavy in some areas. The rest of the country will be warm and dry.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday December 13, 2023 |


Grassley, Baldwin, Ernst Team Up to Bring Transparency to Fertilizer Market Senators Chuck Grassley, Joni Ernst and Tammy Baldwin are leading a bipartisan push to shed light on market factors driving the cost of fertilizer. Iowa Republicans Grassley and Ernst, along with Wisconsin Democrat Baldwin, have introduced the Fertilizer Research Act. The legislation would require the Department of Agriculture to study competition and trends in the fertilizer market to determine their subsequent impacts on price. Grassley says, "With fertilizer being one of the ag industry's highest input costs, it's problematic farmers have such a limited window into market fluctuations." Within one year of the bill's passage, the Secretary of Agriculture, in consultation with the Economic Research Council, would be required to issue a report on USDA's website regarding the U.S. fertilizer industry. The report would include a description of impacts on the fertilizer market that influence price, market trends in the past 25 years, and impacts of anti-dumping and countervailing duties, among other research items. *********************************************************************************** USDA Releases December Oil Crops Outlook USDA’s monthly Oil Crops Outlook for December reduced Brazil’s production forecast for marketing year 2023/24 by 2.0 million metric tons to 161.0 million metric tons on lower yield. Yield is forecast at 3.53 metric tons per hectare, down one percent from last month’s forecast and two percent below last year’s record yield. Harvested area is forecast at a record 45.6 million hectares, unchanged from last month and up 1.3 million hectares from last year. The shrinking prospects for Brazil’s soybean production have increased the value of U.S. soybeans. In November, soybean cash prices at country elevators in Central Illinois increased by $0.68 per bushel to $13.08 per bushel. Throughout the country, cash prices rallied above $13.00 per bushel by the middle of November and then prices declined to an average of $12.67 per bushel in the first week of December. Despite the gains, the forecast for average soybean price received by farmers for 2023/24 is unchanged this month at $12.90 per bushel as prices have begun to decline in December. *********************************************************************************** USDA’s Alexis Taylor to Lead Trade Mission to the Republic of Korea Department of Agriculture Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs, Alexis Taylor, will lead an agribusiness trade mission to Seoul, South Korea, on March 25 - 28, 2024. USDA is inviting U.S. exporters wishing to participate in this trade mission to submit their applications. Taylor says, "We see tremendous potential for growth as the demand for health and fitness, ready-to-eat, and convenience products is growing, providing a great opportunity for U.S. exporters to expand their sales in the region." The trade mission will offer U.S. agribusinesses the potential to increase or expand their food and agricultural exports to the region. While in Seoul, participants will engage in two days of business-to-business meetings with potential importers, processors and distributors. Additionally, attendees will receive in-depth market briefings from USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service and industry trade experts. U.S. exporters who wish to participate in this agribusiness trade mission must apply online by December 18, 2023. *********************************************************************************** Report: 2 million Participants Could be Turned Away From WIC More than two months into fiscal year 2024, Congress has yet to provide additional funding for hunger programs. Additional funding is for the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children program in 2024, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. WIC's funding needs have grown due to higher-than-expected participation and food costs. Congress has fully funded WIC for more than 25 years. If Congress fails to do so and continues WIC's current funding level for the rest of the fiscal year, WIC will face a roughly $1 billion shortfall. The Center estimates that as a result, states would need to reduce WIC participation by about two million participants nationwide by September. If Congress extends the current funding level rather than fully funding WIC, USDA could take measures to protect the program. But the authority is limited and could only close roughly half of a $1 billion shortfall. The Center adds, "Congress must fully fund WIC to avoid jeopardizing the health of about two million very young children and pregnant or postpartum adults." *********************************************************************************** Food Insecurity in U.S. Households with Older Adults Increased in 2022 In 2022, 9.1 percent of U.S. households with adults aged 65 and older were food insecure at some time during the year. The prevalence of food insecurity in households with adults aged 65 and older in 2022 was statistically significantly higher than the 7.1 percent in 2021 and the 6.9 percent in 2020. USDA’s Economic Research Service monitors the food security status of households in the United States through an annual nationwide survey. In 2022, 11.4 percent of households with an adult aged 65 and older living alone were food insecure, statistically significantly higher than the prevalence in 2021 of 9.5 percent and in 2020 of 8.3 percent. Very low food security is a more severe form of food insecurity in which the food intake of some household members was reduced. The 2022 prevalence of very low food security in households with adults aged 65 and older was 3.4 percent, compared to 2.8 percent in 2021. The data was released this month in USDA’s Household Food Security in the United States in 2022. *********************************************************************************** USDA Signs Agreement with AFA to Prepare Young People for Careers in Agriculture Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Agriculture Future of America. The MOU formalizes a partnership to promote the common goals of strengthening the future competitiveness and sustainability of the U.S. agriculture industry by preparing more young people for careers in agriculture. Vilsack says, “This partnership will enhance USDA’s involvement with AFA and its leadership development and education mission.” USDA and AFA will continue to collaborate on leadership development efforts, and link young leaders with career opportunities in food, agricultural science, natural resources, and related fields. Under the MOU, USDA commits to advancing opportunities for AFA delegates to participate in USDA programs, including internships. AFA will provide occasions for USDA to meet with AFA delegates to share information about these opportunities. AFA President and CEO Mark Stewart adds, “This agreement reinforces our belief that connecting young leaders with USDA initiatives will enrich their careers and contribute to a more resilient and competitive agriculture industry.”

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday December 13, 2023 |


Wednesday Market Watch Markets The U.S. Labor Department's producer price index will be out at 7:30 a.m. CST Wednesday, followed by the Energy Department's weekly inventory report at 9:30 a.m., including ethanol production. The Federal Reserve will make its announcement on interest rates at 1 p.m. with economic projections also expected. Attention on South American weather remains a given, this time of year. Weather A cutoff low-pressure system is building waves of showers into the southwestern Plains on Wednesday morning, which will spread through Colorado to West Texas. It will be just cold enough in some areas to produce snow, especially late this afternoon through midday Thursday. The system will be a slow-mover, creating some heavy precipitation in the region that should help out with the remaining drought.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday December 12, 2023 |


USDA Projects Create Economic Opportunity in Underserved Rural and Native Communities The Department of Agriculture Monday announced more than 200 projects to improve infrastructure, housing and economic conditions for underserved rural and Native American communities. These projects are funded by a Department of Agriculture's $81 million investment. USDA is investing in several programs designed to bring federal funding and resources to people and communities in underserved rural areas. The projects will benefit hundreds of thousands of people in 42 states, Puerto Rico and the Marshall Islands. USDA Rural Development also unveiled two new web resources that underscore the agency’s mission to ensure all people have equitable access to federal programs. A new history webpage traces USDA Rural Development’s evolution from the Great Depression and New Deal to the present. Meanwhile, the Rural Partners Network has brought together a coalition of 24 federal agencies that offer programs and funding designed specifically for rural communities. A new feature on Rural.gov makes it easier to find these federal resources in one place. *********************************************************************************** Despite Rising Wage Rate, Farmers Must Rely on H-2A Program New data from the American Farm Bureau Federation shows H-2A usage reached new highs in fiscal year 2023. The Market Intel report says that comes despite an increase in the Adverse Effect Wage Rate, which outpaced the hourly wage growth rate of all private employees. This increase in both demand for workers and wage rate continues to put stress on the bottom lines of farmers and ranchers. The data shows the total number of certified H-2A positions at 378,513, an increase of two percent over fiscal year 2022. While this is a slower rate of increase than in years past, the number of positions certified is still up by more than 100,000 workers compared to fiscal year 2020. This is coupled with a nearly 19 percent increase in the required wage rate since fiscal year 2020, causing labor to be one of the costliest aspects of doing business for farmers and ranchers. AFBF President Zippy Duvall says, “This data shows how important and urgent it is that we get a workable fix for the H-2A program and the AEWR.” *********************************************************************************** Population and Income Drive World Food Production Projections The global agriculture system will be expected to provide more food as the world's population increases. To better understand how the world agriculture system may grow in response by 2050, researchers at USDA’s Economic Research Service created a range of scenarios based on population growth. Under medium population growth, production worldwide would have to increase to 14,060 trillion crop calories to feed 9.75 billion people in 2050. This is a 47-percent increase in crop calories from a 2011 baseline. Crop calories, the total calories available from crops, are a measure of the size of global agriculture since crops can be either consumed directly as food or fed to animals to be consumed as meat, dairy products, and eggs. In a high population growth scenario, 15,410 trillion crop calories would be needed to feed 10.8 billion people, a 61-percent increase in calories from the 2011 baseline. With both the medium and high population growth scenarios, researchers assumed that as per capita incomes rise, people would increase their overall consumption of calories. *********************************************************************************** Changing Climate Means More Pests for Almonds, Peaches, Walnuts Department of Agriculture research shows climate change may increase the insect population that poses a threat to the specialty crops industry. Led by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture and the University of California, the research shows populations of three major insect pests – codling moth, peach twig borer and oriental fruit moth — are projected to increase mainly due to rising temperatures. The three pests are "notorious for infesting most of the walnut, almond and peach orchards of California, causing extensive damages by reducing quality of fruits and nuts,” researchers say. Climate change can lead to shifts in the timing of seasons, including warmer winters, earlier springs and hotter summers, and these conditions can disrupt the natural life cycles of pests. The study revealed that due to temperature increases, these insects are expected to appear up to 28 days earlier in the spring, and the time between generations is expected to shorten by up to 19 days. The changes may be gradual, with major changes noticed within 20 years. *********************************************************************************** New Board Members Announced for National FFA Foundation Sponsors’ Board The National FFA Foundation announced its new chair for the Sponsors’ Board during the 96th National FFA Convention & Expo in Indianapolis this fall. Mary Snapp, vice president of strategic initiatives for Microsoft, was named chair for the upcoming year. Snapp grew up in rural Kansas and joined Microsoft in 1988 as the company’s first female attorney. The National FFA Sponsors’ Board is made up of top corporate executives who wish to support agricultural education and the National FFA Organization. Six other new board members were announced. Those include Jackie Bailey, senior vice president of transportation for CHS Inc.; John Barton, chief financial officer for Ardent Mills; Mel Halkyard, vice president, of global digital transformation for Elanco Animal Health; Jim Krombach, director of quality assurance for Culvers Franchising System, LLC; Clint Mefford, head of U.S. livestock communications and marketing operations for Zoetis; and Joe Michaels, senior director of product portfolio planning for Kubota North America. These members will serve on the board for three years. *********************************************************************************** Fuel Prices Post 12 Weeks of Decline For the 12th consecutive week, the nation's average price of gasoline declined, falling 9.6 cents from a week ago to $3.12 per gallon. The national average is down 23.7 cents from a month ago and 10.1 cents per gallon lower than a year ago. The national average diesel price fell 8.4 cents in the last week and stands at $4.10 per gallon— 86 cents lower than one year ago. GasBuddy's Patrick De Haan says, "With nearly 80,000 gas stations in the U.S. now priced below $3 per gallon, and 23 states also seeing average prices of $2.99 or less, motorists are getting substantial relief at the pump in time for the holidays." The trend is likely to continue in most states this week, while the national average could soon fall below $3.05 per gallon, the lowest since 2021. Oil prices continue to struggle under the weight of a global economic slowdown, seeing consumption decrease, while oil production has risen in the United States, Canada, and other non-OPEC producers.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday December 12, 2023 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets The U.S. Labor Department issues the consumer price index for November at 7:30 a.m. CST Tuesday. The Federal Reserve starts its two-day meeting with many expecting the federal funds rate to stay unchanged at Wednesday's conclusion. Traders continue to keep close watch on South American weather with an interest in soybean crop estimates for Brazil. Weather Much of the country is quiet early on Tuesday, though there is a disturbance building across the Southwest. That system will move into the Southern Plains Tuesday night and start to spread showers through Texas. The main punch of the storm will be from Wednesday through Friday, which could culminate in heavy precipitation for areas still wrestling with drought.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday December 11, 2023 |


December WASDE Lowers Corn Stocks, Increases Exports The World Ag Supply and Demand Estimates from USDA show the 2023-2024 U.S. corn outlook calling for higher exports and lower ending stocks. Exports rose 25 million bushels to 2.1 billion, reflecting the pace of sales and shipments to date. Corn ending stocks dropped 25 million bushels to 2.1 billion. The season-average corn price is unchanged at $4.85 a bushel. Soybean supply and use projections are unchanged from November, and the season-average soybean price forecast remains $12.90 a bushel. USDA reduced Brazil’s soybean production by two million tons to 161 million because of dry weather. The U.S. wheat outlook is for unchanged supplies and domestic use, higher exports, and reduced ending stocks. Exports rose 25 million bushels to 725 million. All-wheat ending stocks dropped 25 million bushels to 659 million, 13 percent above 2022. The season-average farm price is up a dime per bushel at $7.30 on lower projected ending stocks. *********************************************************************************** Beef Exports Show Modest Rebound U.S. pork exports posted another strong performance in October, led by record-breaking shipments to Mexico and broad-based growth elsewhere. October pork exports totaled 245,345 metric tons, up three percent year-over-year and the largest since June. The value reached $688.2 million, down two percent from 2022. Shipments to Mexico reached new highs in both volume and value. For the first 10 months of 2023, pork exports were up nine percent from last year at 2.38 million metric tons, with value up six percent to $6.66 billion. Beef exports totaled 104,446 metric tons in October, down 17 percent from last year but six percent above the low volume in September. Export value reached $636 million, down 11 percent from last year but five percent above September. January-October U.S. beef exports reached 1.08 million metric tons, down 13 percent from the record pace of 2022, while value dropped 17 percent to $8.32 billion. *********************************************************************************** Reforms in a New Farm Bill Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Representative Chip Roy (R-TX) called on Senate and House leadership to address several important topics in writing a new farm bill. They’re asking leaders to address the impacts of inflation, waste in farm and nutrition programs, and foreign influence in U.S. agriculture. In a letter to leaders in both chambers, they say the administration and its reckless spending have led the U.S. to record inflation. “By making conservative reforms to key programs, we will be able to tame inflation while also keeping in place a responsible safety net for U.S. farm families,” they say. They also call for reforms to the SNAP program by citing its $1.2 trillion price tag and growing error rate. They’re also urging Congress to bring more accountability to the USDA’s Commodity Credit Corporation, which they say is a bureaucratic “slush fund,” and oversight would save $8 billion over 20 years. *********************************************************************************** Groups Applaud Renewable Fuels for Ocean Vessels Act Groups like Clean Fuels Alliance and the American Soybean Association applauded representatives from California and Iowa for introducing the bipartisan Renewable Fuel for Ocean-Going Vessels Act. The act designates renewable fuel used in ocean-going vessels as an “additional renewable fuel” (similar to jet fuel) under the Renewable Fuel Standard. This enables companies to preserve Renewable Identification Number credits in the program. “International shipping companies and cruise lines are increasingly looking for low-carbon biodiesel to meet climate goals and consumer demand,” says Kurt Kovarik, Vice President of Federal Affairs for Clean Fuels. “This will remove a regulatory roadblock and enable biodiesel and renewable diesel producers to meet the low-carbon fuel needs of shipping companies at a competitive price.” American Soybean Association President Daryl Cates applauds the effort to acknowledge marine vessels as a new and exciting market opportunity for agriculture. The RFS originally excluded fuels in ocean-going vessels from blending obligations *********************************************************************************** TFI Celebrates Good News on Hypoxia The Fertilizer Institute celebrated the good news in the recently released Hypoxia Task Force’s report to Congress. It shows significant progress toward the goals of the Gulf Hypoxia Action Plan of 2008. TFI President and CEO Corey Rosenbusch says it is good news. While there is still work to do, he says the report shows significant progress. “TFI has long advocated for grower adoption of nutrient stewardship practices such as the 4Rs because they work,” Rosenbusch says. “These practices keep fertilizers on fields where they belong and out of the nation’s waterways where they do not.” He also says it proves that science-based conservation practices voluntarily adopted by farmers and ranchers are having a tremendous impact on the nation’s water quality. “They should be applauded for their continued efforts to grow more food with less environmental impact,” he adds. TFI will use the report for continued farmer and policymaker education. *********************************************************************************** Feed Industry Applauds FEED Act The American Feed Industry Association appreciates the introduction of the innovative Feed Enhancement and Economic Development Act. Supporters say it will improve the regulatory environment for new animal feed ingredients. The FEED Act will amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to establish a regulatory pathway for a new category of animal food substances that act solely within animals’ gut microbiomes or in the feed they are digesting to provide a wide range of benefits. This will make sure the Food and Drug Administration has the power it needs to ensure regulations keep pace with scientific innovation in feed. “We are excited that the bill has been introduced in both chambers and already has the bipartisan and bicameral support we hoped for,” says Constance Cullman, president and CEO of the AFIA. “This will spark the drive to nutritional innovation that improves animal health and production while addressing public health challenges."

| Rural Advocate News | Monday December 11, 2023 |


Top 5 Things to Watch - Yield Winners, Fertilizer Facts and Cattle Rumors 1. Yield winners announced: Both the National Corn Growers Association and the National Sorghum Producers are expected to announce their annual yield contest winners. Will we see familiar names, or will some new contestants pop in with top yields? 2. Global Fertilizer Outlook: DTN Staff Reporter Russ Quinn continues our deep dive into global fertilizer conditions on the supply and demand side along with what possible wild cards could affect price. 3. Cattle market rumors: Late in the past week, rumors flew about reasons for the drop in cattle futures prices while herd size remains historically small. At this writing it appears to be the "X" (formerly known as Twitter) factor -- that is, a remark thrown out into social media that then fed on itself. Ah, social media, we get what we pay for. DTN editors and analysts will look under whatever rocks turn up at the bottom of that stream. 4. Weather cools down: The weekend band of snow near the U.S.-Canada border pushed a cold front south through the Plains and east through the Upper Midwest. Temperatures have dropped some 20 degrees Fahrenheit from the previous week, but still remain mild by December standards through this week, well-above normal across northern zones. 5. Economic reports to watch: On Monday, USDA's weekly grain export inspections report hits at 10 a.m. On Tuesday, the U.S. Labor Department issues its consumer price index for November at 7:30 a.m., and the Federal Reserve starts its two-day meeting. Wednesday the U.S. producer price index will be out at 7:30 a.m., followed by the Energy Department's weekly inventory report at 9:30 a.m. The Federal Reserve will make its announcement on interest rates at 1 p.m. Then, Thursday sees USDA's weekly export sales report at 7:30 a.m., the same time as weekly U.S. jobless claims, retail sales in November and an update of the U.S. Drought Monitor. The Energy Department's report on natural gas storage follows at 10 a.m. USDA's Livestock, Dairy and Poultry outlook is set for 2 p.m. The week wraps up with Friday's release of the Fed's report on U.S industrial production at 8:15 a.m., while the National Oilseeds Processors Association releases its estimate of members' November soybean crush at 11 a.m.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday December 11, 2023 |


Monday Watch List Markets Back from the weekend, traders will continue to keep watch over South American weather. USDA's weekly report of grain export inspections is set for 10 a.m. CST Monday. Traders will also be watching for this week's Fed announcement, due out Wednesday at 1 p.m. after a two-day meeting. Weather A storm system from the weekend continues to push off the East Coast Monday morning with significant precipitation in the Northeast. It's cooler and drier behind the system, but still warm for December across northern locations. Another little disturbance and front are moving into the Northern Plains and some light precipitation will move through Monday, mostly in the form of snow.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday December 8, 2023 |


Farmers Meet Nitrogen Loss Goals Two Years Early A new report from the EPA’s Hypoxia Task Force shows that the hard work of farmers and ranchers to reduce nutrient losses in the Mississippi River watershed is paying off. The report reveals the 12 participating states have met interim nitrogen reduction goals two years ahead of schedule and are also making considerable progress in bringing down phosphorous losses. The goals are part of a comprehensive strategy established by state and federal agencies across the Mississippi River watershed region. Farmers and ranchers were tasked with helping to reduce nutrient losses by 20 percent by 2025. “Farmers are problem-solvers by nature, and the work being done in the Mississippi River is proof of what happens when we come together,” says Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall. “I commend the farmers in each of the states for their instrumental role in making these strides and encourage continued work to meet the 2035 goals.” *********************************************************************************** Ag Community Writes Trade Commission Regarding Tariffs The National Corn Growers Association joined 57 organizations in urging the International Trade Commission to consider the impacts that tariffs on Moroccan fertilizer are having on farms. The concerns were expressed in a letter that comes after the ITC was ordered by the U.S. Court of International Trade to reconsider its determination of material injury in a decision issued earlier in September. “Rising prices for fertilizer inputs have strained America’s farmers and ranchers and have impacted availability for this critical component of nutrient and yield management,” the letter says. “Without predictable options to source this product, farmers struggle to plan for the future.” The groups noted that issues surrounding the international supply chain further complicate farmers’ ability to source phosphate. It also says the ITC originally made some inferences on the ability to re-ship products that are not grounded in reality. Efforts to reduce the duties will continue for months. *********************************************************************************** New York City Moving to Renewable Diesel New York City has a plan in place to become the first city on the East Coast to transition all heavy-duty vehicles in the city’s fleet from fossil to renewable fuel. The fleet includes more than 12,600 on- and off-road trucks and specialized equipment that operates on diesel fuel. By the end of 2024, they’ll all operate on renewable diesel. Renewable diesel is proven to reduce carbon emissions and will replace up to 16 million gallons of fossil fuel used annually to power the city’s heavy-duty fleet, which includes garbage trucks and ambulances. After the full rollout of 16 million gallons of renewable diesel, the city will have cut 128 billion grams of carbon dioxide pollution each year. The transition already began in September with 2.5 million gallons of renewable diesel already used across heavy-duty vehicles. Renewable diesel fully replaces fossil diesel, protecting the environment and delivering the same quality fuel. *********************************************************************************** USB Elects New Leaders Farmer-leaders of the United Soybean Board elected Steve Reinhard from Ohio as the 2024 chair and ten additional farmer-leaders to serve on the Executive Committee. “I’m honored and excited to take on the role of USB’s new board chair,” Reinhard says. “Together with the dedicated team and the support of our farmers, I look forward to continuing our commitment to sustainability and innovation in the soy industry.” He also says the organization will focus on “driving positive change, leveraging research and investments to meet consumer demands, and furthering the success of America’s soybean farmers.” The USB also announced that Lucas Lentsch will be the new CEO starting on January 1. Lentsch currently serves on the Dairy Management, Inc. leadership team, which manages the national dairy checkoff. “Lucas Lentsch is the right leader at the right time to continue the meaningful work of the soy checkoff,” says Meagan Kaiser, outgoing USB Chair. *********************************************************************************** New Land Transfer Program Helps with Farmland Access Working in partnership with land protection leaders across the United States, American Farmland Trust announced a new “Land Transfer Navigators” program. It’s a partnership with the Natural Resource Conservation Service that will help existing farmers and landowners retire with confidence and help new, beginning, and underserved farmers gain secure, equitable land access. Nearly 300 million acres of American farmland are expected to change hands in the next 20 years. As aging farmers exit the field, the future is uncertain for about one-third of the country’s farm and ranch land. “Farmland is most at risk of conversion during generational transition,” says AFT President and CEO John Piotti (pee-OTT-tee). “With the wave of transfers coming, we risk losing far too much farmland to low-density housing, subdivisions, and strip malls.” Land Transfer Navigators will build bridges between incoming and outgoing farmers, leveraging land protection as a strategy to facilitate successful and affordable land transfer. *********************************************************************************** New VP of Science at the Sugarbeet Association The American Sugarbeet Growers Association has hired Dr. Nicholas Storer as Vice President of Science and Innovation. He’ll begin those duties on January 1. Dr. Storer recently was the Stewardship and Regulatory Director for Corteva Agriscience. “There are tremendous challenges and opportunities for our industry in the years ahead,” says Nate Hultgren, President of the ASGA. “Dr. Storer’s deep knowledge and broad experience in both crop protection and seed genetics will provide the leadership and guidance needed for our industry to remain efficient and competitive for decades to come.” Dr. Storer says he’s excited to bring his science and regulatory policy experience to support the development and deployment of the most effective solutions that sugarbeet growers need. “I’m really looking forward to getting to know everyone involved in sugarbeet production and research,” Dr. Storer adds. Storer received a bachelor’s in Natural Sciences, a Master’s in Zoology, and a doctorate in entomology.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday December 8, 2023 |


Friday Watch List Markets The U.S. Labor Department releases its unemployment report for November at 7:30 a.m. CST Friday, followed by the University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index at 9 a.m. At 11 a.m., USDA releases its WASDE and Crop Production reports for December. Weather A storm system moving along the Canadian border is bringing snow to the southeastern Canadian Prairies and North Dakota on Friday with some moderate accumulation and blustery winds. The system will develop some rain showers and thunderstorms for the South-Central U.S. and snow in the Colorado front-range by the afternoon as well. Temperatures ahead of the system are well

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday December 7, 2023 |


USDA Announces Crop Insurance Improvements The Department of Agriculture Wednesday announced updated to the Federal Crop Insurance Program. The updates affirm the use of USDA conservation practices as Good Farming Practices for crop insurance. Recently, USDA’s Risk Management Agency updated the Good Farming Practices Handbook, as part of the agency’s broader efforts to support conservation and climate-smart activities as well as to improve crop insurance for agricultural producers. RMA Administrator Marcia Bunger says, “This update affirms producers can have peace of mind that using conservation practices will not impact their crop insurance.” The updated handbook recognizes all conservation practices offered by USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service as Good Farming Practices for crop insurance. Essentially, appropriate use of NRCS conservation practices will have no impact on crop insurance coverage, which affirms how the rules have worked on the ground for years. The updated handbook builds on similar efforts, including RMA’s designation of planting cover crops as a Good Farming Practice in 2019. *********************************************************************************** USDA Now Accepting Applications for Farm Loans Online The Department of Agriculture has launched an online application for Direct Loan customers. More than 26,000 customers who submit a Direct Loan application each year can now use an online, interactive, guided application that is paperless. The online application also provides helpful features, including an electronic signature option, the ability to attach supporting documents such as tax returns, complete a balance sheet and build a farm operating plan. This tool is part of a broader effort by USDA's Farm Service Agency to streamline its processes, improve customer service, and expand credit access. Deputy Secretary Xochitl Torres Small says, "With USDA Farm Service Agency's new online loan application feature, it is now easier for producers to get the financing they need to start, expand, or maintain their farming and ranching operations." Through a personalized dashboard, borrowers can track the progress of their loan application. It can be accessed on farmers.gov or by completing FSA's Loan Assistance Tool at farmers.gov/loan-assistance-tool. *********************************************************************************** Monthly Dairy Products Report: Mostly Higher Cheese Production USDA’s Monthly Dairy Products Report released this week shows total cheese output, excluding cottage cheese, was 1.19 billion pounds, in October. That figure is 0.8 percent above October 2022 and 3.9 percent above September 2023. Italian-type cheese production totaled 506 million pounds, 1.4 percent above October 2022 and 5.6 percent above September 2023. American-type cheese production totaled 474 million pounds, 0.3 percent below October 2022's but 2.5 percent above September 2023's. Butter production was 161 million pounds, 0.9 percent below October 2022, but 12.5 percent above September 2023. Nonfat dry milk for human consumption came in at 127 million pounds, down 1.2 percent. Skim milk powder production was 42.5 million pounds, down 34.9 percent, from the same time last year. Dry whey total production was 75.6 million pounds, up 0.4 percent, compared to October, 2022. Finally, regular ice cream production was 57.9 million gallons, down 2.6 percent from the same time last year. *********************************************************************************** Foodservice Claims Largest Share of U.S. Food Dollars In 2022, more than a third of U.S. dollars spent on domestically produced food went to foodservice establishments, which includes restaurants and other food-away-from-home outlets. At 34.1 cents per food dollar in 2022, the foodservice share increased 1.6 cents from 2021 to reach its highest value in the USDA, Economic Research Service's Food Dollar Series. Industry groups add value by transforming the inputs they purchase from other industry groups and selling their output at higher prices. For instance, foodservice establishments prepare meals using food bought from distributors, such as those in the wholesale trade industry group, and utilities, such as gas and electricity, bought from establishments in the energy industry group. Prices paid by customers include the value added by the restaurant and the cumulative value added by all establishments before the restaurant. Annual shifts in the food dollar shares among industry groups occur for various reasons, including changes in the balance of food at home and away from home. *********************************************************************************** USDA Fulfills Long-Standing Tribal Requests Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Wednesday announced USDA is fulfilling some long-standing Tribal requests. Specifically, USDA is partnering with Tribal Nations in empowering Tribal food sovereignty and co-stewardship of federal lands and waters. Secretary Vilsack announced the first grant recipients under the Indigenous Animals Harvesting and Meat Processing Grant Program and advances in Forest Service co-stewardship with Tribes, including 120 new agreements totaling more than $68 million in investments. Secretary Vilsack also announced the inaugural appointees of the new Tribal Advisory Committee. Secretary Vilsack made the announcements at the 2023 White House Tribal Nations Summit, where Tribal leaders gathered for conversations with President Biden and senior administration officials. Vilsack says, "As Tribes have requested, we are reshaping our programs to incorporate Tribal and Indigenous perspectives, remove barriers, and encourage Tribal self-determination." Vilsack says the investments will create economic opportunities in Tribal communities, elevate the agency's work to increase co-stewardship in forest management, and increase the availability of affordable, healthy protein sources from Indigenous animals. *********************************************************************************** NASS Inducts Two Former Employees Into Hall of Fame USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service inducted two former employees to its Hall of Fame Wednesday. The NASS Hall of Fame honors individuals whose work has had a lasting impact on agricultural statistics. This year’s inductees are Carol House and Raymond “Ron” Bosecker. NASS Administrator Hubert Hamer says, “Our two honorees distinguished themselves with their leadership, by being experts in their fields.” Carol House joined NASS in 1976 as a student assistant. During her career, she authored and co-authored numerous reports that impacted NASS methodology, including those on her pioneering work in Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing. Additionally, House was the first woman hired directly into NASS to rise to the level of Senior Executive. House retired in 2010. Raymond “Ron” Bosecker began his career at NASS in 1964 as a student trainee at the Illinois State Statistical Office. He was reassigned in early 1999 as Acting Deputy Administrator for Field Operations, before being selected as the NASS Administrator in December 1999. Bosecker held the position of Administrator until his retirement in 2008.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday December 7, 2023 |


Thursday Watch List Markets USDA's weekly export sales report will be out at 7:30 a.m. CST Thursday, the same time as weekly U.S. jobless claims and an update of the U.S. Drought Monitor. The Energy Department's report on natural gas storage follows at 10 a.m. South American weather remains important to traders ahead of Friday's WASDE report. Weather A storm system will move across the U.S.-Canada border on Thursday, bringing areas of scattered showers, including some snow accumulation through Friday. Winds with the system will also be fairly strong. Ahead of the system, temperatures continue to be very warm for December.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday December 6, 2023 |


Farmer Sentiment Improves, Producers Credit Stronger Financial Conditions For the second month, farmer sentiment improved as the Purdue University-CME Group Ag Economy Barometer climbed five points. November's 12-point rise in the Current Conditions Index to a reading of 113 was primarily responsible for this month's sentiment improvement as the Index of Future Expectations only improved by two points. Both sub-indices exceeded their year-ago levels in November. The Current Conditions Index increased by 15 percent, and the Future Expectations Index was up 11 percent compared to November 2022. The improved perception among U.S. farmers regarding their farms' financial condition and prospects contributed to this month's more positive sentiment reading. The Farm Capital Investment Index also rose during November, although respondents who said it was a good time to invest were more likely to point to rising dealer inventories of farm equipment as a reason than strong farm cash flows. Farmers continue to be relatively optimistic about future values for farmland as the short-term farmland index held steady while the long-term index drifted lower. *********************************************************************************** Crop Insurance Industry Opposes GAO Report Crop Insurance groups oppose a recent Government Accountability Office report the industry says is fraught with recommendations that would dismantle the successful public-private partnership that delivers federal crop insurance. In a joint statement, the Crop Insurance and Reinsurance Bureau, National Crop Insurance Services, and American Association of Crop Insurers say the report contains several recommendations that would result in reduced participation in the long run. The groups say GAO mischaracterized the economics of the delivery system when it states that "the increase in crop prices did not increase the workload to sell and service the policy." This statement ignores the fact that since 2011 the crop insurance industry has worked with USDA to implement both the 2014 and 2018 Farm Bills. Both of these pieces of legislation increased the availability of crop insurance products nationwide. New crop insurance products have since been developed along with specialty crop and livestock product expansion. The industry charges that the workload has, in fact, increased to meet the risk management needs of America's farmers and ranchers. *********************************************************************************** Lawmakers Request New USDA Emergency Relief Program A group of lawmakers this week expressed concerns regarding the Department of Agriculture's requirements for the Emergency Relief Program. In a letter to USDA, Republican Senator Roger Marshall of Kansas and Republican Representative Jodey Arrington of Texas led the effort. The lawmakers say USDA's 2022 Emergency Relief Program requirements are misguided and losing sight of the relief program's intent outlined by Congress when it was created. The Biden Administration's USDA made requirements that have nothing to do with helping farmers deal with natural disasters. In fact, by the USDA attaching excessive conditions to receive aid, this federal relief program could force farmers to wait even longer for assistance or completely jeopardize their ability to access the program. The letter states, “American producers have experienced significant losses, and the Administration has taken an approach that does not reflect Congressional intent.” The lawmakers “strongly request the USDA abandon this current program” and implement the framework of 2021 ERP Phase 1 as quickly as possible. *********************************************************************************** Some Crops Tolerate Ozone Pollution Better Differences in the photosynthetic "machinery" of certain crop plants can make them more or less prone to harm caused by ground-level ozone pollution. The research was developed by USDA’s Agricultural Research Service and University of Illinois scientists in Urbana-Champaign. The findings—that so-called "C4" crops like corn and sorghum tolerate increased ozone levels better than "C3" crops, like rice or snap beans—open the door to better models for predicting crop responses to the effects of global climate change, as well as developing more resilient varieties that can sustain humanity’s increasing demand for food, feed, fiber and fuel. While both C3 and C4 crops use the enzyme called rubisco to convert carbon dioxide into sugars, C4 crops isolate rubisco in specialized cells where the concentration of carbon dioxide is very high. This enables higher rates of photosynthesis and greater efficiency of water use. Thus, C4 plants have lower stomatal conductance, resulting in less diffusion of carbon dioxide and ozone into leaves. *********************************************************************************** USDA/EPA Partnership to Improve Access to Modern Wastewater Infrastructure The Department of Agriculture is strengthening its partnership with the Environmental Protection Agency to help people in rural and underserved communities access affordable, modern and safe wastewater infrastructure. The actions further the continued collaborations between both agencies to revitalize the nation’s wastewater infrastructure, improve water quality and protect the health of people living in rural areas, according to USDA. Rural Development Deputy Under Secretary Farah Ahmad says, “Decentralized wastewater systems are an integral component of our nation’s wastewater infrastructure, especially in rural areas where centralized treatment is often too expensive or unavailable,” USDA and EPA officials signed a Memorandum of Understanding outlining an industry-wide initiative to improve the overall performance and management of decentralized systems in rural areas. Across the U.S., decentralized septic or onsite technology can provide communities and homeowners with a safe, affordable wastewater treatment option. The Decentralized Wastewater Management MOU was developed by EPA in 2005 and is updated every three years. *********************************************************************************** USDA Announces Grants to Increase Equitable Access to Healthy Meals for Children The Department of Agriculture and the Food Research and Action Center have teamed up to award five organizations $1.1 million. The grants aim to research barriers to equitable access in the federal child nutrition programs and identify strategies to eliminate them. The efforts to improve food security for school children and children in childcare settings are critical to fueling the health and development of our nation's children, according to USDA. These programs, including USDA's National School Lunch Program, are instrumental in reducing childhood hunger. Many eligible children are either not participating in the programs or do not have programs available to them. The services delivered can vary by community, which could make inequities for historically and currently marginalized communities worse. Grants were awarded to Johns Hopkins University, Trustees of Indiana University, San Antonio Metropolitan Health District, Hunger Solutions Minnesota, and Feeding Kentucky.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday December 6, 2023 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets Day two of DTN's Ag Summit begins at 8:30 a.m. CST Wednesday. Before that, at 7:30 a.m., the U.S. Commerce Department will report on the U.S. trade deficit for October and a report on U.S. productivity in the third quarter will also be issued. The U.S. Energy Department's weekly inventory report will follow at 9:30 a.m., including an update on ethanol production. Weather Dry conditions are likely Wednesday across the center of the country, along with seasonably warm temperatures. The dry conditions won't stick around too long as more precipitation is expected late this week into this weekend for portions of the Plains, Midwest, and Delta.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday December 5, 2023 |


Farmers Freedom Act to Address Government Overreach Senator Mike Rounds (R-SD) and multiple colleagues introduced legislation to address federal overreach and provide regulatory certainty. The Farmers Freedom Act of 2023 would protect the definition of prior converted cropland in the Biden administration’s most recent Waters of the U.S. Rule. “For far too long, producers have been subject to a number of complex and burdensome WOTUS rule changes,” Rounds says. “The previous Navigable Waters Protection Rule worked to protect owners of prior converted cropland from undue regulation while providing producers with needed flexibility.” He also says the legislation seeks to restore this definition of prior converted cropland and prevent further overreach on farmers and ranchers, who know their land better than any D.C. bureaucrats. Kevin Cramer (R-ND), one of the co-sponsors, says landowners need more freedom to use their land as they see fit without excessive and burdensome environmental regulations. “Producers are always the best land caretakers,” Cramer adds. *********************************************************************************** USDA to Conduct the 2023 Census of Aquaculture The USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service will begin mailing the 2023 Census of Aquaculture forms starting December 18. The agency will mail the forms to all producers who indicated in their 2022 Census of Agriculture that they produce and sell aquaculture products. The deadline to respond will be January 15, 2024. An ag census special study, the Census of Aquaculture will provide comprehensive data at the state and national levels, including production volumes and methods, surface water acres and sources, and sales. Federal, state, and local governments, agribusinesses, trade associations, and producers can use this data. “The information that respondents provide will serve as the foundation for many decisions involving the sustainability and growth of the aquaculture sector for years to come,” says NASS Administrator Hubert Hamer. “It’s an opportunity to share your voice with decision-makers.” The agency made survey responses more convenient with their online Respondent Portal at accounts.usda.gov. *********************************************************************************** Taylor to Lead Trade Mission to Korea USDA Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Alexis Taylor will lead an agribusiness trade mission to Seoul (soul), South Korea, March 25-26, 2024. Taylor says the agency is inviting U.S. exporters who wish to participate in this trade mission to submit their applications. “North Asian markets are a source of stability for America’s exports and an opportunity for market share expansion due to its heavy reliance on food imports,” she says. “While South Korea is already one of our top export markets, we see tremendous potential for growth.” While they’re in Seoul, participants will engage in two days of business-to-business meetings with potential importers, processors, and distributors. With a population of about 52 million people and limited arable land, the Republic of Korea relies on imports to satisfy consumer demand for food variety, lower prices, and greater convenience. In 2022, South Korea imported about $41 billion worth of agricultural goods. *********************************************************************************** Farm Loan Performance Strong as Debt Grows Farm debt balances at commercial banks grew steadily in the third quarter, but loan performance remained strong in the Kansas City Fed’s District. Despite some indications of slower lending activity in recent surveys and subdued loan demand for some lenders, outstanding debt at commercial banks, in aggregate, grew at a pace similar to last year. Alongside ongoing strength in farm finances, delinquency rates on agricultural loans dropped for the third consecutive year and remained at historically low levels. Steady loan growth has coincided with a pullback in deposit growth and firmed liquidity at agricultural banks. Profits for agricultural banks have stayed solid with support from higher interest income. The balance of agricultural debt continued to increase alongside a growing demand for production loans. According to commercial bank Call Reports, farm debt was five percent higher than the same time last year and increased at a similar pace for almost two years. *********************************************************************************** Season Two of Farm Stress Real Talk Podcast Available Season two of Penn State University Extension’s podcast called “Farm Stress Real Talk” is now available. The podcast focuses on supporting farmers, farm families, and workers in the commercial agriculture industry who are experiencing stress. During the program, the PSU extension farm stress team conducts informal educational conversations with a diverse range of educators, Penn State faculty members, and agricultural professionals. These interviews are designed to give farmers practical strategies to balance farm responsibilities with their own well-being. Dairy extension educator Ginger Fenton says the podcasts are a convenient resource. “We know farmers are busy, so we thought a podcast with targeted, practical information would be a good way to reach them,” she says. “Farmers can listen to the podcast while doing chores or operating machinery.” Season two episodes will focus on strategies to address stress proactively. The second season of the podcast is available on the Penn State Extension website. *********************************************************************************** Iowa Corn Sponsors First NASCAR Cup Race in the State The Iowa Corn Growers Association is proud to be a partner for the first-ever NASCAR Cup Series race in the state. The “Iowa Corn 350, Powered by Ethanol” will showcase ethanol’s performance at the fastest short track on the planet, which is surrounded by corn fields. “I’m pleased to share why choosing higher ethanol blends benefits everyone,” says Stan Nelson, president of the Iowa Corn Promotion Board. “We can make a sustainable difference today without buying a new vehicle, but by simply choosing instead to fuel up with ethanol at the pump.” He also says ethanol is the most affordable fuel option on the market today. The race will take place at 6 p.m. Central Time on Sunday, June 16, 2024, and be shown live on the USA Network. “This race will give us as farmers a platform to share the benefits of ethanol,” says Jolene Riessen, President of the Iowa Corn Growers.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday December 5, 2023 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets There is an index of U.S. service activity from the Institute of Supply Management due out at 9 a.m. CST Tuesday, but not much else. Traders remain attentive to weather in Brazil. Weather A clipper system will continue to move through the eastern Midwest for Tuesday. A mix of rain and snow is expected and some minor snow accumulation may be possible across Illinois into western Ohio. Well-above normal temperatures will enter the Plains and Midwest by Wednesday, with temperatures approaching 15-20 degrees Fahrenheit above normal in the Northern Plains.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday December 4, 2023 |


USDA Forecasts Lower Ag Exports in FY 2024 America’s agricultural exports in fiscal year 2024 are projected at $169.5 billion, down $2.5 billion from the August forecast. The drop is primarily from reductions in grain and feed as well as livestock, poultry, and dairy exports. Wheat exports are forecast down $800 million to $6 billion on lower unit values and ongoing competition from Russia and the EU. Corn exports are forecast down $500 million to $12.8 billion because of lower unit values as abundant global supplies continue easing prices. Soybean exports are projected $500 million lower to $26 billion on lower exportable supplies. Livestock, poultry, and dairy exports are forecast to drop by $1.3 billion to $36.3 billion due to declines across most products. Beef and pork exports are both projected $300 million lower on tight supplies and lower demand, respectively. Poultry products and dairy will both drop by $200 million due to lower volumes and decreased price competitiveness. *********************************************************************************** Lower Corn Price Pressuring Farmers The University of Illinois Farm Policy News website says the price of corn recently hit a three-year low mark. Supplies from Brazil and the U.S. surged while demand stagnated because of the high prices. Corn has traded around $4.50 a bushel recently after reaching more than $8 a bushel in May 2022. The drop in corn prices was coming after American farmers planted more corn last year in response to the higher prices. The Financial Times says Russia’s invasion of Ukraine sent prices sharply higher last year, as did drought in parts of South America. However, in response to the rising prices, corn demand fell for the first time in ten years, contracting roughly three percent between 2022 and 2023. The extra corn acres in the U.S. didn’t help. A government forecast showed an additional six million acres got planted in the Corn Belt, and yields were higher than anticipated. *********************************************************************************** USDA Provides $208 Million for Emergency Assistance The USDA is providing approximately $208 million in financial assistance for qualifying farm and emergency loan borrowers. To help prevent foreclosures, USDA will cover approximately $80 million in delinquencies for an estimated 210 borrowers whose loans were flagged for liquidation as of November 30. USDA will also provide roughly $128 million for an estimated 1,120 borrowers with outstanding direct Emergency Loans as of November 30. Any distressed borrowers who qualify for this assistance and are currently in bankruptcy will get addressed using the same case-by-case review process announced in October 2022 for complex cases. “We’re working hard every day to keep farmers on their farms,” says Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack. “We continue to work on credit reforms centered around a better approach, and I encourage our lenders and borrowers to capitalize on all available flexibilities.” Borrowers can submit requests in person or by sending a request using portals found on farmers.gov. *********************************************************************************** New Nutritional Campaign Launches on Wheat Consumers want nutrition information, so the Wheat Foods Council launched a social media campaign that educates fitness professionals and trainers about the benefits of wheat foods in healthy diets. U.S. Wheat Associates and the WFC are both farmer-led organizations that promote the value and benefits of U.S. wheat. The new WFC campaign on Facebook and Instagram launched on November 20. It provides evidence-based information on the nutritional and performance advantages of wheat foods. Among those advantages is how wheat foods serve as a reliable and efficient source of energy. The campaign also helps dispel myths about wheat foods and fosters a deeper understanding of the positive impact they have on performance and well-being. “By harnessing the power of social media, the campaign creates a dialogue, encourages knowledge sharing, and inspires a shift in how the fitness industry views wheat foods in a healthy lifestyle,” says WFC President Tim O’Connor. *********************************************************************************** Corn Harvest Quality Report Contains Good News The U.S. Grains Council’s “Corn Harvest Quality Report” shows this year’s crop is the largest on record to have the lowest percentage of broken corn and foreign material in history. The average aggregate quality of the representative samples tested was better than the grade factor requirements for U.S. No. 1 grade. The report also says that 88 percent of the samples met the grade factor requirements for U.S. No. 1 grade, and 96 percent met the grade factor requirements for U.S. No. 2. “The transparency this provides to buyers helps them make informed decisions and takes another step towards developing markets, enabling trade, and improving lives,” says Brent Boydston, USGC Chair. “This crop’s incredible volume allows the U.S. to remain the world’s leading corn exporter, accounting for an estimated 26 percent of global corn exports.” The report is based on 611 yellow corn samples taken from 12 of the top corn states. *********************************************************************************** More Crop Insurance Options in 2024 The USDA is further expanding the opportunities for producers to consider Enterprise Units as risk management options. The Risk Management Agency is expanding Enterprise Unit availability to additional specialty crops and other actual production history crop programs. Together with the six crop types announced in July for Enterprise Unit protection, these crops may benefit from the Enterprise Units that were previously unavailable. Enterprise Units are attractive to producers due to lower premium rates offered to recognize the lower risk associated with the geographic diversification. In general, the larger the Enterprise Unit, the lesser the risk and the greater the unit discount. “This announcement is in response to public feedback of producers needing more options to manage their risk,” says RMA Administrator Marcia Bunger. “It’s critical that while we are examining our resources for areas of improvement we also listen to America’s agricultural producers to hear exactly what they need.”

| Rural Advocate News | Monday December 4, 2023 |


Monday Watch List Markets Back from the weekend, traders will continue to watch over South American weather forecasts. A report of crop production estimates from Stats Canada will be out at 8 a.m. CST, followed by U.S. factory orders for October at 9 a.m. USDA's weekly report of grain export inspections is set for 10 a.m. and there is no Crop Progress report until the 2024 growing season. Weather A couple of little systems are moving through the Northern Plains and Midwest on Monday, producing some limited areas of showers, including a mix with snow in the Northern Plains and Upper Midwest. Accumulations will be negligible. Outside of a couple of chilly spots this morning, temperatures are mild by December standards across most of the country for today.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday December 1, 2023 |


Court Filing on Year-Round E15 in the Midwest Iowa Attorney General Brenna Bird filed a motion for summary judgment regarding the Environmental Protection Agency’s failure to respond to a request to sell year-round E15 in Midwest states. Iowa and six other states filed an opt-out request that would allow them to sell E15. Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor says biofuel leaders have been more than patient. “For over a year past the statutory deadline, they’ve waited for EPA to follow the law and allow them to make E15 available in their states year-round,” she says. “They have been forced to return to court to compel EPA to do something it was required to have done by July 2022.” Skor also says in its continued decision to illegally delay acting on the governors’ request, EPA has cited fuel distribution concerns that are greatly overstated. “It’s a low-carbon fuel that saves consumers money and is better for the environment,” she adds. *********************************************************************************** USDA Releases Farm Sector Income Report USDA’s Economic Research Service released its annual Farm Sector Income Forecast Report for 2023 which shows lower net farm income this year. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says while net farm income will drop below the record high in 2022, it’s one of the best years on record for the overall farm sector at $151.1 billion. “In fact, net cash farm income for 2023 is 15 percent above average for the last two decades, and farm income over the 2021-2023 period represents the highest level of farm income in the last 50 years,” he says. “U.S. ag exports have also seen the three highest years on record in 2021-2023, and 2024 is projected to be the fourth-highest year on record despite potential declines.” A bright spot for farmers is that some production costs, including feed, fertilizer, and pesticides, have declined. Data also shows that off-farm income is needed to make ends meet. *********************************************************************************** Farm Bureau Testifies at FMMO Hearing Farm Bureau Chief Economist Roger Cryan testified on behalf of the group’s membership at the Federal Milk Marketing Order Pricing Formula hearing. His testimony underscored the need for updating Class 1 and Class 2 price differentials to bring fairness for farmers back into the Federal Milk Marketing Orders. Class 1 differentials are meant to incentivize the movement of milk to where it’s demanded and assist in maintaining regional production capacity in a manner that provides consumers with consistent access to fresh milk. The Class 2 differential is meant to represent the higher value of Class 2 milk, which is used in dairy products like ice cream, cottage cheese, and sour cream, while Class 4 milk is used in butter and dairy products. “Our proposal is the reduction or elimination of negative producer price differentials and the de-pooling they cause,” Cryan said in his testimony. “An orderly pool is key for orderly marketing.” *********************************************************************************** Ethanol Production Hits Seven-Week Low The Energy Information Administration says ethanol output dropped to its lowest level in seven weeks, and inventories also fell during the seven days ending on November 24. The biofuel production fell to an average of 1.011 million barrels a day during the week, down from 1.023 million barrels a week earlier and the lowest level since October 6. The agency says Midwest production hit 950,000 barrels per day, down 13,000 barrels a day from the previous week. Rocky Mountain output fell to an average of 13,000 barrels a day from 14,000 a week earlier. That was all the losses as East Coast production was unchanged from the previous week at 13,000 barrels a day. Gulf Coast production rose by 1,000 barrels a day to an average of 25,000 barrels, and West Coast output rose from 9,000 to 10,000 barrels a day during the week. Ethanol stockpiles dropped to 21.37 million barrels. *********************************************************************************** Officials Secure Extension of Line Speed Trial for Pork Processing Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Representative Brad Finstad (R-MN), and House Ag Chair Glenn Thompson (R-PA) applauded the USDA’s decision to extend the line speed trial for pork processors. USDA extended the Time-Limited Trial for New Swine Inspection Systems plants but cautioned that the 30-day extension would do little to provide needed clarity for pork producers, who contract with processors many months in advance. The announcement comes after a letter requested Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack issue an extension to ensure that processing plants can continue operating at increased line speeds. “The New Swine Inspection System trial has proven safe and effective at swiftly processing hogs,” Grassley says. “While I’m happy with the extension, USDA risks creating a harmful bottleneck in the pork supply chain if the extension doesn’t go any longer.” House Ag Chair Thompson says, “It’s my hope the department operates transparently to ensure our facilities can maintain full operational capacity.” *********************************************************************************** Producer-Friendly Changes to USDA Programs The USDA has waived certain notice of loss requirements for the 2023 Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP) and the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP). To streamline the access to critical 2023 natural disaster recovery assistance, the Farm Service Agency is waiving the requirement to submit ELAP or LIP notices of loss within a pre-determined number of days for 2023. Instead, producers have the flexibility to submit 2023 notices of loss as soon as possible once losses are realized following a natural disaster event or no later than the established annual program application for payment deadlines for each program. “Our goal is to get producers into those disaster programs, and they are always encouraged to turn in an application if they believe they are eligible,” says FSA Administrator Zach Ducheneaux. “Program improvements work best if we ensure producers have sufficient time and information needed to submit their applications.”

| Rural Advocate News | Friday December 1, 2023 |


Friday Watch List Markets Manufacturing reports arrive overnight from around the world and the Institute of Supply Management's manufacturing index for the U.S. will be released at 9 a.m. CST. At 2 p.m., USDA's NASS releases its monthly Fats and Oils report and grain traders continue to keep a close eye on weather in South America. Weather A storm system is moving through the Midwest on Friday, bringing widespread areas of moderate to heavy rain. More scattered and lighter rain is developing farther south to the Gulf of Mexico, though it could be heavier near the coast. The system does not have a lot of cold air to work with but may bring some mix of snow on its northern edge from southern Iowa through Lower Michigan through tonight. Meanwhile, the Pacific Northwest will continue to see scattered showers for the next week.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday November 30, 2023 |


Lawmakers Welcome Extension of Line Speed Trial for Pork Processing Facilities A group of Republican lawmakers welcome USADA’s extension for the Time-Limited Trial for New Swine Inspection System. However, they caution that the short 30-day extension would do little to provide needed certainty for pork producers, who contract with processing facilities many months in advance. The announcement comes weeks after Senator Chuck Grassley and Representative Brad Finstad led a bicameral letter requesting USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack issue the extension to ensure participating processing plants can continue operating at increased line speeds. This is the second time USDA has extended the trial at Grassley and Finstad’s urging. Grassley says, “. While I’m pleased that USDA has taken a step in the right direction by extending the program, the agency risks creating a harmful bottleneck in the pork supply chain if it fails to extend the program beyond just three months.” Finstad adds, “I will continue to urge USDA to provide certainty to our pork processors and producers by permanently allowing them to continue functioning at full operational capacity.” *********************************************************************************** USDA Changes Notice of Loss Requirements for Two Livestock Programs The Department of Agriculture has waived certain notice of loss requirements in 2023 for the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-raised Fish and the Livestock Indemnity Program. In an effort to streamline assistance to support access to critical 2023 natural disaster recovery assistance, USDA’s Farm Service Agency is waiving the requirement to submit Emergency Assistance for Livestock or Livestock Indemnity Program notices of loss within a pre-determined number of days for 2023. Instead, producers have the flexibility to submit 2023 notices of loss as soon as possible, once losses are realized, following a natural disaster event or no later than the established annual program application for payment deadlines for each program. FSA Administrator Zach Ducheneaux says, “Our goal is to get producers into these disaster programs, and they are always encouraged to turn in an application if they believe they are eligible.” Contact your local Farm Service Agency office for more information. *********************************************************************************** Report: Pork exports to China surged During ASF Outbreak The 2018 spread of African swine fever to China had reverberations in the global pork market, according to new data from USDA’s Economic Research Service. ASF caused an estimated loss of 27.9 million metric tons in China's pork output from late 2018 to early 2021 and led to a doubling of China's domestic pork prices. The high prices attracted a surge of pork exports from four major suppliers—the European Union, the United States, Brazil, and Canada. While the EU was the top supplier, U.S. pork exports were sizable and reached a record high of more than 287,000 metric tons in the second quarter of 2020. Official data indicate that China's pork production returned to its pre-ASF level in 2021. While exports to China are down from their peak, China is still one of the top three overseas markets for U.S. pork, with sales in the first six months of 2023 exceeding annual totals posted in years before ASF hit China. *********************************************************************************** NCGA Yield Contest Deadline Extended The National Corn Growers association this week extended the National Corn Yield Contest Harvest Entry deadline to December 5. After considering the unique challenges that growers across the country have faced during the 2023 harvest season, NCGA moved the deadline from November 30. Contest participants can submit a harvest entry from now until 4 p.m. CT on Tuesday, December 5, at ncga.com/ncyc. Entry requirements, yield worksheets, and more information are available on that website. Participants must submit their harvest results to be included in the 2023 rankings. The 2023 National Corn Yield Contest Winner's Announcement will still take place on Wednesday, December 13. The NCGA National Corn Yield Contest has been organized to encourage the development of new, sustainable, and innovative management practices resulting in higher yields and to show the importance of using sound agricultural practices in United States corn production. Entrants must be a producer and member of the National Corn Growers Association. *********************************************************************************** Application Period Opens for Regional Agricultural Promotion Program Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Wednesday announced the Notice of Funding Opportunity for the first tranche of funding under the USDA's new Regional Agricultural Promotion Program. USDA is providing up to $300 million in funding in its first year to support eligible projects that enable exporters to break into new markets and increase market share in growth markets. Secretary Vilsack announced the funding at the President's Export Council, after announcing the establishment of the program in October. The effort is a $1.2 billion program made possible through the Commodity Credit Corporation, which will be made available over five years. Vilsack says, "It takes significant investment to open and develop new export markets and this new fund will be dedicated to helping provide that start-up capital." The funds are available to non-profit U.S. agricultural trade organizations, non-profit state regional trade groups, agricultural cooperatives, and state agencies that conduct approved market development activities. Applications are due in February and more information is available at grants.gov. *********************************************************************************** RFA Partners with Girls Auto Clinic for Ethanol Education The Renewable Fuels Association has partnered with the Girls Auto Clinic to bring ethanol education and promotion to a new and growing audience: women who are actively interested in auto purchasing, maintenance, and repair. Founded in 2013, Girls Auto Clinic builds and provides tools to drive knowledge and engagement to women, or "shecanics," to own their automotive experiences. The organization empowers women to be fully engaged and confident in purchasing and managing their vehicles, while also increasing the presence of women successfully and happily employed within the automotive industry. RFA Vice President for Industry Relations Robert White says, “It's important for all consumers to understand the value of American-made ethanol, as it provides critical cost savings for families and benefits for the climate and the air we breathe.” Girls Auto Clinic CEO and founder Patrice Banks adds, “with RFA's backing, we can extend our reach, empowering more women across the country to become confident drivers and smart consumers."

