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| Rural Advocate News | Friday May 13, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Friday May 13, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday May 12, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday May 12, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday May 11, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday May 11, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday May 10, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday May 10, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Monday May 9, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Monday May 9, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Friday May 6, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Friday May 6, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday May 5, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday May 5, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday May 4, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday May 4, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday May 3, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday May 3, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Monday May 2, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Monday May 2, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Friday April 29, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Friday April 29, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday April 28, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday April 28, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday April 27, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday April 27, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday April 26, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday April 26, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Monday April 25, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Monday April 25, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Friday April 22, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Friday April 22, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday April 21, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday April 21, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday April 20, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday April 20, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday April 19, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday April 19, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Monday April 18, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Monday April 18, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday April 14, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday April 14, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday April 13, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday April 13, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday April 12, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday April 12, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Monday April 11, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Monday April 11, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Friday April 8, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Friday April 8, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday April 7, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday April 7, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday April 6, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday April 6, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday April 5, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday April 5, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Monday April 4, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Monday April 4, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Friday April 1, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Friday April 1, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday March 31, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday March 31, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday March 30, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday March 30, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday March 29, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday March 29, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Monday March 28, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Monday March 28, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Friday March 25, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Friday March 25, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday March 24, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday March 24, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday March 23, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday March 23, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday March 22, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday March 22, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Monday March 21, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Monday March 21, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Friday March 18, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Friday March 18, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday March 17, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday March 17, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday March 16, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday March 16, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday March 15, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday March 15, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Monday March 14, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Monday March 14, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Friday March 11, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Friday March 11, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday March 10, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday March 10, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday March 9, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday March 9, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday March 8, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday March 8, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Monday March 7, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Monday March 7, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Friday March 4, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Friday March 4, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday March 3, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday March 3, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday March 2, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday March 2, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday March 1, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday March 1, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Monday February 28, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Monday February 28, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Friday February 25, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Friday February 25, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday February 24, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday February 24, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday February 23, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday February 23, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday February 22, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday February 22, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Friday February 18, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Friday February 18, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday February 17, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday February 17, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday February 16, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday February 16, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday February 15, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday February 15, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Monday February 14, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Monday February 14, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Friday February 11, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Friday February 11, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday February 10, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday February 10, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday February 9, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday February 9, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday February 8, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Monday February 7, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Monday February 7, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Friday February 4, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Friday February 4, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday February 3, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday February 3, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday February 2, 2022 |


Ag Economy Barometer Declines Farmer sentiment weakened in January as the Purdue University CME Group Ag Economy Barometer declined six points to 119, it's second-lowest reading since July 2020. The Current Conditions Index fell 13 points to 133, while the Future Expectations Index changed little in January, down two points at 112. Rising farm input costs and ongoing supply chain disruptions appear to be contributing to producers' weaker perception of current conditions and expectations of their farm's financial performance in 2022 when compared to last year. More producers expect the size of their operating loan to increase this year than last year or two years ago with the rise in farm input costs. Farmers in January also expressed less confidence that farmland values will continue to rise as farmland value indices fell about ten percent from their respective fall 2021 peak levels. The barometer is calculated each month from 400 U.S. agricultural producers' responses to a telephone survey. *********************************************************************************** Uncertainty Remains in Global Pork Market Outlook Rabobank says the main challenges for the pork industry in 2022 remain as COVID-19 and African swine fever. COVID-19 will continue to challenge pork supply chains and consumers in various ways, affecting both production and demand. The slowing global economy will have more visible consequences in 2022, and price inflation of consumer goods will put extra pressure on consumers. However, pork prices increased marginally in the late part of 2021 but remain below 2021 peak levels. Diseases, particularly African swine fever, are another major uncertainty for pork production, with the impact varying by region. In Europe, ASF has spread to new countries in recent months, challenging 2022 European production. In Asia, ASF continues to spread in China, but the impact is much lower than in 2020. Input costs continue to rise and will stay inflated in 2022, specifically feed and transportation costs. Global pork imports and exports will likely decline from 2021 levels, mainly driven by reductions in China's import demand as local production recovers. *********************************************************************************** Texas A&M Cattle Price Discovery and Transparency Act Analysis Released A new report claims negotiated trade mandates don't provide price discovery and market transparency as part of an analysis of the Cattle Price Discovery and Transparency Act of 2021. Republicans on the Senate Agriculture Committee requested the analysis from the Texas A&M Agriculture and Food Policy Center. The report says mandated negotiated trade levels are expected to negatively affect cattle and calf prices. The researchers say the mandate will result in lower short-term fed cattle prices due to the increase in the costs of the feeder-packer cattle sale transaction. The report concludes that, while more price discovery and market transparency can be achieved, forcing the movement away from alternative marketing arrangements via regional mandatory minimums for negotiated purchases will result in lower cattle prices and higher wholesale and retail beef prices. The report comes as the National Cattlemen's Beef Association hosts its annual convention this week, focusing on what policy position the organization will take on the issue. *********************************************************************************** Bill Allows Farmers to Repair Own Equipment Legislation introduced Tuesday seeks to guarantee farmers the right to repair their own equipment and end current restrictions on the repair market. The Agriculture Right to Repair Act, authored by Montana Democrat Jon Tester, is part of his effort to break up consolidation in the agriculture industry. Tester says farmers “need to be able to repair their own equipment, and this legislation will secure them that right.” The legislation would require manufacturers to make available any documentation, part, software, or tool required to diagnose, maintain, or repair their equipment. The bill would also provide means to disable and re-enable electronic security locks for diagnostic and repair, allow for use of third-party software, and ensure parts are replaceable using commonly available tools without causing damage to the equipment. The bill also seeks to return data ownership to farmers, as Tester claims manufacturers currently collect and sell all the data generated by farmers. *********************************************************************************** USDA Announces Federal Advisory Committee on Urban Agriculture Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Tuesday announced 12 members to serve on the inaugural Secretary’s Advisory Committee for Urban Agriculture. The Department of Agriculture committee will provide input on policy development and help identify barriers to urban agriculture. The new committee is part of USDA’s efforts to support urban agriculture, creating a network for feedback. Urban agriculture plays an important role in producing fresh, healthy food in areas where grocery stores are scarce, and provides jobs and beautifies neighborhoods, according to USDA. Vilsack says, “I look forward to learning how we can better serve urban agricultural producers.” The committee includes agricultural producers and representatives from higher education or extension programs, non-profits, business and economic development, supply chains and financing. USDA and the Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production peer-reviewed more than 300 nominees, and Vilsack made the final selections. Find more information about the committee and its members at farmers.gov/urban. *********************************************************************************** How Winter Storms Get Their Name A winter storm crossing the central and Midwest states has forecasts for anywhere from a dusting to more than a foot of snow. Much of the lower Corn Belt is under a winter storm warning as the storm rolls through, with the possibility of blizzard warnings. Forecasting snowfall totals can be puzzling, but perhaps more puzzling is that this storm system has a name: Winter Storm Landon. However, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reserves naming storms for hurricanes only. Names for winter storms actually come from The Weather Channel, which drafts names for winter storm systems that meet specific criteria. For a name, at least one of the following must be met: National Weather Service winter storm, blizzard, or ice storm warnings covering at least a population of two million, or covering at least an area of 400,000 square kilometers. The Weather Channel names storms alphabetically, meaning this is the 12th named storm this winter.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday February 2, 2022 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets The private firm, ADP, reports on private sector job growth in January at 7:15 a.m. CST Wednesday, a possible tip as to how Friday's employment statistics will look. The U.S. Energy Department's weekly inventory report is due out at 9:30 a.m., including ethanol production. Traders continue to watch the latest weather forecasts and for any news about an export sale or events pertaining to Ukraine. Weather A stalled boundary from the Southern Plains through the eastern Midwest is the focus for a large-scale winter storm event that continues on Wednesday. Moderate to heavy snow, sleet, and freezing rain are all found north of the front which will inch southward of the course of the day. While one pulse of energy currently along the front pushes northeast through the day, another will build across the Southern Plains later Wednesday and Wednesday night. Arctic cold air continues to build behind the front with wind chill advisories across a vast area of the Plains and Upper Midwest.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday February 1, 2022 |


USDA Announces Partnership to Ease Port Congestion Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Monday announced plans to increase capacity at California’s Port of Oakland and improve service for shippers of U.S. grown agricultural commodities. The Department of Agriculture is partnering with the Port of Oakland to set up a new 25-acre “pop-up” site to make it easier for agricultural companies to fill empty shipping containers with commodities. Fewer containers are available for U.S. agricultural commodities, as ocean carriers have circumvented traditional marketing channels and rushed containers back, exported empty. USDA is taking action to reduce the shipping disruptions preventing U.S. agricultural products from reaching their markets. Vilsack says, “This partnership with the Port of Oakland builds on our aggressive approach to addressing challenges within the supply chain.” The site will provide space to prepare empty containers beginning in early March. U.S. Meat Export Federation President and CEO Dam Halstrom welcomed the announcement in a statement, saying, “improving access to containers is certainly a step in the right direction.” *********************************************************************************** Coalition Seeks Senate Action on Shipping Reforms A coalition of agriculture groups seeks Senate consideration of shipping reforms. Specifically, the group hopes the Senate will consider the House-passed Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2021, or similar legislation. Senators Amy Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat, and John Thune, a South Dakota Republican, are drafting a bill to address unreasonable ocean carrier practices. In a letter to lawmakers last week, the Agriculture Transportation Coalition said, “The transportation crisis for U.S. agriculture products has become increasingly dire, adding, “it is essential the Senate also pass legislation to allow US agriculture to remain viable in global markets.” A survey recently conducted by the coalition found that, on average, 22 percent of U.S. agriculture foreign sales could not be completed due to ocean carrier practices, including exorbitant freight rates, declined booking requests, unreasonable freight and detention charges, and failure to communicate schedules in a timely manner. The coalition letter adds, "we are losing customers in foreign markets." *********************************************************************************** U.S. Cattle Inventory Down 2% The Department of Agriculture reports cattle numbers declined two percent in the latest inventory count. There were 91.9 million head of cattle and calves on U.S. farms as of January 1, 2022, according to USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service Cattle report. Of the 91.9 million head inventory, all cows and heifers that have calved totaled 39.5 million. There are 30.1 million beef cows in the United States as of January 1, 2022, down two percent from last year. The number of milk cows in the United States decreased to 9.38 million. U.S. calf crop was estimated at 35.1 million head, down 1% from 2020. All cattle on feed were at 14.7 million head, up slightly from 2021. USDA NASS surveyed approximately 34,800 operators across the nation during the first half of January. Surveyed producers were asked to report their cattle inventories as of January 1, 2022, and calf crop for the entire year of 2021 by internet, mail, or telephone. *********************************************************************************** Milk Consumption Declined During the 2010s U.S. per capita consumption of fluid cow’s milk has been trending downward since about the mid-1940s, and it fell at a faster rate during the 2010s than in each of the previous six decades. Using dietary intake surveys collected between 2003 and 2018, USDA’s Economic Research Service examined recent trends in milk consumption by looking at how individuals consumed the milk and consumers' ages. Results confirmed that drinking milk as a beverage is the primary way individuals of all ages consume fluid cow's milk. These beverages include plain and flavored fluid milk and other milk-based beverages. On a given day in 2003–04, U.S. consumers drank about 0.57 cup-equivalents of fluid cow's milk on average. Consumption declined over the 2010s, falling to 0.33 cup-equivalents in 2017–18. Over the study period, U.S. per person consumption of milk with cereal also fell by 0.06 cup-equivalents, with the steepest drop in consumption occurring among children. *********************************************************************************** USDA ERS Examines Food Inflation Retail food prices increased by 3.5 percent in 2021, equal to the rate in 2020 and greater than the historical annual average of two percent from 2000 to 2019. However, USDA's Economic Research Service expects less inflation this year. USDA projects that prices for food-at-home, purchased typically from grocery stores, will increase between 1.5 and 2.5 percent in 2022, lower than the 3.5-percent increase in both 2020 and 2021. Dairy products and fresh vegetables had significantly slower price increases in 2021 than 2020 and their historical averages. Dairy product prices increased 1.4 percent in 2021 versus 4.4 percent in 2020, and fresh vegetable prices increased by 1.1 percent compared to 2.6 percent in 2020. Conversely, prices in six food categories increased in 2021 at a faster rate than in 2020 as well as in years prior. Meat prices, which rose the most of any included product groups, were driven up by strong domestic and international demand, high feed costs, and supply chain disruptions. *********************************************************************************** Betsy Huber of the National Grange Joins Alliance Board of Directors National Grange President Betsy Huber recently joined the Alliance for Aviation Across America board of directors. Announced Monday, Huber will serve on the board, connecting agriculture and general aviation. Huber says, “General aviation is critical for agriculture, access to services like medical care and disaster relief, our nation’s food supply, and the economy as a whole.” Huber has been President of the National Grange since 2015. Previously she was on the National Grange’s executive committee from 2007-14. Huber also serves on the board of the Department of Agriculture’s program Safety in Agriculture for Youth and as Executive Secretary of the Pennsylvania Young Farmers Association. In 2017, she was appointed to the Federal Communications Commission’s Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee. Many agricultural operators use general aviation to transport goods, personnel, and oversee and treat crops and land. Recently, the Alliance for Aviation Across America, the Grange, and others partnered to launch futureofaviation.org. The website highlights the importance of general aviation, sustainable fuel and potential new technologies.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday February 1, 2022 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets A report on U.S. construction spending in December and the Institute of Supply Management's index of U.S. manufacturing in January are due out at 9 a.m. CST and complete Tuesday's list of reports. Traders will keep watching the latest weather forecasts and for any news regarding Ukraine. The cattle market will respond to Monday's January 1 inventory numbers from USDA. Weather A strong cold front is starting to settle in the Southern Plains but will still work through the Midwest Tuesday before settling over eastern areas tonight. Heavy precipitation will start to develop along this front around the Missouri area this afternoon and spread both southwest and northeast overnight. What may start out as rain will become mixed as colder air gets reinforced across the area and undercuts the rain, leading to a band of freezing rain, sleet, and snow north of the front.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday January 31, 2022 |


EPA Finalizes Extension of Refinery Compliance Deadlines The Environmental Protection Agency is working on finalizing proposed rolling compliance deadlines for 2020, 2021, and 2022. Ethanol groups like Growth Energy weren’t pleased with the announcement. Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor says delaying the compliance deadlines is completely contradictory to efforts to lower rising gas prices and increase the use of cleaner, low-carbon fuels. “By continuing to delay compliance deadlines, the EPA is creating uncertainty in the marketplace and stunting the blending of the biofuel needed to decarbonize transportation as the Renewable Fuel Standard intended,” Skor says. She also says it’s vital that the EPA moves forward on getting the RFS back on track. “EPA can start by swiftly finalizing the proposed volumes for 2022,” she adds. “Administrator Regan has emphasized time and again the need for transparency and certainty regarding the RFS. We need him to follow through on his promises to the industry and provide that certainty for biofuel producers.” *********************************************************************************** U.S. Ethanol Stocks Rising as Demand Sags At one time, the ethanol industry appeared to have put the COVID-19 lull in the rearview mirror. Sky-high output and profit margins matched up. However, Reuters says demand is dropping while oil prices rise, which is leading to a record level of ethanol stocks. America’s ethanol stocks reached the lowest point in five years in December. However, stocks jumped more than 18 percent in the last four weeks, the biggest jump in records going back to 2010. The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s data says stocks hit 24.48 million barrels last week. The only time stocks were higher occurred between February and May of 2020. Output levels have been relatively normal since November after almost reaching all-time highs in October. But profit margins have been slashed dramatically in the last two months. Corn processing margins hit $1.80 per gallon in November, the strongest level since 2014. But last week, the margins were a few cents above zero. *********************************************************************************** Senators Write Letter to EPA on Refinery Exemption Denials Senator Shelly Capito (Cah-PEE-toe) of West Virginia and several colleagues wrote a letter to EPA Administrator Michael Regan regarding the agency’s recent denial of refinery exemption petitions. The letter asks the Environmental Protection Agency to reconsider its proposed blanket denials of small refinery exemptions under the Renewable Fuel Standard. The senators say it runs counter to the clear congressional intent under the Clean Air Act. “We are puzzled by the action EPA took in these proposals, including the unprecedented and drastic step to propose a blanket denial of all 65 outstanding small refinery hardship petitions,” the letter says, “especially at a time of increasing gas prices and several small refinery closures.” They also say the current proposal not only neglects the economic impacts but nullifies Congressional intent by deliberately amending the Clean Air Act which allows for small refinery exemptions for those that face disproportionate economic hardship due to RFS compliance. *********************************************************************************** Report Looks at “Repurposing Farm Subsidies” A new report from the World Bank and the International Food Policy Research Institute looked into farm subsidies and overall farm policies. The report says that repurposing current agricultural public policies “could deliver multiple benefits for people, the planet, and the economy.” Investing in climate-smart innovations that both increase agricultural productivity and reduce greenhouse gas emissions would have many benefits. The recommended innovations could reduce overall emissions from agriculture by more than 40 percent, restore 105 million hectares of agricultural land to natural habitats, and reduce the cost of healthy foods, which would also contribute to better nutritional outcomes.” Under a ”business as usual” scenario, the report estimates that greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural production will double by 2040, with 56 million hectares of new land being used for agriculture between 2020 and 2040. It also says that just eliminating support would lower farm output and increase poverty while generating only modest climate gains. *********************************************************************************** Cattle Industry Convention Features High-Profile Speakers The 2022 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show is this week in Houston. The speaker lineup includes people ranging from sports heroes to global leaders. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack will appear virtually. Robert Bonnie, the Undersecretary for Farm Production and Conservation, will appear live, and so will Dame Karen Pierce, the British Ambassador to the United States. This high-profile session takes place on Thursday and will provide updates on the business climate of the cattle and beef industry, conservation, and trade. “We’re thrilled to have Secretary Vilsack and Undersecretary Bonnie joining us at the convention,” says NCBA Vice President of Government Affairs Ethan Lane. “We take pride in our working relationship with the USDA.” Lane says they’re also pleased that Pierce will be joining the group because increased access to global markets is a key tool for increasing profitability and opportunity for cattle producers across the country.” *********************************************************************************** U.S. Customs Seizes Prohibited Meat at the Mexican Border Officials with U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced that their agriculture specialists seized prohibited meat products at the U.S.-Mexico border. Customs agents seized 243 pounds of prohibited pork bologna in two separate and unrelated incidents. “Pork products have the potential to introduce foreign animal diseases that can have devastating effects on the U.S. economy and agricultural industry,” says Director of Field Operations Hector Mancha. Officials seized 55 pounds of pork products on January 13 and another 188 pounds of bologna on January 21. The El-Paso Herald-Post says both the USDA and Department of Homeland Security are working to protect American agriculture against the introduction of pests and diseases at our nation’s ports of entry. Officials add that undeclared, prohibited agriculture items will get confiscated and can result in a large civil penalty for failure to declare at the border. The bologna was seized and destroyed by CBP agents per USDA regulations.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday January 31, 2022 |


Monday Watch List Markets Traders will be checking the latest weather reports from the weekend and for any news of possible change in the situation regarding Ukraine. At 10 a.m. CST, USDA will have its weekly report of grain export inspections. At 2 p.m., USDA will release its January 1 U.S. cattle inventory estimate. Weather A clipper system will move across the U.S.-Canada border Monday and Tuesday. It will bring some scattered showers and strong winds to the Northern Plains and Canadian Prairies. However, its front will be the focus for weather this week as widespread moderate to heavy mixed precipitation will develop across a large portion of the country Tuesday through Friday.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday January 28, 2022 |


CA Judges Halts Enforcement of Prop 12 on Pork A California judge ruled that enforcing Proposition 12 regulations on whole-pork sales should be halted due to the state’s lack of rules. The state’s Department of Agriculture is over two years late in finalizing regulations for pork producers, and the ruling delays enforcement until 180 days after the final rules take effect. Successful Farming says ag groups like the American Farm Bureau and National Pork Producers Council applauded the decision. “Farm Bureau is pleased that the court recognized that California rushed the implementation of Proposition 12 without clear enforcement rules,” says Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall. Prop 12 bans the sale of pork from hogs that aren’t raised according to the state’s production standards. Any meat from hogs born of sows not housed in conformity with the state law can’t be sold in California, even if the animals got raised outside the state. The organizations say, for that reason, Prop 12 unconstitutionally restricts interstate commerce. *********************************************************************************** Iowa Trying Again for Higher Ethanol Blends Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds is taking another shot at higher ethanol blends. She wants the state to require gas stations to offer fuel with higher ethanol blends. The Des Moines Register says a more wide-reaching proposal stalled out last year after disagreements between fuel retailers, renewable fuel providers, and transportation groups. “Iowans deserve access to fuel that’s less expensive, cleaner-burning, and grown and made right here,” Reynold says. Her new legislation recently passed the House Ways and Means Committee after hearing objections from transportation groups and gas stations, as well as praise from renewable fuel producers. Despite the disagreements, key lawmakers say they’re much closer to an agreement that both sides could accept. That’s compared to the wide gap that kept the legislation from passing in 2021. Lawmakers say the work they began a year ago, spending a lot of time in meetings, and trying to build a consensus may pay off in 2022. *********************************************************************************** Farmers are the Real Key to Environmental Mitigation Work An Ohio corn farmer told officials from a federal interagency working group that the Environmental Protection Agency should look to farmers as it works to mitigate pesticide issues. “We respect the EPA’s responsibility to protect the environment, including endangered species,” said Patty Mann, a farmer from Jackson Center, Ohio. “We ask that the agency work closely with growers, the ones who often know the land the best, in developing and enacting mitigation measures.” Mann’s remarks came before the IWG, which is made up of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, and the Interior, and the EPA. Mann cautioned the officials against making a one-size-fits-all approach to the mitigation efforts. “The EPA must understand the real-world, on-farm implications of mitigation measures,” she says. “Every farm and landscape has its differences, so you must give some flexibility for the success of both farmers and the at-risk species.” *********************************************************************************** Farm Labor App Announces College Ambassadors AgButler announced it chose ten collegiate ambassadors who are committed to being advocates for the agricultural industry. The application serves in the connections business and as a solution to labor shortages in rural America. The AgButler Ambassadors are tasked with helping connect laborers and employers within the app using their own agricultural networks. “Our goal for the AgButler Ambassador program is to encourage the next generation of young people passionate about agriculture to stay invested in production agriculture and their rural communities,” says Kevin Johansen, Founder and CEO of AgButler. The 2022 ambassadors come from states like Minnesota, Missouri, Iowa, Michigan, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Colorado. “We are excited about each of the young people we selected and believe they are already top-notch advocates for the agricultural community.” Like well-known “ride-sharing” technology, farmers, ranchers, ag businesses can connect with available labor through AgButler. The labor is filtered by location, ratings, work experience, and availability. *********************************************************************************** Japanese Equipment Maker Kubota Developing Vineyard Robots Japanese farm equipment manufacturer Kubota is trying to take vineyard farming in a brand-new direction. Nikkei (Nih-KAY) says Kubota is working with Tesla co-founder Ian Wright to make farming robots controlled by artificial intelligence. The partnership is working initially on robots that will help producers grow grapes. The grape-growing machines will move through vineyards on their own, with the AI analyzing camera images to select which branches to trim and how well the grapes are growing. The company plans to have the grape robots eventually handle harvesting too. Kubota says it anticipates demand from West Coast farms in the U.S. currently using conventional equipment. The company says it’s undertaking the project because global demand for food will rise 70 percent above the 2010 level while the number of farmers is declining in the world’s industrialized nations. Kubota already sells autonomous tractors to rice growers, and those units can run by themselves under human supervision. *********************************************************************************** RMA Extends Crop Insurance Flexibilities to June Because of the ongoing impact of COVID-19, the USDA is extending program flexibilities to Approved Insurance Providers and agricultural producers until June 30 or later. These flexibilities had been scheduled to expire this month. “Our priority is to keep our producers and partners as safe as possible, while, at the same time, continuing to provide the best service we can,” says Marcia Bunger, administrator of the Risk Management Agency. “These unique times call for everyone to be as cautious and flexible as possible. Flexibilities include allowing notifications to get sent electronically, including policy-related information over the phone or by other electronic methods to select policy elections by sales closing, acreage reporting, and production reporting dates, including options, endorsements, and their forms. Producers may choose to sign forms electronically or do so within 60 days. Producers may also submit a request for a written agreement after the sales closing date.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday January 28, 2022 |


Friday Watch List Markets At 7:30 a.m. CST Friday, there are reports on December U.S. personal incomes and consumer spending and the employment cost index for the fourth quarter. At 9 a.m., the University of Michigan releases its final index of consumer sentiment for January. Traders will continue to keep an eye on the latest weather forecasts and any news regarding Ukraine. Weather A frontal boundary working through the Midwest and toward the East Coast will create a Nor'easter tonight into Saturday with heavy snow and strong winds near the coast. The rest of the country will be quiet with cold air for most places outside of the Central Plains up through the Canadian Prairies.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday January 27, 2022 |


USDA Announces Conservation Reserve Program Signups for 2022 Agricultural producers and landowners can sign up soon for the Conservation Reserve Program. The Department of Agriculture calls CRP a key tool in the Biden-Harris Administration effort to address climate change and achieve other natural resource benefits. The General CRP signup begins January 31 and remains open through March 11, and the Grassland CRP signup runs from April 4 to May 13. Producers and landowners enrolled 4.6 million acres into CRP signups in 2021, including 2.5 million acres in the largest Grassland CRP signup in history. There are currently 22.1 million acres enrolled, and FSA aims to reach the 25.5-million-acre cap statutorily set for fiscal year 2022. General CRP helps producers and landowners establish long-term, resource-conserving plant species, such as approved grasses or trees, to control soil erosion, improve water quality and enhance wildlife habitat.  Farmers and landowners interested in CRP should contact their local USDA Service Center to learn more or apply for the program. *********************************************************************************** Report: Concentration Not Affecting Pork Prices A new report shows pork prices increased because of demand, higher input costs and labor shortages throughout the supply chain, not concentration in the meatpacking industry. Economists with Iowa State University, North Carolina State University and the National Pork Producers Council released the report Wednesday. The report also says pork prices in the United States are still lower than in many other countries. The pork packing industry is made up of fewer and larger plants than it was 50 years ago. Still, the industry's structure has changed little in recent decades, the report stated. Concentration levels today are about seven percent lower than they were five years ago because of new packing plants that opened from 2017 to 2020. National Pork Producers Council President Jen Sorenson adds, “This report shows the concentration level in the pork packing industry is not significantly higher than it was 15 years ago.” *********************************************************************************** USDA: COVID-19 Impact on Pork Processing Short-lived USDA’s Economic Research Service says the impact of COVID-19 on processing rates was short-lived in the largest pork-producing region. Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska compose the largest hog processing region in the United States, where more than 40 percent of all U.S. hogs are processed. The region is also home to more large and medium-sized processing plants than other regions. In the first three months of the COVID-19 pandemic, March-May 2020, the region experienced a 40 percent decline in hog slaughter compared with rates during the same period in 2019. Labor shortages attributed to COVID-19 infections among workers resulted in slow production and temporary shutdowns at large processing plants for about ten weeks. However, when looking at hog slaughter and reported COVID-19 cases for the entire year, slaughter increased even as cases of infection also increased. From June 2020 through the end of December 2020, weekly slaughter rates were generally on par with 2019 levels. *********************************************************************************** USDA Invests $1 Billion to Improve Community Infrastructure in Rural Towns The Department of Agriculture Wednesday announced a $1 billion investment to improve critical community facilities in 48 states, Puerto Rico and Guam. USDA says the infrastructure funding will increase access to health care, education and public safety while spurring community development and building sound infrastructure for people living in rural communities. USDA Deputy Secretary Jewel Bronaugh (Bro-NAW) says, “These loans and grants will help rural communities invest in facilities and services that are vital to all communities.” Bronaugh highlighted 731 projects that USDA is making in five programs that will fund essential community services. These programs include Community Facilities Direct Loans and Grants, Community Facilities Loan Guarantees, Community Facilities Technical Assistance Training Grants, Community Facilities Disaster Grants, and Economic Impact Initiative Grants. More than 100 types of projects are eligible for funding. Eligible applicants include municipalities, public bodies, nonprofit organizations and federally recognized Native American tribes. Projects must be in rural areas with a population of 20,000 or less. *********************************************************************************** Grazing Loss Assistance Application Deadline Nears Ranchers and livestock producers may be eligible for financial assistance through the Livestock Forage Disaster Program for 2021 grazing losses due to a qualifying drought or fire. Farm Service Agency Administrator Zach Ducheneaux (DOO-shah-no) says, “FSA is here to help offset these economic hardships and help producers rebuild with resilience.” The deadline to apply for the program is coming up on January 31, 2022. For the 2021 program year, 901 counties in 26 states and territories met drought severity levels that trigger eligibility. More than $473.1 million has been paid, to date, to livestock producers eligible for 2021 funding. For the Livestock Forage Disaster Program, qualifying drought triggers are determined using the U.S. Drought Monitor. The program provides payments to eligible livestock producers and contract growers who also produce forage crops for grazing and suffered losses due to a qualifying drought or fire during the normal grazing period for the county. Additional disaster assistance information can be found on farmers.gov. *********************************************************************************** USDA To Conduct First-Ever National Agroforestry Survey The Department of Agriculture will conduct the first-ever National Agroforestry Survey. The National Agricultural Statistics Service is mailing the survey to 11,000 farmers and ranchers next week to gather information on agroforestry practices used for climate, conservation and production. NASS Agricultural Statistics Board Chair Joe Parsons says, "The results of this survey could catalyze important change by helping policymakers and farm groups more fully understand and support this aspect of agriculture." The survey is conducted cooperatively with the USDA National Agroforestry Center, a partnership between USDA's Forest Service and Natural Resources Conservation Service. The center will release the data in studies and publications. Highlights will give an overview of how agroforestry practices are used in regions across the United States. Producers can respond to the survey securely online at agcounts.usda.gov or by mail. The survey will take no longer than 50 minutes to complete if producers have all five agroforestry practices on their operations.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday January 27, 2022 |


Thursday Watch List Markets USDA's weekly export sales report is due out at 7:30 a.m. CST Thursday, along with weekly jobless claims, the first estimate for fourth quarter U.S. GDP, December durable goods orders and an update of the U.S. Drought Monitor. The Energy Department's report on natural gas storage is set for 9:30 a.m. Traders will continue to keep track of the latest weather forecasts and may respond to news from AP late Wednesday that representatives from Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany expressed support for a ceasefire in eastern Ukraine and agreed to meet again in two weeks. Weather Another cold front is moving into the Upper Midwest Thursday morning and will spread south through the Midwest and Plains throughout the day. The front will produce some areas of limited snow showers but will bring in some colder air to the Midwest. The front will create a potential Nor'easter for the coastal Mid-Atlantic and Northeast on Friday.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday January 26, 2022 |


Groups Come Together to Work on Supply Chain Issues The International Dairy Foods Association, the Port of Los Angeles, and CMA CGM, a French shipping and logistics company, have formed the Dairy Exports Working Group. It will work to identify and address supply chain issues hampering U.S. dairy product exports. The announcement was made at the Dairy Forum, which is the annual IDFA conference. The groups will focus their efforts on West Coast ports, which is where most U.S. dairy products leave the country. The Hagstrom Report says they’ll also look at ways to streamline shipping from the nation’s midsection to the West Coast. “U.S. dairy exports reached a near-record $6.4 billion in 2020 and continued at a strong pace in 2021 because of high demand,” says Michael Dykes, IDEFA President. “That total could be much higher with more reliability and predictability in the supply chain.” The CMA CGM Group promised to offer more empty containers to U.S. exporters to help speed up shipping efforts. *********************************************************************************** Ag Groups Ready to Help with Developing New Farm Bill Officials in Washington, D.C., are gearing up to debate reauthorizing the next farm bill in 2023. One group of grower-leaders intends to be a valuable resource for both corn growers and policymakers. The Risk Management and Transportation Action Team is a group that oversees much of the National Corn Growers Association’s public policy work on transportation, the farm safety net, and federal taxes. That group intends to play an active role in preparing NCGA for the 2023 Farm Bill. “We will be spending time evaluating the current farm bill commodity and crop insurance programs, supporting strong risk-management tools, and looking for areas of improvement,” says team chair Bill Leigh. “The work to protect key tax provisions never stops in Washington.” The current estate and gift tax exemptions will automatically lower in several years unless addressed by Congress. The Action Team will continue working to protect important tax provisions while the farm bill debate takes place in Washington. *********************************************************************************** Weekly Corn and Soybean Export Inspections Drop Corn and soybean inspections for overseas delivery dropped during the week ending on January 20. Wheat assessments went in the other direction. USDA says corn inspections totaled 1.12 million metric tons, down from 1.24 a week earlier. That’s also lower than the 1.4 million assessed for delivery during the same week in 2021. Soybeans examined for export totaled 1.3 million metric tons. That’s down from 1.73 million tons inspected a week earlier and the 2.1 million tons assessed during the same week in 2021. Wheat inspections last week came in at just shy of 401,000 metric tons, up from 384,300 tons during the previous week but well below the 571,700 tons examined during the same week in 2021. Since the beginning of the marketing year in September, soybean inspections are at 34.8 million metric tons, well below the 45.6 million tons assessed during the same week in 2021. Wheat assessments since June 1 are 13.2 million metric tons. *********************************************************************************** Analyst says the U.S. Can Expect More Soybean Sales in 2022 Smaller than expected South American soybean crops likely mean more soybean export business for the U.S. in 2022. Reuters says Oil World, an oilseeds analyst, says major soybean export business will likely get pushed toward the U.S. in June and will continue from there. Oil World estimates that the combined soybean harvests in Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay will fall to approximately 186.3 million tons. That total is 7.4 million tons below the prior season and the lowest numbers in four years. Uncertainty about the final crop size in South America may mean their farmers will be more hesitant to sell into the market, keeping more beans in stock as a hedge against inflation. “U.S. farmers will benefit as buyers in importing countries will likely shift their purchases to American soybeans from June or July onward,” says Oil World. “The biggest increase is likely to happen from September through December of 2022.” *********************************************************************************** Cornell, ARS Combine to Offer National Hemp Webinar Series The USDA’s Agricultural Research Service is teaming up with Cornell University to launch a webinar series on hemp research. The goal is to broaden the scope of training, education, and connectivity within the U.S. hemp community. “Hemp is rapidly becoming a critical multi-use and economically significant crop, so this hemp series is designed to provide hemp-specific education, training, and networking opportunities to historically underserved communities,” says Zach Stansell, ARS Geneticist, and acting hemp curator. “Training and educating new scientists from many different backgrounds is critical to achieving the most cutting-edge solutions to an array of issues producers face,” says Cornell Crop Specialist Daniela Vergara. “Those issues include everything from climate change to economic viability.” Research experts in academia, laboratories, production facilities, and private industry will give the online lectures. The first webinar will cover outdoor cultivation on January 26. For more information, including topics and webinar schedules, go to ars.usda.gov. *********************************************************************************** Coalition to Study Decontamination in the Event of an ASF Outbreak The Swine Health Information Center started a coalition to study ideal methods for cleaning and disinfecting feed mills following a potential African Swine Fever Outbreak. Other organizations include the Institute for Feed Education and Research, the Animal Nutrition Association of Canada, and the United Soybean Board. “SHIC continues to look into all the ways diseases can get into and spread throughout the country,” says Executive Director Paul Sundberg. “It’s not just to identify pathways but to do something about them with this kind of research.” He also says that once the ASF virus gets into a feed mill, it will stay there for a long time, meaning the work is essential to address the risk to the U.S. swineherd. The project will examine the optimal methods for disinfecting feed mills, paying close attention to feed manufacturing equipment that’s not designed for disinfection. “Again, this work is essential to protecting the swineherd,” he adds.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday January 26, 2022 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets Wednesday's reports start with December U.S. new home sales at 9 a.m. CST, followed by the Energy Department's weekly inventory report, including ethanol production at 9:30 a.m. Financial market watchers will tune in at 1 p.m. CST to hear the Federal Reserve's post meeting announcement. The federal funds rate will likely stay unchanged, but hints may be offered for an impending rate hike. Weather A batch of snow has moved south into the Texas and Oklahoma Panhandles Wednesday morning. The snow will weaken and eventually dissipate as it slides east later in the day. Cold air in the Midwest will push eastward throughout the day with a brief end to arctic air. But another cold front is gathering across southern Canada, ready to spread through the eastern half of the country Thursday and Friday.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday January 25, 2022 |


Retaliatory tariffs Reduced U.S. Ag Exports Annually by $13.2 Billion New data from USDA’s Economic Research Service shows retaliatory tariffs reduced U.S. ag exports annually by $13.2 billion. Specifically, the research points to six trading partners, Canada, China, the European Union, India, Mexico, and Turkey, that announced retaliatory tariffs affecting agriculture and food products in 2018. The retaliatory tariffs followed U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from major trading partners and on a broad range of imports from China. The agricultural products targeted for retaliation were valued at $30.4 billion in 2017, with individual product lines experiencing tariff increases ranging from two to 140 percent. USDA estimates annualized losses from mid-2018 through the end of 2019 totaled $13.2 billion across 17 commodity groups, led by soybeans, sorghum, and pork. While retaliatory tariffs affected all states, the Midwest experienced the largest losses. ERS researchers estimated Iowa lost $1.46 billion, Illinois, $1.41 billion, and Kansas, $955 million, all on an annualized basis. *********************************************************************************** Farm Futures Survey: More Soybean Acres Than Corn This Year A survey from Farm Futures shows fertilizer prices are changing planting intentions. The January 2022 Farm Futures survey found that high input costs will drive U.S. growers to plant fewer corn acres in 2022 in favor of other crops with less expensive production costs. Some 93 percent of growers expect high input costs this year to slash profits. The survey results put Farm Futures 2022 projected corn acreage at 90.4 million acres and soybean acres at 92.4 million acres. The last and only time soybean acreage surpassed corn was in 2018, when 296,000 more acres of soybeans than corn were planted. Double crop winter wheat and soybean rotations have likely already consumed many of those corn acres, according to Farm Futures, which projects winter wheat acreage at 35.2 million acres. USDA releases its first look at 2022 acreage estimates Thursday, March 31, 2022. Farm Futures will conduct another grower survey ahead of the Prospective Plantings. *********************************************************************************** AFBF: Vaccine Mandate Will Lead to More Supply Chain Troubles American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall says a federal vaccine mandate on non-U.S. citizens traveling to the U.S. will lead to more supply chain issues. Last week, the Department of Homeland Security announced enforcement of the vaccine requirement, which includes essential workers, traveling to the United States. Duvall says Farm Bureau is concerned that the decision “will limit agriculture’s ability to grow safe and nutritious food.” Farm Bureau says DHS failed to provide proper notice of the mandate, which gives farmers, ranchers and agriculture suppliers no time to prepare. Farmworkers and truck drivers provide critical skills and have been designated as essential by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. Duvall adds that further limiting the available workforce will exacerbate existing supply chain issues as families face rising prices and fewer options at the grocery store. The Homeland Security Department says the travel restriction will remain in place until April 21, 2022. *********************************************************************************** Army Corps Receiving Funding for Missouri River Infrastructure Projects The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Kansas City District will receive approximately $278 million under the Infrastructure and Investment Jobs Act. Almost $249 million of that is to repair damages caused by the 2019 flood to the Bank Stabilization and Navigation Project along the Missouri River from Rulo, Nebraska. to St. Louis, Missouri. In addition to Missouri River repairs, several lakes in the area will benefit from the funding. Tuttle Creek Lake in Manhattan, Kansas, will receive $15 million to repair rock embankments on the dam and perform other dam maintenance and infrastructure repairs. Overall, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers received $17.1 billion in infrastructure funds across the nation for its Civil Works programs, projects and activities that will help the nation address current and future water resources infrastructure needs. The act’s appropriations also enable the Corps of Engineers to regulate development in waters of the United States. *********************************************************************************** Fuel Prices Increase Again Last Week The nation's average gas price increased for the fourth straight week, climbing 1.8 cents from a week ago to $3.32 per gallon. The national average is up 3.3 cents from a month ago and 92.0 cents per gallon higher than a year ago. The national average price of diesel increased 5.4 cents in the last week and stands at $3.66 per gallon, the highest level since October 2014. Gas Buddy’s Patrick De Haan says, “With all eyes on the Russia/Ukraine situation, oil will likely remain north of $80 per barrel, with additional volatility.” De Haan says rising gas prices will likely persist as worries continue to overpower weak global consumption. Continued attention is focusing on Russia and the possibility of the world's second-largest oil producer making a move into Ukraine. U.S. retail gasoline demand fell last week as weather, rising unemployment figures and omicron may have all played some role in a big drop in gasoline demand. *********************************************************************************** Taco Bell Unveils 3rd Dairy-Based Beverage with Checkoff Support Taco Bell is continuing its run of dairy-based beverages thanks to dairy checkoff support. Dairy Management Incorporated Monday announced the chain released the Island Berry Freeze that uses a shelf-stable creamer created by dairy checkoff scientists. It is Taco Bell’s third beverage launch featuring the dairy creamer, beginning with the Pineapple Whip Freeze in May of 2020 and the Mountain Dew Baja Blast Colada Freeze last May. Another popular Taco Bell item, the Grilled Cheese Burrito, is back on the menu. The burrito launched in the summer of 2020 and re-entered Taco Bell’s menu last fall with a double steak option. Taco Bell’s Heather Mottershaw says, “We’re grateful to have checkoff scientists working side-by-side with our team to continue pushing the envelope with items featuring dairy.” DMI’s Emily Bourdet adds, “our on-site scientists at Taco Bell have changed the game for how to incorporate dairy and creating excitement for Taco Bell fans.”

