Thursday, June 16, 2022

Thursday June 16 Ag News

June Rural Mainstreet Economic Index Falls Below Growth Neutral
Nine of 10 Bankers Rank Recession Risk Above 50%

The region’s overall reading for June slumped to 49.8, its lowest level since September 2020, and down from May’s 57.7. The index ranges between 0 and 100 with a reading of 50.0 representing growth neutral.

This month, bankers were asked their U.S. recession expectations for the next 12 months. Approximately 92.9% rate the likelihood of a U.S. recession above 50%. Only 7.1% rated a recession probability below 50%.  

“Much like the nation, the growth in the Rural Mainstreet economy is slowing. Supply chain disruptions from transportation bottlenecks and labor shortages continue to constrain growth. Farmers and bankers are bracing for escalating interest rates — both long-term and short-term,” said Ernie Goss, PhD, Jack A. MacAllister Chair in Regional Economics at Creighton University’s Heider College of Business.

Farming and ranching:
The region’s farmland price index for June advanced to 76.8 from May’s 72.0, marking the 21st straight month that the index has moved above growth neutral. Over the past several months, the Creighton survey has registered the most consistent and strongest growth in farmland prices since the survey was launched in 2006.

So far in June, Peoples Company Appraisal Team tracked 32 cropland auctions across 17 Iowa counties. In total, 4,305 acres of cropland sold in auctions for $57.8 million, or an average of $13,426 per acre.

On average in June, bank CEOs expect 2022 net farm income for grain farmers to be 12.6% above 2021 levels.

Farm equipment sales: The June farm equipment-sales index climbed to 71.4 from May’s healthy 66.9. This was the 19th straight month that the index has advanced above growth neutral. Readings over the past several months are the strongest string of monthly readings recorded since the beginning of the survey in 2006.

Confidence: Surging energy prices and rocketing agriculture input prices constrained the business confidence index to 33.9, its lowest level since May 2020. This marks the lowest back-to-back readings since the beginning of the pandemic in April and May 2020.

Below are the state reports:

Nebraska: The Nebraska RMI for June dropped to 54.1 from May’s 59.7. The state’s farmland-price index rose to 80.0 from last month’s 74.6. Nebraska’s new-hiring index sank to 61.6 from 64.2 in May. Over the past 12 months, Nebraska’s Rural Mainstreet Economy experienced a 3.5% gain in non-farm employment while urban areas in the state gained a 2.1% in non-farm employment.  

Iowa: The June RMI for Iowa slumped to 49.1 from 56.7 in May. Iowa’s farmland-price index climbed to 77.9 from May’s 71.0. Iowa’s new-hiring index for June fell to 59.0 from May’s 69.8. Over the past 12 months, Iowa’s Rural Mainstreet Economy experienced a 2.8% increase in non-farm employment while urban areas in the state gained 2.1% in non-farm employment.

The survey represents an early snapshot of the economy of rural agriculturally and energy-dependent portions of the nation. The Rural Mainstreet Index is a unique index covering 10 regional states, focusing on approximately 200 rural communities with an average population of 1,300. It provides the most current real-time analysis of the rural economy. Goss and Bill McQuillan, former chairman of the Independent Community Banks of America, created the monthly economic survey and launched it in January 2006.

World Pork Expo Reflects Producers’ Commitment to Productivity and Innovation

The World Pork Expo completed its 34th year on June 8-10, with more than 10,000 producers and industry professionals convening at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines. Presented by the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC), Expo features the world’s largest pork specific trade show and a first look at many new technologies and innovations.

“World Pork Expo is a great place for pork producers to interact and share ideas,” said NPPC President Terry Wolters, owner of Stoney Creek Farms, Pipestone, Minnesota. “Producers are always on the hunt for ways to improve the productivity and sustainability of their operations, and enhance the care and wellbeing of their animals. Between the trade show, seminars and personal interactions, Expo delivers that and much more.”

Notable at this year’s Expo was a return of more international visitors, including pork industry personnel from Mexico, Canada, Europe, South America and some Asian countries.

In addition, Expo attendees were treated to a favorite tradition, the Big Grill, once again staffed by Iowa’s Tama County Pork Producers Association and friends. During the three-day event, more than 3,500 free pork lunches were served.
Producers are Cautiously Optimistic

During Expo, the trade show and hospitality tents provide opportunities for producers to visit with allied industry representatives and learn about the products, services and technologies that could benefit their businesses back home.

The consensus among exhibitors at this year’s Expo was that producers are focused on weathering the storm of high feed and construction costs along with other inputs.

“We have good hog markets to help offset some of that, but for the past year or two producers have been in kind of a holding pattern,” said Randy Leete, national accounts manager for APC, Ankeny, Iowa. “They’re trying to decide whether to expand, hold steady, remodel or build; waiting to see what the next opportunities are going to be.”

One thing that rings true is that producers are committed to keeping their pigs healthy and growing all the way to market to ensure high-quality pork products for consumers.

“Producers are very interested in products or applications that keep their pigs alive and thriving,” he noted. “There are important factors to consider when feed costs are high – feed conversion is a priority. When hog prices are high, there’s nothing more important than a live pig that makes it all the way through the system and on to the market.”