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday November 30, 2023 |


Thursday Watch List Markets USDA's weekly export sales report will be posted at 7:30 a.m. CST Thursday, the same time as weekly U.S. jobless claims, reports on U.S. personal income and spending in October, the personal consumption expenditures index for October and an update of the U.S. Drought Monitor. The Energy Department's report on natural gas storage follows at 10 a.m. Weather A storm system is building in the Southern Plains on Thursday, which will bring scattered showers and thunderstorms during the day. The storm system will spread into the Ohio Valley tonight through Friday. Precipitation amounts could be moderate and there is a small risk for accumulating snow on the northern edge of the system from parts of Kansas to Michigan tonight through early Saturday.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday November 29, 2023 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets A report on third-quarter U.S. GDP will be out at 7:30 a.m. CST Wednesday. The U.S. Energy Department's weekly inventory report will follow at 9:30 a.m. with an update of ethanol production. Traders continue to keep close watch on South American weather. Weather A warm front is bringing some light snow to the Great Lakes on Wednesday, but also much warmer air than Tuesday to much of the country east of the Rockies. Another cold front will drop south out of Canada tonight, though, with slightly cooler air to follow for Thursday across the north.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday November 29, 2023 |


Growth Rate of Ag Output Continues Slowdown In the last decade, the world’s agricultural output grew at an average annual rate of 1.94 percent per year. A USDA report says that’s slower than the 2.74 percent output growth rate over the previous decade and below the average annual rate of 2.3 percent during the last six decades. The slowdown in agricultural growth was primarily tied to a slowing rate of growth in agricultural total factor productivity, or TFP. The world agriculture’s TFP fell to 1.14 percent per year from 2011-2021 compared to 1.93 percent per year during the previous decade. TFP measures the amount of agricultural output produced from the aggregated inputs used in the production process, including land, labor, capital, and material resources. There are four major sources of overall growth, such as bringing more land into production, extending irrigation to land, intensifying capital use, labor, and material inputs per unit of land, and improving TFP. *********************************************************************************** Groups Respond to Small Refinery Exemptions Decision A coalition representing farmers and ethanol producers responded to last week’s decision of the Fifth Circuit Court on Small Refinery Exemptions under the Renewable Fuels Standard. The Court remanded to the Environmental Protection Agency its rejection of six small refinery exemption requests. The coalition that includes the Renewable Fuels Association, Growth Energy, the American Coalition for Ethanol, and the National Farmers Union says they are disappointed by the decision and will continue to defend the Renewable Fuel Standard. “We will continue fighting the illegal abuse of small refinery exemptions,” the groups said in a statement. “As other federal courts have determined, the RFS does not impose an economic burden on oil refiners because any compliance costs are passed down the supply chain.” The groups also say the refiners’ lawsuit wasn’t about economic hardship but more about oil refineries doing everything they could to dodge legal obligations to blend renewable fuels. *********************************************************************************** Grant Applications for Improving School Meals Are Open Applications are now open for the School Food Systems Transformation Challenge Sub-Grants, which is a part of USDA’s Healthy Meals Incentives Initiative. USDA says the grants will transform the K-12 school food marketplace by increasing collaboration between school districts, food producers, suppliers, distributors, and community partners. Students can expect to see improvements in the quality of food on their plates thanks to these new efforts. All eligible applicants are encouraged to consider applying for one or both of the grant opportunities. The first is the Supporting Community Agriculture and Local Education Systems (SCALES) Grant, and the second is Partnerships for Local Agriculture and Nutrition in Schools (PLANTS.) SCALES projects are designed to increase the procurement of locally sourced foods by developing partnerships between schools and producers as well as growers and processors. PLANT projects will support regional efforts to expand scratch-cooked meal programs and create sustainable change for all school districts. *********************************************************************************** Variety Crop Trial Results are Now Available The Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station and the College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Sciences have published the 2023 Minnesota Field Crop Trials. Crops included in this year’s trial include barley, canola, corn grain, oats, soybeans, spring wheat, winter rye, and winter wheat. The University of Minnesota field crop trials are done every year to provide unbiased and trustworthy information to help farmers when they are ready to make seed choices. The annual Field Crop Trials are one of the key ways that the University of Minnesota works to bring valuable research into the hands of farmers and ultimately help improve farm profitability, improve the economy, and the overall quality of life for farmers and rural communities. Since the late 1880s, the U of M has published reports of crop variety trials, but it wasn’t until 1948 that the trials were combined into a single annual publication. Go to varietytrials.umn.edu. *********************************************************************************** Export Inspections Decline for Corn, Beans, and Wheat The USDA says inspections of corn, soybeans, and wheat all turned lower during the week ending on November 23. Corn inspections dropped to almost 406,700 metric tons from just over 601,000 a week earlier. That’s still above the 311,700 tons assessed during the same week in 2022. Soybean assessments for export fell to 1.44 million tons from 1.63 million the previous week. That’s well below the 2.3 million tons examined during the same week last year. Wheat inspections dropped to 276,600 tons, down from 366,400 tons during the previous week. It’s also lower than the amount of wheat assessed for export during the same week in 2022. Since the start of the marketing year on September 1, the government has inspected 7.27 million metric tons of corn, down from 5.82 million last year. Soybean inspections are at 17.5 million tons, while wheat assessments are two million lower than last year. *********************************************************************************** USDA Report Shows Full Impact of ASF in China An Economic Research Service report shows the full impact of African Swine Fever in China, and the impact was likely more than Chinese officials reported. The agency’s report investigated how China’s reduced pork supplies affected other pork-exporting countries. The virus moved from Europe to China and spread rapidly throughout the country, leading to a 30-month cycle of decline and recovery between 2018 and 2021. China lost an estimated 27.9 million metric tons of its pork production during that 30-month cycle. Pork prices in China more than doubled, with most of the increase occurring about a year after the initial outbreaks. A total of 31 countries saw surging pork exports to China during the down cycle. Impacts on pork markets outside of China were relatively modest. Increases in pork prices in leading exporters like the U.S., Germany, and Spain, were relatively brief and much smaller than the price increases in China.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday November 28, 2023 |


USMCA Panel Limits U.S. Dairy Access in Canada Late last week, a U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement dispute panel allowed Canada to continue restricting dairy access that the U.S. negotiated for under the agreement. The action came after an earlier panel ruled in January 2022 that Canada had improperly restricted access to its market for American dairy products. American agriculture leaders and groups reacted negatively to the decision. “It’s profoundly disappointing that the dispute settlement panel chose obstruction rather than facilitation in trade,” says Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation. “We urge USDA and the USTR to look at all available options to ensure that Canada stops playing games with trade agreements.” Krysta Harden, president and CEO of the U.S. Dairy Export Council, says this isn’t the only shortcoming in Canada’s international commitments. “We are committed to working with USTR and USDA to address Canada’s harmful actions that help evade USMCA dairy export disciplines,” she says. *********************************************************************************** More Reaction from USMCA Dairy Decision U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai said two of the three USMCA dispute panel members found that Canada’s dairy import policies don’t breach its commitments under the U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement. “I’m very disappointed by the findings in the USMCA panel report on Canada’s dairy TRQ allocation measures,” Tai says. “While the United States won a previous USMCA dispute on Canada’s dairy TRQ allocations, Canada’s revised policies still haven’t fixed the problem for U.S. dairy farmers.” In the dispute panel’s report, it found that Canada’s measures are not inconsistent with the USMCA provisions cited by the U.S. The panel split on the U.S. claims that Canada’s exclusion of retailers, food service operators, and others from eligibility and its historical market share approach to allocating dairy TRQs breach its obligations. House Ag Committee Ranking Member David Scott (D-GA) says, “It’s critical we enforce USMCA as this decision allows Canada to continue with its protectionist practices.” *********************************************************************************** USDA Making Investments in U.S. Food Chains Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says his agency is making investments to strengthen American food and agriculture supply chains, expand markets for producers, and lower food costs. “We’re using these investments in agricultural producers and rural entrepreneurs to create better economic opportunities that bolster food supply chains across the country and increase competition,” Vilsack says. “This will result in more affordable prices and choices for consumers, as well as more opportunities and revenues for farmers.” USDA is making investments in 185 projects worth nearly $196 million to create new and better market opportunities in states like Arizona, Illinois, New York, 34 other states, and Puerto Rico. Today’s announcement was made as part of the inaugural meeting of the new White House Council on Supply Chain Resilience. The goal is to lower costs for American families and increase investments in American supply chains that are critical to economic and national security. *********************************************************************************** Jury Rules that Egg Producers Conspired to Fix Prices An Illinois jury found that several of the country’s major egg producers conspired to limit America’s supply of eggs in order to raise prices in a case that began in a federal lawsuit 12 years ago. Several large food manufacturing companies in the lawsuit filed in 2011 said producers used various means to limit the U.S. domestic supply of eggs to increase the price of eggs and egg products during the 2000s. “We are incredibly pleased that the jury held egg producers Cal-Maine Foods and Rose Acre Farms accountable alongside United Egg Producers and United States Egg Marketers for conspiring to inflate the price of eggs,” says Brandon Fox, an attorney for the food manufacturers. Damages will be decided during a trial this week. The jury found the egg suppliers exported eggs to reduce the overall supply in the domestic market and limited the number of chickens available for laying eggs. *********************************************************************************** Nominations are Open for USB’s Legacy Award The United Soybean Board announced a call for nominations for the Tom Oswald Legacy Award. In its second year, this award honors the late Tom Oswald, who will always be remembered as a passionate farmer-leader and dedicated volunteer. The award recognizes someone who went above and beyond to move research and promotion investments forward in a conventional way. “Within our soy community, we are fortunate to have leaders who ensure we’re stewarding farmer checkoff dollars to their full potential,” says Meagan Kaiser, USB Chair. “We look forward to getting numerous worthy nominations and eagerly await the opportunity to celebrate an exceptional leader who’s leading the way for a more prosperous and sustainable future for U.S. soy farmers.” If you know an organization, group, or individual that should be recognized for their efforts and passion for the industry, visit the USB website to submit a nomination. Nominations close on January 8, 2024. *********************************************************************************** Farm Bureau Announces Keynote Speaker at 2024 Convention Greg Harden, a best-selling author and former associate athletic director of student counseling at the University of Michigan, will be the keynote speaker at the 2024 Farm Bureau convention. He’ll address attendees during the closing session of the annual convention on Monday, January 22. Harden counseled more than 400 student-athletes, including names like Super Bowl champion Tom Brady, Heisman Trophy winners Desmond Howard and Charles Woodson, and Olympic swimming champion Michael Phelps. “Persistent, patient, and resilient are among the traits that professional athletes share with farmers and ranchers,” says Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall. “That’s why Greg’s message about coaching and mentorship is so timely.” Duvall also says the lineup for the entire convention is outstanding. In addition to guest speakers and exciting competitions, they’ll host important conversations about top priorities for U.S. agriculture, including the farm bill. The 105th AFBF convention is in Salt Lake City, Utah, January 19-24, 2024.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday November 28, 2023 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets There are not many reports Tuesday, but there is a report on U.S. consumer confidence at 9 a.m. CST. Traders continue to closely watch South American weather and could be jumpy after Monday's new lows in corn, wheat and livestock. Weather Cold air moving over the Great Lakes continues to produce lake-effect snow Tuesday, leading to some hefty amounts in some of the more prone areas. The rest of the country will be more quiet. Though it is cold this morning in the Plains, temperatures are forecast to increase significantly this afternoon.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday November 27, 2023 |


Top 5 Things to Watch - Slight Warming and Markets Return to Full Time 1. Ag Summit approaches: We're in full swing on registration for our 2023 DTN Virtual Ag Summit, Dec. 5-6. The two half-day sessions will be packed with quick-to-digest presentations on business-critical topics from changing farmland values to finances, interest rates and global economics. 2. Warming trend: While lake-effect snows will continue around the Great Lakes, The Plains will be turn drier and most of the country will see warmer-than-normal temperatures as El Nino conditions continue to build. For longer-term conditions, don't miss DTN Ag Meteorologist John Baranick's 2024 forecast on Dec. 6 during the DTN Virtual Ag Summit. 3. Volunteers with a view: DTN's Crops Technology Editor Pamela Smith is starting the search for candidates for our annual View From the Cab stories. That highly popular series discusses what's going on in the world of two farm operations, and kicks off just ahead of spring planting. . 4. Watching for awakening markets: As traders come back from the holiday-shortened week, we're watching wheat prices and any surprises from South America. 5. Todd Hultman, will be talking about corn and soybean markets at the Greater Peoria Farm Show through Thursday. Information on that event is here: 5. Economic reports to watch: Monday features a report on new U.S. home sales in October at 9 a.m., followed by USDA's weekly report of grain export inspections at 10 a.m. and Crop Progress at 3 p.m. On Tuesday, we'll watch the U.S. consumer confidence report set for 9 a.m. Then Wednesday sees the report on third-quarter U.S. GDP, out at 7:30 a.m. The U.S. Energy Department's weekly inventory report will be released at 9:30 a.m. Thursday starts with USDA's weekly export sales report, posted at 7:30 a.m., the same time as weekly U.S. jobless claims, reports on U.S. personal income and spending in October, the personal consumption expenditures index for October and an update of the U.S. Drought Monitor. The Energy Department's report on natural gas storage follows at 10 a.m. On Friday, manufacturing reports arrive overnight from around the world and the Institute of Supply Management's index for the U.S. is released at 9 a.m. At 2 p.m., USDA's NASS releases its monthly Fats and Oils report.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday November 27, 2023 |


Monday Watch List Markets Back from the weekend, traders will continue to keep watch over South American weather. A report on new U.S. home sales in October will be out at 9 a.m. CST Monday, followed by USDA's weekly report of grain export inspections at 10 a.m. and Crop Progress at 3 p.m. CFTC data for the week ended Nov. 21 will also be released Monday afternoon. Weather Colder air east of the Rockies is leading to some lake-effect snows around the Great Lakes for Monday. Overnight lows have become especially cold around the snow that fell in the Central and Southern Plains over the holiday weekend. That snow will slowly melt away this week.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday November 24, 2023 |


Most States Saw Growth in Net Farm Income During 2022 The U.S. saw growth of almost 31 percent in net farm income from 2021 through 2022. NFI is a broad measure of farm sector profitability. Researchers with USDA’s Economic Research Service used data from the Farm Income and Wealth Statistics to classify states into six categories of NFI changes. The five agricultural states with the highest NFI include Texas, which had the highest NFI growth at 65 percent from 2021 to 2022, followed by Minnesota at 55.7 percent. Growth in the remaining top five states, including California, Iowa, and Illinois was also strong. Other states among the top 25 for average NFI had a wide range of NFI changes from 2021 to 2022. Many showed strong growth, such as Idaho at 116 percent, Georgia at 104 percent, Florida at just over 100 percent, and North Dakota at 76 percent. However, Kansas and Washington NFI fell 23 and 28 percent, respectively. *********************************************************************************** Study Proves U.S. Corn Superiority The U.S. Grains Council released its second annual Corn Origins Report, which explores the performance of U.S. corn against corn from other countries in poultry diets. U.S., Argentinian, and Brazilian corn samples were collected from an international feed company in Colombia for use in the study. The study found that birds fed diets with U.S. corn consumed less feed throughout the entire grow-out phase compared to those fed Argentinian or Brazilian corn. The lower feed conversion rates in the poultry fed U.S. corn translated into significant long-term cost savings. Depending upon the number of poultry produced, the savings could be very large. The study was done to address customer concerns about the fragility of U.S. corn and the breakage occurring during the export process. “We found that U.S. corn, despite its fragility, outperforms other origins in terms of digestible starch,” says Kurt Schultz, senior director of Global Strategies for USGC. *********************************************************************************** Horizon Organic Suspends Milk from Texas Farm Danone’s (DA-nun’s) Horizon Organic brand says it has suspended all sourcing of milk from Texas supplier Lone Star Organic Dairy. The move comes after People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals released a whistleblower’s report appearing to show animal suffering and deaths at the operation. PETA shared its findings with USDA and asked the agency to investigate Lone Star Organic Dairy and revoke its organic qualification for any violations that it confirms. Agriculture Dive says Horizon Organic is the second big dairy brand to be hit by animal abuse allegations in the last several months. Tyler Holm, general manager of Horizon Organic, says, “We are deeply disturbed to see the videos and photos shared by PETA. The care and welfare of cows are a critical part of our company and brand values. We take these allegations seriously.” Danone didn’t say what percentage of milk that Lone Star Contributes to the Horizon brand. *********************************************************************************** Minneapolis Fed Releases Third Quarter Survey Results Heading into harvest in the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Banks’ District, farmers faced lower incomes because of falling commodity prices and rising production costs. A third-quarter survey of ag bankers showed that while incomes fell, the decline wasn’t uniform. Districtwide, 46 percent of agricultural lenders said incomes dropped in the third quarter from a year earlier, up from 35 percent in the second quarter. More than a third of the bankers said farm household spending increased, while slightly more than half reported no change. Capital spending also dropped as 35 percent of the bankers saw decreased investment in equipment and buildings from a year ago, compared to 21 percent who reported increased spending. “Interest rates are slowing down borrowing and capital purchases as cash flows are under more stress,” a Minnesota banker reported. Farm finances remained in good condition despite the negative hit to income. Loan repayment rate held steady. *********************************************************************************** Deere Fourth-Quarter Sales Drop Slightly Deere & Co. sales in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2023 fell year-over-year, though the earnings per share did increase. The company says in a report that revenue in the three months ending on September 30 was reported at $15.41 billion, one percent lower than the same quarter last year. The equipment manufacturer also says earnings rose to $8.26 a share from $7.44 a year earlier. Production and precision agriculture sales in the fourth quarter fell six percent to $6.97 billion. Small agriculture and turf revenue was down 13 percent year-over-year to $3.09 billion, and construction and forestry sales rose 11 percent to $3.74 billion. “Production and precision agriculture sales decreased in the fourth quarter due to lower shipment volumes partially offset by price realization,” Deere says. Full-year sales for Deere jumped 16 percent to $61.25 billion, while earnings came in at $34.63 a share versus $23.28 a year earlier. *********************************************************************************** NCGA, BASF Announce 16th Annual Scholarship Program The National Corn Growers Association and BASF have partnered for another year to provide scholarships to undergraduate students passionate about agriculture. Over the past sixteen years, more than 80 undergraduate students have received scholarship funds to aid them in pursuing higher education. “BASF has been a long-standing partner in support of this program, and we are grateful for the commitment to building up the next generation of leaders in our industry,” says Dan Nerud, chair of NCGA’s Member and Consumer Engagement Action Team. “Our grower members are passionate about this program, and we are excited for another year of supporting students who share our passion for agriculture.” The William C. Berg Academic Excellence Undergraduate Scholarship is open to NCGA members and their children pursuing an undergraduate degree in any field. A completed application must be submitted by January 31, 2024. Scholarships are for one year, and previous recipients may not apply.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday November 24, 2023 |


Friday Watch List Markets USDA's weekly export sales report will be posted at 7:30 a.m. CST on Black Friday, a day known more for store bargains and football games. U.S. grain and livestock futures commence trading at 8:30 a.m. for a short holiday session that has most grain and livestock contracts closed by 12:05 p.m. South American weather will remain the focus for any traders of corn and soybeans that show up for work. Weather A cold front continues to sag south through the country Friday, bringing in a burst of seasonably cold air. In the cold, snow has developed in the central Rockies and Central Plains, which continues Friday. Some bursts and streaks of heavier snow will be possible going into the weekend in these areas.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday November 22, 2023 |


Groups Express Concern About Disaster Relief Changes The National Corn Growers and 16 state-affiliated associations joined more than 140 allied national, regional, and state commodity organizations opposing changes to USDA disaster relief. The groups sent a letter to Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack relaying their concerns with the design of the Emergency Relief Program for 2022. While the group showed appreciation for the allocation of $3.74 billion in much-needed ERP assistance, the groups expressed serious concerns with changes. The biggest change is a “progressive factor” that reduces the disaster assistance for many eligible growers based on the size of the losses. USDA also changed the method used to incorporate producer-paid insurance premiums. “In the case of the progressive payment factor, we oppose a policy that delivers the least amount of benefit to those who have lost the most outside of the payment limits provided in the statute,” the letter says. “Support should be equitable for losses of all magnitudes.” *********************************************************************************** Cattle on Feed Up Two Percent The USDA’s November 1 Cattle on Feed Report says cattle numbers were two percent higher than the previous report. Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 1.19 million head on November 1, 2023. That inventory total was two percent higher than on November 1, 2022. Placements in feedlots during October totaled 2.16 million head, four percent higher than in 2022. Net placements were 2.11 million head. During October, placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds hit 550,000 head, 600-699 pounds totaled 470,000 head, 700-799 pounds were 465,000 head, and 800-899 pounds were 394,000 head. Cattle weighing 900-999 pounds totaled 205,000 head, and 1,000 pounds and greater were 80,000 head. Fed cattle marketings during October totaled 1.76 million head, three percent lower than in 2022. Other disappearances totaled 55,000 head, two percent higher than last year. *********************************************************************************** Strengthening Agriculture’s Talent Pipeline Agriculture Future of America and the National FFA Organization made their partnership official. The groups signed a Memorandum of Understanding during AFA’s Leaders Conference in November. The MOU cements the bond that existed between the two groups and underscores a shared commitment to developing and empowering the next generation of leaders. “AFA and FFA have similar goals and values regarding the role of school-based agricultural education,” says Scott Stump, CEO of the National FFA Organization. One of the primary objectives of this partnership is to create a seamless pathway for young individuals who are passionate about agriculture to transition from FFA to AFA. By doing so, they’ll get access to a wide array of leadership development opportunities, scholarships, internships, membership programs, and job opportunities. FFA and AFA also intend to collaborate on various projects and initiatives that promote agricultural education and leadership, including the chance to interact with experienced professionals *********************************************************************************** Partnership to Create Jobs and Growth in Rural America USDA Deputy Secretary Xochitl (zo-CHEEL) Torres Small announced that the agency is strengthening a longstanding partnership with the Small Business Administration. The goal is to create jobs and expand access to new and better market opportunities for people in rural America. “We’re redoubling our commitment to drive economic security and prosperity for people in rural America, so they can find opportunities to succeed right in the places they call home,” Torres Small says. “Strengthening our collaboration with the SBA helps us expand these opportunities for people to build brighter futures for generations to come.” The agencies are committing to increase investments in small and underserved communities to help grow the rural economy. They may also work together to provide joint trainings, technical assistance, and mentorship opportunities for rural small business owners and entrepreneurs. They may also help producers and small businesses identify ways to export their products around the world. *********************************************************************************** Dairy FARM Program Announces Excellence Award Winners The National Dairy Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) Program announced the winners of the third annual FARM Excellence Awards. The FARM Program recognized three farms and one evaluator who go above and beyond industry standards through their commitment to innovation and improvement. The 2023 Excellence Award winners are Ingleside Dairy Farm of Virginia and Newmont Farm in Vermont, and Jim Kaufman of AMPI was named the Evaluator Award winner. The FARM Excellence Award for Environmental Stewardship was awarded to a Dairy Farmers of America farm that wished to remain unnamed. “The FARM Program would not be able to demonstrate the high quality of U.S. dairy without the dedication of our producers and evaluators,” says FARM Program Executive Director Emily Stepp. Winners were announced on November 14 at the Joint Annual Meeting of the National Dairy Promotion and Research Board, the National Milk Producers Federation, and the United Dairy Industry Association. *********************************************************************************** Montana Singer to Perform National Anthem at CattleCon24 The winner of the 11th annual NCBA National Anthem Contest is Anna Sponheim of Winfred, Montana. Sponheim will sing the “Star-Spangled Banner” at CattleCon24 in Orlando, Florida, during the Opening General Session. “I’m elated and grateful to win this contest,” says Sponheim. “I may have been chosen, but this is a win for Montana and everyone who supported me. I hope I can do them proud.” Sponheim grew up helping her family grow wheat, barley, hay, and peas, and raise Black Angus Cows near the Upper Missouri River Basin. After graduating from Montana State University with degrees in agricultural communications and writing, she joined the staff at the Montana Beef Council. “I count it a good day when I can talk to people about the beef industry, the nutrients beef provides, and the positive impact producers have on the environment,” Sponheim adds. For more information or to register, go to convention.ncba.org.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday November 22, 2023 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets U.S. weekly jobless claims and durable goods orders for October are set for 7:30 a.m. CST Wednesday. At 9:30 a.m., the U.S. Energy Department's weekly inventory report will be released, followed by natural gas storage at 10 a.m. and USDA's monthly cold storage report at 2 p.m. South American weather continues to get a lot of attention. U.S. grain and livestock futures have normal closes Wednesday, are closed Thursday for Thanksgiving and start again at 8:30 a.m. Friday morning for a short session, in which most contracts close at 12:05 p.m. Weather A system continues to push off the East Coast on Wednesday morning, where some areas of accumulating snow occurred in the Northeast. Another cold front is slipping south through the Canadian Prairies and will press through the Northern Plains and Upper Midwest throughout the day. Behind it, precipitation will develop in the northern Rockies and adjacent areas of the Northern Plains and Pacific Northwest, which will amount to accumulating snow tonight into Thanksgiving Day.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday November 21, 2023 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets Traders will remain focused on South American weather and are straining for forecasts after this week. A report on U.S. existing home sales in October will be out at 9 a.m. CST. Minutes from the latest FOMC meeting are set for 1 p.m. Weather A storm system continues to move through the eastern half of the country Tuesday, bringing widespread moderate-to-heavy showers for the Great Lakes down to the Southeast and points eastward. This is mostly occurring as rain, but there is some wintry mix over Michigan and parts of the Northeast will see a mix as well. Winds are a little breezy with this system, too.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday November 20, 2023 |


Survey Reveals Importance of AM Radio The agricultural industry has been one of the biggest supporters of the “AM for Every Vehicle Act” since its introduction. Radio Ink says the industry has spending power of more than $576 billion spread across millions of workers. MRI-Simmons, the leading study of American consumer attitudes and behaviors, explored the media choices of agricultural workers. Those workers are big audio consumers, with more than half qualifying as heavy listeners. They listen to audio 60 percent more than the internet and 51 percent more than television. At the other end of the media spectrum, close to half of all ag workers fall into the light user category for internet and TV and outnumber the heavy users. Eight in 10 ag workers favor AM/FM and tune into radio, ahead of streaming audio, podcasts, and satellite radio. The heavy audio usage is likely because of the fact that it’s an “everywhere” media with easy access. *********************************************************************************** Credit Conditions Soften with Farm Economy Agricultural credit conditions in the Kansas City Fed’s Tenth District softened during the third quarter of 2023. Farm income and loan repayment rates were lower than a year ago for the second straight quarter. The moderation was more pronounced in areas hit hardest by drought, but more tempered in areas most concentrated in cattle production. Conditions have weakened slightly following two years of significant improvement that continued to support loan performance. Despite softening farm finances and substantially higher interest rates, agricultural real estate values in the region remained firm. The ag economy has softened in recent quarters alongside a moderation in commodity prices. Together with elevated production costs, a drop in the price of many key products during the past year has likely reduced farm income in 2023. Despite softening incomes with high-interest costs, ag loan performance has remained solid with ongoing support from strong finances during the past two years. *********************************************************************************** Irrigators Invited to Respond to Irrigation, Water Management Survey The USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service mailed survey codes to a selected sample of irrigators across 50 states with an invitation to respond to the 2023 Irrigation and Water Management Survey. The survey is a special study with the 2022 Census of Agriculture and provides the only comprehensive dataset of irrigation activities and water use across American farms, ranches, and horticultural operations. Producer input will aid USDA’s efforts to promote efficient irrigation practices and long-term sustainability of water resources across the U.S. The survey will be mailed in phases, with paper questionnaires following in January. Producers only need to respond once, either online or by mail. All responses are due by February 15, 2024. “Water is arguably the most important resource for agriculture and horticulture operations,” says NASS Administrator Hubert Hamer. “This survey is an opportunity to provide data that will influence policy decisions and impact the industry for years.” *********************************************************************************** American Lamb Board Seats Two New Members The USDA appointed five board members to the American Lamb Board who will contribute their expertise to advance the American Lamb industry. The board members begin their three-year terms in January 2024 and conclude in January 2027 and bring a wealth of experience and diverse perspectives to the industry. One new members is Steve Breeding of Seaford, Delaware, a producer with 100 or fewer head. Catherine Harper of Eaton, Colorado, is the other new member and a feeder with less than 5,000 head. “While there are a lot of sheep and lambs grown west of the Mississippi, there is also a lot on the east coast that people don’t always remember,” Breeding says. “I’m looking forward to collaborating with that group and putting the East Coast on the map.” Harper is a 26-year-old from Colorado who runs 3,500 sheep of her own in addition to the feedlot her family runs. *********************************************************************************** Challenge Ahead for Deere Patent Lawsuit Ruling Kinze Manufacturing says while it can’t comment on ongoing litigation, the company did say that a jury in the Southern District of Iowa issued a verdict it doesn’t agree with. The jury found that the True Speed and Sure Speed systems infringe on certain Deere and Company patents. Kinze and Ag Leader say they “strongly disagree” with the verdict and intend to pursue their rights to challenge the verdict. An Iowa jury returned a verdict on October 30 that found Kinze and Ag Leader had infringed on several John Deere patents regarding True Speed/Sure Speed technology. The jury sided with Deere on four claims of patent infringement but found that Deere didn’t prove the infringements were willful. Additionally, the jury found that Kinze and Ag Leader’s countersuit did not prove any of Deere’s asserted claims were invalid. The jury said Deere was entitled to over $14 million in royalty compensation. *********************************************************************************** Survey Discovers Top Thanksgiving Leftovers Pumpkin pie, turkey, gravy, sweet potatoes, and green bean casserole are some of the time-honored foods found at most Thanksgiving tables. But a survey shows those are also some of the top day-after sandwich items. A Harris Poll survey did a deep dive into America’s favorite Thanksgiving leftover sandwich. More than 94 percent of the respondents dine on a Thanksgiving leftover sandwich. Stapes like gravy (42 percent), ham (41 percent), and stuffing (39 percent) trailed turkey (81 percent) as the most popular items that belong on a Thanksgiving leftover sandwich. Pumpkin pie-filled sandwiches were a must-have ingredient in a leftover sandwich for 11 percent of the respondents. Americans also love adding hot dish leftovers into their post-Thanksgiving sandwiches, with Mac and Cheese (21 percent), Green Bean Casserole (14 percent), corn casserole (10 percent), and broccoli casserole (nine percent) reported by survey participants. White bread (20 percent) was the bread winner for sandwiches.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday November 20, 2023 |


Top 5 Things to Watch - Give Thanks During a Shortened Week 1. Short markets week for Thanksgiving: As we gather stories for the week, families will gather across the country to give thanks for the year that was 2023. We hope it has been a positive year for our readers and their families, despite the many challenges the year brought. DTN's holiday coverage schedule will look like this: Wednesday markets open and close as normal, we'll have normal Closing Market Video and Six Factor strategies updates for DTN subscribers. Thursday, U.S. markets are closed, but Canadian markets are open so DTN Canadian Analyst Cliff Jamieson will still have some market updates. On Friday, grain and livestock futures markets open at 8:30 a.m.; we will carry Early Word Grains and Before the Bell grains comments that morning ahead of the opening. Most grain and livestock futures markets will close at 12:30 p.m. We will not have a Closing Markets video that afternoon, and the CFTC will not release updated position data until Nov. 27. 2. Reminder on Ag Summit: There is still plenty of time to sign up for the 2023 DTN Virtual Ag Summit, Dec. 5-6. We'll have sessions on a number of business-critical topics from interest rates, changing farmland values and global economics. 3. Holiday cold snap: Rain systems during the Nov. 18 weekend will bring colder air in for the holiday and the following weekend. DTN Ag Meteorologist John Baranick notes that temperatures may reach even lower than current estimates. He adds the dip will likely hold through the first days of December, but then temperatures should be milder. El Nino usually means a mild December in the U.S., and Baranick says weather models have a very "El Nino look" to them, at least through mid month. That's not good news for winter wheat. 4. Eyes on South America: Traders continue to watch weather and crop conditions in South America, particularly Brazil. Conditions there are expected to be wetter in the south, drier in northern states. Argentina has seen inconsistent rainfall of late but is still in much better shape than 2022. 5. Economic reports to watch: Monday -- The index of U.S. leading indicators will be out at 9 a.m., followed by USDA's weekly report of grain export inspections at 10 a.m. and Crop Progress at 3 p.m. On Tuesday the report on U.S. existing home sales in October will be out at 9 a.m. Minutes from the latest FOMC meeting will be revealed at 1 p.m. On Wednesday, U.S weekly jobless claims and durable goods orders for October come out at 7:30 a.m. At 9:30 a.m., the U.S. Energy Department's weekly inventory report will be released, followed by natural gas storage at 10 a.m. and USDA's monthly cold storage report at 2 p.m. On Thursday, U.S. futures markets are closed for Thanksgiving. On the shortened market day Friday, we'll see USDA weekly export sales posted at 7:30 a.m.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday November 20, 2023 |


Monday Watch List Markets Back from the weekend, traders will continue to keep watch over South American weather. The index of U.S. leading indicators will be out at 9 a.m. CST Monday, followed by USDA's weekly report of grain export inspections at 10 a.m. and Crop Progress at 3 p.m. Weather A storm system moved into the Plains on Sunday and will continue to develop and move east Monday. It will spread showers through much of the middle of the country today, including a risk of severe weather in the Lower Mississippi Valley where rain is most welcome.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday November 17, 2023 |


USDA Announces Release Details for 2022 Census of Ag The USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service will release the 2022 Census of Agriculture data on February 13, 2024. NASS concluded the data collection during the summer with a preliminary national return rate of 61 percent. “On behalf of everyone at USDA, I’d like to thank the millions of producers who gave their time and effort to complete the 2022 Census of Agriculture,” says NASS Administrator Hubert Hamer. “Ag census data will inform decisions about policy, farm and conservation programs, rural development, research, technology development, ag education, and more during the next several years.” He also says the data will have a very real impact on producers, their farming operations, and communities. The ag census data will be available at nass.usda.gov and in the NASS searchable database. Like all NASS data, ag census data will only be available in aggregate form, ensuring that no individual operation or producer can be identified. *********************************************************************************** Consumer Report Highlights Thanksgiving Meal Plans Approximately 79 percent of Americans are gearing up for a Thanksgiving meal next week. Purdue University’s Consumer Food Insights says among that crowd, 37 percent plan to host the meal, 43 percent have chosen to attend, and the rest plan to dine out during the holiday. Turkey prices are 10-15 percent lower than last year. However, people are still bracing for higher prices and planning to budget even more for this year’s meal. The report explores consumer food behaviors for the upcoming holiday across different U.S. regions. While turkey is planned to be the centerpiece nationwide, each region has its own traditions. The South is more likely to serve macaroni and cheese, cornbread, and ham. Meanwhile, pies seem to be a stronger tradition in the Midwest. Many consumers attending or hosting Thanksgiving believe travel costs to get to their preferred destination will be higher this year compared to last year. *********************************************************************************** USDA Says Farm Share of Food Dollar Dipped Further in 2022 America’s farms received 14.9 cents per dollar spent on domestically produced food in 2022 as compensation for farm commodity production. This portion called the farmer’s share is a decrease of 0.3 cents from a revised 15.2 cents in 2021. The farm share covers operating expenses and input costs from non-farm establishments. The remaining portion of the U.S. food dollar is called the marketing share, which covers the costs of getting domestically produced food from farms to points of purchase. That includes the costs of transportation, processing, and selling to consumers. One of the factors behind the long-term downward trend in the farm share is an increasing proportion of food-away-from-home spending. Farms get a lower portion of dollars spent on food away from home because of the added costs of preparing and serving meals. The Economic Research Service uses input-output analysis to calculate the farm and marketing shares of a food dollar. *********************************************************************************** National Sorghum Producers Announce New Executive Director National Sorghum Producers is pleased to announce the hire of Greg Ruehle as its new Executive Director. Ruehle brings a wealth of experience in agriculture and association management to his new role. His leadership comes at a pivotal time as NSP continues to grow and expand its impact on the sorghum industry. He was raised on a diversified grain and livestock farm in northwest Iowa. “We are thrilled to welcome Greg as the new NSP Executive Director,” says NSP CEO Tim Lust. “As our association continues to grow and with the expansion of the Partnerships for the Climate-Smart Commodities grant, we are stepping up expanded leadership in our organization.” He’s a past president and CEO for the Independent Professional Seed Association, the Nebraska Cattlemen, and ServiTech, Inc. “Sorghum’s time has definitely come,” Ruehle says. “From water conservation to reduced GHG emissions, sorghum has an expanding role to play, and I’m excited.” *********************************************************************************** Nominations Open for Animal Agriculture Water Quality Committee The Environmental Protection Agency published a Federal Register Notice on November 16 establishing the Animal Agriculture Water Quality subcommittee. It’s under the umbrella of the Farm, Ranch, and Rural Communities Federal Advisory Committee. Nominations are open for members who want to serve on the AAWQ subcommittee. The primary subcommittee goal will be to develop recommendations that will inform the Agency’s decisions regarding how to improve the implementation of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System’s (NPDES) Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation permitting program. That program is designed to reduce nutrients and other types of water pollutants more effectively from Animal Feeding Operations. EPA says it’s committed to working with stakeholders, advocates, communities, and industry to explore how to achieve water quality improvements related to CAFOs. The EPA is accepting subcommittee nominations until January 2, 2024. The agency welcomes nominations from a diverse range of qualified candidates for appointment to serve on the subcommittee. *********************************************************************************** USDA Scheduling 2024 Trade Missions Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack released the next steps in the Department’s efforts to bolster U.S. ag trade, including the agency’s planned trade missions for 2024. Ag exports totaled a record $196 billion in 2022 following a record-setting year in 2021. USDA plans to build on recent successes and highlight export opportunities in additional markets through a robust agribusiness trade mission schedule next year. USDA will lead trade missions to several markets, including Seoul, Korea; New Delhi, India; Vancouver, Canada; Bogota, Colombia; Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam; and Casablanca, Morocco. In addition, Vilsack announced a public comment period for the new Regional Agricultural Promotion Program. Combined, these efforts will help support further growth in U.S. agricultural exports and introduce high-quality U.S. agricultural products to new markets. “Market diversification is an important tool for maximizing growth opportunities for U.S. agriculture, as well as hedging the risk of market contraction,” Vilsack says.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday November 17, 2023 |


WOTUS Lawsuits Restart in Fed Courts - States, Ag Groups Wage Fight Against Amended WOTUS Rule in Federal Courts LINCOLN, Neb. (DTN) -- A total of 26 states and a group of agriculture interests have renewed the legal fight against the Biden administration's Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule, filing amended complaints in federal courts this week aimed at an amended rule finalized in September. The renewed legal fight is playing out in federal courts in Texas and North Dakota. After the Supreme Court ruled against EPA in Sackett v. EPA earlier this year, President Joe Biden's administration finalized an amended rule on Sept. 8, 2023, that removed the use of the significant-nexus test in making Clean Water Act (CWA)determinations -- without conducting a public comment period. NO PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD PROVIDED The states argue in an amended complaint filed Monday in the U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota, that EPA committed several violations of the Administrative Procedure Act, including not providing a public comment period before releasing the amended final rule. The states are Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming. Two other states, Texas and Idaho, have filed a separate amended complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas. The states also argue the amended rule violates the Clean Water Act and the Constitution, asking the court to vacate the rule and send it back to the EPA. "The amended final rule, that is the final rule as modified by the conforming rule, remains riddled with problems," the states said in the complaint. NO REASONABLE CONNECTION The states said the rule includes waters with "no reasonable connection to navigable waters" and is arbitrary and capricious "because, among many things, it embraces vague standards with little justification and minimal consideration of costs." The initial lawsuit filed in February asked the court to throw out the Biden rule, claiming the EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers "toppled the cooperative federalism regime" by implementing a rule that is "overbroad and hopelessly vague." That initial lawsuit resulted in an injunction against the rule's enforcement in the 24 states. "Meanwhile, if the amended final rule is left in place, then ranchers, farmers, miners, homebuilders and other landowners across the country will struggle to undertake even the simplest of activities on their own property without fear of drawing the ire of the federal government," the states said in the new complaint. "Landowning Americans of all stripes will thus be left with a choice: fight their way through an expensive and lengthy administrative process to obtain complex jurisdictional determinations and permits or face substantial civil and criminal penalties. The amended final rule's ambiguous environmental benefits do not justify any of this." Two state-level agriculture groups in North Dakota, including the Cass County Farm Bureau and North Dakota Farm Bureau, that intervened in the case on behalf of the states also filed an amended complaint this week. "The amended rule failed, however, to address numerous other significant flaws in the 2023 rule," the ag groups said in their complaint. The ag groups pointed to one example of a problem in the amended rule. WOTUS DEFINITION The definition of WOTUS applies the relatively permanent standard to tributaries to traditional navigable waters, the territorial seas, interstate waters or impoundments of WOTUS, intrastate lakes and ponds, streams, or wetlands, and wetlands adjacent to and with a continuous surface connection to relatively permanent impoundments, and wetlands adjacent to tributaries that meet the relatively permanent standard. Texas and Idaho, as well as a group of agriculture interest groups, have filed their amended complaints against EPA in lawsuits that were first filed in January 2023. In an amended complaint filed by Texas and Idaho in the U.S. District Court for the District of Southern Texas in Galveston, the states allege the EPA promulgated the final amended rule without allowing public comment. "They used the Sackett opinion to justify depriving the public and plaintiffs of notice and the opportunity to comment on a rule with nationwide importance," according to the Texas and Idaho complaint. Leading up to the drafting of the Biden rule, ag groups and others asked the administration to hold off on the rulemaking until the Supreme Court ruled on the Sackett case. "The amended 2023 rule maintains the ambiguity of the 2023 rule, leaving those wishing to identify the ambit of federal power over dry land or minor water features at the mercy of an expensive, vague and arbitrary analysis, lest they face a staggering criminal or civil penalty," the states said. OTHER INTEREST GROUPS Also filing an amended complaint in the Texas court was a group of 18 interest groups from the agriculture, oil and housing industries. The American Farm Bureau Federation is joined in the amended lawsuit by the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, National Corn Growers Association, National Pork Producers Council, Matagorda County Farm Bureau, Public Lands Council, Texas Farm Bureau and U.S. Poultry and Egg Association, as well as the American Petroleum Institute. They have asked the Texas court to declare the amended rule unlawful. "The amended rule fails to remedy the vagueness concerns in the 2023 rule, and thus imposes impossible and unpredictable burdens on landowners, users and purchasers," the groups said. "It requires them to assess not only their own land but also vast expanses of land beyond their own holdings, using multiple vaguely defined connections to potentially remote features, in an effort to determine if their land is regulated under the CWA. The consequence is a sweeping and unwieldy regulation that leaves the identification of jurisdictional waters so opaque, uncertain and all-encompassing that plaintiffs and their members and clients cannot determine whether and when the most basic activities undertaken on land will subject them to drastic criminal and civil penalties."

| Rural Advocate News | Friday November 17, 2023 |


Friday Watch List Markets Traders remain highly interested in South American weather. A report on U.S. housing starts for October is due out at 7:30 a.m. CST Friday. USDA's monthly Cattle on Feed report for Nov. 1 is set for 2 p.m. Cattle traders have been anxious ever since the October report showed higher-than-expected placements. A 7% increase in placements from a year ago is anticipated in Friday's report. Weather A cold front continues to race through the central and eastern parts of the country Friday, providing some rain to the Eastern Corn Belt and sending temperatures back to normal briefly. We will see them perk up this weekend ahead of a pattern-changing system that is now off the coast of California.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday November 16, 2023 |


Cost of Thanksgiving Dinner Drops Slightly This year’s Thanksgiving Day dinner won’t be as hard on the checkbook as it was in 2022. However, the meal will still reflect historically high costs. The American Farm Bureau Federation’s 38th annual survey provides a snapshot of the average costs of this year’s holiday feast for 10, which is $61.17 or less than $6.20 per person. This is a 4.5 percent decrease from last year’s record-high of $64.05, but a Thanksgiving meal is still 25 percent higher than in 2019. The centerpiece of a traditional meal is turkey, which helped bring down the overall cost. A 16-pound turkey averages $27.35 or $1.71 per pound, down 5.6 percent from 2022. Cranberries took the sharpest drop as a 12-ounce bag averages $2.10, down 18 percent from last year. The cost for a classic meal was cheapest in the Midwest at $58.66. The Northeast was the most expensive at a cost of $88.43. *********************************************************************************** Groups Applaud House Passing Farm Bill Extension Competitive Markets Action and the Organization for Competitive Markets applauded the House of Representatives for passing H.R. 6363, which included a one-year extension of the current farm bill. “We applaud Speaker Mike Johnson and House leadership for swiftly passing the bill by an overwhelming margin in the chamber closest to the American people,” says Marty Irby, president of Competitive Markets Action. “We are grateful to Ag Committee Chair Glenn ‘G.T.’ Thompson for securing an extension of the farm bill through the Fall of 2024.” They also say the maneuver offers ample time and opportunity to get the job done right. “We also hope House and Senate leaders will produce a new farm bill that brings clarity to the marketplace by preventing the nullification of countless state and local agriculture laws that some legislators are seeking to wipe out,” Irby adds. “We’re hoping to bring significant reform to USDA’s commodity checkoff programs.” *********************************************************************************** USDA Investing in Support for Beginning Farmers and Ranchers USDA’s Deputy Secretary Xochitl (zo-CHEEL) Torres Small announced the agency is investing $27.9 million across 45 organizations that teach and train beginning farmers and ranchers, including veterans. “The next generation of farmers and ranchers hold the promise for the future of American agriculture and rural prosperity,” says Torres Small. “We’re providing our newest producers with the support they need to succeed and the educational resources to guide their operations on the path toward long-term sustainability and profitability.” The investment is part of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program which supports a wide range of professional development activities and topics, such as managing capital, acquiring and managing land, and learning effective business and farming practices. As the average age of U.S. producers continues increasing, Torres Small says the agency is accelerating efforts to provide meaningful support to a large number of upcoming farmers and ranchers. *********************************************************************************** CoBank: Grain Storage Outlook Improves The profit outlook for U.S. grain elevators storing corn and soybeans has improved significantly for the 2023-2024 marketing year with buy basis falling and carries returning to the futures markets. The world market is currently awash in grains, and CoBank says global supplies of corn and soybeans are abundant. The current challenge for grain elevators is simply getting ownership of bushels. Farmers have been reluctant to sell as corn and soybean prices are down sharply from their peaks early in the year. A new report from CoBank says the challenge of getting bushels should begin slowing in early 2024. The rising cost environment will likely compel farmers to begin selling in January, February, and March 2024 to generate cash ahead of next spring’s planting and operating expenses. “Higher land rents and borrowing costs combined with rising input prices will likely compel farmers to sell in 2024,” says Tanner Ehmke of CoBank. *********************************************************************************** Dairy’s Long-Term Outlook is Bright The future of America’s dairy farming is bright as global growth and American production capacity and innovation combine to create a “powerhouse.” Gregg Doud is the incoming president and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation. “In terms of the protein world, dairy is a huge part of the future,” Doud says. “As a former Chief Agricultural Negotiator for the U.S. Trade Representative, I can tell you the opportunities are there for U.S. dairy’s taking with robust outreach and appeals to the world’s consumers.” Doud made his remarks during the NMPF’s annual meeting in Florida. During the past year, America’s dairy producers faced operating margins at their lowest since the federal dairy safety net was adopted in its current structure in 2014 as prices plummeted from record highs. Forecasts during a panel discussion showed an improving price outlook for next year, even as inflation continues to be a challenge for consumers. *********************************************************************************** Dolcini Joins American Farmland Trust Board of Directors Val Dolcini (Dole-CHEE-nee) was unanimously elected to the American Farmland Trust Board of Directors by the AFT members. Dolcini is the U.S. Head of Sustainability and Government Affairs for Syngenta and will support the members’ efforts to promote sound farming practices while protecting and keeping farmers on the land. “We are thrilled to have Val join AFT to help us grow to new heights in the future,” says AFT President and CEO John Piotti (Pee-AHT-tee). “Val’s diverse and extensive experience in agriculture and passion for our work will be an invaluable asset for AFT in the years to come.” Dolcini’s work spans over 25 years of agricultural policy and management experience in the state, federal, and nonprofit sectors. “Farming and agriculture have been my focus and passion throughout my entire career,” says Dolcini. “I specifically want to focus my time on the board to expand opportunities for new and beginning farmers.”

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday November 16, 2023 |


Thursday Watch List Markets USDA's weekly export sales report is due out at 7:30 a.m. CST Thursday, the same time as U.S. weekly jobless claims and an update of the U.S. Drought Monitor. U.S. industrial production is set for 8:15 a.m., followed by the Energy Department's updated report on natural gas storage at 9:30 a.m. The International Grains Council issues its monthly report Thursday and, at 2 p.m., USDA will provide its Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook. Weather A little system developed along a front near the Canadian border Wednesday night and will push that front quickly through the northern half of the Plains and Upper Midwest on Thursday. The front will not have much precipitation with it but will cause breezy winds and a drop in temperatures. The front will get more active east of the Mississippi River for Friday.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday November 15, 2023 |


NFU Releases Farmer’s Share of Thanksgiving Food Dollar The National Farmers Union released its Farmers’ Share of the Food Dollar Report for items typically served during the Thanksgiving holiday. These figures reflect how much family farmers earn compared to the amount consumers pay at the grocery store. Consumers are likely to see an increase when they shop for the holiday meal, but little of that increase will get passed on to American farmers and ranchers. An 11-pound turkey retails for $21.89, with the farmer’s share at 66 cents. A 12-ounce box of stuffing is $3.99, and the farmer gets nine cents. Sixteen-ounce frozen sweet corn costs $2.99, and the farmer gets 41 cents. Pumpkin pie filling is $1.79 a can, and farmers get 16 cents. A five-pound bag of mashed potatoes costs $3.99, and farmers get 64 cents. A two-pound boneless ham is $12.98, with the farmer receiving $1.32. Twelve-ounce cranberries are $2.99, and the farmer’s share is 29 cents. *********************************************************************************** Stabenow Calls for More Farm Bill Urgency Debbie Stabenow, Senate Ag Committee Chair, is looking for more urgency from farm groups about getting a new farm bill in place. The Fence Post says Stabenow recalled farm bill negotiations dragging on during 2013 and says there was a “sense of urgency” in the agricultural community about getting it done. However, the Michigan Senator says she doesn’t get that same sense of urgency now. While an extension is considered important, she says it’s absolutely vital that Congress get a new farm bill written and passed in 2024. “I want to hear more of a sense of urgency from ag groups,” Stabenow told a group of reporters after a hearing. John Boozman (BOZE-man), ranking member from Arkansas, says he believes farm groups are “expressing urgency.” However, farm leaders know times are so different from 2018 and that “we don’t just need to do something, we need to do the right thing.” *********************************************************************************** November Oil Crops Outlook Increases Soybean Production, Stocks This month, USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service raised the 2023-2024 national average soybean yield to 49.9 bushels an acre in its Crop Production Report. That’s up from 49.6 bushels an acre in the previous report. This revision has increased the 2023-2024 soybean production forecast by 25 million bushels to 4.13 billion bushels. Higher yields in Wisconsin, Tennessee, Ohio, North Dakota, and South Dakota have contributed to the higher yield forecast. With soybean crush and exports unchanged this month, soybean ending stocks for the 2023-2024 marketing year are now forecast at 245 million bushels. The season-average soybean price forecast is unchanged this month at $12.90 a bushel. With the U.S. soybean supply forecast for 2023-2024 at 4.43 billion bushels, 25 million higher than last month’s forecast with unchanged demand, soybean ending stocks were raised to 245 million bushels. U.S. soybean oil production for the 2022-2023 marketing year is finalized at 26.2 billion pounds. *********************************************************************************** CHS Foundations Awards $4.3 Million to National FFA Foundation The CHS Foundation announced grants of $4.3 million to the National FFA Organization, continuing a partnership to support the next generation of agricultural leaders. “We are thrilled to continue this partnership with CHS,” says Molly Ball, president of the National FFA Foundation. “Throughout our partnership, CHS has been unwavering in its support and continues to see the potential leaders in each of our members and advisors.” The grants will help fund FFA programs in 17 states, provide scholarships for attending conferences and contests, and introduce students from all backgrounds to ag careers through the workforce development program. It will also support the National Association of Ag Educators in attracting ag teachers and building strong teaching programs. “CHS and its foundation are proud to make the largest gift in the foundation’s 75-year history to the National FFA,” says Megan Wolle, president of the CHS Foundation. “We’re connecting to the next generation of leaders.” *********************************************************************************** Paraguay Beef Imports Won’t Boost Tight U.S. Supplies USDA’s decision to accept beef imports from Paraguay for the first time in 25 years will likely not change the overall volume of U.S. imports, even during tight supplies and high prices. U.S. meat importers tell Reuters that’s due to a quota on shipments. American beef prices set records this year because of herd contraction to its smallest level in decades. As a result, meat companies are relying on more imports to process enough ground beef to meet demand. Paraguay didn’t negotiate with the U.S. to sell beef under its own quota agreement. That means it has to compete with other countries in the same situation to fill a group tariff-rate quota. The quota for these countries, including Brazil, Ireland, Japan, and Namibia, is approximately 650,000 metric tons. Suppliers already filled that quota earlier this year. Suppliers face a steep 26 percent tax on the value of products shipped above the quota. *********************************************************************************** Beyond Meat Struggling to Stay Afloat An industry analyst says Beyond Meat may need to reach into the financial markets next year to stay in business. Ag Funder News says the firm posted a $70.5 million net loss in the third quarter. Net revenues slid again at the plant-based meat company in Q3, dropping eight percent year-over-year and 26 percent versus the prior quarter. Beyond Meat did see positive free cash flow in the third quarter, but the company doesn’t expect to sustain it. Industry analysts are saying that the firm is now in “survival mode” and will need to tap the financial markets in 2024 to stay afloat. CEO Ethan Brown says the company anticipated a modest return to growth in the third quarter that did not occur. “We did see pockets of growth, especially in the EU, where we saw double-digit gains in net revenues,” Brown says. “But we are still disappointed with the overall results.”

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday November 15, 2023 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets At 7:30 a.m. CST Wednesday, the U.S. producer price index and retail sales reports for October will be released. At 9:30 a.m., the U.S. Energy Department's weekly inventory report will be out with updated data after last week's absence, due to system upgrades. The National Oilseeds Processors Association will have an estimate of members' soybean crush later Wednesday morning. At 2 p.m., USDA will have new cost of production forecasts for 2023. U.S. President Joe Biden and China's President Xi Jinping are set to meet in San Francisco Wednesday and traders will be keenly watching any trade-related comments. Weather A disturbance in the Gulf of Mexico will continue to produce areas of showers in eastern sections on Wednesday. A cold front is also setting up along the Canadian border from Montana to North Dakota that will produce a band of showers there Wednesday night, mostly in the form of snow. Otherwise, the majority of the country will be dry and warm by mid-November standards.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday November 14, 2023 |


Ag Committee Leaders Agree on One-Year Farm Bill Extension Leaders of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees came to an agreement on extending the lifespan of the 2018 Farm Bill by one year. The agreement came with the release of a House Republican proposal funding USDA operations through January 19. A 32-page continuing resolution contained 17 pages on farm bill extension and provided some funding for small-ticket programs that had run out, such as feral swine eradication. Dairy subsidies would be extended through December 31, 2024, to avert a looming dairy cliff on January 1. Leaders from both ag committees say the extension “in no way” substitutes in place of a five-year farm bill. Speaker of the House Mike Johnson revealed a two-part funding package that would provide money for some federal operations, including USDA, for two months and through February 2 for the rest of government. The extension depends on House, Senate, and White House agreement on the CR. *********************************************************************************** FAO Predicts Decline International Foodstuffs Trade The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization predicts a declining international trade in foodstuffs for multiple reasons. While the organization’s latest forecasts point to favorable production outlooks for most basic foodstuffs, global food production systems remain vulnerable to several risks. Those challenges include extreme weather events, rising geopolitical tensions, and policy changes that could potentially tip the delicate supply-demand balances and dampen prospects for international trade in food commodities and global food security. The global food import bill is forecast to reach a new high of $2 trillion in 2023. High-income and upper-middle-class countries are expected to lead the increase. Other challenges include the cost of shipping those foodstuffs. Dry bulk freight costs across the grains and oilseeds routes mostly edged higher during the six months leading up to October 2023 but remained well below last year’s levels. However, robust demand has led to a recent rebound in freight rates. *********************************************************************************** Hearing on Carbon-Capture Pipeline Ends in Iowa Summit Carbon Solutions presented a request to Iowa regulators to build a $5.5 billion carbon capture pipeline. Local reports say Iowa regulators recently concluded a hearing on the subject. However, deciding whether the company should get a construction permit and eminent domain powers to get land for the pipeline could take many months. The Sierra Club’s Iowa Chapter opposes the project. Sierra’s attorney says regulators likely won’t issue a decision until March or April. That allows enough time needed to file legal documents and responses. Summit’s pipeline would also run through South Dakota and into Minnesota and Nebraska. The company says the pipeline is critical to helping ethanol remain marketable as the nation seeks to lower its greenhouse gas emissions. Iowa residents are concerned about safety and property rights. Summit says it has agreements in place with 75 percent of the affected landowners, and the project will exceed federal safety standards. *********************************************************************************** FFA, 4-H Members Admitted Free to NCBA Trade Show The next generation of agricultural leaders are invited to attend the NCBA Trade Show at CattleCon24 for free on Friday, February 2. FFA and 4-H members can get that free admission on Next Gen Ag FFA & 4-H Day, which will include a variety of events and activities for youth and families. Courtesy of Culver’s, the first 250 FFA members to register will receive complimentary Friday NCBA trade show admission. Nationwide is providing complimentary Friday NCBA Trade Show admission to the first 250 4-H members who register. Trade Show attendees can explore more than eight acres of displays and exhibitors offering the latest advancements in equipment, technology, and feed supplements. To get the free Friday NCBA Trade Show registration, FFA members must use the code FFACULVERS, and 4-H members, 4HNW. A variety of other registration options are available. For more information and to register and reserve housing, go to convention.ncba.org. *********************************************************************************** U.S. Reducing Beef Exports as Herd Shrinks The nation’s ranchers slashed the U.S. cattle herd to its lowest level in decades. As a result, the U.S. is importing record amounts of beef this year and exporting much less. The steep drop in cattle numbers has led to significantly higher beef prices. Reuters says those high prices make companies look to import cheaper beef and discourage American beef purchases by buyers like China, Japan, and Egypt. The USDA expects the U.S. to drop to fourth in the rankings for the largest beef and veal exporters, down from number two last year. America’s beef exports are projected to sink 14 percent from 2022 to three billion pounds, the lowest level since COVID slowed meat processing and international trading in 2020. USDA expects American beef production to decline further in 2024 due to tight cattle supplies, and beef exports are forecast to hit an eight-year low of 2.8 billion pounds. *********************************************************************************** Ag Export Values Dropped in FY 2023 Agricultural export values in fiscal year 2023 that ran through September 30 declined while imports narrowly increased. Agricultural product values from October 2022 through the end of September were reported to be $178.7 billion, down from $196.1 billion a year earlier. A USDA report last week said import values rose 0.6 percent to $195.4 billion. Corn exports were the second-biggest decliner behind only vegetable oils with the value falling 32 percent to $13.1 billion. Cotton fell 28 percent, wheat values were down 21 percent, and soybeans dropped two percent year-over-year. The agency says the volume of corn exports dropped 32 percent, wheat shipments slipped 14 percent, and soybeans declined seven percent. Mexico was the biggest buyer of U.S. corn by volume during the fiscal year, purchasing 16.5 million metric tons of the grain, a narrow drop compared to the previous year. China bought the most beans, and Mexico the most wheat.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday November 14, 2023 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets Grain traders remain fixated on South American weather and the latest export sales news. The U.S. Labor Department's consumer price index for October will be out at 7:30 a.m. CST Tuesday, the only significant report of the day. Traders may become a little jumpy later this week, if no agreement is reached to avoid a government shutdown by the November 17 deadline. Weather A disturbance in the Gulf of Mexico will continue to produce showers near the coast for Tuesday. Elsewhere will be rather dry and warm in most areas.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday November 13, 2023 |


September Pork Exports Steady, Beef Lower September U.S. pork exports were slightly lower than a year ago but maintained a robust pace. USDA data compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation shows pork exports reached 221,140 metric tons, one percent less than last year, while export value dropped four percent to $643.7 million. For the first three quarters of this year, pork exports rose nine percent year-over-year to 2.13 million metric tons and climbed seven percent in value to almost $6 billion. “Pork exports achieving another $200 million month in Mexico is fantastic,” says USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom. Beef exports continued struggling compared to 2022 but showed increasing strength in Western Hemisphere markets. Beef exports totaled 98,757 metric tons, 15 percent below last year and the lowest total of 2023. Value fell 12 percent to $797.5 million. Exports were lower across the board in Asia but picked up momentum in Mexico, Canada, and other locations. *********************************************************************************** Farmers Union Supports Increased Poultry Transparency National Farmers Union President Rob Larew supports the finalized “Transparency in Poultry Grower Contracting and Tournaments” rule from the USDA under the Packers and Stockyards Act. He says monopolies in agriculture have put the squeeze on farmers and consumers for far too long. “Poultry growers face an especially unfair contracting system that’s opaque and secretive,” Larew says. “This finalized rule issued last week will require poultry companies to be more honest in their dealings with growers.” He also calls this good news for family farmers and will bring strong rules to promote sorely needed transparency for livestock producers. The final poultry rule released last week is the first of several updates USDA wants to make to the Packers and Stockyards Act. USDA also announced efforts to increase competition and innovation in seeds, improvements to USDA meat procurement requirements, and the establishment of a new Chief Competition Officer position at USDA. *********************************************************************************** Injecting Carbon Into National Forests and Grasslands The U.S. Forest Service proposed a change in regulations that would allow it to consider requests to inject carbon dioxide beneath the 193 million acres of national forests and grasslands. Currently, the Forest Service is barred from authorizing “exclusive and perpetual use and occupancy” of its land by outsiders, a prohibition that would apply to carbon storage because the gas would remain underground for hundreds of years. The proposed regulation would create an exemption for carbon capture and storage projects. If approved, the USDA agency could “authorize proposed carbon capture and storage on National Forest Service system lands where and if it’s deemed appropriate.” Public comments on the carbon injection idea will be accepted until January 2. The Forest Service says the proposed rule would harmonize carbon storage regulations with the Bureau of Land Management, the other major federal land manager. The BLM issued its carbon storage policy in July 2022. *********************************************************************************** NCBA Opposes Beef Imports from Paraguay The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association opposes the USDA’s decision to allow Paraguayan beef imports starting next month. NCBA has repeatedly raised concerns with USDA over Paraguay’s history of foot-and-mouth disease and the outdated information used to justify Paraguay’s access to the U.S. market. NCBA is concerned that USDA’s failure to use information from recent site visits in the risk assessment may pose a risk to the safety of the U.S. cattle herd. “USDA based their decision on a deeply flawed risk assessment that uses old data from site visits that were conducted more than nine years ago,” says NCBA Executive Director of Government Affairs Kent Bacus. “Paraguay has a history of FMD outbreaks, and it’s unclear if their inspection system can provide an equivalent level of safety for animal health to prevent possible FMD on U.S. soil.” He also says diplomacy shouldn’t be done on the backs of U.S. cattle producers. *********************************************************************************** Genetically Modified Seed Prices Rising Faster Than Non-GM Prices paid for crop seed increased significantly faster than the prices farmers received for crop commodities between 1990 and 2020. During that period, the average prices farmers paid for all seed rose by 270 percent, while the crop commodity price index rose 56 percent. For crops planted predominantly with genetically modified (GM) seed, like corn soybeans, and cotton, those seed prices rose by an average of 463 percent between 1990 and 2020. During this period, GM seed prices peaked in 2014 at 639 percent above 1990 levels. Despite their higher cost, GM crop varieties have provided significant productivity gains for farmers, partly through higher yield, but also by lowering farm production costs. For example, GM traits for insect resistance reduce the need for pesticide applications. Similarly, GM traits for herbicide tolerance provide a substitute for mechanical tillage, thus reducing the cost of labor, machinery, and fuel previously used in controlling weeds. *********************************************************************************** Corn, Soybean Export Sales Rise USDA data shows that export sales of corn, soybeans, and wheat were all higher for the week ending on November 2. Corn sales to overseas buyers totaled 1.02 million metric tons. That’s 36 percent higher than the previous week and four percent higher than the prior four-week average. Mexico was the biggest buyer at 384,800 metric tons. Corn exports for the week totaled almost 825,000 tons, the highest in the marketing year so far. Soybean sales rose seven percent above the prior week to 1.08 million metric tons but was still eight percent lower than the four-week average. China was the top buyer at 692,400 metric tons. Soybean exports reached 2.24 million tons; 12 percent higher than the previous week. Wheat sales through November 2 totaled 354,300 tons, 29 percent above the prior week but still 26 percent below the four-week average. Wheat exports rose 34 percent to 134,300 tons.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday November 13, 2023 |


Top 5 Things to Watch - Ag Summit Registration, Low River Levels and Active Markets 1. Ag Summit launch: Watch DTN pages and the November Progressive Farmer magazine for announcements on the 2023 DTN Virtual Ag Summit, December 5-6. We'll have sessions on a number of business-critical topics from changing farmland values to finances, interest rates and global economics. To register for the Summit, go here: 2. Southern rains won't fix low rivers. Warm weather may break some records this week, then cooler weather should bring scattered rains. But they're unlikely to significantly change low river levels in the Mississippi value, which we'll continue to track. 3. Markets swing on record estimate: Grain markets had mostly been watching South America crop conditions until the November WASDE report hit, with USDA's expectation of a new US average corn yield record of 174.9 bushels per acre, besting the 2016 number. We'll be watching what catches the trade's attention throughout the week. 4. Dicamba ruling imminent: We reported on Friday that lawyers expect a new EPA ruling on dicamba use. Center for Biological Diversity, National Family Farm Coalition, Pesticide Action Network and the Center for Food Safety filed the lawsuit over dicamba's drift potential in December 2020. Sources tell DTN the goal has been to have new dicamba rules ahead of the 2024 season. 5. Economic reports to watch: On Monday the USDA weekly report of grain export inspections is set for 10 a.m., followed by a release of the federal budget for October at 1 p.m. and USDA's Crop Progress report at 3 p.m. Tuesday features the U.S. Labor Department's consumer price index for October at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday sees the U.S. producer price index and retail sales reports for October at 7:30 a.m. At 9:30 a.m. the U.S. Energy Department's weekly inventory report will be out with updated data after last week's absence due to system upgrades. The National Oilseeds Processors Association will have an estimate of members' soybean crush later Wednesday morning, and at 2 p.m., USDA will have new cost of production forecasts for 2023. Thursday starts with USDA's weekly export sales report at 7:30 a.m., the same time as U.S. weekly jobless claims and an update of the U.S. Drought Monitor. U.S. industrial production is set for 8:15 a.m., followed by the Energy Department's report on natural gas storage at 9:30 a.m. At 2 p.m., USDA will have its Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook. Friday we'll watch U.S. housing starts report for October, due at 7:30 a.m. and USDA's monthly cattle on-feed report for November 1, set for 2 p.m.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday November 13, 2023 |


