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| Rural Advocate News | Friday February 3, 2023 |


CattleFax Forecast for Producer Profitability in 2023 The CattleFax Outlook Seminar at the annual Cattle Industry Convention in New Orleans dug into expert market and weather analysis for the coming year. Prices and profitability will again favor cattle producers in 2023. The cattle industry came into the year with the smallest cattle supply since 2015, as drought caused the industry to dig deeper into the supply of feeder cattle and calves. While drought relief is up in the air, improvements are also expected to translate to moderating feed costs, especially in the second half of this year. Combined with increased cattle prices, producers, especially the cow-calf operators, will continue to see improvement in margins for the next several years. Kevin Good, Vice President of Industry Relations for CattleFax, says U.S. beef cow cattle inventories are down 1.5 million head from cycle highs. “Drought improvement and higher cattle prices should slow beef cow culling through this year,” Good says. *********************************************************************************** Brazil Reinstates Ethanol Import Tariff Brazil’s Foreign Trade Chamber reinstated the 18 percent import tariff on ethanol, making U.S. imports less price competitive in the country. The recent zero percent import tariff got put in place last year by Brazil’s former president to help fight rising inflation. The current administration let the zero percent tariff expire on February 1. SP Global says the 18 percent import tax will protect Brazil’s domestic ethanol producers, especially those in the north and northeast regions. Multiple sources say the move reduces competitively-priced ethanol imported from abroad. The Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock said in an official statement that the increased import tax will also have a minimal impact on the end-user in Brazil. Last year, Brazil imported 312 million liters of ethanol, and the U.S. supplied 65 percent of total ethanol imports. Brazil extended the current exemption for federal taxes on fuel for the first 60 days of 2023. *********************************************************************************** Study Finds Consumers Want Protein Source Transparency Merck Animal Health announced the results of its first-ever consumer transparency research study. It finds that two-thirds of consumers say transparency in animal protein is extremely or very important. The study focused on consumers’ growing interest in transparency and its importance in purchasing decisions and brand trust. Two-thirds of the survey respondents say transparency in animal proteins is extremely or very important and the reasons are personal, with health and nutrition topping that list. Also, 86 percent of consumers who said transparency is important also ranked traceability as extremely or very important, and 40 percent of those consumers want to know where the livestock comes from. More than 50 percent of the respondents said they were willing to pay a five percent premium for transparency on the label and want more information than ever about how their food is grown and raised to make informed decisions at the grocery store. *********************************************************************************** Legislation Designed to Protect U.S. Ag from Foreign Adversaries The bipartisan Promoting Agriculture Safeguards and Security (PASS) Act was introduced in both congressional chambers. It will protect U.S. national security by preventing foreign adversaries from taking any ownership or control of agricultural land and businesses in the United States. The bill will also ensure the USDA is fully involved in reviewing any acquisition of American companies by foreign adversaries that could affect the agricultural sector. Specifically, China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea are prohibited from buying agricultural land and companies in the U.S. It also adds the Ag Secretary as a standing member of the U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment. Congressman Rick Crawford, a co-sponsor, says, “Reports of entities ultimately controlled by the Chinese Communist Party buying American farmland and agricultural companies validate the need for a more proactive posture in protecting our agriculture sector from foreign threats.” Congressman Jim Costa says protecting the food supply is a national security issue. *********************************************************************************** NPPC Reacts to First Senate Ag Farm Bill Hearing The National Pork Producers Council applauded the first farm bill hearing in the 118th Congress. The organization is pleased the Senate Ag Committee is taking up issues important to the pork industry. In 2021, the U.S. exported 8.1 billion dollars worth of pork to more than 100 countries, which increased the average value of each pig marketed by nearly 63 dollars. Those exports also support more than 10,000 jobs in America. “Congress must provide strong investments in both the Market Access Program (MAP) and the Foreign Market Development Program,” the NPPC said in a statement. “A wide swath of U.S. agricultural companies have utilized these export promotion programs, generating a net return of almost 25 dollars for every dollar spent and creating 225,800 full-and-part-time jobs across the U.S. economy.” The NPPC is also looking forward to working with members of Congress while developing a farm bill that benefits producers and every American. *********************************************************************************** NCBA Picks the Beef Advocate of the Year Tucker Brown, a Texas beef producer, is the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s 2022 Advocate of the Year. The award recognizes Brown for his creative use of storytelling across social media platforms, along with continuing his family’s legacy as a sixth-generation cattle rancher. Brown says his farm gate is always open, and he doesn’t hesitate to answer hard questions about the beef industry. “Our goal is to help consumers understand where their food comes from and develop a deeper trust in us,” he says. Brown creates social media content that bridges the gap between consumers and producers, reaching millions of people. He has more than 176,000 followers on TikTok and 52,000 followers on Instagram. On average, Brown gets a combined five-to-six million views per month on his videos and uses his influence to show what it’s like to raise beef. “I think it’s more important than ever to tell our story,” he says.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday February 3, 2023 |


Friday Watch List Markets The U.S. Labor Department will release nonfarm payrolls for January and the monthly unemployment report at 7:30 a.m. CST, Friday's main attractions. Traders will watch over the latest weather forecasts and pause at 8 a.m. to see if USDA has an export sale announcement. Weather A burst of arctic air with the polar vortex continues in the Midwest where some lake-effect snows are occurring. A front is finally being pushed out of the Southeast where showers continue for the day. While eastern areas are getting colder, the Plains are getting warmer as a ridge of high pressure spreads eastward. The next system is moving into the West Coast, which will have implications east of the Rockies for next week.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday February 2, 2023 |


NCGA Shares Potential Consequences of Mexican Corn Ban Corn growers told Congressional members and their staffs they must hold the line over Mexico’s proposed ban on imports of GMO corn. During a congressional briefing, members of the National Corn Growers Association said if that ban takes effect, it will block most U.S. corn imports into Mexico and be a significant blow to the American economy. Mexico’s president plans to implement a decree banning biotech corn from coming into Mexico in early 2024. The vast majority of U.S. corn is biotech. “This decree would cut most American growers off from what has historically been our largest export market,” says NCGA President Tom Haag (Hayg). “That’s why U.S. officials must continue to ensure that Mexico lives up to its commitments under the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement.” NCGA hosted the congressional briefing on the one-year mark from the decree’s effective date. The ban would cause the U.S. economy to lose $73.8 billion over ten years. *********************************************************************************** Senate Bill Would Improve the Conservation Reserve Program Senators John Thune of South Dakota and Minnesota’s Amy Klobuchar reintroduced the Conservation Reserve Program Improvement Act. A Republican and Democrat, respectively, the bill bolsters the CRP by improving access to grazing, maximizing enrollment options for producers, and addressing implementation issues following the 2018 Farm Bill. “After hearing from South Dakotans, it’s clear that we need to keep working to ensure that CRP continues to be an effective option for producers and landowners,” Thune says. Among the improvements, the bill would increase the CRP annual payment limitation from $50,000, established in 1985, to $125,000 to account for inflationary and rising land value pressures and provide more enrollment options. “The Conservation Reserve Program helps equip our farmers with tools to conserve and improve soil, water quality, and wildlife habitat,” Klobuchar says. “This bipartisan legislation makes commonsense improvements to the CRP that will strengthen conservation practices and boost enrollment in this vital program. *********************************************************************************** New Venture to Develop SAS Using Ethanol United Airlines formed a joint venture to develop and then commercialize a Sustainable Aviation Fuel technology using ethanol as the feedstock. United Airlines, Tallgrass, and Green Plains will invest up to a combined $50 million in the venture. The venture is called Blue Blade Technology and will produce up to 135 million gallons of ethanol-based SAS annually. Green Car Congress Dot Com says if the technology is successful, Blue Blade will begin building a pilot facility in 2024, followed by a full-scale facility that could begin operating in 2028. The agreement could provide enough sustainable aviation fuel to fly more than 50,000 flights every year between United’s hub airports in Chicago and Denver. If the technology is commercialized, the location of Blue Blade’s first plant would allow easier access to low-carbon feedstock from Green Plains’ Midwest ethanol production facilities. The technology will eventually work with any alcohol-based feedstock as a fuel source. *********************************************************************************** Report Shows Strong Demand Continuing for U.S. Beef The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association released its “Today’s Beef Consumer” report, and it shows beef demand continues to remain strong. Despite various challenges faced by the industry, consumers have repeatedly stated that they will continue buying beef in both the retail and foodservice settings. Compiling research from last year, the report shows more than two-thirds of consumers reportedly eat beef on a weekly basis or even more than that. Inflation is top-of-mind when shopping for food, and more than three-quarters of consumers reported an increase in the price of food, whether at retail or foodservice. While it was no surprise that beef sales at foodservice dropped sharply in 2020 and 2021, sales in 2022 rebounded in both volume and dollars, surpassing the pre-pandemic levels of 2019. During COVID, consumers were forced to cook from home, and many continue to do so as a way to stretch dollars and combat inflation. *********************************************************************************** NCBA Announces Policy Priorities The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association released its policy priorities for 2023. The priorities focus on advancing animal disease preparedness, protecting voluntary conservation programs, and defending producers from regulatory overreach. “Our focus is helping to create opportunity for America’s cattle producers and fighting to make sure the federal government does not damage our industry,” says NCBA President-Elect Todd Wilkinson. “One of the biggest opportunities to help cattle producers in the coming year is passing the 2023 Farm Bill with continued investment in our national vaccine bank to protect the U.S. cattle herd.” Other priorities include protecting and funding EQIP, CSP, and other voluntary conservation programs that incentivize science-based, active management of natural resources. NCBA also wants to protect the cattle industry from regulatory attacks under the Waters of the United States, the Endangered Species Act, emissions reporting, and more. “We’re laser-focused on reducing the risk of a potential foreign animal disease,” Wilkinson adds. *********************************************************************************** Americans Will Eat 1.45 Billion Chicken Wings During the Super Bowl The National Chicken Council released its annual Chicken Wing Report, projecting Americans will eat a record-breaking 1.45 billion chicken wings during Super Bowl weekend. The figure represents an increase of two percent from last year’s report, the equivalent of 84 million more wings than in 2022. NCC Spokesperson Tom Super says, “The two main reasons for the increase are more favorable prices and more people getting back to normal and gathering for the Big Game, whether at home or a bar or restaurant.” Despite inflation, both wholesale and retail wing prices are down double digits from a year ago, according to USDA, and consumers are seeing a lot more features and promotions. That many wings laid end-to-end would stretch from Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City to Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia about 62 times. It would also give four wings each to every man, woman, and child in the United States.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday February 2, 2023 |


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, a report on fourth-quarter U.S. productivity and an update of the U.S. Drought Monitor. The U.S. Energy Department's natural gas storage report is at 9:30 a.m. Traders remain interested in the latest weather reports, especially from South America and in any news of an export sale. Weather A stalled front continues to be active across the south with rounds of showers on Thursday. It is still cold enough for a mix of freezing rain, sleet, and some snow in these areas. Across the north, the last arctic cold blast is moving into the North-Central U.S. The cold will be intense but only for a day or so. The cold will slide over to the Northeast tonight and cold air over the Great Lakes will induce lake-effect snows. Those should be as brief as the cold air that moves through.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday February 1, 2023 |


USTR Announces Dispute Settlement Panel Request with Canada U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai Tuesday announced the second dispute settlement panel under the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement regarding Canada’s dairy tariff-rate quota allocation measures. The United States is challenging Canada’s revised dairy TRQ allocation measures that use a market-share approach for determining TRQ allocations. Through these measures, Canada undermines the market access it agreed to provide in the USMCA, according to USTR. Ambassador Tai says, “Although the United States won a previous USMCA dispute on Canada’s dairy TRQ allocation policies, the Canadian government’s revised measures have not fixed the problem.” National Milk Producers Federation president and CEO Jim Mulhern responded, "USTR's action is an important step in righting this wrong and sending a message that the U.S. will fight violations of trade deals in Canada and wherever else they may be committed." If the panel confirms that Canada has violated its obligations under USMCA, the U.S. would be granted the right to impose retaliatory duties. *********************************************************************************** USDA Launches Pilot Cattle Contracts Library The Department of Agriculture Tuesday launched the Cattle Contract Library pilot program. USDA says the pilot library will provide new disclosure to the industry and public regarding the key terms, conditions, and volumes under which cattle are contracted. The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2022 directed USDA to create a pilot library to increase market transparency for cattle producers. The library will have the same look and feel as the working library model developed and shared with stakeholders last year but will now be populated with information from active contracts. The initial release of the library will allow users to browse a range of terms and information contained in active contracts used to purchase fed cattle. National Cattlemen's Beef Association Government Affairs Government Affairs Tanner Beymer responded, “We have been looking forward to the launch of the Cattle Contract Library pilot program and will review the product to determine if its current format provides value to cattle producers.” *********************************************************************************** FDA Proposes Redesign of Human Foods Program The Food and Drug Administration Tuesday proposed a redesign of the Human Foods Program to enhance coordinated prevention and response activities. The proposal includes a transformative vision for the Office of Regulatory Affairs, FDA's field-based operations. The proposed structures for both groups will have clear priorities focused on protecting and promoting a safe, nutritious U.S. food supply that more quickly adapts to an ever-changing and evolving environment, according to USDA. The proposed structures for both groups will have clear priorities focused on protecting and promoting a safe, nutritious U.S. food supply that more quickly adapts to an ever-changing and evolving environment. Creating a Human Foods Program under a single leader who reports directly to the Commissioner unifies and elevates the program while removing redundancies. The Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, Office of Food Policy and Response, and certain functions of ORA will be unified into a newly envisioned organization called the Human Foods Program. *********************************************************************************** Ukraine’s Exports Recover Under Black Sea Grain Initiative USDA's Economic Research Service reports Ukraine's corn and wheat exports have almost returned to seasonal-average levels since the summer of 2022. The change follows the Black Sea Grain Initiative to reopen the Black Sea shipping routes. Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 led to elevated security risks and infrastructure damage, causing Ukraine's seaports to be almost completely cut off from March through July. As global exportable supplies diminished, international wheat export prices spiked. Signed in July 2022, the Black Sea agreement enabled the safe passage of Ukraine grain exports through three ports. That and ample corn and wheat stocks allowed Ukraine to export a larger combined volume of the two crops than the five-year average in September and October. The Black Sea Grain Initiative has increased the opportunities for Ukrainian grain to leave the country and has relieved some price pressures internationally, but uncertainty remains as the agreement is set to expire in mid-March 2023 and may not be extended. *********************************************************************************** Six of Seven States Agree on Colorado Water Management Six states that rely on water from the Colorado River Basin recently reached an agreement regarding a model to drastically cut water use in the basin. Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming, Arizona, and Nevada, "did exactly what we needed," according to Colorado Senator Michael Bennet. However, the agreement doesn't include California, the largest water user from the basin, which plans to release its own water use plan. In a letter to the Bureau of Reclamation, the six states admitted, "Over the past twenty-plus years, there is simply far less water flowing into the Colorado River system than the amount that leaves it, and that we have effectively run out of storage to deplete.” The states asked the Bureau of Reclamation to review their proposal as it seeks drought mitigation guidelines. Bennet says California not joining the effort was disappointing, adding, “For too long, the other six states, and particularly the Upper Basin, have carried the burden of this historic drought.” *********************************************************************************** Commodity Classic Registration up 28% Farmers across the country are getting excited for the 2023 Commodity Classic, which has just announced registration is up 28 percent over last year's event in New Orleans. The 2023 Commodity Classic will be held March 9-11 in Orlando. Attendee surveys indicate that networking with other farmers is one of the top reasons producers enjoy Commodity Classic. Hallway conversations and in-person connections are an important part of the educational experience at Commodity Classic, as farmers share their knowledge, passion, and insight with colleagues from across the nation. 2023 Commodity Classic co-chair George Goblish of Minnesota says, “Thousands of America’s best farmers from across the nation love Commodity Classic because we share a passion for agriculture, a thirst for knowledge, and we’re all interested in how we can make our farms more profitable.” The 2023 Commodity Classic includes a lineup of educational sessions, inspiring speakers, a trade show, entertainment, and a range of technology, innovation, and agronomic information. Discover more at CommodityClassic.com.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday February 1, 2023 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets Wednesday is the first of February, the day the ground hog is expected to come out and raise the federal funds rate by another quarter-percent. The Federal Reserve will make the ceremony official at 1 p.m. CST. Before that, there will be several manufacturing indices reported from around the world and the U.S. will get its turn at 9 a.m. At 9:30 a.m., the U.S. Energy Department releases its weekly report of energy inventories, including ethanol production. South American weather and crop conditions continue to get a lot of trader attention. Weather A stalled front across the South and Southeast remains active on Wednesday with periods of showers from Texas and Oklahoma eastward. It remains cold enough on the northern end for a mix of freezing rain, sleet, and maybe some snow from Texas and Oklahoma into the Tennessee Valley. Temperatures farther north are still cold, but higher than yesterday for most areas.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday January 31, 2023 |


Senate Ag Leaders Urge USTR to Hold Canada Accountable Under USMCA Leaders of the Senate Agriculture Committee urge the U.S. Trade Representative to hold Canada accountable under the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. Senators Debbie Stabenow, a Michigan Democrat, and John Boozman, an Arkansas Republican, say Canada is obligated by USMCA to provide market access to American dairy farmers. Despite numerous rounds of consultation and an initial dispute settlement panel ruling in January 2022, Canada continues to reserve parts of its tariff-rate quota allocations for domestic processors, undermining importers' market access. In a letter to Ambassador Katherine Tai, the Senators call on USTR to initiate a second dispute settlement panel to hold Canada accountable to its market access obligations to American dairy farmers. There has been no improvement in Canada's TRQ administration despite the USTR’s continued engagement. The Senators write, “To bring Canada into compliance with its commitments to U.S. dairy producers, we urge USTR to move forward with a second dispute settlement case to implement USMCA’s dairy provisions fully and properly to increase U.S. dairy market access.” *********************************************************************************** 2022 Census of Agriculture Deadline Nears The deadline to respond to the 2022 Census of Agriculture is next week. USDA's National Agri Statistics Service says farmers and ranchers must respond by February 6 online or through the mail. NASS Administrator Hubert Hamer says, "By participating in the 2022 Census of Agriculture, producers show the value and importance of American agriculture." Last month, NASS mailed the Census of Agriculture questionnaires to every known ag producer in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Conducted just once every five years, the ag census provides a complete account of the nation's farms and ranches and the people who operate them. Responding to the Census of Agriculture is required by federal law, and law requires NASS to keep all individual operations' information confidential, use the data for statistical purposes only, and publish the data in aggregate form to prevent disclosing the identity of any individual producer or farm operation. Producers can respond online at agcounts.usda.gov. *********************************************************************************** USDA Announces $2.7 Billion in Rural Electric Infrastructure Funding Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Monday announced a $2.7 billion investment to help 64 electric cooperatives and utilities. The funding from the Department of Agriculture will help the cooperatives expand and modernize the nation’s rural electric grid and increase grid security. Vilsack says, “This funding will help rural cooperatives and utilities invest in changes that make our energy more efficient, more reliable, and more affordable.” The loans include $613 million to help rural utilities and cooperatives install and upgrade smart grid technologies. Smart grid can be a catalyst for broadband and other telecommunications services in unserved and underserved rural areas, in addition to improving grid security and reliability. Nearly half of the awards will help finance infrastructure improvements in underserved communities. USDA's Electric Loan Program can help finance wind, solar and natural gas plants, as well as improvements to produce cleaner energy from coal-fired plants. In the coming months, USDA will announce additional energy infrastructure financing. *********************************************************************************** State Attorneys General Seek Year-Round E-15 Last week, Iowa Attorney General Brenna Bird led a bipartisan coalition of seven Attorneys General urging the Biden Administration to follow the law and allow the sale of year-round E-15. Federal law permits Governors to request that the EPA issue the regulations allowing E15 and requires the EPA to issue the regulations within 90 days. The sale of E15 has been restricted during the summer peak-driving months due to an outdated provision of the Clean Air Act. Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds led a bipartisan coalition of Governors making the request on April 22, 2022, but the EPA still has not issued the regulation as required by law. Earlier this month, Governor Reynolds, again wrote to the Biden Administration reiterating her request that the mandatory regulations be issued in response to their request. Attorney General Bird and the Attorneys General of Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Wisconsin signed the letter to the White House and the Environmental Protection Agency. *********************************************************************************** American Dairy Coalition Sets 2023 Policy Priorities American Dairy Coalition, a grassroots dairy farmer-led organization with diverse geographic representation, recently announced federal policy priorities and an action plan for 2023. American Dairy Coalition CEO Laurie Fischer says, “Our ongoing efforts have been focused on raising awareness of short- and long-term challenges.” One key short-term priority is to see the Class I milk price 'mover' returned to its previous 'higher of' formula in the 2023 Farm Bill. For the long-term, the coalition seeks a national Farm Bill hearing on the sustainability of Federal Milk Marketing Orders. Fischer says, “The systemic issues of declining fluid milk sales and declining FMMO participation create instability and uncertainty for dairy farmers.” ADC also supports restoring whole milk in federal nutrition programs like National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs and WIC. This includes exempting nutrient-dense foods like whole milk from the fat limits the Dietary Guidelines impose on nutrition programs and dairy checkoff promotions. *********************************************************************************** Rotational Grazing Adoption Varies by Region Data published Monday by USDA’s Economic Research Service shows rotational grazing adoption varies by region. Rotational grazing is a management practice in which livestock are cycled through multiple fenced grazing areas to manage forage production, forage quality, animal health, and environmental quality. In a recent study, USDA researchers found the highest rate of total rotational grazing adoption, at 49 percent of operations, in the Northern Plains and Western Corn Belt region. The lowest participation level, at 25 percent, were operations in the Southern Plains region. Basic rotational grazing was more common than intensive rotational grazing in all but one region. USDA says the exception was the Appalachian region, where 25 percent of cow-calf operations used intensive rotational grazing, and 22 percent used basic rotational grazing. Major drivers for regional differences in adoption could include varying forage types, which may respond better to rotational grazing than others, and differing climates.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday January 31, 2023 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets At 7:30 a.m. CST Tuesday, the U.S. Labor Department will release its employment cost index for the fourth quarter, a factor for the Fed to consider in this week's meeting. At 9 a.m., the Conference Board's index of U.S. consumer confidence will be out, followed by USDA's Jan. 1 cattle inventory at 2 p.m., anticipating a 3% or 4% annual decline. Weather A sharp cold front remains across the southern states on Tuesday, which will continue to be active. Showers are already moving through this morning and more will develop later today from Texas and Oklahoma eastward to Virginia and points south. Behind the front it is very cold with another day of well below-normal temperatures. The cold will cause another day of freezing rain, snow, and sleet accumulation in some areas of the South-Central states.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday January 30, 2023 |


Senators Ask White House for Enforcement Actions on USMCA The top members of the Senate’s Finance Committee sent a letter to the White House asking the administration to pursue enforcement action against Canada and Mexico under the USMCA. Inside Trade says they’re concerned about areas where Canada and Mexico aren’t complying with the agreement’s rules, especially around energy and agriculture. Ron Wyden and Mike Crapo (CRAY-po), the top Democrat and Republican on the committee, sent the letter saying, “The Office of the USTR must continue pursuing full implementation and, where necessary, robust enforcement of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement.” They also noted that the pact’s full potential remains unrealized. Wyden and Crapo highlighted the current dispute with Mexico over its policy regarding GMO corn imports, as well as Canadian failure to comply with the rules regarding tariff-rate quotas on dairy products. The U.S. recently requested dispute-settlement consultations for a third time regarding Canada’s dairy policy. U.S. and Mexican discussions recently continued last week. *********************************************************************************** Reaction to Bronaugh’s Decision to Step Down from USDA Post USDA Deputy Secretary Jewell Bronaugh announced she’ll be leaving her post at the end of February. American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall says his organization has enjoyed working with the deputy secretary for the last two years of her tenure with the agency. “We want to thank her for her service to America’s farmers and ranchers,” Duvall says. “She has long been someone who understands the needs of farmers and rural communities. We’ve appreciated her leadership and wish her all the best in her future endeavors.” House Ag Committee Ranking Democrat David Scott congratulated Bronaugh on a job well done. “Deputy Secretary Bronaugh’s time at the department was historic, serving as the first African American woman in the role,” Scott says. “During her time as Deputy, she uplifted American agriculture and our rural communities, something she’s long done throughout her career.” Scott also says she’s a champion for U.S. food and agriculture. *********************************************************************************** Organic Produce Sales Up Three Percent, Volume Down Four Percent Organic fresh produce sales grew by three percent last year while total volume dropped by 3.7 percent. The Organic Produce Network says total sales topped $9.4 billion for the year. The 2022 Organic Produce Performance Report says the fresh berry category was the top organic produce category with more than 16 percent of organic fresh produce dollars in 2022. Fresh berry sales topped $1.6 billion for the year, with organic packed salads a close second at $1.55 billion. Total fresh produce sales gained 7.3 percent in dollars during the year but dropped 1.3 percent in volume from the prior year. During 2022, 13 of the top 20 organic produce categories by total sales posted increases in dollars, with organic onions generating the largest increase at 15.4 percent. That increase was followed by cucumbers, potatoes, and avocados. Organic performance in 2022 was consistent across the nation as dollars grew and volume declined. *********************************************************************************** Energy Department Allocates $118 Million to Biofuel Projects Late last week, the Department of Energy announced $118 million in funding to help expand U.S. biofuel production. Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor says the funds will undoubtedly accelerate the innovations taking place at U.S. ethanol plants. “It will open many new opportunities for low-cost, low-carbon energy,” Skor says. She also points out that the president himself has said there will be no achieving the goal of net zero by 2050 without biofuels, and the announcement shows that the DOE is committed to that mission. “We are excited to see new technologies scaled up with these funds, particularly the work underway at Marquis, Inc., a Growth Energy member that received $8 million for a project that combines CO2 with low-carbon hydrogen to create a new production stream of extra-low-carbon ethanol.” A project like that will end up slashing carbon emissions by at least 70 percent or more compared to petroleum-based alternatives. *********************************************************************************** U.S. Wants WTO Dispute System Fixed by 2024 The U.S. is currently in a third round of talks to redo the World Trade Organization’s trade dispute arbitration system. The U.S. Ambassador to the WTO told Reuters that America wants it to be fully up and running by the end of 2024. The WTO’s appeals bench rules on top disputes among nations. It’s been out of service for two years due to U.S. appointment blockages put in place during the Trump Administration. The current administration has resisted calls by WTO members to approve the appointments and has been leading the negotiations on how to redo the dispute system. Asked if it was even possible to revive the Appellate Body, Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Maria Pagan didn’t say no. “It needs a lot of revamping,” she says. The U.S. has criticized the WTO’s alleged overreach and lengthy processes, and it strongly contested some of the WTO’s recent rulings against America. *********************************************************************************** Corn Sales to Overseas Buyers Drops 20 Percent The U.S. Department of Agriculture says export sales of corn fell in the seven days that ended on January 19, while soybean and wheat sales improved. During the week, corn sales to overseas buyers totaled 910,400 metric tons, a 20 percent drop week-to-week but up 46 percent over the prior four-week average. Mexico was the biggest buyer at 407,000 metric tons, followed by Columbia. Exports for the week came in at 912,000 metric tons, up 28 percent from the previous week. Soybean sales rose 16 percent week-to-week and 53 percent from the average to 1.15 million metric tons. China bought more than 940,000 metric tons, with the Netherlands a distant second at 67,100 tons. Exports for the week hit 1.9 million metric tons, down eight percent from the previous week. Wheat sales were up six percent over the prior week and 84 percent from the previous four-week average. Exports dropped 15 percent.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday January 30, 2023 |


Monday Watch List Markets Back from the weekend, traders will be paying close attention to South America's weather reports and forecasts and any outside news that might have occurred. There will also be interest in how cold temperatures got in the southwestern Plains. USDA's weekly report on export inspections is due out at 10 a.m. CST. Traders are also aware the Fed is expected to raise the federal funds target by 0.25% on Wednesday. Weather Very cold air in association with an arm of the polar vortex continues to settle into much of the Plains and western half of the Midwest Monday. The cold threatens livestock and any exposed wheat. The front is hung up from Texas to the Ohio Valley and periods of showers will develop along and behind the front over the next few days as it slowly sinks farther southeast this week. That will induce some wintry mix of freezing rain and snow across the Southern Plains up into the eastern Midwest over the next 24 hours.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday January 27, 2023 |


Agriculture Deputy Secretary Jewel Bronaugh to Step Down Agriculture Deputy Secretary Jewel Bronaugh announced Thursday her intention to step away from her role at USDA. Bronaugh says, “It is with mixed emotions that today I am announcing that I will step away from my role as Deputy Secretary in the coming weeks so I can spend more time with my family.” President Biden nominated Bronaugh to USDA in January of 2021 and was confirmed by the Senate in May of that year. Bronaugh, in 2018 was appointed as the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner. She previously served as the Virginia State Executive Director for the USDA Farm Service Agency during the Obama administration. She was the first Black woman to hold the second-in-command position at USDA. Bronaugh thanked Secretary Tom Vilsack for his support, adding, “I now look forward to taking some time off to spend more quality time with my mom, husband and four children." *********************************************************************************** Retail Food Price Inflation in 2022 Surpassed 2021 Rates Food-at-home prices increased by 11.4 percent in 2022, more than three times the rate in 2021 of 3.5 percent, according to USDA’s Economic Research Service. The increase was also much faster than the two percent historical annual average from 2002 to 2021. All food categories except beef and veal grew faster in 2022 than in 2021. In 2022, price increases surpassed ten percent for food at home and for nine food categories. Egg prices grew at the fastest rate ,2.2 percent, after an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza throughout 2022. Prices for fats and oils increased by 18.5 percent, largely because of higher dairy and oilseed prices. Prices also rose for poultry, 14.6 percent, and other meats, 14.2 percent. Elevated prices for wholesale flour and eggs contributed to a 13.0-percent price increase for cereals and bakery products. Prices for beef and veal, fresh vegetables and fresh fruits rose more slowly, but all categories exceeded their historical averages. *********************************************************************************** Report: Brazil Soybean Crop up 18% From Last Year Industry Economists expect the harvest of a large soybean crop in Brazil in the next 30 to 45 days. AgResource predicts USDA and others will be forced to raise Brazilian soybean production estimates by one million to three million tons, or 37 million to 110 million bushels. A crop of at least 150 million tons versus 129.5 million last year is guaranteed, according to their research. AgResource's final yield estimate in Mato Grosso, by far the country's largest producing state, is 60.3 bushels per acre after revisiting possible harvest losses and disease pressure. This is eight bushels per acre more than Brazil’s CONAB current forecast. There will be yield loss in the far south of Brazil, but yield gains in Mato Grosso and surrounding states will more than offset any yield hit. Harvest losses will likely result from new incurable diseases. But there is very little doubt a massive Brazilian soybean crop will be available to the global marketplace in the coming weeks. *********************************************************************************** Research Identifies $400 Million in Unrealized Soybean Value A new partnership aims to increase soybean flower and pod retention. This unrealized value could bring $50 per acre or $400 million in economic return for U.S. soybean farmers, according to the United Soybean Board. The collaborative focus will test how heat and drought impact flower bud retention. Flower production dictates the final pod number and, ultimately, yield in soybeans. The Atlantic Soybean Council, Mid-South Soybean Board, North Central Soybean Research Program, Southern Soybean Research Program and United Soybean Board all agree this is a priority issue impacting the entire industry. Although flower retention is a leading cause of soybean yield loss in the U.S., no organized effort exists to address it. Farmers experience about 30 percent of flower loss under favorable conditions and up to 80 percent under drought and heat stress. Texas Tech University, in collaboration with Kansas State University, the University of Missouri and the University of Tennessee, will lead the research on this national effort. *********************************************************************************** First All-Steel Swine Barns to Provide Improved Efficiency and Animal Health A new sow complex is now under construction featuring the first prefabricated steel swine barns in the United States. Compared to traditional wood structures, the steel buildings are designed to offer a more biosecure, flame-retardant and energy-efficient environment for pigs, while also being more durable and faster to build. The 12,000-head sow facility is scheduled for completion this summer in South Dakota. The steel building package, designed by C-Lines, is being provided by AP, AGCO’s swine equipment brand. AP dealer Ag Property Solutions is constructing the barns, which will be managed by Pipestone Management. The all-steel buildings offer increased construction speed and efficiency, increased building strength, energy efficiency, better biosecurity, along with being easily transported as a prefabricated structure. The new facility is the largest sow complex ever constructed by Ag Property Solutions, with a footprint of up to 55 acres. It includes a 187,500-square-foot farrowing barn and gilt developer unit and a 225,000-square-foot gestation barn that incorporate the steel panels. *********************************************************************************** FFA to Participate in the Advancing Racial Equity Community of Practice Initiative The National FFA Organization Thursday announced its participation in a new community of practice with other nonprofit organizations focused on advancing racial equity. Over the next six months, leaders in the National FFA Organization will work with The Bridgespan Group to strengthen their approach to advancing racial equity internally and externally. The Advancing Racial Equity Community of Practice, led by The Bridgespan Group, is funded by the Walmart Foundation. The funding will assist in supporting FFA to collaborate with others to share best practices and learnings on their work to prioritize equity. National FFA CEO Scott Stump says, “By partnering with other nonprofits through this initiative, we can expand our capacity to seek and promote inclusion and diversity in our membership.” FFA is participating in the cohort alongside nine organizations: American Red Cross, Center for the Future of Arizona, Education Design Lab, Goodwill Industries International, National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, Team Rubicon, The Recycling Partnership, Winrock International, and World Wildlife Fund.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday January 27, 2023 |


Friday Watch List Markets The U.S. index of personal consumption expenditures will be out at 7:30 a.m. CST Friday, an indicator of inflation watched by the Fed. The University of Michigan's index of consumer sentiment follows at 9 a.m. Traders will continue to watch the latest weather forecasts, especially in South America. Weather A clipper system moving through the Upper Midwest is dragging a cold front through the North-Central U.S. Friday. Breezy winds continue near the storm center in the Upper Midwest. Cold air over Canada will gradually fill in behind the front later in the day, resulting in well-below normal temperatures for the weekend. In addition to the cold, the front will be bringing scattered snows, some of which may be heavier near the northern Rockies and also near the South Dakota-Nebraska border through Friday night.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday January 26, 2023 |


Senate Ag Plans Hearings on Farm Bill Trade and Horticulture Titles The leadership of the Senate Agriculture Committee Wednesday announced a set of farm bill hearings. Senators Debbie Stabenow and John Boozman will hold the first hearing on February 1, titled. "Farm Bill 2023: Trade and Horticulture." The hearings will focus on the trade and horticulture titles of the farm bill. The first hearing will include testimony from USDA's Alexis Taylor, Jenny Lester Moffitt, and USAID's Sarah Charles. In a joint statement, Stabenow and Boozman say, "This is the first of many hearings the Committee has planned as we gear up for the 2023 Farm Bill," adding, "We are both looking forward to a collaborative process, working with all Senators to deliver a strong Farm Bill." The duo announced three other upcoming hearings: February 9 on Commodity Programs, Crop Insurance and Credit, February 16 on Nutrition Programs, and March 1 on Conservation and Forestry Programs. All hearings will be held in the committee’s hearing room. *********************************************************************************** Lawsuit Against FDA Targets Antibiotics Use in Livestock Public health advocacy groups filed a lawsuit against the Food and Drug Administration this week. The groups say the lawsuit challenges the refusal to phase out unnecessary uses of antibiotics in animal agriculture. The groups include the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Food Animal Concerns Trust, Public Citizen and Earthjustice. They allege that approximately two-thirds of medically important antibiotics sold in the U.S. are for use in food-producing animals and are often administered to healthy animals to compensate for the higher risk of infections typically caused by cramped, unsanitary or stressful conditions. The lawsuit claims that the misuse of these medicines has contributed to the rise and spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Steven Roach of Food Animal Concerns Trust says, "The FDA has allowed giant meat companies to habitually overuse antibiotics putting everyone's health at risk," adding, "This is absolutely unnecessary as animals raised under healthy conditions do not need routine antibiotics." *********************************************************************************** Substantial Consolidation in Retail Food Market Since 1990 The U.S. food retail sector experienced substantial consolidation over the last three decades, according to data from USDA’s Economic Research Service. Market concentration, as measured by the Herfindahl-Hirschman Index, is a measure of the extent to which market shares are concentrated between firms of the retail food sector at the national, state, metropolitan statistical area, and county levels. The analysis includes all establishments with a significant portion of food sales that are likely substitutes for each other: supermarkets and other grocery and warehouse clubs and supercenters. Although the national market is less concentrated than the average State level, according to the HHI, national market concentration increased substantially between 1990 and 2019 at 458 percent. In comparison, average county-level market concentration has remained relatively constant over the past 30 years, increasing only 94 percent. While national measures provide information about larger trends, trends in localized markets are likely more relevant for consumers, food-retail competitors, and policymakers, according to USDA. *********************************************************************************** Organic Farmers Association Applauds Additional Assistance for Dairy Farmers The Organic Farmers Association welcomes this week's announcement of emergency financial relief to organic dairy farmers by the Department of Agriculture. The association has called on lawmakers and the Biden administration to help offset the high cost of production. USDA's Farm Service Agency fulfilled the mandate on time, announcing plans to distribute funding on Monday, January 23. The newly announced Organic Dairy Marketing Assistance Program will be administered by USDA's Farm Service Agency and will cover up to 75 percent of projected 2023 marketing costs for eligible organic dairy producers - targeting small and mid-sized operations. Organic Farmers Association Executive Director Kate Mendenhall says, "We applaud Congress for prioritizing family farms in crisis and prioritizing this emergency relief." New York organic dairy farmer Liz Bawden adds, "Organic dairies have had a very difficult two years, and this relief funding will hopefully make it to dairies in time to keep them in business." *********************************************************************************** World Food Prize Names Branstad as President The World Food Prize Foundation announces this week that former U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad will join the organization as its President. World Food Prize Foundation Chair Paul Schickler says, "We are excited to bring on a leader with both global vision and strong roots in agriculture.” Branstad was Iowa's longest-serving governor and holds the record as the longest-serving governor in the history of the United States. He held the office of Governor of Iowa from 1983 until 1999, and then again from 2011 until 2017, when he was appointed U.S. Ambassador to China. He is a partner with the Branstad Churchill Group, LLC. The World Food Prize is presented each year in Iowa to an individual for their achievements in improving the quality, quantity, and availability of food in the world. The $250,000 award is presented each October in a ceremony at the Iowa State Capitol that attracts global leaders and participants. *********************************************************************************** Consumer Brands Association Supports New Trucking Legislation The Consumer Brands Association endorsed a new, bipartisan bill, this week. The Safer Highways and Increased Performance for Interstate Trucking Act, or "SHIP IT Act," would boost trucking capacity, improve supply chain efficiency and keep costs down for consumers. The SHIP IT Act was introduced by U.S. Representatives Dusty Johnson, a South Dakota Republican, and Jim Costa, a California Democrat. The legislation aims to address supply chain pinch points by increasing shipping capacity, lessening burdens on truck drivers and providing incentives to recruit and retain new drivers. The bill also modernizes the emergency use of certain vehicle waivers, offers workforce grants for truck drivers, simplifies the commercial driver's license process and tackles truck parking concerns. Consumer Brands vice president of supply chain Tom Madrecki says, “Ultimately, each step to enhance our supply chains with the latest tools and technologies available will ensure operations run as seamlessly as possible despite future disruptions.”

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday January 26, 2023 |


Thursday Watch List Markets USDA's weekly export sales report is due out at 7:30 a.m. CST, the same time as U.S. weekly jobs claims, the first estimate of fourth quarter U.S. GDP, December durable goods orders and an update of the U.S. Drought Monitor. December new home sales are out at 9 a.m., followed by U.S. natural gas storage at 9:30 a.m. Weather remains a big part of trader focus every day and export sales announcements have become more active lately. Weather Light snow continues behind a system across the eastern Midwest and Northeast Thursday. But the bigger story is a clipper system in the Canadian Prairies that will dive into northern Minnesota by Thursday evening. The system will bring scattered showers through both the Canadian Prairies and North-Central U.S. along with strong winds. Initially, temperatures will rise, but a strong cold front will pass down through the Canadian Prairies Thursday night and into the Northern Plains on Friday when temperatures will drop significantly.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday January 25, 2023 |


NCBA Sues Biden Administration to Overturn Lesser Prairie Chicken Listing The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association recently filed a Notice of Intent to sue the Department of the Interior and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. NCBA is planning the lawsuit over the listing of the lesser prairie chicken under the Endangered Species Act. NCBA Associate Director of Government Affairs Sigrid Johannes says, “The lesser prairie chicken only survives today because of the voluntary conservation efforts of ranchers,” adding, “There are numerous places where this listing goes seriously wrong and we are defending cattle producers against this overreaching, unscientific rule.” The listing was previously set to take effect at the end of January, but thanks to pressure on the Biden administration from NCBA and our allies in Congress, the rule was delayed by 60 days. The listing will now take effect on March 27, 2023, and the states included in the species’ range are Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Colorado. *********************************************************************************** Corn Growers Praise Biden Officials for Stance on Biotech Corn The National Corn Growers Association praised the Biden administration for issuing an official rejection of a recent proposed compromise from Mexico on biotech corn imports into the country. The development came during a meeting between Mexican officials and U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Secretary of Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Alexis Taylor and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative’s chief ag negotiator Doug McKalip. In a statement that came after the meeting, USTR and USDA said the changes offered by Mexico “are not sufficient and Mexico’s proposed approach, which is not grounded in science, still threatens to disrupt billions of dollars in bilateral agricultural trade, cause serious economic harm to U.S. farmers and Mexican livestock producers, and stifle important innovations needed to help producers respond to pressing climate and food security challenges.” NCGA President Tom Haag responded, “This is significant development and good news for corn growers.” Mexico announced in late 2020 a decree banning biotech corn into the country, beginning in early 2024. *********************************************************************************** Biden Again Nominates Dean and Schlanger to USDA President Joe Biden again nominated Margo Schlanger and Stacy Dean to politically appointed positions at the Department of Agriculture. Biden nominated Schlanger to serve as Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights and Dean as Undersecretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services. Both were nominated by the President to USDA during the last Congress but were not confirmed by the Senate. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says Dean’s commitment during her time at USDA and throughout her career “makes her the ideal person to serve as Under Secretary for FNCS.” Throughout her life and career, Schlanger has devoted herself to civil rights and to public service. At the Department of Homeland Security. Vilsack says, “Schlanger would be able to continue her commitment to public service and civil rights as we at USDA continually seek to fairly and equitably serve our employees and customers.” The nominations of Schlanger and Dean were part of a slate of political appointees announced this week by the White House. *********************************************************************************** Cattle Accounted for Largest Portion of US Animal Receipts in 2021 U.S. farm cash receipts from animals and animal products totaled $195.8 billion in 2021, led by receipts for cattle and calves at $72.9 billion, or 37 percent. USDA’s Economic Research Service reports that poultry and egg products made up the next largest share of 2021 cash receipts at $46.1 billion, or 24 percent, followed by dairy at $41.8 billion, or 21 percent, hogs at $28.0 billion or 14 percent, and other animals and animal products at $7.0 billion, at four percent. As part of its Farm Income and Wealth Statistics data product, in late August or early September each year, the Economic Research Service releases estimates of the prior year’s farm sector cash receipts from agricultural commodity sales. The data provided includes cash receipt estimates by type of commodity, which can help in understanding the U.S. farm sector. The estimates may be revised as new information becomes available. *********************************************************************************** IFEEDER Releases Materials to Support Industry Sustainability Progress The Institute for Feed Education and Research Tuesday released its Animal Food Industry Sustainability Toolkit. The toolkit is intended to drive continuous improvement in the full feed value chain. The Institute also shared its definition for “sustainability,” grounding the public charity’s next steps on its multifaceted Sustainability Road Map project. IFEEDER defined “sustainability” for the U.S. animal food industry as “defined and managed by each individual organization to deliver measurable, continuous improvements on the impacts related to people, planet and governance that are most important to them and their stakeholders.” Lara Moody, IFEEDER executive director, says, “We have provided an ‘on ramp’ for the industry to help achieve leadership buy-in and employee engagement so that sustainability becomes part of their corporate cultures and shapes future business decisions.” The toolkit materials, which are supported by 18 months of research and development, are grouped into three stages: people, planet and governance. The toolkit is free for AFIA members and IFEEDER donors at ifeeder.org. *********************************************************************************** New Guide Helps Farms, Rural Small Businesses Go Solar Solar United Neighbors Tuesday released a new guide to help farmers and rural small business owners apply for a key federal grant and loan. The guide will make it easier for rural Americans to install solar energy at their property. The comprehensive guide takes applicants step-by-step through the Rural Energy for America Program, or REAP, application process. The REAP program has been so popular that funding for the grants has not been able to meet the demand. The Inflation Reduction Act, passed last year, quadrupled REAP funding over the next ten years. Farmers and rural small business owners can receive loan guarantees of up to 75 percent of total eligible project costs through REAP. They can receive grants for up to 40 percent of the total project cost. Solar United Neighbors is hosting a free webinar February 2 to educate attendees about the REAP program and what steps they need to take to apply. Learn more at solarunitedneighbors.org.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday January 25, 2023 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets The Bank of Canada is expected to raise its interest rate by a quarter-percent early Wednesday, a prelude to a rate hike, expected from the Federal Reserve on February 1. The U.S. Energy Department's weekly report of energy inventories is set for 9:30 a.m. CST, including ethanol production. Traders continue to keep tabs on the latest weather forecasts and will watch for a possible export sale announcement at 8 a.m. Weather A strong storm system that brought widespread precipitation to the Southern Plains on Tuesday continues toward the Northeast on Wednesday. A band of moderate to heavy snow has developed on the north side of the track, along and north of the Ohio River, while a line of showers and thunderstorms will move through the Southeast, some of which may be severe. Winds in the Southeast are fairly strong as well with gusts increasing into the 35-45 mph range in some areas.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday January 24, 2023 |


USDA Announces Additional Assistance for Dairy Farmers The USDA announced additional assistance for U.S. dairy producers, including a second round of payments through the Pandemic Market Volatility Assistance Program. The agency also announced a new Organic Dairy Marketing Assistance Program. The moves will help USDA better support small- and medium-sized dairy operations that weathered COVID and now face other challenges. “USDA is announcing a second set of payments totaling almost $100 million to close out the $350 million commitment under the pandemic assistance program,” says USDA Undersecretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Jenny Moffitt. “The funds will be released through partnerships with dairy handlers and cooperatives to deliver the payments.” USDA will also be releasing new assistance targeted to small- and medium-sized organic dairy farmers. The goal will be to help those producers with anticipated marketing costs as they face a variety of challenges from weather to supply-chain challenges. For more information on USDA assistance, go to farmers.gov. *********************************************************************************** USDA Accepting Applications for Netherlands Trade Mission The USDA’s Foreign Agriculture Service is accepting applications from U.S. exporters for its first-ever agricultural trade mission to Amsterdam, Netherlands, April 17-20. “Agribusiness producers, exporters, and growers in the U.S. may find the Netherlands to be a perfect gateway into Europe,” says FAS Administrator Daniel Whitley. “Participants will explore exporting opportunities in this mature market, which continues to grow, and meet potential buyers in surrounding regional markets.” U.S. ag and related exports to the Netherlands reached $3.4 billion in 2021, making it the tenth-largest global market. During the trade mission, U.S. participants will meet with buyers from the Netherlands, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Belgium, and Germany. For companies interested in expanding sales in the Netherlands and the other markets, export opportunities include oilseeds, fats, vegetables, oils, grains, pulses, and many other exports. The deadline to apply for the Netherlands trade mission is Thursday, January 26. For information, go to fas.usda.gov. *********************************************************************************** Alltech Shares Global Feed Production Survey Alltech released its 2023 Agri-Food Outlook today, highlighting global feed production survey data. Despite significant challenges that hit the entire supply chain, global feed production remained steady in 2022 at 1.266 billion metric tons. That’s a decrease of only one-half of one percent from 2021’s estimates. The top feed-producing countries during the past year were China at number one with 260.7 million metric tons, the U.S. in second at 240.4 MMT, and Brazil a distant third with 81.9 million. Together, the top ten feed-producing countries produced 64 percent of the total world production. Half the world’s feed consumption is concentrated in four areas, including China, the U.S., Brazil, and India. Vietnam jumped ahead of Argentina and Germany into the top ten in feed tonnage. Russia overtook Spain, which reported a significant reduction in feed production. Feed production increased in several regions, including Latin America, North America, and the Oceania countries. *********************************************************************************** Farm Futures 2023 Planting Survey Results A survey from Farm Futures shows the 2023 acreage battle is ongoing. However, there could be a surprise when it comes to the total number of corn and soybean acres. A surge in projected wheat acres and costly inputs will likely limit any expansion of corn and soybean acres. About 70 percent of the respondents said they were locked in on 2023 acreage decisions by late December. Farm Futures says corn and soybean plantings will increase only minimally compared to past projections due in large part to shrinking profit margins for both corn and soybeans. The survey shows that 90.5 million acres of corn and 88.9 million acres of soybeans will get planted in the spring. Soaring costs of inputs likely mean more wheat acres as wheat typically requires less nitrogen. Anhydrous ammonia retailed for about $1,400 per ton last fall, so many farmers opted for less nitrogen-intensive crops for 2023 plantings. *********************************************************************************** Argentina Rain Forecast too Late to Save Crops Hot and dry weather continues to damage crops in Argentina and southern Brazil. Last week was the third-hottest and the overall driest third week in January in more than 30 years for the main soybean-growing regions in Argentina. The drought stress has combined with extremely hot temperatures to significantly drop the expected corn and soybean yields in Argentina. Agriculture Dot Com says more rain is in the forecast during the coming weeks, but the bad news is that the rains are too late to help crops. Brazil saw near-normal precipitation during the last week in Mato Grosso, the top-producing state in Brazil. However, hot and dry conditions continue to damage expected yields in southern Brazil. Dryness is expected to stick around in southern Brazil, and this week may become one of the hottest and driest weeks in more than 30 years in Rio Grande do Sul near the southern border. *********************************************************************************** U.S. Cattle on Feed Down Three Percent Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the U.S. for feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 11.7 million on January 1. The inventory was three percent below January 1 of last year. That inventory included 7.03 million steers and steer calves, down four percent from the previous year. That group accounted for 60 percent of the total inventory. Heifers and heifer calves accounted for 4.65 million head, down one percent from 2022. Placements in feedlots during December totaled 1.8 million head, eight percent below 2021. Net placements were 1.75 million head. During December, placements of cattle and calves under 600 pounds were 435,000 head, 600-699 pounds were 435,000, 700-799 hit 415,000 head, and 800-899 pounds were 304,000 head. Marketings of fed cattle during December totaled 1.74 million head, six percent below last year. Other disappearances totaled 54,000 head in December, unchanged from 2021.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday January 24, 2023 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets There are no significant reports on Tuesday's docket, but judging from Monday's selling in grains, traders will remain focused on the latest weather reports and forecasts. Traders will also pause at 8 a.m. CST to see if USDA has another export sale to report after announcing 7.1 million bushels of soybeans to unknown destinations Monday. Outside markets may be an influence Tuesday with several big names expecting earning reports. Weather A strong storm is developing over Texas on Tuesday and will press northeast through Tuesday night, headed toward Memphis by early Wednesday morning. A batch of scattered showers and thunderstorms is developing with the system, including some moderate to heavy snow across the Texas Panhandle. That snow will extend up through Missouri later in the day and set up along and north of the Ohio River tonight. To the south, thunderstorms will produce moderate to heavy rain and have some potential for severe weather close to the Gulf of Mexico.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday January 23, 2023 |


Farm Group Wants Investigation Into Egg Prices A U.S. farm group is asking the Federal Trade Commission to look into the high prices of eggs and possible price gouging. Farm Action is a farmer-led advocacy organization that sent a letter to FTC Chair Lina Khan to share their concerns over “apparent price gouging.” They point out that Americans are paying more than ever for an important household staple. The USDA says a recent record outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza is the reason for the high prices. The group says the nation’s top antitrust regulator must look into the record-high profits of the nation’s top egg company. Cal-Maine Foods controls 20 percent of the retail egg market and reported a quarterly sales increase of 110 percent. Gross profits are 600 percent higher than the same time last year. The company says avian flu is driving up prices. However, Cal-Maine had no positive flu tests on any of its farms. *********************************************************************************** CoBank: Dairy Industry Eager for FMMO Reform America’s dairy producers and processors are closely watching discussions about the next farm bill and looking for reforms to Federal Milk Marketing Orders. CoBank says the industry feels that current FMMOs don’t reflect today’s market environment, and the consequences could be drastic. Make allowances are an important part of the orders that haven’t been updated since 2008 and were based on data from as far back as 2006. Make allowances estimate dairy processors’ costs of converting milk into dairy products. Many of those production costs, including labor and energy, have risen dramatically since make allowances were updated 15 years ago. While the current make allowances have stayed the same since 2008, prices for industrial power rose 64 percent, and labor costs in dairy manufacturing climbed 48 percent. While industrial natural gas prices have fallen 11 percent, they’ve been highly volatile during that time. Failing to update them could hinder future dairy industry growth. *********************************************************************************** Fertilizer Institute Names 2023 4R Advocates The Fertilizer Institute selected three farmers and their fertilizer retailers as 4R advocates. They’re being recognized for their commitment to implementing fertilizer management practices that incorporate the principles of 4R Nutrient Stewardship and have demonstrated economic and environmental benefits. Now in its 12th year, the 4R Advocate Program demonstrates the in-field successes of implementing 4R practices based on the right source, rate, time, and placement of fertilizer. “While 4R Nutrient Stewardship is a priority for the fertilizer industry, it’s also a tangible solution for thousands of farmers across America who are seeking fertilizer application practices that have a real-world impact on their bottom lines and their land,” says TFI president and CEO Corey Rosenbusch. The 2023 class of advocates represent 13,770 acres across three states and grow corn, soybeans, sugar beets, and other crops. In 2021, the fertilizer industry committed to putting 70 million acres of cropland under 4R management by 2030. *********************************************************************************** Clean Fuels Conference Begins Monday Clean Fuels Alliance America will kick off the Clean Fuels Conference on Monday, January 23 (today) at the Tampa Convention Center in Tampa, Florida. The event runs through Thursday and will likely draw more than 725 registered participants, including agricultural interests, clean fuel producers, marketers, end users, and more. It’s the 20th annual industry conference formerly known as the National Biodiesel Conference and Expo. This is the first-ever Clean Fuels Conference. “Companies know consumers want to feel better about their purchases,” says Clean Fuels CEO Donnell Rehagen. “Low-carbon transportation fuels in planes, trains, ships, and trucks will have to be the focus of their efforts.” The theme of this year’s conference is “United As One.” It’s designed to highlight the industry’s commitment to bringing together stakeholders to build a sustainable transportation future. The clean fuels industry set a goal of producing six billion gallons a year of sustainable fuels by 2030. *********************************************************************************** Lamb Board Releases New Strategic Plan The American Lamb Board released its fiscal year 2022 Annual Report to inform Mandatory Lamb Checkoff stakeholders of its work to mitigate outside forces and challenges and take advantage of opportunities ahead. “Even though many challenges were out of our control, it’s critical that we keep driving forward as hard as we can to promote American lamb and the U.S. sheep industry,” says ALB chair Peter Camino. ALB has also identified three primary goals as it turns to FY 2023. The first is to continue to grow consumer demand for American lamb. The second is to prioritize research and education efforts to improve product quality and consistency, increase productivity, and grow the year-round supply of lamb. The board also wants to expand the awareness, understanding, engagement, and involvement of stakeholders in the American Lamb Checkoff. “As the American lamb industry looks to the future, there are several areas of opportunity,” Camino says. *********************************************************************************** 2025 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee Announced The USDA and the Department of Health and Humans Services announced the appointment of 20 nationally recognized scientists to serve on the 2025 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. The Committee will review the current body of science on key nutrition topics and develop a scientific report that includes its independent assessment of the evidence and recommendations for USDA and HHS as they develop the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The dietary guidelines serve as the foundation for national nutrition programs, standards, and education. In addition, they provide health professionals with guidance and resources to assist the public in choosing an overall healthy diet that works for them. “Diet-related diseases are on the rise across all age groups, and we must rise to the challenge by providing nutrition guidance that people from all walks of life can tailor to meet their needs,” says USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. “This will help Americans achieve better nutritional habits.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday January 23, 2023 |


Monday Watch List Markets Back from the weekend, traders will check the latest weather forecasts, especially for Argentina where drought-stricken crops have increased chances for rain. Traders may pause at 8 a.m. CST to see if USDA has an export sale to announce and will check USDA's weekly report of export inspections at 10 a.m. Weather Another strong storm system is moving through the Four Corners area early Monday morning. That system will move into Texas tonight and head through the Northeast for Tuesday and Wednesday. Widespread precipitation will occur in Texas and Oklahoma tonight, including some moderate to heavy snow.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday January 23, 2023 |


Top 5 Things to Watch - Key Happenings the Newsroom is Tracking for the Week of Jan. 22-28 1. Altered reality of wheat. As DTN Lead Analyst Todd Hultman discussed in Friday's Todd's Take, there's a growing disconnect between supply and demand forces and the actual price of wheat. With continued low soil moisture in major parts of the U.S. breadbasket, continued war in the Black Sea area, and already low wheat stocks, Hultman expects current $7-$8 cash wheat prices (based on DTN's national cash index) to get a reality check at some point. 2. Clipper blockers hang in there, for now. Our weather team is watching two trough systems work their way through Texas to the Northeast, bringing additional moisture to the central and eastern portions of the country. Depending on where your farm is, the first of those systems might be there as you read this. The second should be right behind it early in the week. Both include a band of snow, so winter is far from gone. But for some time now frigid cold weather has been absent. Unfortunately, chances for the next arctic blast will probably come late next week as the pattern allows cold air to come down from Canada. 3. Fueling around: Deep winter can be time to refill fuel tanks drained by the last of harvest, but global diesel market conditions have put the squeeze on those plans. DTN Ag Business Editor Katie Dehlinger will gather the latest experts' thoughts on near- to medium-term fuel prices. Watch for her story by mid-week. 4. Laws and orders: We'll be watching a number of courtroom-related actions this week. These include the latest on a number of suits filed against the EPA over waters of the United States (WOTUS) regulations. The meat packing industry also will likely be in the courtroom news. Watch for stories on the complaint filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission that meat packer JBS isn't meeting carbon emissions goals. We'll also be looking into the recent mass of advertisements on social media platforms for cattlemen to join the price-fixing suits against Big Four meat packers. R-CALF USA filed the first suit in 2019, and the number of groups and food companies filing similar claims against the packers has grown in recent months. Along with that, advertisements from law firms offering to represent producers in any class action settlements are popping up like volunteer wheat after a grain cart spill. Legal experts say producers should not need representation; we'll get into the details. 5. Winter meetings pick up: We'll have DTN staff at several events this week. DTN Ag Policy Editor Chris Clayton will be in Kansas, looking in to the growing town versus farm water availability issues, and also attending the No-Till on The Plains Winter Conference, Jan. 23-25 in Wichita. Watch for his reporting from the Sunflower State. DTN Lead Analyst Todd Hultman will be at the Sioux Falls Farm Show in South Dakota, giving his latest market outlook on Jan. 25-27.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday January 20, 2023 |


Groups File Legal Challenges to New WOTUS Rule Groups representing agriculture, infrastructure, housing, and petroleum filed a legal challenge to the new Waters of the U.S. Rule. “The Biden Administration’s WOTUS definition is an attack on farmers and ranchers, and we’ll be fighting back in court,” says Mary-Thomas Hart, chief counsel for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. “The rule removes longstanding exclusions for small and isolated water features on farms and ranches and adds to the regulatory burden farmers already face.” Non-agriculture groups in the lawsuit include the American Petroleum Institute, the Associated General Contractors of America, and many others. “The new rule creates uncertainty for farmers and ranchers even if they’re miles from the nearest navigable water,” says Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall. “We believe a judge will see these regulations exceed the scope of the Clean Water Act.” A Supreme Court decision in Sackett v. EPA could require the EPA to start over again on defining WOTUS. *********************************************************************************** Rebound Continues in Farm Lending Farm lending activity continued to gradually increase along with further growth in loan sizes. The Kansas City Federal Reserve says the average size of non-real estate farm loans was about 20 percent higher than a year ago and drove an increase in lending volumes for the fourth straight quarter. Average interest rates on farm loans rose sharply alongside higher benchmark rates and reached a ten-year high, putting additional upward pressure on financing costs. The outlook for farm finances remained favorable alongside elevated commodity prices, but increased interest rates, challenging weather, and high production costs remain key concerns. Higher expenses contributed to a rebound in lending last year, but strong income and liquidity likely limited the financing needs of many producers. Looking ahead, elevated operating expenses could put additional upward pressure on loan demand. Lending activity was seven percent higher than last year. Production expenses have increased by 15 percent since 2020. *********************************************************************************** NCBA Statement on USDA’s Proposed Traceability Rule National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President-Elect Todd Wilkinson released a statement on the USDA’s proposed rule on electronic identification for transporting cattle over state lines. “As USDA has worked toward a nationally significant traceability program, NCBA has engaged with industry stakeholders and USDA to ensure that cattle producers are represented and protected,” says Wilkinson, who also chairs the NCBA Traceability Working Group. “Any program must allow maximum flexibility and privacy while minimizing costs for producers and any industry disruptions.” NCBA also says foot-and-mouth disease outbreaks around the world continue to result in disruptions to commerce and depopulate livestock. That means immediate action is needed. “NCBA is committed to working with USDA to ensure workable solutions are identified and implemented,” Wilkinson says. The organization also says that cattle producers can be confident that any finished product will protect the nation’s livestock herd. The NCBA is continuing to review the proposed rule in its entirety. *********************************************************************************** USDA Investing Funds to Reduce Wildfire Risk Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack announced his agency is expanding efforts to reduce the risk of wildfires in the western U.S. Funds will be invested to directly protect at-risk communities and critical infrastructure in 11 additional landscapes in Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington. “It’s no longer a matter of if a wildfire will threaten many western communities, it’s a matter of when,” Vilsack says. “This announcement means over $490 million will be used to restore national forests, including the restoration of resilient old-growth forest conditions.” The Forest Service announced its original ten landscape project areas last year. Combined with the additional announcement this week, that represents a total USDA investment of $930 million across 45 million acres. The work spans 134 of the 250 highest-risk fire sheds identified in the Wildfire Crisis Strategy and will mitigate the wildfire risk for around 200 communities in the western United States. *********************************************************************************** January Beige Book Contains Observations on the Ag Economy The Federal Reserve Board released its January 2023 Beige Book Update, which summarizes current economic conditions in each district. The summary includes agricultural conditions in several districts. The Fed in Atlanta said ag conditions were little changed from the previous report but did note Florida citrus yields were down notably due to Hurricane Ian. The Chicago Fed says after a strong year in the district, agricultural income will be lower in 2023 but still see solid returns. The St. Louis branch says inflation-adjusted farm incomes are near a 50-year high and leading to optimism for this year despite rising input costs. The Minneapolis Fed says ag conditions were stable as farm incomes and working capital remained strong heading into this year. Ag conditions in the San Francisco district remained in generally weak condition. Dollar sales were up but down in volume. Rainfall continued to improve soil moisture in the Dallas Fed’s district. *********************************************************************************** Avoiding Antibiotic Resistance on the Dairy Farm Antibiotic use in dairy animals is just to help the animal overcome illness. Mark van der List, a vet with Boehringer-Ingelheim, says the challenge is to help them overcome the sickness without furthering resistance and allowing antibiotic residue into food products. He says it’s important to work with a veterinarian who knows your herd as well as they do. Other tips include following label directions carefully. Producers need to mark and separate all treated animals. Every employee should be easily able to identify any treated animals. Make sure to keep detailed records of all treatments given to each animal in the herd. It’s also important to remove all doubt by making the protocol for treating animals as airtight as possible. “Dairy producers take the responsibility for antibiotic stewardship seriously,” van der List says. “While many already have strong measures in place, it’s always a good idea to fine-tune existing protocols.”

| Rural Advocate News | Friday January 20, 2023 |


Friday Watch List Markets USDA's weekly export sales report is due out at 7:30 a.m. CST, followed by U.S. existing home sales for December at 9 a.m. and USDA's cattle on-feed report for January 1 at 2 p.m. Traders continue to closely watch the latest weather forecasts, especially for Argentina where crop ratings fell even lower Thursday. The market will also check for a possible export sale announcement from USDA at 8 a.m. Weather As a system continues to push off the East Coast early Friday, some lake-effect snows will continue over the Great Lakes throughout the day. Another system is working its way through the Four Corners area and will move out into Texas tonight and Saturday. In response, widespread precipitation is expected to develop, including a band of moderate to heavy snow across Colorado and Kansas, bringing in much-need moisture for the longstanding drought. Mild temperatures continue across most areas east of the Rockies.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday January 19, 2023 |


USDA Seeks Comment on Proposal to Strengthen Animal Disease Traceability USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service proposes to amend animal disease traceability regulations and require electronic identification for interstate movement of certain cattle and bison. APHIS is also proposing to revise and clarify record requirements. The changes would strengthen the Nation's ability to quickly respond to significant animal disease outbreaks, according to USDA. Animal disease traceability, or knowing where diseased and at-risk animals are, where they've been, and when, is important to ensuring a rapid response when animal disease events occur. Rapid traceability in a disease outbreak could help ranchers and farmers return to selling their products more quickly, limit how long farms are quarantined, and keep more animals from getting sick. The proposed rule would require official eartags to be visually and electronically readable for official use for interstate movement of certain cattle and bison. A comment period on the proposal through the Federal Register is open through March 22, 2023. *********************************************************************************** USDA Publishes Strengthening Organic Enforcement Final Rule USDA’s National Organic Program Wednesday published the Strengthening Organic Enforcement final rule. The update to USDA organic regulations strengthens oversight and enforcement of the production, handling, and sale of organic products. The final rule implements 2018 Farm Bill mandates, responds to industry requests for updates to the USDA organic regulations, and addresses National Organic Standards Board recommendations. USDA Undersecretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs, Jenny Lester Moffitt, says, "Protecting and growing the organic sector and the trusted USDA organic seal is a key part of the USDA Food Systems Transformation initiative." The Strengthening Organic Enforcement rule is the biggest update to the organic regulations since the original Act in 1990, providing a significant increase in oversight and enforcement authority to reinforce the trust of consumers, farmers, and those transitioning to organic production, according to USDA. Organic stakeholders affected by the rule will have one year from the effective date of the rule to comply with the changes. *********************************************************************************** EPA Posts Revised WOTUS to Federal Register The Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers published the revised Waters of the U.S. rule in the Federal Register Wednesday. The publication means the revised rule will go into effect on March 20, 2023. EPA and the Army Corps announced the rule at the end of 2022, which will replace the Navigable Waters Protection Rule. At the time, American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall commented, “EPA has doubled down on the old significant nexus test, creating more complicated regulations that will impose a quagmire of regulatory uncertainty.” The rule comes as agriculture awaits a Supreme Court decision in the Sacketts vs. EPA case, which could send WOTUS back to the drawing board. However, the Sackett case is not focused on the new rule. AFBF General Counsel Travis Cushman says, “you would probably need to have a new challenge to that rule," based on the Sackett Supreme Court decision. *********************************************************************************** December Producer Price Index Declines The Producer Price Index for final demand declined 0.5 percent in December, seasonally adjusted, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Wednesday. The index measures the average change over time in the selling prices received by domestic producers for their output. Final demand prices advanced 0.2 percent in November and 0.4 percent in October. The index for final demand increased 6.2 percent in 2022 after rising 10.0 percent in 2021. Prices for final demand less foods, energy, and trade services edged up 0.1 percent in December, up 4.6 percent in 2022, following a seven percent rise in 2021. Nearly half of the December decrease for final demand goods can be traced to a 13.4-percent decline in prices for gasoline. The indexes for diesel fuel, jet fuel, fresh and dry vegetables, canned, cooked, smoked, or prepared poultry, and basic organic chemicals also fell. In contrast, prices for carbon steel scrap increased 8.3 percent. The indexes for chicken eggs and for electric power also moved higher. *********************************************************************************** Horticultural Products Drive Total U.S. Agricultural Import Growth The value of U.S. agricultural imports grew an average of four percent a year between fiscal years 2012 and 2022, according to USDA’s Economic Research Service. Total U.S. agricultural imports rose from $139 billion to $194 billion, with growth concentrated in select commodity groups. Horticultural products grew at a rate of six percent a year and, at $97.2 billion in value in 2022, accounted for 65 percent of the total growth in imports. Within the horticultural group, fresh fruits were the largest contributor at $17.9 billion, growing at an annual rate of nine percent over the period and accounting for 15 percent of total import growth. Key commodities in the fresh fruit group include avocados, berries, and citrus, which the United States imports mostly from Latin American countries. Demand for horticultural products has largely been driven by consumer desire for year-round supply, changing consumer preferences, and foreign production that is increasingly competitive with domestically grown produce. *********************************************************************************** IDFA Names Mike Brown as Chief Economist The International Dairy Foods Association this week named Mike Brown as chief economist. Brown has a long and distinguished career in the dairy industry, most recently leading the milk and dairy procurement team for The Kroger Co. as director of dairy supply chain. Brown is a recognized expert on milk pricing policy and has worked for both farmer-owned cooperatives and proprietary businesses, all of which are current IDFA members. IDFA President and CEO Michael Dykes says, “We are confident that with Mike Brown as IDFA’s chief economist, our approach to the future will ensure the domestic and global competitiveness of the U.S. industry.” IDFA also announced that it has engaged in consulting agreements with three policy and legal experts to support dairy policy and pricing efforts led by Carlin and Brown. They are Chip English, Steven J. Rosenbaum, and former U.S. Representative Collin Peterson. The additions come as the dairy industry expects a Federal Milk Marketing Order reform effort this year.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday January 19, 2023 |


Thursday Watch List Markets U.S. weekly jobless claims, December U.S. housing starts and an update of the U.S. Drought Monitor will all be out at 7:30 a.m. CST Thursday. The U.S. Energy Department's natural gas storage report will attract interest at 9:30 a.m., now that gas prices are near $3.00 and will be followed by weekly energy inventories, including ethanol production at 10 a.m. USDA's monthly Livestock, Dairy and Poultry outlook is set for 2 p.m. Weather A strong winter storm that brought heavy snow to portions of the Central Plains and Midwest and heavy rain farther south continues east on Thursday, with more of the precipitation focused on the Midwest into the Northeast going into Friday. Another system is moving through the West, which will emerge in the Southern Plains on Friday. Even behind the current system, temperatures for most areas are above normal for this time of year.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday January 18, 2023 |


US, EU Sign Tariff Rate Quota Agreement U.S. and European Union trade leaders Tuesday signed the U.S. – EU Tariff Rate Quota Agreement. The agreement, once implemented, will enable the United States to preserve its existing access to the EU market for various agricultural commodities following the United Kingdom's exit from the EU on January 1, 2021. The new Tariff Rate Quota allocations are based on the historic pattern of agricultural exports to the 27 European Union Member States. The agreement will restore favorable market access for multiple U.S. agricultural products, including for U.S. rice, almonds, wheat, and corn, according to the U.S. Trade Representative's Office. In the first eleven months of 2022, the United States exported $11.1 billion worth of agricultural goods to the European Union. Trade Representative Katherine Tai, Sweden's Permanent Representative to the European Union, Ambassador Mikael Lindvall, and European Commission Deputy Director General for Agriculture and Rural Development, Michael Scannell, signed the agreement. *********************************************************************************** House Ag Committee Republicans Set Roster House Agriculture Committee Republicans started the week by announcing the committee’s Roster for the 118th Congress. Glenn GT Thompson of Pennsylvania serves as the chair of the committee. The roster features 12 new members, which includes returning member Frank Lucas of Oklahoma. Lucas previously chaired the committee from 2011 – 2015. Lucas led the committee during the development of the 2014 Farm Bill. Other notable new members include John Duarte of California and Mark Alford of Missouri. Duarte was the subject of a high-profile lawsuit filed by the Environmental Protection Agency under the Clean Water Act. The dispute ended in 2017 with Duarte agreeing to pay a civil penalty and preserve and restore streams and wetlands on his farm. Alford, a new member of Congress, ended a career as a Kansas City area news anchor to run for Congress. Additionally, 15 members return to the committee after serving in the previous Congress. *********************************************************************************** NASDA Sets 2023 Policy Priorities Press The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture Tuesday announced the organization’s primary policy focus for 2023. NASDA members, the state commissioners, secretaries and directors of agriculture, hand-selected seven issues to focus on. The issues include the 2023 Farm Bill, which NASDA says must remain unified, securing a commitment to American agriculture and the critical food and nutritional assistance programs for those who need it most. As for environmental regulations, NASDA supports the science-based and comprehensive regulatory framework the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act provides to ensure environmental and public health protection. Regarding the recently published “waters of the U.S.” rule, NASDA will continue to impress the role of states in regulating non-navigable waters. Other priorities include food production and the supply chain, food safety, animal health, international trade and workforce development. NASDA CEO Ted McKinney says, “We believe these are the areas where state departments of agriculture are uniquely positioned to lead impact and direct policymaking solutions this year.” *********************************************************************************** Rural Job Growth Shifting to High-skill Workers Over the last two decades, the strongest rural job gains were in smaller industries that tend to employ high-skill workers. USDA Economic Research Service reports the highest growth was in the real estate industry. Also showing rapid growth was the administrative services industry, which includes office administration, facilities support, business support services, security services, conventions and trade shows, and waste management and treatment. Other rural industries that grew over the past two decades were health care and social assistance; professional, scientific, and technical services; educational services; and finance and insurance. The growth of these industries represented a shift in rural production toward industries that employ higher shares of high-skill workers. Consistent with this shift, the percent of rural college-educated workers increased from 21.5 percent in 2012 to 23.8 percent in 2019. However, these rates have remained lower than the share of college-educated urban workers, at 38 percent in 2019. *********************************************************************************** House Ag Chair to Keynote Plant Based Product Council Conference House Agriculture Chairman Glenn GT Thompson will keynote the inaugural Plant Based Products Council Annual Conference in March. The Pennsylvania Republican will share remarks on Congress’ priorities for the 2023 Farm Bill, growing the bioeconomy, rural economic development, and fostering innovation in agriculture. PBPC Executive Director Jessica Bowman says, “We are excited to convene Chairman Thompson and other policy and industry leaders to drive this industry forward.” PBPC2023 will take place at the JW Marriott in Washington, D.C., from Monday, March 27, to Wednesday, March 29, 2023. The association's inaugural conference will explore the innovations, business models, and policies influencing the entire lifecycle of bioproducts in support of a robust circular economy. Attendees will hear from and network with industry leaders, policymakers, brands, and experts through panels, keynotes, networking sessions, and more. Learn more about the Plant Based Products Council and its inaugural annual conference at www.pbpc.com. *********************************************************************************** USDA Introduces an E-Application for the 1890 National Scholars Program The Department of Agriculture Tuesday unveiled a new e-application for the USDA/1890 National Scholars Program. The program aims to encourage students at 1890s institutions to pursue food and agriculture career paths. For the first time, the new e-application for the USDA/1890 National Scholars Program allows young people around the country to complete and submit their applications online. The program is administered through USDA’s Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement. The USDA/1890 National Scholars Program is a partnership between USDA and the country’s 19 historically Black land-grant universities that were established in 1890. USDA partners with these 1890 universities to provide scholarship recipients with full tuition, fees, books, room, and board. Scholarship recipients attend one of the 1890 land-grant universities, and pursue degrees in agriculture, food, natural resource sciences, or related academic disciplines. The scholarship also includes work experience at USDA. The application deadline is Wednesday, March 15, 2023. For more information, contact 1890init@usda.gov.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday January 18, 2023 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets A report on U.S. retail sales for December is due out at 7:30 a.m. CST, followed by December U.S. industrial production at 8:15 a.m. The Federal Reserve's monthly Beige Book is set for release at 1 p.m. and weekly energy inventories are pushed to Thursday morning, due the the holiday schedule. Traders will keep close watch on the latest weather forecasts, especially for South America, and for any news of an export sale. Weather A storm system that has moved into western Kansas is producing a band of heavy snow across portions of Colorado and Nebraska early Wednesday morning, along with scattered showers farther south and across Missouri and Arkansas along and ahead of a cold front. The heavy snow will spread northeast throughout the day and night, through Iowa, southern Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Heavy snowfall amounts of 6-12" are expected in this band, with potential for some heavier amounts in some places. Farther south along the cold front, severe weather will be possible, most likely this afternoon near the Lower Mississippi River Valley.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday January 17, 2023 |


NASDA Conducts Vietnam Trade Mission National Association of State Departments of Agriculture members and leadership traveled to Vietnam last week. The delegation embarked on the organization's first trade mission to explore global emerging markets through the Department of Agriculture Emerging Markets Program. NASDA President and Wyoming Department of Agriculture Director Doug Miyamoto, Washington State Department of Agriculture Director Derek Sandison, Delaware Secretary of Agriculture Michael Scuse, Texas Department of Agriculture Assistant Commissioner Dan Hunter and NASDA CEO Ted McKinney participated in the mission. The delegation explored trading opportunities and educated Vietnamese agricultural, government and business leaders on American agriculture and markets. NASDA was recently awarded $925,000 from USDA to promote exports of U.S. agricultural products to developing countries with strong growth potential, including Vietnam. NASDA will also conduct trade missions to Thailand, Indonesia and Kenya in 2023. NASDA is a nonpartisan, nonprofit association that represents the elected and appointed commissioners, secretaries and directors of the departments of agriculture in all 50 states and four U.S. territories. *********************************************************************************** Grassley Intends to Reintroduce Farm Credit for Americans Act Senator Chuck Grassley last week announced he intends to reintroduce the Farm Credit for Americans Act. The legislation bans the federal government from allowing foreign individuals to obtain credit and financial services through the Farm Credit System. The Iowa Republican wrote the legislation with Senator Sherrod Brown, an Ohio Democrat. Specifically, the legislation prevents the Farm Credit Administration from underwriting foreign buyers seeking to purchase U.S. farmland. It would amend the 1971 Farm Credit Act to ensure foreign nationals can’t obtain financing through federal government-backed financial institutions to purchase American farmland. Grassley says, “Young and beginning farmers here at home should not be squeezed out or compete with foreign investors subsidized by the American taxpayer.” According to the USDA, foreign ownership of U.S. farm acres increased 60 percent between 2009 and 2019. Increasingly, young and beginning farmers are competing with institutional investors, such as pension funds, endowments and even professional athletes who are diversifying their financial portfolios with prime farmland. *********************************************************************************** RMA to Host Crop Insurance Workshop for Specialty Crops, Organics Farmers in Iowa can attend a USDA's Risk Management Agency workshop to learn more about crop insurance options, including those designed for agricultural producers who grow specialty and organic crops. RMA will host the free in-person workshops Tuesday, January 24, in Davenport, Iowa. A morning and afternoon session is scheduled, and both have virtual options for producers outside the state or those who can't make it to the in-person event. The workshops will cover the ins and outs of the Whole-Farm Revenue Protection and Micro Farm programs, which are great insurance options for specialty crop, organic, urban, and other producers with diverse operations. RMA subject matter experts will provide an in-depth look at these policies. The events will include RMA Administrator Marcia Bunger and other RMA experts. Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions and get answers in real-time. The Risk Management Agency will hold another round of workshops next month in Michigan. *********************************************************************************** CHS Inc. and Cargill to expand TEMCO operations to include the Texas Gulf CHS Inc. and Cargill recently announced the intent to expand the scope of their joint venture, TEMCO LLC, by adding the Cargill-owned export grain terminal in Houston, Texas. The addition of the Houston terminal will expand the joint venture's export capabilities, providing shipping access for grains, oilseeds and byproducts through the port of Houston. TEMCO currently operates three facilities in the Pacific Northwest. The three facilities distribute grain to global markets, primarily located in the Asia-Pacific region. Through TEMCO, both companies look forward to building on 24 years of successful partnership to expand global grain market access for U.S. farmers to help meet the increasing global need for food. The Houston terminal is located approximately 40 miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico via Galveston Bay. With six million bushels of storage and capacity for 350 rail cars, the facility handles up to 250 million bushels annually. The terminal receives both trucks and railcars with a variety of commodities for global export. *********************************************************************************** Smithfield Foods Donates 35,000 Pounds of Food to Support Kentucky Smithfield Foods, Inc. has donated 35,000 pounds of food, equal to 140,000 servings, to help feed victims of the severe winter weather that recently engulfed Eastern Kentucky. Smithfield delivered the food products to Mercy Chefs, which is currently stationed in Hazel Green, Kentucky, to provide disaster relief for local residents. The Portsmouth, Virginia-based nonprofit travels to disaster zones across the U.S. to serve free chef-prepared, restaurant-quality hot meals to local residents, volunteers and first responders. Smithfield products donated to this relief effort include lunch meat, bacon, fully cooked boneless ham, hickory smoked ham and smoked spiral sliced ham. The extreme winter weather in Eastern Kentucky left many residents with frozen pipes and entire towns without potable water. Mercy Chefs expects to cook 2,000-3,000 hot meals per day for residents in the area. To make a donation or find out how to volunteer locally, visit MercyChefs.com/easternky. *********************************************************************************** Cumberland Introduces Scout Robot Cumberland, AGCO’s poultry production equipment brand, is introducing Scout, the world’s first ceiling-suspended robot system. The system continuously monitors broiler chickens and their poultry house environments to increase animal welfare as well as farm productivity. Scott Becker, director of North America sales for Cumberland, says, “With Scout, producers can achieve better feed conversion, early disease detection and fine-tuning of climate control, resulting in reduced mortality and less condemnation numbers.” The advanced robot uses a complete set of sensors to map key indicators that impact bird health and performance, including thermal comfort, air quality, light intensity, sound levels and bird distribution. Scout also classifies excrement for early disease detection 24 to 48 hours before producers may become aware of an issue. In addition, the technology identifies dead birds. Monitoring information is available to producers 24/7 from any device, including daily and weekly reports with maps of their entire house.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday January 17, 2023 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets Back from a three-day weekend, traders may still be pondering the many new estimates USDA set out last Thursday. News over the weekend and the latest weather forecasts, especially anything pertaining to South America, will be reviewed. There are no significant reports on Tuesday's docket other than USDA's weekly grain export inspections at 10 a.m. CST. Weather A system was moving through the Great Lakes early Tuesday with scattered showers arcing through the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast as well. This system continues to push east throughout the day. Another will be right on its heels as it moves from the Four Corners into the Central Plains tonight. A band of heavy snow is expected to develop over northeast Colorado through Nebraska and into the Upper Midwest tonight through Wednesday, along with scattered showers and thunderstorms for southwest Kansas down through west Texas. The precipitation over the southwestern Plains will be most welcome as the region remains in severe drought. It remains very warm across most of the country during the statistically coldest week of the year.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday January 13, 2023 |