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday January 25, 2022 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets A report of U.S. consumer confidence in January at 9 a.m. CST is the lone entry on Tuesday's docket. Traders will check the latest weather forecasts, pause at 8 a.m. for a possible export sale announcement and watch for any indication of Russia's next move. Outside markets are anticipating Wednesday's announcement from the Federal Reserve. Weather A cold front that has sagged south through the Plains will have some light precipitation moving through western areas on Tuesday in the form of snow. While some moderate snowfall amounts up to about six inches are possible, liquid equivalents of 0.50 inches or less are not going to be enough to have an impact on the ongoing drought. Arctic cold temperatures for portions of the eastern Canadian Prairies into the Upper Midwest will make for some dangerously cold windchills for both humans and livestock.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday January 24, 2022 |


Vilsack Already Thinking About Next Farm Bill Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack spoke before the House Agriculture Committee last week and brought up the next farm bill. The Hagstrom Report says he wants the committee to use the next bill to help him move rural America from an “extractive economy” to a “circular economy.” He says a circular economy is one where the wealth stays as the opportunity and jobs are all created in rural areas. Some of the many ways to move rural communities into a circular economy include increasing processing capacity in rural America, encouraging biobased manufacturing, and finding ways to convert agricultural waste into renewable energy and fuel. “Lagoons of animal waste will become a thing of the past when that waste gets converted to energy,” he says. House Ag Chair David Scott of Georgia said during the hearing that after the next congressional break, the committee will then begin working on the 2023 Farm Bill. *********************************************************************************** China Didn’t Meet Phase One Commitment China wound up $16 billion short of achieving its obligations under the Phase One Trade Deal with the U.S. A DTN report says the Biden administration is looking for ways to keep China buying agricultural products. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack told the House Ag Committee that the administration is “putting them on notice that we want them to live up to the agreement.” The secretary told committee members that the U.S. has unfinished business when talking about the two-year trade deal which ended on January 1. Vilsack says China committed to buying $40 billion a year in ag products in 2020 and 2021. The Asian nation missed the goal by $13 billion in 2020 ($27 billion) and missed the goal by $3 billion ($37 billion) in 2021. Vilsack also says China didn’t yet revise its import rules for crop biotechnology approvals, dried distillers’ grains, ethanol purchases, and many other already agreed-on obligations. *********************************************************************************** Senators Talk Pesticide Registration Struggles with Regan Four senators from farm country talked with Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan about recent agency decisions that will restrict farmer access to crop protection products. The EPA has issued several decisions that will hinder farmers’ ability to control weeds and pests, which can cripple plants and severely undermine crop yields. The senators pointed out that will adversely impact farmers’ ability to efficiently and effectively produce the commodities that feed the world. The senators were Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst of Iowa, Mike Braun of Indiana, and Dr. Roger Marshall of Kansas. “Crop protection products play a crucial role in food production, yet they’re a common target of the Biden administration,” they said in a joint statement after the meeting. The four say that EPA isn’t sufficiently engaged with USDA, the product registrants, and growers to fully understand what the implications of their decisions can be. They include decisions on biological evaluations, Dicamba, and Chlorpyrifos. *********************************************************************************** South Korea Lifts Temporary Ban on Canadian Beef South Korea is lifting its temporary suspension of Canadian beef imports. Reuters says the ban began after Canada detected a case of BSE, or “Mad Cow Disease,” in December. Canada’s Agriculture Minister Marie Claude-Bibeau (BEE-boh) says South Korea halted the shipments after Canada last month reported its first BSE case in six years. China and the Philippines issued their own suspensions soon after that. On social media, Canada’s agriculture department says it’s “great news for our cattle sector.” Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy is a fatal disease of the nervous system in cattle. Canada is the eighth-largest beef and veal exporter. December’s BSE case took place in an eight-year-old beef cow in Alberta. Canada’s newest BSE case is atypical, meaning it’s a form of disease that can occur naturally in older cattle. That’s opposed to classical BSE, which can be caused by an animal that unsuspectingly eats contaminated feed. *********************************************************************************** NCGA Director Named to Board of America’s Watershed Initiative The America’s Watershed Initiative recently named its 2022 Board of Directors Executive Team. Rachel Orf, the National Corn Growers Association Director of Stewardship and Sustainability was elected as the board’s Secretary. “It’s an honor to serve on the board and be a part of an organization that works across so many sectors and states,” says Orf. “The health of the Mississippi River Watershed is critical to ensuring the river remains productive and healthy for future generations.” In announcing the new board, America’s Watershed Initiative says, “We are made up of public, private, and nonprofit leaders working together voluntarily to improve the health of the Mississippi River Watershed by informing, advocating, and leveraging improved decision-making about the watershed’s natural resources.” AWI is built on support and guidance from industry and commerce, conservation, local communities, government, and academia. Interested people can learn more about AWI and NCGA’s involvement at AmericasWatershed.org. *********************************************************************************** Iowa Plant Converting Corn Stover to Natural Gas One of Iowa’s most plentiful resources is corn stover. The Iowa State Extension website says that stover is now being used to create renewable natural gas that heats Iowa homes and businesses. The Verbio North America Plant in Nevada, Iowa, has been converting chopped corn stalks into natural gas since December 7. Once converted, the natural gas enters an Alliant Energy pipeline that traverses central Iowa. Using anaerobic digestion, eight large digesters combine the corn stover with the bacteria of livestock manure, which results in the conversion of corn residue into biomethane gas that’s equivalent to the natural gas found in fossil fuels. The plant is in its early stages and plans to expand in the next several months, and the goal of the expansion is to provide enough renewable gas to heat up to 5,000 homes. Iowa produces the most corn in the United States, and the stover is what’s left behind on the ground after harvest.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday January 24, 2022 |


Monday Watch List Markets Traders will likely be keeping a close watch on the latest weather forecasts and any news pertaining to Ukraine over the weekend. USDA's weekly report of grain inspections is due out at 10 a.m. CST, followed by USDA's monthly cold storage report at 2 p.m. Weather The last in a series of a clippers is moving through the country over the next couple of days, bringing another shot of cold, arctic air for a good portion of the country, along with some light snows to the Midwest. The front will sag through the Plains with some light snow as well but will not impact the drought throughout the region.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday January 21, 2022 |


Input Prices Greatest Threat for 2022 The Latest Rural Mainstreet Index shows rising input prices as the top threat in 2022 for farmers. Released Thursday, the index declined in January, though it remained above growth neutral for the 14th straight month. Overall, the region's reading for January fell to 61.1 from December's 66.7. The index ranges between 0 and 100, with a reading of 50.0 representing growth neutral. The region’s farmland price index decreased to a very strong 88.5 from December’s record high of 90.0. This month, bankers were asked to identify the greatest 2022 risk for farmers in their area. Bankers overwhelmingly named rising farm input prices, such as fertilizer, as the top farm threat. Bankers ranked disruptions of the delivery of farm inputs and rising interest rates as the second and third greatest 2022 threats to farm operations. However, one Iowa banker says, “Increased input costs have raised our average farmer break even points, but current commodity prices still produce moderate gains in all areas of financial statements.” *********************************************************************************** Grassley, Colleagues Urge Infrastructure funds for Missouri River Flood Control Midwest lawmakers urge the federal government to prioritize funding for flood mitigation and prevention projects along the lower Missouri River. Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley and Missouri Republican Representative Sam Graves led nearly a dozen colleagues in a letter to Michael Connor, Assistant Secretary for Civil Works, on the issue. Specifically, the lawmakers are pushing Connor to utilize funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to invest in flood-related projects for the Lower Missouri River Basin, including the Navigation and Flood Control Studies and the Bank Stabilization and Navigation Project. As the letter states, the legislation also provides funding to complete site-specific studies to address immediate needs along the river. Grassley says, “When I voted for the bipartisan infrastructure bill, I was voting for exactly this type of federal support for critical infrastructure.” The letter comes as the Department of the Army begins to allocate funding from the infrastructure package for the Army Civil Works Program in Fiscal Year 2022. *********************************************************************************** USDA Releases 2020 Pesticide Data Program Annual Summary The Department of Agriculture this week published the 2020 Pesticide Data Program Annual Summary. The summary shows that more than 99 percent of the samples tested had pesticide residues below benchmark levels established by the Environmental Protection Agency. The report for 2020, issued by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service, marks the 30th year of survey results. Over the 30 years, USDA has tested 126 commodities, including fresh and processed fruits and vegetables, dairy, meat, poultry, grains, fish, rice, specialty products and water. Monitoring results for more than 310,000 samples through the years are available on the Pesticide Data Program website. Each year, USDA and EPA work together to identify foods to be tested by the program on a rotating basis. In 2020, tests were conducted on 9,600 samples from 18 commodities of fresh and processed fruits and vegetables. AMS partners with cooperating state agencies to collect and analyze pesticide residue levels on the selected food commodities. *********************************************************************************** Per Acre Water Use in Irrigated Farmland Declining Information updated this week from USDA’s Economic Research Service shows per-acre water usage is declining on irrigated farmland. Since 1969, the amount of water used per acre irrigated has decreased substantially. The average water use per irrigated acre was more than two acre-feet in 1969, declining to nearly 1.5 acre-feet by 2018. One acre-foot equals roughly 325,000 gallons. USDA says efficient water application technologies, such as the transition from gravity-based to pressurized irrigation systems, have driven the reduction in water use per acre of irrigated land. However, irrigated acreage in the U.S. grew from less than three million acres in 1980 to more than 58 million in 2017. The expansion of irrigated acreage reflects Federal, State, and local investment in irrigation infrastructure to deliver surface water to farms and ranches. Additionally, the expansion is partly due to advancements in well drilling and pumping technologies, facilitating growth in groundwater-based irrigated agriculture. *********************************************************************************** Operation Lifesaver Releases New Rail Safety Resources Operation Lifesaver, Inc., the national non-profit rail safety education organization celebrating its 50th Anniversary in 2022, is releasing new rail safety resources to help farmers and farm machine operators stay safe and avoid incidents around railroad tracks and trains. Across the U.S., farm vehicles often cross railroad tracks on private roads in agricultural areas. According to preliminary 2020 Federal Railroad Administration statistics, 325 crossing collisions comprising 17 percent of total incidents occurred at private railroad crossings, resulting in 22 fatalities and 111 injuries. The new OLI materials are available in English and Spanish and include rail safety education presentations, lesson plans and handout materials for students. OLI Executive Director Rachel Maleh says the materials “provide actionable advice to farm communities on how to work safely near railroad tracks and trains.” The rail safety education materials for youth were developed with input from members of national youth development programs 4 H and the National FFA Organization. The new materials are available at oli.org. *********************************************************************************** Cover Crops: Beyond the Field and in the Garden Cover crops aren’t just for your fields anymore, they are beneficial to your garden, too. The University of Illinois Extension says using cover crops in the home garden has many benefits, including soil structure, drawing nutrients up from deep in the soil, and increasing soil fertility. Cover crops are planted before a garden is planted or after harvest and can also be planted in areas that are unused for the season. There are two types of cover crops to consider, warm-season and cool-season. Warm-season cover crops are planted in spring or summer before the garden is planted or in a fallow area. Buckwheat, cowpeas, and crimson clover are warm-season are common cover crops used in the home garden. Cool-season cover crops are planted in late summer or early fall after the vegetables are harvested. Oats, winter wheat, winter rye, and crimson clover can be used as cool-season cover crops. After cutting down the cover crop, leave the cut portion as a mulch on top of the soil or till it into the ground.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday January 21, 2022 |


Friday Watch List Markets USDA's weekly export sales report is due out at 7:30 a.m. CST, followed by the Conference Board's U.S. index of leading indicators at 9 a.m. Traders will keep a close watch on the latest weather forecasts and any news concerning Russia and Ukraine. USDA's cattle on-feed report for January 1 is set for release at 2 p.m. CST. Weather An arctic cold front has been slowly sliding through the Southeast and precipitation along the front will fall into the cold-air side of the front Friday with a mix of freezing rain and snow, mostly for the Carolinas and especially tonight. Another front is moving through the Canadian Prairies and Northern Plains with a mix of showers as warmer air pushes the arctic air eastward. Winds are also fairly strong across the region both ahead and behind the front which could cause visibility issues with blowing snow.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday January 20, 2022 |


Trade War Retaliation Cost Agriculture $27 Billion in Exports Tariffs imposed on American agricultural exports in retaliation for Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from key trading partners cost agriculture a lot of export sales. Combine that with the Section 301 tariffs on Chinese imports and China’s retaliatory actions, and it led to an overall $27 billion reduction in U.S. ag exports from mid-2018 to the end of 2019. Six trading partners, including Canada, China, the European Union, India, Mexico, and Turkey all responded to the U.S. tariffs by implementing retaliatory duties on America’s agricultural and food exports. A summary of a report from the Economic Research Service says state-level losses were largely focused in the Midwest, with Iowa, Illinois, and Kansas accounting for roughly 11 percent, 11 percent, and seven percent, respectively, of all losses. Soybeans accounted for the largest share of the total losses at 71 percent, followed by sorghum and pork. Brazil gained most of the lost U.S. soybean trade. *********************************************************************************** Mississippi River Locks/Dams Get $829 Million for Improvements The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is investing $829.1 million in investments for modernizing locks and dams along the Mississippi River. The funding was made available through the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs act. “Our agriculture, manufacturing, and shipping industries rely on a functioning and efficient lock and dam system along the Mississippi River to move goods,” says Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley. The long-time Iowa senator was one of 19 Republicans to back the bipartisan infrastructure bill. The funds will help modernize and expand seven outdated locks at the most congested locations along the Upper Mississippi and Illinois Rivers. The Upper Mississippi River System transports more than 60 percent of America’s corn and soybeans. Enhancing the reliability and capacity of the seven highest-use and most-delayed locks will ensure an environmentally-conscious and safe method for transporting bulk commodities continues well into the next generation. Two billion dollars will go toward ecosystem restoration. *********************************************************************************** NCGA Testifies Against WOTUS Changes The National Corn Growers cautioned the EPA on Tuesday about moving forward with a rule that could give the government expanded regulatory power across American farmlands. NCGA President Chris Edgington gave testimony as the Environmental Protection Agency considers a proposed rule revising the definition of “Waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act. The proposed rule would give the federal government leeway to assert jurisdiction over features that are remote from and carry only minor volumes of water to downstream navigable waters. “The Clean Water Act simply doesn’t allow the agencies to insert themselves into local and farmer land-use decisions in the manner that was proposed,” said Edington during testimony. “There is a limit under the CWA to the direct federal control over land-use decision and policies.” The Iowa farmer added that proper CWA policy respects the roles of each participant in the system, including landowners, citizens, and all levels of government. *********************************************************************************** Vilsack Highlights USDA’s Market Development Efforts Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says his agency went to work early in 2021 on addressing supply chain disruptions the ag sector experienced during the pandemic. He identified a wide range of improvements, which produced a more diversified food system that serves farmers, ranchers, and consumers. “The COVID-19 outbreak has been tragic and heartbreaking for our communities and families, but the disruptions it allowed us an opportunity to identify and address vulnerable spots in our food system,” he says. “Those disruptions to the agricultural sector highlighted the need for our nation’s food system to be more diversified, thereby creating more options for producers and consumers while enhancing the resiliency of our food sector.” Vilsack highlighted several USDA steps, including providing $1 billion in American Rescue Plan funds for expanding independent processing capacity in the U.S. Also, $32 million in grants will help 167 meat and poultry processing facilities reach more customers by becoming federally inspected. *********************************************************************************** FFA Members Tour California Agriculture Earlier this month, 46 current and former state FFA officers visited California to learn about the wide variety of agriculture the state has to offer. Members recently flew into California and toured a number of the state’s agribusinesses. Stops included the largest U.S. producer of caviar, a fourth-generation ranch practicing responsible carbon farming, and many others. They also visited with California’s Secretary of Agriculture, Karen Ross, the vice-chair of California’s Water Board, and the vice president of state government affairs from Western Growers. During the second week of the tour, the FFA members visited berry farms, nurseries, a horse ranch, and a feedlot. They also went whale-watching and explored the Muir (Meer) National Forest. The young people spoke with a wide variety of agricultural experts on the trip and learned about practices they could take home to their communities. The experience was made possible through sponsorship help from John Deere and Bunge (BUN-gee). *********************************************************************************** Brazil Coffee Crop Looking Smaller Than Expected Brazil’s government says its farmers will harvest 55.74 million bags of coffee in 2022. That number is 16.8 percent higher than last year, but experts say that’s a smaller amount than most people in the world’s largest coffee producer were expecting. Reuters says the smaller-than-expected number is important because Brazil’s coffee production is the key to balancing global supplies. If the smaller numbers are realized, it could cause a deficit and sustain coffee prices that are currently around 10-year highs. Total production is going to fall far short of the 2020 record, the previous “on-year” crop, which was estimated at 63 million bags. Rabobank predicts that Brazil will harvest 63.5 million bags, while Hedge Point Global Markets is guessing 65.8 million bags. “It does confirm the general pessimism about the 2022 on-cycle crop,” says Ryan Delaney of Coffee Trading Academy. The worst drought in 90 years and several severe frost events hit Brazil’s coffee fields last year.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday January 20, 2022 |


Thursday Watch List Markets U.S. weekly jobless claims and an update of the U.S. Drought Monitor are set for 7:30 a.m. CST, followed by U.S. existing home sales for December at 9 a.m., weekly natural gas storage at 9:30 a.m. and weekly U.S. energy inventories at 10 a.m. USDA's weekly export sales report will be released Friday morning, due to this week's holiday. Weather A strong cold front on the leading edge of arctic air continues to push southeast through the country on Thursday. A band of rain and snow is accompanying the front from the Southeast up the East Coast. Cold air has settled into the middle of the country but not for long. Another system moving through the Pacific Northwest and western Canada will start to bring showers into the Prairies and Northern Plains later today and tonight as temperatures moderate a bit.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday January 19, 2022 |


Vilsack Announces New 10 Year Strategy to Confront the Wildfire Crisis The Department of Agriculture Tuesday announced a comprehensive response to the nation’s growing wildfire crisis. The effort is called “Confronting the Wildfire Crisis: A Strategy for Protecting Communities and Improving Resilience in America’s Forests.” The strategy outlines the need to significantly increase fuels and forest health treatments to address the escalating crisis of wildfire danger that threatens millions of acres and many communities across the United States. The Forest Service will work with other federal agencies and partners to strategically focus on fuels and forest health treatments. The strategy highlights new research on what Forest Service scientists identified as high-risk "firesheds” – large, forested landscapes with a high likelihood that an ignition could expose homes, communities, infrastructure and natural resources to wildfire. Firesheds, typically about 250,000 acres in size, are mapped to match the scale of community exposure to wildfire. The groundwork will begin in areas identified as being at the highest risk, based on community exposure. *********************************************************************************** EPA Proposes Rule to Improve Pesticide Crop Groupings The Environmental Protection Agency Tuesday opened a 60-day comment period requesting public comments on the sixth proposed rule in a series of revisions to the pesticide crop grouping regulations. Crop groups are established when residue data for certain representative crops are used to establish pesticide tolerances for a group of crops that are botanically or taxonomically related. EPA sets these tolerances, which are the maximum amount of a pesticide allowed to remain in or on a food, as part of regulating pesticides. Specifically, EPA is proposing to amend Crop Group 6: Legume Vegetables; Group 7: Foliage of Legume Vegetables; Group 15: Cereal Grains; and Group 16: Forage, Fodder, and Straw of Cereal Grains. The proposed rule includes changes to the terminology in the names of Groups 6, 7 and 16, and the addition of commodities and modifications that increase efficiencies in assessing the risks of pesticides used on crops grown in and outside of the United States. *********************************************************************************** NBB Rebrands to Clean Fuels Alliance America The National Biodiesel Board Tuesday unveiled its new name and new brand, Clean Fuels Alliance America. The organization announced the change during the opening session of the 2022 National Biodiesel Conference and Expo. The transformation to Clean Fuels helps further the organization’s position as a proven, innovative part of America’s clean energy mix. Leaders say the change also helps the industry represent all its industry members: biodiesel, renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuels. Donnell Rehagen, CEO of Clean Fuels, says, “Our new name and brand represents the connected energies of our members and positions our industry for a clean fuels future.” The National Biodiesel Conference and Expo’s theme for 2022 is “All In” and represents the momentum being carried by all players in the biodiesel, renewable diesel, and sustainable aviation fuel industry. This year, more than 600 attendees are hearing from experts on supply and decarbonization and the opportunities ahead for the industry. *********************************************************************************** NASDA Sets 2022 Federal Policy Focus The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture set its federal policy focus for 2022 with added emphasis on the food and production supply chain. Announced Tuesday, NASDA members selected nine issues as the organization's primary policy focus for 2022. They include the 2023 Farm Bill, animal health, climate resiliency, food safety, the food and production supply chain, infrastructure, international trade, workforce development and defining "waters of the United States." NASDA CEO Ted McKinney says, “Our members see these issues as priorities we must address to best serve the farmers, ranchers and communities in their states.” Food supply chain issues, animal health, the 2023 Farm Bill and defining WOTUS are not new issues to NASDA, but the organization is giving heightened attention to these areas in 2022. Carrying over priorities from 2021, NASDA will continue to support the creation of new free trade agreements, the expansion of broadband access and voluntary and incentive-based climate-smart agricultural programs. *********************************************************************************** Farmland Market Ended Strong in 2021 Land sales continued at a torrid pace at Farmers National Company during the last quarter of 2021. The dollar volume of land sold by the company during October through December was up 53 percent compared to last year and up 106 percent from two years ago. The number of transactions was up 23 percent, and total acres sold were up 11 percent year over year. This was indicative of the increase in the selling of land in various regions. Sellers came to the land market because of the opportunity to capture the much higher land prices and for some, to get ahead of what was once thought to be potential tax changes. Iowa continued to be the most active with selling and with setting new price highs. Going forward, Farmers National Company says land sales activity for the first quarter of 2022 seems to be leveling off to more normal for this time of year. *********************************************************************************** Small Family Farms Produce Majority of Poultry and Eggs, And Hay USDA's Economic Research Service reports most values of cotton, dairy and specialty crops are produced on large-scale family farms, according to 2020 data. USDA defines a family farm as one in which the principal operator and related family own the majority of the assets used in the operation. Large-scale family farms have an annual gross cash farm income of $1 million or more. However, small family farms produced the bulk of hay production, 59 percent, and poultry and egg output, 49 percent, in 2020. Poultry operations are often classified as "small" because most output is under a production contract arrangement, with a contractor paying a fee to a farmer who raises poultry to maturity. Additionally, more than one-quarter of beef production occurred on small family farms that generally have cow/calf operations. Another 42 percent of beef production occurred on large-scale family farms, which are more likely to operate feedlots.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday January 19, 2022 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets Wednesday's only official report starts early as December U.S. housing starts are set for 7:30 a.m. CST. Traders will keep close watch over the latest weather forecasts and any news of an export sale. The Energy Department's weekly inventory report is due out Thursday, due to Monday's holiday. Weather An arctic cold front continues to push southeast through the country on Wednesday. It is going to pick up some moisture from the Gulf of Mexico today with scattered showers developing for the Delta and Midsouth regions, which may include some snow tonight. Cold air continues to build in behind the front across the Plains and Midwest with another brief arctic chill.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday January 18, 2022 |


Groups React to Supreme Court Decision on Vaccines The Supreme Court handed down a ruling last week on mandatory COVID-19 vaccines in large workplaces. The court says the Occupational Safety and Health Administration doesn’t have the authority from Congress to impose a vaccine mandate on larger employers. The Hagstrom Report says several agricultural and food groups issued reactions to the court’s decision. The National Council of Farmer Cooperatives says, “The action shows that OSHA needs to consider other alternatives to encourage vaccinations for workers across the country. NCFC has consistently said that forcing difficult testing and enforcement actions on employers would not help achieve that goal and would likely magnify the labor shortages being experienced across the agriculture and food supply chain.” The National Grocers Association says the ruling “takes some pressure off independent community grocers who already face staffing shortages during a nationwide labor crisis.” Greg Ferrara, the NGA CEO, says grocers remain focused on doing what they do best, providing their communities with food.” *********************************************************************************** NCBA Backs WOTUS Recommendations from Advisory Committee The Environmental Protection Agency’s Farm, Ranch, and Rural Communities Advisory Committee recently issued a report on the Waters of the U.S rule. “NCBA strongly supports the committee’s recommendation to develop a clear and limited WOTUS definition and protect key exemptions for common agricultural features,” says Scott Yager, NCBA’s Chief Environmental Counselor. “NCBA encourages the EPA to listen to its own advisory committee’s recommendations, which are clear: farmers and ranchers need clear rules and regulatory certainty.” Among the recommendations are ensuring EPA’s compliance with the Clean Water Act and Supreme Court precedent limiting federal jurisdiction over bodies of water. They also recommend a clear definition of WOTUS that’s easily interpreted by farmers and ranchers and protecting WOTUS exemptions for common agricultural features like farm ditches and stock ponds, prairie potholes, and other small, isolated water features. They also recommend that EPA reconsider the roundtable process to make sure all stakeholders have a voice in the rulemaking process. *********************************************************************************** New EPA Pesticide Policy May Limit New Chemistries The Environmental Protection Agency is reversing decades of practice in an attempt to further the Agency’s compliance with the Endangered Species Act when evaluating new pesticides and ingredients. In the new policy, EPA will evaluate the potential effects of each new active ingredient on federally threatened or endangered species and their designated critical habitats before the agency will register a new AI. EPA will also initiate Endangered Species consultations with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service. The EPA typically didn’t assess the potential effects of conventional pesticides on listed species when registering new AIs. EPA says that typically resulted in not enough protection and resource-intensive litigation. The agency says its new policy should reduce these kinds of court cases and improve the legal defensibility of newly-approved active ingredients. Michael Freedhoff of the EPA says his agency is taking a “critical step” to register new pesticides in a way that prioritizes protection. *********************************************************************************** Microsoft Puts $50 Million Into Sustainable Jet Fuel Microsoft is putting $50 million into a LanzaJet facility in Georgia that will produce jet fuel from ethanol. LanzaJet says its facility will start producing sustainable jet fuel next year. Reuters says experts consider the airline industry one of the hardest to decarbonize. Governments and investors are trying to boost incentives to produce lower-carbon emitting jet fuel. LanzaJet says work is almost complete on its Freedom Pine Fuels Biorefinery. Plans are to start producing 10 million gallons of sustainable aviation fuel and renewable diesel per year from sustainable ethanol in 2023. The plant will also produce sustainable fuels from waste-based feedstocks. Last year, the White House announced a goal to lower aviation emissions by 20 percent by 2030 as environmental groups place increasing pressure on the industry to lower its carbon footprint. Microsoft created its Climate Innovation Fund that will invest $1 billion over four years to speed up the development of carbon removal technology. *********************************************************************************** Research on Hemp Compounds and COVID-19 Oregon State University researchers have identified hemp compounds that show an ability to prevent the virus that causes COVID-19 from entering human cells. The university researchers say a pair of cannabinoid acids bind to the COVID-19 spike protein, which stops the virus from infecting people. OSU says this “spike protein is the same drug target used in COVID-19 vaccines and antibody therapy.” A disease or virus follows a specific process for infecting a person, and a drug target is any molecule critical to that process that can be disrupted to stop any infection or progression. “The cannabinoid acids are abundant in hemp and many hemp extracts,” says Richard van Breemen, an Oregon State researcher. “They aren’t controlled substances like THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, and they have a good safety profile in humans.” He also says the research shows the hemp compounds were equally effective against the alpha and beta variants of COVID-19. *********************************************************************************** USDA Seizes Illegally Imported Animal Products from China The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service seized and destroyed more than 1,900 pounds of prohibited pork, poultry, and ruminant products from New York City-area retailers. APHIS says the items came from China, lacked the required import permits and health certificates, and therefore are considered a risk for introducing invasive plant and animal pests and diseases into the U.S. The contraband was seized over the course of October through December. The agency is concerned about these prohibited products because China is a country affected by African Swine Fever, Classical Swine Fever, Foot-and-Mouth Disease, as well as several other problems. ASF is the biggest concern as the disease has spread through China and much of Asia, as well as within parts of the European Union. In recent months, ASF was confirmed in pigs in the Dominican Republic and Haiti. ASF doesn’t affect humans but is a deadly disease that decimated China’s hog industry.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday January 18, 2022 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets U.S. futures markets are closed Monday for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Grain futures will resume trading at 7 p.m. CST Monday evening. USDA's weekly report of grain inspections will be released at 10 a.m. Tuesday and is the only significant report on Tuesday's docket. Traders will pay close attention to the latest weather forecasts and watch for any news of an export sale. Weather After some warmer conditions over the last week or so, conditions are about to change again. A clipper moving across the U.S.-Canada border will bring down some cold, Canadian air across the country, starting in the Northern Plains on Tuesday and spreading southeast through the rest of the country over the next few days. Despite the drastic changes in temperature, little precipitation is expected from the system on Tuesday. It will have to wait until Wednesday as the arctic front crosses the Ohio River to gain any significant moisture as it pushes southeast the rest of the week.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday January 14, 2022 |


EIA Predicts Record U.S. Oil Production Next Year Amid talks of climate change and a future of electric vehicles, a recent forecast suggests 2023 U.S. oil production will surpass the 2019 record. The U.S. Energy Information Administration released the forecast this week, predicting U.S. oil production will average 12.4 million barrels per day in 2023. EIA Acting Administrator Steve Nalley says, “We expect global demand for petroleum products to return to and surpass pre-pandemic levels this year, but crude oil production grows at a faster rate in our forecasts.” The forecast predicts U.S. crude oil production will increase for nine consecutive quarters, from the fourth quarter of 2021 through 2023. EIA also expects OPEC to increase its crude oil production to 28.9 million barrels per day in 2023, up from an average of 26.3 million barrels per day in 2021. EIA forecasts that U.S. commercial crude oil inventories will reach 465 million barrels at the end of 2023, about 11 percent more than the end of 2021. *********************************************************************************** Nigeria Opens Market to Some U.S. Pork The United States can now export sausage and similar products to Nigeria, which this week announced it is partially opening its market to U.S. pork. The National Pork Producers Council welcomed the move by the West African nation. NPPC President Jen Sorenson says, “Nigeria has the largest GDP of any African country, with a population of just over 211 million, we are excited to be the first U.S. protein to be allowed access to the Nigerian market.” Sorenson thanked the Department of Agriculture and the Federal Republic of Nigeria for their efforts to reach an agreement. While other U.S. pork products, along with beef and poultry, remain ineligible to be exported to Nigeria, NPPC is optimistic that the country’s partial opening will lead to more access for the U.S. pork industry. The U.S. pork industry in 2021, through November, exported more than $7.5 billion of product to more than 100 countries. *********************************************************************************** AEM Releases Year-End 2021 Equipment Sales Numbers Nearly 360,000 total tractors and combines left dealer lots in 2021 in North America. U.S. and Canadian unit sales of ag tractors and combines finished 2021 with gains of more than ten percent in nearly every segment in both countries. The Association of Equipment Manufacturers released the data this week that shows U.S. total farm tractor sales gained 0.3 percent for December compared to 2020, while combine sales for the month saw a gain of 25.3 percent. Those gains contributed to a total gain for the year of 10.3 percent for tractors, and 24.7 percent for combines. In Canada, tractors sales in December grew 10.5 percent, while combines fell 17.6 percent year-over-year. However, total sales for 2021 were up 19.4 percent for tractors, and up 23.1 percent for combines. AEM’s Curt Blades says, “Sales gains over an already-successful 2020 came despite the supply chain issues and workforce challenges that made 2021 a challenging year for manufacturers.” *********************************************************************************** USDA to Invest up to $225 Million in Partner-Driven Conservation The Department of Agriculture Thursday announced up to $225 million in available funding for conservation partners through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program. The program is partner-driven and leverages collective resources to find solutions to address natural resource challenges on agricultural land. This year’s funding announcements include opportunities for projects that address climate change, benefit historically underserved producers and support urban agriculture. Natural Resources Conservation Service Chief Terry Cosby says, “We’re harnessing the power of partnership to create lasting solutions to global challenges, like climate change.” Funding is open to agriculture and silviculture associations, non-government organizations, Indian tribes, state and local governments, conservation districts and universities, among others. USDA is accepting project proposals for the program through April 13, 2022. Partners are expected to offer value-added contributions to amplify the impact of the funding in an amount equal to or greater than the NRCS investment. View the funding opportunity on grants.gov. *********************************************************************************** Nebraska Bill Seeks Funding for Small Meat Processors Nebraska Family farms and local independent meat processors stand to benefit from a bill introduced in the state Legislature, according to the Nebraska-based Center for Rural Affairs. Passed unanimously in 2021, legislation established the Independent Processor Assistance Program, which provides a roadmap for increasing local processing capacity and expanding market access for small producers. However, the bill did not include funding for the program, as lawmakers recognized it would be an ideal match for the federal relief dollars flowing to the state. How to spend those relief dollars is a question being addressed in the 2022 state legislative session. A new bill seeks $10 million in State Recovery Funds from the federal American Rescue Plan Act to fund the assistance program. Officials in 18 states, including those bordering Nebraska, have developed their own grant programs. The Center for Rural Affairs says those programs show that the Independent Processor Assistance Program can help the supply chain in Nebraska. *********************************************************************************** Bayer Launches Testing4AG Program Bayer this week announced the launch of its Testing4Ag program. The program allows research scientists from around the world to submit novel chemistries to Bayer for testing in hopes of identifying potential new modes of action to control fungal diseases, insect pests, or weeds. Testing4Ag, a part of Bayer's Open4Ag partnership development and innovation approach, seeks to develop the newest generation of crop protection products that safely and sustainably address the changing needs of producers. A Bayer spokesperson comments, “Testing4Ag will combine the transformative ideas of pioneering researchers with Bayer's knowledge, experts, and resources without taking ownership of the intellectual property participants contribute." Testing4Ag is executed in partnership with Halo and will help scientists learn more about their own compounds through testing and transparent results. The submitted compounds will be assessed via biological testing against a wide variety of plant pathogens, weed species, insect and nematode pests, and/or vectors. Learn more at www.Testing4Ag.com.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday January 14, 2022 |


Friday Watch List Markets A report on U.S. retail sales for December is due out at 7:30 a.m. CST Friday, followed by U.S. industrial production at 8:15 a.m. and an early glimpse of the University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index for January at 9 a.m. Traders will be watching the latest forecasts for rain in South America and for any sign of an export sale. Friday's futures markets close at their normal times and are closed Monday for Martin Luther King Jr. day. Weather A potent system moving through the Northern Plains is bringing a band of moderate to heavy snow through the Western Corn Belt, somewhat bound by the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers on Friday. Strong winds are also developing in the Plains. This system will make a long trek through the country, diving down into the Southeast over the weekend, then becoming a Nor'easter Sunday and Monday. Though much of the country will see impacts, drought areas in the southwestern Plains will see little precipitation out of it.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday January 13, 2022 |


USDA: Corn and soybean production up in 2021 Increased acreage and higher yields for corn and soybeans led to record high soybean production and near-record high corn production, according to the 2021 Crop Production Annual Summary. U.S. corn growers produced 15.1 billion bushels, up seven percent from 2020 and the second-highest on record. Corn yield in the United States is estimated at a record high 177.0 bushels per acre, 5.6 bushels above the 2020 yield. Area harvested for grain, at 85.4 million acres, is up four percent from 2020. Soybean production for 2021 totaled a record-high 4.44 billion bushels, up five percent from 2020. With record-high yields in 21 states, the average soybean yield is estimated at 51.4 bushels per acre, the second-highest on record. For 2021, all cotton production is up 21 percent from 2020, at 17.6 million 480-pound bales. The U.S. yield is estimated at 849 pounds per acre, up two pounds from last year’s yield. *********************************************************************************** Latest Consumer Price Index Released The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers increased 0.5 percent in December on a seasonally adjusted basis after rising 0.8 percent in November. The all-items index increased 7.0 percent before seasonal adjustment, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Wednesday. The food index increased 0.5 percent in December, following larger increases in each of the three previous months. Five of the six major grocery store food group indexes increased in December. The index for fruits and vegetables increased the most, rising 0.9 percent over the month as the index for fresh fruits increased 1.8 percent. The index for nonalcoholic beverages rose 0.8 percent in December, and the index for dairy increased 0.7 percent. The index for other food at home rose 0.6 percent, and the index for cereals and bakery products increased 0.4 percent. The index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs declined in December, falling 0.4 percent after rising at least 0.7 percent in each of the last seven months. *********************************************************************************** Smaller Loans Limit Agricultural Lending Smaller sized loans limited agricultural lending activity at the end of 2021. The Survey of Terms of Lending to Farmers shows non-real estate agricultural loans at commercial banks decreased by 13 percent in the fourth quarter, and the yearly average was the lowest since 2012. The Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank released the data Wednesday and says the decline was driven by a sharp drop in operating loans and lending at banks with the largest farm loan portfolios. Despite an increase in the number of all types of loans, the average size of all non-real estate and operating loans was more than 20 percent and 30 percent less than a year ago, respectively. Despite intensifying concerns about rising input costs impacting producer returns, commodity prices remained elevated and supported profit opportunities through the end of the year. Higher costs are likely to put upward pressure on demand for credit, but strong farm income and working capital could also supplement financing for some borrowers. *********************************************************************************** EPA Renews Enlist Product Registrations with New Control Measures The Environmental Protection Agency this week issued seven-year registrations for two herbicide products, Enlist Duo and Enlist One. The new product labels incorporate robust control measures to protect non-target plants and animals, according to the EPA. Both products were set to expire in January. The new control measures include prohibiting Enlist product application when rainfall is expected to occur within 48 hours and when soil can no longer absorb water, and prohibiting irrigation that would result in runoff within 48 hours of application. EPA will also require mandatory education and training materials that emphasize the importance of pollinators and pollinator habitats. Other measures include minimizing Enlist product application when soybean and cotton crops are in bloom to reduce risks to insect pollinators, such as honey bees, and prohibiting use in counties where EPA identified risks to on-field listed species that use corn, cotton or soybean fields for diet and/or habitat. *********************************************************************************** Growth Energy Announces 2022 Policy Priorities Growth Energy Wednesday released an outline of the organization's 2022 top federal priorities for the U.S. biofuel industry. Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor says of the policy objectives, “If we want to decarbonize the transportation sector, we must use all the tools in the toolbox – including plant-based biofuels like ethanol, which reduce carbon emissions by 46 percent compared to gasoline.” Specifically, Skor highlighted the association’s key priorities, focusing on opportunities for regulators and policymakers to promote cleaner fuel choices, reduce carbon emissions, and protect the environment. The objectives incorporate restoring certainty to the Renewable Fuels Standard, including finalizing strong Renewable Volume Obligations for 2021 and 2022, rejecting improper and illegal retroactive cuts to the already finalized 2020 RVOs and rejecting all pending and improperly granted small refinery exemptions. Other priorities for Growth Energy include eliminating barriers to higher blends of low-carbon ethanol, and utilizing biofuels as a low-cost pathway to achieve climate goals. *********************************************************************************** USDA Invests $9M to Expand Reach and Increase Adoption of Climate-Smart Practices The Department of Agriculture announced Wednesday a $9 million investment in new Cooperative Extension and USDA Climate Hubs partnerships. The investment seeks to bolster climate research and connect and share climate-smart solutions directly with the agricultural community. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says the partnerships “will strengthen climate research efforts and accelerate the development, adoption and application of science-based, climate-smart practices that benefit everyone.” The investment is part of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, the nation’s leading competitive grants program for agricultural sciences. The new program area provides effective, translatable, and scalable approaches to address climate change through regional partnerships, including the USDA Climate Hubs, and further extends outreach through organizations such as the Cooperative Extension Service. The initial six funded projects include research efforts at the University of California-Davis, Pennsylvania State University, Montana State, Ohio State University, the Desert Research Institute, and the USDA Caribbean Climate Hub.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday January 13, 2022 |


Thursday Watch List Markets USDA's weekly export sales report is due out at 7:30 a.m. CST Thursday, along with weekly U.S. jobless claims, the December producer price index and an update of the U.S. Drought Monitor. The Energy Department's report on natural gas storage is due out at 9:30 a.m. Traders will keep watching the latest weather forecasts and for any news of export sales. Weather With only some isolated showers in the Midwest on Thursday, most of the country's primary growing regions will be warm and dry. The combination is not favorable for wheat in the southwestern Plains where drought continues to grow.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday January 12, 2022 |


India Opening to U.S. Pork The National Pork Producers applaud the U.S. and Indian government’s announcement that U.S. pork exports are on their way into India, the world’s second-most populated country. “After decades of work, a market that had been closed to U.S. pork is getting opened,” says NPPC President Jen Sorenson. “We look forward to the new access.” India has a population of 1.26 billion people, which means the potential market opportunity is a significant one. U.S. Meat Export Federation President and CEO Dan Halstrom says his group has many industry contacts in India that are excited for the opportunity to bring in U.S. pork. “While the volume going into India right now is small, USMEF sees long-term potential in the retail, processing, and foodservice sectors.” USMEF also sees emerging opportunities in e-commerce. U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai says, “India’s agreement to allow U.S. pork imports is great news and a significant development for American producers and Indian consumers.” *********************************************************************************** Biden, Vilsack Reassure Farm Bureau Members President Biden and Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack tried to reassure American Farm Bureau members that the administration has their back. The Hagstrom Report says that, in a short video, the president assured the mostly Republican-leaning members that America needs farmers “three times a day.” Biden also pointed out that farmers deserve affordable inputs and the right to repair their equipment. Secretary Vilsack says that while ag exports have grown, challenges remain. Vilsack says that support for trade among Americans needs to get restored, adding that, “We’re going to enforce the agreements that we have. That’s the first step in rebuilding trust.” Exports to China have grown, but he says the Asian nation is “$16 billion light” under their commitment to making purchases. Vilsack also told the Farm Bureau convention that he was pleased by a USMCA trade panel that concluded Mexico was not living up to the dairy provisions. *********************************************************************************** Groups Voice Support for Existing Pesticide Law CropLife America joined more than 350 organizations engaged with pesticide products in a letter sent to Congress affirming their support for the current pesticide regulatory system. The letter is in response to legislation that would undermine the science-based standards in the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act. “This legislation undermines the work of the EPA’s career scientists in the evaluation of pesticide registration and use,” says Chris Novak, president and CEO of CLA. “The evaluation of each pesticide requires EPA scientists to review hundreds of studies to determine whether a pesticide can get safely used.” The groups point out in the letter that the proposed legislation would jeopardize the availability of pesticide products by imposing an unscientific process that could remove pest-control options from the market. Congress amended FIFRA several times to strengthen the regulatory standard for safety, most recently through the Food Quality Protection Act that added specific protections for infants and children. *********************************************************************************** NCGA Focusing on Driving Demand in 2022 Exports and animal agriculture make up nearly 70 percent of the annual U.S. corn demand. The National Corn Growers Market Development Action Team has a primary goal of driving demand for America’s corn farmers. “Last fall, we announced the winners of the Consider Corn Challenge, engaged with our animal ag partners on a variety of projects, and worked with trade industry partners to promote the benefits of U.S. Corn,” says Action Team Chair Troy Schneider. “We’re going to build on our wins from 2021 and continue to make strides in this space during 2022 and beyond.” Their priorities this year include increasing demand for U.S. animal agriculture domestic demand and exports; supporting research into corn and corn co-product use within animal feed; Identifying new and supporting existing industrial uses of corn; supporting the development of trade policy that opens markets, removes barriers, and advances international demand for corn and corn products. *********************************************************************************** Groups Reaffirm Support for Glyphosate Safety Groups representing farmers, ag retailers, landscaping, and golf course professionals showed strong support for continued access to glyphosate. Their response came after oral arguments in litigation regarding glyphosate registration. Ten groups, including the American Soybean Association, National Corn Growers Association, National Association of Wheat Growers, are parties in the case supporting glyphosate registration. The group reminded the court that nearly every pesticide regulatory body in the world has studied glyphosate and found the herbicide is non-carcinogenic and can get used safely. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency found that when the product is used according to the label, glyphosate doesn’t pose a risk to human health. They also note that many important conservation practices get supported by glyphosate, such as reductions in field tillage, which cuts greenhouse gas emissions, conserves water, and improves soil health. It also helps in creating wildlife habitat, and watershed buffers can get enhanced by having access to safe and effective herbicides like glyphosate. *********************************************************************************** CattleFax Releases a Cow-Calf Survey CattleFax has released its annual Cow-Calf Survey. The information requested in the survey provides participants and the rest of the industry with valuable data regarding industry benchmarks and trends. Survey participants will get a results summary packet containing useful benchmarking information that will allow them to evaluate their own operation. The information in the packet will include cow-calf profitability, tendencies of high and low return producers, regional data, and other valuable materials are also included. To get a results packet, survey participants have to submit a valid email address. All individual results will be confidential and remain anonymous. Participants who complete the survey and submit a valid email address will also be entered into a drawing to win a $700 CattleFax voucher. The survey can get accessed at CattleFax.com, selecting the About tab at the top of the page, and clicking on the 2021 Cow-Calf Survey on the sidebar. The deadline to complete the survey is February 21.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday January 12, 2022 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets Wednesday has a big lineup of reports, starting with the December consumer price index at 7:30 a.m. CST and followed by the Energy Department's weekly inventory report at 9:30 a.m., including ethanol production. At 11 a.m. CST, USDA simultaneously releases its WASDE report, a Dec. 1 Grain Stocks report, a Winter Wheat Seedings report and a Crop Production Annual Summary. The Federal Reserve's Beige Book comes out at 1 p.m. CST. Weather There will be very little chance of precipitation across the primary growing regions on Wednesday while temperatures will be above normal just about everywhere outside of the Southeast. Building drought continues to be a feature for the Southern Plains wheat areas

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday January 11, 2022 |


U.S. Meat Production Slowing Meat companies and union officials tell Reuters that rising COVID-19 infections among workers are forcing meat plants to slow production and the government to replace slaughter inspectors. Meatpacking was an early epicenter of COVID in 2020 and is now the latest sector to be disrupted by the Omicron variant. Cargill, one of the country’s top beef producers, operated a few of its plants at a lower slaughter capacity last week. A Cargill plant in Dodge City, Kansas, was getting by with a skeleton crew at one point. Less slaughter capacity means a smaller beef supply is available despite booming demand for the product. Farmers also have to keep cattle longer in feed yards or on ranches. USDA estimates beef producers killed 112,000 cattle last Friday, down six percent from 2021 and matching January third levels that were the lowest since October. Pig slaughter was down about five percent from last year on Friday as well. *********************************************************************************** Farm Bureau Campaigning Against WOTUS Changes American Farm Bureau successfully campaigned last year against changes to the stepped-up basis provision in estate tax law. Now, Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall asked members to put that same energy level into the Biden administration’s proposed changes to the Trump Waters of the United States rule. The administration wants to go back to an earlier rule that Farm Bureau says will bring the heavy hand of the federal government onto farmers’ lands. “We need that same energy and passion when it comes to WOTUS,” Duvall said during an address at the group’s annual convention. “It is critical that this administration understands that we shouldn’t need a team of lawyers and consultants just to farm our land.” Courtney Briggs, a senior director of congressional relations, says, “Farm Bureau liked the Trump rule because it created a clear line between what’s in and what’s out.” Members are urged to send comments to the EPA before February 6. *********************************************************************************** Pork Exports May Top 2020’s Record Amount Numbers from the U.S. Department of Commerce say exports of U.S. pork are on pace to top 2020’s record total of $7.7 billion. From January through November, the U.S. pork industry shipped more than $7.5 billion worth of products to foreign destinations, compared to just over $7 billion from the same period in 2020. The top five markets for American pork are China, Japan, Mexico, Canada, and South Korea, the same top five destinations from 2020. What helped boost the 2021’s numbers were countries like the Philippines, which imported 92 percent more pork in 2021 compared to 2020. U.S. pork exports also have greater access to Vietnam, which will cut its tariff on imported frozen pork on July 1. The National Pork Producers Council says it will continue to press the administration on increasing trade opportunities, including joining the 11-nation Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. NPPC also wants China to drop its tariffs on U.S. pork. *********************************************************************************** USDA Offers Expanded Conservation Program The USDA’s Natural Resources and Conservation Service announced several new and expanded opportunities for climate-smart agriculture in 2022. The updates include the nationwide availability of the Conservation Incentive Contracts Option under the Environmental Quality Incentives Program. Other opportunities include a new and streamlined EQIP Cover Crop Initiative and added flexibilities for producers to easily re-enroll in the Conservation Stewardship Program. “America’s farmers are on the frontlines of climate change,” says NRCS Chief Terry Cosby. “We have to continue to support and expand the adoption of conservation approaches to support producers in their work to address the climate crisis and build more resilient operations.” NRCS is also announcing a new partnership with Farmers for Soil Health, a joint initiative of the United Soybean Board, the National Corn Growers Association, and the National Pork Board. Farmers for Soil Health works to advance the use of soil health practices such as cover crops on corn and soybean farms. *********************************************************************************** Groups Want Dicamba Lawsuit Revived A group of environmental organizations led by the Center for Food Safety and the Center for Biological Diversity wants new life given to their lawsuit over dicamba registrations. DTN says the groups are asking a federal court to lift a stay and speed up their lawsuit demanding that the Environmental Protection Agency vacate the 2020 dicamba registrations of Engenia, Tavium, and XtendiMax. The groups filed a motion in U.S. District Court while showing a new report from the EPA that they say details continuing widespread alleged dicamba damage in 2021. George Kimbrell, legal director at the Center for Food Safety, says EPA is content to sit on smoking gun evidence that it was wrong to re-register dicamba. “Our farmers and the environment can’t wait through more delays, so we’re asking the court to allow our lawsuit to proceed so we can do the EPA’s job of ensuring over-the-top dicamba use doesn’t harm agriculture or the environment,” he says. *********************************************************************************** Grain Weevil Company Wins Ag Innovation Challenge Grain Weevil Corporation is the winner of the American Farm Bureau’s eighth annual Ag Innovation Challenge. The Grain Weevil is a grain bin management robot that improves quality and eliminates the need for farmers to enter grain bins. Grain Weevil wins $50,000 in prize money to help grow their business. Nebraska-based Birds Eye Robotics was the runner-up with its autonomous robot that helps maintain poultry houses and improves animal welfare by encouraging bird activity. Caravan Tech of Alabama won the People’s Choice Award with their real-time remote management solutions for ranchers and cattle breeders. The Ag Innovation Challenge is designed to help Farm Bureau members to showcase business innovations being developed for use in agriculture. “Start-up companies like those we’re honoring at the convention help to shape the future of agriculture,” says Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall. “It’s a pleasure to recognize these entrepreneurs for the innovative solutions they’ve developed that will help U.S. agriculture.”