A range of technologies are helping producers make better, smarter decisions faster and meet their pigs’ daily needs.

“There’s a huge desire and need for more technology solutions to be implemented every day on farms,” said Drew Mogler, with BarnTools. “We saw lots of interest from producers of all shapes and sizes who want to bring their farms to the next level in terms of technology.”

This involves such things as real-time monitoring of environmental conditions inside hog barns and combining that data with pig behaviors to ensure the systems are working properly and pigs are doing well.

Labor is another challenge that producers have had to deal with for several years and one that they’re looking to technology for help. “Producers are trying to find ways to make jobs in the barn as easy as possible, and with fewer people,” Mogler added.

Long term, with economic uncertainty and some disease pressures challenging the industry, he views producers as cautiously optimistic. “Pork producers are naturally optimistic; the fact that we had so much interest tells me that producers are continuing to improve and invest in their operations.”

In all, the 2022 Expo trade show featured nearly 400 companies displaying products, services and technologies across more than 300,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor exhibit space. Filling the fairground’s Grand Concourse were another 50 hospitality tents where producers and company representatives could visit, enjoy some tasty pork and conduct business in a relaxed setting.
Seminars Address Critical Topics, Offer Solutions

Always in search of the latest information and ideas, pork producers and their staff visiting Expo could tap into any of the many free educational seminars available on Wednesday and Thursday.

The five Business Seminars, presented by allied industry companies, covered such topics as labor and supply chain challenges, swine nutrition research, maximizing hog performance this fall, crop and hog markets outlook, and innovations to boost market gilts’ growth.

This year’s Pork Academy line-up, presented by the National Pork Board (NPB) and Pork Checkoff, focused on foreign animal disease and sustainability issues, emphasizing direct applications for the farm. There also was a session to interact with NPB personnel and discuss hot topics and future innovations for the pork industry.

“Expo seminars are an efficient way for producers to get the latest information on important industry topics and find solutions that they can share with their staff and apply to their operations,” Wolters said.
Expo to Celebrate Landmark Anniversary

The 2023 Expo is sure to be special as World Pork Expo will mark its 35th year. “Since 1988, Expo is just one of many ways that NPPC demonstrates its commitment to the U.S. pork industry, and we encourage every producer to attend,” said Bryan Humphreys, NPPC CEO.

Mark your calendars for June 7-9, 2023, and make plans to attend Expo at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines.

Wolle Elected to Corn Board Leadership

The National Corn Growers Association’s Corn Board has elected Harold Wolle to become the organization's next first vice president for the new fiscal year, which begins October 1, 2022.

Wolle grows corn and soybeans on his farm in Madelia, Minnesota, with his son, Matt.

“I’m honored to serve America’s corn farmers as an NCGA officer,” said Wolle. “With all the unfinished business we have in Washington right now on ethanol, trade and farm policy, it’s a critical time for our industry. Expectations of what we need to get done are high, and October can’t get here soon enough for me. I look forward to partnering with corn farmers on all these issues we must tackle as part of the NCGA team.”

Wolle currently chairs the NCGA’s Finance Committee. Prior to that, Harold served as president of the Minnesota Corn Growers Association and chairman of the Watonwan Farm Service/Central Farm Service Coop Board.

Growers Frustrated Again with EPA Decision: Neonic BEs are Overly Conservative, Inflate Affected Species Numbers

Growers are again expressing frustration over the Endangered Species Act biological evaluations released by EPA. As with the draft BEs last August, the final BEs are overly conservative and in some instances fail to use important data. As a result, grower groups—including the American Soybean Association and American Farm Bureau Federation—are concerned the BEs drastically overstate the impact of the pesticides on endangered species and their habitats.

The BEs for several neonicotinoid pesticides, including imidacloprid, thiamethoxam, and clothianidin, do not incorporate scientific and commercial data that could have provided a more realistic picture of the potential impact of the chemistries on species. For example, nearly all applications of neonicotinoids in soybeans are made as seed treatments, using a minuscule amount of pesticide buried underground where it is far less likely to impact species or habitat. However, the final BEs assume growers exclusively make foliar spray and soil applications using many times more active ingredient than is reflected by real-world USDA and market survey data. The BEs also continue to assume a species will be adversely affected if only one individual in a species is impacted, which greatly inflates effects assessments.

Despite the groups pointing out these shortcomings in draft BE public comments, EPA doubled down on using inappropriate and overly cautious assumptions in its final BEs, which leads to significant overestimations on the impact on species.

Brad Doyle, soy farmer from Arkansas and president of the American Soybean Association, expressed, “Growers have time and again pointed EPA to real-world data to improve their endangered species assessments, which the agency has again chosen to disregard. It’s frustrating because conservative assumptions inflate the number of species EPA claims are likely to be adversely affected, which in turn creates more work for the agencies. By law, EPA must formally consult on every species it determines may be affected, even if the agency could rule out many species by using better data.”