USDA Releases January WASDE Report USDA released the latest World Agricultural Supply and Demand report Thursday. This month's U.S. corn outlook calls for reduced production, food, seed, and industrial use, feed and residual use, exports, and ending stocks. Corn production is estimated at 13.730 billion bushels, down 200 million. Exports were reduced 150 million bushels to 1.925 billion, reflecting the slow pace of shipments through December, and the lowest level of outstanding sales as of early January since the 2019/20 marketing year. The season-average corn price received by producers is unchanged at $6.70 per bushel. Soybean production is estimated at 4.276 billion bushels, down 69 million, led by reductions for Missouri, Indiana, Illinois, and Kansas. The soybean export forecast was reduced 55 million bushels to 2.0 billion. The U.S. season-average soybean price is projected at $14.20 per bushel, up 20 cents. The outlook this month calls for increased supplies, larger domestic use, unchanged exports, and lower ending stocks. The season-average farm price is unchanged at $9.10 per bushel. *********************************************************************************** Total Household Income up for Commercial Farms From 2015 to 2021, the median total household income for commercial U.S. farms rose an estimated 16 percent, to $278,339 from $238,994. Commercial farms earn more than $350,000 gross cash farm income regardless of the principal operator’s occupation. USDA’s Economic Research Service reports that in 2021, the median total household income for commercial farms remained above the median income of $75,201 for all U.S. households. Farm households rely on a combination of on-farm and off-farm sources of income. On-farm income is determined by farm costs and returns that vary from year to year, and in any given year, a majority of farm households report negative farm income. Off-farm sources—including wages, nonfarm business earnings, dividends, and transfers—are the main contributor to household income for most farm households. Because households operating commercial farms rely mostly on on-farm sources of income, they experience the largest shocks in household income when farm sector income rises or falls. *********************************************************************************** USDA Accepting Applications for Netherlands Trade Mission USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service is accepting applications from U.S. exporters for its first-ever regional agricultural trade mission to Amsterdam, Netherlands, April 17 – 20, 2023. FAS Administrator Daniel Whitley says, “Participants will explore exporting opportunities in this mature market, which continues to grow, and meet potential buyers in surrounding regional markets.” U.S. agricultural and related exports, including fishery and forestry products, to the Netherlands totaled $3.4 billion in 2021, ranking it the U.S.’s 10th largest market globally. During the trade mission, U.S. participants will meet with buyers from the Netherlands, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, and neighboring Belgium and Germany. Participants will conduct business-to-business meetings with potential buyers, receive market briefings from FAS and trade experts, and participate in site visits and other networking activities while in the Netherlands. The deadline to apply for the Netherlands trade mission is Thursday, January 26. Information about the trade mission and how to apply is available on the USDA FAS website. *********************************************************************************** USA Rice Calls House Ways and Means Chair Smith an Ally Earlier this week, Representative Jason Smith was tapped to lead the powerful House Committee on Ways and Means. The Missouri Republican will lead the oldest committee in the U.S. Congress, which is the principal tax-writing body in the House of Representatives. The committee oversees not only taxes and revenue generation, but also tariffs and reciprocal trade agreements for the United States. USA Rice member and Missouri farmer Zach Worrell says, “Congressman Smith has long been a friend of Missouri agriculture and especially Missouri rice,” adding, “We are looking forward to having a rice industry ally lead this committee to advocate for U.S. rice on a global scale on the many trade issues we face.” Tax policy continues to be an important issue for rice farmers and rice-related businesses looking to pass operations onto the next generation. Smith is a farmer, businessman, and former state legislator, and is currently serving his sixth term representing Missouri’s 8th Congressional District. *********************************************************************************** Thank You Farmers Project Donations Surpass $4 Million Culver's Thank You Farmers Project has now eclipsed $4 million raised since its creation in 2013. Through initiatives organized by Culver's on a systemwide level and the fundraising efforts of local restaurants throughout 2022, the program raised $750,000 toward its mission of advocating for the positive impact agriculture has on the world. Proceeds raised through the Thank You Farmers Project directly support those actively bringing positive change to the agriculture industry. These beneficiaries include groups making a difference with agriculture efforts in Culver's local communities as well as national organizations working to advance the industry on a broader scale, like the National FFA Organization and U.S. Farmers and Ranchers in Action. Alison Demmer, Culver's marketing and public relations manager, says, “We were so proud to see our guests join in this mission with us in 2022, and we look forward to supporting agriculture together through the Thank You Farmers Project long into the future." *********************************************************************************** Commodity Classic Registration Ends January 20 Only a few days remain to take advantage of early registration discounts for the 2023 Commodity Classic to be held March 9-11 in Orlando. Friday, January 20, 2023, is the last day the early registration discount will be in effect. Commodity Classic 2023 co-chair George Goblish says, “Going to Commodity Classic is an investment in any grower’s operation.” Registration fees vary depending on the number of days attended. Full registration covers all three days of the event, and one-day registrations are also available. Members of the National Corn Growers Association, American Soybean Association, National Sorghum Producers, National Association of Wheat Growers, and the Association of Equipment Manufacturers receive additional discounts on registration. All registration and housing reservations should be made online at CommodityClassic.com. The 2023 Commodity Classic will be held at the Orange County Convention Center West Concourse in Orlando, Florida. The convention center will house all Commodity Classic events.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday January 13, 2023 |


Friday Watch List Markets On Friday the 13th, the University of Michigan's index of U.S. consumer sentiment is due out at 9 a.m. CST and several Federal Reserve officials are speaking around the country. Traders will keep tabs on the latest weather forecasts, especially in South America and will still be influenced by data from Thursday's USDA reports. January futures contracts in the soy complex are set to expire early Friday. Weather A system leaving the East Coast and another along the West Coast will produce scattered showers on Friday. Some relatively cold air moving over the Great Lakes will produce a bit of lake-effect snow as well. Temperatures remain mild for the coldest time of the year outside of the Southeast, even after a cold front moved through this week.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday January 12, 2023 |


Equipment Sales Mixed in 2022 Combine harvester sales finished 2022 with healthy gains in unit sales while ag tractors finished below 2021 levels in both the U.S. and Canada. The Association of Equipment Manufacturers says total U.S. ag tractor unit sales fell during December and the whole year when compared with 2021. The sub-40 horsepower segment led losses in both time frames, losing 26 percent for the month and 19 percent for the calendar year. U.S. combine sales grew 16 percent in December and finished 2022 almost 16 percent higher than the previous year. Only one other segment was higher for the year, which was the 100-plus horsepower units, finishing the year up 11 percent despite dropping two percent in December. In Canada, combine harvesters led the yearly sales by finishing almost 11 percent higher than in 2021 and were assisted by a 27 percent sales bump in December. Tractor sales dropped seven percent in 2022. *********************************************************************************** AFBF Establishes 2023 Policy Priorities Delegates at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 104th annual convention adopted policies that will guide the organization’s work in 2023. Some of the key topics ranged from expanding risk management programs and improving dairy pricing transparency to battling hunger. “There’s a lot of work to do in 2023 as Congress drafts the next farm bill, and the policies set forth will guide AFBF as we work to ensure farmers and ranchers can continue to meet the growing needs of families in America and around the world,” says President Zippy Duvall. Delegates voted to modernize the farm bill by expanding baseline funding, developing more flexible disaster relief programs, and extending protection to more specialty crops. They also voted to bring more transparency to the federal milk pricing system. Voting delegates also formalized the organization’s opposition to the new Waters of the U.S. rule and a potential Mexican ban on GMO corn. *********************************************************************************** NACD Application Period for Conservation Grants The National Association of Conservation Districts announced the open application period for the 2023 Urban and Community Conservation Grant Initiative. The grants are open to any conservation district or tribe within the U.S. and in the territories. Through a partnership with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, NACD has awarded over $6.5 million to 131 conservation districts and tribes in 37 states and Puerto Rico. As part of an ongoing effort to build capacity in the community-oriented agricultural space, NACD started offering UAC planning grants worth up to $10,000 each in 2022. The planning grants allow organizations that are new to urban or community agriculture to begin early-stage development of a program to provide conservation technical assistance. NACD will continue to offer the planning grants as well as the traditional implementation grants which are more focused on the provision of technical assistance. More information and the application are available at nacdnet.org. *********************************************************************************** USDA Expands Eligibility, Improves Benefits for Disaster Programs USDA has made several updates to different conservation, livestock, and crop disaster assistance programs to give more farmers, ranchers, and tribes the opportunity to access them. Ease of access is especially important after natural disasters. The Farm Service Agency expanded eligibility and enhanced available benefits for a suite of its programs. The updates will provide critical assistance to producers who need to rebuild and recover after suffering catastrophic losses of production and infrastructure due to natural disasters. USDA updated the Emergency Conservation Program, the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-raised Fish, the Livestock Forage Disaster Program, the Livestock Indemnity Program, and the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program. “As I meet with producers across the country, I’ve gained a better understanding of the ways in which our programs work and how they can be improved to better support all producers,” says Zach Ducheneaux, FSA Administrator. “Especially those who are rebuilding.” *********************************************************************************** CHS Reports First-Quarter Earnings CHS released results for its first quarter which ended on November 30, 2022. The company reported a quarterly income of $782.6 million compared to $452 million in the first quarter of fiscal year 2022. First-quarter highlights from this year include revenues of $12.8 billion compared to $10.9 billion in the first quarter of fiscal year 2022, a year-over-year increase of 17 percent. Continued robust demand for commodities, coupled with market volatility, resulted in strong earnings across all of the company’s business segments. The company’s soybean and canola processing businesses in the Ag segment benefited from strong demand for meal and oil. “The U.S. agricultural industry has benefitted from ongoing strong global demand for grain and oilseed commodities,” says Jay Debertin, president and CEO of CHS. “Our continued strong earnings are attributable to market dynamics and supported by our investments on behalf of our owners that will drive efficiency and operational improvements.” ************************************************************************************ Pro Athletes Buying Iowa Farmland Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow and longtime NBA player Blake Griffin are among some of the big-name athletes who are investing in Iowa farmland. They’ve joined up with more than 20 other pro athletes from the NFL, NHL, the NBA, and Major League Baseball to form an investment fund of about $5 million, which was used to buy farmland in Iowa. Other athletes in the group include Kemba Walker, formerly of the Dallas Mavericks of the NBA, and Khris Middleton of the defending NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks. The group is buying the land and will lease it to farmers who will work it and give the athletes a single-digit percentage annual return on their investment. It’s believed that the group will be looking to buy at least four more properties. They’ve already looked into several watermelon farms in Oregon that offer a higher per-acre rent than other larger farms.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday January 12, 2023 |


Thursday Watch List Markets USDA's weekly export sales report is due out at 7:30 a.m. CST Thursday, the same time as weekly U.S. jobless claims, the December consumer price index 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 USDA's Crop Production, WASDE, Grain Stocks and Winter Wheat Seedings reports -- all at 11 a.m. DTN's WASDE webinar follows at 12:30 p.m. Weather A system moving along or just north of the Ohio River on Thursday is producing thunderstorms along the river, some of which may be severe this morning. A larger threat for severe weather comes with thunderstorms developing over Mississippi that will move eastward through the rest of the day. Tornadoes and strong wind gusts are the main threats to the storms. Winds will be elevated around the system as well. More rain is moving through the West Coast, but most of California is getting a break from the recent heavy precipitation.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday January 11, 2023 |


Vilsack: No Compromise with Mexico on GMO Corn After a speech at the American Farm Bureau’s annual convention, Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack said there will be no compromise when it comes to the Mexican corn situation. The U.S. won’t back down or compromise on its stance against Mexico’s plan to ban imports of genetically modified yellow corn. Vilsack says the American government is supposed to reply by January 15 to Mexico’s proposal to delay the ban until 2025. U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai has spoken to her Mexican counterpart about the dispute. Speaking to reporters at the AFBF convention, Vilsack said that if Mexico doesn’t agree to withdraw its import ban, the White House will then push the USMCA on trade rules. Vilsack told Mexico’s President Lopez Obrador that he won’t be able to find enough non-GMO corn to import and feed the country’s livestock sector. The larger issue is about a trading system with “less friction,” not more friction. *********************************************************************************** Major U.S. Ag Groups Testify on Proposed 2023-2025 RVOs The Environmental Protection Agency held a virtual public hearing this week on its proposed Renewable Volume Obligation blending requirements under the Renewable Fuel Standard for 2023-2025. A number of the nation’s leading agriculture organizations and supporters testified during the hearing. Tom Haag, President of the National Corn Growers Association, said during testimony that they support the growth trajectory in the EPA proposal, but biofuels can contribute even more. Geoff Cooper of the Renewable Fuels Association says, “The proposed ‘Set” rule establishes a firm foundation for the future of the RFS and creates a pathway to sustainable growth in the use of low-carbon fuels.” Brooke Coleman, executive director of the Advanced Biofuels Business Council, says they appreciate EPA’s commitment to setting a multiyear RVO, curtailing Small Refiner Exemptions, and establishing reasonable growth across all categories of biofuels. “However, EPA left some tools on the shelf for promoting innovation in cellulosic biofuel,” Coleman said. *********************************************************************************** Biodiesel Group Unhappy with EPA Proposal on RVOs Clean Fuels Alliance America members testified during the Environmental Protection Agency’s “Public Hearing on RFS Standards for 2023-2025 and Other Changes.” Staff members expressed frustration with the proposed volumes for biomass-based diesel because they don’t match the volumes that are already in the market and don’t account for expected growth in capacity and feedstocks. “This proposed rule significantly undercounts existing biomass-based diesel production and fails to provide growth for investments the industry has already made in additional capacity, including for sustainable aviation fuel,” Clean Fuels CEO Donnell Rehagen said during testimony. “Clean Fuels is once again frustrated that EPA has the wherewithal needed to determine current production, the knowledge of the investments being made, and the resources to accurately determine feedstock availability, and yet proposes a no-growth scenario,” says Kurt Kovarik, Vice President of Federal Affairs. Rehagen also said EPA committed to promoting homegrown fuels but failed to follow through. *********************************************************************************** Farm Bureau Recognizes Young Farmer and Rancher Competition Winners The American Farm Bureau Federation recognized the winners of the Young Farmers and Ranchers Achievement Award, Discussion Meet, and Excellence in Agriculture Competitions. Young farmers and ranchers competed for the awards by demonstrating knowledge, achievement, and commitment to promoting agriculture. Daniel and Carla Trantham of Alabama won the Achievement Award, which recognizes young farmers and ranchers excelling in their farming and ranching operations and exhibiting superior leadership abilities. Mike Hannewald of Ohio won the Discussion Meet, which simulates a committee meeting in which active participation is required. Participants are evaluated on their ability to exchange ideas and information on a predetermined topic. Stacie Anderson of Ohio won the Excellence in Agriculture Award, which recognizes young farmers and ranchers who don’t derive the majority of their income from an agricultural operation, but who actively contribute and grow through their involvement in agriculture, leadership ability, and participation in Farm Bureau and other organizations. *********************************************************************************** NCC Releases Most Comprehensive Guidelines for Poultry Care The National Chicken Council developed the NCC Broiler Welfare Guidelines and Audit Checklist in 1999. The goal was to help poultry producers show consumers that all of the birds were being treated with respect and properly cared for during their lives. NCC recently published its 2023 update of the NCC Broiler Welfare Guidelines, which are more robust than ever before and include new parameters to improve bird welfare. The new guidelines include identifying Key Welfare Indicators like paw/footpad health, gait scoring, effective processing parameters, and minimizing leg and wing injuries. It also includes whistleblower protection, an additional focus on training programs for proper handling, a more streamlined tool for ease of auditing, and an increased focus on bird behavior, objective measures, and welfare outcomes. “With this certification, consumers can feel confident that when buying and eating chicken, the birds were well-cared for,” says Dr. Ashley Peterson, senior VP of scientific and regulatory affairs. ************************************************************************************ Center Hosts Thai Retailers and Marketers to Boost Exports A group of six cheese retailers and cheese marketing specialists from Thailand will visit the Center for Dairy Research at the University of Wisconsin in Madison on January 18-20. It’s part of a two-week program to learn about gourmet cheeses. The program, funded through a Cochran Fellowship Program Grant from the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service, will also involve visiting dairy farms, cheese factories, specialty cheese shops, large retail grocery chains, restaurants, and bars. The visit focuses on training and networking, helping the Thai build relationships with manufacturers, companies, distributors, and government partners. The overall objective of the program is to ultimately expand U.S. cheese exports to Thailand. Some of the activities at the Center include cheese tastings and evaluations, demonstrating activities like Swiss cheese and specialty/artisan cheese making, and lectures on the basics of cheese science and the cheesemaking process. The proposal and itinerary for the visit were first announced in February 2022.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday January 11, 2023 |


Wednesday Market Watch Markets The U.S. Energy Department will have its weekly inventory report at 9:30 a.m. CST Wednesday, including an update of ethanol production, previously reported at 844,000 barrels per day. Traders will keep an eye on KC wheat after prices broke below their December low Tuesday, check the latest weather forecasts and see if USDA has an export sales announcement at 8 a.m. Trading in grains may turn quiet ahead of Thursday's USDA reports. Weather A two-part storm is moving through the country Wednesday. The first piece is producing a mix of snow and freezing rain across Minnesota and Wisconsin that will push eastward and may expand showers into the Ohio Valley later in the day. The second, larger storm is pressing through the central Rockies and will exit into the Plains later in the day. This storm will start to produce scattered showers in Colorado, Kansas, and Nebraska this afternoon, with snow or rain changing to snow and a couple of inches of accumulation. The storm will miss most of the Southern Plains, but winds will increase as the cold front moves through, which is a major fire risk for this are in deep drought. Temperatures remain above normal for most of the country.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday January 10, 2023 |


Farm Bureau Signs MOU on Right to Repair The American Farm Bureau and John Deere signed a memorandum of understanding that ensures farmers’ and ranchers’ rights to repair their own equipment. The MOU, signed at the AFBF annual convention, is the culmination of several years of discussions between AFBF and John Deere. “This addresses a long-running issue for farmers and ranchers when it comes to accessing tools, information, and resources while protecting John Deere’s intellectual property rights and ensuring safety,” says AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “Farmers must have the freedom to choose where equipment is repaired or repair it themselves to help control costs.” David Gilmore of John Deere says the agreement reaffirms Deere’s commitment to making sure its customers have the diagnostic tools they need. The MOU creates a mechanism to address farmer concerns. John Deere commits to engaging with farmers and dealers to resolve issues when they arise and will meet with AFBF yearly to evaluate progress. *********************************************************************************** USDA Announces Major Program Improvements, Progress, and Investments Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack announced several major developments at the USDA that will help benefit farmers and ranchers across the nation. Speaking at the AFBF annual convention in Puerto Rico, Vilsack said they want to provide all farmers with the opportunities they need to continue farming, build and maintain their competitive edge, and access more, new, and better markets. He says USDA is moving forward with the Fertilizer Production Expansion Program and published comments on the importance of increased competition. The agency is also improving risk protection for beginning, veteran, limited resource, and minority producers. USDA is also investing more than $12 million to expand independent meat and poultry processing capacity in Ohio, Michigan, and Minnesota. There are new programs coming to fill the gaps in the 2020-2021 Natural Disaster Assistance and the 2020 Pandemic Assistance Programs. “By working together, we can ensure that American agriculture remains resilient,” Vilsack says. *********************************************************************************** CNH Workers Say No to Proposed Contract United Auto Workers at Case New Holland Plants in Burlington, Iowa, and Racine (ray-SEEN), Wisconsin, voted down a contract proposal on Saturday night that would have ended a strike. The president of UAW Local 807 says 45 percent voted yes, and 55 percent voted no to the offer. Internal meetings are ongoing among union members to see what the process is going to look like going forward. The union went on strike against the agriculture manufacturer on May 2 of last year. On May 19, 2022, CNH presented the union with what it called a “final, all-encompassing, comprehensive offer.” However, union members didn’t vote on this deal because union leaders didn’t feel it covered the cost of inflation. A spokesperson for CNH Industrial says the company is disappointed to learn that its recently negotiated and improved “Last, Best, and Final Offer” was not approved in the ratification vote by the union. *********************************************************************************** Poll Shows Voters Support Ethanol and RFS, Oppose EV Mandates A new survey of registered voters shows significant support for ethanol and the Renewable Fuel Standard while revealing opposition to banning liquid fuels or mandating electric vehicles. Morning Consult conducted the survey for the Renewable Fuels Association. “As the new Congress settles in and considers the future of our nation’s energy policy, these polling results demonstrate that Americans strongly support the expanded use of lower-cost, lower-carbon renewable fuels like ethanol,” says RFA President Geoff Cooper. According to the survey, almost 55 percent of the respondents support the Renewable Fuel Standard, while only 15 percent expressed opposition to the program. Meanwhile, 64 percent of respondents have a favorable opinion of ethanol, while just 18 percent said unfavorable. Half the respondents said they weren’t interested in purchasing or leasing an electric vehicle in the next three years, while 42 percent expressed interest. Sixty-six percent oppose banning the sale of liquid-fueled engines in cars. *********************************************************************************** Forum will Reaffirm Beef Industry’s Commitment to Sustainability Cattle producers are committed to protecting environmental resources, supporting communities, and creating an economically viable future through effective management practices. The “Beef Sustainability Forum” coming up on Thursday, February 2, in New Orleans, Louisiana, will help highlight the industry’s sustainability efforts. The panel discussion will be moderated by Collin Woodall, CEO of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. “Sustainability continues to be a top priority for NCBA and is an issue at the forefront of the entire beef industry,” says Josh White, senior executive director of producer education and sustainability with the NCBA. “This special event will include cattle producers and industry leaders from various sectors discussing strategies that improve sustainability, and how those efforts can enhance sustainability for the entire industry.” It’s a part of the annual Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade show, the oldest and largest convention in the cattle business. For more information and to register, go to convention.ncba.org. ***********************************************************************************  Farm Bureau Chooses Farm Dog of the Year Contest Winner The American Farm Bureau Federation picked the 2023 winner of the Farm Bureau Dog of the Year Award. Her name is “Tough,” and she’s a Border Collie owned by Denny and Donna Ashcraft of the Kansas Farm Bureau. “Farmers and ranchers love what they do, but it can be stressful, even on the best days,” says AFB President Zippy Duvall. “Farm dogs play a dual role as working dogs and companions to farm families, and that can help ease the burden.” The contest celebrates farm dogs that work alongside farmers and ranchers as they produce nutritious food for families and pets across America. Tough, the grand prize winner is 14 years old and has been with the Ashcraft family since the age of two. Tough injured her spinal cord and was paralyzed for a week when she was seven years old. The Border Collie recovered and spends her days working livestock.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday January 10, 2023 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets On Tuesday, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell is scheduled to speak in Sweden, otherwise there are no significant events on Tuesday's docket. Two days ahead of the next WASDE report, trading may be quiet and traders will be watching the latest weather forecasts, as well as any developing news. Weather A two-part system is moving through the West on Tuesday. The leading wave will move along the U.S.-Canada border tonight with some showers across the northern tier of the country. The second part will continue to pound California, the southern Great Basin, and the Central Rockies with even more precipitation and a chance for a few severe thunderstorms. Otherwise it remains quite warm by January standards across the country.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday January 9, 2023 |


Food Prices Drop in December but 2022 till Significantly Higher than 2021 The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization’s Food Price Index dropped during December, but 2022 food prices were 18 percent higher than in 2021. The December index averaged 132.4 points, 2.6 points below November, the ninth-straight monthly decline. The December drop was driven by a steep decline in the international vegetable oil price and declining cereal and meat prices. However, that was counterbalanced by rising prices in sugar and dairy. For 2022, the index averaged 143.7 points, 18 points or 14.3 percent higher than the 2021 index. The Vegetable Oil Price Index averaged 144 points in December, down more than 10 points from November and its lowest level since February 2021. The Cereal Price Index averaged 147.3 points during December, down 2.9 points from November but was almost seven points higher than December 2021. The December dairy index was up 1.5 points, and the sugar index was 2.8 points higher. *********************************************************************************** Vilsack in Puerto Rico and Will Address AFBF Convention Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack will be in Puerto Rico on January 9 and 10 and speak at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Annual Convention. He’ll also engage in a series of events involving the USDA’s commitment to fostering economic development, supporting disaster recovery, increasing the island’s resilience against future storms, supporting disaster recovery, and creating new market opportunities for the country’s producers. At various events throughout the trip, Vilsack will be joined by Puerto Rico’s Resident Commissioner, Secretary of Agriculture, Secretary of Economic Development and Commerce, as well as various elected officials. He’ll also hold discussions with local officials, producers, and stakeholders about USDA efforts to support the country’s rural communities, climate-smart agriculture, disaster assistance, and other issues important to Puerto Rico’s population. He’ll also meet with Puerto Rico’s Governor to talk about USDA and the Puerto Rican government’s efforts to collaborate on supporting the island’s producers and rural communities. *********************************************************************************** Report Shows Global Biofuel Demand to Increase Over 20 Percent by 2027 The International Energy Agency released its Renewables 2022 Analysis Report in December, and it shows a growing global demand for biofuels. Renewables 2022 includes extensive analysis of the renewable energy sector, including developments and trends for transportation. “In this most recent IEA report, total global biofuel demand is estimated to increase more than 20 percent between 2020 and 2027,” says Isabelle Ausdal, manager of global ethanol policy and economics with the U.S. Grains Council. “World ethanol consumption is projected to rise in an accelerated case scenario.” She also says this reinforces the U.S. industry’s recognition of ethanol’s importance as a tool for countries to accelerate their greenhouse gas emissions reductions and underscores the importance of scaling up technologies like carbon capture, utilization, and storage to reach net zero carbon intensity. The report details increasingly ambitious energy targets in the European Union, growth in ethanol consumption in Brazil, and biofuel blending in India. *********************************************************************************** World’s First Honeybee Vaccine Gets Approved Pollinators are a big part of success in world agriculture. The USDA granted a conditional license for a vaccine to protect the country’s honeybees from foulbrood disease. Earth Dot Com says the bacterial infection weakens and kills honeybee colonies and has no treatment. The vaccine was developed by Dalan Animal Health and brings hope for a weapon against a disease that regularly ravages colonies that are highly important to food pollination. In parts of the U.S., the foulbrood disease has been found in over a quarter of honeybee hives. Beekeepers typically destroy and burn infected colonies and administer antibiotics to stop the further spread of the disease. The vaccine works by incorporating some of the bacteria into the royal jelly fed to the queen by worker bees. After ingesting the jelly, the queen will gain some of the vaccine in her ovaries and developing bee larvae will have immunity to foulbrood. *********************************************************************************** USDA Reports Shows Increasing Use of Cover Crops Cover crops are an increasingly popular management practice among many U.S. farmers. The goal is to provide seasonal living cover between their primary commodity cash crops. Farmers plant those cover crops in the fall to provide winter cover for soil that otherwise would be bare. The USDA’s Agricultural Resource Management Survey says over the past ten years, fall cover crop adoption has continued to grow. On fields growing corn for grain, 0.6 percent of the acreage used a fall cover crop before the 2010 crop. By 2016, 5.5 percent of the corn-for-grain acreage had a preceding fall cover, and by 2021, 7.9 percent of corn-for-grain acreage followed a fall cover crop. This represents a 44 percent increase in fall cover crop adoption on corn-for-grain fields between 2016 and 2021. The growth in the adoption of cover crops on cotton fields is similar, with a 46 percent increase between 2015 and 2019. *********************************************************************************** Ethanol Production Hits Lowest Level Since 2020 The Energy Information Administration says ethanol output dropped to the lowest level in more than two years, while inventories were down slightly during the last week of 2022. Production dropped to an average of 844,000 barrels per day. That’s down from 963,000 barrels a day, on average, during the previous week and the lowest level since the week ending on June 12, 2022. Losses were broad-based across all regions but one in the U.S. The Midwest, which produces the most ethanol in the country, saw its output plunge to an average of 794,000 barrels a day from 906,000 a week earlier. That’s the lowest since the seven days ending on May 29, 2020. Production on the East and West Coasts each dropped an average of 3,000 barrels a day from the prior week. The only increase in ethanol production came in the Gulf Coast region. Inventories were down slightly at 24.44 million barrels.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday January 9, 2023 |


Monday Watch List Markets Traders return from the weekend checking the latest weather forecasts, especially in South America and surveying the news. USDA's weekly report of export inspections is due out at 10 a.m. CST and is the only significant report of the day. Weather The West stays active on Monday with another system moving through California, bringing heavy precipitation to a lot of areas, including the Central Valley and Sierras for building snowpack as drought conditions are turning around. East of the Rockies it will be a quiet day with rather mild temperatures for January.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday January 6, 2023 |


Senate Ag Chair Not Running for Reelection in 2024 Senate Ag Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow of Michigan announced she won’t be running for reelection in 2024. “Inspired by a new generation of leaders, I’ve decided to pass the torch in the U.S. Senate,” Stabenow says in a statement. “I’m incredibly grateful for the trust the people of Michigan have placed in me.” The four-term senator says a big part of her decision was stepping aside to make room for new voices. Between now and 2024, Stabenow says she’ll concentrate on passing a new farm bill before she retires. “The farm bill determines our nation’s food and agriculture policies,” she says. “It’s also a key to protecting our land and water and creating jobs in rural and urban communities.” Stabenow has played a big role in several farm bills. Her decision will increase pressure to pass a new farm bill while she’s in office rather than extending the current legislation. *********************************************************************************** Farmers National Company Releases Final Year Land Sales Report Farmers National Company says land market momentum that began late in 2021 only picked up the pace into 2022. Competition for high-quality cropland resulted in both record sales and overall increases in land values. Strong demand in all of the country’s regions brought significant opportunities to landowners interested in capitalizing on the current land market. In most cases, landowners selling property experienced never-before-seen values for their farmland. The final results set records in several states and increased year-to-year values between 20 and 34 percent in the Corn Belt. Farmers National says the traditional local farmer-operators are the successful buyers of land in 75 percent of their transactions. “We’re seeing a true supply-demand scenario,” says Paul Shadegg, senior vice president of real estate operations. “There are simply more buyers willing to bid on the limited amount of land coming to market.” Commodity markets are the main driver in higher land values. *********************************************************************************** USDA Investments to Strengthen the U.S. Meat Supply Chain USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced an investment of $9.6 million across the country and taking several other steps to help farmers, ranchers, processors, and rural businesses diversify the meat supply. “We’re putting the needs of farmers, ranchers, and consumers at the forefront of our work to strengthen the resiliency of America’s food supply chain while promoting competition,” he says. “USDA is working on an approach to coordinate ways to deliver more opportunities and fairer prices for producers.” He also says the goal is to give people access to healthier foods, eliminate bottlenecks in the food supply chain, and ultimately lower prices for consumers. Vilsack announced a total of 25 new investments to increase independent meat processing capacity. The investments include 23 value-added Producer Grant Program awards totaling $3.9 million to help producer-owned companies process and market new products. USDA is also investing $5.7 million in two companies to support food processing infrastructure. *********************************************************************************** Union Taking CNH’s Last Offer to Striking Workers for Saturday Vote The United Auto Workers announced in a news release that they’ve decided to bring CNH Industrial’s “last, best, and final offer” to its striking workers for a vote. Farm Equipment Magazine says the workers are expected to vote on Saturday, January 7. However, Ag Equipment Intelligence reached out to CNH Industrial for comment but did not hear back. In 2021, when 10,000 John Deere employees went on strike, Deere referred to its third offer to the union as its “last, best, and final offer,” which James Cooney of Rutgers University said at the time that “this could signify Deere is at an impasse in negotiations. “That’s not an agreement with the company when saying, “Hey, this is our last, best, and final offer,’” Cooney says. “A union may take that back to the membership, but, on the other hand, it may choose not to, especially if it’s perceived as a threat.” *********************************************************************************** Winter Wheat 2023-2024 Planting Estimates on January 12 The National Agricultural Statistics Service will publish the first official estimate of the 2023-2024 winter wheat crop planted area on January 12. U.S. Wheat Associates and America’s wheat-importing customers will be watching trade estimates before the report is issued. Wheat analyst Jeffry McPike says his group expects a planted area forecast of 35.7 million acres. If realized, that’s a seven percent increase over NASS’s final 2022 estimate. The Economic Research Service has documented a general downward trend in America’s wheat plantings during the last two decades due in part to lower returns, changes in government programs, and increased competition in global wheat markets. However, at planting time in 2022, the relatively high prices for hard red winter, soft red winter, and white winter wheat all provided an incentive to plant more wheat. Pre-report predictions range between 34-36 million acres, higher than the 2022 final NASS crop estimate of 33.27 million acres. *********************************************************************************** Wheat Country is Still Very Dry Kansas, the country’s biggest hard-red winter wheat producer, is still very dry. USDA data says topsoil moisture in the state was little changed from January 1 through the end of November 2022. About 43 percent of the state was very short on topsoil moisture and 26 percent was listed short on January 1. Twenty-nine percent of the state had adequate topsoil moisture and only two percent had a surplus. That compares with 48 percent very short, 25 percent short, 26 percent adequate, and just one percent held surplus moisture on November 29, the last time the government issued a crop progress report. Oklahoma, the country’s number two HRW producer, only saw .16 inches of rainfall in the panhandle during December. Topsoil and subsoil moisture was listed as “mostly adequate to short.” Arkansas, one of the country’s key soft-red winter wheat growers, saw moisture conditions improve with 60 percent surplus topsoil moisture.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday January 6, 2023 |


Friday Watch List Markets USDA's weekly export sales report is due out at 7:30 a.m. CST Friday, the same time the Labor Department will release nonfarm payrolls and the U.S. unemployment rate for December. A report on U.S. factory orders for November is set for 9 a.m. Traders will keep an eye on the latest weather forecasts and outside markets, which have been a bearish influence this week. Weather A system that brought heavy rain and snow to the country this week is finally leaving through the Northeast on Friday. Most of the country east of the Rockies is quieter today. But a system moving through the Rockies will exit into the Central Plains tonight and produce some showers into Saturday. Showers will likely to be rather weak except around the Gulf Coast where thunderstorms will be possible over the weekend.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday January 5, 2023 |


United States and Taiwan to Hold Trade Negotiations This Month The United States and Taiwan will hold an in-person negotiating round for the U.S.-Taiwan Initiative on 21st-Century Trade in Taipei. The negotiations are under the American Institute in Taiwan and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States. The next round of talks is scheduled for January 14-17. The U.S. Trade Representative’s Office will lead the U.S. delegation through Assistant United States Trade Representative Terry McCartin and include representatives from several other U.S. government agencies. The negotiation process started in June 2022, launching the U.S.-Taiwan Initiative on 21st-Century Trade. The initiative is intended to develop concrete ways to deepen the economic and trade relationship, advance mutual trade priorities based on shared values, and promote innovation and inclusive economic growth for our workers and businesses, including through new trade agreements. The two sides last met in November, holding two days of discussion in New York. *********************************************************************************** USDA Announces Conservation Stewardship Program The next deadline for Conservation Stewardship Program applications to be considered for funding this year is February 10, 2023. Through CSP, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service helps farmers, ranchers and forest landowners earn payments for expanding conservation activities while maintaining agricultural production on their land. CSP also encourages the adoption of new technologies and management techniques. Changes in the 2018 Farm Bill authorize NRCS to accept new CSP enrollments from 2020‒2023 and makes additional improvements to the program. NRCS now enrolls eligible, high-ranking applications based on dollars rather than acres. Higher payment rates are available under the 2018 Farm Bill for certain conservation activities, including cover crops and resource-conserving crop rotations. NRCS now provides specific support for organic and for transitioning to organic production activities through CSP. While applications are accepted throughout the year, interested producers should submit applications to their local NRCS office by the deadline to ensure they are considered for 2023 funding. *********************************************************************************** Esteban Sworn-in as USDA Undersecretary for Food Safety Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack welcomed the swearing-in of Jose Emilio Esteban as the Undersecretary for Food Safety at the Department of Agriculture. Vilsack says, “Dr. Esteban has a long and well-documented commitment to food safety and public health.” Esteban was appointed Chief Scientist of the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service in August 2018. Esteban joined the Office of Public Health Science at FSIS in 2002. In 2008, he was appointed as the FSIS Science Advisor for Laboratory Services, where he harmonized the operation of all three FSIS laboratories. Before joining FSIS, Esteban worked in several positions at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Esteban received his Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from Mexico’s National University. Vilsack adds, “I am confident that Dr. Esteban’s leadership and experience is the right combination to advance our commitment to maintaining public health and reducing foodborne illness.” *********************************************************************************** Bureau of Land Management Seeks Input on Solar Energy Program The Bureau of Land Management this week announced a public meeting to solicit feedback on utility-scale solar energy planning. The Bureau of Land Management is considering updates to its 2012 Western Solar Plan that included six southwestern states—Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah. BLM is seeking comments on expanding its solar planning to include five more states: Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming. The first meeting, scheduled January 18 in Sacramento, California, is one of a series being held in January and February in various western states. BLM Director Tracy Stone-Manning says, "The BLM is committed to expanding renewable energy development on public lands." The public comment period will remain open for 15 days after the last public scoping meeting, or February 6, whichever is later. The Notice of Intent to update the BLM's 2012 solar programmatic environmental impact statement was published in the Federal Register on December 8, 2022. Learn more about the meetings at www.blm.gov. *********************************************************************************** Clean Fuels welcomes Eight New Members As interest in low-carbon fuels gains momentum, Clean Fuels Alliance America continues to grow stronger and more diverse by adding new members. As Clean Fuels prepares for the Clean Fuels Conference in Tampa later this month, the association welcomes eight new companies that joined the association the last year. Clean Fuels CEO Donnell Rehagen says, "The addition of these members demonstrates the value they see in being part of our trade association and the ongoing expansion of this industry." The list of new members includes DSM - a purpose-led science-based global company specializing in human and animal health and nutrition solutions. DSM's purpose is to create brighter lives for all. Another new member is the National Oilheat Research Alliance, authorized by Congress in 2000 to provide funding that would allow the oil heat industry to provide more efficient and more reliable heat and hot water to American Consumers. *********************************************************************************** AM/FM Radio in Vehicles: A Pay to Play Feature? At the Consumer Electronics Show this week, Steve Koenig of the Consumer Technology Association showcased new potential trends to the media before the start of the show. One potential trend, according to Koenig, is automakers charging extra for AM/FM radios in cars. Koenig says automakers may move to a Features as a Service offering for AM/FM radios, allowing automakers to enable or disable features based on whether the car owner is paying for the services. Automakers claim AM radio signals face electromagnetic interference generated from electric cars. Radio Ink reports, "Automotive companies are salivating at the opportunity to capitalize on car features as services that will be subscription based.” In December, Senator Ed Markey, A Massachusetts Democrat, urged automakers to maintain free broadcast radio in future electric vehicles. Markey said, “AM/FM broadcast radio remains the most dependable, cost-free, and accessible communication mechanism for public officials to communicate with the public during times of emergency.”

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday January 5, 2023 |


Thursday Watch List Markets At 7:30 a.m. CST Thursday, reports on U.S. weekly jobless claims and the U.S. trade deficit for November will be out, along with an update of the U.S. Drought Monitor. The U.S. Energy Department's weekly natural gas storage report is set for 9:30 a.m., followed by weekly energy inventories at 10 a.m., including ethanol production. At some point Thursday morning, USDA will also provide export data from the Census Bureau for November. Weather A low-pressure center continues to spin across the Midwest with areas of light snow falling throughout the day. It's much quieter elsewhere east of the Rockies with generally mild temperatures for this time of year. A system moved into California and will spread showers throughout the West on Thursday, though will be weaker as it moves through the rest of the country Friday through the weekend.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday January 4, 2023 |


Farmer Sentiment Rebounds at Year End on Stronger 2022 Income Producer sentiment improved sharply in December as the Purdue University-CME Group Ag Economy Barometer Index reading of 126 was 24 points higher than a month earlier. Although U.S. farmers were more positive regarding both the current situation and the future, the biggest improvement was in their assessment of current conditions. The Current Conditions Index reached 135, 37 points higher than in November, while the Future Expectations Index hit 122, 18 points above a month earlier. The improvement in current sentiment was motivated by producers' stronger perception of current financial conditions on their farms as the Farm Financial Performance Index climbed 18 points above the prior month's reading to reach 109, which was the only time in 2022 that the index was above 100. The Purdue University-CME Group Ag Economy Barometer sentiment index is calculated monthly from 400 U.S. agricultural producers' responses to a telephone survey. This month's survey was conducted from December 5-9, 2022. *********************************************************************************** World’s First Agri-Focused Satellite Launches The first of seven satellites for agriculture launched into space Tuesday by SpaceX. Built by Dragonfly Aerospace, the satellite is part of the Transporter-6 mission for customer EOS Data Analytics. The remaining six satellites of the constellation will be deployed over the next three years. The EOS Data Analytics project is the world's first agriculture-focused satellite constellation providing the industry with high-quality data to support efficient and sustainable practices. Images obtained from Dragonfly's EOS SAT-1 will deliver information for harvest monitoring, application mapping, seasonal planning and assessments that analyze information such as soil moisture, yield prediction and biomass levels. The data will support growers with reducing carbon dioxide emissions and help them to develop sustainable agricultural methods. The company says the information will have important environmental benefits for the planet and help prevent natural habitats from being diminished for crop growth and maintain biodiversity. *********************************************************************************** NCGA Expresses Disappointment in EPA WOTUS Rule The National Corn Growers Association Tuesday expressed disappointment regarding the final Waters of the United States rule under the Clean Water Act. The Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers released the final rule on December 30. NCGA says the rule was released as the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to decide a case, Sackett vs. EPA, which will provide more clarity on the issue. NCGA President Tom Haag says, "The Court's ruling could negate major elements of this WOTUS rule and will create even more uncertainty for farmers.” NCGA submitted comments to EPA and encouraged corn growers to do the same as the rule was being considered. The group also participated in regional hearings held by EPA. Haag says that as farmers, “we are the ones who will feel the impact of this rule,” adding, “Yet, it appears that our comments fell on deaf ears.” *********************************************************************************** NMPF: WOTUS Unclear and Overly Complicated National Milk Producers Federation President and CEO Jim Mulhern calls the new Waters of the U.S. Rule "cumbersome, unclear and overly complicated." NMPF released the response Tuesday following the end-of-year announcement of the WOTUS final rule by the Environmental Protection Agency last week. The organization says that because the EPA's most recent iteration fails to resolve a 50-year struggle to define a water body subject to federal regulation under the Clean Water Act, NMPF members will face continued uncertainty as they attempt to comprehend and comply with unclear regulations. Mulhern says it's important to note that EPA's latest iteration is not a complete return to the unworkable rule adopted in 2015. Depending on the outcome of the Sackett case this spring, Mulhern adds, "it may be time for Congress to step in in a bipartisan manner to provide clarity regarding which bodies of water are under the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act." *********************************************************************************** NOAA Proposes Seafood Import Monitoring Expansion The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration last week announced a proposed rule to expand the Seafood Import Monitoring Program. The risk-based program is for targeted species of seafood imported into the United States. NOAA says expanding the program would increase the number of species included in the program from approximately 1,100 individual species to approximately 1,600 individual species. The program currently establishes reporting and recordkeeping requirements for nearly half of all U.S. seafood imports to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and misrepresented seafood from entering U.S. commerce. The proposed expansion includes red snapper and tuna, to include all species in the snapper family and additional tunas, to minimize the risk of mislabeling and product substitution that is used to bypass requirements. In addition, the rule proposes to add cuttlefish and squid, eels, octopus, queen conch and Caribbean spiny lobster to the program. The rule also proposes to make additional modifications and improvements. *********************************************************************************** Arctic Blast Jolts Gas Prices Higher For the first time in two months, the nation's average gas price increased, rising 12.3 cents from a week ago to $3.17 per gallon. The national average is down 22.5 cents from a month ago and 9.5 cents per gallon lower than a year ago. The national average diesel price fell 1.4 cents in the last week and stands at $4.67 per gallon. GasBuddy's Patrick De Haan says, "Extremely cold weather led to many refinery issues, shutting down over a million barrels of refining capacity, pushing wholesale prices up." While the jump at the pump will likely be temporary as most refiners get back online after cold-weather-related issues, some regions, like the Rockies, may see more price increases than others. Additionally, China's reopening plans inspired markets that global oil demand will start to recover, as China's nearly three-year Covid-zero policies appear to be coming to an end.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday January 4, 2023 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets The Institute of Supply Management's index of U.S. manufacturing for December is set for 9 a.m. CST Wednesday. Minutes from the latest Federal Reserve meeting will be out at 1 p.m. As usual, traders will check the latest weather forecasts, watch for any news of an export sale and likely be wary after Tuesday's sell-off in commodities. Weather A storm system continues to spin up around the Upper Midwest with continued light to moderate snow Wednesday. Meanwhile, the cold front will push eastward with a band or two of scattered showers from around the Appalachians eastward. Some additional severe weather will possible across the Southeast, a continuation of strong storms from Tuesday. Meanwhile, another storm will move into the West Coast.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday January 3, 2023 |


EPA Finalizes WOTUS Definition The Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers announced a final rule establishing the definition of “Waters of the United States.” They say the rule reduces uncertainty from consistently changing regulatory definitions, protects people’s health, and supports economic opportunity. The final rule restores essential water protections that were in place before 2015 under the Clean Water Act for traditional navigable waters, the territorial seas, interstate waters, and the upstream water resources that significantly affect those waters. “Following extensive stakeholder engagement, EPA is delivering a durable definition of WOTUS that safeguards our nation’s waters, strengthens economic opportunity, and protects people’s health,” says EPA Administrator Michael Regan. “It also provides greater certainty for farmers, ranchers, and landowners.” Michael Connor, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, says, “This definition provides clarity long desired by farmers, industry, environmental groups, and other stakeholders. It also allows for more effective rule implementation.” *********************************************************************************** Group Reacts to New WOTUS Rule The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association responded to the newly-Published Waters of the U.S. Rule. The group says farmers and ranchers have dealt with the whiplash of shifting WOTUS definitions for far too long. “While the new rule retains longstanding exclusions for certain agricultural features, it still creates new uncertainty for farmers, ranchers, and landowners,” says NCBA Chief Counsel Mary-Thomas Hart. NCBA previously asked the Environmental Protection Agency to retain agricultural exclusions for small, isolated, and temporary water features that commonly appear on farms and ranches. The new rule fails to clearly exempt isolated and ephemeral features from federal jurisdiction and relies on “case-by-case” determinations to assess whether a feature is federally regulated. Hart says the timing of the rule couldn’t be worse as the Supreme Court is currently considering Sackett v. EPA, which would provide much-needed clarity to the WOTUS definition. “Today’s rule seeks to directly preempt the Supreme Court,” she says. *********************************************************************************** Two Selected for AFBF Top Honors The American Farm Bureau Federation will present its highest honors to former Executive Vice President Dale Moore and former North Carolina Farm Bureau President Larry Wooten. The two will receive the Distinguished Service Award and the Farm Bureau Founders Award, respectively, during the 2023 AFBF annual convention in Puerto Rico. Farm Bureau established the Distinguished Service Award to honor individuals who’ve devoted their careers to serving the interest of American agriculture. The Founders Award is presented in recognition of outstanding achievements and work in the interest of Farm Bureau. Moore, a Kansas native, has been a champion of agriculture in the public and private sectors for more than 40 years. Wooten’s Farm Bureau career spans more than 50 years, peaking when he was elected president of the NCFB in 1999, a position he held until 2019. The American Farm Bureau’s annual convention is January 6-11 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. *********************************************************************************** Ethanol Production Hits Lowest Level in Two Months The Energy Information Administration says ethanol production plunged in the seven days that ended on December 23 to the lowest level in more than two months while inventories rose. Output during the week averaged 963,000 barrels a day, down from 1.029 million barrels a week earlier. The EIA report says that’s the lowest level since the week ending on October 7. The Midwest produces the most ethanol in the country and saw production drop to 906,000 barrels a day, on average, down from 975,000 the previous week. The Midwest drop was the entire loss during the week as production on the East Coast and in the Rocky Mountain regions was steady. West Coast output rose by an average of 1,000 barrels a day to 9,000 for the week. Ethanol stockpiles during the week rose to 24.63 million barrels. That’s the highest level of inventory since the seven days ending on April 8. *********************************************************************************** Taylor Sworn In as USDA Undersecretary Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack is pleased that Alexis Taylor was finally sworn in last week as the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs. Vilsack says Taylor has had a deep-rooted and impressive career working on matters related to agriculture, trade, and enhancing as many export opportunities as possible for America’s farmers and ranchers. “She’s not only spent her career serving the American people through her work in American agricultural and trade policy but also as a veteran of the U.S. Army,” Vilsack says. “I am confident Alexis is the right person to lead as we continue to address global food security challenges, promote American exports to new and existing markets across the globe, and strengthen trade relationships with our partners.” The secretary also looks forward to working with Taylor to help the agency better serve farmers and ranchers and link America’s agriculture producers to expanded global opportunities. *********************************************************************************** Important Ag Provisions in the Omnibus Bill President Biden signed the omnibus spending package into law that diverts a government shutdown and keeps it running until September 30, 2023. The bill with more than 4,000 pages contains many notable items important to U.S. farmers and ranchers. The bill includes $3.7 billion in disaster funding for crop and livestock losses due to drought and other problems in 2022. There is $350 million allocated for rice producer payments to compensate for the drop in revenue this year, as well as $100 million provided for payments to cotton merchandisers as a result of losses related to COVID or supply chain disruptions. Livestock Mandatory Reporting is extended until September 30, 2023. It also includes price transparency as the USDA and the Justice Department are to analyze issues regarding transparent meat pricing and price discovery for cattle producers. Raw or processed chicken imported from China can’t be used in the federal school lunch program.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday January 3, 2023 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets Back from a three-day weekend and starting a new year, traders will get familiar with the latest weather forecasts and any news from over the New Year weekend. Many will pause at 8 a.m. CST to see if USDA has an export sale announcement and check in on USDA's weekly report of export inspections at 10 a.m. CST. Weather A stronger winter storm has moved into the middle of the country for Tuesday. A band of wintry mix has developed from Nebraska into the Upper Midwest and will drop some heavy snow throughout the day as well as areas of significant freezing rain. Farther south, the cold front to the system will bring risks for severe thunderstorms from the Lower Mississippi River to the southern Appalachians. The rest of the Midwest continues to see areas of rain, being heavier along the Ohio River.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday December 30, 2022 |


U.S. Beef Exports to East Asia on a Record Pace The USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service released a report titled “U.S. Beef Exports to East Asia on a Record Pace.” Despite economic uncertainties brought on by COVID, continued global supply chain challenges, and a competitive global beef market, American exports to East Asia were outstanding in the first half of 2022 in terms of value and volume. The report says, “During the first three quarters of 2022, U.S. beef exports to East Asia, including Korea, Japan, China/Hong Kong, and Taiwan, were a record $6.6 billion.” That’s a 22 percent increase on a value basis from last year’s exports worth $5.4 billion. “On a volume basis, the exports were up 6.4 percent,” the report says. “Despite surging food prices in recent months, higher-volume shipments indicate a continued demand for beef products.” It also shows that East Asia’s relatively stable middle class has high disposable income and is willing to absorb the rising costs. *********************************************************************************** What 2023 Will Mean for Ethanol Margins America’s ethanol industry saw its production margins get weaker late in 2022. MarketWatch says the ethanol industry outlook will depend on multiple factors. Margins have recently dropped below the same time last year. Iowa State University’s Center for Agricultural and Rural Development says the average return over operating costs at a typical dry-mill ethanol plant was 34.64 cents per gallon. That’s over one dollar lower than the same time last year when the center put the average margin at $1.38 per gallon. The university says the average ethanol price in Iowa was at $2.44 a gallon, 85 cents lower year to year, while the average price of corn was $6.82 a bushel, about $1.10 higher than a year ago. Some of the key issues for the U.S. ethanol industry to watch include Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs), Carbon Capture Projects, the future of Small Refinery Exemptions, and fewer limits on E15 sales. *********************************************************************************** Baby Formula Imports Face Tariffs Again in 2023 Baby formula imports into the U.S. will be subject to tariffs again in 2023 as the exemptions implemented during a nationwide shortage are scheduled to expire. Reuters says the shortage began during supply chain issues brought on by COVID, and those issues began to get worse in February of this year. During that month, the biggest U.S. supplier recalled some products and closed down a manufacturing plant after reporting bacterial infections. Responding to the crisis, American health regulators relaxed import policies, and President Biden invoked the Cold War-era Defense Production Act to rebuild lagging supplies. Congress made the tariff waivers temporary as part of a deal to pass the measure quickly. Last August, Walmart and Target Corporation, two of the nation’s biggest retailers, said supplies of baby formula were improving. The maker of the biggest brand in the market, Enfamil, says formula shortages will likely persist until the spring of 2023. *********************************************************************************** USDA Invests Over $9 Million in Bioproduct Development USDA is investing $9.5 million to support the scale-up of sustainable bioproduct manufacturing in the U.S. Three projects are getting funded through the National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Bioproduct Pilot Program. The program presents an opportunity to spur economic activity in the nation’s rural areas while lowering commercialization risks associated with bringing biobased products to market. “Adopting a more circular economy ensures that wealth and other economic benefits in the form of jobs and other opportunities are created, and stay, in rural communities,” says Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack. “We must support and incentivize practices like these because that’s what consumers want, and what farmers and our planet need.” The Pilot Program’s exploration into bioproducts accelerates USDA’s efforts to develop circular bio-economies, where agricultural resources are harvested, consumed, and regenerated in a sustainable manner. NIFA says each of the recommended projects can help bridge the gap between invention and the marketplace. *********************************************************************************** The Second Annual Ag Transporters Conference is in March Transportation Go! is a conference for soybean, grain, and other transportation issues in the Upper Midwest. It will take place March 15-16, 2023, in Omaha, Nebraska. It’s the second annual transportation conference after a successful debut event in Milwaukee earlier this year. “This is an active conference, not a passive one,” says Eric Wenberg, executive director of the Specialty Soya and Grains Alliance, which organizes and hosts the event. “We encourage discussion and expect real dialogue to take place during every segment of the agenda.” He also says there are many challenges in agricultural transportation, and this conference brings together smart and experienced people from different avenues of the supply chain into the same room to take on those challenges together. Omaha, a key ag transportation hub, will bring together the industry’s top stakeholders, from boots-on-the-ground commodity growers to traders and shippers of specialty field crops. For more information, go to transportationgo.com. *********************************************************************************** American Lamb Growers Looking Ahead to 2023 Trends The “2023 Meat Trends to Watch Report” says understanding the overarching trends in American meat consumption can help keep meat in the mix. “There are challenges ahead for the lamb industry, but there are also opportunities ahead,” says Peter Camino, American Lamb Board Chair. “But the entire industry will need to make changes to improve our competitiveness and profitability.” The report covers trends like economic pressures at the meat case, noting that while many are seeking less expensive cuts at the meat case, others are more open to experimenting in the kitchen. Others may also trade up at the counter instead of dining out. The report also covers sustainability, noting that it’s critical for products and businesses to talk to customers about their sustainability efforts. Other important topics in the report include health and wellness, convenience, and technology. The ALB is closely watching these trends and how they influence consumers.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday December 30, 2022 |


Friday Watch List Markets USDA's weekly export sales report will be out at 7:30 a.m. CST Friday, the only significant report of the day. Friday is a full day of trading, ahead of a three-day weekend for celebrating the New Year. Traders will keep up with the latest weather forecasts and watch for a possible export sales announcement at 8 a.m. CST. Weather A cold front will be moving slowly east from the Delta to the eastern Midwest on Friday. A band of showers and some thunderstorms has formed along the front, which will move into the Southeast and toward the Appalachians tonight. Some minor flooding may occur over the South as the rain moves through. Somewhat cooler temperatures are filling in behind the front back to the Rockies, but most areas are still above normal for this time of year.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday December 29, 2022 |


USDA Economist Not Worried About Potential Ag Trade Deficit USDA is forecasting an agricultural trade deficit in 2023. While deficits have happened in the past, the agency has never forecast one in advance until this year. The agency says ag exports are projected to reach $190 billion next year, but imports are projected to rise to $199 billion. Seth Meyer, chief economist with USDA, says an ag trade deficit isn’t a major cause for concern. “I’m of the opinion that having both rising exports and imports is a good thing,’ he says. “Farmers can sell their products at a good price while consumers can shop for what they want.” Ag exports are forecast to set another record during the fiscal year 2022 at $196.4 billion. If realized, that number would top the previous record of $177 billion in 2021. American exports currently face major pressure from the strong dollar value making U.S. products more expensive in the world’s markets. *********************************************************************************** Egg Prices Double During the Past Year Eggs are more expensive than they were last year. Marketplace says the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the price of a dozen Grade A eggs jumped from $1.82 last year to almost $3.60 in 2022. While part of the increase is due to the rising price of chicken feed, the real culprit is highly pathogenic avian influenza. It’s infected more than 57 million hens this year, starting in the spring and continuing to flare up through the rest of 2022. “Spring was the first time we had egg prices spike,” says Daniel Sumer, an ag economics professor at the University of California-Davis. He says eggs are a staple for many people and can’t be cut back on when the price rises. When prices go up, people tend to buy them anyway. “That drives the price higher and higher,” he says. “And that has to happen because the supplies are more limited.” *********************************************************************************** Omnibus Bill Included Pesticide Registration Improvement Act The recently-passed omnibus spending legislation contained the reauthorization of the Pesticide Registration Improvement Act, something important to CropLife America. The organization says it will strengthen and improve the Environmental Protection Agency’s pesticide registration process. The EPA’s scientists work diligently to comply with the multiple laws that govern pesticide registration, but, in recent years, the agency has fewer available scientists to do that work,” says Chris Novak, President of CLA. “The reauthorization of PRIA is a first step in improving the efficiency of the pesticide registration process and in providing more certainty for farmers, consumers, and CropLife’s member companies that EPA will meet its statutory obligations.” PRIA provides critically needed resources for the EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs. The increased funding coupled with a variety of process and technology improvements, will allow EPA to increase staffing and better meet pesticide registration timeframes to give farmers the tools they need to manage pests. *********************************************************************************** Pork Leadership Institute Announces Class of 2023 The National Pork Producers Council and the National Pork Board are proud to announce that 19 pork producers from across the country have been selected for the Pork Leadership Institute’s class of 2023. Each year, the organizations select a leading group of producers to participate in the PLI program. Staff in both the NPPC and NPB work together with state pork association executives and field reps to identify key individuals from across America. The comprehensive, year-long process consists of five sessions that include learning about the federal legislative and regulatory processes, the importance of international trade, the roles of the national and state pork associations, and modern-day issues facing producers. “PLI is vital to the success of pork producers because it develops knowledgeable industry ambassadors and future leaders,” says NPPC CEO Bryan Humphreys. They also go through comprehensive media and communications training to become effective grassroots advocates for the pork industry. *********************************************************************************** CFTC Fines CHS Hedging $6.5 million in Fraud Case The Commodity Futures Trading Commission fined CHS Hedging of Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota, $6.5 million for anti-money laundering, risk management, recordkeeping, and supervision violations. The company also has to undertake certain remedial measures relating to the violations. CHS reportedly accepted millions of dollars in margin payments from a rancher in Washington without adequately investigating the customer’s source of funds or reporting suspicious activity. The scheme ran from 2017 through 2020. The Washington rancher involved in the case pled guilty to criminal fraud charges and was sentenced to 11 years in prison. A CFTC report says the violations are primarily the result of failing to implement an adequate anti-money laundering program, particularly as it applied to the futures and options trading account controlled by the Washington rancher. “The Commodity Exchange Act requires companies like CHS Hedging to have and actually implement adequate money laundering and risk management procedures,” says Acting Enforcement Director Gretchen Lowe. *********************************************************************************** USDA Says Seasonal Worker Numbers Jumped in 2021 It’s well known that American agricultural employers who anticipate a shortage of domestic workers can fill seasonal farm jobs with temporary foreign workers through the H-2A Visa Program. The Department of Labor officially certified approximately 317,000 temporary jobs in fiscal year 2021 under the H-2A program. That number was more than six times the number of jobs certified in 2005. Only about 80 percent of the certified jobs in 2021 resulted in the issuance of a visa. The program has grown partly in response to current U.S. domestic workers finding jobs outside of American agriculture and a drop in newly arrived immigrants looking for farm jobs in the U.S. Six states accounted for about half of the H-2A jobs that were filled in 2021, including Florida, Georgia, Washington, California, North Carolina, and Louisiana. Nationally, the average H-2A contract offered 24 weeks of employment and 39.3 hours per week at $13 per hour.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday December 28, 2022 |


UFW Assigns Blame for Lack of Immigration Action United Farm Worker leadership laid the blame for a lack of action in Washington on immigration at the feet of the Republican Party and the American Farm Bureau Federation. The Senate decided not to include worker immigration legislation in the fiscal year 2023 omnibus appropriations bill. The omnibus passed the House last week and is on the way to President Biden’s desk for his signature. “It’s a bitter disappointment for farm workers across the country who have earned the right to legal status through the sweat of their brow,” says UFW President Teresa Romero. She also called it unsurprising, saying that leaders of both groups want to keep farm workers living in fear and uncertainty. “They know that an undocumented workforce is easier to intimidate and exploit,” she says. Farm Bureau says the legislation will lead to wild swings in wage rates beyond the reach of many farmers and ranchers. *********************************************************************************** NACD Applauds Conservation Investments in Omnibus The National Association of Conservation Districts is grateful the fiscal year 2023 omnibus appropriations bill passed the House last week and was sent to the White House for signing. They say the agreement supports voluntary, locally-led conservation efforts across the country by providing strong funding for critical conservation programs and initiatives. The package includes no cuts to mandatory spending for USDA farm bill conservation programs like EQIP, CSP, RCPP, and CRP. It also has $941 million for Natural Resources Conservation Service Operations, including more than $800 million for Conservation Technical Assistance. That’s a $40 million increase compared to the 2022 funding level. The funding supports the work of conservation districts and other local partners to help producers assess resource needs, develop conservation plans, and implement effective conservation practices. There’s also $925 million for the NRCS Emergency Watershed Protection Program, of which $75 million goes to Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Operations. *********************************************************************************** U.S. Hog Numbers are Two Percent Below Last Year The U.S. inventory of all hogs and pigs on December 1 was 73.1 million head. The recent Hog and Pig Report says that’s down from December 1 of last year and one percent lower than September 1, 2022. The breeding inventory was 6.15 million head, up slightly from last year and slightly higher than the prior quarter. Market hog inventory was 67 million head on December 1, down two percent from 2021 and one percent lower than last quarter in 2022. The September-November 2022 pig crop, at 33.7 million head, was one percent lower than in 2021. Sows farrowing during this period totaled three million head, down one percent from 2021. The sows that farrowed during the quarter represented 49 percent of the breeding herd. Hog producers intend to have 2.95 million sows farrow during the December-February quarter, up one percent from the actual farrowings during the same period a year earlier. *********************************************************************************** Report Shows Price Increases for Different Food Types A new USDA report shows retail food prices increased 8.9 percent in the first seven months of this year. That increase is higher than the rate over the same period last year and 2020. All 13 food categories in the USDA report experienced faster price increases so far in 2022, compared with the same period last year and historical average price increases through July. All food categories saw price increases of at least four percent during the first seven months of 2022. Three food category prices increased by more than 10 percent: eggs at 21 percent, fats and oils were up 13 percent, and poultry rose 12 percent. Inflationary pressures differ by category. For example, eggs and poultry prices are currently much higher than their historical average because of an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza. Fresh vegetables increased the least of all categories in the first seven months of this year. *********************************************************************************** China Pushes for Ag Tech Progress President Xi (Zhee) Jinping is pushing for China to accelerate efforts to achieve self-reliance in agriculture technology. Farm Doc Policy News says China’s president identified seed development and core equipment among the areas he’d like the country to focus on. The central leadership had said in 2020 that the country’s seed industry was a weak link in its food chain and need to make more and better use of science and technology to turn that sector around. China is also expected to end the year with historically-low soymeal carryover stocks, which should increase its dependence on imported soybeans next year. Unfortunately for U.S. producers, Brazil’s soybeans, which get processed in China to make livestock feed, are currently more attractive than U.S. soybeans for February shipments. The news is considered positive for Brazilian farmers as some of them could begin harvesting their 2023 soybeans in as little as a week. *********************************************************************************** Ag’s Share of Total Export Value Hits New High The total value of U.S. exports has grown at an average annual rate of six percent since 2002, reaching a record high of $1.4 trillion in fiscal year 2021. Agriculture’s share of total U.S. exports has steadily increased between fiscal years 2002 and 2021. The value of America’s agricultural product exports rose by an average of 11 percent annually, exceeding the overall rate of increase for total U.S. exports. In 2021, ag exports accounted for 12 percent of the total value, up from nine percent in 2002. Growth in agricultural exports has largely been resilient to market shocks like COVID-19. Even as total U.S. exports fell by 12 percent during the onset of COVID in 2020, ag exports remained steady on the strength of surging shipments of soybeans, corn, and pork to China. Ag exports surged 23 percent to $172 billion in 2021. The export forecast is a record $196 billion in 2022.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday December 28, 2022 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets On Wednesday, an index of U.S. pending home sales for November will be out at 9 a.m. CST, the only report of the day. The U.S. Energy Department's weekly inventory report is pushed to Thursday during this four-day week. Traders will keep close watch over the latest weather forecasts, check for a possible export sales announcement at 8 a.m. CST and keep an eye on outside markets. Weather Warmer, Pacific air continues to flood the country east of the Rockies and is supplanting the arctic blast from last week. That is opening the door for more storm systems to move through the country. One is moving through the Intermountain West on Wednesday and will emerge into the Plains tonight where showers will develop going into Thursday. Winds continue to increase ahead of this system Wednesday, with some wind advisories posted for the Southern Plains.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday December 27, 2022 |


Senate Confirms McKalip, Esteban The Senate approved the nominations of Doug McKalip as the chief agricultural negotiator with the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office and Jose Esteban as USDA Undersecretary for Food Safety. Senate Ag Chair Debbie Stabenow says the nominees waited three months for a long-overdue floor vote. “Doug McKalip has proven he’s ready for the essential task of growing new markets abroad and protecting our producers from unfair trade practices,” she says. During a confirmation hearing earlier this year, McKalip said, “It will be my duty to break down trade barriers to American food and ag exports.” He’ll also press trading partners to live up to existing agreements. As the undersecretary for food safety, Esteban will be the agency’s leader on issues ranging from preventing food-borne illnesses to the regulation of cell-cultured meat that’s now near commercialization. Ranking Senate Ag Committee Member John Boozman (BOZE-man) says Esteban brings years of experience to a crucial USDA position. *********************************************************************************** Ag Groups Applaud McKalip, Esteban Confirmations America’s leading agriculture groups applauded the Senate confirming Doug McKalip as the new Chief Agricultural Negotiator. The U.S. Grains Council says McKalip, “combines extensive international experience and almost 30 years of government service at USDA to help advance trade priorities and open up global markets.” American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall says McKalip has proven to be more than qualified for the position because of his experience. U.S. Meat Export Federation President Dan Halstrom says filling McKalip’s position was essential as the U.S. is currently engaged in negotiations with several key trading partners. NCBA’s Vice President of Government Affairs Ethan Lane says Jose Esteban’s new role in food safety is essential for ensuring consumer confidence in the U.S. beef industry. The National Milk Producers Federation and the U.S. Dairy Export Council applaud the Senate’s confirmation. “This move ensures dairy farmers will be at the negotiating table,” says NMFP CEO Jim Mulhern. *********************************************************************************** Egg Prices Hit Record Levels Egg prices are hitting record levels. Free Republic Dot Com says the surge in price is being driven by an avian-influenza outbreak that’s killed tens of millions of chickens and turkeys in the U.S. this year. Wholesale prices of Midwest large eggs hit a record of $5.36 a dozen this month. Retail egg prices are rising faster than any other items in American supermarkets in 2022. Egg prices are up 30 percent from January through early December compared to the same period last year and are outpacing overall food and beverage prices. Some suppliers are predicting potential price relief by February or Mach, but cold weather could slow production in the near term. Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza has led to the death of 58 million birds, making it the deadliest outbreak in U.S. history. USDA says entire flocks have to be destroyed after an infection is confirmed to limit potential spread. *********************************************************************************** Democrats Don’t Make Changes in House Leadership Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives aren’t making any changes to their leaders on the Agriculture and Education and Labor Committees, even after losing a majority. Representatives David Scott of Georgia and Bobby Scott of Virginia won positions as ranking members of the Agriculture and Education and Labor Committees, respectively, after being chairs in the previous Congress. “I’m very pleased to get elected by my friends and Democratic colleagues to serve as a ranking member of the House Agriculture Committee for the next Congress,” Scott says. “I believe we have accomplished important groundwork leading up to the 2023 Farm Bill, and I’m looking forward to doing our best to meet the needs of producers and consumers in this important legislation.” The House Education and Labor Committee has jurisdiction over child nutrition programs, and Bobby Scott says governing should be about “improving the lives of people from all walks of life.” *********************************************************************************** AFBF: Risk Management Tools a Farm Bill Priority During volatility in the markets, managing risk remains a priority for farmers and ranchers. New analysis from the American Farm Bureau Federation examines several farm bill risk management tools included in Title 1 and explains the impact and importance to farmers. The analysis provides a historical perspective, including changes made in the 2018 Farm Bill to reauthorize and strengthen the PLC and ARC price and revenue programs. These programs were created in the 2014 Farm Bill to provide shallow-loss risk management coverage. AFB Economist Shelby Myers says that one factor remains consistent as farmers and ranchers faced unprecedented circumstances in recent years, and that’s the need for a variety of risk management options. Programs like ARC and PLC have to fit farmers’ and ranchers’ unique situations. Risk management tools like these are vital to farmers and ranchers being able to mitigate the unpredictable nature of farming. To read the report, go to fb.org. *********************************************************************************** Smithfield Donates 30,000 Pounds of Food Smithfield Foods donated 30,000 pounds of protein, enough for 120,000 servings, to the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore to help fight food insecurity during the holidays. The donation includes hams, bacon, lunch meat, and smoked sausage and is part of Smithfield’s Helping Hungry Homes Program. “Providing for the needs of our neighbors is a year-round job,” says Christopher Tan, President and CEO of the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore. “A large gift is especially meaningful at this time of year when families should be celebrating the holiday season, not worrying about finding food to put on their tables.” Smithfield has donated hundreds of millions of protein servings to food banks, disaster relief efforts, and community outreach programs in all 50 states. “The holiday season can be stressful, and no one should worry about their next meal,” says Jonathan Toms, senior community development manager for Smithfield.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday December 27, 2022 |


Monday Watch List Markets Back from the Christmas holiday, traders will catch up on the latest weather forecasts and any news that broke over the three-day weekend. USDA's weekly grain export inspections will be released at 10 a.m. CST and don't be surprised if numbers are low, given last week's bitter cold temperatures and pre-holiday mood. Traders will also watch to see if USDA has an export sales announcement at 8 a.m. CST. Weather The visit from the polar vortex over the Christmas holiday is short-lived as warmer temperatures that built up over the West are spreading eastward this week. In spite of the surge in temperatures, precipitation will be limited to the West on Tuesday. Highs: 10s/20s northern Canadian Prairies; 20s/30s Midwest; 30s/40s Pacific Northwest, Northern Plains, Delta; 40s/60s Central and Southern Plains, Southeast.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday December 23, 2022 |


Senate Confirms Alexis Taylor to USDA Post The Senate voted to confirm Alexis Taylor as the new USDA Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Affairs. Taylor, the former director of Oregon’s Department of Agriculture, is the new top agricultural trade official with the agency. Food Business News says she’ll be responsible for overseeing international negotiations related to agricultural trade, developing America’s trade policies, promoting U.S. agriculture overseas, and opening up new markets for American commodities. At a nomination hearing in September, Taylor said her top priorities would be working with the U.S. Trade Representative on a path toward country-of-origin labeling that would be compliant with World Trade Organization rules. She also intends to hold Canada and Mexico to their commitments under the USMCA and will expand export markets for dairy and other farm products within the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework. She’ll also be involved in food safety issues by working to contain highly pathogenic avian influenza cases without market disruption. *********************************************************************************** Group Says Congress Failed Farmers, Farmworkers, and American Consumers Congress failed to include immigration solutions in the omnibus package and the American Business Immigration Coalition Action group isn’t happy with that. Coalition Executive Director Rebecca Shi (she) says they regret that this Congress failed to show the courage needed to advance immigration solutions for farmer workers and farmers, for Dreamers, the U.S. economy, and consumers. “There is a reason why Congress remains one of the most unpopular institutions in our nation,” Shi says. “At the end of the day, Republicans still prefer to complain about the border than to compromise on solutions, and Democrats have much higher priorities than standing up for hardworking immigrants.” The group says America’s farmers are struggling to find the amount of workers they need to stay in business, driving record-high food inflation. Bringing two million dreamers out of the shadows would create more than 1.4 million jobs for Americans and $46 billion in economic spending. *********************************************************************************** New Report Lays Out Priorities for U.S. Dairy Reform A new report from the American Farm Bureau Federation lays out priorities, principles, and recommendations for reforming dairy policy. A Farm Bureau Working Group explored options for strengthening the dairy industry through the 2023 Farm Bill and modernizing the current Federal Milk Marketing Order. Some of the priorities for FMMO reform include returning the Class 1 mover to a “higher-of” formula, increasing the Class 1 differentials to reflect changes in the marketplace, and making cost surveys mandatory and have them audited by USDA, and several others. “America’s dairy farmers continue to meet the challenges of growing demand for milk products, even while the number of dairy farmers in the U.S. continues to shrink,” says AFB President Zippy Duvall. “These recommendations convey the needs of dairy farmers across the country.” Farm Bureau also says the report gives guidance to USDA as it prepares for future hearings on modernizing the FMMO system. *********************************************************************************** Groups Respond Positively to Taylor Confirmation The Senate confirmed Alexis Taylor as USDA Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs, and U.S. ag groups reacted positively. “Alexis has a strong background in agriculture from growing up on a farm in Iowa and has a deep knowledge of trade issues,” says the U.S. Grains Council. American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall says, “Trade is critically important to U.S. agriculture, and she’ll be a strong advocate on the world stage and a capable leader for USDA staff.” U.S. Meat Export Federation President and CEO Dan Halstrom says Taylor will be a “tremendous asset to USDA and a champion for U.S. agriculture.” The American Soybean Association also reacted positively to the announcement. Stephen Censky, ASA CEO, says, “Alexis has a depth of knowledge about agricultural trade and public policy that will serve her well in this post.” Groups like NCBA and the National Milk Producers Federation welcomed the nomination. *********************************************************************************** U.S. Agencies Partner to Promote Global Food Safety The USDA, U.S. Agency for International Development, and the Food and Drug Administration launched the Food Safety for Food Security Partnership, also known as FS4FS. The initiative includes a $15 million investment over the next few years to support the availability and trade of safe food products to reduce poverty, hunger, and malnutrition in low- and middle-income countries. Foreign Ag Service Administrator Daniel Whitley says the initiative developed after the U.S.-African leaders summit, where many African heads of state asked for help in developing science-based measures and standards for food safety. “Through the new partnership, we will work together to address those needs, which are vital to ensuring greater access to safe and nutritious foods across Africa,” Whitley says. The agencies will also work to build on the success of Feed the Future and work with countries around the world to increase access to safe and nutritious foods and unlock trade opportunities. *********************************************************************************** China is World’s Number One in Ag Research and Development Public agricultural research and development funding has trended lower in the United States during the last several decades. However, a USDA report shows several of America’s top trading partners have increased their funding. The EU’s expenditures have grown since 2000, as have the funding pools in India and Brazil. But no country has experienced as rapid an increase in funding as China, which became the largest funder of agricultural R & D after 2011, surpassing the European Union. As recently as 2015, China was spending more than $10 billion yearly on agricultural R & D. That level was roughly twice what the U.S. spent in 2015 and nearly quintupled China’s own R & D spending in 2000. With China a major importer of U.S. agricultural goods and Brazil a competitor to the U.S. in global corn and soybean markets, these developments could have a significant impact on America’s export competitiveness.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday December 23, 2022 |


Friday Watch List Markets In spite of being the last day of trading before Christmas, Friday has several reports on the docket and will be a normal trading session. The U.S. Commerce Department reports on U.S. personal incomes and consumer spending for November at 7:30 a.m. CST, the same time as a report on U.S. durable goods is out. At 9 a.m., the University of Michigan's report on consumer sentiment in December is due along with a report on U.S. new home sales for November. At 2 p.m., USDA will release cattle on-feed and the quarterly inventory of hogs and pigs, both for December 1. After the Christmas holiday, trading for grain and livestock futures will start again Tuesday morning at 8:30 a.m. CST. Weather A strong arctic front has passed through most of the country, with only the Northeast yet to go. Temperatures have fallen to significantly low values Friday morning and will continue to be frigid through the weekend. Winds remain high across much of the country, creating blowing snow and blizzard conditions harsh for travel, and dangerous windchills for humans and livestock. Precipitation is moving off to the East Coast, though lake-effect snows will wind up during the day. Snow is falling in the Pacific Northwest as well, a sign of a more active pattern for the West to close out 2022.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday December 22, 2022 |


Sustainable Ag Coalition Supports Omnibus, Looks Into Ag Provisions The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition says it supports the 2023 omnibus appropriations bill. It’s also looked into several agricultural provisions included in the bill. The coalition says the bill includes $242 billion for discretionary programs funded annually and mandatory programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. NSAC is pleased to see higher investments in a couple of key programs, including a $5 million increase for the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program, and a more than $40 million increase for Conservation Technical Assistance. The coalition is also pleased to see expanded support for the Farm to School Grant Program, which will see a $2 million boost in its allocation, now at $14 million. NSAC Interim Policy Director Mike Lavender says, “The bill includes several key funding increases, though by and large maintains level funding for many programs.” They’re hopeful the bill gets to the president’s desk for signature as soon as possible. *********************************************************************************** U.S. Dairy Applauds USTR Actions Against Canada’s Dairy Practices The National Milk Producers Federation and U.S. Dairy Export Council applaud U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai’s actions under USMCA regarding Canada’s dairy market. Tai is filing a new request for dispute settlement consultations with Canada in order to expand the scope of the second USMCA dairy dispute to include additional elements necessary to ensure Canada complies with its trade agreement obligations. “We thank USTR and USDA for their diligence in working to ensure that American dairy producers have the market access promised under USMCA,” says Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF. “Canada continues to flagrantly flout its obligations, so the U.S. government needs to be ready with retaliatory measures.” Krysta Harden, president and CEO of USDEC, says it’s deeply unfortunate that Canada refuses to honor the full terms of the agreement. “USMCA is a fair deal that was thoroughly negotiated and agreed to by the Canadian government,” she says. *********************************************************************************** Wheat Industry Rail Shippers Welcome STB Rulings on Rate Disputes The U.S. Surface Transportation Board has put more streamlined processes in place for rail rate disputes that may benefit agricultural shippers. The STB established a voluntary arbitration program and a new procedure for rate challenges, known as the Final Offer Rate Review. Wheat farmers and the grain trade rely heavily on rail to transport wheat to export terminals, but rates for hauling wheat are often higher than for other crops. The U.S. Wheat Associates’ Working Transportation Group is pleased that the STB recognizes rail shippers need new and innovative ways to engage railroads on rate concerns. “These rulings are a welcome sign that rail customers like wheat farmers are being heard,” says Charlie Vogel, working group chair. “The voluntary arbitration program and the FORR process will help give smaller shippers a greater ability to challenge rail rates.” STB Chair Martin Oberman says they wanted to make smaller rail disputes reasonable and less time-consuming. *********************************************************************************** U.S. Egg Production Down Five Percent in November American egg production totaled 8.87 billion in November, down five percent from the same time last year. Production included 7.62 billion table eggs and 1.25 billion hatching eggs, of which 1.16 billion were broiler-type and 92.1 million were egg-type. The average number of layers in November totaled 375 million, down four percent from last year. November egg production per 100 layers was 2,369 eggs, slightly lower than last November. Total layers in the U.S. on December 1 totaled 374 million, five percent lower than last year. The layers consisted of 308 million layers producing table or market-type eggs, 62 million layers were broiler-type hatching eggs, and 3.74 million layers producing egg-type hatching eggs. Egg-type chicks hatched during November reached 46.5 million, up two percent from the previous November. Broiler-type chicks hatched during November totaled 810 million, one percent higher than in November 2021. Leading breeders placed 7.68 million broiler-type pullet chicks in November. *********************************************************************************** National Ag Day Essay Contest Looking for Entries Ahead of National Ag Day on March 21, 2023, the Agriculture Council of America is hosting an essay contest. The theme for the year is Growing a Climate for Tomorrow: How American Agriculture Does it Every Day. The essay contest is divided into two categories, either a written essay or a video essay. Both are national competitions and both winners get $1,000. The contest is open to students currently in grades 9 through 12. They must be a U.S. citizen and attend school in the U.S. The National Ag Day Program encourages every American to understand how food and fiber products are produced. It also teaches people to appreciate the role that agriculture plays in providing safe, abundant and affordable food products. The deadline for submitting entries in the essay contest is February 15, 2023. Go to agday.org for more information on contest rules, entry forms, or National Ag Day 2023. *********************************************************************************** USDA Says Dairy Exports Hit Record Levels USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service released its biannual report on America’s dairy exports. The report found that U.S. dairy exports are setting records this year in terms of value. The report covers January through October and says this increase was driven by strong prices for dairy products. Overall values are up 25 percent. Whey exports led the way with a 37 percent increase since last year. USDA says the increase in export value didn’t necessarily coincide with an increase in export volume. In fact, nonfat dry milk export volume dropped eight percent while the value went up by 27 percent. Ice cream and dry whole milk and cream saw a decrease in export volume by one and two percent, respectively. On average, volumes rose by five percent. Butter and milk fat were the only categories where volume growth outpaced growth in value. Volume increased 43 percent while the value rose 30 percent.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday December 22, 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 U.S. jobless claims and updates of third-quarter U.S. GDP and the U.S. Drought Monitor. The Conference Board's U.S. index of leading indicators from November will be out at 9 a.m., but weather will get most of the day's attention with bone-chilling temperatures and snow fanning out across the central U.S. Traders will also keep an eye on South American forecasts. Weather An arm of the polar vortex is sweeping through the middle of the country on Thursday. Very cold temperatures are filling in behind a cold front, which is producing a band of snow as well. Winds behind the front are intense and areas that have snow cover will see blizzard conditions developing. The southwestern Plains may see cold damage on wheat over the next couple of mornings while livestock are at extreme risk.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday December 21, 2022 |