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday January 11, 2022 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets After Brazil's crop agency, Conab, issues new crop estimates Tuesday, there are no other official reports on Tuesday's docket. Traders will closely watch the latest weather forecasts and are apt to be jittery ahead of Wednesday's three USDA reports: a WASDE report, a quarterly grain stocks report and an estimate of winter wheat seedings from NASS. Weather Arctic air continues to push eastward through the country and is being replaced across the West and the Plains by much warmer air on Tuesday. Outside of some lake-effect snow this morning and a few showers for the Pacific Northwest, the country should be rather dry today.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday January 10, 2022 |


November Beef Exports Set New Value Record The value of U.S. beef exports set another record in November, topping $1 billion for the second time in 2021. USDA data compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation says November pork exports were lower than the previous year, but year-to-date export value maintained a record value pace. November beef exports totaled over 123,600 metric tons, up seven percent from 2020 and the fourth-largest monthly volume in the post-BSE era. The value was $1.05 billion, 49 percent higher year-over-year. Year-to-date exports through November were on a record volume pace at 1.32 million metric tons. Pork exports were over 237,500 metric tons, down eight percent from last year and a six percent reduction in value at $658 million. Through November, pork export volume fell slightly below the record pace of 2020 at 2.71 million metric tons. The value of pork exports through November reached $7.5 billion, nearing the annual record of $7.71 billion set in 2020. *********************************************************************************** Brazil Soybeans Estimates Drop Brazilian soybean crop estimates dropped sharply last week because of weather concerns. A mix of conditions that are too dry in some areas and too wet in others means the Brazil crop will no longer be a record-setter. Successful Farming says the crop should come in around 133.4 million metric tons, down from a previous forecast at 144.7 million metric tons. Rio Grande (GRAHN-day) do Sul, the third-largest bean producer in Brazil, recently saw nine out of the ten hottest temps in the country during the previous week. The top temperature was 102.2 degrees. About 15 percent of the soybeans are blooming going into the key crop development period in January and February. In Parana (pair-ah-NAH), the second-largest producing state in the country, only half of the crop is pod-filling and big losses are ahead. USDA expects Brazil to produce 144 million metric tons of soybeans, but that estimate came from the December WASDE report. *********************************************************************************** USDA Funding Will Continue to Support School Meals Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the agency made an adjustment in school meal reimbursements to help schools continue to serve children healthy meals. The move will add an estimated $750 million more into school meal programs across the nation. The goal is to make sure that federal reimbursements keep pace with food and operational costs, while ensuring children can continue to get healthy meals at school. “USDA understands that balancing the pressures of COVID-19 with the need to feed children nutritious meals continue to be a priority for schools across the country,” Vilsack says. School lunch reimbursement rates don’t typically increase during the school year. However, because of COVID, USDA allowed schools to benefit from the highest rates available, which are typically reserved for USDA’s Summer Food Service Program. The adjustment will help ensure that the purchasing power of schools can keep pace with the cost of living. *********************************************************************************** Sorghum Crop Insurance Price Election Goes Higher The USDA’s Risk Management Agency has set the sorghum crop insurance price election for reinsurance year 2022 at 99.6 percent of the price of corn, compared to 96 percent for 2021. The price election means that farmers can insure grain sorghum at a price almost identical to that of corn. “This price election gives sorghum producers their largest amount of price protection relative to corn in the history of the federal crop insurance program,” says National Sorghum Producers CEO Tim Lust. “”We are pleased that farmers will have the protection they need to meet the demand currently driving historically strong prices in the marketplace.” The sorghum crop insurance price election formula is based on a 10-year rolling average of actual sorghum bids at elevators across the U.S. A change to the formula in the early 2000s added $98 million in value to U.S. sorghum producers through increased crop insurance coverage. *********************************************************************************** American Cheese Producers and Dairy Farmers Get Court Win The U.S. District Court in eastern Virginia issued ruling that “gruyere” (groo-YAIR) is a generic style of cheese that can come from anywhere. The decision says all cheesemakers, not just those in France and Switzerland, can continue to create and market cheese under that common name. The Consortium for Common Food Names, the U.S. Dairy Export Council, the National Milk Producers Federation, and a coalition of dairy stakeholders prevailed in their battle to use the generic name. “This is a landmark victory for American dairy farmers and cheesemakers, and it sets a vital precedent in the much larger, ongoing battle over food names in the United States,” says Jaime (HY-me) Castaneda (Cast-ah-NAH-dah), Executive Director of the CCFN. The court says in its ruling that the arguments of the French and Swiss were insufficient, and that CCFN presented overwhelming evidence that cheese buyers in the U.S. understand gruyere to be a generic term with no correlation to where it’s produced. *********************************************************************************** Pork Industry Grooms Future Leaders The National Pork Producers Council and the National Pork Board kicked off the 2022 class of the Pork Leadership Institute. The institute is a jointly-funded and organized training curriculum designed to develop future leaders in the U.S. pork industry. The year-long program consists of five learning sessions between February and November. Participants will learn about the legislative and regulatory processes, the importance of international trade, the roles of national and state pork associations, and issues facing producers. They are also trained to be spokespeople for the pork industry and grassroots advocates able to disseminate pro-active, targeted messages about the industry. “PLI is vital to the success of pork producers because it develops knowledge advocates for the pork industry, and most importantly, future industry leaders,” says NPPC CEO Bryan Humphries. “Graduates are able to tell the pork industry’s story from Main Street to the nation’s capital.” Each year, between 15-20 producers are selected for the program.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday January 10, 2022 |


Monday Watch List Markets Traders will return from the weekend Sunday evening with eyes on the latest weather forecasts from South America. USDA may or may not have an export sale announcement at 8 a.m. CST and the weekly grain inspections report is due out at 10 a.m. Weather An arctic trough over the Eastern U.S. is providing for some below normal temperatures to many places east of the Rockies on Monday, but it is also dry outside of lake-effect snow around the Great Lakes. A warmup is starting in the High Plains today but will spread throughout much of the country on Tuesday and Wednesday, lasting through the rest of the week.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday January 7, 2022 |


Food Price Index Falls in December The latest Food Price index declined 1.2 points in December but remained 23 percent higher than a year ago. The index from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations averaged 133.7 points in December. Except for dairy, the values of all sub-indices registered monthly declines. For 2021 as a whole, the index averaged 125.7 points, as much as 28.1 percent above year-ago levels, with all sub-indices averaging sharply higher than in the previous year. The Cereal Price Index averaged 140.5 points in December, down 0.9 points from November. The Vegetable Oil Price Index averaged 178.5 points in December, shedding 6.1 points from recent record highs. The Dairy Price Index averaged 128.2 points in December, up 2.3 points and 17.4 percent above its December 2020 value. The Meat Price Index averaged 111.3 points in December, 17.4 percent above its year-earlier value. And the Sugar Price Index averaged 116.4 points, down 33.1 percent from November and a five-month low. *********************************************************************************** Grocers Allege Pork Price Fixing in Lawsuit Leading grocery store operators ended 2021 with a lawsuit against the pork industry for allegedly conspiring to control the industry and raise prices. Kroger, Albertsons, Hy-Vee and others filed the lawsuit against Hormel, JBS USA, Seaboard Foods, Smithfield, Triumph and Tyson, among others last week. Law Street Media reports the plaintiffs alleged the defendants and Indiana Packers Corporation entered “into a conspiracy from at least 2009 to the present to fix, raise, maintain, and stabilize the price of pork.” And the grocery store operators are seeking damages to the maximum extent allowed under law. The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court of Northern California. The petitioners claim Agri Stats, an ag industry data provider, held a central role in the conspiracy. The complaint claims that beginning in 2008 or before, Agri Stats proposed a series of benchmarks to the pork industry to monitor pork production as a way to "increase their profits in the sale of pork and not to increase their pork production." *********************************************************************************** New Insurance Option for Conservation-Minded Corn Farmers Corn farmers who split-apply nitrogen have another option for insurance coverage. USDA’s Risk Management Agency this week announced the details of its Post Application Coverage Endorsement, or PACE, in certain states for non-irrigated corn. The program provides coverage for producers who split-apply nitrogen to save money, a practice also considered better for natural resources. PACE provides payments for the projected yield lost when producers are unable to apply the post nitrogen application during the V3-V10 corn growth stages due to field conditions created by weather. PACE is offered in select counties in 11 states, including Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. It is available as supplemental coverage for Yield Protection, Revenue Protection, and Revenue Protection with Harvest Price Exclusion policies. To split-apply nitrogen, growers make multiple fertilizer applications during the growing season rather than providing all the crop’s nitrogen requirements with a single treatment before or during planting. *********************************************************************************** Dry Conditions to Continue for Missouri River Basin The 2021 calendar year runoff for the Missouri River basin above Sioux City, Iowa, was 15.2 million acre-feet, 59 percent of average. The ongoing drought shows no relief in sight, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is predicting runoff into the mainstem reservoir system will remain below normal. Officials say 2021 was the 10th lowest annual runoff for the Missouri River Basin in 123 years of record-keeping. Based on current runoff trends, soil moisture, and plains and mountain snowpack, the dry conditions are expected to continue, as mountain snowpack is accumulating at a below-average rate. The 2022 runoff in the Missouri River basin above Sioux City, Iowa, is forecast to be 21.7 million acre-feet, 84 percent of average. Navigation flow support for the Missouri River is forecasted to be at minimum levels for the first half of the 2022 season, which begins April 1 at the mouth of the river near St. Louis, Missouri. *********************************************************************************** 2020 Marks Decade of Decline in WIC Participation USDA’s Economic Research Service says participation in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children is declining. Fiscal year 2020 marked the 10th consecutive fiscal year WIC participation declined. On average, 6.2 million people a month participated in WIC in fiscal year 2020, a two percent drop from 2019 and a 32 percent drop from 2010. About half of all participants in 2020 were children one through four years of age, while women, 23 percent, and infants, 25 percent, made up the other half of participants. The reduction was more pronounced for women and infants than for children. Participation fell five percent for women and four percent for infants from the previous fiscal year, whereas the number of children participating fell by one percent. The program provides supplemental food packages, nutrition education, breastfeeding support, and health care referrals at no cost to low-income pregnant and postpartum women, infants, and children up to five years of age who are at nutritional risk. *********************************************************************************** U.S. Irrigated Acreage Shifting Eastward Regional distribution of U.S. irrigated acreage changed significantly from 1949 to 2017, according to data updated by USDA’s Economic Research Service this week. Trends in irrigated cropping patterns, technological advances, water availability, and changing weather drove the evolution. The arid Mountain and Pacific regions consistently irrigated the most farmland until 2007, when irrigated acreage in the Northern Plains region surpassed acreage in the Pacific region. Irrigated acreage in the Mountain and Pacific regions remained relatively constant over the 70-year period. The Northern Plains region has experienced the most substantial increase in irrigated acreage, expanding from less than two million acres in 1949 to nearly 12 million in 2017. The expansion of irrigated acreage in the Northern Plains is related to advances in groundwater pumping technologies, the diffusion of center pivot irrigation application systems, and the region’s abundant aquifer resources. The Southern Plains region experienced similar growth in irrigation until the 1980s, when dwindling groundwater supplies resulted in irrigated acreage declines.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday January 7, 2022 |


Friday Watch List Markets At 7:30 a.m. CST Friday, the U.S. Labor Department will have its monthly update on nonfarm payrolls and the U.S. unemployment rate for December -- two factors that will play an important part in Fed policy. Traders will continue to keep close watch on the latest weather forecasts and any news pertaining to export sales. Weather The Pacific Northwest region has been under near-constant bombardment by precipitation over the last couple of weeks. That continues on Friday before a drier trend develops for at least several days. The precipitation has been able to build up snowpack and reduce drought in the region quite significantly. Warmer temperatures are flowing up through the Plains as arctic air continues to shift eastward through the country.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday January 6, 2022 |


Reduced Stigma Regarding Farmer Mental Health Farmers and people in rural areas are more comfortable discussing stress and mental health challenges. The stigma around seeking help or treatment for mental health issues is decreasing, but a new Farm Bureau research poll says it is still a factor. “Farm Bureau has been encouraging conversations to help reduce the stigma around farmer stress and mental health through our Farm State of Mind Campaign,” says Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall. “The poll shows we’re making a difference, but there is still work to do.” Among the poll responses, four in five rural adults and 92 percent of farmers and farmworkers say they’d be comfortable talking with family and friends about solutions to stress or a mental health condition. The number of farmers and farmworkers who are comfortable talking to friends and family has grown 22 percent since April 2019. However, 59 percent of respondents say the mental health stigma is still there. *********************************************************************************** Soy Checkoff Sets New Strategic Plan to Bring Value to Farmers Farmer-leaders of the United Soybean Board announced a new strategic plan prioritizing sustainable soy solutions for global and domestic customers. The plan will also ensure value and profitability for U.S. soybean farmers. USB Chair Ralph Lott says farmer investments have fueled “groundbreaking progress” promoting U.S. soybeans. “We also know that in the years ahead, the soy industry will be faced with compelling opportunities and tough decisions,” Lott says. “The new strategic plan sets a clear path to navigate what’s ahead, capturing value, and increasing profits for farmers.” The plan will guide investments in research, education, and promotion across three priority areas: Infrastructure and Connectivity, Health and Nutrition, and Innovation and Technology. Those are divided into two additional areas of focus; supply and demand; and measured by resilience, differentiation, and reputation. “These priority areas drive our decisions and focus our efforts to create the most value and positive impact for every soybean farmer,” Lott adds. *********************************************************************************** Deere Introduces First Fully Autonomous Tractor Deere and Company helped mechanize agriculture with the first commercially successful steel plow in 1837. They recently went in a different direction by unveiling another transformative machine: a fully autonomous tractor. Wired says the new 8R tractor uses six pairs of cameras and advanced artificial intelligence to navigate its environment. It can find its way to a field when given a route and coordinates. Once there, it can plow soil or plant seeds without instructions, and the machine avoids the obstacles in each field. Farmers can also give the tractor new instructions through a smartphone app. Other tractors on the market can operate autonomously, but only in limited ways. They can follow a defined route through GPS but can’t avoid obstacles. Others feature limited autonomy but still need a farmer behind the wheel. Deere hasn’t announced how much it will cost. The 8R relies on neural network algorithms to interpret information from the cameras. *********************************************************************************** Farmers Continue to Expand Cover Crops Farmers continue to plant more cover crops. Reuters says those include everything from grasses like rye and oats to legumes (leh-GOOMS) and radishes. Some of them get converted to biofuels or fed to cattle, but most aren’t harvested because they’re more valuable when they break down in the soil. Rob Myers of the Center for Regenerative Agriculture estimates cover crops grew to 22 million acres between 2017 and 2021. That’s a 43 percent increase from the 15.4 million acres that farmers planted in 2017. “There are so many things pushing cover crops forward,” Myers says. “Carbon payments are the newest thing as we see increasing farmer interest in maintaining soil health.” He estimates that farmers will plant between 40 and 50 million acres every year by the end of the decade. Greater cover crop demand could be ahead as companies launch carbon farming programs that pay growers to capture carbon through cover crops and reduced soil tillage. *********************************************************************************** Relief in Sight for Drought-Stricken California? Record snowfall in the western U.S. that closed roads and delayed flights also brought some good news for California and its long-term drought. MSN says officials note that the state’s snowpack is now well above normal in the mountains. Snowpack in some parts of the Sierra Nevada Mountain range is more than 200 percent above the average at this time of year. California’s Department of Water Resources says the statewide snowpack is 160 percent above normal. The Sierra Nevada supplies almost a third of the state’s water needs once the snow runs down into reservoirs and aqueducts. “We couldn’t have had a better December in terms of snow and rain in the Sierra,” says Karla Nemeth, director of the DWR. Despite the December snowfall, the DWR warns against complacency. The state still needs significant precipitation in January and February to make up for the two previous winters, the fifth and second-driest on record. *********************************************************************************** Sorghum Exports Close 2021 on a High Note USDA data issued on December 16 showed that U.S. sorghum’s new export sales during the prior week were a marketing-year high of 16.6 million bushels. The vast majority of that sale went to China. The sales reported during the week of December 16 were up 27 percent from the prior week and 57 percent higher than the previous four-week average. In addition to setting a marketing-year high for sorghum sales, 12.4 million bushels were shipped to China, another marketing year high. “As of the December 16 export report, demand for U.S. sorghum, particularly from China, remains very strong,” says National Sorghum Producers CEO Tim Lust. “This marketing-year high is very assuring as we wrap up one growing season and head into the next.” Purchases of sorghum as of December 16 hit just over 200 million bushels, 63 percent of the December WASDE estimates, with eight months left in the marketing year.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday January 6, 2022 |


Thursday Watch List Markets USDA's weekly export sales report is due out at 7:30 a.m. CST Thursday, the same time as weekly jobless claims, a report on the November trade deficit and an update of the U.S. Drought Monitor. November U.S. factory orders follow at 9 a.m. and the Energy Department's report on natural gas storage is at 9:30 a.m. Weather An upper-level impulse is meeting up with the arctic front moving through the Midsouth and is starting to produce wintry precipitation for the region. Some heavy snow and mixed precipitation will cause lots of hazards for those living there and then up through the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast tonight into Friday. The system will continue to push the arctic front south to the Gulf of Mexico while the cold continues to produce some dangerous wind chills in the Plains and Midwest.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday January 5, 2022 |


Corn, Biofuel Groups Testify to EPA on RFS Corn and biofuel groups Tuesday made comments to the Environmental Protection Agency regarding its Renewable Fuel Standard proposal. EPA proposes Renewable Volume Obligations that Growth Energy says would undercut blending requirements for biofuel in 2021, and retroactively waive 2.96 billion gallons from 2020 RVOs finalized almost two years ago. Under the proposal, 2022 volumes return to statutory levels, and the administration pledges to deny all improper small refinery exemption applications. Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor welcomed some of the changes but says the proposal “sets an extremely troubling precedent of revising finalized volumes for 2020 and back-setting volumes for 2021 rather than driving growth in renewable fuels.” National Corn Growers Association President Chris Edgington says corn farmers produce low-carbon ethanol that offers immediate emissions reductions allowing agriculture to help address climate change. Edgington adds, "our success helping you meet these commitments depends on EPA sending a clear and firm message that volume requirements will be enforced.” *********************************************************************************** U.S. Dairy Calls USMCA Dispute Panel Decision a Win The U.S. dairy industry celebrated a decision published Tuesday, which found Canada is improperly restricting access to its market for U.S. dairy products. The restrictions violate U.S.-Mexico Canada Agreement tariff-rate quota commitments. The case is the first of any kind brought before a USMCA Dispute Settlement Panel and was launched with broad bipartisan support last May. National Milk Producers Federation President and CEO Jim Mulhern says, "The United States and Canada negotiated specific market access terms covering a wide variety of dairy products, but instead of playing by those mutually agreed-upon rules, Canada ignored its commitments." TRQs are a system of tariffs negotiated between countries that allow a predetermined quantity of imports at a specified tariff rate, where that rate is often at or near zero. Any additional imports above that predetermined quantity are subject to significantly higher tariffs. In the case of U.S. dairy products, the additional Canadian tariffs typically price U.S. dairy products out of Canada’s market. *********************************************************************************** Farmer Sentiment Rises on Strengthening Current Financial Position For only the second time since May, the Purdue University-CME Group Ag Economy Barometer rose in December. This month's index climbed to 125, nine points higher than in November. The Index of Current Conditions and the Index of Future Expectations rose in December, attributable mostly to an improved perspective on current conditions in the agricultural sector. A more positive outlook regarding their farm's financial situation by ag producers was a major contributor to this month's rise. However, farmers are concerned about rising input costs, with nearly half of producers choosing it as a top concern for 2022 and supply chain issues continue to haunt the nation's agricultural sector. Forty-five percent of respondents said tight farm machinery inventories impacted their machinery purchase plans, and 39 percent said they’ve experienced difficulty in purchasing crop inputs for the 2022 crop season. The index is calculated each month from 400 U.S. farmer responses to a telephone survey. *********************************************************************************** Dallas Federal Reserve Bank Ag Survey Shows Record Yields, Prices The Dallas Federal Reserve Bank 2021 fourth-quarter survey reports improved conditions across most regions of the Eleventh District. Survey respondents noted record yields and prices for corn and cotton crops. However, they also noted extremely dry conditions and increased input costs as major concerns for 2022. Strong demand for agricultural real estate continues, with rural real estate prices increasing almost weekly in some regions. Demand for agricultural loans increased for the first time since third quarter 2015. Loan renewals or extensions fell for the fourth quarter in a row, while the loan repayment rate continued to increase. Loan volume decreased for feeder cattle loans, dairy loans and crop storage loans compared with a year ago. Meanwhile, irrigated, dryland and ranchland values rose during the quarter and increased year over year in Texas and southern New Mexico. The Dallas Federal Reserve district includes Southern Louisiana, Southern New Mexico and all of Texas. *********************************************************************************** R-CALF Recognizes Progress but Skeptical of White House Action Plan R-CALF calls the White House action plan for the meat supply chain progress, but the group remains skeptical about the plan. The effort includes government funding intended to slowly rebuild the competitive marketing channels for cattle and beef, which has created what the administration calls a "bottleneck" in the nation's food supply chain. R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard says, "We recognize that this level of government involvement is unprecedented, and that it's critical for reversing the decades of inattention." But Bullard says his group remains skeptical about the plan's strategy for addressing decades of nonenforcement of U.S. antitrust laws and the 100-year-old Packers and Stockyards Act. R-CALF has waited for years, and by 2019 “it was clear the government was disinclined to protect the cattle industry” from alleged packer buying practices. R-CALF alleged the practices were harming cattle producers in the group’s private antitrust lawsuit filed against the largest packers in April of that year. *********************************************************************************** USDA Announces Approval of D-SNAP for Kentucky Disaster Areas Low-income Kentucky residents recovering from severe weather outbreaks could be eligible for a helping hand from USDA’s Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The Department of Agriculture Tuesday announced an estimated 14,000 households in 14 counties may be eligible to receive the food assistance. The program is for residents impacted by tornadoes, flooding and wind that began December 10, 2021. Households that may not normally be eligible under regular Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program rules may qualify for D-SNAP, if they meet the disaster income limits and have qualifying disaster-related expenses. To be eligible for D-SNAP, a household must either live or work in an identified disaster area and have been affected by the disaster. Eligible households will receive one month of benefits equal to the maximum amount for a SNAP household of their size to meet temporary food needs as they settle back home following the disaster.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday January 5, 2022 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets ADP's monthly report on private sector employment is due out at 7:15 a.m. CST Wednesday, a possible clue to Friday's unemployment numbers. At 9:30 a.m., the U.S. Energy Department's weekly inventory report will be released, including the latest statistics for ethanol production. At 1 p.m. CST, the Federal Reserve will release its minutes from the latest FOMC meeting. Weather A system in the Great Lakes is producing some light snow, but the arctic weather that is rushing in behind it is spreading from the Northern Plains through the rest of the Plains and Midwest on Wednesday. Strong winds are accompanying the cold, making for some dangerous wind chills and blowing snow around and reducing visibility, creating some blizzard conditions.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday January 4, 2022 |


Biden Announces Meat Supply Chain Action Plan President Joe Biden and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack met with farmers and ranchers at the White House Monday to announce a meat supply chain action plan. The plan includes four core strategies for creating a more competitive, fair, resilient meat and poultry sector, with better earnings for producers and more choices and affordable prices for consumers. The core strategies include expanding independent processing capacity, supporting workers at independent processors, strengthening rules to protect farmers and consumers, and promoting vigorous and fair enforcement of the existing competition laws. That includes issuing new and stronger rules under the Packers and Stockyards Act and new product of USA labeling rules so “consumers can better understand where their meat comes from.” The action plan includes $1 billion to expand independent processing capacity. The White House calls the meat and poultry processing sector a textbook example of an industry dominated by a handful of large companies, with lack of competition hurting consumers, producers, and the economy. *********************************************************************************** Industry Reacts to Meat Supply Chain Action Report Farm groups mostly welcomed the Biden administration’s meat supply chain action plan Monday. American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall says his organization “appreciates the Biden administration’s continued work to ensure a fair and competitive meat processing system.” The U.S. Cattlemen’s Association also welcomed the action plan, which they say will bring transparency and true price discovery to the cattle marketplace and truth in labeling through the closure of the Product of the USA loophole. However, the meatpacking industry disagrees. The North American Meat Institute claims the government intervention will not help consumers or producers. NAMI President Julie Anna Potts says, “The Biden Administration continues to ignore the number one challenge to meat and poultry production: labor shortages.” Further, the organization claims the Biden administration is “conveniently ignoring” the fact the beef industry has changed little for almost 30 years, and that prices reflect supply and demand in a healthy market. *********************************************************************************** New WOTUS Slated for February Unveil Politico reports the White House and the Environmental Protection Agency target February for the administration’s WOTUS debut. WOTUS, the Waters of the United States rule, continues its seesaw reputation since first announced during the Obama administration. The Trump administration overhauled the rule, and now, the Biden administration is doing the same. The EPA moved last month to formally remove the Trump-era rule, known as the Navigable Waters protection rule. However, the rule hasn’t been in use since a federal judge in Arizona threw it out at the end of August. The American Farm Bureau said of the Trump-era rule, that it "protects water resources, respects the law and provides greater clarity so the agencies, farmers and the public can identify regulated federal waterways.” EPA Administrator Michael Regan has said he sees flaws in both versions of the rule, and wants a “durable” definition. The comment period for the new rule closes on February 7, 2022. *********************************************************************************** Wheat and Wheat Flour Prices Surge Wheat prices at the farm level rose substantially in 2021, but the changes did not result in correspondingly higher prices for consumer products made from wheat. USDA’s Economic Research Service Monday reported cash wheat prices in Kansas City, Missouri—the market price that most closely reflects the prices mills pay for wheat—were up by more than 30 percent in 2021, from the same time in 2020. The Producer Price Index for flour milling—a measure of how wholesale flour prices change over time—also rose, registering an 18 percent year-on-year increase in 2021. In contrast, prices U.S. consumers paid for wheat-containing products, as measured by the Consumer Price Index, for cereal and bakery products, is projected up two percent. The year-to-year increase is below the overall inflation rate for 2021 and similar to the previous year’s gains. The data is in line with historical precedent in which commodity prices usually represent a small share of the consumer food dollar. *********************************************************************************** France Expands Bird Flu Control and Prevention Measures The French Ministry of Agriculture last week expanded the control and prevention measures of high pathogen avian influenza. France is supervising the movements of poultry in a dense breeding area following several detections of the virus and will implement an economic support system for breeders in the area. The measures apply in a larger perimeter to limit the risks of contamination in a breeding area at high risk of spreading the virus. Movements in the new restricted area will comply with a health protocol ensuring the absence of the spread of the disease, established by the operators and validated by decentralized services. Since December 16, when the first H5N1 outbreak was confirmed at a duck farm, 22 new outbreaks have been identified. The affected farms were depopulated each time, then disinfected. A protection zone of three kilometers and a surveillance zone of ten kilometers were set up around each farm. *********************************************************************************** 2022 May Bring More Sharp Increases to Gas Prices GasBuddy reports 2022 may bring more sharp increases to fuel prices, following the steep hikes of 2021. A national average of $4 per gallon is possible this spring, largely due to pandemic recovery and rising demand before relief, or additional oil supply, arrives later in 2022. GasBuddy expects the 2022 yearly national average gas price will rise from 2021’s $3.02 to $3.41 per gallon. The national average price of gasoline is forecast to climb early in the year, peaking as high as $4.13 per gallon in June. After a hot start to the summer, prices should begin to decline, falling back to potentially just under $3 per gallon by the holiday season. GasBuddy’s Patrick De Haan says, “While Americans are likely to see higher prices in 2022, it’s a sign that the economy continues to recover from COVID-19.” The nation’s yearly gasoline bill will rise to nearly $485 billion, an increase of nearly $80 billion from last year.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday January 4, 2022 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets The Institute of Supply Management's index of U.S. manufacturing is due out at 9 a.m. CST Tuesday, a widely watched indicator of economic activity. Traders will continue to examine the latest weather forecasts and watch for any news of export sales. OPEC meets Tuesday and is expected to stick to its plan of increasing production by 400,000 barrels per day. Statistics from the International Energy Agency show OPEC's actual production short of its targets. Weather A blast of cold, arctic air will spread into the Northern Plains on Tuesday and come with some snow and strong winds as well. The snow and cold will spread into the Central Plains and Upper Midwest Tuesday night and spread through most of the country throughout the week.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday January 3, 2022 |


Monday Watch List Markets On the first day of 2022, traders will once again check the latest weather forecasts and watch for a possible export sale announcement at 8 a.m. CST. A report on November construction spending is due out at 9 a.m., followed by USDA's weekly report of grain export inspections at 10 a.m. At 2 p.m. CST, NASS will have its monthly Fats and Oils report, showing the latest soybean crush total. Weather A system moved through the country over the weekend and if it did not bring moderate precipitation, it at least cooled off temperatures across the southern states. The last of that system is moving through the Mid-Atlantic on Monday and the arctic cold will be brief behind it. But a new blast of arctic air is building in western Canada that will move through the country later this week. Those needing to work outdoors and livestock will enjoy a brief warmup before it moves through. The arctic blast will be brief as well, at least.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday December 31, 2021 |


Agriculture Waits for Big Decisions on Supreme Court Cases The first week of the new year could be a big one for several agricultural groups and stakeholders. The Supreme Court will likely hear several high-stakes cases that could affect America’s farmers and ranchers. A DTN report says the court recently distributed three of four agriculture cases scheduled for a January 7 conference. Those high-profile petitions include challenges to California’s Prop 12, an appeals court ruling that eliminated year-round E15 ethanol, and a long-fought Clean Water Act case dealing with Environmental Protection Agency authority over farmers and ranchers. Bayer has also filed a court petition on the Roundup settlement case that’s worth many millions of dollars. While the case hasn’t yet been distributed for a Supreme Court conference, the court recently invited the U.S. Solicitor General to file a brief in the case, asking for more information. Justices hold a conference every Friday during their session to decide what petitions they’ll accept. *********************************************************************************** The Price of Food in 2022 The new year will see inflation rates that will continue to impact the food industry and cause prices to rise at grocery stores across the country. Research firm IRI says food prices are estimated to rise by five percent during the first half of 2022. However, the level of increases will depend on each grocery store and its location. The IRI report says price increases are showing up in everyday items like breakfast meats, frozen poultry, and pet food. Prices of produce like potatoes and celery are expected to increase because of higher freight costs. Fortune.com says other factors contributing to the jump in the price of food are higher oil prices and companies that have to pass on the cost of more expensive transportation. Major food distribution companies recently announced price hikes heading into 2022. General Mills, Kraft Heinz, and others are raising prices on candy, cereal, Jell-O, and many other products. *********************************************************************************** Ethanol Production Rises Slightly The Energy Information Administration says ethanol output rose slightly week-to-week while stockpiles declined. Production of the biofuel increased to an average of 1.059 million barrels a day during the week ending on December 24. That’s up from an average of 1.051 million barrels a day during the previous week. In the Midwest, which is by far the biggest-producing region, output increased to an average of 1.001 million barrels per day, up from 991 million barrels a week earlier. That was where all the gains took place as East Coast and West Coast production remained at 12,000 barrels a day and 10,000 barrels, respectively. Production in the Rocky Mountain and Gulf Coast regions dropped to 23,000 barrels a day and 13,000 barrels, respectively. Ethanol inventories during the week ending on December 24 fell to 20.76 million barrels, down from 20.705 million the week before. That’s the lowest level since the week ending on December 3. *********************************************************************************** Drought Monitor Shows Slight Decrease in Midwest Dryness The latest U.S. drought monitor shows that mostly dry weather with much-above normal temperatures persisted through the central and southern Great Plains recently. As of December 28, month-to-date temperatures in the southcentral U.S. were more than seven degrees above normal. Widespread precipitation in the Midwest supported a slight decrease in dry soils across parts of Minnesota. However, long-term deficits continue in other parts of the Upper Mississippi River Valley. Western Wisconsin also saw small improvements, while moderate to severe drought expanded slightly in southern Wisconsin. A small area of severe drought showed up west of St. Louis, while parts of Missouri saw an increase in abnormal dryness. Another expansion of drought classification took place in Kansas due to worsening soil-moisture conditions. The Drought Monitor says increasing snowpack led to improving drought conditions in the Central Rockies. The Monitor also showed a slight decrease in abnormal dryness and moderate drought across central and eastern North Dakota.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday December 31, 2021 |


Friday Watch List Markets Don't pop the champagne just yet -- U.S. grain and livestock futures have one more day of trading Friday and will close at normal times. There are no official reports on the docket and USDA offices will be closed. With few players minding the markets and trading volume apt to be low, be careful of pre-holiday manipulation. Grain futures resume trading Sunday evening at 7 p.m. CST. Weather A system in the Southwest will start to move into Texas Friday night. Ahead of it, cold arctic air is flowing south through the Plains and showers will develop later in the day along and south of a front from Texas through the Ohio Valley. Freezing rain and moderate to heavy snow will develop across the Central Plains tonight and the whole system will spread eastward through the weekend. Meanwhile, cold arctic air will flow in behind the system with dangerous wind chills. Some precipitation will get into the southwestern Plains where it is desperately needed, but amounts are going to be on the lighter side and unable to move the needle on the ongoing drought.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday December 30, 2021 |


China to Approve Domestic GMO Corn Varieties The Chinese government considering safety approval for more genetically modified corn varieties put out by its domestic producers. Bloomberg says that could lead to planting more of these crops within the world’s top corn buyer. China’s agriculture ministry is looking for public opinion on the safety approval of three GMO corn varieties and seven new GMO cotton strains. Beijing allows imports of GMO crops for processing, and they can’t be used as seeds. Genetically modified crops are grown by many of the world’s top crop producers, including the U.S., Brazil, and Argentina. Other countries limit their use due to health and environmental concerns. China’s move comes as the country has bought large amount of grain supplies from around the globe to feed their hog herd, which is still recovering from African Swine Fever. Beijing focused more on its own food security through the past year, including more self-sufficiency in staple grains. *********************************************************************************** New York Will Require Biofuel Blending in Heating Oil New York will soon be the biggest state to require biodiesel to be blended into its heating oil. Recent legislation says that starting in July 2022, petroleum-based heating oil sold in the state will get blended with increasing amounts of biodiesel. The goal of the move is to help New York get to its goal of lowering greenhouse gas emissions. Biodiesel industry advocates estimate that the fuel will cut New York’s annual petroleum diesel consumption by about 200 million gallons every year. That will drop the state’s annual carbon emissions by roughly one million metric tons. New York’s governor says the bill is a step toward meeting the goals of the state’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. All heating oil sold in New York must have at least five percent biodiesel by July 1, 10 percent by 2025, and 20 percent by 2030. Blending requirements are already in effect in Long Island and New York City. *********************************************************************************** Farmland Prices in 2022 U.S. farmland supply-and-demand is different than in recent years. As commodity prices rose this year and investor interest returned to the market, the supply of available farmland followed suit. Randy Dickhut of Farmers National Company tells Ag Web Dot Com that over the past year, most of the Grain Belt saw increasing amounts of land getting sold. “A number of states saw at least a 10 percent rise in the number of transactions,” Dickhut says. Schrader Real Estate and Auction company tells Ag Web that his firm had twice as many sales above $10,000 an acre as they did in 2019. This year saw 60 percent more sales above $10,000 per acre than they did last year. Dickhut says if the factors supporting land prices stay pointed in the same direction, the market should stay firm and may even climb somewhat higher. “Things could change if those factors change, or unexpected events take place,” Dickhut says. *********************************************************************************** Consumer Spending on Food Dropped 10 Percent in 2020 During COVID-19 and the economic recession of 2020, the share of consumers’ disposable personal income spent on food dropped 10.1 percent from the previous year to 8.62 percent. The USDA says that’s the lowest share in the past 60 years. Disposable Personal Income is the amount of money that consumers have left to spend or save after paying taxes. The share of consumer DPI spend on food in the U.S. stayed steady for two decades. It dropped from 9.95 percent in 2000 to 9.58 percent in 2019. Consumers spent 1.4 percent more of their incomes on food bought for home consumption from 2019 to 2020. During the same period, they spent 22.2 percent less of their incomes outside of the home. Changes in percent of income spent on food in 2020 came about because of COVID-19-related closures and restrictions on food-away-from-home establishments, and the biggest increase in DPI in 20 years, thanks in part to stimulus payments and unemployment insurance.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday December 30, 2021 |


Thursday Watch List Markets There will be initial and continuing jobless claims and a Chicago Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) report out early. We will also be watching for any weather changes for South America, and we will watch for any new export sales and the weekly export sales out at 7:30 a.m. CT. Weather After some severe weather moved through on Wednesday, lingering showers continue in the Southeast on Thursday with some potential for localized flooding. Cold still remains across the northern tier of the country while dryness continues to hurt wheat in the southwestern Plains.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday December 29, 2021 |


More Planting, More Uncertainty Ahead The Wall Street Journal says farmers plan to plant more corn, soybeans, and wheat than last year, but they also face more uncertainty. The Wall Street Journal says a banner year for grain prices has U.S. farmers planting even more commodities than they did last year. However, high fertilizer prices, forecasts for more weather challenges, and the threat of China slowing its demand for global commodities may put a damper on the anticipation. “Row crops this year soared to highs not seen in years,” the Wall Street Journal article says. “Those highs came about because of surging global demand and inflation, so farmers will likely increase planting as they try to sustain the momentum of 2021.” However, analysts and investors say geopolitics may bring more volatility to prices next year. The biggest potential disruptions to international trade include U.S. and China tensions and the Russian troop buildup near Ukraine’s border. *********************************************************************************** U of Illinois Sees Higher Corn and Soybean Break-Even Prices The University of Illinois’ Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics set its corn and soybean break-even prices for 2022. Break-even prices farmers need to reach to cover their total cost of production are projected at $4.73 a bushel for corn and $11.06 a bushel for soybeans. These break-even prices are quite high compared to historical levels. From 2013 to 2021, actual break-even prices for corn averaged $4.00 a bushel, well below the 2022 projected level. The break-even prices for soybeans averaged $8.92 a bushel, well below the 2022 level. While many recent bids were above break-even levels, the higher break-evens present a risk in 2022 as corn and soybean production costs will increase to record levels. The factors pushing costs higher include high commodity prices, inflation pressures, and supply disruptions. By far, the input with the biggest cost increase will be fertilizer. The University of Illinois says commodity pricing some grain at current levels would be prudent. *********************************************************************************** Price of Food Moves Higher in November The USDA says the Consumer Price Index for Food moved higher in November, rising 0.5 percent from October to reach levels that are 6.1 percent higher than November 2020. The level of food price inflation varies depending on whether the food was purchased for consumption at home or away from home. The food-away-from-home, or restaurant purchases, CPI increased 0.6 percent in November 2021 and was 5.8 percent higher than November of last year. The food-at-home, or grocery store purchases, CPI increased 0.3 percent from October to November and was 6.4 percent higher than November 2020. So far this year, the year-to-date average food-at-home prices have increased 3.1 percent and food-away-from-home prices increased by 4.2 percent. The all-food Consumer Price Index combined to jump by an average of 3.6 percent. The beef and veal category had the biggest relative price increase of 8.7 percent. The vegetable category saw the smallest jump at 0.9 percent. *********************************************************************************** Weekly Wheat Export Inspection Numbers Rise The USDA says inspections for overseas wheat deliveries rose week-to-week while corn and bean assessments dropped. Wheat inspections during the seven days ending on December 23 totaled 271,350 metric tons. That’s up from almost 227,000 tons the week prior, but well below the 407,400 metric tons examined during the same week in 2020. Corn assessments totaled 719,000 metric tons, down from one million tons the previous week. It’s also down from the 1.27 million tons inspected during the same time in 2020. Soybean inspections came in at 1.58 million metric tons, down from 1.89 million the previous week. During the same week last year, the agency inspected 2.27 million metric tons for export. Since the current marketing year began, the USDA has inspected 12 million metric tons of corn for delivery, down from 14.1 million tons last year. Soybean inspections total 28.9 million tons, down from 37.5 million. Wheat inspections are at 11.9 million tons after 14.5.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday December 29, 2021 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets There are very few reports on the U.S. government docket on Wednesday, except for a pending home sales index report. We will be focused on primarily any weather updates from South America, and any new 8 a.m. export sales announcements. We will also be looking for the EIA's weekly ethanol production report. Weather A frontal boundary from north Texas up through the Ohio Valley is going to be the feature of the day as a system moves along it Wednesday. Thunderstorms will be aided by moisture from the Gulf of Mexico to produce potentially severe weather along and just south of the boundary across the Delta and Tennessee Valley, including potential for a few tornadoes. Cold conditions have spread a bit farther south and east with bone-chilling cold in the Canadian Prairies through the Northern Plains while heat remains south of the front.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday December 28, 2021 |