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said, “For generations, farmers and ranchers have taken care of our natural resources and taken significant steps to protect natural habitats and wildlife. We take our responsibility to be good stewards of the land seriously. Farmers use pesticides precisely and also utilize technologies to minimize impact, which has allowed us to produce more food with fewer resources. But EPA’s flawed overestimation of farm pesticide use could lead to lower yields as farmers lose access to important crop protection tools.”

Chairman David Scott Applauds Passage of Lower Food and Fuel Costs Act in House

House Agriculture Committee Chairman David Scott issued the following statement applauding House passage of the Lower Food and Fuel Costs Act.

“As we all know, the last two years have led to drastic fluctuations in prices. Whether you look at the ongoing impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, or the global disruptions associated with Putin’s war in Ukraine, American farmers, ranchers, and consumers have faced increasing costs on the farm, the grocery aisle, and every stop in between,” said Chairman David Scott.

“The House-passed Lower Food and Fuel Costs Act tackles those price increases head on by assuring fair competition in the meat and poultry sectors, increasing options at the pump, and providing needed support for America’s agricultural sector and food supply chain.”

“I am extremely proud of the work of our House Agriculture Committee Members and the bipartisan support they have garnered for the bills included in this package,” Chairman David Scott continued.

“A special thank you to my Democratic colleagues Representatives Cindy Axne, Angie Craig, Josh Harder, Ro Khanna, and Abigail Spanberger, along with my Republican colleagues Representatives Ashley Hinson and Dusty Johnson, for their hard work on their respective provisions in this legislation.”

“The passage of the Lower Food and Fuel Costs Act is a true testament to the continued work ethic and bipartisanship that our Committee has championed, and a welcome relief for America’s farmers, ranchers, and consumers,” said Chairman David Scott.

“It is unfortunate that some of our Republican colleagues have chosen to politicize this moment and tarnish our bipartisan reputation rather than supporting a legislative package that delivers solutions from both Democrats and Republicans. The American people deserve better than that. We should not be playing politics with people’s pocketbooks. I urge my friends in the Senate to act swiftly on this legislation,” Chairman David Scott added.

Thompson: Democrat Bill Does Nothing to Lower Food and Fuel Costs

Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 7606, the so-called Lower Food and Fuel Costs Act, a legislative package that falls woefully short in addressing the ongoing supply chain and inflationary crises hammering America’s farm families and consumers.

Prior to the House passage of H.R. 7606, Republican Leader of the House Agriculture Committee, Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson, delivered the following remarks on the House floor:

Remarks as prepared for delivery:
"I rise today in opposition to H.R. 7606 because, simply put, this bill does nothing to lower food and fuel costs

"Long before Russia's invasion of Ukraine, America's farm families and consumers were struggling with fractured supply chains, skyrocketing input costs, and historic levels of inflation, each of which continue to contribute to increased food prices and diminished inventories.

"Despite these crises, Democrats have neglected to take serious action to incentivize increased American production. In fact, we are here today to debate a bill that compounds the situation, further limiting American farmers' ability to meet global food demand and doubling down on the idea that more spending and big government will feed the world.

"Adding insult to injury, the White House has been quick to blame the private sector and alleged industry concentration for the current crises. Economists across the spectrum, including former Obama and Clinton Administration officials, have dismissed the strategy as misleading, at best, or otherwise blatantly political.

"So, it is not surprising that at the behest of the White House, we are debating a package whose anchor piece of legislation perpetuates a tired narrative of blame, duplicates existing authorities, ignores industry and producers, and undermines the Department of Justice.

"It’s also not surprising the party of “defund the police” has also become the party of more cops for cows.

"At every turn, this Administration has obsessively pointed the finger at the packing industry in particular—blaming them almost single-handedly for rising food costs. They’ve done so via blog posts, contrived public events, and press briefings—all without any acknowledgment of the culpability of their own reckless spending and heavy-handed regulatory agenda.

"If this were a serious exercise, my Democrat colleagues would not have paired such an egregious example of legislative overreach with several other bipartisan, thoughtful bills. If this were a serious exercise, my Democrat colleagues would not have added two unvetted Democrat amendments that are more about political point-scoring than genuine, near-term policy solutions. If this were a serious exercise, my Democrat colleagues would have worked with Republicans to form concrete, immediate policy solutions with a chance of consideration in the Senate.

"I know both parties understand the gravity of these issues, and while we may have disagreements on policy, I was confident we could find common ground solutions if given the opportunity. I am dumbfounded as to why Democratic leadership would choose this moment—when consumers are deciding between gas in their cars or food on their tables—as an attempt to score political points. Especially on the heels of a nearly nine percent increase in consumer prices—the worst this nation has seen since the Carter Administration.

"So, Republicans forged ahead and developed solutions. Earlier this week, Leader McCarthy and I, along with nearly 100 of our Republican colleagues, sent a letter to President Biden, outlining administrative actions he could take immediately to mitigate rising input costs, and strengthen the role American agriculture plays in global food stability.

"And yesterday, I, along with many of those same members introduced H.R. 8069, “The Reducing Farm Input Costs and Barriers to Domestic Production Act.” The bill would reverse many of the more harmful regulatory burdens spearheaded by this administration, address escalating input costs, and provide certainty to farmers, ranchers, agribusinesses, and other entities across the food and ag supply chains.

