Friday, May 13, 2022

Thursday May 12 Ag News

Fischer, Colleagues Demand NEPA Review of Biden Admin’s 30x30 Initiative

U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), a member of the Senate Ag Committee, joined 20 of her colleagues in a letter to White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) Chair Brenda Mallory. In the letter, the senators urge the council to adhere to the National Environmental Policy Act requirements and undergo the proper analysis and public comment period for the Biden Administration’s goal of conserving at least 30 percent of our lands and waters by 2030. This policy is otherwise known as “30x30.”

“To reach 30 percent by 2030, hundreds of millions of acres of land and water will be impacted. A program of this magnitude requires solid legal authority and a clear plan, yet the Administration has articulated neither, leaving our constituents in the dark. What is clear, however, is the Departments are implementing the 30x30 initiative without first analyzing the program’s public and environmental impact, as required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). We are calling on you to refrain from any actions in the furtherance of 30x30 until a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) has been completed and the legal authority under which this major federal program is proceeding has been disclosed,” wrote the senators.

The letter argues 30x30, which despite the promises of transparency and consultation, is moving forward without public input, constitutes a major federal action and is thus subject to NEPA to ensure federal agencies identify and carefully consider the program’s impact on the environment, economy, and those affected.

“Without full disclosure of the details of the 30x30 program, its environmental, budgetary, and legal impacts remain unknown and the public is left in the dark. This is hardly the open and transparent process the Administration promised,” wrote the senators.

The letter also requests the Departments provide the exact legal authority the Biden Administration is using to carry out this initiative by June 15, 2022.

“At minimum, it is the Administration’s obligation to provide a plan, legal justification, and venue for the public to participate,” continued the senators.

The letter was led by Sens. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) and Roger Marshall (R-KS).

Additional cosigners include Sens. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Jim Risch (R-ID), John Hoeven (R-ND), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Mitt Romney (R-UT), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Joni Ernst (R-IA), James Lankford (R-OK), John Thune (R-SD), John Cornyn (R-TX), and Ted Cruz (R-TX).

Schaneman Completes USGC Internship, Reflects On Experience

For the past year, Payton Schaneman has served as an intern in the U.S. Grains Council’s (USGC’s) global programs department in Washington, D.C. Schaneman completed his Nebraska Corn Board-sponsored internship on Friday, May 6.

During his time with the Council, Schaneman assisted with the organization with many programs and trade teams, including the Mexican yellow corn team and the Mexican white corn team.

“Payton had a unique internship experience with the Council over the past 12 months. Typically, our interns would be involved in the implementation of in-person programming, with a focus on trade teams. Instead, Payton was actively involved in the Council’s pivot to virtual programs, helping us navigate the technologies that have allowed us to reach a larger audience in the virtual world and communicate more effectively with our international staff,” said Emily Byron, USGC director of global programs. “In turn, this pivot provided Payton the opportunity to take part in many of our virtual programs and better understand our global strategy.”

While many moments from his internship stood out, Schaneman especially enjoyed his visit to former Council Chairman Chip Councell’s farm in Maryland.

“It was amazing learning about Chip Councell’s Maryland farm and how he has felt impacted by the work of the Council,” Schaneman said.

Other moments that stood out for Schaneman include his time attending the Virginia Farm Show and his involvement with the Heineken barley virtual meeting. He said he most appreciated learning more about the Council and the work it does around the world.

“My favorite part about spending the year with the Council was learning the ins-and-outs of how the organization creates relationships with U.S. farmers and producers, exporters and other countries,” Schaneman said. “Being able to see how these conversations turn into meetings, which turn into farmers finding new avenues to sell their grain, excites me for the future of agriculture and how it affects our farmers.”

Following the completion of his internship, Schaneman returned home to Nebraska where he plans to remain in the agriculture industry by pursuing a career in the state.

“I am very grateful for my U.S. Grains Council experience, as I learned many invaluable lessons I will take with me into my next chapter,” Schaneman said. “I especially appreciate my time in the global programs department, where I learned about the ways USGC works to facilitate trade in other countries. Thank you to everyone who helped me grow in my understanding of the important work of American producers, exporters and buyers in the grains industry.”

USDA Crop Production: Winter Wheat Production Down 8 Percent from 2021

Winter wheat production is forecast at 1.17 billion bushels, down 8 percent from 2021. As of May 1, the United States yield is forecast at 47.9 bushels per acre, down 2.3 bushels from last year's average yield of 50.2 bushels per acre. Area expected to be harvested for grain or seed is forecast at 24.5 million acres, down 4 percent from last year.