Monday Watch List Markets Back from the weekend, traders will continue to keep watch over South American weather forecasts. USDA's weekly report of grain export inspections is set for 10 a.m. CST, followed by Crop Progress at 3 p.m. The U.S. Treasury releases the federal budget for October at 1 p.m. Weather A disturbance in the Gulf of Mexico will be bringing areas of showers near the coast on Monday. It will be drier elsewhere, but temperatures are largely above normal. Some breezy winds may occur in parts of the Plains, but nothing overly hazardous is expected.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday November 10, 2023 |


Cattle Group Commends New Competition Initiative The USDA released a package of rules and orders seeking to increase competition in the livestock industry. That package establishes a Chief Competition Officer at USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service. This position will be hired as a career rather than a political appointment. The officer will help elevate and institutionalize competition-related concerns at USDA. “Today’s announcement is another item crossed off a to-do list the administration is following to ensure a fairer, more competitive marketplace for U.S. cattle producers,” says U.S. Cattlemen’s Association President Justin Tupper. The package also updates AMS Institutional Meat Purchase Specifications that large volume buyers like federal, state, and local government agencies, schools, restaurants, hotels, and other food service users follow when buying meat products. Currently, meat and meat products do have to be of domestic origin, but the updated standards will specify that to mean only animals that are born, raised, and slaughtered in the U.S. *********************************************************************************** November WASDE Finds Higher Corn and Soybean Production The USDA’s November World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates show increased corn and soybean production compared to the previous report. The corn outlook is for larger production, domestic use, exports, and ending stocks. Corn production is up 170 million bushels from last month on a 1.9-bushel increase in yield to 174.9 bushels an acre. Corn ending stocks are up 45 million bushels to 2.2 million. The season-average corn price is down 10 cents to $4.85 a bushel. The soybean outlook shows increased production and ending stocks. Soybean production is forecast at 4.13 billion bushels, a 25 million increase on higher yields. Ending stocks rose to 245 million bushels. The season-average soybean price is unchanged at $12.90 per bushel. The wheat outlook calls for larger supplies and decreased domestic use. Ending stocks are projected to rise by 14 million bushels to 684 million. The season-average farm price dropped a dime to $7.20. *********************************************************************************** Commerce Decision on Imports Saves Farmers a Lot of Money The U.S. Commerce Department recently lowered the duties placed on phosphate fertilizers imported from Morocco. The National Corn Growers Association says this move gives true savings to farmers and access to critical inputs that have been scarce during the last couple of years. Commerce lowered the rates from 19.97 percent to 2.12 percent. “Farmers were already facing rate hikes on inputs, and the duties were making the situation worse,” says NCGA President Harold Wolle. “This gives us more hope.” Assuming Commerce finalizes those duty rates and imports resume, farmers could see a reduction in added costs of $7 per acre on imported fertilizer from Morocco. NCGA’s analysis says many factors and dynamics contribute to changes in fertilizer markets and prices, but the imposed duty rates undoubtedly had an impact on the prices paid by farmers. “Our advocacy campaign to lower the duty rates wouldn’t have succeeded without our members,” Wolle says. *********************************************************************************** Initiative to Enhance Specialty Crop Industry’s Competitiveness USDA Deputy Secretary Xochitl (zo-CHEEL) Torres Small announced the agency is starting a new effort to support producers in the U.S. Specialty Crops sector and increase its competitiveness. “We all count on America’s specialty crops for reliable access to nutritious, fresh foods,” Torres Small says. “As part of the new effort, USDA has compiled useful information on its programs and services that support the specialty crops industry into a Specialty Crops Resource Directory.” The directory will be a one-stop shop for the sector and contains a comprehensive snapshot of USDA’s resources and services for specialty crop producers and businesses in one convenient location. Also, USDA leadership will directly engage with the specialty crop industry and its producers during the next several months to get feedback on how the Department can better address gaps in services and meet the industry’s needs. A new webpage on the initiative is available at usda.gov. *********************************************************************************** USB Invests in Infrastructure to Give Growers an Edge The United Soybean Board invests in many infrastructure projects that will help increase profits for soybean growers and the industry itself, which is undergoing significant changes. Through the soy checkoff, USB pursued feasibility studies leading to the dredging of the Mississippi River in Louisiana, a terminal expansion in Washington, and a reduced freight toll agreement on the St. Lawrence Seaway. “The goal of these investments is to give U.S. soybean growers a competitive edge in the global market,” says Belinda Burrier of the USB Board of Directors. “This helps us be more reliable in moving soybeans from our farm to the global customer.” While the checkoff isn’t allowed to invest directly in these projects, it does enable them by investing in feasibility and engineering studies. “It’s a win-win as we make $12.34 on every dollar invested,” Burrier adds. “I don’t know of too many investments with that kind of return.” *********************************************************************************** CHS Yearly Revenues Down Five Percent, Net Income Up 13 Percent CHS Inc., one of the nation’s largest agribusinesses, reported a net income of $1.9 billion for the fiscal year ending on August 31 compared to $1.7 billion for fiscal year 2022. Key drivers included consolidated revenues of $45.6 billion for fiscal year 2023 compared to $47.8 billion for fiscal year 2022. In the company’s ag segment, robust meal and oil demand contributed to higher earnings in the company’s soybean and canola processing business. “The support of our member cooperatives and farmer-owners, dedication of our employees, exceptional operational performance, and favorable market conditions enabled us to achieve the strongest earnings in our history during fiscal year 2023,” says Jay Debertin, president and CEO of CHS Inc. As a result of those earnings, CHS intends to return $730 million in cash patronage and equity redemptions to its member cooperatives and farmer-owners in fiscal year 2024, demonstrating its “commitment to share profits” with producers.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday November 10, 2023 |


Friday Watch List Markets Veterans Day will be observed Friday. U.S. government offices are closed, but markets and banks are open. University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index for early November will be released at 9 a.m. CFTC data will not be released until Monday afternoon. Traders remain interested in South American weather and will watch for further export business. The deadline for a possible government shutdown is November 17, one week away. Weather Showers continue to develop near a front from Texas to the Mid-Atlantic and points southward. Cooler temperatures continue to move in behind the front for areas farther north.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday November 9, 2023 |


USDA Predicts Record Corn Production OMAHA (DTN) -- USDA increased U.S. 2023-24 corn production by 170 million bushels (mb) to 15.234 billion bushels (bb) -- a surprise that was beyond pre-report estimates. If that holds, that breaks the 2016 production record. USDA also increased soybean production by 25 mb to 4.129 bb. According to DTN Lead Analyst Todd Hultman, Thursday's new-crop U.S. ending stocks estimates were bearish for corn and slightly bearish for soybeans and wheat. Hultman sees the world ending stocks estimates from USDA as bearish for corn and neutral for soybeans and wheat. Stay tuned throughout the morning and refresh this page often as we will be sending a series of updates with the important highlights from today's reports, including commentary from our analysts. CORN USDA raised the 2023-24 crop by bumping up the yield estimate 1.9 bushels per acre (bpa) to 174.9 bpa. That drove up production 170 mb to 15.234 bb as a result. That breaks the production record of the 2016 crop, which came in at 15.148 bb. USDA held pat on harvested acres at 87.1 million acres. Ending stocks for the 2023-24 crop were increased 45 mb to 2.156 bb. On the demand side, USDA increased Feed and Residual use 50 mb to 5.65 bb. Total 2023-24 Food, Seed and Industrial use at 6.740 bb, up 25 mb. Ethanol use was also increased 25 mb to 5.325 bb. Total domestic use is forecast at 12.390 bb up 75 mb. Exports for the new crop also were increased 50 mb to 2.075 bb. The farmgate price for the 2023-24 crop was lowered 10 cents a bushel to $4.85 a bushel. Globally, beginning stocks for the 2023-24 new crop were raised 1.12 million metric tons (mmt) to 299.22 mmt. Production globally was increased 6.32 mmt to 1,220.79 mmt. Global exports were bumped up 3.37 mmt to 199.62 mmt. Global ending stocks for the new crop are forecast at 314.99 mmt, up 2.59 mmt. Ukraine's production was increased 1.5 mmt to 29.5 and Ukraine's exports were increased .5 mmt to 20 mmt. Looking at global 2022-23 crop, Brazil's production was held at 137 mmt and exports were held pat at 57 mmt. Argentina's production was held at 34 mmt and Argentina's exports were held pat at 23 mmt. SOYBEANS USDA raised its national soybean yield forecast 49.9 bpa, up 0.3 bpa from last month's estimate. Harvest acres were left unchanged at 82.8 million acres, unchanged from the previous forecast. Total production climbed to 4.13 bb. All estimates are within the range of pre-report estimates. Domestic ending stocks for 2023-24 are now forecast at 245 mb, 25 mb higher than last month. The change reflects increased production forecasts, as USDA made only a minor change to the residual on the demand side of the balance sheet. The national average farm gate price was left unchanged at $12.90 per bushel. Globally, ending stocks for the 2023-24 marketing year were 114.51 million metric tons, down 1.11 mmt from last month. The change is mostly due to smaller beginning stocks. USDA forecasts Brazilian farmers will harvest 163 mmt of soybeans, while Argentine growers will harvest 48 mmt. Old-crop, 2022-23 world ending stocks, dropped to 100.31 mmt from last month's 101.9 mmt. USDA said the changes were due to back-year balance sheet revisions for China and Brazil. "China's beginning stocks are reduced on lower soybean imports for 2021-22 and 2022-23 and higher crush for 2022-23. Conversely, Brazil's beginning stocks are increased on a larger 2022-23 crop of 158 million tons due to higher-than-expected use to date," the report stated. WHEAT USDA pegged U.S. wheat production at 1.812 bb in November, unchanged from October's estimate. USDA estimates ending stocks at 684 mb in November, an increase from October's estimate of 670 mb. U.S. wheat use is estimated at 1.86 bb, unchanged from October. Wheat exports were set at 700 mb, unchanged from October. USDA set the farmgate price of wheat at $7.20, down from $7.30 last month. Wheat world ending stocks were estimated at 258.69 mmt, an increase from 258.13 mmt in October. USDA estimates global wheat production at 781.98 mmt, down from 783.43 mmt in October. USDA estimates wheat production in Argentina at 15.0 mmt, down from the October estimate of 16.5. Brazil's production is estimated at 9.4 mmt. Wheat production in Australia was unchanged from last month's 24.5 mmt. Wheat production in Russia was pegged at 90 mmt and Ukraine production was estimated at 22.5 mmt. Wheat exports from Russia were pegged at 50 mmt and 12 mmt in Ukraine. USDA increased wheat imports 10 mb to 145 mb. LIVESTOCK Thursday's November WASDE report posted reduced overall beef and pork production levels for 2023, while 2024 projection were mixed from the previous month with a strong increase production projected in beef, while moderate to firm pork production losses were seen. This will continue to likely cause concern for beef producers and overall cattle prices in the near future. Fourth-quarter beef production fell 55 million pounds, creating the expectation of annual production levels falling 44 million pounds from the last month estimate. The focus on increased production of 535 million pounds in 2024 was strongly attributed to gains in first quarter projections accounting for 235 million pounds. The confirmation of these numbers is adding additional bearish influence to overall market prices as traders are focusing on larger-than-expected beef production through most of 2024. Beef price levels for the fourth quarter of 2023 were unchanged, which also left overall annual price projections unchanged at $177.30 per cwt. Price levels for 2024 were unchanged when it came to annual overall price projections, but first quarter 2024 prices were reduced by $2 per cwt from the previous month while second quarter prices fell $1 per cwt. Beef Imports for 2023 increased by 36 million pounds from the previous month while total beef supplies fell 8 million pounds. Expected imports in 2024 increased 40 million pounds from last month's estimate, increasing overall 2024 supply issues by 590 million pounds. Pork Production posted moderate to strong production losses from the previous month for both 2023 and 2024. Annual pork production is expected to fall 72 million pounds in 2023 from October's estimate, while annual pork production in 2024 is estimated to be reduced 165 million pounds from previous month's levels. This is expected to create some additional support through the lean hog complex long term, but there remains the need to sustain current values based on short term demand. Hog prices were actually reduced on an annual level in both 2023 and 2024, with fourth quarter prices falling $3 per cwt in the latest report. First quarter 2024 hog prices were also reduced by $3 per cwt, and currently based on current hog numbers in the pipeline and the potential for this to put pressure on short term market levels. Pork imports for 2023 increased 9 million pounds from the previous month estimate but were unchanged for 2024 from October levels. The small adjustments in imports are not expected to be a major focus following the moderate to firm overall reduction in pork production for both 2023 and 2024 from October levels.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday November 9, 2023 |


Bayer Considers Company Breakup Bayer confirmed in an investor call on Wednesday the company is considering splitting business units following poor financial results. “We are redesigning Bayer to focus only on what’s essential for our mission – and getting rid of everything else,” according to Bayer CEO Bill Anderson. Anderson, who has been at the company's helm since June, says by the end of next year, Bayer will remove multiple layers of management and coordination. The company ruled out splitting into three divisions, but other options remain. Anderson adds, "In terms of structural options, beyond maintaining three divisions, a separation of either Consumer Health or Crop Science remains under evaluation." Sales in the agricultural business were level year on year at 4.3 billion euros. Higher volumes in all regions were mostly offset by lower prices for glyphosate-based. Corn Seed and Traits sales rose by 21.2, while Fungicides were up 16.2 percent. The Soybean Seed and Traits business likewise posted double-digit percentage growth of 15.6 percent. By contrast, sales at Herbicides were down by 17.3 percent. *********************************************************************************** USTR Tai Traveling to Indiana U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai will Travel to Indianapolis, Indiana as part of the Biden-Harris Administration's Investing in Rural America tour. Tai will visit Indiana this Friday to highlight how the administration's economic policies have lowered trade barriers abroad for American agricultural products and increased access for farmers and producers in global markets. Ambassador Tai will tour Starkey Farms, a seventh-generation family farm committed to local and regional farming conservation during her trip. Starkey Farms features more than 2,500 acres near Brownsburg, Indiana. Starkey Farms Partnership is also a retail partner for AgroLiquid. The Investing in Rural America tour kicked off last when President Joe Biden and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack visited Dutch Creek Farms in Northfield, Minnesota. During the visit, President Biden announced more than $5 billion in investments from his Investing in America agenda to advance rural prosperity, economic development, competition, and sustainability. *********************************************************************************** TFI Supports Amendment to Block Proposed Rule on Air Quality Standards The Fertilizer Institute Wednesday reiterated its opposition to the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed rule to tighten national ambient air quality standards for fine particulate matter. The organization also voiced support for legislation to prohibit the EPA altering the standard at this time. TFI President and CEO Corey Rosenbusch says, “Only two years ago the EPA confirmed that the current standard is protective of public health and the environment,” adding, “They have not provided any reasoning as to what has changed in the past two years aside from the fact that these emissions continue to decline.” According to the government’s own data, fine particulate matter emissions have declined by over 40 percent over the past twenty years, and they continue to go down. Additionally, the current rule balances environmental protection with robust commercial and industrial activity. TFI joined more than 70 other industry groups in a letter articulating the economic impact the rule they say would have, as well as the faulty reasoning behind the change. *********************************************************************************** Court Confirms Permanent Injunction on California’s Prop 65 The U.S. Ninth Circuit Appeals Court recently affirmed a district court permanent injunction prohibiting California's Proposition 65 warning requirement related to glyphosate. Proposition 65 is a right‑to-know law that is intended to enable Californians to make informed choices about exposures to chemicals that cause cancer or reproductive effects. The proposition did not ban the use of glyphosate in the state. California attempted to apply Proposition 65 to glyphosate in 2017 following the 2015 ruling by the International Agency for Research on Cancer that glyphosate is an animal carcinogen and a probable human carcinogen. The National Association of Wheat Growers welcomed the court's response of a permanent injunction. NAWG President Brent Cheyne says, “California’s Proposition 65 requirement threatened the use of glyphosate by requiring false and misleading labels on products that may contain glyphosate.” NAWG was joined by 11 other agriculture organizations in the case, including CropLife America and the National Corn Growers Association. *********************************************************************************** Study Finds Perception Gaps Between Farmers and Consumers Nutrien this week released Bridging the Agricultural Perception Divide, a research study on the perception gaps between farmers and consumers in North America on issues such as sustainability, technology, and land usage. The report also indicates there is some common ground and opportunities for bridge-building. The findings revealed that the largest perception gaps between farmers and consumers are related to environmental stewardship and industry advancement. For example, farmers were significantly more likely to agree with statements related to the responsible use of crop inputs, chemical use, environmental progress, farming careers, and soil quality. However, topics related to Societal Support for Farmers reveal much closer agreement. The study also finds that younger consumers have the lowest interest and trust in agriculture. When farmers were asked about the top issues affecting the agriculture industry today, their responses included the rising cost of growing food, followed by a desire for consumers to have more knowledge about the industry, and concerns around misinformation about where food comes from. *********************************************************************************** New York Announces Flexibilities Amid Milk Carton Shortage In a memo to food service managers at public schools, the state of New York announced flexibilities amid a milk carton shortage recently. Due to the unexpected nationwide shortage of paper milk cartons, many School Food Authorities are not able to obtain milk in half pints for their school meals programs. Although schools are expected to meet the fluid milk requirements to the greatest extent possible, supply chain disruptions, including disruptions that limit milk variety or affect serving size, are considered a temporary emergency condition. The New York State Education Department announced schools are allowed to pour milk from larger containers into individual cups, offer one type of milk instead of a variety, offer an alternate form of fluid milk such as low-fat or fat-free lactose-free, or as a last resort, not offer fluid milk altogether. However, juice cannot be offered as a replacement, and schools must still adhere to National School Lunch Program guidelines.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday November 9, 2023 |


Thursday Watch List Markets USDA's weekly export sales report is due out at 7:30 a.m. CST Thursday, the same time as U.S. weekly jobless claims and an update of the U.S. Drought Monitor. U.S. factory orders for September will be out at 9 a.m. USDA's WASDE and Crop Production reports are due out at 11 a.m., followed by DTN's WASDE webinar at 12:30 p.m. South American weather remains a topic of concern for traders. Weather A front has pushed south into Texas and east across the Midwest. A disturbance is moving into the southern end of the front, where it is starting to produce rain over Texas that should overspread much of the Southern Plains and Delta throughout the day, easing drought conditions. Cooler air behind the front is actually seasonable for this time of the year, though it is a sharp drop from recent days.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday November 8, 2023 |


Farmer Sentiment Rises in Latest Ag Economy Barometer The Purdue University-CME Group Ag Economy Barometer rose four points in October to 110. The modest improvement in farmer sentiment resulted from farmers' improved perspective on current conditions on their farms as well as their expectations for the future. The Index of Current Conditions rose three points to 101, while the Index of Future Expectations rose five points to 114. Farmers in this month's survey were a bit less concerned about the risk of lower prices for crops and livestock and felt somewhat better about their farms' financial situation than a month earlier, although that did not translate into a more favorable investment outlook among survey respondents. Farmers remain cautiously optimistic about farmland values, particularly when asked to look ahead five years. Nearly one in four farmers responding to the survey reported making changes in their farm operations in response to long-term weather pattern changes. Changes implemented by farmers were wide-ranging, and some reported making multiple changes in response to shifting weather patterns. *********************************************************************************** Four States Join Suit Against Agri Stats Four states this week joined the Department of Justice’s civil antitrust lawsuit against Agri Stats. The suit alleges that Agri Stats organized and managed anticompetitive information exchanges among broiler chicken, pork and turkey processors. The Attorneys General of Minnesota, California, North Carolina and Tennessee joined the effort Monday. The Justice Department filed the lawsuit in September of this year, alleging Agri Stats violated Section 1 of the Sherman Act. The complaint alleges that Agri Stats' scheme continues to this day in the chicken processing industry, among others. While Agri Stats paused its turkey and pork reporting after facing several private antitrust lawsuits, Agri Stats has expressed an intent to resume such reports following the lawsuits. A statement at the time of filing by Agri Stats says, "The lawsuit threatens serious harm to American consumers of chicken, pork, and turkey because protein producers depend upon Agri Stats' reports to help them identify opportunities to reduce production costs to keep prices low." *********************************************************************************** Shifting Consumer Demand for Dairy Foods Fuels Butterfat Boom The long-term demand trends for dairy products indicate butter, cheese and other full-fat dairy foods will continue to grow in sales and volume for the foreseeable future. U.S. consumers have shifted away from margarine and reduced-fat dairy foods over the last decade as nutritional science surrounding saturated fats has evolved. As a result, butterfat levels in the national milk supply have risen sharply in response to changing demand patterns and dairy market dynamics. According to a new report from CoBank's Knowledge Exchange, the butterfat boom will continue as the entire dairy supply chain is capturing additional value from milk with higher fat and protein levels. CoBank's Corey Geiger says, "Despite the significant growth in domestic butterfat production over the last decade, there is still tremendous upside potential, largely because the U.S. remains a milk-fat-deficit nation." Geiger says the overall market picture for butterfat is quite clear, with tremendous growth potential both domestically and ultimately via the export market. *********************************************************************************** Program to Support Native American Farmers with Climate-Smart Grazing Farm Journal Foundation and the Intertribal Agriculture Council are launching a new program to support climate-smart grazing practices among Native American cattle farmers and ranchers. The program, which will work in partnership with Ecosystem Services Market Consortium and the Yield Lab Institute, will offer a combination of direct incentive payments, technical assistance, and education to producers who adopt certain conservation practices on their grazing lands. It will also better enable Native American cattle producers to participate in carbon and branded commodity markets and create pathways to join USDA conservation programs. Enrollment is now open for this three-year project, which will provide approximately $1 million in direct funding to producers to enable them to implement one or more designated climate-smart conservation practices. The program will work with Native American producers in three states – Florida, Montana, and Oklahoma – whose primary source of business income comes from beef cattle farming. Both small-scale and large-scale producers are encouraged to apply. Learn more at farmjournalfoundation.org. *********************************************************************************** Army Corps to Reduce Missouri River to Winter Flows Gavins Point Dam releases will be reduced in late November as flow support to navigation ends. Releases are currently 32,000 cubic feet per second. John Remus of the Amry Corps of Engineers says, "We will continue to make releases from Gavins Point Dam to provide flow support at an intermediate service level, 1,500 cubic feet per second less than full service, through the end of the navigation flow support season." Winter releases from Gavins Point Dam for the 2023-2024 winter will be slightly higher than last winter, which were at the minimum rate. However, Remus adds, "Intake operators in the lower river should be taking measures to assure they can maintain access to the water." October runoff in the Missouri River basin above Sioux City, Iowa, was 1.5 million-acre-feet, 124 percent of normal. Based on the most recent seasonal drought outlook, drought conditions are expected to persist through the end of January in the upper Basin, with a potential for improvement in the lower Basin. *********************************************************************************** Vilsack to Speak at CSU Spur Water in the West Symposium Thursday Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will be in Denver Thursday to give opening remarks at the 6th Annual CSU Spur Water in the West Symposium. The event, focused on “Next Gen Water,” includes keynotes and panel discussions on topics ranging from leadership and water system management to workforce and the future of Colorado’s outdoor industry. The symposium, the first to occur on the CSU Spur campus in north Denver, will take place in the Hydro building, which opened this past January. Vilsack will discuss the USDA’s work to build rural prosperity by supporting producer income, bolstering local and regional food supply chains, and creating jobs and economic opportunities in rural areas. In addition, he will talk about work to foster the next generation of leaders in food and agriculture, including through the USDA’s NextGen program, which includes geology and hydrology among more than 36 disciplines supported. Vilsack served as a strategic advisor for Colorado State University Spur and the Colorado State University System’s food and water initiatives from 2017-2021.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday November 8, 2023 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets Traders will continue to watch South American weather forecasts and after Tuesday, will keep an eye on outside markets and energy prices, in particular. Due to a systems upgrade, the U.S. Energy Department's weekly report of energy inventories and natural gas will not take place this week but will be back with updated data next week. Weather A system moving across the northern tier of the country is producing areas of isolated showers Wednesday. The system is pushing a cold front deeper into the Plains and Upper Midwest, where temperatures will fall closer to normal for this time of year. South of the front continues to be quite warm.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday November 7, 2023 |


Scott Calls for One-Year Farm Bill Extension David Scott (D-GA), the ranking member of the House Agriculture Committee, called on colleagues to extend the 2018 Farm Bill by one year. He made the call to offer certainty and support to farmers, ranchers, and foresters as “extremism” in the House Republican conference continues hobbling legislative efforts. “While we continue the bipartisan effort on the House Ag Committee to craft a new farm bill, the extremism and cynicism that’s taken hold of the House Republican Conference makes reauthorizing the farm bill by the end of this year unlikely,” Scott says. “Therefore, I’m calling on colleagues to support a one-year extension.” Scott calls it the responsible thing to do. It would allow U.S. farmers, ranchers, and foresters to operate with an element of certainty while they continue working on a new five-year farm bill. “Ag Committee Democrats remain committed to passing a bipartisan farm bill as quickly as possible,” Scott adds. *********************************************************************************** New National FFA Officer Team in Place The 2023-2024 National FFA Officer team was elected during the final session of the 96th National FFA Convention and Expo in Indianapolis. The new officer team was picked from 35 candidates and will lead the organization during the next year. Amara Jackson of Michigan is the new national president. Grant Norfleet of Missouri is the National Secretary. The new regional vice presidents come from Florida, Iowa, Ohio, and New Mexico. Each year during the national convention, six student members are elected by delegates to represent the organization as national officers. Through their year of service, the officers will interact with business and industry leaders, thousands of FFA members and teachers, corporate sponsors, government officials, education officials, the general public, and others. The team will also lead personal growth and leadership training conferences for FFA members throughout the country and set policies that help guide the future of the FFA and its members. *********************************************************************************** USDA Relief Program Hurts Larger Farmers USDA announced the Emergency Relief Program for 2022, ten months after the funding was initially signed into law. But the National Sorghum Producers say there are two major flaws in the program that make it a disaster in itself. First, USDA established a “progressive” payment factor to fit total payments within a budget that will severely harm full-time farm families. NSP says the “progressive” requirement will actually cut deepest on those who faced the largest losses. Second, although the law requires producer-paid premiums to be netted out for all producers, USDA’s new ERP only nets out such premiums for “underserved” farmers. The organization says the progressive aspect of the payments is no more than a “backdoor pay limit” that violates both Congressional intent and the letter of the law. They point out that structuring payments this way will cause immense harm to full-time farm families now and in the future. *********************************************************************************** FSA County Committee Elections Start This Week The USDA will begin mailing ballots this week for the Farm Service Agency county and urban county committee elections. Ballots will go to all eligible agricultural producers and private landowners across the country. Elections are occurring in certain Local Administrative Areas for those committee members who make important decisions about how federal farm programs are administered locally. Producers and landowners must return their ballots to their local FSA county office or have their ballots postmarked by December 4 to be counted. “In order for county committees to be effective, they must truly represent all who are producing,” says FSA Administrator Zach Ducheneaux. Producers must participate or cooperate in an FSA program to be eligible to vote in the county committee election. Each committee has from three to 11 elected members who serve three-year terms, and at least one seat representing a Local Administrative Area is up for election each year. *********************************************************************************** Educators to Receive Immersive AFBF Convention Experience The American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture and Nationwide have teamed up to bring outstanding educators to the American Farm Bureau’s annual convention on January 19-22, 2024. Selected educators will receive an exclusive and immersive experience. They’ll receive free registration for the 2024 AFBF Convention in Salt Lake City, Utah, as well as financial reimbursement for travel, lodging, and meals while attending the event. The experience will connect teachers with farmers and ranchers from across the country to hear directly about modern farming. Highlights will include participation in local ag tours, networking with farmers, ranchers, and other professionals involved in ag education, and access to many other events. “We’re proud to support teachers from all across the country in several ways,” says Daniel Meloy, executive director of the AFBF Foundation. “We hope they’ll leave the 2024 convention with new ideas and information about agriculture to take back to their classrooms.” *********************************************************************************** Sheep Industry Annual Convention to Discuss Important Topics The 2024 American Sheep Industry Association’s Annual Convention will offer producers a closer look at two pieces of legislation that will greatly affect the industry. The opening session will feature officials from congressional agriculture committees discussing the new farm bill. Whether it’s passed by then or still getting hashed out, there will be plenty to talk about for America’s sheep producers. The speaker on January 13 from Superior Farms will talk about a petition in the city of Denver to prohibit the processing of livestock within city limits. If it passes, the petition will force the closure of Superior Farms’ lamb processing plant just minutes from the Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel where the ASI convention takes place. “If they can pass such legislation in Denver, where they have as rich a livestock history as any in the American West, they can pass it anywhere in America,” says ASI Executive Director Peter Orwick.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday November 7, 2023 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets The U.S. trade deficit for September is due out at 7:30 a.m. CST and will allow USDA to have more specific export data later Tuesday morning. DTN will have a preview of the November WASDE report. USDA's long-term price projections will be out at 2 p.m., the same time as a report on U.S. consumer credit. Meanwhile, traders will keep an eye on South American weather conditions. Weather A system is moving out of the Pacific Northwest and through the Northern Plains early Tuesday, which will spread a mix of showers through the region and into the Upper Midwest Tuesday night. Some snow may accumulate in northern North Dakota and Minnesota as well as the southwestern Canadian Prairies. Temperatures for most of the U.S. will be quite warm for early November.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday November 6, 2023 |


Commerce Department Lowers Duties on Fertilizers The U.S. Commerce Department announced it is lowering duties placed on phosphate fertilizers imported from Morocco from 19.97 percent to 2.12 percent. The decision came after the agency conducted an administrative review of the duties, which is performed annually by retroactively examining the price of shipments and other factors. The National Corn Growers Association, a long-time vocal opponent of the duties, called it a big win for corn growers. “This victory was made possible by corn growers who spoke out against these duties as they faced skyrocketing fertilizer prices and product shortages at the behest of The Mosaic Company,” says NCGA President Harold Wolle. The issue stems from a decision by Commerce that favored a petition by Mosaic to impose duties on phosphate fertilizers imported from Morocco and Russia. Mosaic had claimed that unfairly subsidized foreign companies were flooding the U.S. market and selling their products at extremely low prices. *********************************************************************************** Court Orders EPA to Follow the Science The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals granted a major victory to farmers when it ruled the Environmental Protection Agency must base its decisions on sound science and the law. The court was clear when it said the EPA failed to follow the law when it revoked chlorpyrifos tolerances, which effectively banned the pesticide. The American Farm Bureau Federation was one of several agriculture organizations that sued the EPA, asserting the agency ignored scientific evidence that proved the pesticide’s safety. “AFBF appreciates the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals for recognizing that the Environmental Protection Agency failed to follow the law when it revoked the use of chlorpyrifos,” says AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “Farmers and ranchers are committed to growing safe and nutritious food, and they use science to guide decisions on how to manage pests and insects. Today’s decision tells the agency that it, too, must use sound science when drafting rules.” *********************************************************************************** Foreign Investment in U.S. Ag Land Foreign investment in U.S. agricultural land is a big topic. USDA’s latest research, based on 2021 data, shows over 40 million acres of American agricultural land are owned by foreign investors and companies. This corresponds to 3.1 percent of all privately-held agricultural land and 1.8 percent of all land in the U.S. Canadian investors own the largest portion of foreign-held agricultural land with 31 percent, or 12.8 million acres of the total, and 0.97 percent of all U.S. agricultural land. Many of the current concerns center around China. According to the latest data, China is ranked 18th in ownership of U.S. agricultural land with 383,000 acres. That’s less than one percent of total foreign-owned U.S. ag land and only three-hundredths of one percent of all ag land in the U.S. It reflects a total area of about one-third the size of Rhode Island or that of an average Ohio county. *********************************************************************************** China Importing a Lot of Soybeans in 2023 A University of Illinois FarmDoc report says China’s soybean imports are likely to stay high through the fourth quarter of this year, taking 2023 purchases to an all-time record. However, lackluster demand from hog farms is seen as reducing soybean purchases in early 2024. Traders and industry analysts say record Brazilian soybean supplies are expected to dominate China’s imports in the last three months of this year, citing better oil and meal quality. That will reduce demand for U.S. cargoes in the world’s biggest market for the oilseed. The larger share of Brazilian soybeans in China’s import basket is likely to add pressure on benchmark Chicago futures, which slumped almost 15 percent this year, snapping a four-year rally. The report says, “Typically, freshly harvested U.S. soybeans dominate the global export market after September as Brazil’s export season winds down.” But this year, China’s purchases from the U.S. are well below normal. *********************************************************************************** Second Annual FFA Future Leaders Fundraising Drive Underway Tractor Supply Company kicked off the second annual FFA Future Leaders Scholarship fundraising drive. The Tractor Supply Foundation established the fund last year with a $5 million commitment over five years, making it the largest agriculture scholarship of its kind. In 2022, the inaugural fundraising drive raised more than $1 million. The funds generated scholarships for 146 FFA students in 38 states, ranging from welding and electrical engineering to agricultural business, animal science, and others. Now through November 12, customers can make a donation at checkout, either in TSC stores or online at TractorSupply.Com. The goal is to raise another $1 million. The funds will generate $5,000 scholarships for students attending trade schools and two-year colleges to pursue a skilled trade or agriculture-related field. There will also be $10,000 scholarships for students pursuing agriculture-related four-year majors. After a successful 2022, the foundation can’t wait to see what happens this year. *********************************************************************************** Funds to Help Improve Agriculture Exports Senator Tammy Baldwin and colleagues delivered $9.3 million in Transportation Department funds to expand Port Milwaukee’s newly opened Agriculture Maritime Export Facility. The funding will support Phase 2 of the AMEF project, including the construction of two grain storage silos, purchasing of additional grain handling equipment, and the purchase of new equipment to move products between storage and vessels. “Port Milwaukee plays a critical role in connecting farmers and businesses to markets across the world,” Baldwin says. “This investment will strengthen maritime commerce, create jobs, and grow our economy.” Jackie Carter, director of Port Milwaukee, says she’s grateful for the continued support they get and appreciates the grant award for the Agriculture Maritime Export Facility. “The project will increase capacity and allow for the simultaneous handling of multiple agricultural commodities,” Carter says. “It will provide access for producers and growers in Wisconsin and the surrounding states to efficiently move products to international markets.”

| Rural Advocate News | Monday November 6, 2023 |


Top 5 Things to Watch - November WASDE, Flipping Temperatures Lead the Week OMAHA (DTN) -- Here are the Top 5 things the DTN Newsroom is tracking for the week of Nov. 5. Note: All times listed below are in Central Standard Time (CST) unless otherwise mentioned. CST returned on Nov. 5. 1. WASDE Thursday: USDA's World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates and Crop Production reports are due out at 11 a.m. Our preview of the report will hit Tuesday or Wednesday, depending on the release of analyst estimates. On Thursday we will have WASDE numbers immediately after the reports are released, followed by updates with commentary and market reactions throughout the morning. 2. South America crop watch: Southern Brazil could get a brief respite from heavy and flooding rains. The forecast is still for wet weather throughout the month. Argentina has fared better with 23% of the corn crop planted. The Buenos Aires Exchange notes that 87% of the planted area is now good or normal, up from the previous week. 3. Fertilizer imports spark interest: With retail fertilizer prices steady to slightly higher according to DTN's weekly fertilizer reports, there will be growing interest in last week's announcement that U.S. Department of Commerce agreed to lower import duties on Moroccan phosphate fertilizer from 19.97% to 2.12%. 4. Weather warms for some: The Midwest starts the week with above-normal temperatures. But the weather pattern will stay active with additional showers possible, followed by cooler air. In the Northern Plains, the pattern will stay fairly active with occasional periods of showers, including some snow. The colder and wetter conditions will continue to make the remaining fieldwork difficult to accomplish. The Delta will see several systems more through during the week, bringing showers and more falling temperatures. 5. Economic reports to watch: Back from the weekend, you should be on standard time now or you may find yourself early for appointments. Monday starts with USDA's weekly report of grain export inspections set for 10 a.m., followed by Crop Progress at 3 p.m. Tuesday sees U.S. trade deficit for September at 7:30 a.m.; U.S. consumer credit report is at 2 p.m., and USDA long-term price projections at also 2 p.m. On Wednesday, because of a systems upgrade, the U.S. Energy Department's weekly report of energy inventories and natural gas will not take place that day -- or this week -- but will be back with updated data next week. Thursday sees USDA's weekly export sales at 7:30 a.m., the same time as U.S. weekly jobless claims and an update of the U.S. Drought Monitor. U.S. factory orders for September will be out at 9 a.m. USDA's WASDE and Crop Production reports are due out at 11 a.m. On Friday, Veterans Day is observed. U.S. government offices are closed, but markets and banks are open. CFTC data will not be released until Monday afternoon. University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index for early November will be released at 9 a.m. The deadline for a possible government shutdown is Nov. 17, one week away.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday November 6, 2023 |


Monday Watch List Markets Back from the weekend, traders will have set their clocks back an hour, checked the latest weather forecasts, especially from South America, and gotten caught up on world events. USDA's weekly report of grain export inspections is set for 10 a.m. CST, followed by Crop Progress at 3 p.m. Weather A pair of systems, one in the Great Lakes, and another in the Pacific Northwest, will be moving eastward on Monday, spreading showers through northern areas of the country. Precipitation is mostly rain, but some early morning light snow is falling in parts of North Dakota where it has been colder. Temperatures elsewhere are warm for early November.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday November 3, 2023 |


Ag Secretary Speaks at FFA National Convention Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack spoke to students, agricultural educators, and guests at the opening session of the 96th National FFA Convention and Expo during Thursday’s opening session. He also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the organization formalizing a partnership to prepare more students for careers in food, agricultural science, natural resources, and related fields. He shared USDA’s vision to secure the future of American agriculture and opportunities for the next generation of agricultural leaders. He emphasized the importance of ensuring that farms of all sizes have the opportunity to succeed. “At National FFA, we’re preparing our students to be tomorrow’s leaders in agriculture,” says Scott Stump, CEO of the National FFA Organization. “We appreciate the Secretary’s dedication to agricultural education and FFA, which is why we were honored to present him with an Honorary American FFA Degree.” Vilsack said today’s youth are the ones who will create tomorrow’s food systems. *********************************************************************************** Corn Growers Support Fertilizer Industry Transparency The Iowa Corn Growers Association developed language they’d like added to the upcoming farm bill that would review competition and transparency in the fertilizer industry. The language would mandate a USDA assessment of the pricing practices used by fertilizer companies and the effects of the price increase on both farmers and consumers. The association points out that input costs for farmers have gone up drastically and are crucial topics at the grassroots level. This assessment would provide transparency in the fertilizer market and help farmers understand why these price increases keep occurring. Jolene Riessen, president of the ICGA, says, “We’re hopeful with the support of our Iowa delegation that this language will make it into the next farm bill, as it would provide USDA with the framework to start a comprehensive study and review of the fertilizer industry.” The study would paint a clearer picture of what’s happening in the industry. *********************************************************************************** American Angus Association Offering Internship Opportunities The American Angus Association is excited to offer internship opportunities for students to try a trial-run of potential career choices. The association has five internship positions available for the summer of 2024. It’s a ten-week program that’s designed to provide an immersive, hands-on experience that helps students to grow professionally as they “dip their toes” into the workforce. The five internships are being offered in marketing, publications, communications, events and junior activities, and in Angus Genetics, Inc. “What makes an internship at Angus so unique is that the Angus family believes in your ability to achieve a level of high success from day one,” says Brooklyn Botterman, 2023 events and junior activities intern. ‘The professional and personal growth that is acquired during your time with Angus is invaluable.” Students who want to apply should submit their resume, cover letter, and references by December 1. For more information, go to angus.org/careers. *********************************************************************************** Iowa Pork Campaign Involves Iowa State Football Players The Iowa Pork Producers Association has a marketing initiative involving aptly-named Iowa State football players. The campaign is called “Purchase Moore Hamman Bacon.” The Cyclone players are Myles Purchase, Tyler Moore, Tommy Hamman, and Caleb Bacon. The Iowa Pork Producers original social media post featured a photo of the players with their backs to the camera showing the last names on their jerseys, and several pounds of bacon and ham were pictured on a table behind them. The post has been viewed on X (formerly Twitter) more than 2.6 million times. “We’re overjoyed at the success of the ’Purchase Moore Hamman Bacon’ campaign,” says Iowa Pork Producers President Trish Cook. “We had hoped it would go viral, and it did in a big way.” The association will donate $4,000 worth of pork to pantries in each player’s hometown. The future of the promotion includes the addition of linebacker Alex Cook *********************************************************************************** Legislation to Study Barriers to Mental Health Senators Michael Bennet and Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming introduced legislation requiring the Government Accountability Office to study the barriers between farmers and ranchers and mental health care. “Our farmers and ranchers face uncertainty from forces beyond their control, and Congress needs to do more to help them access the mental and behavioral health care they need,” Bennet says. Volatile commodity prices, increased input costs, more frequent wildfires, severe drought, and other extreme weather events significantly affect farmers’ and ranchers’ mental health. Despite the demonstrated need for services, many rural communities face barriers to access those services. The GAO would be required to study the availability and accessibility of substance abuse treatment and mental health care providers trained to serve the needs of farmers, ranchers, agricultural workers, and their families. The study would also assess the barriers farmers and ranchers face to accessing care and successful programs at the state and local levels. *********************************************************************************** China Set to Import Record Amount of Wheat A University of Illinois Farmdoc report says China is set to import “record volumes” of wheat this year. Industry sources say rain damage to China’s wheat crop and subsequent worries over dry weather in exporting nations are driving Beijing’s appetite to buy while prices are low. Traders also say China’s frantic wheat buying is likely to support global prices, which have dropped more than a quarter through this year due to abundant supplies from Russia, the world’s top exporter. Overall, China’s 2023 imports are likely to reach 12 million tons, topping the previous year’s record of 9.96 million tons, with the avid buying expected to continue into 2024. Industry traders also say Beijing’s recent large purchases of Australian wheat could force rival importers such as Indonesia and Japan to seek alternatives from North America and the Black Sea region. China was the fifth-largest importer of U.S. wheat in Marketing Year 2022-2023.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday November 3, 2023 |


Friday Watch List Markets At 7:30 a.m. CDT Friday, the U.S. Labor Department releases nonfarm payrolls and the unemployment rate for October. Traders will keep close watch on weather and will soon wonder about the possibility of a government shutdown on November 17. Weather Though widespread frosts and freezes were recorded again this morning across the Southeast, temperatures are rising. A weak disturbance moving across the north may bring some occasional light showers from Montana to Michigan throughout the day, but most areas will stay dry.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday November 2, 2023 |


US to Participate in Next Indo-Pacific Framework Negotiating Round A delegation of trade officials from the U.S. Trade Representative's office will participate in the seventh in-person negotiating round of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity. The negotiations are planned for November 5-12, 2023, in San Francisco, California. In San Francisco, the IPEF partners will continue to make progress on negotiations towards high-standard outcomes under the pillars of trade, clean economy and fair economy. The U.S. interagency delegation will be co-led by Sarah Ellerman, IPEF Pillar Assistant United States Trade Representative for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, and Sharon H. Yuan, U.S. Department of Commerce Counselor. The framework will offer tangible benefits that fuel economic activity and investment, promote sustainable and inclusive economic growth, and benefit workers and consumers across the region, according to USTR. The first negotiating round was held in Brisbane, Australia, in December of last year, with other rounds taking place earlier this year. *********************************************************************************** Federal Urban Agriculture Committee to Meet this Month Members of the Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production Advisory Committee will meet this month. This is the committee's seventh meeting and is scheduled for November 29, 2023. The 2018 Farm Bill directed USDA to create the committee to advise the Agriculture Secretary on developing policies and outreach relating to urban, indoor, and other emerging agricultural production practices, as well as identify any barriers to urban agriculture. The committee is one of several ways that USDA is extending support and building frameworks to support urban agriculture, including issues of equity, climate resilience and nutrition access. Twelve members are appointed to the committee for one to three-year terms by the Secretary of Agriculture. The members represent a diverse set of expertise, including urban production, innovative production, higher education, non-profit, finance, business and economic development, supply chain, and other areas related to urban, indoor, and other emerging agriculture production practices. The public is invited to attend virtually by registering on the USDA website. *********************************************************************************** Registration Open for USDA’s 100th Agricultural Outlook Forum The Department of Agriculture this week opened registration for the 100th Annual Agricultural Outlook Forum. Titled “Cultivating the Future,” the event will be held in person at the Crystal City Gateway Marriott in Arlington, Virginia, February 15-16, 2024. All Forum sessions will also be livestreamed on a virtual platform. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says, “As we reflect on a century of agricultural progress, we’re not just celebrating our achievements, we're also preparing for an even better future.” USDA’s Agricultural Outlook Forum began in 1923 as a way to disseminate USDA data and analyses to farmers, so they had the tools to understand markets and make informed production decisions. Over time, the event has evolved into a unique platform where key stakeholders from the agricultural sector in the United States and around the world come together every year to discuss current and emerging topics and trends in the sector. Visit the Agricultural Outlook Forum website to register. *********************************************************************************** Apply Today to Become Beef Spokesperson The Beef Checkoff-funded Trailblazers program is seeking applications for its next class of beef advocates. Trailblazers, developed by the National Cattlemen's Beef, takes advocacy to the next level by giving participants the tools and training they need to promote beef to new audiences while addressing and correcting myths. NCBA's Chandler Mulvaney says, "If you are an advocate and seeking a chance to be empowered on your advocacy journey, apply today, and help safeguard the work of cattle farmers and ranchers." The Trailblazers program is looking for new spokespeople to participate in a year-long hands-on program designed to train, equip, and empower beef advocates. Selected candidates receive training to become expert communicators, excel in media interviews and understand how to build confidence in beef-related practices when talking to consumers. Applications will be accepted through December 8, and selected participants will be notified mid-January, upon completing the review process. Learn more and apply at NCBA.org. *********************************************************************************** CropLife America Announces CEO Search The CropLife America Board of Directors is opening the search for the organization's next president and Chief Executive Officer. CropLife America is the national trade association representing the manufacturers, formulators, and distributors of plant science solutions for agriculture and pest management in the United States. The president and CEO will be important in maintaining and enhancing existing member relationships. The successful candidate will have strong leadership skills, experience in a regulated industry, and advocacy with a broad array of stakeholders, including elected officials and regulators at both the federal and state level. The organization's members are deeply committed to their businesses, and the CEO must demonstrate a shared belief in and commitment to furthering the interests of the industry. The Board retained Kincannon & Reed to help guide the nationwide search process. CropLife America parted ways with former CEO Chris Novak in September. A statement from CropLife America at the time said, "Thee entire CLA Board of Directors thank Chris for his service to the organization over the past five years.” *********************************************************************************** 2023 Ozone Hole Ranks 16th Largest on Record The 2023 Antarctic ozone hole reached its maximum size at ten million square miles on September 21, which ranks as the 16th largest since 1979, according to annual satellite and balloon-based measurements made by NOAA and NASA. During the peak of the ozone depletion season from September 7 to October 13, the hole this year averaged 8.9 million square miles, approximately the size of North America. Paul Newman of NASA says, "It's a very modest ozone hole," adding, "Declining levels of human-produced chlorine compounds, along with help from active Antarctic stratospheric weather slightly improved ozone levels this year." The ozone layer acts like Earth's natural sunscreen, as this portion of the stratosphere shields our planet from the sun's harmful ultraviolet radiation. Every September, the ozone layer thins to form an “ozone hole” above the Antarctic continent. NOAA and NASA researchers monitor the ozone layer over the pole and globally using instruments aboard NASA's Aura, NOAA-NASA Suomi NPP and NOAA-20 satellites.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday November 2, 2023 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets USDA's weekly export sales report is due out at 7:30 a.m. CDT Thursday, the same time as U.S. weekly jobless claims, a report on third-quarter U.S. productivity and an update of the U.S. Drought Monitor. U.S. factory orders for September will be out at 9 a.m., followed by the U.S. Energy Department's weekly report of natural gas storage at 9:30 a.m. Weather Cold air that has been spreading through the country has reached its peak, with moderating temperatures in the Plains on Thursday that will continue eastward through the weekend. A system has moved into the Pacific Northwest and will bring showers there and to northern areas going into the weekend.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday November 1, 2023 |


House Republican Members Urge Swift Farm Bill Passage Republican lawmakers in the House of Representatives are urging the new speaker to pass a farm bill. In a letter last week to Speaker Mike Johnson, a group of 61 members told the speaker, “We urge you and the Conference at-large to be united in ensuring swift passage of a strong Farm Bill.” The letter notes that more than 92 percent of the nation’s planted acres are represented by Republican Members. Moreover, in 2022, the food and agriculture sectors contributed $7.4 trillion in economic activity, creating 43 million jobs, $2.3 trillion in wages, $718 billion in tax revenue, and $183 billion in exports, stemming from direct, indirect, and induced output. The lawmakers added, "The Farm Bill is a critical agenda item that must be addressed this Congress." Before he was elected speaker last week, Johnson revealed a priority list that included a December vote on the farm bill, pledging to "Begin negotiations as soon as possible.” *********************************************************************************** Report Reveals Global Agriculture Subsidies Total support to agriculture reached record levels of $851 billion per year during 2020-22 for the 54 countries covered by a new Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The Agricultural Policy Monitoring and Evaluation 2023 report shows the historically high level of support is nearly a 2.5-fold increase compared to two decades ago, though still behind the overall growth of production. Support remains highly concentrated in a few large producing economies, with China, India, the United States and the European Union representing 36 percent, 15 percent, 14 percent and 13 percent of total support provided, respectively. Individual producers received $630 billion per year in positive support over the 2020-22 period. The report tracks global government support provided to the agricultural sector, including subsidies, tariffs and other “market-distorting forms of support.” OECD Secretary-General Mathias Cormann says, “Such measures alter trade, investment and the location of production, undermining both the value of market access and the benefits of competitive markets and open trade.” *********************************************************************************** New Grants to Strengthen Local and Regional Food Systems USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service Tuesday awarded more than $32 million for 98 grant projects to expand and strengthen local and regional food systems. The funding will be distributed through the Local Agriculture Market Program's Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Programs and the Regional Food System Partnerships grant program. USDA Undersecretary Jenny Lester Moffitt says, "These grant programs support local and regional food producers by broadening marketing opportunities, such as farmers markets, local food hubs, and farm-to-institution programs." This year, the Farmers Market Promotion Program is funding 55 projects that support producer-to-consumer markets, such as farmers markets, roadside stands, agritourism activities, community-supported agriculture programs, and online sales. Through the Local Agriculture Market Program's Farmers Market, 33 projects have been funded to support local and regional food businesses that engage as intermediaries in indirect producer-to-consumer marketing. Through the Regional Food System Partnerships grant program, funds will support ten partnerships across eight states and the District of Columbia. *********************************************************************************** Tentative Agreement Allows for St Lawrence Seaway Reopening Unifor has reached a tentative agreement with St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation, ending a weeklong strike that halted shipping along the route. An agreement was announced at the start of this week following mediated negotiations on behalf of Ontario and Quebec members. St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation CEO Terence Bowles says, “We have in hand an agreement that’s fair for workers and secures a strong and stable future for the Seaway.” The tentative agreement covers roughly 360 Unifor members in Ontario and Quebec, who work in the supervisory and engineering group and the maintenance, operations, and clerical group. Specifics of the agreement were not released, but workers did return to work Monday morning. The Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway is a deep draft waterway extending 2,300 miles from the Atlantic Ocean to the head of the Great Lakes at Duluth, Minnesota. The Seaway includes 15 locks – 13 in Canada and two in the United States. *********************************************************************************** USDA Examines ReConnect Program Populations Households in nonmetro areas are more than four times as likely to lack broadband internet access as households in metro areas. To help bring broadband to rural areas, USDA’s ReConnect program provides grants and loans to internet providers to help finance the costs of providing high-speed internet through broadband services. Funding areas served by projects must be rural and have 90 percent or more of households without access to broadband at minimum upload and download speeds. USDA Economic Research Service researchers examined ReConnect projects proposed in fiscal years 2019 and 2020, finding that the populations of areas eligible and areas of approved projects tended to have less formal educational attainment, more poverty, and more people over the age of 65. About 53 percent of the population in ReConnect-eligible areas had high school or less educational attainment, compared with 40 percent in ineligible areas. Likewise, the poverty rate was higher in eligible areas, as was the portion of the population over age 65. *********************************************************************************** Shell Eggs Broken Down 1% from Last Year USDA's latest monthly Egg Products report shows shell eggs broken is down one percent from last year. Released this week by USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service, the report tracks eggs cracked by processors for egg products, including liquid whole egg, liquid whites, liquid yolk, and dried product. Shell eggs broken totaled 198 million dozen during July 2022, down one percent from July a year ago, and two percent below the 202 million dozen broken during the previous month. During calendar year 2022 through July, shell eggs broken totaled 1.38 billion dozen, up six percent from the comparable period in 2021. To date, cumulative total edible product from eggs broken in 2022 was 1.76 billion pounds, up six percent from 2021. Meanwhile, overall demand for shell eggs is mixed with most interest from marketers looking to build their stocks in anticipation of increased consumer demand into early November and the start of the Thanksgiving demand season for baking.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday November 1, 2023 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets Reports of manufacturing indices from around the world will roll in overnight with the U.S. index due out at 9 a.m. CDT Wednesday. The U.S. Energy Department's weekly report of energy inventories follows at 9:30 a.m. At 1 p.m., the Federal Reserve announces its decision on interest rates, expected to stay unchanged. At 2 p.m., NASS releases its monthly report on Fats and Oils. Weather Cold air has fully pushed into the country east of the Rockies early Wednesday with widespread frosts and freezes for most areas except those areas adjacent to the coast. Some lake-effect snow lingers in the eastern Great Lakes and Northeast early in the day but will wane later Wednesday. Dry conditions elsewhere will give potential for completing some late fieldwork during the start to the last month of fall.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday October 31, 2023 |


State of the Corn Economy In the third quarter of 2023, the corn sector wrapped up the 2022-2023 marketing year and entered the 2023-204 marketing year. Geopolitical tensions and international dynamics continue to be factors in the market. Looking ahead, a National Corn Growers Association webinar says the war in Israel could have larger implications for corn if it spreads throughout the Middle East. On the macroeconomic side, interest rates continue to rise while the economy remains strong. That makes it a challenge to forecast an economic landing, especially considering geopolitical factors. Despite widespread drought across the Corn Belt during the growing season, the U.S. is positioned to produce one of the three largest corn crops on record. That positions the U.S. to have enough grain needed to fulfill demand. Even with the strong competition in the world market, the outlook for demand from ethanol, feed, and exports is more positive than it was last year. *********************************************************************************** Organic Produce Sales and Volume Up Two Percent For the second quarter in a row, organic fresh produce grew slightly in year-over-year sales and volume in the third quarter of 2023. That’s according to a report issued by the Organic Produce Network. Overall, organic fresh produce dollar sales and volume rose by two percent and 1.9 percent, respectively, for Q3 in 2023 compared to the same time last year. “The growth in organic produce volume slightly outpacing conventional produce reflects the continued consumer interest in healthier and sustainable food choices,” says Tom Barnes, CEO of Category Partners. In the third quarter, 15 of the top 20 organic fresh produce categories posted increases in dollar sales compared to the same period last year. The organic berry category, including strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries, led overall dollar sales with $461 million for the quarter, a 6.9 percent increase. Organic broccoli saw the largest sales jump at 14 percent above last year. *********************************************************************************** USGC Building Markets in Africa East Africa holds significant long-term growth potential for U.S. feed grains. Earlier this month, the U.S. Grains Council sent staff and members to the region as part of an engagement mission to discuss upcoming programming, current partnerships, and opportunities for American feed grains. The Council has been active in East Africa for over a decade, working to promote the development of a commercial poultry and feed industry in the region to meet the needs of a rapidly growing population. The USDA estimates by 2032 that Africa and the Middle East will account for 43 percent of the additional growth in world coarse grain imports. The team kicked off the trip by attending the tenth African Grain Trade Summit in Uganda. The conference brought together business leaders, policymakers, and other stakeholders from Africa to talk through issues and emerging trends in the grain sector. Other stops included Kenya and Tanzania’s Poultry Show. *********************************************************************************** Trends in Agricultural Land Ownership The landscape of land ownership has evolved over the past 25 years as a generational transfer of ownership takes place. A Farmers National Company report says a strong ag economy has driven the market higher for several years. Most landowners have seen steady increases in value during the past 25 years, but especially within the past three years. FNC says one market dynamic farmers can always count on is change. Politics, world events, and other factors will continue driving change in the agriculture economy and land values over the next 25 years. Generational transfer of land ownership will continue bringing changes to who owns the land. One constant in the market is the fact that they aren’t making more land available. FNC says the U.S. loses an average of 1.8 million acres of farmland every year, which will only add to the limited supply available and more change in the marketplace. *********************************************************************************** Deere Foundation Announces Anti-Hunger Grants The John Deere Foundation announced a series of grants totaling $19 million aimed at eliminating hunger by increasing access to food, helping resource-constrained farmers, and supporting global food systems. The grants go to the World Food Program USA, the One Acre Fund, and the Nature Conservancy. “We firmly believe that the world’s farmers deserve our collective support and advocacy if our goal is to realize the promise of the ‘Green Revolution,’” says Josh Jepsen, senior vice president and chief financial officer at Deere. The World Food Program received $5 million to strengthen the capacity of the United Nations World Food Program, the world’s largest humanitarian organization. One Acre Fund was awarded $7.5 million to accelerate its work to ensure every family farm has the knowledge and means to be successful. The Nature Conservancy received $6.5 million to promote natural climate solutions like forest restoration and conservation in key regions around the world. *********************************************************************************** Corn and Soybean Export Sales Surge USDA says corn sales to overseas buyers surged, and soybean sales hit a marketing-year high in the seven days ending on October 19. Corn export sales totaled 1.35 million metric tons, up 53 percent over the previous week and 22 percent from the prior four-week average. An agency report says Mexico was a big buyer of U.S. corn, purchasing 762,400 metric tons, followed by Colombia and Japan. Exports during the week were 483,700 tons, down six percent week-to-week and the lowest since the marketing year began on September 1. Soybean sales jumped to 1.38 million metric tons during the week, one percent above the previous week and 43 percent over the four-week average. That’s also the largest amount since the marketing year began. China was the largest buyer at 1.17 million tons. Soybean exports hit a marketing-year high at 2.38 million tons. Wheat sales dropped 43 percent from the prior week.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday October 31, 2023 |


Biden, Cabinet, Heading to Rural America President Joe Biden will travel to Minnesota to lead his Administration's Investing in Rural America Event Series. Over the course of two weeks, President Biden, Cabinet members, and Senior Administration Officials will barnstorm across the country. The events will promote investments in climate-smart agriculture, bringing new revenue to farms, increased economic development in rural towns and communities and more opportunity throughout the country, according to the White House. During the Event Series, President Biden and leaders across the Administration will travel to rural communities across the country. This includes rural communities leveraging Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding to support critical infrastructure such as high-speed internet, safe roads and bridges, modern wastewater systems, clean drinking water, and reliable and affordable electricity. Beyond the Minnesota visit with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Vilsack will also speak at the National FFA convention this week in Indianapolis. Other administration officials will travel to Wisconsin, Michigan, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Washington State, Oregon and Georgia, among other states. *********************************************************************************** September Milk Production Down Slightly USDA’s latest Milk Production report shows production in the 24 major states during September totaled 17.5 billion pounds, down slightly from September 2022. August revised production, at 18.1 billion pounds, was down 0.7 percent from August 2022. The August revision represented a decrease of 73 million pounds or 0.4 percent from last month's preliminary production estimate. Production per cow in the 24 major States averaged 1,960 pounds for September, three pounds above September 2022. The number of milk cows on farms in the 24 major States was 8.91 million head, 16,000 head less than September 2022, and 2,000 head less than August 2023. Milk production in the United States during the July - September quarter totaled 56.1 billion pounds, down 0.7 percent from the July - September quarter last year. The average number of milk cows in the United States during the quarter was 9.38 million head, 41,000 head less than the April - June quarter, and 33,000 head less than the same period last year. *********************************************************************************** $3 Million Available for Producers Impacted by 2022 Natural Disasters The Department of Agriculture will provide more than $3 billion to commodity and specialty crop producers impacted by natural disasters in 2022. Eligible impacted producers can apply for financial assistance through the Emergency Relief Program 2022. The program will help offset the financial impacts of crop yield and value losses from qualifying disasters in 2022. Farm Service Agency Administrator Zach Ducheneaux (DOO-sheh-know) says, “2022 was another year of weather-related challenges — for some, the third consecutive year or more in a row.” ERP 2022 covers losses to crops, trees, bushes and vines due to qualifying, calendar year 2022 natural disaster events, including wildfires, hurricanes, floods, derechos, excessive heat, tornadoes, winter storms, freeze –including a polar vortex, smoke exposure, excessive moisture, qualifying drought and related conditions. Producers can apply for ERP 2022 starting October 31, (today). The application deadline has not yet been determined and will be announced at a later date. *********************************************************************************** Branstad, Westman to Receive USMEF Awards Terry Branstad, former U.S. ambassador to China and longtime governor of Iowa, has been selected to receive the U.S. Meat Export Federation's Michael J. Mansfield Award. USMEF established this award in recognition of the U.S. Senate majority leader and ambassador to Japan, whose five decades of government service advanced U.S. trade relations throughout the world. Bill Westman will receive the USMEF Distinguished Service Award. This award honors outstanding figures in the red meat industry who exemplify the exceptional, individual dedication responsible for the federation's success. Westman had a 29-year career with the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, served as senior vice president of international affairs for the North American Meat Institute and is now president of William Westman and Associates LLC, a boutique consulting firm specializing in agricultural trade policy, export market development, and strategic planning. The awards will be presented November 9, at the USMEF Strategic Planning Conference in New Orleans. *********************************************************************************** Syngenta Group Recognized as Top Agriculture Employer Syngenta Group was again recognized as one of the globe's top five leading employers in the 2023 Science Careers Top Employers Survey. Syngenta Group employs 59,000 people across more than 100 countries and works towards the challenging goal of feeding the eight billion people on Earth. A Syngenta spokesperson says, "We are excited that Syngenta Group is again being named as the #1 agricultural employer." Recently, Syngenta Seeds held a grand opening for its R&D Innovation Center in Malta, Illinois, which joins a connected, modern ecosystem of more than 150 Syngenta R&D and production sites worldwide and exemplifies the company's $1.48 billion USD annual investment globally. Syngenta Group, registered in Shanghai, China and with its management headquarters in Switzerland, includes four business units – Syngenta Crop Protection, headquartered in Switzerland, Syngenta Seeds, headquartered in the United States, ADAMA headquartered in Israel, and Syngenta Group China. *********************************************************************************** Weekly Gas and Diesel Prices Fall Again The nation's average gasoline price fell 5.3 cents last week to $3.45 per gallon, according to GasBuddy. The national average is down 36.3 cents from a month ago and 27.4 cents per gallon lower than a year ago. The national average diesel price fell 3.4 cents last week and is $4.43 per gallon—86 cents lower than one year ago. GasBuddy's Patrick De Haan says, "The West Coast has been home to some of the largest declines, with California seeing an impressive 80-cent drop in the last four weeks, dispelling the myth that prices don't fall as fast as they go up." De Haan says the national average gas price could drop another 10-20 cents in the weeks ahead. However, any jolt in the Middle East still holds the potential to disrupt current trends, according to De Haan. Oil markets have struggled to hold onto any momentum in recent weeks, and demand declined one percent last week.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday October 31, 2023 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets Keeping with the Halloween theme on Tuesday, the Federal Reserve will begin a two-day meeting and may spook markets with a quarter-percent rate hike on Wednesday, but general expectations are for no change this time around. At 7:30 a.m. CDT Tuesday, the U.S. Labor Department will release its employment cost index for the third quarter, followed by a report of U.S. consumer confidence at 9 a.m. Weather Very cold temperatures continue to fill in east of the Rockies on Tuesday, producing widespread frosts and freezes for all but the Southeast. A small system is moving through the Midwest, producing areas of light, but briefly intense snow.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday October 30, 2023 |