"The letter and this bill stand in stark contrast to what we’ve seen from the White House and the Democrats in Congress and their efforts to scapegoat private industry for skyrocketing gas prices and sustained supply chain failures.

"So, in short, the crises we are facing cannot and will not be mitigated with unfunded mandates, duplicative authorities, politicized agencies, and big government, all of which are laced into H.R. 7606…"

NFU Applauds House Passage of Lower Food and Fuel Costs Act

Today, by a vote of 221 to 204, the U.S. House passed H.R. 7606, the Lower Food and Fuel Costs Act, which includes multiple NFU priorities that will provide fairness for farmers and lower prices for consumers.

“Farmers Union members stand firm in their fight against consolidation and corporate monopolies in agriculture, and the Lower Food and Fuel Costs Act takes concrete actions to give farmers a leg up,” said NFU President Rob Larew. “Now that the House has taken this important step forward, we encourage the Senate to send this to President Biden swiftly. Further efforts to provide greater market transparency, protections for independent farmers and ranchers, and antitrust enforcement, are also needed, but today’s passage of H.R. 7606 is great progress.”

The Lower Food and Fuel Costs Act includes several provisions supported by NFU, namely the Meat and Poultry Special Investigator Act, which gives USDA further authority to investigate consolidation and anti-competitive practices in the highly consolidated meat industry. Additionally, the Lower Food and Fuel Costs Act includes measures to expand independent meat processing and promote biofuels' infrastructure and adoption. These measures will expand opportunities for farmers while driving down costs for consumers.

Through its Fairness for Farmers campaign, NFU has been working to bring many of the issues addressed by this legislation into the national spotlight, including pushing back against corporate monopolies, broadening market opportunities, expanding processing capabilities, and addressing supply chain vulnerabilities.  

NCBA Disappointed in House Passage of Special Investigator Bill

Today, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) expressed strong disappointment in the House passage of the Lower Food and Fuel Costs Act, which incorporates the Meat and Poultry Special Investigator Act.

“Rising food, fuel, and fertilizer prices are hurting cattle producers around the country, but Congress is relentlessly focused on political posturing through this special investigator bill,” said NCBA Vice President of Government Affairs Ethan Lane. “NCBA strongly supports fairness and transparency in the market, but Congress is wasting time with legislative proposals in search of a problem while ignoring real issues impacting cattle producers.”

The special investigator section of the Lower Food and Fuel Costs Act would create a new position at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to investigate broad “anticompetitive” matters. Unfortunately, this position duplicates the work of numerous federal investigative agencies—including the USDA Packers and Stockyards Division, Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Federal Trade Commission, and Department of Homeland Security—who have existing authority, staff, and budget to investigate anticompetitive actions.

This bill is also unfunded, which will divert critical resources away from the Agricultural Marketing Service of USDA at the expense of critical programs producers rely on like market data reporting, meat grading, and the Cattle Contract Library pilot program.

This bill now goes to the Senate for consideration and NCBA urges all senators to reject this proposal.   

 ASA Supports Biofuels & Precision Ag Provisions in Lower Food & Fuel Costs Act

In a bipartisan vote of 221-204, H.R. 7606, the Lower Food and Fuel Costs Act, has passed. The bill includes biofuels and precision agriculture provisions supported by soybean farmers.

Brad Doyle, American Soybean Association President and soybean farmer from Arkansas, said, “ASA applauds the House for recognizing supply chain challenges in agriculture, the role of biofuels as a renewable, home-grown energy source, the importance of improving access to precision agriculture technologies, and the need for additional resources in EQIP for nutrient management.”

The bill would invest $200 million in biofuels infrastructure to expand biofuels availability and utilization across the country. This program would be modeled after the Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program at USDA, which has proven successful by increasing access to biofuels by one billion gallons per year.

It also includes $500 million that would provide additional USDA National Resources Conservation Service payments to farmers for implementation of nutrient management practices and to increase cost share and practice payments to incentivize the purchase of precision agriculture equipment, systems, and technology. Soy farmers appreciate these steps to leverage conservation and precision ag and reduce grower input costs.

Legislation that Would Tap Ethanol to Lower Gas Prices Secures Passage in U.S. House

The U.S. House of Representatives approved legislation today that would expand consumer access to higher biofuel blends that save consumers money at the pump and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  

NCGA supports two biofuels provisions in the “Lower Food and Fuel Costs Act.” The provisions offer a permanent solution for maintaining year-round market access to fuels with a 15% ethanol blend, called E15, and provide additional support for infrastructure for higher biofuels blends. NCGA also endorsed the PRECISE Act, which was included in the package.    

“NCGA thanks Members of Congress, including Reps. Angie Craig and Cindy Axne, for advocating for biofuels as an energy security solution,” said NCGA Vice President of Public Policy Brooke S. Appleton. “We are also appreciative of the bipartisan House members who voted in favor of this bill to keep these solutions moving forward in Congress.”  

Renewable fuels add billions of gallons to the nation’s fuel supply every year, lowering demand for high-cost oil while increasing total fuel available to consumers.  