Omnibus Includes Growing Climate Solutions Act, SUSTAINS Act The National Milk Producers Federation commended Congress for including the Growing Climate Solutions Act and the SUSTAINS Act in its final fiscal year 2023 budget package. The measures will help dairy farmers seek additional sustainability opportunities as they work to fulfill the dairy sector’s voluntary, producer-led goal of becoming greenhouse gas neutral or better by 2050. NMPF president and CEO Jim Mulhern says, “Environmental markets and conservation programs have the potential to meaningfully assist dairy producers as they work to meet their 2050 environmental stewardship goals.” The Growing Climate Solutions Act would enable USDA to register technical service providers that help farmers implement stewardship practices that can generate credits on environmental markets. The SUSTAINS Act would allow private sector funds to supplement existing funding for farm bill conservation programs, which are continuously oversubscribed. The Senate will vote on the omnibus appropriations bill this week which also includes $40 billion in disaster funding. *********************************************************************************** US Requests New USMCA Dispute Consultations on Canadian Dairy TRQ Policies United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai Tuesday announced that the United States is requesting new dispute settlement consultations with Canada under the United States – Mexico – Canada Agreement. The request is over Canada’s dairy tariff-rate quota, or TRQ, allocation measures. Since initiating consultations with Canada in May 2022, the United States has identified additional aspects of Canada's measures that appear to be inconsistent with Canada's obligations under the USMCA, and U.S. concerns have only increased. With this new request, the United States expands its challenge of Canada’s dairy TRQ allocation measures to include Canada’s use of a market-share approach for determining TRQ allocations. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says, “Canada remains in violation of its commitments under the USMCA by not removing its trade restrictions on American dairy producers.” In January 2022, a USMCA dispute settlement panel found Canada’s dairy TRQ allocation measures to be inconsistent with Canada’s USMCA obligations. *********************************************************************************** USDA and USTR Seek New Trade Advisory Committee Members The Department of Agriculture and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative are accepting applications for new members to serve on agricultural trade advisory committees. Members of the Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee advise the administration on implementing and enforcing existing U.S. trade agreements, negotiation of new agreements, and other trade policy matters. Members of the six Agricultural Technical Advisory Committees, or ATACs, provide technical advice and guidance on international trade issues that affect specific agricultural commodity sectors. The ATACs focus on trade in animals and animal products, fruits and vegetables, grains, feed, oilseeds, and planting seeds, processed foods, sweeteners and sweetener products, tobacco, cotton, and peanuts. Applicants must have expertise in U.S. agriculture and experience in international trade to be considered for committee membership. Application instructions are available at fas.usda.gov. Applications must be received by 5 p.m. ET on January 31, 2023. *********************************************************************************** USDA Invests $9.5M to Develop New Bioproducts from Agricultural Commodities The Department of Agriculture Tuesday announced an investment of $9.5 million to support the scale-up of sustainable bioproduct manufacturing in the United States. Three successful projects are funded through USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Bioproduct Pilot Program, which funds research and development of value-added products from agricultural commodities. Authorized and funded by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the Bioproduct Pilot Program presents a unique opportunity to spur economic activity in the nation’s rural areas while lowering commercialization risks associated with bringing biobased products to market. The program’s exploration into bioproducts accelerates USDA’s efforts to develop circular bioeconomies, where agricultural resources are harvested, consumed, and regenerated sustainably. This pilot program also supports the objectives outlined in President Biden's recent Executive Order on Advancing Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing for a Sustainable, Safe, and Secure American Bioeconomy. The three awardees are Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and Soylei Innovations of Ames, Iowa. *********************************************************************************** USDA: Vegetable Prices Spike in 2022 Fresh-market vegetable crops in California, Florida, and Mexico were hit with a variety of inclement weather this summer and fall. The adverse weather reduced supplies and contributed to higher shipping-point prices, according to a USDA Economic Research Service report. Shipping-point prices for fresh vegetables are expected to remain above seasonal norms until new or replanted fields are harvested in late December or early January. While retail prices for all food rose at the quickest year-over-year pace since 1979, up about ten percent, retail fresh vegetable prices, as measured by the Consumer Price Index, rose six percent during the first three quarters of 2022. Driven primarily by rising transport costs and higher prices for key items such as potatoes, onions, and lettuce, when complete this year, the Consumer Price Index for fresh vegetables will likely present the largest year-to-year gain since an 11 percent surge in 1998. *********************************************************************************** Study Shows Soybean Oil for Biofuels Has Limited Impact on Overall Food Prices A new study shows U.S.-grown soybeans are well suited for people looking to cook, fuel up or find other sustainable solutions. The United Soybean Board partnered with Purdue University to evaluate whether the increased use of soybean oil in biofuels has contributed to the rising retail prices of food products for consumers. One key element missing from this equation is that only one-fifth of the soybean is oil, most of the soybean is meal used as a high-quality protein in animal diets. This expanded crush for oil to meet biofuel demand creates increased availability for meal, driving down the price of animal protein products. Jayson Lusk of Purdue University says, “What we found, after assessing the impact of rising soybean oil demand on prices at the grocery store, was little change to the Consumer Price Index.” While the increased demand for biofuels pushed up retail prices for oil between 0.16 percent and 4.41 percent, retail animal product prices declined between -0.01 percent and -0.16 percent.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday December 21, 2022 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets Wednesday is the first official day of winter and it will definitely feel like winter for anyone in the northern U.S. There are reports of U.S. consumer confidence in December and U.S. existing home sales in November at 9 a.m. CST, followed by the Energy Department's weekly inventory report at 9:30 a.m., including ethanol production. Traders continue to closely watch the latest weather forecasts, especially for Argentina. Weather A significant low pressure system is pushing into the central U.S. Wednesday, and it will continue to bring snow to much of the north central U.S. into Wednesday night. Accompanying the snow will be very cold temperatures extending from the Northern Plains into the central Plains and Upper Midwest. Wind gusts up to 40-50 mph will also accompany the snowfall, creating blizzard conditions and dangerously cold wind chills.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday December 20, 2022 |


2022 Census of Agriculture Underway The Department of Agriculture Last week mailed the 2022 Census of Agriculture paper questionnaires to all known agriculture producers across the nation and Puerto Rico. Producers in the states received their survey codes last month with an invitation to respond online. Any producer who has yet to respond online now has the option to complete the ag census at agcounts.usda.gov or by mail. Producers who have already responded online do not need to respond again. The deadline for response is February 6, 2023. USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service Administrator Hubert Hamer says, “We know producers are busy, which is why NASS worked to make responding to the ag census more convenient than ever before.” The Census of Agriculture remains the nation’s only comprehensive and impartial agriculture data for every state, county, and U.S. territory. Responding to the Census of Agriculture is required by law, and the same law requires NASS to keep all information confidential. *********************************************************************************** Mexico Offers Amendments to Biotech Decree The U.S. Trade Representative’s Office and the Department of Agriculture are evaluating proposed amendments to Mexico’s decree to ban the use and purchase of biotech commodities. In a joint statement, USTR Katherine Tai and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack say, “We agreed to review their proposal closely and follow up with questions or concerns in short order,” adding, “There is a joint recognition that time is of the essence and we must determine a path forward soon.” The two officials met with a delegation of senior Mexican Government officials in Washington, D.C. late last week. On the same day, a group of more than 20 farm-state Senators urged USTR and USDA to take action against Mexico’s proposal to ban U.S. genetically-engineered corn. The Senators write, “It would be detrimental to food security in Mexico, hurt U.S. agricultural sustainability, and stifle future agricultural technology innovations that would benefit both nations.” *********************************************************************************** Iowa State University Cover Crop Report A new report from the Iowa State University Center for Agricultural and Rural Development summarizes five years of data on Iowa farmers' use of cover crops. The survey was administered to farmers who visited local conservation field offices and received technical assistance related to cover crops. The more than 3,000 responses shed light on Iowa farmers' rationale and motivations to use cover crops, the timing of planting and termination, the types and extent of varieties used, and farmers' preferred information sources. The most prevalent types of operations using cover crops were farms producing row crops and cattle, and farms producing row crops but no livestock. Most respondents seeded cover crops on erodible land, and only on a portion of their fields. The stated motivations to use cover crops reported by at least two-thirds of the respondents include preventing soil erosion, building soil organic matter, improving soil health, and improving/protecting water quality. *********************************************************************************** Applications Open for Women in Food & Agriculture Mentorship Program Alltech recently announced Applications are now open for the Women in Food & Agriculture Mentorship Program. Now in its third year, the free-to-join program matches applicants based on their preferences, which can include gender of mentor, areas of expertise, language and industry sector, and offers opportunities for women in food and agriculture to develop meaningful industry connections. Alltech President and CEO Mark Lyons says, “We view our involvement in the Women in Food & Agriculture mentorship program as an investment not only in the lives of women but in the future of agriculture.” Women in Food & Agriculture is looking for mentors of any gender who have at least one year of experience in the food and ag sector. During matching, the organization will ensure all mentors have more work experience than mentees, so this should not be a barrier to mentors applying. For more information and to apply to be a mentor or mentee, visit wfa-initiative.com *********************************************************************************** Angus Foundation to host 150 Years of Angus Celebration The Angus Foundation will host a 150 Years of Angus Celebration on January 6 at Cattlemen's Congress in Oklahoma City. In 1873, George Grant settled in Victoria, Kansas, with four Angus bulls from Scotland. The evening of Angus fellowship will feature door prizes and auction items to benefit the Foundation's mission, food and refreshments and the announcement of the 2023 Angus Herdsman of the Year. Jaclyn Boester, Angus Foundation executive director, says, "We're proud of the Angus legacy built over the past 150 years, and we know through the work of the Foundation and our supporters, the future looks just as promising." The evening's auction will feature several exciting lots, including a Two-Night Wine Country Getaway for Six and a Live Oak Plantation Experience and Quail Hunt. Funds raised through the auction will benefit the Angus Fund, which provides unrestricted support for the Foundation's mission of furthering Angus education, youth and research. For more information, visit www.AngusFoundation.org. *********************************************************************************** Fuel Price Decline Continues, But End in Sight The nation's average gas price declined again last week, falling 11.9 cents to $3.09 per gallon. The national average is down 57.1 cents from a month ago and 20 cents per gallon from a year ago. The national average diesel price fell 14.1 cents last week, reaching $4.77 per gallon. Overall, the price for a gallon of gasoline is down nearly $2 compared to six months ago, but oil prices may put an end to the declines soon. GasBuddy’s Patrick De Haan says, “While the decline should take the national average under $3 per gallon in the next week or so, it is soon likely to fade as oil prices have held in the $70 per barrel range.” After reaching as low as $72 per barrel, West Texas Intermediate crude oil has seen a slight rally on China’s reopening plans. However, De Haan says diesel prices could fall another 50 cents or more in the weeks ahead.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday December 20, 2022 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets A report on U.S. housing starts for November is set for 7:30 a.m. CST Tuesday, the only significant report on the day's docket. Traders will keep watch on the latest weather forecasts and any outside news that emerges. Traders will also pause at 8 a.m. to see if USDA has an export sale to announce. Weather While a very cold airmass still remains across the Canadian Prairies and the north central U.S. Tuesday, a significant low pressure system is developing in the northern Rockies and will push east throughout the day, eventually reaching the northwest plains later Tuesday night. Meanwhile, a disturbance bringing rain showers across the southern Mississippi Valley will continue pushing east into the Southeast throughout Tuesday.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday December 19, 2022 |


Group Supports Modernizing H-2A Visa Program The American Business Coalition Immigration Action group applauded the Senate introduction of the Affordable and Safe Food Act. The legislation would modernize the nation’s farm guest worker H-2A visa program by opening it up to more farmers. “ABIC Action fully endorses this bill and is so grateful for the leadership of Senator Michael Bennet in introducing the legislation,” says ABIC executive director Rebecca Shi (she). The bill would make visas available for year-round work in the dairy industry and other agricultural sectors, put a down payment on border security with mandatory e-verify, stabilize wages for farmers, and create legal protections and a pathway to citizenship for undocumented decade-plus farm workers. Senator Bennet says the cost of farm labor has gone up almost 50 percent over the past decade, much higher than wage costs in other sectors of the economy. The bill would save farmers $23 billion over the next 12 years. *********************************************************************************** EPA: New Biofuel Mandates Will Boost GHG in Short Term The Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed changes to the nation’s biofuel blending mandates through 2025 will cause a short-term increase in greenhouse gas emissions. However, agency documents also say the changes will yield long-term reductions. The new proposal will add to greenhouse gas emissions over the next three years by between 81 million and 266 million tons. A Reuters review of the documents says the rise will come from new tiling for corn, soy, and other plantings that release carbon from the soil. EPA’s GHG calculator says that’s the climate equivalent of driving 17 million and 57 million vehicles for one year. However, EPA also projects those emissions will be more than offset in the long term due to reduced tailpipe emissions and other factors. Those figures are assuming biofuel volume mandates don’t change after 2025. EPA says the proposal would reduce GHGs by between 128 million and 1.6 billion metric tons. *********************************************************************************** Groups Argue in Court to Preserve Chlorpyrifos A total of 20 agricultural groups argued before the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., about chlorpyrifos. Specifically, they asked the court to reinstate chlorpyrifos tolerances that the Environmental Protection Agency has found safe. EPA revoked those safe tolerances, which effectively ended agriculture’s chance to use an important pesticide. The decision has inflicted enormous costs on thousands of American farmers and undermined their ability to protect their crops from potentially devastating insect pests. The groups say EPA revoked the safety tolerances despite finding on multiple occasions that at least 11 high-benefit crop uses could be safely maintained. American Soybean Association President Daryl Cates says, “Farmers rely on regulators following the law. Congress wrote the pesticide laws that way to provide growers access to the tools they need to be successful and ensure those tools can be used safely.” The groups are hopeful for a ruling in the coming months. *********************************************************************************** NASDA Receives Large USDA Grant From FAS Emerging Markets Program The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture was awarded a USDA grant worth $925,000 through the Foreign Agricultural Services’ Emerging Markets Program. The EMP helps organizations promote exports of agricultural products to developing countries with strong growth potential. “We are excited for NASDA members to engage in critical discussions to support global market development and strengthen bilateral trade relationships,” says NASDA CEO Ted McKinney. The group will use the funding to conduct market research in emerging markets in Southeast Asia and Africa. NASDA will also organize outbound trade missions for state department of agriculture leaders to learn about the markets and engage in discussions with relevant parties in each country. “Our members understand how important it is to spread the message about the value and quality of U.S. products and the benefits of innovation around the world,” McKinney says. “The first step in earning trading partners is establishing open communication.” *********************************************************************************** Iowa Farmland Prices Jump Again Iowa State University’s annual Land Value Survey shows farmland values are averaging $11,411 an acre in 2022, a 17 percent rise from last year. ISU says farmers have a lot more cash on hand, and supply chain issues led to a shortage of equipment, so the money typically spent on equipment is now getting used to buy land. The survey included responses from land appraisers, farm managers, and lenders. Seventy percent of the people surveyed said land values were “too high” or “way too high.” However, 48 percent of the participants also expect prices to be higher a year from now. About 28 percent expect lower land values next year, and 24 percent expect prices to hold steady. The survey began in 1941, and the 2022 farmland value of $11,411 per acre is the highest in history. When adjusted for inflation, this year’s value comes in at $8,716 an acre. *********************************************************************************** Commodity Sales to Overseas Buyers Surge USDA says sales of grains and soybeans climbed week-to-week during the week ending on December 8. Soybean sales took a healthy jump to 2.94 million metric tons, up from 1.72 million the week before. Sales surged as China bought 1.25 million metric tons, and another unnamed country purchased 1.03 million metric tons. However, exports for the week fell to 1.85 million metric tons, down from 2.25 million tons the week before. Corn sales totaled 958,900 metric tons, a sharp jump from 692,000 during the previous week. Guatemala was the top buyer at 196,400 metric tons, and Mexico bought almost 171,000 metric tons. Export sales for the week hit 591,000 metric tons, down from a little over 900,000 tons the previous week. Wheat sales rose to 469,000 metric tons, a sharp rise from 190,000 during the previous week. Exports were reported at 255,900 metric tons, down slightly from the previous week.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday December 19, 2022 |


Monday Watch List Markets Back from the weekend and getting close to Christmas, USDA's weekly report of export inspections at 10 a.m. CST is the only item on Monday's docket. Trading may be slower than normal this week, but changing weather forecasts, outside market concerns and the constant threat of Russian mischief will keep us all paying attention. Weather A very cold airmass will remain across the Canadian Prairies into the north central U.S. Monday. Meanwhile, a two-part system will provide rain showers and a few thunderstorms across the south central U.S. with snow showers across the north.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday December 16, 2022 |


USDA Invests in Infrastructure to Combat Climate Change in Rural America Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Thursday announced USDA is investing $285 million in critical infrastructure. The investment seeks to lower energy costs, expand access to clean energy for people across rural America, and combat climate change. USDA is also making an additional $300 million available under the Rural Energy for America Program, including $250 million through the Inflation Reduction Act, to spur further investment. Vilsack says, "People in rural America are on the front lines of climate change, and our communities deserve investments that will strengthen our Country's resilience." USDA is making 844 investments through the Rural Energy for America Program. The program helps farmers purchase and install renewable energy systems and make energy efficiency improvements. USDA also announced that it will make $300 million available under the Rural Energy for America Program to expand renewable energy and support energy-efficiency projects. The deadline to apply for grants is March 31, 2023. Applications for technical assistance grants are due January 31, 2023. Applications for loan guarantees are accepted year-round. *********************************************************************************** Bennet, Newhouse, Introduce Last Minute Farm Labor Bill In a last-minute effort to get H-2A reform finished before Congress adjourns, lawmakers have introduced a new bill. Senator Michael Bennet, a Democrat from Colorado and Representative Dan Newhouse, a Washington state Republican, introduced the Affordable and Secure Food Act Thursday. The legislation will reform the H-2A Temporary Agricultural Worker program by expanding H-2A visas to year-round jobs for the first time, modernizing the application process, creating more wage certainty, and ensuring critical protections for farm workers. Senator Bennet says, “This plan is broadly supported by farmers, by labor, by immigration advocates, and business,” adding, “There is no reason that we shouldn’t get this done.” Representative Newhouse says, “let’s stop waiting, and start acting,” and “reform our broken immigration laws.” The legislation reflects years of close input from farmers and ranchers, agricultural workers, and labor organizations, and would establish a program for agriculture workers, along with their spouses and minor children, to earn legal status. *********************************************************************************** USDA Releases 2021 Organics Data USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service Thursday released the results of the 2021 Organic Survey. The survey shows total sales of $11.2 billion in organic products, an increase of $1.28 billion, or 13 percent, from 2019. There were 17,445 certified organic farms, a five percent increase from 2019. California continued to lead the nation in certified organic sales with $3.55 billion, which is 32 percent of the U.S. total. It also led all states with more than 3,000 certified farms and 813,700 certified acres. Washington, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Oregon, round out the top five states for value of organic sales. Marketing practices in the certified organic farming sector showed that $2.02 billion in organic products were sold directly to retail markets, institutions, and local/regional food hubs. Another $310 million in organic products were sold directly to consumers. The value of processed or value-added products such as jam, wine, cheese, and meat, accounted for $707 million. *********************************************************************************** McKinsey & Company Release Global Farmer Survey Results Despite economic disturbances, high crop prices are giving farmers around the world cause for cautious optimism, according to a new survey. Global consultancy McKinsey & Company this week released the results of its global survey of 5,500 farmers from nine countries. Seventy percent of farmers expect profits to remain stable or increase - the result of higher crop prices driving profitability in the next two years. Consequently, farmers are being inspired to invest in new products that are focused on yield increase and crop protection. Despite an uncertain future with supply chains impacted by geopolitical conflicts, farmers are facing the changes head on, innovating in new areas and adopting new strategies. Vasanth Ganesan, Partner at McKinsey, says, “Products and services should be tailored and personalized for growers, to stimulate uptake and provide farmers access to yield-driving technologies and greater cost-efficiencies. McKinsey & Company is a global management consulting firm in more than 130 cities and 65 countries. *********************************************************************************** CHS Releases 2022 Sustainability Report CHS recently released the 2022 CHS Sustainability Report, describing the company's approach to sustainability and highlighting some of its sustainability initiatives. The actions taken by CHS will help the company reduce its impact on the planet, respond to opportunities related to enhanced sustainability and continue to build a better future for the farmers and ranchers who own the cooperative system. In 2022, CHS added Megan Rock as vice president, sustainability and innovation and chief sustainability officer. CHS will place an emphasis on helping owners, and other stakeholders understand the company's approach to environmental, social, and corporate governance reporting, including providing definitions and interpretations in the 2022 CHS Sustainability Report. The company is also exploring technologies that impact supply chain automation, real-time soil sensing and traceability in row crops as part of its sustainability efforts. For an in-depth look into the 2022 CHS Sustainability Report, visit chsinc.com/sustainability. *********************************************************************************** “Yellowstone” Creator to Speak at Annual Cattle Industry Convention Taylor Sheridan will speak during the Opening General Session of the 2023 Cattle Industry Convention & NCBA Trade Show in New Orleans on February 1. Sheridan will join NCBA President Don Schiefelbein, a Minnesota cattle producer, for a conversation about ranch life. Sheridan says, “My passion for the ranching lifestyle has inspired me to write stories that are rich in history, led by complex characters, and focus on family dynamics.” Sheridan is an Academy Award®-nominated writer and actor as well as a member of the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame. A Texas native himself, Sheridan excels in the Western horse performance industry as an avid supporter and competitor in reining and cutting. He also owns and operates two Texas ranches, including the legendary 6666 or Four Sixes Ranch, a 2015 Environmental Stewardship Award Program regional winner, and Bosque Ranch. Sheridan recently launched Four Sixes® Ranch Brand Beef which retails beef sourced from 6666 and a network of ranches.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday December 16, 2022 |


Friday Watch List Markets There are no significant reports on Friday's docket, but traders will pay attention to the latest weather forecasts, pause at 8 a.m. CST to see if USDA has an export announcement and will keep an eye on outside markets and any news from Ukraine. Livestock traders have to wait for USDA's cattle on-feed and quarterly hogs and pigs inventory reports, due out next Friday after the market close, just in front of the Christmas weekend. Weather While our large winter storm continues to wind down slowly, snow will fall in bands across northern areas of the country throughout the day. Winds are still elevated behind the system, mostly across the Plains, where blizzard conditions continue.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday December 15, 2022 |


Corn Growers Call on Biden to Set Quick, Firm Timeline with Mexico Leaders of state corn groups and the National Corn Growers Association called on President Biden to take additional steps to address the pending decree by Mexico that would block imports of biotech corn. A letter sent to the President Wednesday encouraged Biden to raise the issue during upcoming trade talks and to file a dispute under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement if Mexico doesn't act expeditiously to withdraw the decree. The leaders say, "Corn farmers are right now in the process of making planting decisions for next spring, and any additional uncertainty in the market affects their ability to appropriately respond to multiple market signals." Mexico's Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard plans to visit Washington this week to discuss the issue ahead of a planned meeting on trade between Biden, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in early January. The state corn grower leaders urged Biden to raise the issue at the meeting. *********************************************************************************** CoBank Releases 2023 Year Ahead Report The U.S. economy still has considerable momentum and is not currently on the verge of recession., according to CoBank's 2023 Year Ahead report. However, economists have never been more pessimistic, and there are legitimate reasons for concern. Over the past half-century, inflation above five percent has never been tamed without incurring a recession. Dan Kowalski, vice president of CoBank's Knowledge Exchange, says, "As financial conditions continue to tighten, we expect the U.S. economy will steadily soften through the first half of 2023." After two years defined by a strong economic rebound from the pandemic, the global economy will sputter in 2023. Despite the global pandemic and a steady barrage of disruptive challenges, the U.S. agricultural economy has fared quite well for the last three years. However, in 2023 producers and related industries will begin to show financial strains. A relentless series of adversities, including skyrocketing production costs, steeply higher interest rates and weakening demand, will increasingly pressure farm income and margins. *********************************************************************************** Counties with Continuous High Poverty Since 1960 Largely Rural Fresh data from USDA’s Economic Research Service shows counties with continuous high poverty since 1960 are largely rural. In 1960, 78 percent of U.S. counties had poverty rates of 20 percent or more. Among them, 28 percent continued to have high poverty through 1980. After enactment of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964, commonly known as the War on Poverty initiatives, many counties reported reduced poverty rates. Between 1980 and 2019, poverty rates were relatively stable, mainly fluctuating with cyclical changes in the macroeconomy. As of 2019, there were 304 counties—13 percent of the counties with high poverty in 1960—that consistently had poverty rates of 20 percent or more over the last 60 years. The majority—264 counties—are rural counties and are clustered in the Appalachian States; the Black Belt in the South; the Mississippi Delta; the Ozarks region of Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and southeast Kansas; the Southwest; and in counties with large American Indian and Alaska Native populations. *********************************************************************************** New Project Allows Cotton Farmers to participate in Carbon Markets A new collaboration offers southern cotton growers the chance to participate in carbon markets. The Ecosystem Services Market Consortium, US Cotton Trust Protocol, Manulife Investment Management, and Forum for the Future announced the effort Wednesday. The collaboration launched an Eco-Harvest pilot project in Alabama, Arkansas, Texas, and Tennessee. The project will work with cotton farmers to generate high-quality carbon and greenhouse gas credits on more than 2,300 acres. Cotton producers targeted for enrollment include those implementing conservation practices such as nutrient management, reduced tillage, and cover crops. Once producers are enrolled in ESMC’s Eco-Harvest program, ESMC quantifies credits and arranges third-party credit verification by a global certification body. Corporate buyers can purchase these verified credits to help meet their supply chain sustainability targets. Participating farmers, who may be new to private voluntary ecosystem markets linked to conservation practice adoption, will develop knowledge on and the ability to participate in markets. Learn more about the program at ecosystemservicesmarket.org. *********************************************************************************** USDA Invests Additional $10M to Support Community Food Projects USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture Wednesday announced an investment of nearly $10 million through the Community Food Projects Competitive Grants Program. The funding, made possible through the American Rescue Plan Act, bolsters USDA’s food and nutrition security efforts. Specifically, the funding promotes the self-reliance of communities in providing for the unique food needs of their community members. Community food projects support small to medium farmers, producers and processors in urban, rural, tribal and insular areas. The program provides communities a voice in food system decisions and supports local food markets to fully benefit the community, increase food and nutrition security and stimulate local economies. The program funds projects that meet the food needs of low-income individuals through food distribution, community outreach or improved food access. The funds will be invested in 29 Community Foods Projects from fiscal year 2022 Request for Applications submissions that were highly ranked but could not be funded at the time due to budget constraints. *********************************************************************************** NOAA Announces Funding for Fish Habitats Across U.S. NOAA Fisheries Wednesday announced $105 million in funding for 36 new fish passage projects under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The announcement includes significant funding to implement fish passage projects that meet tribal priorities and build tribal organizational capacity to support their role as stewards of tribal resources. Through the funding, NOAA prioritized projects that demonstrate a broad base of stakeholder and community support. Selected projects will span the full range of fish passage types, including dam removals, fish ladders, culvert improvements and in-stream fish passage improvements. NOAA says 15 of the projects, encompassing more than $26.3 million in funding, will be led by tribal applicants for fish passage. Fish passage is about improving access for fish to the habitats they need or reconnecting access to historic habitat blocked by humans. Migratory fish like salmon require access to high-quality rearing and spawning habitats, and unimpeded migratory corridors, to be successful and resilient.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday December 15, 2022 |


Thursday Watch List Markets USDA's weekly report of export sales is due out at 7:30 a.m. CST Thursday, the same time as weekly U.S. jobless claims, a report of U.S. retail sales in November and an update of the U.S. Drought Monitor. At 9:15 a.m., the Federal Reserve's report on U.S. industrial production for November will be out, followed by the U.S. Energy Department's report of natural gas storage at 9:30 a.m. and the November soybean crush report from the National Oilseeds Processors later Thursday morning. Traders will keep watch over the latest weather forecasts and outside market behavior after Wednesday's half-percent rate hike from the Federal Reserve. Weather A slow-moving, strong storm system continues to produce widespread weather impacts to the country on Thursday. Heavy snow is falling in bursts across the Upper Midwest and Dakotas and a line of precipitation is moving through the Eastern Seaboard. Winds are still high on the backside of the system across the Northern Plains, producing blizzard conditions. Colder air is filling in behind the cold front through most of the country.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday December 14, 2022 |


November Combine Harvesters, Four Wheel Drive Tractor Sales Grow Combine harvester sales remained positive in November, as did four-wheel drive tractor sales in both the U.S. and Canada. However, the latest data from the Association of Equipment Manufacturers says total tractor sales fell in both countries. Total U.S. ag equipment unit sales fell overall though the largest units grew in sales. November’s total farm tractor sales fell 21 percent compared to 2021, with the under-40 horsepower segment seeing the biggest drop at 28 percent. U.S. self-propelled combine sales in November grew 8.3 percent to 314 units sold. Combine sales are one of two positive segments this year, up 15.7 percent year-to-date. The other growing segment in 2022 is the 100-plus horsepower segment, up 6.2 percent during November and 13.3 percent higher year-to-date. Combine harvesters and 4WD tractors were the only higher segments in Canada. “While total sales are down, the larger equipment continues to be strong,” says Curt Blades of AEM. *********************************************************************************** Lower Soybean Oil Demand Means Higher Ending Stocks The current 2022-2023 U.S. soybean balance sheet remains unchanged for now as export and crush volumes are in line with current forecasts. Although soybean meal is off to the projected start, the same can’t be said for soybean oil. Abysmal export volumes and commitments have resulted in a lower soybean oil export forecast for the current marketing year, dropping by 200 million pounds to 1.1 million pounds. Total commitments were down 90 percent on December 1. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released its renewable fuel obligation targets for 2023-2025, which included a slight bump in the biomass-based diesel mandate during the first year. The EPA also approved and finalized a pathway for canola oil used in renewable diesel production. As a result, America’s soybean and canola oil balance sheets are changed to nearly offset the expected impacts on domestic use. Ultimately, the soybean oil ending stocks forecast got raised to 1.9 billion pounds. *********************************************************************************** Vegetable Prices Up 40 Percent Americans are paying up to 40 percent more for their vegetables than in 2021, and drought is a big reason for the price hike. A new report from Daily Mail says the increase is due, in large part, to states that grow fresh produce getting hit with water cuts because of droughts and storms destroying some crops as well. For example, Arizona produces 90 percent of the leafy greens in the U.S. and experienced its worst drought in 1,200 years. Water levels in the Colorado River are dramatically low, cutting down on the amount of water available to farmers. No relief is coming for Arizona’s farmers as officials will cut Arizona’s water intake from the Colorado River by 21 percent starting on January 1, 2023. The nation’s top agricultural state, California, is also getting hurt by severe drought. The biggest increase was a 38 percent jump in the price of fresh and dry vegetables. *********************************************************************************** Officials Want Support for Organic Poultry and Dairy Producers Senator Tammy Baldwin and Representatives Jared Huffman and Chellie Pingree led 25 colleagues in a bipartisan, bicameral letter asking Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack for immediate assistance for organic poultry and dairy producers. “We’re writing on behalf of the organic and poultry sectors to request emergency relief in response to skyrocketing feed costs that are impacting the future viability of this industry,” the letter says. “The situation is dire and requires your immediate response.” International trade challenges specific to the organic sector, persistent drought, and the lack of a stable domestic supply of certified organic feed combined to create a dire economic situation for organic livestock farmers for the past two years. They also point out that year-over-year price spikes in the cost of feedstuffs are now creating unsustainable circumstances that could lead to further farm closures, reduced competition, and ultimately limit consumer choice. If not addressed, the impact could be devastating. *********************************************************************************** CNH Industrial Opening Electrification R and D Center in Michigan CNH Industrial recently announced it has opened a new technical center in Detroit, Michigan. The center is designed to support the company’s growing innovation in electrification. It will also enhance CNH Industrial’s technology capabilities. “This new center underlines our commitment to growing our electric vehicle and subsystem profile and marks another milestone for us,” CNH says in a statement. “This allows us to become more customer-focused and build mission-fit electrified drivetrains and high voltage systems.” The new site in Detroit will complement and partner with the company’s existing electrification site in Italy. The sites will work together to advance the company’s position in alternative types of propulsion built on more than 15 years of R and D experience. “As an employer, we are investing in talented and motivated people who augment our in-house electrification capabilities,” says Kevin Barr, Chief Human Resource Officer. “Our talent will change agriculture in the years ahead.” *********************************************************************************** Weekly Export Inspection Numbers Drop USDA says inspections of soybeans and grain for overseas delivery all fell in the seven days ending on December 8. Soybean assessments came in at 1.84 million metric tons, down from over two million tons the prior week. That’s still better than the 1.75 million reported during the same week last year. Corn inspections also fell, dropping to 505,000 metric tons. That number was down from almost 825,000 the previous week. That corn number was also below the total from the same time last year of 930,000 metric tons. Wheat inspections totaled just 218,500 metric tons, down from more than 341,000 the week before and 269,000 during the same week last year. Since the start of the marketing year, USDA has inspected 7.15 million metric tons of corn for export, 23.4 million metric tons of soybeans, and 11.1 million metric tons of wheat. The wheat marketing year began on June 1.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday December 14, 2022 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets At 9:30 a.m. CST Wednesday, the U.S. Energy Department will release its weekly report of energy inventories, including ethanol productions. At 1 p.m., the Federal Reserve will conclude its two-day meeting and is expected to increase the federal funds target by a half-percent. Traders will be watching for any comments from the Fed, the latest weather forecasts and for any sign of export sales. Weather In the midst of a strong storm system, continued heavy snow and blizzard conditions are occurring over the Northern Plains while a band of precipitation arcs through the Midwest and down into the Lower Mississippi Valley. Additional precipitation is forming over eastern Texas as another low pressure center develops on a strong cold front near the Mississippi River later today. That low will move northeast and through the Midwest with additional precipitation and risks for severe weather across the Gulf Coast.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday December 13, 2022 |


FACA Congratulates Additional Recipients of Climate-Smart Pilot Project Funding The Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance Monday congratulated the second group of organizations selected to receive funding through USDA’s Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities Program. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the additional funding of $325 million for 71 projects under the second funding pool of the effort. USDA received more than 1,000 proposals between two funding pools requesting more than $20 billion in funds. The announcement brings the total investment from both funding pools to more than $3.1 billion for 141 tentatively selected projects. The projects will provide meaningful opportunities for small and underserved producers to participate in innovative climate programs, according to FACA. One of FACA’s key tenets is ensuring federal climate programs offer equitable opportunities for all farmers, ranchers and forest owners. FACA supports a voluntary, incentive-based approach to advance the deployment of climate-smart practices on working lands. FACA consists of organizations representing farmers, agribusinesses, manufacturers, the food and innovation sector, state governments, sportsmen, and environmental advocates. *********************************************************************************** USDA Accepting Applications for Panama Agribusiness Trade Mission USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service is accepting applications from U.S. exporters for a regional trade mission to Panama from March 19-23, 2023. FAS Administrator Daniel Whitley says, "This is a perfect time to increase U.S. agricultural and food exports to Central America." USDA staff and regional experts will provide in-depth market briefings while in the country. The agency will also arrange targeted business meetings with potential customers from Panama, a bilateral Free Trade Agreement partner, and buyers from countries in the multilateral Central America and Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement. The region offers strong capabilities in logistics, distribution, processing, cold chain, and more. Strong opportunities exist for exporters across many industries, including poultry, pork, dairy, beer and wine, snack foods and health foods. This will be the first USDA Agribusiness Trade Mission in 2023. The deadline to apply for the CAFTA-DR trade mission is Friday, December 30. Complete information is available at fas.usda.gov/. *********************************************************************************** FTC: Tractor Supply Company Must Sell Some Orscheln Stores The Federal Trade Commission recently finalized a consent order settling Tractor Supply Company’s acquisition of rival chain Orscheln (ORR-shlin) Farm and Home LLC. Following a public comment period, the FTC determined the acquisition would have harmed competition among farm stores in the Midwest and South. The consent order imposes a number of requirements, including that Tractor Supply divest some Orscheln stores, as well as Orscheln’s corporate offices and Missouri distribution center, to Bomgaars )BOM-gars), an Iowa-based farm store chain, and other stores to Buchheit (buck-eyet), another chain with farm stores in Missouri and Illinois. Tractor Supply Company announced it closed the Orscheln Farm and Home acquisition in October in a deal valued at $320 million. The consent agreement also requires that for a period of three years, the companies buying the divested farm stores must obtain prior approval from the FTC before selling any of the Orscheln stores they acquired. *********************************************************************************** Alltech ONE Conference Embarks on a World Tour in 2023 Alltech is transforming its annual Alltech ONE Conference in 2023 into a series of international events. The events will invite collaboration on the greatest challenges facing the agri-food industry. Instead of welcoming the world to Alltech's home in Lexington, Kentucky, as it has for the past 38 years, the Alltech ONE World Tour will bring the ideas and inspiration of the ONE Conference to communities throughout the world. Stops are planned in Brazil, Canada, Hungary, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, the Middle East, the Philippines, Singapore, Spain, the United States and Vietnam. Additional stops are expected to be announced in 2023. Alltech President and CEO Dr. Mark Lyons says, "As our customers and partners continue to face many challenges and uncertainties, we determined that 2023 would be dedicated to meeting them in their market." Alltech will welcome the international conference back to Kentucky in 2024, and the company will release more details about the 2023 tour in the coming weeks. *********************************************************************************** Portland to Replace Petroleum Diesel Sales with Biodiesel Portland, Oregon’s city council recently voted to phase out petroleum diesel sales and replace the product with biofuels. The policy focuses on diesel fuel, phasing in requirements for cleaner, renewable fuels, with the goal of achieving 99 percent renewable blend of all diesel fuel sales in Portland by 2030. The rulemaking process and the interim rule allows flexibility to adjust the policy based on real market conditions. While renewable fuel producers are confident that supply will be available in Oregon by 2026, the rollout timeline was extended to 2030 in response to concerns from local industry about supply and cost. City leaders say the efforts reduce dependence on nonrenewable fossil fuels by increasing the required percentage of renewable fuels blended with petroleum diesel. The standard only applies to retailers of diesel fuel located within the city of Portland. Replacing petroleum diesel at the pump is one of the 43 priority actions listed in the Portland Climate Emergency Workplan. *********************************************************************************** Weekly Fuel Prices: Diesel Declines Outpace Gas The nation's average gas price declined for the fifth consecutive week, down 14.4 cents from a week ago to $3.21 per gallon. The national average is down 56.5 cents from a month ago and 11.0 cents per gallon lower than a year ago. The national average price of diesel has fell 14.9 cents in the last week and stands at $4.91 per gallon. GasBuddy's Patrick De Haan says, “We remain on schedule to see the national average gas price fall below $3 by Christmas, with diesel set to fall 50 cents to $1 per gallon over the next six weeks or so.” The keystone XL Pipeline shutdown, De Haan adds, is not expected to impact fuel prices, for now. Under the weight of economic concerns, a possible surge in COVID cases as China works towards re-opening, and a changed psyche that OPEC+ is over-producing, oil prices fell last week to their lowest in nearly a year.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday December 13, 2022 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets Just as the Federal Reserve begins its two-day meeting Tuesday, we will all get to see the U.S. Labor Department's report of November consumer prices at 7:30 a.m. CST. The report probably won't stop the Fed from raising rates by a half-percent on Wednesday, as is expected, but it could offer a clue for future decisions. Traders will continue to keep close watch on the latest weather forecasts, any export news and events in Ukraine. Weather A very strong storm system is moving through the Plains Tuesday morning. A line of showers and thunderstorms are creating some severe weather across Texas, which will likely get into Louisiana and adjacent areas this afternoon. Farther north, heavy snow is picking up from Colorado to South Dakota and will expand into Montana, North Dakota, and Minnesota later Tuesday and Tuesday night. Winds are also strong across much of the middle of the country, creating blowing dust in dry areas of the Plains and a blizzard in the heavy snow across the north.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday December 12, 2022 |


USDA Releases December WASDE Report, Corn Exports Drop The December World Ag Supply and Demand Estimates report says the 2022-2023 corn outlook is for lower exports and greater ending stocks. Exports dropped by 75 million bushels as export competition and high U.S. corn prices have slowed sales and shipments. Corn ending stocks grew by 75 million bushels. The season-average corn price dropped ten cents to $6.70 a bushel. Soybean supply and use projections are unchanged from November. Because of the recent EPA proposal on RVOs, soybean oil used for biofuels dropped by 200 million pounds. Oil exports are also at historic lows through November. The season-average soybean price is unchanged at $14.00 per bushel. The December wheat supply and use outlook is unchanged from last month. Global wheat consumption is lowered by 1.6 million tons, mainly on lower feed and residual use by the EU and Ukraine. The season-average farm price is down by ten cents to $9.10 a bushel. *********************************************************************************** Representatives Send Letter to USTR on Mexico’s Upcoming Corn Ban Twenty-four members of the House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee sent a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai about Mexico. They want a resolution to a lingering trade dispute with Mexico over biotech corn imports. “We’ve been working closely with Congress on this issue, and it’s inspiring to see congressional champions faithfully taking up the mantle,” says National Corn Growers Association President Tom Haag. “These members are now looking to Ambassador Tai to uphold the integrity of USMCA.” The letter is the latest development and response from U.S. officials as the ag community braces for a fallout if Mexico follows through on its promise to ban biotech corn shipments in early 2024. Ninety percent of U.S. corn is biotech corn. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack traveled to Mexico City and met with Mexican President Lopez Obrador, saying the U.S. would consider all options, including formal steps to enforce the terms of USMCA. *********************************************************************************** Beef Agreement Between U.S., Japan Officially Set for January 1, 2023 U.S. Trade Rep Katherine Tai and Japan’s Ambassador to the U.S. confirmed that amendments to the beef safeguard trigger level under the U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement will trigger on January 1, 2023. The letters confirmed both countries completed their procedures to put the protocol in place. “The new beef safeguard agreement will ensure that America’s farmers and ranchers can continue to meet Japan’s strong demand for high-quality U.S. beef,” says Tai. “I’m grateful to leaders and stakeholders in both countries for their dedication and ingenuity, which were important in reaching this outcome.” The new protocol amends the beef safeguard trigger level with a new three-trigger safeguard mechanism. The new amendment allows U.S. beef exporters to more reliably meet Japan’s growing demand for high-quality beef, provides more predictability, and reduces the probability that safeguard duties would get imposed on U.S. beef. All three criteria must be met to impose a tariff on U.S. beef. *********************************************************************************** FCA Issues Latest Report on the Ag Economy The Farm Credit Administration received a quarterly report on economic issues affecting U.S. agriculture and an update on the performance of the Farm Credit System. Inflation and rising interest rates continue to be major economic issues despite a recent slowdown in inflation. Consumer reaction to inflation, higher interest rates, and the labor market will be key drivers for the economy in 2023. Input costs will be important for farmers next year. Volatility in the price of natural gas will continue to be passed on through fertilizer prices. Supply chain difficulties persist with agricultural equipment, leading to high prices and long waits for new equipment and replacement parts. Through the first nine months of 2022, the Farm Credit System reported favorable financial results, including continued loan growth, increased earnings, and robust capital levels despite some decline in the System’s capital-to-asset ratio. Portfolios remained strong despite challenging operating conditions in certain sectors and regions. *********************************************************************************** ASA, Cotton Growers Present Oral Arguments in Dicamba Case The American Soybean Association and the Plains Cotton Growers, Incorporated, presented oral arguments before the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals last Thursday. It’s a part of the case of the American Soybean Association versus the EPA. The two groups urged the court to clarify jurisdictional rules under FIFRA and to require the Environmental Protection Agency to use the best available science when evaluating dicamba pesticide registrations and potential impacts to species protected by the Endangered Species Act. The groups filed the lawsuit against EPA in November 2020 on the five-year registration for the use of dicamba on dicamba-tolerant soybeans and cotton. Growers argued EPA’s flawed approach led the agency to impose arbitrary and overly burdensome buffers and application cutoff dates. The groups are asking the court to remand portions of the registration back to the EPA for reconsideration with the direction to use the science and data available to the agency. *********************************************************************************** NSP Announces Winners in its Sorghum Yield Contest National Sorghum Producers announced the winners of the 2022 Sorghum Yield Contest. This year’s Bin Buster Award winners are Brant and Amy Peterson of Winsome Farms in Kansas. They had the top yield in the contest at 245.8 bushels per acre. “National Sorghum Producers congratulates the winners of the 2022 Sorghum Yield Contest,” says NSP Board of Directors Chair Craig Meeker. “Despite a challenging growing season, there are impressive top-end yields scattered across the nation. We congratulate the winners and look forward to recognizing them during the 2023 Commodity Classic in Orlando, Florida.” Meeker says the results of this year’s contest show just how resilient sorghum can be. “The Bin Buster yield is six times the 2022 national average yield this year and one of the top ten yields on record in the contest.” While the drought had a significant impact on many sorghum growers, Meeker says they’re very proud of the results.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday December 12, 2022 |


Monday Watch List Markets Back from the weekend, traders will be checking the latest weather forecasts, especially for South America, and still digesting the few changes from Friday's WASDE report. USDA's weekly report of export inspections will be out at 10 a.m. CST and will likely show more soybean movement. The U.S. Treasury reports on the federal budget for November at 1 p.m. Weather A major winter storm system will move out of the Rockies and into the Plains on Monday. Winds will increase ahead of the system, bringing a lot of moisture northward for the system to work with. Widespread precipitation is expected in the middle of the country by late afternoon or evening, including heavy snow and some ice to the north and potential for severe storms along a cold front in the Central and Southern Plains. Temperatures are well above normal for a lot of the country but will be falling below normal as the system moves eastward through the rest of the week.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday December 9, 2022 |


Vilsack to Announce Second Round of Climate-Smart Commodities Investments Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack travels to Alabama Monday to announce the second round of investments of the Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities funding. Projects from the second funding pool will emphasize the enrollment of small farming and ranching operations, including underserved producers, as well as measurement, monitoring, reporting and verification activities developed at minority-serving institutions. The investment in projects nationwide will expand markets for climate-smart commodities, leverage the greenhouse gas benefits of climate-smart commodity production and provide direct, meaningful benefits to production agriculture, according to USDA. In September, Vilsack announced USDA is investing up to $2.8 billion in 70 selected projects under the first pool of the Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities funding opportunity. USDA first announced details of the Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities opportunity in February 2022. The 70 projects announced in September are from the first funding pool, which included proposals seeking funds ranging from $5 million to $100 million. *********************************************************************************** AFBF: Labor Challenges Increase Farm Economy Pressures Labor demands continue to tax the bottom lines of farmers and ranchers, with rising wage rates and record usage of the H-2A visa program. The American Farm Bureau Federation says meaningful reforms to the federal government's guest worker program must be a priority for Congress by the end of the year. AFBF and more than 350 other food and farm organizations that are part of the Ag Workforce Coalition sent a letter urging the Senate to pass legislation to address the nation's agricultural workforce challenges this year. The House of Representatives passed a farm labor reform bill, but the legislation needs improvements according to the coalition. The letter states, “The country cannot afford for the Senate to miss this opportunity to provide stability to both farmers and farmworkers.” Recent analysis from AFBF economists indicates that costs associated with farm labor will add to the ever-expanding list of factors straining the farm economy in 2023. *********************************************************************************** October Pork Exports Largest in 16 Months; Beef Exports Already Top $10 Billion October exports of U.S. pork were the largest in more than a year, and beef export volume also increased from a year ago, according to the U.S. Meat Export Federation. U.S. beef exports are on a record pace in 2022 and have already exceeded $10 billion. Pork exports reached 238,190 metric tons in October, up five percent from a year ago and the largest since June 2021. Pork export value increased 13 percent to $697.3 million, the highest since May 2021. For January through October, pork exports were 12 percent below last year at 2.18 million metric tons, valued at $6.26 billion. October beef exports totaled 125,466 metric tons, up eight percent from a year ago. Export value was $929.8 million, down three percent from the large total reported in October 2021. In the first ten months of 2022, beef export value increased 18 percent from last year's record pace to reach $10.05 billion. *********************************************************************************** Lawmakers Introduce Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act of 2022 The prospect of permanent, nationwide availability of the E15 ethanol blend moves closer with new House legislation, according to the Renewable Fuels Association. Representatives Angie Craig, a Minnesota Democrat, and Adrian Smith, a Nebraska Republican, this week introduced the Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act of 2022. RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper says the legislation will “finally remove a burdensome and nonsensical barrier to the broader deployment of cleaner, more affordable fuels.” Specifically, the legislation would harmonize fuel volatility regulations for ethanol-blended fuels across the country, allowing for the year-round sale of E15 in conventional gasoline markets. It also would supersede an effort by Midwest state governors to make regulatory changes that would assure the availability of E15 sales year-round in their states. In November, RFA and the American Petroleum Institute led a broad coalition that called on Congress to quickly adopt legislation to permanently resolve inconsistent fuel volatility regulations. *********************************************************************************** Caloric Sweetener Availability Dropped 17% Last Two Decades In 2021, the number of caloric sweeteners available for consumption in the United States was 17 percent less than in 1999, falling to 127.3 pounds per person from 153.6 pounds. According to the USDA Economic Research Service's Food Availability Data System, a reduction in the availability of total corn sweeteners contributed to the drop. The availability of corn sweeteners fell from a peak of 85.7 pounds per person in 1999 to 55.3 pounds in 2021. Shifting preferences among consumers and food manufacturers, high corn prices, and competition with refined cane and beet sugars and other caloric sweeteners contributed to the decline. The availability of refined cane and beet sugars fell from 102.3 pounds per person in 1972 to 60.0 pounds in 1986 and remained relatively flat for the next two and a half decades. Refined sugar availability began to rise in 2010, surpassing corn sweeteners in 2011 and reaching 69.7 pounds per person in 2021. *********************************************************************************** National No-Tillage Conference Returns to St. Louis For the ninth time in its 31-year history, the annual National No-Tillage Conference is returning to St. Louis. Hosted by No-Till Farmer, the event will be held January 10-13 at the Hyatt Regency St. Louis Arch Hotel in St. Louis, Missouri. The content covers myriad topics in no-till, including equipment, cover crops, intercropping, economic analyses, soil analysis, fertilizing methods and more. Among the experts presenting are the highest-yielding farmers on the planet, including legendary no-tillers Russell Hedrick of North Carolina, David Hula of Virginia, Randy Dowdy of Georgia, Ray Archuleta of Missouri, and more. The program includes 14 general sessions, 45 roundtables and 23 classroom sessions. The National No-Tillage Conference provides practical tips, and information farmers need to run a more successful and profitable no-till operation. You can learn more about the event and register online at www.no-tillfarmer.com. Organizers say the event delivers insightful learning and unlimited networking with the best of the no-till community.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday December 9, 2022 |


Friday Watch List Markets The U.S. Labor Department will report on producer prices at 7:30 a.m. CST Friday, an important report that will influence Fed policy in the days ahead. The University of Michigan's index of U.S. consumer sentiment for early December is set for 9 a.m. Traders of course, will keep close watch over the latest weather forecasts and will also stop to take in USDA's WASDE and Crop Production reports, due out at 11 a.m. Weather A compact storm system is moving through the Midwest on Friday, producing a band of mixed precipitation and some moderate snow. The system will continue to track eastward through the region throughout the day, weakening as it moves into the Appalachians. At the same time, a lingering front across the South continues to see showers Friday morning that should continue as well. Friday night, a small disturbance will build on that front across the Southern Plains with more enhanced showers and thunderstorms going into the weekend.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday December 8, 2022 |


Top House Ag Republican Wants Enhanced Safety Net The top Republican on the House Ag Committee wants a stronger safety net for U.S. farmers. Pennsylvania Republican Glenn Thompson wants Congress to strengthen crop insurance and farm subsidy programs so producers don’t have to rely on stop-gap federal aid to survive challenges like trade wars, natural disasters, and COVID-19. “The need for a reliable farm safety net is paramount,” says Thompson. He will likely become the committee chair in January when Republicans gain a slim majority in the House. Agriculture Dot Com says almost 80 percent of federal agriculture funding has moved through bailout programs since 2018. Farm groups want higher reference prices, a factor in calculating subsidy payments, and more protection under the federal crop insurance program. Some industry experts say a status-quo farm bill is possible because of the small majorities in the House and Senate and a potential lack of new funding sources for the farm bill. *********************************************************************************** Bunge Expecting Big Jump in Renewable Diesel Production The U.S. is about to more than double its production capacity for renewable diesel. Reuters says that prediction comes from Greg Heckman, the CEO of Bunge, who says the country’s production capacity should hit five billion gallons by 2024. Heckman recently said his company hasn’t changed its own capacity plans after the recent RFS blending requirements didn’t increase as much as the industry expected. “Demand is up,” he says. “It’s sure not affecting us as we’ve been making plans for the long term.” Bunge formed a joint venture with Chevron in 2021 and announced plans to expand processing capacity by 2024 at Bunge’s soy-crushing facilities in Illinois and Louisiana. Those beans can be used to produce soy-based biodiesel. Other companies like JP Morgan say the EPA’s proposal on biofuel blending requirements calls for a “surprisingly low amount of growth,” and they worry about an oversupply of biodiesel without large enough mandates. *********************************************************************************** Consider Corn Challenge Winner Almost Ready for Commercialization ExoPolymer, Inc. won the Consider Corn Challenge 2 Contest and has taken its idea one step closer to commercialization. The new partnership with CP Kelco will help the company scale up the production of a new polysaccharide-based polymer. It’s domestically-produced by microbial fermentation using corn sugar as a feedstock. “We’re thrilled to see a previous Consider Corn Challenge winner, Derek Wells and ExoPolymer, continue to reach key milestones and get closer to commercializing their ideas,” says NCGA Director of Market Development Sarah McKay. “This is our hope for all winners and is the goal of the contest.” NCGA also says it wants to highlight some of the great research going on using corn as an industrial feedstock, which in turn increases corn demand. If all 15 winners of the Consider Corn Challenges reached full commercialization with products available in the marketplace, that could be an additional 3.4 billion bushels of new corn demand. *********************************************************************************** USDA Investing $981 Million to Expand Market Opportunities Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack announced his department is investing $981 million to help create new and better market opportunities and expand services for rural people, businesses, and entrepreneurs. The funds will be used to assist people in 47 states, Guam, and the Virgin Islands. “Rural people provide the everyday essentials our country depends on,” he says. “The partnerships we’re announcing today demonstrate USDA’s commitment to advocating for rural business owners and building brighter futures for everyone in rural America.” The funding will keep resources and wealth made by rural people right at home through affordable financing and technical assistance. It will also help rural Americans start businesses and allow small business owners to grow. It also opens doors to new economic opportunities for communities and people who’ve historically lacked access to resources and funding. USDA is making 242 awards through eight programs designed to create economic opportunities for rural people and businesses. *********************************************************************************** USDA Letter Emphasizing Western Drought and Conservation Priorities Senators Micheal Bennet of Colorado and Mitt Romney of Utah led a bipartisan group of 14 senators in sending a letter to USDA about the western drought and conservation priorities. They’re asking the agency to give parity to the urgent priorities of Western growers and communities through existing authorities, new funding, and collaboration across government. “The American West is in crisis,” the senators say in the letter. “Farm and ranch families hang in the balance as they grapple with a 22-year mega-drought.” They also say the acute shortage of water for Western growers threatens productive farmland across our states, which are both a pillar of rural economies and drivers of American food production. In the letter, the senators asked USDA to support Western farmers and ranchers to conserve water, improve water infrastructure and efficiency, protect lands at risk of erosion, and provide technical assistance for growers in regions hurt by drought. *********************************************************************************** There are Enough Christmas Trees to Meet the Demand The Christmas tree industry wants Americans to know there will be enough trees available to meet the demand for real Christmas trees. Marsha Gray, executive director of the Real Christmas Tree Board, says,” The industry met the demand in 2021 and will do so again this year. This is a year with few surprises.” Gray also says their annual survey found that 86 percent of real Christmas tree buyers had no problems finding a nearby place to get their trees in 2021. “Our grower survey tells us the demand for real trees is healthy,” Gray says. “Retailers see steady consumer interest in real Christmas trees and supply is pretty well matched to that interest.” Like many other sectors of U.S. agriculture, Christmas tree growers say their input costs have risen compared to last year. Consequently, many growers had a five to 15 percent increase in their wholesale prices compared to last year.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday December 8, 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 U.S. jobless claims and an update of the U.S. Drought Monitor. Trading may be cautious ahead of Friday's WASDE report and traders will keep an eye on the latest weather forecasts and any news of an export sale. The U.S. Energy Department's weekly report of natural gas storage is set for 9:30 a.m. Weather A storm system moving through the Central and Southern Plains northeast through the Ohio Valley is already producing a wide band of moderate rainfall from Oklahoma to Kentucky Thursday morning. The storm will fill in farther north later in the day with some potential for freezing rain and a band of moderate snow going through Nebraska into southern Minnesota and Iowa. The snow will continue across Wisconsin and Michigan on Friday. Temperatures are rising across most areas regardless of precipitation moving through.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday December 7, 2022 |


Farmer Sentiment Unchanged Despite High Costs, Rising Interest Rates There wasn’t much movement in the November Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer. The index read 102 for the month, unchanged from October. However, the Current Conditions Index dropped three points to 98, while the Future Expectations Index rose two points to a reading of 104. Even though producer sentiment was the same in November, producers are continuing to look at their bottom line and rising interest rates. Combine that with high input and energy costs, and there’s a lot of anxiety at the farm level. Forty-two percent of the survey respondents list high input costs as their top concern in the year ahead. The Farm Capital Investment Index dropped to a record low of 31 in November. Almost 80 percent of the respondents said it’s a “bad time” to make large investments in farm machinery. Just over one-fourth of the respondents have made operational changes due to rising energy prices. *********************************************************************************** Poll Shows Voters Support Immigration Reform A poll of voters commissioned by the International Dairy Foods Association shows strong support for reforming immigration policy as a way to help control food prices. Almost 90 percent of Democrat voters and 79 percent of Republican voters support the idea of immigration reform. When asked about the price of food, it was an almost unanimous 94 percent who said that rising food prices are a problem in America. It turns out that over 40 percent of the voters see a connection between immigration issues and rising food costs. Democrat and Republican voters aren’t aligned in connecting immigration issues with rising food costs. Over half of Republican voters say they’re connected while only one-third of Democrats do. Over half of the voters, including 55 percent of Democrats and 58 percent of Republicans, support Congress passing substantial immigration reform. Older voters, post-graduate voters, and urban voters are the most supportive of reform *********************************************************************************** Rabobank: Fertilizer Prices Lower in 2023 Fertilizer consumption suffered in 2022 due to market volatility and record-high prices. However, a new Rabobank report says a recovery in consumption is possible in some regions next year, with fertilizer prices lowering and commodity prices at historically high levels. “The affordability index’s moving average is trending lower as fertilizer prices are returning to pre-Ukraine War levels,” says Rabobank. “For the next three months, the index will continue to trend downward but remain above normal.” The key point to watch for is nitrogen products, as the natural gas crisis in Europe has the potential to make urea and ammonia more expensive and could keep the index at a high level. Rabobank says the nitrogen-based fertilizer market is the most volatile among all fertilizers due to its connection with oil and natural gas markets. As those commodities get more volatile, urea and ammonia prices are expected to go along with the tide. *********************************************************************************** Export Inspections of Corn and Wheat Improve USDA says export inspections of corn and wheat rose while soybean assessments declined during the week ending on December 1. Corn inspections were just over 524,300 metric tons. That’s up from 311,700 tons the prior week. It’s still behind the 786,000 tons inspected during the same time last year. Wheat assessments reached 334,650 metric tons during the week, up from 284,500 tons during the previous week. It’s also ahead of the 285,000 tons inspected at the same time last year. Soybean inspections dropped to 1.72 million metric tons during the week, a significant drop from 2.23 million tons the prior week. Since the marketing year began, the agency has inspected 6.34 million metric tons of corn, 21.2 million metric tons of soybeans, and 10.9 million metric wheat tons. Last year at this time, the agency had inspected 9.42 million metric tons of corn, 23.8 million tons of soybeans, and 11.2 million tons of wheat. *********************************************************************************** Pork Checkoff Rate Adjustment on January 1 The Pork Checkoff rate will drop by five cents on January 1, 2023, to 35 cents per $100 of value. This change is the result of a resolution passed by voting delegates at the 2022 Pork Industry Forum. Pork Checkoff payments are collected for all pigs sold with a change of ownership. This includes the sale of weaned pigs, breeding age animals, and at the final market destination. Payments received by NPB for pigs sold on or after the first of the year will reflect the reduced rate. The rate change was recommended by the Pork Industry Vision Task Force, a group of 19 leaders from NPB, NPPC, and various state associations, to ensure the pork industry’s long-term success. Other actions from the task force included creating a joint producer-led working group of NPB and NPPC state leaders to conduct animal industry planning, prioritize issues, identify risks, and develop action plans. *********************************************************************************** NCBA Pleased with Cattle Contract Library Final Rule The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association welcomed the release of the final rule from the USDA to establish the Cattle Contract Library Pilot Program. This program was authorized following NCBA’s congressional engagement on the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2022. “We are pleased that USDA listened to the feedback from industry stakeholders like NCBA while crafting the final rule for the Cattle Contract Library Pilot Program,” says NCBA senior director of government affairs Tanner Beymer. “We are hopeful that this pilot program will strike an appropriate balance between offering cattle producers additional insight into the market while also protecting their proprietary business information.” Beymer also says a Cattle Contract Library is just one of the many tools that NCBA has advocated for to help producers make informed business decisions and capture the most value possible for their cattle at sale time. NCBA provided USDA with feedback throughout the testing phase of the program.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday December 7, 2022 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets At 7:30 a.m. CST Wednesday, the U.S. Labor Department will have a report on third-quarter U.S. productivity, followed by the Energy Department's weekly inventory report, including ethanol production. Traders will continue to monitor the latest weather forecasts, especially for Argentina where drought concerns lifted Tuesday's soybean prices. Traders will also watch for possible export sales announcements at 8 a.m. CST, after USDA reported 18.5 million bushels of U.S. soybeans sold Tuesday. Weather Remnants of a front across the Tennessee Valley will continue to produce scattered showers Wednesday. A disturbance across the north will provide scattered snow showers. Scattered showers will continue to develop across the Southern Plains and Mississippi Delta today and tonight. Temperatures will be below normal across the Northern Plains and northern Upper Midwest with near-normal temperatures across the Central Plains and southern Upper Midwest. Temperatures will remain well above normal across the South.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday December 6, 2022 |


Farm Capital Expenditures Increasing with Farm Income Rise In response to relatively stronger net farm incomes, U.S. farm sector capital expenditures have increased dramatically in the last three years, according to research by the University of Illinois. In 2019, farm sector capital expenditures were approximately $30.1 billion. The forecasted value for 2022 is $44.2 billion. Capital expenditures include tractors, trucks, autos, machinery, buildings, land improvements, and miscellaneous expenditures. Capital consumption represents the declining balance of capital stock or economic depreciation. The ratio of capital expenditures to capital consumption increased from 1.06 in 2019 to 1.70 in 2022. The data implies that farmers have used a portion of their strong net farm incomes in the last few years to replenish their capital stock. The changes in expenditures during the last four years have differed among expenditure categories. Specifically, increases were larger for tractors and machinery than for autos, trucks, buildings, and land improvements. *********************************************************************************** Food Price Index in November Virtually Unchanged The FAO Food Price Index averaged 135.7 points in November 2022, virtually unchanged from October. The index offered month-on-month decreases in the price indices for cereals, dairy and meat, nearly offsetting increases in vegetable oils and sugar. At this level, the index stood only marginally above—0.3 percent—its corresponding value in November 2021. The Cereal Price Index averaged 150.4 points in November, down 1.9 points from October, but still 6.3 percent above its value a year ago. The Oil Price Index averaged 154.7 points, up 3.4 points after declining for seven consecutive months. The Dairy Price Index averaged 137.5 points, down 1.7 points, but remained 9.2 percent above its value a year ago. The Meat Price Index averaged 117.1 points, down 1.1 points from October, but 4.1 percent above its value a year ago. Finally, the Sugar Price Index averaged 114.3 points in November, up 5.7 points from October. *********************************************************************************** Cover Crop Mixes account for 18 – 25% of Cover Crop Acreage USDA’s Economic Research Service finds cover crop mixes account for 18 to 25 percent of acres with cover crops. However, the use of single-species cover crops is more common. For corn fields in 2021, almost 75 percent of acres with cover crops used a grass or small grain cover crop, such as cereal rye, winter wheat, or oats. At 44 percent of acreage, cereal rye was almost twice as common as winter wheat as the cover crop on corn for grain fields. Rye and winter wheat were also the most common cover crops on soybean fields in 2018. Winter wheat was the most common cover crop used on cotton fields in 2019. Farmers add cover crops to a rotation to provide living, seasonal soil cover between the planting of two cash or forage crops. Including cover crops in a rotation can provide benefits such as improved soil health and water quality, weed suppression, and reduced soil erosion. *********************************************************************************** USDA Launches New Virtual Nutrition Center of Excellence The Department of Agriculture Monday announced the new Agricultural Science Center of Excellence for Nutrition and Diet for Better Health. The virtual center is part of President Biden’s Cancer Moonshot effort to end cancer as we know it. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says, “The virtual center will connect existing resources, including people and programs, to leverage expertise and increase coordination and cooperation.” USDA is enhancing its research focus on precision nutrition science to better understand the needs of underserved communities. The research complements efforts to advance food and nutrition security – which means consistent and equitable access to healthy, safe and affordable foods essential to optimal health and well-being, according to USDA. The World Cancer Research Fund claims 30-50 percent of all cancer cases are preventable by following a healthy diet and lifestyle. As part of the announcement, USDA convened a panel of experts that discussed nutrition's role in improving overall health and reducing risks for diet-related chronic diseases. *********************************************************************************** EPA Proposes Elimination PFAS Reporting Exemption The Environmental Protection Agency Monday proposed a rule to end an exemption used to avoid disclosure of certain PFAS releases. The exemption allows facilities to avoid reporting information on PFAS when those chemicals are used in small or minor concentrations. Because PFAS are used at low concentrations in many products, the rule would ensure that covered industry sectors and federal facilities that make or use PFAS will no longer be able to rely on the exemption to avoid disclosing their PFAS releases and other waste management quantities for these chemicals. PFAS chemicals have been used to make various commercial products, including non-stick cookware, stain-resistant carpets and furniture, water-resistant clothing, coated oil-resistant paper and cardboard food packaging, and some personal care products. Agriculture and PFAS chemicals can intersect through air, water, and soil, according to the Maine Department of Agriculture. One way that PFAS may enter soil is through the application of residuals such as biosolids, industrial sludges and ashes. *********************************************************************************** Gas, and Diesel Prices Fall Again The national average gas price fell 15.8 cents over the last week, down to $3.36 per gallon. The national average is down 43 cents from a month ago and 1.5 cents per gallon higher than a year ago. The national average diesel price fell 13.6 cents last week to $5.06 per gallon. GasBuddy's Patrick De Haan says, “it remains very possible the national average could fall under $3 per gallon by Christmas.” De Haan expects diesel prices to fall under $5 per gallon this week, and soon reach its lowest level since March of this year. While the declines are welcomed, De Haan cautions that there may be some concerns coming as the price cap on Russian oil kicks in. Further, retaliation is possible, and while OPEC+ upheld production cuts from last month, they could always cut more production. Meanwhile, U.S. retail gasoline demand rose last week by 2.3 percent, bouncing back the week after Thanksgiving.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday December 6, 2022 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets The U.S. Census Bureau's report on international trade data for October is set for 7:30 a.m. CST and will provide USDA with more specific trade data later Tuesday morning. Traders will keep an eye on the latest weather forecasts, watch for a possible export sales announcement at 8 a.m. and any other news that emerges. Weather Remnants of a front across the Tennessee Valley will produce scattered showers throughout the day. A disturbance across the north will provide scattered snow showers. Scattered showers develop across the Southern Plains late tonight. Temperatures will be below normal across the Northern Plains with near-normal temperatures across the Central Plains and Upper Midwest. Temperatures will remain well above normal across the South.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday December 5, 2022 |


Senate Passes Bill to Avert Catastrophic Rail Strike The Senate passed a bill to avoid a potentially catastrophic U.S. railroad strike and sent the bill to President Biden’s desk for his signature. Crossroads Today says the vote came after mounting pressure on lawmakers to move swiftly. Without action, a strike could have taken place on December 9, which the president said would be catastrophic to the nation’s economy. Railroads transport 6,300 carloads of food and farm products every day. The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 80 to 15. A separate vote on adding seven days of paid sick leave to the agreement didn’t pass. Biden was reluctant to override the vote against the contract by four unions but stressed the rail shutdown would devastate the economy. “I know that many in Congress were reluctant to bypass union ratification procedures, but the consequences would have been too great for working families across the country,” Biden said. *********************************************************************************** Positive Reaction to Senate Action Preventing Rail Shutdown Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack is grateful for Congress taking swift action to prevent a crippling national rail shutdown. “A rail strike would have had significant and long-lasting effects on the American economy,” Vilsack says. “U.S. farmers and ranchers can breathe a sigh of relief that the trains will stay on track to deliver food, inputs, raw materials, and other essential items.” The Fertilizer Institute also applauded Congress for taking action to prevent a stoppage. “The rail strike would have severely disrupted fertilizer deliveries and hurt domestic production,” says TFI president and CEO Corey Rosenbusch. “Rail is critical to fertilizer movement year-round.” The American Feed Industry Association also appreciates the Congressional action to avoid a strike. “Slowing or stopping the transport of goods via rail threatens the livelihoods of those hardworking Americans well beyond our nation’s tracks,” says AFIA president and CEO Constance Cullman. America’s railways move one-quarter of all U.S. grain products. *********************************************************************************** December Farm Income Forecast Shows Higher Profits Net farm income for U.S. farmers is forecast at $160.5 billion in 2022, a $19.5 billion increase over 2021. The December Farm Sector Income and Finances report shows net cash farm income forecast at $187.9 billion in 2022, $29 billion higher than in 2021. Cash receipts from agricultural commodity sales will increase by $105 billion from 2021 to $541.5 billion this year. However, farm sector debt will increase by $27.8 billion in 2022 to almost $502 billion. Farm sector debt-to-asset levels will improve from 13.5 percent last year to 13 percent in 2022. Working capital, the amount of available cash to fund operating expenses after paying off debt due within 12 months, will rise 4.7 percent in nominal dollars but drop 1.4 percent when adjusted for inflation. Dairy farms will likely see the biggest jump in average net cash farm income, while specialty crops, cotton, and hogs the biggest decline. *********************************************************************************** Senator Wants AM Radio in Electric Vehicles Massachusetts Democratic Senator Edward Markey sent letters to 20 car manufacturers requesting they maintain AM radio in their vehicles, including the new EV models. In the letter, Markey says consumers still value AM radio and stressed that free broadcast radio is a critical and reliable channel for local, state, and federal government officials to communicate with the public. He also wants automakers to adopt technological solutions to address any electromagnetic interference that EVs cause with AM radio signals. “Despite innovations such as smartphones and social media, AM/FM broadcast radio remains the most dependable, cost-free, and accessible communication mechanism for public officials to communicate with the public in emergencies,” Markey says. “As a result, any phase-out of broadcast AM radio could pose a significant communication problem in an emergency.” Although investments in electric vehicles are critical in addressing the climate, automakers don’t need to sacrifice the benefit of radio in the process. *********************************************************************************** NCGA: Mexico Banning White Corn a “Non-Starter” in Negotiations The National Corn Growers Association appreciates Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack’s efforts by traveling to Mexico City to discuss Mexico’s pending ban on biotech corn imports that goes into effect in 2024. Vilsack spoke with Mexican President Lopez Obrador about the importance of finding an acceptable resolution on the matter. President Obrador indicated last week that there might be room for compromise, suggesting the country would continue allowing imports of yellow corn used for livestock feed but would block white corn, imported mainly for human consumption. However, yellow corn is also food grade and nutritious in hundreds of products consumers enjoy. “Any decision to block biotech crops by Mexico would be illegal under the USMCA agreement,” says NCGA President Tom Haag. “Eliminating white corn will in no way resolve this matter.” Haag also says his group highly appreciates Secretary Vilsack for “going to the mat” on this issue for American farmers. *********************************************************************************** Soy Growers Disappointed in EPA RFS Proposal The Environmental Protection Agency released its draft “set” rule, which sets the annual biofuel blending targets for 2023-2025 under the Renewable Fuel Standard. Soy farmers were initially pleased with EPA’s 2022 volume target, which included the highest-ever number for total renewable fuels and specifically biomass-based diesel since the RFS was created. The new proposal goes in the other direction. “This rule slams the breaks on progress being made in biofuel investments and growth,” says American Soybean Association president Brad Doyle. “Instead of continuing to support available low-emission, plant-based fuel sources, EPA has changed course and seems to ignore major investments in and consumer demand for biomass-based diesel and other biofuels that exist right now.” The multi-year set rule is supposed to provide consistency and encourage investment in the biofuels industry. ASA says these insignificant volume increases for 2023-2025 could not only stifle growth but also jeopardize the existing biofuels industry.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday December 5, 2022 |


Monday Watch List Markets Back from the weekend, traders will be reading about the outcome of OPEC's Sunday meeting and checking out the latest weather forecasts, especially in South America where Argentina needs rain. A report of U.S. factory orders in October is due out at 9 a.m. CST, followed by USDA's weekly report of export inspections at 10 a.m. There will be no more Crop Progress reports until next spring. Weather An old front across the Tennessee Valley will produce scattered showers throughout the day. Another front moving down through the northern states will produce some showers as well. Temperatures will be mild for most of the country despite the fronts, except down across the South where temperatures will rise well above normal.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday December 2, 2022 |


EPA Releases 2023-2025 RFS Volumes The Environmental Protection Agency released the long-awaited 2023-2025 Renewable Fuel Standard blending volumes. The Renewable Fuels Association says the proposal creates a path for sustainable growth in the production and use of low-carbon renewable fuels. EPA proposes setting the 2023 RFS requirement at 20.82 billion gallons, of which 5.8 billion gallons will come from advanced biofuels and 15 billion from conventional renewable fuels. EPA also proposes an extra 250 million gallons in addition to the standards to address a 2017 D.C. Court decision. For 2024, the proposal is for 21.87 billion gallons, 6.62 billion gallons of advanced biofuels, and 15.25 billion of conventional. In 2025, EPA proposes requiring 22.68 billion gallons of total renewable fuels, including 7.43 billion gallons of advanced biofuels and 15.25 billion conventional. “The proposal solidifies a role for the RFS to reduce carbon emissions and enhance our energy security,” says RFA president and CEO Geoff Cooper. *********************************************************************************** Clean Fuels Alliance says EPA Proposal Underestimates Biomass-Based Diesel Clean Fuels Alliance America criticized the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Renewable Fuel Standard volumes for 2023 through 2025 for undercutting investments in biodiesel and renewable diesel capacity. The minor increase for biomass-based diesel volumes in 2023, 2024, and 2025 are below the industry’s existing production and ignores the clean fuels industry’s significant investments in new capacity. The group says those volumes provide no additional space for sustainable aviation fuel and short-circuit the nation’s carbon emission goals. “The volumes EPA proposed ignore the over three billion gallons currently in the market and fail to account for the planned growth of the sector,” says Kurt Kovarik, CFA vice president of federal affairs. “The soybean and canola industries invested over $4 billion to bring additional feedstock capacity online in the future.” An additional 2.4 billion gallons of renewable diesel capacity is coming online by 2024, and Kovarik says EPA’s numbers undercut the investments. *********************************************************************************** USDA Lowers Farm Export Forecast American farm exports will drop to $190 billion during the current fiscal year. USDA says that’s four percent lower than the record set in the recently-ended 2022 fiscal year. The lower forecast is caused by slowing economies around the world. Soybeans, corn, and cotton will see the largest declines, dropping a combined seven percent. “The global economic outlook in 2023 is uncertain due to factors like inflation and trade disruptions caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,” the agency says in its Quarterly Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade. Global economic growth was forecast at 2.7 percent, down from 3.2 percent this year. Central banks around the world are tightening their money supplies to combat inflation, with China a notable exception. Exports hit a record $196.4 billion during the fiscal year that ended in September. One-fifth of American agricultural production gets exported, so foreign markets are a major factor in farm revenue. *********************************************************************************** Corn Harvest Quality Report Shows Higher Test Weight, Protein Content The U.S. Grains Council’s 2022-2023 Corn Harvest Quality Report has good things to say about this year’s corn crop. The report says the corn crop entering the marketing channel has a higher average test weight, higher protein concentration, and lower total damage relative to each quality factor’s average over the previous five crops. Cooler spring temps and hot, dry weather contributed to reduced yields for this year’s crop but accelerated maturation. Clear weather at harvest helped to maintain crop quality. “This report is intended to help buyers make well-informed decisions by providing reliable and timely information about the quality of the current U.S. crop,” says Kurt Shultz, USGC director of global strategies. “This year’s supply will help the U.S. remain the world’s leading corn exporter and will account for an estimated 30 percent of global corn exports during the upcoming marketing year.” The 2022 U.S. corn crop came in at 13.93 billion bushels. *********************************************************************************** NCBA Applauds Protect Farmers from the SEC ACT in Senate The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association supports the Senate version of the Protect Farmers from the SEC Act, a companion bill to legislation introduced into the House of Representatives by Oklahoma Republican Frank Lucas. “The Securities and Exchange Commissions’ overly broad rulemaking has the potential to increase burdens on cattle producers by requiring data that’s impossible to provide,” says NCBA Chief Counsel Mary-Thomas Hart. “The NCBA is proud to support the act because it ensures that federal regulators don’t overstep their jurisdiction and protects cattle producers from government red tape.” The act excludes agriculture from the reporting Scope 3, or supply chain, greenhouse gas emissions under the SEC’s proposed climate disclosure rule. While the rule is aimed at large publicly-traded companies, ag operations could be subjected to additional reporting as part of the supply chain for public restaurants and retailers. “We thank Senators Boozman and Braun for focusing on the issue,” Hart says. *********************************************************************************** USDA Expands Revenue Protection for Oat and Rye Producers The country’s oat and rye producers can now benefit from revenue protection, a new crop insurance option available through the USDA. After listening to growers, the Risk Management Agency expanded the Small Grains Crop Provisions to offer revenue protection for 2023 oat and rye crops. “This enhanced coverage for oats and rye is a direct result of RMA listening to and prioritizing the feedback we get from farmers,” says RMA Administrator Marcia Bunger. “We are always working to offer risk management options and opportunities that are in the producers’ best interests.” Before the program change, RMA established prices for oats and rye up to 11 months before harvest. In 2021 and 2022, the oat prices increased about byy 30 percent, leaving producers with insurance coverage below the value of their crops. Now, the insurance coverage price will rise to follow any higher oat prices and provide coverage reflecting the crops’ true value.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday December 2, 2022 |


Friday Watch List Markets Friday will feature early government releases of both the non-farm payrolls report and the unemployment rate. We will also be watching for any additional news on the railroad strike situation, along with any new export sales announcement. Weather A storm system is moving out of the Rockies on Friday. The system is somewhat strong, though precipitation is rather light with it. Some decent snow will fall across the Northern Plains and Upper Midwest, but the cold front that rushes through the middle of the country Friday will generally be dry. Winds on the other hand will not be quiet with strong gusts in the Plains and into the Midwest both ahead of and behind the front. With some better moisture well ahead of the front, isolated showers will pop up in the Delta region and adjoining areas. Temperatures well-above normal ahead of the front will come crashing down again in our rollercoaster ride of active weather.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday December 1, 2022 |


House Acts to Prevent Rail Strike The House of Representatives Wednesday took action to avert a pending rail strike. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, on the house floor Wednesday, stated, "A shutdown would grind our economy to a halt, and every family would feel the strain,” while adding, “Small businesses wouldn't be able to get their products to market. Many of them, as I say, farmers.” National Farmers Union President Rob Larew says the action is “a positive step toward keeping that chain moving,” referring to the agricultural supply chain’s reliance on rail access. The resolution will now go to the Senate for consideration. It will need 60 votes to pass the Senate before arriving at President Biden’s desk for his signature. Pelosi pledged two actions by the House, with the first being the resolution to prevent a rail strike. The second action by the House is a separate measure that would give railway employees seven days of paid sick leave per year. *********************************************************************************** McDonald’s Files Lawsuit Alleging Pork Price Fixing McDonald’s this week filed a lawsuit against pork packing companies alleging price fixing. The lawsuit names Agri Stats, Clements Food Group, Hormel Foods, JBS USA, Seaboard Foods, Smithfield Foods, Triumph Foods and Tyson foods as defendants in the case. Legal documents show McDonald’s claims the defendants and their coconspirators collectively control over 80 percent of the wholesale pork market. The lawsuit alleges the defendants entered into a conspiracy from around 2008 or early 2009 through the present to fix, raise, maintain, and stabilize the price of pork. McDonald's claims defendants implemented their conspiracy by agreeing with their competitors to restrict output and limit production. The lawsuit says that the data compiled by Agri Stats is a classic enforcement and implementation mechanism of a price-fixing scheme. Because of the alleged price fixing, McDonald's claims it paid inflated prices for pork during the time frame outlined in the lawsuit, adding, Thus, plaintiff suffered injury and damages due to defendants’ anticompetitive conduct." *********************************************************************************** Specialty Crops Growth Shows Need for Expanded Risk Management Tools Specialty crops, including fruits, vegetables and nuts, make up almost one-third of total crop sales in the United States, but many specialty crop acres remain uninsured. American Farm Bureau Federation economists recently examined specialty crop coverage. The Market Intel report found that more than 80 percent of the acreage of hazelnuts, kiwifruit, strawberries and lettuce remain uncovered through the Federal Crop Insurance Program or Noninsured Crop Disaster Program. Meanwhile, more than 50 percent of walnut, pecan, peach, squash, sweet corn, watermelon, pumpkin, cucumber and pepper acreage lacks coverage. Since 2000, risk management participation has increased in most specialty crop categories. AFBF has made expanding insured commodities to include specialty crops one of its priorities for the 2023 farm bill. Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall says, “The 2023 farm bill should recognize those differences and offer programs that provide the same protections regardless of what a farmer chooses to grow.” *********************************************************************************** NCGA Applauds New Legislation Resolving E15 Uncertainty A group of Midwest lawmakers this week introduced the Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act. The legislation would ensure permanent, full-market access to E15, often marketed as Unleaded 88. The National Corn Growers Association applauded the legislation. NCGA President Tom Haag says the legislation "will ensure drivers across the country continue to have year-round access to safe, low-cost, low-emission E15." Senator Deb Fischer, a Nebraska Republican, and Amy Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat, introduced the bill with 13 bipartisan cosponsors. Despite EPA approving E15 for use in all 2001 and newer vehicles and a 2019 update to regulations, a 2021 court decision would have ended year-round market access to E15 last summer without the Biden administration using emergency authority to keep E15 in the market. Ensuring continued E15 sales year-round keeps a lower-emission fuel choice in the marketplace that costs less, according to NCGA. E15 cuts evaporative, carbon and tailpipe emissions compared to standard 10 percent ethanol blended fuels. *********************************************************************************** CFTC Ag Committee Announces December Meeting Agenda The Commodity Futures Trading Commission's Agricultural Advisory Committee Wednesday released the agenda for its public meeting. The meeting is scheduled for December 7 at the CFTC headquarters in Washington, D.C. At the meeting, the committee will focus on topics related to the agricultural economy, including geopolitical and sustainability issues and recent developments in the agricultural derivatives markets. The committee will also address procedural matters, including topics of discussion on a forward-looking basis. Chairman Rostin Behnam says, “The Commission remains committed to maintaining the integrity of our agricultural derivatives markets.” Agenda items include the state of the agricultural economy, price limits in agricultural markets, and shipping, freight and storage impacts on grain. The CFTC Agricultural Advisory Committee advises the CFTC on issues involving the trading of agricultural commodity futures and options. Members of the committee represent agribusinesses, farmer organizations, including the American Farm Bureau Federation and agricultural banking groups. *********************************************************************************** U.S. Live Holiday Plant Imports Reach $80 Million In 2022 Christmas trees and poinsettias are iconic symbols of the holiday season. While the vast majority are grown in the United States for domestic use, a small share of both plants are imported from Canada, according to USDA’s Economic Research Service. Trade is highly seasonal, with 99 percent of Christmas trees and 95 percent of poinsettias shipping between November and December. From 2000–15, live Christmas tree imports averaged around two million trees per year at an inflation-adjusted annual value of $36.1 million. However, by 2022, live tree imports reached nearly 2.8 million trees at a value of $68 million. Import values of live trees had previously spiked in 2020 because of COVID-19 supply chain issues, and prices have remained relatively high since. In the early 2000s, the United States imported as many as 5.9 million live Poinsettias per year before that number dipped to 1.2 million in 2011. In 2022, live poinsettia imports totaled 2.2 million plants worth $11.5 million.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday December 1, 2022 |


Thursday Watch List Markets There are a host of government reports scheduled for release Thursday, including Initial Jobless Claims, Core Price Index, manufacturing index and real consumer spending. We will also be watching for the Senate vote on the railroad agreement, new export sales, and any news from China about COVID developments. Weather A system out in the West will continue to push through the region on Thursday with widespread precipitation. Winds and temperatures out in the Plains will increase as a result of the approaching storm but little precipitation is expected east of the Rockies until tonight with snow developing for the Northern Plains.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday November 30, 2022 |