U.S. Hog Inventory Down Four Percent As of December 1, U.S. farms held 74.2 million hogs and pigs, a four percent drop from the same time in 2020. It’s also a one percent drop from September 1, 2021. Those numbers come from the latest Quarterly Hogs and Pigs Report published by the National Agricultural Statistics Service. Of those 74.2 million hogs and pigs, 68 million were market hogs, and just over six million were kept for breeding. Between September and November of this year, U.S. farmers weaned 33.7 million pigs, down four percent from the same period in 2020. Hog producers also weaned an average of 11.19 pigs per litter. U.S. hog producers intend to have 2.94 million sows farrow between December 2021 and February 2022. They’ll also have just over three million sows farrow from March to May 2022. Iowa had the largest inventory among the states at 23.8 million head, followed by Minnesota at 8.9 million. *********************************************************************************** Dairy Checkoff Drives 2021 Sales Growth Despite the challenges brought on by COVID-19, the Dairy Checkoff continued to help its foodservice partners to grow sales of U.S. dairy foods. Dairy Management Incorporated, the organization that oversees the checkoff, says more domestic dairy got shipped into the international marketplace in 2021. The checkoff continued its effort to connect with the Gen Z consumers, while the dairy industry’s sustainability journey reached new levels during a busy year. DMI CEO Barbara O’Brien says the dairy checkoff delivered on its mission to drive sales and trust. “We not only adapted to the realities of COVID, but we used it as an opportunity to become even more consumer-centric, more efficient, and more collaborative,” O’Brien says. She points out the continued success of the checkoff’s partnership with globally-recognized companies like Domino’s, Taco Bell, and McDonald’s. Overall dairy sales at those chains grew between three and six percent this year. *********************************************************************************** China’s Pork Production Increases Mean More Grain Imports A recent Bloomberg report says China, which consumes half the world’s pork, has a goal to be mostly self-sufficient in pork production. That means it will need more grain imports to feed the world’s biggest pig herd. China’s agriculture ministry says the country will maintain a target to produce 95 percent of their protein at home by 2025. It wants to be self-sufficient in poultry and eggs, 85 percent for beef and mutton, and 70 percent for dairy. Farm Policy News says the targets will likely bolster overseas purchases of soybeans and feed grains needed to fatten hogs, cattle, and poultry. China is already the world’s largest importer of soybeans and corn. The Asian nation has been purchasing unprecedented amounts in the past two years to help feed a hog herd recovering from Swine Fever. China’s president Xi (Zhee) Jinping recently urged his country to protect farmland and expand soybean and oil crops planting. *********************************************************************************** Kansas City Southern Railroad Sale Completed Kansas City Southern says its sale to Canadian Pacific Railway is officially complete. The deal is estimated to be worth $31 billion. CP President and CEO Keith Creel says it’s a historic day for both companies. “CPKC will become the backbone connecting our customers to new markets, enhancing competition in the U.S. rail network, and driving economic growth across North America,” Creel says. “All of this happens while we will deliver significant environmental benefits. We’re excited to be on a path to creating a truly unique North American railroad.” The Kansas City Southern board of directors and management team says they are proud of the countless contributions and achievements of all those who work for KCS. A company statement says, “We are excited for the possibilities that open to us through this combination with CP and look forward to the next chapter.” The companies await approval from the Surface Transportation Board allowing CP’s control of KCS railroads.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday December 28, 2021 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets There are very few reports on the U.S. government docket, but Tuesday will feature the S & P Case-Shiller home price index. We will be watching for any new sales announcements on Tuesday, and the updated South American weather forecast. Later Monday the CFTC will be out with their COT report and it will be interesting to see the fund positions. Weather A storm system is moving out of the Plains and through the Midwest on Tuesday. More widespread moderate precipitation is falling with this system than the one that moved through Sunday into Monday with snowfall impacts to more of the Midwest as well. Some light snowfall is moving through the Northern Plains, where temperatures have fallen and should remain well below normal. The southwestern Plains continue to get missed as drought builds throughout the region. Temperatures will remain tight across the middle of the country with a sharp gradient from cold in the northwest to warm in the southeast.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday December 27, 2021 |


N.C. “Right to Farm” Act Upheld in Court of Appeals A three-judge panel unanimously dismissed a challenge to the North Carolina “Right to Farm” Act. National Hog Farmer says the challenge got brought by the Rural Empowerment Association for Community Help, North Carolina Environmental Justice Community Action Network, and Waterkeeper Alliance in 2019. The ruling was similar to a decision made earlier this year by a special panel of three Superior Court Judges. In 2017, North Carolina lawmakers passed legislation to clarify and strengthen the state’s Right to Farm laws to protect and ensure farming can continue in the state. The Act first got passed in 1979 and then further strengthened in 2013. Legislators added more clarification in 2017 and 2018 after a federal judge allowed nuisance lawsuits to get filed against swine farms in federal court. This case got brought against the Right to Farm Act as a whole, so there is a possibility it could get challenged again in the future over a specific incident. *********************************************************************************** Ethanol Stocks Unexpectedly Decline American ethanol inventories took a surprising drop last week while production also fell. The Energy Information Administration says U.S. ethanol inventories totaled 20.7 million barrels during the week ending on December 17. That’s a drop of almost 200,000 barrels from the prior week. Dow Jones industrial analysts did a recent survey that found stocks forecast to rise anywhere from 200,000 barrels to over 300,000 barrels. Daily production also dropped during the week, with production down by 36,000 barrels per day to 1.05 million a day. Analysts had expected production to rise slightly from the previous week. The Midwest is by far the largest producing region in the country, but output still fell to 991,000 barrels a day, on average, from 1.025 million barrels the previous week. Output for the week ending December 17 was the lowest total in three weeks. Inventories were down narrowly, falling to 20.705 million barrels, down from 20.88 million barrels the previous week. *********************************************************************************** CA Farmers Lose Billions Over Supply Chain Challenges After already struggling with drought, California farmers have lost big overseas sales numbers because of a serious shortage of shipping containers brought on by COVID-19. A study from the University of California-Davis says the state’s farm belt lost $2.1 billion in exports during a five-month stretch this year because of “containergeddon.” A University of Connecticut study says the supply chain mess tying up world commerce has caused California growers 17 percent of their export sales from May to September. California nut tree farmers lost big, with estimates at $520 million, followed by the wine industry at $250 million and rice growers losing $120 million. Industry experts tell the Sacramento Bee that some export sales are gone and not just delayed. The tree nut market is very seasonal, with big demand at Christmas time, which is now gone for good. The U.C.-Davis report says the losses this year are larger than the financial damage done during the 2018 U.S.-China trade war. *********************************************************************************** USCA Leads Effort to Feed Communities Hit by Tornadoes The U.S. Cattlemen’s Association’s Independent Beef Processing Committee led an effort to help communities hit hard by tornado damage. More than 800 pounds of beef is on its way to feed communities in Western Kentucky. At least 74 people, including 12 children, perished, and more than 100 people are still missing after the devastating storms hit the area. “We cannot imagine what these residents must be going through as they grieve those they have lost in the storms and survey the damage to their homes and communities,” says USCA President Brooke Miller. “Our members stepped up in the best way we know how by offering a small reprieve in the form of homegrown American beef.” The Louisville-based nonprofit called The Lee Initiative will host a Christmas Eve dinner for community residents and first responders using the beef donated by USCA members. “We hope this Christmas Eve dinner provides a touch of the holiday spirit,” Miller adds.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday December 27, 2021 |


Monday Watch List Markets Still full of figgy pudding, grain traders returned Sunday evening at 7 p.m. CST and will be hawking over the latest weather forecasts. On Monday, other than USDA's weekly report of grain inspections at 10 a.m. CST, there are no other significant reports scheduled beyond the chance of a possible export sales announcement at 8 a.m. CST. Weather A system in the Midwest is pulling north into Canada, but there is another one waiting in the West that will move through again on Tuesday. Heavy snow has already fallen with the first over North Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin. The second should produce more moderate to heavy snow a bit farther southeast Tuesday. Meanwhile, cold, arctic temperatures are spilling into the Northern Plains, where they will be all week. And very warm weather is found down South and Southeast to end the year.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday December 23, 2021 |


Massachusetts Delays Effective Date of Question 3 Following approval by the Massachusetts Legislature, Governor Charlie Baker Wednesday signed into law a measure delaying implementation of the state's Question 3 initiative. Delayed until August 15, 2022, the 2016 ballot initiative, like California’s Proposition 12, will ban the sale of pork from hogs born to sows housed in pens that don’t comply with Massachusetts’ new standards. It applies to any uncooked pork sold in the state, whether it’s produced there or outside its borders. Nearly all pork currently produced in the United States fails to meet Massachusetts’ arbitrary standards. National Pork Producers Council President Jen Sorenson says, "Question 3, like Prop. 12, lacks any scientific, technical or agricultural basis and only will inflict economic harm on America's pork producers." In addition to delaying the initiative's implementation, the compromise measure requires the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources to write rules and regulations for the law, in consultation with the state's attorney general within six months. ***********************************************************************************= Canada Reports Atypical BSE Case Canada recently reported a case of atypical bovine spongiform encephalopathy (in-sef-o-lop-athy) in an eight-year-old beef cow on a farm in Alberta. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency notified the World Organization for Animal Health of the case. Canada says the detection and reporting of an atypical BSE case will not affect the OIE negligible risk status of Canada, and market access for Canadian animals and beef products should be unaffected. However, South Korea, the fourth-largest beef importer in the world, suspended imports of Canadian beef and is seeking more information before lifting the suspension, according to Reuters. The case is atypical, meaning that it is a form of BSE that can occur naturally in older cattle, as opposed to classical BSE, caused by an animal eating contaminated feed. The cow was euthanized and did not enter the food system. The Canadian Government reports it is working with the beef industry to maintain the confidence of international trading partners. *********************************************************************************** Donations Announced for Tornado Outbreak, Kansas Wildfire Victims Several of the country's leading agricultural cooperatives are mobilizing to support communities impacted by severe weather that swept the South and Midwest this month. AgFirst, CoBank, Farm Credit East, Farm Credit Illinois, Farm Credit Mid-America, Farm Credit Services of America, Farm Credit of Western Arkansas, Land O'Lakes, and Rural 1st have committed nearly $700,000 to national, state and local charities. The beneficiaries are the American Red Cross, Feeding America, the Kentucky Agriculture Relief Fund, the Kentucky Rural Electric Disaster Fund, the Tennessee Farm Disaster Response Fund, the Mayfield Tornado Relief Fund, and Rotary International Dresden, Tennessee. Meanwhile, Tyson Foods donated $100,000 in wildfire relief to Kansas farmers and ranchers. The Kansas Livestock Foundation is accepting donations to support farmers and ranchers impacted by the fire. The fires burned an estimated 400,000 acres across four counties, a region home to several cattle suppliers for Tyson Foods. *********************************************************************************** Culver’s "Thank You Farmers" Donations Surpass $3.5 Million Culver's Thank You Farmers Project has now raised more than $3.5 million since its creation in 2013. In 2021, the program raised $500,000 toward its mission of advocating for the positive impact agriculture has on the world. Culver's reaches the milestone at a critical time, as the rapidly growing world population places increasing reliance on a climate-smart agricultural system to produce an abundant, nutritious food supply. Money raised through the project directly supports people making a positive impact in the industry, including those involved with local agriculture efforts in the communities Culver's calls home and larger, national projects advancing the industry. Culver's also took steps in 2021 to support the creation of a more resilient and sustainable agricultural future by joining the Decade of Ag Movement. The Decade of Ag Movement is the first food and agriculture sector-wide movement to create a shared vision for a climate-smart agricultural system.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday December 23, 2021 |


Thursday Watch List Markets With U.S. futures markets closed Christmas eve, Thursday is the final day of the trading week and starts with USDA's weekly export sales report at 7:30 a.m. CST, the same time as U.S. jobless claims, U.S. personal incomes, durable goods orders for November and an update of the U.S. Drought Monitor. U.S. new home sales for November and the University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index for December are both set for 9 a.m. USDA's quarterly hogs and pigs report and December 1 cattle on-feed estimates are both due out at 2 p.m. CST. U.S. grain futures close at normal times Thursday and resume trading at 7 p.m. CST Sunday, December 26. Weather A large system is brewing in the western states Thursday. A piece of it will move through the Canadian Prairies and there are a few showers moving through the northern Midwest, but dry and warm conditions are expected for most areas east of the Rockies.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday December 22, 2021 |


Deadline Extended to Apply for Pandemic Support for Organic Operations The Department of Agriculture Tuesday extended the deadline for farmers who are certified organic, or transitioning to organic, to apply for pandemic assistance. The Organic and Transitional Education and Certification Program helps cover certification and education expenses. The deadline to apply for 2020 and 2021 eligible expenses is now February 4, 2022, rather than the original deadline of January 7, 2022. Certified operations and transitional operations may apply for eligible expenses paid during the 2020, 2021 and 2022 fiscal years. Signup for the 2022 fiscal year will be announced at a later date. For each year, the program covers 25 percent of a certified operation’s eligible certification expenses, up to $250 per certification category – crop, livestock, wild crop, handling and State Organic Program fee. This includes application fees, inspection fees, USDA organic certification costs, state organic program fees and more. Producers can learn more and apply through their local FSA office. *********************************************************************************** Wages, Input Costs and Supply Chain Problems Pushing up Pork Prices but Not Profits University-level researchers say pork prices, not industry profits, are rising. Economists from Iowa State University and North Carolina State University released the report Tuesday with the National Pork Producers Council. The report shows prices are rising due to increased transportation costs, supply bottlenecks and delays and increased labor costs throughout the supply chain, caused or intensified by the COVID-19 pandemic. NPPC President Jen Sorenson says, “increased profits, whether at the retail, wholesale, or farm level, are likely not a significant contributor to the rising prices.” Other factors include a 2.5 percent loss in pork packing capacity that resulted from a federal court order stopping faster harvesting line speeds, higher energy costs, rising feed costs, and a shortage of workers, which hindered productivity and caused wages to increase. NPPC says the long-term outlook for labor, a critical factor in easing supply chain challenges and high prices, is dependent on future immigration policy and agricultural labor reform. *********************************************************************************** Stabenow: Trump USDA Picked Winners, Losers in Trade Damage Payments The nonpartisan Government Accountability Office released a report this week on the implementation of the Department of Agriculture’s Market Facilitation Program in 2018 and 2019. The report shows that payments by USDA significantly overestimated the actual trade damages suffered by producers of eligible commodities. The report also found the calculation method USDA used in 2019 for payments to non-specialty crop producers resulted in higher payments for Southern farmers than producers of the same crop in other parts of the country. U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, A Michigan Democrat and Chair of the Senate Ag Committee, responds, “This report confirms that the Trump USDA picked winners and losers in their trade aid programs and left everyone else behind.” Stabenow added that making larger payments to farmers in the South than farmers in the Midwest or elsewhere, regardless of whether those farmers actually experienced a larger loss, undermines the future ability to support farmers when real disasters occur. *********************************************************************************** USDA Awards $500,000 to Texas A&M for International Fellowship Program The Department of Agriculture Tuesday gifted Texas A&M University $500,000 this holiday season to establish international fellowship programs. The award is for the University’s Norman Borlaug Institute to establish and teach school-based programs in Guatemala through the International Agricultural Education Fellowship Program. Administered by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service, Administrator Daniel Whitley says the program will “help meet the food and fiber needs of Guatemalan communities.” That objective, according to Whitley, aligns with the Biden administration’s priorities for addressing the root causes of migration from the Northern Triangle region of Central America. Each Fellow will spend up to ten months in Guatemala during the 2022-2023 school year teaching agricultural skills and training youth at secondary schools and rural communities, activities that also support the U.S. Government Global Food Security Strategy. While on the ground, fellows will collaborate with existing U.S. Government projects to ensure synergy and to maximize benefits across programs.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday December 22, 2021 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets At 7:30 a.m. CST Wednesday, third-quarter U.S. GDP will get its third estimate, followed by a report on November U.S. existing home sales and an index of consumer confidence at 9 a.m. The Energy Department's weekly inventory report is set for 9:30 a.m., likely to show another active week of ethanol production. USDA's monthly cold storage report will be released at 2 p.m. CST. Weather A system is moving into western states on Wednesday with showers spreading through the region, though concentrated toward the coast. Outside of the Northeast, all other areas will be dry during the day as conditions continue to be poor for winter wheat in the southwestern Plains.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday December 21, 2021 |


USDA Expands Partnerships for Conservation USDA is leveraging its authorities under the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program to bring in new types of partners and expand opportunities in voluntary conservation. In direct response to feedback from stakeholders, USDA updated the program’s rule regarding matching fund requirements, and invested in additional staff to work directly with partners. The program is part of the Conservation Reserve Program and enables USDA’s Commodity Credit Corporation, through Farm Service Agency, and partners to co-invest in partner-led projects. The program also plays an important role in USDA’s broader climate change strategy, bringing together producers, landowners and partners for climate-smart land management. The rule also updated policy to provide a full annual rental rate to producers impacted by ordinances and regulations that require a resource conserving or environmental protection measure. At present, all partners are States. However, FSA is strongly encouraging Tribes and non-governmental organizations to consider partnerships. Currently, the program has 34 projects in 26 states, and more than 860,000 acres are enrolled. *********************************************************************************** USDA Seeks Nominations for Membership on Food Safety Advisory Committee The Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service is soliciting nominations for membership to the National Advisory Committee on Meat and Poultry Inspection. USDA expects to appoint committee members in 2022. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says, "attracting and appointing individuals from diverse perspectives and expertise to serve on (the committee) will be essential to accomplishing our food safety goals." USDA seeks nominations from individuals with knowledge and interest in meat and poultry food safety and other FSIS policies. USDA also seeks representation of small and very small establishments and geographic diversity of members. Persons in academia, industry, state and local government officials, public health organizations, and industry and consumer organizations are invited to submit nominations, and self-nominations are welcomed. Established in 1971 by FSIS, the committee consists of 20 members and provides advice and recommendations to the Secretary of Agriculture on food safety concerns. Nominations packages must be received by February 18, 2022. *********************************************************************************** EPA Extends Expiration Deadline for Pesticide Applicator Certification Plans The Environmental Protection Agency recently extended the expiration deadline for pesticide applicators certification plans. The 2017 Certification of Pesticide Applicators final rule had set stronger standards for people who apply restricted-use pesticides and required authorities with existing certification plans to submit proposed modifications by March 4, 2020, to comply with the updated federal standards. As specified in the rule, existing certification plans remain in effect until EPA completes its reviews and approves the proposed plan modifications, or until those plans otherwise expire on March 4, 2022. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, EPA is extending the existing plans' expiration deadline from March 4, 2022, to November 4, 2022. EPA has reviewed all proposed plan modifications and is making progress on sending agency comments to certifying authorities. To date, EPA has completed 45 final reviews of the 68 plans submitted by certifying authorities. During the extension, EPA and certifying authorities will continue to work together so that all plans meet the federal standards. *********************************************************************************** Fuel Prices Continue Decline Ahead of Christmas The nation's average gas price declined for the sixth straight week, down 2.9 cents from a week ago at $3.30 per gallon. The national average is down 11 cents from a month ago and $1.09 per gallon higher than a year ago. The national average price of diesel declined two cents in the last week and stands at $3.58 per gallon. Patrick De Haan of GasBuddy says, “The decline in gas prices will likely continue until new Covid cases slow down.” De Haan says the U.S. may see Christmas gas prices fall just under their all-time high on the holiday, which was $3.26 in 2013. Beyond Christmas, with omicron cases likely to continue climbing, there will likely be a more noticeable hit on gasoline demand once the holidays are over. However, U.S. retail gasoline demand rose last week, likely as motorists get out and finish their gift buying ahead of Christmas. Nationally, weekly gasoline demand was up 2.9 percent from the prior week.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday December 21, 2021 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets There are no official reports on Tuesday's docket, but traders will still check in on the latest weather forecasts and pause at 8 a.m. CST to see if USDA has an export sales announcement. Markets are typically quiet the week leading up to Christmas, but can also be vulnerable to unexpected moves, especially with outside markets nervous about the latest spread of coronavirus. Weather Two separate systems are bringing showers to the country on Tuesday. One is moving across the north with snow showers from the eastern Dakotas through Michigan. Another is moving across the Florida Peninsula with scattered showers in the Southeast. Other areas will remain dry; another day of poor conditions for winter wheat in the southwestern Plains.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday December 20, 2021 |


Grassley: Investigation Needed in the Fertilizer Industry Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley sent a letter to Attorney General Garland calling for the Department of Justice to investigate the fertilizer industry. American farmers are raising concerns about possible anti-competitive activity and market manipulation. Grassley says fertilizer is an essential input for farmers across the country, and without it, crop yields and agricultural productivity would get significantly smaller. “I have heard numerous concerns from Iowans and member organizations who are concerned that fertilizer companies are colluding and unfairly raising the price of their products,” Grassley writes in the letter. The industry has seen dramatic growth in prices: nitrogen fertilizer has doubled in price, anhydrous rose by 131 percent, urea by 110 percent, and potash up 120 percent. “The DOJ should investigate the fertilizer market so farmers across the country can get assurances that there are no violations of U.S. antitrust law in the fertilizer industry,” Grassley says. “Fertilizer tariffs are placing a huge financial burden on farmers.” *********************************************************************************** NCGA Wants Fertilizer Tariffs Ended The National Corn Growers Association says one of the top fertilizer companies has erected an insurmountable barrier to keep top competitors out of the U.S. market. An NCGA letter says the barrier is hurting America’s farmers. NCGA and its state affiliates signed a letter sent to Mosaic, one of the nation’s top fertilizer producers. The letter takes Mosaic to task for the tariffs that were imposed in March by the International Trade Commission at the fertilizer company’s request. “Mosaic’s posture to date has been a masterpiece of irresponsible corporate social responsibility,” the letter adds. “Only 15 percent of phosphorous imports now come into the U.S. without tariffs.” The organization also points out that experts say using the Commerce Department and the Trade Commission to manipulate the supply curve does indeed dictate the price to farmers. The Corn Growers are asking Mosaic to reverse course and allow critical supply back into the U.S. *********************************************************************************** Transportation, Ag Departments Want Better Shipping Service for Agriculture Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg (BUD-ah-judge) and Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack are asking the world’s leading ocean carriers to get rid of disruptions to agricultural shippers of American exports. They want relief for the supply chain disruptions created by COVID-19 by restoring reciprocal treatment of imports and exports and improving service. Ocean carriers have made fewer containers available for U.S. agricultural commodities. They’ve also repeatedly changed return dates and charged unfair fees as the ocean carriers short-circuited the normal pathways and rushed containers back to be exported empty. The poor service and refusal to serve customers is exemplified by many ocean carriers suspending service to the Port of Oakland. DOT and USDA are calling on carriers to utilize available terminal capacity more fully on the West Coast. They note that West Coast ports have excess capacity to alleviate supply-chain congestion. Restoring service to Oakland would ease congestion at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. *********************************************************************************** Australia and Britain Sign Free Trade Deal Australia and Britain signed a free trade agreement late last week that will eliminate almost all tariffs between the two countries. The Associated Press says the deal gets rid of 99 percent of all taxes on exports. That will save Australia approximately $10 billion on exports like lamb, beef, sugar, and dairy. Britain is expected to save around $144 million a year on items such as cars, whisky, and cosmetics. Australia’s agricultural exporters also will get better access to the British market and $29 million a year of tariffs will get removed on Australian wines entering the United Kingdom. In announcing the deal, which takes effect in 2022, the nations say it will grow investments and help with the recovery from COVID-19. In making the announcement, the countries said, “Our economies will be able to operate seamlessly again. The experiences and opportunities that Australians and young Brits will be able to get through this initiative are fantastic.” *********************************************************************************** Senators Ask Administration to Take India Before WTO More than a dozen senators sent a letter to Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai regarding India. They’d like the administration to pursue a World Trade Organization case against India’s domestic support for rice and wheat production. The U.S. has previously highlighted India’s non-compliance through counter-notifications at the WTO Committee on Agriculture. “American rice and wheat producers are operating at a clear disadvantage compared to their competitors, primarily from India, where the government is subsidizing more than half the value of production for rice and wheat,” says the letter to the administration. WTO regulations only allow just ten percent. “Wheat and rice farmers rely on open markets and fair trade to facilitate trade, which plays a vital role in supporting our growers and jobs in rural America,” says North American Wheat Growers Association CEO Chandler Goule. “It’s important that India lives by their international WTO commitments.” *********************************************************************************** USDA to Provide Aid to Help School Meals The USDA will provide up to $1.5 billion to help school meal programs get through the supply chain crunch. USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack says procuring large amounts of food is more difficult because of shipment delays, a lack of particular products, the high cost of food, as well as labor shortages brought on by COVID-19. USDA is accessing the Commodity Credit Corporation for funding, providing $1 billion for schools to purchase food for their meal programs. Another $500 million will be distributed for the purchase of local foods to be distributed to schools. “This will result in a five percent increase in what school districts normally have available,” Vilsack says. The CCC was established in the 1930s, and it’s generally been tapped to provide subsidies for farmers, and it gives USDA broad authority to make direct payments to growers when prices are low. The number of American’s without enough food to eat remains higher than before COVID-19.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday December 20, 2021 |


Monday Watch List Markets On Monday, December 20, five days before Christmas, a report on U.S. leading indicators in November is set for 9 a.m. CST, followed by weekly grain inspections at 10 a.m. Traders will monitor the latest weekly weather forecasts and watch for any export sales activity. Weather There is a system in the Gulf of Mexico and a weak system in the Pacific Northwest, each with some showers on Monday. But most of the country is looking at fairly calm and quiet conditions to start the week. Drought continues to build in the southwestern Plains and will be a detriment to winter wheat.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday December 17, 2021 |


NBB Studies Benefits of the Biodiesel Tax Incentive The National Biodiesel Board welcomed a new report titled “The Economic Benefits of the Biodiesel Blender’s Credit.” The report calculates annual economic benefits of $15 billion and environmental benefits of $4.3 billion from U.S. biodiesel production. The report says letting the current tax credit expire at the end of 2022 would harm the U.S. economy and the environment. It shows that the environmental benefits alone from each gallon of biodiesel that replaces petrodiesel exceed two dollars a gallon, or more than double the cost of the credit. Every 100 million gallons supports 3,200 jobs and $780 million in economic opportunity. The new report says eliminating the tax credit would cost up to 3,000 jobs in the biodiesel and renewable diesel industry, as well as another 7-to-9,000 jobs in the supply chain. Biodiesel use as recently as 2019 reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 18 million metric tons. The report says ending the credit would devastate the industry. *********************************************************************************** China Will Increase Pork Import Tariffs in 2022 The Chinese finance ministry says it will raise the import duties on most pork products in 2022. Reuters reports that the move comes after China rapidly expanded its domestic production and has less of a need for imports in the near future. The ministry will raise its tariff for most favored nations from the current eight percent to 12 percent on January 1. China had lowered its tariffs on frozen pork during 2020 as the country faced exploding domestic pork prices in the aftermath of the African Swine Fever outbreak. As a result, imports expanded to record highs and remained there through the first half of this year, even as the hog herd gradually recovered, and prices dropped below the cost of production in the third quarter. Most U.S. pork shipments to China face a 25 percent retaliatory tariff imposed during a trade war between the two countries, in addition to the most favored nation’s tariff. *********************************************************************************** Lawsuit Challenges Pesticide-Coated Seeds Two environmental groups continued a five-year fight by suing the EPA to force it to regulate pesticide-coated seeds in the name of protecting bees and other pollinators. Seeds coated with neonicotinoid insecticides are used on 80 percent of corn acres and 40 percent of soybean acres. The EPA decided almost ten years ago that the seeds would not be regulated as pesticides as long as the coatings are registered, and the effect of the pesticides doesn’t extend beyond the seeds. In 2017, the Center for Food Safety petitioned the EPA to regulate coated seeds. However, the agency hasn’t taken any action on the petition since the public comment period ended in 2018. The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court of San Francisco, and it requests the court to force the EPA to act on the petition within a 90-day window. CFS says pollinators are suffering grave harm while EPA fiddles. *********************************************************************************** NCBA Stewardship Award Program Seeks Nominees The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association is looking for applications for its 2022 Environmental Stewardship Award. The program, established in 1991, annually recognizes the outstanding stewardship practices and conservation achievements of cattle producers across the nation. A common trait among all program winners is the desire to leave the land in better condition for future generations and inspire the next generation of land stewards. The award goes to producers who are actively working to protect and improve the environment because environmental stewardship and good business go hand-in-hand. Any individual, group, or organization is eligible to nominate one person or business raising or feeding cattle. Along with the application, one nomination letter and three letters of recommendation highlighting the nominee’s leadership in conservation are required for entry. Applicants do not have to be members of the NCBA. Applications are due by March 11, 2022. Seven regional winners will get recognized at the 2023 Cattle Industry Convention. *********************************************************************************** WTO Rules Against India Sugar Subsidies The World Trade Organization ruled India is violating its WTO obligations with its sugar subsidies. A WTO panel initiated by Australia, Brazil, and Guatemala investigated India’s large sugar subsidies and found it not compatible with the country’s WTO commitments. The Hagstrom Report says an analysis done by the American Sugar Alliance notes that India is one of the largest sugar producers in the world. India produces over 30 million tons of milled sugar in most years with the support of government production subsidies and also uses export subsidies to place six to seven million metric tons of sugar on the world market. The ASA, which represents U.S. cane and beet producers, says the WTO found that India’s provision of domestic support to its sugarcane producers vastly exceeded the level permitted under WTO terms. “India has not been playing by the rules for years to the detriment of other producers,” says Rob Johansson, Director of Economics and Policy with ASA. *********************************************************************************** Pathway Now Open for Canola as Advanced Biofuels The Environmental Protection Agency announced its regulatory agenda for this year, which includes designating renewable diesel fuels derived from canola oil as “advanced biofuels” under the RFS. “The NFU has long advocated for increased use of biofuels due to their tremendous benefits for the environment while providing much-needed market alternatives and economic stability to America’s farming and rural communities,” says Rob Larew, National Farmers Union President. In a recent letter to the USDA, the NFU calls for the administration to support increased growth of biofuel production, which will support increasing investments in rural communities and mitigate the effects of climate change. He says regulatory certainty is needed to expand production, remove any distortions in the market for canola oil, and make additional investments in processing. ”The EPA announcement is encouraging, and we urge prompt action to provide much-needed market alternatives and economic stability in rural America,” Larew adds. The rule-making will take place in January 2022.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday December 17, 2021 |


Friday Watch List Markets There are no official reports on the docket for Friday, the week before Christmas eve, but surely the market will find some mischief to get into. Traders will keep an eye on the latest weather forecasts, outside markets and any news of an export sale. Weather A frontal boundary left over from a strong system on Wednesday will continue to be active from the southeastern Plains through the Ohio Valley on Friday. Scattered rain showers will soak some areas that are trying to recover from last week's severe weather. Dryness and drought continue to build in the southwestern Plains, which is unfavorable for winter wheat, a theme for the winter.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday December 16, 2021 |


USDA to Conduct Study About Agricultural Producers The Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service is conducting the 2021 Farm Producer Study. The study seeks to improve knowledge and understanding of agricultural producers and help USDA improve services to them. A brief questionnaire will mail this month to approximately 75,000 U.S. agricultural producers across the country. Taking no more than ten minutes to complete, the questionnaire asks participants for demographic and basic farm information. Census and Survey Division Director Barbara Rater says, “The results of the study may lead to more robust demographic data products.” NASS conducts studies like this to determine what questions to incorporate in future censuses and surveys. This study includes questions about race, ethnicity, gender, and disability status. By responding, farmers help paint a more complete picture of who they are and ensure agriculture in America is reflected as accurately as possible. Producers can respond securely online at agcounts.usda.gov or by mail. The deadline for response is January 18, 2022. *********************************************************************************** Report: Climate Change Contributed to Some of 2020’s Worst Weather Scientists say human-caused climate change make extreme weather events more likely, according to new research published Wednesday in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. The 10th edition of the report, Explaining Extreme Events in 2020 from a Climate Perspective, presents 18 new peer-reviewed analyses of extreme weather across the world during 2020. A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration study that examined the U.S. Southwest drought using several different model simulations found climate change may have increased the likelihood that the monsoon-season rains would fail as they did in 2020, reigniting a multiyear drought. One trend emerging in the past several years is several studies that find climate change is reducing the risk of certain types of extreme events, typically cold outbreaks or heavy precipitation. Stephanie Herring, a NOAA climate scientist, says, “This report reinforces the scientific consensus that human influence has created a new climate — one that is impacting extreme events today.” *********************************************************************************** Iowa Farmland Values up 29% After several years of modest gains and losses, the average value of an acre of Iowa farmland skyrocketed 29 percent in 2021. The nominal value of an acre of farmland is now higher than at any point since Iowa State University began surveying values in 1941, and is 12 percent higher than the previous peak in 2013. However, the current value in inflation-adjusted terms is still lower than that for 2012 and 2013. The last time farmland values increased more than 25 percent was in 2011, when values rose 32.5 percent. An Iowa State University researcher says, “The increase this year is in part due to much stronger commodity prices thanks to higher exports, stronger than expected crop yields, and strong ad hoc COVID-19 related government payments.” The survey found that the average statewide value of an acre of farmland is $9,751, an increase of 29 percent, or $2,193, since 2020. *********************************************************************************** Perdue Farms Sends Donation, Meals to Kentucky, Ag Relief Programs Open Perdue Farms is delivering $150,000 and 160,000 servings of chicken products to Kentucky residents impacted by the weekend tornado outbreak. The funds are going to the United Way of Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund and the meals are going to Feeding America, Kentucky's Heartland. Perdue's response is made possible through the company's "Delivering Hope To Our Neighbors" initiative focused in part on disaster relief, and improving quality of life and building stronger communities. Kevin Middletown, president of United Way of Kentucky, says, "This will mean so much to our neighbors who lost everything over the weekend.” Meanwhile, the Kentucky Farm Bureau has launched its KFB for Kentucky Relief Fund to aid the families and communities affected by the recent tornado outbreak. And the Kentucky Department of Agriculture has a resource webpage for impacted farmers. The page includes links to donation funds as well. You can find the resource page at kyagr.com/tornado/. *********************************************************************************** EPA Region 7 Announces Opportunity to Apply for Farmer to Farmer Grant Funding The Environmental Protection Agency this week announced the availability of $12 million in funding to support historically underserved farmers within the Gulf of Mexico watershed. The funds are from the Farmer to Farmer grant program and were announced by EPA Region 7, which includes waters in the Gulf of Mexico watershed. Selected projects will work to increase collaboration among farming communities, while improving water quality, habitat, climate resilience, and environmental education through the demonstration of innovative practices on working lands. EPA plans to award four cooperative agreements, with up to $3 million of funding each. It is expected that grant awards may be issued for up to a five-year project period beginning May 2022. Successful applicants will be responsible for administering a competitive subaward grant program to directly collaborate with underserved farmers on projects in the Gulf of Mexico watershed. The request for applications period will end on February 4, 2022. View the funding opportunity on grants.gov. *********************************************************************************** USRSB Joins Trust In Beef The U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef joins the Trust In Beef program as a founding partner and technical advisor. Trust In Beef is a new effort to empower beef producers to accelerate the adoption of their sustainability journey and provide consumers with real-life proof of the continuously improving environmental performance of beef. The program is led by Farm Journal‘s social purpose division, Trust In Food, and its industry leading beef brand, Drovers. Debbie Lyons-Blythe, chair-elect of the U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef, says, “Our members are committed to continuous improvement, which makes this partnership a great fit.” She says the Roundtable has paved the way to ranch-level sustainability progress with their science-based tools and frameworks. Trust In Beef will use their resources to connect beef producers with trusted guidance. Trust In Beef launched in Fall 2021 and supports 200,000 beef producers in accelerating continuous improvement in environmental performance, and providing that message to consumers.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday December 16, 2021 |


Thursday Watch List Markets On Thursday, USDA's weekly report of export sales is due out at 7:30 a.m. CST, the same time as November housing starts, weekly U.S. jobless claims and an update of the U.S. Drought Monitor. A report on November U.S. industrial production is due out at 8:15 a.m., followed by natural gas storage at 9:30 a.m. Traders will pause at 8 a.m. to see if USDA will have this week's first export sale announcement. Weather A strong system that moved through the Plains and Midwest on Wednesday has moved into Ontario, Canada. There are still some effects from the storm including some stronger winds across the northern Midwest, but those will be waning through the day. The cold front to the system is stalling from Texas into the Ohio Valley, where showers will be more active. Much colder temperatures are building in behind the front, a stark contrast from record highs on Wednesday.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday December 15, 2021 |


Bill to Block Retroactive Changes to RVOs Introduced Senate Republican Chuck Grassley of Iowa joined Senate Democrat Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota to introduce a bill Tuesday that they say will provide certainty to biofuel producers. The legislation would prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency from reducing the minimum applicable volume of biofuels into transportation fuel once the renewable volume obligations levels are finalized for any given year. That means, the lawmakers say, the legislation would prevent the EPA from retroactively reducing 2020 or future finalized RVO levels. Grassley says, “It is critical that we establish new safeguards that uphold the RFS and ensure all administrations remain committed to following the law.” The bill is cosponsored by Senate Republican Joni Ernst of Iowa and Democrat Tammy Duckworth of Illinois. Companion legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives by Republican Representative Ashley Hinson of Iowa and Rodney Davis of Illinois, along with House Democrats Angie Craig of Minnesota and Ron Kind of Wisconsin. *********************************************************************************** Report: U.S. Trade Falling Behind Global Competitors The Corn Refiners Association Tuesday released a new report revealing the United States is behind its competitors in reducing global trade barriers. The report, which tracked trade agreements since 2010, shows several nations have outpaced the U.S. in the creation of new bilateral and multilateral trade arrangements, including China, Japan, the European Union, and Canada. At the same time, U.S. trade partners are pressing forward with new trade agreements without the U.S., risking diminished American economic competitiveness and investment opportunities. Corn Refiners Association President and CEO John Bode says, “We must act swiftly on these issues to reaffirm American leadership and maintain our status as a leading voice in global trade regulations and standards.” While the U.S. has completed four trade agreements since 2010, including the modernization of an existing agreement, China has entered into ten new agreements, Japan has entered into seven, the EU has entered into eight, and Canada has entered into eight. *********************************************************************************** Coalition: Ag Labor Must be Exempt from Travel Restrictions A coalition of more than 60 agriculture groups led by the American Farm Bureau Federation requests agricultural workers be exempted from travel restrictions from South Africa. In a letter to the Biden administration, the coalition says, “While protecting our nation from new variants of COVID-19 is critically important, it is in our national interest to ensure production of food, fuel and fiber.” Specifically, the groups ask Secretary of State Antony Blinken and the Homeland Security Department to give National Interest Exceptions to H-2A workers coming to the United States as outlined in the proclamations as an exception to the travel restrictions. The agriculture groups say almost 7,000 guestworkers originate from South Africa, and the majority of them arrive in the U.S. in February, March and April. Many of these H-2A workers have a unique skillset, and American farmers are counting on their timely arrival as they make plans for their upcoming growing seasons. *********************************************************************************** Newhouse Introduces Legislation to Increase Food Donations U.S. Representative Dan Newhouse this week introduced legislation to expand food donation efforts across the country. Fellow Republican Jackie Walorski of Indiana, along with Democrats Jim McGovern of Massachusetts and Chellie Pingree of Maine, joined Newhouse of Washington state to introduce the bill. The bipartisan Food Donation Improvement Act would encourage food donation efforts by extending liability protections to food donors when food is either given directly to a person in need or when a recipient pays a deeply reduced cost. Expanding the protections would allow retail grocers, wholesalers, agricultural producers, restaurants, caterers, school food authorities, and higher education institutions to increase the quantity and efficiency of their food donation efforts. The bill would also clarify labeling standards that food products must meet to be eligible for liability protections. Newhouse says the legislation “will enact logical reforms that will provide clarity and protections to farmers, retailers, and non-profits seeking in good faith to assist the hungry.” *********************************************************************************** Deere Expands Footprint with Chicago Office Deere & Company this week announced the expansion of its U.S. footprint with the opening of a new Chicago office. The company plans to add 150 information technology jobs at the office over the next two years, with the goal of hiring a total of 300 positions to support IT and additional roles. The facility will target IT capabilities in eCommerce, cloud, data and analytics, and a variety of innovation-related technical skills. Illinois Governor JB Pritzker says, "John Deere's new technology center in Chicago is just one example of the innovation and investment Illinois is inspiring with our top-tier talent and world-class infrastructure." The new space, located in the fast-growing Fulton Market neighborhood, will allow Deere to recruit from the deep bench of diverse talent in Chicago and provide them with the flexibility of in-person collaboration. The new office is expected to open in late summer or early fall of 2022. *********************************************************************************** Applications Sought for Renewed Effort to Assist Farmers American Farmland Trust is accepting applications to help farmers nationwide to improve farm viability, access, transfer or to permanently protect farmland or adopt regenerative agricultural practices. AFT’s Brighter Future Fund provides grants of up to $5,000 per project. A project may involve one or more individual farmers or farm families, and only one grant can be awarded per farm family. David Haight, AFT Vice President of Programs, says, "This year, the program will focus exclusively on providing resources to producers who have faced systemic barriers in our agricultural system." The Brighter Future Fund launched in 2020 to help farmers launch, grow and sustain farms in the face of forces impacting the food and agricultural system, including the COVID-19 pandemic, changing markets, severe weather and climate change. Applications will be reviewed and awarded in the order the applications are received based on eligibility. To apply, farmers should submit a completed electronic Brighter Future Fund Application to AFT at www.farmland.org

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday December 15, 2021 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets Wednesday's reports start with U.S. retail sales in November at 7:30 a.m. CST, followed by the Energy Department's weekly inventory report at 9:30 a.m. The National Oilseeds Processors Association will give its monthly soybean crush report later Wednesday morning. Many will be watching as the Federal Reserve makes its post-meeting announcement at 1 p.m., followed by USDA's Livestock, Dairy and Poultry outlook at 2 p.m. Weather A potent storm system will kick up incredibly strong wind gusts across the Plains and Upper Midwest Wednesday, especially this afternoon and evening. Wind gusts may exceed 70 mph for large areas of the Central Plains into Iowa and northwest Missouri with gusts approaching or exceeding 60 mph elsewhere in the region. There should also be enough ingredients to produce severe weather from eastern Nebraska into the Upper Midwest late this afternoon and evening. Strong winds and a couple of tornadoes are likely. Some snow will develop on the backside of the system, but only a couple of inches is expected as the system quickly moves out of the region Wednesday night. Temperatures crashing behind the system will produce flash-freezes that will create hazards for standing water from rain and melted snow.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday December 14, 2021 |