Ethanol is currently priced around $1.20 less per gallon than unblended gasoline at wholesale, and drivers are saving 30 to 40 cents or more per gallon where retailers offer E15. E15 also cuts emissions for cleaner air.  

The PRECISE Act, originally introduced by Rep. Ashley Hinson, helps farmers access precision agriculture technology through USDA programs.   

Farmers’ increased productivity, sustainability and efficiency are resulting in record corn yields using fewer resources to meet food, feed, fuel and export needs, helping keep consumer prices down in the face of high oil prices and improving environmental outcomes.

IRFA Applauds Iowa Delegation for Standing United to Support E15, Farmers, Livestock Producers and Consumers

Today the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 7606, the Lower Food and Fuel Costs Act by a vote of 221 to 204. Among several provisions aimed at lowering food and fuel prices across the country was a permanent legislative fix to the outdated regulation that makes it difficult for E15 to be sold in much of the country in the summer months. The legislation also provides $200 million in funding for fuel providers to install equipment to offer higher blends of ethanol and biodiesel.
The bill was supported by all of Iowa’s representatives, Rep. Cindy Axne, Rep. Randy Feenstra, Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, and Rep. Ashley Hinson.
“Today Iowa’s delegation spoke with one united voice to support consumer access to cleaner, lower-cost E15,” said Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) Executive Director Monte Shaw. “IRFA thanks Representative Cindy Axne for working with Democratic leadership to ensure this E15 fix was included in the bill. We also applaud Representatives Randy Feenstra, Mariannette Miller-Meeks, and Ashley Hinson for putting aside party politics and standing up for what is right for Iowa and consumers across the country. E15 costs on average 10 to 30 cents less per gallon than regular unleaded fuel, providing instant relief in this time of record-high gas prices. It has never been more important than it is today that E15 continue to be available at the pump across the country all year long.”
Earlier this year President Biden directed the EPA to take temporary, emergency action to keep E15 flowing this summer. IRFA applauded that step, but it was only temporary. If this legislation becomes law, oil refiners could never again game fuel regulations to prevent retailers from offering E15 or consumers from buying it. The bill also included provisions that will help protect Iowa livestock producers from the consolidated power of foreign-owned meatpackers.
“This bill should have passed with 400 yes votes,” stated Shaw. “But the power of large foreign corporations and oil refiners was on full display during a hectic and intense week of lobbying leading up to the vote. I was truly disappointed that some tried to distort provisions in the bill to stir up opposition, but I was immensely proud that every Iowan stood united for lower-cost fuel choices like E15.”
H.R. 7606 was supported by IRFA, Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Cattlemen’s Association, and Iowa Farm Bureau Federation. The bill now goes to the U.S. Senate. It is expected to be another tough fight for passage, especially given the filibuster requirements in the Senate.

RFA Thanks House for Supporting Expansion of Lower-Cost E15 Fuel Blend

The Renewable Fuels Association today welcomed passage of the Lower Food and Fuels Cost Act (H.R. 7606) in the House of Representatives and commended Democratic leadership and biofuel champions on both sides of the aisle for their efforts to deliver relief to American families facing record-high prices at the pump. Specifically, RFA applauded the bill’s permanent removal of barriers to selling lower-cost, lower-carbon ethanol blends like E15 all year long, as well as additional infrastructure funding that will support the expansion of low-carbon liquid fuels.

“By expanding the availability of cleaner, more-affordable ethanol blends, this legislation will help deliver immediate economic relief to American families who are feeling unprecedented pain at the pump,” said RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “E15 typically sells for 10 to 40 cents per gallon less than regular E10 gasoline today, meaning consumers are saving several dollars each time they fill up their vehicle’s tank with E15 instead of E10. That means the typical household can save more than $300 on fuel expenses over the course of a year simply by choosing lower-carbon E15. RFA thanks Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Hoyer, and renewable fuel supporters from both parties for pushing this legislation over the goal line and delivering a win to hard-pressed American families dealing with inflationary pressures.”

In particular, the Lower Food and Fuel Costs Act includes a permanent legislative fix for the summertime Reid Vapor Pressure waiver, extending the 1-psi waiver to blends of ten percent “or more.” The draft also includes $200 million in additional funding for higher blends infrastructure. In addition to the fuel-related policy, the package includes competition oversight in the meat and poultry industries, funding for nutrient management and precision agriculture investments, and food system supply chain resilience planning.

Cooper noted that E15 is approved for use by EPA and automakers in more than 97 percent of cars and trucks on the road today, and investment in updated dispensers, tanks, pumps, and components that carry E15 and higher blends will offer all the blend’s benefits to more consumers.

Growth Energy Applauds House Effort to Cut Fuel Costs with U.S. Biofuels

Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor welcomed House passage of H.R. 7606, the Lower Food and Fuel Costs Act. The legislation includes key provisions that would permanently lift barriers to year-round sales of E15, a lower-cost 15 percent bioethanol-blended fuel. This bill also authorizes $200 million for infrastructure funding that will increase access to higher biofuel blends.