Vilsack Talks Biotech Corn in Mexico Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack met with Mexican President Andrés Manuel (man-WELL) López Obrador earlier this week. The leaders discussed a looming decree by the Mexican president that would ban imports of biotech corn into the country. In a statement following the meeting, Vilsack commented, "We must find a way forward soon and I emphasized in no uncertain terms that – absent an acceptable resolution of the issue – the U.S. Government would be forced to consider all options.” The options available include taking formal steps to enforce legal rights under the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. National Corn Growers Association CEO Jon Doggett replied, “Today’s meeting shows that the Biden administration is listening to NCGA and American corn grower leaders and that Secretary Vilsack is willing to go to the mat for America’s farmers.” The Mexican President has promised to enact a decree that would end imports of corn grown using biotech and certain herbicides by 2024. *********************************************************************************** Industry Welcomes Biden Call to Congress on Potential Rail Strike Agriculture groups welcome President Biden's call on Congress to avert a potential rail worker strike. Corey Rosenbusch of The Fertilizer Institute praised the action by Biden, adding, “Congress must act now to ensure that fertilizers and other critical materials and goods that U.S. consumers rely on every day get to where they are needed.” The Fertilizer Institute has been heavily engaged in efforts to avert a nationwide rail network shutdown and will continue to do so until the matter is resolved. The call from Biden followed a meeting with cabinet members on the issue. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack adds, “in this case – where the economic impact of a shutdown would hurt American agriculture and millions of other working people and families –Congress must use its powers to adopt this deal.” Vilsack joined President Biden in calling on Congress to quickly pass legislation adopting the Tentative Agreement between railroad workers and operators. *********************************************************************************** Removal of Trade Barriers Could Increase China’s Ag Imports China imported more than $205 billion of agricultural products in 2021, including more than $37 billion from the United States. However, USDA Economic Research Service points out that trade barriers deterred China's imports from reaching even higher levels. China's import barriers create what are called "price wedges," in which domestic prices for agricultural commodities, including beef, corn, pork, and wheat, are higher than the world price. ERS recently found that removing price wedges would lead to increased agricultural imports for the four commodities over the next five to ten years. For corn and wheat, removing price wedges was estimated to increase China’s imports by 91 and 249 percent, respectively. Both of these commodities are subject to a tariff-rate quota which could constrain additional imports. Overall, the benefits of removing these trade barriers would be widespread, increasing sales for producers in the United States and other exporting countries and yielding lower food prices for China’s consumers. *********************************************************************************** Ag Organizations Call for McKalip and Taylor Nominations Votes Agriculture groups through Farmers for Free Trade call on the Senate to confirm two key agricultural trade officials in the Biden administration. The coalition sent a letter to Senate leaders Tuesday calling for the confirmation of Doug McKalip as Chief Agricultural Negotiator for the U.S. Trade Representative's Office, and Alexis Taylor as USDA Undersecretary of Agriculture for Trade. The coalition urged the Senate to confirm the duo during the current lame-duck session. "Time is of the essence to confirm these nominees." the letter points out, adding, "American agriculture needs experienced leaders representing us in international negotiations." The letter also highlights the important role that exports and U.S. agriculture play on the entire economy, as 20 percent of American farm revenue comes from exports, and America's farmers, ranchers, food processors, and manufacturers rely on complex and highly integrated supply chains that stretch across international borders. The food and agriculture products we export support over 1,000,000 U.S. jobs. *********************************************************************************** Food System Investment Needed to Equip Farmers for Climate Change A new report from the Farm Journal Foundation finds that increased U.S. investments in agricultural development and innovation are needed to make global food systems more resilient. While climate change impacts agriculture worldwide, its effects are "substantially more severe" in warm regions, including Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean. The report says that as much as 80 percent of the world's poor people, who predominantly work in agriculture, live in areas increasingly affected by climate change. The new report follows the United Nations' COP27 conference earlier this month, where leaders discussed the impact of climate change on the global food system and solutions to make agriculture more resilient. The report says investing in agricultural sustainability in developing countries is in the U.S. national interest, as it would prevent future food crises, reduce the need for emergency food aid, support stability in developing countries, and potentially reduce mass migration and civil unrest. *********************************************************************************** Noble Research Institute Releases Ranch Safety Guide Agriculture is the seventh-most-hazardous industry in the United States, but ranch operators can take steps to make their working facilities and equipment safer for their staff and families. Recently Noble Research Institute and the U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef created and published a new guide to help improve ranch safety. The guide titled Ranch Employee Safety: Working Cattle and Related Facilities and Equipment, takes ranchers through four stages of improved safety. The guide proposes stages of safety on the ranch, including identifying hazards and preventing worker injuries and illnesses. The third stage is preparation of ranch employees, followed by the final stage, monitoring the hazards and risks and the safety policies and procedures implemented. Additionally, the guide provides 30 pages of resources and tools ready to use on any operation. Ranch Employee Safety: Working Cattle and Related Facilities and Equipment is available for download at no cost www.noble.org.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday November 30, 2022 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets Wednesday the ADP Employment report along with Real GDP numbers will be issued by the government. We will also be watching for any news of China regarding COVID, any new export sales and news on the potential railroad strike. Weather A cold front continues to sweep through the eastern portions of the country on Wednesday with bands of moderate rainfall. Some storms across the far southeast could be stronger today as well. Breezy winds are following behind the system and could make for some blowing snow in the areas that received it Tuesday. Also behind the front are a burst of some colder temperatures. They will not last long however, as warmth returns Thursday and Friday.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday November 29, 2022 |


Farm Share of U.S. Food Dollar Reached Historic Low in 2021 U.S. farm establishments received 14.5 cents per dollar spent on domestically produced food in 2021—a decrease of 1.0 cent from a revised 15.5 cents in 2020. The figure is the lowest recorded farm share value in nearly three decades, according to USDA’s Economic Research Service. The remaining portion of the food dollar—known as the marketing share—covers the costs of getting domestically produced food from farms to points of purchase, including costs related to packaging, transporting, processing, and selling to consumers. One contributor to the 2021 decline in farm share was a shift to food-away-from-home spending. Farm establishments typically receive a smaller share of food-away-from-home spending because of the large amount of value added by outlets such as restaurants. As a result, the farm share generally decreases when food-away-from-home spending increases faster year-over-year than food-at-home spending. Food-away-from-home spending increased markedly in 2021 after a sharp decrease early in the COVID-19 pandemic. *********************************************************************************** USDA Kicks off Spain Trade Mission Delegation The Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service Associate Administrator Clay Hamilton arrived Monday in Madrid to launch a USDA agribusiness trade mission to Spain. More than 70 participants, representing various sectors of U.S. food and agriculture, including businesses, trade associations, and state government, join this trade mission to explore export opportunities for U.S. agricultural products to Spain. Hamilton says, “Spanish consumers and food processors are increasingly interested in sustainably produced goods, which gives U.S. producers a marketing edge over other export suppliers.” Hamilton notes that USDA sees the demand for consumer-ready products steadily increasing, presenting an opportunity for U.S. exports. Trade mission participants will have an opportunity to connect with potential customers and learn the mechanics of exporting to Spain. In addition, importers from the neighboring Portugal have also been invited to participate, allowing the U.S. exporters to learn about opportunities in that country as well. *********************************************************************************** USDA Breaks Ground on New Soil Research Buildings in Auburn, Alabama The Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service broke ground Monday on a new research facility housing the National Soil Dynamics Laboratory. The facility at Auburn University's College of Agriculture will include two new buildings at Auburn University's Research Park. Dr. Simon Liu, ARS acting administrator, says, "With these new buildings and the continuing cooperation with our research partners at Auburn University, we believe that the National Soil Dynamics Laboratory will continue to have a substantial positive impact on agriculture all over the world." The National Soil Dynamics Laboratory and Auburn University scientists are considered national leaders in developing economical and environmentally sound crop management systems for production agriculture in the Southeast. The partners are leading the way in the new national focus on soil and water quality to maintain the productivity of our nation's farms, according to Dr. Allen Torbert, supervisory research soil scientist and research leader for the National Soil Dynamics Laboratory. *********************************************************************************** New Board Members Announced for FFA Foundation Sponsors’ Board The National FFA Foundation announced its new chair for the Sponsors’ Board during the 95th National FFA Convention & Expo in Indianapolis this fall. David Hollinrake, global head of strategy and portfolio management for Syngenta, was named chair for the upcoming year. Hollinrake grew up on a farm in Illinois and has been involved with agriculture his entire life. Mary Snapp, vice president of strategic initiatives for Microsoft, was named chair-elect. Hollinrake says, "I am honored to play a role in helping create the next generation of leaders. The National FFA Sponsors' Board comprises top corporate executives who wish to support agricultural education and the National FFA Organization. During their service, sponsors' board members are integral to advising National FFA on opportunities to improve programs and secure funding for the continued development of the next generation of leaders who will change the world. Seven other new board members were announced. The members will serve on the board for three years. *********************************************************************************** Case IH, Farm Journal to Host Christmas Comeback in Kentucky Case IH and Farm Journal will celebrate a "Christmas Comeback" for residents of Mayfield, Kentucky. The event comes as the one-year anniversary of a tornado that damaged the town and rural areas on December 10, 2021. Case IH and Farm Journal want the people of Mayfield to know that they haven't been forgotten. Residents and others impacted by the storm are invited to a "Christmas Comeback" celebration with friends, family and the ag community. The community will enjoy singing Christmas carols with American Idol finalist Alex Miller and other holiday activities. Traci Rodemeyer of Case IH says, "With great partners, generous volunteers and lots of teamwork, our goal is to bring light and smiles this holiday season." The "Christmas Comeback" is a holiday celebration, but also a celebration of the resilience and commitment of the people of Mayfield who continue to rebuild their community. The event is set for Friday, December 2, 2022, at H&R AgriPower in Mayfield from 5:00-7:30 p.m. *********************************************************************************** Gas and Diesel Prices Fall Over Thanksgiving For the third straight week, the nation’s average gas price declined, falling 12.4 cents from a week ago to $3.52 per gallon. The national average is down 22.7 cents from a month ago and 14.1 cents per gallon higher than a year ago. The national average price of diesel fell 7.9 cents in the last week and stands at $5.20 per gallon. GasBuddy’s Patrick De Haan says, “All the metrics look very positive for motorists as this week is likely to continue seeing falling gasoline prices, with many areas falling to the lowest level since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February.” The national average could fall under $3 per gallon by Christmas, according to De Haan. The bears have run rampant through oil markets, with prices continuing to come under heavy selling pressure as China sees protests for its zero-Covid policies, shutdowns of major cities, and U.S. demand facing seasonal pressure. U.S. retail gasoline demand fell last five percent as motorists pre-filled up and celebrated Thanksgiving.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday November 29, 2022 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets An index of U.S. consumer confidence for November is the only significant report on Tuesday's docket, due out at 9 a.m. CDT. Traders will continue to monitor the latest weather forecasts, check for a possible export sales announcement at 8 a.m. and watch for any other market-impacting news, including rumors about Sunday's OPEC meeting. December grain futures reach first notice day on Wednesday. Weather A cold front moving across the middle of the country early Tuesday is forming a low-pressure center along it, increasing the intensity of the system as it moves east throughout the day. Snow is forming behind the front and could be moderate to locally heavy from Nebraska up into Wisconsin. Severe storms will occur across the Delta and Southeast later today, with potential for long-duration tornadoes, widespread damaging winds, and large hail. A burst of colder air is flowing in behind the front as well.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday November 28, 2022 |


Monday Watch List Markets Back from the weekend, traders will look over the latest weather forecasts and news from Ukraine. Monday morning's weekly report of export inspections is expected to show another week of active soybean movement at 10 a.m. CDT, followed by the final Crop Progress report of the year at 3 p.m. Weather A briefly quiet weather day is expected Monday. A cold front is moving through the Northern Plains, but precipitation with the front is mostly located in the Canadian Prairies. The front will get more active tonight as snow develops in a band across southeast Wyoming, northeast Colorado, and Nebraska where moderate accumulations are expected. The rest of the country is rather dry and mild.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday November 25, 2022 |


Farmer Share of Thanksgiving Food Dollar Stays Low in 2022 National Farmers Union President Rob Larew says the farmers’ share of the Thanksgiving food dollar continues to stay low. “Corporate profits and consumer food costs continue to go up and up, but the farmers’ share of the food dollar is still low,” Larew says. “Thanksgiving is a time of family and community, but thanks to price gouging by corporate monopolies in the food system, the holiday meal is getting increasingly difficult to afford.” The NFU says the retail price of turkey averages $1.99 a pound, and the farmers’ share is six cents per pound. Two pounds of boneless ham retails for $12.98, with the farmers’ share at one dollar. Even though consumers are paying more for food this year, almost none of that increase is getting passed on to America’s family farmers and ranchers. Mega-consolidation in the food sector has made supply chains uncompetitive and resulted in farmers being underpaid. *********************************************************************************** Groups Express Support for Year-Round E15 A broad coalition of energy and agriculture organizations wrote a letter to Congress asking them to adopt legislation that would resolve inconsistent fuel volatility regulations. Specifically, the groups expressed support for legislation that would result in equal regulatory treatment for all gasoline blends containing ten percent ethanol or more, including gasoline with a 15 percent blend of ethanol. Such legislation would permanently remove the regulatory barrier that has historically made it extremely difficult for retailers to offer E15 in the summer. “Our groups have come together for the first time in history to support legislation that will permanently resolve the issue,” the letter says. “By ensuring uniformity across the nation’s fuel supply chain, that will provide more flexibility and result in more consistent outcomes than a state-by-state regulatory landscape.” Without the fix, the groups see gasoline marketplace uncertainty and political disputes over E15 that will continue to resurface every summer. *********************************************************************************** Farm Loan Interest Rates Rise Sharply Farm loan interest rates increased sharply during the third quarter. The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City says despite the high borrowing costs, farm real estate values continued higher. However, the rate of increase slowed in the quarter. Following consistently higher increases earlier in 2022, the value of farmland in most Districts grew at a slightly slower pace during the third quarter. Farm income and credit conditions also remained strong, but the improvement was more limited. With higher production expenses, broad inflation, and higher financing cost, growth in household spending by farm borrowers began to outpace capital spending more noticeably. Strong farm finances continued to support a generally positive outlook for agricultural credit conditions through the rest of this year. However, some pressures have continued to intensify. Despite more measured improvements in recent quarters, farm finances remained solid following especially-strong incomes across the sector during the past two years. *********************************************************************************** Japanese Government Approves Amended Beef Safeguard Mechanism The Upper House of Japan’s government, called the Diet, approved the Protocol Amending the U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement regarding the beef safeguard mechanism. The U.S. Trade Representative’s Office says that completes the Diet’s process of finalizing the agreement. The new three-trigger safeguard mechanism will allow U.S. exporters to meet Japan’s growing demand for high-quality beef and reduce the probability that Japan will impose higher tariffs in the future. “The protocol will ensure our farmers and ranchers continue to have access to one of the world’s most dynamic markets,” says USTR Katherine Tai. “We are excited that Japanese consumers can enjoy high-quality U.S. beef that’s a staple of our agricultural industry.” In 2021, the U.S. was the top beef exporting country in the world, with global sales of beef products valued at more than $10 billion. U.S. beef exports to Japan totaled almost $2.4 billion in 2021, making Japan the second-largest export market. *********************************************************************************** USDA Wants Nomination for the Advisory Committee on Ag Statistics The USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service is seeking nominations for the Advisory Committee on Agricultural Statistics. Members of this committee advise the Ag Secretary on the scope, timing, and content of periodic agricultural censuses, surveys of agriculture, and other related industries. The committee also makes recommendations on the content of agriculture reports and represents the views and data needs of suppliers and users of ag statistics. “The Advisory Committee has long played an important role within our agency,” says NASS Administrator Hubert Hamer. “The valuable insights and recommendations from the committee have helped shape NASS programs and ensure we continue to meet the needs of data and statistics.” The committee, appointed by the Ag Secretary, consists of 22 members representing multiple disciplines and interests, including ag producers, national farm organizations, ag economists, and many others. Nominations are due by December 7, and for more details, go to the NASS Advisory Committee website. *********************************************************************************** First Census of Agriculture to Collect Information on Hemp Farming For the first time, the USDA will collect data on farmers growing hemp and using precision technology in the 2022 Census of Agriculture. The agency began regulating hemp production in 2021, and this will be the first census to publish data on those producers, who grow the crop for fabric, food products, and CBD. The agency says it will also identify farmers who use “precision agriculture” data-collection technology that guides planting decisions. About 70 percent of the nation’s 2.2 million farms responded to the 2017 census. Response rates in recent years have trended downward. Farmers are required by law to fill out the survey, but NASS has no enforcement mechanism. Donald Buysse, (BYSE-see) chief of the census planning branch with NASS, says, “The incentive is the idea you’re providing data as a useful tool for your community.” USDA will collect responses until February 6 and publish the data in February 2024.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday November 25, 2022 |


Friday Watch List Markets Trading in U.S. grain and livestock futures resumes at 8:30 a.m. CDT Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. The session will close early at 12:05 p.m. for most contracts and at 12:15 p.m. for Minneapolis wheat. After USDA's weekly export sales report at 7:30 a.m. CDT, no other significant reports are on the docket, but traders will keep an eye on the latest weather forecasts and outside news, especially from Ukraine. Weather An upper-level system that has become cutoff over Texas will produce widespread and building showers and thunderstorms on Friday while showers move out of eastern areas. Some heavier snow will be possible in eastern New Mexico and west Texas as well. The rest of the country will be seasonally mild.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday November 23, 2022 |


USDA Invites Producers to Respond Online to the 2022 Census of Agriculture The USDA mailed survey codes to all known U.S. ag producers with the invitation to respond online to the 2022 Census of Agriculture at agcounts.usda.gov. The ag census is the nation’s only comprehensive and impartial agriculture data for every state, county, and territory. By completing the survey, producers across the nation can tell their stories and help generate impactful policies to better serve them and future ag producers. Farmers of all sizes, urban and rural, that produced and sold $1,000 or more of products, or normally would have in 2022, are included in the Census. The Census will get mailed in phases, with paper questionnaires following in December. Producers only have to respond once, either online or by mail. Responses are due on February 6, 2023. “The Census of Agriculture is a powerful voice for American agriculture,” says USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. “The information is an important influence on future ag policy.” *********************************************************************************** Comment Period Extended on Packers and Stockyards Act Rulemaking The USDA says it’s extending the comment period on the proposed rule titled “Inclusive Competition and Market Integrity Under the Packers and Stockyards Act” by 45 days. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association welcomed the extension while urging USDA to proceed in a deliberate manner. “While we appreciate the additional time to submit thorough comments, overall, USDA should slow down on this rulemaking effort,” says NCBA senior director of government affairs Tanner Beymer. “It’s a significant undertaking rooted in decades of history, and stockholders must get the chance to thoroughly evaluate the effects of this rule and those the Department says are coming soon.” NCBA and other industry partners requested an extension of the comment period last month in a letter to USDA. The proposed Packers and Stockyards Act rule spans 180 pages, poses 44 specific questions, and covers 14 years of regulatory history, so the initial 60-day period was too short. *********************************************************************************** Railroad Conductors Union Rejects Settlement Proposal The union representing railroad conductors rejected a White House-brokered deal and a strike could start as soon as December 9. The latest rejection comes from the union representing 28,000 conductors, brakemen, and yardmen. NPR says the total number of unions rejecting the agreement is four with a combined membership of close to 60,000 workers. Eight other unions ratified the deal but could get pulled back into the dispute. NPR says that’s because if one union decides to strike, all of the unions will honor the picket lines. The National Grain and Feed Association, the Soy Transportation Coalition, the National Milk Producers Federation, and many other agricultural groups are asking Congress to step in and prevent a shutdown, which would be catastrophic for the U.S. economy. The USDA says railroads carry 29 percent of the nation’s soybeans, 33 percent of the corn, and 60 percent of U.S. wheat to export terminals.  *********************************************************************************** Sustainable Agriculture Coalition Releases Farm Bill Priorities The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition’s 2023 Farm Bill campaign will advance programs and priorities that build resilience and equity across the American agricultural sector. Other platform goals include restoring competition, investing in science, and renewing the environment for current and future generations of Americans. One of the group’s biggest goals is strengthening resilient local and regional food systems. “A lack of technical assistance continues to make it difficult for many farmers and producers to update their businesses to take advantage of market opportunities,” the group says. “Federal farm and food programs must support all producers who want to take advantage of the opportunities.” The coalition also wants to fix a “flawed farm safety net and restore fair competition to the ag sector.” The group says, “Right now, the farm safety net serves as an open-ended entitlement subsidy that encourages high land prices, soil-depleting farming practices and systems, farm consolidation, and declining opportunities.” *********************************************************************************** NSP Applauds Expanded RMA Coverage for Grain Sorghum National Sorghum Producers applauds the USDA’s Risk Management Agency’s enhancing coverage for irrigated grain sorghum producers. The new coverage will be effective November 30 for the upcoming year. “This expanded coverage for irrigated sorghum producers is the culmination of ten years’ work between NSP, Congress, and RMA,” says NSP CEO Tim Lust. “We thank them for continuing to work with us to improve coverage options for sorghum producers.” He also says the improved rates and yields for sorghum producers will offer a greater level of aid and new opportunities for the 2023 growing season. RMA developed improved crop insurance options for irrigated grain sorghum producers in select counties in Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. “The existing rates for irrigated corn will be used for irrigated grain sorghum and 80 percent of the irrigated corn yield will be used to determine the guarantee,” says RMA, “with no change to the grain sorghum price.” *********************************************************************************** USDA’s Trade Mission to Spain Seeks to Boost Opportunities More than 30 agribusinesses and farm organizations will visit Madrid, Spain, from November 29 through December 2 during an upcoming USDA trade mission. Delegation members will engage directly with potential buyers from Spain and Portugal and receive in-depth market briefs from USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service and industry trade experts and participate in site visits. Spain is the third-largest EU destination for U.S. agricultural products and Portugal is number 11. “One of the key goals of this USDA trade mission is to highlight both our commonalities and what truly sets U.S. foods and ingredients apart from our competitors in the region,” says FAS Associate Administrator Clay Hamilton. “America’s farmers, ranchers, and producers have a compelling story to tell about the quality and sustainability of their agricultural production, and we are confident that story will resonate with buyers, result in many sales, and provide a boost to the agriculture industry back home.”

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday November 23, 2022 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets The day before Thanksgiving has many reports, including U.S. jobless claims, October durable goods orders and an update of the U.S. Drought Monitor at 7:30 a.m. CDT, the University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index and U.S. new home sales at 9 a.m., the U.S. Energy Department's weekly inventory report at 9:30 a.m. and minutes from the Federal Reserve's latest open market committee meeting at 1 p.m. U.S. grain and livestock futures close at their regular times Wednesday and open at 8:30 a.m. CDT on Friday for a short trading session. Weather A storm system moving through the Rockies on Wednesday will start to develop showers and thunderstorms out ahead of it Wednesday night across the southeastern Plains. Other areas of the country will be dry with mild temperatures for this time of year, a good day for holiday travel.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday November 22, 2022 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets There are no significant reports on Tuesday's docket and trading volume may be light this week of Thanksgiving -- sometimes encouraging mischievous behavior. As usual, traders will monitor weather forecasts and watch for a possible export sale announcement at 8 a.m. CDT. Weather A quiet weather day is expected for most areas of the country Tuesday. A system will be moving into the Pacific Northwest with scattered showers, however. This system will dive into the Southern Plains by Thursday where showers will be more likely to develop for Thanksgiving. Temperatures are moderating for most areas, with more normal-like readings for this time of year.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday November 21, 2022 |


Electric Vehicles Won’t Have AM Radios People shopping for electric vehicles will see that most don’t have AM radio, and it’s a move not sitting well with rural farm broadcasters. Nathan Simington is a Commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission who spoke to broadcasters at the National Association of Farm Broadcasting’s annual convention. He brought a unique perspective to the topic after growing up on a farm in Canada. “AM radio is an indispensable source of information for more than three million farmers in the U.S.,” Simington says. “To those who say AM is a dead technology, 75 percent of farmers listen to the radio five days per week.” For those who don’t know, AM radio is also the “essential spine” of the Emergency Alert System. “More importantly, farm broadcasters, especially those on AM, are a trusted source of information,” Simington adds. “Forget about oil and gas. These days, trust is the most important commodity out there.” *********************************************************************************** Milk Producers Ask for Support of Domestic Formula Production The National Milk Producers Federation sent a letter to lawmakers asking for support of domestic infant formula production as the shortfalls that emptied store shelves of formula have eased. Given the improving situation, tariff waivers that could discourage the production of a safe, secure domestic infant formula supply should be allowed to expire at the end of this year as scheduled. The milk producers sent their letter to the chairmen and ranking members of the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee. “Given the temporary shortfall that gripped American families in need of formula earlier this year has abated, we urge Congress to ensure that the unique, unilateral tariff benefits granted to our trading partners under the Formula Act and the Bulk Infant Formula to Retail Shelves Act end as scheduled at the close of the year,” the letter says. “We request opposition to efforts to extend the benefits.” *********************************************************************************** NCBA, PLC Oppose ESA Listing of Lesser Prairie Chicken The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the Public Lands Council announced their opposition to listing the Lesser Prairie Chicken under the Endangered Species Act after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released a final rule. “Over and over, the science has proven that healthy, diverse rangelands, the exact kind of landscape maintained by livestock grazing, are where the lesser prairie chicken thrives,” says PLC Executive Director Kaitlynn Glover. “Cattle ranchers’ efforts to conserve these acres are absolutely critical to the survival of the species.” She also says they’re deeply disappointed by the Fish and Wildlife decision to impose redundant and punitive restrictions on the very same people they have to thank for the lesser prairie chicken’s continued existence on the range. The Service is also establishing a rule allowing them to appoint third parties, including environmental activist groups, as the grazing authorities in the range of the lesser prairie chicken. *********************************************************************************** Beef Advocacy Program Wants New Applicants The Beef Checkoff-funded Trailblazers program is asking for applications for its next class of beef advocates. Trailblazers, developed by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, takes advocacy to the next level by giving participants the tools and training they need to promote beef to new audiences while correcting misconceptions. “Trailblazers develops the next generation of beef advocates through a highly-engaging and interactive program,” says Chandler Mulvaney, director of grassroots advocacy and spokesperson development for NCBA. The program is looking for new spokespeople to participate in a year-long, hands-on program to train, equip, and empower beef advocates. Selected candidates learn to become expert communicators, excel in media interviews, and understand how to build confidence in beef-related practices when talking to consumers. Applications are due by December 30, and selected participants will get notified in mid-January. Applicants must be 21 and provide two references with their application. For information, go to NCBA.org. *********************************************************************************** Testimony on SEC’s Proposed Climate Rule Montana Senator Jon Tester pushed the leader of the Securities and Exchange Commission to avoid taking action on its proposed Climate Rule that could potentially hurt American farmers. He’s concerned that action would lead to burdensome reporting requirements for family farmers and ranchers who are part of the supply chain for a publicly-traded company as part of the agency’s proposed climate disclosure rule. “I appreciate our discussion and your response that the SEC doesn’t intend for public companies to have an obligation to ask producers for information to estimate these emissions,” he says. “However, the agency must not take any action that may lead, intentionally or not, to burdensome reporting requirements for production agriculture.” Montana producers applauded the senator’s continued action. “We support the senator’s efforts to help the SEC understand our concerns with what could potentially be a far overreaching rule,” says Cyndi Johnson, president of the Montana Farm Bureau. *********************************************************************************** Proposed WIC Change Would Decrease Access to Dairy Products The National Milk Producers Federation and the International Dairy Foods Association say the USDA’s proposed changes to the Women, Infants, and Children’s Nutrition Program will limit dairy access. “Unfortunately, the changes would decrease access to dairy products and the unique nutrient profile they provide, especially considering the current Dietary Guidelines say almost 90 percent of the U.S. population doesn’t consume enough dairy to meet recommendations,” the groups say in a statement. “Nutrition science clearly shows that nutritious dairy products like milk, yogurt, cheese, and cottage cheese are especially important in the diets of women, infants, and children.” They also say dairy is a source of 13 nutrients, including three of the four that are a public health concern as noted by the dietary guidelines. The groups look forward to working with USDA to modernize the WIC food package for eligible families to increase access to nutrient-dense milk, yogurt, and cheese.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday November 21, 2022 |


Monday Watch List Markets Back from the weekend, traders will check the latest weather forecasts and survey the news, especially any updates from the war in Ukraine. USDA's weekly export inspections is set for 10 a.m. CDT, followed by Crop Progress at 3 p.m. This will be an abbreviated week of trading with Thanksgiving on Thursday, followed by a shorter session Friday. Weather After a brutally cold week for most of the country, temperatures early this week are moderating and becoming more seasonable for most areas. Some light precipitation may be found near the Gulf Coast but most areas are going to stay dry early this week.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday November 18, 2022 |


Rural Mainstreet Economy Shrinks for Six Straight Months The Creighton University Rural Mainstreet Index fell below growth-neutral for the sixth-consecutive month. On a scale of one to 100, 50 represents growth neutral. The Economic Confidence Index plummeted to its lowest level since 2020. Almost 31 percent of bank CEOs in the survey area recommend that the Fed cease raising interest rates. Despite the weaker rural outlook, only 14 percent of the CEOs say their bank had increased financial commitments on farm loans. Farmland demand remains strong as the Farmland Price index climbed above 50 for the 26th month in a row. Almost 61 percent of bank CEOs expect these high farmland prices to plateau, while 22 percent say those land prices will likely decline during the period. “The rural Mainstreet economy is now experiencing a downturn in economic activity,” says Dr. Ernie Goss. “Last month, almost one in four bankers said the economy was already in a recession.” *********************************************************************************** Increased Ethanol Blend Rates Lower Fuel Costs for Drivers A new Energy Information Administration report clearly shows higher ethanol blends helped moderate fuel prices after the Ukraine invasion. The report also says the ethanol blend rates hit a record summer average of 10.5 percent. “Fuel ethanol’s price discount to gasoline was one factor that led to the higher summer blend rate in 2022,” the report says. “Although ethanol prices were higher in 2022, they were still low relative to gas prices that were at the highest level since 2014. “The new analysis shows that American drivers gravitated toward lower-cost E15 and E85 this summer as war in Ukraine drove fuel prices to record highs,” says Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “The report also shows that President Biden made the right call by issuing emergency waivers to allow the continued sales of E15 through the summer.” RFA also says the report shows the importance of year-round access to E15. *********************************************************************************** Black Sea Grain Export Deal Extended, Russia Wants More The Black Sea Grain Export Deal, due to expire on Saturday, has been extended for another 120 days. Reuters says Moscow wants its own demands in the deal to get more fully addressed. The agreement protects a sea transit corridor and was intended to help alleviate a global food shortage. Ukraine, a major producer of grains and oilseeds, has three ports in Ukraine currently shipping grain. UN’s Secretary General says they welcome the agreement by all parties to continue the Black Sea grain initiative to facilitate the safe navigation of grain exports, foodstuffs, and fertilizers from Ukraine. Russian exports of ammonia via a pipeline to the Black Sea haven’t been agreed to as part of the renewal. However, Russia is continuing its efforts to resume those exports unimpeded by Western sanctions. The 120-day extension wasn’t the one-year deal the United Nations and Ukraine wanted. Russia says the duration seems “justified.” *********************************************************************************** USDA Proposes Science-Driven Updates to WIC USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service announced proposed changes to the foods prescribed to participants in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, known as WIC (wick). These science-based revisions incorporate recommendations from the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. “USDA is committed to advancing maternal and child health through WIC, helping mothers, babies, and young kids thrive,” says Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack. “These proposed changes will strengthen WIC, which is already an incredible program, by ensuring it provides foods that reflect the latest nutrition science to support healthy eating and bright futures.” The changes will increase the current level of assistance while providing WIC state agencies with more flexibility to tailor or accommodate personal and cultural food preferences and special dietary needs and increase variety and choice for WIC participants, making the program more appealing for current and potential participants. *********************************************************************************** Sheep Industry Building a Sustainability Task Force The American Lamb Board is working with the American sheep industry to create a new task force of industry stakeholders and research and extension specialists to develop a sheep sustainability report. The report will represent the sheep industry’s commitment to sustainability and the industry’s existing practices and goals for continuous improvement in animal care, environmental stewardship, social impacts, and industry productivity. The task force was developed, in part, because of a Michigan State University environmental footprint study. MSU gathered production data and calculated GHG emissions of five different sheep production systems: intensive production, intensive grazing, extensive grazing, range, and feedlots. The study identified the major production factors contributing to GHG emissions in U.S. sheep production, which will help develop mitigation strategies and best practices for each production system to reduce emissions. ALB says its environmental story was added to marketing programs in the past several months, and they’re gearing up for more. *********************************************************************************** Ethanol Production Hits Lowest Level in a Month The Energy Information Administration says ethanol output dropped to its lowest level in more than a month, and inventories dropped during the week ending on November 11. The newest EIA report says the production fell to an average of 1.011 million barrels a day. That’s down from 1.051 million barrels during the prior week and the lowest level since October. In the Midwest, the largest-producing region in the U.S., production dropped to 954,000 barrels a day from 992,000 barrels the week before. That’s also the lowest level for the Midwest in over a month. Gulf Coast production declined to an average of 23,000 barrels a day, a 1,000-barrel-a-day drop from the prior week. Rocky Mountain output fell to 13,000 barrels a day, the lowest output since September 23. The East Coast saw the only production increase at 13,000 barrels a day. Inventories through November 11 fell to 21.298 million barrels.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday November 18, 2022 |


Friday Watch List Markets Friday features two economic reports -- existing home sales and leading economic indicators. We will also be watching for any new grain or soybean sales, South American weather, and any news out of Ukraine. Weather A reinforcing shot of cold air continues to flow into the U.S. on Friday. It is causing some light snow in places, but with little accumulation outside of the Great Lakes, where lake-effect snows are intense. Sub-freezing temperatures have made it to almost all areas of the country outside of some spots in the Southwest, southern Texas, and the Florida Peninsula with sub-zero readings in the Northern Plains.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday November 17, 2022 |


Thursday Watch List Markets USDA's weekly export sales report will be out at 7:30 a.m. CDT Thursday, the same time as weekly U.S. jobless claims, October housing starts and an update of the U.S. Drought Monitor. The U.S. Energy Department's weekly report of natural gas storage is set for 9:30 a.m. Traders continue to wait for Russia's decision on the Ukraine grain deal and keep watch over the latest forecasts. Weather Another push of cold air across the northern half of the country is bringing the potential for widespread light snows on Thursday. Breezy winds are coming as well, with gusts up to 45 mph in the Northern Plains that could lead to reduced visibility and blowing snow. Lake-effect snows on the eastern side of the Great Lakes continue to be heavier.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday November 17, 2022 |


Farm Bureau Survey Shows Thanksgiving Dinner Cost up 20 Percent Thanksgiving is an important holiday for spending time with family and friends. Farm Bureau’s 37th annual Thanksgiving Dinner survey provides a look at the cost of this year’s classic feast for 10. This year’s price tag is $64.05, up more than ten dollars from last year’s average of $53.31. It still works out to under $6.50 per person. The centerpiece is the turkey, which costs more than last year at $28.96 for a 16-pound bird. It’s 21 percent higher than last year. Other ingredients in the meal include stuffing mix, dinner rolls, milk, sweet potatoes, a veggie tray, pie crusts, and several others. The only traditional ingredient that’s cheaper than last year is a bag of fresh cranberries at $2.57, 14 percent cheaper than last year. American Farm Bureau Chief Economist Roger Cryan said factors driving the prices higher include general inflation, supply chain challenges, and the war in Ukraine. *********************************************************************************** USDA Announces Additional Emergency Relief for Producers Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says his agency is planning for additional emergency relief and pandemic assistance. USDA will soon roll out phase two of the Emergency Relief Program as well as the new Pandemic Assistance Revenue Program. Those programs will help offset crop and revenue losses for producers. USDA is announcing the forthcoming assistance early enough to give producers time to gather documents and train the agency’s staff. “We have diligently worked to help agricultural producers bounce back from devastating natural disasters and COVID-19 through a number of programs,” Vilsack says. “These new programs are focused on filling gaps in assistance where some producers have fallen through the cracks.” ERP phase two will assist eligible producers who suffered crop losses due to wildfires, hurricanes, flood, derechos, and others. PARP will help eligible commodity producer who lost revenue in 2020 compared to previous years due to COVID-19. For more info, go to usda.gov. *********************************************************************************** Food Prices Likely to Drop Next Year Cargill’s CEO says he expects food prices to decline in 2023. Yahoo says that’s despite tight global crop stockpiles, especially in oilseeds. David MacLennan, Cargill CEO, says the solution to the food versus fuel debate is to boost global crop commodity production. “We don’t think it’s going to be an either-or dynamic,” he says. “It can be food and fuel.” MacLennan also says regenerative agricultural practices, greater yields, and more use of technology can increase output so it can meet the demand from both food and fuel sectors. World food prices hit a record in March after Russia invaded Ukraine and prevented exports from one of the world’s top grain producers. Prices did drop after the United Nations helped reach a grain deal that allowed ships filled with Ukrainian grain to pass unimpeded through the Black Sea. “Food shouldn’t be a weapon,” MacLellan adds. “The world depends on an interconnected food system.” *********************************************************************************** NMPF Wants Expedited Approval of Climate-Friendly Additives The National Milk Producers Federation wants the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to speed up the approval of climate-smart feed additives. The group wants the FDA to modernize its regulations allowing for faster approval of animal feed additives that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The milk producers submitted comments to the agency highlighting the need for urgent action to enhance dairy’s role as a climate solution. “Innovative and voluntary solutions are needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including methane,” says Dr. Jamie Jonker, NMPF Chief Science Officer. “Feed composition changes can directly or indirectly reduce enteric emissions resulting from livestock.” While animal feed additives help on the path to net-zero emissions, the pace of their approval lags behind competitors like the European Union due to current FDA processes. “One of the greatest opportunities that exists for dairy farmers is their ability to provide real solutions to many challenges like GHG emissions,” Jonker says. *********************************************************************************** Grab That Turkey for Thanksgiving As Americans prepare for Thanksgiving, it’s probably not surprising that the number of available turkeys is lower than last year. Only 49.6 million pounds of turkeys remained in cold storage as of Monday, which a USDA report says is down 18 percent week-to-week. At the end of August, when supplies are usually at their peak, they totaled more than 114 million pounds. An updated USDA report says while turkey production was expected to drop by seven percent, the amount of meat in storage rose one percent from the same point last year. The last month new chicks can mature enough for Thanksgiving is August, and placements rose two percent higher than the five-year-average as producers attempted to make up for lost output because of avian influenza earlier this year. Since the end of August, inventories have steadily declined. Stocks in September dropped to just over 105 million pounds, nine percent above 2021. *********************************************************************************** Helping Veterans Find New Careers John Deere announced an agreement with the U.S. Army Reserve to help service members and their families access career opportunities while transferring to civilian life. The agreement allows Deere to provide active-duty soldiers transitioning to the Army Reserves with meaningful education and skills that will make them top candidates for future employment. Deere says it’s honored to give back to the nation’s veterans by helping them take the skills they learned and develop them in a new career path. The agreement builds upon the Defense Department’s Skill Bridge Program, which places active-duty military members in civilian jobs for the final six months of service. Reserve members typically face unemployment rates two or three times the national average. The internship allows vets to get on the ground training and industry education that can help make them better candidates for open jobs. Active-duty, National Guard, or Reserve vets and spouses can go to deere.com.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday November 16, 2022 |


USDA Provides Almost $24 Million for Beginning Farmers and Ranchers USDA Chief Scientist Chavonda Jacobs-Young says the agency will invest nearly $24 million across 45 organizations and institutions that teach and train beginning farmers and ranchers. “Investing in the professional development of our nation’s newest farmers and ranchers will help our food and agriculture sectors to flourish from the ground up,” she says. The investments will support a wide range of activities across a number of important topics for new farmers and ranchers, including managing capital, acquiring and managing land, and learning effective business and farming practices. The investment is part of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program. “We recognize that beginning farmers and ranchers have unique needs for education, training, and technical assistance,” says NIFA Acting Director Dr. Dionne Toombs. “This investment will benefit a new generation of beginning farmers and ranchers across the spectrum of American agriculture. For more information, go to usda.gov. *********************************************************************************** Farm Groups Ask USTR for “Fresh Start” With WTO USA Rice released a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai from ag groups asking her for a “fresh start” at the World Trade Organization. “We believe negotiations are at a crossroads, and the current environment is conducive to a fresh start,” the groups say in a letter. “The groups are asking for a forum at the WTO that would facilitate discussion of the traditional core issues as well as emerging trade-related issues like trade liberalization and innovation-friendly regulatory approaches.” They also say if the current WTO structure doesn’t allow for “blank-slate” negotiations, the groups want her to develop alternatives to address these issues. “Finally, a critical element of agricultural trade liberalization will be an effective enforcement mechanism,” they say. “Indefinitely extending the block on appellate body appointments or agreeing to reforms that weaken dispute settlement will be detrimental to America’s agricultural producers and possible discussions surrounding agricultural trade issues.” *********************************************************************************** Farm Workers to Lobby for Immigration Bill Over 60 farm worker groups from across America are traveling to Washington this week to urge the Senate to pass the Farm Workforce Modernization Act. The United Farmworkers, the UFW Foundation, and other groups will make the trip to Washington, D.C. to lobby for the bill, which is a compromise between farm and labor leaders and supported by most farm groups. The Fence Post Dot Com says the House passed the bill, but Senate supporters haven’t convinced enough Republicans to support the bill to get the 60 votes needed to avoid a filibuster. Lobbyists for the bill worry that passing it in the next Congress would be close to impossible if Republicans wind up controlling the House. Farm workers from major agricultural states like Arizona, California, Washington, Georgia, and others will be lobbying elected officials. “Providing America’s agricultural workforce with legal status and stability is crucial,” says UFW President Teresa Romero. *********************************************************************************** Group Wants Seven Billion Gallon Biofuel Law Clean Fuels America Alliance wants the Environmental Protection Agency to increase the advanced biofuels’ share of the fuel market by one billion gallons a year to reflect the rising interest in renewable diesel production. The recommendations would raise the federal mandate for second-generation biofuels by over 7.6 billion gallons in 2024, which amounts to a 36 percent increase from this year. “We’re seeing the production of renewable diesel coming online,” says Donnell Rehagen, Clean Fuels America CEO. “We believe the EPA has to increase the biomass-based diesel volume by 500 million gallons and the advance biofuels by one billion gallons for each of the next two years.” In an agreement with the biofuel industry, the EPA has a deadline on November 30 to announce the Renewable Fuel Standard for 2023 and possibly for additional years. Plants with up to three billion gallons of capacity will come online in the next three years. *********************************************************************************** Russia Expected to Extend the Black Sea Grain Deal Russia will likely extend the United Nations-brokered deal allowing exports of grain and other farm products from Ukraine. Four people tell Bloomberg that the deal expires on November 19 and that Russia will likely allow the deal to renew. Just ahead of the expiration, United Nations’ leadership and Russian officials met on the sidelines of the G20 summit. Reuters says the two sides had a lengthy discussion and talked through all the aspects related to facilitating Russian exports of food and fertilizers, as well as the Black Sea Initiative. The accord helped stave off a global food crisis by allowing food and fertilizer exports from several of Ukraine’s Black Sea ports. Russia wants unhindered access to world markets for its own food and fertilizer exports in return for agreeing to continue the Black Sea export deal. Moscow says it could quit the deal if progress isn’t made on its concerns. *********************************************************************************** Another Record Land Sale in Iowa Iowa set another record for farmland sales. Seventy-three acres of high-quality farmland in Sioux County, Iowa, sold for $30,000 per acre at auction on November 11. That’s a total sale worth $2.195 million. That’s just part of a new $30,000-per-acre club in Iowa. A local farmer was the buyer, and the runner-up was also a farmer. A statement from Iowa Appraisal says the company can’t explain these recent price records. The price itself got negotiated in just minutes. “There’s no really good explanation for sudden jumps in these record prices,” the company says. The farm had 72.49 tillable acres with a balance in roads and ditches. Its corn acreage base is 28.19 acres with a yield of 172 bushels an acre, and a soybean base of 38.19 acres with a yield of 56 bushels an acre. A recent auction saw 116 acres of southeast Nebraska farmland sell for $27,400 per acre.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday November 16, 2022 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets A report on U.S. retail sales for October is due out at 7:30 a.m. CDT Wednesday, followed by the Fed's report on October industrial production at 8:15 a.m. The U.S. Energy Department's weekly inventory report is set for 9:30 a.m. and includes ethanol production. Traders will continue to closely watch news events from Ukraine, as well as the latest weather forecasts. Weather A system is moving through the Northeast with a batch of heavy snow. A trough over the middle of the country continues to produce light snow across the Midwest. And another push of cold air coming down from Canada is leading to light snows for the Northern Plains. Some of those snows could be heavier closer to the Rockies tonight and come with some breezy winds as well. Meanwhile, below normal temperatures have largely enveloped the entire U.S.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday November 15, 2022 |


Ag Groups Call for Congress to Reaffirm Federal Pesticide Preemption More than 300 agriculture, environment, academic, and infrastructure stakeholder groups are calling on Congress to reaffirm federal pesticide preemption on labeling and packaging. Failing to do so, the groups warn, could hold disastrous consequences for our food security, the environment, public health, vital infrastructure, and other uses where pesticides provide important societal benefits. The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act is clear that states “shall not impose or continue in effect any requirements for labeling or packaging in addition to or different from those required” by the federal government. However, in recent years, states have sought to impose health claim label requirements that directly contradict federal findings. In a letter to Congress, the groups call on Congress to reaffirm that states may not impose additional labeling or packaging requirements that conflict with federal findings. American Soybean Association President Brad Doyle says, “Farmers and other pesticide users need predictable access to these tools to protect their crops and maintain important conservation practices. *********************************************************************************** Senate Ag Leaders Call for Greater Cryptocurrency Regulation Leadership of the Senate Agriculture Committee last week called for more federal oversight of cryptocurrency exchanges. The comments come as cryptocurrency exchange FTX collapsed last week, and a collapse of cryptocurrency prices. The Senate Agriculture Committee has jurisdiction over the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Chair Debbie Stabenow, a Michigan Democrat, says, “Consumers continue to be harmed by the lack of transparency and accountability in this market. Ranking Republican from Arkansas, John Boozman, says, “The events that have transpired reinforce the clear need for greater federal oversight of the digital asset industry.” Boozman adds, “While our legislative work continues, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission already has the ability to regulate and prosecute fraud, manipulation and abuse. I strongly encourage them to actively exercise those authorities when necessary.” The Digital Commodities Consumer Protection Act of 2022, sponsored by Stabenow, would amend the Commodity Exchange Act to provide the Commodity Futures Trading Commission jurisdiction to oversee the spot digital commodity market *********************************************************************************** NCGA Launches Search for Next CEO The National Corn Growers Association Board of Directors has hired Hedlin Ag Enterprises of Ankeny, Iowa, to assist with the search for a new CEO. Current NCGA CEO Jon Doggett has worked for NCGA for more than 20 years as our Vice President of Public Policy, Executive Vice President and, since 2018, as CEO. Doggett made his intentions known to the board earlier this year, and his last day with the organization will be December 31, 2022." NCGA President Tom Haag says, “We have been very thoughtful and put a lot of time and effort into this process.” The initial part of the search involves identifying and vetting potential candidates for the position, which will occur through the end of this year and into the beginning of 2023. Candidate interviews for the CEO position will be held in February with the intention of introducing the new CEO during Commodity Classic in March. *********************************************************************************** Iowa Department of Ag Cancels Live Bird Exhibitions The Iowa Department of Agriculture and last week announced an order canceling all live bird exhibitions at fairs and other gatherings of birds. The order comes as Iowa and the rest of the nation face a continued threat of highly pathogenic avian influenza. The order also prohibits live birds from being sold or transferred at livestock auction markets, swap meets, and exotic sales. The order is in place for a minimum of 30 days, and until 30 days have passed without confirmation of a new infection of HPAI in domestic poultry in the state. A similar order was announced March 23 and was lifted June 3. HPAI is a highly contagious viral disease affecting bird populations. HPAI can travel in wild birds without those birds appearing sick, but is often fatal to domestic bird populations, including chickens and turkeys. The virus can spread through droppings or the nasal discharge of an infected bird, which can contaminate dust and soil. *********************************************************************************** Disability Status Can Affect Food Security Among U.S. Households In 2021, households that included an adult with disabilities reported higher food insecurity rates than households with no adults with disabilities. USDA’s Economic Research Service reports that in 2021, for U.S. households that included an adult out of the labor force because of a disability, 28 percent were food insecure. Among U.S. households with an adult age 18-64 who reported a disability but was not out of the labor force because of it, 24 percent were food insecure. In contrast, seven percent of households with adults without disabilities were food insecure in 2021. Households that include at least one adult 65 and over who reported a disability had food insecurity prevalence rates similar to households with adults without disabilities, at nine percent. In 2021, the prevalence rate of very low food security for households that included adults not in the labor force because of a disability was more than five times that of households that included adults without disabilities. *********************************************************************************** Weekly Gas Prices Lower, Diesel Rises Again After just a week, average gas prices have returned to their decline, with the national average falling 2.6 cents from a week ago to $3.76 per gallon. The national average is down 14.3 cents from a month ago but stands 36.3 cents per gallon higher than a year ago. The national average price of diesel increased 2.3 cents in the last week and stands at $5.34 per gallon. Diesel supplies remain short, prompting the inverse in price between gas and diesel. GasBuddy's Patrick De Haan says, “With oil prices remaining volatile, the outlook is murky, but I’m hopeful in the lead up to Thanksgiving we’ll see prices declining in more states.” The decline has been partly driven by Great Lakes states, where prices fell by 15-25 cents per gallon due to an improvement in the refining situation, and also oil prices. GasBuddy reports U.S. retail gasoline demand fell last week by 0.4 percent.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday November 15, 2022 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets The U.S. Labor Department's producer price index for October will be out at 7:30 a.m. CDT Tuesday and is apt to resemble the smaller increases already seen in last Thursday's consumer price index. The National Oilseeds Processors Association will report on members' soybean crush in October later Tuesday morning. Traders will keep watch over the latest weather forecasts and any news pertaining to Ukraine this week. Weather A system moving through on Tuesday is bringing widespread precipitation to the eastern half of the country. Across northern areas it is snow, mostly in the light to moderate category. For the Southeast, it's rain and could be moderate in spots. Cold air continues to pour in behind this system, making it feel like winter and causing wheat to go dormant.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday November 14, 2022 |


Interest and Drought Pressuring Still Strong Farm Economy Interest rates on farm loans increased sharply in the third quarter, and the acceleration in farm real estate values continued to ease. The Kansas City Fed says farm income and credit conditions remained solid, but the pace of improvement softened. The financial impact of the drought also intensified, particularly in the southern and western portions of the district. Despite the recent headwinds, farm finances remained strong and continued to support sound agricultural loan performance. The outlook for the agricultural economy generally remains positive despite a recent pull back in prices for some key farm commodities. Crop market volatility, higher expenses, and drought could hinder income opportunities for some producers, but prices for key crops and livestock remain at multi-year highs, and profit opportunities remain favorable across the farm sector. The recent substantial improvement in farm finances and a surge in agricultural real estate values have also bolstered farmer balance sheets. *********************************************************************************** Combine Sales Rise While Tractor Sales Drop in October Combine harvester sales showed double-digit gains during October in North America. The Association of Equipment Manufacturers says all tractor sales fell in the U.S. and Canada. The latest AEM report says total U.S. ag equipment unit sales stayed above the five-year average for the third time since April. Total farm tractor sales fell 11 percent in October when compared to last year. The biggest drop took place in the sub-40 horsepower category, which fell almost 24 percent. Self-propelled combine sales grew 77 percent to 1,678 units sold. All ag tractor segments above 40 horsepower grew as well, led by a 25 percent rise in 100-plus HP units. Total farm tractor sales are down 14 percent year-to-date, a slight improvement over the prior month. U.S. combine sales are up 16 percent year-to-date. The only segments in Canada that showed growth were four-wheel-drive tractors up 19 percent and combine harvesters up 33 percent. *********************************************************************************** CAB Awards $70,000 in Scholarship Funds Certified Angus Beef awarded an annual record of $70,000 in scholarships to 20 students pursuing careers at the ranch, in meat science, in a research lab, or supporting agricultural business and marketing. The Colvin Scholarship Fund recognizes students for the commitment and energy they bring to agriculture, their education, and their community involvement. Young leaders with bright ideas for making the best beef even better earned five production agriculture, ten undergraduate, and five graduate scholarships. Danielle Matter, CAB director of brand experience and education, says, “All of this year’s recipients shine a bright light on the future of the beef business, and we are excited to see how the awards positively influence these students.” The students recognized through the scholarships are carrying on the legacy of the brand’s co-founder and former executive director Louis “Mick” Colvin. Since 2022, the fund has supported a total of 121 recipients through $418,500 in scholarships. *********************************************************************************** NCBA Applauds Focus on Protecting Food and Ag Sector The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association hailed the signing of the National Security Memorandum to Strengthen the Security and Resilience of U.S. Food and Agriculture. The memorandum helps the federal government to identify the threats facing our food supply and improve national readiness and response. “Our agricultural sector faces a variety of threats that could inhibit cattle producers’ ability to bring beef from pasture to plate,” says NCBA CEO Colin Woodall. “We appreciate the focus on developing threat mitigation strategies.” He also says if everyone works together, “We can protect our industry while ensuring that all Americans have access to wholesome foods like beef.” The memorandum instructs top government officials on identifying threats and coordinating with all levels of government on a response. The NCBA is especially pleased that the Biden Administration is making security and resiliency decisions based on sound data. “These are the kinds of data-driven decisions we support,” says Woodall. *********************************************************************************** Report Show Increasing Acreage and Sustainability for U.S. Cotton Production The U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol released a report showing increasing improvement in the sustainability of American cotton production. The report shows significant improvements in important sustainability metrics. Cotton Trust Protocol members have recorded a 13 percent increase in land use efficiency and a 14 percent increase in water use efficiency. There’s also a 25 percent reduction in energy use, a 21 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, and a 78 percent reduction in soil loss. Seventy percent of growers in the protocol had a positive Soil Conservation Index. Membership in the Cotton Trust Protocol has grown both domestically and internationally. Enrolled acres of U.S. cotton production have doubled to 1.1 million acres since the program’s pilot year. All 17 of the major U.S. cotton-producing states are now represented. Dr. Gary Adams, Cotton Trust President, says the results speak for themselves in the impressive progress made by growers on key sustainability metrics.” *********************************************************************************** Year-Round Ethanol Sales Idea Wins Oil Group Support A Republican senator from Nebraska plans to submit legislation to expand national sales of E15 with the support of a major oil industry trade group. Successful Farming says Deb Fischer believes there is a way to move ahead with year-round E15 sales that have previously been opposed by some oil and environmental groups. The American Petroleum Institute, one of the oil industry’s top trade groups, began discussions earlier this year with the Renewable Fuels Association on a nationwide expansion of E15. The API began cooperating with biofuel trade groups after governors from major corn-producing states requested the Environmental Protection Agency lift restrictions on E15 sales in their states. The governors’ proposal raised oil industry concerns about fuel supplies. “A state-by-state approach would create a boutique fuel market in the Midwest and may negatively impact the reliability of gasoline supply to the region,” says Will Hupman, API Vice President of Downstream Policy.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday November 14, 2022 |


Monday Watch List Markets Back from the weekend, traders will be checking over the latest weather forecasts and any market-related news, especially as Russia is expected to either accept or quit the Ukrainian grain deal by November 19. USDA's weekly report of export inspections is due out at 10 a.m. CDT Monday, followed by Crop Progress at 3 p.m. Weather Widespread cold has gripped most of the nation, making it feel like winter. A small system developing in Texas will spread scattered showers through the southern half of the Plains states but quickly move eastward through the Southeast with rain going into Tuesday. The northern half of the precipitation will be snow and could be moderate in some spots through the Plains and into the Midwest. The reinforcing cold coming behind the system will likely continue the process of turning wheat dormant in a lot of areas.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday November 11, 2022 |


Union Pushes Back Date for Potential Railroad Worker Strike A key railroad workers’ union says it won’t go on strike after November 19. The Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way – Employees Division says it will hold off on any type of action until early December. Freight Waves Dot Com says that will give railroads more time to come up with their best offer without the pressure of an imminent walkout. The status quo period will be in place along with three other unions that have yet to approve their labor agreements. This period, known as a “cooling-off period,” means unions or railroads can’t engage in any work stoppages according to federal law. The union says it’s the last chance for railroads to do the right thing by voluntarily agreeing to provide paid sick leave to all employees. “Congress should not intervene and rescue the railroads if they continue to refuse to provide workers with paid sick leave,” the union says in a statement. *********************************************************************************** Export Exchange Leads to $225 Million in Sales The Export Exchange Conference recently hosted by the U.S. Grains Council, Growth Energy, and the Renewable Fuels Association is already paying off. According to surveys of grain buyers who attended the event, they bought $225 million worth of grain and ethanol co-products. In addition to that total, another $128 million in potential sales is under negotiations. That equates to almost 515,000 metric tons of grains and co-products traded at the conference or immediately before or after. “Trade is absolutely critical to U.S. farmers right now, and these sales show that buyers attending the Export Exchange took the buying opportunities very seriously,” says USGC President and CEO Ryan LeGrand. Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy, says, “Exports of U.S. grains and DDGS create jobs at home while helping international companies satisfy their demand for quality products.” Geoff Cooper, RFA President and CEO, says buyers bought enough DDGS to fill three Panamax vessels. *********************************************************************************** USMEF Conference Examines Exports, Constraints, and Headwinds The U.S. Meat Export Federation’s Strategic Planning Conference in Oklahoma City attracted farmers, ranchers, processors, and exporters from across the country. While U.S. red meat exports will likely set a record in value, there are several obstacles ahead for the industry, including a sluggish global economy, weaker currencies, and the lingering effects of COVID. Production challenges are also mounting, especially with severe drought. Keynote speaker Randy Blach (Block) of CattleFax says despite the challenges, the U.S. red meat industry is still remarkably efficient and sustainable. He says American producers are well-positioned for success, even in this challenging environment. “We produce more beef than Brazil with one-third the number of cattle,” Blach says. “It’s our high-quality, grain-fed beef.” USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom updated members on current export results and the outlook for the months ahead. He also highlighted the importance of market diversification that’s helped exports maintain their record pace. *********************************************************************************** Mexican Lawmakers Pushing to Ban Almost 200 Pesticide Chemicals A group of lawmakers in Mexico is attempting to ban almost 200 chemicals used in pesticides, and the country’s farmers are alarmed at the prospect. While supporters of the idea want pesticides banned because it’s harmful to human health, farmers say that could devastate Mexico’s ability to produce food. Head Topics Dot Com says there’s a growing push in Mexico against using pesticides and growing genetically modified corn. However, some in the Mexican government say this proposal goes too far too quickly. The country is already getting rid of glyphosate, and the country intends to ban genetically modified corn in 2024. The Senate will soon take up the plan to phase out 183 different chemicals contained in commonly-used pesticides by 2024. The proposed bill pushes alternatives like bio-inputs and extract products to replace pesticides. If the bill is approved, it moves to a Senate vote and then the lower house. *********************************************************************************** USDA Investing $50 Million in Healthier School Meals USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service launched a new initiative for healthier school meals through a $50 million grant opportunity. It will support collaboration with the food industry to develop nutritious and appetizing school meals for students. “We’re investing in innovative solutions and challenging the industry to partner with us to ensure every student has access to healthy school meals,” says Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack. “For children to reach their full academic potential, they must build healthy eating habits, and USDA recognizes the importance of private sector partnership in making this happen.” The request for grant applications is now open and marks the second phase of USDA’s $100 million Healthy Meals Incentives Initiative. The initiative is designed to improve the quality of school meals by strengthening access to nutritious food products. Up to four non-governmental organizations will be selected by the Food and Nutrition Service to manage funds for the School Food System Transformation Challenge. *********************************************************************************** Weekly Ethanol Output Hits Four-Month High The Energy Information Administration says ethanol production hit its highest level in four months while inventories declined during the week ending on November 4. The weekly output rose to an average of 1.051 million barrels per day. That’s up from 1.04 million barrels during the previous week and the highest level since June 24. The Midwest, which produces the most ethanol of any region in the country saw production rise to 992,000 barrels per day on average. That’s up from 981,000 the prior week and the highest production level since June 17. The Midwest gains were the entirety of the additions as production in most regions stayed the same from the previous week. East Coast production remained at 12,000 barrels a day for the third-straight week, and Rocky Mountain production was steady at 15,000 barrels a day for the fourth-straight week. Ethanol inventories that week dropped to 22.192 million barrels.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday November 11, 2022 |


Friday Watch List Markets Friday is Veterans Day, a special day to honor those that have served. Futures markets will trade as usual and the University of Michigan's index of consumer sentiment for November is due out at 9 a.m. CDT. Traders will watch the latest weather forecasts and be attentive to any news that comes from Friday's meeting of Russian and U.N. officials pertaining to the Ukrainian grain deal. Weather The remnants to Nicole are spreading rain across the Appalachians and East Coast for Friday. Some of those showers are falling west of the mountain range, which will add a minor boost to the inland river systems. A sharp cold front continues to trek eastward through the country with very cold, arctic air settling in behind it that will last through next week. As the front passes, temperatures will fall dramatically.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday November 10, 2022 |


USDA Releases November WASDE USDA released the November World Agriculture Supply and Demand report Wednesday. This month's 2022/23 U.S. corn outlook is for higher production, larger feed and residual use, and greater ending stocks. Corn production is forecast at 13.930 billion bushels, up 35 million from last month, on a 0.4-bushel increase in yield to 172.3 bushels per acre. The season-average corn price received by producers was unchanged at $6.80 per bushel. The soybean outlook for 2022/23 increased production, crush, and ending stocks. Soybean production is forecast at 4.35 billion bushels, up 33 million on higher yields. Higher yields in Iowa and Missouri account for most of the change in production. The season-average soybean price for 2022/23 is forecast at $14.00 per bushel, unchanged from last month. And the outlook for 2022/23 wheat this month shows stable supplies, increased domestic use, unchanged exports, and slightly lower ending stocks. The projected 2022/23 season-average farm price was unchanged at $9.20 per bushel. *********************************************************************************** No Change in House/Senate Ag Leadership Leadership of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees will likely be the same in the next Congress. Who controls the majority in the House, along with the Senate, will have a significant say in the 2023 Farm Bill process. Ranking Republican Glenn GT Thompson was reelected Tuesday and seems poised to chair the committee, if Republicans can hold on to take the majority in the House. Meanwhile, Georgia voters reelected Democrat David Scott, the current House Agriculture Committee chairman, who seems likely to remain the top Democrat on the committee. Meanwhile, the Senate Agriculture Committee will likely see the same leadership return. Senator Debbie Stabenow, a Michigan Democrat, was not up for re-election, and Arkansas voters reelected Republican John Boozman. The so-called red wave did not appear on election day and seems to give way to thin majorities for both the House and Senate. Final election results for all races may take a few more days. *********************************************************************************** Maryland and Missouri Approve Marijuana Legalization Voters in Maryland and Missouri approved ballot measures Tuesday to legalize and regulate marijuana for adult use. Similar measures were defeated in Arkansas, North Dakota, and South Dakota. Maryland Question 4 was referred to the ballot by the Legislature, while Missouri Amendment 3 was placed on the ballot via citizen initiative. Both measures make possession of limited amounts of cannabis legal for adults 21 and older and authorize the regulated production and sale of cannabis for adult use. Adult-use legalization laws have now been adopted in 21 states, D.C., and two U.S. territories, while an additional 16 states and two territories have legalized cannabis for medical use. VS Strategies is a national policy and public affairs firm based in Denver specializing in cannabis and drug policy. A VS Strategies spokesperson says, “Support for ending marijuana prohibition in the states is spreading much like it did at the end of alcohol prohibition.” *********************************************************************************** 2022 Farm Service Agency County Committee Elections Open This Week The Department of Agriculture began mailing ballots for the Farm Service Agency county and urban county committee elections this week. Elections are occurring in certain Local Administrative Areas for these committee members who make important decisions about how federal farm programs are administered locally.  FSA Administrator Zach Ducheneaux (DOO-sheh-know), says, "Voting in these elections is your opportunity to help ensure our county committees reflect the diversity of our agriculture." Producers must participate or cooperate in an FSA program to be eligible to vote in the county committee election. A cooperating producer is someone who has provided information about their farming or ranching operation but may not have applied or received FSA program benefits. Producers who are not of legal voting age but supervise and conduct farming operations for an entire farm are eligible to vote in these elections. Producers and landowners must return ballots to their local FSA county office or have their ballots  postmarked by December 5, 2022, in order for those ballots to be counted.    *********************************************************************************** SNAP Participation Varied Across States from 2019 to 2021 In fiscal year 2021, USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program served an average of 41.5 million people monthly. USDA’s Economic Research Service Wednesday reported the 2021 figure is an increase of about 5.8 million per month compared with fiscal year 2019. SNAP participation increased nationwide during the COVID-19 pandemic to around 12.5 percent of the total U.S. population in 2021 from about 10.9 percent in 2019. In addition, SNAP participation data in February 2019 were artificially low because of the Federal Government shutdown at the time, impacting the average participation rate. SNAP participation also varied across states because of differences in program administration and economic conditions. Over this two-year period, 41 states saw an increase in SNAP participation, which ranged from a 0.1-percent increase in Mississippi to a 6.6-percent increase in the District of Columbia. In D.C., the percentage of participants increased to 20.9 percent in FY 2021 from 14.3 percent in FY 2019. *********************************************************************************** Farmers Encouraged to Keep the Stubble During No-Till November The Natural Resources Conservation Service encourages farmers to keep the tillage equipment in the machine shed during No-Till November. In a Wisconsin campaign first launched in 2017, the NRCS project is a conservation twist on the national cancer awareness No Shave November campaign that encourages people not to shave during the entire month. The NRCS campaign encourages farmers to "keep the stubble" on their harvested crop fields. The campaign has reached more than two million people nationally through Twitter and local media since 2017. Wisconsin NRCS Acting State Conservationist Jamie Keith, says, "No-till farming is a cornerstone soil health conservation practice, which also promotes water quality while saving farmers time and money.” One of the first soil health principles is “do not disturb.” Keith of Wisconsin adds, “This campaign is a fun way to remind farmers about the important relationship between tillage and soil health.”

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday November 10, 2022 |


Thursday Watch List Markets USDA's weekly export sales report is due out at 7:30 a.m. CDT Thursday, the same time as the Labor Department's reports on consumer prices for October and weekly jobless claims, as well as the U.S. Drought Monitor. The Energy Department's weekly report on natural gas storage is set for 9:30 a.m., followed by the Treasury Department's report on the federal budget in October at 1 p.m. Weather A strong storm system moving through the middle of the country on Thursday is bringing heavy snow and potential blizzard conditions to the Northern Plains. The cold front will sweep eastward and very cold air is filling in behind the system. While precipitation is heavy across the north, it is far less intense everywhere else and drought conditions continue to grow for southwestern Plains wheat. Tropical Storm Nicole is making landfall in central Florida early this morning and spreading heavy rain into the Southeast throughout the day.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday November 9, 2022 |


Results From Ag Lender Survey Released The top concern facing agricultural lenders going into 2023 is interest rate volatility, according to the 2022 Agricultural Lender Survey report. The report announced this week is produced jointly by the American Bankers Association and Farmer Mac. Nearly half of respondents ranked interest rate volatility among their top two concerns, up 35.5 percentage points from last year. While rising rates have helped bolster bank net interest margins, a combination of higher funding costs, fears of weakening loan demand and strong competition is expected to cut into rising yields. Most lenders reported overall farm profitability increased in the last year. Lenders expect conditions to deteriorate next year, with 52.6 percent projecting a decline in farm profitability in the next 12 months. However, this remains well below the 2016-2020 survey average of 82.3 percent. Jackson Takach (tack-ish), Chief Economist at Farmer Mac, says, “Looking ahead, ag lenders are keeping a close eye on expenses, as feed, fertilizer, fuel, and other input costs remain elevated." *********************************************************************************** New FMI Report Reveals Consumer Playbook for Foodservice at Retail The Food Industry Association released its Power of Foodservice at Retail 2022 report Tuesday. The report shows key insights into consumer demand for foodservice at retail, and comes at a critical time when 25 percent of shoppers are purchasing more grocery foodservice items than a year ago, surpassing dollar and unit sales volume from last year and 2019. The analysis suggests that food retailers can compete for consumers’ food dollars by maximizing value, nutrition and convenience, while clearly communicating these benefits to consumers. As inflation continues to affect Americans’ budgets, shoppers are preparing more meals at home – focusing on weekly meal planning and scratch cooking. Fifty-three percent say grocery foodservice items are a good value compared to eating at a restaurant or ordering takeout. A growing number of shoppers are ranking nutritional value highly when considering foodservice options, as 58 percent of consumers are interested in vegetables or other healthy options. However, only slightly more than a third are very satisfied with the nutrition levels of current foodservice offerings. *********************************************************************************** Grassley Presses Biden Administration on New Rural Mental Health Law Republican Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa is requesting an update on the Biden administration’s efforts to implement the Seeding Rural Resilience Act. Grassley sent the request to the Department of Agriculture and Health and Human Services this week. The 2020 legislation is designed to curb the rising rate of suicide in rural areas – in the National Defense Authorization Act. The law requires interagency coordination between USDA and HHS. Grassley notes current economic conditions make timely implementation of the law even more important, adding, "The timely implementation of the Seeding Rural Resilience Act can provide life-saving resources to rural Americans." In February and again in June, Grassley asked Surgeon General Vivek Murthy about efforts he is taking to support implementation of the Seeding Rural Resilience Act, given the surgeon general’s emphasis on improving mental health. To date, Grassley has not received an answer from the surgeon general. *********************************************************************************** American Farmland Trust Releases Updated CaRPE Tool American Farmland Trust Tuesday released its updated Carbon Reduction Potential Evaluation Tool. The announcement includes the first of a series of briefs to help states estimate greenhouse gas emission reduction opportunities from the climate-smart cropland and grazing land management practices. The tool and state-specific briefs, which summarize the carbon benefits of climate-smart practices and provide state and federal policy recommendations to increase their adoption, are now available. These briefs are designed to help policymakers and land managers prioritize efforts for cost-effective climate benefits available from the agricultural sector. The tool has been available from AFT since the fall of 2020 and used by states to build working lands solutions into climate mitigation plans and state soil health efforts. Recent updates to the tool allow users to view data by USDA Farm Resource Regions and see results by counties and states and get the weighted emission reduction coefficient. Information on the free, publicly available tool and how to access it can be found at farmland.org. *********************************************************************************** Farm Credit Organizations Launch Terrain Three farm credit organizations this week launched Terrain, a new source of agricultural industry analysis for U.S. farmers and ranchers. American AgCredit, Farm Credit Services of America, and Frontier Farm Credit partnered to offer Terrain to their customers. Curt Hudnutt, CEO of American AgCredit, says, “Serving farmers and ranchers – from everything between Iowa’s hog and corn farmers to California’s dairy and vineyard owners – is our shared mission Terrain’s experts share insights on trends and market-moving events through reports, videos, presentations and more. Mark Jensen, CEO of Farm Credit Services of America and Frontier Farm Credit, adds, “Terrain provides unique expertise to support the future of agriculture and rural communities.” Visit terrainag.com for Terrain’s current perspective on the impact of interest rates on agricultural loans, a discussion on how grain storage costs change with interest rates, and insights on the near-term risks for the hog farming sector. *********************************************************************************** U.S. Sweet Potatoes Enjoyed Around the World The United States is not the only country enjoying U.S. sweet potatoes. According to the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, the United States was the top global exporter, by volume, of sweet potatoes in 2020. USDA’s Economic Research Service Tuesday announced U.S. sweet potato exports on a fresh-weight basis increased 1,157 percent from 2001 to 2021. And the annual value of exports grew from $14 million to $187 million in the same period. Promotion of the health benefits and food companies’ expanding sweet-potato offerings, such as sweet potato chips and fries, have helped fuel the expansion. Exports to the United Kingdom and European Union experienced strong year-over-year growth from the mid-2000s until 2018. The United States ranks seventh globally in sweet potato production, according to FAO. Over the past 20 years, top-producing U.S. states more than doubled sweet potato production to meet growing international and domestic demand.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday November 9, 2022 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets The U.S. Energy Department's weekly inventory report, including ethanol production will be out at 9:30 a.m. CST, followed by USDA's WASDE and Crop Production reports at 11 a.m. Traders will pay attention to this week's weather forecasts with significant temperature changes expected through the week. Outside markets also remain a frequent concern. Weather A sharp cold front is draped over the North-Central U.S. Wednesday morning where scattered showers are building up ahead of a system that is pushing through the Intermountain West. That system will emerge into the Plains Wednesday night and increase precipitation over northern areas, turning a lot of it over to heavy snow in the Dakotas by Thursday morning. Strong winds will accompany the system as well. Tropical Storm Nicole is headed toward Florida with landfall Wednesday night or early Thursday morning, possibly as a hurricane. Regardless, heavy rain will move into Florida that is still trying to recover from Hurricane Ian in late September.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday November 8, 2022 |


September Pork Exports Continue Upward Trend; Pace Cools for Beef U.S. pork exports topped year-ago totals for the second consecutive month in September, according to the U.S. Meat Export Federation. September beef exports were below last year for the first time in 2022, but exports remain on a record pace through the first three quarters of the year. Pork exports reached 222,202 metric tons in September, up one percent from a year ago. Export value increased nine percent to $664.8 million – the highest since June 2021. Through September, pork exports were 13 percent below last year at 1.94 million metric tons, valued at $5.57 billion. September beef exports totaled 115,487 metric tons, valued at $890.3 million, down seven percent from a year ago in both volume and value. For the first nine months of 2022, beef exports were still four percent above last year at 1.12 million metric tons. Export value reached $9.12 billion, up 20 percent and already achieving the second-highest total for any calendar year, trailing only the 2021 record of $10.58 billion. *********************************************************************************** Poultry Industry Releases Economic Impact Study The U.S. Poultry and Egg Association, National Chicken Council, National Turkey Federation and United Egg Producers recently released an updated economic impact study. The study highlights the poultry industry's positive impact on jobs, wages, and federal and state revenue in the United States. A dynamic and integral part of the national economy, the U.S. poultry industry provides more than two million jobs, $125 billion in wages, $555 billion in economic activity and $33 billion in government revenue. Specifically, the study found the chicken industry provided $417 billion in economic activity, while the turkey industry provides $99.5 billion, and the egg industry provides $44.7 billion. John Starkey, president of the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association, says, “We are pleased to continue providing this valuable tool across the industry that shows the positive economic impact the poultry industry has on our nation and communities.” The U.S. Poultry and Egg Association funded the economic impact study. *********************************************************************************** California Top Purchaser of Crop Insurance for Specialty Crops New data from USDA's Economic Research Service shows California farmers purchase the most Federal Crop Insurance policies for Specialty Crops. California led the country in policies for specialty crops in 2020, followed by Florida, Washington, North Dakota, and Minnesota. The states also produce the most fruits and vegetables, California, Florida, and Washington, and specialty field crops, from North Dakota and Minnesota. Specialty crops are a commodity group which includes fresh or dried fruits; tree nuts; vegetables; pulse crops such as dry beans, peas, and lentils; and horticulture nursery crops. California’s policies reflect the variety of specialty crops produced in the state, including almonds, grapes, oranges, walnuts, and raisins. Most North Dakota policies cover field crops—dry beans and dry peas. In 2020, specialty crops accounted for 25 percent of the value of U.S. crop production. Crop Insurance policies can mitigate risks by providing payments if insured crops experience losses caused by naturally occurring events and market conditions. *********************************************************************************** Plant Based Products Council Announces First Annual Industry Conference The Plant Based Products Council Monday announced its first annual conference. The PBPC 2023 Annual Conference: Circular Solutions, will explore the innovations, business models, and policies influencing the entire lifecycle of bioproducts in the promotion of a more circular economy. Attendees will hear from and network with industry leaders, policymakers, brands, and experts through panels, keynotes, networking sessions, and more. Plant Based Products Council Executive Director Jessica Bowman says, "We are thrilled to launch our annual conference convening leading experts and innovators to discuss their role in this emerging industry and what solutions, challenges, and opportunities lie ahead." The conference is planned for March 27-29, 2023, in Washington, D.C. The Plant Based Products Council is an advocacy association working toward a more circular bioeconomy through greater adoption of renewable, plant-based materials supported by appropriate end-of-life infrastructure. Members of the organization include ADM, Cargill, and the National Corn Growers Association. *********************************************************************************** High Diesel Prices Put Strain on Farmers With diesel prices more than $1.50 per gallon high than this time last year, the American Farm Bureau Federation calls on the Biden administration to bring more domestic supply online, A ban on U.S. imports of petroleum from Russia, lower domestic production capacity, and seasonal demand are all contributing to higher costs. Russia provided 20 percent of the petroleum imported into the U.S. in 2021, but that was halted after Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Further, since 2019, domestic diesel production capacity has dropped by 180,000 barrels per day. Several plants closed during the coronavirus pandemic and are not yet back online. AFBF President Zippy Duvall, in a letter to President Joe Biden, says, "High diesel prices are severely impacting our farmers and ranchers, causing increased costs to consumers, and adding to food insecurity." National diesel prices are expected to average $4.86 per gallon through the end of the year, according to government projections, and $4.29 per gallon in 2023. *********************************************************************************** Gas and Diesel Prices Rise Again For the first time in the last month, the nation’s average gas price increased, rising 6.2 cents from a week ago to $3.78 per gallon. The national average is down 11.5 cents from a month ago but stands 37.8 cents per gallon higher than a year ago. The national average price of diesel increased 3.4 cents in the last week and stands at $5.32 per gallon. National diesel supply remains tight, but supplies of diesel did see a slight rise last week. GasBuddy’s Patrick De Haan says, “Brief outages at a limited number of stations are possible, but with refineries continuing to churn out product and maintenance wrapping up, I’m optimistic the situation will improve.” Oil saw a strong rally last week as inventories continued to decline and Strategic Petroleum Reserve releases slowed down. Last week’s report from the Energy Information Administration showed a notable drop in oil inventories of 3.1 million barrels, while the Strategic Petroleum Reserve saw a drop of 1.9 million barrels.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday November 8, 2022 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets There will be few government reports early on Tuesday as the mid-term elections take place. DTN will be watching for more developments on the Ukraine export deal and any export sales news, along with any changes in South American weather. Weather A system continues to move through the Northern Plains on Tuesday, dragging a cold front with a band of snow behind it in Montana. In the Plains, winds are increasing and spotty showers will develop from Texas to Minnesota, more consistent farther north toward the front. A stronger storm continues to build out in the West with heavy precipitation in drought areas in California and Nevada. Dry and warm conditions for eastern areas of the country may want to get fieldwork completed before this system moves east later this week.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday November 7, 2022 |


Ag Groups Ask Congress to Prevent Potential Rail Strike Over 190 members of the Agricultural Transportation Working Group want Congress to prepare to help prevent a railroad strike or lockout. Beef Magazine says a strike or lockout would shut down all rail-dependent facilities and result in devastating consequences to both national and global food security. The Biden administration successfully helped broker an agreement between the National Railway Labor Conference and 12 labor unions on September 15. But two unions voted against the agreement while four others continue reviewing it. The food and agriculture groups sent a letter to congressional leadership saying action will be necessary if the parties fail to reach an agreement. “Resolution of the dispute before November 19 is necessary to ensure uninterrupted rail service,” the letter says. “Adding urgency to the matter is critical inputs, and agricultural products like ammonia could be embargoed starting November 14.” They say a rail strike would be “catastrophic” to the U.S. economy. *********************************************************************************** Food Price Index Virtually Unchanged in October The FAO Food Price Index averaged 135.9 in October, virtually unchanged from September. The index of every commodity group except for cereals was down month-to-month. The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization says a higher Cereal Price Index countered drops in the indices for vegetable oils, dairy, meat, and sugar. With the latest update, the food price index has dropped almost 24 points from its peak in March but remains 2.7 points above October 2021. The Cereal Price Index averaged 152.3 points, 4.4 points higher than in September and 15.2 points above the same time last year. The FAO Vegetable Oil Price Index averaged 150.1 points, down 2.4 points month-on-month and nearly 20 percent below last year’s level. The Dairy Price Index averaged 140.1 in October, down 2.5 points from September and the fourth-consecutive monthly drop. The Meat Price Index dropped for the fourth month in a row, averaging 118.4 points in October. *********************************************************************************** Mississippi River Shipments Down 78 Percent The USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service says the number of grain barges being unloaded in New Orleans during September and October dropped significantly. An AMS report says the number of barges is 20-30 percent lower than in recent years. The slowdown coincides with river closures and restrictions on barge companies that reduced the bar tow. Typically, 30-40 barges can move down the river together, and the new restriction says no more than 25. The tonnage movement has been even weaker. Since September, tonnage going through locks was down more than 40 percent below recent years. The significant decline in tonnage is consistent with reports of how barges have been forced to reduce their draft. Barges are normally loaded to an 11-12-foot-deep draft during the fall. However, companies started imposing nine-foot barge draft restrictions in October. That can lead to a reduction of 10,000-15,000 bushels per barge. Tonnage appeared to pick up in October. *********************************************************************************** GAO Report is a “Gift” to Refiners The General Accounting Office released a report on the Environmental Protection Agency’s decision-making when it comes to small refinery exemptions from the Renewable Fuel Standard. The report was first requested three years ago by renewable fuel supporters in Congress. But much has changed since then, and biofuel groups say the report is obsolete. Renewable Fuels Association President Geoff Cooper says the economic analysis can only be described as a creative and obscure acrobatic routine. In the summer of 2019, a group of renewable fuel supporters in the House and Senate asked for an investigation into two former EPA administrators. “More than three years later and less than a week before midterm elections, the GAO puts out a shoddy report that’s friendly to oil refiners and tries to answer questions no one ever asked,” Cooper says. “After all that, the report says small refiners’ costs of compliance are 0.5 percent above larger refiners.” *********************************************************************************** Farm Bureau Leaders Graduate from Women’s Boot Camp Fifteen farm and ranch women leaders graduated from the fall session of the Women’s Communication Boot Camp hosted by the American Farm Bureau. The four-day course featured hands-on sessions related to public speaking, working with the media, and messaging. Graduates will use that training in a variety of ways, including participating in local media opportunities to support Farm Bureau’s policy work. They can also share information with elected officials and join social media campaigns that spotlight modern agriculture. “The women leaders who completed this training will use their skills in their communities and for Farm Bureau on local, state, and national levels,” says Isabella Chism, Chair of the Women’s Leadership Committee. “Consumer interest in food and how its produced remains high, which means effective communication for agriculture is more important than ever.” A spring session of the boot camp will be held April 3-6, 2023, with applications opening in December. *********************************************************************************** NCC Delivers Comments on Proposed Salmonella Framework The National Chicken Council delivered public comments on a proposed regulatory framework for salmonella in poultry products during a virtual meeting with the Food Safety and Inspection Service. The NCC comments addressed each of the components the agency is considering as part of a new strategy. Food safety is a top priority for the broiler industry, and NCC supports changes in regulations that are based on sound science, and robust data, and are demonstrated to positively impact public health. “The industry is and should be expected to control potential pathogens, but there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to doing so,” says Dr. Ashley Peterson, NCC’s Senior Vice President of Scientific and Regulatory Affairs. “in a time of extreme inflation coupled with ongoing food security challenges, a command-and-control approach will do nothing to improve public health and remove chicken from the meat case.” The NCC wants a more collaborative effort to promote food safety.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday November 7, 2022 |