Hard Red Winter production, at 590 million bushels, is down 21 percent from a year ago. Soft Red Winter, at 354 million bushels, is down 2 percent from 2021. White Winter, at 230 million bushels, is up 38 percent from last year. Of the White Winter production, 15.7 million bushels are Hard White and 214 million bushels are Soft White.


Based on May 1 conditions, Nebraska's 2022 winter wheat crop is forecast at 36.9 million bushels, down 10% from last year's crop, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Average yield is forecast at 41 bushels per acre, down 8 bushels from last year. Acreage to be harvested for grain is estimated at 900,000 acres, up 60,000 acres from last year. This would be 92% of the planted acres, above last year's 91% harvested.

Nebraska May 1 hay stocks of 1,250,000 tons are up 25% from last year.

IOWA: All hay stored on Iowa farms as of May 1, 2022, was estimated at 720,000 tons, up 67 percent from May 1, 2021, according to the latest USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service - Crop Production report. Disappearance from December 1, 2021, through May 1, 2022, totaled 2.40 million tons, compared with 2.00 million tons for the same period in 2021.

Panamanian Ethanol Delegation Sees U.S. Industry In Action

Key public and private sector Panamanian stakeholders were in the United States this week to engage with industry experts and policymakers regarding the economic and environmental benefits of implementing ethanol blend policies; the technical and operational considerations to be addressed; and to become familiar with the U.S. ethanol industry and the opportunities to complement local ethanol production with imports.

Led by the U.S. Grains Council’s (USGC) Latin America (LTA) regional ethanol consultants, Juan Diaz and Carlos Suarez, the group visited Washington, D.C., before traveling to Iowa to see the ethanol industry in action.

The program was a part of ongoing market development efforts in Central America, where the Council’s LTA regional office seeks to demonstrate the feasibility of implementing ethanol policies and enable ethanol use and imports to Panama.

"Hosting the Panamanian stakeholders responsible for developing new ethanol policy and legislation is of great importance. It allows the Council to be the technical partner that supports the development of ethanol markets in the region using a model in which local production and imports complement each other," Suarez said. "The Council’s program for the Panamanian officials from the executive and legislative branches and representatives of ethanol producers and vehicle distributors will help to address and overcome the policy and technical obstacles associated with ethanol blending."

While in Washington, the group had the opportunity to hear from organizations leading the way for U.S. ethanol, including the Council, National Corn Growers Association, Growth Energy and Renewable Fuels Association. Each organization provided insight into the industry, making presentations on ethanol policy, production and environmental benefits.

After meeting with Iowa Corn Growers Association staff in Des Moines, the group visited several convenience stores, a pipeline facility and POET, an ethanol manufacturer, before ending their journey with a farm tour. By taking part in a variety of tours, the group was able to see the U.S. ethanol value chain in its entirety at work.

"Being able to visit Iowa and learn about the process of producing corn, transforming it into ethanol and distributing it to consumers was a great opportunity for the Panamanian delegates who want to incorporate into their policy the practices that have allowed the U.S. corn and ethanol industry to succeed," Suarez said.

The Council will continue to provide policy and technical support to Panamanian stakeholders and assist in the development of the Panamanian ethanol market as they spearhead efforts to re-introduce ethanol blending in the country.

Inflation Expected to Burden Economy for Several Years

Overall consumer prices in April were 8.3% higher than a year ago, and America’s families can expect inflation to continue putting pressure on their wallets for the next few years. American Farm Bureau Federation economists analyzed the inflation numbers in the latest Market Intel. They expect inflation to stay above 5% or 6% for the foreseeable future.

“Quite simply, too much money was created by the Federal Reserve Bank (often called ‘the Fed’), mostly in 2020, and it is turning, inevitably, into inflation,” the Market Intel states. “Thankfully, the Fed has begun taking steps to address this…but it will likely take a few years to approach their long-term target of 2% per year.”

The Market Intel points to the Fed injecting $6.4 trillion into the economy between March 2020 and the end of 2021, which is a 42% increase in the money supply in only 22 months. This infusion of money is too much to be absorbed by economic growth in a year or two, even with a strong post-COVID-19 pandemic recovery. Lower interest rates also spurred borrowing. All of these factors combined to overstimulate the economy.

The Market Intel continues, “There was a lot of disposable income, including enhanced unemployment benefits to most of those put out of work, substantial government support for businesses who kept people on payroll, and the regular paychecks of the vast majority of the workforce. This ensured that personal incomes and overall demand didn’t flag; so there was little reason for the Fed to pursue demand stimulus through such a loose money policy.”