“As oil prices surge around the world, higher blends of ethanol offer a lower-cost, lower-emission option for hardworking families across America,” said Skor. “Over the past few months, we’ve seen E15 deliver savings approaching $0.60 per gallon in some areas of the country. This legislation would solidify those savings and bring relief to more drivers nationwide. We’re grateful to our champions in Congress for advancing bipartisan solutions to unleash the power of American biofuels to combat skyrocketing gas prices.”

H.R. 7606, the Lower Food and Fuel Costs Act, contains important legislation introduced by Rep. Angie Craig (D-Minn.) and Adrian Smith (R-Neb.) to extend the one-pound volatility waiver, already available to E10, to fuels containing more than 10 percent bioethanol. In addition, it authorizes $200 million for biofuel infrastructure, in line with the Renewable Fuel Infrastructure Investment and Market Expansion Act of 2021 (H.R. 1542) introduced by Reps. Cindy Axne (D-Iowa) and Rodney Davis (R-Ill.).  

ACE Applauds House Effort to Ensure Uninterrupted Market Access for Clean, Low-Cost E15

The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) today applauded efforts by U.S. Representatives Angie Craig (D-MN), Cindy Axne (D-Iowa) and other House members to advance legislation that would permanently extend Reid vapor pressure (RVP) limit relief to blends of gasoline containing “more than” 10 percent ethanol, which would ensure uninterrupted market access to E15 in all parts of the country. The House passed the Lower Food and Fuel Costs Act (H.R. 7606) today, which includes the Year-Round Fuel Choice Act, as well as the Renewable Fuel Infrastructure Investment and Market Expansion Act to provide more biofuels infrastructure funding. ACE CEO Brian Jennings issued the following statement in support of the efforts that resulted in these important ethanol provisions being taken up in the House:

“ACE thanks Representatives Angie Craig, Cindy Axne and others for their tremendous leadership to secure market access for E15 beyond this summer’s driving season and increase availability of higher ethanol blends. Ensuring uninterrupted access to E15 is not only an urgent priority for our industry, but the best way to make an immediate positive difference at the pump and in reducing tailpipe emissions.”

 President Biden Signs Bipartisan Ocean Shipping Reform Act

President Biden today signed the bipartisan Ocean Shipping Reform Act into law. The American Soybean Association endorsed this legislation that will take steps to bring “greater accountability and transparency to ocean carriers while improving efficiency throughout the system.”

As delays and other challenges continue to slow the supply chain at U.S. ports, ensuring U.S. soybeans are able to be transported to international markets in a timely manner and remain competitive is a top priority for soybean farmers.

Currently, about 5-10% of soybeans are exported via container annually, though that volume is higher for specialty soy and certainly varies based on region of the country.

“Shipping via container allows soybeans to be exported to emerging markets that may not have ports that can accommodate Panamax vessels and provides access to foreign markets for soy-based products,” ASA stated in an endorsement letter to the Senate Commerce Committee during early consideration of the legislation. “Furthermore, specialty-grown soybeans such as food-grade soy and soybeans certified as non-GMO rely on containers for shipping due to the need for traceability in the soy supply chain.” Read the full letter here.

The legislation, introduced by Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and John Thune (R-SD), will expand prohibition on retaliation; clarify prohibited carrier practices; require rulemaking to define unfair detention and demurrage practices; expand penalty authority to include refund of charges; and establish an expedited detention and demurrage certification and complaint process.


The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) attended today’s White House signing ceremony for the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022 (OSRA). The newly enacted law will address longstanding supply chain and shipping port issues that have hampered exports of pork and other U.S. goods.

“NPPC commends President Biden for signing and Senators Amy Klobuchar and John Thune and Representatives John Garamendi and Dusty Johnson for their sponsorship of and leadership on the OSRA,” said Bryan Humphreys, NPPC’s chief executive officer. “I am honored to represent NPPC and America’s 60,000 pork producers to see this important legislation signed into law.”

For several years, U.S. exporters have been dealing with port challenges. Examples include aging infrastructure and shipping issues, such as excessive detention and demurrage fees charged to exporters and importers for using marine terminal space and shipping containers. U.S. exporters also have had shipments declined or canceled without notice.

U.S. pork is shipped to more than 100 countries, and last year, the U.S. pork industry exported more than $8 billion of products, which added $63 to the value of each hog marketed. The Agriculture Transportation Coalition, of which NPPC is a member, estimates that 22% of U.S. agricultural exports in 2021 were not delivered because of unreasonable shipping practices.

“Exports add significantly to the bottom line of each American pork producer,” said NPPC President Elect Scott Hays, CEO of Two Mile Pork, LLC, in Monroe City, Missouri. “Having more assurances that our products will reach their destination by addressing problems that have plagued our ports for years is a huge win for our industry.”

Dairy Commends Passage of Ocean Shipping Reform Act, Urges Swift Implementation

The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) and U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) applaud the signing of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act, S. 3580, by President Joe Biden. Following passage of the legislation by the House of Representatives earlier this week by a vote of 369-42, President Biden signed the bill into law today. The enactment of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act sets in motion a series of new rules and regulations regarding ocean carrier practices that the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) must implement over the course of the next year.