Top 5 Things to Watch - More Wheat Winners, Weather From North to South 1. Cold hits Northern harvest: With some areas of North America already seeing snow and frigid conditions, crop harvest in those areas gets trickier. We will examine the results of weather that turn combines into ersatz snowblowers. Mike and Chandra Langseth, one of our View From the Cab families, have already been preparing for the challenge. 2. South American crop conditions: El Nino usually means drier weather for much of Brazil. But "drier" in an area that normally receives too much rainfall this time of year may not be as bad for the crop as one thinks. We're watching how much conditions will influence the current crop and prospects for the safrina (second-crop) corn. 3. Fertilizers and wars: We've written quite a bit in the past about how the war in the Black Sea affects fertilizer shipments out of Russia and other areas. As it happens, Israel is a fairly important supplier of phosphates. We'll be keeping an eye on all those outlying influences, as well as our usual reporting on fertilizer prices, found in our DTN Retail Fertilizer Trends column. DTN subscribers can see even more detailed price information in their Fuels and Fertilizers or Fertilizers segments, depending on their specific product. 4. More wheat winners: We'll continue to feature the winners in the National Wheat Foundation 2023 contest. Now in its eighth year, the NWF's National Wheat Yield Contest is designed to encourage wheat growers to strive for high yield, quality and profit while trying new and innovative management strategies. DTN/Progressive Farmer is the official media outlet of the competition. Contest partners include: John Deere, WestBred, BASF, U.S. Wheat Associates, Croplan, Eastman, The McGregor Companies, AgriMaxx, Ardent Mills, BushelFarm, Dyna-Gro, GrainSense, Limagrain Cereal Seeds, Mennel, North Carolina Small Grain Growers Association, Ohio Corn&Wheat, PlainsGold, UniSouth Genetics, UPL, Grain Craft, Grow Pro, Kansas Wheat, Michigan Wheat, Miller Milling, North Dakota Mill, and Northern Crops Institute. 5. Economic reports to watch: (All times CDT) Monday -- USDA's weekly grain export inspections is set for 10 a.m., followed by Crop Progress at 3 p.m. Tuesday -- Happy Halloween! The Federal Reserve begins its two-day meeting that may spook markets with a quarter-percent rate hike on Wednesday. The U.S. Labor Department releases its employment cost index for the third quarter at 7:30 a.m., followed by the U.S. consumer confidence report at 9 a.m. Wednesday -- We'll check manufacturing indices from around the world, with the U.S. index due out at 9 a.m. The U.S. Energy Department's weekly report of energy inventories follows at 9:30 a.m. At 1 p.m., the Federal Reserve announces its decision on interest rates. At 2 p.m., NASS releases its monthly report on Fats and Oils. Thursday -- USDA releases its weekly export sales report at 7:30 a.m., the same time as U.S. weekly jobless claims, a report on third-quarter U.S. productivity and an update of the U.S. Drought Monitor. U.S. factory orders for September will be out at 9 a.m., followed by the U.S. Energy Department's weekly report of natural gas storage at 9:30 a.m. Friday -- We wrap up the week with the U.S. Labor Department nonfarm payrolls and the unemployment rate for October, hitting at 7:30 a.m.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday October 30, 2023 |


Monday Watch List Markets Back from the weekend, traders will catch up on the latest news from Israel and Ukraine, as well as the latest weather forecasts. USDA's weekly grain export inspections report is set for 10 a.m. CDT, followed by Crop Progress at 3 p.m. when USDA will post its first winter wheat crop ratings for the new season. Weather A strong cold front moved through most of the Plains and Midwest over the weekend, spreading areas of heavy rain and some snow. The front will continue into the Southeast Monday with weakening rain showers. Very cold air filtering in behind the front will cause widespread frosts and freezes for the bulk of the country by midweek. A disturbance following behind the front will bring light snows to the Midwest tonight and Tuesday.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday October 27, 2023 |


Iowa Delegation Wants Reduction on Fertilizer Duties Iowa Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst are calling on the Department of Commerce to lower the countervailing duties on phosphate fertilizers from Morocco. The push comes from the Court of International Trade’s recent remand of DOC’s subsidy calculation. “We ask that Commerce carefully consider and follow the Court’s decision in Commerce’s recalculation of the subsidy amount, both in its final determination in the investigation and its administrative review,” the Iowa delegation said in a letter. “Reducing the subsidy rate would provide welcome relief for U.S. farm suppliers and their customers, who are America’s family farmers.” Grassley and his colleagues cited promising preliminary findings from the DOC on potentially reducing the subsidy rate by about 5.5 percent. Since the Biden administration boosted duties on Moroccan phosphate fertilizers, their supply across the U.S. has dropped, placing an undue financial burden on farmers. The move drove already high input costs up even further. *********************************************************************************** Rabobank: Global Fertilizer Market Set to Recover A recent report from Rabobank says the outlook for global fertilizer markets is positive in the coming years. However, there are some challenges and potential risks to monitor. The global fertilizer market is recovering, with an estimated increase in usage of around three percent this year after a seven percent drop in 2022 because of significant market complications. The Rabobank Affordability Index shows a positive outlook for fertilizer purchasing in 2024, with an expected increase of almost five percent next year. The Farm Input Division at Rabobank says nitrogen growth grew two percent this year, phosphate 3.9 percent, and potash was up five percent. There is a potential impact from the Israel-Hamas War as Israel is a sizable supplier of phosphate and potash. Israel accounts for about three percent of the world’s phosphate exports and eight percent of the global potash supply. Currently, there is sufficient availability and alternative supply sources. *********************************************************************************** Farm Groups Applaud More OFF Act Sponsors Farm groups like Competitive Markets Action, the Organization for Competitive Markets, R-CALF USA, and others applauded seven new sponsors of the Opportunities for Fairness in Farming Act. The groups say the OFF Act would restore accountability and transparency to agricultural checkoff programs. In total, the OFF Act now has more bipartisan support than in any previous Congress, including 15 co-sponsors in the House and six in the Senate. “The OFF Act is backed by more than 20,000 American family farmers who are sick and tired of seeing their own checkoff dollars put farmers out of business,” says Representative Nancy Mace (R-SC). The groups say recent debate over the 2024 Ag Appropriations Bill has increased interest in oversight of the 22 government-mandated checkoff programs. They have long been plagued by accusations of corruption and misuse of funds. They also say the new bill sponsors show that momentum is rising for their reform. *********************************************************************************** Alltech Survey Finds Optimism Regarding Sustainable Food System Agri-food leaders around the world believe the industry can work together to create a better, more sustainable food system. That’s according to the Alltech Sustainability Insights report. “Our goal was to listen to the voices of our industry and its stakeholders and develop a robust, future-facing program of insights that are relevant, ambitious, and genuinely impactful,” says Tara McCarthy, global vice president of EST at Alltech. Some of the findings include four out of five respondents agreeing that climate change will make food production more difficult, but perspectives differ across regions. Most respondents agree that regulation is putting pressure on all areas of the supply chain. “Our industry is navigating extraordinary times, but the opportunities for positive impact are even more unprecedented,” says Dr. Mark Lyons, president and CEO of Alltech. “Imagine the possibilities of working toward shared goals of providing nutrition for all, revitalizing economies, and replenishing our natural resources.” *********************************************************************************** NCC Elects New Officers The National Chicken Council has installed the four officers that will guide the organization through 2024. The installation took place at NCC’s 68th Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. Randy Day, a retired CEO and special adviser to the Perdue Farms Board of Directors, will serve as the 2023-2024 Chairman. Randy led Perdue’s senior leadership team before retiring as CEO after 43 years. He began a career with Perdue Farms in 1980, holding various positions of increasing responsibility in the company’s two operating divisions. Peco Foods Chief Operations Officer Bill Griffith will serve as Vice Chairman, bringing more than 25 years of management experience in the food industry. David Jackson, COO of Simmons Foods, is the NCC Secretary-Treasurer. Mike Brown was also elected to his 13th term as NCC President. “I look forward to working with the new officers to continue advancing the industry’s interests and achieve our shared goals,” Brown says. *********************************************************************************** Ethanol Production Trending Higher The Energy Information Administration reports that ethanol production rose to its highest level in two months, and inventories rose during the seven days ending on October 20. Ethanol production increased to an average of 1.04 million barrels a day. That’s up from 1.03 million the previous week and the highest level since August 18. In the Midwest, output narrowly rose to 987,000 barrels a day from 985,000 the previous week. That’s also the highest in the Midwest since mid-August. East Coast production rose from 10,000 to 12,000 barrels a day, while West Coast output improved from 9,000 the prior week to 10,000 barrels a day. Gulf Coast production was unchanged at 17,000 barrels a day, while the Rocky Mountain region was the only drop, falling by 1,000 barrels a day to 13,000. Ethanol stockpiles through the week of October 20 rose to 21.39 million barrels, up from 21.1 million a week earlier.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday October 27, 2023 |


Friday Watch List Markets A report on U.S. personal incomes and consumer spending in September will be out at 7:30 a.m. Friday, the same time as the personal consumer expenditures index for September, the Federal Reserve's preferred inflation indicator. Traders continue to keep a close watch on South American weather as row crop planting progresses. Weather A cold front is starting to move south and east through the middle of the country and that is bringing some very cold air into the Plains and western Midwest. The front will light up with areas of showers and thunderstorms from Texas to the Great Lakes throughout the day, which could be heavy again in Texas. Winds behind the front are breezy.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday October 26, 2023 |


AFBF Congratulates Johnson on Speaker Election American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall welcomed the election of Representative Mike Johnson, a Louisiana Republican, to be Speaker of the House. Johnson was the fourth Republican nominee for the post following the ousting of former speaker Kevin McCarthy. Duvall of AFBF says, "Speaker Johnson has a strong history of supporting America's farmers and ranchers, which has earned him the 'Friend of Farm Bureau' award multiple times." Johnson represents Louisiana's 4th Congressional district, encompassing much of the state's western half, and was first elected to Congress in 2016. Johnson calls the election an "honor of a lifetime" while proclaiming, "We will restore trust in this body.” Duvall of Farm Bureau adds,” America’s families are relying on Speaker Johnson, and Congress, to focus on pressing needs, including completion of fiscal year 2024 appropriations and passage of a farm bill.” *********************************************************************************** U.S. Household Food Insecurity Increased in 2022 New research from USDA finds that in 2022, 12.8 percent of U.S. households were food insecure at some time during the year. Food insecure means they had difficulty providing enough food for all their members because of a lack of resources. The prevalence of food insecurity in 2022 was statistically significantly higher than the 10.2 percent recorded in 2021 and the 10.5 percent in 2020. Very low food security is a more severe form of food insecurity, and the 2022 prevalence of very low food security was 5.1 percent, statistically significantly higher than the 3.8 percent in 2021 and the 3.9 percent in 2020. In response, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says, “The 2022 Household Food Security in the United States report is a sobering reminder that, while the vast majority of Americans are able to affordably feed themselves and their families, too many of our neighbors struggle to put healthy food on the table.” *********************************************************************************** USDA Publishes New Organic Livestock and Poultry Standards Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Wednesday previewed the Organic Livestock and Poultry Standards final rule. USDA says the new rule establishes clear, strong and consistent standards for organic livestock and poultry production, levels the playing field for organic livestock farmers, ranchers and businesses and promotes fairer, more competitive markets for their products, while providing consumers with more transparency about their purchases. Vilsack says, "USDA is creating a fairer, more competitive and transparent food system." Strong interest from consumers and the organic industry drove the change. USDA encouraged the public to comment, and USDA received more than 40,000 written comments, all of which were carefully reviewed to inform drafting of this final rule. USDA also held a listening session in August 2022 to hear public comments on the proposed rule. The final rule outlines standards for six key areas, including outdoor space requirements, indoor and outdoor living conditions, poultry stocking densities, preventative health care, physical alterations, and transport, handling and slaughter. *********************************************************************************** Bill to Support Organic Dairy Farmers Senator Tammy Baldwin introduced legislation to support organic dairy farmers and help them address economic challenges like feed shortages and increased costs. The Organic Dairy Assistance, Investment, and Reporting Yields Act of 2023 will increase investments in the organic dairy industry to ensure resiliency and longevity and works to improve data collection for organic milk production to enhance price accuracy and transparency. The Wisconsin Democrat says, "In the face of recent headwinds, I'm committed to delivering the support our dairies need to keep their operations open for generations to come." The legislation would extend emergency assistance to organic dairy farmers facing losses and invest $25 million annually in dairy infrastructure investments. Additionally, the bill directs USDA to the viability of an organic safety net program, which would get aid to farmers faster when disasters hit in the future. Known as the O DAIRY Act of 2023, the bill has broad support from the organic dairy industry, including the Organic Farmers Association. *********************************************************************************** NCGA Launches 2024 Scholarship Program The National Corn Growers Association Wednesday announced the launch of its annual scholarship program for the 2024 academic year. The program is designed to support students who are passionate about agriculture and making a positive impact in their community. NCGA will award scholarships to deserving students who demonstrate academic excellence, leadership and community involvement. The scholarships are open to students attending technical school, undergraduate universities, and pursuing graduate-level studies. NCGA Membership & Consumer Engagement Action Team Chair Dan Nerud says, “We believe that education is critical in shaping the future of the agriculture industry, and we are committed to providing opportunities for students to achieve their academic and career goals To apply for the scholarship, students must complete an online application. Submissions are now being accepted, and the deadline to complete them is January 31, 2024. All eligible students are encouraged to apply. For more information and to apply, visit NCGA.com/scholarships. *********************************************************************************** NCBA 2024 Environmental Stewardship Award Nominations Open Nominations are now open for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Environmental Stewardship Award. Established in 1991, the Environmental Stewardship Award Program annually recognizes outstanding stewardship practices and conservation achievements of cattle producers across the nation. NCBA President Todd Wilkinson says, "This award celebrates the innovative efforts our industry is undertaking to protect the environment, engage with communities and remain profitable." Any individual, group or organization is eligible to nominate one individual or business raising or feeding cattle. Individuals and families may not nominate themselves, although nominees may be involved in preparing the application. Past nominees are encouraged to resubmit applications; however, previous winners may not reapply. Along with a typed application, one nomination letter and three letters of recommendation highlighting the nominee's leadership in conservation are required, and the deadline is March 8, 2024. Nominees do not have to be members of NCBA but should support the objectives of their state and national organization. For more information, visit environmentalstewardship.org.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday October 26, 2023 |


Thursday Watch List Markets USDA's weekly export sales report is due out at 7:30 a.m. CDT, the same time as U.S. weekly jobless claims, durable goods orders for September, third-quarter U.S. GDP and an update of the U.S. Drought Monitor. The U.S. Energy Department's weekly report of natural gas storage is set for 9:30 a.m. and traders will continue to keep an eye on the latest weather developments, especially in South America. Weather The zone of precipitation that has been active across the middle of the country all week continues on Thursday with areas of heavy rain from Texas into the Midwest and heavy snow in the Northern Plains, though a little farther south than previous days. Very cold temperatures are pouring into the Northern Plains and will sweep south and east going into next week.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday October 25, 2023 |


USDA Boosts Investments in International Trade Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says USDA is providing $2.3 billion to help American producers maintain and develop markets for their commodities. Some of the funds will use U.S. commodities to boost international food aid. A request for the funding initially came from the Senate Ag Committee’s leadership, so USDA will be utilizing funds from the Commodity Credit Corporation to address challenges related to trade and food insecurity impacting U.S. farmers and the international community. USDA will use $1.3 billion for the Regional Agricultural Promotion Program and support for specialty crop industries to diversify export markets. One billion will go to help address global hunger. “The Commodity Credit Corporation continues addressing the needs of American producers as significant and unpredictable challenges arise,” Vilsack says. “Those challenges impact the international commodity markets and global food insecurity in the face of an ongoing conflict.” The goal is to strengthen the U.S. position in global markets. *********************************************************************************** Ag Responds Positively to Funds for Market Development The American Soybean Association joined other groups in applauding the USDA’s efforts to strengthen U.S. trade and food aid. USDA announced a total of $2.3 billion in funds going toward those efforts. “Having these funds to sufficiently support export promotion programs and address hunger are things ASA and soy growers have consistently championed,” says ASA president Daryl Cates. Jim Mulhern, President and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation, says, “If these funds are distributed to underfunded sectors like dairy, this will put us in a position to be more competitive globally.” Dan Halstrom, president and CEO of the U.S. Meat Export Federation, says these new investments in foreign market development are “very timely and much appreciated.” Ryan LeGrand, President and CEO of the U.S. Grains Council, says, “We look forward to expanding exports of corn, sorghum, barley, and their co-products and are grateful for this new source of funding.” *********************************************************************************** USDA Extends Deadline for Milk Loss Assistance Program The USDA is extending the application deadline for the Milk Loss Program to Monday, October 30. The agency wants to allow more time for eligible dairy farmers to apply for much-needed weather-related disaster recovery assistance. The program compensates dairy producers who dumped or removed milk without compensation from the commercial milk market in 2020, 2021, and 2022 because of qualifying weather events. Eligible causes of loss also include consequences of those weather events, such as power outages, impassable roads, and infrastructure losses. “We recognize that MLP benefits are critical to the financial recovery of dairy operations significantly impacted by weather-related disasters that inhibited their ability to deliver or store their milk,” says FSA Administrator Zach Ducheneaux. “We know that dairy farming is a 24/7, 365-day commitment and hope this MLP application deadline extension ensures that all dairy farmers in need of assistance will now have adequate time to apply for help.” *********************************************************************************** Two Positive HPAI Cases in Iowa The Iowa Ag Department and the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service have confirmed two positive cases of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza. One of the sites is a commercial turkey flock, and the other is a mixed species backyard flock. Both agencies remind commercial and backyard owners to prevent contact between their flocks and all wild birds. Sick birds or unusual deaths among birds must be reported to state and federal officials. Other indications may include lethargy or no appetite, decreasing egg production - soft, thin-shelled, or misshapen eggs - swelling in the head or eyelid area, difficulty breathing or coughing, sneezing, falling down, and diarrhea. If a producer in any state suspects HPAI in a flock, they should contact their veterinarian immediately and their state ag department. The CDC says the recent viral detection in birds doesn’t pose a public health concern, and it’s safe to eat poultry products. *********************************************************************************** Student Leaders Prepping for National FFA Convention FFA members and supporters from across the country will celebrate agriculture and agricultural education next week at the 96th National FFA Convention and Expo in Indianapolis. The time-honored tradition will take place November 1-4. Over 65,000 FFA members from the U.S., Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands are expected to attend. The general sessions will take place at Lucas Oil Stadium. Convention events begin on the first day when Expo attendees can explore various career pathways in agriculture and attend leadership workshops. FFA members and advisors can also take their skills to the next level in student and teacher workshops. They’ll hear from industry leaders, motivational speakers, and many other guests. Members will get to discuss their agricultural projects on the new Student Showcase Stage. Service will be front and center at the event as members will participate in service projects at the convention center and various sites in Indianapolis. ********************************************************************************** IA Ag Secretary on EPA’s Herbicide Strategy Mike Naig, Iowa’s Secretary of Agriculture, submitted comments to the Environmental Protection Agency raising serious concerns about its draft Endangered Species Act herbicide strategy. Iowa is a national leader in crop production, so the secretary submitted written comments from the perspective of Iowa farmers and the state’s agriculture community. Naig says he appreciates the agency’s efforts to comply with the Endangered Species Act while still allowing farmers access to crop protection tools. However, he says the proposed strategy is too complex and would be an incredible burden on farmers and pesticide applicators. He also says the EPA must consider the economic impact of the proposed strategy and conduct a thorough economic analysis. “Farmers have proven time and again that they can be productive while also setting conservation records,” Naig says. “This burdensome strategy will jeopardize both those accomplishments.” EPA should also not rush the process to reach a final rule.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday October 25, 2023 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets A report on U.S. new home sales in September will be out at 9:00 a.m. CDT, followed by the U.S. Energy Department's weekly report of energy inventories at 9:30 a.m. At 2 p.m., USDA releases its monthly cold storage report. Also, the Bank of Canada is expected to hold rates steady at 5% Wednesday. Traders continue to have interest in South American weather reports. Weather Active weather continues Wednesday with widespread areas of showers from the Plains into the Midwest due to several features and disturbances in the area. Cold air is filling into the Northern Plains, leading to heavy snow across Montana and North Dakota throughout Wednesday, continuing into Thursday. Some windy spots are possible as well. Heavy rain in parts of the Southern Plains may lead to flooding.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday October 24, 2023 |


U.S. Soybean Meal Exports Expected to Reach Record High USDA’s Foreign Agriculture Service expects record soybean meal exports for marketing year 2022-23, at an estimated 13.2 million tons. USDA says increased soybean crush to supply feedstock oil for growing U.S. biomass-based diesel production is behind the expansion. The new record came from substantial expansion in shipments to the European Union and Vietnam as drought in Argentina, usually the world's largest soybean meal exporter, severely reduced its exportable supplies. Additionally, U.S. soybean meal exports to the Philippines, Colombia, and Mexico held firm despite a strong dollar. In marketing year 2023/24, U.S. soybean meal exports are forecast to reach a new record of 13.9 million tons. U.S. export prices are likely to remain competitive with South American supplies as the United States continues to produce more soybean meal than will be needed domestically, ensuring growing supplies are available to the global market. In the four previous marketing years, exports were relatively flat, hovering over 12 million tons per year. *********************************************************************************** Study Offers Farmer Viewpoint on Precision Tech A new study from South Dakota State University investigates farmers’ viewpoints on the most influential factor behind adopting new technologies and practices: profitability. In the study, researchers highlighted eight widely adopted precision ag technologies, including auto-steering and guidance, automatic section control, satellite/aerial imagery, unmanned aerial vehicle/drone imagery, variable rate fertilizer application, variable rate seed and application, variable rate pesticide application and variable rate irrigation application. The most widely adopted precision ag technologies include auto-steering and guidance, which fit under the georeferencing technology category. Satellite imagery was the next most widely adopted technology, with nearly 60 percent of all farmers having used it. Drones and unmanned aerial vehicles fall under a similar category to satellite imagery. However, drones are much less prevalent, with an adoption rate of 26 percent. To further facilitate precision ag adoption, the research team noted that financial support during the first few years of adopting a new technology could be beneficial. *********************************************************************************** USDA Conducting Sheep Study in 2024 USDA's National Animal Health Monitoring System conducts a national sheep study approximately every ten years, and will do so again next year. The Sheep 2024 Study will support industry groups and research efforts with new information on sheep health and management. The study consists of two phases and includes biological sampling and two questionnaires. A random selection of almost 5,000 sheep operations located in specific states will be asked to participate. While participation is voluntary, it is important to obtain high-quality data. The National Agricultural Statistics Service will contact selected participants in January and February 2024. Participants will be asked to provide their contact information to complete the second phase of the study, which begins in April 2024 and continues through July 2024. Information from the study will help develop new treatments, controls and prevention mechanisms for sheep diseases. The results will also guide future research and education. *********************************************************************************** PPP loans provided $5.8 billion to U.S. farm sector in 2020 Researchers at USDA’s Economic Research Service estimate that the Paycheck Protection Program provided $5.8 billion to the farm sector in 2020. The PPP was a non-USDA assistance program for small businesses adversely affected by the pandemic. Total Federal Government payments to the farm sector in 2020 were $45.6 billion, meaning that PPP payments were 13 percent of total payments. The Small Business Administration administered the PPP, providing forgivable loans to eligible small businesses and certain other entities to allow them to cover some of their payroll costs. The PPP loans were forgiven in full if the loan was used on eligible expenses, including at least 60 percent on payroll expenses. Agricultural producers in California were the largest recipients of PPP loans at $1.1 billion, followed by Washington at $285 million. California leads the nation in the value of agricultural production and has the highest hired labor expense among states. *********************************************************************************** Canada Announces Wildfire, Drought Support for Farmers As U.S. farmers faced drought conditions this year, so too did producers from Canada. Recently, Canada announced support for farmers and ranchers who are dealing with extraordinary costs due to drought conditions and wildfires. Canada announced C$219 million of support available through the AgriRecovery Framework. The funding will help them recover and ensure they have the tools they need to continue to be resilient in the face of natural disasters and extreme weather events. The announcement follows the August designation of specific regions for the Livestock Tax Deferral for 2023 due to extreme weather conditions. The Livestock Tax Deferral provision allows livestock producers who are forced to sell all or part of their breeding herd due to drought or excess moisture to defer a portion of their income from sales until the following tax year. This month, Farm Credit Canada also announced a new Replacement Heifer Program to help Canadian cattle producers in maintaining or expanding their herds. *********************************************************************************** Weaker Demand Driving Fuel Prices Lower Average gas prices declined again for the fifth straight week, with gasoline dropping 5.2 cents last week to $3.50 a gallon, according to GasBuddy. The national average is down 33.2 cents from a month ago and 26.8 cents per gallon lower than a year ago. However, the average diesel price increased 3.8 cents last week to $4.48 per gallon, yet 82 cents lower than one year ago. GasBuddy’s Patrick De Haan says, “The national average is on the cusp of falling to the lowest level since March, something that could happen this week.” Gasoline demand continues to weaken as the calendar marches towards winter, coupled with cheaper winter gasoline and refinery issues that have faded. For now, that trend will likely mean further declines in the weeks ahead, before prices bottom out between Thanksgiving and Christmas. The most common U.S. gas law week stood at $3.29 per gallon, while demand saw a 1.8 percent decrease.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday October 24, 2023 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets There are no official reports for Tuesday, but several earnings reports will get traders' attention, including reports from ADM, Alphabet (Google), GM, Microsoft and others. Traders are also interested in South American weather, rain in this week's U.S. forecast and news from the wars in Israel and Ukraine. Weather The setup for heavy precipitation continues in the middle of the country Tuesday with remnants of a tropical storm moving through Texas into Missouri throughout the day. A front from Nebraska to Wisconsin is also an area that could see precipitation but is the dividing line of colder air to the north and warm air to the south. Another, stronger cold front is moving through the Canadian Prairies, where snow is common today.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday October 23, 2023 |


Record-Low Mississippi River Level at Memphis The Mississippi River gauge hit a record-low water level on October 11 at Memphis, Tennessee. The all-time low hit -11.52 feet. It surpasses the previous low of -10.81 feet set in October 2022. The weekly USDA Grain Transportation Report says records were also broken on the Ohio River at Cairo, Illinois. That gauge read 4.5 feet, the lowest river level since 1901. Draft and tow-size restrictions are in place along the entire Mississippi River system. Despite some recent rains, more rain will be needed to raise water levels enough to improve the navigation conditions. Water levels are projected to rise by late October and early November, but navigation conditions aren’t expected to improve before late December or early January. Despite the navigation issues, the recent St. Louis spot freight rate fell for the third week in a row to $23.06 per ton, 68 percent below the same week last year. *********************************************************************************** Big Four Packers Hit with Another Suit The four largest meatpackers were hit by a new price-fixing lawsuit from a group of small food distributors. The suit was filed on October 9 in the U.S. District Court in Northern Illinois, accusing the Packers of fixing prices for years. The plaintiffs say the price-fixing dates back to at least January 1, 2015, and includes Cargill, JBS, Tyson Foods, and National Beef Packing Company. The distributors say the Big Four “exploited their market power in this highly concentrated market by conspiring to limit the supply of beef sold to purchasers in the U.S. wholesale market, which resulted in higher prices paid by the plaintiffs.” They also claim the alleged scheme caused financial harm at least through the end of 2021. “As a result, the plaintiffs paid higher prices for beef than they otherwise would have paid in a competitive market,” the lawsuit says while seeking relief under the Sherman Act. *********************************************************************************** Fourth Consider Corn Challenge Winners Announced The National Corn Growers Association announced the winners of the Consider Corn Challenge IV. Four winners were chosen for their unique ways to improve a product or process using feed corn to produce biobased materials. “Corn’s unique versatility can be witnessed in the showcase of their diverse approaches and applications,” says Sarah McKay, director of market development for NCGA. The winners include Penn State University, whose technology uses both corn starch and corn oil for applications in energy storage in lithium batteries. Nexceris has developed a new sugar-to-chemical process that uses renewable dextrose to make industrial chemicals instead of oil or gas. Maizly has developed the world’s first corn-based milk alternative called Maizly Original. Bluestem Biosciences developed a new yeast biology for the sustainable anaerobic production of 3-HP acids. “The Consider Corn Challenge fosters collaborations between corn farmers and industry, paving the way for innovative products and applications,” McKay adds. *********************************************************************************** Farm Bureau Women Sharpen Communication Skills Fifteen farm and ranch women leaders graduated from the fall session of the Women’s Communication Boot Camp hosted by the American Farm Bureau Federation. The agricultural leaders completed an intensive four-day course that featured sessions focused on public speaking, working with the media, and messaging. Program graduates will use this training to support Farm Bureau’s priority issues. This includes participating in local media opportunities, sharing information with elected officials, and joining social media campaigns spotlighting modern agriculture. “Agriculture needs strong advocates who are willing to step up and share their stories at the local, state, and national level,” says Isabella Chism (CHIZ-um), Chair of the Women’s Leadership Committee. “The Farm Bureau women leaders who completed this training are poised to creatively use their skills in a broad range of settings.” The program has a total of 284 graduates over 19 years and is open to all women involved in Farm Bureau. *********************************************************************************** Smaller Operating Loans Slow Ag Lending Activity Farm lending activity slowed further in the third quarter alongside a drop in operating loan volumes. The number of new non-real estate farm loans was flat compared to a year ago, while the average size shrank almost 20 percent. The amount of operating loans over $1 million dropped notably. The Kansas City Fed says lending has softened alongside significant increases in farm loan interest rates that have put considerable upward pressure on financing costs. The farm economy has moderated in recent months as profit margins thinned alongside lower commodity prices and elevated expenses. Credit needs have increased for many borrowers because of high input costs, but strong liquidity built up in recent years has also allowed many producers to supplement additional loan advances. Higher financing costs have prompted farmers with enough liquidity to limit debt usage, but any softening in farm finances could reduce reserves and increase loan demand. *********************************************************************************** September Milk Production Up Slightly Milk production in the 24 major dairy states during September totaled 17.5 billion pounds, up slightly from September 2022. August revised production, at 18.1 billion pounds, was 0.7 percent below August 2022. The August revision represented a decrease of 73 million pounds or 0.4 percent from last month’s preliminary production estimate. Production per cow in the 24 major states averaged 1,960 pounds for September, three pounds above September 2022. The number of milk cows on farms in the 24 major states was 8.91 million head, 16,000 head less than in September 2022 and 2,000 head less than August 2023. Milk production in the July through September quarter totaled 56.1 billion pounds, down 0.7 percent from the July through September quarter in 2022. The average number of milk cows in the United States during the quarter was 9.38 million head, 43,000 head less than April through June 2023 quarter, and 33,000 head less than 2022.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday October 23, 2023 |


Monday Watch List Markets Back from the weekend, traders will keep an eye on events in Israel and Ukraine and keep tabs on harvest progress with rain expected in the U.S. this week. USDA's weekly grain export inspections report is at 10 a.m. CDT, followed by Crop Progress at 3 p.m. Cattle prices will respond to Friday's larger-than-expected placement and on-feed totals. Weather Portions of the Southern Plains, Northern Plains, and Upper Midwest will see scattered rain showers Monday. Areas in western Texas have a risk for flash flooding with areas of heavy rain developing. 1.00-2.00 inches of rain are possible in western Texas throughout Monday and into early Tuesday morning.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday October 20, 2023 |


Ag Groups Urge Caution About Fertilizer Duties The National Corn Growers Association and 62 other ag groups say fertilizer shortages are creating a hardship for U.S. farmers. The groups sent a letter to Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo asking her to consider the current difficulties faced by farmers as she recalculates duties on phosphate fertilizer imported from Morocco. “High costs and limited availability of fertilizer continue to strain family farms across the U.S.,” the groups said. The duties levied on fertilizers have caused some of the top phosphate fertilizer importers to drastically reduce the amount brought in. The letter comes after the U.S. Court of International Trade ordered the agency to reconsider its previous decision on recalculating the duties. The letter says duties levied on phosphate imports combined with other factors have led to substantial price volatility over the past three years as prices increased 230 percent from 2020 to 2022. A determination will be announced on December 13. *********************************************************************************** World Dairy Summit Celebrates the Future The first International Dairy Federation World Dairy Summit held in the U.S. in over 30 years recently concluded in Chicago. Over 1,240 dairy leaders from 55 countries celebrated the IDF’s 120th anniversary and highlighted dairy innovations, market opportunities, and contributions to global sustainability and food security. “U. S. Dairy is honored to have hosted this momentous IDF WDS 2023, bringing dairy’s premier annual gathering to the U.S. for the first time in over three decades,” says U.S. IDF Co-Chair Nick Gardner. Summit leadership emphasized bringing the global dairy sector together, releasing a declaration statement calling on governments, global organizations, and the world’s food and beverage sector to support “Being Dairy.” The summit delivered dynamic programming, including eight main sessions and 21 break-out sessions focused on dairy policy, scientific, and technical issues and insights. “The hard work of the dairy sector produces nutritious food for over six billion consumers,” Gardner says. *********************************************************************************** Early 2023 Hog and Cattle Weights Lagged Behind 2022 Live weights of both hogs and cattle ran below year-earlier weights for the early part of 2023. Hog live weights averaged 284.9 pounds through the week ending on July 8, 2023, compared to 287.3 pounds during the same time in 2022. That’s an average difference of over 2.4 pounds. Lower weights this year are likely because of producer losses caused by high feed costs and low hog prices due to weaker pork demand. Live cattle weights averaged 1,370 pounds through May 20, 2023, 16.25 pounds less than weights over the same period last year. Lower weights are likely caused by numerous factors, including more heifers with lower weights in the slaughter mix due to ongoing drought conditions that discouraged the retention of heifers for breeding. Additionally, feedlot performance was likely affected by adverse weather conditions early in 2023, resulting in lower rates of gain. Hog weights hit year-earlier levels in mid-July. *********************************************************************************** Research Investments Spur New Agricultural Markets The USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture announced an investment of almost $22 million in agricultural economics research. That research will include agricultural markets, international trade, farm labor, consumer behavior and nutrition, food retail, agricultural production, processing, and agricultural policy. NIFA Director Manjit (Man-JEET) Misra says, “The challenges facing the agricultural sector, the production and consumption of food, and management of natural resources and the environment continue to evolve.” The agency chief also says NIFA supports research that investigates the increasing global demands for food production in the face of limited resources and changing climate. “These will have major implications for how we use natural resources, promote healthy diets, invest in science, and foster economic opportunities and quality of life for all Americans,” Misra says in a release. He made the announcement in Colorado during a keynote address at the Global Forum for Rural Advisory Service Annual Meeting in Denver. *********************************************************************************** New Eggnog in Time for the Holidays Organic Valley Cooperative released its limited-time eggnog with a new recipe. It’s made from scratch and coming just in time for the holiday season. The farmer-owned organic co-op calls the new recipe its Organic Reduced Fat Eggnog, which is already available for purchase throughout the country. Milk is sourced from small family farms, as well as the eggs, sugar, nutmeg, and natural flavor. Dairy Processing reports that like all Organic Valley products, the eggnog’s milk comes from dairy farms where the cows are raised without the use of antibiotics, synthetic hormones, toxic pesticides, or GMOs. The company says it heard loud and clear from consumers that eggnog is an important part of their winter traditions, so the co-op came together to work hand-in-hand with their smaller family farmers to make the new eggnog a reality. “We’re excited to introduce this made-from-scratch recipe,” says Jaclyn Cardin, chief brand officer at Organic Valley. *********************************************************************************** Butter Prices Hit Record Highs Butter prices have hit a record high this month as lower production levels create supply constraints heading into the holiday season when demand normally peaks. The USDA says spot butter prices on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange hit a record high at $3.44 a pound last week. August butter production was at the lowest level in almost five years because of tighter milk supplies, fewer imports, and the increased use of cream in making other products. Agriculture Dive says the summer’s heat impacted milk supplies in two ways: the heat caused cows to produce less milk, and consumers demanded more ice cream and other dairy-based products. U.S. butter use has trended higher year-over-year since February, but production hasn’t kept up. Year-to-date domestic use was 8.2 percent higher than last year, while production and imports rose only four percent. USDA says the surge in demand is much higher than is typical.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday October 20, 2023 |


Friday Watch List Markets USDA's cattle on-feed report for October 1 will be out at 2 p.m. Traders will be focused on any new export sales, along with weather in South America, and geopolitical developments from Ukraine or the Middle East. Weather Mostly dry conditions are expected across the Plains and Mississippi Valley Friday with high pressure in control. However, a quick system will move through northern and eastern areas of the Upper Midwest this afternoon and tonight.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday October 19, 2023 |


Arkansas Orders Syngenta to Sell Farmland Arkansas Attorney General Tim Griffin this week ordered Syngenta to divest its ownership of approximately 160 acres in the state. Griffin also imposed a civil penalty of $280,000 for failure to timely report foreign ownership by the Chinese state-owned company. The land in question is owned by Northrup King Seed Co., a subsidiary of Syngenta Seeds, LLC, which is ultimately owned by China National Chemical Company, known as ChemChina. Griffin says, "I am ordering ChemChina, as a 'prohibited foreign-party-controlled business' to divest this land within two years, or I will commence an enforcement action in Craighead County circuit court." Under Arkansas Act 636, state law bars a "prohibited foreign-party-controlled business" from acquiring or holding public or private land in Arkansas either directly or through affiliated parties. In March 2022, Syngenta Seeds, LLC submitted paperwork to USDA regarding the property under the federal Agricultural Foreign Investment Disclosure Act, stating that "ultimately, the foreign person that holds indirectly a significant interest in the person owning the land is from China." *********************************************************************************** APHIS Partnership to Improve Early Detection of Emerging Animal Diseases The Department of Agriculture Wednesday announced a new partnership between the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility and the National Animal Health Laboratory Network. USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service will place five scientists in labs in each of the five National Animal Health Laboratory Network regions to enhance the capabilities and capacities of the network. USDA Chief Veterinarian Dr. Rosemary Sifford says, "Our goal is to ensure all network laboratories are poised to combat the threat of transboundary and emerging diseases to protect our nation's agricultural and food supply systems." USDA selected the following laboratories to participate: Cornell University Animal Health Diagnostic Center, Virginia Tech Animal Laboratory Services, Michigan State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, Arizona Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, and Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory. The scientists will evaluate and develop diagnostics for animal and zoonotic diseases. They will collaborate across the organizations and will be responsible for evaluating local, regional, national, and international threats and ensuring the laboratories have the tools necessary to diagnose emerging threats. *********************************************************************************** Lawmakers Reintroduce the Adopt GREET Act Lawmakers Wednesday announce the reintroduction of the Adopt GREET Act. The legislation is a bipartisan bill directing the Environmental Protection Agency to update its greenhouse gas modeling for ethanol and biodiesel. Republican Senators Chuck Grassley of Iowa, John Thune of South Dakota, and Minnesota Democrat Amy Klobuchar introduced the legislation. Grassley says, "My colleagues and I are working to empower the innovation stemming from our energy and agricultural communities, and get federal emissions testing up to speed with private sector producers." The Adopt GREET Act would require the EPA to apply the Argonne National Lab's "Greenhouse Gases, Regulated Emissions and Energy Use in Transportation" or GREET Model to energy commodities under the Renewable Fuel Standard. It would hold EPA accountable by ensuring the agency updates its modeling every five years. The EPA would need to report to Congress either affirming its modeling is current or explaining why no updates were made. *********************************************************************************** OTA Welcomes Organic Standards Act The Organic Trade Association applauds the introduction of the Continuous Improvement and Accountability in Organic Standards Act. The legislation ensures organic standards continuously evolve and improve and to hold the federal government accountable for keeping up with the needs and expectations of the dynamic organic marketplace. The legislation would amend the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 to provide a streamlined and predictable process to review and revise organic standards implemented by USDA. It would enable the improvement and advancement of organic to forge ahead into the future. OTA CEO and Executive Director Tom Chapman says, "Ensuring continuous improvement for organic is our highest priority in the 2023 Farm Bill, and this legislation goes far to address that objective." The bill requires the USDA to review and revise national organic standards "not less frequently than once every five years." The legislation also highlights the continuation of the established consultation process with the National Organic Standards Board and input from the public. *********************************************************************************** USDA Announces Nearly $50 Million to Strengthen Forest Products USDA’s Forest Service Wednesday announced nearly $50 million in grant funding. The funding is for proposals that support crucial links between resilient, healthy forests, strong rural economies and jobs in the forestry sector. USDA says the funding will spark innovation, create new markets for wood products, expand processing capacity, and help tackle the climate crisis. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says, "We are investing in rural economies by growing markets for forest products through sustainable forest management while reducing wildfire risk, fighting climate change, and accelerating economic development." The Forest Service is requesting proposals from eligible entities in the private, non-profit, and government sectors, including Tribes, local and state governments, businesses and for-profit entities, institutions of higher education, as well as public utility, fire, conservation, and school districts, among others. These investments will support forest management projects to improve forest health and reduce wildfire risk across all land ownerships. Visit the Forest Service webpage for more information. *********************************************************************************** New Call for Applications in Aflatoxin Research Grants The National Corn Growers Association Wednesday announced a new round of research grants to help farmers manage aflatoxin issues. Proposals not exceeding the $100,000 per year limit—will be accepted by the Aflatoxin Mitigation Center of Excellence no later than Wednesday, November 15, 2023. The competitive grants program offers research grants for projects focused on solving profit-robbing aflatoxin issues for farmers. The program was developed by a consortium of southern state corn checkoff boards to provide a unified approach to funding projects affecting growers across the region. NCGA serves as the management structure to leverage more dollars for solving aflatoxin issues and to build strong regional teams, which would be highly competitive for federal, public, and private funding. Projects funded through the grant program for 2024 should focus on one of these three priority research areas: ideas that prevent or defend against aflatoxin, In-field mitigation measures, and post-harvest strategies. For more information, visit NCGA.com.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday October 19, 2023 |


Thursday Market Watch 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. The U.S. Energy Department's weekly report of natural gas storage is set for 9:30 a.m. Weather Isolated to scattered rain showers are likely across the Great Lakes, Ohio Valley, and Tennessee Valley today as a cold front works from west to east across these regions. Dry and relatively warm conditions return across the Plains.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday October 18, 2023 |


CRP Pays Over $1.77 Billion The USDA has issued over $1.77 billion this year to agricultural producers and landowners through its Conservation Reserve Program. The agency says the program is a critical piece of the Department’s efforts to support climate-smart agriculture and forestry on working lands. More than 667,000 participants received payments from the Farm Service Agency for their voluntary conservation efforts on more than 23 million acres of private land. “Through the addition of tools to sequester carbon, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and better quantify these efforts, we’ve made the Conservation Reserve Program better for the nation’s ag producers and landowners and our natural resources,” says Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack. The USDA also listed the top five states for CRP participation payments, including Iowa at number one, followed by Illinois, Minnesota, South Dakota, and Missouri. “We are grateful to all CRP participants who are making a tremendous difference now and for future generations,” Vilsack adds. *********************************************************************************** Global Crop Protection Market to Jump by 2032 The global agricultural landscape is on the brink of a large shift, with the crop protection chemicals market points to witness extraordinary growth. The market will exceed $132.4 billion by the year 2032. Global Market Insights, Inc., says the unprecedented surge can be attributed to a confluence of factors ranging from technological advancements to swelling population numbers to the pressing need for more sustainable agricultural practices. The world population expected to reach almost 9l7 billion people by 2050 necessitates a dramatic surge in food production. This will put immense pressure on the ag sector, and crop protection chemicals play an instrumental role in ensuring optimal yields. While the use of crop protection tools is essential to modern agriculture, sustainable practices like biopesticides and the exploration of natural enemies are examples of a shift towards more ecologically stable approaches. As world population surges, crop protection chemicals will help ensure food security. *********************************************************************************** Senators Challenge EPA Rodenticide Restrictions Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MI), along with 15 Senate colleagues, are challenging the EPA to abandon its proposed mitigation measures targeting 11 rodenticides. In a letter to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan, the senators urged Regan to consult the businesses and individuals who rely on rodent control products when developing rules that affect their operations. “As written, the proposed mitigation measures will place severe restrictions on product users and result in crop damage and livestock loss, jeopardize the safety of the food supply, weaken public health protections, and make it more difficult for people to protect their homes and properties from rodents,” the letter says. The EPA’s proposed mitigation measures would classify most rodent control products as restricted-use pesticides and require users to become licensed, state-certified applicators. It would prohibit surface application methods for protecting crops and require growers to conduct carcass searches for two weeks after application. *********************************************************************************** USDA Trims America’s Feed Grain Supplies October U.S. feed grain production is forecast at 396.6 million tons for the 2023-2024 marketing year, down 1.8 million tons on reduced corn and sorghum output. With lower beginning stocks partly offset by a slight bump in imports, the total feed grain supply is projected 4.1 million tons lower this month at 436 million. Reflecting a slight yield decrease to 173 bushels per acre on unchanged harvested acreage, U.S. corn production is 69.5 million bushels lower this month at 15.06 billion. The September 30 Grain Stocks Report estimated American corn stocks on September 1 at 1.36 billion bushels, down 90 million from the September WASDE report. With reductions in food, seed, and industrial use and exports based on observed data, 2022-2023 feed and residual disappearance is higher than previously forecast. These factors contribute to smaller carry-in for the 2023-2024 marketing year and, ultimately, a lower corn supply, projected at 16.45 billion bushels. *********************************************************************************** NHSTA CAFE Standards Will Weaken Energy Security The National Highway Traffic Safety Standards proposed new fuel economy standards that greatly missed the intent of the Corporate Average Fuel Economy Program to enhance energy security. That’s according to comments filed by the National Corn Growers Association, the Renewable Fuel Association, and the National Farmers Union. They assert the proposal will lead to an overreliance on critical foreign minerals due to its singular dependence on electric vehicles. “As NHTSA determines the appropriate CAFE and fuel efficiency standards, it should avoid putting all our eggs into the electrification basket,” the groups say in their comments. “The proposal missed the intent of the CAFÉ program. As Congress acknowledged, solving energy security and air pollution issues related to the transportation sector require a diversified portfolio of approaches.” The associations note problems with overreliance on electric vehicles because of the increased security vulnerabilities of getting critical minerals from overseas that are needed for the batteries. *********************************************************************************** Weekly Corn Export Inspections Drop Inspections of corn for overseas delivery dropped week-to-week while bean assessments improved. USDA data says corn inspections totaled 434,471 metric tons in the seven days ending on October 12. That’s a significant drop from over 800,400 tons the week prior and just below the 460,000 tons assessed during the same week in 2022. Examinations of soybeans for export surged to just over two million metric tons last week, up from 1.4 million the previous week and higher than the 1.93 million tons assessed during the same week last year. Wheat inspections also rose, increasing to 354,771 metric tons from just over 306,600 tons during the previous week. That’s also up from the 244,500 tons assessed during the same week in 2022. Since the new marketing year began on September 1, USDA has assessed 3.93 million metric tons of corn for offshore delivery, and soybean inspections are at 5.4 million tons.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday October 18, 2023 |


Wednesday Market Watch Markets Wednesday morning, the government will report housing starts and building permits. We will be watching for any new sales announcements and for weather changes in South America. Weather A low pressure system will bring areas of scattered, light rain showers to the Northern Plains and Upper Midwest Wednesday. By Wednesday night, this system will continue shifting east, providing light rain showers to the northern Mississippi River Valley.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday October 17, 2023 |


U.S. Grains Council Hosting Global Ethanol Summit The U.S. Grains Council kicked off the week by hosting the Global Ethanol Summit in Washington, D.C., held for the first time since 2019. The Global Ethanol Summit is an education and trade forum that seeks to elevate bioethanol's international visibility. U.S. Grains Council President and CEO Ryan LeGrand says, “I’m thrilled to see so many industry leaders and policymakers gathering here in the Washington area with the common goal of implementing environmental and human-health friendly bioethanol in regions around the world.” Monday programming offered keynote addresses from POET Founder and CEO Jeff Broin, Summit Agricultural Group Executive Chairman Bruce Rastetter and U.S. Department of Agriculture Acting Deputy Undersecretary Jason Hafemeister. Memorandums of understanding will be signed between domestic producers and overseas importers Tuesday (today). At the end of the event, 11 groups of participants will travel around the country to view the biofuel value chain firsthand before returning to their home countries. The event concludes Wednesday. *********************************************************************************** USDA Extends Milk Loss Program Assistance The Department of Agriculture last week extended the application deadline for the Milk Loss Program to Monday, October 30, 2023. The extension allows more time for eligible dairy farmers to apply for much-needed, weather-related disaster recovery assistance. Administered by USDA’s Farm Service Agency, MLP compensates dairy producers who, because of qualifying weather events, dumped or removed milk without compensation from the commercial milk market in calendar years 2020, 2021 and 2022. Eligible causes of loss also include consequences of these weather events, such as power outages, impassable roads and infrastructure losses. FSA opened MLP enrollment on September 11, 2023; the original MLP deadline was October 16, 2023. Most producers, especially those who have previously participated in FSA programs, will likely have the required forms already on file. But those who are uncertain or want to confirm the status of their forms can contact FSA at their local USDA Service Center. *********************************************************************************** USDA Releases Monthly Cotton and Wool Outlook The latest Department of Agriculture cotton projections for 2023/24 indicate global cotton beginning and ending stocks decreased by approximately ten million bales, 11 percent, from the previous month. The decrease, however, was largely attributable to a permanent accounting change for Brazil’s production data back to 2000/01. For 2023/24, global cotton ending stocks, at 79.9 million bales, are 2.9 million bales, or 3.5 percent lower than the previous year, as mill use is estimated to exceed production. China accounts for nearly half of global cotton stocks once again in 2023/24, with India, Brazil, and the United States combining for an additional 25 percent. World cotton production is forecast at 112.6 million bales in 2023/24, 3.2 percent below the previous year, as the global yield is projected to decline. World cotton trade is projected to rise 17 percent in 2023/24, supporting the expected 4.4 percent increase in global cotton mill use to 115.8 million bales. *********************************************************************************** Grants to Establish Children’s Health Research Centers in Rural Communities The Environmental Protection Agency Monday announced $3.7 million in grant funding to two institutions to establish research centers. The facilities will address children’s cumulative health impacts from agricultural and non-chemical exposures. Children in underserved, rural agricultural communities face increased health risks due to the combination of agricultural, according to the EPA. The agency says there is an urgent need to investigate the cumulative health impacts of chemical and non-chemical exposures for children in these communities. EPA spokesperson Chris Frey says, “EPA is funding these research centers to identify effective, science-based options aimed at reducing early childhood health disparities in agricultural communities.” Florida State University will use the funding to evaluate chemical and psychosocial stressors and promote children’s cumulative health in rural and agricultural communities. The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center will use the grants to mitigate the chemical and non-chemical stressors that affect school absenteeism caused by gastrointestinal and respiratory diseases in Texas and Oklahoma. *********************************************************************************** Tulare County, California Top Ag Producer in 2022 Tulare (too-larry) County, California, is the number one ag-producing county in the United States for 2022. While Fresno County, California, reported a record $8 billion haul for 2022, it didn't beat Tulare County's $8.6 billion report. Both counties benefited from improved market prices and continue to corner the market in the top spots in the nation for ag production. Add in Kern County, California, at number three, and the Central Valley counties are a combined agriculture and economic powerhouse valued at $24.4 billion. Putting this in perspective, three California counties account for 44 percent of California's total ag production value of $55.8 billion. Tulare County has a growing population of 479,112 and includes an area of 4,863 square miles. The fertile valley floor in the Western half of the county has allowed Tulare County to become the top producer of agricultural commodities in the United States, while the Eastern half is comprised of mostly public lands. *********************************************************************************** Fuel Prices Decline After Volatile Week For the fourth consecutive week, the nation's average price of gasoline dropped, falling 11.3 cents from a week ago to $3.55 per. The national average is down 29.9 cents from a month ago and 30.9 cents per gallon lower than a year ago. The national average diesel price fell 5.8 cents last week and stands at $4.48 per gallon, 55.2 cents lower than one year ago. GasBuddy's Patrick De Haan says, "For now, the national average is likely to soon fall to its lowest level in six months." However, De Haan cautions, "this depends on actions that are not foreseeable, mainly the conflict in the Middle East." As the situation continues to unfold, markets will be watching interactions between Iran as well as responses from Israel, and while all eyes have been on those escalations, Saudi Arabia has put an end for now to a possible weapons and security pact between the U.S. and Israel.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday October 17, 2023 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets Tuesday morning, the U.S. government will be out with retail sales and industrial production reports. We will also be watching for developments in the Israel versus Hamas conflict, with President Joe Biden arriving Wednesday for a meeting with Israel representatives. We will also be watching for any new export sales, and weather in South America. Weather A storm system will be moving through the Canadian Prairies and Northern Plains on Tuesday, producing some areas of isolated showers throughout the day with increasing winds. The rest of the country is rather quiet.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday October 16, 2023 |


Top 5 Things to Watch - Global Events, Reports Drive Markets 1. Post-WASDE worries: Lowered corn expectations in the United States (see our latest USDA World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report coverage) will continue to run into the market volatility driven by global conflicts and the ongoing Congressional leadership drama. DTN analysts will continue to factor all this windage and elevation into where the commodity market targets hit. 2. Soil moisture watch: We'll watch drought monitors in the U.S. and in Canada to see how recent rains have changed soil moisture as we go into late fall and winter. Conditions continue to cause low water levels in the Mississippi River Valley, causing barge issues up and down those critical waterways. 3. Crop insurance comes into focus: With more than a third of the U.S. corn crop harvested, farmers have concrete ideas about their yields. Those real-world results are also reflected in this month's WASDE report, which lowered corn yields to 173 bushels per acre for expected average. Lower corn yields are coinciding with lower prices, which means crop insurance payments are becoming more likely for farmers who chose revenue-guarantee products. 4. Cattle numbers coming: This week sees the latest USDA Cattle on Feed report coming out Friday. We'll have our analyst's preview of the report mid-week, then actual numbers hit at 2 p.m. CDT Friday, with analysis of those numbers shortly after. 5. Economic reports calendar: Monday will see USDA's weekly grain export inspections at 10 a.m. CDT, followed by Crop Progress at 3 p.m. We'll have our commentary on Crop Progress soon after. Tuesday is a broad economy two-fer with U.S. retail sales for September due out at 7:30 a.m., followed by the Fed's report on U.S. industrial production at 8:15 a.m. Wednesday features the U.S. housing starts for September, out at 7:30 a.m., followed by the U.S. Energy Department's weekly energy inventories at 10 a.m. At 1 p.m., the Fed releases its description of economic activity in the Beige Book. Thursday is a busy morning, with USDA's weekly export sales report, U.S. weekly jobless claims and the updated U.S. Drought Monitor all due at 7:30 a.m. CDT. U.S. existing home sales in September and U.S. leading indicators are both due out at 9 a.m., followed by the U.S. Energy Department's weekly report of natural gas storage at 9:30 a.m. As noted earlier, Friday is USDA's monthly cattle on feed report for Oct. 1.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday October 16, 2023 |


Monday Watch List Markets Back from the weekend, traders will check the latest news from Israel and Ukraine, as well as the latest weather forecasts with seasonal attention on South America. USDA's weekly grain export inspections are due out at 10 a.m. CDT Monday, followed by the Crop Progress at 3 p.m. Weather A lull between systems has set itself into the middle of the country for Monday, keeping most areas dry. Isolated showers may form south of the Great Lakes, however. Some cold morning temperatures will produce frosts in the Plains Monday morning and Tuesday morning as well.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday October 13, 2023 |


Higher Interest Rates, Strong Dollar Affecting Rural Economies CoBank says the combination of high interest rates and a strong U.S. dollar is beginning to take a disproportionate toll on rural industries like agriculture, forestry, and manufacturing. Most international transactions are still conducted in dollars, and a strong dollar makes U.S. exports more expensive and imports cheaper. CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange says that disproportionately hurts the backbone of the rural economy. “The challenge for agriculture and other rural industries that rely heavily on global markets is their export partners simply can’t afford to buy U.S. products,” says Rob Fox, Knowledge Exchange Director. America’s economic position relative to other countries has gotten much stronger than anticipated. The expectation that interest rates will remain high for the foreseeable future has also contributed to the stronger dollar. “When you combine the export loss with a general slowdown in the U.S. economy, it’s a double whammy for many businesses in rural America,” says Fox. *********************************************************************************** Brazil Produces Less Corn, More Soybeans Brazil’s corn production will drop significantly while the soybean output will surge in the 2023-2024 marketing year. Those numbers come from CONAB (KOH-nab), Brazil’s food agency. South American corn output is projected at 119.4 million metric tons. If it’s reached, that would be down from the 131.9 million metric tons produced in the 2022-2023 marketing year. Also, soybean output is now forecast by CONAB at 162 million metric tons. The rise is tied to strong overseas demand, especially from China. Production during the previous marketing year totaled 154.6 million metric tons. CONAB says total grain and soybean production is predicted to reach 317.5 million metric tons, a number the agency says is down 1.5 percent year over year. Wheat production was predicted to reach 10.5 million metric tons, down modestly year over year because of weather issues. Brazil’s rice output is expected to rise 7.7 percent to 10.8 million tons. *********************************************************************************** October WASDE Shows Lower U.S. Corn and Soybean Production The latest World Ag Supply and Demand Estimates Report says U.S. corn production is forecast at 15.1 billion bushels, down 70 million on a cut in yield to 173 bushels per acre. The corn outlook predicts reduced supplies, down less than one percent, but ten percent above 2022. The season-average corn price received by producers was raised a nickel to $4.95 a bushel. Soybean production is forecast at 4.1 billion bushels, down 42 million on lower yields. The yield is predicted at 49.6 bushels per acre, down 0.5 bushels from last month. With lower production partly offset by higher beginning stocks, supplies are reduced by 24 million bushels. The season-average soybean price is unchanged at $12.90 per bushel. Wheat supplies were raised by 85 million bushels this month, primarily on higher production as reported in the NASS Small Grains Summary. The season-average farm price dropped 20 cents per bushel to $7.30. *********************************************************************************** September Food Price Index Unchanged The U.N.’s Food and Agricultural Organization’s Food Price Index averaged 121.5 points in September, basically unchanged from the value in August. Declines in the price index for vegetable oils, dairy, and meat offset increases in the sugar and cereal price indices. That 121.5 reading was ten percent below its corresponding level from a year ago and 24 percent from the all-time high in March 2022. The Sugar Price Index took the biggest jump in September, rising 14.5 points from August to an average of 162.7 points. It’s the highest level since November 2010. The Cereal Price Index rose one percent to 126.3 points in September. The Vegetable Oil Price Index dropped five points in September to average 120.9 points. The Dairy Price Index averaged 108.6 points during the month, down 2.6 points and 34 points under the same time last year. The Meat Price Index dropped one percent to 114.2 points. *********************************************************************************** Fund Awards Over $1 Million to U.S. Farmers and Ranchers American Farmland Trust recently awarded more than $1 million to 110 farmers around the country through the Brighter Future Fund. The grant announcement came out on National Farmer’s Day that recognizes the importance of American farmers. This year, AFT received more than 1,500 applications from 48 states, an all-time high and almost double the number of applications last year. Priority was given to applicants who were starting their agricultural pursuits, veterans, women, or those with limited resources. Funds were allocated for both professional services and equipment or infrastructure costs, with focus areas including improving farm viability, accessing farmland, and adopting regenerative agricultural practices. AFT awards grants to farmers and ranchers to advance its mission to protect farmland, promote sound farming practices, and keep farmers on the land. The Brighter Future Fund was launched in 2020 to help farmers around the U.S. start, grow, and sustain farms despite a number of challenges. *********************************************************************************** Ag Groups Want Congress to Pass AM Radio Legislation Nine organizations representing rural and agricultural interests wrote a letter to Congress in support of passing the AM Radio for Every Vehicle Act. “AM radio is an essential communications medium in rural America,” the letter says. “Local news, weather, and sports reporters are recognized as respected sources for information that affects the lives of millions of rural residents.” The letter was sent to lawmakers by multiple groups like the Independent Cattlemen’s Association of Texas, the Latino Farmers & Ranchers International, the Livestock Marketing Association, the National Farmers Union, the National Grange, and others. The letter touts the reach of traditional AM radio broadcasts that carry a strong signal over significant distances, even during catastrophic weather events. FEMA also relies on AM radio to deliver critical public safety information. “When power goes out in rural America and cell networks drop, households can still get emergency information through their radios,” the letter adds.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday October 13, 2023 |