Farmers Struggle with Skyrocketing Fertilizer Prices Fertilizer prices continue to skyrocket, as much as 300 percent in some areas, as farmers grapple with increased costs as they prepare for the 2022 growing season. The American Farm Bureau Federation’s latest Market Intel examines the short- and long-term factors impacting fertilizer supply and demand. Farm Bureau economists found several elements are contributing to record-high prices. Those include Increased prices for raw nutrients, increased demand, higher energy costs, supply chain issues and trade duties. Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall says, "We urge the Biden administration to look for ways to bring fertilizer prices down, which include resolving supply chain disruptions and removing import duties." The Market Intel found that compared to September 2020 prices, ammonia has increased over 210 percent, liquid nitrogen has increased over 159 percent, urea is up 155 percent, MAP has increased 125 percent, while DAP is up over 100 percent, and potash has risen above 134 percent. *********************************************************************************** USDA Provides Additional Pandemic Assistance to Hog Producers  The Department of Agriculture Monday announced a new program to assist hog producers who faced reduced market prices due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Spot Market Hog Pandemic Program is part of USDA’s Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative and addresses gaps in previous assistance for hog producers. The program assists hog producers who sold hogs through a negotiated sale from April 16, 2020, through September 1, 2020. USDA is offering the program as packer production was reduced by the COVID-19 pandemic due to employee illness and supply chain issues, resulting in fewer negotiated hogs being procured and subsequent lower market prices. Payments will be calculated by multiplying the number of head of eligible hogs, not to exceed 10,000 head, by the payment rate of $54 per head. FSA will issue payments to eligible hog producers as applications are received and approved. Eligible hog producers can apply starting December 15, 2021, by contacting their local USDA Service Center. *********************************************************************************** Report: E15 Ready to Fuel 98 Percent of U.S. Miles Traveled A new report from Growth Energy Monday showcases nearly universal compatibility with fuel blended with 15 percent ethanol, or E15, among vehicles on the road today. Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor says, “This report confirms that better access to lower-cost E15 could save motorists money on 98 percent of all vehicle miles traveled in the United States.” E15 is approved by the EPA for use in all light-duty vehicles model year 2001 and newer. Based on the current vehicle fleet and sales over the past year, the new report shows that E15 is approved for 96 percent of light-duty cars and trucks on the road, nearly 246 million vehicles. The data combines with other research illustrating that nationwide E15 could slash emissions by 17.62 million tons per year. The report was prepared by Air Improvement Resource, Inc., a leading engineering and consulting firm specializing in inventory modeling and analysis, at the request of Growth Energy. *********************************************************************************** AEM Releases November 2021 Equipment Sales Numbers Sales growth in both tractors and combines continues in the U.S., while a slowdown in harvesters in Canada brings overall unit sales slightly below 2020 north of the border. The Association of Equipment Manufacturers reports U.S. total farm tractor sales climbed 8.7 percent in November compared to 2020, while combine sales saw a gain of 37.8 percent, the fourth month in a row of growth near or above 20 percent for harvesters. For Canada, November monthly were a mixed bag, with tractors climbing 1.3 percent in aggregate, while harvesters fell 56.8 percent, bringing combined tractor and combine sales down 0.7 percent, or 18 total units. Still, both tractors and combines remain above 20 percent growth year-to-date in Canada, with tractors up 20.5 percent, and combines up 28.1 percent. AEM’s Curt Blades adds, “While supply chain issues are still causing some bumps, our members continue to do all they can to deliver the parts and products to the market.” *********************************************************************************** Restaurant Menu Price Inflation Reaches 39-year High Restaurant menu price inflation hit a 39-year high last month as high costs for food and labor continue. Restaurant Business, a commercial foodservice industry publication, reports limited-service restaurant prices rose 7.9 percent, while full-service increased six percent. The data stems from the U.S. Labor Department’s Consumer Price Index released last week. Several factors are contributing to the inflation, but a dramatic spike in wages is the top issue. Wages are up 14 percent this year, nearly three times the overall rate of inflation, according to Restaurant Business sister company Technomic. Labor problems are causing major disruptions in the supply chain, making it difficult for meat processors to get enough staff to produce chicken or beef and leaving distributors without enough drivers to get goods to restaurants. These levels of menu price inflation typically push consumers away from restaurants. But grocery prices are not much better and have outpaced restaurant inflation for each of the past three months. *********************************************************************************** USDA Study: Black Beans Help Fix Insulin Resistance Adding cooked black beans to a high-fat diet improved sensitivity to insulin and other measures often related to diabetes, according to a USDA Agricultural Research Service study. As little as the mouse-sized equivalent of a single serving a day of black beans—about a half cup for a human—lowered insulin resistance 87 percent. A USDA researcher says, “This research suggests that eating even a small amount of black beans can have multiple health benefits.” Mice on the high-fat plus black beans diet also decreased LDL cholesterol, the so-called bad cholesterol, 28 percent and triglyceride levels 37 percent compared to mice eating a high-fat diet without black beans. Other diabetes-related biomarkers were all significantly better in the mice on the high-fat plus black beans diet. Black beans are generally low in fat and high in fiber and protein. They are popular in Latin American, Mexican and Caribbean cuisines as well as in Cajun and Creole cooking.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday December 14, 2021 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets Tuesday, the Labor Department's producer price index for November is set for release at 7:30 a.m. CST. Traders will keep an eye on the latest weather forecasts and pause at 8 a.m. CST for a possible export sale announcement. December grain futures contracts expire early. Weather A storm system continues to build across the West with heavy precipitation. Most areas east of the Rockies will be dry and warm with temperatures well above normal. The combination is bad for winter wheat in the southwestern Plains where drought continues to grow

| Rural Advocate News | Monday December 13, 2021 |


Consumer Price Index Continues Increase The Consumer Price Index increased 0.8 percent in November after rising 0.9 percent in October. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released the data Friday. Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 6.8 percent before seasonal adjustment. The food index increased 0.7 percent in November after rising 0.9 percent in both September and October. The food at home index increased 0.8 percent in November as all six major grocery store food group indexes rose. The rise represents the third consecutive month that all six increased. The food at home index rose 6.4 percent over the past 12 months, the largest 12-month increase since December 2008. The food away from home index rose 0.6 percent in November, following a 0.8-percent increase the prior month. The index for limited-service meals continued to rise sharply, increasing 1.0 percent over the month, while the index for full-service meals rose 0.4 percent in November. *********************************************************************************** CoBank Releases 2022 Year Ahead Economic Report The U.S. economy is poised to slow in 2022 relative to 2021, but economic growth will continue at an above-average pace. CoBank last week released its 2022 year ahead report, examining several key factors that impact agriculture and market sectors that serve rural communities. CoBank suggests the U.S. farm economy will continue to struggle with the ongoing supply chain dysfunction and cost inflation issues that emerged in the summer of 2021. Historically strong prices will be more than offset by increases in cost structure for nearly all crop production, including row crops, fruits and vegetables, and hay. CoBank economists do not anticipate any significant pullback in farm-level costs until the fall of 2022, at the earliest. The expected decline in direct government payments in 2022 will further squeeze farm income statements. The single biggest wildcard for U.S. agriculture is export sales to China, currently the largest export market for U.S. farm products. *********************************************************************************** USDA Withdraws Proposed Horse Protection Rule USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Friday announced the withdrawal of a 2016 proposed rule that would have amended the Horse Protection Act regulations. APHIS is making the development of a new and improved proposal a top regulatory priority. The action allows the agency to evaluate and consider more recent findings and research and incorporate the information into a new proposed rule. A 2021 National Academies of Sciences study examined the inspection methods used for identifying soreness in walking horses, new and emerging approaches for detecting pain, and use of the scar rule in determining compliance with the Horse Protection Act. The report also made several science-based recommendations that APHIS will consider. APHIS determined that the proposed rule does not sufficiently address the report's findings and believes that the 2016 proposed rule's underlying data should be updated. Following withdrawal of the 2016 proposed rule, APHIS intends to issue a new proposed rule quickly. *********************************************************************************** FSIS Seeking Proposals to Control Salmonella in Poultry Processing USDA's Food Safety and Inspection service seeks proposals from poultry processors for pilot projects that will test different control strategies for Salmonella contamination. FSIS, in a constituent update Friday, said participating processors will experiment with new or existing pathogen control and measurement strategies and share data collected during the pilots with FSIS. The data will be analyzed to determine whether it supports changes to FSIS existing Salmonella control strategies. The agency announced in October it would be mobilizing a stronger and more comprehensive effort to reduce Salmonella illnesses associated with poultry products. FSIS will consider proposals from all active poultry establishments, or parent corporations, that produce raw products subject to FSIS Salmonella performance standards. Key partners such as breeders, live animal producers, and allied businesses are encouraged to assist in the projects. Proposals will consider new or existing control and measurement strategies for controlling Salmonella before and after harvesting of live birds. *********************************************************************************** Long-Term Productivity Growth Varies Across Countries Total factor productivity growth for agriculture varies across countries, according to fresh data from USDA’s Economic Research Service. Total factor productivity growth reflects the rate of technological and efficiency improvements in agriculture. The data measures the amount of agricultural output produced from the combined set of land, labor, capital, and material resources employed in the production process. Strengthening the capacity of national agricultural research and extension systems to develop and deliver new agricultural technologies to farmers has been a critical factor in raising agricultural productivity. Information from the International Agricultural Productivity data product and related ERS research shows that Brazil and India's growth can be attributed to long-term investments in agricultural research. China's growth can be attributed to investments in research and institutional and economic reforms. In contrast, Russia's low rate of agricultural growth is attributed to inefficiencies under a planned economy until 1991, followed by economic disruptions that accompanied its transition to a market economy. *********************************************************************************** ASA Elects 2022 Executive Committee During its annual meeting in St. Louis last week, the American Soybean Association elected the leaders who will steer the organization. Brad Doyle of Arkansas will serve as 2022 ASA president. Doyle previously served as ASA vice president, secretary, and an at-large executive committee member. He has been on the ASA board of directors since 2017. Immediate past president Kevin Scott of South Dakota moves to the role of ASA chairman. Former chairman Bill Gordon of Minnesota rotates off the nine-member executive committee and retires from the board. The ASA board elected Daryl Cates of Illinois as ASA vice president, a role that puts him in line to serve as the association’s president in 2023. In addition, the board elected Caleb Ragland of Kentucky as ASA secretary and North Dakota’s Josh Gackle as treasurer. At-large members of the executive committee include Stan Born of Illinois, Minnesota’s George Goblish, Ronnie Russell of Missouri, and Scott Metzger from Ohio.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday December 13, 2021 |


Monday Watch List Markets Following Thursday's WASDE report, USDA's Economic Research Service will issue updates to their crop outlooks Monday. The updates are not market-moving events but provide additional supporting information. Otherwise, after USDA's weekly grain inspections report at 10 a.m. CST, there are no significant reports Monday. The latest weather forecasts and any export sales news will get their usual attention. Weather A strong storm system is building in the West early this week that will bring widespread heavy precipitation to the region, helping to reduce drought. Drier and warmer weather eastward should help to melt snow across the northern tier, and aid in recovery efforts where severe weather and devastating tornadoes went through Friday night.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday December 10, 2021 |


House Passes Bills Promoting Livestock Market Transparency Groups like the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association are pleased the House of Representatives passed two bills that provide producers with greater transparency in the cattle markets. The House voted 418-9 to advance legislation that would extend the authorization for Livestock Mandatory Reporting through September 30, 2022. The authorization for LMR is the most important tool cattle producers have for understanding transactions and trends in the cattle markets. By a 411-13 vote, the House also passed the Cattle Contract Library Act. “LMR is absolutely essential to fair, competitive, and transparent cattle markets,” says NCBA President Jerry Bohn. “We’re also grateful that producers will have access to vital market data through the cattle contract library.” NCBA also says the creation of a cattle contract library and reauthorization of LMR are both widely supported across the cattle and beef industry. The organization appreciates the heavy engagement of lawmakers from both sides of the aisle on the transparency issue. *********************************************************************************** House Takes Action on Supply Chain Disruptions The House passed the Ocean Shipping Reform Act to try and solve some of the challenges in the U.S. supply chain. In recent months, ocean liners from China and other countries have been returning to their home ports empty after delivering to the U.S., making it hard for U.S. agriculture to export commodities. Among the many functions of the legislation, it would prohibit ocean carriers from unreasonably declining opportunities, as determined by the Federal Maritime Commission in new required federal rulemaking. The U.S. Dairy Export Council, the National Milk Producers Federation, and other ag groups supported the bill. “This legislation would help alleviate delays and disruptions at U.S. ports that have cost the U.S. dairy industry well over $1 billion this year,” says the dairy groups. “Since late 2020, America’s dairy exporters have contended with challenges in securing shipping containers, record-high fees, and shipping access volatility, most of which is driven by foreign-owned carriers.” *********************************************************************************** Corn, Soybean Numbers “Neutral” in December WASDE USDA’s December World Ag Supply and Demand Estimates report was called “neutral” for corn and soybeans and bearish for wheat. This month’s 2021-2022 U.S. corn supply and use outlook is unchanged from November. USDA kept corn for ethanol use at 5.25 billion bushels despite forecasts of strong demand and higher production. Corn ending stocks are projected at 1.49 billion bushels, and the season-average farm price is still $5.45 a bushel. Soybean supply and use projections also remain unchanged. Although soybean crush is unchanged, soybean oil production is raised because of a higher extraction rate. The season-average U.S. soybean price is unchanged at $12.10 per bushel. Lower exports caused USDA to push up ending wheat ending stocks to an unexpected 598 million bushels. USDA also dropped wheat imports by five million bushels but left all other supply and demand factors at November levels. The season-average farm price rose 15 cents to $7.05 a bushel. *********************************************************************************** USB Elects New Chair Farmer-leaders of the soybean checkoff elected Ralph Lott of Seneca Falls, New York, as the 2022 Chair during their December meeting in St. Charles, Missouri. “With a productive growing season, favorable soybean prices, and increased demand in 2021 amid supply chain constraints, this is an exciting and pivotal time for U.S. Soy, both domestically and internationally,” Lott says. “I appreciate the support of my fellow board members, and I am eager to work with them to identify initiatives that grow our markets and bring value back to the farm.” The new United Soybean Board Chair also says he’s looking forward to continuing the board’s success of making judicious soy checkoff investments in addressing both immediate and long-term supply and demand opportunities and driving resiliency for U.S. soy farmers. Meagan Kaiser of Missouri was elected as the Vice-Chair. Key USB success from this year includes U.S. soybeans getting used as an active ingredient in more than 1,000 products. *********************************************************************************** Beef Export Value Shatters Records October was a strong month for U.S. red meat exports. USDA data compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation shows beef export value continued to soar. October’s pork exports were well below last year’s large total, but year-to-date shipments remained slightly above the record pace of 2020. Beef exports reached 115,700 metric tons in October, while export value climbed 48 percent to $957 million, the second-highest total on record. Only August of this year was higher. January through October exports hit 1.19 million metric tons, up 17 percent from 2021. Beef exports will top $2 billion in three key markets, including South Korea, Japan, and China/Hong Kong. Pork exports totaled 226,200 metric tons in October, while export value dropped 3.5 percent to $618 million. Through the first ten months of the year, pork exports were slightly higher in volume than last year. Exports to Mexico hit a new monthly high in October at 84,000 metric tons. *********************************************************************************** Groups Ask EPA to Fix Summertime E15 Block Six national farm and biofuel organizations want the Environmental Protection Agency to enact regulations that help facilitate year-round sales of E15 nationwide. They’d like regulations that require lower-volatility conventional gasoline blend-stock in the summer. The groups say the move would result in lower tailpipe and evaporative emissions during the summer ozone control season and improve air quality. In a letter to EPA Administrator Michael Regan, the groups say reducing the volatility of gasoline by just one pound per square inch would yield significant environmental benefits. They attached a new study using EPA modeling tools to the letter showing that reducing the vapor pressure of conventional gasoline blend-stock by 1 psi would be beneficial to air quality as carbon monoxide emissions, nitrogen oxides, and other volatile organic compounds would be reduced. If the 1-psi waiver for E10 is eliminated and E10 is replaced with E15, it will also decrease greenhouse gases and particulate emissions.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday December 10, 2021 |


Friday Watch List Markets The Labor Department will release the November consumer price index at 7:30 a.m. CST, a hot topic after October prices were up 6.2% from a year ago. Traders will keep an eye on the latest weather forecasts and pause at 8 a.m. CST for a possible export sale announcement. The University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index for early December follows at 9 a.m. The U.S. Treasury reports on the federal budget for November at 1 p.m. CST. Weather A storm system working out of the Rockies and into the Plains is developing heavy snow across Wyoming to southern Minnesota already. That band will expand throughout the day and extend farther into Wisconsin as the low pressure center moves into the Midwest tonight. Scattered showers and thunderstorms will develop later in the day from the far eastern Plains through the Delta and Midwest, where severe thunderstorms will be possible. Strong winds are already having an impact in the southwestern Plains but should increase across much of the middle of the country today as well.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday December 9, 2021 |


Critics Say EPA RVO Announcement Includes Unprecedented Revisions Critics of the Environmental Protection Agency’s renewable volume obligations announcement say the proposal sets the precedent of revising previously finalized volumes in the Renewable Fuel Standard. EPA proposes to retroactively reopen and reduce the finalized 2020 renewable volume obligation, slashing the already settled conventional biofuel blending volume for that year from 15 billion gallons to 12.5 billion gallons. Iowa Corn Growers Association President Lance Lillibridge says, “Biden's own EPA is undercutting the benefits of clean-burning ethanol and the livelihoods of corn farmers.” Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley responds, “The administration’s unprecedented plan to retroactively cut blending levels for previous years is a boon for Big Oil,” adding, “What’s to stop the administration from slashing 2022 obligations down the line?” If the proposal is finalized, industry groups expect lengthy litigation against the EPA over the action. And some see the proposal as further proof for the need to pass the Next Generation Fuels Act. *********************************************************************************** $800 Million Available to Provide Economic Relief to Biofuel Producers The Department of Agriculture this week announced its relief program for biofuel producers, in conjunction with the Environmental Protection Agency’s volume announcement. USDA says up to $800 million will support biofuel producers and infrastructure, a long-awaited announcement authorized by the CARES Act. The funding includes $700 million to provide economic relief to biofuel producers and restore renewable fuel markets affected by the pandemic and $100 million for expanding infrastructure for renewable fuels. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says the program will “pave the way to economic recovery for America’s biofuel producers,” along with stimulating a critical market for U.S. farmers. Through the Biofuel Producer Program, USDA will make direct payments for biofuel producers who faced unexpected market losses due to the pandemic. USDA will announce the official application window for this program within the coming week. The infrastructure program funds grants for biofuels infrastructure, such as blender pumps which ensure biofuels have greater availability in the retail market. *********************************************************************************** USDA Opens 2022 Sign-up for Dairy Margin Coverage The Department of Agriculture Wednesday announced the sign-up period for the Dairy Margin Coverage. USDA also expanded the program to allow dairy producers to better protect their operations through supplemental production. This sign-up period, which runs from December 13, 2021, to February 18, 2022, enables producers to get coverage through the safety-net program for another year as well. The Supplemental DMC will provide $580 million to better help small- and mid-sized dairy operations that have increased production over the years but could not enroll the additional production. Now, they will be able to retroactively receive payments for that supplemental production. USDA is also changing the DMC feed cost formula to better reflect the actual cost dairy farmers pay for high-quality alfalfa hay. FSA will calculate payments using 100 percent premium alfalfa hay rather than 50 percent. The amended feed cost formula will make DMC payments more reflective of actual dairy producer expenses. *********************************************************************************** USGC Releases 2021 Corn Harvest Quality Report The U.S. Grains Council released this week the 2021/2022 Corn Harvest Quality Report. The report is based on 610 samples taken from defined areas within 12 of the top corn-producing and exporting states. USCG revealed that revealed this year's U.S. corn crop has a higher average test weight and lower total damage and stress cracks compared with the previous five crops. The 11th edition of the report showed the 2021 crop was planted earlier than average and experienced a mostly warm growing season. Overall, 65 percent of the crop rated as good or excellent condition, nearing record high yields. The average aggregate quality of the representative samples tested was better than the grade factor requirements for U.S. No. 1 grade. Nearly 99 percent of the samples tested below the U.S. Food and Drug Administration action level for aflatoxins. And the 2021/2022 U.S. corn crop is expected to be the second-largest on record and has the highest average yield on record. *********************************************************************************** New Report Finds Unmet Demand for Afterschool Programs A new report finds Just 11 percent of America’s rural children are enrolled in an afterschool program. For every rural child in an afterschool program, four more are waiting to get in. The report, Spiking Demand, Growing Barriers, is based on a household survey conducted by Edge Research for the Afterschool Alliance. It finds a drop in rural children enrolled in afterschool programs from 13 percent, or 1.19 million rural kids, enrolled in 2014 to just 11 percent, or 1.15 million kids, enrolled in 2020. The drop mirrors national trends on afterschool participation as public funding for afterschool programs has not kept up with demand. The new study finds that cost and transportation are significant barriers that prevent many rural parents from enrolling their child in an afterschool program. Afterschool Alliance Executive Director Jodi Grant says, “Increasing access to both afterschool and summer learning programs must be an urgent priority for lawmakers and funders.” *********************************************************************************** USDA, Boehringer Ingelheim, Expand Research Opportunities for Veterinary Students Boehringer Ingelheim and USDA’s Agricultural Research Service are joining forces to offer veterinary students the opportunity to research diseases that could affect livestock and public health. The collaboration expands the Boehringer Ingelheim-led Veterinary Scholars Program, which has provided stipends to more than 3,500 veterinary students in the last 30 years. The expansion will create opportunities for up to 12 students to spend the summer at one of nine USDA sites working with an ARS scientist on a research project in livestock infectious diseases. Boehringer Ingelheim and USDA will cover all costs for the students, including costs associated with traveling to and from their schools to the USDA centers. After spending the summer conducting research and learning from USDA scientists, students will attend and present their work at the 2022 National Veterinary Scholars Symposium, hosted by the University of Minnesota’s College of Veterinary Medicine in St. Paul, Minnesota. More information and the application are available at boehringer-ingelheim.com.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday December 9, 2021 |


Thursday Watch List Markets USDA's weekly export sales report is due out at 7:30 a.m. CST, the same time as weekly jobless claims and an update of the U.S. Drought Monitor. Traders will watch for a possible export sales announcement at 8 a.m. and the Energy Department's report on natural gas storage is set for 9:30 a.m. USDA's December WASDE report comes out at 11 a.m. CST, expected to show only small changes, if any. Weather A weak system moving through Canada is producing some showers for the northern Midwest Thursday, but amounts will be fairly light. Another storm moving through the western states is bringing some better showers to drought-afflicted areas. But dryness in the Southern Plains continues to be a concern for winter wheat, especially when you factor in the warm temperatures.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday December 8, 2021 |


EPA Announces Long-Awaited RVOs The Environmental Protection Agency announced a package of actions, including setting the Renewable Volume Obligations for 2022, 2021, and 2020. The agency also introduced regulator changes intended to enhance the program’s objectives. For 2022, the EPA is proposing the highest total volumes in history, putting the program on a stable trajectory that provides for significant growth. The proposed volume for 2022 is over 3.5 billion gallons higher than the volume of renewable fuel used in 2020. The proposed volume for advanced biofuels in 2022 is over one billion gallons greater than the volume used in 2020. EPA is also proposing to deny dozes of petitions to exempt small refineries from the obligations under the RFS. “Despite multiple challenging dynamics affecting the RFS program in recent years, EPA remains committed to the growth of biofuels in America to secure a clean zero-carbon energy future,” says EPA Administrator Michael Regan. *********************************************************************************** Farmer Sentiment Weakens on Cost Concerns The Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer dropped five points in November to a reading of 116. Producers continue to be pessimistic about both the current and future outlook of the agricultural economy. Farmers are facing sharp increases in their cost of production that coincide with fluctuating crop and livestock prices. Other issues of concern are the prospect of changing environmental and tax policy, the uncertainty brought on by COVID-19, and a host of other issues that are all driving down farmer sentiment. The Farm Capital Investment Index shows 47 percent of respondents listing higher input costs as their biggest concern in the upcoming year. The Farm Financial Performance Index rose two points in November, helped by strong fall crop yields and stronger wheat prices. Producers remain optimistic about farmland values over the next 12 months and the next five years. Over half the farmers surveyed expect cash rental rates to rise in 2022. *********************************************************************************** Groups Unite on Clear Labeling of Cell-Based Protein The Hagstrom Report says it’s rare for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the Center for Food Safety, and the National Chicken Council to be on the same page. However, all three groups are asking the USDA to clearly label meat and poultry products that contain lab-grown animal cells. The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service is working to develop a regulatory structure for lab-grown meat. NCBA says that the term “beef” should only be on products that come from livestock raised by farmers and ranchers. The NCBA also did a study on consumer understanding of lab-grown meat which showed only 13 percent were aware of the products. When asked to provide a definition after hearing several choices, only ten percent of the respondents gave an accurate definition of the products. The CFS says, “Synthetic products comprised of cultured animal cells must be clearly differentiated from slaughtered meat before they’re marketed.” *********************************************************************************** Ag Economic Insights Reviews 2021 Major Trends Ag Economic Insights says 2021 has been one of the best years in quite some time. However, that doesn’t mean there were no ups and downs or new and different challenges and opportunities. AEM says there’s little doubt that corn and soybean farmers will remember 2021 for many years. While the growing season turned out well for many, it sets the stage for much higher prices for everything from farm inputs to equipment to land rents and values. On the input side, everything from fuel to equipment to labor all started increasing dramatically. Fertilizer prices took off at the fastest rate. Contributing factors include supply chain worries, inflationary concerns in the broader economy, high energy prices, and the prospect of very strong farmer demand. Another interesting factor was the rising price of soybean oil from 30 cents a pound to 70 cents through most of 2021. Bakers in the U.S. want the EPA to help by rolling back biodiesel mandates. *********************************************************************************** World Dairy Expo Looking for Next GM The World Dairy Expo’s Board of Directors has begun the search for a new general manager. Scott Bentley recently announced he will retire after eight years of dedicated service to the organization. “We are grateful for Scott’s commitment and leadership to World Dairy Expo and wish him the very best as he begins his retirement,” says Bill Hageman, WDE Board President. They’re looking to hire a passionate and highly motivated general manager to lead a professional, dedicated team and successfully produce the largest dairy event in the world. World Dairy Expo showcases over 2,000 dairy cattle and features 700 participating companies in one of the 30 largest trade shows in the U.S. The weeklong event attracts 60,000 attendees and generates approximately $25 million in direct spending for Madison, Wisconsin, and the surrounding area. Qualifying individuals with excellent management and communication skills should go to www.worlddairyexpo.com for more information or to apply. *********************************************************************************** Survey Announces Top Tractor Brands in Progressive Farmer Poll The 2021 Progressive Farmer Reader Insights Study shows Kubota ranked highest among U.S. tractor brands for both Overall Durability as well as the top Overall Customer Experience. John Deere ranks highest among tractor brands for Overall Loyalty. At each specific tractor segment level, Kubota and John Deere dominated the top of the rankings, while New Holland also took a top spot. Kubota took the top spot among compact tractor brands for the Best Ownership Experience and Most Durable Tractor. John Deere swept the Highest Owner Loyalty category among Compact, Midsize, and Full-Size tractors. Deere also took home awards for the Most Durable Full-Size Tractor and Best Ownership Experience among Midsize and Full-Size tractors. New Holland ranked highest among Midsized Tractors for Durability. “Our survey is the most relevant benchmark for understanding which tractor brands are delivering on their brand promise,” says Greg Hillyer, Progressive Farmer Editor. The Progressive Farmer Reader Insights survey is in its second year.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday December 8, 2021 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets Wednesday is a slow day for government reports, with only the Jobs Opening report out early. We will also be watching for the rumored EPA release of biofuel mandates, and for any new soybean or corn purchases by China, which have been widely rumored. Weather A system in the Southeast is producing some rain and will gather some snow showers in the Northeast later in the day. Another system is making its way into the Canadian Prairies, producing some snows. And there are still some residual rain showers in California. But the middle of the country is rather dry for the day, which continues to be unfavorable for winter wheat in the Southern Plains.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday December 7, 2021 |


AEM Reports Optimism for Construction and Ag in 2022 While the U.S. and global economies have continued to grow, the pace has slowed over the second half of 2021. But in the construction and agriculture equipment industries, stronger-than-expected growth this year has many manufacturers feeling optimistic about 2022. According to results from AEM’s fall member survey, more than 80 percent of AEM members anticipate rising demand for construction and agriculture equipment over the next year. Roughly 65 percent think demand for ag equipment will be above normal, while 44 percent think demand for construction equipment will be above normal. Manufacturers face some headwinds, though, including labor, supply chain issues and widespread inflation. However, roughly 58 percent in the construction segment and 44 percent in the agriculture segment think the global economy will recover within the next year. Farmers have been taking advantage of their good financial position to invest in new equipment. In 2022, AEM members feel that most key ag equipment categories will see growth similar to this year. *********************************************************************************** USDA Announces Local Food Purchase Assistance Program The Department of Agriculture Monday announced the establishment of the Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement Program. The program will award up to $400 million for emergency food assistance purchases of domestic local foods. Utilizing American Rescue Plan funds, the purchases will help “to transform the food system and build back a better food system,” according to USDA. The awards will be made through non-competitive cooperative agreements with state and tribal governments. The effort will place an emphasis on purchasing from historically underserved farmers and ranchers. Eligible state and tribal governments can apply now until April 5, 2022, at www.grants.gov. USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service also announced the availability of up to $50 million in funds provided by the American Rescue Plan. Those funds are for Emergency Food Assistance Program Reach and Resiliency Grants. The grants intended for state agencies help expand program access in rural, tribal, and other currently underserved areas. *********************************************************************************** USDA to Begin National Agricultural Classification Survey USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service mails the National Agricultural Classification Survey this month. The survey goes to more than a million potential U.S. agricultural producers, in preparation for the 2022 Census of Agriculture. The survey will ask recipients if they are involved in agricultural activity and for basic farm information. Response to the survey is required by law for all who receive the questionnaire, even if the recipient is not an active farmer or rancher. USDA defines a farm as any place from which $1,000 or more of agricultural products are produced and sold, or are normally sold, during the year. The definition was first used for the 1974 Census of Agriculture and is consistent across USDA surveys. Census and Survey Division Director Barbara Rater says the survey “is one of the most important early steps to determine who should receive next year’s Census of Agriculture.” Questionnaires can be completed online or by mail. The response deadline is January 24. *********************************************************************************** USDA Awards Funds for Fiscal Year 2022 Market Development Programs USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service awarded fiscal year 2022 funding to more than 60 U.S. agricultural organizations to help expand commercial export markets for U.S. goods. The Market Access Program focuses on consumer promotion, including brand promotion for small companies and cooperatives, and is used extensively by organizations promoting fruits, vegetables, nuts, processed products, and commodities. The Foreign Market Development Program focuses on trade servicing and trade capacity building by helping to create, expand and maintain long-term export markets for U.S. agricultural products. FAS Administrator Daniel Whitley says, “These programs play a significant role in supporting the U.S. agricultural industry that achieved record exports in 2021 and is projected to do even better in 2022.” Under the Market Access Program, FAS will provide $175.6 million for fiscal year 2022 to 67 nonprofit organizations and cooperatives. For the Foreign Market Development Program, FAS will allocate $26.8 million for fiscal year 2022 to 21 trade organizations that represent U.S. agricultural producers. *********************************************************************************** House Lawmakers Introduce CBD Product Safety and Standardization Act A group of House lawmakers last week introduced the CBD Product Safety and Standardization Act. The legislation will establish federal standards for CBD food and beverage products to protect consumers and provide marketplace stability for farmers and retailers. New York Democrat Kathleen Rice led the effort and says, “the lack of federal regulation surrounding CBD products has put consumers at risk and left businesses looking for clarity.” The bipartisan CBD Product Safety and Standardization Act would allow FDA to regulate CBD as it would any other food ingredient and subject the products to enforceable safeguards to ensure accountability. It also charges the agency with establishing CBD content limits and packaging and labeling requirements, and determining in which categories of food CBD is appropriate for use. The bill will help distinguish responsible players from bad actors that ignore federal requirements for quality, manufacturing, labeling, and claims, and bring safety and clarity to the market. *********************************************************************************** Webinar to Focus on Reducing Carbon, Emissions, in Ag The Diesel Technology Forum plans a webinar with industry leaders about the future policy, technology and fuels considerations for agricultural machines and equipment. The free webinar “Making America’s Farms Greener and More Productive with Advancements in Farming Technology” takes place December 16, 2021. The organization’s executive director Allen Schaeffer says, “Diesel engines power the majority of agricultural equipment, and are evolving to continue to serve this sector in the future which will include new fuels and options.” Leaders in agricultural machines and equipment will explore how new innovations in machines, fuels and the use of smart farming systems are contributing to boosts in productivity and yields, with lower emissions and share their insights on the future. The free webinar is part of a series exploring strategies to reduce greenhouse gas and other emissions across key sectors of the economy. While free, registration is required to participate. For more information, visit http://www.dieselforum.org.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday December 7, 2021 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets It's a light day of economic reports, but the Trade Deficit Report will be out early on Tuesday. We will also be watching for additional China soybean sales, and any confirmation of rumored corn sales to China. Weather A weak system will bring some light snow to the Midwest Tuesday. Later in the day, a cold front stuck in the Southeast will light up with scattered showers as well. Temperatures are quite variable across the country, but not as cold across the Northern Plains as we saw yesterday.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday December 6, 2021 |


Government Grants a Reprieve on Potash Tariffs The U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Controls agreed to provide a reprieve through April of next year on sanctions on imported potash fertilizers. The fertilizers under sanctions were coming into the U.S. from Belarus. “This is a win for the American farmer,” says National Corn Growers Association President Chris Edington. “Farmers are having a very hard time getting the fertilizers they need, so a positive development like this could not come at a better time.” NCGA and other groups were talking with the Treasury Department back in November and expressing concerns that sanctions on potash were resulting in fertilizer shortages across the country. “The American farmer should not have to suffer for the trade practices of foreign governments or for disagreements with multinational corporations,” Edgington adds. “Yet, that’s exactly what happens when sanctions are put in place.” In that situation, he says farmers pay the price while others profit. *********************************************************************************** Biofuel Blending Proposals Coming in Days The Biden administration plans to issue its proposals on how much biofuel refiners have to blend into the nation’s fuel supply for this year and 2022. Sources familiar with the discussions say officials are reaching out to lawmakers to talk about the move that could come within days. The administration delayed the 2021 blending obligations by over a year and missed a deadline to finalize the 2022 obligations last week. A source told Reuters that the Environmental Protection Agency has told at least two Democratic lawmakers to expect retroactively lower volumes for 2021 and 2022. The oil and biofuel industries have both called for the EPA to announce the proposals, saying the delays are creating uncertainty in the fuel market. The delays came as COVID-19 continued to push fuel demand to low levels and while Democratic lawmakers focused attention on other legislation. Officials in the EPA, which oversees the mandates, declined to give specifics on the timing of the announcement. *********************************************************************************** Growth Energy Testifies on RVO Compliance Extension The Environmental Protection Agency heard testimony last week on its proposal to extend the Renewable Fuel Standard compliance deadline for refiners. Chris Bliley (BLY-lee) is the Senior Vice President of Regulatory Affairs for Growth Energy, and he testified on the proposed extension. “The intent of the RFS is to blend more biofuels into our nation’s transportation fuel supply, period,” Bliley said. “It’s not meant to reward oil companies for suing to prevent higher blends and then demand that the agency further delay compliance.” He cites recent research that shows greenhouse gas emissions from corn ethanol are 46 percent lower than gasoline. “With that, it makes no sense why the EPA would continue to allow further delays for oil companies to demonstrate compliance with their blending obligations,” he added. “EPA should take immediate steps to restore the integrity of the RFS, restore lost biofuel demand, and remove hurdles to E15 and higher biofuel blends.” *********************************************************************************** NCC Comments on Labeling Cell-Cultured Meat and Poultry The National Chicken Council commented on the labeling of cell-cultured meat and poultry products. The NCC says those products need to be marketed in a way that clearly conveys their basic nature to consumers. That will avoid confusing consumers regarding the difference between cell-cultured protein products and traditional animal protein products. “This approach ensures a neutral playing field and gives consumers truthful information about the differences between the products,” says NCC Senior Vice President of Scientific and Regulatory Affairs Ashley Pederson. “That will allow consumers to make the choices they think are most important to their family.” The NCC says it’s not appropriate to refer to cell-cultured products using terms like “clean meat.” In their comments, NCC issued six recommendations, including a term such as “Cell-Cultured” should be included in the product name on the label. They also want the Food Safety and Inspection Service to establish a codified standard of identity for the products. *********************************************************************************** USDA Investing $633 Million for Rural Climate-Smart Infrastructure The USDA is investing $633 million to reduce the impacts of climate change on rural communities. “Rural America is on the front lines of climate change, and our communities deserve investments that will strengthen all of our resilience,” says Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack. “This investment will create a roadmap on how we can tackle the climate crisis and expand access to renewable energy infrastructure. At the same time, we’ll create good-paying jobs and save people money on their energy costs.” The funding will help people in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. Vilsack says the investments will help build and improve rural electric infrastructure and connect residents to affordable and dependable power. “The investments will help agricultural producers and rural small businesses purchase and install renewable energy systems and make energy-efficiency improvements,” Vilsack adds. During the announcement, Vilsack highlighted 791 investments that USDA is making to help people and businesses in rural areas. *********************************************************************************** Producers Get More Flexibility on Prevented Planting Acres Senate Ag Chair Debbie Stabenow and longtime committee member John Thune applauded the USDA announcement on prevented planting acres. The Risk Management Agency is implementing their recommendation to remove the arbitrary November 1 restriction for harvesting or grazing cover crops on prevented plant acres. The announcement gives greater flexibility to producers in northern areas of the U.S. “USDA will now encourage more cover cropping by making sure farmers don’t face a crop insurance penalty when extreme weather causes them to miss the planting season,” Stabenow says. “That means healthier soils, less erosion, and better capacity to capture carbon.” Thune also says he’s been a staunch advocate for this change for years. “Congress and this administration must support producers who use cover crops by working to remove the arbitrary barriers to ensure their success,” he says. Stabenow and Thune have worked together for several years to get the November 1 restriction removed.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday December 6, 2021 |


Monday Watch List Markets DTN's Ag Summit kicks off Monday with a discussion with Ambassador Terry Branstad. For everyone else, Monday involves checking the latest weather forecasts, checking for an export sale at 8 a.m. CST and noticing the weekly grain inspections report at 10 a.m. CST. There are no more Crop Progress reports for 2021. Weather Colder, more seasonal temperatures are in store for the central U.S. Monday. Precipitation will occur in a line of showers from the Deep South through the interior Northeast. Periods of snow are also in store in the far northern Midwest and in higher elevation areas of the Northwest.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday December 3, 2021 |


High Fertilizer Costs to Extend into Spring Planting A dramatic rise in fertilizer prices weighs heavily on U.S. crop farmers and input suppliers as they prepare for the 2022 planting season. Prices for nitrogen-based fertilizers commonly used for corn production have skyrocketed to all-time highs in recent months. Fertilizer price increases are driven by nitrogen production challenges, tight global supplies, rising natural gas costs and steady demand. According to a new report from CoBank's Knowledge Exchange, fertilizer prices are expected to remain elevated for at least the next six months and throughout the 2022 spring agronomy season. The report also suggests that while U.S. soybean acres will rise nominally compared to 2021 because of higher fertilizer prices, the total volume of soybean acres will not exceed corn acres in 2022. U.S. crop farmers and farm supply cooperatives are facing operational anxiety heading into 2022, driven by high fuel prices, shortages of agrochemicals due to COVID-related disruptions and, most importantly, the rise in fertilizer prices. *********************************************************************************** Preliminary Commerce Decision Favors Fertilizer Tariffs The U.S. Department of Commerce this week made a preliminary determination in favor of a complaint filed by CF Industries. The complaint alleges that urea ammonium nitrate imports from Russia and Trinidad and Tobago are unfairly subsidized by their governments. As a result, the Commerce Department recommends countervailing duties on fertilizers from these countries. The decision comes on the heels of a decision by the U.S. International Trade Commission in March to grant a petition by the Mosaic Company to place tariffs on phosphorous fertilizer imported from outside the country. Those tariffs were also recommended by the Commerce Department. The National Corn Growers Association expressed disappointment in the action. NCGA President Chis Edgington says, "Farmers shouldn't have to pay for disputes between American fertilizer companies and foreign producers.” Edgington adds farmers across the country have spoken publicly over the last several weeks about the severe impact fertilizer shortages are having on the budgets of family farms. *********************************************************************************** USDA Improves Crop Insurance for Hemp Producers The Department of Agriculture Thursday announced improvements to crop insurance for hemp. USDA’s Risk Management Agency is adding flexibilities around how producers work with processors as well as improving consistency with the most recent USDA hemp regulation. RMA Administrator Marcia Bunger says, “RMA has worked to expand and refine our offerings to be responsive and dynamic.” RMA revised the policy to add flexibility to the insurability requirements for hemp under contract. Producers are no longer required to deliver hemp without economic value for insurability. However, contracts between producers and processors may still include delivery requirements. Additionally, RMA clarified how the amount of insurable acreage is determined if the processor contract specifies both an acreage and a production amount. The change was made in the policy to ensure producers know how their insurable acreage is determined for those contracts. To ensure consistency, RMA updated references to regulations, including the Agriculture Marketing Service final rule, which took effect March 22, 2021. *********************************************************************************** Legislation Calls for Federal Milk Marketing Order Class I Pricing Hearings New legislation introduced this week in the Senate calls for Federal Milk Marketing Order hearings addressing Class I milk pricing. Democrats Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Patrick Leahy of Vermont, and Republican Susan Collins of Maine introduced the bipartisan Dairy Pricing Opportunity Act. The bill requires the Department of Agriculture to initiate the process of holding Federal Milk Marketing Order hearings within six months, allowing producers and industry to consider and review proposals that could change Class I skim milk pricing. National Milk Producers Federation President Jim Mulhern says the bill “adds bipartisan momentum to a range of critical milk pricing discussions that dairy farmers are having.” Before the 2018 Farm Bill, Class I milk was calculated using the “higher of” Class III or Class IV price plus the applicable Class I differential. The calculation was changed in the most recent Farm Bill to an averaging method of Class III and Class IV plus $0.74. *********************************************************************************** United Plane Flies One Engine on 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel United Airlines flew more than 100 passengers to Washington, D.C. this week on a plane with one engine running on 100 percent sustainable aviation fuel. The Boeing 737 MAX 8 used 500 gallons of sustainable aviation fuel in one engine and the same amount of conventional jet fuel in the other engine to further prove there are no operational differences between the two. Also, Federal Aviation Administration regulations limit the use of sustainable aviation fuel to 50 percent of all fuel on board. Sustainable aviation fuel is made with non-petroleum feedstocks, such as biomass from plants, animal waste fat, solid waste from homes such as paper and food scraps and even used cooking oil, according to oil industry company BP. United recently agreed to purchase 1.5 billion gallons of sustainable aviation fuel from Alder Fuels - enough to fly more than 57 million passengers and is also an investor in Fulcrum BioEnergy. *********************************************************************************** USDA Issues Final Pandemic Payments for Timber Harvesters and Haulers The Department of Agriculture announced final pandemic assistance payments for the timber industry starting next week. USDA will provide $200 million through the Pandemic Assistance for Timber Harvesters and Haulers to loggers and log trucking businesses. The funds are for businesses that experienced a gross revenue loss of at least ten percent between January 1 and December 1, 2020, compared to the same period in 2019. Eligible applicants must have derived at least 50 percent of total gross revenue from timber harvesting or timber hauling. The Farm Service Agency issued initial payments up to $2,000 as applications were approved. Based on the number of actual applications filed, FSA lowered the payment limitation for the program from $125,000 to $75,000 and applied a payment factor of 70.5 percent across all calculated payments to ensure program costs do not exceed the available funding. The provisions were previously outlined in the Notice of Funding Availability in the event the revenue loss reported exceeded available funding.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday December 3, 2021 |


Friday Watch List Markets On the first Friday of December, nonfarm payrolls and the unemployment rate for November are both due out at 7:30 a.m. CST. Traders will continue to watch the weather forecasts, especially for South America and for any news of an export sale. Weather A weak system is bringing some showers to the northern Midwest on Friday. The cold front to the system is pushing through the Plains and Midwest and bringing near-record temperatures down several degrees, but temperatures are still mild for December across much of the country today.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday December 2, 2021 |


USDA Updates 2021 Farm Income Forecast USDA’s Economic Research Service updated farm sector profit projections Wednesday, which are expected to increase in 2021. ERS forecasts inflation-adjusted net cash farm income, which is gross cash income minus cash expenses, to increase $12.6 billion to $133 billion. U.S. net farm income is forecast to increase by $18.4 billion from 2020 to $116.8 billion in 2021. Net farm income is a broader measure of farm sector profitability that incorporates noncash items, including changes in inventories, economic depreciation, and gross rental income. At that level, net farm income would be 24.2 percent above its 2000–2020 average of $94 billion and the highest since 2013. Inflation-adjusted net cash farm income would be 16.9 percent above its 2000–2020 average of $113.8 billion and the highest since 2014. Production expenses are expected to grow by $16.3 billion during the same period, somewhat moderating income growth. Additionally, direct government payments to farmers are projected to fall by $20.2 billion in 2021. *********************************************************************************** Limited Demand for Farm Loans, But Strong Profits for Ag Banks Agricultural lending at commercial banks continued to decline but showed some signs of stabilizing in the third quarter. Data reported by the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank Wednesday shows farm debt decreased at the slowest pace in two years. Non-real estate debt declined substantially slower than in recent quarters, and farm real estate loans increased slightly for the first time since mid-2019. Performance on agricultural loans also continued to improve, leading to a five-year low in delinquency rates. With support from stronger loan performance and lower interest expense, profitability for farm lenders remained near historic highs. Prospects for farm income in 2021 remained strong heading into year-end alongside continued strength in commodity markets. Elevated commodity prices have boosted revenues for producers and supported a swift improvement in agricultural credit conditions and a surge in farmland values. However, rising input costs are likely to increase credit needs and stress profit margins going forward. *********************************************************************************** USDA Updates Crop Insurance to Support Conservation and Climate Mitigation Efforts The Department of Agriculture Wednesday announced updates to crop insurance. USDA says the updates are a response to the needs of farmers, including organic producers, and support conservation of natural resources on agricultural land. Specifically, USDA's Risk Management Agency is making permanent a new provision that allows producers to hay, graze or chop cover crops and still receive a full prevented planting payment. To accommodate the different farming practices across the country, RMA is also increasing flexibility related to the prevented planting "1 in 4" requirement and aligning crop insurance definitions with USDA's National Organic Program. RMA is revising four organic definitions to be consistent with USDA's National Organic Program. RMA also made other changes to Common Crop Insurance Policy Basic Provisions, Area Risk Protection Insurance Regulations, Coarse Grains Crop Insurance Provisions, and other insurance provisions. Producers are encouraged to contact their local USDA Service Center to learn more about the changes. *********************************************************************************** NPPC Hires New Chief Executive Officer The National Pork Producers Council Wednesday announced Bryan Humphreys as the organization's new chief executive officer. Humphreys will take the position on December 21, following the retirement of Neil Dierks. NPPC says Humphreys brings years of experience in the pork industry, including as a former NPPC employee, state association executive and National Pork Board senior vice president, and outside the industry as a campaign operative, lobbyist and business owner. Humphreys says, “I look forward to working alongside producers, stakeholders, state associations and the entire team at NPPC to make a lasting impact for farmers across the country.” Humphreys is originally from Columbus Junction, Iowa, where he grew up on his family farm. The announcement comes as NPPC members are pressing Congress on preventing foreign animal diseases, addressing labor shortages, and reauthorizing a livestock price reporting law. NPPC is hosting its Legislative Action Conference in Washington, D.C., this week, meeting with lawmakers on Capitol Hill. *********************************************************************************** USDA Announces Micro Farm Insurance Policy Agricultural producers with small-scale farms who sell locally can now get simplified insurance coverage through a new policy designed. The Department of Agriculture developed the new Micro Farm policy, which simplifies recordkeeping and covers post-production costs like washing and value-added products. Micro Farm is offered through Whole-Farm Revenue Protection and is geared to local producers. The coverage is available to producers who have a farm operation that earns an average allowable revenue of $100,000 or less, or for carryover insureds, an average allowable revenue of $125,000 or less. The increase in allowable revenue for a carry-over insured will allow for some farm growth in subsequent years before they become ineligible for the program. RMA’s research shows 85 percent of producers who sell locally reported they made less than $75,000 in gross sales. Micro Farm is available for the 2022 crop year. Producers with crops insured under another crop insurance policy or a vertically integrated operation will not be eligible. *********************************************************************************** 2022 National Ag Day Activities Announced The Agriculture Council of America this week announced National Agriculture Day on March 22, 2022. This will mark the 49th anniversary of National Ag Day, which is celebrated in classrooms and communities across the country. The theme for National Ag Day 2022 is "Growing a Climate for Tomorrow." On March 22, 2022, ACA will host a virtual Ag Day event and other events in Washington, DC. Additionally, the organization will bring college students to Washington "virtually" to deliver the message of Ag Day to Capitol Hill. A core leadership team of college students will attend in-person events. Another feature of Ag Day 2022 is the Celebration of Modern Agriculture on the Mall. The events honor National Agriculture Day and mark a nationwide effort to tell the story of American agriculture. Many agricultural associations, corporations, students and government organizations involved in agriculture are expected to participate. Learn more about the events online at www.agday.org.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday December 2, 2021 |