The legislation was introduced in response to the vocal advocacy by NMPF, USDEC and other agricultural export and shipper organizations, as problems with effective ocean freight transportation worsened in 2021. Congressmen John Garamendi (D-CA) and Dusty Johnson (R-SD), and Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and John Thune (R-SD) introduced similar versions of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act in the House and Senate, which both passed speedily through their respective chambers.  

“We are grateful to our congressional champions – Congressmen Garamendi and Johnson, and Senators Klobuchar and Thune – for their leadership in getting this legislation drafted, introduced and passed so quickly. The U.S. dairy industry has suffered many challenges in getting goods smoothly and reliably to export markets due in large part to problematic ocean carrier practices. These new rules will allow the FMC to better enforce reasonable behavior by the ocean carriers,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF.

“Our members continue to face significant impacts due to international ocean shipping challenges. Just last year, that resulted in over $1.5 billion in increased export costs and lost opportunities. While we can’t restore those losses, we are very pleased that President Biden and our allies in Congress quickly recognized the urgency of these problems and put their support behind legislative solutions to crack down on unjustified shipping practices,” said Krysta Harden, president and CEO of USDEC. “We urge the FMC to implement these rules quickly and begin to conduct the new oversight, regulation and enforcement necessary to end the unfair and unreasonable ocean cargo practices that have impeded American dairy products from efficiently getting to their overseas customers.”

Both organizations called on the FMC to implement the rules as expeditiously as possible to support agricultural exporters in getting more products onto vessels in order to better address rising food security needs around the world.

USDA Reminds Producers to File Crop Acreage Reports

Agricultural producers who have not yet completed their crop acreage reports after planting should make an appointment with their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) service center before the applicable deadline. July 15 is a major deadline for most crops, but acreage reporting deadlines vary by county and by crop. Producers should make an appointment as soon as possible to avoid missing earlier deadlines.

“To be eligible for many of our programs, including disaster assistance, you will need an acreage report on file,” said FSA Administrator Zach Ducheneaux. “To ensure you can benefit from our many programs, including disaster assistance, please be sure to call your local FSA office to make an appointment to report your acreage. As a reminder perennial forage is eligible for continuous acreage reporting, which allows producers to report their acreage once and keep their certification in place until they make a change.”

The Administrator added, “Continuous acreage reporting provides an opportunity to substantially streamline producers’ applications for assistance. With protracted drought conditions across the Great Plains and Western United States, producers who had previously filed a continuous acreage report benefitted from a streamlined application process for disaster programs like the Livestock Forage Disaster Program. I encourage producers to continue taking advantage of this tool and simplify their ability to apply for assistance.”

An acreage report documents a crop grown on a farm or ranch and its intended uses. Filing an accurate and timely acreage report for all crops and land uses, including failed acreage and prevented planted acreage, can prevent the loss of program benefits.

How to File a Report

Producers can contact their FSA at their local USDA Service Center for acreage reporting deadlines that are specific to their county.

To file a crop acreage report, producers need to provide:
    Crop and crop type or variety.
    Intended use of the crop.
    Number of acres of the crop.
    Map with approximate boundaries for the crop.
    Planting date(s).
    Planting pattern, when applicable.
    Producer shares.
    Irrigation practice(s).
    Acreage prevented from planting, when applicable.
    Other information as required.

Acreage Reporting Details

The following exceptions apply to acreage reporting dates:
    If the crop has not been planted by the acreage reporting date, then the acreage must be reported no later than 15 calendar days after planting is completed.
    If a producer acquires additional acreage after the acreage reporting date, then the acreage must be reported no later than 30 calendar days after purchase or acquiring the lease. Appropriate documentation must be provided to the county office.
    If crops are covered by the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program, acreage reports should be submitted by the applicable state, county, or crop-specific reporting deadline or 15 calendar days before grazing or harvesting of the crop begins.

Producers should also report crop acreage they intended to plant but were unable to because of a natural disaster.

Prevented planting acreage must be reported on form CCC-576, Notice of Loss, no later than 15 calendar days after the final planting date as established by FSA and USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA).

FSA offers continuous certification for perennial forage. This means after perennial forage is reported once and the producer elects continuous certification, the certification remains in effect until a change is made. Check with FSA at the local USDA Service Center for more information on continuous certification.

New Option to View, Print and Label Maps on

Producers with an eAuth account linked to their USDA customer record can now access their FSA farm records, maps and common land units by logging into A new feature will allow producers to export field boundaries as shapefiles and import and view other shapefiles, such as precision agriculture boundaries. This will allow producers to view, print and label their own maps for acreage reporting purposes.

Producers who have authority to act on behalf of another customer as a grantee via form FSA-211 Power of Attorney, Business Partner Signature Authority, along with other signature types, or as a member of a business can now access information in the portal. 

'Protect Our Pigs' Campaign to Fight Against ASF

The United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced today new efforts to help prevent the introduction and spread of African swine fever in the U.S. Through an outreach and awareness campaign called Protect Our Pigs. APHIS will support commercial pork producers, veterinarians, and pig owners with information and resources to help safeguard America's swine population and the pork industry.