Friday Watch List Markets USDA's weekly export sales report is due out at 7:30 a.m. Friday, one day after USDA reduced export estimates for corn and soybeans. The University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index follows at 9 a.m. Traders remain interested in the latest weather forecasts and news from Ukraine, Israel and Washington D.C. Weather A storm system is moving eastward into the Midwest Friday, bringing areas of heavy rain with it. Strong winds in the Plains may reach up to 60 mph through the daylight hours before winding down Friday night. Cold air filtering in behind the system will bring the first frosts and freezes to the southwestern Plains Friday night.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday October 12, 2023 |


Survey Reveals Consumer Purchasing Behaviors A new survey from the United Soybean Board reveals valuable insights into consumer preferences and purchasing attitudes for animal protein, particularly pork products. According to the survey, 70 percent of respondents say that animal diet is extremely or very important to them when purchasing meat, up from 51 percent in 2019. Meat consumers who prefer soy-fed meat say it offers better health, higher quality, greater nutrition and better taste. This research confirms that consumers desire to know more about their meat choices, such as what poultry and livestock consume. The study found three out of four consumers are more likely to purchase meat if it’s raised and fed by U.S. farmers. Even higher than that, the majority of consumers, at 88 percent, are more likely to purchase meat from animals born, bred and raised in the United States. USB commissioned global market research firm Reputation Leaders to survey more than 2,000 U.S. adults online for the study. *********************************************************************************** USDA Announces New School Lunch Grants Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Wednesday announced two new grant opportunities plus a training and technical assistance partnership to help schools continue to invest in nutritious school meals. The announcement comes as USDA recognizes National School Lunch Week, as proclaimed by President Biden, and National Farm to School Month. Vilsack says, "USDA is committed to giving students the nutrition they need to reach their full potential by empowering schools to continue serving delicious, healthy meals." USDA is partnering with the Urban School Food Alliance to provide training and tools to school districts to help them purchase high-quality foods while keeping costs low. In addition, two new grant opportunities are opening to support school meals, including USDA's Farm to School Grants, and the School Food Systems Transformation Challenge Sub-Grants. In addition, this month, the Farm to School Program also launched the 2023 Farm to School Census, a periodic survey of school districts’ participation in local procurement and agricultural education activities. *********************************************************************************** Strong Finish for Q3 Tractor Sales Unit sales of four-wheel-drive ag tractors experienced a notable upswing in both the U.S. and Canada in September, closing the third quarter of 2023 in a strong position. The latest monthly data from the Association of Equipment Manufacturers shows 100-plus two-wheel-drive tractors, and four-wheel-drive tractors grew year-over-year in the United States. Both segments, along with combines, remain positive for the year. Overall unit sales of U.S. tractors are down 4.3 percent compared to sales in September 2022, with 100-plus horsepower two-wheel-drive units being the only other growth segment, while combine sales finished nearly flat, only selling eight fewer units than the previous year. Canadian tractor sales fell nearly 14 percent, with combines declining more than 37 percent. Year to date, at the end of the third quarter of 2023, combine sales overall are positive, up more than 25 percent, while tractors altogether are down just over eight percent in the United States. *********************************************************************************** Growing Share of Egg-Laying Hens Are Cage-free Cage-free hens comprise a growing percentage of the U.S. egg-laying flock, according to USDA’s Economic Research Service. The cage-free flock has grown as states have passed and enacted legislation banning confinement of hens, and as multiple retailers and food service providers have pledged to only source eggs from cage-free operations. Additional State bans are planned to take effect between 2023 and 2026. The cage-free egg-laying flock increased by more than 10.5 million hens in the first six months of 2023, according to USDA’s Monthly Cage-Free Shell Egg report. Cage-free hens increased as a proportion of the total U.S. laying flock, expanding from 36 percent in January to 38 percent in June. The non-organic cage-free flock accounted for most of the increase. Meanwhile, in late 2021, cage-free lay rates have been moving mostly above or at similar levels to the lay rates in the overall table egg-laying flock, a departure from the previous trend. *********************************************************************************** NIFA Invests $1.8 Million in Pest Management Alternatives USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture has invested $1.8 million in four projects as part of the Methyl Bromide Transition Program. Methyl bromide is an odorless, colorless gas previously used in many agricultural and related systems as a soil and structural fumigant to control various pests. However, Methyl bromide depletes the stratospheric ozone layer. As part of the Clean Air Act, the U.S. Government agreed to reduce methyl bromide incrementally from 1991 until the complete phase-out in 2005. The Methyl Bromide Transition Program supports the discovery and implementation of practical pest management alternatives for commodities and uses affected by the methyl bromide phase-out. Funded projects include integrated and Extension-only projects seeking to solve pest problems in key agricultural production and post-harvest management systems, processing facilities, and transport systems for which methyl bromide has been withdrawn or withdrawal is imminent. The 2023 Awardees include Arkansas State University, University of Delaware, Kansas State University and North Carolina State University. *********************************************************************************** Students Encouraged to Apply for Beef Industry Scholarship The National Cattlemen’s Foundation is accepting applications for the 2024 CME Group Beef Industry Scholarship. Ten scholarships of $1,500 each will be awarded to outstanding students pursuing careers in the beef industry. Introduced in 1989 and sponsored by CME Group, the scholarship identifies and encourages students who play a vital role in the future of food production. Students studying education, communication, production, research or other areas related to the beef industry are eligible to apply for the annual scholarship program. Eligible applicants must be a graduating high school senior or full-time undergraduate student enrolled at a two- or four-year institution. The application process includes submitting a one-page letter expressing career goals related to the beef industry, a 750-word essay describing an issue in the beef industry and offering solutions to this problem and two letters of recommendation. The applicant or a family member must be a National Cattlemen's Beef Association member. The application deadline is November 10, 2023. For more information and to apply, visit nationalcattlemensfoundation.org.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday October 12, 2023 |


Thursday Watch List Markets Thursday is a busy day with U.S. weekly jobless claims due out at 7:30 a.m. CDT, the same time as the consumer price index for September and update of the U.S. Drought Monitor. The U.S. Energy Department's weekly report of natural gas storage is at 9:30 a.m., followed by the weekly report of energy inventories at 10:00 a.m. At 11 a.m., USDA releases its Crop Production and WASDE Reports for October, followed by DTN's WASDE webinar at 12:30 p.m. Weather A strong storm system continues to build in the Central Plains Thursday morning. Heavy rain and thunderstorms have formed in a band from Wyoming to Chicago, which will continue to build in this general area and farther north throughout the day. Winds continue to increase in the Plains around the developing low-pressure center, which will be much more significant tonight into Friday as the system tracks eastward. Snow is also likely to mix in over parts of Wyoming and western Nebraska, though accumulation will be difficult. Heavy rain continues to track through the Southeast this morning as well.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday October 11, 2023 |


Smithfield Foods to Close North Carolina Pork Plant Smithfield Foods will close its Charlotte, North Carolina, pork-processing plant and transfer production to its Tar Heel, North Carolina, facility. The company says the move is to increase efficiency and better utilize existing capacity, and comes as the company faces “abundant supplies and soft demand” weighing on pork prices. The company will provide financial and other transition assistance to the 107 employees affected by this closure and will meet with employees to discuss options, including transfer to other Smithfield locations. Smithfield will also provide a financial incentive package for hourly employees to remain at Charlotte until the final day of production in December. Smithfield employs nearly 40,000 people in the U.S. and more than 10,000 in North Carolina. The company is not alone, as Tyson Foods announced the shutdown of six chicken processing facilities this year and cut jobs at others in North Carolina. *********************************************************************************** NARA Launches Organics Recycling Information Campaign NARA, the North American Renderers Association, just released an infographic on Organics Recycling and How Recycling Food Waste with Rendering Creates Value and Ensures Sustainability. The graphic is an educational tool for those who may not be familiar with the rendering process and the sustainability and economic benefits of rendering food waste. With the passing of Senate Bill 1383 in California in 2022, which requires local governments to collect and recycle organic waste, NARA felt it was critical to release this information publicly. Roughly 50 percent of a meat animal is considered inedible by North Americans. This leaves a lot of leftover material that would end up in landfills and increase greenhouse gas emissions. By diverting this organic meat from landfills and sending it to rendering facilities, it ensures this otherwise wasted material, as well as used cooking oil, is safely, hygienically and sustainably processed into safe and clean rendered material for use in new products – so nothing is wasted. The graphic is available on the NARA website. *********************************************************************************** World Food Program Launches Gaza, West Bank Humanitarian Efforts The United Nations World Food Program is deeply concerned by the rapidly deteriorating situation in Israel and Palestine. As the conflict intensifies, civilians, including vulnerable children and families, face mounting challenges in accessing essential food supplies, with food distribution networks disrupted and food production severely hampered by hostilities. The program called for humanitarian corridors on Tuesday as it launched an emergency operation for Gaza and the West Bank. WFP urgently requires access and funding to reach those in need. A total of $17.3 million is needed in the next four weeks to address the situation. On Monday, WFP distributed ready-to-eat food to 73,000 people. Distributions are ongoing daily for displaced people in shelters in Gaza. In the next few days, pending the replenishment of food stocks through the opening of humanitarian corridors, WFP will distribute food to 300,000 people in host communities and make available cash-based-platforms to humanitarian partners. *********************************************************************************** Delivery Innovation Could Reduce Hunger Delivery of food may be the way to increase access in rural America, according to a recent report by CoBank. While roughly one in ten Americans faces food insecurity, rural communities are particularly affected. Rural communities comprise 63 percent of all U.S. counties but 87 percent of the counties with the highest rates of food insecurity. Food delivery has become an expected service for many Americans. However, only 37 percent of rural residents have access to major food delivery services. Delivery mechanisms exist, particularly for shelf-stable food and beverage, even if it takes the form of FedEx, UPS or USPS. Fresh food offerings present another challenge altogether, but more direct-to-consumer approaches should, in the long term, be able to capitalize on improvements in technology to reach those who simply don't live near a grocery store. Further, the report suggests that convenience stores, dollar stores and even liquor stores have been considered as possibilities for reducing food insecurity in more rural areas. *********************************************************************************** Measuring USDA’s National School Lunch Program This week is National School Lunch Week and USDA's Economic Research Service is out with new data about the programs' success. USDA's National School Lunch Program served 4.9 billion lunches in fiscal year 2022, and about 228.9 billion lunches since 1971. Any student in a participating school can get a National School Lunch Program lunch. Typically, students may be eligible for either a free, reduced-price, or full-price lunch, depending on their household's income. Compared with previous years, a higher share of the lunches were served for free or at a reduced price in fiscal years 2020 through 2022. This was in large part because of USDA waivers during the COVID-19 pandemic allowing for meals to be provided free of charge to all students. The onset of the pandemic interrupted the operations of many schools, disrupting the provision of lunches through the NSLP. In response, USDA allowed schools to serve free meals through the Summer Food Service Program or the Seamless Summer Option. *********************************************************************************** Newsom Signs California Food Safety Act California Governor Gavin Newsom last week signed the California Food Safety Act. While delayed until 2027, the legislation bans food products containing brominated vegetable oil, potassium bromate, and red dye 3. Newsom cited similar bans in the European Union in his announcement, saying, "There have been many misconceptions about this bill and its impacts." In referencing a bag of Skittles from the European Union, Newsom claimed it was "demonstrable proof that the food industry is capable of maintaining product lines while complying with different public health laws, country-to-country." The European Union banned the food additives in question following a review in 2008. The California measure requires food makers to reformulate their products to comply with the law when selling them in the state, beginning January 1, 2027. Food manufacturers are unlikely to produce two versions of a product, thus the law is expected to impact products nationwide. Other states are considering similar measures.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday October 11, 2023 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets The U.S. Labor Department releases the producer price index for September at 7:30 a.m. CDT Wednesday, one day ahead of the consumer price index. Minutes from the Federal Reserve's meeting in September will become public at 2 p.m. Traders will continue to keep an eye on events in Israel and in Ukraine, as well as the latest weather forecasts. Grain markets may be quiet ahead of Thursday's USDA reports. Weather A storm system will be moving out of the West and into the Plains throughout the day Wednesday. Areas of thunderstorms have already started up in northern Missouri and will spread both west through Nebraska and east through the Midwest throughout the day and especially tonight. Winds will also be a bit breezy in the Plains.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday October 10, 2023 |


Mexico Fuels August Pork Exports While Beef Rebounds August U.S. pork exports were steady compared to last year and led by another tremendous performance in Mexico. Data compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation says August exports totaled 226,519 metric tons, while export value dropped 1.5 percent to $649.5 million. Exports to Mexico remained at a record pace and set a value record in August at $211.7 million. “I can’t say enough about Mexico’s remarkable demand for U.S. pork and the revenue it generates,” says USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom. Exports also trended higher year-over-year to Japan, Canada, Central America, the Dominican Republic, Oceania, and Taiwan. August beef exports totaled 109,000 metric tons: 19 percent lower than last year but a six percent increase from July. Export value hit $884 million, 15 percent below last year but nine percent higher than July. August lamb muscle cut exports dropped 14 percent from last year to 107 million tons. *********************************************************************************** HPAI Confirmed in South Dakota The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service confirmed that the first commercial case of highly pathogenic avian influenza was discovered in South Dakota. APHIS says the virus was confirmed in a commercial turkey flock of 47,300 birds on October 4. Another case was also recently confirmed in a small non-commercial flock located in Idaho. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency also reported four commercial cases of the virus since mid-September. The most recent case was announced on October 3 in a commercial flock located in Alberta. The agency doesn’t disclose the type of poultry or how many birds were involved in the infection. One of the first clinical signs of HPAI in domestic birds is sudden, unexplainable death. Many infected birds drop their water consumption in the 72 hours that lead up to their unexplainable death. Decreased egg production and depression in layers may be another sign that the birds are ill. *********************************************************************************** Fertilizer Prices Mostly Higher in September The Agricultural Marketing Information System’s October “Market Monitor” report says that fertilizer prices were mostly higher in September, as were the prices for the main fertilizer inputs. Farm Policy News from the University of Illinois says price movements for several fertilizer categories were influenced by strength in the Indian market and uncertainty around exports from China. AMIS also says these two countries will be a major influence on market developments as will demand for the fall application season in the Northern Hemisphere. Fertilizer inputs like natural gas went higher in September. Markets should be focusing on monitoring EU stock levels, which are currently near capacity. Ammonia prices also surged in September, supported by major plant outages. Ammonia buyers also showed unusually strong interest during this time of year that’s normally a quiet period. Nitrogen fertilizer prices rose in September. Urea price increases were driven by concerns about Chinese export levels. *********************************************************************************** Rancher Resilience Grant Helps Producer Attend CattleCon24 The Rancher Resilience Grant offers support to beef and dairy cattle producers by allowing them to attend CattleCon24 and Cattlemen’s College for free. Eligibility depends on qualifications and application responses. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association says it’s the perfect way for producers to get a ticket to CattleCon and experience the combination of education, events, and fun. All beef and dairy cattle producers are eligible for the Ranchers Resilience Grant. It requires registering for CattleCon24, and applicants must have the Cattlemen’s College Education packet. The first 75 applicants will be awarded a fixed grant designed to ease their way to CattleCon24 and Cattlemen’s College. This grant includes one Education Package Registration and up to three nights of hotel stay in Orlando from January 31 to February 2, 2024. Once CattleCon is over, they’ll make sure your grant reimbursement arrives within 30 days. For more information or to register, go to convention.ncba.org. *********************************************************************************** Third-Quarter Grain Movements Low on Mississippi River Almost 60 percent of the Midwest grain harvest moves down the Mississippi River system to the U.S. Gulf region for export. In The Agricultural Marketing Service’s “Grain Transportation Report,” the agency says low water on the entire system led to draft and tow restrictions on barges, similar to what happened in fall 2022. “From the week ending on July 8 to the week ending on September 30, down-bound barged grain volumes totaled 3.9 million tons,” the report says. “That’s 35 percent lower than the third quarter last year and 53 percent lower than the five-year average.” Last year’s historic low water levels hit from late September through early December. This year’s low water levels began in June, about two months earlier than in 2022, and then continued for most of the third quarter this year. The most severe shipping restrictions are on the lower Mississippi River and Ohio River in Illinois. *********************************************************************************** National Dairy Herd Information Scholarship Applications Open The National Dairy Herd Information Association announced it is accepting applications for $1,500 scholarships. They’ll go to third- or fourth-year College of Veterinary Medicine students. Applicants must be enrolled at a college that’s accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association Council on Education. To apply for a scholarship, applicants must submit a letter of application and two reference letters. The letter of application requires young people to submit information like their area of specialty/interest, academic background, career plans, and other important information. Scholarship committee members will evaluate applicants based on overall interest as a veterinarian planning to work in dairy, involvement in dairy medicine, extracurricular activities, and interest in dairy software and dairy records to improve dairy management and animal health. Applications are due on December 31. Specific application requirements are on the National DHIA website at dhia.org. Recipients will be announced at the 2024 National DHIA Annual Meeting next year.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday October 10, 2023 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets Traders continue to keep an eye on the latest events from Israel and are likely wary about how others will respond. USDA's weekly grain export inspections at 10 a.m. CDT, followed by Crop Progress at 3 p.m. Grain markets may be cautious ahead of Thursday's WASDE report, due out at 11 a.m. CDT. Weather Cool air continues to be settled in across the Midwest on Tuesday. Morning frosts are occurring, and some isolated showers may develop in the Great Lakes. A big system will be moving through the West, which may be enough to start lifting a front northward through the Plains. Some isolated showers and thunderstorms may develop along it, especially Tuesday night across northern Missouri.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday October 9, 2023 |


World Ag Productivity Not Increasing Fast Enough The Global Agricultural Productivity Report says the world’s agricultural productivity is consistently falling short of the target growth rate. Since 2011, productivity isn’t growing fast enough to hit the target growth rate required to sustainably meet global needs for agricultural outputs by 2050. The report says total factor productivity growth continues to be strong in China and South Asia. However, Sub-Saharan Africa and the U.S. show especially low TFP growth. From 2011-2021, global TFP grew at an average rate of 1.14 percent yearly. To sustainably meet the agricultural needs of a growing global population by 2050, the GAP report says the world must now aim for 1.91 percent average annual TFP growth. If producers are able to access proven, appropriate, productivity-enhancing tools, there can be significant improvements in closing the TFP growth gap. Lack of growth may result in over-reliance on unsustainable production practices and continued decline in TFP growth. *********************************************************************************** Food Prices Unchanged in September The U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization’s Food Price Index edged lower to 121.5 in September, the lowest level since March 2021. That index was down slightly from 121.6 in August. Prices for vegetable oils were down 3.9 percent, a second decline due to lower prices across palm, sunflower, soy, and rapeseed oils. Dairy prices dropped 2.3 percent, a ninth consecutive fall. Meat costs dropped one percent, led by a drop in pork amid weak export demand from China and ample global export availabilities. Cereal costs increased one percent, including a 5.3 percent rise in coarse grain prices, led by a seven percent climb in maize prices. Also, sugar prices soared 9.8 percent to reach a high last seen in November 2010. The rise in sugar prices came from increasing concerns over a tighter global supply outlook in the upcoming 2023-2024 season and forecasts of increased production declines in Thailand and India. ********************************************************************************** Group of House Republicans Against EATS Act Sixteen members of the House of Representatives pushed back against the Ending Agriculture Trade Suppression Act. The group sent a letter to House Ag Chair Glenn Thompson (R-PA) and Ranking Member David Scott (D-GA). Groups backing the letter included the Organization for Competitive Markets, Competitive Markets Action, National Dairy Producers Organization, and others. “We applaud the representatives for taking a stand against the EATS Act that would sell out American agriculture to China,” says Marty Irby, president of Competitive Markets Action. “The Hinson-Marshall EATS Act is an assault on states’ rights that’s backed by Smithfield, a wholly owned Chinese corporation that continues to rake in billions of dollars by oppressing and exploiting American family farmers.” The groups say if the EATS Act becomes law, it would invalidate hundreds of state and local agriculture laws that support family farmers and hundreds of laws relating to food safety and invasive pest control. *********************************************************************************** 4-H Caucus Co-Chairs Applaud National 4-H Week Resolution The co-chairs of the Senate 4-H Caucus, Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and John Boozman (R-AR) applauded the Senate adoption of their resolution supporting the designation of “National 4-H Week.” The resolution was introduced by Stabenow and Boozman and supports the designation of October 1-7 as “National 4-H Week.” It recognizes the important role of 4-H in youth development and education and encourages all citizens to recognize 4-H for the significant impact the organization and members have made and continue to make. The organization empowers young people with the skills needed to lead for a lifetime. “As a former 4-H’er myself, I know that 4-H empowers young people to thrive in their communities and grow into future leaders through hands-on health, science, agriculture, and civic engagement projects,” Stabenow says. Boozman says, “I saw firsthand the tremendous impact 4-H has on young people while watching my three daughters get so much out of it.” *********************************************************************************** Food Export Midwest Welcomes FAS Administrator Foreign Agricultural Service Administrator Daniel Whitley toured the Food Export Midwest office in Chicago. “The Foreign Agricultural Services longstanding partnership with Food Export Association of the Midwest USA and Food Export USA-Northeast has helped regional U.S. ag producers enter international markets and introduce their world-class products to new consumers around the globe for nearly 40 years,” he says. “The collaboration between the groups was key to achieving record-breaking exports of U.S. agricultural products and commodities the past two years and puts us on target to have an outstanding 2023.” The FAS Market Access Program allocates funds to Food Export Midwest and Food Export Northeast to help promote American food and agricultural products across the globe. Through these collaborations, USDA helps ensure that small and medium-sized enterprises can take part in trade missions, trade shows, and other export promotion activities designed to help expand their businesses and increase their bottom lines. *********************************************************************************** Missouri River Runoff Near Average in September September brought mixed results for precipitation across the Missouri River Basin. Parts of Montana, North and South Dakota, and Nebraska received above-average rainfall, while the remainder of the upper basin and lower basin were below average. September runoff in the Missouri River Basin above Sioux City, Iowa, was 1.3 million acre-feet, 109 percent of the long-term average. The annual runoff forecast for the upper Missouri River Basin above Sioux City is 29.1-million-acre feet, 113 percent of average, and the same as last month’s forecast. “Rainfall was above average in portions of the Upper Missouri River Basin during September,” says John Remus, chief of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Missouri River Basin Water Management Division. “Runoff was above average or near average in every reach except Sioux City, which was below average. He also says soil moisture conditions have improved in parts of the basin, but many parts remain abnormally dry.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday October 9, 2023 |


Top 5 Things to Watch - WASDE, Possible Frosts on the Watch List OMAHA (DTN) -- Here are the Top 5 things the DTN Newsroom is tracking for the week of Oct. 8. Watch for coverage of these and other topics through the week on our subscription platforms. 1. Speaker uncertainty unnerves markets: There's a lot up in the air as the GOP-led House of Representatives tries to escape from its self-watered muck hole. One immediate effect is to make traders ever more skiddish. We'll have ongoing coverage of all the collateral damage around the leaderless House. 2. WASDE week: Thursday we'll cover the October Crop Production and World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) reports. Our preview of those reports will be out earlier in the week, as soon as market analyst expectations reports are in. WASDE coverage starts right after the 11 a.m. CDT report release, and we'll have updates throughout Thursday morning. As always, our free webinar on the reports, featuring DTN Lead Analyst Todd Hultman, goes live at 12:30 p.m. You can register for that webinar, including a question and answer session at the end, by going here: 3. Weather systems raise frost concerns: Several cold fronts are moving across the U.S., some with high winds. The real concerns are frosts and freeze warnings, particularly in northern states, during the weekend and into this week. DTN forecasters say central states will have more cloud cover, and rainfall potential, which generally reduces the chance of frost. Cooler weather will continue in most areas through the week. 4. Trade issues gather interest: Recent corn sales to Mexico have been at high pace, we'll monitor how long that trend remains. There's still a longer-term concern that the potential ban on GMO corn -- which at the moment is aimed at food-grade (white) corn, could spread to No. 2 yellow if the country's political winds blow that way. In the meantime, China's demand remains high, despite the fact that U.S. sales to that country are lower than 2022. Just another sign of Brazil's big crop, which is pushing out sales of U.S. beans. 5. Economic reports to watch: Government offices, banks and bond markets are closed Monday for Columbus day. U.S. stock markets and futures markets are open, and DTN reports on those markets will continue through the day. However, USDA weekly grain export inspections (10 a.m. CDT) and Crop Progress reports (3:00 p.m.) will be delayed until Tuesday. On Wednesday, the U.S. Labor Department releases the producer price index for September at 7:30 a.m. Minutes from the Federal Reserve's September meeting are released at 2 p.m. On Thursday, U.S. weekly jobless claims are out at 7:30 a.m., the same time as the consumer price index for September and update of the U.S. Drought Monitor. The Energy Department's weekly report of natural gas storage is at 9:30 a.m., followed by the weekly report of energy inventories at 10 a.m. As noted above, October WASDE coverage begins at 11 a.m. Friday will see USDA's weekly export sales reports at 7:30 a.m. The University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index hits at 9 a.m.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday October 9, 2023 |


Monday Watch List Markets On Monday, government offices, banks and bond markets are closed for Columbus Day/Indigenous People Day. U.S. stock and futures markets are open however, starting with their normal opening times on Sunday evening. Traders will check the latest weather forecasts, any harvest reports they can find and news over the weekend from Ukraine. USDA's reports of exports inspections and crop progress will be released Tuesday. Weather A burst of colder air moved through the country over the weekend and continues to spin around the Great Lakes, leading to some frosts in select spots of the Corn Belt Monday morning. Isolated showers may develop near the Great Lakes in the cooler air during the day, otherwise it will be quiet in most areas.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday October 6, 2023 |


Turkey Prices Falling as Thanksgiving Approaches The cost to buy a Thanksgiving turkey could be lower this year, thanks to a drop in avian influenza cases and a recovery of the turkey population in the U.S. Farm Bureau economists analyzed turkey and egg prices and found that the average price for an eight-to-16-pound turkey typically served for Thanksgiving was $1.27 per pound lower than in August 2023. That’s 22 percent lower than the same time last year. “The status of HPAI is different now than it was just a year ago,” the economists say in a Market Intel Report. “Migratory birds are a major vector of this virus, which naturally makes spring and fall migration high-risk times.” June marked the first month with no detections since the outbreak began in February 2022. Egg production also saw a year-to-year increase, with 9.38 billion eggs produced in September 2023, a two percent increase from the same time last year. *********************************************************************************** Ukraine Exports Down Almost 25 Percent Grain exports dropped to 6.82 million metric tons so far from Ukraine in the 2023-2024 marketing year. The ag ministry says Ukraine shipped 8.99 million tons during the same period in the prior marketing year. The first three days of October saw 153,000 tons of exports compared to 297,000 tons a year ago. While the ministry didn’t give a reason for the drop, traders and agricultural unions say the country’s ports on the Black Sea are getting blocked. Russia is attacking ports along the Danube River too. The exported volumes include 3.4 million tons of wheat, 2.7 million tons of corn, and 625,000 tons of barley. The Black Sea grain deal negotiated by the U.N. and Turkey ended in July. Ukraine is expected to harvest a total of 79 million tons of grain and oilseeds in 2023, with the 2023-2024 exportable surplus totals expected to reach about 50 million tons. *********************************************************************************** More Crop Insurance Options for Organic, Specialty Crops The USDA is improving crop insurance options for specialty crop and organic producers, including rolling out new and expanded options based on feedback from America’s producers. “We’re committed to working with specialty crop and organic producers to develop options that fit their needs,” says Risk Management Agency Administrator Marcia Bunger. “We listened to what they said, and we’re proud of our efforts to deliver crop insurance options that meet the needs of producers as well as to share information on available crop options.” From 1990 to 2022, liabilities for insured specialty crops rose from $1 billion to more than $23 billion. Over the past 20 years, the number of individual specialty crops insured under the crop insurance program grew by 27 percent. Currently, there are over 70 individual specialty crops insured under the crop insurance options. New insurance options include the Transitional and Organic Grower Assistance Program and Tropical Storm Coverage. *********************************************************************************** Creelman Named 2024 World Ag Expo Chair The 2024 World Ag Expo season was kicked off recently by Show Chair Stan Creelman. The kickoff dinner in late September was attended by volunteers, staff, and invited guests. It was a chance to get together and set the tone for the coming show. “I’m honored to serve as the 2024 World Ag Expo Chairman,” says Creelman. “There have been so many great leaders before me, so it’s humbling to be here.” The theme is “The Best Farm Show on Dirt.” The annual show is produced by the International Agri-Center, a non-profit focused on year-round agricultural education. Entering its 57th year, World Ag Expo is the largest annual outdoor ag tradeshow in the world. In 2023, the Expo saw 108,223 people come from 49 states and 56 countries. With more than 1,200 exhibitors and 2.6 million square feet of exhibit space, the event provides a platform for networking and education. *********************************************************************************** AFT Calling Attention to Farming on PBS American Farmland Trust will sponsor the new PBS national public series “America the Bountiful” with its premiere planned for spring 2024. The new project is a food, history, and travel series exploring the regional food traditions of America’s Heartland. It will help viewers learn more about culture and find inspiration in the chronicles of farmers, artisans, restauranteurs, and home cooks through the bounty they grow, produce, and eat. The show will shine a spotlight on the vibrant, culturally diverse, untold food stories and traditions hidden across America. “We’re focused on saving the land that sustains us all, and our new partnership with “America the Bountiful” will help us reach an important PBS audience of engaged and committed conservationists, farmers, and food lovers across the country,” says AFT President and CEO John Piotti (Pe-OHT-tee). “We’re excited to further educate people about the importance of farmland protection and sound agricultural practices.” *********************************************************************************** Washington Clean Fuel Standard Impressive in First Quarter The Washington Clean Fuel Standard is off to an impressive start with the release of its first-quarter results for the number of credits generated by alternative low-carbon fuels. These figures demonstrate the program’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions, supporting local economies, and fostering a unified market for biomass-based diesel on the West Coast. Preliminary data shows that biodiesel and renewable diesel contributed around 22 percent of the credits indicating an approximate 1.2 percent blend rate. In comparison, when California first implemented its Low Carbon Fuel Standard, the state saw a blend rate of 0.4 percent for biodiesel and renewable diesel in the first year. Replicating California’s fuel standard, Washington adopted their own Clean Fuel Standard in 2021 in an effort to reduce carbon intensity in the transportation sector, the state’s largest source of greenhouse gas emissions. The program provides credits for low-carbon fuel alternatives that improve air quality and economic growth.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday October 6, 2023 |


Friday Watch List Markets The U.S. Labor Department reports on non-farm payrolls and the unemployment rate for September at 7:30 a.m. CDT Friday, another possible threat to interest rate concerns. Traders will continue to keep watch over the latest weather forecasts, any harvest reports and news from Ukraine where the war remains hard-fought. Weather A cold front continues to push through the eastern Midwest and Northeast Friday, with the southern end dragging through the Southeast. Both have some showers with them. Cold air is quickly filling in behind the front and produced widespread frosts and freezes Friday morning in the northwestern Plains. That will spread to most of the Central and Northern Plains for Friday night. In the cold air, isolated showers will develop across the Midwest.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday October 5, 2023 |


Weakening Crop Prices and High Production Costs Weigh on Farmer Sentiment Agricultural producers’ sentiment declined for the second month in a row during September. The Purdue University-CME Group Ag Economy Barometer fell nine points to a reading of 106. Producers expressed concern about both their current situation as well as future prospects for their farms. The Current Conditions and Futures Expectations Indices both declined ten points in September, leaving the Current Conditions Index at a reading of 98 while the Future Expectations Index stood at 109. Weakening prices for major crops and ongoing concerns about high production costs and interest rates weighed on producers' minds this month. September's declines left all three indices below year-ago levels. Despite the weak sentiment reading, producers remain relatively optimistic about farmland values as expressed by both the short and long-term farmland values indices. The September survey also included several questions to learn more about cover crops. Just over half of the corn and soybean growers surveyed said they currently plant cover crops on a portion of their acreage. *********************************************************************************** USDA Announces Support for Underserved and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers The Department of Agriculture Wednesday announced $27.6 million in grants for underserved and veteran farmers, ranchers, and foresters. The funding will provide training, outreach and technical assistance to help them own and operate successful farms, ranches, and forest lands. The funding is made through USDA's 2501 Program, administered by the USDA Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement. In 2023, the funding supports grants to 41 organizations in 27 states for their efforts to provide outreach and technical assistance to underserved and veteran farmers and ranchers. The 2501 Program was created through the 1990 Farm Bill to help underserved farmers, ranchers and foresters who have historically experienced limited access to USDA assistance. The 2014 Farm Bill expanded the program to include veterans. Grants are awarded to higher education institutions and nonprofit and community-based organizations to extend USDA's engagement efforts in underserved and veteran communities. Since 2010, the 2501 Program has provided more than $221 million to fund more than 657 projects. *********************************************************************************** APHIS Celebrates ASF Preparedness and Prevention USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is celebrating its many successful efforts to prevent African swine fever from reaching the United States. In honor of ASF Action Week, APHIS is recognizing the continuing efforts to prevent this deadly swine disease from reaching our shores. USDA's Dr. Rosemary Sifford says, “The United States has always had a system of interlocking safeguards in place to protect against foreign animal diseases, however the spread of ASF abroad made us review and strengthen our protections.” Some of the agency’s major accomplishments in these areas include enhancing existing safeguards, strengthening Customs and Border Protection partnerships, and further collaboration with states, industry and producers. APHIS continues to conduct surveillance for ASF in domestic and feral swine in the mainland United States. Since August 2021, APHIS has tested almost 6,000 samples from higher-risk domestic herds, and more than 26,000 case-compatible samples from veterinary diagnostic laboratories and production facilities. *********************************************************************************** Climate Center Develops Soil Temp Climatology Tool The Midwestern Regional Climate Center is launching a new tool in partnership with the Department of Agriculture's Midwest Climate Hub. The tool will provide soil temperature threshold information based on historical data from the last 30 years. The Soil Temperature Climatology Tool will be crucial for the agricultural industry to better identify benchmark dates for when specific agronomic activities, such as planting and applying nutrients, should take place. Data for the tool was sourced from the North American Regional Reanalysis, a model produced by the National Centers for Environmental Prediction that generates data for temperature, wind, moisture, soil and dozens of other parameters. Widhalm said using data from NARR was necessary because several areas across the Midwest lack substantial soil temperature measurements. These soil temperature estimates provide for an accurate historical perspective. While the Soil Temperature Climatology Tool was developed with the farming community in mind, the data this tool provides will be useful for several other production areas. Find the tool on the MRCC website. *********************************************************************************** National Dairy FARM Program Launches Enhanced Biosecurity Initiative The National Dairy Farmers Assuring Responsible Management Program Wednesday announced the launch of FARM Biosecurity – Enhanced. The project is a new aspect of the FARM Biosecurity Program that includes training and an online database. FARM Biosecurity – Enhanced, includes an online database to develop and securely store dairy producers’ enhanced biosecurity plans and an online training that helps users write those plans. FARM has also developed a FARM Biosecurity – Enhanced Biosecurity Prep Guide and Database User Guide to complement these tools. Stronger, or enhanced, levels of biosecurity will be needed to protect cattle against the highly contagious foot-and-mouth disease found in two-thirds of the world. One FMD case in the United States could shut down movement across the nation of livestock and their products for at least 72 hours. To learn more about the FARM Program or access protocol templates and training aids, visit the FARM website: nationaldairyfarm.com. *********************************************************************************** Households That Earn Less Spend a Higher Share of Income on Food Households spend more money on food as their incomes rise, but the amount spent represents a smaller share of their overall budgets, according to USDA’s Economic Research Service. When U.S. households were divided into five equal groups by household income, households in the lowest income group had an average after-tax income of $16,337 and spent an average of $5,090 on food, or about $98 a week, in 2022. Households in the highest income group, with an average after-tax income of $196,794, spent an average of $15,713 on food, about $302 a week. As households gain more disposable income, they often shift to more expensive food options. Food spending as a share of income rose across all income groups in 2022 as food prices increased faster than the overall inflation rate. In 2022, food spending represented 31.2 percent of the lowest groups’ income, 13.4 percent of income for the middle group, and 8.0 percent of income for the highest group.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday October 5, 2023 |


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 U.S. trade deficit for August and an update of the U.S. Drought Monitor. The U.S. Energy Department's weekly report of natural gas storage is set for 9:30 a.m. Weather A cold front continues to push eastward through the Midwest and south through the Southern Plains and Delta on Thursday, producing areas of showers and thunderstorms. A second front moved through the Northern Plains overnight and will continue to move in behind the primary front through Friday with much colder air coming in and some isolated showers of its own. Breezy winds are also expected.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday October 4, 2023 |


NPPC Wants Input on Swine Traceability U.S. pork producers tasked the National Pork Producers Council with leading an effort to update the existing swine traceability system. NPPC wants swine producers, veterinarians, cull swine and breeding operators, and show pig enthusiasts to comment on the draft standards by October 27. “Approximately one million pigs are in transit every day, giving diseases plenty of opportunities to spread,” says Scott Hays, NPPC president and Missouri pork producer. “With the growing threat of a foreign animal disease reaching the U.S., the need to address gaps in our existing traceability system is important for our farms and industry.” International markets would close immediately if a foreign animal disease were discovered in the U.S. “With $7.7 billion worth of pork being sold to international consumers, we need to assure our trading partners that we can identify disease-free animals and provide products from unaffected farms,” Hays adds. For more information, go to nppc.org/trace. *********************************************************************************** NCBA Helps Secure Passage of Animal Health Priority The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association hailed the reauthorization of the Animal Drug User Fee Act. The act allows the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine to collect fees from animal health companies, which fund the agency’s review and approval process for new animal drugs. ADUFA ensures that FDA has an efficient system for authorizing new cattle medicines and diagnostic tools that keep livestock healthy and protect our safe, wholesome food supply. “Keeping our livestock healthy is on every cattle producer’s mind,” says NCBA President Todd Wilkinson. “NCBA made this reauthorization a top priority at the 2023 Cattle Industry Convention, and I’m proud to see our team’s hard work pay off.” NCBA Chief Veterinarian Kathy Simmons says drug innovations are happening every day. “This ensures that FDA has the resources it needs to review these new technologies for safety and efficacy and to bring them to market for cattle producers,” Simmons says. *********************************************************************************** Wolle Takes Over as New NCGA President Harold Wolle (WOLL-lee), a Minnesota farmer, officially took over as the new president of the National Corn Growers Association. Wolle has several goals in mind, saying that reauthorizing a farm bill that reflects the priorities of corn growers will be a pressing concern. He also plans to push for more support of the Next Generation Fuels Act in the House and Senate while making ethanol a go-to biofuel in the aviation sector. “My theme as president is ‘Shaping the Future,’ and nothing shapes the future like effective advocacy,” Wolle says. “And no other group does advocacy as well as our state corn grower groups and the NCGA.” Wolle has a lot of experience in many issues important to corn growers. He's served on NCGA committees and the organization’s board, including as a board liaison to the National Corn-to-Ethanol Research Advisory Board. He’s also past president of the Minnesota Corn Growers. *********************************************************************************** Registration Open for the 2024 ASI Annual Convention Registration is now open for the 2024 American Sheep Industry Association’s Annual Convention in Denver, Colorado, January 10-13. Early-bird registration rates are available through December 8. Online registrations must be finished by December 18. The ASI annual convention is the one time each year when all facets of the American sheep industry come together to discuss timely and important topics for sheep and wool producers, as well as those working in the meat, wool, and sheepskin sides of the overall industry. “We’re putting together an exciting program of events at a first-class venue,” says ASI Executive Director Peter Orwick. “We encourage anyone with an interest in the industry to register and attend as we work through the business of the association and educate leaders on important topics ranging from marketing and government policy to sheep health and genetics.” It’s also a great networking opportunity for farmers, ranchers, traders, and processors. *********************************************************************************** New Crop Insurance Program for Controlled Environments The USDA is announcing a new crop insurance program designed for agricultural producers using controlled environments in their operations. The new Controlled Environment Program from the Risk Management Agency is specifically for plants grown in fully enclosed environments and provides coverage against plant diseases subject to destruction orders. Available beginning in the 2024 crop year, the program provides a risk management resource for urban, specialty crop, and organic producers who often use controlled environments as a major part of their operations. “We are always looking to expand and improve the crop insurance resources we offer to producers,” says RMA Administrator Marcia Bunger. “Controlled environment agriculture is a quickly growing sector in the nation’s food production, and this new option is part of USDA’s broader effort to support urban agriculture and new and better markets for American producers.” The first sales closing date is December 1. For more information, go to rma.usda.gov. *********************************************************************************** Meeker Reelected to Lead Sorghum Association The National Sorghum Producers Board of Directors reelected officers and a new director at its annual board and budget meeting in August. Craig Meeker of Wellington, Kansas, will serve a second term as Chair, Amy France of Scotty City, Kansas, will continue to serve as vice chair, and Kody Carson of Olton, Texas, retains his position as past chair. “The executive leadership team has represented sorghum farmers exceptionally well this past year, and we look forward to following their leadership in 2024,” says NSP CEO Tim Lust. “As we near more concentrated farm bill debate and other issues pressing sorghum farmers and the industry, Craig, Amy, and Kody serve as a shining example of dedication and expertise, guiding us toward a more prosperous and sustainable future for sorghum in the United States.” He also says the sorghum industry is fortunate to have them at the industry’s helm during an important time.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday October 4, 2023 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets A report on U.S. factory orders is due out at 9:00 a.m. CDT Wednesday, followed by the U.S. Energy Department's weekly report of energy inventories at 9:30 a.m. CDT, including ethanol production. Traders will remain interested in the weather, harvest reports and news from Ukraine. Weather A strong cold front continues to move eastward through the country Wednesday. The northern end will move through the central Midwest, the southern end through the Southern Plains. Both areas will have scattered showers, but the Southern Plains could find some severe weather. A stronger burst of cold air will move into the Canadian Prairies, with its eyes on the U.S. for later in the week.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday October 3, 2023 |


Corteva, Bayer, Supply Majority Corn, Cotton and Soybean Seeds Two companies—Corteva and Bayer—provided more than half the U.S. retail seed sales of corn, soybeans, and cotton in 2018–20, according to USDA’s Economic Research Service. In recent decades, the U.S. crop seed industry has become more concentrated, with fewer and larger firms dominating seed supply. Today, four firms—Bayer, Corteva, ChemChina’s Syngenta Group, and BASF—control the majority of crop seed and agricultural chemical sales. In 2015, six firms led global markets for seeds and agricultural chemicals. The concentration can be traced to the expansion of intellectual property rights to private companies for seed improvements in the 1970s and 1980s. As biotechnology advanced, companies created genetically modified seed varieties, such as herbicide-tolerant or insect-resistant corn, soybeans, and cotton. Mergers occurred between companies that produced and sold pesticides, seed treatments, crop seeds, and seed traits. As a result, the U.S. crop seed sector has become highly integrated with agricultural chemicals and more concentrated. *********************************************************************************** Farm Real Estate Market Holding Steady As combines roll into fields this fall, there is a renewed sense of optimism when looking at the real estate market. The current state of the ag land market is resilient, and the demand for high-quality farmland remains strong in the face of higher interest rates and lower commodity prices, according to Farmers National Company. However, the market will likely return to a more normal flow, evidenced by the slowdown of the appreciation rate of ag land, as well as the sales volume at Farmers National Company. Regional drought pressure across portions of the Corn Belt have also softened short-term demand for land. Areas highly impacted by the drought have seen seasonal pressure, with the lowest-quality farms impacted the most, while demand for higher-quality land has remained stable. The solid demand for ag properties from people interested in expanding their farm operations or investment opportunities seems to be driving the interest in high-quality cropland. *********************************************************************************** USDA Restricts Poultry Imports from France, EU The Department of Agriculture recently placed restrictions on the importation of poultry from France and the European Union. The restrictions, enacted by USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, include live ducks, duck eggs, and unmitigated or untreated duck products from the APHIS-recognized European Poultry Trade Region, as well as Iceland, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, and Norway, but excluding Great Britain. The restrictions are due to increased risk of introducing Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza into the United States and were enacted October first. The restrictions are based on the World Organization for Animal Health's definition of poultry and result from France's decision to vaccinate commercial meat ducks against HPAI. France’s decision to vaccinate presents a risk of introducing HPAI into the United States. The United States does not currently allow the import of poultry from countries affected with HPAI or from flocks that have been vaccinated by HPAI. *********************************************************************************** Dairy Margin Coverage Provides Critical Support for Dairy Operations The August milk margin triggered the eighth consecutive payment for dairy producers who obtained Dairy Margin Coverage for the 2023 program year. August's income over feed margin is $6.46 per hundredweight, with projected DMC payments totaling $120 million. To date, including the projected August payments, dairy producers have received more than $1.2 billion in much-needed economic support for 2023, and margin forecasts indicate the likelihood of more to come before the end of the calendar year. USDA Farm Service Agency Administrator Zack Ducheneaux says, "While livestock and crop producers alike have been financially impacted by catastrophic natural disaster events, dairy producers' financial stressors have been compounded by significant market volatilities." DMC is a voluntary risk management program administered by USDA's Farm Service Agency that offers protection to dairy producers when the difference between the all-milk price and the average feed price (the margin) falls below a certain dollar amount selected by the producer.   *********************************************************************************** USDA Announces Weaned Calf Risk Protection USDA recently announced Weaned Calf Risk Protection, a new insurance option for livestock producers in several states. This policy, offered by USDA's Risk Management Agency, offers Actual Production History coverage for beef cow-calf producers to ensure revenue from their spring calving operations. Weaned Calf Risk Protection will be available for the 2024 crop year. The policies insure producers against yield losses due to natural causes such as drought, excessive moisture, hail, wind, frost, insects, and disease. Coverage is provided for a decline in price and loss of yield due to a decrease of overall weaning weight, like revenue coverage offered for other crops. The program will be available in Colorado, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Texas, beginning with the January 31, 2024, sales closing date for the 2024 crop year. Coverage levels between 50 and 85 percent will be available, along with catastrophic coverage. Interested producers should contact their local RMA office. *********************************************************************************** Weekly Fuel Prices Decline Again For the second straight week, the nation's average price of gasoline fell, posting a decline of 3.5 cents from a week ago to $3.77 per gallon, according to GasBuddy. The national average is up 2.8 cents from a month ago and 1.0 cents per gallon lower than a year ago. The national average diesel price fell 0.7 cents last week and is $4.52 per gallon, 36.2 cents lower than one year ago. GasBuddy's Patrick De Haan says, "we're likely to see nearly the entire country see gasoline prices trend lower in the week ahead." After bouncing around near and above $90 for the last few weeks, oil has not maintained its upward trend as renewed fears about further interest rate hikes lower demand prospects in the months ahead. Meanwhile, OPEC+ plans to hold the line on its current production levels at a key meeting this week.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday October 3, 2023 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets There are no significant reports due out Tuesday. Traders will continue to watch over the latest weather forecasts, harvest anecdotes and any news out of Ukraine. Weather A frontal boundary is moving into and through the Plains Tuesday, creating areas of showers and thunderstorms from north to south. Showers will move into the western Midwest overnight. A significant drop in temperatures will occur behind the front, but it continues to feel like summer ahead of it.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday October 2, 2023 |


Corn and Soybean Ending Stocks Lower in 2023 The USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service released its Grain Stocks report that showed lower numbers for corn and soybeans. Old crop corn stocks on hand as of September 1 totaled 1.36 billion bushels, one percent lower than the same time last year. Old crop soybeans stored in all positions were down two percent from September 1, 2022, and all wheat stocks were up slightly from a year earlier. Of the total corn stocks, 605 million bushels were stored on farms, 19 percent higher than last year. Old crop soybeans stored in all positions on September 1, 2023, totaled 268 million bushels, two percent lower than last year. Soybean stocks stored on farms totaled 72 million bushels, up 14 percent from a year ago. All wheat stored in all positions on September 1 totaled 1.78 billion bushels, up slightly from September 1, 2022. On-farm stocks were one percent higher than in 2022. *********************************************************************************** USDA Issues 2023 Small Grains Summary All wheat production totaled 1.81 billion bushels in 2023, up ten percent from last year’s total of 1.65 billion bushels. The harvested area totaled 37.3 million acres, up five percent from the previous year. The U.S. yield was estimated at 48.6 bushels an acre, 2.1 bushels higher than in the prior year. The levels of production and changes from 2022 by type were winter wheat, at 1.25 billion bushels, was up 13 percent from last year. Other spring wheat totaled 505 million bushels, up five percent, and Durum wheat production hit 59.3 million bushels, seven percent lower than the previous year. Oat production was estimated at 57 million bushels, one percent lower than 2022 totals. USDA estimated the yield at 68.6 bushels an acre, 3.8 bushels higher than the previous year. Barley production hit 185 million bushels; six percent higher than in 2022, and yield was 72.4 bushels an acre. *********************************************************************************** Drought Monitor Shows Improvements After Rainfall Western parts of the Midwest were inundated with heavy rains while the eastern part received little to no moisture. Large areas in Minnesota and Wisconsin and parts of Iowa, Illinois, and Missouri all received two inches or more. Abnormal dryness and moderate to exceptional drought were reduced in these areas. Meanwhile, drought continued expanding over Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky, and in parts of Missouri, Michigan, and Illinois. Northern and eastern parts of the High Plains region received as much as two inches of rainfall, while parts of Wyoming and Kansas stayed dry. Drought conditions contracted in North and South Dakota and Nebraska. In the South, bands of heavy rain fell in eastern Oklahoma, western Arkansas, and the Louisiana and Texas borders with Arkansas, with some amounts topping five inches of rain. But the western half of Texas and Oklahoma, along with much of Mississippi and Tennessee received little to no rain. *********************************************************************************** Legislation Will Require Crop Insurance Transparency Looking for less secrecy in the Crop Insurance Program, representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Ralph Norman (R-SC) introduced the Crop Insurance Transparency Act. If passed, it would require USDA to publicly disclose the names of producers and insurers who receive federal crop insurance subsidies and the amount received. “At a time when federal crop insurance payments are at an all-time high, it is an abject failure that a majority of our small farmers and ranchers do not even have access to the crop insurance safety net,” says Blumenauer. “Reform begins with accurate and transparent information.” Norman adds that one-third of all crop insurance subsidies don’t make it to farmers, but instead go to massive insurance companies. “Millionaires and billionaires are likely receiving crop insurance subsidies at a time when most farmers are struggling to get by,” says Scott Faber of the Environmental Working Group. “It’s time to lift this veil of secrecy.” *********************************************************************************** U.S. Hog Inventory Rises Slightly The U.S. inventory of all hogs and pigs on September 1, 2023, was 74.3 million head. That was slightly higher than September 1, 2022, and up two percent from June of this year. The breeding inventory was 6.08 million head, down one percent from last year and one percent from the previous quarter. The market hog inventory was 68.2 million head, slightly higher than last year and two percent higher than the previous quarter. The June-August pig crop was 34.2 million head, slightly higher than in 2022. Sows farrowing during the period totaled 2.95 million head, down four percent from 2022. U.S. hog producers intend to have 2.93 million sows farrow between September and November, down five percent from the actual farrowings during the same period a year earlier. Intended farrowings between December 2023 and February 2024 total 2.91 million sows, down one percent from the same period a year ago. *********************************************************************************** State Attorneys General Against the Eats Act A coalition of 16 State Attorneys General sent letters to Congressional leadership regarding the EATS Act. Sponsors of the Ending Agricultural Trade Suppression Act have positioned the bill as a regulatory solution, but it will undermine states’ rights to regulate agriculture within their local jurisdictions and nullify numerous state and local laws that already exist. Those hundreds of laws that would be invalidated support family beef, dairy, egg, and pork producers, as well as hundreds of laws related to food safety and invasive pest control. The letter states that, “For over 200 years, state and local governments have been responsible for ensuring that there is a safe and healthy food supply for their consumers and that locally sold farm products are governed by locally accountable elected officials.” Groups like the Organization for Competitive Markets and Competitive Markets Action say the Act would up-end the crucial balance between state and federal authority.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday October 2, 2023 |


Top 5 Things to Watch - Government Shutdown Avoided, Record-Breaking Heat May Turn to Frost Later in Week OMAHA (DTN) -- Here are the Top 5 things the DTN Newsroom is tracking for the week of Oct. 1. Watch for coverage of these and other topics through the week on our subscription platforms as well as on DTNPF.com. 1. Grain trade reaction: How will traders respond to the weekend political moves to avoid government shutdown for now with a 45-day funding bill that President Joe Biden signed late Saturday? That will be a key focus for the week, starting with grain comments available to DTN subscribers Sunday night. 2. Weather messes with harvest: Some areas of the Corn Belt had record heat during the weekend. However, if you caught the Sept. 29 Ag Weather Forum, you know DTN's weather models all did an about-face mid-afternoon. That ushers in a strong cold front expected Oct. 3-6, which will produce showers and thunderstorms up and down the Plains to the Mississippi Valley. There may even be frost by the end of the week. I 3. Low rivers still an issue: Despite the potential for rains, we're continuing to track low river levels in the Mississippi Valley. 4. Digging into the details: DTN's Clayton will dig deeper into what was decided by the government during the weekend and assess what are the consequences. What is being funded, what still hasn't been decided, and what will this mean for farmers and ranchers? 5. Reports this week: Here's what is tentatively expected to come out this week, based on the government shutdown being avoided. We'll update if we hear more. Monday, International manufacturing indices reports trickle in overnight, joined by the U.S. report at 9 a.m. CDT. USDA's weekly grain export inspections hit at 10 a.m., followed by NASS Fats and Oil report at 2 p.m. and weekly Crop Progress at 3 p.m. On Tuesday, U.S. new home sales are released at 7:30 a.m., followed by U.S. consumer confidence at 9 a.m. Wednesday, we'll watch U.S. factory orders at 9 a.m., with the U.S. Energy Department's weekly report of energy inventories at 9:30 a.m. On Thursday USDA's weekly export sales are due at 7:30 a.m., as is weekly U.S. jobless claims, the U.S. trade deficit for August and an update of the U.S. Drought Monitor. The U.S. Energy Department's weekly report of natural gas storage is at 9:30 a.m. Friday we hope to see the U.S. Labor Department reports on non-farm payrolls and the unemployment rate for September at 7:30 a.m.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday October 2, 2023 |


Monday Watch List Markets Back from the weekend, traders will catch up on the latest weather forecasts and have likely heard the deadline for a possible U.S. government shutdown has been moved to November 17. International reports of manufacturing indices will trickle in overnight and be joined by the U.S. report at 9 a.m. CDT. USDA's weekly grain export inspections will be out at 10 a.m. CDT, followed by NASS's Fats and Oil report at 2 p.m. and Crop Progress at 3 p.m. Weather Hot temperatures east of the Rockies will be near daily records in many locations. Some isolated showers may develop in the Plains, otherwise the country will be rather dry as well.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday September 29, 2023 |


USDA Sees Record Demand to Advance Clean Energy in Rural America The Department of Agriculture reports record demand for funding to advance affordable and reliable clean energy in rural America. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says, “The Inflation Reduction Act is driving investment in rural communities across the nation, particularly in places that for too long have been left out or left behind.” The Inflation Reduction Act made nearly $13 billion available to support clean energy infrastructure for rural America through USDA Rural Development programs. In May, USDA made $9.7 billion available under the New Empowering Rural America program for member-owned rural electric cooperatives, and received 157 proposals from nearly every state. Also in May, USDA made $1 billion available under Powering Affordable Clean Energy to fund new clean energy projects and energy storage in rural America. So far, USDA has received requests for more than $7.8 billion through letters of interest. USDA has also seen substantially more interest than funding available under the Inflation Reduction Act in USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. *********************************************************************************** Animal Rights Groups Welcomes Bill to End Milk Mandate Legislation introduced recently would give kids a nutritionally equivalent, plant-based milk option to cow’s milk in the National School Lunch Program. Welcomed by animal rights groups, the Addressing Digestive Distress in Stomachs of Our Youth Act requires public schools to offer a nutritionally equivalent soy milk option and allows USDA to reimburse schools for those purchases, just as it does for cow's milk. Animal Wellness Action President Wayne Pacelle says, “The federal government is overreaching by subsidizing and promoting milk beyond its natural appeal to consumers.” Under law, USDA provides a reimbursement of $1 billion for cow’s milk to public schools across the country, placing a carton of milk on every tray. Earlier this year, the National Milk Producers Federation responded, “The latest ploy among the vegan, animal rights and plant-based lobbies is to suddenly paint themselves as social justice crusaders, demanding that their nutritionally inferior products should now be treated as legitimate milk substitutes in federal nutrition programs.” *********************************************************************************** Federal Complaint Alleges Environmental Violations by eBay The Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Justice this week filed a complaint against eBay. The complaint alleges eBay allows the unlawful selling of pesticides, violating the Clean Air Act, the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, commonly known as FIFRA and the Toxic Substances Control Act. FIFRA prohibits the unlawful distribution or sale of unregistered, misbranded, and restricted-use pesticides, and authorizes EPA to issue Stop Sale, Use, or Removal Orders. The complaint also alleges that eBay has unlawfully distributed or sold at least 23,000 such products, and that some of those sales directly violate a stop sale order issued to eBay in 2020 and amended in 2021. Examples of these pesticides include a high-toxicity insecticide banned in the U.S., restricted-use pesticides that only certified applicators may apply, and products fraudulently claiming to protect users against SARS-CoV-2. The complaint also targets aftermarket parts that defeat motor vehicle emission controls. *********************************************************************************** 2022 Potato Production Down 3 Percent The Department of Agriculture this week released the 2022 Potatoes Summary. The report presents potato estimates of acreage, yield per acre, production, farm disposition, season average price, value, and utilization of sales, including processing for the 2022 season. All potato production in 2022 totaled 399 million hundred-weight, down three percent from the 2021 crop. Harvested area, at 911,400 acres, was down one percent from 2021. The average yield of 438 hundred-weight per acre was down six hundred-weight from the previous year. The value of all potatoes sold in 2022, at $4.80 billion, increased 23 percent from the previous year. The average price, at $12.90 per hundred-weight, was up $2.70 from 2021. The quantity of potatoes sold from the 2022 crop totaled 373 million hundred-weight, down three percent from 2021. Potatoes used for chips increased three percent, while frozen French fries utilization dropped one percent, and dehydrated potatoes fell seven percent. *********************************************************************************** Turkey Growers Increase Flock Size While U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai visited a North Carolina Turkey Farm to celebrate market access to India, USDA reported increased turkey production this week. The September USDA Turkey Raised report indicated a four percent increase from 2022. Turkeys Raised in the United States during 2023 is forecasted at 219 million this month. The top six states account for 68 percent of the turkeys produced in the United States during 2023. The largest turkey-producing state is Minnesota, at 39.0 million turkeys, up five percent from the previous year. North Carolina produced 29.0 million turkeys, up four percent from a year ago. Arkansas produced 27.5 million turkeys, up six percent from last year. Indiana produced 20.0 million turkeys, unchanged from last year. Missouri produced 18.0 million turkeys, up six percent from last year, and Virginia is up one percent from the previous year at 15.4 million turkeys. Turkeys raised preliminary estimates include young turkeys intended for meat production and breeder turkeys reaching maturity during the calendar year. *********************************************************************************** USDA: Lower Income Countries Spend More on Food Consumers in low-income countries spend a greater proportion of their budgets on food than those in higher-income countries, according to USDA’s Economic Research Service. As incomes rise with economic development and urbanization, the share of income spent on food tends to fall, while discretionary spending on household goods, education, medical services, and recreation tends to increase. In low-income African and South Asian countries, spending on food accounted for more than 40 percent of total consumer expenditures in 2022. This contrasts with higher-income economies in Latin America, including Argentina, Colombia, and Mexico, where an average of about 22.5 percent of budgets was spent on food. In emerging markets such as Brazil, India, and China, where incomes are rising, the share of discretionary income spent on nonfood categories has increased. In higher-income economies, including the United States, Switzerland, Australia, and Canada, disposable incomes remain larger, and the food share of consumer expenditures is smaller than those in countries where urban communities are still expanding.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday September 29, 2023 |


Friday Watch List Markets The Federal Reserve's favorite inflation indicator, the PCE index is due out at 7:30 a.m., the same time as reports on U.S. personal income and consumer spending. USDA's September 1 Grain Stocks and Small Grains Summary are both due out at 11 a.m. CDT Friday, followed by DTN's webinar at 12:30 p.m. Weather A frontal boundary moved into the Northern Plains Thursday and will largely stall there into Minnesota for Friday. Pockets of scattered showers and thunderstorms will be possible in these areas. Some isolated showers may pop up farther south across the Plains as well. Temperatures south and east of the front will continue to climb higher.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday September 28, 2023 |