Monday Watch List Markets There will be few government reports early on Monday, followed on Tuesday by the mid-term elections. DTN will be watching for more developments on the Ukraine export deal and any export sales news, along with any changes in South American weather. Weather A ridge of high pressure is keeping most of the country east of the Rockies warm on Monday outside of the Northern Plains. A few spotty showers will be possible across the Southern Plains through the Tennessee Valley, but most areas are going to stay dry. That is not true for the West where a deep trough is building in the region. A strong low-pressure center is also forming up around Montana, producing some stronger winds and spreading a little snow to the Northern Plains, but the heavier precipitation will be up in the Canadian Prairies.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday November 4, 2022 |


Russia Resumes Participation in Black Sea Grain Deal Russia resumed participating in the Black Sea Grain Export Agreement four days after suspending it due to an alleged Ukraine attack on Russian ships in the Black Sea. Reuters says that brought immediate relief from pressure on food prices and eased worries over a renewed global food shortage. The United Nations, a key sponsor in the deal to help free up Ukrainian grain exports, says Moscow is asking for follow-up on the parts of the deal intended to help Russian food and fertilizer exports. Russian officials want more accomplished to make sure the country can export its enormous food and fertilizer output despite Western sanctions. Russia’s agricultural exports don’t specifically fall under sanctions imposed by the U.S., European Union, and others, but they’re impeded by restrictions on its financial, logistical, and insurance sectors. The initiative was agreed to in July for 120 days. The export deal expires on November 19. *********************************************************************************** Biofuel Groups File Motion to Intervene in SRE Lawsuit Growth Energy, the Renewable Fuels Association, the American Coalition for Ethanol, and National Farmers Union filed a motion to intervene to support the Environmental Protection Agency in the D.C. District Court of Appeals. The groups filed the motion to support the agency’s decision to deny 69 petitions from refineries seeking small refinery exemptions from the Renewable Fuel Standard program for one or more compliance years between 2016 and 2021. The groups say the decision helped to strengthen U.S. energy security, protect the climate, and delivered relief at the pump during record-high gas prices. “Now, certain refiners want to reverse this process and turn back the clock to an era of gross mismanagement and abuse of the SRE provisions of the RFS program,” they say in the motion. “The RFS is back on track and holding refiners accountable to ensure lower prices and cleaner options at the pump for American families.” *********************************************************************************** Cow-Calf Operations Vary in Adopting Rotational Grazing Rotational grazing is a frequently discussed livestock management practice with a wide variety of public and private benefits. Little information has been available on the adoption rate of rotational grazing, so the Economic Research Service at USDA issued a report on the subject. Data shows that 40 percent of cow-calf operations report using rotational grazing. However, just 40 percent of that number use intensive rotational grazing. Operations that retain the majority of their calves through the initial feeder stage for later sale to feedlots are the most likely to adopt intensive rotational grazing. Rotational grazing operations are more likely than continuous grazing operations to participate in the Environmental Quality Incentives Program and Conservation Stewardship Program. ERS says that rotational grazing is more common in the Northern Plains, Western Corn Belt, and Appalachian regions, where about one-half of those operations use the practice. Most grazing systems are simple, with five or fewer paddocks. *********************************************************************************** NCBA Accepting Nominations for the Environmental Stewardship Program The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association is accepting applications until March 10 for the 2023 Environmental Stewardship Award. The yearly award recognizes outstanding stewardship practices and conservation achievements of U.S. cattle producers. “Cattle producers are actively working to protect and improve the environment because they know environmental stewardship and good business go together,” says NCBA President Don Schiefelbein (SHEEF-el-byne). Any group, individual, or organization is eligible to nominate one individual or business raising or feeding cattle. Individuals and families may not nominate themselves, although nominees may be involved in preparing the application. Along with a typed application, one nomination letter and three letters of recommendation highlighting the nominee’s leadership in conservation are required. Nominees don’t have to be NCBA members but should support the objectives of their state and national organizations. Regional winners will be announced at the 2024 Cattle Industry Convention. For info or to download a nomination packet, go to environmentalstewardship.org. *********************************************************************************** SMART Act Would Double Investments in Ag Export Programs The Coalition to Promote U.S. Agricultural Exports applauds the introduction of the Supporting Market Access to Reinvigorate Trade Act of 2022. The SMART Act would double funding for USDA’s Market Access Program and Foreign Market Development Program. Both are critical to expanding global market access for U.S.-produced agricultural exports. A recent economic study predicted that doubling funding for these programs would generate an additional $44.4 billion in American agricultural exports from 2024 to 2029. “Reinvestment in export promotion programs is needed now,” says Robbie Minnich, Coalition Chair. “USDA is forecasting an agricultural trade deficit in 2023 for the first time in years because the growth in American farm exports is not keeping pace with imports, signaling a more competitive global landscape.” Geopolitical conflict is making the future of trade more uncertain, so the coalition says the additional investment is an essential piece of policy to reinforce America’s competitive standing overseas. *********************************************************************************** U.S. Cattlemen Applaud Funding to Expand Local Meat Processing Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack announced $73 million in funding for the first round of the Meat and Poultry Processing Expansion Program. The funds will get used to increase competition across the cattle marketplace and support increased producer opportunities, and the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association appreciates the USDA’s work. “We’re pleased to see the breadth and scope of projects supported through the funding,” says USCA President Brooke Miller. “The importance of this federal investment in our nation’s independent meat producers is evident when looking at individual projects.” As an example, they point to Upper Iowa Beef which received a grant that will expand its processing capacity by over 50 percent while creating new jobs for the community and premium revenue opportunities for independent producers. “These federal dollars can help usher in a new era of U.S. food production,” Miller says. “We’re encouraged by the announcement and look forward to further rounds of funding.”

| Rural Advocate News | Friday November 4, 2022 |


Friday Watch List Markets DTN will be watching the non-farm payrolls report, along with new unemployment numbers. We will also be watching for more developments on the Ukraine export deal and any export sales news, along with any changes in South American weather. Weather A cold front will pick up some steam with increasing showers and thunderstorms on Friday across the Mississippi Valley. That includes some heavier rain potential as well. Some of the thunderstorms across eastern Texas and Oklahoma into Arkansas and Louisiana could be severe with all threats being possible. Temperatures are falling dramatically behind the front by some 30 to 40 degrees, but are only seasonably cold ahead of the front. Winds on both sides of the front continue to be breezy with gusts generally in the 30 to 40 mph range.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday November 3, 2022 |


Vilsack Announces Funding to Increase Meat Processing Capacity Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Wednesday announced a $73 million investment through the first round of the Meat and Poultry Processing Expansion Program. The funding supports 21 grant projects to expand meat and poultry processing capacity, increasing competition, supporting producer income, and strengthening the food supply chain to lower costs, according to USDA. Vilsack says, "These investments create more opportunities for farmers and ranchers to get a fair price, while strengthening supply chains." In addition, the Administration is investing $75 million for eight projects through the Meat and Poultry Intermediary Lending Program and more than $75 million for four meat and poultry-related projects through the Food Supply Chain Guaranteed Loan program. The program was designed to support capacity expansion projects in concert with other private and public finance tools. Additional announcements are expected in the coming weeks. USDA will also soon begin taking applications for a new phase to deploy an additional $225 million investment. *********************************************************************************** Regionality of Avian Flu Outbreak Limits Losses in Broiler Production USDA's Economic Research Service reports highly pathogenic avian influenza in 2022 has major regionality differences. The outbreak has had relatively little impact on the broiler industry based on the volume of broiler meat produced in the United States. HPAI was detected in Indiana in February 2022 for the first time nationally since 2015 and was soon confirmed at multiple commercial poultry operations. Flocks at operations with detected infections were depopulated to prevent further spread of HPAI. Because of the limited overlap of the 2022 HPAI outbreak with broiler-producing regions, commercial flocks in the top four broiler-producing States – North Carolina, Georgia, Arkansas, and Alabama – have largely avoided HPAI. Of the 43.8 million commercial birds depopulated as of October 7, 2022, 2.3 million were meat-producing broilers. This represents less than a tenth of one percent of typical annual broiler slaughter. The effect on broiler production during the 2015 outbreak was also relatively small. *********************************************************************************** CoBank: Higher-Priced Turkeys on the Holiday Menu A new analysis from CoBank suggests consumers will see smaller and higher-priced turkeys this Thanksgiving season. After grappling with staff shortages, plant closures, and supply issues, the turkey industry has been hit by yet another problem in 2022: the worst Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza outbreak in U.S. history. HPAI leads to the depopulation of birds, but is also impacting turkey size. The average slaughter weight is below the three-year average. However, there will be a sufficient number of birds. Turkeys will be available, but they will be more expensive and probably a bit smaller than what home chefs are used to. Seasonal cold storage whole bird inventory volumes are at their lowest level since 2006. Wholesale, frozen turkeys are currently selling in the $1.70 per pound range, about 30 percent higher than last year. Fresh, boneless breast meat is trading at $6.50 per pound, a 350 percent increase versus last fall. *********************************************************************************** USDA Opens 2023 Ag Outlook Forum Registration The Department of Agriculture recently opened registration for the 99th Agricultural Outlook Forum. The 2023 event is back in-person, held February 23-24, at the Crystal City Gateway Marriott in Arlington, Virginia. Additionally, all sessions will be live-streamed, and participants can attend the event in person or virtually. Registration is required for both virtual and in-person attendance, however, there is no cost to attending the Forum virtually. The 2023 event will feature comments from USDA Chief Economist Seth Meyer as he unveils USDA's initial forecast for the agricultural economy, commodity markets, and trade in 2023. Additionally, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will deliver the event's keynote address. More than 100 subject matter experts, executives and academics will discuss the largest issues impacting agriculture today and potential solutions, including supply chain challenges, climate-smart agriculture and more. Interested participants can register to attend, in-person or virtually, on the USDA website. More than 4,500 people attended the 2022 virtual Forum. *********************************************************************************** National Turkey Federation Executive to lead Fisheries Institute The National Fisheries Institute this week named Lisa Wallenda Picard as incoming President and CEO of the association. Picard joins NFI from the National Turkey Federation, where she is the Senior Vice President for Policy, Trade and Regulatory Affairs. In January of this year, NFI’s President and CEO John Connelly announced plans to retire in early 2023, prompting a nationwide search. NFI leadership calls Picard a "dynamic leader with expertise in food safety and trade relations." Picard joined the National Turkey Federation in 2011 and previously was the Chief of Staff for USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service. Before joining FSIS in 2002, Picard served as National Director of Public Relations for Ringling Bros and Barnum and Bailey Circus. She also spent several years lobbying on animal welfare and agriculture issues and will join NFI in mid-December. Incorporated in 1945, the National Fisheries Institute is the largest seafood trade association in the United States. *********************************************************************************** Culver’s Launches Farmer Appreciation Contest Culver's this week launched "To farmers With Love," a farmer appreciation contest. The contest is an opportunity for individuals to nominate a farmer in their life to win a generous prize package as part of Culver's Thank You Farmers Project. Fifteen winning farmers will receive a $500 cash prize, Culver's gift cards and swag. Additionally, to demonstrate Culver's dedication to supporting the future of agriculture, the winning farmers will also receive a $575 donation to their local FFA chapters in their names. Culver's marketing and public relations manager, Alison Demmer, says, "We're thrilled to be able to express our appreciation for these deserving farmers in such a personalized way." Through the Thank You Farmers Project, Culver's has donated over $3.5 million to agricultural education since 2013. Those interested in nominating a farmer can visit www.culvers.com to learn more and complete the nomination form. The contest runs from now through November 15.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday November 3, 2022 |


Thursday Watch List Markets DTN will be watching initial jobless claims, trade deficit and factory orders. Fed chairman Jerome Powell's comments regarding future rate hikes should be released Thursday. We will also be watching for more developments on the Ukraine export deal and any export sales news, along with any changes in weather. Weather A cold front moving into the middle of the country on Thursday does not have much precipitation with it early Thursday morning. It is expected to get much more active later Thursday as widespread showers and thunderstorms develop from west Texas up through Minnesota. Storms on the southern end from Kansas southward are likely to be more isolated but could be stronger with severe potential possible. It remains very warm ahead of the front with good fieldwork conditions. The showers will be skipping over much of the southwestern Plains as drought continues to hold its grip on next year's winter wheat crop.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday November 2, 2022 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets DTN will be watching for the results of the ADP employment report, the Federal Reserve announcements on rates, and Fed chairman Jerome Powell's comments. We will also be watching for more developments on the Ukraine export deal, any export sales news, and any changes in weather. Weather A deep trough is building west of the Rockies on Wednesday. It is inducing a low-pressure area over the Northern Plains and southern Canada, with most of the precipitation staying west of the Rockies or in the Canadian Prairies. Stronger winds are expected in the Plains and Upper Midwest, which will lead to increased wildfire risks for areas that are very dry. It will also lead to warm temperatures for most places east of the Rockies and some high temperatures may be broken in the Upper Midwest.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday November 2, 2022 |


Ag Economy Barometer Declines Again Farmer sentiment weakened again in October as the Purdue University-CME Group Ag Economy Barometer fell to a reading of 102, down ten points compared to a month earlier. Both of the barometer’s sub-indices, the Index of Current Conditions and the Index of Future Expectations, declined this month. The Current Conditions Index dipped eight points to a reading of 101, while the Future Expectations Index dropped 11 points to a reading of 102. This month's weakness in farmer sentiment pushes the index back near levels observed in late 2015 and early 2016 when farm income was sharply lower than in the last two years. USDA estimates U.S. inflation-adjusted net farm income averaged across 2021 and 2022 is more than 40 percent above the 2015-2016 average. Producers are concerned about the impact of U.S. interest rate policy on their farms and the ag economy, with over one-third choosing it as the most important policy issue. *********************************************************************************** Meat Sector Releases First-Ever Data Report on Environment The North American Meat Institute released a report Tuesday that sets transparent baselines that will allow the industry to measure progress and verify contributions to global climate goals. With 100 percent of the Meat Institute’s large U.S. members, those with more than 2,000 employees, submitting data, the report covers an estimated 90 percent of meat sold in the United States by volume. Meat Institute President and CEO Julie Anna Potts commented, “98 percent of American households purchase meat, putting our sector undoubtedly at the center of solutions for healthy diets, healthy communities, and a healthy planet for generations to come.” Supporting the organization’s commitment to measure and fill the “protein gap” for needy families by 2025, 78 percent of reporting companies donate money or products to food banks and charities. Meanwhile, 82 percent of reporting facilities are covered by a company commitment to minimize packaging waste, and 71 percent are covered by a company commitment to reduce food waste. *********************************************************************************** Lawmakers Seek Oversight Answers Regarding Climate Smart Commodities Program The Congressional Western Caucus wants information regarding oversight of the Climate-Smart Commodities pilot program. In a letter this week to the Biden administration, the caucus outlined concerns regarding the program, which was created with no direction from Congress. The lawmakers want answers to questions about how the Department of Agriculture created the program, weighed submitted proposals, and intends to ensure the federal funding does not displace private sector investments. The letter states, "We are dismayed by the lack of transparency and congressional consultation throughout the development of this process," further adding, "In no way can $3.5 billion be considered a 'pilot program.'" USDA awarded $2.8 billion in funding from the Commodity Credit Corporation for the pilot program with plans for an expected second tranche that would bring total funding for 2022 to $3.5 billion. Representatives Dan Newhouse, a Washington state Republican, and Andy Harris, a Maryland Republican, led the effort. *********************************************************************************** Iowa Confirms First Fall HPAI Detection The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship confirmed a positive case of highly pathogenic avian influenza in Wright County, Iowa, this week. The virus was found in a commercial layer flock, and this is the first confirmed case of HPAI in Wright County in 2022, located in north-central Iowa. Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig says, “We have been preparing for the possibility of additional outbreaks and are working closely with USDA and producers to eradicate this disease from our state.” Commercial and backyard flock owners should prevent contact between their birds and wild birds. Sick birds or unusual deaths among birds should be immediately reported to state or federal officials. If producers suspect signs of HPAI in their flocks, they should contact their veterinarian immediately. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the recent HPAI detections in birds do not present a public health concern. *********************************************************************************** North Carolina, New York, Lead Noninsured Specialty Crop Assistance Applications New data from USDA's Economic Research Service shows specialty crop growers in New York and North Carolina lead the nation in USDA's Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program applications. Operated by the Farm Service Agency, the program covered about 115 million total acres in 2017. Specialty crops, which include fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, and horticulture nursery crops, are often grown in areas where there are suitable soil and weather conditions. In 2020, North Carolina and New York had the program's highest number of specialty crop applications. Each State had more than 5,000 applications. Across the U.S., program applications were made for 147 different specialty crops in 2020. USDA operates various crop insurance and disaster aid programs to help producers. But when sufficient data is not available to create an actuarially sound insurance product, then producers can apply to the USDA, Farm Service Agency's Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program. *********************************************************************************** USDA Rural Development Observes Native American Heritage Month USDA’s Rural Development undersecretary Xochitl (So-CHEEL) Torres Small announced Tuesday USDA is renewing its commitment to strengthen its partnerships with Tribes and Tribal communities. The commitment seeks to ensure Native people have access to the critical infrastructure and economic resources they need to thrive. The announcement is one of many ways USDA is observing Native American Heritage Month. Torres Small says, "We celebrate the countless contributions of American Indians and Alaska Natives and honor the vital influence they have had on the advancement of our nation." USDA is issuing a policy statement that recommits the agency to upholding the agency's Trust responsibility to Tribal communities, respecting Tribal sovereignty by protecting Tribal treaty rights and fostering economic and cultural prosperity. Further, the statement commits to engaging with Tribes through timely and meaningful consultation on USDA’s policies and programs, and reflecting on the shared and complex history between Tribes and the federal government.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday November 1, 2022 |


Russia Pulls Out of Black Sea Grain Export Deal Russia resumed its blockade of grain shipments exiting Ukraine on Sunday after announcing the country is pulling out of the grain deal brokered, in part, by the United Nations. The Hagstrom Report says the amount of grain available for global markets and possible price increases are concerns getting raised around the world. U.S. President Joe Biden called the blockade resumption an “outrageous act.” Russia pulled out of the deal because it says Ukraine staged a significant drone attack over the weekend against Russia’s Black Sea Fleet which is off the coast of Crimea (cry-MEE-ah). Ukraine says the attack didn’t happen, and Russia simply mishandled its own weapons. The U.N. and officials from Turkey were trying to convince Russia to bring back the deal it agreed to earlier this year. The European Union’s foreign policy chief says Russia’s decision puts the much-needed exports of grain and fertilizers to address the global food crisis at risk. *********************************************************************************** USDA Trade Mission Underway in East Africa USDA Deputy Secretary Jewell Bronaugh arrived in Nairobi, Kenya, to kick off an agribusiness trade mission to Kenya and Tanzania. The U.S. delegation includes representatives of 32 agribusinesses and farm organizations hoping to establish trade relationships and explore opportunities for American agricultural exports to East Africa. Kenya is the economic, financial, and transportation hub for Central and East Africa. “It’s my great pleasure to lead this trade mission,” Bronaugh says. “Kenya and Tanzania are important and growing markets, and I look forward to strengthening our ties with both nations while expanding opportunities for U.S. agricultural and food product exports.” Trade mission participants will engage directly with potential importers, receive in-depth market briefings, and participate in site visits. Bronaugh also says this is an exciting opportunity for U.S. agribusinesses and state representatives to learn firsthand about the local markets and build strong connections with their future partners in the countries of East Africa. *********************************************************************************** Deere Moving Production from China to Louisiana John Deere announced it is investing $29.8 million to begin manufacturing harvesters in the United States instead of China. Louisiana’s state development agency says the agricultural manufacturer is expanding an already-existing factory in the state and adding another 70 jobs. “This investment by Deere and Company demonstrates not only the strength of Louisiana’s manufacturing sector but the resilience and recovery of the Bayou Region,” says Louisiana’s Governor John Edwards. Deere will produce medium-chassis cotton harvesters to replace the models currently built in China. The new jobs will pay an average salary of $47,472 a year and add to Deere’s existing workforce of 311 employees in the state. “The employees at our Louisiana factory have demonstrated remarkable resiliency and commitment to our customers,” says a Deere spokesman, describing how workers restored operations after Hurricane Ida hit Louisiana last year. Deere says it’s investing in the community, the state, and current staff. *********************************************************************************** Another Railroad Workers Union Votes Against Rail Settlement Another American railroad workers’ union voted against a contract settlement with railroads. Over 300 trade associations covering local, state, and national-level groups wrote to the White House asking for intervention to keep railroads running. The letter to President Biden and officials says, “We’re writing to ask you to help ensure that the tentative agreement you helped broker between railroads and their worker unions is ratified by both sides.” Two unions rejected the agreement, and the groups are concerned that others may follow. The Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen is the latest union to vote against ratifying the agreement, with 60 percent of its members voting no. The union says, “BRS members spoke loudly and clearly that their contributions are worth more, particularly when it comes to the basic right of time off for illnesses.” The trade groups say if more unions vote no, a strike could shut down the entire rail system. *********************************************************************************** National FFA Officer Team Elected at the 95th Convention The 2022-2023 National FFA Officer team was elected during the final session of the 95th National FFA Convention and Expo in Indianapolis. Students from Illinois, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Virginia were chosen as the National FFA Officers. Andrew Seibel of Virginia is the new national president. Jessica Herr of Pennsylvania was elected the national secretary. Ryan Williamson of Texas is the western region vice president, and McKenna Clifton of North Carolina is the southern region VP. Karstyn Cantrell of Oklahoma is the central region vice president, and Gracie Murphy of Illinois is the east region VP. These members were selected from 35 candidates vying for the honor. Throughout their year of service to the organization, the officers interact with business and industry leaders, thousands of FFA members and teachers, and many other groups and individuals. The National FFA Organization currently has more than 850,000 student members in almost 9,000 chapters. *********************************************************************************** Farmers Say Cover Crops Are On 40 Percent of Cropland A new USDA survey says cover crops are more popular than first thought. Growers who responded to the survey say they’re using cover crops on 40 percent of their cropland in 2022. Successful Farming says that hints at a sizable increase from the 15.4 million acres of cover crops listed in the 2017 Census of Agriculture. The USDA’s Conservation Practice Adoption Motivations 2021 Report says a large number of farmers, 59 percent, use cover crops on their farms. That’s from a survey of 34,000 farmers that ran from May through September. Farmers say they used cover crops on 40 percent of their cropland. Earlier this month, the Ag Economy Barometer, which surveys large-scale farmers, said 57 percent of respondents used cover crops on at least some of their land, a jump up from 52 percent in 2021. Half of those farmers say they sowed cover crops on 25 percent or less of their land.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday November 1, 2022 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets DTN will be watching for the results of the S & P Manufacturing PMI, job openings, and construction spending. Even more importantly, we will be watching for more developments on the Ukraine export deal and any export sales news. Weather Most of the country east of the Rockies will enjoy a day of warmth and dryness, favorable for fieldwork. A system is brewing in the West, though, where widespread showers will fill in across much of the area into Wednesday along with falling temperatures.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday October 31, 2022 |


Mexico Moving Ahead on 2024 GMO Corn Ban Mexico appears to be moving ahead with its plan to ban GMO corn imports by 2024. Reuters says Mexico is considering the possibility of direct agreements with farmers in the U.S., Argentina, and Brazil. Mexico’s deputy agriculture minister says the 2024 ban on GM corn won’t be amended in any way. U.S. yellow corn imports are used primarily for livestock feed in Mexico. Victor Suarez (SWAH-rez) says Mexico will cut its imports of U.S. yellow corn by half when the ban takes effect via increasing domestic production. To fill any remaining gap, Mexico will try to make deals with farmers in other countries to grow non-GMO corn and sell it to Mexico. “There are many alternatives to importing non-GMO yellow corn from the United States,” Suarez says. These moves appear to go back on the promise from Mexico’s ag minister that Mexico wouldn’t limit imports of GMO yellow corn from the U.S. *********************************************************************************** Drought Conditions Pushing Eastward Roughly six of every ten acres of land in the U.S. is in some level of drought. The Weekly Drought Monitor says arid conditions now stretch from the Appalachian Mountains in the east to the Pacific Coast in the western U.S. Conditions grew worse in the Ohio Valley while warm weather combined with below-normal precipitation to further dry the Midwest. The University of Nebraska’s National Drought Mitigation Center says the extent of the dry conditions is on par with 2012 as drought expanded across more than half of the states, particularly in the Midwest and Southeast. Drought also deepened in the Central Plains, where stock ponds for cattle remain low to nonexistent. Pastures are providing marginal feed, and most producers have to supplement their cattle feed. While the growing season for field crops is done, drought still affects the winter wheat crop, which makes up most of America’s wheat production. *********************************************************************************** U.S. Diesel Supplies are Shrinking Rapidly America has a shortage of diesel supplies on hand and it’s putting pressure on suppliers to get more into the fuel supply. The Start Magazine says a shortage is spreading in the eastern United States and has prompted at least one supplier to initiate emergency protocols. Mansfield Energy is a fuel supplier that says conditions are rapidly devolving, so they require a 72-hour notice for deliveries to secure fuel and freight. Diesel is the fuel that trucks, trains, and ships fill their tanks with to move goods around the country and across the globe. Supplies are tight partly because Russian diesel imports are banned in the U.S. Andrew Hunter, a senior economist with Capital Economics, says, “U.S. refining capacity has fallen over the past few years, which doesn’t help.” Diesel prices hit a record high of $5.81 per gallon in June, and prices could go higher if the winter is colder than expected. *********************************************************************************** Over 75 Percent of Soybean, Cotton, and Corn Acres are Genetically Engineered USDA’s Economic Research Service says genetically engineered seeds were commercially introduced in the U.S. for major field crops in 1996, and adoption rates increased rapidly. By 2008, more than 50 percent of U.S. corn, cotton, and soybean acres were planted with genetically engineered seeds. The total acres with GE seeds has grown even further, with now more than 90 percent of U.S. corn, upland cotton, and soybeans produced using GE varieties. Genetically engineered crops are broadly classified as herbicide-tolerant (HT), insect-resistant (Bt), or a combination of the two. While other traits like virus and fungus resistance, drought tolerance, and enhanced protein oil or vitamin content have been developed, HT and Bt traits are the most commonly used in U.S. crop production. Herbicide-tolerant seeds are also widely used in alfalfa, canola, and sugar beet production, but most of the GE acres are planted to the three major field crops: corn, cotton, and soybeans. *********************************************************************************** Biodiesel Plays a Big Role in California’s GHG Drop California released its Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report for 2020 which showed a 16 percent decrease in transportation carbon emissions. Clean Fuels Alliance America says that success was due in part to increasing the use of biodiesel and renewable diesel. The state’s analysis shows the percentage of biodiesel and renewable diesel in California’s fuel supply grew from 0.4 percent in 2011 to almost 21 percent in 2020 through the Low Carbon Fuel Standard. California Air Resources Board data says biodiesel and renewable diesel generated 44 percent of the LCFS credits in 2020. “As California works to continue reducing carbon emissions, it’s relying on increased production, import, and blending of biodiesel and renewable diesel,” says Clean Fuels’ CEO Donnell Rehagen (REE-hay-gen). Without biodiesel and renewable diesel, California’s tailpipe fossil CO2 would have been 15 million metric tons higher in 2020. The reduction equals taking 3.2 million cars off the road in 2020. *********************************************************************************** NPPC Promotes New VP of Domestic Policy The National Pork Producers Council says Kelly Cushman is its new vice president of domestic policy. In the newly-created position, Cushman will oversee U.S. government engagement, advocacy, and lobbying efforts for the U.S. pork industry. “Kelly comes to NPPC with a proven track record as an effective leader and political strategist, developing and executing government affairs outreach programs,” says NPPC CEO Bryan Humphreys. Cushman is a public affairs and communications professional with over 25 years of experience. She has a blended background of political, government agency, and corporate experience. “I’m excited to support America’s pig farmers who prioritize the health and well-being of their animals to provide high-quality and affordable products,” Cushman says. “I look forward to expanding and integrating NPPC’s government affairs engagement in Washington, D.C., and across the country. Cushman has a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences from Clemson and a master’s in environmental science and policy from Johns Hopkins.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday October 31, 2022 |


Monday Watch List Markets Back from the weekend, traders will check the latest weather forecasts and any news, especially from Ukraine. USDA's weekly report of export inspections at 10 a.m. CDT will give another indication of how soybeans are moving on the river. USDA's Crop Progress report at 3 p.m. will be watched for row crop harvest progress and winter wheat emergence. Financial traders are apt to be cautious with nearly everyone expecting another rate hike Wednesday. Weather Mild to very warm temperatures and mostly dry conditions for most areas on Monday will make for some good trick-or-treating weather. A few showers are going through the eastern Midwest and Southeast on Monday, but the coverage is rather low. Another system is moving into the Pacific Northwest, however, and will be the start of a battle in the middle of the country later this week.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday October 28, 2022 |


Survey Shows Farmer Concerns About Carbon Markets A new report from Farm Journal shows farmer perspectives and concerns on pathways and barriers to participating in carbon markets. A majority of farmers surveyed revealed significant concerns about overcoming technical and financial roadblocks to having success in the carbon markets. Producers worry that the benefits won’t be worth the cost, ongoing compliance regulations will be burdensome and that existing ag practices they already have in place on their operations won’t be fairly compensated. Farm Journal says the initial findings show that even the most “carbon-curious” farmers are saying that participating in current market conditions would require too much time, effort, and resources without fair returns on those investments. Farmers are also concerned about their data and whether it will get handled appropriately or will be difficult to collect. After several years, 97 percent of farmers aren’t ready to participate in carbon markets, but 93 percent are aware they exist. *********************************************************************************** USDA Providing $759 Million to Improve Rural Broadband Access Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says his agency is providing $759 million to improve internet access for people living and working in 24 states, Puerto Rico, Guam, and Palau. The investments include funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that provides $65 billion to help expand reliable, affordable, high-speed internet access to communities across the United States. “People living in rural towns across the nation need high-speed internet to run their businesses, go to school, and connect with their loved ones,” says Vilsack. “That’s how you grow the economy, not just for rural areas, but across the nation.” The $759 million in loans and grants comes from the third round of funding under the ReConnect Program. USDA is issuing a total of 49 awards in states like Alabama, Arizona, Kansas, Missouri, South Dakota, and many others. So far this year, USDA has announced $1.6 billion from the third round of ReConnect funding. *********************************************************************************** Bunge: Strong Demand Ahead for Soybean Oil The U.S. soybean sector will continue to see support from rising global demand for biofuels. Oil giant Bunge says that support will stay in place for “some time to come.” The company’s chief financial officer says the demand for soybean oil is strong from both the food and energy-producing sectors. Industry Update Dot Com says Bunge also sees unusually high interest from buyers wanting to lock in their prices beyond the next quarter. “We’re very deliberate about price,” says Bunge CEO John Nappi (nap-PEE). “But the demand is there and continuing to grow steadily. And we haven’t seen any decline or lack of interest from either the energy producers or the food industry side of the equation at this point.” SP Global says demand for soybean oil from the U.S. biofuel industry has been rising quickly since 2020 as processors are more confident about the government’s commitment to an energy transition. *********************************************************************************** Poll Finds Rural Voters Pessimistic About the Future A Daily Yonder poll of rural Americans shows they’re worried about the present, feeling pessimism about the future, and planning to vote the way they did in recent elections. The poll was commissioned by the Center for Rural Strategies and found that rural voters in highly-contested states hold negative views about the economy. For example, three-quarters of the respondents say the economy isn’t working for them. Just over half say they don’t expect their financial situations to get better in the next year. A little over three-quarters of the respondents say they think things will get worse, not better, for the next generation of Americans. The Daily Yonder survey also found nearly half of rural voters say the rising cost of living is one of their biggest concerns. The second-largest concern is government dysfunction. Other top issues included jobs and the economy, social security, rising crime, health care, and the rising cost of food and gas. *********************************************************************************** Inland Waterway System Still Struggling with Drought The conditions along America’s inland waterway system remain concerning. Farmers are harvesting an overall strong crop, but the inland waterway system they use to ship commodities doesn’t have the ability to accommodate large amounts of new grains. It’s especially hard on the soybean industry because September through February accounts for 80 percent of U.S. soybean exports. Because over half of America’s soybeans are exported, barge transportation is essential. American Commercial Barge Lines says depth restrictions of no greater than nine feet have been instituted on the Lower Mississippi River, an almost 30 percent decrease. Barges are often loaded to 11-12 feet this time of year on the Mississippi River south of St. Louis. For every one foot of decreased water depth, that means 5,000 fewer bushels are loaded onto each barge. A maximum of 25 barges can be connected on the lower Mississippi compared to 30-40 barges in typical years. *********************************************************************************** USDA Launches Loan Assistant Tool to Enhance Customer Service The USDA has launched a new online tool to help farmers and ranchers better navigate the farm loan application process. The now uniform application process will help make sure all farm loan applicants receive equal support and have a consistent customer service experience with USDA’s Farm Service Agency, regardless of individual circumstances. “USDA recognizes that more must be done to ensure all customers have equal access to our programs and services,” says FSA Administrator Zach Ducheneaux. “This tool will help loan applicants better understand the application process and gather the needed documents before the process even begins.” USDA experiences a high rate of incomplete or withdrawn applications, due in part to a challenging and lengthy paper-based application process. The new Loan Assistance Tool is available 24-7 and gives customers an online step-by-step guide that supplements the support applicants receive in person at an FSA office. For more information, go to farmers.gov.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday October 28, 2022 |


Friday Watch List Markets The Labor Department's third-quarter employment cost index will be out at 7:30 a.m. CDT Friday, the same time as a report on U.S. personal incomes and consumer spending for September. The University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index for October is due out at 9 a.m., the same time as a U.S. index of pending home sales for September. Traders will keep an eye on the latest weather forecasts and on outside markets ahead of a likely rate hike on Wednesday, November 2. Weather A small storm system has moved into Texas where rains have spread into Oklahoma. The system will be a slow-mover with showers possibly getting into the Delta Friday night, but could wait until Saturday in some places. Some heavier rain will be possible as further drought reduction looks likely in this small area. But the rest of the country will largely be dry today with near- to above-normal temperatures, favoring harvest and other fieldwork.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday October 27, 2022 |


Bronaugh To Lead East Africa Agribusiness Trade Mission Deputy Agriculture Secretary Jewel Bronaugh will lead a trade mission to Nairobi, Kenya, and Zanzibar, Tanzania, from October 31 through November 4. Representatives from 32 agribusiness and farm organizations will join Bronaugh on the trip. She says, "This trade mission will provide firsthand knowledge of market conditions and opportunities in East Africa and expand awareness about U.S. agricultural and food products in the region." Both Nairobi, Kenya and Zanzibar, Tanzania, serve as strategic ports in East Africa, attracting many U.S. exporters and investors. Last year, the United States exported more than $60 million worth of agriculture, fish, and forestry products to Kenya, and $6.9 million worth of agricultural products to Tanzania. During the week-long trade mission, participants will meet with potential importers, processors, and distributors from Kenya and Tanzania, as well as other East African nations. National agribusiness groups represented include the U.S. Grains Council, U.S. Meat Export Federation, and the U.S. Soybean Export Council, among others. *********************************************************************************** R-CALF Makes Post-Election Push for M-COOL R-CALF USA, the Ranchers Cattlemen Action Legal Fund United Stockgrowers of America, is making a push for Congress to consider mandatory country-of-origin labeling of beef. R-CALF is encouraging its members and others to show their support to lawmakers for the American Beef Labeling Act. The bill was introduced by Republican Senators John Thune and Mike Rounds, alongside Democrats Jon Tester and Cory Booker last month. The legislation would require the U.S. Trade Representative, in consultation with the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, to develop a World Trade Organization-compliant means of reinstating MCOOL for beef within one year of enactment. USTR would have six months to develop a reinstatement plan, followed by a six-month implementation window. If USTR fails to reinstate MCOOL for beef within one year of enactment, it would automatically be reinstated for beef only. R-CALF points to a Morning Consult poll that claims 86 percent of U.S. voters support the bill. *********************************************************************************** Illinois Leads U.S. Pumpkin Production Pumpkins are on full display across the United States as part of many fall traditions. The production of pumpkins, from classic orange Howdens to new varieties like Cinderella, is widely dispersed throughout the United States, with all states producing some pumpkins. However, USDA’s Economic Research Service reported Wednesday that about 40 percent of pumpkin acres are harvested in only six states. Illinois is consistently the nation's largest pumpkin producer by acreage and weight. In 2021, Illinois produced 652 million pounds, more than a quarter of total U.S. pumpkin production and more than the next five states combined. Unlike all other States, most of Illinois' pumpkins are used for pie filling and processed for other food uses. Pumpkins from other states are primarily intended for decorative, or carving, use. In 2021, Indiana produced 181 million pounds of pumpkins, California grew 157 million pounds, Texas grew 108 million pounds, Michigan grew 89 million pounds, and Virginia grew 82 million pounds. *********************************************************************************** Research: Rainfall Declines Increase Food Insecurity Research by Penn State University published in ScienceDaily shows food insecurity increases when rainfall is below normal. The researchers focused on food insecurity in Tanzania, and found moving from a year with typical rainfall to a particularly dry year was associated with a 13-percentage-point increase in the risk of being food insecure. Tanzania has a high prevalence of food insecurity and is highly dependent on rain to grow its maize crops. Penn State assistant professor Heather Randell says, "Potential interventions could include providing drought-tolerant maize, increasing access to agricultural extension services, scaling up agricultural index insurance, improving uptake of soil and water conservation practices, and providing cash transfers based on drought early warning systems." Randell adds the findings also could apply to other low- and middle-income countries, especially those heavily dependent on maize production. The researchers say food insecurity affected about two billion people, or 26 percent of the global population, in 2019. *********************************************************************************** Clean School Bus Program Funding Primarily Supports Electric Busses The nearly $1 billion investment from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean School Bus Program announced Wednesday is largely for electric busses. Through a lottery system, the agency has selected 389 applications totaling $913 million to support the purchase of 2,463 buses, 95 percent of which will be electric. EPA will distribute awards to school districts in all 50 states and Washington D.C., along with several federally recognized Tribes and U.S. territories. School districts identified as priority areas serving low-income, rural, and, or Tribal students make up 99 percent of the projects that were selected. More applications are under review, and the agency plans to select more to reach the full $965 million in the coming weeks. Funding for the effort comes from the Bipartisan Infrastructure law to “build a healthier future, reduce climate pollution, and ensure the clean, breathable air that all our children deserve,” according to EPA Administrator Michael Regan. *********************************************************************************** Oscar Mayer: Avoid Bacon on World Vegan Day Oscar Mayer is calling on bacon enthusiasts to abstain from bacon delight of any kind on World Vegan Day, November 1. The company says, "Deliciously tempting bacon, smoked with real wood smoke for 12 hours, can be tough for those who wish to give up meat." According to a recent survey, more than half of vegans have abandoned their diet for bacon, making it the ultimate "gateway meat." Research shows that 63 percent of vegans wish they could eat bacon, and 56 percent admit bacon's delicious taste temps them. To show the brand's dedication on November 1, Oscar Mayer will reduce temptation by removing all bacon from paid media, and censoring, blurring and removing bacon from its social media. Oscar Mayer’s new campaign encourages fans to “BacOFF,” on social media, by pledging to give up bacon on World Vegan Day. Those who choose to do so could win a lifetime supply of bacon.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday October 27, 2022 |


Thursday Watch List Markets Thursday promises to be a busy morning for new reports. USDA's weekly export sales report is due out at 7:30 a.m. CDT, the same time as weekly U.S. jobless claims, September durable goods and an update of the U.S. Drought Monitor. The U.S. Commerce Department will also issue its first estimate of third-quarter GDP at 7:30 a.m. and many are expecting positive growth. Meanwhile, the European Central Bank is expected to raise its interest rate Thursday morning and the Energy Department's weekly report of natural gas sales is due out at 9:30 a.m. Weather A system is exiting the Central Rockies into the Southern Plains on Thursday. Some scattered showers have been falling over Nebraska and South Dakota from the overnight but will spread south into Oklahoma and Texas later today. There is a small risk for severe weather over Texas, but mostly should be just rain. Other areas of the country will be dry with near-normal temperatures.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday October 26, 2022 |


NMPF Unanimously Endorses Marketing Order Modernization Plan National Milk Producers Federation leadership Tuesday unanimously endorsed a proposal to modernize the Federal Milk Marketing Order milk-pricing system. The plan includes returns to the "higher of" Class I mover, discontinuing including barrel cheese in the protein component price formula. It extends the current 30-day reporting limit to 45 days on forward-priced sales of Nonfat Dry Milk and dry whey to capture more export sales in the USDA product price reporting. Additionally, the plan updates milk component factors for protein, other solids and nonfat solids in the Class III and Class IV skim milk price formulas. The plan develops a process to ensure make-allowances are reviewed more frequently through legislation directing USDA to conduct mandatory plant-cost studies every two years, and updates dairy product manufacturing allowances contained in the USDA milk price formulas. Any final proposal will be reviewed by the organization before it’s submitted to USDA to be considered for a federal order hearing. *********************************************************************************** Tyson Foods, Washington State Settle Price Fixing Lawsuit Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced this week the largest chicken producer in the nation, Tyson Foods, will pay $10.5 million because of a lawsuit over price-fixing on chicken products. The announcement is the third and largest resolution in Ferguson’s lawsuit against 19 broiler chicken producers. The claims against the remaining 16 companies continue. The conspiracy harmed an estimated 90 percent of Washington state residents, or approximately seven million individuals. Consequently, the scheme impacted virtually everyone who consumes chicken products. Tyson Foods is the largest chicken producer in the U.S., with approximately 20 percent of the national market share for broiler chickens. The Washington Attorney General’s Office asserts Tyson Foods and 18 other chicken producers drove up the price of chicken since at least 2008, causing consumers to overpay by millions of dollars. Two other states, Alaska and New Mexico, have similar antitrust cases against national chicken producers. *********************************************************************************** Legislation Introduced to Support Farmers Affected by PFAS In a bipartisan, bicameral effort to provide vital assistance to farmers affected by PFAS, lawmakers recently introduced the Relief for Farmers Hit with PFAS Act. Led by Maine Republican Senator Susan Collins, the legislation would authorize grants for states to provide financial assistance to affected farmers. PFAS are man-made "forever" chemicals used in industry and consumer products and can lead to serious health effects. PFAS contamination has prevented some farms from selling their products, creating financial hardship for many family farmers. Collins says, "USDA needs to step up and provide support to farmers, who at no fault of their own, are at risk of losing their livelihoods." Specifically, the funds would increase PFAS testing for soil and water sources, provide relocation of a commercial farm if the land is no longer viable, and create research on soil and water remediation systems, and the viability of those systems for farms. *********************************************************************************** USDA: Conservation Tillage Increasing The share of acreage for major cash crops—wheat, corn, soybeans, and cotton—that are planted using conservation tillage has increased over the past two decades in the United States. USDA’s Economic Research Service reported the data Tuesday. Farmers reported employing conservation tillage on the majority of acres of wheat at 68 percent, 76 percent of corn acres, and 74 percent of soybeans. Conservation tillage is less common on cotton fields at 43 percent of acres. Conservation tillage, which includes no-till and mulch till, reduces soil disturbance and preserves more crop residue relative to conventional tillage, in which a plow or other implement turns over most of the soil before planting. Additionally, no-till production, a type of conservation tillage in which farmers plant directly into remaining crop residue without tilling, has increased substantially for wheat and corn over the past two decades. Finally, mulch till has trended upward on each crop except for corn over the past two decades. *********************************************************************************** Florida Ag Department Releases Hurricane Ian Damage Assessment The Florida Department of Agriculture this week released a preliminary damage assessment for agriculture following Hurricane Ian. The assessment considered that losses to agriculture production and infrastructure are estimated to be between $1.1 billion and $ 1.8 billion. Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried says, "While today's assessment is a preliminary snapshot of the losses to Florida agriculture, it is a critical first step in the process of securing federal disaster aid for our hard-working producers." The report estimated citrus damages between $400 million and $675 million, other fruits and vegetables between $153 million and $230 million, and field crops between $86 million and $160 million. Horticulture damages are estimated up to $297 million, livestock at $492 million and forestry at $32 million. Hurricane Ian made landfall on September 28 near Fort Myers and Cape Coral as a category-four hurricane. The report says Ian is among the strongest hurricanes to make direct landfall in the United States. *********************************************************************************** Applications Sought for Renewed Effort to Assist Farmers American Farmland Trust will accept applications starting November 1 to help farmers nationwide improve farm viability, access, transfer or permanently protect farmland or adopt regenerative agricultural practices. The last day to submit applications is November 14. 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 projects will be awarded on a one-per-farm basis. In 2022, the fund will uplift, support, and amplify historically underserved farmers. AFT Vice President of Programs David Haight says, “The Brighter Future Fund makes small investments that have big impacts with participating farmers – particularly those who face barriers in accessing other types of support.” The Brighter Future Fund was launched in 2020 to help farmers launch, grow, and sustain farms in the face of forces impacting the food and agricultural system. Farmers should submit a completed electronic Brighter Future Fund Application to AFT at farmland.org to apply.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday October 26, 2022 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets A report on U.S. new home sales in September is due out at 9 a.m. CDT Wednesday, followed by the Energy Department's weekly inventory report at 9:30 a.m., including ethanol production. The Bank of Canada is expected to increase its interest rate by 0.75% to 4.0% Wednesday, followed by a rate hike in Europe on Thursday. Traders will continue to watch the latest weather forecasts and news from abroad, especially Ukraine. Weather As a storm system finally pushes east on Wednesday, quieter weather conditions are expected for most areas east of the Rockies. To the west, a system continues to move through the Rockies, setting up another storm for the late-week period across southern areas.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday October 25, 2022 |


NCGA Calls on USTR to Act on Mexico’s Pending Decree on Corn Imports Calls from corn grower leaders are growing louder for the United States Trade Representative to intervene in a trade dispute with Mexico over corn imports. The response from corn growers comes as Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s promises to enact a decree that would end imports of corn grown using biotech and certain herbicides by 2024. Biotech corn makes up over 90 percent of U.S. corn crops. An opinion piece by National Corn Growers Association President Tom Haag was published over the weekend in The Hill, a newspaper widely read by Congress and other Washington decision-makers. The editorial calls on USTR to file a settlement dispute under the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement over the matter. Haag says, "If the decree is enacted, the negative impact will be felt by farmers in the U.S. and by the people of Mexico." NCGA has been at the forefront of this issue, and says a U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement dispute settlement would allow for extensive debate and mediation. *********************************************************************************** USTR, USDA to Assist Seasonal Produce Industry The Office of the United States Trade Representative will pursue avenues to assist the Southeast seasonal produce industry in coordination with the United States Department of Agriculture. The announcement comes after members of Congress requested an examination of certain issues in a September 8, 2022, Section 301 petition. The 301 statute requires that USTR make a decision on whether to move forward with an investigation within 45 days. The statute also includes a private-sector advisory panel as a specific response to export targeting. Although USTR could not conclude in the 45-day statutory period that a formal 301 investigation would be effective and is not opening an investigation at this time, USTR is moving forward with an advisory panel. USTR and USDA will work with the petitioners and producers to examine the issues raised in the petition and to consider any further actions that may be appropriate as a result. *********************************************************************************** Bill Seeks Excise Tax on Foreign Water-Intensive Crops in the U.S. Legislation introduced last week seeks an excise tax on the sale and export of water-intensive crops grown in the U.S. by foreign governments. Arizona Representative Ruben Gallego introduced the Water Protection Act of 2022, as Arizona and other states face prolonged drought. Gallego says, "While Arizona experiences the driest conditions in centuries, our water is being given away in a sweetheart deal with Saudi Arabia." The Democrat adds, "Arizona's aquifers are meant to serve Arizonans, and this bill will make that happen." The excise tax would be imposed at 300 percent, reflecting the unjustifiable disparity in land lease rates between domestic and foreign producers in Arizona. Arizona is leasing farmland to Fondomonte, a Saudi company which uses Arizona groundwater to grow alfalfa exported to feed cows in the Middle East. The state reports that the company uses enough water annually to supply 54,000 homes, at an estimated cost to the state of more than $3 million a year. *********************************************************************************** EWG: Climate Change Increases Crop Insurance Costs A new Environmental Working Group analysis found the majority of Midwestern counties with increased precipitation between 2001 and 2020 also had growing crop insurance costs. The report alleges the increased crop insurance costs were due to wetter weather linked to climate change. Between 2001 and 2020, farmers in the eight Midwest states received almost $14.5 billion in crop insurance indemnity payments for reduced crop yields or revenue due to excess moisture and precipitation. In all, 661 counties got a crop insurance indemnity payment for excess moisture at some point during that period, adding up to $12.9 billion. EWG claims the Crop Insurance Program undermines the adoption of conservation practices like cover crops that can help farmers adapt to the effects of climate change, such as extreme precipitation events that are expected to continue occurring more frequently. The organization is using the study in a call to make several reforms to the structure of crop insurance. *********************************************************************************** 2012 Nutrition Standards Change Increased Fruits and Vegetables in School Meals A 2012 change in school meal nutrition standards drove changes in the type of foods schools purchased. USDA's Economic Research Service released data Monday that shows following the change in standards, schools obtained more fruits and vegetables through USDA Foods and especially through USDA’s Department of Defense Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program. While there was no clear change in the types of foods chosen from 2006 to 2012, the percent of USDA Foods entitlement funds used for purchasing fruits and vegetables from DoD Fresh rose sharply from 6.7 percent of total USDA Foods in 2012 to 15 percent in 2017. Fruit obtained through AMS—mainly canned and frozen—rose from 9.4 percent of total USDA Foods spending in 2012 to 15.4 percent in 2017. Vegetables obtained from USDA's AMS slightly rose from 2012 to 2017. As the spending on fruits and vegetables increased, the percentage spent on meat, poultry, and cheese dropped from nearly 74 percent in 2012 to 61 percent in 2017. *********************************************************************************** Gas Prices Down Again, Diesel Higher The nation's average gas price declined for the second straight week, falling 9.3 cents from a week ago to $3.77 per gallon. The national average is up 10.2 cents from a month ago and 41.2 cents per gallon higher than a year ago. The national average diesel price increased 4.0 cents in the last week and stands at $5.30 per gallon. GasBuddy's Patrick De Haan says, “While gasoline prices have seen a large drop, diesel prices have been somewhat mixed, with prices heading higher in the Northeast as inventories drop to extremely tight levels ahead of the heating oil season.” Rising risk of economic downturn, weak Chinese imports and a stronger U.S. dollar were factors pushing oil prices lower in the last week. That comes as OPEC+’s recently decided to cut oil production. De Haan adds that the decline in gasoline prices is seasonal and should continue into the fall, and is unrelated to the coming election.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday October 25, 2022 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets An index of U.S. consumer confidence for October is due out at 9 a.m. CDT Tuesday, the only report of the day. Traders will continue to watch the latest weather forecasts and any reports from the Mississippi River. Outside market news will also get market attention with the Federal Reserve expected to raise interest rates again next week. Weather A cold front saw a low-pressure center form along it across Texas Monday and that low and front will continue northeast through the country Tuesday. Areas of rain and thunderstorms are exiting the Plains but will continue for the Delta, Southeast, and Midwest. Rain will disrupt the remaining harvest and there is a risk of severe storms across the Gulf Coast states. Cooler, drier air is filling in behind the front while another system is moving into the Pacific Northwest.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday October 24, 2022 |


Farm Financing Demand Edges Higher Strong agricultural prices continue to support the farm economy, but the rapid rise in production expenses could pressure profit margins. That’s pushing the demand for farm financing higher. Larger-sized operating loans are continuing to boost farm lending activity. The Kansas City Fed says the volume of non-real estate farm loans increased by more than 10 percent for the third-consecutive quarter. Operating loans accounted for nearly all the growth, driven by an almost 25 percent increase in the average loan size. Besides a continued growth in lending, interest rates rose sharply and pushed financing expenses to their highest level since 2019. Prices of most major commodities remained elevated alongside favorable market conditions and supported a positive outlook for farm finances through the end of this year. Uncertain demand for farm products in the coming year has led to more volatility, while drought continues to impact large parts of U.S. farm country. *********************************************************************************** NOAA Winter Weather Outlook Shows More Drought Ahead The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released its U.S. Winter Outlook. Beginning in December and running through February 2023, NOAA predicts drier-than-average conditions in the South with wetter-than-average conditions in the Ohio Valley, Great Lakes, northern Rockies, and the Pacific Northwest. The agency says widespread extreme drought continues in much of the West, the Great Basin, and the central-to-southern Great Plains. Drought will impact the middle and lower Mississippi Valley this winter. Drought will also develop in the South-Central and Southeastern U.S., while drought conditions should improve across the Northwest U.S. in the months ahead. This year, La Niña returns for a third-consecutive winter, which will drive warmer-than-normal temps in the Southwest, along the Gulf Coast, and through the Eastern Seaboard. NOAA says drought conditions are now present in 59 percent of the country, and parts of the Western U.S. and southern Great Plains will get hit hardest this winter. *********************************************************************************** U.S. Grain Exports Hit Near-Record Total in 2021-2022 U.S. grains in all forms (GIAF) exports for the 2021-2022 marketing year topped 122 million metric tons, the second-highest total on record. That total trails the 129 million metric tons in 2020-2021. The U.S. Grains Council analyzed USDA data to find near-record exports of ethanol helped offset losses from corn, barley, and barley products. Mexico is the top GIAF destination. Record exports of ethanol, corn, DDGS, and pork and pork products, combined with fewer imports from China, made Mexico the biggest U.S. market in 2021-2022. Mexico imported over 27 million metric tons worth $11 billion. China was the second-largest export market for U.S. GIAF, with exports totaling 26 million metric tons worth more than $11 billion. Canada was in third place, taking in U.S. GIAF totaling more than 13 million metric tons worth $6 billion. In the current 2022-2023 marketing year, the U.S. Grains Council continues promoting U.S. grains around the world. *********************************************************************************** Company Developing AI to Accelerate Global Soil Restoration Biome Makers, a global ag tech leader in soil health analysis, received a $1.6 million grant from the European Union. The grant will help answer the need for strong solutions around soil biology in agriculture. The EU recognizes the importance of BeCrop®, the company’s soil intelligence technology, and the environmental and socioeconomic impact it has on farmers. The grant will help fast-track the development of BeCrop® AI and machine learning. That will help accelerate Biome Makers’ global mission of recovering soil health. The AI currently has the world’s largest database of taxonomic references and has analyzed more than 415,000 hectares of soil. BeCrop® technology decodes soil biology to help farmers improve food production while improving the sustainability of their farmland. The industry will no longer have to develop agricultural products or apply inputs without verifying their impact. BeCrop® is the first step to making that happen. Companies like Syngenta already utilize the AI. *********************************************************************************** New Zealand is the Latest Country to Tax Cow Burps New Zealand farmers recently gathered in towns and cities across the country to protest against the government’s plan to tax “agricultural emissions.” Reuters says the government confirmed plans to price agricultural gases and biogenic methane, which it says come from cow and sheep burps. Farmers drove tractors and carried signs protesting the proposed plan. Farm groups wonder how the proposal accounts for on-farm forestry and what can offset such emissions. They also worry about how the emissions will be priced and how the program will be governed. One of the protestors told state-owned Radio New Zealand that they aren’t necessarily wanting exemptions. The farmers want to work out how it's going to be best for them and the country. New Zealand’s prime minister told reporters they wanted feedback from the agricultural community, and the plan is in a consultation phase. The government wants to work with producers to find a solution. *********************************************************************************** Export Sales of Corn and Beans Surge Higher Sales of corn and soybeans to overseas buyers jumped week-to-week, while wheat sales declined during the week ending on October 13. USDA data says corn sales hit 408,300 metric tons, more than double the 200,000 tons sold a week earlier. Mexico was the big buyer at 183,700 metric tons, followed by Japan’s 77,600 tons. Soybean sales surged to 2.34 million metric tons, a significant jump over the 724,000 metric tons sold a week earlier. China swooped in to buy 1.98 million metric tons, far and away the top soybean buyer, with the Netherlands in second with 82,800 tons. The soybean total could have been higher, but the United Kingdom canceled a sale that week of 60,000 tons. Wheat sales dropped to 163,100 metric tons, down from almost 212,000 the previous week. Mexico was the top wheat buyer at 93,500 metric tons. USDA says Italy canceled wheat sales of 60,000 tons.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday October 24, 2022 |


Monday Watch List Markets Back from the weekend, traders will pore over the latest weather forecasts, keep up on the interest rate debate and check the latest news from the Mississippi River and Ukraine. USDA's weekly export inspections report at 10 a.m. CDT gets extra attention these days as a new gauge of river problems. USDA's monthly Cold Storage report is set for 2 p.m., followed by harvest progress and winter wheat planting updates in the Crop Progress report at 3 p.m. Weather A strong fall storm system is wound up in eastern North Dakota early Monday morning and heading northeast toward Hudson Bay. Scattered showers across the Northern Plains are a mix of rain and accumulating snows. The cold front to the system extends south through the Plains. Across the south, the system is ingesting the remnants of hurricane Roslyn, which is helping increase precipitation across Texas and Oklahoma. The heavier rain will spread northeast into the central Midwest throughout the day while a low pressure center will develop on the front across Texas later in the day, a feature that will move northeast through the Midwest later this week. Strong winds that have been felt across the middle of the country over the weekend are winding down throughout the day. Temperatures behind the front are dropping significantly from the heat seen over the weekend.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday October 21, 2022 |


Enrollment is Open for ARC, PLC Programs Ag producers can now change their 2023 crop year elections and enroll in the Agricultural Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage Programs for 2023. Signup for the two key safety net programs began Monday, and the enrollment deadline is March 15, 2023. Producers can choose coverage and enroll in ARC-County or PLC, which provides crop-by-crop protection, or ARC-Individual, which protects the entire farm. Although election changes for 2023 are optional, producers must enroll through a signed contract each year. Also, if a producer has a multi-year contract on the farm and makes an election change for 2023, they must sign a new contract. If producers don’t submit their election by the March 15 deadline, their elections remain the same as their 2022 election for crops on the farm. “It’s that time of year for producers to consider all their risk management options,” says Farm Service Agency Administrator Zach Ducheneaux. *********************************************************************************** October Fed Beige Book Updates Ag Economy Conditions The Federal Reserve Board released its October 2022 Beige Book, which provides as update on current conditions in the agricultural economy. Ag conditions in the sixth district near Atlanta were mixed as cotton growers noted softening demand, while row crop production remained sold. In Chicago’s seventh district, income expectations for producers were unchanged as most operations should be profitable despite rising input costs. Production forecasts in the eighth district of St. Louis declined for corn, rice, and soybeans. In Minneapolis’s eighth district, financial conditions remained strong even as higher input costs bite into profit margins. The tenth district of Kansas City shows strong financial conditions despite adverse developments tied to drought and input costs. The eleventh district of Dallas showed significant rainfall greatly improved drought conditions across much of the district, though it began to dry out again after the rainfall. Many eleventh-district areas had little-to-no crop production because of the drought. *********************************************************************************** Inflation Boosting Prices of Organic Products Ongoing inflation resulted in higher retail prices of organic fresh produce during the third quarter of this year. The Organic Produce Network says that generated a 4.1 percent increase in total organic dollars but also contributed to a decline of 4.5 percent in organic volume compared to the same period last year. Overall, organic fresh produce pricing per pound increased by 8.9 percent during the third quarter compared to the same time in 2021. Sales during the third quarter topped $2.4 billion this year. At the same time, conventional produce’s average price per pound increased by more than 10 percent, with total sales of almost $18 billion. Tomatoes were the bright spot for organic sales in the third quarter, thanks to a 19 percent increase in volume and a hefty 30 percent increase in dollars. Fourteen of the top categories posted year-over-year increases in dollars, led by potatoes, onions, and peaches. *********************************************************************************** EDF Report says Crop Yields will Slow by 2030 The Environmental Defense Fund says extreme heat, changing rainfall, and other climate change impacts will make it harder to grow U.S. staple crops as soon as 2030. The group says future food supplies and farmer livelihoods will be at stake without adaptation efforts getting underway immediately. The EDF report uses an ensemble of 20 computer models to analyze how climate change will alter the yields of staple crops in Iowa, Minnesota, and Kansas by 2030 and 2050. By 2030, nearly all counties in Iowa will see corn yields more than five percent lower than they would have been without climate change. More than half will see declines of 10 percent or more. Over half of Minnesota’s counties will see soybean yields drop by over five percent. Seventeen percent will see drops of more than 10 percent. Eight percent of Kansas counties will see winter wheat yields drop by over five percent by 2030. *********************************************************************************** Winners Announced in National Wheat Yield Contest The National Wheat Yield Contest announced the 2022 winners. Rylee Reynolds of Twin Falls County, Idaho, set a contest yield record of 231.37 bushels an acre. That tops the previous record of 211 bushels per acre set in 2019. Rylee and his dad Gary both placed as national winners in the winter wheat irrigated category. In other results, the Pacific Northwest had some excellent yields this year as all four Bin Buster Award winners are from that region of the country. The contest encourages wheat growers to strive for high yield, quality, and profit while trying out new and innovative strategies for managing their wheat crop. The National Wheat Foundation, which puts on the contest, says there was exceptional participation from all over the nation’s top wheat-growing states. State winners are announced in 27 states, and six of those winners had never won at the national level before this year. *********************************************************************************** Educational Opportunities Ahead at the Cattle Industry Convention The 30th annual Cattlemen’s College will precede the 2023 Cattle Industry Convention and Trade Show on February 1-3 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The educational opportunity draws more than 1,000 attendees every year and includes two days of learning, idea sharing, and networking. The college begins on Tuesday, January 31, with some of the biggest topics in the industry, including the latest in grazing and live cattle handling demonstrations. There are 18 sessions and six educational tracks to choose from on Wednesday, including reproduction technology, herd health, practical nutrition management, better beef business, sustainable grazing, and the latest in genetics. The event concludes with a keynote presentation from Ray Starling of Aimpoint Research. There’s a lot of information at the event, and it’s likely not possible to attend everything in person. To make it easier to access the content, all sessions will be recorded and available for registered attendees. Go to convention.ncba.org for information.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday October 21, 2022 |


Friday Watch List Markets Traders continue to keep an eye on the latest weather forecasts, developments along the Mississippi River and outside market news, especially concerning Ukraine. USDA's Cattle on Feed report for Oct. 1 is due out at 2 p.m. CDT Friday and is expected to show 11.45 million head on feed, down nearly 1% from a year ago. Weather A pattern change is underway with a storm system set to drop down into the western states later today and through the weekend, bringing scattered showers to the Pacific Northwest. East of the Rockies it is quickly getting warmer than where we were just a couple of days ago. It is also very dry and increasing winds will lead to higher risks of fires in areas of drought, which are widespread in the country.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday October 20, 2022 |


USDA, USAID Announce Global Food Security Research Strategy Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and USAID Administrator Samantha Power Wednesday released the U.S. government's Global Food Security Research Strategy. The strategy underscores the U.S. government's commitment to ending hunger and malnutrition and building medium to long-term sustainable, resilient food systems, according to USDA. The new research strategy emphasizes priority objectives and the use of data to help strengthen the impact of U.S. food security assistance and, with America's leadership, generate sustainable solutions for addressing the root causes of hunger and malnutrition, which are both inextricably linked to entrenched, extreme poverty. The research strategy will underpin the United States Government Global Food Security Strategy. Secretary Vilsack says, "Investment in, and support for, agricultural research and development is imperative so that the world's farmers have access to innovations that enhance productivity and efficiency." The strategy focuses on climate-smart agricultural innovations, improved nutrition through high-quality, affordable diets, and genetic improvement of resilient crops and livestock. *********************************************************************************** Lawmakers Urge FTC to Investigate Kroger-Albertsons Merger Senate Democrats urge the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the proposed merger between Kroger and Albertsons. The two are concerned about the transaction's potential implications for consumers. The group of lawmakers includes Minnesota's Amy Klobuchar, Connecticut's Richard Blumenthal and New Jersey's Cory Booker. In a letter to the FTC, the lawmakers say, "The grocery industry is essential to daily life, and Americans need the benefits that robust competition brings, namely lower prices, higher quality, and innovation." The lawmakers say the merger comes as food prices are elevated, and "too many American families are struggling to put food on the table." When Albertson’s merged with Safeway in 2015, the FTC found that the merger was likely to harm competition in 130 separate markets and required the company to sell more than 150 stores. Additionally, Klobuchar announced the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust, and Consumer Rights, will hold a hearing in November to examine the proposed transaction. *********************************************************************************** Grassley, Ernst Urge EPA to Set Robust RFS Blending Volumes Iowa Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst Wednesday urged the Environmental Protection Agency to establish expanded renewable volume obligations in the upcoming "set" rule under the Renewable Fuel Standard. The Iowa Republicans Join South Dakota Republican John Thune and Illinois Democrat Dick Durbin to encourage the agency to increase blending obligations for all renewable fuel types. In a letter to the EPA, the lawmakers say, "Through this rulemaking, EPA has a historic opportunity to not only reinforce its efforts to restore integrity to the RFS, but chart a new course for biofuels that will help meet America's diverse energy demands." Additionally, the lawmakers urge EPA to take other actions to maximize uses for biofuels, including updating lifecycle analysis for biofuel emissions and approving additional fuel registrations under the RFS. Other Senators from Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio and Wisconsin also signed the letter to the EPA. *********************************************************************************** Florida Ag Losses Estimated at $1.5 Billion The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agriculture Sciences this week released a preliminary assessment of the agricultural production losses associated with Hurricane Ian. The report, which considered crops, livestock, and animal products, estimates a potential loss of up to $1.56 billion for Florida producers. The Economic Impact Analysis Program conducts assessments after any event that disrupts Florida's agriculture industry, with assessments for Hurricane Ian initiated on September 29, 2022, through a survey to producers. Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried says, "The impact on Florida's affected commodities cannot be understated, especially the heartbreaking damage to Florida citrus, an industry already facing significant challenges." The preliminary assessment may not account for damage in inaccessible areas or flood areas that cannot be evaluated until fields have dried out. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumers Services is expected to release its own findings later this week. *********************************************************************************** Third-Party Use High for Employer H-2A Applications U.S. farmers who want to hire temporary foreign workers through the H-2A visa program usually work with a third party, according to USDA's Economic Research Service. The new data announced this week indicated third parties, such as agents, associations or a lawyer, to make the applications. Employers themselves filed applications for only 15 percent of all jobs requested. Across the U.S., agents filed applications for 45 percent of all H-2A jobs, an association of farm enterprises filed for 21 percent of jobs, and 19 percent came from a lawyer representing the farmer. However, the usage rates for third parties differ across states. For instance, lawyers tend to file for most of the jobs in California, while agents and associations account for almost two-thirds of the job filings in Florida. The H-2A program allows farm operators who foresee a shortage of domestic workers to bring nonimmigrant foreign workers to the U.S. temporarily to perform agricultural labor or services. *********************************************************************************** Student Leaders Prepare for the 95th National FFA Convention FFA members and supporters from across the country will celebrate agriculture and agricultural education next week during the 95h National FFA Convention & Expo in Indianapolis. More than 60,000 FFA members from the U.S., Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands are expected to participate in the event. Those attending will participate in general convention sessions hosted at Lucas Oil Stadium, be inspired by their peers as they are recognized for their accomplishments, and hear from keynote speakers. Convention attendees will also explore various career paths at the National FFA Expo, located in the Indiana Convention Center, participate in career success tours, and more. There are several entertainment opportunities, including a Wednesday night concert featuring Lauren Alaina and Jimmie Allen and a Thursday night concert with Mickey Guyton and Russell Dickerson, and rodeos on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights. General convention sessions will be aired live on RFD-TV and The Cowboy Channel. FFA members and supporters can tune in and watch gavel-to-gavel coverage of the event.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday October 20, 2022 |


Thursday Watch List Markets USDA's weekly export sales report is due out at 7:30 a.m. CDT Thursday, the same time as weekly U.S. jobless claims and an update of the U.S. Drought Monitor. A report on U.S. existing home sales in September and the Conference Board's index of U.S. leading indicators are due out at 9 a.m., followed by the Energy Department's weekly natural gas storage report at 9:30 a.m. Traders will keep an eye on weather and outside market news. Weather Ahead of a change in the upper-level pattern, temperatures are rising east of the Rockies from the cold conditions we have seen the last few days there. It will continue to be fairly dry outside of Michigan where some lake-effect showers will shut off later Thursday. The dryness will promote harvest and fieldwork, but increasing winds could be concerning for fires, especially in the Plains.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday October 19, 2022 |


Inflation Reduction Act Payments to Distressed Farmers Reaches $800 Million Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Tuesday announced distressed farmers with qualifying USDA farm loans have already received nearly $800 million in assistance from the Inflation Reduction Act. The $3.1 billion in assistance for distressed farm loan borrowers stems from section 220006 of the Inflation Reduction Act. The legislation directed USDA to expedite assistance to distressed borrowers of direct or guaranteed loans administered by USDA's Farm Service Agency, whose operations face financial risk. Secretary Vilsack says the funding "helps keep our farmers farming and provides a fresh start for producers in challenging positions." The announcement kicks off a process to assist distressed farm loan borrowers using several complementary approaches, with the goal of keeping them farming, removing obstacles, and improving how USDA approaches borrowing and servicing. Work has already started to bring some relief to distressed farmers. As of today, more than 13,000 borrowers have already benefited from the resources provided under the Inflation Reduction Act, according to USDA. *********************************************************************************** Avian Flu Poultry Deaths Near U.S. Record Avian influenza losses are nearing a record in the United States this year, as the virus has infected more wild birds that transmit the disease. A new report from Reuters shows more than 47 million birds have died from infections and culling. The outbreak sparked export bans and lowered egg and turkey production, leading to tight supplies and higher prices as the Thanksgiving Day shopping period nears. The 47 million deaths are near the deadliest U.S. outbreak in 2015, where 50.5 million birds died or were culled. Rosemary Sifford, chief veterinary officer for the Department of Agriculture, says, "Unfortunately, what we've done probably hasn't been enough to protect us from this high load of virus in the wild bird population." Officials are finding the virus in a wide range of wild birds, and it seems to live longer in the birds. Since February, USDA reports the outbreak has infected flocks in 42 states. *********************************************************************************** Online Grocery Baskets Shrinking Online grocery buyers are spending more but buying less, according to a new report this week. The Grocery Doppio Performance Report shows digital sales improved in the third quarter of 2022, albeit lower than 2021 levels. The report shows 13.7 percent of all grocery sales in 2022 are digital, worth $87 billion. There was a 14.4 percent increase in digital sales in the third quarter of 2022 compared to the second quarter of the year. However, inflation is impacting what buyers are purchasing. The report shows shoppers' basket size declined by 5-6 items in the third quarter. Shoppers are faced with a 21 percent increase in price per item in 2022, and 73 percent of shoppers have moved to lower-priced brands in response to the increased prices. Meanwhile, grocery retailers face $2 billion in lost sales due to canceled online orders this year, and a $7.5 billion loss for items not in stock. *********************************************************************************** Online SNAP, P-EBT Totaled $9.7 Billion During Pandemic Online nutrition assistance recipients redeemed $9.4 billion in benefits during the first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic. USDA’s Economic Research reported Tuesday the redemptions came from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, along with the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer benefits, or P-EBT. The programs allowed users to buy groceries online from authorized retailers. The pilot launched with several retailers in 2019 and early 2020 before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The pilot opened to additional states and retailers in response to the pandemic. The number of participating retailers expanded significantly in the first two years of the pandemic. By December 2020, USDA authorized 13 retailers, growing to 116 in December 2021 and to 148 in March 2022. In 2020, SNAP and P-EBT recipients redeemed $1.5 billion in benefits online. In 2021, this amount more than quadrupled to $6.2 billion. Online redemptions in the first quarter of 2022 totaled $1.9 billion. *********************************************************************************** Florida Lawmakers Seek USDA Disaster Declaration A group of bipartisan lawmakers from Florida wants the Department of Agriculture to declare a disaster area for Florida counties impacted by Hurricane Ian. The lawmakers made the request last week in a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. The letter also asked Vilsack to make assistance available to growers whose crops were damaged or destroyed. The letter states, "to ensure that they can recover from losses and continue their important service of feeding America, the expeditious approval of a disaster declaration is warranted and necessary in order to have a successful winter and spring harvest season." The lawmakers say Florida's growers have a unique role in the American food economy, as one of the only locations in the United States where major agricultural production can occur in the winter and spring months. Also last week, USDA's Economic Research Service reported Florida accounted for 1.7 percent of U.S. farm sector cash receipts in 2021. *********************************************************************************** Purdue, USDA, Release Online Freeze-date Tool A new interactive online tool for visualizing and exploring freeze-date trends and other climate patterns is available, thanks to Purdue University and the Department of Agriculture. Purdue’s Midwestern Regional Climate Center partnered with USDA’s Midwest climate hub to create the digital tool, which covers 25 states in the upper Midwest, the Northeast and Appalachia. The tool may interest producers of tree fruits, grapes and row crops such as corn and soybeans to help them take advantage of longer growing seasons. Agricultural advisors, weather forecasters, university Extension staffers and state climatologists also have expressed interest in the tool. While many think of a freeze at 32 degrees, farmers are interested in values that are colder or warmer. Corn and soybeans, for example, can survive 28 degrees, while fruit trees are more sensitive to freezing or near-freezing temperatures. And the freeze-date tool allows users to query their desired temperatures. You can find the Freeze Date tool on the Purdue website.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday October 19, 2022 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets A report on U.S. housing starts for September is due out at 7:30 a.m. CDT Wednesday, followed by the Energy Department's weekly inventory report at 9:30 a.m. CDT, including ethanol production. Traders will continue to watch the latest weather forecasts and any news that develops, especially regarding Russia's grain deal with Ukraine. The Federal Reserve's Beige Book will be out at 1 p.m., offering its latest assessment of the U.S. economy. Weather Widespread near-record cold conditions east of the Rockies have led to sub-freezing temperatures close to the Gulf of Mexico Wednesday morning. In the cold air, lake-effect rain and snow showers continue over eastern areas of the Lakes, annoying those with fieldwork to do. Otherwise, the drier conditions elsewhere are favorable. While still cold on Thursday, temperatures will be gradually rising for the rest of the week and weekend, starting in the Plains this afternoon.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday October 18, 2022 |


USDA Opens 2023 Dairy Margin Coverage Program Enrollment Dairy producers can now enroll for 2023 coverage through the Dairy Margin Coverage Program. The program helps dairy farmers manage changes in milk and feed prices. Enrollment for the program began Monday and runs through December 7. Last year, USDA’s Farm Service Agency took steps to improve coverage, especially for small- and mid-sized dairies, including offering a new Supplemental DMC program and updating its feed cost formula to better address retroactive, current and future feed costs. DMC is a voluntary risk management program that protects dairy producers when the difference between the all-milk price and the average feed price—the margin—falls below a certain dollar amount selected by the producer. National Milk Producers Federation President and CEO Jim Mulhern encouraged dairy producers to consider the maximum coverage under the program. Mulhern says, "The current combination of high prices with costs that can be even higher illustrates the basic value of DMC for producers who can benefit from the program." *********************************************************************************** Federal Milk Marketing Order Forum Successfully Brings Sector Together The American Farm Bureau Federation is celebrating a successful Federal Milk Marketing Order Forum held over the weekend in Kansas City, Missouri. The National Milk Producers Federation, dairy cooperatives, processors, state dairy associations and dairy farmers joined AFBF for the event. The three-day event provided a platform for farmers’ voices to be heard while also answering the call from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to bring the dairy producer community together to discuss FMMO modernization. Discussions at the forum focused on Class price formulas and de-pooling, among other topics. The American Farm Bureau Federation and the National Milk Producers Federation agreed on a joint statement regarding the need for FMMO improvements. A number of dairy organizations attending the event also supported the joint AFBF-NMPF statement. The AFBF-NMPF statement reads: “With the last major update to the FMMO system occurring in 2000, we believe it is time to consider improvements that better reflect today’s milk markets.” *********************************************************************************** 16,000 Farmers, Ag Organizations, Submit Comments on EPA Atrazine Proposal More than 16,000 farmers and agricultural organizations recently united against EPA's proposed revision to its 2020 atrazine registration review decision. The farmers and agricultural organizations representing corn, citrus, grain sorghum, sugar cane, and other crops, submitted comments calling for the agency to base decisions on credible scientific evidence. Efforts to help farmers speak out against the proposal were coordinated by the Triazine Network, a diverse coalition of state and national agricultural groups that rely on atrazine and other triazine herbicides to control weeds. The atrazine comment period ended on October 7. In their comments, growers expressed frustration with the EPA's lack of transparency and its repeated efforts to implement measures that would end effective use of atrazine for weed control. In addition to the ultra-low 3.4 ppb level, EPA doubled and tripled down by creating an over-predictive model that predicted 72 percent of U.S. corn acres would be in violation. *********************************************************************************** Growth Energy: Access to E15 Would Save Drivers more than $20 Billion A new study from Growth Energy found nationwide access to E15 could save drivers billions in annual fuel costs, create new jobs, and return billions to the U.S. economy. The study, conducted by ABF Economics, follows months of record-high gas prices across the country and President Joe Biden's emergency waiver to allow the sale of E15 for the 2022 summer driving season. The study says a nationwide transition to E15 would also put an additional $36.3 billion in income into the pockets of American households, support an additional 188,000 jobs, and generate $66.3 billion for the U.S. Gross Domestic Product. Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor responds, “Today's study shows that expanded, year-round access of this higher biofuel blend can provide a much-needed boost to the farm economy and even greater savings to American families." E15 is currently sold at over 2,700 stations across 31 states, and drivers have chosen the biofuel blend to fuel 35 billion miles total. *********************************************************************************** U.S. Durum Production Increasing, Food Use Remains Stable U.S. durum wheat production is expected to increase in the 2022/23 marketing year after last year’s drought reduced production to its lowest in 60 years. USDA’s Economic Research Service reported Monday production in 2022/23 is forecast at 64 million bushels, up 70 percent from the previous marketing year, but below the average of the previous five years. Durum wheat is the primary class of wheat used to produce pasta. Food use of durum was elevated in marketing years 2019/20 and 2020/21, fueled by surging consumer demand during the COVID-19 pandemic, when shoppers stocked up on pasta while in quarantine. While the surge in demand has since subsided, consumer prices for wheat-based products, including pasta, are up substantially in 2022. This year's larger durum crop, along with larger Canadian production, has eased some supply pressure. However, high commodity prices in general and elevated input, labor, and energy costs have each contributed to higher prices for the manufactured products of wheat, including pasta. *********************************************************************************** Weekly Gas Prices Reverse, Diesel Higher The nation's average gas price declined for the first time in four weeks, falling 5.4 cents from a week ago to $3.86 per gallon. The national average is up 20.6 cents from a month ago and 56.6 cents per gallon higher than a year ago. The national average diesel price increased 18.7 cents in the last week and stands at $5.26 per gallon. GasBuddy's Patrick De Haan says, “We’ve seen an abrupt, yet expected decline as refinery issues have eased in the West and Great Lakes, overpowering some increases elsewhere.” In addition, oil prices have cooled off slightly after OPEC+’s decision to cut production, and that should slow increases elsewhere. Diesel and heating oil prices will likely continue to rise as extremely low inventories of middle of the barrel products like these two push prices higher. According to data from the Energy Information Administration, oil supplies last week surged nearly 10 million barrels.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday October 18, 2022 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets The Federal Reserve's report of U.S. industrial production in September is the only significant report for Tuesday, due out at 8:15 a.m. CDT. Traders will keep close attention on the latest weather forecasts, news from Ukraine and at 1 p.m., some will take a look at USDA's monthly Livestock, Dairy and Poultry outlook. Weather Cold air that has drifted southward is resulting in widespread frosts and freezes Tuesday morning for much of the country east of the Rockies. This is record cold for some areas. The cold air is pretty dry outside of the Great Lakes where lake-effect showers continue as a mix of rain and snow, which will be an annoyance for those still looking to complete some fieldwork and harvest.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday October 17, 2022 |


USDA Releases Proposed Regulatory Framework on Reducing Salmonella The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service released a proposed regulatory framework for a new strategy to control Salmonella contamination and reduce illnesses from poultry products. The agency will host a virtual public meeting on November 3 to get input from stakeholders on the framework. The proposed framework has three components: requiring that incoming flocks be tested for Salmonella before entering an establishment; enhancing establishment process control monitoring and FSIS verification; last is implementing an enforceable final product standard. “We know that Salmonella in poultry is a complex problem with no single solution,” says USDA Deputy Undersecretary Sandra Eskin. “We have identified a series of strategic actions FSIS could take that are likely to drive down Salmonella infections linked to poultry product consumption, and we are pressing those in this proposed framework.” For more information on the virtual meeting, go to the Meetings and Events page on the FSIS website. *********************************************************************************** NCC Says New FSIS Salmonella Framework Lacks Data, Research The USDA announced its new regulatory framework in an effort it says would help reduce Salmonella illnesses associated with poultry products. “We support the need to develop science-based approaches that will impact public health, but this is being done backward,” says Dr. Ashley Peterson, National Chicken Council senior vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs. “The agency is formulating regulatory policies and drawing conclusions before gathering data, much less analyzing it, which is called speculation.” The NCC says the facts show that the Centers for Disease Control and FSIS’s own data demonstrate progress and clear reductions in Salmonella in U.S. chicken products. “Increased consumer education about proper handling and cooking of raw meat must be part of any framework going forward,” Peterson says. “Proper handling and cooking of poultry is the last step, not the first, that will help eliminate any risk of foodborne illness. We’ll do our part to promote safety.” *********************************************************************************** Land O’ Lakes Launches “Farmers are Incredible” Campaign Land O’ Lakes is celebrating National Farmers Day by raising consumer awareness of the critical role that farmers play in society by launching the “State of the American Farmer” survey. The survey revealed some of the misconceptions that Americans have about the state of farming. On average, Americans believe that less than half of all farms are family-owned and operated and that just 43 percent of what they buy comes from family farms. Despite some misconceptions, most Americans are interested in the source of their food. Nearly all of the survey respondents say it’s at least somewhat important that their groceries be sourced sustainably. To show support for farmers, Land O’ Lakes launched “Farmers are Incredible,” a multiplatform creative campaign rooted in celebrating National Farmers Day. The goal is to emphasize the year-round importance of farmers and the agriculture industry. The campaign features the co-op’s farmer members and their work. *********************************************************************************** Corn Belt Farmland Price Sets New Record A recent farmland sale in Iowa set a new record for the Corn Belt. In Plymouth County, Iowa, farmland was sold for $26,250 per acre. Ag Web Dot Com says Brock Auction Company brokered the sale, which included 55 acres of high-quality farmland. That put the total bill at $1.44 million. The bidding began at $17,000 per acre, and three bidders each topped $25,000 per acre, with a local farmer getting the winning bid. This sale now holds a record high for farmland prices. It’s bigger than the last number one sale price from August, when a farm in Sioux County, Iowa, sold for $26,000 per acre. A Plymouth County, Iowa farm recently sold for $25,000 per acre. Numbers in Iowa appear to be up across the board. The Iowa Chapter of the Realtors Land Institute says the value of high-quality cropland is $14,472 per acre, up almost 17 percent from September 2021. *********************************************************************************** Farm Bureau Announces Farm Bill Priorities The American Farm Bureau released its top priorities for the 2023 Farm Bill, easily the most consequential legislation for agriculture next year. The overarching priorities include continuing the current farm bill program funding levels and maintaining a unified farm bill that includes nutrition programs and farm programs together. Farm Bureau also favors prioritizing risk management tools that include federal crop insurance and commodity programs and ensuring adequate USDA staffing and resources to provide technical assistance. “Since the farm bill was enacted in 2018, farmers have faced significant challenges from market volatility, increased input costs, and devastating natural disasters,” says AFB President Zippy Duvall. “We need long-term stability.” Their priorities include more than 60 recommendations over multiple farm bill titles. Other recommendations include reference price increases for commodities, more transparency for milk checks, funding for conservation programs, rural development, and streamlining of nutrition programs to get food to those who need it most. *********************************************************************************** Ethanol Output Jumps to Highest Level in a Month The Energy Information Administration says U.S. ethanol production jumped to its highest level in almost a month during the week ending on October 7. Ethanol output rose to an average of 932,000 barrels per day, the largest production level since the week ending on September 9 and up from the 889,000 produced during the prior week. The Midwest is the biggest ethanol-producing area in the country, and output surged to an average of 881,000 barrels a day, the highest level in a month and up from 840,000 a week earlier. East Coast production jumped to 10,000 barrels a day, up from 3,000 barrels the week before. Rocky Mountain output was unchanged, while production dropped on the Gulf Coast by 7,000 barrels a day and 1,000 on the West Coast. Ethanol inventories rose to 21.86 million barrels in the seven days ending on October 7, up from 21.68 million barrels a week earlier.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday October 17, 2022 |