African swine fever is a deadly, highly contagious viral disease that affects both domestic and wild pigs. It does not impact human health but quickly spreads between swine populations. People can also unknowingly spread the disease on their clothing, farming equipment, or by transporting uncooked pork products. African swine fever has never been detected in the U.S., but has recently been confirmed in countries as close as the Dominican Republic and Haiti. There is no treatment or effective vaccine for the disease.

"African swine fever is already devastating pork industries and economies around the globe, and if detected in the U.S., it could ravage our swine population, nation's pork industry, and farming communities," said USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs, Jenny Lester Moffitt.

The U.S. is one of the world's largest pork producers and the second largest exporter of pork globally. If the disease arrives here, it is estimated it could cost the U.S. $50 billion dollars over 10 years.

Commercial pork producers, veterinarians, and pig owners are among the nation's first line of defense against African swine fever. There are more than 60,000 pork producers nationwide who employ more than half a million workers. An estimated 250,000 to 1 million potbellied pigs are kept as pets, and there are more than 1,500 swine veterinarians.

APHIS is deploying a variety of outreach efforts to support these critical stakeholders. The new Protect Our Pigs website will house materials such as downloadable fact sheets and posters, instructional videos, shareable social media graphics, a new interactive biosecurity guide, and offer the latest disease updates. If African swine fever is detected in the U.S., APHIS will also be ready to respond immediately with actionable information and resources for pig owners and the public.

U.S. DDGS, Sorghum Showcased In Turkey

U.S. Grains Council (USGC) staff in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region recently spent time in Turkey to promote the benefits and uses of U.S. distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) and sorghum.

In both Izmir and Bolu, USGC Regional Director Ramy H. Taieb set the stage by welcoming attendees to the program and providing an introduction of the day’s agenda.

“This program is a continuation of all the efforts we have been putting into the poultry and dairy sectors in Turkey,” Taieb said. “After conducting two highly successful trials with DDGS in layer and broiler diets, it’s time to ensure adoption in the Turkish industry.”

Reece Cannady, USGC assistant regional director for the Middle East and Europe, provided a DDGS production, supply and demand overview before the program took a deeper look at DDGS use in the feed of layers and broilers with Dr. Ali Çalik, associate professor at Ankara University, and dairy and beef cattle with Dr. Alvaro Garcia, a consultant at Dellait Consulting.

“With the current shortage of feedstocks in the Turkish market, it’s a great time for feed millers to be evaluating a product that importers are already familiar with, and that’s DDGS,” Cannady said.

Participants in Izmir and Bolu also had the opportunity to learn more from Garcia on feed milling techniques with DDGS and sorghum during programming there.

Turkey is currently the ninth-largest importer of U.S. DDGS, purchasing 303,226 metric tons so far in the 2021/2022 marketing year. Additionally, the Council continues to look for opportunities to open the market for and build relationships with buyers and end-users of U.S. sorghum in the country.

“Turkey is a very reliable market for U.S. DDGS, and is a longstanding partner, despite low inclusion rates in poultry rations,” Taieb said. “So, the potential for growth in DDGS adoption and exports is still very much present in the Turkish market.”

USDA will Partner with Ukraine to Strengthen Agricultural Collaboration and Fight Global Food Insecurity

Today during a meeting with U.N. ambassadors and officials at the U.S. Mission to the U.N., United States Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and The Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine are entering into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to enhance coordination between the U.S. and Ukrainian agriculture and food sectors and build a strategic partnership to address food security.

“Since February the world has witnessed Russia’s unjustified invasion of Ukraine and the disruption it is causing to agricultural production, trade, and most importantly, food security,” said Secretary Vilsack. “Russia’s actions are posing major threats not only to the people of Ukraine but to countries in Africa and the Middle East that rely on the grains and other staples produced in Ukraine. Russia is using food as a weapon and a tool of war to threaten the livelihoods of those around the world, and that is something the agriculture community cannot and will not stand for.

“Ukraine needs the world’s support and this week I met with Ukrainian Minister of Agrarian Policy and Food Mykola Solskyi to express USDA’s commitment to helping rebuild and strengthen Ukraine’s agriculture sector. This MOU will amplify the strategic partnership between our two nations and leverage our collective strength to enhance productivity, address supply chain issues, and identify food security challenges. This is an important step forward and when implemented will allow us to better fight global food insecurity together.”

The MOU will establish a three-year partnership driven by the need to address the economic disruptions in the United States and worldwide due to the Russian war on Ukraine. It is the latest action being taken by the USDA as the Biden-Harris Administration addresses these problems through an all-of-government approach.

Through the MOU, the United States and Ukraine will agree to the consistent exchange of information and expertise regarding crop production, emerging technologies, climate-smart practices, food security, and supply chain issues to boost productivity and enhance both agricultural sectors. USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service will also mobilize its resources to provide Ukraine technical assistance for animal health, biosecurity, and sanitary and phytosanitary controls, and utilize the Borlaug Fellowship Program and re-establish the Cochran Fellowship Program to enhance U.S.– Ukraine collaboration and research as Ukraine rebuilds its agricultural sector.

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