Americans Want Their Food Produced Domestically A new survey from the American Sugar Alliance shows American voters recognize the importance of agriculture. The poll says they want Congress to prioritize American farmers in the next farm bill, provide them with a strong and reliable safety net, and protect them from foreign businesses that could displace American farmers and workers and disrupt our national food supply. Almost two-thirds of the respondents in the survey say the nation’s food supply should be less dependent on foreign suppliers. The results cut across political parties and geographical regions. As far as where America should buy its sugar from, eight times as many voters preferred American-made sugar compared to those who preferred imported sugar. “Clearly, voters value domestic sugar production and don’t want to depend on foreign suppliers for an essential food ingredient,” says Cassie Blaedow, Chair of the American Sugar Alliance. Approximately 11,000 family farmers raise sugar beets and sugarcane. *********************************************************************************** USDA Will Begin Issuing $1.75 Billion in Emergency Relief The USDA began issuing more than $1.75 billion in emergency relief payments to eligible farmers and livestock producers. These much-needed payments are helping farmers and ranchers recover following natural disasters in 2020, 2021, and 2022. “USDA provides substantial economic support for America’s farmers and ranchers through its critical farm payments,” says Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack. “These payments reflect the incredible and cumulative financial hits brought on by devastating natural disasters which agricultural producers nationwide have endured while fulfilling their commitment to produce our food, fiber, and fuel.” He also says the additional assistance offsets tremendous losses and is a valuable investment not only for farmers and ranchers but also for the economic success of rural and urban communities and our nation’s food security for generations to come. This week, the Farm Service Agency will issue more than $581 million in 2021 and 2022 drought and wildfire emergency relief to eligible ranchers. *********************************************************************************** Merck Awards Scholarships to Future Veterinarians Merck Animal Health announced it has awarded $90,000 in scholarships to 18 bovine veterinary students in partnership with the American Association of Bovine Practitioners. Scholarship recipients were selected based on their academic achievements, career goals, work experience, and interest in veterinary medicine. The scholarships were recently given out during the 2023 AABP Annual Conference in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with each winner getting $5,000. “Merck Animal Health is proud to honor these veterinary students who represent the future of our field and the cattle industry,” says Justin Welsh, DVM and executive director of livestock technical services for Merck. Fred Gingrich, DVM and executive director of AABP, says he’s very excited about what the future holds for these outstanding students and the talents and skills they will bring to the veterinary profession as they embark on their careers. “We are incredibly grateful to Merck Animal Health for its continued partnership and support,” Gingrich says. *********************************************************************************** Legislation Helps Organic Producers Meet Growing Demand New legislation was introduced in both chambers of Congress to give organic producers the tools they need to increase their capacity, reach new markets, and grow their businesses. The Organic Market Development Act would codify and increase support for a newly announced USDA program that aims to solve supply chain gaps for the organic market through grants to farmers and businesses as demand increases for organic products. In 2021, U.S. sales of organic food products reached $52 billion, nearly doubling the sales done in 2010. Senate bill sponsor Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) says the legislation will build on the success of the Organic Market Development Grant Program and allow more producers to access these resources and tools to grow America’s agriculture economy. The legislation builds on the initial $75 million annual authorization by maintaining the base CCC investment and adds $25 million in appropriations for 2024 and each fiscal year thereafter. *********************************************************************************** NCGA Campaign Call for a Level Playing Field The National Corn Growers Association launched a grassroots advocacy campaign to encourage the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to provide a level playing field for biofuels like ethanol. The organization wants corn growers and advocates to make their voices heard by submitting comments to the agency. The campaign comes after NHTSA proposed hiking the Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standard, referred to as the CAFÉ Standard. It regulates how much fuel a vehicle consumes per mile. The agency’s current proposal would move the fleet average for small cars and light trucks from 44 to 58 miles per gallon by 2032. NCGA President Tom Haag says the proposal sets an unattainable goal and concerning precedent. “Auto manufacturers will be forced to overlook viable solutions in high-octane biofuels like corn ethanol to meet these standards,” Haag says. “This would minimize the role biofuels play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and saving consumers money.” *********************************************************************************** Missouri Farmland Sale Sets New Record A Missouri farmland auction broke the previous record set in Iowa as 115 acres of land sold for a record amount. The Missouri farmland sale smashed the previous record of $30,000 an acre set in Iowa. The bill of sale from Dyer and Fenner Auctioneers said the record sale happened last week in Saline County, Missouri. Two farmers got into a bidding war, and, in only 15 minutes, the 115 acres set the new record at $34,800 per acre. The buyer wasn’t an investor. The winning bid came from a farmer named Jeff Baxter from neighboring Carroll County, Missouri. Area farmers say the competing bidder was a farmer whose home farm touches the land that was up for sale. Farm Journal’s AgWeb says the bidding started at $15,000 an acre for the piece of ground that’s been in the same family for four generations, and the bids climbed very fast.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday September 28, 2023 |


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, an update of second-quarter U.S. GDP and an update of the U.S. Drought Monitor. The U.S. Energy Department's weekly report of natural gas storage is at 9:30 a.m. USDA's Hogs and Pigs report for September 1 is due out at 2 p.m. Weather An upper-level trough that has been meandering through the Midwest all week continues across eastern regions with areas of showers on Thursday. A new front has moved into the Northern Plains and will be the focus for areas of showers and thunderstorms going into next week. Above-normal temperatures continue to build where showers and clouds do not occur.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday September 27, 2023 |


USDA Expands Access to School Breakfast and Lunch The Department of Agriculture Tuesday announced it is giving an estimated 3,000 more school districts in high-need areas the option to serve breakfast and lunch to all students at no cost. The expansion is possible through the Community Eligibility provision, commonly known as CEP. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says the effort "Will decrease childhood hunger, improve child health and student readiness, and put our nation on the path to better nutrition and wellness." CEP is a simplified meal service option that allows schools to provide meals at no cost to all students without requiring families to apply for free and reduced-price meals. School districts receive federal funding based on a formula using existing data, and local or state funds must fill any gap between program costs and federal support. Previously, at least 40 percent of students had to live in households participating in federal assistance programs for a school or school district to be eligible for CEP. This final rule lowers that threshold from 40 percent to 25 percent. *********************************************************************************** Report: Organic Strawberries Bring Higher Prices New data from USDA's Economic Research Service shows organic strawberries offer growers higher prices than conventional strawberries. Fresh strawberry prices tend to exhibit strong seasonal trends partly because of their relatively short shelf life. In the United States, grower prices for fresh organic strawberries move in tandem with conventional strawberry prices throughout the year while also typically running 40 to 50 percent higher than conventional prices—this difference is known as a price premium. In late fall and throughout winter, supply wanes even though demand remains robust. During this period, grower price premiums for organic strawberries rise above typical levels. From 2018–2022, the highest average price premium was in January, when organic strawberry prices were 74 to 88 percent higher than conventional strawberries. Price premiums in July averaged 18 to 24 percent. Since 2008, domestic organic strawberry acreage has tripled in California, which provides about 75 percent of U.S. organic strawberry production. *********************************************************************************** Lawmakers Seek Action on Wildland Firefighter Pay Reform A group of Senators called on Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to consider wildland firefighter pay reforms. Led by Colorado Democrat Michael Bennet, the lawmakers seek advancement of permanent, comprehensive pay reform for the country's wildland firefighters as temporary pay increases are set to end. Short-term pay increases for over 22,000 federal firefighters will run out this week unless Congress takes action. In a letter, the senators note the increasing threat posed by wildfires in the U.S. and issues that have contributed to firefighter recruitment and retention challenges in recent years – including low pay, unaffordable housing, and strain on their mental health. The lawmakers say, “Firefighters deserve fair pay, support for their mental and physical health, and time to recover from their dangerous work.” They conclude by urging Schumer to move forward on permanent, comprehensive pay reform in line with the President’s Budget Request for Fiscal Year 2024 and the Wildland Firefighter Paycheck Protection Act. *********************************************************************************** USDA Report Details Cold Storage Food Supply USDA’s September Cold Storage Report shows lower dairy and meat supplies and seasonally higher frozen fruit and vegetables. The report released this week shows total natural cheese stocks in refrigerated warehouses on August 31, 2023, were down slightly from the previous month but up one percent from August 31, 2022. Butter stocks were down 12 percent from last month but up four percent from a year ago. Total frozen poultry supplies were down slightly from the previous month, but up one percent from a year ago, and total pounds of turkey in freezers were up two percent from last month. Frozen fruit stocks were up six percent from last month but down two percent from a year ago, while frozen vegetable stocks were up 18 percent from last month and five percent from a year ago. Finally, red meat supplies in freezers were up one percent from the previous month but down 15 percent from last year. *********************************************************************************** USTR Visits North Carolina Turkey Farm U.S. Trade Representative Kathrine Tai visited a North Carolina Turkey Farm Tuesday, celebrating recent market access wins for U.S. agriculture in India. Tai joined North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper for a tour of North Carolina State University’s Talley Turkey Education Unit, and participated in a roundtable event with turkey producers. Earlier this month, the U.S. and India reduced tariffs on frozen turkey, frozen duck, fresh blueberries and cranberries, frozen blueberries and cranberries, dried blueberries and cranberries, and processed blueberries and cranberries. The effort will give North Carolina farmers and agriculture producers greater opportunity to reach India’s large, untapped market for turkey exports. North Carolina is one of the United States’ largest exporters of turkey, accounting for about ten percent of U.S. turkey exports to the world each year. From 2017 through 2022, North Carolina averaged $50 million in annual exports of turkey products to the world. From 2017 through 2022, the U.S. exported over $3.1 billion of turkey to the world. *********************************************************************************** NOAA Providing Funding for Tribal Lands Drought Resiliency The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration this week announced funding to support drought resilience on tribal lands. NOAA is providing the funding to support projects that will help tribal nations address current and future drought risk. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo says, “Enhancing drought resilience with tribal partners in the West is a crucial step in building a Climate-Ready Nation.” Proposals may request funding of up to $700,000 total to be disseminated in the first year and expended over three years in the form of cooperative agreements. A total of 3-5 projects may be funded depending on the project budget requested. Applications should be developed by or in full partnership with tribal nations to fund the implementation of activities that address current and future drought risk in the context of a changing climate on tribal lands across the Western U.S. The NOAA Climate Program Office’s National Integrated Drought Information System anticipates a funding allocation of approximately $2 million, pending the availability of funds in Fiscal Year 2024.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday September 27, 2023 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets A report of U.S. durable goods orders is set for 7:30 a.m. CDT Wednesday, followed by the U.S. Energy Department's weekly report of energy inventories at 9:30 a.m. CDT. Traders continue to monitor the latest weather forecasts and any news from the Black Sea region. Weather An upper-level low pressure system continues to meander slowly through the Eastern Corn Belt Wednesday, with areas of scattered showers and thunderstorms. Some pockets of heavy rain have developed in the rainfall over the last few days, which continues Wednesday as well.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday September 26, 2023 |


Bill Introduced to Protect Farmland Used for Renewable Energy Senators Tammy Baldwin and Chuck Grassley Monday introduced the Protecting Future Farmland Act. The new legislation supports farmers’ land stewardship efforts as many choose to deploy solar energy on their land. The legislation will ensure that federal investment in rural energy projects prioritizes both land stewardship and responsible deployment of renewable energy to protect America’s farmlands for future cultivation. Baldwin, a Wisconsin Democrat, says, “we need to support our farmers’ land stewardship efforts and help them protect the farmland that is critical to the future of our rural economies and national food security.” Grassley, an Iowa Republican, adds, “We must be certain that embracing solar doesn’t damage our most valuable commodity: our rich Iowa soil.” Agricultural landowners are increasingly interested in using their land for solar energy production. About 83 percent of new solar projects are installed on farmland and ranchland, with almost 50 percent placed on the most productive, versatile, and resilient land. *********************************************************************************** Legislation to Boost Oversight of Foreign Ag Purchases Advances The U.S. House Committee on Financial Services Last week advanced a bill supported by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association that strengthens oversight of foreign agricultural purchases. Introduced by Representative Frank Lucas, an Oklahoma Republican, the Agricultural Security Risk Review Act would add the Secretary of Agriculture as a member of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States. The committee reviews the national security impact of foreign investments in the United States. NCBA’s Kent Bacus says the effort “Would provide a critical voice for American farmers and ranchers, and ensure that the federal government does not overlook agriculture's role in national security." The Secretary of the Treasury chairs the committee with members from the Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Commerce, Department of Defense, Department of State, Department of Energy, Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and Office of Science and Technology Policy. The legislation passed in committee and now goes to the full House of Representatives for consideration. *********************************************************************************** Cattle Group Applauds Hawley’s Anti-Monopoly Bill Senator Josh Hawley last week introduced the Strengthening Antitrust Enforcement for Meatpacking Act. The Missouri Republican’s bill would empower antitrust enforcers to break up giant meatpacking and poultry monopolies. R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard said his group “applauds Senator Hawley’s novel approach to addressing the untenable market concentrations faced by America’s cattle and sheep producers.” The bill would establish two thresholds for determining the market concentration in the meatpacking industry. Using the Herfindahl-Hirschman Index, or HHI, which is a measure of market concentration presently employed by the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission, the bill would prohibit a merger or acquisition by a meatpacker if the HHI would exceed 1,800, or if a proposed merger or acquisition would increase the meatpacker’s current HHI Index by 100. The current guidelines consider an HHI below 1,500 to be unconcentrated, an HHI between 1,500 and 2,500 to be moderately concentrated, and an HHI above 2,500 to be a highly concentrated market. The Hawley bill would prohibit mergers currently considered moderately concentrated. *********************************************************************************** USDA Agribusiness Trade Mission Delegation Arrives in Chile A U.S. agribusiness delegation arrived in Santiago, Chile, Monday, led by USDA Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Alexis M. Taylor. The delegation includes representatives from the U.S. food and agriculture sectors and state departments of agriculture. Taylor says, “Customers in Chile are especially interested in U.S. consumer-oriented products, such as dairy, beef, poultry, pork, condiments and distilled spirits, providing U.S. exporters with many new and exciting opportunities.” While in Santiago, the members of the delegation are looking to establish business relationships and explore opportunities for U.S. agricultural exports to the region. Buyers from Chile, as well as from neighboring Ecuador and Peru, have been invited to participate and meet with U.S. exporters. In addition, this trade mission will allow participants to learn about production and marketing practices throughout South America. Chile is among the top three markets in South America for U.S. agricultural and related products, and the second-largest market in South America for consumer-oriented agricultural products. *********************************************************************************** K-State Launches Next-Gen Institute for Digital Agriculture Kansas State University is setting the stage as a national leader in digital agriculture with the launch of the interdisciplinary Institute for Digital Agriculture and Advanced Analytics. The institute is a people-centered interdisciplinary collective transforming learning, research and outreach around digital technologies and advanced analytical methods to enhance agriculture. Work done at the institute will include developing and integrating analytical methods and digital technologies -- like sensors, automation and robots -- that enhance food production and inform decision making for sustainable and resilient systems. K-State President Richard Linton says, “Kansas State University is working across disciplines to solve global agricultural problems and build the economic prosperity of Kansas and one of our state's key industries." The culmination of this collaborative effort will ensure that K-State is positioned as a leader in digital agriculture with an effective foundation to develop programs that sustain the long-term competitiveness of agriculture in Kansas. *********************************************************************************** Weekly Diesel and Gas Prices Decline For the first time in two weeks, the nation's average price of gasoline declined, falling 3.1 cents from a week ago to $3.80 per. The national average is up 1.3 cents from a month ago and 13.6 cents per gallon higher than a year ago. The national average diesel price decreased 1.4 cents last week and stands at $4.53 per gallon, 38.0 cents lower than one year ago. GasBuddy's Patrick De Haan says, "It's been a mostly quiet week for the national average price of gasoline," but adds, "New and continued refinery issues in some regions have had an oversized effect on gas prices in some states, especially in Southern California, Arizona, and Nevada." With some worry over the Fed's statements last week hinting that more interest rate hikes could be coming, oil prices saw some profit-taking last week, falling after Jerome Powell's latest statements. Meanwhile, U.S. retail gasoline demand saw an increase of 2.4 percent last week, bouncing back after several poor readings.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday September 26, 2023 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets A report on U.S. new home sales will be out at 7:30 a.m. CDT Tuesday, followed by a report on U.S. consumer confidence at 9 a.m. Traders will continue to keep close watch on the latest weather forecasts and scour contacts for harvest anecdotes. Weather An upper-level cutoff low continues to meander slowly through the Midwest Tuesday, producing scattered showers. Outside of some showers near the Gulf Coast and in the Mid-Atlantic, it should be dry east of the Rockies. A large trough continues to bring rainfall into the Pacific Northwest, which will slowly progress deeper into the country later in the week.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday September 25, 2023 |


Farmers Take EATS Act Opposition to Capitol Hill American farmers and ranchers were in Washington, D.C., September 17-22, to state their opposition to the EATS Act. The Ending Agriculture Trade Suppression Act was introduced by Representative Ashley Hinson (R-IA) and Senator Roger Marshall (R-KS). Groups like the Organization for Competitive Markets, Competitive Markets Action, and several others said the act would nullify more than a thousand state and local agriculture laws. Those laws are in place to protect communities from a number of issues like invasive pests and livestock diseases. The absence of local regulations would create an environment in which foreign conglomerates could rapidly expand across all 50 states. “If EATS is included in the upcoming farm bill, it will mark the end of American family farming as we know it,” says Deborah Mills, a director with the Organization for Competitive Markets. The organizations also advocated for the inclusion of the Opportunities for Fairness in Farming Act. *********************************************************************************** USDA Grants to Help Solve Workforce Challenges Employers can begin applying for a pilot program designed to improve the resiliency of the food and agricultural supply chain by addressing workforce challenges faced by farmers and ranchers. The USDA and other federal agencies are announcing up to $65 million in grants available for the Farm Labor Stabilization and Protection Pilot Program. The program will help address workforce needs in agriculture, promote a safe and healthy working environment for farmworkers, and aims to support expanding lawful migration pathways for workers through expanding the H-2A Visa Program. “Our country is facing growing agriculture workforce challenges that jeopardize our farmers’ ability to be competitive, threaten the resiliency, abundance, and safety of our food system, and have repercussions for the overall economy,” says Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack. “The program will benefit producers and farmworkers.” Program applications must be received by November 28. More information about the application process is available at ams.usda.gov. *********************************************************************************** NCGA Pushes Back Against EPA Board The National Corn Growers Association pushed back against commentary made by a science advisory board with the Environmental Protection Agency. The Board questioned the effectiveness of ethanol in lowering greenhouse gas emissions. “There is no shortage of studies on the environmental benefits of corn ethanol,” NCGA CEO Neil Caskey told the advisory board members. “The Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory has conducted extensive research on the matter and concluded that corn ethanol has reduced greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. by 544 million metric tons from 2005-2019.” He also says the feedstock’s carbon intensity is 44 percent lower than that of petroleum gasoline. The testimony comes after the board provided commentary to the EPA administrator raising doubts about the effectiveness of ethanol. Caskey also responded to assertions that ethanol production impacts land use, noting that data shows as corn production has risen, land used to grow corn has not. *********************************************************************************** AFT Announces Farmers’ Market Celebration Contest Winners American Farmland Trust and the Farmers Market Coalition announced the winners of the 15th annual America’s Farmers Market Celebration. It’s an annual event honoring the role of farmers’ markets. More than 2,000 markets nationwide participated in the 2023 celebration with over ten million supporters engaged in voting. “America’s farmers markets serve communities across the nation, providing access to fresh, healthy food and building farmers’ opportunity,” says David Thayer, AFT’s director of marketing and digital outreach. “It’s a pleasure hosting the Celebration and witnessing the incredible national support for local food.” The first-place winner was the farmers’ market in North Tonawanda, New York, which was awarded $5,000. Since 2008, the celebration has highlighted the important role farmers’ markets play in American communities and the larger U.S. food system. Food markets are on the leading edge of educating consumers about where food comes from and reinforcing AFT’s message of No Farms, No Food. *********************************************************************************** Increasing Competition in Global Pork Trade A recent Rabobank report says competition between major exporters has intensified in the global pork trade, meaning the competitive landscape will continue shifting in the years ahead. Low-cost producers like Brazil and the U.S. will likely have an advantage, while Europe’s position is expected to weaken following increasing market and regulatory requirements concerning animal welfare and sustainability. Countries adopting effective disease mitigation strategies may secure a competitive edge as disease pressure looms over the pig sector. Meanwhile, global pork consumption is poised for growth until 2030, creating ongoing opportunities for global pork trade. Rabobank says disease pressure will continue creating challenges in the pork industry, though the impact will be contingent on trade policies and the success of mitigation efforts. Pork trade will persist despite China’s pork production rebounding to pre-ASF levels in 2022, achieving 95 percent self-sufficiency. The report also says despite disruptions, global pork consumption will grow through 2030. *********************************************************************************** World Grain Conference Brings Buyers and Sellers Together The U.S. Agricultural Cooperators Conference is a cornerstone buyers conference in Southeast Asia. The event is hosted by the U.S. Grains Council, the U.S. Soybean Export Council, and the U.S. Wheat Associates and has actively served the region for 20 years. This year’s event addressed the pressing global challenges of food security, sustainability, and innovation. “We continue to strive to keep this conference fresh and relevant,” says Caleb Wurth, USGC Southeast Asia and Oceania regional director. “We decided to bring an even more diverse group of customers to our member exporters than ever before, and broader Asian participation was well received by our customers.” ACC is an opportunity for the Council’s U.S. exporter members to market their products and engage with buyers from around the globe in one spot. Along with buyer delegations from the Southeast Asia region, the Council invited constituencies from China, South Korea, South Asia, and Taiwan.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday September 25, 2023 |


Top 5 Things to Watch - Seed Selection, DC Dramas, Receding Rivers Lead News Coverage OMAHA (DTN) -- Fall is officially here, and with that we turn attention to ending fiscal years, grain reports and harvest news. Here are the Top 5 things the DTN Newsroom is tracking for the week of Sept. 24. Watch for coverage of these and other topics through the week on our subscription platforms as well as on DTNPF.com. 1. Grain Stocks Friday: Grain markets will focus on Friday when the USDA Grain Stocks and Small Grains Summary reports hit at 11 a.m. CDT. We'll have our normal immediate coverage, followed by commentary updates throughout the hour. DTN Lead Analyst Todd Hultman will head up a live webinar on the reports at 12:30 p.m. 2. D.C. budget chaos: We continue to watch the fallout of the Congressional failure to put together a budget or a continuing resolution to keep government doors open. In addition to our news team's coverage, DTN subscribers can keep up with the latest news in their streaming AP News section and in our Ag News segments.. 3. Harvest break and rivers drop: The weekend's waves of rainfall should diminish early in the week as the current system slowly fades away to the east or south. Rain is largely too late to benefit summer crops and will delay early wheat harvest plans in some areas. Midwest rains will give some farmers a brief break for some in-season combine and harvest equipment maintenance and to finish seed orders. Dry soils will quickly suck up that moisture, though, meaning the rains won't hold up harvest for long. The past week's Drought Monitor Map update showed increasing dry conditions across most of the country, including wetter areas of East and South. We're watching how lack of inflow will affect the Ohio, Missouri and Mississippi river systems as fall transportation picks up. 4. Speaking of seed buying: We'll continue to post stories from the September Progressive Farmer issue featuring the latest on seeds and related technology. Watch for those in our Top Stories segments and blogs. 5.. Reports fill this week ... and then?: Government economic reports this week should flow as normal. Beyond Sept. 30, the chances are murkier as a government shutdown would cut the cord on such updates. Monday's market-influencing reports include USDA's weekly grain export inspections at 10 a.m. CDT, followed by USDA's monthly cold storage report at 2 p.m. and Crop Progress at 3 p.m. We'll watch for harvest progress of the past week and how much rains will slow that down. Tuesday sees U.S. new home sales report at 7:30 a.m. and a report on U.S. consumer confidence at 9 a.m. On Wednesday, we'll watch the U.S. durable goods orders, which hits at 7:30 a.m., and the U.S. Energy Department's weekly report of energy inventories at 9:30 a.m. CDT. Thursday morning is a busy one, with USDA's weekly export sales report, the weekly U.S. jobless claims, an update of second-quarter U.S. GDP and an update of the U.S. Drought Monitor all hitting at 7:30 a.m. The U.S. Energy Department's weekly report of natural gas storage is at 9:30 a.m. USDA's Hogs and Pigs report for Sept. 1 is due out at 2 p.m. Then, Friday is the reveal of the Federal Reserve's favorite inflation indicator, the PCE index, at 7:30 a.m. The U.S. personal income and consumer spending reports hit at the same time, followed by USDA's Sept. 1 Grain Stocks and Small Grains Summary, which as noted above, are out 11 a.m. CDT.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday September 25, 2023 |


Monday Watch List Markets Back from the weekend, traders will be checking rainfall amounts and the latest weather forecasts. News from the Black Sea may also play a part as Ukraine appears to be getting bolder with its attacks. USDA's weekly grain export inspections will be out at 10 a.m. CDT, followed by USDA's monthly cold storage report at 2 p.m. and Crop Progress at 3 p.m. Weather A cutoff low from the weekend is stuck in the Midwest and will be producing some areas of showers Monday. Most places will see little or no rainfall, but a couple of lucky pockets could see some meaningful rain in and around Wisconsin.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday September 22, 2023 |


NPPC Past President Testifies on Reforming GSP National Pork Producers Council Past President Randy Spronk testified at a House subcommittee hearing on reforming the generalized system of preferences to safeguard American supply chains and combat China. The U.S. Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) provided duty-free treatment of goods exported to America from developing countries before expiring in 2020. “American pork producers support the renewal of GSP, a valuable program that will give U.S. trade negotiators another tool to persuade countries to eliminate trade restrictions on U.S. products,” Spronk said. In the past, the U.S. pork industry has utilized GSP to gain market access to countries like Argentina and India. “A renewal of GSP should include stronger enforcement mechanisms that provide U.S. trade negotiators with the tools to ensure countries are meeting their obligations,” Spronk adds. America’s pork industry shipped $7.68 billion worth of pork to more than 100 foreign countries in 2022, supporting approximately 155,000 U.S. jobs. *********************************************************************************** USDA Payments to Help Organic Dairy Producers The USDA is announcing a second round of payments for dairy producers through the Organic Dairy Marketing Assistance Program. The agency is providing an additional $5 million to help dairy producers mitigate market volatility, higher input and transportation costs, and unstable feed supply and prices that have created unique hardships in the organic dairy industry. The Farm Service Agency has already paid out $15 million in the first round of payments to eligible producers. “The program is critical to keeping small, organic dairies sustainable as they continue to weather a combination of challenges outside their control,” says FSA Administrator Zach Ducheneaux. “In total, the Farm Service Agency is providing $20 million to give organic dairy producers additional economic support to stay in operation until markets return to more favorable conditions.” FSA accepted applications for assistance from May 24 to August 11. Eligible operations produce milk from cows, goats, and sheep. *********************************************************************************** NACD Applauds Establishment of the American Climate Corps The National Association of Conservation Districts applauds the establishment of the American Climate Corps. Developing the next generation of conservationists has been a top priority and a major outcome of NACD’s Climate Action Task Force. The government-wide American Climate Corps will provide for a robust and diverse recruitment pipeline that’s critical for the future success of conservation and climate programs. With 3,000 conservation districts across the U.S. and its territories, NACD can also provide valuable learning opportunities for participants. Conservation districts work with landowners and operators across rural and urban communities. “Opportunities to get ‘boots on the ground’ with conservation districts provides the next generation meaningful development opportunities and leadership roles within local communities,” says Kim LaFleur, NACD President. “These emerging leaders can benefit greatly from the decades of expertise that exist within conservation districts, empowering them to tackle challenges and deploy numerous innovative solutions through the locally-led delivery system.” *********************************************************************************** ASI Investigates Trade Case Against Lamb Imports The American Sheep Industry Association updated the status of a legal process initiated several months ago toward possibly filing a U.S. trade law violation by lamb importers. ASI Executive Director Peter Orwick offered an update as the association awaits the results of a preliminary investigation. “We are specifically looking for the estimate of trade case strength, which depends on two parts,” Orwick says. “One is injury to the industry – the entire industry, the sheep producers, the lamb feeders, and the lamb companies. The second piece is the estimate of any violation, including dumping and subsidy margins, so the board can project an impact on American lamb returns should a case filing result in tariffs on imported lamb meat.” Pursuing a trade case against lamb import countries would cost a minimum of $1.3 million in legal expenses alone and require almost a year to see the case through to the end. *********************************************************************************** Farmers Union Supports Right to Repair Bill The Agricultural Right to Repair Act was introduced in both the House and Senate, and the legislation is strongly supported by the National Farmers Union. NFU President Rob Larew says the Right to Repair Act is an important step in the fight to ensure farmers across the country have fair and affordable access to the parts, tools, and information they need to fix farm equipment. “I want to thank the officials who introduced the bill to guarantee farmers the Right to Repair their equipment,” he says. “NFU stands ready to help push this bill forward.” Right to Repair is a pillar of NFU’s Fairness for Farmers campaign to address the monopoly crisis in agriculture. Just three manufacturers control the majority of farm equipment production, sales, and repairs, and use software locks to prevent farmers and independent mechanics from completing certain repairs. Right to Repair could save farmers $4.2 billion every year. *********************************************************************************** Wheat Groups Appreciate the American Farmers Feed the World Act U.S. Wheat Associates and the National Association of Wheat Growers thanked several lawmakers for introducing the American Farmers Feed the World Act of 2023 in the Senate. The bipartisan legislation would restore the original intent of the Food for Peace program without spending additional farm bill resources. It also safeguards the interests of hard-working American farmers in providing food to those in need around the world. The wheat groups have joined the broader agriculture industry in backing the legislation. “The American Feed the World Act of 2023 offers an important rebalancing to ensure that Food for Peace remains focused on effectively delivering as much American-grown food to as many people in need as possible,” says USW Director of Trade Policy Peter Laudeman. “As Congress considers the new farm bill, this legislation provides an opportunity to revitalize the role of American agriculture in addressing global hunger,” says NAWG President Brent Cheyne.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday September 22, 2023 |


Friday Watch List Markets USDA's cattle on-feed report for September 1 will be out at 2 p.m. CDT Friday. Dow Jones' survey expects the on-feed total to be down 2.2% from a year ago and placements to be down 5.2% from a year ago. Traders will keep an eye on rainfall totals over the weekend and any changes in the forecasts. Weather A storm system in the Pacific Northwest is sending plenty of energy into the Plains to produce areas of scattered showers and thunderstorms in the middle of the country early Friday. Shower coverage should expand with time today, with the more consistent and heavier rains across the Northern Plains. Some severe weather will be possible, as will localized flooding.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday September 21, 2023 |


New Crop Insurance for Tropical Storms Benefits Producers Impacted by Idalia USDA's recent hurricane crop insurance policy expansion to cover tropical storms this year has already provided farmers $85.4 million to help them recover from Hurricane Idalia. USDA's Risk Management Agency rolled out the new Tropical Storm Option for its Hurricane Insurance Protection-Wind Index Endorsement earlier this year after working with farmers to improve coverage. Additionally, producers have received $84.8 million in indemnities for hurricane-related losses for a total of over $170 million in crop insurance payments that will directly help farmers and rural communities recover from Hurricane Idalia. This coverage was unavailable this time last year. RMA Administrator Marcia Bunger says, "I commend farmers and their organizations for reaching out to RMA to discuss new coverage, and our staff for promptly working on creative solutions to make this coverage a reality." Farmers do not need to file a claim to receive payment. If a county is triggered, then the Approved Insurance Provider will issue a payment in the coming weeks. *********************************************************************************** Stratovation to Launch Collaborative Specialty Crop Biologicals Study Stratovation Group is engineering a new study on how specialty-crop growers perceive agricultural biologicals for vegetable, leafy greens and fruit and nut crops. The new study, "Biologicals: Specialty Crop Growers' Perceptions, Values and Potential," will be conducted in collaboration with Western Growers, the Agricultural Retailers Association, DC Legislative and Regulatory Services, and The Fertilizer Institute. TFI President and CEO Corey Rosenbusch says, "This effort provides a unique opportunity to gather insights directly from growers, enabling our members to support their input needs effectively and drive sustainable innovation deeper into agriculture." The specialty crop effort will be a comprehensive market research effort focused on understanding farmer/grower opinions on the current use, issues and potential for biologicals, but specifically for vegetable, leafy greens and fruit and nut production at the farm level. The 2023 study will set benchmarks around the use of biologicals by specialty crop growers and provide a roadmap to companies seeking to grow and develop the market category. *********************************************************************************** Russian Wheat Exports Remain Biggest Risk to U.S. Elevators A modest rebound in U.S. wheat production and supplies is improving the outlook for profitability among grain elevators that store wheat. Futures market carries have improved for all three major classes of wheat, and the buy basis is widening following a bigger harvest. The larger harvest follows two years of poor production and a historic run of inverted futures markets that sapped profitability for storing wheat. However, according to CoBank, the major risk to elevators in the year ahead is a sharp rally in wheat prices. Wheat stocks among major exporters are historically tight, and any disruption to the flow of Russian exports through the Black Sea could trigger a sharp price run-up. CoBank economist Tanne Ehmke says, “The flood of cheap Russian wheat into the global market may have created a false sense of security in the world wheat market.” Russia is currently harvesting a near-record wheat crop with substantial carryover inventories from last year's record-sized harvest. *********************************************************************************** Oilseed Groups Urge Use of GREET Model for SAF Tax Incentives Oilseed groups delivered a letter this week to the Biden administration seeking support for investments made by U.S. companies and farmers who are ramping up production of sustainable aviation fuel. Using the GREET model will support investments by farmers, oilseed processors and domestic producers to meet the sustainable aviation fuel challenge, according to the groups. Clean Fuels Alliance America, the American Soybean Association, the National Oilseed Processors Association, and the U.S. Canola Association came together to make the request. The letter states, “Without this, our combined members and others in the industry may not be able to follow through on investments in sustainable aviation fuel production.” GREET is the Argonne National Laboratory’s Greenhouse Gases, Regulated Emissions, and Energy Use in Transportation model. The letter asks the administration to consider the billions of dollars that members of the associations have made to build new or optimize existing production facilities and expand availability of sustainable, homegrown, low-carbon feedstocks like soybean oil and canola. *********************************************************************************** USDA Expands Efforts to Prevent and Reduce Food Waste The Department of Agriculture Wednesday announced an additional $25 million investment to expand efforts to prevent and reduce food loss and waste. The investment, funded under the American Rescue Plan Act, is part of a joint agency initiative between USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture and USDA’s Office of the Chief Economist. More than one-third of all available food goes uneaten through loss or waste. When food is tossed aside, so too are opportunities for improved food security, economic growth and environmental prosperity. The funding will support the Community Food Projects, Competitive Grants Program to reduce food loss and waste, get surplus wholesome food to individuals, and develop linkages between food producers, providers and food recovery organizations. Since 2017, NIFA has committed $123.5 million across 527 projects relating to food loss and waste. This latest investment will expand several of NIFA’s core programs by $25 million, and has awarded $4.3 million in fiscal year 2023. *********************************************************************************** Majority of U.S. Apples Used in Juices Apples are a fall staple, showing up in lunch boxes, pies, cobblers, crisps, and cider. However, new data from USDA’s Economic Research Service shows a majority of apples are used in juices. In 2021, 45.9 pounds of apples per person were available for domestic consumption, according to USDA’s Food Availability data product. Fifty-two percent of the available apples for U.S. domestic use, 23.7 pounds per person, was in the form of juice or cider, or about two gallons per person. Fresh apples accounted for 34 percent, 15.8 pounds per person. Canned, frozen, dried, and other forms made up the remaining 14 percent of apple availability in 2021. Over the last ten years, per-person apple availability reached a high of 49.2 pounds per person in 2016. Much of the decrease since 2016 was because of declining availability of fresh apples. In 2016, fresh apple availability was 19.3 pounds per person.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday September 21, 2023 |


Thursday Watch List Markets USDA's weekly export sales report is due out at 7:30 a.m., the same time as weekly U.S. jobless claims and an update of the U.S. Drought Monitor. U.S. existing home sales and leading indicators are set for 8 a.m., followed by the U.S. Energy Department's weekly report of natural gas storage at 9:30 a.m. Weather A system entering the Plains will produce areas of scattered showers throughout the day, some of which could be severe. Another disturbance is bringing showers to Illinois as well. Rains will be heavy enough to stop harvest for the next few days but will help to reduce the impact of the ongoing drought

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday September 20, 2023 |


AFBF: Dairy Make Allowances Reform a Must American Farm Bureau Federation economist Danny Munch presented testimony Tuesday at the ongoing Federal Milk Marketing Order Pricing Formula hearing. This is the third time an AFBF representative has testified at the hearing. The testimony focuses on adjusting make allowances, or the estimated costs that dairy processors incur to convert milk to consumable dairy products, like cheese and butter. This price directly impacts the price paid to farmers for their milk. AFBF is advocating for make allowances to be adjusted based on a mandatory, audited USDA survey, which USDA says it does not have the authority to conduct. AFBF is pursuing legislation that would direct USDA to conduct such a survey. AFBF opposes increasing make allowances based on potentially biased voluntary survey data that could reduce farmers’ prices unfairly. AFBF submitted nine proposals for consideration during the hearing, and four were accepted by USDA. Additionally, AFBF largely supports four of the five proposals submitted by the National Milk Producers Federation. Full AFBF testimony is available at fb.org. *********************************************************************************** USDA Announces 100th Annual Agricultural Outlook Forum USDA's 100th Annual Agricultural Outlook Forum, "Cultivating the Future," will take place on February 15-16, 2024, at the Crystal City Gateway Marriott in Arlington, Virginia. The forum is USDA's longest-running and largest public event and aims to help stakeholders understand and plan for the opportunities and challenges facing the agricultural sector at home and abroad. Each year, it attracts more than 1,800 people in person, and nearly 5,000 virtual attendees from the U.S. and worldwide. The program will include remarks from the Secretary of Agriculture and other top Department officials, along with 30 breakout sessions featuring more than 120 leading experts on a wide range of timely food and agriculture-related topics. Whether you're a farmer, policymaker, industry leader, market analyst, or simply interested in the future of agriculture, the Agricultural Outlook Forum is the perfect place to connect, learn, and engage. Registration will open at the end of October. *********************************************************************************** AVMA Reignites Efforts to Address Rural Veterinary Shortages Lawmakers have reintroduced the Association, the Rural Veterinary Workforce Act, formerly known as the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program Enhancement Act. Introduced in both the House and Senate, the legislation would expand the reach of the Medicine Loan Repayment Program. The program helps increase access to food animal veterinary services in rural areas by assisting with the significant obstacle of educational debt. The legislation would end the federal taxation on awards, enabling more veterinarians to participate in a program that offers up to $75,000 over three years for student loan repayment in exchange for service in USDA-designated shortage areas. In 2023, the USDA declared 237 rural veterinary shortage areas in 47 states, more than any year. American Veterinary Medical Association President Dr. Rena Carlson says, "we look forward to working with the congressional champions to enact this bill and help rural communities across the country access the many essential services veterinarians provide.” *********************************************************************************** McKalip to Travel to Oakland, California Port The U.S. Chief Agricultural Negotiator Doug McKalip will visit Oakland, California, on Thursday. McKalip will visit the Port of Oakland to tour its facilities and engage with stakeholders during his trip. McKalip will be joined by local International Longshore and Warehouse Union leadership and local members of the Pacific Maritime Association. Ensuring the success of America's farmers and producers has been a topline priority for the U.S. Trade Representative's Office under Ambassador Katherine Tai's leadership. The trip follows the recent labor agreement between West Coast port workers and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Maritime Association. Most recently, USTR secured an agreement with India on September 8, 2023, to resolve the last World Trade Organization dispute and lower tariffs on certain U.S. agricultural products. This built upon the agreement finalized with India in June, which terminated six other WTO disputes and removed retaliatory tariffs on other U.S. agricultural products. *********************************************************************************** Lely Robotic Milkers Class Action Suit Settled Producers and their law firm reached a settlement agreement this month against a manufacturer of allegedly defective milking robots. On September 1, 2023, the Court granted final approval of the settlement for the Lely A4. The settlement allowed class members to replace their existing robot with Lely's newer A5 model or receive cash relief. Nearly all of the approximately 400 class members participated, and the relief selected is worth approximately $121 million. Based on the claims submitted and options chosen, the cash fund is approximately $51 million, and those opting for trade-ins will receive approximately $71 million in value for trading in their A4s for new A5s. In approving the settlement, the Court called it an "excellent result," noting that it provided "outstanding relief" and received "overwhelming, unprecedented" support from the class. The terms of the settlement were agreed upon after nearly three years of litigation. *********************************************************************************** USDA Study Underscores Importance of Food Safety Education Month USDA Tuesday released results from the final year of a five-year study that observed how consumers prepared meals. The study observed food safety behaviors, including participants' thermometer use for ground pork sausage, handwashing, and cleaning and sanitizing food preparation surfaces. The most recent data shows that 87 percent of participants self-reported they washed their hands before starting to cook in the test kitchen. However, only 44 percent of participants were observed doing so before meal preparation. In the study, 50 percent of participants used a food thermometer to check the doneness of the sausage patties. However, 50 percent of those participants did not check all the food. The study used a harmless tracer bacteria, which was injected into the pork sausage, to simulate the spread of foodborne illness-causing bacteria. Among the surfaces tested, the kitchen sink was most often contaminated, with 34 percent of participants contaminating the sink during meal preparation.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday September 20, 2023 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets The U.S. Energy Department's weekly report of energy inventories is at 9:30 a.m. CDT. Many expect the Fed to keep the federal funds rate unchanged at their 1 p.m. announcement, but a quarter-percent hike is possible. Traders will keep an eye on the latest weather forecasts with rain expected to start in the western Plains on Thursday. Weather A couple of disturbances in the middle of the country continue to produce showers on Wednesday, especially one moving through the Ozarks which may yield some areas of heavy rain. A front that has set up in the Northern Plains will also be active with periods of showers and thunderstorms as well. That is in advance of a system that will have a major influence on the middle of the country later this week and weekend.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday September 19, 2023 |


USDA Seeking Beginning Farmer and Ranchers Committee Members The Department of Agriculture Monday announced a call for nominations to the Advisory Committee on Beginning Farmers and Ranchers. First established in 1992, the committee advises the Agriculture Secretary to enhance USDA’s goals for new farming and ranching operations. Members of the public are invited to submit nominations for themselves or other qualified experts by October 10, 2023. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says, “USDA is committed to helping the beginning farmer, the young farmer, access and make use of USDA programs.” USDA is soliciting nominations from interested organizations and individuals from among ranching and farming producers, related state and tribal agricultural entities, academic institutions, commercial banking entities, trade associations, and related nonprofit enterprises. The Agriculture Secretary may appoint up to 20 members to the committee. An organization may nominate individuals from within or outside its membership. Interested candidates may also nominate themselves. Find the nomination requirements and information on the committee website. *********************************************************************************** USDA Data Shows Crop Improvement R&D Spending Expanding Total research and development spending on crop improvement by the seven largest seed companies increased from less than $2 billion in 1990 to more than $6.5 billion by 2021. USDA’s Economic Research Service reports the spending closely tracks with increases in company revenues from seed and agrichemical sales. Intellectual property rights protections for new seed innovations—especially genetically modified seeds—allow seed companies to set product prices with a temporary legal monopoly. The profits earned are a return for research and development investments and costs to commercialize the inventions. The profits also allowed seed companies to spend more on crop research and development, accelerate the rate of new variety introductions with higher productivity potential, and charge higher prices reflecting the value of improved seeds, according to USDA. Collectively, the seven companies have invested about ten percent of their agricultural revenues in research and development. The top companies include Bayer, Corteva, Syngenta, BASF, Limagrain, KWS and Rijk Zwaan (rike-svan). *********************************************************************************** USTR to Deliver Speech on WTO Reform Trade Representative Katherine Tai will deliver a speech on the World Trade Organization and participate in a fireside chat Friday at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C. Tai will also participate in a fireside chat with the WTO Director-General. In her speech, Ambassador Tai will underscore the importance of reform at the World Trade Organization to make it a more effective, responsive, and inclusive forum for solving today's global challenges. She will also highlight areas of reform that are a priority to the United States, and how the United States is engaging with other WTO Members to advance these priorities. The Center for Strategic and International Studies is a bipartisan, nonprofit policy research organization dedicated to advancing practical ideas to address the world’s greatest challenges. The organization is self-described as one of the world’s preeminent public policy institutions on foreign policy and national security issues. ********************************************************************************** Cargill, Soil Health Institute Create Water Stewardship Partnership The Soil Health Institute and Cargill recently partnered to implement regenerative agriculture practices through water stewardship within agricultural supply chains. The three-year, $3 million partnership will equip farmers, conservation planners, and sustainability experts across North America with tools to enhance drought resilience, improve soil health, and encourage sustainable water use. Soil Health Institute President and CEO Wayne Honeycutt says, "We're expediting adoption of regenerative systems by offering stakeholders practical insights to assess improvements in water storage and availability resulting from changes in on-farm practices." Research has demonstrated that increases in available water-holding capacity associated with soil organic carbon gains from soil health practice implementation can lead to twice as much water storage in the topsoil compared to previous estimates. The partnership will enable farmers, businesses, researchers, governments, and other sustainability experts to assess their progress toward water stewardship objectives and build industry convergence around the value of soil health in enhancing drought resilience and sustainable water management. *********************************************************************************** Rail Safety Week Raising Awareness to Save Lives Operation Lifesaver this week is promoting Rail Safety Week. The annual week-long event concentrates public attention on the need for rail safety education and saves lives by educating and empowering the public to make safe decisions around tracks and trains. Operation Lifesaver’s national office and state Operation Lifesaver programs across the U.S. will connect with their communities through in-person and online events, sharing rail safety messages and urging the public to get involved. Every year, 2,100 North Americans are killed or seriously injured when they engage in unsafe behavior around tracks and trains. In the U.S. alone, a person or vehicle is hit by a train every 3 hours. Operation Lifesaver Executive Director Rachel Maleh (mall-lay) says, “Everyone can help make their communities safer. Know the facts, recognize the signs, make good decisions and join us.” The organization is partnering with Operation Lifesaver Canada and the Association of Mexican Railroads to promote the week across North America. *********************************************************************************** Refinery Outages Increase Fuel Prices For the second straight week, the nation's average price of gasoline increased, climbing 4.6 cents from a week ago to $3.83 per gallon. The national average is down one cent from a month ago but 19.9 cents per gallon higher than a year ago. The national average diesel price increased 9.9 cents last week and stands at $4.53 per gallon, 42.1 cents lower than one year ago. GasBuddy's Patrick De Haan says, "With the transition back to cheaper winter gasoline now upon us in nearly every state, we should see prices eventually cooling back off, but if refinery issues continue to develop or linger, especially now that we're entering maintenance season with less available capacity online, the expected decline could certainly be offset.” U.S. retail gasoline demand saw a decline of 1.5 percent last week, as demand continues to weaken seasonally while rising prices could also be playing a role.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday September 19, 2023 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets A report on U.S. housing starts is set for 7:30 a.m. CDT Tuesday. The Federal Reserve begins its two-day meeting, discussing whether to increase the federal funds rate target another quarter-percent or to leave it alone for now. Traders will digest Monday's harvest progress data from USDA, the latest weather forecasts and keep an eye on Black Sea events. Weather A couple of disturbances in the middle of the country will be responsible for areas of showers from Texas to areas around Lake Michigan on Tuesday. Most areas will see light rain, but pockets of heavier rain will be possible, especially farther south across Oklahoma and Texas, where there is a greater risk of severe weather, especially hail.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday September 18, 2023 |


Wheat Growers Complete Second Farm Bill Fly-In The National Association of Wheat Growers completed the second part of its 2023 summer Farm Bill Fly-Ins. The first round of visits to Capitol Hill took place in July. During the visit, wheat growers from across the country reinforced the association’s core priorities and underscored the need for Congress to work together to ensure farmers can continue providing safe and affordable food for everyone. Last week, growers from 14 states met with their delegations, staff from each Ag Committee, and Congressional leadership to continue educating lawmakers and advocating for an effective farm safety net. The group’s priorities include working to strengthen Title 1 and crop insurance to better protect farmers. They want support for financial and technical assistance through voluntary conservation cost-share programs for producers in all climates and regions. They’re also encouraging additional investment in agricultural trade promotions and U.S. commodities as part of the farm bill’s trade title. *********************************************************************************** Ethanol Industry Supports GREET Model for Scientific Emissions Accuracy American ethanol organizations like the U.S. Grains Council, Growth Energy, and the Renewable Fuels Association sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on sustainable aviation fuel. When it comes to global actions to decarbonize the aviation transportation sector using Sustainable Aviation Fuel, the industry wants to encourage the use of updated carbon-intensity scoring in the GREET model. They don’t want scoring used in the CORSIA model for corn-based ethanol SAF. The letter says, “We strongly support adopting the DOE’s GREET Model as the standard for carbon intensity scoring of conventional aviation fuels and SAF. The latest GREET model relies on the most current information and highest-resolution data regarding the energy use, carbon emissions, and potential land use impacts associated with the corn ethanol-based SAF process.” The letter also says GREET allows the Treasury to unlock the full potential of agriculture to meet the growing global aviation industry SAF demand. *********************************************************************************** House Bill Targets California’s Electric Vehicle Mandate The U.S. House of Representatives approved a bill prohibiting California’s attempt to eliminate all gas-powered vehicles. The bill passed the House 222-190. It would keep states from limiting the sale of gas-powered cars and revoke any federal approvals allowing states to do so issued since the beginning of 2022. The vote was along party lines, but eight Democrats did vote with Republicans in favor of the legislation. The legislation doesn’t specifically mention California in its language. States can implement tighter clean car rules stricter than those from the federal government under the Clean Air Act. But those states have to get permission from the Environmental Protection Agency first. The Hill says the EPA reinstated a waiver allowing a California rule aimed at limiting vehicle pollution to take effect. Since then, the state intends to completely phase out the new sales of gas-powered cars. The bill isn’t expected to become law. *********************************************************************************** U.S. HRW Exports Hit Record Low Levels U.S. Hard Red Winter Wheat exports are forecast down 10 million bushels this month to 155 million bushels, the lowest since records began in 1973-1974. HRW supplies have seen a long-term downturn in U.S. acreage as corn and soybeans gained acres in many locations. International wheat competition has also surged, resulting in exports of this class being less competitive on the global market. U.S. HRW supplies have recently been affected by significant drought in consecutive years, which has dented crop prospects and contributed to exports of this class being uncompetitive with other suppliers like Russia and the European Union. Historically, HRW was the leading class of American exports, but this year it’s forecast to be the third-largest class of U.S. exports, surpassed by both Hard Red Spring and White Wheat. Production of HRS and White is down year-over-year with lower yields, but drought hasn’t hit those classes as hard as HRW. *********************************************************************************** Iowa Announces Grant Opportunity for New Livestock Vaccines Iowa Secretary of Ag Mike Naig (NAYG) announced the new Livestock Protection Innovation Grant Program. The program will provide grant funding to assist Iowa-based companies in the development of safe and effective vaccines that may help protect livestock from foreign animal diseases. “Protecting Iowa’s nation-leading livestock industry from devastating foreign animal diseases is enormously important to the farm families and local communities that benefit from its 13-billion-dollar impact,” Naig says. “Vaccine development is one of the many steps we are taking to help safeguard our farm animals because it’s important to have tools available to effectively respond to disease and protect our food supply.” The Iowa Legislature, with support from Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, appropriated $250,000 for livestock vaccine development within Iowa during the last legislative session. The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship is working in collaboration with many stakeholders and officials to swiftly respond to any threat. *********************************************************************************** Purdue Survey Shows Consumer Attitudes on Higher Pork Prices A new Purdue University survey indicates that consumers appear to be more willing to live with higher pork prices if they are the result of meeting animal welfare standards like California’s Prop 12. In the nationwide survey, consumers said they would scale back their purchases if pork prices went higher. But fewer of them would cut back on buying pork if Prop 12 was the reason for the increase. A small segment of survey respondents said they would buy even more pork in that case. “We saw responses that suggest animal welfare is more important to consumers than previously thought,” says Elijah Bryant, a research analyst at Purdue. “Even though the hypothetical price increase is the same size, fewer consumers would decrease their spending on pork knowing the price increase was caused by animal welfare regulations.” The Purdue survey results will get tested on January 1 when Prop 12 is fully implemented.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday September 18, 2023 |


Top 5 Things to Watch - Harvest Picks up, Will Washington Lie Down OMAHA (DTN)-- Here are the Top 5 things the DTN Newsroom is tracking for the week of September 17. Watch for coverage of these and other topics throughout the week on our subscription platforms as well as on DTNPF.com. 1. Harvest reports roll in: You'll find continued harvest reports from the field in our View from the Cab feature as well as coming stories from select combine cabs. 2. Washington's failure to launch: DTN's Chris Clayton will be in D.C. next week covering potential Farm Bill conversations as well as watching for the potential shutdown of government operations at the end of the month. Watch for news stories as well as sharp commentary in his Ag Policy blog. 3. Cattle on Feed Friday: The latest USDA Cattle on Feed Report hits at 2 p.m. CDT Friday, with analysis by DTN's ShayLe Stewart soon after. 4. Harvest Weather Questions: Early harvest conditions continue to be mostly favorable, but more rain would be welcome for immature crops and winter wheat establishment. A system moves into the Plains in the middle of next week, bringing a chance of showers to at least the western half of the region later this week. Central and southern plains areas have the best chance for heavier rains. Rain chances increase for the northern Plains by the weekend, while the South stays dry. 5. Reports Fill the Week: USDA's weekly grain export inspections hit the wires at 10 a.m. CDT Monday, followed by USDA's Livestock, Poultry and Dairy Outlook at 2 p.m. and Crop Progress at 3 p.m. We'll have analysis of Crop Progress Report following the data release. Tuesday we'll see U.S. housing starts for August at 7:30 a.m., while the Fed begins its next two-day meeting. Wednesday the Energy Department releases its weekly energy inventories report at 9:30 a.m., while the Fed is expected to raise the federal funds rate by a quarter-percent at 1 p.m. Thursday we'll see USDA's weekly export sales report at 7:30 a.m., the same time as weekly U.S. jobless claims and an update of the U.S. Drought Monitor. U.S. existing home sales and leading indicators are set for 8 a.m., followed by the U.S. Energy Department's weekly report of natural gas storage at 9:30 a.m. Friday, as noted above, features the Cattle on Feed report.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday September 18, 2023 |


Monday Watch List Markets Back from the weekend, traders will check the latest weather forecasts, watch for harvest anecdotes and any news from the Black Sea region. USDA's weekly grain export inspections at 10 a.m. CDT, followed by USDA's Livestock, Poultry and Dairy Outlook at 2 p.m. and Crop Progress at 3 p.m. Weather A front will bring some rain, which may be intense, along the East Coast on Monday. High pressure over the middle of the country will keep most other areas dry. That shifts east tonight with showers being possible in isolated clusters overnight into Tuesday.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday September 15, 2023 |


State Ag Departments Set Policy Priorities The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture set policy priorities for the upcoming year during its annual meeting. NASDA will advocate to give the USDA more authority to be flexible in serving farmers and ranchers who often face challenges in seeking disaster assistance. NASDA members also want existing gaps in insurance coverage and federal disaster relief programs closed to protect farmers from an increasing number of natural disasters. Members will also advocate for standards that ensure clear and consistent labeling for cell-based meat products, also referred to as cultured meat. During the meeting, NASDA also adopted a new policy of supporting laws that protect farmers’ right to farm. The new policy advocates for protecting agricultural and forestry operations from nuisance lawsuits. NASDA members also amended the organization’s policy to support increased investment in apprenticeships and educational programming because of a tremendous need for workers with training specializing in agricultural fields. *********************************************************************************** NASDA Elects News Leadership at Annual Meeting The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture finished its annual meeting by electing new leadership for 2023-2024. Blayne Arthur, Oklahoma Secretary of Agriculture, will serve as NASDA’s 2023-2024 President and host the 2024 NASDA Annual Meeting on September 22-25, 2024. “The opportunity to serve as NASDA President is incredibly humbling and certainly an honor, and I appreciate the support of my fellow Ag Commissioners in this new role,” Arthur says. “Agriculture looks different all across the U.S., but I look forward to working together to cultivate common ground as we help producers feed, fuel, and clothe the world.” She also says NASDA members will remain steadfast in their commitment to strengthen and promote agriculture in this country and she’s excited to continue this work. Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture Wes Ward is the new Vice President, Amanda Beal of Maine is Second VP, and Washington’s Derek Sandison is the Secretary-Treasurer. *********************************************************************************** September is National Chicken Month September is National Chicken Month, celebrating the most-consumed meat in the U.S. Two-thirds of all chickens in America are raised in Alabama, Georgia, Arkansas, North Carolina, Mississippi, and Texas. Chicken is also one of the top agricultural exports for the U.S. Foreign markets are increasingly important, accounting for $4.4 billion and 16 percent of world production in 2022. The U.S. is the second-largest exporter in the world as more than 145 countries imported U.S. frozen chicken leg quarters, legs, and thighs last year. While American consumers prefer chicken breast meat, dark meat is more widely desired and consumed internationally. Most U.S. chicken meat exports are often destined for low and middle-income countries that value safe, affordable, and tasty high-protein options. In 2022, almost all of the U.S. broiler meat exports went to developing economies. Fourteen percent of shipments were exported to some of the least developed countries in the world. *********************************************************************************** EPA Resolves Long-Standing ESA Litigation The U.S. Justice Department, on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency, resolved long-standing litigation covering over 1,000 pesticide products. The resolution allows EPA to fulfill its obligations to protect endangered species while conducting reviews and approvals of pesticides in a safe and protective manner. In 2011, a lawsuit was filed against EPA alleging it violated the Endangered Species Act when it registered or reevaluated the registration of 382 pesticide active ingredients. A settlement entered in a federal court resolves all outstanding claims. “The agreement is a win-win to protect endangered species, ensure the availability of pesticides needed to grow food across America, and save considerable time and taxpayer expenses further required to litigate this case,” says Michael Freedhoff of the EPA. “This settlement allows EPA time to fulfill its obligations under the ESA and adopt key elements from the Agency’s 2022 ESA work plan, which has a wide range of stakeholders’ support.” *********************************************************************************** USDA Invests $6.5 Million in Risk Management Education The USDA is awarding approximately $6.5 million to 22 organizations to educate underserved, small-scale, and organic producers on-farm risk management and climate-smart farm practices. The funding from the Risk Management Agency provides assistance through its Risk Management Education partnerships for organizations like non-profits and land grant universities. “This funding and these partnerships are integral to our outreach efforts in communities that historically have not had access to training about risk management options,” says RMA Administrator Marcia Bunger. “As a farmer, I know first-hand that agriculture is a risky business.” She also says because of that risk, the agency is determined to work with growers and livestock producers to provide them with training and resources about risk management options and how to apply them to their farming businesses. RMA first advertised the available funds in January, and this year’s recipients include nonprofits, historically black colleges, and university extensions, among others. *********************************************************************************** Farmers Show High Interest in Harvest Autonomy Farmers in the U.S. and Canada appear to be embracing autonomous technology to optimize their operations and boost productivity. A survey conducted by Forward Group revealed that 65 percent of the operators surveyed expressed enthusiasm for adopting autonomy solutions, while 29 percent showed high levels of enthusiasm. The survey findings emphasize the positive impact of autonomous solutions on farming efficiency, profitability, and sustainability. Sixty-seven percent of the farmers intend to adopt autonomy technology by 2027, with 47 percent planning integration into their operations by 2025, provided the technology proves effective for the tasks. The survey also shows that 59 percent of farmers believe the autonomy will bring significant value to their carting operations. A substantial 51 percent of respondents expressed trust in autonomy technology for their harvesting. The driving factors behind the growing interest include 42 percent of the farmers interested in the technology wanting the autonomy to increase their productivity.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday September 15, 2023 |


Friday Watch List Markets U.S. industrial production in August is out at 8:15 a.m., followed by the University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index at 9 a.m. The National Oilseeds Processors Association will report on members' soybean crush for August later Friday morning. Weather A weak frontal boundary is moving through the Western Corn Belt on Friday with mostly light showers. Heavier showers and thunderstorms are forecast for parts of Texas. Some showers will also develop in the Southeast, otherwise the country will be dry.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday September 14, 2023 |