Monday Watch List Markets Back from the weekend, traders will stay on top of the latest weather forecasts and news developments, especially from Ukraine after Russia's President Putin suggested Friday missile attacks were no longer needed. USDA's weekly report of export inspections has become on way of tracking problems on the Mississippi River and is due out at 10 a.m. CDT, followed by Crop Progress at 3 p.m. Also, the National Oilseeds Processors Association will release its estimate of members' soybean crush late Monday morning. Weather A strong cold front pushed south through the country over the weekend. It will continue its journey into the Gulf of Mexico Monday, bringing scattered showers to parts of Texas. But the bigger story is the very cold air filling in behind the front. Widespread frosts and freezes will occur over the next few nights, getting down to Oklahoma, northern Mississippi and Alabama tonight. The cold pushes closer to the Gulf of Mexico for later this week. Cold air moving over the Great Lakes is causing a mix of lake-effect rain and snows that continues the next couple of days, annoying those with fieldwork to do.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday October 14, 2022 |


Consumer Price Index Summary The Consumer Price Index rose 0.4 percent in September on a seasonally adjusted basis, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Thursday. The food index increased 0.8 percent in September, the same increase as August. The food at home index rose 0.7 percent in September as all six major grocery store food group indexes increased. The index for fruits and vegetables rose 1.6 percent, while the index for cereals and bakery products rose 0.9 percent. The index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs rose 0.4 percent, while the index for nonalcoholic beverages increased 0.6 percent in September. The dairy index rose 0.3 percent in September, the same increase as the previous month. The food away from home index rose 0.9 percent in September, as it did in August. The food at home index rose 13.0 percent over the last 12 months, and the index for food away from home rose 8.5 percent over the last year. *********************************************************************************** MacKenzie Scott Gift to 4-H to Strengthen Workforce The National 4-H Council Thursday shared details of the $50 million unrestricted gift from writer and philanthropist MacKenzie Scott, announced in February. The gift will help close the opportunity gap for America's youth. Over the next five years, National 4-H Council will allocate $10 million to strengthen the 4-H workforce and optimize 4-H youth programming. The investment will accelerate 4-H's ability to meet the needs of young people today and tomorrow while providing the professional development and training required to deliver quality, relevant and impactful programming. The Board will preserve the remainder of the gift for the long term to ensure that National 4-H Council can sustain programs and activities that have the greatest benefits for 4-H youth development in the future and to ensure the gift's enduring impact. The National 4-H Council Board made its investment decisions based on an inclusive process undertaken over six months with extensive input from Cooperative Extension and land-grant university leaders. *********************************************************************************** USDA Seeks Comment on Program Assisting Producers Who Have Experienced Discrimination The Department of Agriculture seeks public comment on how it should implement Section 22007 of the Inflation Reduction Act. The provision aims to assist the nation’s farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners who experienced discrimination in USDA’s farm lending programs. Section 22007 provides a transformative opportunity for USDA to help farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners impacted by discrimination in USDA farm lending programs. IRA Section 22007 directs USDA to provide financial assistance to producers who have experienced discrimination in USDA’s farm lending programs and has appropriated $2.2 billion for this purpose. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says, “These actions further build on USDA’s commitment to use all the tools it has available to help farmers.” The request for information in the Federal Register asks several questions on how USDA should design and administer the program. The 30-day comment period opens Friday, October 14, and closes on November 14, 2022. USDA values your input and welcomes all comments. *********************************************************************************** Grains Council Holds Export Exchange in Minneapolis More than 200 international buyers and end-users of coarse grains and co-products from more than 50 countries are gathering in Minneapolis for Export Exchange 2022 to end the week. The event is co-sponsored by the U.S. Grains Council, Growth Energy and the Renewable Fuels Association. Export Exchange offers attendees an unparalleled opportunity to meet and build relationships with domestic suppliers of corn, distiller's dried grains with solubles, sorghum, barley and other commodities. U.S. Grains Council president and CEO Ryan LeGrand says, “It is essential for us to strengthen the bonds between suppliers and partner countries, and the connections made this week will not only help propel our industry this year, but for years to come.” The global buyers were grouped into 20 trade teams that have either been in the U.S. ahead of Export Exchange or will continue their visits after the event to explore American agriculture practices and tour facilities. *********************************************************************************** Florida Accounted for 1.7 Percent of U.S. Farm Sector Cash Receipts in 2021 New data from the Department of Agriculture shows Florida accounted for 1.7 percent of U.S. farm sector cash receipts in 2021. USDA's Economic Research Service estimates the previous year's farm sector cash receipts—the cash income received from agricultural commodity sales. The data includes state-level estimates, which offer background information about states subject to unexpected events that affect the agricultural sector, such as Hurricane Ian. In 2021, commodities produced in Florida contributed about $7.5 billion, or 1.7 percent, of the $434 billion in total U.S. cash receipts. Floriculture, the cultivation of flowers, accounted for the largest share of Florida's cash receipts, valued at $1.1 billion. The next largest commodities in Florida in terms of cash receipts were oranges, at $670 million, sugarcane at $553 million, cattle and calves at $546 million, and milk $470 million. Florida led the nation in cash receipts for sugarcane, cabbage, cucumbers, watermelon, sweet corn, and snap beans. *********************************************************************************** Taziki's Doubles Down with American Lamb Taziki's Mediterranean Café and the American Lamb Board teamed up this summer to promote a new Mediterranean Lamb Burger, made with two patties of 100% American Lamb. The promotion ran from June through September. Dan Simpson, CEO of Taziki’s, says, “Our guests loved the Mediterranean flair added to comfort food and sales surpassed our expectations.” Headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama, Taziki’s Mediterranean Café has 90 locations spanning across 16 states nationally, with most locations in the Southeast. Because of its popularity, about 50 percent of the Taziki’s locations continued to offer the lamb burger for an additional month beyond the promotion period. A similar promotion was featured last year with great results, which led to a repeat feature in 2022. American Lamb Board chairman Peter Camino says, “We thank Taziki’s for their commitment to using American Lamb in their lamb burgers. Serving local lamb supports the nation's shepherds and their families.”

| Rural Advocate News | Friday October 14, 2022 |


Friday Watch List Markets USDA's weekly export sales report is set for 7:30 a.m. CDT Friday and expectations remain low, while barge traffic is restricted along the Mississippi River. A report on U.S. retail sales for September is also out at 7:30 a.m., followed by the University of Michigan's early consumer sentiment index for October at 9 a.m. Traders will continue to keep an eye on the latest weather forecasts and outside market news, especially anything pertaining to Ukraine and the grain deal with Russia. Weather A storm system continues to spin around Ontario, Canada on Friday. In the cold air wrapping around the system, some isolated showers continue in the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes, including a few snowflakes. Breezy winds also continue across a good chunk of the country as well. In drier areas, there is an increased fire risk.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday October 13, 2022 |


Combine Sales Grow, Tractor Sales Drop in September Combine harvester sales rose during September in both the U.S. and Canada, while total tractor sales fell in both countries. Data from the Association of Equipment Manufacturers says total U.S. ag equipment unit sales stayed above the five-year average for the second month since April. Total farm tractor sales fell 12.8 percent in September compared to last year, while U.S. self-propelled combine sales for the month rose 6.6 percent, slowing gains made in August. The 100-plus horsepower two-wheel-drive tractor segment was once again the only positive segment in the U.S., up 9.6 percent from August. In Canada, growth was led by combine harvesters, up 105 percent. Overall unit sales for tractors were down one percent. “The ag equipment market, as with most markets for manufactured goods, is turbulent,” says Curt Blades, senior vice president of industry sectors and product leadership with AEM. “Supply chain difficulties continue to weigh on manufacturers’ deliveries.” *********************************************************************************** Soy Checkoff Supports Research to Expand Export Infrastructure The United Soybean Board announced it is investing $400,000 to help provide efficient access and bolster international trade markets for U.S. soybean meal. The money will be used for the research, analysis, and design costs of the Port of Grays Harbor’s Terminal Four Expansion and Redevelopment Project. The terminal in Aberdeen, Washington, plays an important role in international exports. “The Port of Grays Harbor is critical in expanding high-value soybean meal exports,” says Tony Johanson, USB director and Soy Transportation Coalition board member. “Our farmers remain committed to enhancing and maintaining U.S. infrastructure to help sustain our competitive advantage over global competitors.” Scheduled to be operational in 2025, the upgrades will allow the terminal to increase soybean meal exports from three to six million metric tons. To accommodate the growth, the Port of Grays Harbor will expand the rail infrastructure, allowing the terminal to handle the volume and mitigate traffic congestion. *********************************************************************************** USDA Investing $110 Million to Improve Rural Healthcare USDA Rural Development Undersecretary Xochitl (zo-CHEEL) Torres Small announced that the agency is awarding $110 million in grants to improve healthcare facilities in rural towns across America. These grants will help 208 rural healthcare organizations expand critical services for five million people in 43 states and Guam. “Access to modern and sustainable healthcare infrastructure is critical to the health, well-being, and prosperity for the millions of people who live in rural and tribal communities,” she says. “That’s why we are committed to making sure that the people who need it most, no matter where they live, have access to high-quality and reliable health services like urgent care, primary care, and dental care.” Torres Small also says through the Emergency Rural Health Care Grants, USDA is being a ”strong partner” to people across 43 states and Guam. The investments will help build, renovate, and equip rural hospitals and clinics. *********************************************************************************** October WASDE Report Shows Lower Corn, Soybean Production USDA’s October World Ag Supply and Demand Estimates and Crop Production Reports call for lower U.S. corn and soybean production. The corn outlook is for reduced supplies, greater feed and residual use, lower exports and corn used for ethanol, and smaller ending stocks. Corn production is forecast at 13.8 billion bushels, down 49 million on a reduction in yield to 171.9 bushels per acre. Corn supplies are forecast at 15.32 billion bushels, with the season-average corn price up five cents to $6.80. U.S. oilseed production is forecasted at 126.9 million tons, down 1.6 million from September. Soybean production is forecast at 4.3 billion bushels, down 65 million on lower yields now projected at 49.8 bushels. Supplies dropped by 31 million bushels, with the season-average soybean price down 35 cents to $14.00. The wheat outlook is for lower supplies, domestic use, exports, and stocks. The season-average farm price rose 20 cents to $9.20. *********************************************************************************** NCBA Says Google Feature Misrepresents Beef The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association denounced Google’s decision to bias consumers against beef through their new sustainability search feature. NCBA says that feature provides inaccurate climate information about cattle production. “Google is using its billions of dollars of resources to target cattle producers and ignore the science that demonstrates beef’s sustainability and value to the environment,” says NCBA President Don Schiefelbein (SHEEF-ell-byne). “Cattle producers have a record of continuous improvement, which has led to the U.S. recording the lowest global greenhouse gas emissions from beef while contributing to the world’s food security.” NCBA also says cattle production protects green space, upcycles grass and forages, and provides consumers with a lean source of protein packed with essential nutrients. “Google should seriously reconsider this feature,” Schiefelbein adds. NCBA points out that livestock play an important role in protecting open spaces and accounts for only a very small portion of greenhouse gas emissions. *********************************************************************************** Railroad Union Votes Down Labor Contract, Strike Looming The Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters rejected a tentative labor contract brokered between rail carriers and workers’ union reps. The third-largest rail workers union in the country was the first union to say no to a deal brokered in part by the Biden administration. The union voted the deal down 6,646 to 5,100. President Tony Cardwell told Politico that workers “resent the fact that management holds no regard for their quality of life, illustrated by their stubborn reluctance to provide a higher quantity of paid time off, especially for sickness.” Negotiations will restart, resetting the countdown on a potential strike. The union says it will delay any strike until five days after Congress reconvenes. Four other unions approved the tentative agreement. However, every one of the 12 unions representing employees must ratify their contracts to prevent a strike. Voting will be finished by mid-November.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday October 13, 2022 |


Thursday Watch List Markets Thursday morning's reports will start at 7:30 a.m. CDT with attention on the Labor Department's consumer price index for September, following a producer price report that came in higher than expected Wednesday. U.S. weekly jobless claims and an update of the U.S. Drought Monitor will also be out at the same time. The Energy Department's natural gas storage report will be out at 9:30 a.m., followed by the weekly energy inventory report at 10:00 a.m. The Treasury's budget report for September is due out at 2 p.m. USDA's weekly export sales report is set for Friday morning, due to this week's federal holiday. Weather A cold front continues to press eastward through the country on Thursday with scattered showers. Cold air continues to funnel in behind the front across most of the country east of the Rockies. Breezy winds continue Thursday, especially in the Plains, which increases the fire risk.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday October 12, 2022 |


Ag Groups Argue Against Prop 12 in Supreme Court Agriculture groups argued against California's Proposition 12 to the Supreme Court Tuesday. The American Farm Bureau Federation and National Pork Producers Council challenged the ability of one state to set agricultural production standards for the entire country. California's Proposition 12 law bans the sale of pork from hogs that don't meet the state's arbitrary production standards, even if the hogs were raised outside of California. AFBF President Zippy Duvall says, "Proposition 12's misguided approach will ultimately cost every family through higher food prices." The National Cattlemen's Beef Association also supports AFBF and NPPC. NCBA Vice President of Government Affairs Ethan Lane says, "While this case is not focused on cattle producers, the precedent set by the court will determine all producers' ability to engage in interstate commerce." Earlier this year, NCBA filed an amicus brief before the court arguing that California's mandates on livestock production methods violated the dormant commerce clause of the Constitution. *********************************************************************************** Biden Administration Invests $80 Million to Improve Nutrition in School Meals The Biden Administration Tuesday provided $50 million in grants for schools to invest in new food service equipment that will allow them to continue serving nutritious meals. The funding adds to the $30 million equipment grants the administration gave schools earlier this year. The announcement comes during National School Lunch Week, as designated by President Joe Biden. The added support for school meals and child nutrition builds on the momentum from last month's White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health, where the administration unveiled a national strategy to end hunger and reduce diet-related disease by 2030. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says, "Ensuring access to nutritious school meals is one of the best investments we can make in our fight to end child hunger and improve health." USDA provides grant funds to states, which use a competitive application process to award them to school districts participating in the National School Lunch Program. *********************************************************************************** Global Food Insecurity Increased Nearly 10 Percent in 2022 New research from USDA’s Economic Research Service announced Tuesday shows global food insecurity increased by nearly ten percent in fiscal year 2022. USDA’s International Food Security Assessment model estimates how food prices and incomes affect food demand and access in 77 low- and middle-income countries. Food security is then evaluated by estimating the population unable to access sufficient calories to sustain a healthy, active lifestyle. Of the people in countries included in the 2022 assessment, almost 119 million more people are estimated to be food insecure compared to 2021. The upward trend in international prices for wheat, coarse grains, and vegetable oils during the 2021/22 marketing year has been further exacerbated by Russia's military invasion of Ukraine, which reduced exports of the commodities from the Black Sea region. Domestic prices of major grains in 2022 are projected to rise in 70 of the 77 countries included in the assessment, with the North Africa region being the most affected. *********************************************************************************** RIPE Urges Equitable Payments Above Costs for Conservation in Farm Bill Platform Rural Investment to Protect our Environment, or RIPE, announced its 2023 Farm Bill platform Tuesday. Shaped by farmers and ranchers across the country who lead RIPE, the platform urges organizations to include a resolution, based on RIPE100 principles, in their farm bill platform. The resolution states, “A portion of new funds appropriated by Congress for climate-smart agriculture should be invested in a new conservation program offering a simple enrollment process that enables producers — including early adopters — to earn equitable payments above implementation costs, economic losses during transition to new practices and future climate policy costs.” The recommendation comes as Congress considers how to best encourage climate-smart agriculture through the farm bill, including how to allocate $18 billion in new funds from the Inflation Reduction Act. RIPE is a producer-led organization advancing RIPE100 — a conservation program that would pay producers $100 per acre or animal unit for stewardship, offering equitable payments above costs associated with practice implementation. *********************************************************************************** University Of Illinois to Develop Corn for Diverse Organic Systems Decades of corn breeding efforts emphasizing yield have contributed to modern hybrids with shallower and less complex root systems than their predecessors. Because the breeding and selection of most modern hybrids has taken place in environments with high nutrient concentrations, optimal weed control, and soil moisture conditions, hybrids perform best under high input systems. With help from a new four-year, $1.5 million grant from USDA's National Institute for Food and Agriculture, a team of researchers at the University of Illinois plans to study overlooked attributes of corn roots. The new grant investigates maize roots for organic/regenerative systems and explores ways to manipulate the agroecosystem to optimize carbon storage, resource use efficiency, and productivity. The researchers will work with farmers to learn how they use information about crop and soil conditions to balance management goals. In addition to optimizing yield, the team will work to develop corn roots that respond to changing soil conditions that are driven by management, like rotation length and diversity. *********************************************************************************** USDA Invests $14M to Strengthen Hispanic-serving Higher Education Programs In recognition of National Hispanic Heritage Month, the Department of Agriculture Tuesday announced an investment of $14 million to Hispanic-serving higher education institutions. The funding supports Hispanic student learning experiences in the agricultural and human science sectors. The investment will help attract, retain and graduate outstanding students from underrepresented communities. USDA Deputy Secretary Jewel Bronaugh says Hispanic-serving higher education institutions “are our trusted partners in preparing the next generation of agriculture leaders that more fully represent the many diverse populations and voices in America.” The funding is part of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture's Hispanic-serving Institutions Education Grants Program. The grant program aligns the education institutes' efforts to support the academic development and career attainment of underrepresented groups. As part of the program, USDA awarded funding to New Mexico State University – Las Cruces, Northern Arizona University – Flagstaff, and University of Puerto Rico – Carolina, among other Hispanic-serving higher education institutions.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday October 12, 2022 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets Outside markets will be interested in the Labor Department's 7:30 a.m. CDT report on U.S. producer prices Wednesday, followed by minutes from the latest Federal Reserve meeting at 1 p.m. Grain traders are anticipating USDA's next WASDE and Crop Production reports, both due out at 11 a.m. CDT with updates on row crop harvest estimates and USDA's views on several other hot topics. Weather also remains a prime area of interest with rain needed in many areas. Weather A strong cold front is moving through the middle of the country early Wednesday and producing a broken line of showers from northern Oklahoma into Wisconsin. Additional showers are forming ahead of the front from Alabama up to the Great Lakes. The front will continue to sweep southeast throughout the day with light to moderate rainfall. Some thunderstorms could be stronger in the Delta region Wednesday afternoon. A secondary front moving just behind this first one by about 12 to 18 hours is making for more isolated showers across the Western Corn Belt. Breezy conditions behind this front continue to create an increased fire risk, but it will generally be breezy most places today.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday October 11, 2022 |


National School Lunch Week: USDA Serves 224 Billion Since 1971 President Joe Biden recently declared this week as National School Lunch Week. The annual declaration highlights how school meals remain a vital lifeline, supplying well-balanced, free or low-cost meals to kids across the country since the program began in 1946. USDA’s Economic Research Service also released a report analyzing data on school lunch meals served. USDA found that between 1971 and 2021, the National School Lunch Program served about 224 billion meals. Of these meals, 126.4 billion were served for free or at a reduced price. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020 interrupted the operations of many schools through fiscal years 2020 and 2021. As a result, about 3.2 billion lunches were served through the program in 2020 and 2.2 billion in 2021, fewer than the 4.9 billion in 2019. The drop reflects the use of a USDA pandemic waiver allowing schools to serve meals through the Summer Food Service Program and the creation of the temporary Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer program. *********************************************************************************** Report: Plant-Based Products Appeal Wearing Off Plant-based food is a hot market, but plant-based meat alternative is not, according to a recent study by Deloitte Insights. The researchers say there are many contributing factors, including supply chain problems and a tough comparison point from an impressive prior year. However, data from Deloitte's Future of Fresh survey suggests three consumer-driven reasons for the current stagnation. The addressable market may be more limited than many thought. Dramatically improved taste in recent years unlocked new interest, but the portion of the population open to trying and repeat buying it may already have reached a saturation point. With inflation, fewer people are willing to pay a price premium. Willingness to pay a premium for plant-based alternative meat dropped nine percentage points from last year. Finally, some assumed benefits are being questioned by consumers. Even buyers of plant-based alternative meat are changing their views on some of its attributes. The biggest change is in health perceptions. *********************************************************************************** Mosaic Company Announces Hurricane Ian's Impact on its Fertilizer Producer The Mosaic Company recently announced that North American Phosphates was negatively impacted by damage caused by Hurricane Ian. Significant flooding and high winds were experienced throughout central Florida during the storm, and this caused modest damage to Mosaic Company facilities and supporting infrastructure. Early assessments indicate phosphate production could be down by approximately 200,000-250,000 metric tons, split roughly evenly between the third and fourth quarters of 2022. Repairs are expected to be completed over the next couple of weeks. In addition to production impacts, the timing of shipments was also affected by the storm. Phosphates sales volumes in the third quarter are now expected to total 1.60-1.65 million metric tons, as port and rail closures delayed late third quarter shipments to October. Mosaic plans to provide further updates when it reports third quarter results. The Mosaic company produces fertilizers in West Central Florida, where Hurricane Ian made landfall late last month. *********************************************************************************** NCC Announces 2023 Beltwide Cotton Conferences The National Cotton Council recently announced the 2023 Beltwide Cotton Conferences, set for January 10-12 at the New Orleans Marriott in New Orleans. The event offers attendees timely updates on the latest research, technology and issues affecting U.S. cotton production and processing. The BWCC, coordinated by the National Cotton Council, annually brings together the U.S. cotton industry to exchange information about cotton production. The BWCC's Consultants Conference will run the afternoon of January 10 and extend through the morning of January 11. The 12 cotton technical conferences will meet concurrently beginning on the morning of January 11 and conclude by noon on January 12. The Cotton Sustainability Conference will plan to focus on the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol. The Cotton Engineering-Systems Conference is planning presentations on data analytics, robotics, remote sensing and unmanned aerial vehicles, among others. Those planning to attend are encouraged to register via the BWCC home page at www.cotton.org. *********************************************************************************** Walmart Foundation Teams Up with National FFA Foundation The Walmart Foundation Monday announced a $750,000 grant to the National FFA Foundation to incorporate sustainability principles in school education. The National FFA Foundation will leverage the expertise of the National FFA Organization to develop these educational resources. The National FFA Organization is working to ensure they meet the demand by educating the next generation of leaders. This generation will lead by example, act responsibly and create solutions to feed, clothe and fuel the world. National FFA Organization Chief Program Officer Christine White says, “The funding made available allows us to create new sustainability-focused education resources and programming that integrates current sustainable practices across multiple disciplines.” The focus of these resources will be to leverage the social influences of students by creating an inclusive program so all students enrolled in agricultural education can see how sustainability is meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs. *********************************************************************************** National Average Fuel Prices Edge Higher Again The nation’s average gas price climbed for the third straight week, rising 13.8 cents from a week ago to $3.92 per gallon. The national average is up 22.5 cents from a month ago and 67.0 cents per gallon higher than a year ago. The national average price of diesel increased 18.0 cents in the last week to $5.04 per gallon. OPEC+ decided to cut oil production by two million barrels a day recently, causing an oil price surge of 20 percent, largely the reason for the increase in fuel prices. However, some refinery issues that increased prices appear to be improving in the West and Great Lakes. GasBuddy’s Patrick De Haan says, “prices in those two regions are likely to inch down, even with OPEC’s decision, as the drop in wholesale prices has offset the rise due to the production cut.” According to GasBuddy, U.S. retail gasoline demand fell last week by 0.3 percent.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday October 11, 2022 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets With Columbus Day behind, Tuesday may feel like a Monday as we will have USDA's weekly report of export inspections at 10 a.m. CDT and Crop Progress update at 3 p.m. Traders will continue to keep an eye on the latest weather forecasts and outside market news, especially from Ukraine. Trading in grains may turn slow as the day wears on, ahead of Wednesday's WASDE and Crop Production reports. Weather Scattered showers are moving northeast from Texas into Missouri and Illinois Tuesday morning as an upper-level disturbance moves out ahead of a cold front that is sweeping into the Northern Plains. That front will move through most of the northwestern Corn Belt from Nebraska through Minnesota by tonight. The front will produce scattered showers and some thunderstorms, some of which may be severe from southeast Nebraska up into Wisconsin Tuesday evening and night. Breezy winds will occur both ahead of and behind the front, which increases the fire danger risk for those trying to harvest. The front is the first of two that will sweep through the country over the next couple of days.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday October 10, 2022 |


August Pork Exports Higher While Beef Again Tops $1 Billion U.S. pork exports in August topped year-ago totals for the first time in 2022. USDA data compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation shows beef exports were slightly above the large volumes of last August and once again surpassed $1 billion in value. “We talk about the importance of developing a wide range of markets for U.S. red meat, and the August numbers are a great example of that,” says USMEF President and CEO Dan Halstrom. “Exports face significant headwinds in some key destinations. However, the emphasis on broad-based growth pays dividends and allows the overall export picture to remain positive.” Pork exports reached 226,300 metric tons, the largest total since November 2021, while the value rose four percent to $659 million. Beef exports topped 133,800 metric tons, up one percent from last year and the second-largest volume on record, with the export value at just under $1.04 billion. *********************************************************************************** Dairy Industry Groups Hold Press Conference on Labor Shortage Groups like the American Business Immigration Coalition Action, the National Milk Producers Federation, the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, and many others involved in U.S. dairy held a press conference on labor shortages. The press conference took place during the World Dairy Expo to help call attention to the urgency of fixing the national farm labor shortage by passing new agriculture workforce solutions in the Senate. Brody Stapel, president of the Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative Board, says dairy is a unique industry with different challenges than any other sector of agriculture. “Our cows must be milked twice a day, every day, and our raw product is extremely perishable,” he says. “That makes a steady workforce that much more important.” Walt Moore, president of the American Dairy Coalition, applauded the House of Representatives for passing the Farm Workforce Modernization Act and said it’s urgent that Senators from across the country do the same. *********************************************************************************** Drought Conditions Cover 321 Million Acres of Crops Drought intensified in many of the nation’s top corn-growing states during the past week. Nationally, 321.6 million acres of crops are experiencing some level of drought, while more than 31 million beef cattle across the country are living with drought. The latest drought monitor map shows a pocket of D2 severe drought emerging in Illinois with poor crop conditions and low hay yield in that region. While drought conditions in Texas have improved recently, pockets of D4 exceptional drought are still present in one percent of the state. D3 extreme drought covers 12 percent of Texas. Drought also intensified in Minnesota, which saw its first area of D3 extreme drought since last December. Wisconsin’s D2 severe drought in the northwest corner spread out to cover four percent of the state. A small part of Iowa is experiencing D4 exceptional drought, while five percent of the Hawkeye State is experiencing D3 extreme drought. *********************************************************************************** World Food Prices Drop in September The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization says the Food Price Index averaged 136.3 points in September, 1.1 percent below August and the sixth-straight monthly decline. The decline was driven by a sharp fall in the international prices of vegetable oils and moderate decreases in those of sugar, meat, and dairy products. Together, that more than offset a rebound in the cereal price index, which averaged 147.8 points in September, a 1.5 percent rise from August. The Vegetable Oil Price Index averaged 152.6 points in September, down more than six percent from August month-on-month and the lowest level since February 2021. The Dairy Price Index averaged 142.5 points, down a half-percent from August and the third-consecutive monthly decline. However, that was still almost eight percent higher than the same time last year. The Sugar Price Index was 109.7 points, down 0.7 percent and its lowest level since July 2021. *********************************************************************************** Barge Operator Can’t Make Deliveries Due to Dry Mississippi River The largest barge operator in the U.S. told its customers last week that it won’t be able to make good on deliveries due to the shrinking Mississippi River. Bloomberg says Ingram Barge Company declared a force majeure in a letter to customers because of the “near-historic” low water along the Mississippi River. The river is the top way to get American grains exported to the world market. Drought has dropped the water level far enough that ships are beginning to run aground. The U.S. Coast Guard is responding to stuck vessels in at least two places, including Stack Island between Louisiana and Mississippi and upriver near Memphis. American Commercial Barge Line, another shipping company that uses the river to transport goods, says the drought is causing the most severe impact on navigation since 1988. The logjam comes at the worst time as grain harvest is in progress, and supplies will pile up. *********************************************************************************** NCGA: Collaboration Will Propel Climate Advancements Field to Market recently released a report titled Climate Action in U.S. Agriculture that showcases increasing climate commitments from its diverse membership sectors. The report essentially creates a clearinghouse of self-set sustainability and climate targets to give companies and organizations a one-stop shop to benchmark goals, drive performance, and promote accountability. Some of the key findings in the report include 73 percent of the members having public commitments on climate action, up from 68 percent in 2021. Of the 29 corporate members, 22 percent have set science-based targets for reducing emissions. Two of the five goals set by the National Corn Growers Association directly address climate concerns and are documented in the report. The goals are to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 13 percent and increase energy efficiency by 13 percent. NCGA Sustainability Director Rachel Orf says the group is working to assist their growers in reaching those goals by 2030.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday October 10, 2022 |


Monday Watch List Markets Back from the weekend, federal offices and banks are closed Monday for Columbus Day. U.S. grain and livestock futures markets are open along with most other markets. USDA's weekly export inspections and crop progress reports will take place at their usual times, but on Tuesday instead of Monday. Traders will still pay attention to the latest weather forecasts and any pertinent news from the outside world, include weekend fighting in Ukraine. Weather Most of the country will be dry Monday, but scattered showers in West Texas will migrate northeast through Oklahoma later today and then into Missouri overnight. Showers will be welcome where they are received for those doing winter grains planting. Elsewhere in the country, conditions continue to favor the ongoing harvest.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday October 7, 2022 |


Biofuel Group Intervening in Legal Attack on RFS The Renewable Fuels Association recently filed a motion to intervene on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency in a lawsuit over the Renewable Fuel Standard. The Center for Biological Diversity filed a lawsuit against the agency seeking a court review of EPA’s Renewable Volume Obligations under the RFS for compliance years 2020 through 2022. The RFA is intervening on behalf of the agency to help stress the importance of a strong Renewable Fuel Standard. The biofuel group’s goal is to “protect EPA’s substantial interest in the integrity of the RFS and investments RFA’s members have made in renewable fuels to support the program,” the motion states. “After years of mismanagement and setbacks by previous administrations, the Biden administration’s EPA is moving in the right direction on the RFS,” says RFA president and CEO Geoff Cooper. “We’re looking to intervene in the case so EPA can continue putting the RFS back on track.” *********************************************************************************** WTO: Contraction in Global Trade Growth During 2023 The World Trade Organization is predicting a slowdown in global trade growth next year. Reuters says the pullback is because of sharply-higher energy and food prices and rising interest rates that will limit import demand. The WTO also says global trade could contract further if the war in Ukraine worsens. For 2023, the organization sees trade growth at just one percent compared to a previous forecast of 3.4 percent growth. The WTO director-general says there’s a lot of unpredictability in its forecast, noting that the picture for 2023 is “considerably darker” and the risks for next year’s forecast were more toward the downside. Weather events hitting food-producing regions or damaging energy export infrastructure could further slow trade growth in 2023. The WTO is also warning countries against being tempted to put trade restrictions in place. The group says trade restrictions would only deepen inflationary pressures and reduce living standards. *********************************************************************************** Labor Department Tightens Some H-2A Rules The U.S. Department of Labor issued new rules for hiring H-2A workers that tighten housing and food standards. Industry Update Dot Com also says the new rules clarify that farm associations can be held liable for violations by individual farmers. The new rules canceled a series of broader changes proposed by the Trump administration, some of which were implemented in January 2020. The new rules will take effect on November 14, and the Labor Department says the rules will “strengthen worker protections, modernize and simplify the application process for H-2A and temporary labor certification, and ease the regulatory burden on employers.” The department emphasized in the rule that it doesn’t have legal authority to allow H-2A workers to work year-round in the country. H-2A workers are still limited to seasonal work only. The House-passed Agriculture Workforce Modernization Bill that stalled in the Senate would have allowed a limited number of year-round H-2A visas. *********************************************************************************** Minnesota Farmer is New NCGA President The National Corn Growers Association says Tom Haag (Hayg) of Eden Valley, Minnesota, is the organization’s next president. During an introductory news conference, Haag said the year is already shaping up to be a big one for America’s corn farmers. “There’s the next farm bill, the Next Generation Fuels Act, and that’s barely scratching the surface,” he says. “I’m focused on going all-in for corn farmers, but I can’t do it alone.” He also says it will take corn farmers working together to ensure their voice is heard in Washington, D.C., and to work on increasing demand for their product. “It’s hard to know in advance what other issues could come our way, but I am ready to tackle them together,” Haag says. Haag is a fourth-generation family farmer in south-central Minnesota and a former president of the Minnesota Corn Growers. He and his son Nathan raise 1,700 acres of corn and soybeans. *********************************************************************************** U.S. Cattlemen’s Association Applauds SEC Protection Bill More than 100 members of the U.S. House of Representatives introduced legislation that would shield agricultural producers from a climate disclosure rule proposed by the Securities and Exchange Commission. U.S. Cattlemen’s Association President Brooke Miller says, “U.S. farmers and ranchers absolutely need this exemption from the SEC’s climate disclosure proposal. Our producer-members already face nearly insurmountable proposed and ongoing regulatory burdens from an array of federal agencies.” Miller also says producers’ main job should be putting American beef on American plates, not managing the complex clerical duties of SEC compliance rules. The “Protect America’s Farmers from the SEC Act” prohibits the SEC from requiring an issuer of securities to disclose greenhouse gas emissions from upstream and downstream activities in the issuer’s value chain arising from a farm. The SEC’s proposed rule says registrants would be required to disclose information about their direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions and climate-related risks. *********************************************************************************** Beef Industry Scholarship Applications Open The National Cattlemen’s Foundation is accepting applications for the 2023-2024 CME Group Beef Industry Scholarship. Ten scholarships of $1,500 each will be awarded to outstanding students pursuing beef industry careers. “We are pleased to continue our decades-long collaboration with the National Cattlemen’s Foundation and NCBA to support and inspire the next generation of food producers through this scholarship program,” says Tim Andriesen, CME Group managing director of agricultural products. Eligible applicants must be graduating high school seniors or full-time undergraduate students enrolled at a two- or four-year institution. The application process includes writing a one-page letter expressing career goals related to the beef industry, a 750-word essay describing an issue in the beef industry and offering solutions to this problem, or two letters of recommendation. The applicant or a family member must be a member of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. The deadline is November 11. For information, go to nationalcattlemensfoundation.org.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday October 7, 2022 |


Friday Watch List Markets At 7:30 a.m. CDT, the U.S. Labor Department will report on nonfarm payrolls and the unemployment rate, both for September. Federal Reserve officials will add their own public comments after the reports and at 2 p.m., there is a report on August consumer credit. Traders will continue to watch the latest weather forecasts, especially for any rain chances that would help fill the Mississippi River or ease drought in the western Plains. Weather A strong cold front has been pushing through the Corn Belt over the past day and very cold air is filling in behind it. Temperatures in the Northern Plains have dropped down into the 20s and lower 30s for most areas, producing killing frosts this morning. The colder air will spread through the Corn Belt Friday with more frosts and freezes expected through the weekend. Showers are limited to Nebraska behind the front and across west Texas into Oklahoma, where they are welcome for winter wheat establishment. Other areas will remain dry and offer good harvest conditions despite the cold.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday October 6, 2022 |


Thune Introduces Bill to Improve Livestock Disaster Assistance Senators John Thune and Ben Ray Luján recently introduced the Livestock Disaster Assistance Improvement Act. The bipartisan legislation by the South Dakota Republican and New Mexico Democrat would improve the effectiveness and timeliness of multiple Department of Agriculture programs that assist farmers and ranchers in the aftermath of adverse weather events. The legislation would also provide USDA with direction to help improve the accuracy of the U.S. Drought Monitor, which triggers certain disaster programs. Thune says, “These common-sense updates to disaster programs would help provide greater and expedited assistance to farmers and ranchers when they need it the most.” The legislation would update the Emergency Conservation Program and Emergency Forest Restoration Program to clarify that state and federal grazing permit holders are eligible for these programs. The bill also allows the Farm Service Agency to waive the 30-day public comment period for Bureau of Land Management National Environmental Policy Act applications during a drought emergency, among other changes. *********************************************************************************** Senate Ag leadership Urges USDA to Expand Margin Protection Tools Leadership of the Senate Agriculture Committee recently urged the Department of Agriculture to expand margin protection tools under the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation. Citing record high input costs and extreme volatility in commodity prices, Senators Debbie Stabenow and John Boozman say the expansion would “allow producers the opportunity to familiarize themselves with these tools and better manage production cost risk by next fall.” Farmers are heading into the second consecutive planting season with elevated fertilizer and diesel prices while crop prices are getting more volatile. The letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack urges margin protection, already in place for dairy, cattle and swine, and certain crops, should be thoughtfully expanded in a timely manner. As the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation considers expanding existing tools or developing new ones, the lawmakers say, "We urge the department to immediately prioritize additional and extensive risk management education for both producers and agents" on the policies currently available. *********************************************************************************** USDA Announces Farm and Food Workers Relief Program Organizations The Department of Agriculture this week announced 15 organizations to receive funding through the Farm and Food Workers Relief Grant Program. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says, "The grant recipients today will help us provide relief payments to workers across the country who kept food moving to our families during an especially challenging time." The program, administered by USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service, uses funding to provide relief to farmworkers and meatpacking workers who incurred pandemic-related health and safety costs. Funding is also set aside for three pilot programs to support grocery workers in recognition of their essential role in the pandemic response. These organizations are now preparing systems and will begin implementing outreach so that eligible farmworkers, meatpacking workers, and grocery workers may apply to these grant recipients to receive $600 payments soon. USDA anticipates that beneficiaries will be able to apply for funds from some of these recipients as soon as late November. *********************************************************************************** Iowa Ag Secretary: Atrazine Restrictions Will Negatively Impact Conservation Efforts Iowa Agriculture Secretary Mike Naig this week submitted comments to the Environmental Protection Agency regarding the proposed restrictions on atrazine. One of the most widely used herbicides in corn production, the proposed revisions by EPA would severely limit the use of atrazine. Secretary Naig tells the EPA that further restricting the use of atrazine will negatively impact pest resistance management and conservation efforts. In his comments, Naig says, "The EPA proposed picklist approach to managing atrazine is complicated, costly, and not feasible for Iowa farmers, landowners, and pesticide applicators." Further, he urges the EPA to listen to feedback from farmers and "adopt atrazine use requirements that are based on the best available science." In October 2020, EPA received a petition alleging that the Agency violated its duties under The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act by issuing the atrazine reregistration without substantial evidence supporting the decision. The comment period on the proposal ends Friday. *********************************************************************************** Report: Global Farm Productivity Declining Global agricultural productivity growth is in steep decline, and current efforts to expand sustainable agriculture production to feed a growing global population are inadequate to deal with the challenges that the world faces. That's according to the 2022 Global Agricultural Productivity Report, produced by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Virginia Tech. To sustainably produce food and agricultural products for more than nine billion people in 2050, agricultural productivity must increase an average of 1.73 percent annually. From 2011-2020, global agricultural productivity grew at an average of just 1.12 percent per year, a significant drop from the average growth rate of 1.99 percent from 2001-2010. Current efforts to accelerate productivity growth are inadequate, the climate will have a significant impact on production, and regional inequities around the world exacerbate the problem, the report says. Researcher Tom Thompson says, "We urgently need to reverse this trend so that we can improve food and nutrition security, sustainability, and resilience." *********************************************************************************** USDA Partnership Seeks Increase in Native American Homeownership The Department of Agriculture is providing $4 million in loans to expand the Native American Relending Pilot program. Two Native Community Development Financial Institutions will use the loan funds to expand homeownership opportunities for Native Americans living on tribal lands in South and North Dakota. Rural Development Undersecretary Xochitl (So-CHEEL) Torres Small says, “We are proud to partner with expert organizations that help us continue to drive economic security and prosperity for rural people.” USDA is providing the funding under the Single Family Housing Direct Loan program. Through this program, USDA provides loans to Native Community Development Financial Institutions, which relend the funds to eligible homebuyers to purchase homes on Native lands. USDA has helped nearly four million rural residents purchase homes since the passage of the Housing Act of 1949. Homeownership rates on Native American lands have historically been lower than those for other communities.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday October 6, 2022 |


Thursday Watch List Markets USDA's weekly export sales report is due out at 7:30 a.m. CDT Thursday, the same time as the weekly U.S. jobless claims and update of the U.S. Drought Monitor. At 9:30 a.m., the Energy Department has its weekly report of natural gas in storage. More Federal Reserve officials are set to speak and traders will continue to watch the latest weather forecasts. Weather A strong cold front moving through the Northern and Central Plains and Midwest on Thursday is causing temperatures to quickly fall behind it. Scattered frosts are occurring in the Red River Valley of the North Thursday morning, but will be much more widespread and colder Thursday night. Scattered showers are continuing over west Texas, which is a good sign for winter wheat establishment the next few days, but overall conditions continue to be good for harvest.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday October 5, 2022 |


Interest Rates Help Drive Farmer Sentiment Lower The Purdue University/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer’s farmer sentiment index dropped five points to 112 in September. The drop in farmer sentiment was primarily the result of producers’ weakened perception of current conditions. The Current Conditions Index dropped nine points to 109, and the Index of Future Expectations dropped three points to 113. Concerns about input costs and, in some cases, availability are key factors behind the relative weakness in this month’s farmer sentiment. A growing number of producers expressed concern about the impact of rising interest rates on their operations. High input costs were cited as the number one concern by 44 percent of the survey respondents, while 23 percent chose rising interest rates. Another 14 percent of respondents chose input availability as their biggest worry. The Farm Capital Investment Index also dropped as producers continue to indicate now is not a good time to make large investments in their farms. *********************************************************************************** U.S. Dairy Consumption is Rising Again The USDA’s annual report on per-capita dairy consumption saw an emphatic rise in domestic dairy demand. The level of demand rose from 655 pounds per person in 2020 to 667 pounds per person last year. That’s a total not seen since 1960, when it was 659 pounds, and is approaching 1959’s consumer total of 672 pounds. The last time America consumed this much dairy as they do today, Elvis was in the Army. While USDA data says fluid milk consumption has continued a slow decline, cheese continues to rise. American-style cheese consumption reached another record last year. Butter consumption is returning to levels unseen for several decades. Even as dairy consumption shifts, the overall trajectory is positive. The gain in 2021 is the seventh in the past eight years. The National Milk Producers Federation says despite more competition from non-dairy competitors, consumers continue to find dairy useful, preferable, and important. *********************************************************************************** Mexico’s Proposed GMO Corn Ban Will Cost U.S. Producers Billions A Mexican presidential decree to ban genetically modified corn in 2024 would have severe economic consequences for the U.S. and Mexican economies. A study from World Perspectives, Inc., says the move will result in a loss of billions for America’s farmers and higher prices for Mexican consumers. The net economic loss for the U.S. corn industry in the first year of the ban will be $3.56 billion. The U.S. ethanol industry, including DDGS, will incur a net loss of $521.5 million after accounting for gains from lower GM corn prices. Overall, the U.S. economy would lose $73.89 billion in economic output. During a ten-year forecast, the GM corn ban will increase the cost of corn by an average of 19 percent. That will inflate the cost of most foods and other goods for Mexicans. Poultry meat prices will jump by 67 percent because of a 13.7 percent increase in the cost of feed. *********************************************************************************** Southern Plains Economic Conditions Weakening Extremely dry conditions are putting a strain on the Fed’s Eleventh District. Ag bankers responding to a third-quarter survey report overall weaker economic conditions because of drought that’s pressuring agricultural production. The cotton crop and pastureland are especially hurting because of a lack of moisture. “The Southern Plains cotton crop is a disaster,” one survey participant says. “Almost all dryland crop has already been abandoned because of drought, and the irrigated crop still standing is pitiful.” Ag loan demand decreased during the third quarter of this year, the third-straight drop in the past three quarters. Loan renewals or extensions fell for the seventh-straight quarter, but the rate of loan repayments increased. Loan volume decreased for all categories compared with last year. Ranchland and dryland values rose during the quarter, while irrigated cropland values were steady. Cropland, dryland, and ranchland values increased the most in Texas, rising at least 10 percent year-over-year. *********************************************************************************** Smithfield Foods Sending 150,000 Servings of Food for Hurricane Relief Smithfield Foods is sending more than 37,000 pounds of food to Fort Myers, Florida, to help with recovery from the devastation of Hurricane Ian. The protein will be delivered to Mercy Chefs, a Virginia-based non-profit that deploys to disaster zones across America. They will help serve free chef-prepared, restaurant-quality, hot meals to victims, volunteers, and first responders in Fort Myers. “Our hearts go out to everyone in the path of this catastrophic hurricane,” says Jonathan Toms, senior community affairs manager with Smithfield. “We hope this food assistance brings some relief to the people of Fort Myers as they start down the long and difficult road to recovery.” Chef Gary LeBlanc, founder and CEO of Mercy Chefs, says, “Our continued partnership with Smithfield Foods is critical to feeding those who have lost everything. We’re honored to have the opportunity to serve those facing extreme devastation in the wake of Hurricane Ian.” *********************************************************************************** NSF, BASF Open Joint Scholarship Application The National Sorghum Foundation and BASF are accepting applications for a joint scholarship for $2,500 in tuition assistance for the 2022-2023 academic year. The award will be given out in January of 2023. “The National Sorghum Foundation has a longstanding commitment to developing the leadership potential of college students with a passion for improving the sorghum industry,” says newly appointed NSF Chair Jeff Dahlberg. “BASF has worked with us on this endeavor for many years, and we are excited to provide deserving students with the financial support they need to help them succeed.” Scholarship applicants must be the child or grandchild of a National Sorghum Producers member and be pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree in an agriculturally-related curriculum. Applications should be postmarked by December 1. More information about the scholarship criteria and the application forms can be found online at SorghumGrowers.com. NSP is the organization representing U.S. sorghum producers across the country.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday October 5, 2022 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets The U.S. Commerce Department will report on the August trade deficit at 7:30 a.m. CDT Wednesday and provide USDA will more specific information about ag exports, which will be released later in the day. At 9:30 a.m., the Energy Department will release its weekly inventory data, including ethanol production. Traders will continue to monitor the latest weather forecasts, keenly aware the southwestern U.S. Plains and Lower Mississippi River desperately need rain. Weather A weak system is producing a few isolated showers as it moves through the Midwest on Wednesday. But the big story is the strong cold front that will be moving down from Canada and into the North-Central U.S. Wednesday night. Mild conditions will be felt for one more day across the country, but temperatures will plummet tonight across the Dakotas and Minnesota and continue to do so as the front pushes south through the country for the rest of the week. Some frosts will be possible far north tonight.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday October 4, 2022 |


NCBA Urges EPA to Pause WOTUS Rulemaking The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association called on the Environmental Protection Agency to pause their Waters of the United States rulemaking. The action follows Monday’s Supreme Court oral arguments in the case Sackett v. EPA, a case that will determine the EPA’s authority to regulate bodies of water under the Clean Water Act. NCBA’s Kaitlynn Glover says, "we call on the EPA to suspend their rulemaking until the outcome of the case is clear." In April, NCBA filed an amicus brief before the Supreme Court, calling for a new test for determining whether a water feature fell under the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act. NCBA's argument would allow the government to protect substantial bodies of water while preventing overreach on small isolated agricultural water features. NCBA also commented on the Biden administration's proposed "Waters of the U.S." rule. NCBA calls for this rulemaking to halt until the Supreme Court issues a ruling in the Sackett v. EPA case. *********************************************************************************** Hurricane Ian Devastates Southwest Florida Agriculture The Florida Farm Bureau says farmers and ranchers are facing widespread destruction of crops, buildings and fencing from Hurricane Ian last week. Florida Farm Bureau is working with its members to assess the damage. The organization says significant fruit has been dropped from the trees in areas of the citrus belt. Fall vegetables once rooted are now lost. Not only has there been loss of human life, but livestock and dairy farms have been devastated by the wrath of Hurricane Ian. Farmers and ranchers are repairing greenhouses, structures, irrigation systems and other machinery and equipment throughout the region. Many farm families are still cutting their way through down trees and power lines and battling flooded roads and blown-out culverts to evaluate the damage. One thing is for certain, the organization says, is that "Florida farmers and ranchers remain unwavering in their commitment to produce the food and fiber that millions of Americans depend on." *********************************************************************************** NPPC Comments on Swine Inspection Program Federal Ruling The National Pork Producers Council late last week welcomed a federal ruling upholding the Department of Agriculture’s New Swine Inspection System. A federal judge in California upheld the program, which NPPC says incentivizes investment in new technologies while ensuring a safe supply of wholesome American pork. In a statement, the organization says, “Pork producers use science-based approaches to continuously improve and modernize their practices to ensure product quality and consistency and their workforce's health and safety." However, opponents who filed the lawsuit argue the rule greatly undermines the ability of federal inspectors to protect consumers from foodborne illnesses by fully inspecting hog carcasses, and instead allows plant employees with little training to take over several steps. The lawsuit was filed by Food & Water Watch, Center for Food Safety and the Humane Farming Association. Center for Food Safety senior attorney Amy van Saun says, “we can only hope we don't see more foodborne illness” because of the ruling. *********************************************************************************** USDA: H-2A Seasonal Worker Program Expanded Over Time USDA’s Economic Research Service Monday reported data that shows the H-2A season worker program has expanded over time. U.S. agricultural employers who anticipate a shortage of U.S. domestic workers can fill seasonal farm jobs with temporary foreign workers through the H-2A visa program. The Department of Labor certified around 317,000 temporary jobs in fiscal year 2021 under the H-2A visa program, more than six times the number certified in 2005. Only about 80 percent of the certified jobs in 2021 resulted in the issuance of a visa. The program has grown partly in response to current U.S. domestic workers finding jobs outside of U.S. agriculture and a drop in newly arrived immigrants who seek U.S. farm jobs. The H-2A program continued to expand in FY 2020 despite the jump in U.S. unemployment caused by lockdowns associated with the Coronavirus pandemic. Nationally, the average H-2A contract in FY 2020 offered 24 weeks of employment and an average hourly wage of $13. *********************************************************************************** Registration Open for 2023 American Farm Bureau Convention The American Farm Bureau Federation announced the opening of general registration Monday for the 2023 American Farm Bureau Convention. The convention will be held in-person January 6-11, 2023, in San Juan, Puerto Rico. AFBF assessed the status of San Juan and the convention facilities following Hurricane Fiona and determined that all are fully operational. AFBF President Zippy Duvall says, “This is your opportunity to gain insights about the future of agriculture, sharpen your skills and help define the agenda in Washington.” Workshop topics include the 2023 farm bill, policy updates, market outlooks, trade, the latest ag education resources and strategies for coping with farm stress. An exciting aspect of the convention is the opportunity for farmers and ranchers from the 50 states to see and learn about crops and agricultural practices unique to Puerto Rico. You can view the high-level convention agenda and register online to attend at annualconvention.fb.org. *********************************************************************************** Weekly Gas Prices up, Diesel Down For the second straight week, gas prices climbed higher, with the nation’s average gas price posting a rise of 11.1 cents from a week ago to $3.78 per gallon. The national average is up 0.4 cents from a month ago and 59.8 cents higher than a year ago. However, the national average price of diesel declined 2.9 cents in the last week and stands at $4.86 per gallon. GasBuddy’s Patrick De Haan says despite the higher gas prices, “areas of the Northeast and Gulf Coast have continued to see declines as the nation experiences sharp differences in trends between regions.” Prices continued to surge on the West Coast and Great Lakes last week. De Haan is hopeful prices will fall, but does caution that OPEC could decide to cut oil production by a million barrels as the global economy slows down. Meanwhile, U.S. retail gasoline demand fell 1.8 percent last week, according to GasBuddy.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday October 4, 2022 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets There are no significant reports Tuesday, but a few Federal Reserve officials will be speaking and could get attention. Traders will continue to monitor the latest weather forecasts, any hint of export sales and any news regarding Ukraine, China or Fed policy. Weather A system moving through the Northern Plains will bring some strings of showers across the Plains Tuesday and will get into Minnesota and Iowa Tuesday night. Mild to warm conditions will be felt across most of the country, and the combination of mostly dry conditions and warmth should continue good harvest conditions for most areas. Drought areas in the Plains may see some showers, but the drought will continue.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday October 3, 2022 |


Mississippi River Shipping Rates Hit Record High Harvest season is in high gear, and U.S. farmers have another supply chain challenge. Bloomberg says there aren’t enough barges moving goods up and down the shrinking Mississippi River. Drought is drying a vital American waterway, which means a lot less room for vessels moving corn and soybeans from farms to U.S. ports. At one point last week, barge rates hit $49.88 per ton. That’s the highest price on record and a 50 percent jump from 2021 shipping rates. More than half of the corn and soybean shipments heading to world markets travel along the Mississippi. The barge problems are hitting at harvest when the supplies of grain will be at their largest. It also follows a challenging growing season filled with weather problems and soaring inflation for things like fuel and fertilizer. Fertilizers needed by producers to grow grain are also at risk as they ship along the Mississippi. *********************************************************************************** FTC Sues Companies Over Pay-To-Block Scheme The Federal Trade Commission and a group of 10 state attorneys general filed a complaint in federal court against pesticide makers Syngenta Crop Protection and Corteva. The complaint accuses the manufacturers of allegedly paying distributors to block competitors from selling their cheaper generic products to farmers. The complaint says the firms run “loyalty programs” in which distributors only get paid if they limit business with competing manufacturers. Cutting off the competition allowed the defendants to inflate their prices and force American farmers to spend millions of dollars more on their products. The complaint seeks to shut down the illegal pay-to-block scheme and restore competition to affected markets. “The FTC is suing to stop Syngenta and Corteva from maintaining their monopolies through harmful tactics that have jacked up pesticide prices for farmers,” says FTC Chair Lina Khan. “By paying to block generic producers from the market, these companies deprived farmers of cheaper options.” *********************************************************************************** Logan Confirmed to Farm Credit Administration Board Senate Ag Chair Debbie Stabenow and Ranking Member John Boozman announced that the Senate confirmed Vincent Logan to the Farm Credit Administration Board. “His background in both the agriculture and financial sectors makes him well-qualified for this role,” Stabenow says. “He will be the first Native American to serve as a board member.” Ranking Member Boozman says he’s happy to see Logan’s confirmation. “His experience and expertise will help guide a mission that’s critical to the success of our family farmers, ranchers, and agriculture businesses. I look forward to working with him to provide dependable credit sources.” Farm Credit Council President and CEO Todd Van Hoose says they congratulate Mr. Logan on his confirmation and look forward to working with him. “He’s well-qualified to serve on the FCA Board, and we appreciate the Senate Agriculture Committee and the full Senate’s swift action to fill the board seat,” Van Hoose says. *********************************************************************************** NMPF on Short-Term Infant Formula Imports The National Milk Producers Federation says the temporary, short-term lifting of restrictions on infant formula imports to address the rare infant formula shortage is a positive move to fill the supply gap. “We did not oppose the just-passed Bulk Infant Formula to Retail Shelves Act given its targeted volume and limited time frame,” says NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern. “Those guardrails are necessary to ensure that imports temporarily complement U.S. supplies rather than displace existing available dairy formula ingredients.” However, Mulhern says his group “emphatically” opposes efforts that would create long-term dependence on foreign suppliers for a critical nutritional food. “The focus must be to develop additional production in the U.S. necessary to ensure that this crisis isn’t repeated,” Mulhern adds. “As COVID taught us, only a robust domestic supply chain with American workers and U.S. sources of production can best protect families from disruptions of critically-needed products.” *********************************************************************************** Korean Grain Importers will View Corn Crop in Four States A team of feed grain and DDGS buyers from Korea will be in the U.S. in early October to take a close look at the corn crop. The team, which includes a Korean government official, will get to better understand grain quality control and export systems in Washington, Nebraska, Iowa, and Illinois. The team is the first of 21 groups with participants from 51 countries that will travel to the U.S. as a lead-up to the U.S. Grains Council’s biggest event, the Export Exchange. Export Exchange is a biennial educational and trade forum for U.S. feed grains and will host more than 400 international buyers and end-users. “The Council is delighted to hold the Export Exchange again for the first time since 2018,” says USGC President and CEO Ryan LeGrand. “It’s a great opportunity for foreign buyers to create connections with U.S. producers.” Export Exchange is in Minneapolis, Minnesota, October 12-14. *********************************************************************************** FSA to Consider Eliminating District Committees Farm Service Agency Administrator Zach Ducheneaux told lawmakers late last week that he’ll give serious consideration to the recommendation to replace the FSA’s district committee system. Industry Update Dot Com says the USDA’s Equities Commission recently made the recommendation. However, Ducheneaux says the district committee system is an opportunity for producers to be an important part of the process, but it’s also important for those committees to be representatives of those who produce. The administrator says the district committees evaluate regional prices and determine producers’ rights, but they don’t have the right to influence the loan approval process. “We’ve been involved at every opportunity with members of the Equity Commission,” he says. “But we have to understand that we’re working to overcome the decades and generations when it was members of the county commissions that considered the loan applications.” Former FSA officials also say the county committees are important to the FSA’s mission.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday October 3, 2022 |


Monday Market Watch Markets Back from the weekend, traders have a long list of concerns to check on, including the latest weather forecasts, events in Ukraine, Mississippi River levels, energy supplies in Europe and economic concerns in the U.S. The Institute of Supply Management's index of U.S. manufacturing for September is due out at 9 a.m. CDT, followed by USDA's weekly report of export inspections. USDA's Crop Progress report is due out at 3 p.m. Weather A system that has been stuck in the northern Rockies since late last week continues to produce some isolated shower across the Northern Plains and central High Plains on Monday. Only limited areas will see anything more than light rain. The rest of the country is mild and dry, favorable for the continued harvest. Drought continues to affect winter wheat areas, however, with limited soil moisture in the Pacific Northwest, southwestern Plains, and northern Delta into the Midwest.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday September 30, 2022 |


Biodiesel to Turbo Charge American Biofuel Growth A new report from CoBank says the recent investment surge in U.S. renewable diesel production capacity is likely to ignite a period of growth and transition for the biofuels industry. “The outlook for biofuels is good as the U.S. and other developed countries embrace renewable liquid transportation fuels as a solution to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” says Ken Zuckerberg, lead grain and farm supply economist for CoBank. “Renewable diesel offers the most intriguing opportunity in the biofuels space because the growth potential is extraordinary.” Several industry stakeholders are planning to build new soybean crush and refineries during the next two years, which would increase U.S. renewable diesel production capacity to 6.5 billion gallons by 2030. Soybean oil is the most common feedstock for producing renewable diesel. CoBank says U.S. soybean acreage would need to grow by 17.9 million acres to fill the supply gap created by the additional crush and refinery projects. *********************************************************************************** USDA Expands PACE Coverage USDA says it has expanded its Post-Application Coverage Endorsement (PACE) insurance option for corn farmers who “split-apply” nitrogen on their crops. The coverage now includes most counties in Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, where non-irrigate corn is insurable. USDA rolled out PACE earlier this year to support stewardship of fertilizer and will continue to offer it in select counties of Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio, and the Dakotas. “PACE provides an additional risk management tool for corn growers,” says NCGA President Chris Edgington. PACE provides coverage for the projected yield lost when producers are unable to apply the post-nitrogen application due to field conditions created by the weather during the V3 through V10 stages. “We’re always working to offer risk management options and opportunities in the best interest of producers and their operations, and that also support and encourage environmental and climate-smart practices,” says Risk Management Agency Administrator Marcia Bunger. *********************************************************************************** Smithfield to Pay $75 Million to Settle Price-Fixing Suit Smithfield Foods agreed to pay $75 million to settle a price-fixing lawsuit. Reuters says consumers accused the meat producer and several competitors of conspiring to inflate prices in the U.S. pork market by limiting supply. Smithfield spokesman Jim Monroe says the company denied liability in settling, and that the accord reduces the distraction, risk, and cost of protracted litigation. “The agreement also limits a substantial portion of Smithfield’s remaining liability in the nationwide case,” he says. In other litigation, Smithfield previously reached settlements worth $83 million with direct purchasers and $42 million with commercial purchasers, including restaurants. Some of the other defendants include Hormel Foods, Tyson Foods, and data provider Agri Stats, Inc. Smithfield agreed to provide cooperation that the plaintiffs’ lawyers say will strengthen their cases against the remaining defendants. Smithfield is based in Virginia and owned by Hong Kong-listed WH Group, which calls itself the world’s largest pork company. *********************************************************************************** Ag Groups React to White House Conference on Hunger Several U.S. ag groups and stakeholders took part in the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health. Jim Mulhern president and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation, thanked the White House for inviting him to the conference. “We know from decades of working in this area that dairy products and the nutrients they provide will be vital to reaching the conference goals,” he says. Colin Woodall, CEO of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, also attending the conference. “We will continue to highlight beef’s role as an excellent source of protein for all ages, especially those Americans lacking iron and other essential beef nutrients,” Woodall says. National Farmers Union President Rob Larew says they’re standing together to end hunger in the United States. “Access to safe and nutritious food is a basic human right, so we’re advocating for strong federal nutrition programs that emphasize fresh and locally-produced food,” Larew says. *********************************************************************************** NCGA Selects Eight for Research Ambassador Program The National Corn Growers Association announced it has picked eight new research ambassadors for the 2022-2023 academic year. They are all secondary students from some of the nation’s top universities, including the University of Minnesota, Purdue University, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and others. It’s the second year of the program which NCGA is building momentum. The program was developed and funded by the NCGA Sustainable Ag Research Action team. The objective is to build a network of future leaders in the ag sector. Ambassadors must show academic excellence, leadership potential, and be involved in research relevant to corn production. “We’re continuing to build bridges between the research lab and the farm field,” says Sustainable Ag Research Action Team Chair Jason Lewis. Ambassadors receive a financial reward of $2,500, as well as up to $750 for registration and travel reimbursement to participate in research conferences, and fully-funded travel to NCGA events. *********************************************************************************** Beef Campaign Takes Fine Dining to New Places Colorado Angus rancher Ty Walter recently rock climbed a 100-foot high ledge to enjoy fine dining with a celebrity. In a cliff-side setting, Walter joined actor, comedian, and host Joel McHale to talk about cattle production and what makes Certified Angus Beef® brand products consistently superior, all while enjoying a four-course meal at an elevation of 8,500 feet. After a two-mile hike, the pair rock climbed up the ledge to help promote the Certified Angus Beef brand. There, Walter and McHale enjoyed the four-course meal prepared by CAB Executive Chef Ashley Brennemen. “Every meal doesn’t have to be this extreme, but we wanted to showcase Certified Angus Beef products in a way that would inspire people to create their own flavor adventure,” Brenneman says. Walter adds that, “The thing I was most nervous about was dropping my fork.” The adventure is available on the Certified Angus Beef Brand Test Kitchen YouTube Channel.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday September 30, 2022 |


Friday Watch List Markets Reports on U.S. personal incomes and consumer spending for August are due out at 7:30 a.m. CDT Friday, followed by the University of Michigan's index of U.S. consumer sentiment at 9 a.m. More Federal Reserve officials speak again Friday. At 11 a.m., USDA will release its quarterly Grain Stocks report and Small Grains 2022 Summary. Traders will also keep an eye on outside markets and follow the latest weather forecasts. Weather Ian, which strengthened back up to hurricane strength Thursday night, will move onshore over South Carolina Friday afternoon. Heavy rain from the system is already pouring into the Carolinas. Far eastern Georgia and Virginia will see rain from the system as well. A weaker disturbance has parked itself over the northern Rockies and is spreading isolated showers through the Northern Plains, and has also made for a few showers out into Minnesota and a few sprinkles cannot be ruled out for portions of the Central Plains as well. Otherwise, harvest conditions are quite good with rising temperatures for most agricultural areas.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday September 29, 2022 |


Stabenow Addresses White House Hunger Conference Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow addressed the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health Wednesday. The Michigan Democrat was part of a panel with U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra, House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro and New York City Mayor Eric Adams. Stabenow says, "As long as we have hunger and food insecurity in America, we have work to do, and as Chairwoman, I'm confident that the strong anti-hunger and nutrition framework we've built can help to tackle it." In conjunction with the White House Conference, Stabenow released a fact sheet detailing the Committee's recent work on anti-hunger and nutrition issues. That work includes a 21 percent increase in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, investments in the food bank network and focusing on nutrition education, among other topics. Stabenow adds now is the time to build on the progress to eliminate hunger and commit to a healthier America. *********************************************************************************** FDA Proposes Updated Definition of ‘Healthy’ Claim on Food Packages The Food and Drug Administration Wednesday proposed updated criteria for labeling foods with the nutrient content claim "healthy" on their packaging. The proposal comes the same day as the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health. The rule would align the definition of the “healthy” claim with current nutrition science, the updated Nutrition Facts label and the current Dietary Guidelines for Americans. FDA says more than 80 percent of people in the U.S. aren’t eating enough vegetables, fruit and dairy. And most people consume too much added sugars, saturated fat and sodium. The proposed rule is part of the agency’s ongoing commitment to helping consumers improve nutrition and dietary patterns to help reduce the burden of chronic disease. The proposed rule would update the “healthy” claim definition to better account for how all the nutrients in various food groups contribute and may work synergistically to create healthy dietary patterns and improve health. *********************************************************************************** Atrazine Proposal Comment Deadline Nears The deadline to submit comments on the Environmental Protection Agency’s atrazine proposal is next Friday. The National Corn Growers Association is encouraging growers to join its call-to-action and submit comments to the EPA on the important role atrazine plays in their work. The call-to-action was launched over the summer as EPA began revising its registration for atrazine. EPA is proposing a level of concern for atrazine at 3.4 parts per billion, down from the current level of 15 parts per billion. The move would significantly impair the effective use of atrazine on farms, according to NCGA. Brooke S. Appleton, NCGA vice president of public policy, says, “Reducing the effectiveness of this important herbicide will hinder the work of farmers and turn the clock back on our conservation efforts.” Since the organization launched the call to action on July 20, more than 3,000 growers have commented. EPA’s open comment period closes on October 7. You can submit comments via ncga.com. *********************************************************************************** Grassley, Brown Propose Banning Foreign Individuals from Obtaining U.S. Farm Credit Senators Chuck Grassley and Sherrod Brown introduced legislation this week to prevent foreign individuals from obtaining credit and financial services through the Farm Credit System. The Iowa Republican and Ohio Democrat content that currently, certain foreign individuals and entities are eligible to receive credit through this government-sponsored enterprise. Grassley states, “The expansion of foreign-owned farmland is a justified cause for concern among many family farmers and ranchers. Brown adds, “American taxpayer dollars should not be used as a financing tool for foreign governments to undermine our national security and take our family farms.” FCS was established in 1916 to provide credit to rural areas when commercial lenders were avoiding farm loans. It is mandated and limited by statute to serve agriculture. In 2021, FCS had a portfolio of roughly $210 billion in farm loans. Since 1997, regulations have allowed FCS associations to extend credit to certain foreign nationals who are not permanent residents of the United States and to foreign-owned entities. *********************************************************************************** USDA to Invest $8 Million to Expand Monitoring of Soil Carbon The Department of Agriculture plans to invest $8 million to support and expand carbon monitoring in soils. The investment also supports the assessment of how climate-smart practices affect carbon sequestration. The investment is part of USDA's efforts to build out a national soil carbon monitoring network, which was kicked off with soil carbon monitoring on Conservation Reserve Program acres in 2021. USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service requests proposals for regional projects focused on soil organic carbon stock monitoring, which are due November 28, 2022. The investment in building out the soil carbon monitoring network is part of USDA's comprehensive effort to address climate change through climate-smart agriculture and forestry. NRCS Chief Terry Cosby says, “Soil health management practices and activities are a tremendous part of our strategy when it comes to climate-smart agriculture and forestry.” Additional information is available in the notice of funding, which will appear on grants.gov *********************************************************************************** U.S. Red Meat Industry Commemorates 45 Years in Japan Leaders representing the U.S. red meat industry recently traveled to Tokyo to commemorate the 45th anniversary of the inaugural U.S. Meat Export Federation office, which opened in Tokyo in 1977. Japan has consistently been a top customer and is the leading international market for U.S. red meat, purchasing nearly $4.1 billion in 2021. Through July 2022, U.S. red meat exports to Japan reached $2.4 billion. The U.S.-Japan trade partnership is highly valued by those in the U.S. pork, beef and lamb industries. While in Tokyo for meetings, market visits and a celebration event attended by 200 importers, distributors, trade media and U.S. exporters, industry representatives expressed appreciation for the business relationships developed over the past 45 years and expressed a commitment to serve the Japanese market well into the future. The group traveling to Japan included representatives of the U.S. beef and grain industries, meeting with key leaders, traveling to local grocery stores and meeting with influencers.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday September 29, 2022 |


Thursday Watch List Markets USDA's weekly export sales report is due out at 7:30 a.m. CDT Thursday, the same time as weekly U.S. jobless claims, an update of second-quarter U.S. GDP and an update of the U.S. Drought Monitor. At 9:30 a.m., the U.S. Energy Department's weekly report of natural gas storage will be released. USDA's quarterly Hogs and Pigs report is set for 2 p.m. with expectations for an annual inventory decline of 1.6%. Weather Cold temperatures are producing frosts again this morning in the Midwest from eastern Iowa into Michigan. Outside of the cold though it is rather dry with mostly good harvest weather across much of the country. Ian has been downgraded to a tropical storm overnight as it pushed across the Florida Peninsula with heavy rainfall. The storm will spend the day offshore before pushing north toward South Carolina. Rains will begin to impact the Southeast Coast tonight with heavy rain expected for Friday and Saturday from eastern Georgia up through Virginia that will impact harvest and may cause flood damage.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday September 28, 2022 |


White House Hunger Conference Today (Wednesday) The long-awaited White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health convenes today (Wednesday). The goal of the conference is to end hunger and increase healthy eating and physical activity by 2030. The White House Tuesday released its national strategy with actions the federal government will take to drive hunger solutions. Pillars of the strategy include improving food access and affordability, integrating nutrition and health, empowering consumers to make healthy choices, supporting physical activity and enhancing nutrition and food security research. President Joe Biden says, “This important conference and the commitment to a national strategy on ending hunger and healthier eating will build on the research and knowledge we now have to make America truly a stronger, healthier nation.” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack added, “The Strategy lays out big goals, and we need everyone - local, state, and tribal governments, Congress, private companies, nonprofit organizations, and everyday citizens - to work together to achieve them.” *********************************************************************************** USDA Funding Seeks More US Fertilizer Production A new federal grant program announced Tuesday seeks to increase American-made fertilizer production. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the $500 million in grants, intended to spur competition in the fertilizer sector and combat price hikes on U.S. farmers. The Fertilizer Production Expansion Program is part of a government-wide effort to promote competition in agricultural markets. The Commodity Credit Corporation grants will support independent, innovative and sustainable American fertilizer production to supply American farmers. Funds also will expand the manufacturing and processing of fertilizer and nutrient alternatives in the U.S. and its territories. USDA plans for a 45-day application window for applicants to receive priority for projects that increase the availability of fertilizer and nutrient alternatives for farmers to use in crop years 2023 or 2024. USDA will also offer an extended application window for financial assistance to significantly increase American-made fertilizer production to spur competition and combat price hikes. *********************************************************************************** Ongoing Western Drought Most Intense in 20 Years USDA’s Economic Research Service Tuesday reported the ongoing Western drought is the most extreme drought in the region since 2000. As of September 19, 2022, the U.S. Drought Monitor classified more than 18 percent of land in the Western States as experiencing extreme or exceptional drought. In July of this year, more than 32 percent of land was in those categories. Drought conditions in the Western States gradually subsided in the latter months of 2021 but began intensifying again during the first half of 2022. The U.S. Drought Monitor categorizes drought in a region according to soil moisture, streamflow, and precipitation levels. Regional designations are primarily based on historical weather patterns. For agriculture, drought can mean diminished crop and livestock outputs, as well as reduced farm profitability. Drought also reduces the quantity of snowpack and streamflow available for diversions to irrigated agricultural land. These impacts can reverberate throughout the local, regional, and national economies. *********************************************************************************** Funds Available for On-farm Storage Damaged by Recent Natural Disasters The Department of Agriculture this week announced funding to help farmers rebuild on-farm storage systems impacted by recent natural disasters. USDA will make $20 million available to farmers in Kentucky, Minnesota, South Dakota and surrounding areas to rebuild damaged storage facilities damaged in 2021 and 2022 by natural disaster events. The assistance will help producers who were hard-hit by disasters and are currently struggling with a lack of available grain storage have the resources they need as they head into the 2022 crop harvest. The assistance from USDA's Farm Service Agency will help producers affected by the December 2021 tornadoes that passed through eleven counties in Kentucky, as well as producers in Minnesota and South Dakota affected by derechos in May 2022 and July 2022. Similar to other USDA cost-share programs, USDA anticipates that the funds will cover 75 percent of the eligible expenses associated with grain storage capacity costs with building grain storage capacity or purchasing equipment. *********************************************************************************** AFT Announces Solar Energy Development Partnership American Farmland Trust Tuesday announced a partnership with Edelen Renewables and Arcadia. The Farmers Powering Communities seeks to combat climate change through solar energy development while protecting America’s farmland and ranchland. The partnership provides more farmers with the opportunity for a new revenue stream and brings renewable energy to communities where it has not yet been available. Farmers Powering Communities will advance community solar projects of 25 to 50 acres to provide green energy to those who do not have access to rooftop solar – connecting them with local solar farms and bringing resiliency to more Americans. Community solar projects bridge the gap, connecting people to shared solar facilities. The partnership will identify the best land for new solar farms, establish installations and link them to local energy providers who will provide the power to residents at costs lower than the market average. Development will begin in 2023 across a number of states that have active community solar programs. *********************************************************************************** USDA NASS, NASDA, Celebrate 50 Year Partnership USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service and the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture celebrate 50 years of working together. The partnership provides timely, accurate and useful statistics in service to U.S. agriculture. NASS and NASDA are celebrating the anniversary during the NASDA annual meeting this week in Saratoga Springs, New York. NASS Administrator Hubert Hamer says, “NASDA enumerators do an incredible service for NASS, the producers, our nation, and the world.” NASS works closely with state departments of agriculture to support their agricultural statistics needs and reduce duplication with federal programs. NASDA provides vital, grassroots support for the NASS mission by employing thousands of part-time enumerators who assist farmers and ranchers with ag census and survey responses through telephone and in-person interviews. The partnership allows NASDA staff to focus on data collection, which is essential for accurate data reports, while NASS staff concentrate on survey integrity and data analysis.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday September 28, 2022 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets An index of pending U.S. homes sales in August is due out at 9 a.m. CDT Wednesday, followed by the Energy Department's weekly inventory report at 9:30 a.m. More Federal Reserve officials will also be speaking at public appearances and are apt to get attention. Traders will continue to watch Hurricane Ian and the latest weather forecasts and are still nervous about the direction of outside markets. Weather Hurricane Ian, a powerful Category 4 storm, is set to move into west-central Florida during the day Wednesday and Wednesday night. In addition to the strong winds from the storm center, the hurricane will be producing heavy, flooding rains as well. Colder air has settled into the Midwest and frosts are occurring in the Upper Midwest states Wednesday morning. Some very isolated lake-induced showers may continue in a couple of spots on the southern end of the Great Lakes, but most areas will remain dry with good harvest conditions continuing.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday September 27, 2022 |


USDA Announces Action to Spur Competition, Protect Producers and Reduce Costs The Biden administration Monday announced two new Department of Agriculture efforts to support fair and competitive meat and poultry markets. The efforts include publishing the proposed Inclusive Competition and Market Integrity Rules Under the Packers and Stockyards Act to protect farmers and ranchers from abuse, and a new $15 million Agricultural Competition Challenge to ramp up collaboration with the State Attorneys General on enforcement of competition laws, such as laws against price-fixing. The two efforts come from the White House Competition Council, which held a meeting Monday. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says, "USDA is focused on building new, fairer, and more resilient markets, protecting producers, and reducing food costs." Earlier this year, USDA and the Department of Justice announced their commitment to work closely together to effectively enforce federal competition laws, including by launching the FarmerFairness.gov complaint portal for reporting suspected violations of federal competition law. *********************************************************************************** USMCA Partners Host Environmental Committee Meeting Officials from the United States, Mexico and Canada met last week as part of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement’s Environment Committee. The committee was established as part of the USMCA to oversee the Environment Chapter's implementation and provide a forum to discuss and review chapter implementation. At the meeting, the officials discussed progress and challenges faced in implementing the environmental obligations since the Agreement's entry into force in 2020. The committee also discussed follow-up items from the first Committee meeting, including the findings of a mapping exercise to identify gaps and opportunities for trilateral collaboration for implementing Chapter 24 commitments, recognizing the need to ensure complementarity and avoid duplication with efforts already underway by the Commission for Environmental Cooperation. In addition, the committee held a public session to share information and hear from stakeholders from Canada, Mexico, and the United States regarding the implementation of Chapter 24. *********************************************************************************** Insured Acreages Vary Widely Across Fruit and Nut Specialty Crops USDA's Economic Research Service Monday reported insured acres of specialty crops vary widely across specific crop types. USDA’s Risk Management Agency offers Federal Crop Insurance Program products to cover specialty crops in counties with enough data available to offer a sound insurance product. Using cherries as an example, crop insurance is available for cherry growers who operate in counties with a high number of cherry acres. Because of this, farmers used federal crop insurance to cover about 65 percent of all cherry acres. Cherry growers outside of those counties used the USDA Farm Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program to cover about 20 percent of all cherry acres, leaving only 15 percent of acres not covered by any risk management program. For some crops, however, federal risk management programs covered only a small portion of acres. Kiwifruits and strawberries, for example, had less than 15 percent of acres covered, while hazelnuts had less than one percent. *********************************************************************************** AEM Hosts Record-breaking DC Fly-in The Association of Equipment Manufacturers Monday reported a record attendance for its Washington, D.C. fly-in last week. Representing equipment manufacturers and suppliers from across the country, participants met with 70 lawmakers. The group advocated for pro-manufacturing policies that will help equipment manufacturers succeed in the United States and around the world. AEM’s Kip Eideberg says, “As Congress continues its legislative business through the end of the year, we will continue to remind lawmakers that they need to reach across the aisle and work to move our country forward.” AEM members advocated for domestic supply chain investments, precision agriculture incentives to support climate-smart practices, and a grant program that supports workforce development. AEM says tariffs continue to hurt the equipment manufacturing industry. AEM asked lawmakers to establish a permanent Section 301 tariff exclusion process so American manufacturers can petition the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative to remove tariffs needed for domestic manufacturing and the national economy. *********************************************************************************** Merck Animal Health to Acquire Virtual Fencing Developer Merck Animal Health recently announced an agreement to acquire Vence, an innovator in virtual fencing for rotational grazing and livestock management. Vence provides enhanced technology for producers and ranchers to track, monitor and manage the movement of cattle through a high-tech platform of virtual fencing solutions. Using a computer or smartphone, customers can manage cattle movement and facilitate rotational grazing. Vence's virtual fencing technology can reduce the need for fencing to subdivide pastures and allows producers and ranchers to manage their cattle and grass inventory, while reducing costs of labor and fencing materials. Merck Animal Health president Rick DeLuca says, “Vence is a natural fit with Merck Animal Health's growing portfolio of animal intelligence products that include identification, traceability and monitoring products.” The acquisition is expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2022, subject to closing conditions. Vence is available in the United States and parts of Australia. *********************************************************************************** Mixed Week for Fuel Prices Ending the 14-week stretch of gas prices declining, the nation's average gas price posted a rise of 3.2 cents from a week ago to $3.67 per gallon. The national average is down 17.5 cents from a month ago but 49.3 cents higher than a year ago. The national average diesel price declined 5.1 cents the last week and stands at $4.88 per gallon. Refinery snags in some areas of the country contribute to wild fluctuations as areas of the West Coast, Pacific Northwest, Great Lakes and Plains have seen significant refinery issues leading to supply challenges. However, the Northeast and Gulf Coast continue to see normal activity at refineries and prices there have dropped. The disconnect between regions grows larger and will likely remain abnormal for the next few weeks. Gas Buddy’s Patrick De Haan says, “A slew of unexpected refinery disruptions, including fires and routine maintenance, have seemingly all happened in a short span of time.”