Thursday Watch List Markets USDA's export sales report is due out at 7:30 a.m. CST, 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 supplies is set for 9:30 a.m. Traders are increasingly interested in South American weather forecasts and will watch for any news of an export sale. Weather With the main storm track up in Canada through the day, temperatures will be very warm across the country, and near record-breaking in portions of the Plains. Low temperatures this morning are above normal highs in some places. A system will move from Canada into the Plains and Upper Midwest tonight and may produce some light precipitation across the northern tier.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday December 1, 2021 |


USDA Announces Agricultural Outlook Forum Theme and Program The Department of Agriculture Tuesday announced the theme and program of the 98th Agricultural Outlook Forum, a virtual event held February 24-25, 2022. The 2022 Forum theme is "New Paths to Sustainability and Productivity Growth," and the program will focus on innovations to minimize the environmental footprint of agriculture and ensure sustainability while improving crop yields. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says, “I look forward to discussing with sector leaders how we can work on climate smart solutions that will improve the profitability and resilience of agricultural producers and open new market opportunities.” The Forum will begin with a presentation by USDA Chief Economist Seth Meyer on the Department’s outlook for commodity markets and trade for 2022 and the U.S. farm income situation. Breakout sessions include topics on climate mitigation, innovation, trade, commodity outlooks, supply chain resilience and equity and inclusion. Visit the Agricultural Outlook Forum website to register and learn more. *********************************************************************************** FTC Launches Inquiry into Supply Chain Disruptions The Federal Trade Commission is ordering nine large retailers, wholesalers, and consumer good suppliers to provide detailed information on supply chain disruptions. The information will also show how disruptions are causing hardships for consumers and harming competition in the U.S. economy. The orders are being sent to Walmart, Amazon, Kroger, C&S Wholesale Grocers, Associated Wholesale Grocers, McLane Company, Procter & Gamble, Tyson Foods, and Kraft Heinz. The companies will have 45 days from the date they received the order to respond. FTC Chair Lina Khan (lee-nuh con) is hopeful the study “will shed light on market conditions and business practices that may have worsened disruptions or led to asymmetric effects.” The orders require the companies to detail the primary factors disrupting their ability to obtain, transport and distribute their products; the impact of the disruptions, the most affected products, the steps taken to alleviate disruptions, and how they allocate products among their stores when they are in short supply. *********************************************************************************** Low October Wholesale Egg Prices Reported in Advance of 2021 Holiday Season Demand for table eggs tends to increase when holiday gatherings and cold weather encourage home baking and cooking. In accordance, wholesale table egg prices, the prices retailers pay to producers for eggs, tend to increase ahead of holidays. Leading up to the 2021 holiday season, however, wholesale prices of table eggs in the United States declined as effects of COVID-19-linked flock adjustments linger. In normal years, producers anticipate seasonal demand by adjusting the size of the table-egg laying flocks and the rate they produce eggs. In 2020, COVID-related disruptions in the demand for eggs led producers to reduce flock sizes. Flock sizes have slowly rebuilt since but remain smaller than the same time in 2019. However, the younger flocks produce more eggs per hen. USDA’s Economic Research Service reported Tuesday that at the beginning of October 2021, the size of the U.S. laying flock was just above the October 2020 levels, and the rate of lay was 1.1 percent higher. *********************************************************************************** Waiver From Trucking Federal Rule Expanded The National Pork Producers Council this week thanked the Biden administration for extending to February 28, 2022, a waiver for commercial truckers from the federal Hours of Service regulation. The rule limits truckers to 11 hours of driving time and 14 consecutive hours of on-duty time in any 24-hour period and requires prescribed rest periods. At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, the FMCSA included livestock haulers in an initial emergency declaration that provided an exemption from the HOS regulation for commercial truckers hauling essential supplies, including livestock. The waiver subsequently was expanded to cover the delivery of livestock feed. NPPC President Jen Sorenson says, “Extending the HOS waiver ensures that livestock truckers can get hogs to market safely and efficiently.” In August, the FMCSA extended the waiver to November 30. Further, a provision in the infrastructure bill recently signed into law expanded the miles agricultural truckers can drive without the HOS restrictions. *********************************************************************************** NCGA: Remember to Submit Ballot for FSA Committee Positions The National Corn Growers Association reminds producers to submit ballots for the Farm Service Agency county committee elections. Voters should return their ballots to their FSA county office by Monday, December 6, or postmark mail-in ballots by the deadline. Committee members represent local farmers at the Department of Agriculture and play an important role in shaping FSA programs. Each committee has from three to 11 elected members who serve three-year terms of office, and at least one seat, which represents local administrative areas, is up for election each year. Newly elected committee members will take office on January 1, 2022. Ballots were mailed to producers on November 1. USDA says it is crucial that every eligible producer take part in the election because county committees are a direct link between the farm community and USDA. Eligible voters who do not receive a ballot in the mail can request one from their local Farm Service Agency county office. *********************************************************************************** Active 2021 Atlantic Hurricane Season Ends The active 2021 Atlantic hurricane season ended Tuesday after producing 21 named storms, including seven hurricanes, four being major hurricanes. The above-average hurricane season was accurately predicted by NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, a division of the National Weather Service, in their May and August outlooks. This year was the third most active year on record in terms of named storms, and marks the sixth consecutive above-normal Atlantic hurricane season. This was the first time on record that two consecutive hurricane seasons exhausted the list of 21 storm names. Since the launch of the storm surge warning and new inundation mapping in 2017, there have been 16 U.S. hurricane landfalls, of which seven were major hurricanes. The 2022 hurricane season will officially begin on June 1. NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center will issue its initial seasonal outlook in May. However, NOAA cautions that now is the best time to prep for hurricane season.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday December 1, 2021 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets We will be watching early reports from the government, including the ADP Employment report, Markit Manufacturing PMI, and Construction Spending. We will also be watching for any news on the new COVID variant, and at 8 a.m. will look for any new corn or soy sales. Weather A system moving across the northern tier of the country is bringing scattered showers to mostly the eastern Midwest on Wednesday. Breezy and warm temperatures are following behind the precipitation. The combination of above normal temperatures and dryness continues to be unfavorable for winter wheat development in the Southern Plains

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday November 30, 2021 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets We will be watching early reports from the government on the Home Index, Chicago Purchasing Manager's Index (PMI), and Consumer Confidence. We will also be watching for new information about the newly detected Covid variant, and any new sales of soybeans and corn. Weather A band of snow has exited the Midwest and another system is building in the Pacific Northwest, but most areas are going to be dry on Tuesday. Warm temperatures will be in place for much of the country as well, with some well above normal temperatures across the Plains and western Midwest. The combination is unfavorable for winter wheat in the Southern Plains, which continues to find increasing drought conditions.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday November 29, 2021 |


Monday Watch List Markets On the final Monday of November, traders will pause at 8 a.m. CST to see if USDA has an export sale to report and will then notice a report of U.S. pending home sales in October at 9 a.m. USDA's weekly grain export inspections is due out at 10 a.m. CST, followed by the final Crop Progress report of 2021 at 3 p.m. CST. Weather Scattered showers will develop across the northern tier of the country on Monday as a system moves through the Midwest and another goes through the Pacific Northwest. Showers will be mostly light while the south stays dry, unfavorable for winter wheat in the Southern Plains.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday November 26, 2021 |


USDA Cuts Ag Export Forecast for 2022 The USDA cut its farm exports forecast in 2022, blaming weaker soybean demand from China and lower soybean prices. The Economic Research Service says it now expects American ag exports to hit $175.5 billion in the fiscal year 2022, down from the August forecast of $2 billion. The agency says soybean exports will be down $3.9 billion next year for a total of $28.4 billion. Soybean meal exports were forecast to slump by $800 million to $4.9 billion due to lower prices. Looking ahead, China is expected to remain as the largest U.S. agricultural market, with exports forecast now at $36 billion, a $3 billion drop from USDA’s August prediction. The drop in soybean exports should be at least partly offset by increasing livestock, poultry, dairy, cotton, and ethanol exports. USDA predicts corn, sorghum, and rice exports will drop by $100 million each. Wheat exports are unchanged from August at $7.1 billion. *********************************************************************************** NCGA: Court Will Review Fertilizer Brief The U.S. Court of International Trade says it will review an amicus brief submitted by the National Corn Growers Association and other ag groups. The brief involves a case the court is considering regarding tariffs on phosphorous fertilizers imported from outside the country. In the brief, the NCGA says, “Farmers, faced with severe shortages and high fertilizer costs, are calling on a major American fertilizer company to withdraw the petition that led to the tariffs.” The Commerce Department recommended in February that the International Trade Commission implement tariffs over 19 percent on imported fertilizers from Morocco after the Mosaic Company, which manufactures fertilizers used in the U.S. and around the world, filed a petition with the department seeking the levies. “Executives at Mosaic can eliminate this financial burden on farmers just by getting rid of the petition,” says NCGA President Chris Edgington. “We invite them to do just that.” The ITC approved the tariffs back in March. *********************************************************************************** Farm Real Estate Values Jump Sharply Higher The Federal Reserve Survey of Agricultural Credit Conditions shows that farmland values rose in the third quarter of this year. The value of non-irrigated cropland rose by at least 12 percent in all of the participating Districts in the survey. The rapid increase was consistent in most states, with annual increases of more than 20 percent in some areas. Supporting farm real estate markets, interest rates on farm loans remained at historic lows, and strong farm finances also led to further improvement in agricultural credit conditions. Despite consistent concerns about the increasing cost of inputs, agricultural lenders expect farm income and credit conditions to remain strong through the end of the year alongside higher commodity prices. At the same time, the rising value in farmland has bolstered farm balance sheets and provided additional support to the ag sector. The outlook for farm finances and agricultural land values remains strong through the end of 2021. *********************************************************************************** Defend the Blend Act Introduced in the House Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor (score) issued a thank you to lawmakers for introducing the Defend the Blend Act into the House of Representatives. The bill’s main sponsors include Republicans Ashley Hinson of Iowa and Rodney Davis of Illinois, and Democrats Angie Craig of Minnesota and Ron Kind of Wisconsin. “We thank these lawmakers for introducing the Defend the Blend Act, legislation that would offer more certainty in the marketplace, especially as we await the 2021 and 2022 RVOs from the Environmental Protection Agency,” Skor says. “The Renewable Fuel Standard was put in place to blend more low-carbon biofuels into our nation’s transportation fuel supply and includes a built-in mechanism that adjusts for any changes in fuel demand.” She also says retroactively changing RVO levels is completely unnecessary, adds uncertainty to the marketplace, and far exceeds the EPA’s legal authority. Earlier this fall, rumors said that EPA was considering retroactively reducing the 2020 RVO. *********************************************************************************** European Union Approves Large Farm Subsidies Deal The European Parliament approved the biggest reform to their farm subsidies in decades. Reuters says the vote switches much of the cash subsidies to smaller farms and rewards producers who use more sustainable farming methods. The Common Agricultural Policy has been criticized for years over the way the bulk of EU ag subsidies went to large landowners and industrial ag firms. Backers of the deal say the reform will change that. However, environmentalists say the deal doesn’t go far enough in taking care of the environment and fighting climate change. The Chair of the European Parliament’s Ag Committee called it the biggest reform since 1992. The Common Ag Policy will spend 387 billion euros, or $436 billion, on payments for farmers and support for rural development. The new rules which start in 2023 shift funds away from intensive farming to more protection of nature and cut EU greenhouse gases by 10 percent. *********************************************************************************** USDA Accepting Applications for Rural Broadband Assistance The USDA says it’s begun accepting applications for up to $1.15 billion in loans and grants to help rural residents get access to high-speed internet. The announcement comes shortly after the recently approved Bipartisan Infrastructure Law earmarked another $2 billion in additional funding for the ReConnect Program. “High-speed internet is the new electricity,” says Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack. “It must be reliable, affordable, and available to everyone.” He also says the funding that USDA is making available should go a long way toward making rural broadband much more accessible. “Expanding broadband availability in rural areas will help to create jobs, help farmers use precision ag technologies, expand access to education and healthcare in rural communities, and create economic opportunity for millions of rural residents,” Vilsack adds. USDA says it will issue a new Notice of Funding Opportunity to make the additional funds in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law available in 2022. The $1.15 billion in ReConnect funding is available immediately.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday November 26, 2021 |


Friday Watch List Markets USDA's weekly export sales report is due out Friday at 7:30 a.m. CST and is the only official report of the day. Traders will check to see if USDA has an export sale announcement at 8 a.m. U.S. grain and livestock futures markets open at 8:30 a.m. and close early, at 12:05 p.m. Desperate for extra attention, Minneapolis wheat will close 10 minutes later. Weather A cold front that brought some scattered showers over Thanksgiving to the middle of the country is pushing off to the east on Friday. Some lake-effect snows will continue around the Great Lakes behind the system but most areas will see quieter and dry conditions.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday November 24, 2021 |


Farm and Biofuel Groups React to BBB Act Provisions Several agricultural groups reacted to key provisions found in the Build Back Better Act. Growth Energy, the National Corn Growers Association, the National Farmers Union, and the Renewable Fuels Association are grateful for the Congressional efforts to build new markets for farmers and biofuel producers. In a letter to the chairs of the House and Senate Ag Committees, the groups also say they appreciate the efforts to help lower the carbon intensity of agriculture. “One of the most pressing challenges facing biofuel producers is ensuring that consumers have consistent access to higher-level ethanol and biodiesel blends, which are lower carbon and lower cost than petroleum fuels,” they say in the letter. “The Biofuel Infrastructure and Agriculture Product Market Expansion provision in the BBB Act helps address this issue and contains much-needed funding to ensure consumers have access to these fuels.” That refers to the $1 billion allocated to upgrade refueling and distribution infrastructure meant for higher ethanol blends. *********************************************************************************** Trouble Ahead for the Next Farm Bill A Successful Farming article says there may be trouble ahead for the upcoming Farm Bill in Washington, D.C. A former USDA official says the 2023 legislation could be in trouble if the political turbulence surrounding the last two farm bills keeps going into next year. “The deep polarization heightens the uncertainty of how this farm bill will unfold in Congress,” says Jonathan Coppess of the University of Illinois. The House defeated the normally-bipartisan bill in 2013 and 2018 because of a partisan battle over reduced SNAP spending. The 2013 vote was the first time the farm bill had ever gotten defeated on the House floor. More potential backlash over the farm bill could include the $53 billion worth of trade war and coronavirus relief payments given to farmers since 2018, as well as the disparity in support between cotton and rice compared to corn, beans, and wheat. “It’s a foggy path between here and 2023,” Coppess says. *********************************************************************************** Farm Groups Ask Administration to be Firm on WTO Issues A coalition of farm groups wrote to U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai and Ag Secretary Vilsack on challenges surrounding the World Trade Organization. The Hagstrom Report says those groups are pleased that Ambassador Tai gave strong statements on engaging boldly with the WTO. They want the Biden administration to try and get the public stockholding and the special safeguard mechanism proposals at the WTO eliminated in connection with the upcoming 12th Ministerial Conference. In a letter to officials, the groups say that the proposals related to public stockholding and the special safeguard mechanism are remnants of a negotiation that’s decades old. The PSH proposal would significantly weaken the discipline process on domestic subsidies, while the SSM proposal will seriously limit U.S. export access to developing countries. “Adopting these proposals will point the reform process in the wrong direction and doom future negotiations to failure,” the letter says. The coalition includes the American Farm Bureau, along with crop, meat, and export groups. *********************************************************************************** USDA Invests $32 Million to Strengthen Supply Chain USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack says his agency will invest $32 million in grants awarded to 167 meat and poultry slaughter and processing facilities to expand capacity and efficiency in the food supply chain. The funds went to smaller meat and poultry slaughtering and processor facilities and come through the Meat and Poultry Inspection Readiness Grant Program. “Today’s investments support local and regional meat and poultry processors as they recover from COVID-19 and also work to expand their capacity,” Vilsack says. “Getting a Federal Grant of Inspection or operating under a Cooperative Interstate Shipment program allows meat and poultry processors to ship across state lines, pursue new market opportunities, and better meet demand across the supply chain.” With these grants, meat and poultry processors can cover the costs for improvements like expanding existing facilities and modernizing their processing equipment. These opportunities will allow facilities to serve more customers in more markets. For more information, go to www.usda.gov. *********************************************************************************** U.S., India Reach Agreement on Ag Trade India and the United States agreed to expand trade between the nations on some agricultural products. Those include U.S. cherries, alfalfa, and distiller’s dried grains, as well as Indian mangoes, grapes, shrimp, and water buffalo. The two sides came together in the first U.S.-India Trade Policy Forum meeting in four years. The trade ministers also talked about the possibility of restoring India’s trade benefits under the U.S. Generalized System of Preferences. The two countries have disputed over a range of issues recently, including tariffs that dampened the prospects of reaching a bilateral trade deal. Yahoo Dot Com says they talked about American interest in supplying India with ethanol, as well as speeding up phytosanitary work to allow more agricultural imports between the two nations. Tai recently concluded a visit to India to try and rebuild trade ties between the world’s richest and largest democracies. The Ministers of both countries committed to continue working on trade issues in the future. *********************************************************************************** Thanksgiving Apple Pie Will Cost a Little More This Year As American consumers finalized their Thanksgiving menus, they likely found out that their apple pie deserts will cost a little more this year. The USDA says shoppers will pay about $7.32 for the ingredients, more than half of which is the cost for apples, which is $4.22. The same pie ingredients cost approximately $6.75 last year, which means the total cost this year is 8.4 percent higher than 2020. USDA says the cost increase is driven by the price of Granny Smith apples, which increased to $1.41 per pound this year compared to an average of $1.26 last year. Sugar, eggs, butter, and lemons also increased in price since 2020, while flour prices dropped over the same period. If the apple pie is served a la mode, add in an additional 31 cents per scoop, the same price as last Thanksgiving. While USDA used price points from October, the actual cost may decrease if retailers offer holiday discounts.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday November 24, 2021 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets On Wednesday before Thanksgiving, weekly U.S. jobless claims, durable goods orders for October and another estimate of third quarter U.S. GDP are all due out at 7:30 a.m. CST. At 9 a.m., there are reports of October new home sales, U.S. personal income and the University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index. The Energy Department's weekly inventory report is due out at 9:30 a.m., followed by the natural gas storage report at 11 a.m. Minutes from the most recent FOMC meeting are set for 1 p.m. CST. U.S. grain and livestock futures have normal closes Wednesday and do not trade again until Friday morning at 8:30 a.m. CST. Weather A strong front is pushing across the Plains and Midwest on Wednesday. Showers are limited Wednesday morning but should develop across the far southeastern Plains and southwestern Midwest by tonight. Some breezy winds will occur both ahead and behind the front across the Plains and Midwest as well. Cold weather continues to push through the Southeast with the first frosts and freezes of the season all the way south to the Florida Panhandle.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday November 23, 2021 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets There are no major reports on Tuesday's docket, but traders will keep their eyes on the latest weather forecasts and any export sales news that develops. Be careful as quiet, pre-holiday markets can be vulnerable to trading mischief. Weather A frontal boundary is moving through the Canadian Prairies and will move into the Northern Plains on Tuesday. Scattered showers over the Pacific Northwest will dry out as they work into the Plains behind the front Tuesday night. Most other places will be dry, favoring the last bits of harvest and fieldwork. Rain is still desperately needed for winter wheat in the southwestern Plains, where drought continues to build.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday November 22, 2021 |


House Passes Build Back Better Act Senate Ag Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow applauded the House of Representatives for passing President Biden’s Build Back Better Act. “It’s all about lowering costs for American families and making critical investments to help us combat climate change,” Stabenow says, “especially in partnership with our farmers, ranchers, foresters, and rural communities. I’m fully committed to passing the Build Back Better Act in the Senate.” Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says Americans need this important legislation to build up the middle-class and American competitiveness. “That will ensure that people in rural communities have a fair shot at opportunities and will secure our children’s future,” Vilsack says. “This is our nation’s largest effort to combat climate change and includes a focus on climate-smart agriculture.” House Ag Committee Chair David Scott says the act includes a lot of his committee’s agricultural priorities. “The investments are critical to helping American agriculture address and deal with the impact of climate change,” Scott says. *********************************************************************************** Proposed Water Rule a Return to “Overreach” Ag groups are reacting to the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed rule to replace the Navigable Waters Protection Rule, and they’re not happy with the idea. The proposed rule would re-establish the pre-2015 definition of “Waters of the U.S.” American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall says his group is disappointed that the agency is returning to an “overly complicated” interim water rule. “Overreaching regulations create major permit backlogs for the federal government and result in long delays for farmers and ranchers working hard to keep America fed,” Duvall says. “They’re putting this in place before completing the promised stakeholder engagement.” National Corn Growers Association President Chris Edgington says the administration is taking farmers backward by removing a rule that’s provided “certainty” for farmers who feed and power America. “NCGA will continue to work with agencies and advocate for a WOTUS definition that provides farmers with clarity about obligations under the Clean Water Act,” Edgington says. *********************************************************************************** Possible Tax Credit Ahead for Soy Oil-Based Aviation Fuel Lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow soybean oil-based jet fuel to qualify for an unprecedented tax credit. A Reuters article says that would be a win for biofuel producers and a blow to environmental groups that say crop-based fuels undermine the benefits of producing greener fuels. The announcement comes as the Biden administration set the lofty target of lowering aviation emissions by 20 percent by 2030. The White House is pushing for more sustainable aviation fuel, which is currently made in small quantities of substances like used cooking oil and animal fat, as a way to reach their goal. U.S. biofuel groups say it will be impossible to meet such targets without using ethanol and soybean oil and want the current model for determining eligibility for the tax credit to get changed. The Build Back Better Act passed by the House puts the tax credit between $1.25 to $1.75 a gallon. *********************************************************************************** Clinton: White House Likely to Remove Some Tariffs on China Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told Bloomberg that the Biden Administration would likely remove some punitive tariffs on Chinese imports. She says there is an ongoing process to try to figure out what America’s best approach to China will be going forward. “I predict there will be some changes,” she says. “However, they won’t all disappear, and some may continue in the new reality we’re living in.” Last month, U.S. Trade Rep Katherine Tai said the administration will directly engage with China to enforce commitments the Asian nation made in a trade deal with former President Trump. After more than two years since the duties took effect, the U.S. and China are shipping goods to each other at a pace that seems to suggest the drawn-out trade war never happened. Tai recently announced that the USTR will reinstate tariff exclusions for some imports from China after previous exemptions expired, and her office is currently taking exclusion requests. *********************************************************************************** Bill Would Suspend Brazilian Beef Imports to the U.S. U.S. Senator Jon Tester of Montana introduced legislation to suspend Brazilian beef imports to the United States. The move comes after repeated issues with delayed reporting of BSE, or mad cow outbreaks in Brazilian beef. Suspending the imports will give experts a chance to conduct a thorough review of the meat’s safety. “Americans deserve the highest level of safety and certainty in their beef, and Brazilian imports don’t make the cut,” Tester says. “Concerns about Brazil’s imports not only jeopardize consumers’ trust but present a serious risk to our country’s producers.” It took until September before Brazil announced two cases of atypical BSE were detected in June. Most countries report outbreaks to the World Organization of Animal Health within days. The bill would ensure Brazil’s beef is safe to eat before it’s brought back into the U.S. market. America’s prominent beef cattle groups came out in support of Tester’s bill. *********************************************************************************** USDA Issuing $270 Million in Pandemic Assistance to Producers The USDA has begun issuing roughly $270 million in pandemic assistance payments to eligible contract producers of livestock and poultry who applied for help. Earlier this year, the Farm Service Agency identified gaps in assistance. USDA then released an improved program for contract producers to help fill those gaps. “We listened to feedback from producers and stakeholders about impacts across livestock and poultry operations and made updates to be more equitable in the assistance we’ve delivered,” says FSA Administrator Zach Ducheneaux (DOO-shah-no). “Filling these gaps and not letting underserved producers slip through the cracks is a common theme throughout our approach under our Pandemic Assistance for Producers Initiative.” The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 provided funding for payments to contract producers of eligible livestock and poultry for revenue losses from January 1, 2020, through December 27 of this year. Contract producers of broilers, pullets, chicken eggs, turkeys, and many other types of livestock and poultry were eligible.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday November 22, 2021 |


Monday Watch List Markets U.S. futures markets are keeping normal trading hours the first three days this week, but volume is apt to be lower than usual with Thanksgiving Thursday and a shorter trading session on Friday. Traders will continue to check the latest weather forecasts and pause at 8 a.m. CST in case USDA announces an export sale. A report of October U.S. existing home sales is due out at 9 a.m. CST, followed by weekly grain inspections at 10 a.m. USDA's Crop Progress report will conclude Monday's reports at 3 p.m. Weather A cold front will move through the Eastern U.S. Monday and showers will dry up as it does so. Other than some lake-effect snow showers around the Great Lakes and some isolated showers in the Southeast, drier conditions are expected for the day across the primary growing areas. Areas of the southwestern Plains continue to be in dire need for moisture for winter wheat establishment.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday November 19, 2021 |


Biofuel Groups Frustrated by Further RFS Delays The Environmental Protection Agency announced a proposal extending the Renewable Volume Obligation compliance deadlines for 2019 and 2020, as well as the RVO for 2021. The agency intends to establish general timeframes for the extended compliance deadlines without setting specific dates. The agency also hasn’t issued decisions on the pending small refinery exemptions. Kurt Kovarik, National Biodiesel Board Vice President of Federal Affairs, calls it a “gift” to refiners. “The Biden Administration and the EPA are sending the wrong signals on fuel availability and gas prices,” Kovarik says. Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor says EPA needs to release the 2021 and 2022 RVOs immediately. “Further delaying compliance deadlines for previous RVO years does nothing but contribute to ongoing uncertainty in the marketplace,” she says. “Sadly, even as our country faces rising gas prices, the EPA and the administration are giving in to the loud voices of the oil industry. It’s past time for the EPA to act.” *********************************************************************************** EPA and Army to Provide Certainty on WOTUS Definition The Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army announced a proposed rule to re-establish the pre-2015 definition of the “Waters of the United States.” The agencies plan to update the rule that’s been in place for decades to reflect consideration of Supreme Court decisions. The action will advance the agencies’ goal of establishing a WOTUS definition that protects public health, the environment, and downstream communities. At the same time, the new rule would support economic opportunity, agriculture, and other industries that depend on clean water. EPA Administrator Michael Regan says the only constant with WOTUS in recent years has been change. “That’s created a whiplash in how to best protect our waters in communities across America,” Regan says. Jaime Pinkham, Acting Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, says the new rule will be “mindful of implementation practices and will get shaped by the lived experience of local communities and stakeholders.” *********************************************************************************** Deere Employees Approve Contract, End Strike Deere and Company employees brought their five-week-old strike to an end by approving a new six-year contract with the company. United Auto Workers members were immediately prepared to return to their shifts with the agricultural and construction equipment manufacturer. The Des Moines Register says 61 percent of the workers approved the agreement, which raises hourly wages by 10 percent and increases worker retirement benefits. The company also agreed to maintain its health insurance program that employees don’t have to pay premiums for. Just over 10,000 in number, the workers in Iowa, Kansas, and Illinois had rejected two prior contract proposals, setting off the first strike at Deere since 1986. UAW President Ray Curry says, “UAW John Deere members did themselves proud. They seemed to unite the nation struggling for workplace fairness.” In his own statement, Deere CEO John May says, “I’m pleased our highly-skilled employees are back to work building and supporting our industry-leading products.” *********************************************************************************** Thousands of Livestock Dead in Canada Flood The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation says thousands of animals are dying because of severe flooding that devastated farmlands across British Columbia in Canada. Lana Popham is Canada’s Agriculture Minister. She says the government is rushing to get veterinarians to many more animals trapped and facing death. Nearly in tears during a recent press conference, the minister says she’s had heartbreaking FaceTime conversations with farmers in their barns while dead livestock lay in the background. Calling it a complete agricultural disaster, she says desperate farmers tried to move livestock by boat to higher ground, but some had to be abandoned as floodwater rushed into southern B.C. “I can tell you that many farmers attempted to move their animals and had to walk away because the roads were disappearing beneath them,” Popham says. “Even the animals that made it to a safe spot are in rough shape when they finally get to dry ground.” *********************************************************************************** Farm Bureau Says 2021 Thanksgiving Dinner Costs More Thanksgiving 2021 is a chance for family and friends to get together for a meal. However, paying attention to how that feast affects the bottom line is also important. The Farm Bureau’s 36th annual survey shows that the average cost of this year’s classic Thanksgiving feast for 10 is $53.31. It still breaks down to less than $6 per person. It’s a $6.41 increase or a 14 percent increase from last year’s average of $46.90. The centerpiece of most Thanksgiving tables is the turkey, which costs more than last year at $23.99 for a 16-pound bird. While that’s up 24 percent from last year, the Farm Bureau survey took place before many grocery stores had begun to feature their whole turkeys at lower prices in time for the holiday. AFBF Senior Economist Veronica Nigh (NYE) says factors that caused the price increases include inflation pressure and interruptions to the U.S. supply chains. More consumers cooking at home also upped retail prices. *********************************************************************************** 2020-2021 Marketing Year Ranks as Best Export Year Ever U.S. exports of grains in all forms reached an all-time high in the 2020-2021 marketing year. USDA Data analyzed by the U.S. Grains Council showed exports made a nice recovery after two years of decline. Exports in the marketing year rose just over 28 percent to a total of 129.5 million metric tons or 5.2 billion bushels. “Reaching an all-time high record for exports of grains in all forms while we continue to deal with COVID-19 shows the commitment of USGC members to expand grain exports,” says Cary Sifferath (SIF-uh-rath), senior director of global programs. U.S. corn exports rose by 55 percent in 2020-2021 from the prior marketing year to 69.8 million metric tons or 2.7 billion bushels. Corn exports to China hit a record at more than 21.4 million metric tons. U.S. sorghum exports rose 40 percent year-over-year to 7.1 million metric tons, or 283 million bushels. China was the top sorghum market with 6.78 million metric tons of imports.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday November 19, 2021 |


Friday Watch List Markets USDA's monthly cattle on-feed report is the only report on Friday's docket, due out at 2 p.m. CST. Traders will keep their attention on the latest weather forecasts and watch for any new export sales. Next week's trading hours will be shortened by Thanksgiving on Thursday and a shortened trading session on Friday. Weather High pressure settling in behind a cold front that moved through this week will keep the weather relatively quiet on Friday. Some breezy conditions are expected on the backside of the high in the Plains and Upper Midwest, though. Meanwhile showers are moving through the Pacific Northwest with the next system. Most of the showers are occurring in the mountains, however.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday November 18, 2021 |


Bonnie Confirmed as USDA Undersecretary Senate Ag Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow and Ranking Member John Boozman (BOZE-man) announced that the Senate confirmed Robert Bonnie to a USDA Undersecretary position. The 76-19 vote in favor of the nominee means that Bonnie is the new Undersecretary for Farm Production and Conservation. “Democrats and Republicans praise Mr. Bonnie’s extensive credentials and commitments to tackling the climate crisis and boosting farm income at the same time,” Stabenow says. Commodity groups like the National Corn Growers Association say Mr. Bonnie has an important role with the USDA. “As production agriculture faces multiple challenges, Mr. Bonnie will play an important role in responding to farmer needs,” says NCGA president Chris Edgington. “His previous experience as a USDA Undersecretary is important when it comes to working with a variety of stakeholders and overseeing important USDA agencies. “ Bonnie’s experience, bipartisanship commitment, and ongoing work with farmers, ranchers, and conservationists are reasons the NCGA says it’s looking forward to working with Bonnie. *********************************************************************************** Farm Bureau Says, “Build Back Better” Act Will Hurt Rural America The American Farm Bureau Federation sent a letter to the U.S. House of Representatives stating its opposition to the Build Back Better Act. AFBF President Zippy Duvall says the Act, also known as the reconciliation package, contains some elements that would benefit agriculture. “However, the massive amount of spending and tax increases required to pay for the plan outweigh the gains we would see in rural America,” Duvall says in the letter. “We appreciate efforts in the House to protect farmers and ranchers by leaving key tax provisions untouched. Thousands of small businesses would still be affected by tax increases, forcing them to pass increased costs to families across the nation.” He also says the economy is still recovering from COVID-19, supply chains are stressed, and inflation is putting pressure on American pocketbooks. “Now is not the time to put more burdens on American families struggling to make ends meet,” he says. *********************************************************************************** Ag Lenders Expect Borrowers to be Profitable This Year The American Bankers Association and the Federal Agricultural Mortgage Corporation released their most recent survey of agricultural lenders. The good news is that the lenders expect 80 percent of their borrowers to show a profit in 2021. Looking ahead to next year, the lenders expect that 70 percent of their borrowers will remain profitable through 2022. The report says the agricultural economy was “shaken” by the events of 2020. For the first time in the history of the survey that began in 2016, most of the ag lenders expect that overall farm profitability increased in the prior year. Almost 70 percent of the lenders say the profitability largely stemmed from government support, which lenders say made up 38 percent of borrowers’ net income. Lenders expect some deterioration in conditions next year, with almost 30 percent expecting a decline in farm profitability during 2022. Lenders cited inflationary pressure as the number one concern for producers. *********************************************************************************** Ethanol Industry Says Biofuel Rollback Won’t Lower Gas Prices The ethanol industry is warning the Biden administration that pulling back the nation’s biofuel-blending rules to lower gasoline prices would be a big mistake. “We were shocked to learn that one of the potential actions reportedly being discussed at the White House is relaxing mandates to mix gasoline with biofuels,” says Renewable Fuels Association CEO Geoff Cooper. The RFA sent a letter to Brian Deese, director of the White House National Economic Council, pointing out that lowering blending requirements would lead to higher, not lower, gas prices. It would also boost tailpipe pollution tied to climate change and risk public health. Instead, the group wants the administration to focus on proposing overdue biofuel blending rules and expanding higher ethanol blends around the nation. The RFA letter says ethanol is extending the U.S. gasoline supply by nearly 1.1 million barrels per day, equivalent to the combined crude oil production of Alaska, California, Utah, and Wyoming. *********************************************************************************** USCA Joins Call for Halting Beef Imports from Brazil The United States Cattlemen’s Association joined the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and R-CALF USA in calling for a halt to beef imports from Brazil. A USCA letter to Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says recent reports of human remains containing BSE, or Mad Cow Disease, follow closely on the heels of an atypical case of BSE found in an older cow in Brazil. “This is especially troubling given Brazil’s history of corruption and dishonest trading practices in the global marketplace,” the letter says. “USCA is concerned more cases are waiting to get discovered.” USCA Trade Committee Chair Larry Kendig says the same concerns which prompted his group to call for a halt to Brazilian beef imports in 2017 remain today. “Put simply, Brazil is a bad actor in the global marketplace,” Kendig says. “We are gambling with the health of the domestic herd every time we accept a shipment of beef from Brazil.” *********************************************************************************** Keep Thanksgiving Free from Foodborne Illness As Thanksgiving rapidly approaches and Americans sit down for a meal, the USDA says it’s important to take steps to keep family and friends safe from foodborne illness during the holiday. “Thanksgiving is one of my favorite times to remind people about food safety,” says Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack. “I personally know how much effort it takes to prepare a full Thanksgiving meal. It’s important to follow safe practices like handwashing, using a food thermometer, and avoiding cross-contamination.” One of the best tips for food safety is making sure to wash your hands before preparing and handling food to help prevent the spread of germs. When thawing a turkey, don’t do it on a counter or in hot water; instead, do it in a refrigerator. Use a food thermometer to make sure the turkey gets to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. All perishable foods should be refrigerated within two hours of being cooked.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday November 18, 2021 |


Thursday Watch List Markets USDA's weekly report of export sales is due out at 7:30 a.m. CDT, along with weekly U.S. jobless claims and an update of the U.S. Drought Monitor. The U.S. index of leading indicators for October will be out at 9 a.m. CST, followed by the Energy Department's natural gas storage report at 9:30 a.m. CST. Traders will be watching for any new export sales announcements and will monitor the latest weather forecasts. Weather A mature system in Ontario continues to push a cold front southeast through the eastern portions of the country on Thursday. Scattered showers are found along the front from the Delta into the eastern Midwest and these showers will continue behind the front today. Some snow showers will continue across the northern Midwest as well. Areas in the Plains remain dry, which has been hurting winter wheat establishment, especially as temperatures fall below normal at times, causing freezes.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday November 17, 2021 |


| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday November 17, 2021 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets A report on October U.S. housing starts is set for 7:30 a.m. CST Wednesday, followed by the Energy Department's weekly inventory report at 9:30 a.m., which includes ethanol and crude oil production. As usual, traders will keep their eyes on the latest weather forecasts and watch for any news of an export sale. Weather A cold front sweeping across the country is going to develop showers along it across the eastern Midwest that will move into the Delta tonight. Showers are expected to be light but could have an impact on fieldwork. Winds behind the system remain strong in the Northern Plains and extend into the Upper Midwest and Central Plains as well. While the front is moving through the Southern Plains, very little or no precipitation is expected, furthering the dryness for winter wheat.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday November 16, 2021 |


President Biden Signs Infrastructure Bill President Joe Biden Monday signed the bipartisan infrastructure legislation. The more than $1 trillion plan includes $550 billion in new funding for transportation, broadband and utilities. The White House calls the legislation “a once-in-a-generation investment in our Nation’s infrastructure and competitiveness.” The legislation focuses on the needs of rural America through broadband, ports and waterways, as well as roads and bridge projects. American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall says the investments “will ensure we continue to safely and efficiently transport the agricultural and food products that our nation and the world rely on.” The bill includes important provisions from the previously proposed Haulers of Agriculture and Livestock Safety Act. That legislation allows livestock haulers an exemption to normal trucking hours-of-service limitations if the vehicle is within 150 miles of its destination. Ahead of the signing, President Biden named Mitch Landrieu as senior advisor responsible for coordinating implementation of the legislation. *********************************************************************************** Farmland Values Surge Alongside Strength in Agriculture Agricultural credit conditions in the Federal Reserve Bank Tenth District remained strong in the third quarter, and farm real estate values increased sharply. The Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank reports farm income and loan repayment rates continued to increase at a steady pace and contributed to multi-year lows in problem loans and asset liquidation. While conditions have improved substantially from recent years throughout the region, the pace of increase in farm income and loan repayment rates was slower in areas most significantly impacted by drought. Alongside a strong agricultural economy and historically low interest rates, the value of all types of farmland was about 15 percent higher than a year ago. Most lenders have remained optimistic about the outlook for agriculture but have expressed concerns about rising input costs. The Tenth Federal Reserve District covers the states of Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Wyoming, 43 counties in western Missouri, and 14 counties in northern New Mexico. *********************************************************************************** Deere Workers Voting on Third Offer Union workers employed by Deere and Company vote this week on a third and final offer from Deere. The tentative agreement, announced Friday, includes modest modifications to the previous tentative agreement presented for ratification on November 2, according to United Auto Workers. UAW is presenting the ratified agreement to members for a vote and will continue the strike until an agreement is approved. Meanwhile, a recent poll by the Des Moines Register found 58 percent of Iowa adults say they mostly side with Deere workers, 16 percent of respondents say they mostly side with the employers, while 19 percent are unsure and seven percent support neither group. Union members have rejected two tentative agreements from Deere and will vote Wednesday on the latest offer. More than 10,000 workers remain on strike in Iowa, Illinois and Kansas. UAW says the offer is the “best and final” offer to the UAW negotiating team. *********************************************************************************** USDA, Interior Department Create Tribal Homelands Initiative President Joe Biden announced the Tribal Homelands Initiative during the White House Tribal Nations Summit Monday. The initiative is a partnership between the Interior Department and the Department of Agriculture. USDA says the effort will improve federal stewardship of public lands, waters, and wildlife by strengthening the role of tribal communities in federal land management. Through a joint Secretarial Order, the two departments codified a policy to facilitate agreements with tribes to collaborate in the co-stewardship of federal lands. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says, “Shared stewardship of land management is a priority for USDA, and an important part of our responsibility to tribal nations.” The Departments also committed to ensuring that all decisions relating to federal stewardship of lands, waters, and wildlife include consideration of how to safeguard the treaty, spiritual, subsistence, and cultural interests of any Indian Tribes. The order additionally directs the departments to ensure that tribal governments play an integral role in decision-making related to federal lands. *********************************************************************************** NPPC Applauds USDA Decision to Allow Faster Line Speeds The National Pork Producers Council commended the Department of Agriculture for allowing some pork packing plants to run faster line speeds. NPPC says the move could increase packing capacity and alleviate supply issues in the face of strong demand. NPPC President Jen Sorenson says, “This is particularly important now given the strong demand for pork, supply chain problems and our industry’s packing capacity constraints.” The announcement last week allows Nine plants that adopted the agency’s 2019 New Swine Inspection System to apply for a one-year trial program to use faster line speeds. The plants will collect data on the effects of line speeds on workers and share it with U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The line speed provision of the 2019 NSIS final rule was more than 20 years in the making, with six pork plants operating faster line speeds through a program begun in 1997 under the Clinton administration. *********************************************************************************** USMEF Elects New Officers The U.S. Meat Export Federation announced Mark Swanson as the new USMEF chairman, succeeding Pat Binger of Cargill Protein North America. Swanson, chief executive officer of Colorado-based Birko Corporation, heads an officer team reflecting the wide range of USMEF membership sectors. Dean Meyer, a corn, soybean and livestock producer from Iowa, is the new USMEF chair-elect, and Minnesota pork producer Randy Spronk will serve as vice-chair. The newest USMEF officer is Steve Hanson, a rancher from Nebraska. The officers were announced at the conclusion of the USMEF Strategic Planning Conference and board of directors meeting late last week. Since joining USMEF in 2008, Swanson said Birko has benefited significantly from the federation's expertise and from the contributions exports make to the growth and profitability of the U.S. red meat industry. Swanson says USMEF staff and technical knowledge is “what propels us to outpace the competition, because we're simply better at understanding the markets."