Consumer Price Index: Food Prices Rise Again The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers rose 0.6 percent in August on a seasonally adjusted basis, after increasing 0.2 percent in July. Over the last 12 months, the all-items index increased 3.7 percent before seasonal adjustment. The index for gasoline was the largest contributor to the monthly all-items increase, accounting for over half of the increase. The food index increased 0.2 percent in August, as it did in July. The index for food at home increased 0.2 percent over the month, while the index for food away from home rose 0.3 percent in August. The six major grocery store food group indexes were split over the month, with three increases and three decreases. The index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs rose 0.8 percent in August as the index for pork increased 2.2 percent. The index for other food at home increased 0.2 percent over the month, and the index for cereals and bakery products rose 0.5 percent. *********************************************************************************** Voters Want Congressional Support for Low-Carbon Ethanol A new survey from Morning Consult found continued strong voter support for policies promoting the use of lower-cost, lower-carbon American-made ethanol. Registered voters also indicated robust support for specific legislation allowing the year-round sale of E15 and policy promoting the production of more flex-fuel vehicles capable of using the lower-cost E85 fuel blend. Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Geoff Cooper says, "This nationwide poll of more than 2,000 voters shows strong support for important legislative proposals that are currently pending in the House and Senate." Among the results, 62 percent of those surveyed had a favorable opinion of ethanol, while only 17 percent had an unfavorable opinion. Further, 67 percent also support the United States increasing the availability of the E15 blend, and only 14 percent opposed the expansion of E15. Of those surveyed, 63 percent support the Flex Fuel Fairness Act, 61 percent support the Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act, and 61 percent support the Next Generation Fuels Act. *********************************************************************************** Clean Fuels Releases Used Cooking Oil Outlook for Biodiesel Clean Fuels Alliance America Wednesday released a new report assessing potential global supplies of used cooking oil. Specifically, the report looks at used cooking oil to meet the growing demand for biodiesel, renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel through 2030. In 2022, global used cooling oil trade reached 3.7 billion gallons. With anticipated demand and added value from biodiesel and renewable diesel production, the supply could grow to between five billion and ten billion gallons by 2030. With additional global used cooking oil collection, the potential supply could increase by an additional four billion to seven billion gallons. The report indicates that the United States has the most well-developed used cooking oil collection system, due to long-standing practices for its use and disposal. In 2022, the U.S. supply reached 850 million gallons. Increasing biodiesel and renewable diesel production incentivizes domestic use of that supply – curbing recent export trends. Global used cooking oil trade reached 1.3 billion gallons in 2022. *********************************************************************************** AEM: Overall Tractor Sales Lower Heavy-duty row crop tractor unit sales continued to increase in the U.S., while overall farm tractor unit sales in the U.S. and Canada declined in August. The Association of Equipment Manufacturers reports 100-plus horsepower, two-wheel-drive tractors, and four-wheel-drive tractors, were the only segments to grow year over year. Both those segments, along with self-propelled combines, remain positive for the year. The biggest overall growth among tractors happened in four-wheel-drive units, growing more than 20 percent in August. AEM's Curt Blades says, "North American row-crop farmers continue to add and adopt new technology to their equipment fleets to help reduce costs and improve yields." Overall unit sales of U.S. tractors are down 4.6 percent compared to sales in August 2022, while combine sales declined slightly by 2.4 percent. Canadian tractor sales improved their pace versus the previous month, falling just over six percent, with combines declining more than 17 percent. *********************************************************************************** APHIS Finalizes Changes to Import Regulations for Horses USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Wednesday announced the finalized amendments to its import regulations for horses. The amendments will better align regulations with international standards and allow more flexibility for permitted imports while continuing to mitigate the risk of bringing equine diseases into the United States. The regulations also provide APHIS with more regulatory authority to enforce standards for transporting horses. The changes include increasing the amount of time allowed for horses to be in a contagious equine metritis-affected region without testing upon their return to the United States from 60 to 90 days. The amendments also update ports designated for the importation of horses, adding requirements for health certifications and requiring that horses transiting Central America or the West Indies comply with the same regulations that apply to horses directly imported from these regions, given the greater risk of equine diseases of concern from these areas. The final rule goes into effect on October 16, 2023. *********************************************************************************** Few US Adults Rate Their Diet Good or Excellent New data from USDA’s Economic Research Service show Americans don’t have high ratings for their diets. In the period covering January 2017 to March 2020, just under three in ten adults, or 29 percent, reported the healthfulness of their diets was very good or excellent.” That is 3.5 percentage points lower than the corresponding share reported in 2005–06. The data can be found in the latest publicly available wave of the Flexible Consumer Behavior Survey, which collects information on U.S. consumers’ knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs about nutrition and food choices. For context, 41 percent of adults surveyed in the 1989–1991 Continuing Survey of Food Intakes of Individuals rated the healthfulness of their diets as “very good” or excellent, suggesting a continuing downward trend in the health quality individuals ascribe to their diets. FCBS is a module of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, and its data reflect national trends about changing dietary behaviors of U.S. consumers.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday September 14, 2023 |


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 producer price index for August, U.S. retail sales and an update of the U.S. Drought Monitor. The U.S. Energy Department's weekly report of natural gas storage follows at 9:30 a.m. Weather A new front and an old one will make for showers in the Plains on Thursday, with any pockets of moderate to heavy rain likely to stay confined in parts of Texas. Mild temperatures continue to be the case for most areas.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday September 13, 2023 |


USDA Releases September WASDE Report USDA released the September World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report Tuesday. This month’s corn outlook calls for slightly larger supplies and ending stocks. Projected beginning stocks for 2023/24 are five million bushels lower, and corn production is forecast at 15.1 billion bushels, up 23 million from last month. The national average yield is forecast at 173.8 bushels per acre, down 1.3 bushels. Ending stocks are up 19 million bushels to 2.2 billion. The season-average corn price is unchanged at $4.90 per bushel. Soybean supply and use changes for 2023/24 include lower beginning stocks, production, crush, exports, and ending stocks. The soybean yield of 50.1 bushels per acre is down 0.8 bushels from last month. Ending stocks are projected at 220 million bushels, down 25 million from last month. The season-average soybean price is forecast at $12.90 per bushel, up $0.20 from last month. The wheat outlook for supply and use is unchanged this month. The projected 2023/24 season-average farm price is also unchanged at $7.50 per bushel. *********************************************************************************** Crop Production Report Shows Higher Corn Production Corn production is up, while soybean and cotton production is down from 2022, according to USDA’s Crop Production report issued Tuesday. Corn production is up ten percent from last year, forecast at 15.1 billion bushels. Soybean growers are expected to decrease their production three percent from 2022, forecast at 4.15 billion bushels. Finally, cotton production is down nine percent from 2022 at 13.1 million 480-pound bales. Planted and harvested acreage estimates for corn, cotton, and soybeans were reviewed based on all available data, including the latest certified acreage data from the Farm Service Agency. As a result, area planted to corn is estimated at 94.9 million acres, up one percent from the previous estimate, area planted to soybeans is estimated at 83.6 million acres, up slightly, and area planted to cotton is estimated at 10.2 million acres, down eight percent from the previous estimate. USDA surveyed more than 7,000 producers across the country and conducted objective yield surveys for the report. *********************************************************************************** Basil Gooden Nominated as USDA Rural Development Undersecretary President Joe Biden this week nominated Dr. Basil Gooden to serve as USDA Undersecretary for Rural Development. If confirmed by the Senate, Gooden would fill the undersecretary position left vacant by Xochitl Torres Small, who was confirmed in July 2023 as Deputy Secretary of Agriculture. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack responded, “Dr. Basil Gooden is a widely-respected, accomplished champion for affordable housing, community advancement, and economic development.” One of USDA’s seven mission areas, Rural Development helps to expand economic opportunities, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural areas. Gooden recently served as a Visiting Scholar in the Sustainable Food Access Core of the Institute for Inclusion, Inquiry and Innovation at Virginia Commonwealth University. From 2016-2018, he served as the 3rd Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry for the Commonwealth of Virginia. Before that, Gooden served as the Virginia State Director for Rural Development at USDA. *********************************************************************************** USDA Announces Awards to Support One Health Initiatives USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is awarding 36 research awards totaling more than $56 million to support One Health surveillance and coordination. One Health is a collaborative, multisectoral, and transdisciplinary approach – working at the local, regional, national, and global levels – to achieve optimal health outcomes. It recognizes the interconnection between animals, people, plants and their shared environment. The announcement includes eight Agriculture and Food Research Initiative projects from USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture, one National Science Foundation Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Diseases program project, and 27 projects identified through the USDA APHIS SARS-CoV-2 in animals funding opportunities. The awards will help APHIS accomplish its goal of building an early warning system to potentially prevent or limit the next zoonotic disease outbreak. APHIS Acting Administrator Dr. Michael Watson says, "This important work will strengthen our foundation to protect humans and animals for years to come." *********************************************************************************** FFAR Renews ESMC Partnership to Grow Market Program The Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research Tuesday announced the renewal of its partnership with Ecosystem Services Market Consortium, or ESMC. The foundation awarded $10.3 million in 2019 to ESMC to support its research arm, matched by ESMC for a total of $20.6 million. That research resulted in Eco-Harvest, launched in May 2022. Eco-Harvest is an ecosystem services market program that financially rewards participating producers for using regenerative agriculture practices that generate beneficial environmental outcomes. Eco-Harvest program regions include the corn and soy belt, Northern Great Plains, Southern Great Plains, Southeast and Great Lakes regions for corn, soy, wheat, oats and alfalfa cropping systems. FFAR announced an investment of $5.15 million for additional research, and ESMC is matching the award for a total $10.3 million. ESRC will conduct the research, development, demonstration and deployment activities that facilitate Eco-Harvest participating in all major U.S. agricultural regions. FFAR’s Dr. LaKisha Odom says, “These practices are critical in protecting farmers’ livelihoods and the environment, while increasing productivity.” *********************************************************************************** CHS Intends to Return $730 Million to Owners CHS Inc., the nation's leading agribusiness cooperative, has announced it intends to return $730 million in cash patronage and equity redemptions to its owners in calendar year 2024. The CHS Board of Directors determines the total amount of cash to be returned to CHS owners at the close of each fiscal year. Based on business done with CHS in fiscal year 2023, which ended on August 31, 2023, the CHS Board has elected to return $365 million in cash patronage and $365 million through equity redemptions to CHS owners. CHS owners are member cooperatives and farmer-owners in hundreds of communities across rural America. The cash returns earmarked for distribution in 2024 will combine with the previous year's cash returns for more than $1.7 billion shared with owners over two years and more than $3.2 billion returned to owners over the past ten years. Final financial results for fiscal year 2023 are expected to be announced in November 2023.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday September 13, 2023 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets The U.S. Labor Department's consumer price index for August will be out at 7:30 a.m. CDT Wednesday, followed by the Energy Department's weekly report of energy inventories at 9:30 a.m. The U.S. Treasury reports on the federal budget for August at 1 p.m. Weather A front continues to work across the far south and east on Wednesday, with mostly quiet conditions throughout the Corn Belt. A few isolated showers remain possible in the Great Lakes. Temperatures remain mild for most areas, even in Texas as the front moves through.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday September 12, 2023 |


Ag Labor Expenses Forecast to Increase in 2023 Total cash labor expenses for the U.S. agriculture sector are forecast to be $43.35 billion for 2023, based on new data from USDA’s Economic Research Service. This would be an increase of $0.78 billion, or 1.8 percent, over the 2022 level of $42.57 billion in inflation-adjusted 2023 dollars. The projected 2023 level would remain below the high set in 2017. Labor expenses are an important component of agricultural production costs. For every $100 spent on production expenses, almost $10 goes toward labor. Total labor expenses include contract and hired labor payments but exclude non-cash employee compensation. Generally, the animal production sector uses less hired and contract labor than the crop sector. In 2021, the animal production sector accounted for about one-third of total hired and contract labor expenses, with the remaining roughly two-thirds incurred by the crop production sector. This is because some large specialty crops are more labor-intensive than most industries in the animal sector. *********************************************************************************** NMPF Applauds Natural Disaster Assistance for Dairy Farmers New funding announced Monday from the Department of Agriculture will help dairy producers affected by natural disasters. The Milk Loss Program administered by the Farm Service Agency will compensate eligible dairy farms and processors for milk dumped due to qualifying disaster events from 2020 to 2022. Eligible disasters include droughts, wildfires, hurricanes, floods, derechos, excessive heat, winter storms and smoke exposure. The Milk Loss Program will help farmers and, in certain cases, cooperatives, recover losses previously overlooked by disaster assistance. The National Milk Producers Federation applauded the announcement. NMPF president and CEO Jim Mulhern says, “We’re very appreciative of USDA’s diligent work over several months to finalize the compensation plan that will address this backlog of disaster assistance.” Dairy farmers and cooperatives can sign up for the program through October 16, 2023. In other FSA dairy safety-net support, Dairy Margin Coverage program payments have triggered every month, January through July, for producers who obtained coverage for the 2023 program year. *********************************************************************************** TFI Welcomes STB’s Proposed Rule on Reciprocal Switching The Fertilizer Institute praised the Surface Transportation Board’s recent Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on providing rail customers access to reciprocal switching as a remedy for poor rail service. STB Chairman Martin Oberman stated in the announcement, “In the past several years, and particularly since 2021, it has become clear that many rail customers nationwide have suffered from inadequate and deteriorating rail service.” The proposal from the STB would provide a streamlined path for rail customers to obtain a reciprocal switching order by including specific, objective, and measurable criteria for determining eligibility. That criterion includes measures of service reliability, service consistency, and adequacy of local service. The proposal would also standardize these three service metrics across all Class 1 carriers for the first time. President and CEO Corey Rosenbusch says, “More than 60 percent of fertilizer moves by rail and is therefore critical to the on-time delivery of fertilizer to farmers exactly where and when they need it.” *********************************************************************************** AEM: Market Challenges Lie Ahead, But Optimism is Warranted As equipment manufacturers look ahead to the remainder of 2023 and beyond, the landscape continues to present challenges for the industry and the ag and construction customers it serves. AEM members report demand for products across both industries has softened. However, particularly in construction, investments in infrastructure, energy and utilities, point to better days ahead. And a wealth of data suggests optimism – both in the short term and long term. AEM Director of Agriculture Austin Gellings says, “Essentially, everything hinges on where a farmer is going to be able to improve their efficiency the most and in turn see the greatest return on investment.” With input costs continuing to rise, the best ways for a farmer to respond and continue to reap the rewards of strong commodity prices is to operate on those margins and find wins where they can. As farmers are looking for ways to minimize inputs while still increasing yields, technology and data provides the answer. *********************************************************************************** NASDA Foundation welcomes Next Generation class of 2023 The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture Foundation welcomes NASDA's Next Generation class of 2023, featuring 13 students from ten states. The NASDA Next Generation class of 2023 will network with commissioners, secretaries and directors of agriculture, industry leaders, and stakeholders at the NASDA Annual Meeting. The program aims to advance future leaders' understanding of agriculture policy and the role of state departments of agriculture in ensuring a healthy and thriving food system for all. Through the NASDA Next Generation programming, students learn about pressing food and agricultural policy issues, NASDA's mission, and careers in public service. During the meeting events, students can also explore Wyoming's community-based agriculture. NASDA CEO Ted McKinney says, “This cohort of students represents the wide variety of experience and dedication to agricultural excellence that will enable the industry to thrive and impact the entire food system moving forward.” You can find the list of students on the NASDA website. *********************************************************************************** GasBuddy: Weekly Fuel Prices Rise Again After falling for two straight weeks, the nation's average price of gasoline increased, rising 1.6 cents from a week ago to $3.79 per gallon. The national average is down 3.0 cents from a month ago but 11.4 cents per gallon higher than a year ago. The national average diesel price fell 0.9 cents last week to 4.42 per gallon, 58.6 cents lower than one year ago. The West Coast and the Corn Belt saw the brunt of last week's increases. More than ten states saw prices rise by more than ten cents per gallon compared to last week, while some, like Iowa and Minnesota, have seen average prices spike by over 30 cents per gallon. However, GasBuddy's Patrick De Haan says, "We should see more price decreases for most of the nation in the weeks ahead, barring further refinery disruptions and hurricane season." U.S. retail gasoline demand saw a hefty 3.9 percent decrease last week, as post-Labor Day travel appeared to drop significantly.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday September 12, 2023 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets USDA's Crop Production and WASDE reports are due out at 11 a.m. CDT Tuesday with prompt coverage on DTN and a post-report webinar at 12:30 p.m. The U.S. Energy Department will also release its Short-Term Energy Outlook Tuesday morning. DTN will also have a presentation of weather and markets at Husker Harvest at 2 p.m., at the DTN building, Lot 802. Weather A front continues to trek southeast through the country Tuesday, producing areas of showers from the Southern Plains to the Northeast. Temperatures behind the front continue to be mild.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday September 11, 2023 |


World Food Prices Lower in August The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization’s Food Price Index averaged 121.4 points in August, a 2.6-point drop from July, reversing the rebound registered that month. The August drop pushed the index 38 points lower than its peak reached in March 2022. The overall drop was driven by declines in the index for dairy products, vegetable oils, meat, and cereals, while the sugar price index rose modestly. The Dairy Price Index averaged 111.3 points in August and took the biggest drop, down 4.6 points from July, the eighth-straight monthly decline. The Vegetable Oil Index averaged 125.8 points, 4.6 points below July. The Meat Price Index averaged 111.3 points in August, down 4.6 points from July, the eighth-consecutive monthly drop. The Sugar Price Index averaged 148.2 points in August, up 1.9 points from July and as much as 37.7 points, or 34 percent, from its level in the same month last year. *********************************************************************************** July Pork Exports Stay Above 2022 Levels Building on a robust first half of 2023, July pork exports continue to outpace 2022 levels. USDA data showed July pork exports at 219,000 metric tons, up five percent from last year, while export value rose one percent to $628.7 million. Exports to the top market, Mexico, continued at a record pace. “Market diversification has been the top priority for the U.S. pork industry, and those efforts certainly reflect these results,” says Dan Halstrom, President and CEO of the U.S. Meat Export Federation. Through the first seven months of this year, exports were 13 percent higher than last year’s pace at 1.69 million metric tons. Beef exports stepped back in July, posting the lowest volume since January. July beef exports totaled 103,167 metric tons, 18 percent below last year. Beef export value was down 19 percent to $810.4 million, the lowest since February. Exports posted gains in Mexico, Taiwan, and Canada. *********************************************************************************** NCGA Wants Aviation Biofuel Tax Decisions Tied to Emissions Model Asserting that U.S. tax policy should be tied to the best standards the government has, 17 of the nation’s top corn grower leaders sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. It encourages her to adopt an emissions model developed by the Energy Department as her agency works with the IRS to determine which biofuels lower greenhouse gas emissions enough to qualify for sustainable aviation fuel tax credits under the Inflation Reduction Act. The letter comes as corn ethanol has been used for years in cars and trucks while saving consumers money on fuel. Ethanol is being considered for use in the aviation arena, where experts say the biofuel would do for airplanes what it has done for autos. Corn grower leaders point out that the tax credit from the IRA will be crucial to ensuring ethanol is quickly made available in the aviation sector. A decision will get made this month. *********************************************************************************** U.S. and India Resolve Outstanding WTO Poultry Dispute U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai says the U.S. and India resolved their last outstanding dispute at the World Trade Organization. As a part of the agreement, India also agreed to reduce tariffs on U.S. products like frozen turkey, frozen duck, and fresh and frozen blueberries and cranberries. Tai says the tariff cuts will expand economic opportunities for American agricultural producers in a critical market and help bring more U.S. products to consumers in India. “Resolving this last outstanding WTO dispute represents an important milestone in the U.S.-India trade relationship while reducing tariffs on certain American products enhances crucial market access for American farmers,” says Tai. In June, the U.S. and India agreed to terminate six outstanding disputes at the World Trade Organization. India agreed to reduce tariffs on certain U.S. products like lentils, almonds, walnuts, apples, and others. “This agreement resolves a long-standing dispute and deepens the relationship,” Tai adds. *********************************************************************************** August Rainfall Provides Inflow to the Missouri River System Rainfall in the Missouri River Basin above Sioux City, Iowa, was above normal during August, resulting in above-average runoff. However, because of drier-than-normal conditions in previous years, total storage in the Missouri River reservoir system remains lower than normal. Based on September 1 system storage, releases from the Gavins Point Dam will be 13,000 cubic feet per second, slightly above the minimum rate. “August rainfall provided some inflow into the Upper Missouri River Basin Reservoir System,” says John Remus, chief of the Army Corps’ Missouri River Basin Water Management System. “Some areas received up to 400 percent of normal rainfall.” August runoff was 1.7 million acre-feet, 121 percent above average in Sioux City. The updated 2023 forecast for the upper basin is 29.1-million-acre feet, 113 percent of average. The annual average runoff for the upper basin is 25.7-million-acre fee. The total volume in the System was 55.5 MAF on September 1. *********************************************************************************** New Checkoff Website for the Sheep Industry America’s Lamb producers can now turn to LambBoard.com for resources on checkoff production, promotion, and other programs. The new American Lamb Board site officially launched on September 7. “This is a totally new site for America’s Lamb industry,” says Peter Camino, ALB Chair. “That includes commercial and seedstock producers, feeders, direct marketers, sale managers, auction markets, and processors.” He also says it’s home to everything about the American Lamb Board and the checkoff program. A wealth of information is available on the site, including the best practices for sheep productivity and efficiency, lamb quality, and recipes. There are also premium items for local promotions in the ALB store, free downloadable handouts, and details on ALB’s cooperative funding program. Producers can find the latest news and results of the American Lamb Checkoff’s activities and an online assessment payment tool. Producers selling directly to consumers can check out toolkits on marketing to ethnic markets.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday September 11, 2023 |


Monday Watch List Markets USDA's weekly report of export inspections is due out at 10 a.m. CDT Monday, followed by Crop Progress at 3 p.m. DTN will be watching for any new sales of corn or soybeans, private production estimates, and any weather issues around the globe, especially in Argentina, Brazil and Australia. The September WASDE will be out on Tuesday morning. Weather A front continues to sag through the Corn Belt on Monday. It brought scattered showers to many areas over the weekend and continues its pursuit to the Southeast with more showers. Heavier precipitation will likely remain relegated to the Plains, though some bursts through the Midwest will also be possible.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday September 8, 2023 |


Federal Reserve Releases August Beige Book The Federal Reserve released its August Beige Book update, a summary of commentary on current economic conditions from the Fed. The report includes several observations on the U.S. agricultural economy. Drought was affecting several of the Fed’s districts across the country. In the Tenth District, the Kansas City Fed says the farm economy was strong, but conditions softened alongside lower commodity prices and persistent drought. In the Eleventh District in Dallas, a significant portion of the district entered or re-entered drought during the past six weeks. In the Minneapolis Fed’s Ninth District, prices were retreating to levels that could be below break-even for some producers because of high input costs. In the Eighth District of St. Louis, the percentage of cotton and rice rated fair or better stayed stable despite record-breaking heat and heat-dome-induced thunderstorms. In the Twelfth District of San Francisco, conditions in the agriculture and resource-related sectors remained largely unchanged. *********************************************************************************** NMPF Reorganizes Leadership The National Milk Producers Federation announced staff reorganization as it transitions to new leadership. Incoming President and CEO Gregg Doud began working with the organization as the organization’s Chief Operating Officer, a position he will hold until the current President and CEO Jim Mulhern retires in January. “I am excited to announce these changes, which will enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of our structure,” Mulhern says. “They also recognize the contributions of the affected individuals to our overall success.” He also says these changes also position the organization well for even greater success in the future. NMPF named three new Executive Vice Presidents as part of the reorganization, recognizing responsibilities that are expanding across NMPF teams. Paul Bleiberg is the Executive Vice President of Government Relations, Shawna Morris is the Executive VP of Trade Policy and Global Affairs, and Alan Bjerga is the Executive VP of Communications and Industry Relations. *********************************************************************************** CAB Launches New Direct-to-Consumer Program Certified Angus Beef launched a brand-new Ranch to Table Program. That means Angus farmers and ranchers now have the option to market their beef directly to consumers as a CAB product. Ranch to Table is a direct partnership program between CAB and cattle operations using Angus genetics that allows ranchers to use the brand’s trusted reputation for increased gain. “This is another way for Angus ranchers to continue taking pride in and having equity in the brand by being able to hang brand standards on those cattle that ultimately qualify,” says Kara Lee, director of producer engagement for CAB. To participate in the program, a producer’s cattle must incorporate registered Angus genetics, which may require American Angus Association active membership or proof of bull registrations. Producers must also be Beef Quality Assurance certified. As with any CAB product, the cattle must meet the brand’s live-animal evaluation with a predominantly solid-black hide. *********************************************************************************** Another Challenge to GMOs The Center for Food Safety filed a legal appeal against the USDA in response to its genetically engineered labeling rules. The organization says those rules do not mandate clear on-package food labeling and allow unlabeled hidden GMOs to proliferate in the U.S. food marketplace. The CFS was victorious in a 2022 district court ruling in its original USDA lawsuit, which found it unlawful to use inaccessible digital QR codes on food products instead of clear and accessible labeling. Despite the decision, the court refused to vacate USDA’s decision allowing this practice. “USDA is hiding the presence of the majority of GMO food ingredients from American consumers with its exemption for highly-refined foods despite a law passed by Congress,” says Meredith Stevenson, CFS attorney. “The Court rubber-stamped USDA’s decision to exclude highly refined foods like sodas and oils from labeling and use unfamiliar terminology, keeping consumers in the dark about their food.” *********************************************************************************** The First Autonomous Tractor Arrived at the University of Missouri It took more than a year, but University of Missouri researchers welcomed the arrival of one of the nation’s first-of-its-kind electric, autonomous tractors. It’s known as the Monarch MK-V tractor. Researchers called it a “revolutionary piece of technology” that will get studied for its ability to refine agricultural practices and support farmers with disabilities. The University received the tractor as part of a grant awarded by the USDA’s Equipment Grants Program. The new tractor, to be charged with a biofuel generator, will serve as a tool for teaching and research in the agriculture and engineering programs. Researchers will explore the autonomous functions of the tractor, like making use of the sensors and cameras to collect images and then store the data from those images. They also want to understand the tractor’s ability to use artificial intelligence to enhance precision agriculture. Researchers are quite excited about the next generation of technology. *********************************************************************************** Brazil Breaks Soybean Export Record with Surprise Sales The University of Illinois Farmdoc Daily says Brazil’s farmers are shipping out a lot of soybeans. Brazil’s farmers harvested almost 160 million tons of soybeans during the previous crop season. That resulted in record exports in the first seven months of 2023. Price competitiveness led to a significant increase in the volume of soybeans shipped to China. Brazil also benefited from sales to a nation that’s not on its regular customers list: Argentina, the third-largest soybean producer behind Brazil and the U.S. Argentina lost almost half its soybean crop because of drought. To meet its crushing industry contracts for soybean oil and meal, Argentina purchased Brazilian soybeans and became the second-leading destination for Brazil’s soybeans after China. Argentina is also losing its top position as soybean meal exporter this season, giving up its spot to neighboring Brazil. Brazil’s soybean exports reached 72.47 million tons during the first seven months of 2023.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday September 8, 2023 |


Friday Watch List Markets U.S. government reports are scarce on Friday with only wholesale Inventories and the consumer credit report. The weekly Export Sales report will be released at 7:30 a.m. CDT. DTN will be watching for grain and soybean export sales on Friday, and weather issues in primarily Australia and Brazil. Weather A front remains across the East and portions of the Southern Plains Friday. Some clusters of thunderstorms will be possible in both areas. Another system is moving into the Northern Plains and will develop some isolated showers. But most areas will be dry with mild temperatures.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday September 7, 2023 |


Monthly Monitor Forecasts a Positive Crop Outlook The University of Missouri’s Monthly Monitor surveys economists nationwide about their projections for agricultural trends. The report, compiled by the Rural and Farm Finance Policy Analysis Center and Farm Journal, is forecasting a positive outlook for farm finances even as the weather has created significant challenges in North America. July’s results showed more optimism than the previous Monthly Monitor in June. Economists seem to be more positive about the crop side of the ag economy compared to livestock. Sixty-four percent of the economists surveyed were positive about crops, and 55 percent had a negative view of livestock. Despite the weather challenges, farmers are seeing continued productivity and efficiency gains that lead to strong balance sheets. Looking ahead, the economists say global competition and geopolitical risks could impact crop prices in the next six months. In livestock, economists worry about feed costs and how they could affect livestock prices and profitability. *********************************************************************************** Farm Bureau Testifies at FMMO Hearing American Farm Bureau Federation Chief Economist Roger Cryan testified at the ongoing Federal Milk Marketing Order Pricing Formula hearing. Farm Bureau membership includes cooperatives and independent dairy farmers, most of whom are directly or indirectly affected by the pricing provisions in the FMMOs. Farm Bureau’s testimony focused on the reduction or elimination of negative producer price differentials and the de-pooling they cause. An orderly pool is the key to orderly marketing and the continued benefits of the Federal Milk Marketing Orders for farmers, cooperatives, processors, and consumers. The key to an orderly pool is the proper alignment of the four Class prices. Other proposals include supporting the National Milk Producers Federation’s suggestion to drop barrel cheese from Class 3 component and price calculations. AFBF also proposes that 640-pound blocks get added to the National Dairy Sales Report, to the cheddar cheese price calculation, and to the Class 3 protein calculation. *********************************************************************************** Stabenow, Boozman Want USDA Funds for Market Development The National Corn Growers Association applauds Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and John Boozman (R-AR) for sending a letter to the USDA on increasing market development opportunities. The Senate Ag Committee leaders want the agency to allocate funding from the Commodity Credit Corporation to support creating new and better market opportunities for farmers, as well as in-kind international food assistance. “Cultivating new foreign markets is one of our top priorities,” says National Corn Growers Association President Tom Haag (HAYG). The letter says, “Farm bill trade promotion programs help address the need to build new markets. We believe that resources available under the CCC can support similar efforts to open access to markets and promote American-grown products overseas.” The CCC funds are used by government to implement specific programs established by or to carry out activities under the CCC Charter Act. NCGA has called on Congress to increase investments in these programs. *********************************************************************************** Idalia Kills at Least Five Million Chickens in Florida Almost a week after Hurricane Idalia hit Florida, the livestock body count is climbing higher, especially in poultry operations. The Messenger says estimates say as many as five million chickens died from the Category Three storm. Winds were around 125 mph when the storm hit land. The hurricane tore apart barns and fence lines and killed livestock from cattle to chickens. Chicken coops were ripped apart by high winds or high waters, and many coops were crushed by falling trees. The chickens that survived the storm were seen roaming around looking for food as their feeders were destroyed in the storm. Many others died in the heat and humidity. The storm hit farmers hard, tearing up crops and multiple livestock facilities. A spokeswoman for the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences says the actual death count of poultry could take months after all the assessments are completed. *********************************************************************************** USDA Grant Helping Promote Sustainable Aviation Fuel Gevo (JEE-voh), Incorporated, announced that it’s received a $30 million grant from USDA for its Climate-Smart Farm-to-Flight Program. The grant is from USDA’s Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities. The Gevo program is intended for tracking and quantifying the carbon-intensity impact of climate-smart practices while creating market incentives for low-carbon-intensity corn to help accelerate the production of sustainable aviation fuel and low-CI ethanol. “Our Farm-to-Flight Program aims to count all the carbon at the field level and reward farmers on a performance basis for delivering low-CI corn, as well as to accelerate the production of SAF to reduce dependency on fossil-based fuel,” says Dr. Paul Bloom, Chief Carbon Officer and Chief Innovation Officer for Gevo. “The program will also focus on deploying our Verity Tracking platform to farmers to help them measure, report, and verify their CI reductions.” The grant will also help count all carbon through the entire business system and reward farmers. *********************************************************************************** Governors Standing Firm on States’ Rights in the Farm Bill Groups like Competitive Markets Action and the Organization for Competitive Markets applauded the National Governors Association for urging Congress to prioritize the next farm bill. The co-chairs of the NGA’s Education, Workforce, and Community Investment Task Force sent a letter to Congressional leaders urging them to consider several key priorities for the new bill. The governors emphasized the importance of avoiding preempting state-level laws regarding agricultural production. They said, “States succeed when the federal government avoids granting a private right of action against states that maintain their own production or manufacturing standards on agricultural products.” The Ending Agricultural Trade Suppression Act is a controversial bill currently being considered by Congress. The groups say it would upend states’ rights by nullifying more than a thousand state and local agriculture laws. Marty Irby, president of Competitive Markets Action, says they applaud the Governors Association for advocating on behalf of farmers and states’ rights.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday September 7, 2023 |


Thursday Watch List Markets The U.S. Labor Department's report on U.S. productivity is set for 7:30 a.m. CDT Thursday, along with weekly U.S. jobless claims and an update of the U.S. Drought Monitor. The U.S. Energy Department's weekly report of natural gas storage is at 9:30 a.m., followed by weekly energy inventories at 10:00 a.m. Weather Temperatures across most of the Corn Belt are mild, with some higher temperatures briefly in the far west the next couple of days. A front has essentially cleared the region with showers on the periphery, some of which may be stronger across the East, Southern Plains, and Nebraska later Thursday. It remains hot in and around Texas.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday September 6, 2023 |


Lower Beef Demand in Most Worldwide Markets Other than in the U.S., beef markets around the world are seeing softer consumer demand. A Rabobank Q3 Global Beef Quarterly Report says cattle prices are split into two groups: those in North America and Europe, and those in the rest of the world. Declining supplies and strong consumer demand in the U.S. are driving cattle prices higher, and lower domestic beef supply has also held up prices in Canada and Europe. It’s the opposite in most other regions, where increased supply and lower demand are making prices softer. Rabobank says U.S. cattle prices have increased almost 30 percent over the past 12 months, while Australian cattle prices have dropped by more than 30 percent, calling it the largest spread they’ve seen in the past decade. In a number of regions, particularly in Asia, beef purchases made in anticipation of COVID recovery haven’t been consumed yet, leaving supply chains full. *********************************************************************************** Farmer Sentiment Drops in August Producer sentiment lowered during August as the Purdue University/CME Group’s Ag Economy Barometer dipped eight points to a reading of 115. The month’s decline was driven by producers’ weaker perception of current conditions on their farms and throughout U.S. agriculture. The Current Conditions Index fell 13 points to a reading of 108. The Future Expectations Index also dropped by five points to a reading of 119 in August. Rising interest rates and concerns about high input prices continue putting downward pressure on producer sentiment. When asked about their top concerns over the next year, 34 percent of survey respondents said higher input prices and 24 percent said rising interest rates. Even though crop prices weakened during the summer, only one in five producers chose declining commodity prices as one of their top concerns. The Farm Capital Investment Index was lower this month, dropping eight points to a reading of 37. *********************************************************************************** FAPRI Releases U.S. Baseline Outlook The Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute at the University of Missouri released its annual U.S. Baseline Outlook report. It includes projections for agricultural and biofuel markets and helps in evaluating alternative scenarios for agricultural policy. “Projected prices for most crops, poultry, and dairy products all retreat in 2023 from recent peaks, and so do some production expenses,” says FAPRI Director Pat Westhoff. Among the findings, the report says if weather conditions allow crop yields to return to trend-line levels in 2023, prices for corn, soybeans, wheat, cotton, and many other crops are likely to fall. Higher fertilizer, fuel, and feed costs contributed to a very sharp increase in farm production costs last year, but a smaller increase is projected in 2023. Lower prices in some inputs will likely bring down production costs in 2024 and 2025. Hog, poultry, and dairy prices will fall, but beef prices will remain high. *********************************************************************************** Entries Open for 2024 Dairy Checkoff’s New Product Competition Dairy Management, Inc. is accepting applications from college students for the 2024 New Product Competition. The competition seeks innovative dairy product concepts and is open to undergraduate and graduate students in the U.S. DMI wants students to develop innovative, dairy-based products for health and wellness consumers. Successful entries must meet competition criteria, demonstrate innovation, and provide value to consumers. The competition is an opportunity for students to develop new products in line with current industry and consumer insights to uncover innovative dairy-based products for health and wellness. Consumers are emphasizing health and wellness, so they’re looking for products that provide benefits to digestion, immunity, joint health and mobility, and overall health. The judging panel will include experts from across the dairy industry. Winning teams get recognized at the American Dairy Science Association’s annual meeting in West Palm Beach, Florida, from June 16-19, 2024. The contest will award a combined $27,000. *********************************************************************************** Agriculture On Guard Against Cyber-Attacks Agriculture has seen increasing online attacks in recent years. Global AgTech says technology makes running daily operations easier and helps increase output. Different types of technology help with efficiency, yield, and profitability, and they include computers, robotics, drones, software, and vehicles. One of the biggest reasons agriculture has become an online target is due to the vital role it plays in the country’s economy. Farms are also considered easy targets. Many farmers haven’t implemented cybersecurity measures and are unaware of the vital role those measures play in the success of their operations. Industry experts recommend farmers implement security measures to protect their businesses. Among some of the recommended best practices, farmers should have a dedicated contingency plan. It’s also important to protect all login information. Make sure to put measures in place to protect against phishing attacks. It’s also very important to install antivirus software and make sure it stays updated. *********************************************************************************** World Record Soybean Yield Set in Georgia Alex Harrell of Smithville, Georgia, set the world record for soybean yield with an average of 296.7 bushels per acre. The yield was harvested on August 23 and verified by the University of Georgia Extension Service. “We knew it was going to be good, but maybe not quite this good,” says Alex Harrell. “There’s no silver bullet when it comes to high yields, but it’s important to have good products, people, and timing.” Harrell’s world record soybean yield is indicative of advancements in precision breeding, biotechnology, and increased knowledge of farm management practices. Harrell experienced favorable conditions through the growing season. Only two significant weather events with excess rain caused emergence challenges and some flooding. “I’m used to soybeans being in the average range of about 40 bushels an acre,” says Doug Collins, University of Georgia Lee County Extension Agent. “Neither Alex nor I thought the yield would be that high.”

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday September 6, 2023 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets The U.S. Commerce Department will report on the U.S. trade deficit for July at 7:30 a.m. CDT Wednesday. Traders will continue to keep close watch on the latest weather forecasts and news from Ukraine. Weather A front that pushed through the Western and Central Corn Belt on Tuesday will move through eastern areas on Wednesday. Scattered showers and thunderstorms are expected with the front, some of which may be stronger. The front will not make it down through the Southern Plains, though. Temperatures behind the front are significantly cooler than the extreme heat noted ahead and south of it.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday September 5, 2023 |


RMA Makes Changes to Whole Farm Revenue Protection Policies The USDA announced it is improving crop insurance options for small and diversified farmers by improving the Whole-Farm Revenue Protection and Micro Farm Insurance plans. The updates are a part of the Risk Management Agency’s efforts to increase participation and access to crop insurance. “The improvements in both policies are a direct response from feedback we’ve received from producers,” says RMA Administrator Marcia Bunger. “These are two of the most comprehensive risk management plans available, and they are especially important to specialty crop, organic, urban, and direct-market producers.” Changes to the Whole-Farm policy include allowing all eligible producers to qualify for 80 and 85 percent coverage levels. Producers will also be able to purchase catastrophic coverage level policies for individual crops. Micro Farm policy improvements include moving the sales closing date to a less busy time of year, especially helpful for agents to assist growers with important risk management decisions. *********************************************************************************** CoBank: Drought, Heat Threaten Soybean Crop at a Critical Stage Prolonged drought and record heat are threatening soybean yields in several key growing states across the Midwest. With most of the soybean crop still in the critical pod-setting phase that depends on August moisture, persistent dry conditions are lowering yield production and raising concerns about the availability of supplies. CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange did research that found soybeans have a much tighter supply situation than corn due to the loss of planted acres. “If hot and dry conditions continue in the Midwest and yield loss for soybeans increases, the U.S. soybean supply will tighten further,” says Tanner Ehmke, lead grains and oilseeds economist for CoBank. “That will result in stronger interior cash basis and lower exports.” More pods will likely get aborted if the hot and dry conditions continue. In addition to drought and heat stress, scouts on the recent Pro Farmer Crop Tour noticed sudden death syndrome across multiple soybean fields. *********************************************************************************** What’s Ahead for the Farmland Market? Recent farmland sale prices and values have increased to levels never before seen in the agricultural land market. Paul Shadegg (SHAH-deg), senior vice president of Real Estate Operations at Farmers National, says the momentum in the farmland market began building 25 years ago. But is it sustainable moving forward? There continues to be strong interest in buying ag land across the U.S. Both individual buyers and land investors have created this competitive atmosphere in the agricultural real estate market. Shadegg and Farmers National predict that will increase moving through the second half of 2023. At the same time, properties offered to the market will likely be limited, which will help sustain current values. They also expect to see a plateau in land values based on past agriculture cycles and a new normal in land values. Land values will continue to be driven by buyer competition and available supply for sale. *********************************************************************************** Barge Freight Rates Climb on Lower Water Levels The cost of transporting harvested commodities down the Mississippi River is climbing. The rates are rapidly rising as shrinking water levels drive barge freight rates higher. The forecast calling for below-average rainfall isn’t offering any relief. Bloomberg says barge spot rates on August 29 were up 49 percent from the prior week and 42 percent from last year at $23.34 per ton. USDA data says that’s 85 percent higher than the three-year average. Last year, extremely low water levels stranded more than 2,000 barges on the Mississippi River, bringing commerce to a halt on the waterway. The Mississippi River carries more than 45 percent of all U.S. agricultural exports to ports in the South. Water levels resumed dropping in June, restricting the amount of grain allowed on each barge. In turn, that leads to a tighter supply of barges as more of them are required to transport the same amount of grain. *********************************************************************************** West Coast Port Workers Ratify Contract Dock workers at West Coast ports ratified a six-year contract that improved pay and benefits for 22,000 employees at 29 ports from California to Washington state. Members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union voted 75 percent in favor of approving the West Coast port worker agreement that runs until 2028. Reuters says longshore workers covered by the agreement are based at some of the busiest seaports in the nation, including the Port of Los Angeles/Long Beach, which is the busiest ocean trade gateway in the U.S. “The contract negotiations were protracted and challenging,” says ILWU International President Willie Adams. The union and the Pacific Maritime Association employer group reached a tentative agreement back in June, ending 13 months of talks. The agreement eased worries that more West Coast disruptions could hit the all-important retail holiday shipping season. West Coast ports lost business to others on the East and Gulf Coasts. *********************************************************************************** Drought Intensifies in the Weekly Drought Monitor The weekly Drought Monitor showed drought getting worse across areas in the Midwest, South, Southwest, and the Pacific Northwest. In the Midwest, extreme heat impacted areas like Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, and Illinois. Record high temps were set in cities like Chicago (98), Milwaukee (101), and Minneapolis (101). Areas in the South, including the Texas Gulf Coast, Louisiana, and Southern Mississippi, saw continued drought-related deterioration on this week’s map. Temperatures continued to push over 100 degrees during the week, breaking records. Houston reached 109, San Antonio hit 104, Austin was 107, and Dallas topped out at 109. Some areas on the map did see some improvement, including southern Texas, where heavy rains from Tropical Storm Harold provided much-needed relief to the region. Rainfall accumulation along the southern Gulf Coast and South Texas Plains regions ranged from two to six inches. In the Southeast, areas of Florida were impacted by Hurricane Idalia.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday September 5, 2023 |


Top 5 Things to Watch - Seed Buying, Looming Harvest, South America Planting Season Get Focus OMAHA (DTN) -- Here are the Top 5 things the DTN Newsroom is tracking for the week of Sept. 3. Watch for coverage of these and other topics through the week on our subscription platforms as well as on DTNPF.com. 1. Markets closed Monday: Reminder that commodity markets are closed for the Labor Day weekend on both sides of the U.S./Canada border. Our coverage will pick up late Monday night and DTN subscribers will see updates in our Tuesday Early Word and Before the Bell pieces. 2. Harvest looms: DTN reporters are beginning to hear of fields being opened up in the Corn Belt. Watch for news from the field as it comes in and look for the latest on propane prices and expectations as drying season begins. 3. Land values stay strong: We're continuing to watch land sales after some interesting numbers of late, we'll have additional sales information from the staff and from the pages of Progressive Farmer magazine. 4. Weather eyes shift South: While harvest weather is top of mind, the grain trade is beginning to shift its gaze below the equator as Brazil, Argentina and other South American producers begin to pull planters into the field. Expect continued updates on their weather and prospects from the DTN meteorological team. 5. Seed-buying season: Seed-buying season gets earlier and earlier. The September issue of Progressive Farmer magazine is chock-full of articles to help you think through your choices for next year's seed lineup.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday September 5, 2023 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets Back from the three-day weekend, traders will pay close attention to the latest changes in weather and any news regarding Ukraine and Russia. OPEC is also expected to make an announcement regarding oil production this week. USDA's weekly grain export inspections are due out at 10 a.m. Tuesday, followed by Crop Progress at 3 p.m. Weather A system and cold front are moving through the Northern Plains early Tuesday with scattered showers, followed by much cooler temperatures. The system will move through the central Corn Belt throughout the day, bringing scattered showers especially to northern areas, but also some isolated showers for other parts of the Corn Belt as well.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday September 1, 2023 |


USDA Funding Will Help Farmers Lower Energy Costs Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says his agency is awarding $266 million in loans and grants to agriculture producers and rural small businesses. The funds will be for making investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency improvements that will lower energy costs, generate new income, and strengthen the resilience of their operations. “Creating opportunity for rural communities means investing in farmers, ranchers, and small businesses,” Vilsack says. “These funds will make sure our producers and business owners are not only a part of the clean energy economy but are also directly benefiting from it.” The secretary also says these once-in-a-generation investments in renewable energy, like wind and solar, and energy-efficient technologies create new markets and deliver real cost savings for our small and mid-sized agricultural operations and Main Street businesses, building and keeping wealth in rural America. The department is making the funds available through the Rural Energy for America Program. *********************************************************************************** EPA is Right to Deny Refinery Exemptions Growth Energy, the nation’s largest biofuels trade association, filed briefs to intervene in three cases this week to support the Environmental Protection Agency. More specifically, Growth Energy supports the agency’s decisions to deny small-refinery exemptions for refiners who are seeking to avoid complying with their blending obligations under the Renewable Fuel Standard. Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy, says petitioners have tried over and over again to avoid complying with the RFS because less biofuel in America’s fuel supply means more money in their pockets. “Thankfully, EPA has continued to rightly deny the exemptions, having demonstrated again and again that refiners have no good reason not to meet their blending obligations,” she says. “In this week’s filings, Growth Energy continues to seek to defend the RFS, which is the nation’s most successful climate policy to date, from any attempts to weaken it.” The filings in each case are available at growthenergy.org. *********************************************************************************** Brazil Now the World’s Biggest Corn Exporter For more than 50 years, U.S. farmers were dominant in the international corn market, far and away shipping more corn than anyone else to help feed the world’s stockpiles and manufacture food. A Bloomberg article says that’s no longer the case. In the agricultural year that ended on August 31, the U.S. gave up that top spot in corn exporting to Brazil, and it might not be coming back in the near future. In the 2023 harvest year, Brazil will dominate the world’s global corn exports at 32 percent, well ahead of the 23 percent of corn shipped by the U.S. into the export market. America has only dropped out of the top spot once, doing so in 2013 because of a severe drought. Losing the lead in corn exports may unfortunately be familiar to U.S. producers, who lost the top spot in soybean and wheat exports during the last ten years. *********************************************************************************** U.S. and Canadian Cattle Herds Drop Three Percent Downsizing in the U.S. and Canadian cattle herds continued through the first half of 2023. All cattle and calves in the U.S. and Canada combined to total 108 million head on July 1, 2023, down three percent from the 111 million head on July 1, 2022. All cows and heifers that have calved, at 43.4 million head, were down two percent from last year. All cattle and calves in the U.S. totaled 95.9 million head on July 1, 2023, down three percent from July 1, 2022. All cows and heifers that have calved, at 38.8 million head, were down two percent from a year ago. All cattle and calves in Canada as of July 1, 2023, totaled 12.2 million head, down one percent from the 12.3 million head on July 1 of last year. All cows and heifers that have calved totaled 4.62 million head, down one percent from last year. *********************************************************************************** World’s Rice Supplies Get Tighter Rice prices are climbing around the world as supplies get tighter. Key exporting countries like Thailand and Vietnam have seen rice prices climb as much as 20 percent since India banned shipments of a key rice variety in July. India is the world’s largest shipper of the grain, and the export ban is squeezing global supplies. Reuters says traders expect similar export cuts by other countries that need to ensure their domestic food security. That’s leaving importers scrambling to acquire other shipments of rice. India banned exports of broken rice last year and imposed a duty on shipments of various grades of rice. That ended price stability that ran for over ten years. India did allow traders to ship out non-basmati white rice cargoes that were stuck in ports when India imposed its export ban. India’s farmers have planted 89.2 million acres of rice, 4.3 percent higher than last year. *********************************************************************************** Ethanol Production Hits Three-Month Low The Energy Information Administration says ethanol output dropped to a three-month low while inventories hit the lowest point since November. Ethanol production dropped to an average of 1.007 million barrels a day during the week ending on August 25. The EIA report says that’s down from 1.048 million barrels during the previous week and the lowest level since May 26. In the Midwest, by far the largest-producing region in the country, output dropped to 952,000 barrels a day from 992,000 the prior week. Rocky Mountain production fell by 2,000 barrels a day to 11,000. That was the entirety of the losses as West Coast output was unchanged at 10,000 barrels a day. East Coast and Gulf Coast production each rose by 1,000 barrels per day, coming in at 13,000 barrels a day and 22,000 barrels a day, respectively. Ethanol inventories dropped to 21.61 million barrels, the lowest since November 11.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday September 1, 2023 |


Friday Watch List Markets U.S. nonfarm payrolls and the unemployment rate for August are due out at 7:30 a.m. CDT Friday. Indices of world manufacturing activity will come in overnight and the U.S. index is due out at 9 a.m. NASS will report on Fats and Oils and Grain Crushings at 2 p.m. Weather As we begin meteorological fall, temperatures are increasing in the Plains and will continue to spread eastward through the weekend. A small disturbance in the Gulf of Mexico may provide some showers along the central coast, but most areas will stay dry today.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday August 31, 2023 |


U.S. Ag Groups React Negatively to WOTUS Changes U.S. ag groups and elected officials all expressed disappointment with the revised Waters of the U.S. rule issued this week by the Environmental Protection Agency. “The agency failed to open the process to public comment, which would have been extremely valuable,” says National Corn Growers Association President Tom Haag (HAYG). American Soybean Association President Daryl Cates says, “These revisions are window dressing and leave in place much of the rule’s confusing and harmful foundations.” Corey Rosenbusch, president of The Fertilizer Institute, says they’re disappointed in the agency’s disregard for both the procedural need to invite public input for consideration and for May’s Supreme Court ruling. House Ag Committee Chair Glenn Thompson says EPA’s “sleight-of-hand” in circumventing the rulemaking process leaves the door open to agency abuse and uncertainty for U.S. agriculture. Darren Coppock (COP-uhck), president and CEO of the Ag Retailers Association, says this is a missed opportunity by the EPA. *********************************************************************************** Farm Futures Releases 2024 Planting Estimates Farmers are gearing up for the 2023 harvest season with an eye already on next year’s crop. A Farm Futures August survey finds growers are expecting to plant 93.1 million acres of corn in 2024, down one percent from this year’s total acreage. Shrinking revenue prospects amid relatively high costs will likely tighten profit margins for the 2024 crop, giving alternative crops more opportunity for acreage next spring. Soybeans are one crop that farmers expect to plant more of next year. Farmers in the survey expect a two percent increase in soybean acres next spring at a total of 85.4 million acres. Wheat acres are also expected to expand. Winter wheat acres are forecast to be five percent higher at 38.7 million acres, and spring wheat acres will rise eight percent to 52.7 million acres. If those predictions prove true, this would be the largest wheat acreage planted since 2015. *********************************************************************************** Senators Show Opposition to EATS Act In another show of opposition to the EATS Act, 30 senators sent a letter to Ag Committee leaders opposing a sweeping bill to nullify state agricultural laws called the EATS Act. The letter came a week after 172 House members signed a similar letter addressed to House Ag Committee leaders. Over 200 federal lawmakers spanning 35 states have publicly stated that neither the Ending Agricultural Trade Suppression Act nor anything similar should be a part of the upcoming farm bill. “It’s not one state that’s trying to foist its standards on the rest of the country,” says Sara Amundson, president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund. “It’s the NPPC that’s trying to force every state to accept the terms of any other state that chooses not to ensure humane safety standards for agricultural products within its borders.” Additionally, 577 veterinary professionals and 78 veterinary students signed letters opposing the EATS Act. *********************************************************************************** Grape Growers Have New Insurance Program Against Natural Hazards The USDA is expanding crop insurance options with a new grapevine insurance program. It will provide coverage for the loss of grafted vines caused by natural perils like frost or fire. The new program will also complement the grape crop insurance program that covers the fruit growing on the vine. “We strive to offer the strongest risk management resources for our nation’s agricultural producers,” says Marcia Bunger, administration of the Risk Management Agency. ‘Sometimes that’s by improving an already existing product or creating a new product like this one to fill a gap.” It’s especially critical when you realize that the loss of fruit can affect a grower for a season, but losing a grapevine is a much costlier situation in terms of the money and time needed to reestablish a productive vine. The program pays losses when the vine is dead or so badly damaged that it won’t recover within a year. *********************************************************************************** Farm Incomes Flatten in the Second Quarter The Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank’s Second Quarter ag credit conditions survey shows that after several strong years of growth, that stalled in 2023. Compared to earlier this year, farm incomes dropped slightly from April through June. Spending on capital equipment also dropped while farm household purchases increased. More than a third of ag bankers surveyed in the Ninth District said farm incomes decreased in the second quarter of this year compared to 2022. Thirty-nine percent of the lenders report that borrower liquidity had dropped in the past three months compared to last year. The Fed also says despite the falling incomes, lenders haven’t seen a boost in loan demand and the rate of loan repayment remained strong. Loan renewals and extensions also remained steady. Farmland values rose, as did cash rents. The third-quarter outlook calls for further farm income declines, though the overall financial conditions are expected to stay relatively stable. *********************************************************************************** Unified Vision Driving Beef Checkoff Success The Federation of State Beef Councils has supported an effective and coordinated state and national Checkoff partnership since 1963. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff and state beef councils, continues setting a positive course for beef. Recent program successes include Nutrition Research which serves as the foundation for all Beef Checkoff-funded initiatives. Nutrition research proves beef has a role in a healthy and sustainable diet. The National Beef Quality Audit is the foundational research providing an understanding of what quality means to the various industry sectors. The 2022 NBQA results showed that the industry is more efficiently producing a high-quality product that consumers want. One of the industry’s top focus areas across the supply chain remains food safety. Cow-calf producers, stockers, and feedyards implement Beef Quality Assurance practices on their operations to produce the highest-quality cattle and the best possible eating experience for consumers.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday August 31, 2023 |


Thursday Watch List Markets USDA's weekly export sales report, U.S. weekly jobless claims, U.S. personal incomes and consumer spending in August, the index of personal consumption expenditures for July and an update of the U.S. Drought Monitor are all due out at 7:30 a.m. Thursday. The U.S. Energy Department's report on natural gas storage is set for 9:30 a.m. Weather With Idalia continuing to move further offshore on Thursday morning, it will be a largely quiet day across most of the U.S. Some isolated showers will be possible across the north and near the Gulf of Mexico, but that should be it. Though still milder in the Eastern Corn Belt, temperatures are starting to rise in the Western Corn Belt, though extreme heat is still a day or two away.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday August 30, 2023 |


EPA and Army Amend “Waters of the United States” Rule The Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers Tuesday announced a final rule amending the 2023 definition of “waters of the United States.” The final rule intends to conform with the recent Supreme Court decision in Sackett v. EPA. With this action, the Army Corps of Engineers will resume issuing all jurisdictional determinations. The rule will take effect immediately. In response, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Chief Counsel Mary-Thomas Hart says, “Today’s revised WOTUS definition is an important step toward bringing the EPA more in line with the Supreme Court's ruling." AFBF President Zippy Duvall says the EPA chose to continue government overreach and revise only a small slice of the rule that the Supreme Court rejected. Duvall adds, "We're pleased the vague and confusing 'significant nexus' test has been eliminated as the Supreme Court dictated. But EPA has ignored other clear concerns raised by the Justices, 26 states, and farmers across the country about the rule's failure to respect private property rights and the Clean Water Act." *********************************************************************************** US Cattlemen’s Association Welcomes LIP Update The U.S. Cattlemen's Association applauds recent action by the Department of Agriculture to update the 2023 Livestock Indemnity Program payment rate. Late last week, USDA announced the payment rate for beef calves over 800 pounds will increase from $1244 per head to $1618, an increase of $374. The payment will apply retroactively to all qualifying losses since January 1, 2023. No action is necessary for retroactive payments, and producers will receive an additional payment if applicable. Payments will be queued up for current losses as early as next week. FSA acknowledged that some animals might have lost weight due to extreme weather conditions, and they are working on how to handle those cases. USCA President Justin Tupper says, "A loss in today's market has a significantly higher impact on a producer's bottom line, and the updated indemnity better reflects the value of that animal," while giving thanks to FSA for the update. *********************************************************************************** Study: US Soybean Industry Has $124 Billion Impact on the Economy A new study from the National Oilseed Processors Association and the United Soybean Board highlights how the soybean industry impacts the U.S. economy. This 33-page study analyzes the soybean value chain’s impact on the U.S. economy based on data from crop years 2019/20 to 2021/22. The data shows the total economic impact from the U.S. soybean sector averaged $124 billion, including $85.7 billion from soy production and $9.8 billion from soybean processing. The U.S. soy sector accounts for approximately 0.6 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product. There are more than 500,000 individuals involved in soy farm decision-making. This includes 223,000 paid, full-time equivalent jobs and an additional 62,000 family members, beyond growers, who reside on farms and are integral to soybean farming operations. The total wage impact of the sector averaged $10 billion. USB Chair and Missouri farmer Meagan Kaiser says, “It’s reaffirming to see that the U.S. soybean industry has such a tremendous impact on U.S. farmers and the economy overall.” *********************************************************************************** Pivot Bio names Chris Abbott CEO Pivot Bio Tuesday announced Chris Abbot as its Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately. As previously announced, Pivot Bio co-founder and current CEO Karsten Temme will become Chief Innovation Officer. Pivot Bio calls Abbot an industry leader and hands-on strategist who has focused his career on agriculture, water, sustainability, and technology. Pivot Bio Board Chairperson Roger Underwood says, "His commercial acumen, financial know-how, and strong relationships across the agriculture industry are exactly what the company needs at this critical juncture to further accelerate our substantial momentum." The company is also announcing another year of rapid growth, with revenue increasing over 60 percent in fiscal year 2023, surpassing $100 million for the first time. It was the fourth consecutive year of growth for revenue and acres. The company anticipates this momentum to continue in 2024. Pivot Bio also revealed plans to increase manufacturing and distribution across the country to support continued growth and expand customer service for growers. *********************************************************************************** Nearly Half of Potatoes Now go into Frozen Products New Data from USDA’s Economic Research Service shows the majority of potatoes in the United States are now sold in processed forms such as frozen, chipped, dehydrated, or canned. With the introduction of french fries as a key side dish in quick-service restaurants, the share of potatoes that go into frozen products has risen in each decade since 1979. As a result, almost half of all potatoes going into food in the United States are now used to create frozen products—most of which are french fries. Meanwhile, the share of potatoes used as fresh table potatoes has declined decade by decade. Per capita frozen potato availability during the pandemic-influenced 2019–21 period, up eight percent from a decade earlier. According to industry data and USDA research in the early 2000s, about 90 percent of frozen french fries move through various food service venues. Quick-service restaurants alone account for about two-thirds of french fry usage. *********************************************************************************** Forest Service Announces Landscape Scale Investments USDA’s Forest Service Tuesday announced it will invest $16.2 million to restore forests across tribal, state and private lands. The funded projects mark the first time the Forest Service will make Landscape Scale Restoration program grants directly available to federally recognized Tribes and Alaska Native Corporations to restore priority forest landscapes. The Forest Service selected 64 proposed projects for fiscal year 2023 to help Tribes, state agencies, local governments, and partners restore healthy, resilient, climate-adapted forests, including $3 million to restore landscapes on tribal lands. Forest Service Chief Randy Moore says, "These grants are critical for improving the nation's forests that provide a range of environmental, social, and economic benefits to the American people." The Landscape Scale Restoration program also supports the Forest Service's ten-year strategy to protect communities from catastrophic wildfires. The Forest Service reviewed project requests from federally recognized Tribes and Alaska Native Corporations, and selected 11 projects for funding.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday August 30, 2023 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets The U.S. Commerce Department will have an update of second-quarter U.S. GDP at 7:30 a.m., followed by the U.S. Energy Department's weekly energy inventories at 9:30 a.m. Traders continue to keep close watch over weather developments and any news regarding Ukraine. Visit DTN at this week's Farm Progress show in Decatur, Illinois, lot 360 on Third Street. Weather A rather quiet day is in store for most of the country outside of the far southeast. Hurricane Idalia, a Category 4 storm, will move into northern Florida this morning, across southeast Georgia and into the Atlantic later Wednesday and Wednesday night. Heavy rainfall, storm surge, and wind damage can be expected from northern Florida through the eastern Carolinas.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday August 29, 2023 |


Vilsack Making Clean Energy Announcement at Farm Progress Show Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will attend the 2023 Farm Progress Show Wednesday to announce a major investment in clean energy for rural Americans. Wednesday morning, Vilsack will join Representative Nikki Budzinski, an Illinois Democrat, at a meeting of her Agriculture Advisory Council. There, Vilsack will hear firsthand from producers and officials about the state of agriculture in Illinois. Later, Secretary Vilsack will deliver remarks at the main Farm Progress stage. USDA says Vilsack will announce a significant investment to help producers and small businesses in rural communities invest in clean energy systems, improve energy efficiency, lower energy costs, and generate income. Vilsack is scheduled to make the announcement at noon central time, which will be livestreamed at farmprogress.com. Meanwhile, Vilsack announced $808 million to help rural cooperatives and utilities build and improve electric infrastructure Monday. The funding will also help provide clean drinking water and sanitary wastewater systems in rural areas. The announcement will benefit nearly 480,000 people in 36 states and two U.S. territories. *********************************************************************************** USDA Updates Livestock Disaster Payment Rate USDA’s Farm Service Agency updated the Livestock Indemnity Program payment rate recently. The update will support livestock producers in the Midwest who have lost cattle to the extreme heat and humidity experienced this summer. To help indemnify ranchers to reflect a trend towards higher cattle weights in feedlots, the 2023 Livestock Indemnity Program payment rate for beef calves over 800 pounds will increase from $1244 per head to $1618, an increase of $374. The program provides benefits to livestock owners and some contract growers for livestock deaths exceeding normal mortality from eligible adverse weather events, certain predation losses and reduced sales prices due to injury from an eligible loss. Indemnity payments are made at a rate of 75 percent of the prior year's average fair market value of the livestock. The updated payment rate is effective immediately and will be applied retroactively starting January 1, 2023, for all eligible causes of loss, including excessive heat, tornado, winter storms, and other qualifying adverse weather. *********************************************************************************** Farm Credit Farmer-Owned Cooperatives Merger Effective October 1 The merger of Farm Credit of New Mexico and American AgCredit Farm Credit cooperatives will be effective October 1, 2023. The merger will create one Farm Credit Association with enhanced marketplace stability, increased funding capacity, and better access to technology. The voting stockholders of Farm Credit of New Mexico re-voted for the proposed merger after a reconsideration process established by the Farm Credit Administration. American AgCredit CEO Curt Hudnutt says, "This merger makes us a better partner for our customers." Hudnutt will lead the merged American AgCredit, which will have more than 900 employees. The October 1, 2023, effective merger date is pending final Farm Credit Association approval. American AgCredit was chartered in 1916 as part of the nationwide Farm Credit System and is the nation's fourth-largest Farm Credit association. Farm Credit of New Mexico is the largest agricultural lender in New Mexico, a $2 billion cooperative specializing in agricultural lending and related services. *********************************************************************************** Dairy Checkoff Smoothie Program Expands The results of a checkoff-initiated smoothie program pilot showed increased milk and yogurt consumption and will be offered to more schools this fall. Research shows fruit smoothies are more popular than energy drinks, flavored water, juices and soft drinks with Gen Z consumers. Dairy Management Inc. partnered with Chartwells K12, a food management company that serves more than two million meals in 4,500 schools daily, for the pilot last year. The results were encouraging enough for the company to make the smoothie program available to its entire suite of schools this year. General Mills joined the effort by providing culinary support and training, and Hubert, a food service equipment manufacturer, offered blenders and other materials at a discounted rate. Chefs from Chartwells and General Mills collaborated to produce 30 recipes that contain at least one of the daily recommended servings of dairy and fruit. A survey conducted after the pilot showed a very positive response from students, school food service staff and administrators. *********************************************************************************** U.S. Obesity Rates Grew During First Year of Pandemic Regional obesity rates grew further apart during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to USDA’s Economic Research Service. From 2019 to March 2020, adult obesity rates ranged from a low of 36.7 percent in the West to the highest rate at 43.1 percent in the South, a 6.4-percentage point difference. The regional differences expanded to 7.2 percentage points during the first year of the pandemic, from a low of 37.4 percent in the Northeast to a high of 44.6 percent in the Midwest. The West had the lowest adult obesity rate before the pandemic but experienced the largest increase of any region during the first year, a 2.8-percentage point increase. The obesity rate increase in the West was nearly twice that in the South, which had the highest regional obesity rate before the pandemic. The Midwest had the second-highest rate before the pandemic, but increased nearly twice as much as the South, emerging as the region with the highest obesity rate as of March 2021. *********************************************************************************** Gas Lower, Diesel Higher, Ahead of Labor Day Weekend For the first time in over a month, the nation's average price of gasoline declined, falling 4.0 cents from a week ago to $3.78 per gallon. The national average is up 5.8 cents from a month ago but 3.5 cents per gallon lower than a year ago. The national average diesel price rose 3.3 cents in the last week to $4.33 per gallon, 70.7 cents lower than one year ago. However, GasBuddy's Patrick De Haan says, "The drop may be short-lived, as one of the nation's largest refineries partially shut last week after a fire at a storage tank, and as we see more tropical activity that could lead to further disruption." After rallying for seven straight weeks, oil prices have lost some of their luster, much of which can be blamed on continued weakness in China’s economy, and refinery issues in the U.S. limiting how much crude oil refineries will be able to process.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday August 29, 2023 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets Statistics Canada will have crop estimates out at 8 a.m. CDT Tuesday, followed by an index of U.S. consumer confidence at 9:00 a.m. CDT. DTN Ag Meteorologist John Baranick and Lead Analyst Todd Hultman discuss weather and markets in the DTN building, Lot 360 at the Farm Progress Show in Decatur, Illinois, Tuesday through Thursday. Weather A small front moving through the Midwest may produce a few showers on Tuesday and a few more may be found in the High Plains, but it should be a rather quiet day. The Southeast will be more active with a front there as the region waits for Hurricane Idalia to build over the next 24 hours prior to landfall in the Big Bend of Florida on Wednesday.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday August 28, 2023 |