The Fed is now taking steps to address inflation through an interest rate hike and plans to sell off up to a trillion dollars in bonds and securities.

House Committee Report Distorts the Record: Worker Health and Safety is First Priority in Meat and Poultry Industry

The North American Meat Institute, the nation’s trade association for meat and poultry packers and processors, today said the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis’ partisan report distorts the truth about the meat and poultry industry’s work to protect employees during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The following is a statement from Julie Anna Potts, President and CEO of the North American Meat Institute:

“The Meat Institute and its member companies voluntarily provided hundreds of thousands of pages to the Committee. The report ignores the rigorous and comprehensive measures companies enacted to protect employees and support their critical infrastructure workers.

“The meat and poultry industry, like many industries, was challenged by the pandemic in the spring of 2020. As more became known about the spread of the virus, the meat industry spent billions of dollars to reverse the pandemic’s trajectory, protecting meat and poultry workers while keeping food on Americans’ tables and our farm economy working.

“The House Select Committee has done the nation a disservice. The Committee could have tried to learn what the industry did to stop the spread of COVID among meat and poultry workers, reducing positive cases associated with the industry while cases were surging across the country. Instead, the Committee uses 20/20 hindsight and cherry picks data to support a narrative that is completely unrepresentative of the early days of an unprecedented national emergency.”

Ag Specialists Intercept Rare Pest at U.S.-Mexico Border

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture specialists recently intercepted a potential agricultural intruder trying to enter the U.S.

On May 2, specialists at the Pharr cargo facility at the Pharr International Bridge in Texas examined a shipment of fresh fruit entering the United States from Mexico.

According to, inside the shipment, within a box of mangosteen, was a black and yellow insect. Scientists at a United States Department of Agriculture lab confirmed the insect as a Cochabamba sp. beetle.

“This pest can cause agricultural and economic damage as their larvae skeletonize the leaf surface and adults eat plant and tree leaves and cause damage to foliage,” a May 9 statement from CBP says.

This discovery marks the first time this pest has been found at a U.S. port of entry.

The beetle is found in Central and South America. Its travel pattern indicates it’s migrating north, CBP officials said.

CBP refused entry to the shipment and returned it to Mexico.

The Cochabamba sp. belongs to the leaf beetle family, which also includes southern corn leaf beetles and bean leaf beetles.

This marks the second CBP pest discovery in just over two months.

In March, specialists discovered a pest inside an airplane arriving at the Luis Munoz Marin International Airport in Puerto Rico from Senegal.

Scientists at the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service identified the insect as Ammocleonus sp., known as true weevils or snout beetles.

Enter Certified Angus Beef Cook-Off Contest by May 15

Entries are open for the American Angus Auxiliary-sponsored 39th All American Certified Angus Beef Cook-Off Contest. All interested contestants must enter by the May 15 deadline. The contest will be held July 5 at the 2022 National Junior Angus Show in Kansas City, Mo.

The Cook-Off Contest provides an opportunity for National Junior Angus Association (NJAA) members to display their knowledge of the beef industry and skills in the kitchen while enjoying friendly competition with fellow participants. All contestants must be members of the NJAA and each team must consist of two to six members of a state junior Angus association.

"We are excited to host the 39th All American Certified Angus Beef Cook-Off Contest, which serves as the oldest educational contest at NJAS," said Anne Lampe, American Angus Auxiliary Beef Education Committee co-chair. "The Cook-Off is not only a competition, but an opportunity for participants to learn about the Certified Angus Beefâ brand and develop skills to educate others about beef."

This annual contest allows NJAA members from each state to gather their best recipes, prepare a Certified Angus Beef beef dish and perform a skit to entertain and educate the audience. The cuts selected for this year's contest are as follows: the steak division is flank steak, the roast division is ball tip, and the other category is ground beef and will be the Ultimate Certified Angus Beef Burger Grill Off.

The contest will be divided into three age categories: 8-13; 14-17; and 18-21. All ages will be determined as of Jan. 1. Mixed teams may be entered but will be classified by the oldest member of the team. The contest will be judged by a panel of three judges. Winners in categories of showmanship and recipe, as well as overall excellence will be awarded special prizes.

New this year, the Cook-Off will present the Ardyce's Aprons award to the top-ranking junior team. The award is in memory of past American Angus Auxiliary president Ardyce O'Neil who served an instrumental role in creating the Cook-Off and served as its first chairman.

Please note there will be no Certified Angus Beef Chef's Challenge and no Certified Angus Beef at Home Contest this year.

To enter, visit the Auxiliary website, For questions about the contest, contact Lampe at 670-874-4273 or or Anne Patton Schubert at 502-548-2359.

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