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday September 27, 2022 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets A report on U.S. durable goods orders in August will be out at 7:30 a.m. CDT Tuesday, followed by August new home sales and the Conference Board's index of U.S. consumer confidence for September at 9 a.m. Several Fed officials are also scheduled to speak throughout the day and will likely get attention. Traders will keep an eye on the latest weather forecasts and news from Ukraine, but are most jumpy about Fed policy and prospects for higher interest rates ahead. Weather A shot of colder air is settling into the Midwest on Tuesday. Some limited frosts are noted around northern Minnesota into northern Wisconsin, but most areas are remaining on the warm side of freezing. Some showers are still hanging around the Great Lakes. Otherwise, dry conditions continue across most of the country, favoring the continued harvest. Bands of heavy rain from Hurricane Ian are pounding southern Florida as the storm crosses Cuba into the Gulf of Mexico and the state is bracing for its landfall Wednesday night or early Thursday.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday September 26, 2022 |


USDA Panel Targets County Committee System The Equity Panel investigating discrimination within the agency wants USDA to consider eliminating the county committee system that’s played a big role in managing the Farm Service Agency’s agricultural programs. Industry Update Dot Com says the Fairness Committee voted to recommend in an interim report to Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack that the USDA do research and analysis on possibly ending the district county committee system and develop a fairer alternative for all farmers. The analysis should include what the county committees are currently doing in creating disparities for minority farmers. That should include the historical role of the district committee system and the current displacement of minority farmers. The commission also recommends that USDA immediately put a program in place that ensures minority county committee councilors have access to the FSA administrator to report real-time problems or issues in the county. The final report will be completed and submitted to Vilsack soon. *********************************************************************************** Wheat Growers Applaud Efforts to Increase Export Promotion Funding America’s wheat growers have a long history of valuing export market development by supporting the successful public-private partnership with USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. That’s why U.S. Wheat Associates and the National Association of Wheat Growers applaud the introduction of the Cultivating Revitalization by Expanding American Agricultural Trade and Exports (CREAATE) Act of 2022 in the Senate. The legislation would double the funding for the Market Access Program and Foreign Market Development Program, both of which are administered by the FAS. “MAP funding hasn’t increased from $200 million since 2006, and FMD funding hasn’t changed from $34.5 million since 2002,” says USW Chair Rhonda Larson. “However, our foreign competition in most global markets, including wheat, has grown.” USW also uses MAP and FMD funding to enable greater use of U.S. wheat in food aid programs which have taken on more significance due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine that disrupted the global wheat trade. *********************************************************************************** The Cattle Contracts Library Pilot Program Moves Ahead The USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service published a Notice to Trade related to the Cattle Contracts Library Pilot Program. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association says the Library is designed to be a tool for cattle producers, making information available that may allow them to capture unrealized value for their livestock. “We are pleased to see the pilot program progressing and note the important decision to use the Livestock Mandatory Reporting statutes as a basis for any subsequent rulemakings,” says NCBA Vice President of Government Affairs Ethan Lane. “We look forward to continuing to work with staff at AMS to ensure the success of this tool as well as the protection of our members’ proprietary business information.” The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2022 directed the AMS to create a Cattle Contracts Library Pilot Program to increase market transparency for U.S. cattle producers. AMS is drafting a rule to ensure complete contractual information gets reported. *********************************************************************************** USDA Extends Deadline for Grazing Land Agreements The USDA extended the application deadline for Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative Cooperative Agreements to October sixth. USDA is investing up to $12 million in partnerships that expand access to conservation technical assistance for livestock producers and increase the use of conservation practices on grazing lands. Project proposals for GLCI Cooperative Agreements will identify and address barriers to accessing grazing assistance for producers. The projects should address several concerns, including local natural resource concerns, use climate-smart agriculture and forestry practices and principles, and encourage existing and new partnerships through emphasizing equity in advancing the resource needs of underserved communities. The projects should also identify and implement strategies to quantify, monitor, report on, and verify conservation benefits associated with grazing management systems. NRCS Chief Terry Cosby says privately-owned grazing lands cover almost 30 percent of the landscape, so addressing climate change and conserving resources will happen through voluntary practices. To apply, go to grants.gov. *********************************************************************************** Stabenow, Boozman Expect Votes on USDA, FSA Nominees Senate Ag Chair Debbie Stabenow says she’s hopeful the Senate will confirm three agriculture nominees this week by unanimous consent. The Hagstrom Report says Alexis Taylor is the nominee for USDA undersecretary for trade and foreign agricultural affairs. Jose Emilio Esteban is nominated for USDA undersecretary for food safety. Vincent Logan is the nominee for the Farm Credit Administration Board. Ag Committee Ranking Member John Boozman also hopes they can be confirmed this week. Under questioning, Taylor says she’ll work on difficult issues like Mexico’s potential ban on biotech corn. Logan, the chief financial officer with the Native American Agriculture Fund, repeatedly promised to work with young and beginning farmers. When answering questions, Esteban said he's passionate about preventing salmonella and pledged to work together with all parties on “how we get there.” The Senate Finance Committee recently approved Doug McKalip’s nomination as Chief Ag Negotiator, and he’s waiting for Senate confirmation. *********************************************************************************** U.S. Export Sales Take a step Back USDA data shows export sales of corn, beans, and wheat all fell week-to-week during the seven days ending on September 15. Corn sales during the week dropped sharply to 182,300 metric tons from 583,000 tons during the previous week. Japan was the biggest buyer at 83,200 metric tons. Exports for the week hit 563,000 metric tons, up from almost 427,000 tons the prior week. Soybean sales to overseas buyers dropped to 446,000 metric tons, sharply lower than 843,000 tons a week earlier. Egypt was the top buyer with 174,000 metric tons of beans. Exports during the week totaled over 522,000 metric tons, up from almost 374,000 during the prior week. Wheat sales during the week came in at 183,500 metric tons, with Indonesia the top buyer with 136,000 tons. The USDA report says wheat exports from the U.S. totaled 678,000 metric tons, up slightly from 676,800 tons a week earlier.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday September 26, 2022 |


Monday Watch List Markets Back from the weekend, traders will check the latest weather forecasts, harvest anecdotes, any news from Ukraine or Russia and be wary of outside markets after Friday's widespread risk-off selling. Several Federal Reserve officials are also scheduled to speak Monday and may get attention. USDA's weekly export inspections report is due out at 10 a.m. CDT, followed by Crop Progress at 3 p.m. Weather A push of colder air is moving into the Midwest for Monday and will spread out across eastern areas of the country this week. Some showers will continue near the Great Lakes because of it. Other areas will be warmer and drier. The country awaits the arrival of Hurricane Ian, which is forecast to make a Florida landfall and bring widespread rain and wind damage into the Southeast later this week and weekend.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday September 23, 2022 |


USDA Providing Over $500 Million to Expand Rural Broadband USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that his agency is awarding $502 million in loans and grants to help provide high-speed internet in rural America. The funds will be available for rural residents and businesses in 20 states. USDA is making these investments through the third funding round of the ReConnect Program. “High-speed internet will improve the rural economy,” says Vilsack. “It will help rural businesses grow and get access to new markets, as well as help rural residents get access to more and better health care and educational opportunities.” The secretary also calls rural America the country’s “backbone.” To be eligible for the funding, an applicant must serve in an area where high-speed internet service speeds are lower than 100 megabits per second for downloads and 20 Mbps for uploads. The agency will have more investment announcements in the coming weeks. For more information about investment in rural areas, go to rd.usda.gov. *********************************************************************************** Court Ruling Reinstates Modernized Endangered Species Rules Modernized Endangered Species Act regulations will be reinstated after the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a district court improperly vacated 2019 revisions. The appeals court found that the district court erred by reversing the regulations without determining whether they were actually unlawful. American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall says they appreciate the ruling by the Court of Appeals. “The revisions to the Endangered Species Act protected at-risk animals while ensuring that farmers could continue feeding America’s families,” he says. “This ruling doesn’t end the debate about modernizing the ESA, but it sends an important message to the lower courts that their job is to rule based on law.” This is the second appellate court ruling to favor the Farm Bureau in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in the past month. In August, the Court overturned a lower court’s ruling that prohibited AFBF from defending the delisting of the gray wolf. *********************************************************************************** NCGA Hosts Next Generation of Ag Leaders for Policy Institute The National Corn Growers Association hosted a group of student delegates from the Agriculture Future of America during the AFA’s Policy Institute in Washington, D.C. The NCGA staff provided a tour and overview of the work the organization does and led discussions around how the national and state associations work collaboratively across the country to increase opportunities for America’s corn farmers. “AFA does incredible work, helping equip the next generation of agriculturalists with the tools and networking experience they’ll need to have successful careers and impact positive change,” says NCGA Market Development Manager Michael Granche’ (GRAHN-chay). “AFA doesn’t just refine their skills but gives them the confidence to walk up to a stranger and tell their ag story.” NCGA was able to engage with the student delegates through different workshops and roundtable opportunities. The Corn Growers will also be a sponsor of AFA’s Leaders Conference held in November in Kansas City. *********************************************************************************** September Wheat Production Forecast Unchanged The USDA’s 2022-2023 September wheat production forecast is unchanged from August at 1.783 billion bushels. 2022-2023 wheat exports are also unchanged from the previous month at 825 million bushels, and there are no by-class changes. U.S. wheat exports for June and July 2022 reached a total of 117 million bushels, down 23 percent from the same time last year. September U.S. wheat imports are unchanged at 110 million bushels, up from 95 million in 2021-2022. America’s wheat imports for June and July totaled 23 million bushels, up 50 percent from the same period in 2021. The 2022-2023 season-average farm price is projected at $9 a bushel, down 25 cents from the previous month. However, it would still be a record. Wheat futures markets remain volatile on a daily basis, underscored by uncertainty regarding the continuity of shipments from the Black Sea region. Recent data says prices may be lower in the coming months. *********************************************************************************** China Food Security Policy May Mean Lower Soybean Demand A Bloomberg article has a large number of soybean farmers around the world worried about the future of Chinese soybean demand. The Chinese government is attempting to boost the country’s food security by trying to lower the number of soybeans turned into animal feed. The farm ministry says feed grains are the biggest problem when it comes to China’s food supply. Ministry officials are asking the feed sector to learn from some of the country’s top producers who have successfully cut down on the amount of soybean meal used in their livestock rations as their main source of protein. China is by far the biggest importer of soybeans in the world, and the import bill last year totaled more than $50 billion. Bloomberg says, “Even modest shifts in soy consumption would help control both import costs and inflation and represent a worry for ‘legions’ of overseas farmers that rely on Chinese demand.” *********************************************************************************** NCGA Asks Senate to Confirm USDA Nominees The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association is urging the Senate Ag Committee to confirm key nominees for Undersecretary for Food Safety and Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs in the USDA. “Cattle producers need strong, stable leadership in top positions at USDA, and we ask the Senate to move quickly on confirming these highly qualified nominees,” says Ethan Lane, vice president of government affairs for NCBA. Dr. Jose Emilio Esteban, who currently serves in USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, is the nominee for Undersecretary for Food Safety. Alexis Taylor, the current director of the Oregon Department of Agriculture, is the nominee for Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs. NCBA has worked closely with Dr. Esteban, who they say is an extremely qualified candidate for the position of undersecretary. They also have worked closely with Taylor in previous roles at USDA and on Capitol Hill, calling her a “proven advocate for farmers and ranchers.”

| Rural Advocate News | Friday September 23, 2022 |


Friday Watch List Markets USDA's cattle on-feed report for September 1 is the only significant report Friday and is expected to stay close to last year's total of 11.23 million head. Traders will continue to keep track of weather, outside market news, events from Ukraine and any word regarding the vote on the rail workers' contracts. Weather A weak system is moving through the Corn Belt on Friday. Areas of isolated showers and a few thunderstorms are expected as the system drifts eastward. Showers may produce a few delays to the ongoing corn and soybean harvest, but not much. Cooler temperatures to the north oppose hot temperatures that continue across the south. Winter wheat areas in Kansas and Nebraska have seen a few showers this week, but conditions continue to be poor for most areas.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday September 22, 2022 |


Biden Administration Invests $178 Million in International Food for Progress Projects The Department of Agriculture will invest $178 million in seven international development projects on four continents to support U.S. government priorities. The projects include promoting climate-smart agriculture, facilitating trade and addressing the root causes of migration in Central America. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the funding Wednesday and says, "By partnering with private-sector organizations, local governments, and local producers and businesses, we are helping to build more equitable and resilient food systems." Through Food for Progress, USDA donates U.S. agricultural commodities to eligible entities such as private voluntary organizations and foreign governments, which then sell the commodities on the local market and use the proceeds to support agricultural, economic or infrastructure development programs. USDA will donate 240,000 metric tons of commodities this year, valued at $129.6 million. The seven new Food for Progress projects funded by USDA in 2022 are in addition to 41 projects currently underway in 38 countries. *********************************************************************************** USDA Funding International School Feeding Projects The Department of Agriculture will invest $220 million in eight new school feeding projects. The projects are expected to benefit more than a million children across 2,200 schools in food-insecure countries in Africa and East Asia. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the funding Wednesday, awarded through the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program. This year's awards are part of the $2 billion investment to strengthen global food security, announced by President Joe Biden at the United Nations General Assembly. USDA's 2022 commitment includes direct financial support for the projects and funding for purchasing and transporting 41,350 metric tons of U.S.-grown commodities to be donated to the projects for use in school meals. The awards also include $23.7 million for purchasing nearly 13,000 tons of locally or regionally produced commodities, supporting producers and supply chains in the target countries, and improving the nutritional diversity of school meals. *********************************************************************************** 2022/23 Rice Imports Projected at an All-time High U.S. rice imports for the 2022/23 marketing year, August–July, are projected to rise 16 percent from a year earlier and to reach the highest volume on record at 44 million hundredweight. USDA’s Economic Research Service reports imported rice is also projected to account for almost 32 percent of domestic use of rice in 2022/23, the highest share on record. Imports of long-grain and the combined classes of short- and medium-grain rice are projected at all-time highs. For long-grain rice, growing consumer preference for Asian aromatic rice, such as jasmine rice from Thailand, has increased import purchases. In addition, the United States has been importing a much smaller volume of regular milled long-grain rice from South American suppliers. Increasing imports are spurred by reduced production in California, where a second consecutive year of drought has reduced the size of the rice harvest. The California rice crop is forecast down 38 percent from a year earlier and is expected to be the smallest crop since 1977/78. *********************************************************************************** Report: Gen Z Prefers Quick Service Restaurants Older Gen Zs, ages 18-24, in the U.S. are discerning when choosing restaurants, according to new data by the NPD Group. Although price matters to this group, their taste preferences and definition of value dictate the type of restaurants they visit. As a result, Gen Zs skew towards quick service restaurants, particularly fast casual, that balance value and focused menu. In the 12 months ending July 2022, Gen Zs made five billion restaurant visits, 4.3 billion visits were to quick-service restaurants, and 736 million were to full-service restaurants. Overall quick service traffic was flat compared to a year ago, while Gen Zs fast-casual visits were up four percent in the period compared to a year ago. Gen Zs favor major fast-casual chains that provide the menu items they want, value for the money, and messaging that reflects their interests, like organics and sustainability, according to NPD's recently released Winning Gen Z Consumers study. *********************************************************************************** Pork Board Receives $155 Million in Climate-Smart Funds The National Pork Board received three grants totaling $155 million as part of the USDA Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities funding. The three grants are part of the $2.8 billion awarded to 70 selected projects in the first round of funding for the program. The first grant, valued at $20 million, will incentivize soil health and manure management practice adoption and support on-farm sustainability reports for pork operations. The second grant, totaling $95 million, will support a program to advance the adoption of cover crops and conservation tillage in 20 states. The third grant, worth $40 million, will support testing and evaluating climate-smart data in all segments of agriculture in ways that add increased value and support to producers. National Pork Board Sustainability Vice President Ashley McDonald says, “Pork producers stand out as leaders in sustainability with the data aggregation tools they have invested their dollars into already, continually driving to position U.S. pork as the protein of choice here.” *********************************************************************************** Clean Fuels Hires Fuel Economist Jonathan Martin Clean Fuels Alliance America Wednesday announced the appointment of Jonathan Martin as its first Director of Economic and Market Analytics. Martin, most recently an economist with Marathon Petroleum Co., brings ten years of experience in oil and gas corporate economics to this newly created role. He will be based in Ohio. Well-versed in synthesizing and analyzing data, Martin is strategically positioned to support Clean Fuels in economic analysis of planning and policy decisions. Martin has a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Terre Haute, Indiana. Clean Fuels CEO Donnell Rehagen says, “As the diversity of clean fuels grows, we are dedicating additional resources to better predict market trends for our organization and our members.” Martin adds, “I hope to apply my background in energy economics and analytics to help our members and the industry stay abreast of shifting market trends and potential growth opportunities.”

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday September 22, 2022 |


Thursday Watch List Markets USDA's weekly export sales report is due out at 7:30 a.m. CDT Thursday, the same time as weekly U.S. jobless claims and an update of the U.S. Drought Monitor. The Conference Board's index of leading indicators for August is due out at 9 a.m. Traders continue to watch the latest weather forecasts and world events with special attention lately on the Fed and Wednesday's comments from Russia's President Putin. Weather A cold front continues to sag south into the southern reaches of the country Thursday but is starting to lose its strength. Still, cooler fall temperatures continue to filter a bit farther south than where they were Wednesday and the heat ahead of the front is being tamped down toward the Gulf Coast. A system in the West will move into the Plains later today and is already producing scattered showers for portions of the Northern and Central Plains, especially around the Nebraska-Kansas border.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday September 21, 2022 |


Grassley Introduces Bipartisan Biochar Research Network Act Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa Tuesday introduced the Biochar Research Network Act. The Iowa Republican’s legislation seeks to study the effectiveness of biochar, which is a carbon-rich material produced from biomass. Specifically, the bill would establish a national biochar research network to test the impact of biochar across various soil types, application methods and climates to learn more about its capacity to benefit farmers and the environment. Grassley says, “A lot of work remains to fully understand the benefits biochar could provide, and that’s why I’m honored to lead the introduction of the Biochar Research Network Act.” The proposed research network would work to understand productive uses for biochar to help with crop production and climate mitigation. The network would also assess biochar’s potential for soil carbon sequestration and deliver cost-effective and practical information to farmers on sustainable biochar production and application. A companion bill was recently introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. *********************************************************************************** NCBA Extremely Disappointed with White House Biotechnology Executive Order The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association expressed disappointment Tuesday over an Executive Order announced last week. The White House last week released the Executive Order on Advancing Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing Innovation for a Sustainable, Safe, and Secure American Bioeconomy. NCBA President Don Schiefelbein says, "Unfortunately, we are extremely disappointed that this Executive Order also addresses fake meat production under the guise of food security." He adds, "Supporting cell-cultured, fake meat products is the wrong approach, and the administration should remain focused on supporting America's farmers and ranchers." NCBA encourages the administration to support the biotechnology innovations already occurring in the cattle industry. According to the organization, technology like gene editing is critical to improving cattle health and wellbeing, while also helping the U.S. cattle industry demonstrate climate neutrality by 2040. NCBA says cattle producers play an important role in ensuring food security and has long fought for policies that help producers remain in business while raising the highest quality beef in the world. *********************************************************************************** USDA Expands SNAP Online Shopping, Adds New Retailers The Department of Agriculture continues to expand opportunities for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, participants to conveniently shop online for groceries. USDA reported Tuesday more than 150 additional retailer chains now offer online shopping to SNAP participants, representing thousands of stores. In collaboration with state agencies and vendor partners, USDA expanded the availability of SNAP online purchasing to 49 states and the District of Columbia, providing more than 99 percent of all SNAP participants with access to online purchasing. USDA's Stacey Dean says, "Expanding the diversity of our online shopping retailers is a critical component of our nutrition security goal to provide better access to healthy, safe, affordable foods." In July 2022, just over three million SNAP households shopped online, a substantial increase from March 2020, when about 35,000 SNAP households shopped online. In the last four months, 44 retailers were added to the program, representing 1,240 store locations. *********************************************************************************** CoBank: Off-farm Income Increasingly Important A new study shows increasing dependence on off-farm employment and income reveals the growing economic interconnection of rural communities and surrounding cities. According to a study by researchers at the University of Missouri, 82 percent of U.S. farm household income now comes from off-farm sources. The study was commissioned by CoBank and completed in partnership with CoBank's Knowledge Exchange. Most farmers cited reliable income as the top reason for off-farm employment, as one-half of farm households have negative farm income in a typical year. Health and retirement benefits were also cited as key reasons for off-farm jobs within farm households. Among the study's key findings is that rural communities have increasingly diverse economies, and success within a rural community's agricultural sector is largely dependent on other sectors of the regional economy at large. Today, only 6.5 percent of workers in rural counties are employed in agriculture, compared to 15.4 percent in 1970. *********************************************************************************** AEM Releases Sustainability Toolkit for Manufacturers The Association of Equipment Manufacturers recently unveiled its equipment industry Sustainability Toolkit. The toolkit provides assessments and resources to help manufacturers and their supply chains minimize operational impact on the environment. The toolkit aims to advance the equipment manufacturing industry's efforts to align with evolving regulation and support a more sustainable world. AEM President Megan Tanel says the toolkit is “a resource to help our member companies take action to deliver lasting change to protect the environment.” AEM Sustainability Council Chair Karen Cecil adds, "The assessments in the toolkit provide actionable best practices for improving sustainability opportunities and efficiency, plus minimizing risks." The toolkit offers action plans, tools, and best practices to implement under four phases of the sustainability maturity model. The toolkit also features several assessments designed to help company leaders navigate the evolving sustainability landscape and identify areas for improvement. *********************************************************************************** New Leader Brings Innovative Perspective to CropLife America Policy Efforts CropLife America Tuesday announced the hiring of incoming Vice President, Government Relations Peggy Browne. With years of experience in agriculture, government, and policy, Peggy will use her expertise to lead CropLife America's government relations team. CropLife America president and CEO Chris Novak says, "Peggy's background and passion for agriculture, her understanding of government, and her demonstrated leadership will help CropLife continue to move industry priorities forward." Before joining CLA, Browne worked for USDA's Farm Service Agency —starting first in Oregon as the state executive director before moving to Washington, D.C., as the deputy administrator of field operations. Browne also recently worked on the Senate Agriculture Committee. Browne founded and was president and CEO of Browne Consulting, where she worked with farmers to develop and manage conservation projects, advised clients on water rights issues, Farm Bill programs and more. Her agriculture experience is grounded in her experience as a farmer/rancher in Oregon, where she served as vice president of the Oregon Farm Bureau.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday September 21, 2022 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets A report on U.S. existing home sales in August is due out at 9 a.m. CDT Wednesday, followed by the Energy Department's weekly energy inventory at 9:30 a.m. CDT. Ethanol production has slowed lately and will be watched in the 9:30 a.m. report. Wednesday is the final day of the Federal Reserve's two-day meeting and you will want to be seated for the increase in interest rates expected to be out at 1 p.m. Weather Heat remains in place across a good portion of the south Wednesday, but a strong fall cold front continues to work its way southeast through the country. Areas of showers and thunderstorms will come along with the front, being strongest across the eastern Great Lakes later Wednesday and Wednesday night, extending back to Colorado. Temperatures behind the front are some 20 to 30 degrees lower than they were yesterday.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday September 20, 2022 |


Legislation Would Reduce Regulation on Trucking Industry Legislation introduced last week would remove burdensome government regulations from the trucking industry, according to Senator Mike Rounds. The South Dakota Republican introduced the Trucking Regulations Unduly Constricting Known Service-providers, or TRUCKS Act. Rounds says the regulations are burdensome to agriculture, school districts and trucking companies. In 2012, then-President Obama signed into law legislation that set in motion a new rule that created a requirement for Entry-Level Driver Training. The final rulemaking went into effect earlier this year. All new drivers who wish to obtain their Commercial Driver’s License must now complete Entry-Level Driver Training, adding a burdensome requirement at a time when the American Trucking Association estimates a nationwide trucker shortage of 80,000 drivers. The bill would allow states to issue a new “Small Business Restricted CDL” so Entry-Level Driver Training requirements would not affect small businesses with nine CDLs or less. The U.S. Custom Harvesters have endorsed the legislation. *********************************************************************************** Not All Happy with Climate-Smart Practices Funding The Climate-Smart agriculture partnerships funding announced last week has some environmental groups drawing criticism. While welcomed by many in the food and agriculture sector, environmental group Friends of the Earth says some of the funding recipients are unacceptable. Funding recipients and partners include a range of corporations, universities, NGOs, trade associations, farms, tribal organizations, and state agencies. USDA is expected to soon make another announcement of $700 million for smaller projects under this initiative. Jason Davison, Senior Food and Agriculture Campaigner at Friends of the Earth, says, “Unfortunately, several of them will funnel tens of millions of taxpayer dollars to some of the most egregious climate offenders — Big Ag corporations like JBS, Cargill, and ADM.” Davison adds, “Many of these corporations and trade associations have historically fought climate mitigation measures, refusing to report data on their emissions and other pollution.” Friends of the Earth called on Congress and the Department of Agriculture to ensure transparency and accountability for the projects. *********************************************************************************** USDA Funds Six International Research Projects on Climate-Smart Agriculture USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service Monday announced grants for research and educational partnerships focused on climate-smart agriculture in tropical countries. Foreign Agricultural Service Administrator Daniel Whitley announced the $300,000 in funding to six U.S. universities. Whitley says, “We’re confident that they can collaborate on climate solutions that contribute to food security and agricultural sustainability, both locally and globally.” The Foreign Agricultural Service is awarding the funds under the Scientific Cooperation Research Program. FAS is awarding approximately $50,000 each to Tennessee State University, the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Texas State University, the University of Missouri, the University of Nebraska, and Louisiana State University. Whitley noted that this year's awards support two of USDA's top priorities under Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Deputy Secretary Jewel Bronaugh: putting agriculture at the center of solutions to the global climate crisis; and advancing racial justice, equity and opportunity in USDA program administration through the involvement of three prominent minority-serving institutions. *********************************************************************************** Food Insecurity Rates Differ Across States USDA’s Economic Research Service Monday released data showing the variations of food insecurity across the nation. Food insecurity rates vary across States because of household-level characteristics, State-level characteristics, and State-level policies. The estimated prevalence rates of food insecurity during 2019-21 ranged from 5.4 percent in New Hampshire to 15.3 percent in Mississippi. The estimated national average was 10.4 percent. The prevalence of food insecurity was significantly higher than the national average in nine States and lower than the national average in the District of Columbia and 14 States. In the remaining 27 States, differences from the national average were not statistically significant. 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 obtained by averaging three years of data. Food-insecure households are those that had difficulty at some time during the year providing enough food for all members of the house due to a lack of resources. *********************************************************************************** Dickhut Retiring from Farmers National Company Farmers National Company Monday announced Randy Dickhut (dick-hoot), Senior Vice President of Real Estate Operations, will retire on September 30, 2022. He retires after more than 20 years of work and leadership within the company. Dickhoot began his career with Farmers National Company in 2002 as a Farm Manager in West Central Illinois. In 2006, he moved to Omaha, Nebraska when promoted to the Vice President of Client Relations, and will complete his tenure with the company as the Senior Vice President of Real Estate Operations. Farmers National Company also announced that Paul Schadegg, Western Area Sales Manager, has been promoted to Senior Vice President of Real Estate Operations. Paul brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to his new role with 20+ years of real estate and farm management experience. Farmers National Company, an employee-owned company, is the nation's leading agricultural landowner services company. *********************************************************************************** Murky Future for Fuel Prices Fuel prices fell again last week, but GasBuddy says the near-term future is murky. The decline marks the 14th consecutive week of declines. The nation's average gas price declined 3.9 cents from a week ago to $3.64 per gallon. The national average is down 25.7 cents from a month ago but 45.9 cents higher than a year ago. The average diesel price declined 7.0 cents last week and stands at $4.93 per gallon. However, this week could change the downward trend, according to GasBuddy’s Patrick De Haan, who says, “With some issues arising in Plains and Great Lakes states as the transition to winter gasoline begins, I think we have the best potential to see the weekly trend of falling prices snapped.” West Coast states also continue to see increases as unexpected refinery issues continue to percolate, preventing a downward move. De Haan adds, “diesel prices should continue to ease after a much-needed jump in inventories last week.”

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday September 20, 2022 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets A report on U.S. housing starts in August is due out at 7:30 a.m. CDT and is the only significant report of the day. Traders will keep an eye on the latest weather forecasts for the U.S. and South America, watch for a possible export sale announcement and any news regarding Ukraine or Wednesday's expected rate hike. Weather A strong cold front has dropped out of Canada and into the Northern Plains on Tuesday morning. The front will continue southeast through the day, getting into the Central Plains and the Upper Midwest by tonight. Limited showers are expected with the front, but some better thunderstorms will be possible around Wisconsin in a couple of rounds. Hot temperatures continue ahead of the front while much cooler temperatures follow behind it by about 20-30 degrees.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday September 19, 2022 |


Agricultural Share of Exports Hit High Mark in 2021 The value of all U.S. exports has grown at an average annual rate of six percent since 2002 and reached a record high of $1.4 trillion in fiscal year 2021. The USDA says while the bulk of U.S. exports consists of industrial supplies and capital goods, agriculture’s share of total U.S. exports has steadily increased. Between fiscal years 2002 and 2021, the value of agricultural exports rose by an average of 11 percent every year, exceeding the overall rate of increase for the rest of American exports. In 2021, ag producers accounted for 12 percent of the total value, up from nine percent in 2002. Even as total U.S. exports dropped 12 percent when COVID-19 began in fiscal year 2020, ag exports stayed steady because of surging shipments of soybeans, corn, and pork to China. In 2021, total U.S. exports rebounded by 14 percent as global demand recovered and trade restrictions relaxed. *********************************************************************************** USDA Resumes Export Sales Reports U.S. soybean exporters are off to a decent start as far as sales in the new marketing year. However, the first USDA report in several weeks says the shrinking U.S. crop, questionable Chinese demand, and South American competition are all threats to future sales opportunities. Reuters says those factors are pressuring U.S. corn exports too, but the latest level of sales was already uneventful ahead of the U.S. harvest. Technical issues prevented USDA from publishing weekly U.S. export data for almost a month. The data released last week included four weeks of sales ending on September 8. The data drought spanned marketing years as 2022-2023 began on September 1 for corn and soybeans. Soybean sales beat expectations in those four weeks at 5.75 million tons. For the 2022-2023 marketing year, U.S. corn sales during those four weeks hit 2.465 million tons. Total corn sales in the new marketing year reached 12.3 million tons. *********************************************************************************** Farmers Union Holds Successful D.C. Fly-In Last week, more than 250 members of the National Farmers Union came to Washington, D.C., from all over the country to advocate for family farmers. During the week, members attended hundreds of Congressional meetings, met with over a dozen federal agencies, and directly participated in discussions with Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack, Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chair Rostin Benham, and many others. “This has been an incredibly productive and successful fly-in for National Farmers Union,” says NFU President Rob Larew. “It’s a testament to the passion and interest of our members that they’re willing to take time away from the farm and come to Washington and build bipartisan support for Fairness for Farmers and their farm bill priorities.” Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says National Farmers Union, in many respects, has been the architect and the designer of the work the Biden administration is doing in terms of farm country and agriculture. *********************************************************************************** Taiwan Team to Purchase 69.8 Million Bushels of U.S. Wheat Representatives from the Taiwan Flour Millers Association signed a letter of intent last week with U.S. Wheat Associates to buy 1.9 million metric tons of U.S. wheat over the next two years. Officials from U.S. Wheat Associates say that’s about 69.8 million bushels of American wheat worth $576 million. The signing took place at the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. Taiwan is the sixth-largest U.S. wheat export market and the seventh-largest overseas market for U.S. agricultural products. “American farmers place great value on the relationship between U.S. agriculture and Taiwan,” says Michael Peters, USW Vice Chairman. “We pride ourselves as being dependable partners who grow the highest quality agricultural products in the world.” The team from Taiwan also signed Letters of Intent with the U.S. Soybean Export Council and the U.S. Grains Council to purchase soybeans and corn. The total estimated commitment in the three letters is estimated at $3.2 billion. *********************************************************************************** RIPE Awarded $80 Million for Pilot Conservation Program Rural Investment to Protect our Environment (RIPE) and its partners have been awarded $80 million for a pilot program by USDA’s Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities program. RIPE is a producer-led organization advancing RIPE 100. It’s a conservation program that would pay producers $100 per acre or animal unit for stewardship, offering equitable payments above costs associated with practice implementation. Under the three-year program, the pilot will help producers in Arkansas, Minnesota, North Dakota, and Virginia prove the value of paying farmers and ranchers $100 per acre or animal unit for stewardship practices that deliver public value through carbon sequestration, greenhouse gas reductions, improved soil health, water quality and conservation, and other environmental practices. Other key principles of the pilot include easy enrollment, equitable payments, and no penalty for early adopters. Participants will get technical support in learning how to implement climate-friendly practices such as cover crops, no-till, nutrient management, and more. *********************************************************************************** Lamb Board Hosts Farm Tours for Food Influencers People who influence opinions about food are taking to the backroads of America and learning how American lamb is raised while natural resources are protected. The American Lamb Board selected key market areas for the tours, including Boston, Seattle, Boulder, and Napa. “Our Lamb Checkoff engages with food influencers because they add another layer of credibility to our messages,” says ALB Chairman Peter Camino (Kah-MEE-no). “We’ve had numerous occasions when influencer relationships created opportunities we didn’t anticipate.” On August 1, a group of 25 Boston-area chefs and food media influencers made the trip to a farm in Boxford, Massachusetts, and enjoyed a deep dive into learning about lamb. The tour shed light on the intricacies of raising sheep in New England and highlighted the regenerative farming practices the producer already employs. The next tour was held on September 18 and hosted a group of influencers at Ninety Farms, located near Seattle.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday September 19, 2022 |


Monday Watch List Markets Back from the weekend, traders may be a little cautious with an eye on outside markets as the Federal Reserve starts a two-day meeting Tuesday and is expected to increase the federal funds rate target on Wednesday. Traders will also be checking for rain prospects, especially for HRW wheat areas. USDA's weekly report of export inspections is due out at 10 a.m. CDT Monday, followed by the Crop Progress report at 3 p.m. Weather Scattered showers left over from the weekend continue over the eastern Midwest on Monday. Additional showers are developing with a weak system in the Northern Plains and Canadian Prairies. But over the rest of the country and particularly in the Central Plains, heat is building with temperatures well above normal forecast for the next couple of days. Recent showers did not fall over much of the winter wheat areas of the country which continue to suffer drought while the heat is also unfavorable. Showers may have and continue to have some negative effect for mature corn and soybeans waiting to be harvested.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday September 16, 2022 |


Tentative Railroad Agreement Reached The Biden administration helped to broker a deal between the major railroads and labor unions. The agreement avoids a rail shutdown but still has to be approved by a vote of union members. The biggest issue in the dispute wasn’t pay but working conditions. Some freight rail engineers and conductors faced on-call schedules that could see them called to work on short notice up to seven days a week. CNN says roughly 30 percent of America’s freight moves by rail. Recently harvested crops would be stuck, unable to reach processing plants and risk spoiling. The shutdown would have likely made inflation worse, cost the U.S. economy up to $2 billion a day, and affected the agriculture, manufacturing, and energy sectors of the economy. Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy, told Reuters that the deal is great for the ethanol industry as much of the country’s biofuel supplies are moved by railroads. *********************************************************************************** Wheat Growers Applaud Rail Agreement The National Association of Wheat Growers and U.S. Wheat Associates applaud the tentative agreement between the railroads and rail union representative that averted a potential Friday rail shutdown. While the union members have to vote on the deal, they have agreed not to strike while the deal goes through ratification. “COVID-19 forced rail laborers into a tough situation as essential workers, and we applaud their willingness to come to an agreement,” says NAWG CEO Chandler Goule. “We also appreciate the railroads understanding the severity of the situation and taking steps to improve their services.” Wheat growers are uniquely reliant on rail due to the large distances between production and consumption. “Our country’s reputation as the world’s most reliable wheat supplier depends heavily on functioning rail transportation and that won’t change in the future,” says USW President Vince Peterson. Railroads have moved more than one billion bushels of wheat during the last five years. *********************************************************************************** NCBA Wants Limited Greenhouse Gas Rule The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association reiterated the need for a limited version of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s greenhouse gas disclosure rule. SEC Chair Gary Gensler recently testified before the Senate Committee on Banking. “The SEC’s proposed greenhouse gas disclosure rule is aimed at large publicly-traded companies but would lead to unintended consequences for small businesses like farms and ranches,” says NCBA Chief Counsel Mary-Thomas Hart. “The rule would require data that simply does not exist at the farm or ranch level and increases the regulatory burden on individual cattle producers.” She also says they’re asking the SEC to limit their proposed rule to avoid unintentional impacts to farms and ranches across the country. The greenhouse gas rule would require businesses up and down the beef supply chain to disclose their greenhouse gas emissions, including farms and ranches. The rule would also expose individual producers to additional levels of legal liability. *********************************************************************************** Court Rules GMO QR Codes Unlawful A U.S. District Court says the USDA’s decision to allow genetically engineered foods to only be labeled with a QR code was unlawful. The Center for Food Safety says USDA is required to add additional disclosure options to those foods under the USDA’s Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard. “This is a victory for all Americans,” says Meredith Stevenson, Center for Food Safety staff attorney and counsel in the case. “The decision marks a key step toward ending the food industry’s deceptive and discriminatory GMO food labeling practices, which have kept consumers in the dark by concealing what’s in their products.” The Court sent back to the agency the QR code portions of the 2018 Trump administration rules for GMO labeling that went into effect on January 1 of this year. The Center also says the court now confirmed that the USDA acted unlawfully in allowing standalone QR code and other electronic GMO labeling. *********************************************************************************** Subcommittee Hearing Covers Pros and Cons of “Right to Repair” The House Small Business Subcommittee heard from both sides in the right-to-repair debate in agriculture. Industry Update Dot Com says lawmakers will have to consider measures that would require machine manufacturers to give customers the software, parts, and tools they want to make their own repairs. Ken Taylor of the Equipment Dealers Association expressed concern that giving people access to internal software in their equipment would allow them to change emissions and safety controls in tractors and other implements. While dealers already sell several parts directly to farmers, the manufacturer’s association doesn’t want customers tampering with controls for safety, environmental, and health reasons. Gay Gordon-Byrne represented the Repair Association and said farmers just want to be able to get parts and make repairs themselves. “All this worry about modifying emissions and tweaking tractors isn’t repair,” she says. “We just want to do something simple that’s been complicated by these questions.” *********************************************************************************** Farmers for Soil Health Thankful for Funding The National Corn Growers Association applauded a recent USDA decision to allocate up to $95 million in funding to help farmers accelerate their cover crop adoption. The funding will support Farmers for Soil Health, which works to advance conservation practices to improve soil health across the U.S. The FFSH collaborative is comprised of commodity groups, including the NCGA, the American Soybean Association, the National Pork Board, and the United Soybean Board. “We appreciate the USDA for recognizing the important role that farmers play in combatting climate change,” says NCGA Vice President of Production and Sustainability Nathan Fields. “These funds will help us identify and support practices that work for corn growers, expand the use of cover crops, and build on our efforts to lower greenhouse gas emissions.” Fields also says the funding will help NCGA reach 30 million acres of cover crops by 2030 through funding cost-share and technical assistance.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday September 16, 2022 |


Friday Watch List Markets Early Friday, traders will be checking to see if there is anything new regarding the tentative agreement between rail companies and workers. The latest weather forecasts will also be checked for the possibilities of rain next week in the southwestern U.S. Plains. At 9 a.m. CDT, the University of Michigan will report on U.S. consumer sentiment and USDA's Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook will be out at 1 p.m. Weather A disturbance from Thursday continues with some showers from Kansas into Minnesota Friday morning. Another system will move from the central Rockies into the Central and Northern Plains late in the day and produce another smattering of scattered showers from Kansas northward late today and tonight. Most of the rest of the country will remain dry with above-normal temperatures, heavily influenced by warm lows this morning.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday September 15, 2022 |


USDA Investing $2.8 Billion in Climate-Smart Commodities Partnerships and Projects Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says the USDA is investing up to $2.8 billion in 70 selected projects under the first pool of the Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities funding opportunity. USDA’s initial investment of $1 billion is expected to triple to more than $3 billion in pilot projects that will create market opportunities for American commodities produced using climate-smart practices. These projects will expand markets for climate-smart commodities, leverage greenhouse gas benefits of climate-smart commodity production, and provide meaningful benefits to production agriculture. Applicants submitted more than 450 project proposals for the first round of funding. “There is strong and growing interest in the private sector and among consumers for food that’s grown in a climate-friendly way,” Vilsack says. The strength of the 70 projects led USDA to increase its investment from the $1 billion announced earlier this year. More information on Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities and program details are available at usda.gov. *********************************************************************************** NACD: “Leave No Producer Behind” The National Association of Conservation Districts is one of 70 partners selected to participate in USDA’s Climate-Smart Commodities Program. The NACD will receive a grant of up to $90 million over three years for technical, financial, and marketing assistance. The association intends to advance grassroots efforts that ensure producers and local communities are prepared to meet growing demand and have access to climate-smart commodity markets. The NACD’s goal is to leave no producer behind. “We’re thrilled about the opportunity to invest in local communities through the Climate-Smart Commodities Program,” says NACD President Michael Crowder. “We know that producers are more likely to implement climate-smart practices if transition risks are minimized and they have ready access to profitable market opportunities.” Roughly 70 percent of land in the lower 48 states is privately owned, which means implementing sound conservation practices relies on individual producers. This assistance will support producers in making sound conservation decisions. *********************************************************************************** Scott Speaks On Soil Health, Regenerative Practices After House Ag Hearing House Agriculture Committee Chair David Scott spoke after a hearing titled “Soil Health Practices and Programs that Support Regenerative Agriculture. ”As I noted after my first hearing as Chair in 2021, changing weather patterns have introduced significant risks to agricultural production, forest resources, and the economy will affect risk-management tools, financial markets, and global food security,” Scott says. “The risks to agriculture are why topics like soil health are important to consider.” He also says the witnesses at the hearing provided the committee with valuable insight to help them better understand the conservation and economic benefits of soil health practices and how they support regenerative agriculture. “The lessons we learned through the Dust Bowl led to the creation of the Natural Resources Conservation Service,” Scott adds. “In the face of growing climate challenges, managing soil health is one of the most effective ways farmers can increase productivity and protect natural resources.” *********************************************************************************** Nestle Getting Into the “Fake-Milk” Market Nestle is trying to establish a presence in the animal-free dairy market by working with Perfect Day, a startup company trying to create a milk-like beverage from microflora. The genetically-engineered microflora will be programmed to produce proteins similar to cow’s milk, but Nestle says the microflora milk will have a smaller environmental footprint. Nestle says it will try out the new beverage in a handful of stores later this year. The company says it’s only the beginning of new dairy products. “Innovating alongside leaders like Nestle is a key part of how we’re making an impact,” says Perfect Day CEO Ryan Pandya. Perfect Day is also working with several other manufacturers to bring animal-free milks to market. They’re working with Betterland Foods, another new company that introduced lactose-free milk in whole or creamy varieties. Tomorrow Farms introduced its Bored Cow Flavored Milk brand that uses Perfect Day’s animal-free whey proteins. *********************************************************************************** Ten Semi-Finalists Advance in Ag Innovation Challenge The American Farm Bureau, in partnership with Farm Credit, announced that ten teams advanced to the semifinal round of the 2023 Farm Bureau Ag Innovation Challenge. “The future of agriculture depends on innovative solutions to the challenges that we’re facing today,” says AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “The entrepreneurs behind the start-up companies we’re recognizing are committed to helping rural communities and supporting farmers and ranchers in their mission to provide the food, fuel, and fiber we all rely on.” The competition is an opportunity for individuals to showcase ideas and business innovations in agriculture. It’s the ninth year of the challenge, which was the first national business competition focused exclusively on rural entrepreneurs launching food and agriculture businesses. The ten semi-finalist teams are being awarded $10,000 each and will compete at the AFBF convention in Puerto Rico. Four teams will then advance to the final competition during the annual convention.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday September 15, 2022 |


Thursday Watch List Markets Fingers crossed, USDA is expected to have weekly export sales data, updated through September 8 available at 7:30 a.m. CDT Thursday, data that was stopped as of August 11 after technical issues got in the way. Also at 7:30 a.m., there will be weekly U.S. jobless claims, August retail sales and an update of the U.S. Drought Monitor. At 9:15 a.m., the Federal Reserve's report on industrial production will be out, followed by natural gas storage at 9:30 a.m. and a soybean crush estimate for August from the National Oilseeds Processors Association later Thursday morning. Weather Weak disturbances continue to move from the West into the Northern Plains, producing more scattered showers on Thursday. Another little disturbance will create scattered showers farther south through the Central and Southern Plains as well. These storms may be briefly strong enough this afternoon and early evening to become severe, but any moderate to heavy rain will be isolated. The few areas that do receive rain will be happy to do so for winter wheat planting, though there may be some delays for corn and soybean maturity. Outside of the rain potential, it continues to be hot in the middle of the country as a ridge of high pressure is largely in control.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday September 14, 2022 |


August Consumer Price Index Increases The Consumer Price Index increased 0.1 percent in August on a seasonally adjusted basis after being unchanged in July. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Tuesday Increases in the shelter, food, and medical care indexes were the largest contributors to the broad-based monthly all items increase. The food index increased 0.8 percent in August, the smallest monthly increase in that index since December 2021. The food at home index rose 0.7 percent in August as all six major grocery store food group indexes increased. The index for other food at home rose 1.1 percent, while the index for cereals and bakery products rose 1.2 percent over the month. The meats, poultry, fish, and eggs index, the fruits and vegetables index, and the nonalcoholic beverages index all increased 0.5 percent in August. The index for dairy and related products increased 0.3 percent over the month, the smallest increase in that index since November 2021. *********************************************************************************** Executive Order Seeks Advancement of Biotechnology An Executive Order by President Joe Biden announced this week focuses on advancing biotechnology and biomanufacturing innovation. Specifically, the order seeks innovative solutions in health, climate change, energy, food security, agriculture, supply chains, and national and economic security. The White House says, “For biotechnology and biomanufacturing to help us achieve our societal goals, the United States needs to invest in foundational scientific capabilities.” Of note, the order will bolster federal investment in key research and development areas, boost sustainable biomass production, create climate-smart incentives for American agriculture, and expand market opportunities for bioenergy and biobased products. Within 180 days, the order directs the Agriculture Secretary to issue a report assessing how to use biotechnology and biomanufacturing for food and agriculture innovation. This includes improving sustainability and land conservation, increasing food quality and nutrition, increasing and protecting crop yields, protecting against plant and animal pests and diseases, and cultivating alternative food sources. *********************************************************************************** Organic Trade Reaches $3.4 Billion in 2021 USDA’s Economic Research Service Tuesday reported organic trade reached $3.4 billion in 2021. Since 2011, there has been an uptick in the total value of imported organic products, partially because more products are being tracked and partially because more high-value organic products, such as blueberries and squash, are being imported into the United States. The United States also exports organic food, and those exports have been steadily rising since 2011, reaching $0.7 billion in 2021. For example, the United States exported 2.4 thousand metric tons of organic fresh cultivated blueberries, with more than 90 percent headed to Canada in 2021. In the same year, the United States imported 41.5 thousand metric tons of organic fresh cultivated blueberries. Importers of organic products must either be USDA-certified or belong to a trading partner with an organic recognition agreement with the United States. Countries with such agreements include Canada, the European Union, Japan, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom. *********************************************************************************** North American Combine Continue Unit Sales Growth in August, Tractors Mixed Combine sales grew for August in both the U.S. and Canada, while total tractors fell in the U.S., but grew in Canada, according to the latest data from the Association of Equipment Manufacturers. Total U.S. ag equipment unit sales rose above the five-year average for the first time since April 2022. U.S. total farm tractor sales fell 11.7 percent for August compared to 2021, while combine sales for the month grew 25.8 percent to 790 units sold, making for a three-month growth streak for that segment. In Canada, growth in all segments led Canadian unit sales to its first positive year-over-year month in unit sales since January 2022. Overall unit sales in tractors were up 7.2 percent, and combine sales grew 33.1 percent to 221 units sold. Year-to-date farm tractor unit sales are down 6.7 percent in Canada, while harvesters cut their losses down to 13.7 percent. *********************************************************************************** Lawsuit Seeks Documents from EPA Regarding Dicamba Harms The Center for Food Safety this week filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency. The lawsuit claims the EPA is unlawfully withholding records about the impacts of dicamba. The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court of Northern California, alleges that EPA withheld public records from an agency report showing that control measures in its 2020 dicamba registration decision failed to reduce the number, severity, or geographic extent of dicamba-related incidents compared to prior seasons. Meredith Stevenson, staff attorney at the Center for Food Safety, says the action "reflects the agency's pattern of thwarting the public's access to information under FOIA." In June 2022, the center submitted a FOIA request to EPA, seeking documents referenced in the agency's December 2021 report on dicamba. The EPA has yet to produce any records, prompting CFS to now sue under FOIA law. The lawsuit comes amid an ongoing lawsuit challenging the legality of EPA's 2020 registration of over-the-top dicamba pesticide uses on dicamba-resistant cotton and soybeans. *********************************************************************************** Farm Foundation Hosting Antimicrobial Stewardship Forum Farm Foundation this week announced a forum on Antimicrobial Stewardship in Agriculture: How Far Have We Come and What's Next? The free online forum is set for Tuesday, September 27, at 9:00 am CDT. Farm Foundation says antimicrobial resistance poses a serious public health threat and has the potential to affect society, the economy and the health of animals and humans. The latest Forum will examine scientific evidence related to antimicrobial use and the effects of antimicrobial resistance in agriculture. The forum will also address key public policies shaping discussions around stewardship, resistance and what challenges need to be addressed in the long and short term. Shari Rogge-Fidler, Farm Foundation President and CEO, says, “We're proud to provide a space where farmers and industry stakeholders alike can engage on a crucial topic.” The event is being held virtually via Zoom and is free to attend, but registration is required. Find details and registration at: farmfoundation.org/AntimicrobialForum.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday September 14, 2022 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets The U.S. Labor Department's producer price index for August may be anti-climactic Wednesday, but will be out at 7:30 a.m. CDT followed by a new round of crop estimates from Statistics Canada. The U.S. Energy Department's weekly inventory report is set for 9:30 a.m. and includes weekly ethanol production. Traders will continue to watch the latest weather forecasts and keep an eye on outside market concerns after Tuesday's sell-off in the stock market. Weather A ridge of high pressure is building over the middle of the country Wednesday. Temperatures will continue to increase for most areas, especially with regards to morning lows. Disturbances off in the West will move northeast, producing scattered showers for the Northern Plains. Some isolated showers will also get into portions of the Central and Southern Plains. The heat and overall dryness will continue to be unfavorable for those looking to plant winter wheat.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday September 13, 2022 |


USDA Forecasts US Corn, Soybean, and Cotton Production Down from 2021 Corn, soybean, and cotton production is down from 2021, according to Monday's Crop Production report issued by USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Corn production is down eight percent from last year, forecast at 13.9 billion bushels, while soybean growers are expected to decrease their production one percent from 2021, forecast at 4.38 billion bushels. Meanwhile, cotton production is down 21 percent from 2021 at 13.8 million 480-pound bales. Planted corn area is estimated at 88.6 million acres, down one from the previous estimate. Area planted to soybeans is estimated at 87.5 million acres, down one percent from the previous estimate, but cotton planted area is estimated at 13.8 million acres, up 11 percent from the previous estimate. The U.S. season-average soybean price is forecast at $14.35 per bushel, unchanged from last month. Meanwhile, USDA's World Agricultural Supply and Demand report raised the season-average corn price ten cents to $6.75 per bushel. USDA also lowered the season-average farm price for wheat 25 cents to $9.00 per bushel. *********************************************************************************** The Fertilizer Institute urges Congress Act to Avoid a Freight Rail Shutdown The Fertilizer Institute over the weekend again urged Congress to take action to avoid a freight rail shutdown on September 16. TFI sent a letter to Congressional leaders pushing for intervention to prevent a stoppage from occurring. TFI President and CEO Corey Rosenbusch says, "A stoppage hasn't yet happened, but we are already feeling the negative effects of non-resolution." Rail carriers announced Friday evening that shipments of fertilizer products, such as ammonia – a key fertilizer and building block for approximately three-fourths of all fertilizer – will start coming off rail networks this week. Rosenbusch contends the situation will get exponentially worse every day there is no resolution, adding, "if they cannot reach an agreement, Congress must act to avoid an economic catastrophe that will only add to inflation and increase consumer pain." Congress can prevent rail workers from striking and has done so before, in 1986 when then-President Ronald Reagan intervened in the strike of workers for Maine Central railway. *********************************************************************************** Lawmakers Ask USTR To Protect Growers from Unfair Practices by Mexico Lawmakers led by Florida Senator Marco Rubio recently asked U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai to investigate the flood of surplus agricultural products from Mexico. The request, filed as a petition under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974, says actions by Mexico over the last two decades have burdened and restricted U.S. commerce. The lawmakers say that for more than 20 years, Mexico has leveraged heavy subsidies and low wages in a scheme to conduct a “conquest of external markets” and displace Florida’s seasonal and perishable agricultural industry from the domestic U.S. market. Specifically, the petition names fruits and vegetables grown with subsidized horticultural infrastructure and other forms of Mexican government support as a marketplace burden for U.S. growers, and may allow Mexico the ability to set market prices that harm American consumers. Provisions of the amended Trade Act of 1974 gives USTR authority to investigate and redress unreasonable trade practices that burden and restrict U.S. commerce. *********************************************************************************** Food Insecurity in Households with Children Reached Two-decade Low in 2021 USDA’s Economic Research Service reported Monday food insecurity in U.S. households with children reached a two-decade low in 2021. The Economic Research Service monitors the prevalence of food insecurity in U.S. households with children by measuring food insecurity for the household overall, as well as for adults and children separately. The first measure, food insecurity in households with children, indicates that at least one person in the household—whether an adult, a child, or both—was food insecure. The second measure, food insecurity among children, indicates that households were unable at times to provide adequate, nutritious food for their children. Both annual measures improved in 2021. In 2021, 12.5 percent of households with children were food insecure, a significant decrease from 14.8 percent in 2020 and the lowest point in two decades. The prevalence of food insecurity among children in 2021 was 6.2 percent, down from 7.6 percent in 2020. The decline means that in 2021 nearly 2.5 million fewer children lived in households that experienced food insecurity. *********************************************************************************** Organic Produce Association Elects Chairman The Organic Produce Association recently elected Theo Cristantes Jr as chairman. Cristantes is the chief operations officer for Wholesum and has been serving in an acting capacity since the fall of last year. The Organic Produce Association consists of members in the organic produce industry who focus on science-based policymaking and the ability to be innovative while respecting the tradition of organics and the integrity of the USDA Organic Seal. Crisantes, a trained agronomist, has worked for more than 20 years in the organic produce industry, growing certified organic tomatoes, peppers, squash, cucumbers, and eggplants at his family's third-generation farming operation. Wholesum currently supports over 21.8 million square feet of greenhouses and grows 2,500 acres of in-ground produce. Crisantes says, "I look forward to working with all our OPA members to address key issues with the goal of expanding the production and consumption of organic produce." *********************************************************************************** Fuel Prices Decline Again The nation's average gas price declined for the thirteenth consecutive week, down 7.6 cents from a week ago to $3.67 per gallon. The national average is down 26.9 cents from a month ago but 52.3 cents higher than a year ago. The national average diesel price declined 5.5 cents last week and stands at $5.01 per gallon. However, Gas Buddy's Patrick De Haan says, "we're seeing drastically different price behaviors from coast to coast, with some areas seeing noticeable increases while others are seeing decreases." Refinery issues in California are leading to increases in areas supplied by the state's refineries, including Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, Washington and California. Gasoline supply remains tight for the East Coast with some modest moves up, while prices continue to edge lower in the Plains, South and areas of the Great Lakes. Last week saw an 8.8-million-barrel rise in U.S. oil inventories, while U.S. gasoline demand fell 5.4 percent last week.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday September 13, 2022 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets The U.S. Labor Department will release its report on consumer prices for August at 7:30 a.m. CDT Tuesday, watched by a big crowd looking for clues to future Fed policy. Traders are still digesting USDA's new estimates on Monday and will keep an eye on weather as well as the response of outside markets to Tuesday's CPI report. The Treasury department reports on the federal budget at 1 p.m. Weather A ridge of high pressure is moving from the Rockies into the Plains on Tuesday and temperatures will rise in response. The ridge also comes with dryness as it pushes a system into the Northeast. The heat and dryness will exacerbate drought conditions in the Plains for winter wheat planting, but will help to dry-down corn and soybeans for harvest. Across the West, several small disturbances will make for some showers which will move northeast through the Northern Plains and Canadian Prairies over the next several days.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday September 12, 2022 |


July Beef Exports Top $1 Billion, Pork Exports Behind Last Year American beef exports again topped the $1 billion mark in July and posted the fifth-largest volume ever. July beef exports totaled over 126,500 metric tons, three percent higher year-over-year. Export value topped the $1 billion mark for a sixth time this year, finishing at $1.006 billion in July. “Global demand for U.S. beef continues to be amazingly resilient, especially at the retail level,” says U.S. Meat Export Federation President and CEO Dan Halstrom. Export value per head of fed slaughter is on a record pace at more than $475. U.S. pork exports topped 208,000 metric tons in July, six percent lower than last year. July export value reached $625 million, five percent lower than 2021. “July pork exports were below last year, but the good news is the per-unit price of U.S. pork is trending higher in the international marketplace.” July lamb muscle cuts reached 161 metric tons, up from 49 last year. *********************************************************************************** Applications Open for the Rural High-Speed Internet Program Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that USDA is accepting applications for its ReConnect Program loans and grants to expand access to high-speed internet for millions of people in rural America. The agency is making over $1 billion available for the program, a critical piece of the effort to connect every American to affordable and reliable high-speed internet. “Ensuring that the people of rural America get connected with reliable high-speed internet brings new and innovative ideas to the rest of the country,” Vilsack says. “That’s why high-speed internet is an important part of USDA Rural Development’s work with rural communities.” USDA is accepting applications for loans with available funds of $150 million, grants with available funds of $700 million, and combination loan/grant awards using $300 million under the ReConnect Program. “Reliable high-speed internet opens the world’s marketplace to rural business owners,” Vilsack adds. The application deadline is November 2. Go to rd.usda.gov for information. *********************************************************************************** GAO Reviews the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program During 2020 and 2021, the USDA’s Farm Service Agency provided $31 billion in aid to more than 950,000 producers of agricultural commodities, including crops, dairy, and livestock. The goal was to help offset losses and costs associated with COVID-19. The Government Accountability Office found problems in the process the FSA used to review claims under CFAP submitted by producers. For example, the agency reviewed the claims of 90 producers, and over half didn’t provide support for their payments. GAO says $661.5 million distributed primarily for livestock and other commodities went to high-income producers whose average annual adjusted gross income exceeded $900,000 over three years. The average payment per producer was highest in California at over $97,600. Iowa, California, and Nebraska each received over $2 billion in CFAP payments. Eight other states, including Minnesota, Kansas, and South Dakota received at least $1 billion. Seven individual operations received at least $3 million in total payments. *********************************************************************************** NGFA Wants Intervention in Rail Disputes The National Grain and Feed Association asked Congress to intervene, if necessary, to prevent any interruptions of rail service that could occur if negotiations fail between carriers and labor groups. Last week, the association sent letters to the leaders of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, Transportation, and the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Association members want Congress to prevent a rail stoppage “of any duration,” noting that uninterrupted rail service is vital to the American agricultural economy. “The U.S. rail network moves critical agricultural inputs and significant quantities of agricultural products,” the letter says. “These essential items are transported by rail to domestic facilities and ports for exports abroad. A complete stoppage of the rail system would lead to shutdowns or slowdowns of rail-dependent facilities resulting in devastating consequences to the country’s national and global security.” They also say most freight railroads lack the capacity to make up for any downtime. *********************************************************************************** U.S. Meets with Indo-Pacific Framework Partners U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo hosted counterparts from the 13 Indo-Pacific Economic Framework partner countries. Those partners represent over 40 percent of the world’s economy. At the first official in-person Ministerial meeting, the ministers had positive and constructive discussions and announced a substantial milestone in their pursuit of the framework. “This meeting was a chance to deepen our partnerships and fill in the details about how we will work collectively to address the challenges and opportunities that will define the 21st century,” says Tai. As the meeting concluded, the partners reached a consensus on ministerial statements for each of the four IPEF pillars, including trade, supply chains, clean economies, and fair economies. “After days of intensive discussions, we made real progress toward that goal, and I’m excited to continue developing this Framework, which will unlock enormous economic value for our region and be an example for the world.” *********************************************************************************** Federal Reserve Makes Observations on Ag Economy Last week, the Federal Reserve Board released its August Beige Book update, which summarizes the Fed’s commentary on current economic conditions. The report included several observations on the U.S. agricultural economy. In the Sixth District around Atlanta, demand for agricultural products remains strong. Hot weather and dry spells damaged crop yields, particularly corn. In the Seventh District of Chicago, ag income prospects for 2022 were little changed as most producers will likely turn a profit. In the Eighth District of St. Louis, conditions got moderately worse since the previous report, and finding enough quality labor is listed as the biggest concern. Agricultural conditions in the Ninth District around Minneapolis strengthened modestly since the previous report, and 80 percent of farm lenders said incomes in their area increased in the second quarter compared to last year. In the Eleventh District around Dallas, overall drought conditions slightly improved after some significant rain in August.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday September 12, 2022 |


Monday Watch List Markets Traders will return from the weekend, checking the latest weather forecasts and news from around the world, especially events in Ukraine and China. USDA's weekly export inspections will be out at 10 a.m. CDT, followed by the Crop Production and WASDE reports at 11 a.m. USDA's Crop Progress report will be out at 3 p.m. Weather A storm system wound up near Chicago will move through the northern Midwest on Monday, with areas of showers arcing through the East Coast and down into the Southeast as the day heats up. Heavier rain has been falling over northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin, where some flooding has occurred and may continue today. Cooler temperatures have filled in behind the system across the Corn Belt over the weekend but will be short-lived as the western heat pushes eastward this week.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday September 9, 2022 |


McKalip Nomination for Chief Ag Negotiator Heads to Full Senate The Senate Finance Committee unanimously voted to move Doug McKalip’s nomination to be USTR’s Chief Agricultural Negotiator to the full Senate for a final vote. U.S. agriculture groups reacted positively to the news. “It’s clear there is bipartisan momentum behind both his nomination and the need to open markets for America’s farmers who rely on trade,” says Brian Kuehl (KEEL), Farmers For Free Trade Executive Director. American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall says the vote comes at “an important time” as current and future trading partners look to the U.S. to help meet the growing demand for food, fuel, and fiber. The U.S. Meat Export Federation is asking the Senate for swift approval of McKalip in the upcoming vote. McKalip’s future boss, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai, says, “Doug’s decades of public service and unparalleled knowledge of agricultural and food security issues will be a major asset to our office.” *********************************************************************************** Retailers “Moderately Optimistic” About Fall Fertilizer Sales 2022 has been a challenge for ag retailers and their customers due to supply shortages and high prices. Crop Life magazine says global uncertainty has affected key fertilizer sources like Russia, China, and Ukraine, adding even more stress to the marketplace last spring. Looking ahead to fall, the view of most ag retailers is mixed. Steven Page of EDC Ag Products in Texas says, “We’re bullish on fertilizer sales this fall. Higher-than-expected commodity prices and falling fertilizer prices mean end users will be replacing nutrients in their soil.” Matthew Taylor of Nutrien Ag Solutions in Colorado says he’s also optimistic. “Application season should be strong as long as there’s a good application window,” he says. “Continuing supply chain challenges and overseas events are still a drag on the industry, but overall, the fall application season should be good.” Even less-than-positive retailers say their outlook could change with the right conditions. *********************************************************************************** APHIS Reviews Genetically-Modified Tomato The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service reviewed a new tomato variety from Norfolk Plant Sciences. The tomato was modified to alter its color to purple and enhance the nutritional quality. The agency says it found the plant is unlikely to pose an increased plant pest risk compared to other cultivated tomatoes and is not subject to regulation. That means, from a plant pest risk perspective, this plant may be safely grown and bred in the U.S. The gene-edited tomato is high in antioxidants believed to fight cancer and heart disease. A Rabobank report says interest in specialty crops should continue growing worldwide. Gene-editing technology like CRISPR (crisper) lets scientists design a plant without introducing foreign genes and should help reduce the recent controversy over GMOs. “We expect that specialty crops like fruits and vegetables with output traits to be among the first new GMOs to hit the market,” the report says. *********************************************************************************** Dairy Checkoff Competition Focusing on “Calming Benefits” The Dairy Management Incorporated’s New Product Competition is accepting applications for innovative products that focus on dairy’s qualities related to calming. The program used to be known as the National Dairy Council New Product Competition. It’s open to U.S. undergraduate and graduate students to develop products in line with industry and consumer insights to uncover innovative dairy-based products that offer calming benefits. Research shows that, with a heightened emphasis on mental and emotional well-being, consumers are looking for products that calm. There is projected growth associated with products that calm, and these are of particular interest to Gen Z consumers. Successful entries will demonstrate innovation and provide value to consumers. The judging panel includes experts from across the dairy industry. The winning team will earn $8,000, with second place receiving $5,000, and $3,000 going to third place. The application deadline is January 16, 2023. For more information, go to usdairy.com. *********************************************************************************** Vilsack Addresses 2022 Public Final Charge Rule The Biden administration and the Department of Homeland Security released the 2022 Public Charge Final Rule. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says the move represents an important step towards ensuring that all who are eligible for USDA’s nutrition assistance programs can access their crucial benefits. The rule clarifies the policy that’s been in place for most of the last 20 years, definitively allowing eligible immigrants to apply for and receive non-cash government benefits like SNAP or WIC without fear of any negative impact on their immigration status. “This action ensures faithful implementation of the law, one that will have a meaningful impact on immigrant communities and help give them the nourishment to lead happier and healthier lives,” Vilsack says. “Immigrants and their families have the right to access the programs for which Congress has made them eligible.” He also says it’s a chance to advance nutrition security for generations to come. *********************************************************************************** CoBank: Avian Flu Still a Threat to U.S. Poultry Supplies A report from CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange says the widespread outbreak of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza that hit U.S. poultry production has subsided. Case numbers significantly dropped as temperatures rose and the migratory season for wild birds ended. However, the risk of another outbreak this fall remains elevated, and the stakes for poultry producers will be high. Poultry product values had increased substantially before this year’s outbreak due to tight supplies and strong consumer demand for animal protein products. The added burden of supply shocks caused by HPAI made tight market conditions even worse, sending values skyrocketing. ‘Fortunately for U.S. poultry exporters, the current world views on HPAI trade restrictions have relaxed since the last major outbreak,” says Brian Earnest, lead animal protein economist with CoBank. The 2014-2015 HPAI outbreak forced producers to euthanize 43.2 million laying hens and 7.3 million turkeys. The cost to the industry was estimated at $1.6 billion.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday September 9, 2022 |


Friday Watch List Markets There are no significant reports on Friday's docket. While the weather forecasts are becoming less important for this year's row crops, traders are still keeping an eye out for winter wheat planting and spring wheat harvest conditions. Traders also continue to keep watch over news from Ukraine, Russia and China and outside markets. Weather A strong cold front has pushed through the Northern Plains and is moving through the Central Plains and Upper Midwest early Friday. The front is bringing in a shot of much colder fall-like temperatures and bands of showers are developing behind the front as well. Temperatures out ahead of the front still remain above normal, which continues to stress the late stages of filling corn and soybeans and prevent much winter wheat planting from occurring as well.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday September 8, 2022 |


$400 Million Available to Create Regional Food Business Centers Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack Wednesday announced the availability of approximately $400 million to create USDA Regional Food Business Centers. The centers will provide local and regional food systems coordination, technical assistance, and capacity-building services. Vilsack says, "Regional Food Business Centers will serve as USDA's cornerstone in the development of the local and regional supply chains." USDA will fund at least six regional centers, including a national tribal center and at least one center serving each of three targeted areas. The targeted areas include counties on the U.S./Mexico border, persistent poverty communities in the Delta and the Southeast, high-need areas of Appalachia, and centers in other regions. USDA Marketing and Regulatory Programs Undersecretary Jenny Lester Moffitt says the new centers “will decrease barriers and improve supply chain linkages.” The effort seeks to help farmers and businesses access new markets and navigate federal, state and local resources. *********************************************************************************** NCBA Supports Livestock Regulatory Protection Act The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association voiced support to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee regarding the Livestock Regulatory Protection Act Wednesday. During a committee hearing, NCBA Chief Counsel Mary-Thomas Hart told lawmakers, “NCBA strongly supports the Livestock Regulatory Protection Act, which protects farmers and ranchers from onerous regulation.” The legislation aims to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from issuing Clean Air Act Title V (5) permits for emissions like carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide, water vapor, or methane that result from livestock production. NCBA says the emissions are naturally occurring due to cattle’s biological functions and cattle producers continue to employ innovative practices to mitigate the impact of these emissions on the environment. NCBA adds methane emissions from cattle account for just two percent of total U.S. emissions. American Farm Bureau Federation Vice President Scott VanderWal also voiced support for the legislation during the hearing. *********************************************************************************** U.S. Household Food Insecurity in 2021 Unchanged From 2020 Data from USDA’s Economic Research Service released Wednesday shows in 2021, 89.8 percent of U.S. households were food secure throughout the entire year. Food secure means they had access to food at all times for all household members during the year. The remaining 10.2 percent of households were food insecure at least some time during the year, including 3.8 percent that experienced very low food security. In households reporting very low food security, the food intake of one or more household members was reduced, and their eating patterns were disrupted at times because the household lacked money and other resources for obtaining food. The 2021 prevalence of food insecurity, at 10.2 percent, was statistically unchanged from 2020. Very low food security was not significantly different from its 3.9 percent rate in 2020. The Economic Research Service monitors the food security status of households in the United States through an annual nationwide survey. *********************************************************************************** Lawmakers Seek Additional Wildfire Fighting Resources A group of western lawmakers this week asked the Department of Agriculture and Interior Department for additional wildfire fighting resources. The 25 lawmakers asked the federal government to assist in continuing to fight fires aggressively, communicate clearly and take administrative steps now to prepare additional personnel for when they are needed. In a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, the lawmakers say, “As you are well aware, wildfires do not respect jurisdictional boundaries, so constant communication between public and private entities is crucial.” The letter points out that recent reports suggest the United States Forest Service faces a significant wildfire staffing shortfall despite the recent pay increase included in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. USDA and DOI can surge additional personnel to help when the firefighting season is underway. The lawmakers say, “we ask you do everything you can to start that process now.” *********************************************************************************** Gavins Point Winter Releases Will be at Minimum Rates Drought conditions along the Missouri River Basin mean winter releases from Gavins Point Dam will be at a minimum 12,000 cubic feet per second this winter. While July brought much-needed moisture to the Missouri River Basin, August returned to the warm and dry conditions seen over the last two seasons. August runoff was 0.9-million-acre-feet, 62 percent of average above Sioux City, and 0.6 million-acre-feet, or 49 percent of average above Gavins Point Dam. The 2022 calendar year forecast for the upper basin, updated on September 1, is 20.2 million acre-feet million-acre feet, 78 percent of average. The average annual runoff for the upper basin is 25.8-million-acre-feet. According to the National Drought Mitigation Center, drought conditions in the basin have worsened over the past month. Seventy-four percent of the basin is experiencing abnormally dry or drought conditions, with seven percent of that being extreme or exceptional drought. *********************************************************************************** Farm Bureau Foundation Partnering with Grow with Google The American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture has partnered with Grow with Google to train 2,000 teachers on digital skills. The effort seeks to reach 200,000 students in rural communities by the end of the 2023 school year. The Foundation is bolstering agricultural education curriculum through the Farm Bureau Foundation Fellows Program, a fellowship that will allow educators in agricultural regions to teach students where their food comes from. Throughout the eight-month program, fellows will develop place-based curriculum that incorporates agriculture, technology and key digital skills into an Applied Digital Skills lessons. The lessons will be available, for free, to all educators interested in teaching students about food, fuel and fiber. Foundation executive director Daniel Meloy says, “We hope this program empowers teachers to introduce their students to the exciting world of agriculture, while also teaching them an array of technical skills.” To learn more and apply, visit agfoundation.org.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday September 8, 2022 |


Thursday Watch List Markets In case you missed the earlier memo, USDA is having technical difficulties and won't provide a new weekly export sales report until September 15. There will be a report of U.S. weekly jobless claims at 7:30 a.m. CDT Thursday, along with an update of the U.S. Drought Monitor. The U.S. Energy Department's weekly natural gas storage is due out at 9:30 a.m., followed by weekly energy inventories at 10 a.m. Weather Hot temperatures continue from the West into the Plains and Upper Midwest Thursday with triple-digit readings yet again in some areas. However, a strong cold front is dipping down from the Canadian Prairies and will be bringing much colder air with it. Temperatures will fall more than 20 degrees behind the front and narrow bands of showers will develop in the Northern Plains. Other areas of the country will remain dry with drought increasing in the Central and Southern Plains.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday September 7, 2022 |


August Ag Economy Barometer Increases Farmer sentiment improved in August as the Purdue-CME Group Ag Economy Barometer rose 14 points above its July reading to 117. Both the Index of Current Conditions and the Index of Future Expectations increased last month. Producers were less worried about their farm’s financial situation than in July, although they remain concerned about a possible cost-price squeeze. When asked about their biggest concerns for the next year, more than half of respondents chose higher input costs. Other concerns include rising interest rates, input availability, and lower output prices. Despite this month's improvement in sentiment, all three indices remain well below year-ago levels. Finally, this month's survey revealed an uptick in the percentage of farmers engaged with companies offering payments to sequester carbon. However, just one percent of respondents said they've signed a carbon contract, with the majority of those choosing not to sign, suggesting that payment rates offered remain too low. *********************************************************************************** USDA Seeks Livestock Disease Indemnity Valuation Comments The Department of Agriculture Tuesday announced an advance notice of proposed rulemaking on a new approach to indemnity valuation and a new indemnity framework. The advanced notice describes two structural changes to the indemnity regulations. The first is the use of an annual indemnity value table to standardize the indemnification process and resolve discrepancies between disease programs. Under the new approach, APHIS would collaborate with other USDA agencies, including the Farm Service Agency’s Livestock Indemnity Program, to develop USDA indemnity values and the methodology to determine them. The values would be published online annually. Second, the proposal describes an approach to standardize allowances for appraisal when an indemnity value cannot be calculated using the tables or when a producer elects to appeal the value based on extraordinary circumstances. This approach would resolve known challenges with indemnification based on fair market appraisal by an appraiser. The public comment period is open through November 6, 2022. *********************************************************************************** USDA NASS to Review Acreage Information USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service announced Tuesday the agency will review all available acreage data for select crops. USDA NASS will review planted and harvested acreage for chickpeas, corn, cotton, dry edible peas, lentils, peanuts, rice, sorghum, soybeans, and sugarbeets, in preparation for the September Crop Production report. The reviewed information includes survey data, satellite-based data, and the latest information from USDA’s Farm Service Agency and Risk Management Agency. If the data review justifies any changes, NASS will publish updated planted and harvested acreage estimates in the September 12 Crop Production report. USDA says it is a normal practice for NASS to review data in September for many of these crops. The review typically takes place in October for corn, sorghum, soybeans, and sugarbeets. However, USDA says the datasets are sufficiently complete this year to consider adjustments in September. In October, NASS will review acreage for canola, dry edible beans, and sunflowers. *********************************************************************************** Farmers Intend to Plant More Corn Next Year U.S. farmers plan to grow five percent more corn acres next year, according to a recent Farm Futures survey. The survey found farmers expect to plant 94.3 million acres of corn next spring, an increase of 4.5 million acres compared to 2022. The survey collected data from July 13 to August 1, 2022, from nearly 700 farmers. If the estimate proves correct, it will be the largest corn acreage planted in the United States since 2013, when farmers planted 95.4 million acres of corn. The Farm Futures survey reports farmers intend to plant 97.3 million acres of soybeans in 2023, down nearly 700,000 acres from the 2022 crop year. The survey also shows an increase in wheat acres in 2023, at 36.6 million acres, up 7.5 percent from 2022. Combined, corn, soybeans and wheat acres total 230.5 million acres, according to the survey, up two percent from the 224.8 million acres planted this year. *********************************************************************************** Food Insecurity in Africa Peaked Early During Pandemic At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, projections indicated the number of people experiencing food insecurity would increase. In a recent USDA Economic Research Service study, researchers used World Bank household survey data collected during the pandemic to assess food insecurity in four sub-Saharan Africa countries. Researchers tracked three levels of food insecurity intensity—mild, moderate, and severe—based on household responses to the Food Insecurity Experience Scale. They observed a sharp increase in reported food insecurity in the early months of the pandemic. In Ethiopia and Nigeria, the rate of moderate food insecurity reported increased from about zero to between 30 and 70 percent by June 2020. In Burkina Faso (boo-keen-uh fah-so) and Malawi (Muh-louhg-ee), where data was available beyond 2020, researchers observed gradual declines in food insecurity. At the end of June 2021, about 15 percent of households in Burkina Faso still reported moderate food insecurity, as did about 50 percent of Malawi households. *********************************************************************************** Vytelle Awarded for Global Sustainability The Business Intelligence Group Tuesday named Vytelle, a precision livestock company, as a Sustainability Leadership Award winner in the 2022 Sustainability Awards program. The Sustainability Awards honor those who have made sustainability an integral part of their business practice or overall mission. The global cattle industry is facing what Vytelle calls the triple challenge. Farmers are facing a growing demand for protein driven by the upsurge of consumers demanding meat and milk be produced sustainably. This means farmers must improve and increase productivity, while also improving efficiency by producing with less. Vytelle has built the first integrated livestock technology platform to accelerate genetic progress in cattle. Farmers who use the platform to identify their most valuable and elite genetics will increase the reliability of their intended mating decisions and accelerate their genetic outcomes. Vytelle Chief Executive Officer Kerryann Kocher says, “We’re honored to receive the Sustainability Leadership Award and continue our partnerships with progressive cattle farmers to deliver our mission.”