Top 5 Things to Watch - New Equipment, Land Rental Rates Out This Week OMAHA (DTN) -- Here are the Top 5 things the DTN Newsroom is tracking for the week of Aug. 27. 1. From the Show: We'll have a steady stream of news on the latest equipment, seed, chemicals and other inputs from the Farm Progress Show in Decatur, Illinois. You can also hear the latest outlooks and chat with DTN journalists and experts in our building at Lot 360 on the show grounds. DTN's Ag Meteorologist John Baranick and Lead Analyst Todd Hultman will give their thoughts on the weather and markets at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. CDT Tuesday and Wednesday, and at 10 a.m. on Thursday. We'll also have experts talk about the new Farmers for Soil Health signups which can earn you up to $50 per acre for cover crops and other soil health practices. DTN is a partner in this USDA-funded project. 2. Farm rental rates: USDA released its latest farmland cash rental rates by county; look for our story that digs into the data to spot the latest land trends. 3. Cooler weather, until it's not: The weekend's cold front, which knocked 15-20 degrees off of some areas of the country, won't bring a lot of rain to help crop recovery. Best rainfall chances are in the eastern Great Lakes states and the Central Plains, the latter thanks to remnants of Tropical Storm Harold. The break from the heat will last about a week, with models showing above-normal temperatures east of the Rockies as the calendar turns to September. 4. Crop harvest begins: Some of the first corn and soybean plots are beginning to come out. Watch for news on some of the early results. 5. Weekly business reports: (Note: all times are CDT) Monday will see USDA's weekly export inspections at 10 a.m. and the Crop Progress report at 3 p.m. On Tuesday, we'll have the U.S. consumer confidence index numbers at 9 a.m. On Wednesday, the second-quarter U.S. Gross Domestic Product numbers hit at 7:30 a.m., followed by the U.S. Energy Department's weekly energy inventories at 9:30 a.m. Then Thursday is a busy one, with USDA's weekly export sales report, U.S. weekly jobless claims, U.S. personal incomes and consumer spending in August, the index of personal consumption expenditures for July and an update of the U.S. Drought Monitor all due at 7:30 a.m. The U.S. Energy Department's report on natural gas storage is at 9:30 a.m. That Thursday is also the last day of the 2022-23 crop year for the corn and soybean complexes. On Friday, we'll see U.S. nonfarm payrolls and the unemployment rate for August, due at 7:30 a.m. World manufacturing activity indices come in overnight and the U.S. index is due at 9 a.m. The latest Fats and Oils and Grain Crushings report from NASS is at 2 p.m.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday August 28, 2023 |


Pro Farmer Releases National Crop Yield Estimates The Pro Farmer Crop Tour recently wrapped up its 2023 expedition after traveling through corn and soybean fields in multiple states. After predicting yield estimates for each state, Pro Farmer puts all the numbers together to come up with its national harvest predictions for corn and soybeans. Pro Farmer predicts a national corn yield of 14.96 billion bushels and an average yield of 172 bushels per acre. The Pro Farmer national soybean yield prediction is 4.11 billion bushels and an average yield of 49.7 bushels an acre. The national estimates reflect Pro Farmer’s views on production and yields. They consider the data gathered and weather conditions during the Crop Tour, crop maturity, historical differences in Tour data versus USDA’s final yields, and areas outside those sampled on the tour. Based on August FSA-certified acreage data, Pro Farmer increased harvested corn acres by 675,000 from August. They didn’t change the soybean harvested acres. ********************************************************************************** RFA Blasts Panel Report on Ethanol and Emissions The Renewable Fuels Association sent a letter to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan blasting the agency’s Science Advisory Board. The RFA accuses the panel of making misleading and unfounded claims about corn ethanol’s impact on greenhouse gas emissions. In draft commentary sent to Regan, the board attempted to downplay the climate benefits of corn ethanol and recommended that the EPA conduct more extensive research on ethanol’s carbon footprint. “The overwhelming evidence of scientific analysis and data clearly show that corn starch ethanol significantly reduces GHG emissions relative to the gasoline it replaces,” says RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “We adamantly disagree with the SAB’s statement saying the ‘best available science’ suggests there are minimal, or no climate benefits related to substituting corn ethanol for gasoline.” Cooper also points out that no scientists with biofuels industry experience were invited to participate in the working group when putting the board together. *********************************************************************************** McConnell: Farm Bill Will Be Late Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says Congress will deliver a farm bill, but not likely in September. Roll Call says McConnell told the Kentucky Farm Bureau that Congress is running out of working days on the legislative calendar before the current law expires on September 30. McConnell is one of the highest-ranking members of Congress to admit the timeline for a new farm bill is shifting past September. When asked about reauthorizing the five-year farm bill, McConnell says, “We’ll figure it out.” While the current bill runs out on September 30, it looks like the new deadline for farm legislation will be December 31. On January 1, some American farm policies will revert to 1940s-era controls on production and costly price supports. If the farm bill does get pushed to 2024, a one-year extension becomes likely as it’s a presidential election year, and both parties will battle for Congressional control. *********************************************************************************** Weekly Drought Monitor Shows Spotty Improvement The weekly U.S. Drought Monitor saw improvements in parts of California and Nevada because of the impacts of Tropical Storm Hilary. The storm brought record-breaking rainfall accumulations and incidents of flash flooding and mudslides. In the Midwest, light precipitation accumulations fell in northern Wisconsin, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and northern Michigan. Drought conditions worsened in areas of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois, where both short and long-term precipitation deficits continue. Areas of Moderate Drought (D1) and Severe Drought (D2) were removed in Michigan. No changes were made this week in the Plains states, while some minor improvements took place in northwest Wyoming, and some conditions worsened in South Central Colorado. While some improvement took place in areas of Kansas and Nebraska, long-term dry signals remain in place through most of the region. In the South, drought-related conditions continued deteriorating as the hot and dry pattern continued across most of the region. *********************************************************************************** Record-Low Number of Federal Wage and Hour Investigations of Farms The Economic Policy Institute says employers routinely underpay farm workers, among other workplace violations, but federal investigations into problems like these have dropped to an all-time low. The institute says that’s likely because of funding and staffing constraints. A new report says Congress must increase funding for labor standards enforcement to protect farmworkers. Since 2000, the Labor Department’s Wage and Hour Division has seen investigations drop by more than 60 percent. The division only has 810 investigators to protect all 165 million workers in the U.S. That means fewer than one percent of farm employers get investigated every year. From 2000 to 2022, H-2A visa program violations accounted for almost half of back wages and civil money penalties owed by farm employers. The EPI wants Congress to stop hobbling the Department of Labor and provide resources for strong investment in farm worker protections. They also want stiffer fines imposed on chronic offenders. *********************************************************************************** Applications Open for USDA Trade Mission to Angola USDA Deputy Secretary Xochitl (so-CHEEL) Torres Small will lead the first-ever agribusiness trade mission to Angola from November 28-December 1. The Foreign Agricultural Service is accepting applications from U.S. exporters who want to take part. “When it comes to trade opportunity, Sub-Saharan Africa is both promising and often overlooked,” says Torres Small. “The USDA mission to Angola presents an incredible prospect for U.S. food and agricultural exporters to expand and explore new business opportunities.” Angola is one of the largest markets in Africa, and imports make up more than half of its food market. She says that makes it a perfect location for U.S. exporters to introduce more American-made products to African consumers. Angola has a population of almost 36 million people, many of whom are middle and high-income consumers, which means they’re looking for high-quality imported products. In 2022, U.S. food and ag exports to Angola totaled $236.8 million

| Rural Advocate News | Monday August 28, 2023 |


Monday Watch List Markets Back from the weekend, traders will be checking the latest forecasts for signs of rain and any new events regarding Ukraine. Monday will have its usual USDA reports of weekly export inspections at 10 a.m. CDT and Crop Progress at 3 p.m. Weather A front that crept through the country over the weekend has found itself somewhat stalled across the Southeast on Monday. Scattered showers are forecast there. Another front is dropping south out of Canada and will move through the Midwest Monday night into Tuesday with a few limited showers and a reinforcing snap of cooler air again. Eyes are on the tropics as Tropical Storm Idalia makes its way north into the Gulf of Mexico Monday night as well.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday August 25, 2023 |


Drought Threatens Shipping on the Panama Canal The Panama Canal is responsible for facilitating trade as 40 percent of worldwide cargo ship traffic uses it to move between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Marine Insight says almost two-thirds of the canal’s traffic load is either heading to or leaving the United States. The group managing the Canal restricted the number of ships passing through each day, as well as the amount of cargo they could carry. They made the decision because of the decreasing water supply caused by the ongoing drought due to El Niño conditions. That will mean fewer than 34 ships can move through the canal in both directions every day. That’s compared to the 34 to 42 it can handle at peak capacity. The new restrictions are in place until Monday, August 21, and could force companies to find alternative routes. The canal system depends on lakes whose levels are now close to their minimum points. *********************************************************************************** Dairy Checkoff Publishes 2022 Annual Report Dairy Management, Inc., the planning and management organization running the national dairy checkoff program for America’s dairy farmers and importers posted its 2022 annual report. The report provides checkoff funders and other members of the dairy community with an audited financial report and highlights from 2022 focused on strategies and programs. Those include accelerating dairy sales growth and building trust in dairy foods and dairy farming with youth and other important consumer audiences. “Farmers and importers seek transparency in their checkoff strategies, and the 2022 annual report is a great way to deliver on those expectations,” says Marilyn Hershey, a Pennsylvania farmer and DMI chair. “Our checkoff team works daily to fulfill its goal of building sales and trust in dairy, and this report offers a comprehensive overview of how that plan delivered the results.” More information on the checkoff program’s budget summary and audited financial statements are available at usdairy.com. *********************************************************************************** Breakthrough in Fight Against African Swine Fever Scientists have discovered a gene in pig DNA that’s needed by the deadly African Swine Fever virus to cause an infection. National Hog Farmer says this discovery could be a springboard into the development of pigs resistant to ASF, a swift-acting and severe condition that causes widespread illness and death, leading to steep financial losses for the world’s pork industry. The disease has killed more than 200 million pigs worldwide and is a major issue across Asia. It also has the potential to cause outbreaks in Europe and America. A team of researchers found that the gene is involved in a pig’s immune system and essential for replication of the ASF virus. This finding increases the possibility of changing the gene through gene editing to raise pigs that are resistant to the disease. It could improve how farmers manage the infection for which no vaccine or treatment is currently available. *********************************************************************************** NCGA President Testifies on the Value of Atrazine National Corn Growers Association President Tom Haag (HAYG) testified Thursday before an Environmental Protection Agency panel on the importance of atrazine to corn farmers. He says NCGA commends the scientific and risk-based analysis and conclusions of the EPA in this reevaluation of the 11 atrazine studies identified by the 2012 Scientific Advisory Panel calling for further review to assess the effects on aquatic plant communities. “NCGA points to conclusions in the white paper that continue to affirm scientific evidence which supports the safe use of atrazine while protecting the vital aquatic plant communities and their related ecosystems,” he says. Haag also points out that management of weeds and their resistance to herbicides is a constant challenge for corn farmers. “Access to atrazine puts an important tool in the hands of U.S. corn growers to effectively adopt conservation practices while managing destructive weeds and delivering an abundant and quality crop,” he says. *********************************************************************************** Potato Exports Break Value and Volume Records America’s potato exports reached record value and volume between July 2022 and June 2023. Export values rose 19 percent to $2.2 billion, and export volume rose almost four percent to 3.3 million metric tons. Those export values increased across all categories, including frozen, fresh, dehydrated, seed, and chips. Double-digit increases in value took place in all categories but seed potatoes. The increase in volume was led by dehydrated potatoes and chips, which rose 25 and 11 percent, respectively. During the year, Mexico became America’s largest potato export market for the first time, followed by Canada and Japan. The entire Mexican market opened to fresh U.S. potato exports in May 2022. The value of exported dehydrated potatoes took the biggest jump, rising 24 percent to reach $257 million. The top destinations for the category were Canada, Japan, and Mexico. Frozen potato exports rose 20 percent in value despite a decrease in volume. *********************************************************************************** NCGA Relaunches its Photo Contest Fields-of-Corn.com, the official photo contest of the National Corn Growers Association is set to relaunch on September 1. Along with a new look that’s built to showcase the rich history of visual storytelling comes a more robust interface for entry. The reboot is just in time for the tenth annual photo contest. “The Fields-of-Corn.com site will house voting for the first time with higher reliability than we had through social media in the past,” says Graphic Communications Manager Beth Musgrove. The contest is open to everyone, and NCGA invites photographers to help tell the story of farming field corn in America. Through this contest, NCGA seeks high-resolution photos to document the rich history of growing corn, captured from seed to harvest as well as the tenacious and hard-working families that grow it. Entries will be accepted through the end of November. Photographers will compete for 26 awards over eight categories.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday August 25, 2023 |


Friday Watch List Markets University of Michigan's index of consumer sentiment is due out at 9 a.m. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell is expected to speak in Jackson Hole, Wyo., Friday. Knowing energy prices have climbed higher, he will likely mention another rate hike is on the way. Traders continue to pay attention to the latest weather forecasts and any news regarding Ukraine. Weather A pair of fronts across the Corn Belt will be drifting southward on Friday. The extreme heat has ended over northern areas, though it remains hot. The fronts will produce some isolated showers and thunderstorms for the next few days as they move into the South and Southeast. Temperatures will fall back down toward normal after the fronts pass through.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday August 24, 2023 |


FMMO Hearing Heralds Farmer-Led Progress for Dairy Wednesday marked the first day of a once-in-a-generation hearing on federal milk pricing. USDA’s Federal Milk Marketing Order hearing is underway as dairy producers make their case for changes to the pricing program. National Milk Producers Federation President and CEO Jim Mulhern says, “Thanks to the tireless efforts of dairy farmers and their cooperatives, this industry is poised for progress as Federal Milk Marketing Order modernization is now in sight.” The industry expects five to seven weeks of testimony and discussion on proposals to modernize the FMMO system. Following USDA’s initial presentations, the hearing will then launch into discussions of specific issues placed within the scope of the hearing. After the hearing’s conclusion, entities involved in the hearing then have a period of time to respond to the testimony, followed by a USDA draft decision, then more discussion, and ultimately a vote among dairy farmers on a final proposal, likely in the second half of 2024. *********************************************************************************** USDA Announces Funding to Support U.S. Specialty Crop Producers USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service Wednesday announced $72.9 million in grants awarded to 55 states and territories through the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. The grant program provides funding to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops and support specialty crop growers through marketing, education, and research. Fiscal year 2023 funding is awarded to the departments of agriculture in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. States are encouraged to sub-award funding to projects that address the needs of U.S. producers of fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery crops. Funded projects include investing in food safety, specialty crop research, including research to focus on conservation and environmental outcomes, developing new and improved seed varieties and specialty crops, and pest and disease control. This year's awards mark over $1 billion invested in nearly 12,000 projects supporting the U.S. specialty crop industry. *********************************************************************************** Growth Energy Supports EPA Refinery Exemption Decisions Growth Energy has filed a motion to intervene in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, supporting the Environmental Protection Agency’s refinery exemptions decision. The motion is in response to the Hunt Refining Company's lawsuit seeking to reverse the EPA decision to reject unwarranted Small Refinery Exemptions. The motion is just the latest in a series of legal efforts Growth Energy has led to protect the integrity of the Renewable Fuel Standard, which requires oil refiners to blend a specific amount of biofuels into their fuel each year. Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor says, " EPA made the right call by following the data, which show there is no economic justification for exempting another oil company from its obligations under the RFS." Skor adds, "Past abuse of SREs destroyed demand for billions of gallons of biofuels, undermining our ability to hold down prices at the pump with clean, American renewable fuel.” *********************************************************************************** USDA Lowers Rice Trade Forecasts for 2023 and 2024 Global rice trade forecasts for both calendar year 2023 and 2024 are sharply lowered this month. USDA lowered the forecast in response to India's July 20 immediate ban on further sales of select rice varieties, resulting in urgent buying by some importers and rapid Asian price increases. The 2024 global export forecast is lowered 3.4 million tons to 52.9 million, with exports from India lowered 4.0 million tons to 19.0 million. Increased export forecasts for Brazil, Pakistan, Russia, and Vietnam partially offset the 2024 export reduction for India. For 2023, global exports are reduced 1.9 million tons to 53.8 million, with India's export forecast reduced 2.0 million tons to 20.5 million. Import forecasts are lowered for several major importers in Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa for both 2023 and 2024. The 2023/24 production forecast in the U.S. rice market is raised 1 percent to 203.6 million hundredweight, based on a higher yield of 7,700 pounds per acre. *********************************************************************************** Emergency Allotments Central to SNAP Spending Growth During Pandemic USDA’s Economic Research Service says emergency allotments were central to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program spending growth during the pandemic. SNAP participation and inflation-adjusted spending grew each year from fiscal year 2007–13 following the Great Recession and from FY 2019–21 following the COVID-19 pandemic. Average monthly participation increased faster, for longer, and by a greater amount following the Great Recession than during the pandemic, peaking at 47.6 million participants in FY 2013. Emergency allotments were issued as monthly supplements in response to the pandemic, bringing all recipients’ benefits to the maximum allowed each month beginning in 2020. In 2021, emergency allotments and other disaster supplements accounted for $39.2 billion, almost a third of total spending. Excluding spending on emergency allotments and other disaster supplements, total spending was only $81.6 billion in FY 2021, about $15 billion less than FY 2013 spending, adjusting for inflation. Emergency allotments ended in all states in early 2023. *********************************************************************************** USDA Publishes Child Nutrition Program Integrity Final Rule USDA Wednesday published a final rule on program integrity to ensure that child nutrition programs are properly operated and managed to protect federal funds and taxpayer dollars. The final rule impacts the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, Special Milk Program, Summer Food Service Program, and Child and Adult Care Food Program. The final rule introduces targeted flexibilities in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs that streamline monitoring requirements and lower administrative burdens for states. The rule also finalizes provisions in the Child and Adult Care Food Program, that have already been in place. The provisions streamline processes, provide additional resources, and increase accountability. The rule also allows for more efficient use of state agency resources by ensuring that organizations at risk of serious management issues receive more frequent oversight, and that financial transactions are appropriately reviewed. USDA improved the ability to address the rare instances of severe or repeated violations of program requirements in the child nutrition programs.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday August 24, 2023 |


Thursday Watch List Markets USDA's weekly export sales report, U.S. weekly jobless claims, U.S. durable goods orders and an update of the U.S. Drought Monitor are all due out at 7:30 a.m. Thursday. The U.S. Energy Department's report on natural gas storage follows at 9:30 a.m. and traders remain attentive to the latest weather forecasts. Weather An upper-level dome of high pressure continues to cause extreme heat across the middle of the country for Thursday. The edges of the heat dome are becoming more active, however. We are seeing a slight shift southward of the front across its northern edge, though it will be a system moving through the Canadian Prairies that pushes it southward tonight and tomorrow. On the northeastern edge, heavy rainfall has developed over Ohio this morning. While that may peter out this morning, it will be an area for redevelopment later today

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday August 23, 2023 |


USDA Announces Forest Management Funding Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Tuesday announced $150 million to help underserved and small acreage forest landowners connect to emerging voluntary climate markets. The markets can provide economic opportunities for landowners and incentivize improved forest health and management. The Forest Service Funding comes from the Inflation Reduction Act. Vilsack announced the funding opportunity at the Sustainable Forestry and African American Land Retention Conference. Forests are powerful tools in the fight against climate change, according to USDA, and emerging voluntary private-sector markets are now creating economic incentives to keep forests healthy and productive. However, high acreage requirements and prohibitive start-up costs have caused many small-acreage and underserved private forest owners to be left behind. Without financial incentives, these landowners may not have the resources to manage forests for long-term health and resilience. Without proper management, forests are more susceptible to wildfire, loss of habitat, and reduced water quality. The Forest Service anticipates future funding opportunities, including one specifically targeted to engage tribal nations. *********************************************************************************** Farmers for Free Trade Calls on Presidential Candidates to Prioritize Trade Farmers for Free Trade this week implored all 2024 presidential candidates to prioritize new market access trade agreements to strengthen U.S. agriculture and decrease reliance on China. The organization also called on the presidential candidates to hold China accountable in a responsible manner that does not endanger U.S. food and agriculture's largest export market or threaten American farmers with new retaliatory tariffs. In a letter, the organization says, "The U.S. needs to again take the lead in negotiating new FTAs with other countries and work to strengthen and reform the rules-based multilateral trading system." Such agreements could protect American workers and the environment, help contain China's growing geopolitical influence, and open new export markets for our farmers by meaningfully reducing and eliminating tariffs and non-tariff trade barriers. The letter, which comes shortly before the first presidential debate of the 2024 election cycle, was sent to all presidential campaigns. *********************************************************************************** Youth Employment Trends in the Midwest New research shows labor shortages present persistent challenges for regional economies but can also create opportunities for young workers. The research, published Tuesday on the University of Illinois farmdocDAILY website, shows youth employment can also help employers fill the part-time, low-wage, and often seasonal positions. Generation Z is relatively smaller than the millennial generation. As a result, fewer young people are working because there are simply fewer young people. However, every Midwestern state had a higher labor force participation rate among workers aged 16 to 19 than the nation. The highest levels of youth employment occur in relatively small, rural counties. Additionally, the food service and accommodation industry and the retail sector employ the most young workers. The research concludes that connecting young people to beneficial, rather than exploitative, work opportunities is a critical step in building and sustaining the local labor force, but it also directs them toward opportunities that might lead to a career. *********************************************************************************** New Grants to Support Wild Horse Initiatives New grants from the Bureau of Land Management focus on managing and protecting wild horses and burros on public lands. The federal government awarded grants to six organizations and universities in Colorado, Oregon and Utah. The BLM manages and protects free-roaming wild horses and burros on public lands as required by the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act. Most herds on public lands are in arid environments and lack natural predators that can control herd growth. The grants are part of efforts to work with community partners on projects that will benefit wild horses and burros and their habitat, including increasing the use of fertility control to slow herd growth. The latest population estimates found more than 82,000 wild horses and burros on BLM-managed public lands. Though down from a record high in 2020, this population is more than three times the level that is healthy for the herds and their habitat. *********************************************************************************** Cotton Board Elects New Officers The Cotton Board recently elected a new slate of officers to serve one-year terms. During its Business Session, The Cotton Board elected Mark Nichols, a cotton producer from Altus, Oklahoma, to serve as Chairman of the Board. Nichols is the President of Jess Mark Nichols Farms, Inc. and President of Hess Farms, Inc., a fourth-generation farm he has managed since 1980. He farms with his brother-in-law, son, and son-in-law, growing irrigated cotton, wheat, and milo. Nichols commented on his new role, " During the upcoming year, we will continue to work closely with Cotton Incorporated to ensure our industry is moving forward and leading the way to increase the demand for and profitability of cotton." Other elected officers are Akiko Inui (ah-kee-koh in-you) of New York as Vice Chairman, Matt Famer of Texas as Secretary, and Rusty Darby of South Carolina as Treasurer. The Cotton Board is funded by the cotton checkoff, with efforts managed by Cotton Incorporated. *********************************************************************************** California Continues to Lead U.S. Peach Harvest While Georgia is on many consumers' minds when it comes to fresh, juicy peaches, California is by far the largest peach-producing state in the United States. USDA’s Economic Research Service reports that last year, California's harvest yielded 475,000 tons of fruit, with South Carolina a distant second at 67,400 tons, and Georgia in third place with production at 24,800 tons. California has been the leading producer of freestone peaches for the fresh market and clingstone peaches for processing. However, the state's peach production has been trending lower for almost two decades, contributing to an overall drop in U.S. peach production. Total production in the United States in 2022 was estimated at 625,680 tons, eight percent smaller than the crop in 2019. In 2022, California’s peach harvest was about five percent smaller than in 2019 and nearly 27 percent lower than ten years earlier. USDA forecasts 2023 peach production 13 percent lower than last year.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday August 23, 2023 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets A report on U.S. new home sales in July is set for 9:00 a.m. CDT Wednesday, followed by the U.S. Energy Department's weekly energy inventories at 9:30 a.m. USDA's monthly cold storage report is due out at 2 p.m. Traders will continue to keep close watch over the latest weather forecasts and news regarding Ukraine. Weather A dome of heat continues to bake the middle of the country with records likely to be broken again today. The remnants of Tropical Storm Harold will continue through the Rio Grande Valley and into the Four Corners area today and across the north, a front may be active with showers, especially for the eastern Great Lakes. Otherwise, the heat comes with complete dryness as soil moisture continues to rapidly evaporate.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday August 22, 2023 |


USDA Announces Nearly $700 Million in Rural Broadband Funding Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Monday announced nearly $700 million in grants and loans as part of USDA’s ReConect Program. The funding will connect thousands of rural residents, farmers and business owners in 22 states to reliable, affordable high-speed internet. Vilsack says, “Keeping the people of rural America connected with reliable, high-speed internet brings new and innovative ideas to the rest of our country and creates good-paying jobs along the way.” The high-speed internet investments are part of the fourth funding round of the ReConnect Program. Many residents and businesses in rural areas would not have high-speed internet service without the ReConnect Program, as the program is a key part of the Administration’s Internet for All initiative to connect everyone in America to high-speed internet by 2030. Funding for this round of grants comes from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and includes $667 million of funded projects. A full list of funded projects is available on USDA's Rural Development website. *********************************************************************************** Farmland Partners: Strong Market Still Adding Value Farmland values across the country climbed this year and hit record levels despite challenges like rising interest rates and extreme weather, according to data from the federal government. The Department of Agriculture found that U.S. farm real estate values, which includes all land and buildings on farms, increased 7.4 percent over the past year. Cropland values have grown 8.1 percent since 2022. Nationwide value of farm real estate and cropland also increased sharply from 2021 to 2022, 12.4 percent and 14.3 percent, respectively. Additional reports from the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, and the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, confirm the USDA data. Farmland Partners Inc. President and CEO Luca Fabbri says, "These studies and similar reports coming from farm country show that the farmland market is still strong and adding value." Farmland Partners is an internally managed real estate that owns and/or manages nearly 186,000 acres in 20 states. *********************************************************************************** USTR Tai Visiting Indonesia, India U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai met with Indonesia's Minister of Trade Monday. Tai and Zulkifli Hasan discussed progress through the U.S.-ASEAN Trade and Investment Framework Arrangement Work Plan, including issues related to trade facilitation, standards and the digital economy. Ambassador Tai and Minister Hasan also discussed progress and updates on the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework. The ministers also discussed the U.S.-Indonesia Trade and Investment Framework Agreement. Ambassador Tai noted that the United States views this TIFA as an important mechanism for discussing bilateral trade issues. Later this week, Tai will travel to India for the G20 Trade & Investment Ministers' Meeting. Tai will also meet with business leaders and hold bilateral meetings with government officials. The meetings follow last week’s effort with Taiwan, as USR and Taiwan held an in-person negotiating round for the U.S.-Taiwan Initiative on 21st Century Trade in Washington, D.C. *********************************************************************************** Healthy Watersheds, Healthy Communities Act Introduced Lawmakers Monday introduced the Healthy Watersheds, Healthy Communities Act. Led by Colorado Democrat Micheal Benet, a bipartisan group of Senators introduced the bill that would improve the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Watershed and Flood Prevention Operations program. The bipartisan legislation would streamline the planning and administration processes to enable more watershed-wide projects, shift decision-making to local NRCS staff, expand program eligibility, and allow federal funding to count toward state and local match requirements. The bill also prioritizes projects with multiple conservation and public benefits and makes drought resilience an explicit purpose of the program. With more frequent and severe drought and flooding, farmers and ranchers are using the program to mitigate the effects of these natural disasters through watershed improvement projects. However, the lawmakers say as demand for this program grows, inadequate funding and burdensome red tape keeps applicants from accessing its full benefits. *********************************************************************************** USDA Proposal to Strengthen Horse Protection Act USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service seeks public input on a proposed rule to strengthen Horse Protection Act requirements. Announced last week, the proposed changes aim to eliminate horse soring, a cruel and inhumane practice that gives horse owners and trainers an unfair advantage in walking horse competitions. Walking horses are known for possessing a naturally high gait, but to be more successful in competitions, some owners and trainers use improper training methods to exaggerate a horse's gait. The methods may cause the horse to suffer from physical pain, distress, inflammation, or lameness while walking and moving. USDA's Jenny Lester-Moffitt says, "By strengthening the HPA regulations, we can all work to eliminate soring, which will improve the welfare of horses competing in these shows and level the competitive playing field.” You can submit comments by searching for the proposal at regulations.gov. APHIS will consider all comments received on or before October 20, 2023. *********************************************************************************** Registration Open for CattleCon24 Registration and housing are now open for CattleCon24, the cattle industry's largest event of the year. It's "Onward to Orlando," where cattle producers from across the country will gather, January 31-February 2, for business meetings, educational sessions, engaging speakers and family fun. Kristin Torres of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association says, "By opening registration early this year, we hope to give producers the ability to plan a family vacation in conjunction with CattleCon." Attendees can look forward to a variety of educational opportunities, including the CattleFax Outlook Seminar, weather and industry updates, grazing management workshop, sessions featuring guest speakers on the NCBA Trade Show floor and the 31st annual Cattlemen's College. Cattlemen's College is being reimagined in 2024 with classroom sessions and hands-on demonstrations throughout all three days of CattleCon. Also new are trade show cooking demos and a beef culinary tour. A variety of ticket packages are available, as well as payment plan options. Visit convention.ncba.org to learn more.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday August 22, 2023 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets A report on U.S. existing home sales for July is set for 9:90 a.m. CDT Tuesday, the only significant report of the day. Traders will continue to watch over the latest weather developments and keep track of news regarding Ukraine. Weather The most intense section of the heat wave starts on Tuesday with widespread 90s and triple-digit temperatures across the middle of the country, which will be in place through Thursday. The outer edges of the heat will continue to be active with showers in the west and far north and across Texas with Tropical Storm Harold moving through.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday August 21, 2023 |


Farmland Values Resilient as Economy Moderates Strength in farm real estate values persisted in the second quarter despite some moderation in the farm economy and higher interest rates. The Kansas City Federal Reserve says growth in farmland values eased from the surge in recent years but remained strong through the first half of 2023. Broad strength in farm finances during recent years throughout the district continued supporting agricultural credit conditions. Margins for many commodities have thinned in recent months alongside elevated production costs and softening prices. Farm loan performance remained historically strong through early 2023, and liquidity levels at many agricultural banks were well-positioned to meet growth in lending demand that could be on the horizon. Farm incomes moderated in all the participating Districts during the second quarter. Following almost two years of considerable strength, improvement in farm income waned according to Federal Reserve Surveys of Ag Credit Conditions. Loan demand remained subdued despite moderating incomes. *********************************************************************************** Ag Groups Support USTR in Mexican Trade Dispute The U.S. Trade Representative requested a panel formation under the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement over Mexico’s decision to ban imports of biotech corn used in human consumption. “Mexico’s decree runs counter to scientific findings and is in direct violation of USMCA, which negatively impacts American corn growers,” says NCGA President Tom Haag (HAYG). U.S. Grains Council President and CEO Ryan LeGrand says the U.S. and Mexico have had a long and productive relationship. “It’s our number one market for U.S. corn, and we support this action because it will likely be the quickest way to make sure the positive relationship continues in the future.” Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall says his group appreciates U.S. Trade Rep Katherine Tai for her continued commitment to holding Mexico to its agreements under USMCA. “America’s farmers are upholding their obligations by meeting demand while achieving important sustainability goals,” says Duvall. “Mexico must do the same thing.” *********************************************************************************** Most Cow-Calf Operations Remain Small Most cow-calf operations in the U.S. remain relatively small and have fewer than 50 cows. USDA says at the other end of the spectrum, a few very large operations with more than 1,000 cows can be found. USDA data from the National Agricultural Statistics Service Ag Census indicates that between 1997 and 2017, most cow-calf operations remained small. In 2017, 54 percent of farms with beef cows had fewer than 20 animals, down slightly from 1997. However, during the two decades, the overall number of cow-calf operations in the U.S. dropped by 19 percent, while the average herd size on the remaining operations grew. These changes in farm numbers and herd sizes, while notable, haven’t been as significant as industry shifts in hog and dairy production. The combination of relatively lower cow-calf-specific startup costs and pasture as a primary source of feed has resulted in a variety of operation sizes. *********************************************************************************** India’s Rice Export Ban Has Benefits and Challenges for U.S. Growers America’s rice producers and exporters will benefit from India’s recent decision to ban exports of white rice as global demand for U.S. rice will likely rise. The higher world demand will temporarily lift prices for U.S. rice growers, and the industry is well-positioned to meet higher demand for exports. However, CoBank says the short-term benefits of India’s rice export ban will give way to the longer-term consequence of an oversupplied global market and severe price correction when the ban is eventually reversed. New research from CoBank’s Global Knowledge Exchange says higher global rice prices resulting from the export ban will push other countries to expand rice production, increasing global supplies. When India does lift its export ban, the country’s surplus of rice will get dumped on the world export market. That means world rice prices will overcorrect from the sudden boost in supplies. India’s government imposed the ban on July 20. *********************************************************************************** Weekly Drought Monitor Shows a Mix of Dry Weather and Recent Rainfall The latest Weekly Drought Monitor showed similar conditions to last week. Above-normal temperatures and mostly-dry weather continued through parts of Texas and into the lower Mississippi Valley, where ongoing drought conditions continued deteriorating. Drought intensified in eastern Texas, Louisiana, and south-central Mississippi. Increasing short-term drought continued across Arizona, New Mexico, and southwest Colorado. Frequent rounds of heavy rainfall occurred from the Northeast into the Central Mississippi Valley and into southern Missouri and the Upper Midwest. The continued wet conditions are improving drought across parts of the Corn Belt and much of the southern and central Midwest. Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois saw continuing improvement, with D1 removal from Ohio and Indiana. Farther north, drought continued to intensify across northern Wisconsin, North Dakota, Montana, and Washington. Eastern parts of the High Plains saw continued precipitation and below-normal temperatures. Kansas saw heavy precipitation continue from last week, further improving the east and central regions. *********************************************************************************** Corn Export Sales Move Higher Corn sales to overseas buyers for this current marketing year improved in the seven days ending on August 10. USDA data shows that soybean export sales declined during the same period last year. Exporters sold 233,500 metric tons of corn for delivery for 2022-2023, up 55 percent from the previous week and 16 percent above the prior four-week average. In its weekly Export Sales report, the agency says the top three buyers were all unknown destinations. Sales for delivery in the 2023-2024 marketing year that starts September 1 totaled 704,700 metric tons. Soybean sales were 77 percent lower week-over-week and down 42 percent from the four-week average to 93,600 metric tons for 2022-2023. Sales for delivery in 2023-2024 totaled over 1,400,000 metric tons. Wheat sales for the current marketing year dropped 37 percent from the previous week but were up three percent from the four-week average to 359,500 metric tons.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday August 21, 2023 |


Top 5 Things to Watch - Crop Rebound, Pipelines all on Tap This Week OMAHA (DTN) -- Here are the Top 5 things the DTN Newsroom is tracking for the week of Aug. 20. Watch for coverage of these and other topics through the week on our subscription platforms as well as on DTNPF.com. 1. Rebound crop: There seems little letup on the ongoing discussion on how well the 2023 corn and soybean crops have rebounded following recent rains. We'll continue to have reports from the field as we track grain fill and pod set, leading up the USDA's next World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report Sept. 12. If you participated in our DTN Summit Series event Aug. 15, you know Gro Intelligence added a bit to the 177-bushel-per-acre average estimate on corn revealed during our Digital Yield Tour the week prior. Will those yields hold through August? Stay tuned. 2. Weather: The wall of hot weather taking hold across the country will be the most-watched weather factor, but we're also tracking Hurricane Hilary as it moves onto the West Coast and potentially up into the Pacific Northwest and Idaho, and on into the Canadian Prairies. An early view on the hurricane can be found in our Ag Weather Forum blog; watch for updates in that space as well. . 3. Pipeline dreams: Tuesday marks the beginning of hearings on the Summit Carbon Solutions pipeline, which is proposed to cross Iowa and into North Dakota. Summit wants to pipe carbon dioxide to be injected into the Bakken geology formation. The Iowa Utilities Board will hold a hearing in Fort Dodge to discuss the pipeline's permit, including Summit's request for eminent domain rights on parcels of land that have not signed easements. 4. Broadband update: USDA scheduled an update on its investments in rural broadband, something we watch closely here at DTN. We should have results of the latest report early in the week. 5. Weekly reports of note: Monday we'll have USDA's weekly export inspections at 10 a.m. CDT, USA Crop Progress report comes in at 3 p.m. Tuesday morning we'll see U.S. existing home sales for July, with new home sales numbers out Wednesday. Wednesday also sees U.S. Energy Department's weekly energy inventories at 9:30 a.m. Then, Thursday features USDA weekly export sales report, U.S. weekly jobless claims, U.S. durable goods orders and an update of the U.S. Drought Monitor, all due at 7:30 a.m. The U.S. Energy Department's report on natural gas storage at 9:30 a.m. On Friday is the University of Michigan's index of consumer sentiment at 9 a.m.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday August 21, 2023 |


Monday Watch List Markets Back from the weekend, traders will be checking the latest weather forecasts and any news regarding shipments of grain from Ukraine. USDA will have its usual weekly report of export inspections at 10 a.m. CDT, followed by the Crop Progress report at 3 p.m. Weather A dome of heat has parked itself across the middle of the country and will be turning it up on Monday with significantly high readings and near-records in some areas between the Rockies and Appalachians. Western states continue to deal with heavy rainfall from the remnants of Hurricane Hilary as it moves north through the region.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday August 18, 2023 |


U.S. Establishes Dispute Panel on Mexico’s Biotech Measures U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai announced the United States is establishing a dispute settlement panel under the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. The U.S. is challenging Mexico’s measures on biotech corn. Mexico set rules in place during a decree in February that banned the use of biotech corn in tortillas or dough. The Mexican government also instructed its agencies to gradually substitute – i.e., ban – the use of biotech corn in all products for human consumption and for animal feed. Mexico’s measures aren’t based on science and undermine the market access it agreed to provide in the USMCA. “The United States has used the tools provided by the USMCA in attempting to resolve concerns with Mexico’s biotechnology measures,” says Tai. “We’re taking the next step in enforcing Mexico’s obligations under the agreement.” She also says Mexico’s approach to biotechnology isn’t based on science and runs counter to decades worth of evidence clearly demonstrating its safety. *********************************************************************************** Wheat Exports to Hit 52-Year Low The U.S. Department of Agriculture says America’s all-wheat exports are projected to be 700 million bushels, the lowest level since the 1971-1972 marketing year. That’s a 25-million-bushel reduction from the prior month’s forecast. Despite an increase in Hard Red Winter Wheat production, exports are cut 25 million bushels to 165 million, the lowest level since by-class supply and utilization records began in 1972-1974. U.S. exports of HRW remain uncompetitive on the global market as shown by shipment and sales data. HRW exports in June were 10 million bushels, down from 19.2 million bushels in June 2022. Using data for the Foreign Agricultural Service’s Export Sales Reporting, all-wheat U.S. total commitments are about 6.4 million metric tons as of August 3, down 26 percent from the same point last year. It’s also 37 percent below the recent ten-year average at this point. HRW total commitments are 53 percent lower compared to last year. *********************************************************************************** Johnson Introduces Bill to Reinstate MCOOL U.S. Representative Dusty Johnson (R-SD) introduced the Beef Origin Labeling Accountability Act to bring clarity and to reinstate mandatory country of origin labeling (MCOOL) for beef products. “Consumers don’t know where their beef comes from,” Johnson says. “It could be South Dakota, Brazil, or Canada. U.S. producers raise better beef, and they’re not getting credit for it.” The act will direct the U.S. Trade Representative and Ag Secretary to work together to determine a process of reinstating Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling for beef that is compliant with World Trade Organization rules. It also directs the U.S. Trade Rep to consult with the Canadian and Mexican governments to resolve the outstanding MCOOL trade disputes the two countries have open against the U.S. “This bill is a step in the right direction to get accurate labels back on these products to increase consumer confidence in American-made and grown products,” Johnson adds. *********************************************************************************** Investments to Growing Animal Feed Indoors Forever Feed Technologies announced a multimillion-dollar investment from a renowned group of dairy and agricultural leaders to develop sustainable automated indoor-growing feed mills. The climate-controlled technology will greatly reduce water, land usage, and methane emissions in helping the industry reach its goal of being “climate neutral by 2050. The new investment funds will go to building the largest and most reliably controlled environmental mills, capable of feeding thousands of animals with fresh high-quality feed year-round. In turn, that helps producers to responsibly expand their operations to meet growing demands. Steve Lindsley, Forever Feed Technologies CEO, says, “We’re pleased to have assembled some of the most respected dairy and agricultural leaders in the country to participate in our funding round. Forever Feed is committed to building world class water-saving technology that will allow our customers to sustainably grow cattle feed 365 days a year anywhere in the world.” Information is available at foreverfeed.tech. *********************************************************************************** Wheat Organizations Support Recent Food for Peace Donation Organizations representing Pacific Northwest wheat growers and the U.S. milling industry are celebrating the latest Food for Peace donation of 28,000 metric tons of soft white wheat. U.S. wheat farmers, U.S. Wheat Associates, the National Association of Wheat Growers, and the North American Millers’ Association have partnered with the U.S. international food assistance program for 70 years. Since 2020, America has donated more than one million metric tons of wheat and millions of dollars in food aid every year. The soft white wheat donation was grown in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. Wheat growers and the milling industry applauded the introduction of the American Farmers Feed the World Act last June. It would “put the food back into food aid” by restoring Food for Peace to its roots as a purely in-kind commodity donation program and require at least half of all Food for Peace funds be used to buy American commodities. *********************************************************************************** CattleCon24 Registration Opens Early Registration and housing are now open for CattleCon24, the cattle industry’s largest event of the year. “It’s “Onward to Orlando,” where cattle producers from across the country will gather January 31-February 2, for business meetings, educational sessions, engaging speakers, and family fun. “By opening registration early this year, we hope to give producers the ability to plan a family vacation in conjunction with CattleCon,” says Kristin Torres, executive director of meetings and events with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. “Orlando and the surrounding areas offer a variety of family-friendly activities, and we want attendees to take advantage of a great location.” Attendees can look forward to a variety of educational opportunities including the CattleFax Outlook Seminar, weather and industry updates, grazing management workshops, guest speakers on the trade show floor, and the 31st annual Cattlemen’s College. Leaders in sustainability, quality, and cattle feeding will get recognized during a stewardship program reception.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday August 18, 2023 |


Friday Watch List Markets USDA's monthly cattle-on feed report for August 1 at 2 p.m. CDT is the only significant report of the day. Traders will keep up with the latest weather forecasts and news regarding Ukraine's efforts to ship grain, while under attack. Weather A hot ridge is moving into the Plains and bringing the heat on Friday. Cooler temperatures in the Midwest will only be temporary as the heat spreads over the weekend. Western areas are on the watch for Hurricane Hilary, which is expected to induce flooding rains for California and the Desert Southwest over the weekend into early next week.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday August 17, 2023 |


Fertilizer Prices Continue Decline Fertilizer prices have continued their more than year-long decline through the first two weeks of August 2023. The University of Illinois’ FarmdocDAILY website shows that on a per pound of nitrogen basis, urea and liquid nitrogen fertilizers have historically been priced at a premium of 35 to 40 percent above anhydrous ammonia. However, the premium narrowed in 2022 as the Russia-Ukraine conflict disrupted global fertilizer markets. The premium on liquid, relative to anhydrous, has returned to more historical levels while the gap has continued to narrow between urea and anhydrous prices. This is attributed to continued expansion in global production capacity combined with lower demand prospects. The continued decline in fertilizer prices improves return and income prospects as we look ahead to soon-to-be-released crop budgets for 2024. If the low premium on urea relative to anhydrous extends into the coming months, it may make urea a more attractive nitrogen option for farmers in 2024. *********************************************************************************** US Welcomes WTO Report on China Trade Retaliations The U.S. Trade Representative's Office welcomed a report from the World Trade Organization calling U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs justified for security reasons. The WTO report recognized that U.S. Section 232 actions on steel and aluminum are security measures, and that China illegally retaliated with sham "safeguard" tariffs. The panel rejected China's argument that the U.S. Section 232 actions are safeguard measures that may be "rebalanced" under WTO rules. However, officials from China called on the U.S. to lift the tariffs imposed on Chinese products following the report. China's commerce ministry claims the root cause lies in "the unilateralist and protectionist" nature of the United States. China maintains that its actions "are a legitimate move to safeguard its legitimate rights and interests." Tariffs imposed on American agricultural exports in retaliation for Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum imports led to an overall $27 billion reduction in U.S. ag exports from mid-2018 to the end of 2019. *********************************************************************************** USDA Releases August Oil Crops Outlook USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service published its first survey-based forecast of the 2023/24 U.S. soybean yield this month. At 50.9 bushels per acre, the current soybean yield forecast is down 1.1 bushels per acre from last month. The soybean crush forecast is unchanged at 2.3 billion bushels, supported by the greater demand for soybean oil and domestic soybean crush capacity expansion. A waning supply of canola oil and drought conditions in Canada and the United States have elevated prices for both old and new crop soybean oil. The average soybean oil price is forecast at 62.0 cents per pound, up 2.0 cents from last month but down from a revised 2022/23 price of 65.0 cents per pound. Soybean oil used for biofuels production supports strong domestic demand. In contrast, domestic soybean meal demand is lower than expected as livestock growth is slower than anticipated. USDA lowered the forecast for domestic soybean meal demand by .25 million short tons to 39.73 million short tons. *********************************************************************************** New Falling Number Test Prevents Wheat Contamination As wheat harvesting season comes to an end, farmers brace for a potential threat to their crop that costs tens of millions of dollars each year. High levels of alpha-amylase (am-uh-laze) protein in wheat can lead to a low falling number score, a factor that determines the quality and price of wheat. If growers cannot detect wheat with a low falling number, the wheat may mix with sound wheat on farms, in grain elevators or during transport, compromising the entire bushel. The Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research is awarding a $835,800 Seeding Solutions grant to Washington State University to develop a faster, cheaper and more accurate test, to prevent mixing of low and high falling number wheat. The current falling number test, developed almost 70 years ago, is slow, expensive, exhibits high variability and does not assess alpha-amylase levels directly. In addition to developing new rapid tests, the grant also includes developing an early warning system to alert grain handlers to weather patterns likely to cause spikes in alpha-amylase. *********************************************************************************** Adult Obesity Rates Increased During First Year of COVID-19 Pandemic New data from USDA’s Economic Research Service shows that adult obesity increased during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Broad efforts to contain COVID-19 included travel, work, and social restrictions. Such behavioral adjustments disrupted the dietary and activity patterns of U.S. adults. The percentage of adults with obesity was 40.7 percent in early 2020. One year later, the rate grew by 1.8 percentage points to 42.5 percent. There was not an immediate, substantial increase when the pandemic began. Rather, the obesity rate was statistically indistinguishable from the pre-pandemic prevalence during the first three months of the pandemic, March–May 2020, at 40.8 percent. The next three time periods saw statistically significant increases relative to the baseline pre-pandemic period. The total obesity rate increase from March 2020 to March 2021 was more than triple the average yearly growth rate of 0.5 percentage points in the preceding decade, 2011–2019. *********************************************************************************** Ag Lenders Donate to Hawaii Relief Efforts Farm Credit Association American AgCredit, rural banking partner CoBank, and The Federal Agricultural Mortgage Corporation, also known as Farmer Mac, are donating $40,000 to Maui Food Bank to help aid during the devastating wildfires that are wreaking havoc in Hawaii. AgCredit CEO Curt Hudnutt says, “When natural disasters impact the communities in which we live and work, we stand ready to support.” CoBank’s Brenda Frank adds, “The contribution to the Maui Food Bank is intended to address the immediate needs and reduce suffering of those impacted by the wildfires in Maui.” Farm Credit has had a presence in Hawaii for over 50 years. The association has been a strong provider of financial support to Hawaiian farmers and ranchers. Meanwhile, President Joe Biden says he intends to ensure people in the state have "everything they need" to recover. Biden plans to visit the area Monday. More than 100 deaths were reported, with 1,300 people still missing following the wildfires.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday August 17, 2023 |


Thursday Watch List Markets USDA's weekly export sales report, U.S. weekly jobless claims and an update of the U.S. Drought Monitor are all due out at 7:30 a.m. CDT Thursday. U.S. leading indicators for July are at 9 a.m. and the U.S. Energy Department's report on natural gas storage is at 9:30 a.m. USDA's Livestock, Dairy and Poultry outlook follows at 2 p.m. Weather A front is pushing a line of showers and thunderstorms through the Great Lakes on Thursday, some of which could be stronger. Temperatures behind the front are going to be briefly cool while heat in the West starts to bulge out into more of the Plains. Drier conditions are expected for most other areas except in the West, which is seeing monsoon showers increasing ahead of the potential flooding from Tropical Storm Hilary that will move in this weekend and early next week.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday August 16, 2023 |


Thompson: Farm Bill Extension Likely House Agriculture Chairman Glenn GT Thompson says, "We're probably going to need an extension," referring to the timing of the 2023 Farm Bill. At a listening session in Missouri this week, the Pennsylvania Republican acknowledged that "the clock is ticking," with the current farm bill set to expire at the end of the fiscal year, September 30. The event is one of many held by the committee that Thompson calls a "perpetual barnstorming tour" across rural America. The House Agriculture Committee is expected to release a draft version of the 2023 Farm Bill, possibly by the end of the month, according to Thompson. The chairman says, "There's a lot of competition" for time on the House floor next month, with appropriations bills still needing attention, as well. However, any continuing resolution would likely have a farm-bill extension included. Thompson adds, "I hope it's a very short extension," if one is needed. *********************************************************************************** Plant-Based Meat Alternatives Sales Declining U.S. consumers remain interested in plant-based meat alternatives, but higher prices have led many prospective return consumers to taper off their purchases. Plant-based meats are often several dollars a pound higher than equivalent meat and poultry products. Beyond cost, lingering negative perceptions surrounding taste, value and versatility are also obstacles the category has yet to overcome. According to a new report from CoBank, the market for plant-based meats has likely reached a tipping point as the initial period of exceptional sales growth appears to be over. Plant-based meat sales peaked in 2020 when consumers had more discretionary income and were curious about broadening their food spend in the wake of pandemic-era food shortages. But fewer than half of Americans who tried the products at the time repeated their purchase. Sales of meat alternatives have fallen steadily since 2021 and more sharply over the last year. Volume sales dropped 20.9 percent for the 52-week period ending July 2, 2023. *********************************************************************************** USDA Offers Disaster Program Flexibilities for Flood-Impacted Producers USDA’s Farm Service Agency and Risk Management Agency authorized flexibilities for disaster assistance programs and crop insurance to aid Northeast farmers impacted by flooding this year. USDA Undersecretary Robert Bonnie says, “The production and physical losses to flooding have devastated farmers and ranchers in the Northeast.” Bonnie visited the region this week, announcing that “USDA is committed to assisting these producers in their ongoing recovery efforts.” FSA has authorized policy exceptions in all flood-impacted counties in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont. The flexibilities apply to Farm Storage Facility Loans, the Livestock Indemnity Program, the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program, and other programs and efforts. Additionally, Producers experiencing financial hardships and finding themselves behind on their FSA Marketing Assistance Loan repayment should contact their USDA Service Center to discuss repayment concerns with FSA staff. *********************************************************************************** Variable Rate Technology Adoption Increasing New data from USDA’s Economic Research Service shows variable rate technology adoption is on the rise. Farmers use variable rate technologies to control the amount of farm inputs—such as seed, fertilizer, and chemicals—applied as farm machinery moves across a field. Data from USDA’s Agricultural Resource Management Survey show that initial adoption in the late 1990s and early 2000s was sluggish, remaining below ten percent of planted acres for several field crops. However, adoption rates for corn and cotton have increased markedly over the last decade. The adoption rate for corn stood at 37.4 percent of planted acres in 2016, up from 11.5 percent in 2005. Cotton acreage showed a similar increase, rising from 5.4 percent in 2007 to 22.7 percent in 2019. Recent adoption rates across other crops included 13.9 percent for sorghum in 2019, 18.8 percent of winter wheat planted acres in 2017, and 25.3 percent of soybean-planted acres in 2018. *********************************************************************************** USDA to Open Urban Service Center in Philadelphia The Department of Agriculture is opening a new Urban Service Center in Philadelphia as part of a broader effort to support urban agriculture in Pennsylvania. NRCS Pennsylvania State Conservationist Denise Coleman says, “Every producer deserves USDA support in their own community, whether that community is urban or rural. The Urban Service Center in Philadelphia is one of 17 across the country. The Urban Service Centers are staffed by Natural Resources Conservation Service and Farm Service Agency employees. The facilities offer farm loan, conservation, disaster assistance and risk management programs. USDA works with agricultural producers through a network of more than 2,300 Service Centers nationwide, and the new Urban Service Centers will strengthen services to urban producers, according to the department. The Philadelphia Urban USDA Service Center will open the week of August 21, 2023. To learn more about Urban Service Centers, or to find a location near you, visit farmers.gov/urban. *********************************************************************************** Tractor Supply Company to Host National Farmers Market Tractor Supply Company, the largest rural lifestyle retailer in the United States, will host a nationwide Farmers Market on Saturday, August 19 in all of the retailer's 2,100+ communities. The event will showcase the talent and products of local farmers, growers, craft makers, artisans and other producers. Customers and community members are invited to stop by, explore the wide range of offerings and support their neighbors by purchasing homemade and homegrown goods and products. The free event takes place outside Tractor Supply stores nationwide, with local vendors selling products like fresh fruit and vegetables, arts and crafts, accessories, specialty food and drink and more. Although registration for local sellers is closed, customers can contact their local store for additional information regarding partners and activities. As of July 1, 2023, the Company operated 2,181 Tractor Supply stores in 49 states, including 81 stores acquired from Orscheln Farm and Home in 2022 that will be rebranded to Tractor Supply by the end of 2023.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday August 16, 2023 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets A report on U.S. housing starts in July is set for 7:30 a.m. CDT Wednesday, followed by U.S. industrial production in July at 8:15 a.m. The Energy Department's weekly energy inventories will follow at 9:30 a.m. Traders will continue to check the latest weather forecasts and follow the news from Ukraine. Weather An overall quiet day is in store for most of the country. But a system going through Canada will send a cold front through the Upper Midwest on Wednesday. The front could produce some showers and thunderstorms and also bring some breezy winds as it works through.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday August 15, 2023 |


APHIS Proposal to Strengthen Quarantine and Inspection Program USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is seeking comments on a proposed rule to amend regulations governing its Agricultural Quarantine and Inspection program user fees. APHIS and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection jointly administer the program, ensuring that cargo and passenger baggage entering the country is inspected for plant pests and potential sources of animal diseases that could affect U.S. agriculture, trade and commerce. Foreign pests and diseases can devastate U.S. agriculture and the broader U.S. economy, and the AQI program is highly successful at preventing such disruptions. Fees for the AQI program were last updated in 2015. The outdated fee structure and recent changes in international travel and shipping mean that current fees do not generate enough revenue to cover the costs of the AQI services provided. APHIS will consider all comments received on or before October 10, 2023.  Go to www.regulations.gov to search for the proposal and comment. *********************************************************************************** USDA Providing Additional Assistance to Loan Borrowers Facing Financial Risk The Department of Agriculture is providing additional, automatic financial assistance for qualifying guaranteed Farm Loan Programs borrowers who are facing financial risk. The announcement is part of the $3.1 billion to help certain distressed farm loan borrowers provided through the Inflation Reduction Act. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says, "The financial assistance included in today's announcement will provide a fresh start for distressed borrowers with guaranteed farm loans and will give them the opportunity to generate long-term stability and success." Since the Inflation Reduction Act was signed in August 2022, USDA has provided approximately $1.15 billion in assistance to more than 20,000 distressed borrowers as a part of an ongoing effort to keep borrowers farming. The additional financial assistance will provide qualifying distressed guaranteed loan borrowers with financial assistance similar to what was already provided to distressed direct loan borrowers. Based on current analysis, the financial assistance will assist an estimated approximately 3,500 eligible borrowers, subject to change as payments are finalized. *********************************************************************************** Income Spent on Food Increased 13% in 2022 U.S. consumers spent an average of 11.3 percent of their disposable personal income on food in 2022, a level not observed since the 1980s, according to USDA’s Economic Research Service. Disposable personal income is the amount of money consumers have left to spend or save after paying taxes. Consumers spent 5.62 percent of their incomes on food at supermarkets, convenience stores, warehouse club stores, supercenters, and other retailers in 2022 and 5.64 percent on food at restaurants, fast-food establishments, schools, and other places offering food away from home. In 2022, the share spent on total food had the sharpest annual increase, 12.7 percent. This followed an 8.2-percent decline, the sharpest annual drop in total food spending since 1967, during the first year of the Coronavirus pandemic in 2020. The recent volatility in spending was driven by consumers’ sudden drop in eating out at the beginning of the pandemic followed by a return to food-away-from-home purchases as pandemic-related restrictions and concerns eased. *********************************************************************************** Training Available to Help Producers Manage Phosphorus Losses A series of online training modules is now freely available to farmers, interested in designing on-farm systems to remove phosphorus from field runoff or subsurface drainage. Available on the Internet, the modules comprise seven narrated videos, starting with a basic overview of the need for phosphorus removal systems, followed by how to design, build and install them, as well as how to properly dispose of or recycle the absorbent materials used to help capture the nutrient in drainage water and runoff. Phosphorus is a critical nutrient for optimal plant growth, health and yield. However, phosphorus that leaves agricultural fields in runoff or drainage water can accumulate in bodies of surface water, like rivers and lakes. Management practices and engineered systems that prevent phosphorus loss are vital to maintaining environmental quality. The modules can help users navigate their way through the process, as well as provide “lessons learned” from the field. *********************************************************************************** Graduate Students Encouraged to Apply for Beef Industry Scholarships The National Cattlemen’s Foundation is accepting applications for the annual W.D. Farr Scholarship program. Established in 2007, the scholarship recognizes outstanding graduate students pursuing meat science and animal agriculture careers. Two $15,000 grants are awarded to graduate students who demonstrate superior achievement in academics and leadership and are committed to the advancement of the beef industry. Scholarship recipients recognize that the program not only benefits their work but also the entire industry. Graduate students must apply online by submitting a cover letter, goals and experience, a short essay, statement of belief in the industry, as well as a review of the applicant's graduate research and three letters of recommendation by September 22, 2023. The 2023 scholarship recipients will be recognized at CattleCon 2024. The scholarship honors the successful career of the late W.D. Farr, a third-generation Coloradan, pioneer rancher, statesman and banker known for his extraordinary vision. For more information and to apply for the scholarship, visit www.nationalcattlemensfoundation.org. *********************************************************************************** Gas and Diesel Prices Rise Again For the fifth straight week, the nation's average price of gasoline increased, rising 2.5 cents from a week ago to $3.82 per gallon. The national average is up 29.1 cents from a month ago but 9.6 cents per gallon lower than a year ago. The national average diesel price rose 12.3 cents last week and stands at $4.270 per gallon, 77.3 cents lower than one year ago. GasBuddy's Patrick De Haan says pr