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday November 16, 2021 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets A report on October U.S. retail sales is due out at 7:30 a.m. CST Tuesday, followed by the Federal Reserve's report on October U.S. industrial production at 8:15 a.m. USDA's Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook will be released at 2 p.m. Traders will check the latest weather forecasts and watch for any news of an export sale. Weather A frontal boundary will move through the Northern Plains on Tuesday. It will be dry but breezy. Good weather conditions will continue for final harvest and fieldwork activities elsewhere. The dryness continues to be a concern for winter wheat in the Southern Plains, however.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday November 15, 2021 |


Refiners Betting on Support from Biden U.S. oil refiners are upping the ante in the battle over biofuels in an attempt to win support from the Biden administration. Reuters says they’re making moves in the biofuel credit market that may end up forcing them to close plants and fire workers if the president doesn’t bail them out from Renewable Fuel Standard requirements. The RFS requires refiners to blend biofuels into their fuel supply or buy RIN (Renewable Identification Number) credits from those that do the blending. A Reuters study says some of those refiners that had been buying a lot of credits are now building short positions in the credit market. They’re betting that President Biden will side with refiners and roll back the RFS. However, this would anger the Farm Belt, who say this is nothing but a political shakedown. Refiners know that rising fuel prices have the administration’s attention. “These refineries are daring the Biden administration to make them lay in the bed they made intentionally by running up massive short positions on biofuel credits,” says Brooke Colman, executive director of the Advanced Biofuels Business Council. A Reuters review of financial filings shows refiners that had little outstanding biofuel credit liabilities have let them climb to record highs in the third quarter of this year. *********************************************************************************** Vote on Bonnie Nomination Likely This Week The Senate Agriculture Committee approved the nomination of Robert Bonnie as the USDA Undersecretary for Farm Production and Conservation three months ago. The position is one of the most important at USDA as the undersecretary oversees the agency’s farm subsidy and land stewardship programs, which cost over $10 billion a year. The departmental scope covers public nutrition, international trade, ag research, meat safety, and rural economic development. Successful Farming says several senators placed hold actions on Bonnie for reasons mostly unrelated to the nominee. Bonnie was trained in forestry and served as an undersecretary in the Obama administration. He joined USDA as a climate advisor on the same day Joe Biden took office. Bonnie has been at the forefront of the administration’s plans to mitigate climate change. During his confirmation hearing this year, he said that actions on global warming would be voluntary, incentive-based, and locally-led. “If they don’t work for producers and landowners, they’re not going to work for the climate,” he said during his testimony. *********************************************************************************** October Ag Tractor and Combine Sales Stay Positive Overall unit sales of both ag tractors and combines continued their growth above an already-rapid pace set last year. The latest data from the Association of Equipment Manufacturers says U.S. total farm tractor sales climbed 4.8 percent in October compared to last year. U.S. self-propelled combine sales climbed 73 percent, the fourth month in a row of growth near or above 20 percent for harvesters. The under-40 horsepower segment stayed positive, growing 4.5 percent, while the mid-size 41-100 horsepower was up 4.1 percent. Heavy-duty units saw another strong month, with units over 100 horsepower up 10.3 percent. But the articulated four-wheel drive segment continued to slow in sales, down 6.3 percent. Year-to-date farm tractor sales remain up 11.4 percent and combine growth moved to 24 percent. Canadian sales were positive, with both ag tractors and combines finishing the month in the black. “We’re pleased to see ag equipment sales remain positive, despite the very real supply chain challenges,” says Curt Blades, senior vice president of agriculture services at AEM. “We remain optimistic that the positive sales trends will continue along with the ongoing strength in the ag economy.” *********************************************************************************** Grains Council, Texas Reps Promote Sorghum Overseas The U.S. Grains Council and the Texas Department of Agriculture visited Spain last week to look into export opportunities for U.S. sorghum and distiller’s dried grains with solubles in 2022. The group met with Spanish grain importers and compound feed producers during the trip. “Spain produces about 36 million metric tons of compound feed annually,” says Paige Stevenson, USGC manager of global trade. “They’re also the largest pork producer in the European Union. Spain is historically a significant buyer of U.S. sorghum, so this mission was an important one.” The USGC says the Council and Texas sorghum exporters engaged in a dialogue with their customers to help ensure that U.S. sorghum is not overlooked as the Spanish market makes its purchasing plans for the upcoming year. The mission team had one-on-one meetings with Spanish grain importers, feed producers, and hog producers. Spanish importers hold American sorghum in high regard, and the trip resulted in heightened interest in the commodity. “As a result of the trip, we immediately received follow-up calls from the Spanish industry asking for price and quality specifications,” says Stevenson. “That highlights the importance of sitting down with your customers face-to-face.” *********************************************************************************** Wheat Industry Leaders Meet in Kansas City, Talk Shipping The boards of directors for the U.S. Wheat Associates and the National Association of Wheat Growers met last week in Kansas City. Supply chain issues were one of many topics during the meetings. “Supplier delivery times have slowed dramatically, not only for manufacturers but also for service providers,” said Esther George, President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, one of the keynote speakers. “That’s due in large part as shipping times from Asia to the West Coast have doubled, and transit costs have skyrocketed.” Daniel Whitley, USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service Administrator, was another speaker. He talked about the long and successful public-private partnership between “cooperator” organizations like USW and FAS. He also noted the significant expected increase in U.S. agricultural exports for 2021-2022 to more than $175 billion in value, which includes an estimated $7 billion in U.S. wheat exports. Greg Borossay from the Port of San Diego previewed some expansion plans that will introduce bulk freight loading capacity, including for grains. There’s also a project in the works to create a barge service between San Diego and marine ports in central and northern California, along with Oregon and Washington state. *********************************************************************************** Lasers May Be the Future of Weed Control Carbon Robotics is working on what may be the future of weed control in agriculture. They’re building a rectangular vehicle a little smaller than a compact sedan, which rolls across farmland. While it’s moving, the vehicle shoots concentrated bursts of infrared light into the rows. Observers hear audible crackles and get the distinct smell of burning vegetation as weeds smolder next to unscathed crops. Paul Mikesell, the founder of Carbon Robotics, says the unmanned Autonomous Laser Weeder covers 15-20 acres per day and kills up to 100,000 weeds an hour. The infrared lasers shoot from beneath the vehicle’s undercarriage. There’s no manual chopping crew, no soil disturbance beyond the wheel traction, and no herbicide use, an important fact given agriculture’s push toward sustainability. “We spent almost three years designing a system that targets weeds on its own while rolling through a field,” Mikesell says. “It operated entirely on its own and separate from any human action.”

| Rural Advocate News | Monday November 15, 2021 |


Monday Watch List Markets Starting the third week of November, traders will be checking the latest weather forecasts and will hold their breath at 8 a.m. CST to see if any of the rumors of U.S. soybean sales to China get announced. USDA's weekly report of grain inspections is due out at 10 a.m. CST and will be followed by an estimate of the U.S. soybean crush in October from the National Oilseeds Processors Association. USDA's Crop Progress will give estimates of row crop harvest progress and winter wheat planting progress at 3 p.m. CST. Weather An active pattern will continue across the country for the week, but it will be a relatively quiet transition day on Monday between systems. The next system will come into the Pacific Northwest this evening with scattered showers that will extend into the Canadian Prairies.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday November 12, 2021 |


Dairy Industry to Meet Next Week Dairy Industry groups will meet next week in Las Vegas for their annual joint meeting. The National Milk Producers Federation, National Dairy Promotion and Research Board, and United Dairy Industry Association will meet November 14-17. Attendees will hear how the dairy industry groups are working to “Make Every Drop Count” for U.S. dairy farmers. Key topics and issues include sales, sustainability, nutrition policy, trade regulations, animal care, and changes in the global dairy marketplace. The national Young Cooperator program will also hold its annual session November 14-15. In addition to NMPF’s Town Hall session, the conference will feature a panel discussion of how NMPF and the national checkoff are working to defend the sustainability of real dairy products, particularly as the marketing environment in the dairy category becomes even more competitive. Another panel will discuss National Milk’s work with the U.S. Dairy Export Council to create high-value new opportunities for American dairy exports. *********************************************************************************** USMEF Conference Focuses on Booming Demand, Supply-Side Challenges The U.S. Meat Export Federation Strategic Planning Conference this week welcomed members from across the nation. The meeting covered booming demand for U.S. red meat in both established and emerging markets. USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom told attendees demand for U.S. red meat may be at the most robust level he has ever seen. He noted that U.S. beef exports to Japan, South Korea and China/Hong Kong are all on track to exceed $2 billion this year, and pork exports are up slightly in volume and significantly in value over last year's record pace. Total red meat export value will reach about $18 billion this year, including more than $2 billion in variety meat. This represents a rebound for variety meat exports, which took a step back in 2020. Halstrom tempered his optimism, however, due to West Coast port congestion and other transportation obstacles, as well as a persistent labor shortage and heightening regulatory burdens. *********************************************************************************** R-CALF Statement on Cattle Market Price Discovery and Transparency Bill R-CALF USA awaits the full text of the compromise Cattle Market Price Discovery and Transparency Bill to analyze the legislation. The final language of the compromise is not yet publicly available. However, reacting to the news, R-CALF CEO Bill Bullard says, “Publicly available information does not indicate the compromise bill does what we asked.” Bullard says, “We asked Congress to immediately force the dominant packers to begin competing for cattle and give consumers the opportunity to choose where they want their beef produced.” The organization will review the bill before making a final decision. Bullard says R-CALF will determine if the bill can immediately restore lost competition to the market, if it can immediately ensure timely market access for all participants, and if it treats all independent cattle producers and feeders equally. Finally, the organization wants to see if the legislation “truly rebalances the market power” between disaggregated cattle producers and the highly concentrated beef packers. *********************************************************************************** Meat Institute Announces Ambitious Climate Target The North American Meat Institute this week announced that 100 percent of its members will have delivered independently approved science-based greenhouse gas reduction targets in line with the Paris Climate Agreement goals by 2030. The Meat Institute's new targets released alongside its sustainability framework are the latest commitments launched through the Protein PACT for the People, Animals, and Climate of Tomorrow, which unites 12 leading U.S. agricultural organizations committed to taking measurable action to accelerate progress toward global development goals. Meat Institute President and CEO Julie Anna Potts comments the framework "will drive momentum and generate technical support for meatpackers and processors of all sizes to establish independently approved science-based targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.” The Meat Institute will support members in setting greenhouse gas reduction targets to be approved by the Science Based Targets Initiative, which independently assesses and approves companies' targets in line with its strict criteria. *********************************************************************************** National Farmers Union Announces 2022 Women's Conference National Farmers Union this week announced the 2022 Women's Conference to connect women in agriculture and provide education on business skills and innovative marketing tactics. NFU Education Director Emma Lindberg says, "This conference will not only prepare attendees for success in agriculture, but it will also provide them with their own network of women farmers and ranchers they can reach out to throughout the year." Farmers, policymakers, educators, and specialists will present on several subjects, including business management, leadership, community building, and more. The 2022 Women's Conference will be a hybrid event with virtual sessions focusing on cooperatives, business management, and food sovereignty. The Virtual event runs January 10-13, and the in-person event January 15-18 in Nashville, Tennessee. Farmers Union members are invited to attend the in-person conference, and non-members are welcome to attend the virtual conference. Find more details about the 2022 National Farmers Union Women’s Conference online at www.nfu.org. *********************************************************************************** EPA Fines Pesticide Applicator for Alleged Violations of Federal Pesticide Law The Environmental Protection Agency recently fined Nutrien Ag Solutions Inc. for allegedly applying pesticides in Kansas that were canceled by the federal government. The Colorado-based company, which sells, distributes, and applies pesticides mainly for farming operations, will pay $668,000. In 2020, EPA canceled the use of certain pesticides containing the active ingredient dicamba, in response to a Ninth Circuit Court order vacating the registration of those pesticides. The Court cited, among other things, evidence that dicamba could drift onto neighboring crops and damage them during high winds. According to EPA, Nutrien Ag Solutions violated the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act when it allegedly used two dicamba products in a manner inconsistent with the approved label on at least 27 occasions. Further, EPA alleged that the company violated the law on 33 occasions when it applied other dicamba products on multiple Kansas farms during periods of high wind speeds in violation of pesticide label requirements.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday November 12, 2021 |


Friday Watch List Markets USDA's weekly export sales report is due out at 7:30 a.m. CST Friday, followed by the University of Michigan's early November index of consumer sentiment. Traders will check the latest weather forecasts and watch for any new export sales. Weather A deep low pressure system continues to spin over Minnesota, bringing in some cold and windy conditions, along with a bit of snow in the Upper Midwest. As the low moves east, showers will spread through the Eastern Corn Belt through the day but should only be light rain for the most part. The system has caused many weather issues for the remaining harvest and is not letting go just yet.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday November 11, 2021 |


Consumer Price Index: Food Prices Higher Again in October The Consumer Price Index increased 0.9 percent in October on a seasonally adjusted basis after rising 0.4 percent in September, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Wednesday. Over the last 12 months, the all-items index increased 6.2 percent, the largest 12-month increase since November 1990. The food index increased 0.9 percent in October, the same increase as in September. The food at home index increased 1.0 percent over the month as all six major grocery store food group indexes continued to rise. The index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs continued to rise sharply, increasing 1.7 percent following a 2.2-percent increase in September. The index for beef rose 3.1 percent in October. The index for other food at home rose 1.2 percent, its largest monthly increase since April 2020. The index for cereals and bakery products rose one percent, while the index for dairy rose 0.2 percent, and the index for fruits and vegetables advanced 0.1 percent. *********************************************************************************** White House: Infrastructure Deal to Improve Supply Chain A White House fact sheet released Wednesday says the bipartisan infrastructure deal will improve the supply chain. The report says the infrastructure legislation will make fundamental changes that are long overdue for ports, airports, rail and roads to ensure supply chains are more resilient and efficient from future shocks. According to some rankings, no U.S. airports rank in the top 25 of airports worldwide, and no U.S. port ranks in the top 50 ports for efficiency. The legislation invests $17 billion in port infrastructure and waterways and $25 billion in airports to address a variety of issues. Despite global disruptions due to the pandemic, The White House says America is moving record numbers of goods from ports to shelves and homes. The Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, which import 40 percent of all containerized imports into the country, are handling the most in their history, 17 percent more than their previous record year. *********************************************************************************** Farm Households Received Estimated $2,100 From Economic Impact Payments In 2020, U.S. family farm households received $4.3 billion in federal assistance during the Coronavirus pandemic from Economic Impact Payments. Researchers at USDA’s Economic Research Service this week say the estimated average was $924, $2,408, and $2,466 for single, head of household, and joint filers, respectively. The disparity partly reflects the lower income thresholds for single households, which resulted in some not receiving the maximum payment and others not receiving payments at all. Additionally, since unmarried people with dependents were assumed to file as head of household, these households were estimated to have received an additional $500 per dependent. Among family farm households, ERS researchers estimated that 18 percent of single filers did not receive a payment, compared with 17 percent of head of household filers, and 13 percent of joint filers in 2020. In April and May 2020, U.S. households of all types, farm or otherwise, received more than $266 billion from the program. *********************************************************************************** North American Meat Institute: Grassley-Fischer Bill Ignores Economic Fundamentals The North American Meat Institute says the Grassley-Fischer bill to improve fairness in the cattle market ignores the analysis of beef and cattle markets by the country’s leading agricultural economist. Further, the organization says the bill’s mandated government intervention will have unintended consequences that will hurt livestock producers and consumers. NAMI President Julie Anna Potts says, “In a rush to do ‘something,’ this bill would replace the free market with government mandates and harm those it is intended to protect: livestock producers.” According to one independent analysis using USDA data, since August, prices for producers have been well above the five-year average and above prices in 2020. The Cattle Price Discovery Act is seen as a compromise between lawmakers to “return fairness to the cattle marketplace dominated by four major meat packers.” North American Meat Institute members process the vast majority of U.S. beef, pork, lamb, and poultry, according to the organization. *********************************************************************************** Expect Volatile Natural Gas Prices This Winter Extreme cold in February led to lower-than-average natural gas storage levels through the summer, prompting concerns about winter weather this year and volatile natural gas prices. In its November Short-Term Energy Outlook, the U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates that U.S. natural gas storage levels had built to within three percent of the previous five-year average at the end of October. EIA Acting Administrator Steve Nalley says, “Winter temperatures will be the key driver of natural gas demand, inventories, and ultimately prices.” Despite relatively high natural gas prices, the U.S. electric power sector continues to use significant amounts of natural gas for generation. In addition, EIA estimates that U.S. natural gas exports of liquefied natural gas averaged 9.8 billion cubic feet per day in October, which is 37 percent above the October 2020 level, and essentially at capacity. U.S. natural gas exports will most likely remain close to capacity this year and in 2022 to meet demand.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday November 11, 2021 |


Thursday Watch List Markets Thursday, November 11 is Veterans Day and there are no significant reports scheduled, but U.S. futures markets are open. Canola will not trade Thursday. Traders will check the latest weather forecasts and anticipate USDA's weekly export sales report, due out Friday morning at 7:30 a.m. CST. Special thanks to all you veterans for your service. Weather A strong system is intensifying over Minnesota early Thursday, pushing a line of moderate showers along the Mississippi River eastward through the rest of the day. The system is also increasing its winds on the backside of the system while it pulls down cold Canadian air and a batch of snow into the Northern Plains. That will cause some blowing snow, drifting, and blizzard conditions with wind gusts of 35 to 50 mph and occasionally higher into Friday.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday November 10, 2021 |


USDA Raises Corn Yields, Lowers Soybean Estimate The USDA released its November Crop Production and World Ag Supply and Demand Estimates this week, and the agency numbers show more corn production for 2021-2022. The corn outlook calls for greater production, increased corn use for ethanol, and marginally lower ending stocks. Corn production is forecast at 15.06 billion bushels, up 43 million from last month on a .5 bushel increase in yield to a record 177.0 bushels per acre. The season-average corn price received by producers is unchanged at $5.45 per bushel. The soybean outlook is for lower production and exports and higher ending stocks. Soybean production is forecast at 4.42 billion bushels, down 23 million on lower yields. Exports are reduced this month, reflecting reduced global imports and lower-than-expected shipments through October. The season-average soybean price is $12.10 a bushel, down 25 cents. The 2021-2022 wheat outlook calls for lower supplies, higher domestic use, reduced exports, and slightly higher ending stocks. Projected ending stocks are up slightly to 583 million bushels, up three million over last month but still the lowest ending stocks since 2007-2008. The season-average farm price is up 20 cents a bushel to $6.90. *********************************************************************************** Chinese Soybean Imports Drop to Lowest Level Since March China’s October soybean imports dropped over 41 percent lower than the same time a year ago, hitting the lowest level since March 2020. Reuters says poor crush margins curbed demand and Hurricane Ida limited U.S. shipments. The world’s biggest soybean buyer purchased 5.1 million tons of the commodity in October, compared to 8.69 million tons last year. Chinese imports also dropped from 6.8 million tons in September. In the first ten months of 2021, China bought 79.08 million tons of soybeans. China’s crushers increased their purchase earlier this year because of possible strong demand from a rapidly recovering pig herd. But demand recently dropped after pig supplies outpaced the demand, leading to plunging prices and wiping out farmers’ profits. Prices did pick up a bit in October after farmers were hit with heavy losses during the summer. Crush margins were low as recently as early September after hitting a record low in June. Margins began to improve later in September because of declining inventories. The U.S. was also hit with shipping issues as Hurricane Ida hit the Gulf Coast in early September, damaging at least three of the near dozen export terminals located along the Mississippi River between Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and the Gulf of Mexico. *********************************************************************************** Senators Announce Plan to Improve Cattle Market Fairness Republican Senators Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Deb Fischer of Nebraska joined Democrats Jon Tester of Montana and Ron Wyden of Oregon in announcing the Cattle Price Discovery and Transparency Act. The compromise cattle market bill is part of Grassley’s work to return fairness to the cattle marketplace dominated by four major meatpackers. “I frequently hear from independent cattle producers struggling to get a fair price for their cattle while the nation’s four largest packers operate in the shadows,” Grassley says. “The bill takes several steps to improve cattle price transparency and will improve market conditions for independent producers across the country.” The Senators plan to introduce the act in the coming days. Among the many changes it will make, the legislation will establish regional mandatory minimum thresholds of negotiated cash and negotiated grid trades based on each region’s 18-month average trade to enable price discovery. It would also require the USDA to create and maintain a publicly-available library of marketing contracts between packers and producers in a manner that ensures confidentiality. The proposal is endorsed by a number of state and national organizations, including the American Farm Bureau, the National Farmers Union, and many others. *********************************************************************************** USDA Awards $25 million for Conservation Innovation Projects The USDA announced its awarding $25 million to conservation partners across the country for 18 new projects under the Conservation Innovation Grants On-Farm Conservation Innovation Trials program. The On-Farm Trials’ projects support the widespread adoption and evaluation of innovative conservation approaches in partnership with farmers and ranchers. This year’s awarded projects accomplish goals like increasing the adoption of new approaches and technologies to help agricultural producers mitigate the effects of climate change, increasing the resilience of their operations, and boosting soil health. “Farmers, ranchers and forest landowners play a crucial role in charting the course towards a climate-smart future,” says Terry Cosby, Natural Resources Conservation Service boss. “On-Farm Trials enable partners to work with producers to test and adopt new climate-smart systems on their operations that support agricultural production and conserve natural resources, while also building climate resilience.” Among the many awarded projects, one is called “Climate-Smart Irrigation for Drought, Fertility, and Structural Resilience on Almond Systems,” with the study located in California. Another project in both California and Oregon will study irrigation projects for the future. Other Conservation Innovation Grants cover studies on flood irrigation water management, low-cost gravity-powered drip irrigation, enhanced efficiency fertilizers, methane emissions in dairy cattle, and many other topics. *********************************************************************************** Wet October Lifts Severe Drought in Iowa Severe drought was driven from across Iowa for the first time in over a year. A Successful Farming article says the credit for that goes to widespread rainfall in October that made it one of the wettest on record. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says roughly five inches of rain fell around the state. Tim Hall, the DNR’s hydrology resources coordinator, says, “The widespread, above-normal rainfall during October was just what we needed in Iowa. Soaking rainfall ahead of winter’s freeze will set us up for a much better start to next year.” The U.S. Drought Monitor shows less than half the state is abnormally dry or in moderate drought. That’s a big turnaround from June when over half the state was in either severe or moderate drought. While the dry conditions had farmers concerned, some timely rains salvaged some of the crop yields. It’s the first time since July 2020 that no part of the state suffered from severe drought. Many areas in Iowa got more than double the normal amounts of rainfall. For example, Estherville picked up just over seven inches during October. The only place in the state with less-than-normal rainfall was the northeast corner. *********************************************************************************** Paper Clover Campaign Raises $1.3 Million for 4-H Tractor Supply Company announced its 2021 Fall Paper Clover Campaign raised a record-setting total of just over $1.3 million for 4-H youth around the country. Program contributions support 4-H members’ participation in camps, educational programs, and leadership experiences. All Paper Clover proceeds support 4-H youth in the state from which it was collected. A Tractor Supply Company spokesperson says, “It’s heartwarming to see how invested our communities are in supporting young people and their ability to participate in 4-H’s invaluable learning experiences.” During 11 years of partnership, Tractor Supply has raised more than $17 million for 4-H youth through their Paper Clover Fundraiser, impacting more than 120,000 students. The funds support scholarships for camps and leadership experiences for 4-H youth across the country. If someone can’t attend an in-person event, 4-H also offers 4-H at Home, Virtual Camp, and Camp in a Box. This year, Tractor Supply also donated an additional $250,000 to the 4-H Tech Changemakers Program, a new opportunity empowering young people to take control of digital literacy and economic prosperity in their community.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday November 10, 2021 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets At 7:30 a.m. CST Wednesday, the U.S. Labor Department returns with a report of consumer prices for October, an ongoing concern in what is gradually becoming a post-pandemic era. At 9:30 a.m., the Department of Energy will release weekly energy inventories with much attention drawn to last week's levels of ethanol and crude oil production. The U.S. Treasury reports on the October budget deficit at 1 p.m. Weather A storm system is entering the Plains Wednesday and will move eastward with a line of showers and thunderstorms into the western Midwest later in the day. Moderate rain will slow the remaining harvest but the rain is skipping over the southwestern Plains. This area is extremely dry and winter wheat conditions continue to deteriorate here.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday November 9, 2021 |


Ag Groups Praise Infrastructure Legislation Passage Weekend passage in the House of Representatives of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act led to a slew of farm groups praising the action. The House passed the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package, which includes $550 billion in new spending. The historic bipartisan infrastructure bill addresses the critical infrastructure needs of family farmers, ranchers, and rural communities, according to the National Farmers Union. NFU President Rob Larew responds, “The bill strengthens our food supply chain as it makes tremendous, much-needed investments in the roads, bridges, dams, and waterways that family farmers and ranchers depend on." Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall says broadband provisions in the legislation are critical for agriculture, adding, "Investments in physical infrastructure like broadband will be critical to bridging the digital divide." For rural America, the bill includes $110 billion for roads and bridges and $65 billion to expand rural broadband. Ports and waterways will receive $17 billion. *********************************************************************************** Survey: 54% of Equipment Dealers Don’t Support Deere Strike A majority of equipment dealers don’t support striking John Deere workers, according to a recent poll from Farm Equipment Magazine. The poll found roughly 54 percent of dealers indicated they do not support the strike, while 37 percent said they did, and 8.5 percent weren't sure. Deere workers have rejected two tentative contract agreements since the strike began. UAW members voted to reject the most recent offer, with 55 percent voting against and 45 percent voting for the agreement. The results show just four of the 12 Deere facilities included voted against the tentative agreement. Following the vote, a spokesperson for Deere and Company says there will not be a third contract offer to striking union workers. Farm Equipment Magazine reports commentary from dealers who do not support the strike suggested Deere's record profits don't necessarily mean employees should see raises. Dealers that do support the strike accused Deere of prioritizing its shareholders. *********************************************************************************** Producers Still Have Time to Respond to USDA Hemp Survey It is not too late to respond to the 2021 Hemp Acreage and Production Survey, according to USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. The survey collects information on the acreage, yield, production, price and value of hemp in the United States. USDA NASS said Monday, “Every response matters to ensure we have accurate data needed to inform decisions about the hemp industry.” If a survey recipient is not a current hemp producer, the recipient is encouraged to respond to a few simple questions at the beginning of the questionnaire to ensure NASS does not contact them regarding hemp in the future. The survey will set the benchmark for hemp acreage and production to assist regulatory agencies, producers, state governments, processors and other key industry entities. NASS has begun phone follow-up with survey recipients. Producers can complete their survey through phone interview, online at agcounts.usda.gov, or mailing their completed questionnaire. Results will be released in February of next year. *********************************************************************************** Red Meat Exports Remain on Record Pace Through Third Quarter Both U.S. beef and pork exports are on a record pace through September, according to the U.S. Meat Export Federation. Beef exports posted one of the best months on record in September, at 123,600 metric tons, up 20 percent from a year ago and the fourth largest volume of the post-BSE era. Export value jumped 59 percent to $954.1 million, the second-highest month on record, trailing only August 2021. For the first three quarters of 2021, beef exports increased 18 percent from a year ago to 1.08 million metric tons, valued at $7.58 billion, up more than $2 billion from the same period last year. Pork exports totaled 219,680 metric tons in September, down one percent from a year ago, but value was eight percent higher at $608.3 million. For January through September, exports were one percent above last year's record pace at 2.24 million metric tons, while value climbed nine percent to $6.23 billion. *********************************************************************************** Most U.S. Counties Exempt Groceries from Sales Taxes Foods purchased at grocery stores were exempt from sales taxes in 57 percent of U.S. counties in 2019, according to new data from USDA’s Economic Research Service. Using county-level tax data in combination with the USDA’s National Household Food Acquisition and Purchase Survey, researchers at USDA recently examined whether grocery taxes are associated with how much money U.S. households spend on food at retail outlets and restaurants. USDA-ERS found that grocery taxes were associated with differences in food spending among lower-income households that were eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program but did not participate in it. Among those households, researchers were able to associate taxes on groceries with reduced food spending at retail stores and increased food spending at restaurants. However, Federal law and USDA regulations stipulate that foods purchased with SNAP benefits are exempt from state and local sales taxes, and no such relationship was found among households participating in SNAP. *********************************************************************************** University of Missouri to Launch Mobile Meat Processing Training The University of Missouri's College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources will provide mobile meat processing training next year. The university will send two mobile meat processing training centers throughout the state as part of a pilot program to address the labor shortages within the meat processing industry. The Missouri Department of Agriculture provides funding for the effort through its Meat and Poultry Processing Grant Program. Organizers describe one of the mobile units as a 'hot dog plant on wheels.' The training center is designed to teach meat processing skills. The other will be set up as a mobile retail storefront with a point-of-sales system. That unit will be used to provide training on retail sales and marketing of products. The mobile centers will be self-contained units and will be used throughout the state as small processing plants don't always have time to train employees. They will also teach consumer relations, managing budgets, inventory management and marketing.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday November 9, 2021 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets At 7:30 a.m. CST Tuesday, the U.S. Labor Department will release the producer price index for October, a topic on many investors' minds. At 11 a.m., USDA will release its WASDE and Crop Production reports for November with all eyes on the corn and soybean crop estimates. Traders will watch for any export sales news and any surprises in USDA's reports. Weather A storm system is moving into the western states on Tuesday with scattered showers that may be at least partially beneficial for winter wheat in the Pacific Northwest. Mostly fair weather is expected east of the Rockies that should favor the remaining harvest.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday November 8, 2021 |


Governors Explore Ways for States to Expand Biofuel Sales A bipartisan group of governors asked the Biden administration for guidance on an action that could expand fuel sales containing a higher ethanol blend. The letter was sent following action by an appeals court that struck down a 2019 ruling that allowed year-round sales of E15. Reuters says farm and biofuel groups were angered by the ruling after spending a lot of time advocating for year-round sales which boosted demand for their products. The seven governors point out that a section of the Clean Air Act allows governors to effectively request from the EPA that E15 be sold in their state year-round. “In the wake of the court decision, we are exploring all our options to ensure retailers can sell E15 to consumers all year long without interruption,” the group says in their letter. Groups like the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association and the national Renewable Fuels Association were grateful for the letter. “We all hope either Congress or the EPA will take action to preserve year-round access to E15 across the country,” says Iowa Renewable Fuels Association President Monte Shaw. “But if no timely solution can be found, governors have the authority to implement solutions state-by-state.” *********************************************************************************** USDA Emphasizes Commitment to Climate at COP26 USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack attended the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland. He emphasized USDA’s support for President Biden’s whole of government approach to combatting climate change, creating good jobs, and economic growth in the U.S. During the conference at various events, he highlighted USDA partnerships and initiatives that put agriculture, forestry, and rural communities at the center of global solutions to climate change. “Climate change is happening,” Vilsack says. “It threatens to disrupt our food systems, worsen food insecurity, and negatively impact the livelihoods of our agricultural producers. Now is the time to address this.” Vilsack also told conference attendees that the U.S. can lead the way with investments in climate-smart solutions that improve the profitability and resilience of agricultural producers and improve forest health while creating new income opportunities and building wealth that stays in rural communities. Vilsack touched on several topics, including building support for the Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate Initiative launched last week. He also highlighted the Climate Smart Agriculture and Forestry Partnership Initiative, as well as the USDA-supported Pathways to Dairy Net-Zero. *********************************************************************************** Supply Chain Holes Will Take Time to Fill Supply chain issues are challenging the agricultural sector, and farmers and ranchers hoping for quick solutions may be out of luck. DTN says a House Ag Committee hearing focused on transportation problems that are slowing the export of goods and commodities across the U.S. and the world. The Associated Press reports a significant backlog of ships entering U.S. waters out west and fewer ships making a voyage back across the ocean as a big reason that U.S. exports have slowed down. Gregg Doud, a former USTR Chief Ag Trade Negotiator, says the logistical problems aren’t going to get solved soon. “So much of the U.S. ag exports are in containers, so the lack of containers heading back across the ocean is significant,” Doud says. “80 percent of what leaves the Port of Tacoma, Washington, goes out on backhaul or as agricultural products to Asia. Right now, the shipping industry would much rather speed up the process and get those empty containers back to Asia without reloading first.” Ted McKinney, a former USDA Undersecretary, says COVID played a big part in the problem but not the only one. “When China can order empty containers to come back and then pay for it, I’ll bet you the industry isn’t the one that’s paying the bill for the empty containers to return,” McKinney says. *********************************************************************************** Conner Disappointed with OSHA Vaccine Mandate Exemptions The Occupational Safety and Health Administration released exemptions to the mandatory COVID-19 vaccine mandate for large, private employers. The Hagstrom Report says the mandate won’t take effect until January 4 and goes into effect after harvest season. Chuck Conner, president of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, says he’s still disappointed that the exemptions didn’t include other accommodations. “I’m disappointed that OSHA’s exemptions don’t adopt several commonsense accommodations to recognize the unique nature of agriculture,” Conner says. “The deadline does take farmers past harvest and does exempt employees working exclusively outdoors. However, implementing this standard will be disruptive and it contains no provisions included to help ensure the integrity of the food and agriculture supply chain.” He also points out that NCFC will provide formal comments to OSHA outlining their concerns further and will work with members to look for ways to minimize the disruptions the requirements will cause to a critical sector of the U.S. economy. *********************************************************************************** New Leadership Program Designed to Help Animal Agriculture Emerging leaders in agriculture have a new opportunity to get next-level leadership and professional development training specifically focusing on animal agriculture. It’s called Advanced Training for Animal Agriculture Leaders, a program created and sponsored by the United Soybean Board and the National Institute for Animal Agriculture. It’s designed to empower professionals in the early or middle part of their careers to build on previous leadership development experiences and collaborate with peers across the industry. “Advanced Training for Animal Agriculture Leaders is a win for program participants and a win for the animal agriculture industry,” says J.J. Jones, NIAA executive director. “Developed as a 2.0 leadership experience, the program will not only give participants world-class hands-on training but also put their training into practice.” Jones also says it’s a chance to create meaningful connections with one another and advance real solutions to real animal agricultural challenges. The 16-month program focuses on four areas of development: critical thinking, leadership development, connecting and relating skills, and operational excellence. *********************************************************************************** Export Sales of Corn, Wheat, and Soybeans Rise The USDA says export sales were higher across the board during the week ending on October 28. Corn sales in those seven days totaled 1.22 million metric tons, up 37 percent over the previous week and 10 percent higher than the prior four-week average. Mexico was the biggest buyer at 666,300 metric tons, while Japan and Guatemala finished out the top three. Exports for the week totaled 748,500 metric tons, nine percent higher week-to-week. Soybean sales last week totaled 1.86 million metric tons, a 58 percent increase from the previous week and 19 percent higher than the prior four-week average. China once again led the way by purchasing 1.21 million metric tons, while Mexico was a distant second at 157,400 tons. Soybean exports rose 10 percent during the week to 2.65 million metric tons. Wheat sales came in at just over 400,000 metric tons, 49 percent higher than the previous week and four percent above the prior four-week average. Mexico was the top wheat buyer at 101,400 metric tons. Wheat exports fell 27 percent to 136,400 metric tons during the week.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday November 8, 2021 |


Monday Watch List Markets After changing clocks over the weekend, traders will begin the second week of November with many of the same rituals, checking the latest weather forecasts and pausing at 8 a.m. CST to see if USDA has an export sale announcement. USDA's weekly report of grain inspections is due out at 10 a.m., followed by Crop Progress at 3 p.m. Weather Relatively dry conditions across the majority of the country on Monday will help producers advance through the remaining harvest. Hot and dry conditions across the southwestern Plains are drying out soil moisture for winter wheat establishment.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday November 5, 2021 |


World Food Prices Reach New Peak since July 2011 The world food price barometer surged to a new peak reaching its highest level since July 2011. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations released its monthly report Thursday, which tracks changes in the international prices of a basket of food commodities. The FAO Food Price Index averaged 133.2 points in October, up three percent from September, rising for a third consecutive month. Cereal grain prices increased 3.2 percent from last month, and vegetable oil prices were up 9.6 percent, an all-time high. Meanwhile, dairy prices increased 2.6 percent, influenced by generally firmer global import demand. Meat prices declined 0.7 percent, the third monthly decline, and sugar prices fell 1.8 percent in September, the first decline in six months. Despite an expected record world cereal production in 2021, global cereal inventories are seen heading for a contraction in 2021/22. The forecast for world cereal output in 2021 is now pegged at 2,793 million metric tons, down by 6.7 million tons since the previous report in October. *********************************************************************************** USDA Builds Pandemic Support for Certified and Transitioning Organic Operations The Department of Agriculture Thursday announced pandemic assistance to cover certification and education expenses to certified organic producers or transitioning to organic. USDA will make $20 million available through the new Organic and Transitional Education and Certification Program. During the COVID-19 pandemic, certified organic and transitional operations faced challenges due to loss of markets, and increased costs and labor shortages, in addition to costs related to obtaining or renewing their organic certification, which producers and handlers of conventionally grown commodities do not incur. Certified operations and transitional operations may apply for funding for eligible expenses paid during the 2020, 2021 and 2022 fiscal years. For each year, the program covers 25 percent of a certified operation’s eligible certification expenses, up to $250 per certification. Crop and livestock operations transitioning to organic production may be eligible for 75 percent of a transitional operation’s eligible expenses, up to $750, for each year. Signup for 2020 and 2021 will begin November 8, 2021. *********************************************************************************** Senate Ag Committee Advances CFTC Chair Nomination The Senate Agriculture Committee Thursday advanced the nomination of Rostin Behnam as Chairman and Commissioner of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Behnam has served as a Commissioner on the CFTC for the past four years and was nominated for a second term earlier this year. Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow, a Democrat from Michigan, says, “As we navigate what the future of financial markets looks like for farmers, families, and small businesses, I know we can trust Chairman Behnam’s leadership and expertise to protect our economy.” Behnam previously served as senior counsel to Senator Stabenow and the Senate Agriculture Committee. Ranking committee member John Bozeman, an Arkansas Republican, adds, “Behnam has proven himself to be a capable leader during his tenure as acting chairman of the CFTC.” The Committee held a hearing on the nomination of Behnam late last month. Benham was nominated to the CFTC in July of 2017 by then President Donald Trump. *********************************************************************************** Deere Claims No Third Proposal Coming in Negotiations A spokesperson for Deere and Company says there will not be a third contract offer to striking union workers. The UAW John Deere members voted to reject the second proposal from Deere this week, leaving more than 10,000 workers on strike. In a company statement, Deere says, “With the rejection of the agreement covering our Midwest facilities, we will execute the next phase of our Customer Service Continuation Plan." A company spokesperson also told WQAD-TV in Moline, Illinois, "I think one of the things that the bargaining committee for Deere is making clear is that this is the best, last and final offer.” UAW members voted to reject the offer, with 55 percent voting against and 45 percent voting for the agreement. The results show just four of the 12 Deere facilities included voted against the tentative agreement. Deere would have provided an immediate ten percent wage increase, and 30 percent wage increase over the term of the six-year contract. *********************************************************************************** Report: U.S. Animal Protein Needs Trade Negotiators Back at the Table A report from CoBank shows animal agriculture needs trade negotiators at the table to build export markets. The report says the recent nomination of a chief agriculture negotiator with the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative is an important step forward. However, Elaine Trevino has yet to be confirmed by the Senate. U.S. animal protein exports have grown from $7.4 billion to $20.7 billion in the past two decades, driven by industry marketing and government trade negotiations. Today, trade accounts for 10-30 percent of U.S. animal protein production, depending on the industry segment. The Trump administration's harder line on trade, continued by the current administration, has led to mixed results for U.S. agriculture. Ag exports to China have flourished under the Phase One agreement, but the U.S. withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership cost U.S. exporters some opportunities. The report adds diversification of markets and products is vital for a vibrant U.S. protein export trade. Successful trade also depends on maintaining commitments with long-established partners, as seen with Mexico, Canada, Japan, and others. *********************************************************************************** Farmer-led RIPE Expands Steering Committee with Two New Members Rural Investment to Protect our Environment, known as RIPE, recently added two highly respected Farmers Unions to its steering committee. The organization announced Thursday that Minnesota Farmers Union’s Eunice Biel and North Dakota Farmers Union’s Matt Perdue joined the committee. RIPE is described as a farmer-led nonprofit advancing a national bipartisan, comprehensive climate policy that invests in voluntary agricultural stewardship practices that provide a reasonable return to farmers and the public. Through $100 per acre payments, the RIPE100 plan would reward farmers for the total public value of their conservation practices, including no-till, cover crops and more. In addition to carbon sequestration, the voluntary federal program would pay for improved soil health, cleaner water, biodiversity and other environmental services. Payments would also help farmers manage rising input costs, such as fertilizer, due to climate policy, while giving them a reasonable return. RIPE’s steering committee advises the policy design plan and makes recommendations on other opportunities that support the organization’s mission.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday November 5, 2021 |


Friday Watch List Markets The U.S. Labor Department will have reports on nonfarm payrolls and the unemployment rate for October at 7:30 a.m. CDT. Traders will check the latest weather forecasts and watch for any news of export sales. A report on U.S. consumer credit in September is due out at 2 p.m. Weather A system in the Gulf of Mexico will move across Florida on Friday. This will bring moderate to heavy showers to portions of the Southeast through Saturday with some disruption to the cotton harvest. Otherwise, mild and dry weather will continue across almost all areas east of the Rocky Mountains with good harvest conditions going through the weekend.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday November 4, 2021 |


2021 Farm Service Agency County Committee Elections Underway The Department of Agriculture is mailing ballots this week for the Farm Service Agency county and urban county committee elections. Elections are occurring in certain Local Administrative Areas for committee members who make decisions about how federal farm programs are administered locally. To be counted, producers and landowners must return ballots to their local FSA county office or be postmarked by December 6, 2021.  FSA Administrator Zach Ducheneaux (DOO-shah-no), says, "These committees are a critical piece to the work we do by providing knowledge and judgment as decisions are made about the services we provide." Producers must participate or cooperate in an FSA program to vote in the county committee election. Each committee has from three to 11 elected members who serve three-year terms of office, and at least one seat representing a Local Administrative Areas is up for election each year. Newly elected committee members will take office January 1, 2022. *********************************************************************************** Deere Workers Reject Deal, Continue Strike Deere and Company employees this week again rejected a tentative contract agreement. By a vote of 45 percent yes to 55 percent no, United Auto Workers John Deere members voted down the agreement Tuesday night. UAW says the strike will continue as they discuss next steps with the company. This is the second tentative contract agreement rejected by Deere workers during the strike. The latest contract would have provided a ten percent rise in wages this year, five percent in 2023 and 2025, and lumpsum bonuses amounting to three percent of their pay for 2022, 2024 and 2026, according to Reuters. Deere would have invested another $3.5 billion in its employees, per the terms of the rejected agreement. More than 10,000 Deere employees in Illinois, Iowa and Kansas remain on strike. This is the first strike against the Illinois-based company by the UAW since 1986, which lasted 163 days. *********************************************************************************** Iowa Senators Call for Increase in Eligibility for Commercial Driver’s Licenses Iowa’s U.S. Senators are calling for more Americans to be eligible to obtain a commercial driver’s license, known as a CDL, to operate commercial motor vehicles in interstate commerce. Republicans Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst penned a letter this week to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on the issue. They asked the agency to allow persons 18 years of age and older to obtain a commercial driver’s license. Current federal regulations maintain a minimum age of 21 for interstate travel. The lawmakers say the change can help reduce supply chain issues, stating, “The truck driver shortage, coupled with the nation’s ongoing supply chain issues, has been extremely detrimental to the economy.” The letter follows the introduction of a bill this week to reduce red tape for farmers and ranchers to travel across state lines, The Covered Farm Vehicle Modernization Act, which changes weight rating exemptions for farm vehicles. *********************************************************************************** ASA and NBB Express Concerns Over Supply Chain The House Agriculture Committee heard from farm groups on challenges to the supply chain during a hearing Wednesday. The American Soybean Association and National Biodiesel Board also expressed concerns over labor and shipping, but say there is plenty of soy oil supplies for the food sector. ASA and NBB say food industry groups have waged claims that there’s a crunch on the supply of soy oil available when soy is crushed, and that foodservice cannot get enough edible oil for cooking because, those groups say, oil is being diverted to biodiesel and a growing renewable diesel market. ASA President Kevin Scott says, “There is currently not a soy oil supply shortage, nor is one envisioned by year-end, but there are in fact very real supply chain challenges impacting U.S. agriculture.” Those concerns include labor, barge shipments, ports and shipping containers, trucking and rail freight, fertilizer, chemical inputs, energy, equipment and parts, and water availability. *********************************************************************************** Supply Chain Crisis Could Permanently Harm U.S. Agriculture The current supply chain crisis could cause “irreparable harm” to agriculture. Leprino Foods President and CEO Mike Durkin told the House Agriculture Committee Wednesday, “This export crisis may well result in irreparable harm to American agriculture as customers around the world are questioning the U.S. dairy industry’s reliability as a supplier.” The U.S. Dairy Export Council and National Milk Producers Federation voiced strong support for Durkin’s call for U.S. government action to more effectively tackle the shipping crisis and its effects on dairy farmers and manufacturers. Durkin called on Congress to act on ocean shipping legislation, address critical transport-industry labor shortages, increase port hours of operation, and take other steps to help American agriculture producers reach their foreign markets effectively. Across the industry, approximately one day’s worth of U.S. milk production each week goes to exports, which results in about $6.5 billion in U.S. dairy products being exported to over 133 countries. *********************************************************************************** CNH Industrial Announces agreement with Electric Tractor Company CNH Industrial this week announced an agreement with Monarch tractor, a U.S.-based company specializing in electric autonomous tractors. The license agreement foresees the launch of a scalable, modular electrification platform focusing on low horsepower tractors. The tractors will be developed across multiple product families in the coming years, using a process that continuously gathers farmers' input to meet customer needs. This agreement also is part of CNH Industrial's commitment to decarbonizing agriculture through alternative propulsion systems. CNH Industrial CEO Scott Wine says, “We are confident that the new pathways provided by Monarch will rapidly strengthen our competitive position in sustainable precision farming.” Wine adds the partnership enables CNH Industrial to enhance its internal electrification capabilities and develop and implement new electrified platforms faster. CNH Industrial is the parent company for Case IH, New Holland Agriculture and Steyr, among others. Monarch Tractor, headquartered in Livermore, California, provides in-field electrification, automation, and data technologies through its all-electric, driver-optional Monarch Tractor.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday November 4, 2021 |


Thursday Watch List Markets USDA's weekly export sales report is due out at 7:30 a.m. CDT Thursday, along with weekly U.S. jobless claims, a report of U.S. productivity in the third quarter, the September trade deficit and an update of the U.S. Drought Monitor. The Energy Department's report on natural gas storage is due out at 9:30 a.m. CDT. Weather A dome of high pressure will keep much of the country mild and dry on Thursday, though temperatures are moderating from where they were earlier this week in the Plains. Showers will move through the Pacific Northwest as another wave of moisture is pushed through the region from a trough that continues to spin over the Pacific.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday November 3, 2021 |