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday September 7, 2022 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets The launch of the iPhone 14 is expected Wednesday, a day when there shouldn't be much competition from other news. At 7:30 a.m. CDT Wednesday, the U.S. Commerce Department releases the trade deficit for July and provides more detailed export data for USDA to release later Wednesday morning. The Federal Reserve's Beige Book follows at 1 p.m. Traders will keep an eye on news from Ukraine and China, as well as the latest weather forecasts. Weather A ridge of high pressure continues to have a strong foothold in the western U.S. where heat continues. The heat has leaked out into the Plains as well in advance of the next system that will move through the Canadian Prairies today. Some isolated showers will be found there as well as into the Southeast, otherwise most of the country will be dry today.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday September 6, 2022 |


World Food Prices Continue Falling as Supply Levels Rise Global food prices dropped for a fifth-straight month after a seasonal rise in supplies took place and demand dropped for some products. The northern hemisphere wheat harvest is helping to ease supply concerns as more grain moves out of Ukraine. A U.N. index of world food costs dropped 1.9 percent in August and remains at its lowest level since January. While consumers will feel some relief, the declines aren’t as sharp as they were in July, when food prices dropped the most since 2008. Food prices do remain higher than last year. Food costs fell across the board last month, with vegetable oils dropping slightly below last year’s level. More palm oil supplies from Indonesia and seasonally rising outputs in southeast Asia helped to lower prices. Import demand for sunflower oil is subdued. Dairy stocks remained adequate. Major poultry importers reduced purchases, and domestic bovine meat demand in key exporters was weak. *********************************************************************************** Real Estate Lending Pushes Farm Debit Higher The Kansas City Fed says strong growth in farm real estate debt pushed agricultural loan balances higher at commercial banks in the second quarter. Outstanding farm debt increased by five percent from last year, the fastest pace in almost six years. While agricultural real estate loans continued to build, production lending rose more modestly following subdued demand in recent years. Loan performance continued to improve. Recent loan growth supported a slight improvement in the interest margins and income at agricultural banks from last quarter, but bank liquidity remained abundant. The agricultural economy remained steady over the past quarter providing ongoing support to farm finances. With substantially higher production costs and weather risks, incomes could be pressured if commodity prices drop more notably. Despite some growing risks, farm balance sheets remained strong alongside high liquidity, and a sharp increase in farm real estate values also continued to support agricultural credit conditions. *********************************************************************************** California Joins Opposition to Foreign Land Ownership The California legislature passed a bill outlawing land sales to foreign countries to help protect the nation’s food supply. The Washington Examiner says California has a large Central Valley farm belt, where two-thirds of the nation’s fruits and nuts are grown. “Food can, and is, being used as a weapon like we’re seeing in Ukraine,” says the bill’s author, state Senator Melissa Hurtado. “Recent reports have shown that a nation could get leverage by acquiring agricultural land and creating bioweapons that impact our food chain.” The bill would exempt land owned by a foreign government before January 1. It would also direct the state’s Ag Department to release annual reports on the amount of foreign farmland utilized, the type of usage, and “any legislative, regulatory, or administrative policy recommendations in light of the information from the annual report.” Bill supporters say foreign investments in ag land put U.S. food security at risk. *********************************************************************************** USDA Extends WIC-Related Formula Flexibilities The USDA is extending a key funding flexibility in the WIC program that’s allowed state agencies and their infant formula manufacturers to work together to provide more options for needy families. Under this flexibility that’s now extended to the end of October, USDA is covering the added cost of non-contract formula to make it financially feasible for states to allow WIC participants to buy alternate sizes, forms, or brand of infant formula. “USDA is committed to maintaining flexibilities to provide continued support to WIC families as the nationwide supply of infant formula recovers,” says Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack. “WIC families are counting on us, and while the supply of formula is improving, the extended flexibilities will make sure those families can find the formula they need for their babies.” To make the extended flexibility economically feasible, USDA is covering the additional costs of these alternate formulas while supplies remain impacted. *********************************************************************************** EPA Proposes Stopping Authorized Use of Certain Pesticide Ingredients The Environmental Protection Agency is proposing to remove 12 chemicals known as PFAS from the current list of inert ingredients approved for use in pesticides to better protect people and the environment. “Exposure to PFAS is an urgent public health and environmental issue in our country, and we’re continuing to work aggressively to reduce the use of these dangerous chemicals,” says Michael Freedhoff, Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “Ensuring that these 12 chemicals can no longer be used in pesticides is an important step to protect workers, the public, and the planet.” EPA also says it will take a renewed look at previous PFAS decisions and do a thorough review of its list of chemical substances that have been approved for use as inert ingredients in pesticide products. Those products contain at least one active ingredient and other intentionally-added inert ingredients that improve product performance. *********************************************************************************** Three Years of Biofuel Blending Mandates Coming in November The Biden administration’s Environmental Protection Agency will announce a rule this year detailing annual biofuel-blending mandates for three years instead of just one year. Three sources told Reuters that the multi-year announcement will provide longer-term certainty to the refining and biofuel industries. Reuters says they’ve been battling over the Renewable Fuel Standard’s annual mandates since it first began. One source who requested anonymity says, “They’re trying to put together a proposal for 2023, 2024, and 2025, where once they have the proposals together, then they don’t have to go back in and don’t have to change or modify the volumes.” According to a legal document filed in July, the EPA has been ordered to propose a rulemaking for 2023 mandates by November 16. While Congress has set the mandates since the RFS began, the EPA will have the authority to set multi-year mandates and make other changes starting next year.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday September 6, 2022 |


Monday Watch List Markets Back from the three-day weekend, traders will be checking up on the latest weather forecasts and any market-related news from over the weekend, including the decision from OPEC's meeting on Monday. USDA's weekly report of export inspections will be out at 10 a.m. CDT Tuesday, followed by USDA's Crop Progress report at 3 p.m. Weather An old system from the weekend remains a little active on Tuesday, with isolated showers across the southeastern Midwest down to the Southeast on Tuesday. The Plains continue to be dry with heat for much of the region that continues to sap soil moisture ahead of winter wheat planting.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday September 2, 2022 |


USDA Says Farm Profits To Reach Near-Record High in 2022 USDA’s Economic Research Service forecasts inflation-adjusted U.S. net cash farm income to increase by $13.5 billion or 8.7 percent from 2021. Net cash farm income is gross cash income minus cash expenses and will reach $168.5 billion in 2022, the highest level since 2012. In comparison, net farm income is forecast to drop by almost $1 billion from 2021 to $147.7 billion this year. That drop comes after net farm income increased by $44 billion in 2021 to the highest level since 2013. Net farm income is a broader measure of farm sector profitability that incorporates noncash items, including inventory changes, economic depreciation, and gross rental income. Both cash receipts and expenses are forecast to increase. Cash receipts for farm commodities are projected to rise by $66.3 billion or 14 percent from the previous year to reach $525.3 billion this year. Production expenses will also increase by $44 billion to $437.3 billion. *********************************************************************************** Brazil Soybean Acres to Top 100 Million Brazilian farmers will start planting corn, soybeans, and many other crops in September and October. CONAB (KOH-nab), the country’s largest ag forecaster, says if the weather cooperates, the 2022-2023 Brazilian harvest could be the largest ever. During the upcoming season, CONAB says Brazil’s farmers will produce more than 300 million tons of soybeans, corn, cotton, rice, wheat, and soybeans. That’s 14 percent higher than in 2021, during which Brazil’s farmers brought in an estimated 271.4 million tons of grain, an all-time high. The growth of Brazil’s crops is attributed to two factors, including a 2.5 percent rise in planted area and 11 percent higher yields versus 2022. While production costs will be higher in the upcoming season, Brazilian farmers will benefit from high commodity prices, robust global demand, and a favorable exchange rate. Soybeans make up almost half of the total grains produced in Brazil and are projected to reach 5.5 million bushels. *********************************************************************************** First “Triple-Dip” La Nina in This Century The World Meteorological Association says the La Nina weather pattern will last through the end of 2022. That’s the first time this century it will have lasted for three consecutive winters in the northern hemisphere. La Nina conditions in the tropical regions of the Pacific Ocean strengthened as trade winds intensified between July and August. The conditions are affecting temperatures and precipitation patterns and making drought conditions and flooding in different parts of the world that much worse. The current WMO forecast shows the current La Nina, which began in September 2020 and continuing during the next six months. La Nina refers to the cooling of ocean surface temperatures coupled with winds and rainfall. It almost always has the opposite effect of El Nino, which is the warm phase of the so-called El Nino Southern Oscillation. The WMO says it is “exceptional” to have three consecutive years with a La Nina weather pattern. *********************************************************************************** Book Teaches New Generation About the “Father of the Green Revolution” A new generation will learn about Norman Borlaug, the “Father of the Green Revolution,” thanks to the newest book from Feeding Minds Press. “Hero for the Hungry” is the story of Borlaug, who dedicated his life’s work to eradicating world hunger. “We are excited to introduce today’s young people to Norman Borlaug,” says Daniel Meloy, executive director of the American Farm Bureau Foundation, which runs the publishing venture. “With ‘Hero for the Hungry,’ we hope his story of science and true American grit inspires young readers to explore how they too can solve hunger issues.” The story follows Borlaug from his humble beginnings on a small farm in Iowa to groundbreaking innovation that helped feed millions in a time of famine by improving the productivity of wheat, earning him a Nobel Prize. “Hero for the Hungry” can be used in a variety of classrooms, including biology, science, agriculture, or history. *********************************************************************************** U.S. Cattlemen’s Association Announces 2022 Annual Meeting The U.S. Cattlemen’s Association invites everyone in the industry to its 15th Annual Meeting and Cattle Producer’s Forum in Nashville, Tennessee, December 8-10. On Friday, December 9th, policy committees and members will review the past year’s successes and determine policy goals for the upcoming year. With significant progress getting made on cattle market reform legislation this year, the Annual Meeting will be a critical time to reflect and prepare for the next session of Congress. On Saturday, December 10, USCA will host the premier Cattle Producer’s Forum to discuss current marketing trends. Following a Washington, D.C. update from USCA’s lobbying team, the group will hear from multiple cattle markets specialists talk about the 2023 market forecast. The forum will also host a Consumers’ Perspective Panel discussion, which will include the unlikely relationship between the digital currency Bitcoin and beef production. For more information or to sign up, go to cattlemensmeeting.square.site. *********************************************************************************** USGC Talks Biotech Corn With Japanese Regulators The U.S. Grains Council recently organized a trip to the U.S. for Japanese regulators involved in that country’s food, feed, and environmental approvals of biotech corn. While in the U.S., the group met with USGC staff, U.S. government regulators, biotech seed companies, and industry organizations. They also met with U.S. corn producers and companies involved in the production, distribution, and exports of U.S. corn to Japan. The meetings helped educate the Japanese regulators about biotech corn events in the pipeline for entry into Japan’s regulatory system in the future. They also learned how regulatory approvals and regulations need to be able to work with the U.S. corn production, distribution, and export systems. “The Council has been organizing trips for the biotech team even year since 2007,” says Tommy Hamamoto, USGC Director in Japan. “The knowledge and confidence they’ve gained have helped regulators to consistently make and maintain science-based regulatory decisions.”

| Rural Advocate News | Friday September 2, 2022 |


Friday Watch List Markets The U.S. Labor Department will have nonfarm payrolls and the U.S. unemployment rate out, both for the month of August at 7:30 a.m. CDT Friday. A report on U.S. factory orders follows at 9 a.m. As usual, traders remain interested in the latest weather forecasts and any news from Ukraine. Grain and livestock markets will close at their normal times Friday, but could exhibit stranger than usual behavior ahead of the three-day weekend. Weather A cold front moving into the Western Corn Belt is producing some shower activity Friday morning from Nebraska into Minnesota. The front is moving southeast, with showers extending from Kansas to Lake Superior. Some of these storms could be severe. Another low-pressure center moving out of Oklahoma and into the Ozarks is producing scattered showers and storms and is being pulled northeast throughout the day. Strong storms are not expected but rainfall will help some of the drought areas in this region. Otherwise, temperatures remain well above normal for most areas not directly behind the front and very hot in the West.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday September 1, 2022 |


Vilsack Announces $21.9 Million to Strengthen Meat and Poultry Supply Chains USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service Wednesday announced an additional $21.9 million for grant projects through the Meat and Poultry Inspection Readiness Grant Program. The funding awards 111 projects, bringing the program's total funding to $54.6 million. The funding will help strengthen and develop new market opportunities for meat and poultry processors throughout the United States. Facility improvements and expansions funded through the program will help processors obtain a Federal Grant of Inspection or qualify for a state’s Cooperative Interstate Shipment program. Achieving a Federal Grant of Inspection or operating under a Cooperative Interstate Shipment program allows meat and poultry processors to ship products across state lines, develop new markets, increase capacity, and better meet consumer and producer demand along the supply chain. USDA also encourages grant recipients to request assistance through the Meat and Poultry Processing Capacity Technical Assistance Program. The technical assistance program, launched in March of this year, connects participants to a nationwide network of resources and expertise. *********************************************************************************** USDA Updates Crop Insurance Plans to Broaden Access  The Department of Agriculture is improving two of its most comprehensive risk management safety net programs. USDA announced the improvements Wednesday for the Whole-Farm Revenue Protection, and Micro Farm, making them more accessible to farmers. The improvements include doubling the maximum insurable revenue under Whole-Farm Revenue Protection, now $17 million, more than tripling the size of farm operations eligible for Micro Farm, now $350,000 and reducing paperwork requirements. The improvements are in direct response to feedback from stakeholders as USDA's Risk Management Agency recognizes the role these insurance options play for many producers, including specialty crop, organic and direct market producers. The Whole-Farm Revenue Protection program protects all eligible commodities on a farm under one insurance policy. The Micro Farm program provides a risk management safety net for all eligible commodities on a farm under one insurance policy, but on a smaller scale. The updates to both programs take effect in crop year 2023. *********************************************************************************** States and Territories to Issue $12.5 Billion in USDA’s Summer Child Food Benefits The Department of Agriculture partnered with 32 states and territories to provide summer food buying benefits to families with children. The states and territories will provide an estimated $12.5 billion in temporary nutrition benefits to approximately 32 million children. USDA Food and Nutrition Service administrator Cindy Long says, “Our hope is that all states will adopt the program, ensuring that all children have access to the healthy food they need and deserve.” Children are eligible for this temporary nutrition benefit, known as Summer P-EBT, if they are eligible for free or reduced-price meals during the school year, or if they are under age six and live in a household receiving SNAP benefits. The benefits are loaded onto a debit-type card that can be used to purchase food. Families of eligible children typically receive $391 per child for the summer, with higher rates for families in Alaska, Hawaii, and U.S. territories. *********************************************************************************** Economic Research Service: Textile Manufacturing Shifts Out of China China’s position as the top global cotton importer is weakening as cotton shipments flow into flourishing textile industries in competing countries. USDA’s Economic Research Service reports that soon after China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001, the nation’s textile manufacturers became the world’s leading importers of cotton. Following years of rising production costs, volatility from government intervention in the market, and government caps on the volume of imports, China’s cotton imports dropped from their peak of 24.5 million bales in 2011 to 4.4 million bales in 2015, before rebounding to 9.5 million bales in 2021. Meanwhile, competing countries, including Vietnam, Pakistan, Indonesia, Bangladesh, and Turkey, expanded their textile industries and boosted cotton imports over the same period. These countries’ combined imports now exceed China’s volume of cotton imports. This increasing geographic diversification of global cotton demand has helped U.S. cotton exports to remain relatively robust despite volatility in China’s imports over the past decade. *********************************************************************************** USDA Announces No Actions Under Feedstock Flexibility Program The Commodity Credit Corporation does not expect to purchase and sell sugar under the Feedstock Flexibility Program for crop year 2021, which runs from October 1, 2021, to September 30, 2022. The CCC is required by law to quarterly announce estimates of sugar to be purchased and sold under the Feedstock Flexibility Program based on crop and consumption forecasts. Federal law allows sugar processors to obtain loans from the Department of Agriculture with maturities of up to nine months when the sugarcane or sugar beet harvests begin. On loan maturity, the sugar processor may repay the loan in full or forfeit the sugar to USDA to satisfy the loan. Under the Feedstock Flexibility Program, if USDA is faced with the likelihood of loan forfeitures, it is required to purchase surplus sugar and sell it to bioenergy producers to reduce the surplus in the food use market and support sugar prices. *********************************************************************************** Peoples Company Launches Energy Management Division Peoples Company Wednesday announced the launch of its energy management division to help clients maximize and diversify revenue streams. The Peoples Company energy management division manages oil, natural gas, and renewable energy assets for its clients. The division offers Geographic Information System mapping, real-time client data portals, modernized revenue processing, and customized reporting. Experienced energy management professionals also help clients navigate complex issues like division orders, authorizations for expenditure, and joint interest billings to ensure their interests are protected. Peoples Company President Steve Bruere says, “Energy management is a highly specialized offering because each asset is unique and requires individualized service.” As Peoples Company continues its expansion across the country, Bruere noted that this new service offers clients a single firm to manage assets ranging from farmland to energy rights. Peoples Company’s energy management division will be based in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The company is self-descried as a full-service land transaction and management business licensed in all major agricultural regions.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday September 1, 2022 |


Thursday Watch List Markets For a second consecutive Thursday, USDA will not issue a weekly export sales report due to technical difficulties and does not expect to have data available until Sept. 15. U.S. weekly jobless claims are due out at 7:30 a.m. CDT, the same time as a report on U.S. productivity in the second quarter and we get an update of the U.S. Drought Monitor. The Institute of Supply Management's index of U.S. manufacturing is due out at 9 a.m., followed by the Energy Department's weekly natural gas storage report at 9:30 a.m. Weather While there may be some isolated to scattered showers and thunderstorms across the far South on Thursday, much of the rest of the country should be relatively quiet. That comes with a caveat as a small low-pressure center developed from Wednesday's storms in Nebraska and will move east through Iowa. There is some potential for showers and thunderstorms to develop with this feature Thursday. Otherwise, above-normal temperatures are forecast for many areas today as well, with near triple digits in the Northern Plains.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday August 31, 2022 |


USDA Releases Updated Trade Projections for 2022, 2023 The Department of Agriculture Tuesday released updated trade projections for the remainder of fiscal year 2022 and the first projections for fiscal year 2022. The outlook follows the federal fiscal year, which begins on October 1 and ends on September 30. Agriculture exports for 2023 are projected at $193.5 billion, with imports at $197 billion. The export forecast is $2.5 billion below the revised 2022 forecast. The decrease is primarily driven by lower exports of cotton, beef, and sorghum that are partially offset by higher exports of soybeans and horticultural products. For 2022, the export estimate of a record $196.0 billion represents an increase of $5.0 billion from May's projection, mainly due to increases in livestock, poultry, and dairy exports. USDA cautions that the global economic outlook for 2022 and 2023 is growing more uncertain due to the continued materialization of downside risks. Previous growth projections are moderated due to ongoing trade disruptions, above-target inflation rates, and rising energy prices. *********************************************************************************** USDA Awards Funding to Strengthen Markets for Agricultural Products The Department of Agriculture Tuesday awarded $11.2 million to 22 grant projects to strengthen and explore new market opportunities for U.S. food and agricultural products. The funding comes from USDA Agricultural Marketing Service programs. Jenny Lester Moffitt, USDA Undersecretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs, says, “USDA is excited about funding projects that improve access to fresh, locally sourced food and strengthen market opportunities for local and regional producers.” Through the Acer Access and Development Program, USDA is awarding $5.9 million to fund 12 projects. Acer projects aim to improve consumer knowledge, awareness and understanding of the maple syrup industry and its products. Through the Federal State Marketing Improvement Program, USDA is awarding more than $1 million to five projects to explore new market opportunities for U.S. food and agriculture. And through the Micro-Grants for Food Security Program, USDA is awarding $4.4 million to agencies in Alaska, Hawaii, and other territories to increase the quantity and quality of locally grown food. *********************************************************************************** Major School Nutrition Program Spending Declined During Pandemic USDA's National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program typically make up the largest share of child nutrition program expenditures. In fiscal year 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic, spending on the two programs amounted to about $18.7 billion, nearly 80 percent of the $23.6 billion spent on all child nutrition programs that year. However, school disruptions during the pandemic led to a decline in spending, to $13.9 billion in 2020 and $12.4 billion in 2021. The declines were partly due to many schools transitioning to the Summer Food Service Program and creating the temporary Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer program. Spending on the summer food program increased from nearly $500 million in 2019 to $10.7 billion in 2021. P-EBT spending reached $10.7 billion in 2020 and $28.3 billion in 2021. Although spending on the Child and Adult Care Food Program was relatively stable across the three years, the program’s share of child nutrition program spending declined from about 16 percent in 2019 to seven percent in 2021 as overall expenditures increased. *********************************************************************************** NAWG Responds to Lower Snake River Dams Report The National Association of Wheat Growers welcomes recommendations regarding dams along the Lower Snake River by Senator Patty Murray and Washington Governor Jay Inslee. The Democrats say in a joint statement, "it’s clear that breach is not an option right now.” NAWB CEO Chandler Goule responds, “We are glad the recommendations released by Senator Murray and Governor Inslee recognize the role these dams play in agriculture and acknowledge dam breaching is not feasible at present.” Goule adds, " However, we remain concerned and opposed to breaching as it would be detrimental to wheat growers across the region." NAWG says the dams play a vital role in providing a safe, efficient and affordable way for wheat farmers to get their product to market. Last month, NAWG filed a public comment outlining concern, whereby other modes of transportation cannot simply replace barging. Wheat farmers move grain most efficiently by using the waterway instead of rail or truck while reducing greenhouse gas emissions, according to the organization. *********************************************************************************** Western Ag Groups Seek Quick Action for IRA Water Conservation Funding Western agriculture groups ask the Biden administration to quickly implement Inflation Reduction Act spending allocated to responding to the ongoing drought. The IRA includes $4 billion for drought response in the west. The seven agriculture groups made the request in a letter to the Interior Department and Bureau of Reclamation. The letter encourages the administration to quickly release a Notice of Funding Availability with guidance to water managers currently developing drought response proposals and quickly deploy that funding to address the most urgent needs. The letter states, "The ability of agricultural producers to participate in any voluntary, compensated water reduction program becomes much more difficult, if not impossible, if not initiated and implemented soon." The letter also urges the administration to unite stakeholders and ensure "agriculture has a place at the table." The letter is signed by the Arizona, California, Colorado and Oregon Farm Bureaus, the Agribusiness and Water Council of Arizona, Family Farm Alliance and Western Grower. *********************************************************************************** Bison Increase Plant Diversity, Drought Resilience in Grasslands A Kansas State University-led study finds bison double plant diversity in a tallgrass prairie. The research involves more than 30 years of data collection and was recently published in the prestigious journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. The study found that plant communities also were resilient to the most extreme drought in four decades. These gains are now among the largest recorded increases in species richness because of grazing in grasslands globally, researchers said. The study occurred in the Flint Hills ecoregion, the largest remaining landscape of tallgrass prairie. Researchers examined plant community composition and diversity in three treatments that were designed to capture characteristic management regimes: no mega-grazers were present, bison were reintroduced and allowed to graze year-round, or domestic cattle were introduced and allowed to graze during the growing season. The study also found cattle have a positive impact on plant diversity, compared to having no large grazers present, although increases in plant species richness were significantly smaller than those caused by bison.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday August 31, 2022 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets At 9:30 a.m. CDT, the U.S. Energy Department will issue its weekly inventory report, including ethanol production. Traders remain attentive to weather, the war in Ukraine and the skittish mood of outside markets, facing another interest rate hike in September and an OPEC+ meeting on Monday, September 5. Weather A front has dragged down to Texas and the Gulf Coast for Wednesday, where showers will continue, especially in Texas. A few more showers and thunderstorms could pop up around Nebraska this afternoon and evening, but most areas to the north will be dry with rising temperatures.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday August 30, 2022 |


White House Announces Hunger Conference for September The White House Monday announced the date for its Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health. The Conference is set for September 28, 2022, in Washington, DC. As the President announced in May, this will be the first Conference of this kind in more than 50 years. Millions of Americans are afflicted with food insecurity and diet-related diseases—including heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes—which are some of the leading causes of death and disability in the U.S. Lack of access to healthy and affordable foods is one of many factors impacting hunger and diet-related diseases. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated these challenges further. The Conference will bring government leaders, academics and activists together to end hunger and reduce diet-related diseases in the U.S. by 2030. The White House will also announce a national strategy at the Conference that identifies actions the government will take to drive transformative change and address the intersections between food, hunger, nutrition, and health. *********************************************************************************** USDA Announces Details for Upcoming Census of Agriculture America’s farmers and ranchers will soon have the opportunity to be represented in the nation's only comprehensive and impartial agriculture data for every state, county and territory. The Department of Agriculture will mail the 2022 Census of Agriculture to millions of agriculture producers across the 50 states and Puerto Rico this fall. The 2022 Census of Agriculture will be mailed in phases, starting with an invitation to respond online in November, followed by paper questionnaires in December. Farm operations of all sizes, urban and rural, which produced and sold, or normally would have sold, $1,000 or more of agricultural product in 2022 are included in the ag census. Collected in service to American agriculture since 1840 and now conducted every five years by USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service, the Census of Agriculture tells the story and shows the value of U.S. agriculture. Changes to the 2022 questionnaire include new questions about the use of precision agriculture, hemp production, hair sheep, and updates to internet access questions. *********************************************************************************** Interest Expense Ratio for Agriculture Stays Even with 20-year Average USDA’s Economic Research Service reports the interest expense ratio of farms was 0.04 in 2020, remaining in line with the long-term trend and initial forecasts, despite the pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic reduced demand for agricultural commodities. The interest expense ratio is calculated by dividing interest expenses by the sum of the value of production and Government payments for a given year. Interest expenses are the costs incurred by farm operations when debt is used to finance farm activities. A USDA forecast in February 2020 predicted interest expenses for 2020 at $18.0 billion, with a predicted interest expense ratio of 0.04. By February 2022, interest expenses for 2020 were estimated to be slightly higher than predicted at $19.4 billion. The February 2022 estimates also showed that while the value of production was lower than initially forecast, government payments were higher. The interest expense ratio was highest at 0.06 in 2000 and trended downward to a low of 0.03 multiple times from 2000 to 2020. *********************************************************************************** Corteva Announces 2022 Climate Positive Leaders Program Corteva Agriscience Monday announced that applications are available for its 2022 Climate Positive Leaders Program. The program recognizes farmers and ranchers who implement, scale and share climate-positive practices. The program will give the selected global and regional leaders tools and opportunities to broadly share their experiences and help accelerate the adoption of climate positive practices. Farmers and ranchers in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, India, Ireland, Kenya, New Zealand, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States are eligible to participate. Farmers can be nominated by local or regional grower groups, nonprofit organizations, universities, field or sales representatives, or other technology partners. The Global Leader recipients will receive a lifetime membership to Global Farmer Network, training and in-person participation in a Global Farmer Roundtable. Corteva will accept nominations for the program through November 30, 2022. You can find more information at Corteva.com. *********************************************************************************** EPA Issues Fuel Waiver for Four States Impacted by Bp Refinery Shutdown The Environmental Protection Agency over the weekend issued an emergency fuel waiver to help alleviate fuel shortages in four states impacted by a refinery shutdown. A BP oil refinery in Whiting, Indiana, shut down because of a fire at the facility. EPA waived the federal regulations and federally enforceable State Implementation Plan requirements for fuel volatility on gasoline sold in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin. The waiver will continue through September 15, 2022. The Clean Air Act allows EPA Administrator Michael Regan, in consultation with the Department of Energy, to waive certain fuel requirements to address shortages. Administrator Regan determined that extreme and unusual fuel supply circumstances exist and has granted a temporary waiver to help ensure that an adequate gasoline supply is available in the affected areas. EPA and DOE are continuing to actively monitor the fuel supply situation resulting from the Bp refinery shutdown and considering additional measures to alleviate the impact. *********************************************************************************** Fuel Prices Decline Again, Gas Down $1.20 From Peak U.S. fuel prices continued their decline for the 11th straight week, with gasoline down five cents a gallon to a national average of $3.81. GasBuddy reports the national average is down 39.8 cents from a month ago but 69.1 cents higher than a year ago. The national average price of diesel has increased 7.3 cents in the last week and stands at $5.04 per gallon. GasBuddy’s Patrick De Haan says, “Gas prices are now $1.20 per gallon lower than mid-June with Americans spending $450 million less on gasoline every day as a result.” However, some issues could change the course of fuel prices moving forward, including the shutdown of BP’s refinery in the Midwest. De Haan says, “While that refinery may get back online sooner rather than later, it’s not impossible that down the road the situation could impact prices in the region." The rest of the country, however, will see prices moderate.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday August 30, 2022 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets An index of U.S. home prices is due out at 8 a.m. CDT Tuesday, followed by an index of U.S. consumer confidence at 9 a.m. Traders will be watching the latest forecasts, checking the news from Ukraine and any clues from outside markets. Weather A cold front that produced widespread severe weather on Monday will continue to move south and east Tuesday. Though thunderstorms are not expected to be as strong as yesterday, there should be widespread coverage from Texas to the Northeast and points south of the front. Dryness and more seasonable temperatures are moving in behind the front, but readings still remain near or above normal for most areas.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday August 29, 2022 |


Ag Credit Conditions Stay Strong As Risks Grow The Kansas City Fed says agricultural credit conditions remained strong in the second quarter, but slower improvement is expected during the months ahead. Those bankers who responded to the Federal Reserve Survey of Agricultural Credit Conditions say farm income continued to increase. However, the pace of increase slowed in recent quarters, and further softening is expected going forward. Farm loan repayment rates continued to strengthen, but the pace of improvement also slowed. Following almost two years of acceleration, farmland values also showed signs of moderating as interest rates continued to increase. Strength in farm finances continued to support a positive outlook for agricultural credit conditions through the remainder of 2022, but risks to the farm economy are more noticeable. With a substantial increase in production costs over the past two years, profit margins for many producers could be squeezed by a sizeable decline in commodity prices. Balance sheets likely remain strong for 2022. *********************************************************************************** NCGA: New California Vehicle Requirements a Missed Opportunity Last week, the California Air Resources Board approved standards for vehicles made in the model year 2026 and later. In response to the announcement, the National Corn Growers Association says California regulators “missed an opportunity” to allow for more innovation and broaden low- and zero-emission solutions, in addition to the proposed electric vehicles, to maximize emission reductions while improving equity for consumers. “As NCGA told regulators during the rule-making process, constraining the vision of a zero-emission future prevents the state from tapping into the immediate and affordable environmental solutions that come from replacing more gasoline with low-carbon and low-cost ethanol in both current and new vehicles, including the electric plug-in hybrids, ” the organization says in a release. “Ethanol is on a path to net zero emissions, and NCGA will continue to work with and urge California to use all the tools in its toolbox as it addresses climate change and cuts harmful tailpipe emissions.” *********************************************************************************** Whole Foods Sued Over Deception in Antibiotic-Free Meat The nonprofit group Farm Forward joined a consumer class-action lawsuit against Whole Foods alleging that the retail giant is deceiving shoppers about beef products in its stores. Since 1981, Whole Foods has claimed that all of the animals within its supply chain are raised without antibiotics. However, an independent laboratory found antibiotic residue in “antibiotic-free” meat bought from a Whole Foods store in California. Antibiotic-free meat can cost as much as 20 percent or more than conventional meat, and surveys show 75 percent of consumers are willing to pay more for it. In April, Farm Forward released results of a program that tested Whole Foods meat for antibiotic residues. Among the findings, Farm Forward found residue of an antibiotic that can be used to promote growth in cattle in a meat product labeled “organic” and “antibiotic free.” Farm Forward says it has proof of deceptive marketing practices by Whole Foods. *********************************************************************************** Technical Difficulties for Weekly Export Sales Reporting Last week, the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service launched a new Export Sales Reporting and Maintenance System. This is a system through which U.S. exporters are required by law to report any sales transactions with buyers outside the U.S. for many key commodities. The information collected through the system is aggregated and reported to the public each week by the FAS. During the launch, FAS encountered challenges that affected the physical dissemination of the data as well as the data quality. As a result, the agency took the system offline and retracted the weekly export sales information that was passed out last week. Data integrity, credibility, and transparency are top priorities for FAS, and the timely and accurate reporting of agricultural export sales data is vital to effectively-functioning markets. FAS recognized the disruption and took steps immediately to rectify the situation. FAS intends to resolve the problems as soon as possible. *********************************************************************************** Chinese Government Tells Farmers to Replant or Switch Crops After Drought China’s record heatwave is beginning to disappear, and farmers are assessing the damage caused by the lengthy dry spell. Reuters says the Chinese government is urging its producers to replant or switch crops where they can. Over 70 days of extreme temperatures and low rainfall have hit the country’s crops hard. Rain is in the forecast over the next ten days, but farmers worry the heat has already done too much damage. In an emergency notice, the ag ministry called on the country’s farmers to harvest and store rice and take action to strengthen potential grain growth in the weeks ahead. In parts of the country where drought has already done damage, the government is asking its farmers to switch to late-fall crops like sweet potatoes. However, experts say that won’t be an easy task because nearby wells have been severely depleted of water, and some ponds have disappeared. *********************************************************************************** Glufosinate-Resistant Palmer Amaranth Found in Missouri University of Missouri Extension researchers have confirmed the state’s first case of glufosinate-resistant Palmer Amaranth in the Bootheel Region of Missouri. Palmer Amaranth spreads and adapts quickly to herbicides. Each weed produces up to one million seeds, which heightens the spread of resistance. The confirmation of Glufosinate resistance is a big concern for the state’s farmers because that resistance seems to be evolving at a quicker pace. Extension researcher Jim Heiser says, “Every mode of action that Palmer becomes resistant to seems to come at a quicker pace than the previous one.” He also warns farmers not to solely rely on herbicides to control weeds. He says to consider cultural practices for weed control, such as narrow row spacing for crops, the use of cover crops, and harvest weed seed management techniques. Palmer’s spread likely comes from used farm equipment like combines, custom harvesting crews, and feed and seed from other regions of the country.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday August 29, 2022 |


Monday Watch List Markets Traders will return from the weekend, checking the latest weather forecasts, any news from outside markets and will pause at 8 a.m. CDT to see if USDA has an export sale announcement. At 10 a.m., USDA's weekly grain export inspections will be released, followed by the Crop Progress report at 3 p.m. Weather A cold front that is working through the Corn Belt on Monday will spark scattered showers and thunderstorms from Kansas and Nebraska up into the central Great Lakes. Storms could be severe, with the greatest risk for severe weather across northern Illinois Monday afternoon and evening. Showers and thunderstorms may continue to develop in the hot and humid airmass south of the front as well but is not expected to be severe.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday August 26, 2022 |


Fertilizer Institute Hopes for Quick Rail-Labor Union Contract Settlement The Fertilizer Institute is grateful to members of the Presidential Emergency Board who listened to rail carriers and their labor unions amid their contract negotiations. The PEB offered measured recommendations on a pending contract agreement between the two. Both sides have until September 16 to evaluate the PEB’s recommendations during a mandated 30-day cooling-off period. The board’s recommendations include general wage increases and service recognition bonuses worth $1,000. “Uncertainty of this nature is yet another disruption in an already complex environment for farmers, so a speedy resolution is paramount,” says TFI President and CEO Corey Rosenbusch. “Over half of all fertilizer moves by rail every year throughout the United States, and the timeliness and reliability of fertilizer shipments are absolutely critical.” He also says if the farmers can’t get their fertilizer in a timely manner, it results in lower crop yields, higher food prices, and more inflation for America’s consumers. *********************************************************************************** Court Grants Coalition Intervention in Gray Wolf Lawsuit The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the American Farm Bureau, and other members of a coalition applauded an appeals court decision allowing intervention in a case regarding gray wolves. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals will allow the coalition to intervene in the Defenders of Wildlife versus the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and defend the previous administration’s delisting of the gray wolf. “The decision to allow the coalition to intervene in the case demonstrates what we’ve always known: livestock producers deserve to have their voice heard on the delisting of the gray wolf,” says Kaitlynn Glover, executive director of the Public Lands Council. Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall says when the gray wolf exceeded its recovery goals, it became an Endangered Species Act success story. “With thriving populations, management of species should now be the responsibility of the states, which can best determine appropriate management practices for the gray wolf,” Duvall says. *********************************************************************************** “Protecting Agriculture’s Future” is the theme for Farm Safety and Health Week National Farm Safety and Health Week is September 19-23. Agriculture is known as one of the most dangerous industries in America. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health says about 100 agricultural workers suffer a lost worktime injury every day. In 2019, the agriculture industry had a fatality rate of 19 deaths per 100,000 workers. National Farm Safety and Health Week has been held the third week of September since it was established in 1944. The goal is to help bring attention to the risks of working in agriculture. To do that, AgriSafe has daily webinars for agricultural health and safety professionals, healthcare providers, extension agents, farmers, ranchers, and their employees. This year’s theme, “Protecting Agriculture’s Future,” reminds everyone in the industry that the cornerstone of sustainable agriculture is healthy and safe workers. Every day will have a different theme, such as “Tractor Safety and Rural Roadway Safety,” on Monday, September 19. *********************************************************************************** U.S. and Canadian Cattle Inventory Down Two Percent The USDA says all cattle and calves in the U.S. and Canada combined to total 111 million head on July 1, 2022, a two percent drop from the 113 million head on July 1 of last year. All cows and heifers that have calved, at 44.5 million head, were down two percent from last year. All cattle and calves in the U.S. as of July 1, 2022, totaled 98.8 million head, down two percent from July 1 of last year. All cows and heifers that have calved came in at 39.8 million head, a drop of two percent from a year ago. All cattle and calves in Canada totaled 12.3 million head as of July 1, down three percent from the 12.6 million head on July 1, 2021. All cows and heifers that have calved hit 4.69 million head on July 1, a number that’s down one percent from a year ago. *********************************************************************************** Renewable Diesel to Overtake Biodiesel Production The U.S. Energy Information Administration says renewable diesel production will surpass biodiesel production in the country in October. The EIA’s team lead for petroleum and natural gas modeling says they’re seeing continued growth on the renewable diesel side and stagnation to slight shrinking on the biodiesel side. Western Producer says renewable diesel capacity was estimated at 1.92 billion gallons per year in May, up from 1.75 billion gallons in January. Biodiesel capacity was estimated at 2.22 billion gallons, down from 2.26 billion. Many of the traditional oil refineries in the U.S. are being converted to renewable diesel plants. The EIA estimates that 440,000 barrels per day were converted to renewable diesel in 2020. Expectations are that another 660,000 barrels a day will be converted to renewable diesel in 2022. The agency says it’s already prepared an article for when renewable diesel surpasses biodiesel production, which it expects to publish in October. *********************************************************************************** NPPC Hires New Director of Food Policy Dr. Ashley Johnson has joined the National Pork Producers Council as director of food policy. In her new role, she’ll focus on developing and implementing post-harvest food safety and human nutrition programs and addressing animal care issues in market channels. “Her wealth of knowledge is a tremendous asset as we help set the direction of the country’s food policies and weigh in on issues that could affect producers’ ability to produce safe, nutritious pork for consumers around the world,” says NPPC CEO Bryan Humphreys. Johnson comes to NPPC from Zoetis (zo-EH-tis), where she was a technical service veterinarian for more than five years. Among her many duties, she worked with the animal health company’s public affairs department to disseminate information to its pork team and customers on legislation and regulatory actions that could affect the pork industry. Johnson earned her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday August 26, 2022 |


Friday Watch List Markets At 7:30 a.m. CDT, reports on U.S. personal incomes and consumer spending for July will be released, followed by the University of Michigan's index of U.S. consumer sentiment at 9 a.m. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell will speak in Jackson Hole, Wyoming Friday morning and is expected to support another rate hike when the Fed meets in September. Weather A front stalled across the Gulf Coast will continue to produce scattered showers on Friday while another system moving through Canada will bring some to the eastern Midwest and Northeast. Another trailing behind it will continue to bring some showers to the Northern and Central Plains as well. Overall, showers will be pretty isolated outside of the Northeast and Gulf Coast, offering only limited help for filling corn and soybeans in a few spots.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday August 25, 2022 |


Vilsack Announces New Program for Underserved, Minority Farmers A new $550 million program from the Department of Agriculture seeks to support projects that help underserved producers. The program supports projects that enable producers access to land, capital, and markets, and train the next diverse generation of agricultural professionals. The investments are made through funding provided in the American Rescue Plan Act, as amended by the Inflation Reduction Act. The provisions fund and direct USDA to take action to help ensure underserved producers have the resources, tools, programs, and technical support they need to succeed. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says the funding is part of “USDA’s unwavering commitment to advancing equity for all, including people who have been underserved, marginalized, and adversely affected by persistent poverty and inequality.” The program includes Up to $300 million for “Increasing Land, Capital and Market Access” Projects aimed at helping underserved producers. An additional $250 million goes to the “From Learning to Leading: Cultivating the Next Generation of Diverse Food and Agriculture Professionals” program. *********************************************************************************** USDA Invests $121 Million in Infrastructure to Combat Climate Change The Department of Agriculture Wednesday announced $121 million in funding for critical infrastructure to combat climate change in rural America. The investments include $111 million for 289 projects to help people living in socially vulnerable communities. USDA Deputy Secretary Dr. Jewel Bronaugh says the investments will “strengthen our energy security, create good-paying jobs and save Americans money on their energy costs.” The funding will help people in 49 states, Guam and Puerto Rico. It reflects the many ways USDA Rural Development helps rural residents, businesses and communities address economic development, infrastructure and social service needs, according to USDA. Bronaugh highlighted a total of 415 investments that USDA is making through three programs designed to help people and businesses in rural areas. The programs are Community Facilities Disaster Grants, Rural Energy for America Program Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvement Guaranteed Loans and Grants, and Rural Energy for America Program Energy Audits and Renewable Energy Development Grants. *********************************************************************************** USDA Extends Infant Formula Waivers, Supports WIC State Agencies The federal government this week extended a series of waivers to provide WIC families with additional infant formula options through the end of the year. The Department of Agriculture extended the waivers to December 31, 2022, or 60 days after the expiration of the state’s COVID-19 major disaster declaration. The waivers were previously set to expire at the end of September. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says, “We will continue to work all hands on deck to ensure families can access infant formula.” The waivers extended allow WIC state agencies, with the necessary agreements from their infant formula contract manufacturers, to offer participants additional infant formula options, such as alternate sizes, forms and brands. USDA began offering waivers immediately after the February voluntary recall of certain Abbott powder infant formulas, which exacerbated existing supply chain issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, USDA has granted nearly 500 waivers to WIC state agencies. *********************************************************************************** AFIA Releases State of the U.S. Feed Industry Report The American Feed Industry Association released its annual "Our Industry, Our Promise," report Wednesday. The report details the challenges the U.S. feed and pet food industry faced over the past year, and the steps the AFIA took to address member priorities. The report provides an overview of the segment's impact on the U.S. economy, its efforts to promote animal food safety and worker health and safety, and its initiatives to enhance global competitiveness and industry environmental sustainability programs. AFIA President and Chief Executive Officer Constance Cullman says, "turmoil continued throughout 2021 and into 2022, but through it all, our industry stayed strong." The report offers a look at the business climate for U.S. animal food manufacturers, state issues and regulations, management of food safety, and trade. The report also provides an update on AFIA's educational offerings over the past year. Find the report on the AFIA website, afia.org. *********************************************************************************** Rural Homes with Persistent Poverty Have Less Access to Internet Households in rural persistently poor counties were the least likely to have home internet in 2015-19, according to USDA’s Economic Research Service. The data released Wednesday shows more than three in ten households lack internet access at home. In comparison, only two in ten households in rural counties that were not persistently poor had no internet access at home. A similar pattern was observed in urban areas, with two in ten households in persistently poor counties lacking home internet access. Only a little more than one in ten households in urban counties that were not persistently poor had no internet access at home. For households with internet access at home, service was mainly through a subscription, which includes a range of access from dial-up to broadband to cellular data plans. USDA syas the gaps in at-home internet access and subscriptions suggest that households in persistently poor counties—and more specifically, households in rural persistently poor counties—had additional barriers to internet adoption. *********************************************************************************** Cattle Industry Convention Looking for New Talent The National Cattlemen's Beef Association seeks new talent to perform during the 2023 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show in New Orleans next year. Applications for the National Anthem Contest and the Talent Round-Up are now being accepted. The 10th annual NCBA National Anthem Contest will accept entries through October 15, 2022. The contest winner will perform the "Star-Spangled Banner" at the convention's Opening General Session as well as the Friday night NCBA event. The winner will also receive round-trip airfare to New Orleans, a hotel room for three nights and free convention registration. Solo singers, bands and others with unique talents are also encouraged to enter the Talent Round-Up by November 11, 2022. Selected acts will receive complimentary registration, be invited to perform on the Beef's Got Talent stage during convention, and be recognized through social media. For more information and to enter, visit convention.ncba.org.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday August 25, 2022 |


Thursday Watch List Markets USDA's weekly export sales report is due out at 7:30 a.m. CDT Thursday, the same time as weekly U.S. jobless claims, a revision of second quarter U.S. GDP and an update of the U.S. Drought Monitor. The U.S. Energy Department reports on weekly natural gas storage levels at 9:30 a.m. Traders will continue to keep an eye on the rain forecast for winter wheat areas and monitor world drought conditions as well as any news from Ukraine. Weather Rain showers with mostly light amounts will move across the northern Midwest and portions of the Northern Plains Thursday. Meanwhile, heavy rain and flooding are in store for the Gulf Coast and Deep South along with the northern Rockies. Dry conditions will be in place elsewhere.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday August 24, 2022 |


USDA Accepting Applications for Biofuel Infrastructure Grants The Department of Agriculture Tuesday opened the application window for grants to increase the sale and use of biofuels. USDA has $100 million in funding available through the Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program, funded by the Inflation Reduction Act. The program seeks to market higher blends of ethanol and biodiesel by sharing the costs to build and retrofit biofuel-related infrastructure such as pumps, dispensers and storage tanks. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says, “Expanding the availability of higher-blend fuels is a win for American farmers, the rural economy and hardworking Americans.” The additional funding follows an April investment of $5.6 million to increase the availability of biofuels by 59.5 million gallons per year in California, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and South Dakota. In June, USDA also announced that it had provided $700 million in relief funding to more than 100 biofuel producers in 25 states who experienced market losses due to the pandemic. *********************************************************************************** U.S., Chile, Convene Environmental Affairs Council, Plans Indo Pacific Meeting Officials from the U.S. and Chile met this week as part of the Environmental Affairs council under the U.S.-Chile Free Trade Agreement. The council is chaired by Assistant United States Trade Representative for Environment and Natural Resources Kelly Milton. The officials reviewed the progress of implementation obligations under the environmental chapter of the free trade agreement. The talks focused on climate, illegal fishing and strengthening ocean conservation. Meanwhile, the U.S. Trade Representative's Office Tuesday also announced an upcoming Indo-Pacific Economic Framework Ministerial meeting. Trade Representative Katherine Tai and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo will co-host the meeting September 8-9 in Los Angeles, California. Tai and Raimondo held a virtual Ministerial in July, reaffirming their goal to pursue ongoing and intensified engagements with Indo-Pacific partner countries. They held the first virtual Ministerial in May, shortly after the official launch in Japan. Ambassador Tai also held an informal meeting with the partners in June. *********************************************************************************** Organic Initiative Includes Grower Assistance Program USDA’s Organic Transition Initiative announced this week includes a new program from the Risk Management Agency. The Transitional and Organic Grower Assistance, or TOGA Program, reduces a producer’s overall crop insurance premium bills, and helps them continue to use organic agricultural systems. Premium benefits for TOGA include ten percentage points of premium subsidy for all crops in transition, a $5 per acre premium benefit for certified organic grain and feed crops, and ten percentage points of premium subsidy for all Whole-Farm Revenue Protection policies for organic or transitioning to organic crops. Producers can receive both RMA’s TOGA and premium assistance from other premium subsidy programs. The TOGA program is part of the Organic Transition Initiative, which additionally offers farmer-to-farmer mentoring and direct support through conservation financial assistance. Meanwhile, USDA’s Farm Service Agency is currently accepting applications for both the Organic and Transitional Education and Certification Program and Organic Certification Cost Share Program. *********************************************************************************** Fruits, Vegetables, Top Local Foods Purchased by Schools Many U.S. school food authorities purchase local foods such as fruits, vegetables, dairy, and proteins for their district’s cafeterias. In addition to buying locally produced foods, many school districts participate in other farm to school activities, such as product-specific promotions, taste tests of local foods, onsite edible gardens, and field trips to farms. Approximately two-thirds of U.S. school districts participated in farm to school activities during the 2018-19 school year, according to research from USDA. Of the school districts that participated, 78 percent reported purchasing any local foods during the school year. Fruits and vegetables topped the list of local foods purchased in 2018-19, at 85 percent and 82 percent of school districts, respectively. Further, 68 percent of school districts reported buying locally produced milk, and 29 percent reported buying local grains, including baked goods. Approximately a third of school districts reported purchasing other local dairy products, and about a quarter purchased locally produced proteins. *********************************************************************************** July Egg Production Down, Broiler Hatch Up United States egg production totaled nine billion during July, down three percent from last year. The Department of Agriculture says production included 7.69 billion table eggs, and 1.31 billion hatching eggs, of which 1.22 billion were broiler-type, and 90.7 million were egg type. The average number of layers during July totaled 368 million, down four percent from last year. Total layers in the United States totaled 369 million, down four percent from last year. Egg-type chicks hatched during July totaled 50.1 million, down two percent from July 2021, while eggs in incubators totaled 49.9 million, up 11 percent from a year ago. Domestic placements of egg-type pullet chicks for future hatchery supply flocks by leading breeders totaled 166,000 during July 2022, down 17 percent from July 2021. Broiler-type chicks hatched during July 2022 totaled 859 million, up two percent from July 2021. Eggs in incubators totaled 727 million, up two percent from a year ago. *********************************************************************************** Register Now for the Second USDA Innovation Fair Registration is open for the Second USDA Food Loss and Waste Innovation Fair on September 14. The virtual event showcases the latest food loss and waste mitigation technologies, innovations and programs developed by USDA, academic institutions, local governments, and businesses. The Innovation Fair is designed for everyone – from food scientists and industry experts to community gardeners and those curious about food loss and waste efforts. The fair includes presentations by 12 food loss and waste reduction experts and will feature 36 exhibit booths. Attendees are invited to visit the virtual booths, and text or video chat with representatives in real-time. Attendees can also interact with other participants in a virtual networking lounge. Also participating in this year's fair are U.S. Food Loss and Waste 2030 Champions—businesses and organizations that have committed to reducing food loss and waste in their own operations in the United States by 50 percent by the year 2030. Registration is free at www.usda.gov/foodlossandwaste.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday August 24, 2022 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets A report on U.S. durable goods orders will be out at 7:30 a.m. CDT Wednesday, followed by the Energy Department's weekly inventory report at 9:30 a.m., including an update of ethanol production. Traders remain interested in the latest weather forecasts, events in Ukraine and growing evidence of global drought. Weather Wednesday features continued dry and warm across most central crop areas. Rainfall will focus on the Northern Plains and northern Midwest with light to moderate amounts, the Delta with locally heavy totals, and in the northern Rockies and Desert Southwest with potential flash flooding.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday August 23, 2022 |


USDA to Invest up to $300 million in New Organic Transition Initiative The Department of Agriculture Monday announced the details of a $300 million investment for a new Organic Transition Initiative. Funded in part by the American Rescue Plan, the initiative will help build new and better markets and income streams for farmers, according to USDA. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says, “we are expanding USDA’s support of organic farmers to help them with every step of their transition.” The number of non-certified organic farms actively transitioning to organic production dropped by nearly 71 percent since 2008. Through the comprehensive support provided by this initiative, USDA hopes to reverse the trend, opening opportunities for new and beginning farmers and expanding direct consumer access to organic foods through increased production. The initiative will deliver wrap-around technical assistance, including farmer-to-farmer mentoring, provide direct support through conservation financial assistance and additional crop insurance assistance, and support market development projects in targeted markets. *********************************************************************************** Farmland Prices, Equipment Sales, Decline in Monthly Index Farmland prices and farm equipment sales declined in the August Creighton University Rural Mainstreet Index. The overall index fell for the fifth straight month, for August slumped to 44.0 from 46.0 in July. The index ranges between 0 and 100, with a reading of 50.0 representing growth neutral. The region’s farmland price index for August declined to 60.0 from July’s 66.0, marking the 23rd straight month that the index has moved above growth neutral. August’s solid reading was the lowest index since February 2021. The August farm equipment-sales index sank to 45.9 from 56.5 in July. After 20 straight months of advancing above growth neutral, the index unexpectedly dropped below the threshold to its lowest level since November 2020. Index organizer Ernie Goss says, “Farmers and bankers are bracing for escalating interest rates and falling farm commodity prices.” However, bankers expect to record a 1.7 percent decline in farm loan delinquencies over the next 12 months. *********************************************************************************** Busy Week for USTR Officials Officials from the U.S. Trade Representative's Office have a busy schedule this week. Assistant United States Trade Representative for Central and South Asian Affairs, Christopher Wilson, and Assistant United States Trade Representative for Agricultural Affairs, Julie Callahan, started the week in New Delhi. The officials held consultations under the framework of the U.S.-India Trade Policy Forum. Those talks continue through Wednesday, then Wilson will travel to Bangladesh for discussions on a range of bilateral trade issues on Thursday. Meanwhile, today, (Tuesday), Ambassador Jayme White meets with officials from Mexico to follow up on the July U.S.-Mexico-Canada Free Trade Commission meeting. Assistant United States Trade Representative for Environment and Natural Resources Kelly Milton will take part in the public session of the United States-Chile EAC-ECC meeting. The travels this week follow last week’s announcement that the U.S. and Taiwan reached a consensus on the negotiating mandate for the U.S.-Taiwan Initiative on 21st-Century Trade announced, with negotiations planned for this fall. *********************************************************************************** Pro Farmer Crop Tour Underway Pro Farmer scouts are measuring the corn and soybean crop yield potential during this week’s Pro Farmer Crop Tour. Farmer-scouts and industry experts will cover corn and soybean fields across Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio and South Dakota during Crop Tour. Pro Farmer Editor Brian Grete says, “We know there are some trouble spots out there, areas that were dry in June and remained that way through pollination, but also many good areas where yields will be impressive.” Pro Farmer Crop Tour is the most thorough and most followed inspection of yield potential during a critical time in the growing season. Crop industry stakeholders watch results closely for insights around projected grain supplies and the effects on commodity markets. Daily results are presented during nightly meetings. Registration is required to attend the meetings or access live-streaming results. You can register at profarmer.com. Pro Farmer will release the final results of the tour Friday afternoon. *********************************************************************************** Adult Obesity Increased During First Year of COVID-19 Pandemic New data from USDA's Economic Research Service shows that U.S. adults ages 20 and older reported a three percent higher prevalence of obesity during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. The study analyzed data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System from March 13, 2020, to March 18, 2021, compared to a pre-pandemic baseline period of January 1, 2019, to March 12, 2020. Four behaviors that can influence the risk of obesity—exercise, hours of sleep, alcohol use, and cigarette smoking—were also examined to help explain the change in the adult obesity rate during the pandemic. Participation in exercise rose 4.4 percent over the period, and people slept 1.5 percent longer, both associated with reducing obesity. Meanwhile, the number of days in the period of a month in which alcohol was consumed was 2.7 percent higher, and cigarette smoking dropped by four percent. *********************************************************************************** Fuel Price Decline Enters 10th Straight Week The decline in fuel prices has extended to the 10th straight week. Gasoline prices fell 5.1 cents in the last week to $3.86 a gallon, while diesel prices fell 6.3 cents to $4.97 a gallon. The national average gas price is down 51.3 cents from a month ago but 72.2 cents higher than a year ago. GasBuddy’s Patrick D Haan says diesel prices are below $5 a gallon for the first time since March, “likely helping to cool off aggressive inflation numbers.” However, De Hann adds, “The pace of declines is certainly slowing down as oil prices have bounced up slightly.” Thus far, Mother Nature has spared markets from disruptions from hurricanes, but that remains a wildcard as we head into the peak of hurricane season. Oil markets rallied last week as global oil supply continues to tighten, but balancing concerns of an economic slowdown in many major developed countries.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday August 23, 2022 |


Tuesday Market Watch Markets A report on U.S. new home sales for July is due out at 9 a.m. CDT Tuesday, the only official report on the docket. Traders will continue to watch the latest weather forecasts, any news from Ukraine and for more specifics from the drought in China. Weather Warm and dry conditions will cover most primary crop areas Tuesday. This combination keeps pushing corn and soybeans in the latter stages of production. Rainfall will focus on the Delta with heavy amounts and a flood threat.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday August 22, 2022 |


USDA Announces Another Phase of Disaster Assistance The USDA announced another phase of assistance will be forthcoming to commodity and specialty crop producers impacted by natural disasters in 2020 and 2021. Over 18,000 producers will soon be mailed new or updated pre-filled disaster applications to offset eligible crop losses. About $6.4 billion has already reached 165,000 producers through the Farm Service Agency’s Emergency Relief Program. “We knew when we announced ERP in May that we would have additional applications to send near the end of the summer as we received new information and found producers left out of the first data set we used,” says USDA Undersecretary for Farm Production and Conservation Robert Bonnie. FSA will mail those pre-filled applications in late August to producers who have potentially eligible losses. Bonnie says he's proud of his team’s continued efforts to help over 18,000 producers who need the assistance. Contact your local FSA office for additional information on eligibility requirements. *********************************************************************************** Drought Conditions Improve Slightly in the Western Corn Belt The U.S. Drought Monitor says the amount of land facing drought eased a little in the western Corn Belt but was largely unchanged in the Midwest. In a six-state region, including Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota, approximately 51 percent of the land suffered under drought conditions. That’s down from 53 percent during the previous week and 72 percent only three months ago. In the eastern part of the Midwest, including Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky, about 14.5 percent of the area was in drought. That’s down slightly from 15 percent the prior week but up from less than one percent three months ago. Iowa, the nation’s biggest corn producer, has 39 percent of its land in a drought, up 6.9 percent from May. Illinois, the second-largest producer of corn and soybeans, only has five percent of its area in a drought. *********************************************************************************** Ethanol Industry May Get Help From Climate Law President Biden’s new climate law offers a major expansion in tax credits for companies that capture and store carbon emissions. Reuters says that could give the ethanol industry a significant boost toward achieving its climate goals. The ethanol industry intends to use carbon capture and storage technology to reach its goal of net-zero emissions by 2050. A group of projects that could benefit from the expanded credits is a series of pipeline proposals in the Midwest that could capture and transport ethanol plant emissions. Three companies intend to put up over 3,600 miles of pipelines from ethanol plants in six states to underground carbon storage sites. The three companies say the projects have the potential of capturing up to 39 million tons of carbon every year. That could potentially mean more than $3.3 billion in tax credits for the businesses. The pipelines are currently in the permitting stages in each state. *********************************************************************************** There is Still Time to Apply for ASA Conservation Legacy Awards There is still time for farmers to share how conservation is a part of their operation and maybe win a Conservation Legacy Award. The award recognizes farm management practices of U.S. soybean farmers that are both environmentally friendly and profitable. Reduced tillage, cover crops, and improving water quality are just a few of the conservation practices that are eligible for the reward. Different regions of the country have their unique challenges and ways to approach conservation and sustainability. All U.S. soybean farmers are eligible for a Conservation Legacy Award. Entries are judged on soil management, water management, input management, conservation, environmental management, and sustainability. The selection process for the awards is divided into four regions, which are the Midwest, Upper Midwest, Northeast, and South. One farmer from each region will get recognized at the 2023 Commodity Classic in Orlando, Florida, and one will be the overall winner. The registration deadline is September 1. *********************************************************************************** Improving Photosynthesis Means a 20 Percent Boost in Soybean Yields For the first time, researchers have proven that multigene bioengineering of photosynthesis increases major food crop yields in field trials. A collaborative team led by the University of Illinois has worked on this project for more than ten years. Project researchers have transgenically altered soybean plants to increase the efficiency of photosynthesis, resulting in greater yields without a loss of quality. These results come at an important time. A recent United Nations report shows that nearly 10 percent of the world’s population was hungry in 2021. By 2030, UNICEF says more than 660 million people will likely face food scarcity and malnutrition. Photosynthesis is the natural process all plants use to convert sunlight into energy and yield. Project researchers say the 100-plus step photosynthesis process is surprisingly inefficient, so they’ve been working to improve it. The lead scientist says data shows the food supply level needs to grow significantly to meet the demand. *********************************************************************************** USDA Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry Outlook for August U.S. export numbers of eggs, turkey, and pork in the first half of 2022 were all down compared to the first half of last year, but exports of broiler meat and beef were higher. Egg and turkey exports, down 38 and 20 percent, respectively, were hurt by the outbreak of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza. Egg exports to Canada were flat, but there were significant decreases in major markets like Mexico, Japan, and Hong Kong. Exports of turkey to Mexico, one of the top destinations, were down 18 percent year over year. Pork exports were down 18 percent year over year due to weaker demand in the Asian markets. Broiler exports were up three percent, with exports to Taiwan increasing over 64 percent from last year. That helped to offset decreases in major markets like Mexico and Cuba. U.S. animal products may continue facing headwinds like a strong U.S. dollar making American exports more expensive.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday August 22, 2022 |


Monday Watch List Markets Back from the weekend, traders are keeping close track of the latest weather forecasts, events from Ukraine and growing evidence of global drought. USDA's weekly report of grain inspections is due out at 10:00 a.m. CDT Monday, followed by Crop Progress at 3 p.m. Weather Dry and seasonally warm conditions will cover most primary crop areas Monday. This combination is favorable for filling crops. Some beneficial rain moved across the Midwest during the past week. Meanwhile, portions of the Southern Plains and Delta will have moderate to heavy rain, notably in northern and northeastern Texas.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday August 19, 2022 |


U.S. and Taiwan Start Negotiations on Formal 21st Century Trade Initiative The United States and Taiwan reached an agreement on the negotiating mandate for the U.S.-Taiwan Initiative on 21st Century trade that was announced on June 1. The negotiating mandate sets out the broad objectives shared by both countries for the upcoming negotiations. The first round of talks will likely take place in the early fall. “Today, we begin negotiations with Taiwan that will deepen our trade and investment relationship, advance mutual trade priorities based on shared values, and promote innovation and inclusive economic growth for our workers and businesses,” says Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Sarah Bianchi. The U.S. and Taiwan have set a robust agenda for negotiations on trade facilitation, good regulatory practices, strong anti-corruption standards, and enhancing trade between small and medium enterprises in both countries. “We plan to pursue an ambitious schedule for achieving high-standard commitments and meaningful outcomes to help build a prosperous 21st-century economy,” Bianchi adds. *********************************************************************************** Western Farmers to be Impacted by Emergency Water Usage Cuts Seven western states that rely on Colorado River water were told by government officials to develop a plan to dramatically reduce water usage by as much as four million acre-feet. The L.A. Times says those negotiations didn’t result in an agreement, so the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced new emergency water cuts for states like Arizona and Nevada and in Mexico as the nation’s two biggest reservoirs are at historically low levels. “In order to avoid a catastrophic collapse of the Colorado River System and a future of uncertainty and conflict, water use in the basin must get reduced,” says Tanya Trujillo (True-HEE-yoh), assistant secretary for water and science with the Interior Department. Under the Tier 2 Shortage Declaration, Arizona’s yearly water allotment is reduced by 21 percent, Nevada’s by eight percent, and Mexico’s by seven percent. “Every sector state has a responsibility to ensure water gets used with maximum efficiency,” Trujillo adds. *********************************************************************************** Dairy Groups Tout Nutrition as Schools Reopen Almost 50 million children are returning to public schools, and a group of dairy and nutrition advocates encourages parents and policymakers to remember dairy. The dairy advocates say when it comes to the health of students, milk and dairy product options need to be more accessible during the school year. The group released a fact sheet pointing out that milk is the top source of calcium, potassium, phosphorous, and vitamin D in kids ages 2-18. Unfortunately, the USDA and the Department of Health and Human Services say children over four and adolescents aren’t getting enough dairy to meet the recommendations in the federal Dietary Guidelines, missing out on several nutrients they need to grow. Michael Dykes of the International Dairy Foods Association says, “School meals are an important opportunity for children to get the nutrients they need. Now is when we need to work together to encourage nutritious milk consumption every day.” *********************************************************************************** Taco Bell Ventures Into Plant-Based Meat Market Taco Bell is getting into the plant-based meat market. The company says it’s testing a proprietary product in the market around Birmingham, Alabama. The Wall Street Journal says the company has been working on the soy and pea-based product for three years. It’s debuting in a Crispy Melt Taco that’s made with a white corn shell tortilla. Taco Bell’s Chief Innovation Officer Liz Matthews says the product will cost $2.49 and that price affordability was critical to an accurate market test. The cost has been a challenge in testing other plant-based products as they typically cost 40 percent more than animal-based products. “It was important not to have an upcharge,” Matthews says. “We wanted to ensure that this product is as affordable and accessible as our seasoned beef.” The company wanted to get the taste and consistency right so that customers couldn’t tell the difference between the plant-based and animal-based offerings. *********************************************************************************** Lamb Board Studying the Industry’s Environmental Footprint The American Lamb Board’s benchmark research on the environmental footprint of America’s lamb industry is within months of wrapping up. The research is funded by the mandatory American Lamb Checkoff and focuses on collecting data from representative U.S. sheep farms, ranches, and feedlots related to greenhouse gas emissions. The study will cover four types of operations, including intensive production, intensive grazing, extensive grazing, and range. From the data, Michigan State University researchers will compare the amount of greenhouse gasses required to produce one kilogram of lamb from each production type. “We must have solid, actual data on American lamb production’s environmental footprint,” says ALB Chair Peter Camino (Kah-MEE-no). “We need to have science to accurately tell our U.S. lamb story instead of assumptive data that doesn’t paint a realistic picture of the industry.” ALB also says it’s time to establish some benchmark data to work on weaknesses and build on industry strengths. *********************************************************************************** Iowa Steer Show Raises Over $400,000 for Ronald McDonald House A list of Iowa VIPs helped raise a record-breaking amount of money for those in need. The Iowa Governor’s Charity Steer Show is an Iowa tradition that pairs famous people together with steer exhibitors to benefit charity. The Des Moines Register says this year’s event raised over $440,000 for the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Iowa, surpassing last year’s total of $375,000. “It’s hard to comprehend what kind of impact that much money can have for Iowa families,” say co-chairs Tanner Lawton and Casey Anderson. “The compassion shown by all of our participants is what makes this such a special event.” This was the 40th annual event, which has raised more than $5 million since starting in 1983. The Ronald McDonald House organization supports families with children experiencing a critical illness. The Iowa Beef Industry Council, Iowa Cattlemen’s Association, and the office of Governor Kim Reynolds co-hosted the event this year.

| Rural Advocate News | Friday August 19, 2022 |


Friday Watch List Markets Events at the Europe's largest nuclear plant in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine, are getting increased attention as Russia's attack has put the plant at risk of leaking radiation or possibly, experiencing a meltdown. Otherwise, traders will pay attention to weather and the only significant report of the day, USDA's Cattle on Feed report for Aug. 1, due out at 2 p.m. CDT. Weather Showers and thunderstorms are in store for the northern Midwest Friday. The rain will expand into more of the Midwest during the weekend with favorable late-season crop moisture. We'll also see periods of rainfall in the southeastern and southwestern U.S. with expansion across the far Southern Plains indicated over the next few days. The Far West and Northwest heat wave continues but with less intensity than earlier this week.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday August 18, 2022 |


Biofuel Groups Welcome President’s Signature on IRA Biofuel groups welcome signage of the Inflation Adjustment Act this week. The sweeping legislation includes key priorities for the biofuels industry. The legislation signed by the president earlier this week includes an extension for tax credits for carbon oxide sequestration and utilization, the Clean Fuel Production Credit starting in 2025 and expiring at the end of 2027 to produce low-carbon fuels, and five tears of sustainable aviation fuel credits. Additionally, the legislation includes $500 million for biofuels infrastructure through the end of 2031, an extension of the Biomass-Based Diesel Blenders Credit, and a $300 million grant program to increase domestic production and deployment of sustainable aviation fuel. Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Geoff Cooper says, "This bill puts ethanol on a sustainable path for growth and investment.” Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor adds, “Biofuels are critical to meeting climate goals, and this law will help maximize our industry's contributions to a cleaner future. “ *********************************************************************************** RIPE Responds to IRA, Urges Change in Payment Model to Producers Rural Investment to Protect our Environment, or RIPE, applauds the inclusion of $20 billion for climate-smart agricultural practices in the Inflation Reduction Act. However, RIPE urges lawmakers to shift funds away from the cost-share model in favor of payments that provide producers with a reasonable return for conservation. RIPE Executive Director Aliza Drewes says, “We believe that new funds intended for climate-smart agriculture should set payment levels to cover the full cost of practice implementation.” While the IRA offers significant funding, the group claims most producers will not seek to use them because the payment terms are limited to cost-share requirements. RIPE is a producer-led nonprofit advancing a unique climate policy plan for farmers, ranchers and the public, and advocates for the implementation of the RIPE100 policy. The policy would allow farmers and ranchers to earn payments that reflect the benefits they deliver with a price floor above implementation cost, economic risks and future climate policy costs. *********************************************************************************** USAID Purchasing Ukrainian Wheat for UN Food Program The U.S. Agency for International Development, known as USAID, is providing more than $68 million in additional funding to the UN World Food Program. The funding supports the purchase, movement and storage of up to 150,000 metric tons of Ukrainian wheat to help respond to the world’s worst food crises. Before Russia's invasion, Ukraine was one of the World Food Program's top grain suppliers and the fourth largest commercial wheat exporter. Opening the Ukrainian market is a vital step forward in the emergency response, according to USAID, which says the world is facing its most severe food crisis in decades. USAID supported the first humanitarian grain shipment to leave the Black Sea this week. The shipment will support the humanitarian response in the Horn of Africa. The United States has provided nearly $7.6 billion in assistance to respond to the global food security crisis since the beginning of Russia’s war against Ukraine. *********************************************************************************** Farmers Receive 15-18% of Retail Price for Fresh Potatoes USDA’s Economic Research Service reports the farm share of the retail price of potatoes fluctuated between 15 percent and 18 percent in recent years. The farm share of the retail price is the ratio of what farmers receive to what consumers pay per pound in grocery stores. The national monthly average price of fresh potatoes was $0.78 per pound at grocery stores in 2021, and the monthly average price received by farmers was $0.12 per pound. As part of the farm share calculation, the USDA Economic Research Service assumes that farmers supply a little more than 1.04 pounds of fresh potatoes for each pound sold at retail to account for the roughly four percent of fresh potatoes that is lost through spoilage or damage. Therefore, at an average farm price of $0.12 per pound, the farm receipt was 12.5 cents for each pound of potatoes sold in 2021, about 16 percent of the retail price. *********************************************************************************** Former House Ag Lawmaker Faces Fraud Charges A former member of the House Agriculture Committee faces fraud charges. The Department of Justice this week released a 28-count indictment against TJ Cox, a Democrat who represented California’s 21st District between 2019-2021. According to the indictment, Cox perpetrated multiple fraud schemes targeting companies he was affiliated with and their clients and vendors. Cox created unauthorized off-the-books bank accounts and diverted client and company money into those accounts through false representations. From 2013 to 2018, Cox obtained over $1.7 million in diverted client payments and company loans and investments across two different fraud schemes. According to allegations in the indictment, when Cox was a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives in the 2018 election, he perpetrated a scheme to fund and reimburse family members and associates for donations to his campaign. During his time on the Agriculture Committee, Cox sat on the Livestock and Foreign Agriculture Subcommittee, along with the Biotechnology, Horticulture and Research Subcommittee. *********************************************************************************** Scholarships to Help Producers Attend Cattle Industry Convention The 2023 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show is headed to New Orleans next year, and funding is available to offset some costs for producers. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association offers a variety of scholarships and grants to help producers attend CattleCon23, February 1-3, 2023, in New Orleans. NCBA President Don Schiefelbein says, “These scholarships are perfect for youth, first-timers and others looking to expand their network at the largest event in the beef cattle business.” Scholarship recipients receive a complimentary Education Package registration and discounted housing accommodations for three nights. Scholarships will be awarded to up to five beef cattle industry members, up to three young beef producers, and up to three students in the industry. Applications for all scholarship categories are due by September 23, 2022, and will be evaluated based on eligibility and answers to application questions. For more information about the scholarship program, visit convention.ncba.org.

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday August 18, 2022 |


Thursday Watch List Markets USDA's weekly export sales report is set for 7:30 a.m. CDT, the same time as weekly U.S. jobless claims and an update of the U.S. Drought Monitor. A 9 a.m., a report on U.S. existing home sales in July and the Conference Board's index of U.S. leading indicators will be released, followed by the Energy Department's weekly natural gas storage at 9:30 a.m. Not surprising, the latest weather forecasts remain an important trader topic. Weather Dry conditions with seasonally warm temperatures are in store across the central U.S. Thursday. Showers and thunderstorms will cross the northern tier, and a broad swath of light to moderate rain is in store for the southern tier. Meanwhile, the Far West and Northwest will have another day of excessive stressful heat. The Southwest is in line for flooding monsoon rain during the balance of this week.

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday August 17, 2022 |


Biden Signs Inflation Adjustment Act President Joe Biden Tuesday signed the Inflation Adjustment Act, a bill that includes billions for USDA conservation programs. Brooke S. Appleton, National Corn Growers Association vice president of public policy, says, “Through this legislation, Congress and the administration recognize that farmers’ voluntary climate-smart agricultural practices are an important part of addressing climate change.” The law allocates $19.9 billion in funding for USDA's conservation programs and $1 billion for additional conservation technical assistance. To advance biofuels, the legislation includes $500 million for infrastructure for greater market deployment of higher blends of biofuels, and new tax credits based on carbon reduction to incentivize clean fuels such as biofuels like ethanol and new sustainable aviation fuel. Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow, a Michigan Democrat, welcomed the president's signature on the bill. Stabenow says, "we are equipping farmers, foresters, and rural communities with the tools they need to be a part of the climate solution, while boosting their economic success at the same time." *********************************************************************************** Ukraine Ag Exports Down Roughly 50% Ag exports from Ukraine are down 46 percent this year, compared to 2021, according to Ukraine’s agriculture ministry. So far, Ukraine has exported 2.65 million metric tons of grain during the 2022-23 growing season. Grain exports for the 2021-22 season ending June 30 rose 8.5 percent to 48.5 million metric tons, driven by strong shipments before Russia invaded Ukraine, according to Reuters. Since, exports have stalled because the Black Sea ports were closed off, driving fears of higher food prices and even shortages. However, those ports we unblocked last month, and Ukraine began exporting products. Ukraine's Ministry of Agrarian Policy reports the country exported 2.66 million metric tons of grains and oilseeds in July 2022, 22.7 percent more than June. Exports of wheat increased more than three times in July to about 412,000 tons compared to 138,400 tons shipped for export in June. Ukraine could harvest up to 50 million metric tons of grain this year, compared to 86 million in 2021. *********************************************************************************** USDA Releases Latest Wheat Outlook Report The August Wheat Outlook Report from the Department of Agriculture shows Russia, Canada and the United States are all expected to recover from their production issues last year. The report shows Global 2022-23 wheat production is pegged at a record 779.6 million metric tons. Production for Russia is expected at a record 88.0 million metric tons. The Canadian Prairies have received ample rains to recover from the devasting drought in 2021-22. The U.S. Northern Plains and Pacific Northwest have recovered from a major drought last year, but year-to-year growth in production is constrained by drought in the Southern Plains. U.S. wheat production is forecast at 1.783 billion bushels, up two million bushels from the July forecast. On the other hand, Argentina and Australia are projected down from their record production in 2021-22. A major heat wave has limited the European Union's yield potential. And the ongoing conflict in Ukraine creates a challenge for producers to harvest, and growing conditions have been below average, which has limited yield potential. *********************************************************************************** Soy-Based Asphalt Installed at Farm Progress Show Site Soybean farmers attending the 2022 Farm Progress Show will have the opportunity to experience the value of their soy checkoff investments in research and development firsthand. An installation of more than 42,000 square feet of soy-based asphalt, sponsored by the Iowa Soybean Association, has been completed at the Central Iowa Expo Grounds near Boone, Iowa, just in time for the event. As high oleic soybean acres continue to increase, more end users are realizing the value of this soybean variety and the corresponding added value it brings to a range of products, including asphalt. April Hemmes, United Soybean Board member from Iowa, says, “Our goal in funding this project is to highlight the diversity of high oleic soybean oil and its potential for use in pavement, coverings and coatings.” The binding agent, developed with high oleic soybean oil, increases asphalt durability and offers a more environmentally sustainable alternative to traditional binding agents. *********************************************************************************** USCA Announces Independent Beef Producer and Processor's Online Directory The U.S. Cattlemen's Association Tuesday announced the Independent Beef Producer and Processor's online directory. The network is intended to be a resource for those seeking new connections within the industry. The directory is for producers looking for regional processors, processors seeking local producers and consumers interested in sourcing local beef. USCA Independent Processors Committee Chairman Patrick Robinette says, “This directory has been a priority for the USCA processing committee as consumers continue to seek out local beef options and producers continue to explore efficient and affordable ways to get it to them.” To register as a producer or processor, head to uscattlemen.org to find more information and the application link. You must be a U.S. Cattlemen's Association member to post to the directory. In January, the Biden administration unveiled its Action Plan for a Fairer, More Competitive, and More Resilient Meat and Poultry Supply Chain. USCA supports the Action Plan, which included a $1 billion investment in independent processing capacity. *********************************************************************************** Membership in National FFA Organization Reaches All-Time High The National FFA Organization Tuesday announced a record-high student membership number of 850,823, an increase of 15 percent from last year. In addition, chapter numbers increased by 178, resulting in 8,995 chapters in the United States, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Interest in FFA and agricultural education continues to grow as membership and the number of chapters increase. The top five student membership states are Texas, California, Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee. This year, the organization has more than 132,700 Latino members, more than 47,000 Black members and more than 13,000 American Indian and Alaska Native members. Further, 43 percent of the membership is female, and 50 percent is male, with .5 percent reporting as nonbinary, 4.7 percent undisclosed, and 1.2 percent unreported. National FFA CEO Scott Stump adds, “As we continue to grow, we see the enthusiasm for agricultural education and FFA reflected in our membership.”

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday August 17, 2022 |


Wednesday Watch List Markets A report on U.S. retail sales in July is due out at 7:30 a.m. CDT Wednesday, followed by the U.S. Energy Department's weekly inventory report at 9:30 a.m. Monday's report from USDA showed a slightly lower value for corn products so last week's ethanol production is expected to come in steady to lower than the previous week. At 1 p.m., the Fed will release minutes from the latest Open Market Committee meeting. Weather and Ukraine remain high on the list of traders' attention. Weather Dry and mild conditions will cover most primary crop areas Wednesday, favorable for filling row crops along with wheat harvest. Rain will focus on the Southern Plains and Delta in the form of light to locally moderate showers and thunderstorms. Meanwhile, stressful hot and dry conditions are in store for the Far West and Northwest.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday August 16, 2022 |


Tai, Vilsack, to Visit Iowa This Week U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack head to Iowa this week. The duo from the Biden administration will join Representative Cindy Axne, an Iowa Democrat, for a series of events focused on trade. Specifically, they will promote the administration's work to expand market access for U.S. farmers and help them bring their goods to customers worldwide. Ambassador Tai and Secretary Vilsack will also promote the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act, along with the CHIPS and Science Act, which they say will lower costs for Iowa families, reduce inflation, and help the United States maintain its global competitive edge. Because of the Inflation Reduction Act, the CHIPS and Science Act, and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Tai says, “the United States is in a stronger position to maintain our global competitive edge for years to come." Meanwhile, Vilsack will also travel to Colorado this week for similar events promoting the Inflation Adjustment Act. *********************************************************************************** Republicans Concerned Over Inflation Adjustment Act House Democrats passed the Inflation Adjustment Act last week following action in the Senate. President Joe Biden is expected to sign the legislation this week. However, the partisan bill has Republicans concerned about the upcoming farm bill. Glen GT Thompson of Pennsylvania is the ranking Republican on the House Agriculture Committee. Following passage of the Inflation Adjustment Act in the House, Thompson stated, "My Democrat colleagues are either politically deaf or blinded by ideology as they ignore 40-year high inflation, exorbitant food and fertilizer prices, severe labor shortages, and relentless overregulation from the Biden Administration." Thompson contends the legislation "only complicates the pathway to a Farm Bill and creates even greater uncertainty for farmers." However, House Agriculture Committee Chair David Scott, A Georgia Democrat, says, "My colleagues may complain about the steps we had to take to ensure this additional funding,” but adds that Republicans have taken similar actions with the Farm Bill. *********************************************************************************** USDA Touts Inflation Reduction Act Funding for Conservation The Department of Agriculture Monday promoted the funding included in the Inflation Reduction Act for USDA conservation programs. The legislation will deliver $19.5 billion in new conservation funding to support climate-smart agriculture. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says, "President Biden and Congress have taken an important, historic step towards easing the burden of inflation on the American public and meeting the moment on climate." The funding will bolster the new steps that USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service announced Monday to improve opportunities for nutrient management. NRCS will target funding, increase program flexibilities, and launch a new outreach campaign to promote nutrient management's economic benefits and expand partnerships to develop nutrient management plans. This is part of USDA's broader effort to address future fertilizer availability and cost challenges for U.S. producers. Through USDA’s conservation programs, farmers will have streamlined opportunities to improve their nutrient management planning, which provides conservation benefits while mitigating the impacts of supply chain disruptions and increased input costs. *********************************************************************************** USDA: Beef Producers Face Higher Inputs U.S. beef producers face higher input costs this year, predicted up seven percent compared to 2021. USDA’s Economic Research Service reported Monday the farmer’s share of the retail value of beef also increased year over year, but rising input costs, especially for cattle feed, may limit farmers’ ability to benefit from higher cattle prices. Feed expenses are the largest operating cost for cow-calf producers, comprising 75 percent of these costs in 2021. Prices for beef cattle feed were up 16 percent in May 2022 relative to May 2021. High fertilizer prices have contributed to increased feed costs, while drought conditions have squeezed feed grain and hay supplies. The 2021/22 season-average farm price for corn—the primary grain fed to cattle—is currently projected at $5.95 per bushel, the highest since the 2012/13 marketing year. Other feed grains, including sorghum, oats, and barley, are projected to increase in 2021/22 relative to 2020/21. *********************************************************************************** NACD Announces $15 Million in 2022 Technical Assistance Grants The National Association of Conservation Districts Monday announced $15 million in technical assistance grants. The grants continue funding to nearly 500 conservation districts in 49 states and territories. Funded by USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service, the grant program is in its fifth year. The program allows NACD to accelerate on-the-ground conservation by increasing the capacity available to conduct outreach and deliver technical assistance. Grant funding supports over 490 positions, including technicians, conservation planners, program support specialists and technical specialists. All these employees will provide conservation technical assistance to help customers carry out their conservation plans. Over the life of the program, grantees have delivered services in 50 states and three territories. Conservation districts have awarded more than 30,000 Farm Bill conservation contracts and assisted with over 55,000 additional EQIP contracts. Their work has benefitted over 2.5 million acres, improving soil health, forest and woodland conditions, wildlife habitat, and water quality. ********************************************************************************** USDA Recommends Adding Food Safety Items to Your Back-to-School List With August being back-to-school season, the Department of Agriculture reminds parents to include food safety items on their shopping list. Sandra Eskin, USDA Deputy Undersecretary for Food Safety, says, “Because children are particularly at risk for serious foodborne illness, food safety must be at the top of the list when preparing lunches for school and field trips.” When preparing school lunches, or food for children at any time for that matter, USDA provides a few tips to enhance food safety. First, USDA suggests that you clean and sanitize surfaces and utensils to prevent cross-contamination during food prep. Additionally, different colored cutting boards can help keep meat and poultry separate from ready-to-eat foods, such as fruits and vegetables. Using food thermometers can help determine whether cooked foods reach a safe temperature to kill any harmful bacteria. Also, to keep perishable food safe in a lunch box, use cold gel packs combined with a frozen juice box or bottle of water.

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday August 16, 2022 |


Tuesday Watch List Markets U.S. housing starts for July are set to be released at 7:30 a.m. CDT Tuesday, followed by the Federal Reserve's July report on U.S. industrial production at 9:15 a.m. Traders will continue to examine the latest weather forecasts and news out of Ukraine and China. Weather A front continues its trek southward, bringing much more seasonable temperatures to the country. This is resulting in moderate to locally heavy precipitation in and around Missouri throughout the day. Other isolated showers will be possible west to Colorado, in the Upper Midwest, and across the East, but the rains in the middle of the country are coming to drought areas in desperate need. Heat will unfortunately continue south of the front and across the West.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday August 15, 2022 |


USDA Forecasts Lower Corn Production and Higher Soybean Production Than Last Year The USDA’s National Ag Statistics Service forecasted U.S. corn production down from 2021 and soybean production up from last year. The corn production forecast is 14.4 billion bushels, down five percent from last year. Soybean production is forecast at 4.53 billion bushels, up two percent from 2021. Average corn yield is forecast at 175.4 bushels an acre, down 1.6 bushels from 2021. USDA says soybean yields will average a record-high of 51.9 bushels an acre, a half-bushel higher than last year. Wheat production is predicted at 1.78 billion bushels, eight percent higher than in 2021. Growers will likely produce 1.20 billion bushels of winter wheat, down six percent from last year. Spring wheat forecast is 55 percent higher this year at 512 million bushels. NASS forecasts all cotton production at 12.6 million 480-pound bales, 28 percent lower than last year. Yield will average 846 pounds per harvested acre, up 27 pounds from 2021. *********************************************************************************** WASDE Calls for Lower Corn, Higher Soybean Ending Stocks The World Ag Supply and Demand Estimates Report predicted lower 2022-2023 U.S. corn supplies, reduced feed and residual use, slightly higher food, seed, and industrial use, smaller exports, and lower ending stocks. With supply falling more than usage, stocks dropped 82 million bushels to 1.4 billion. The season-average corn price is unchanged at $6.65 a bushel. U.S. soybean supplies are projected to be 4.8 billion bushels, 36 million higher than last month. Soybean exports are up by 20 million bushels to 2.16 billion on increased supplies. Ending stocks are forecast higher at 245 million bushels, and the season-average soybean price is down slightly to $14.35 a bushel. The wheat outlook shows higher supplies, higher domestic use and exports, and reduced stocks. The projected ending stocks dropped to 610 million bushels. Even though it dropped by $1.25, the season-average farm price is still projected at a record $9.25 a bushel. *********************************************************************************** Solid Farm Economy Shows Signs of Slowing The Kansas City Federal Reserve says financial conditions in its district remained solid in the second quarter, but survey respondents say signs of slowing growth are likely in the months ahead. Farm real estate values grew rapidly in recent quarters, but those valuations moderated in the second quarter alongside recent drops in agricultural commodity prices. Farm income remained stronger than last year, but an increase in farm loan interest rates, drought, higher input costs, and the pullback in commodity prices likely contributed to a slightly less optimistic outlook for the farm economy than the previous quarter. While this year’s outlook is still positive, lenders reported growing concerns about 2023. A larger share of lenders reported significant increases in production expenses for producers compared to 2021. Severe drought has reduced hay and forage for livestock and contributed to higher feed costs. Despite concerns, loan repayment problems dropped to the lowest level in seven years. *********************************************************************************** New England Residents Can Still Have Pork on the Table New England residents who love pork caught a break. A Massachusetts federal court judge signed a court order approving an agreement to delay enforcement of a state law banning the sale of pork that comes from animals not raised under the state’s housing standards. A coalition led by the National Pork Producers Council filed suit seeking to stop the law’s impending implementation. The suit also asks the court to find the law unconstitutional. “This is a significant outcome as NPPC continues to push to preserve the rights of America’s pig farmers to raise hogs in the way that’s best for their animals and maintains a reliable supply of pork,” says Terry Wolters, president of the NPPC. “The impact would have been especially hard on producers in surrounding states who didn’t have a vote in the Massachusetts referendum.” The agreement ends 30 days after the Supreme Court decides on a suit against California’s Prop 12. *********************************************************************************** Gas Prices Drop Below Four Dollars a Gallon The American Automobile Association says the national average price of regular gasoline fell below four dollars a gallon. The national average was $3.99 a gallon last week, a sharp drop from the record high of five dollars a gallon in mid-June. Prices haven’t been below four dollars since March. Oil prices worldwide have dropped amid rising concern about the global economy, which has taken gas prices lower as well. Brent, the global benchmark for oil prices, has fallen under $100 per barrel, down from more than $120 in June. NPR says industry analysts expect prices will continue falling but how long that will continue depends on what happens to oil prices in the future. Global economic concerns, especially as food and energy prices climb, will continue to determine the amount of oil demand. Oil producers in the U.S. and around the world worry about overproducing oil given the world’s economic fears. *********************************************************************************** FBN Releases 2022 Corn and Soybean Yield Report Farmer Business Network released its 2022 U.S. Corn and Soybean Yield Report. According to a recent survey, analysts expect the U.S. corn yield to be 175.9 bushels per acre, and soybeans will average 51.1 bushels per acre. FBN’s latest model-based yield forecast is 170 bushels per acre for U.S. corn and 50.7 for soybeans. Among their key findings for corn, yields in Iowa and Nebraska are expected to be significantly below the strong yields of 2021. Yield expectations decreased in Missouri and the Dakotas while Indiana and Ohio have the strongest yield improvements. Soybean findings show most states are set to have smaller yields compared with last year, with the exception of the Northern Plains. Missouri, Nebraska, and South Dakota have lower yield outlooks accounting for the majority of this year’s expected decrease. FBN’s current prediction of lower U.S. yields puts the balance sheet in a position to have declining stocks.

| Rural Advocate News | Monday August 15, 2022 |


Monday Watch List Markets Back from the weekend, traders will still be considering USDA's new estimates from Friday, keeping close track of the latest weather forecasts and watching for any news from Ukraine. USDA's weekly report of grain export inspections is due out at 10 a.m. CDT Monday, followed by NOPA's monthly soybean crush report at 11 a.m. and USDA's Crop Progress report at 3 p.m. Weather A system setting up a cold front across the Central Plains into the Ohio Valley is active Monday morning with moderate to heavy rain in southern South Dakota and Nebraska and will get into southwest Iowa later today. All of these areas are in desperate need of rainfall and look to get it. Heat continues south of here with triple-digit temperatures yet again for the Central and Southern Plains and perhaps the Delta as well. Cool temperatures through the rest of the Corn Belt are easing stress for filling corn and soybeans

| Rural Advocate News | Friday August 12, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Friday August 12, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday August 11, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday August 11, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday August 10, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday August 10, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday August 9, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday August 9, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Monday August 8, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Monday August 8, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Friday August 5, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Friday August 5, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday August 4, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday August 4, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday August 4, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday August 3, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday August 3, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday August 2, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday August 2, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Monday August 1, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Monday August 1, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Friday July 29, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Friday July 29, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday July 28, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Thursday July 28, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday July 27, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Wednesday July 27, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday July 26, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Tuesday July 26, 2022 |


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

| Rural Advocate News | Monday July 25, 2022 |


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