Launching Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate The United States and United Arab Emirates Tuesday launched the Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate alongside 31 countries and 48 non-government partners. Known as AIM for Climate, the mission was announced during the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference. President Biden announced that the United States intends to mobilize $1 billion in investment in climate-smart agriculture and food systems innovation over five years. The effort focuses on enabling greater public-private and cross-sectoral partnerships to raise global climate ambition and underpin transformative climate action in agriculture. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says AIM for Climate has already begun to bear fruit, garnering an “early harvest” of $4 billion in increased investment in climate-smart agriculture and food systems innovation. Climate-smart agriculture is an approach that helps to guide actions needed to transform and reorient agricultural systems to tackle three main objectives. Those are sustainably increasing agricultural productivity and incomes, adapting and building resilience to climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. *********************************************************************************** Ag Economy Barometer: Farmer Sentiment Weakens For the third month in a row, agricultural producer sentiment weakened in October. The Ag Economy Barometer declined to 121, three points lower than a month earlier. The modest decline occurred as a result of producers’ weaker perceptions regarding both current and future conditions in the production agriculture sector. Recent weakness in farmer sentiment appears to be driven by a wide variety of issues, with concerns about input price rises topping the list. The Farm Capital Investment Index remains weak, in large part because of supply chain problems as four out of ten respondents said tight machinery inventories were holding back their purchasing plans. Despite the weak overall sentiment expressed by producers, they remain optimistic about farmland values, both in the upcoming year and over the next five years. The Purdue University-CME Group Ag Economy Barometer index is calculated each month from 400 U.S. agricultural producers’ responses to a telephone survey. *********************************************************************************** Barchart Forecasts Slight Production Increase for US Corn and Soybeans Agricultural technology and data firm Barchart released its final 2021 U.S. corn and soybean production estimates this week. The latest report indicates a slight increase in U.S. crop production and yield for corn and soybean, while Canadian production forecasts remain relatively unchanged over the past month. Barchart’s U.S. corn production forecast is 15.4 billion bushels, compared to the Department of Agriculture forecast of 15.0 billion bushels. The average corn yield is pegged at 182.2 bushels an acre, compared to USDA's 176.5. Soybean production, projected at 4.5 billion bushels, is slightly higher than USDA's 4.4 billion bushels. Barchart predicts average soybean yield at 51.4 bushels an acre, compared to USDA’s 51.5. Meanwhile, the report predicts Canadian spring wheat production at 746.4 million bushels, with an average yield of 46.3 bushels per acre. Finally, Canadian soybean production is estimated to be 223.1 million bushels, with an average yield of 42.2 bushels per acre. *********************************************************************************** Growth Energy Submits Notice of Intent to Sue EPA Over Biofuel Delays Growth Energy submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency a notice of intent to sue regarding its failure to timely fulfill the agency’s statutory obligation. The notice sent Tuesday focuses on EPA’s delay in issuing the 2022 Renewable Volume Obligation under the Renewable Fuel Standard. The RVOs for 2022 are due by November 30, 2021, an annual deadline set by Congress in the RFS. However, with less than a month to go, EPA has not issued a notice of proposed rulemaking to establish the obligations. The Growth Energy notice gives EPA 60 days to issue the 2022 RVO before risking a lawsuit in federal court. Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor says, “It is critical for EPA to issue these RVOs as soon as possible.” Growth Energy claims failure to issue RVOs on time undermines the RFS by eliminating prospective, market-forcing blending obligations, and by creating uncertainty in the market for obligated parties and renewable fuels producers. *********************************************************************************** Most US Congressional Districts’ Exports to China Bounced Back in 2020 U.S. goods exports to China surged last year by $18.5 billion, almost 18 percent over 2019. The surge follows near-decade lows in U.S.-China trade in 2019 and the conclusion of the U.S.-China Phase One trade agreement in January 2020, according to a study released Tuesday by the U.S.-China Business Council. The study found 64 percent of U.S. congressional districts exported more goods to China in 2020 compared to the year prior, and 72 districts increased their exports by more than $100 million. The increase was particularly sharp in the farming communities of the Midwest, oil-exporting regions in Texas and Louisiana, and Oregon’s semiconductor hub. When it comes to services exports to China, the data for which lag a year behind, most districts saw lower numbers in 2019 than they had seen in 2018. The U.S.-China Business Council is a non-partisan trade association representing more than 260 US companies that do business with China from a wide range of industries. *********************************************************************************** Legislation Seeks to Remove Red Tape Surrounding Farm Vehicles Senate lawmakers Tuesday introduced the Covered Farm Vehicle Modernization Act. The legislation expands and modernizes the exemptions for Covered Farm Vehicles to reflect the variety of vehicles commonly used by today’s farmers and ranchers. The bill adjusts exemption thresholds and removes the extra regulatory red tape regarding Department of Transportation registration and fuel tax licensing requirements that have little to do with vehicle safety, according to lawmakers. Senate Republican Roger Marshall of Kansas introduced the bill with Georgia Democrat Jon Ossoff. Marshall says the legislation “ultimately allows folks to legally pull a gooseneck trailer with their pickup truck without jumping through hoops to obtain a for-hire commercial driving license.” The bill expands exemptions for Covered Farm Vehicles to allow farm vehicles with a gross vehicle weight or Gross Vehicle Weight Rating under 36,001 pounds to travel across state lines with the same exemptions currently granted to farm vehicles under 26,001 pounds.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday November 3, 2021 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets Wednesday's reports start with ADP's estimate of private sector job growth at 7:15, a.m. CDT, a possible hint of Friday's unemployment report. September factory orders are out at 9 a.m., followed by the Energy Department's weekly inventory report, including ethanol production at 9:30 a.m. CDT. The Federal Reserve's post-meeting announcement will be released at 1 p.m. CDT and is expected to mention a reduction of monthly bond purchases. Weather A dome of cold high pressure continues to build across the eastern half of the country. Widespread frosts and freezes are occurring across much of the Plains through the Midwest. Showers across the Southern Plains and Delta will drift southward and the rainfall will be good for winter wheat establishment where it occurs.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday November 2, 2021 |


USDA Provides $1.8 Billion to Offset Market Fluctuations The Department of Agriculture is in the process of issuing $1.8 billion in payments to agricultural producers. The funds are for farmers enrolled in the Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage programs for the 2020 crop year. The payments provide support to help mitigate fluctuations in either revenue or prices for certain crops. These two USDA safety-net programs help producers of certain crops after facing the impacts of COVID-19 and other challenges. FSA Administrator Zach Ducheneaux (DOO-shah-no) says, “these programs provide stability when markets are volatile, making a big difference in the lives of farm families across the country.” Additionally, USDA's Farm Service Agency encourages producers to contact their local USDA Service Centers to make or change elections and enroll for 2022 ARC or PLC. The election and enrollment period runs through March 15, 2022. If an election is not submitted by the deadline, the election remains the same as the 2021 election. *********************************************************************************** Tariff Agreement with EU Reopens Doors for US Agriculture Exports The United States and European Union Sunday announced an end to the trade conflict of steel and aluminum tariffs, welcome news for agriculture. The United States will not apply section 232 duties and will allow duty-free importation of steel and aluminum from the EU at a historical-based volume, and the EU will suspend related tariffs on U.S. products. They will also consider reducing carbon in the steel and aluminum supply chain as part of the agreement, including greater incentives to reduce carbon across steel and aluminum production. The U.S. Trade Representative's Office states the global arrangement reflects a joint commitment to use trade policy to confront the threats of climate change and global market distortion. American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall called the agreement welcome news, adding, "farmers were swept up in the turmoil as the EU clamped down on U.S. agricultural exports like orange juice, butter, cheese, pork, nuts and many more." *********************************************************************************** Deere, UAW, Reach Tentative Agreement Deere & Co and United Auto Workers International reached a tentative new contract. The agreement could lead to the end of a worker strike. The deal was announced over the weekend, but needs to be approved by UAW members first. Chuck Browning, UAW Vice President and Director of the Agricultural Implement Department, says the agreement contains enhanced economic gains and provides the highest quality healthcare benefits in the industry. Browning adds, "The negotiators focused on improving the areas of concern identified by our members during our last ratification process." The UAW will not release details of the tentative agreement until members at all John Deere locations have an opportunity to meet and review the terms of their proposed contract. It's unclear when the vote will be completed, and the more than 10,000 Deere employees will remain on strike until the vote is concluded. UAW members overwhelmingly rejected the first tentative agreement announced last month. *********************************************************************************** Dairy Producers Asked to Participate in FMMO Class I Pricing Method Poll American Dairy Coalition invites dairy producers to participate in a short poll on the Federal Milk Marketing Order Class I pricing method. Coalition CEO Laurie Fisher says, "This poll gives dairy producers the opportunity to show how the Class I pricing change affects them in terms of planning and risk management and to give their preference." The ADC board, along with several state and regional dairy organizations, have publicly supported the idea of asking Congress to legislatively return to the previous Class I skim pricing method of using the 'higher of' Class III or IV advance skim pricing factors until an FMMO hearing process thoroughly evaluates proposals. The Upside benefit of the new method is 74 cents on Class I, which is around 20 cents on the blend price nationally, but at the same time, there is no limit to the downside risk if market disruptions push Class III and IV apart by more than $1.48 per hundredweight. Find the pole online. *********************************************************************************** Frozen Turkey Inventories 24% Below 3-year Average Remembering to defrost the turkey might not be the only challenge families face as they try to get that perennial centerpiece onto the Thanksgiving table this year. As of August 31, 2021, inventories of frozen whole turkeys and turkey parts were 24 percent lower than three-year average volumes, according to USDA’s Economic Research Service. Stocks of frozen turkey meat typically follow a seasonal pattern, building throughout the year until the fall, when retailers prepare to meet holiday demand. In 2021, the seasonal build-up was less pronounced than usual, and stock volumes appear to have peaked before starting an earlier-than-normal decline. At the end of August 2021, 428.1 million pounds of turkey meat were in cold storage, a 19-percent decrease from the same month last year, and a decline of about seven million pounds from the end of July 2021. Stocks are lower partly because production of turkeys is lower than average this year. *********************************************************************************** New Promotional Opportunity for Agritourism Venues The American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture is looking for orchards, pumpkin patches, corn mazes and more to showcase on a new app. The American Farm trail app is dedicated to connecting consumers with agritourism venues. Created by the Farm Bureau Foundation and sponsored by Corteva, the app allows farmers, ranchers and farm attraction managers to sign up for free to showcase their agritourism venues. Farms and attractions can create a profile promoting their business, history, available products and more. Consumers using the app will be able to connect directly with local farms by searching area, type of attraction, or products for sale. The Foundation plans to launch the app in the spring of 2022. Resources are available to farmers interested in listing their farm on the app, including a video overview of the app and a how-to guide for filling out the attraction listing information. Learn more at agfoundation.org.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday November 2, 2021 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets There are no official reports on Tuesday's docket. Traders will consider the findings from Monday afternoon's Crop Progress report, check the latest forecasts and watch for any sign of an export sale. The Federal Reserve starts a two-day meeting and will have an announcement out Wednesday afternoon. Weather A frontal boundary continues to sag south through the country on Tuesday. A system forming along the front will bring scattered showers to the Southern Plains through Wednesday, while continuing to bring down the coldest temperatures of the season so far. Widespread frosts and freezes will continue to impact a majority of the country's growing regions, slowing growth on winter wheat.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday November 1, 2021 |


Tai: Reduce Tensions Between U.S. and China U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai spoke during a recent meeting of the National Chicken Council and discussed the relationship between the U.S. and China. She says her recent interactions with China were intended to bring down the temperature of a trading relationship that’s become heated in recent months. Tai describes the relationship between the two largest economies in the world as “a pile of dry tinder.” She also says that any potential misunderstanding between the countries is likely to spark a giant fire that could have drastic effects on both nations and the world’s economy. U.S. News Dot Com says Tai recently took part in a phone call with the Chinese Vice Premier to talk about China’s failure to live up to the Phase 1 trade agreement with the U.S reached under former President Trump. U.S. officials looked at the phone call as a test of the bilateral relationship between the nations, and Chinese officials used the call to press Tai to eliminate tariffs in place on imported goods from the Asian nation. “China has a huge market and population, and they all need to be fed,” Tai says. “China needs ag imports, and that is something we can supply.” *********************************************************************************** Reaction to the Build Back Better Bill Framework Released Last Week Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack issued an endorsement of the framework for President Biden’s Build Back Better Act that was announced last week. Vilsack says to create millions of good-paying jobs, grow the economy, build American competitiveness, and secure the future of American children, then the U.S. must invest in the human infrastructure of the nation, which is America’s working families. “The Build Back Better framework is the largest effort in American history to combat the climate crisis while spurring economic opportunity with innovation and good jobs here at home, better positioning us to compete globally,” Vilsack says. Senate Ag Chair Debbie Stabenow says, “The bill scales up climate-smart agriculture programs that farmers, foresters, and rural businesses use to protect resources and be more energy-efficient.” National Farmers Union President Rob Larew says the agreement is a tremendous step toward addressing many of the challenges facing the nation. “Family farmers and ranchers are an essential part of the climate solution,” Larew says. “We’re pleased the framework invests in programs to help accelerate the implementation of climate-smart practices on farms and ranches and demonstrates support for biofuels.” Larew also says this effort will help to make farms more resilient in the face of extreme weather events or other natural disasters made worse by climate change. *********************************************************************************** Build Back Better Framework Contains $1 Billion for Biofuels Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor thanks President Biden and leaders in Congress for including $1 billion in biofuels infrastructure investments in the proposed Build Back Better budget reconciliation framework. Skor says President Biden’s proposal to invest $1 billion in biofuels infrastructure is a welcome acknowledgment from this administration that access to higher blends of biofuels at the pump makes a real difference in decarbonizing transportation. “Recent research shows that a nationwide E15 standard would reduce carbon emissions by more than 17 million tons, which is the equivalent of taking almost four million cars off the road each year,” Skor says. “Investing in fuel infrastructure that allows more American drivers to fill up on low-carbon biofuel blends, like E15, is crucial to helping our nation. Achieve clean energy goals today.” Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says rural America will benefit from meaningful investments to help pave the way in clean and renewable energy infrastructure and production and energy efficiency improvements that will foster new job and market opportunities.” *********************************************************************************** Higher Ethanol Production Could Use More Exports After a COVID-19 slowdown in fuel demand, global energy prices have hit seven-year highs, and gasoline consumption is improving. Reuters says that means surging profit margins for ethanol producers and output levels at near-record highs. However, higher production without a corresponding increase in demand could mean growing stockpiles of the fuel. While that hasn’t been the case so far, an increase in lagging exports could bring balance to any extended output increases. Reuters says about 10 percent of all U.S. ethanol output gets exported every year, but trade has recently been a sore spot for ethanol. Shipments over the first eight months of 2021 totaled 796 million gallons, a 10 percent reduction from last year and the lowest for the period in five years. Two of the top customers for U.S. ethanol, Brazil and China, have been much less active recently. U.S. ethanol imports in Brazil grew more expensive than locally-produced ethanol because the free tariff-rate quota ended late in 2020. China was also expected to become a bigger importer of U.S. ethanol but hasn’t consistently imported larger amounts of the biofuel. *********************************************************************************** Rabobank: Challenging Outlook Ahead for Pork Producers Hog prices around the world have dropped as a recovery in production has outpaced rebounding demand. A Rabobank report says herd growth will slow in 2022 due to dropping prices, labor shortages, and cost inflation that will put pressure on production margins. These costs will likely get passed on to consumers, which will put downward pressure on demand and consumption levels. Supply chain disruptions and tight grain stocks around the globe are raising the cost of production at the same time a growing hog supply is driving down prices. “The most severe impact is being felt in markets that were slow to recover from COVID-19 or that have struggled with trade disruption or disease,” says Christine McCracken, Senior Analyst for Animal Protein at Rabobank. Limited pricing power and higher costs are also putting pressure on hog production returns, resulting in scaled-back growth plans in many markets. Tighter global inventories of corn and soybeans, together with the recent surge in the cost of fertilizer and chemicals, are likely to increase volatility in feed markets in 2022. “African Swine Fever remains an issue in many parts of the world, with active cases in China, the Philippines, South Korea, Vietnam, and Europe,” McCracken adds. *********************************************************************************** House Ag Committee Hearing on Supply Chain Disruptions The House Agriculture Committee will hold a hearing on supply chain issues on Wednesday, November 3. The hearing, titled “The Immediate Challenges to our Nation’s Food Supply Chain,” will address the wide-ranging supply disruptions in the U.S. food and agricultural sectors. The American Soybean Association led the effort for members of the Ag CEO Council to highlight agricultural supply chain issues to the administration. The council submitted a letter compiled by ASA staff and signed on by ASA and 16 other ag groups that was sent to the Department of Transportation, which has coordinated this effort on behalf of the White House’s Supply Chain Task Force. The correspondence outlines the most problematic areas for the ag industry, including transportation costs, labor availability, the global fertilizer market, and more. The letter says, “The supply chains that are critical for inputs and sales of goods face multiple and simultaneous challenges, leading to higher prices for inputs, lower prices for outputs, and in some cases, the inability to purchase goods or services regardless of price.” The Ag CEOs say the biggest challenges for the supply chain include labor shortages, congestion in trucking, rail freight, and the barges that haven’t recovered from Hurricane Ida shutdowns.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday November 1, 2021 |


Monday Watch List Markets The first Monday in November will start with traders checking over the latest weather forecasts and pausing at 8 a.m. CDT for a possible export sale announcement. ISM's index of U.S. manufacturing is set for 9 a.m. and will be compared to overnight reports of other manufacturing indices around the world. USDA's weekly grain inspections report is due out at 10 a.m., followed by a monthly report of soybean crush in the Fats and Oils report from NASS at 2 p.m. and the Crop Progress report at 3 p.m. CDT. Weather A cold front that moved through much of the country over the weekend will continue to push south on Monday. Scattered showers, including some snow, over the Central Plains will become lighter as they move into the southern Midwest. Colder temperatures will be in place behind the front through much of the week, causing frosts and freezes and slowing growth on wheat.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday October 29, 2021 |


Food Security is National Security Act Introduced in Senate Senate lawmakers Thursday announced the bipartisan Food Security is National Security Act. The legislation would give top U.S. agriculture and food officials permanent representation on the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States. Lawmakers say the legislation includes new agriculture and food-related criteria for the committee to consider when reviewing transactions that could result in control of a U.S. business by a foreign company. Senate Republicans Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst of Iowa joined Democrats Debbie Stabenow of Michigan and Jon Tester of Montana to introduce the legislation. Stabenow says, “As foreign entities continue their acquisitions of U.S. food and agriculture companies, American farmers and families deserve to know these transactions receive proper scrutiny.” To protect U.S. food security, the legislation grants permanent representation on Committee on Foreign Investment to both the Secretary of Agriculture and the Secretary of HHS, which oversees the Food and Drug Administration. *********************************************************************************** U.S.-Mexico Ag Officials Establish Working Group U.S. and Mexican agriculture delegates met this week during the 30th annual meeting of the Tri-National Agricultural Accord. The officials discussed concerns regarding recent decisions by Mexico’s federal government to impose arbitrary prohibitions on agricultural biotechnology and certain pesticides. Delegates reaffirmed their commitment that the regulation, import and use of these critical tools be based on science and established a working group to promote the goal, according to the U.S.-based National Association of State Departments of Agriculture. NASDA President Richard Ball of New York says, “We must work hand-in-hand to encourage the free flow of food across our borders and the continued development of technology that supports global climate resiliency.” The Tri-National Agricultural Accord is the primary opportunity for senior state and provincial agricultural officials of Canada, the U.S. and Mexico to work together on agricultural trade and development issues, a long-standing commitment to trade by the three countries. *********************************************************************************** USDA Announces Grants to Strengthen Specialty Crop Industry The Department of Agriculture Thursday announced more than $243 million in grants to support specialty crops. The funding is available through two USDA programs, the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program and the Specialty Crop Research Initiative grants program. USDA is investing $169.9 million through the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program to support farmers growing specialty crops, including fruits, vegetables, tree nuts and nursery crops. Since 2006, USDA has invested more than $880 million through the program. USDA also announced an investment of nearly $74 million to 21 award recipients through its Specialty Crop Research Initiative grants program. The program investments address critical challenges facing conventional and organic food and agricultural production systems across the specialty crop industry. The program's priority areas include improving crop characteristics, managing threats from pests and diseases, improving production efficiency, profitability, technological innovation, and mitigating food safety hazards. *********************************************************************************** NIFA Invests $50M for Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development USDA’s this week announced an investment of more than $50 million to 140 organizations and institutions that teach and train beginning farmers and ranchers. The funds will support curriculum creation, informational materials, and professional development for new farmers and ranchers through the National Institute of Food and Agriculture. NIFA Director Dr. Carrie Castille states, "We recognize that beginning farmers and ranchers have unique needs for education, training, and technical assistance." Their success, especially in the first ten years, often hinges on access to reliable, science-based information and the latest educational resources, according to USDA. In fiscal year 2020, NIFA awarded $16 million in Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program grants. In fiscal year 2021, thanks to enhanced funding from the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, the total award investment for this program was just over $50 million, which included 85 newly funded grants and 55 continuation projects. *********************************************************************************** New Guide Outlines Crop Insurance Options for Small Grains As farmers start to think about next year's crop, the Center for Rural Affairs has released a new resource guide to inform producers who grow small grains about crop insurance options. Many farmers are familiar with their options for corn and soybeans, but fewer are familiar with their options for crops such as wheat, oats, barley, and rye. The reasons some Midwest and Great Plains farmers opt to grow small grains range from conservation benefits to the requirements of organic certification to local markets. However, while small grains do have benefits on the landscape, they come with associated risks. The guide covers the availability of established Multi-Peril policies for small grains, what to do if there is no available policy in your county, and other topics. Information included will be helpful for both organic and conventional producers. To view “From Seed to Secured: Crop Insurance for Small Grains,” visit cfra.org. *********************************************************************************** Free Regenerative Ag Webinar to Kick off Sustainable Ag Summit Week A free webinar hosted by Corteva Agriscience will unpack and explore the potential of regenerative farming to strengthen agriculture’s relationship with consumers. The event is set for 10 to 11 a.m. CST on Wednesday, November 17. The webinar includes an interactive panel featuring producers and executives across the agri-food value chain. The discussion will set the stage for industry professionals attending the 2021 Sustainable Ag Summit, which kicks off that afternoon and continues the following day. The dialogue also will tackle topics such as scaling regenerative data and innovation and helping farmers and ranchers access the resources they need to make the transition. Farm Journal Trust In Food executive vice president, Amy Cole, is one of the featured speakers. Cole says, “This webinar will begin to explore the path to achieving ambitious goals, centered on the needs and experiences of farmers and ranchers who steward soil, water and habitat.” Learn more and register online.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday October 29, 2021 |


Friday Watch List Markets Friday's reports start with U.S. personal incomes for September and the Labor Department's employment cost index for the third quarter, both due out at 7:30 a.m. CDT. The University of Michigan's index of consumer sentiment for October is set for 9 a.m. CDT. Traders will check the latest weather forecasts and keep an eye out for any export sales. Weather Scattered showers will continue across the eastern half of the country on Friday as a large, mature system spins across the eastern Midwest. Showers will be light to moderate but could last all day in some areas, leading to further or extensions of delays for the remaining corn and soybean harvest, as well as winter wheat planting. A frontal boundary will set up across the Canadian Prairies throughout the day and will bring cold temperatures to the U.S. over the weekend and into next week.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday October 28, 2021 |


Crops Sector Received 65% of PPP Loans for Agriculture in 2020 Information updated by USDA’s Economic Research Service Wednesday shows 65 percent of Paycheck Protection Program 2020 agriculture funds went crop farms, with the latter for livestock. Last year, farmers and ranchers could use forgivable loans from the program to help keep employees on payroll and offset some of their operating costs. The maximum PPP loan amount was 2.5 times the monthly average profit plus payroll and eligible overhead expenses, such as the employer’s share of insurance payments and unemployment taxes. If used on eligible expenses within the first 24 weeks of payment, PPP loans were fully forgiven. Individual Small Business Administration loan data indicated that almost 121,000 farm operations applied for a total of $6.0 billion in PPP loans in 2020. That accounted for 17 percent of presumed-eligible farm operations. Out of the total PPP loans paid to farm operations in 2020, $3.9 billion went to crop operations, and the remaining $2.1 billion went to livestock operations. *********************************************************************************** Fish and Wildlife Service Seeks to Reverse Trump Era Rules The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service seek to rescind two critical habitat regulations finalized in the last days of the Trump administration. In December 2020, FWS issued a final rule that revised the process for considering critical habitat exclusions under the Endangered Species Act. FWS re-evaluated the rule and concluded the conservation purposes of the ESA are better met by resuming its previous approach. The proposal follows an executive order which directed all federal agencies to review and address agency actions to ensure consistency with Biden administration objectives. The American Farm Bureau Federation calls the effort a disappointment. Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall says, “The Biden administration has proposed three different changes to these regulations, signaling a return to complicated and burdensome rules that do little to advance conservation goals.” Duvall adds AFBF will remain engaged on ESA issues, and encouraged farmers and ranchers to share their stories during the proposed rule change comment period. *********************************************************************************** USB: Future of Farming Demands High-Speed Internet Solutions A new report reveals that providing U.S. farmers and ranchers access to fast, affordable and reliable broadband will increase sustainability. Funded by the United Soybean Board, the report says improved broadband will also allow more reliable and efficient food production for a growing population and strengthen America’s rural communities. Meagan Kaiser, USB treasurer, says, “Without a reliable connection to the internet, data collection and its subsequent use is severely limited,” noting data as the most valuable tool for farmers. The report lays out 15 recommendations for delivering the high-speed internet that farmers and rural communities need. The recommendations focus on performance standards, fiber internet access, and addressing gaps in broadband coverage. The recommendations are a direct response to the problems revealed in a 2019 rural broadband study from USB. The initial study showed 60 percent of U.S. farmers and ranchers do not believe they have adequate internet connectivity to run their businesses. *********************************************************************************** NIFA Invests $25M in Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture Wednesday announced $25 million for 50 grants supporting Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network State Department of Agriculture projects. Long before the pandemic caused an increase in stress around the world, stress-related mental health was already a rising concern across farm communities coast to coast. USDA-NIFA introduced a competitive grants program, the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network, reauthorized by the 2018 Farm Bill, which supports projects that provide stress assistance for people in agriculture. Funded projects must initiate, expand, or sustain programs that provide professional agricultural behavioral health counseling and referral for other forms of assistance as necessary. As part of the grants, the Colorado Farmer and Rancher Mental Health Support Program will expand to assist agricultural workers, farmers, and ranchers in managing stress. And the Georgia Farmer Healthy Mindset program will take a multifaceted approach to address stress and mental health outreach and awareness. *********************************************************************************** USDA Invests $21 Million in Effort to Help Producers Build Drought Resilience The Department of Agriculture is investing $21 million as part of the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s collaboration with the Department of Interior’s WaterSMART Initiative. The effort helps farmers and ranchers conserve water and build drought resilience in their communities. The investments complement projects by irrigation districts, water suppliers and other organizations receiving WaterSMART Program funds from the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation. NRCS works with Reclamation to coordinate investments in the same community for accelerating water conservation and drought resilience and making a bigger impact where it is most needed. NRCS Chief Terry Cosby says, “Drought is a complex challenge, and our collaboration on WaterSMART is part of our strategic approach to help producers.” In fiscal year 2022, NRCS will invest in 15 new priority areas and 25 existing priority areas with continued need, assisting producers and communities in 13 states across the West. NRCS is providing the funding through Environmental Quality Incentives Program. *********************************************************************************** USDA Opens Registration for the 2022 Agricultural Outlook Forum Registration is open for the 98th annual Agricultural Outlook Forum, the largest annual meeting of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The two-day event will be held virtually on February 24-25, 2022. The 2022 Forum will feature a keynote address by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, a presentation on the 2022 agricultural economy by USDA's Chief Economist Seth Meyer, a panel of guest speakers, and 30 breakout sessions. The sessions, organized by agencies across USDA, cover a range of timely issues impacting the sector. More than one hundred government, industry, and academic leaders will share their perspectives and insights on a wide array of topics, including commodity and food price outlooks, trade developments, climate change, and innovations in agriculture. The 2022 Forum theme and full program will be announced soon. Registration for the virtual USDA Agricultural Outlook Forum is free but required to attend. Register online and learn more about this year’s program at the USDA Agricultural Outlook Forum website.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday October 28, 2021 |


Thursday Watch List Markets USDA's weekly export sales report is due out at 7:30 a.m. CDT, the same time as weekly U.S. jobless claims, an estimate of third quarter U.S. GDP and an update of the U.S. Drought Monitor. The Department of Energy reports on natural gas storage at 9:30 a.m., a concern for this year's fertilizer prices. Traders will continue to check the latest weather forecasts and watch for any news of an export sale. Weather A system is strengthening across the Mid-Mississippi Valley Thursday. This will bring scattered showers to the much of the Corn Belt down through the Southeast and strong winds on the backside of the system from the Southern Plains into the Southeast. Showers will continue to delay the remaining corn and soybean harvest, while winds will act to dry out winter wheat in the Plains and may damage cotton in the Southeast.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday October 27, 2021 |


Senators Want Meeting with Biden to Talk Biofuels Republican Senators Chuck Grassley of Iowa and John Thune of South Dakota joined several colleagues in requesting a meeting with President Biden to discuss biofuels and the Renewable Fuel Standard. They want to promote biofuels as a key solution for America’s energy and climate agenda. In July, Thune and Grassley tried to meet with the president to talk biofuels with the administration, but they said Biden ignored the request. “Mr. President, biofuels are a readily available energy solution that deserves full consideration, not only for helping to stem the recent increase in fuel prices - which has subsequently accelerated inflation - but to serve as a foundational source of transportation emission reductions as a part of your energy and environmental agenda,” the senators say in a letter to the White House. “We call on your administration to utilize the full capacity of American agriculture to deliver on both fronts, and we reiterate our request to discuss these matters with you in greater detail.” Earlier this year, Grassley reintroduced bipartisan legislation to expand markets for year-round biofuel consumption while also calling out the administration on the delay in assisting the biofuel industry negatively impacted by COVID-19. *********************************************************************************** Higher Food Prices Should Ease a Bit in 2022 Food prices are continuing to rise, and consumers across the country are adjusting their shopping habits. A Successful Farming article says food aid agencies are also ramping up their support efforts. Overall, food prices were 4.6 percent higher in September than last year. Beef prices were up 17 percent, and pork was almost 13 percent higher than 2020, and eggs were up by 12 percent. The USDA’s Food Price Outlook released this week is still projecting that higher food prices will ease a bit in 2022, with any future increases more in line with historical averages. However, with so many factors causing the rising prices, experts disagree on how soon those prices for food, as well as for gasoline and other products, will begin to settle down. In response to the rising costs, the Social Security Administration announced its biggest cost-of-living increase in ten years at 5.9 percent, but there’s concern that it won’t be high enough to offset the increasing cost of food. The Biden Administration also boosted SNAP benefits by more than 25 percent. Experts say the inflation spike appears on track to persist deep into 2022 as clogged supply chains, labor shortages, and continuing consumer demand pushes costs higher. *********************************************************************************** 2021 Thanksgiving Dinner Will Cost More While last year’s cost of a Thanksgiving Day dinner was the lowest it had been since 2010, this year could be quite a bit different. A New York Times report says it could be the most expensive dinner on record in the holiday’s history. Nearly every part of the traditional American Thanksgiving dinner will cost more, ranging from the turkey roasting pan to the coffee and pie. Executives from major food companies like Nestle have already said consumers need to be ready for even more price increases. During 2020, COVID-19 kept people from buying for big gatherings, and turkey prices were held down to entice shoppers. This year, turkey prices may see record highs, while the cost of many other foods has also jumped much higher. Industry experts tell the New York Times that there isn’t just one culprit causing the spike. The U.S. food supply has been hit by knots in the supply chain, the higher cost of transportation, a shortage of labor, trade policies, and bad weather. Inflation is also a problem. In September, the Consumer Price Index for food was 4.6 percent higher than 2020. Prices for meat, poultry, eggs, and fish were soaring 10.5 percent higher than last year. *********************************************************************************** ADM, Bunge Report Solid Earnings Despite Hurricane Ida Global agribusiness companies Archer-Daniels-Midland and Bunge likely turned in solid earnings in the third quarter despite weeks of suspended shipping caused by Hurricane Ida. Industry analysts expect good earnings numbers when the companies release their respective reports this week. Both companies benefitted from good margins in corn and oilseed processing and readily available grain supplies to trade, process, and ship overseas as higher prices compelled farmers to sell more of their crops. Long-term prospects for both companies got a boost from surging demand for vegetable oil for use in manufacturing renewable fuels. One analyst told Reuters that the current environment has higher prices that aren’t elevated enough to destroy demand. As people turn their attention to 2022, export demand is still high for U.S. grains. Export shipments from the Louisiana Gulf Coast, the biggest grain hub in the U.S., were halted for weeks after Hurricane Ida slammed into the area on August 29. The storm knocked out power to ADM and Bunge terminals and caused minor damage. The outage was almost a month long at the start of the U.S. corn and soy harvest and peak export season. Analysts say it probably hit ADM a little harder due to its larger U.S. footprint. *********************************************************************************** Thieves are Coming After Precision Ag Equipment A Farm Progress report shows that farmers need to keep an eye on their precision ag equipment, such as auto-guidance monitors and antennas. An ag store in central Illinois was set to send some equipment for field demonstrations at the 2021 Farm Progress show when a representative showed up to take the tractor there and couldn’t find the auto guidance monitor and antenna. Staff had calibrated the tractor the day before and left the equipment in the tractor. What they found in the tractor were cut wires and no auto-guidance parts. Across the entire lot, eight pieces of machinery had stolen antennas and monitors. Further south in Atlanta, four tractors and five combines had their monitors and antennas stolen. While no one is 100 percent sure, the Farm Progress report says it’s either a quick way to make some money, or the computer chip shortage may be another reason behind the thefts. While the chips can’t be tracked, the stolen monitors and antennas can be disabled to stop anyone from using them with systems such as AFS Connect from Case IH. The best prevention is locking up everything at night. Some farmers unplug their precision equipment at night, store it in a safe place and bring it back to plug in the next day to prevent theft. *********************************************************************************** Support Grows for Sustainable Productivity Growth Coalition Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says more than 50 organizations and countries have declared support for the Coalition on Sustainable Productivity Growth for Food Security and Resource Conservation. The U.S. launched the coalition at the United Nations Food Systems Summit in September. The goal of the coalition is to recognize the importance of sustainable productivity growth for meeting the food security and nutrition needs of current and future populations while, at the same time, conserving resources and combatting climate change. The coalition will accelerate the transition to more sustainable food systems through productivity growth that optimizes agricultural sustainability across social, economic, and environmental dimensions. “We initiated this because it’s clear that increasing agricultural productivity is essential to meet the needs of a growing global population and ensure that food is affordable to hundreds of millions of people around the world,” Vilsack says. “If we’re going to end hunger, we must commit to developing and deploying new ways of doing things in agriculture.”

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday October 27, 2021 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets Wednesday's reports start with September durable goods orders and factory orders at 7:30 a.m. CDT. With rumors swirling, traders continue to watch for a possible export sale announcement at 8:00 a.m. The U.S. Energy Department's weekly report of energy inventories, including ethanol production, is due out at 9:30 a.m. CDT. Weather A system moved out into the Plains on Tuesday and will slowly pivot across the middle of the country on Wednesday. This will produce a band of scattered moderate to heavy showers across the Western Corn Belt down to the Gulf Coast. Delays to harvest are expected. The rains skipped over the southwestern Plains and breezy winds there today will dry out the topsoil further, especially in west Texas, potentially damaging young wheat plants.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday October 26, 2021 |


Growth Energy Comments on Legislation to Repeal RFS Amid a global energy crisis and rising fuel prices at pumps across the country, members of the U.S. House of Representatives introduced legislation to repeal the Renewable Fuel Standard. Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor slammed the legislation Monday for trying to reduce Americans' access to homegrown, low carbon biofuels. Skor says, "Now, more than ever, we need to be incorporating more homegrown, low-cost, and low-carbon biofuels into our fuel supply." The RFS was signed into law over a decade ago to reduce reliance on foreign oil and increase the blending of low-carbon biofuels, saving consumers up to $0.10 per gallon at the pump. Additionally, a recent study conducted by ABF Economics shows that moving to nationwide adoption of E15, a fifteen percent ethanol blend, would save consumers $12.2 billion in annual fuel costs. Lawmakers who introduced the Corn Ethanol Mandate Elimination Act in July stated, “The federal corn ethanol mandate no longer makes sense when better, lower-carbon alternatives exist.” *********************************************************************************** Students Leaders Prepare for the 94th National FFA Convention & Expo FFA members and supporters from across the country will celebrate agriculture and agricultural education this week during the 94th National FFA Convention & Expo in Indianapolis. Held virtually last year, the event will once again be held in-person and hosted by the city of Indianapolis, starting Wednesday, with some virtual components. FFA members from across the country are expected to participate in the event. Those who will not participate in person will have an option to participate in online components – ranging from the virtual FFA Blue Room to student and teacher workshops to general sessions. Those attending in person will be able to participate in general convention sessions hosted at Lucas Oil Stadium and the expo, located in the Indiana Convention Center, and explore various career paths open to them. General convention sessions will be aired live on RFD-TV and The Cowboy Channel, and streamed on FFA.org. To learn more, visit convention.FFA.org. *********************************************************************************** AFT Selects Land Transfer Experts to Help New Farmer Generation American Farmland Trust announced its selection of a new national cohort of 48 leading experts in land transfer as partners in creating Transitioning Land to a New Generation. The project will build an adaptable, skills-based curriculum to help a new generation of farmers and ranchers navigate the legal, financial and interpersonal issues in accessing and transferring land. More than 40 percent of American farmland is owned by seniors aged 65 and older who are likely to retire in the next decade or so. Given the demographics, AFT estimates, 371 million acres or one-third of U.S. farmland will likely transition to new ownership in the next 15 years. Transitioning is funded by a Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program grant from USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. The three-year project builds on AFT’s previous grant project, Farmland for the Next Generation. Both projects are part of AFT’s ongoing, multi-faceted partnerships with organizations committed to helping beginning producers succeed. *********************************************************************************** Texas Carves New Position Leading the U.S. in Pumpkin Revenues Pumpkins are a staple of fall traditions for many Americans who pick them, carve them into jack-o’-lanterns, or bake pumpkin desserts. Although pumpkins are grown in many states, most of the production comes from ten states. By acreage and by weight, Illinois is consistently the nation’s largest pumpkin producer. However, unlike other states, most of Illinois’ pumpkins are used for pie filling and other processed foods, which receive a lower price. Production value of pumpkins in Illinois was ranked third in 2020 at $21.3 million, according to data released by USDA’s Economic Research Service Monday. In 2020, Texas led the nation in the value of pumpkins produced at $25.9 million, followed by Pennsylvania at $22.5 million, Illinois, and California at $20.7 million. Retail prices for pumpkins typically fluctuate week to week leading up to Halloween. In the second week of October 2021, the average retail price for jack-o’-lantern-style pumpkins was $4.09 per pumpkin, up 12 percent compared with the same week in 2020. *********************************************************************************** Sharing the Story of Agriculture with Food and Farm Facts Fascinating facts about food in America – how and where it is grown and who produces it – are at your fingertips in a new resource produced by the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture. Food and Farm Facts helps answer questions that learners of all ages may have, including "Where does our food come from and who grows it?" The 32-page, full-color book features updated facts and easy-to-read infographics about U.S. agriculture that can be used in various ways to help increase agricultural literacy. The book would be a valuable resource in the classroom, at fairs and events, for student leadership organizations and when creating social media posts. Copies of Food and Farm Facts may be purchased for $4.25 each. You can order the new Food and Farm Facts book, map, pocket guide and related products in the series at Fb.org/store. Additional Food and Farm Facts products created by the Foundation will be available later this fall. *********************************************************************************** Fuel Price Increases Should Slow Soon The nation’s average gas price increased 3.8 cents from a week ago to $3.36 per gallon, according to GasBuddy. The national average is up 17.1 cents from a month ago and $1.21 per gallon higher than a year ago. The national average price of diesel increased 5.9 cents in the last week and stands at $3.58 per gallon. However, “there may be some light at the end of the tunnel,” according to GasBuddy’s Patrick De Haan, who says, “The sharp rise we’ve seen over the last three weeks should begin slowing down soon, barring another jump in the price of oil.” The price of crude oil remained under pressure as global fundamentals continue to point out falling oil inventories and not enough supply amidst an energy crunch overseas. OPEC waived off any increases during their October meeting, but will meet again on November 4 and could revisit the decision to hold back production.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday October 26, 2021 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets Early Tuesday, traders will be watching to see if recent rumors of soybean sales show up in an announcement from USDA at 8 a.m. CDT. The market will also pay attention to reports on September new home sales and consumer confidence in October, both due out at 9 a.m. CDT. The latest weather forecasts will also be considered. Weather A system moving through the Rockies will increase winds across the Plains Tuesday, followed by increasing showers Tuesday night. Showers are likely to miss winter wheat areas in the southwestern Plains, but could cause some severe weather from Kansas south to Texas Tuesday evening.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday October 25, 2021 |


NCGA Joins Groups Commenting on Supply Chain Issues The National Corn Growers Association joined 51 other groups in sending comments to the U.S. Department of Transportation on the many issues currently disrupting the U.S. supply chain. The comments offered recommendations on how to alleviate these challenges through legislative and regulatory actions. “To be successful, farmers must have a reliable and fully-functioning national transportation system that allows us to get fall fertilizer shipments and deliver our products to consumers in a timely manner,” says NCGA President Chris Edgington. Their recommendations on inland waterways include prioritizing legislative and regulatory actions that promote the rehabilitation of aging waterway infrastructure on the Upper Mississippi and Illinois Rivers. The groups also encourage the Surface Transportation Board to allow “reciprocal” or “competitive switching,” which would allow shippers and receivers geographically beholden to one rail carrier to gain access to a second rail carrier through a short distance switch. Another transportation recommendation was that USDA and the Transportation Department continue working together to ensure agricultural haulers and the rest of the trucking industry have the flexibilities they need to provide timely delivery of essential products. The recommendations come soon after President Biden’s announcement that the Port of Los Angeles would begin to operate 24/7 to help mitigate the bottleneck on the West Coast. *********************************************************************************** Ethanol Output Back to Pre-COVID Levels Bloomberg says U.S. ethanol production reached its highest level since COVID-19 lockdowns brought the industry to a basic standstill. The ethanol industry reached production it hadn’t seen since June 2019. Gasoline demand on a four-week rolling average hit the highest point since 2007 for this time of year. The revival comes as corn is readily available at a relatively cheap price, setting the stage for better profit margins and a potential boost in overseas demand for U.S. supplies. The fuel industry is waiting for overdue Biden administration proposals on mandates requiring refiners to blend fixed amounts of the biofuel into the nation’s fuel supply. “Weak blending proposals from the Environmental Protection Agency would pull the rug out from underneath the industry just as it is finally recovering to pre-COVID levels of production,” Renewable Fuels Association President Geoff Cooper says in an email to Bloomberg. The cost of complying with the blending requirement in the Renewable Fuel Standard has been a longtime conflict between biofuel makers and fossil-fuel refiners, who says the cost of compliance credits puts fuel supplies and refining jobs at risk. *********************************************************************************** U.S. Winter Weather Outlook As La Niña climate conditions are back for a second-straight winter, above-average temperatures will show up in the South and most of the eastern U.S. That’s from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center, which issued the 2021 Winter Weather Outlook that extends from December 2021 through February 2022. NOAA says that’s consistent with typical La Niña conditions during the winter. They anticipate below-normal temperatures along portions of the northern tier of the U.S., while much of the South will experience above-normal temps. The Southwest U.S. will be the biggest concern as below-normal precipitation won’t improve the drought conditions in that region. Below-normal temps are likely in southern Alaska and the Pacific Northwest eastward through the Northern Plains. The Upper Mississippi River Valley and small parts of the Great Lakes have equal chances for above, near, or below-normal temps. The highest chances of wetter-than-average conditions are in the Pacific Northwest, northern Rockies, Great Lakes, and parts of the Ohio Valley. Drier than normal areas will include southern California and the Southeast U.S. The remainder of the U.S. has equal chances of above, normal, or below-normal temperatures. Widespread severe to exceptional drought continues to dominate the western half of the continental U.S., Northern Plains, and the Missouri River Basin. *********************************************************************************** IRS Anti-Surveillance Bill Introduced in Senate Iowa Senator Chuck Grassle